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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3. Chapter Two—Blue Moon

Nothing much really happened in the following month. The ponies got used to seeing me around and eventually stopped flinching when I made sudden movements. Twilight started to let me out alone. God, that makes me sound like a pet… But it’s the truth. The ponies were afraid of me. Those that never talked to me, at least. After the lesson about Zecora, a lot of them seemed ready to talk, if not necessarily willing.

Spike’s birthday was a small high point, but I’m not much of a fan of parties like that. He almost had a fit when I told him to stop being a greedy asshole and dragged him away from trying to steal a ball as a ‘gift,’ but he got over it.

I also taught Pinkie all manner of human vegetarian recipes. I wasn’t able to remember most of them perfectly, and I wasn’t exactly a chef to begin with, but she was able to recreate all kinds of good stuff just from what I was able to remember. Enough that she was able to convince her employers—a husband and wife with the last name Cake—to offer them on the side instead of just having desserts. I don’t think they got very popular, but a lot of them did have a niche crowd that were willing to try new things.

Another minor point is that I started having horrible dreams about some weird, fucked up chimera. I don’t remember much about them other than the two… hands. One was a paw and the other was like a bird’s talons. It seemed as though the chimera wanted me to do… something, but I had no idea what. They were all jumbled and confused and yet, strangely horrifying.

 

The night Applejack and I got Rainbow Dash drunk was definitely quite an event. Admittedly, I could have easily ended the distillation process in a day rather than a month. I could have done that, but it risked poisoning our subject. As I said, this was my first time making booze. I would rather give myself a little bit of leeway should anything go wrong. And while I won’t say I didn’t test some of the brew myself, you can’t prove anything anyway, so shut up.

We decided to do it at the farm, as there would be fewer witnesses that way. Plus, Twilight wouldn’t yell at us for being grossly irresponsible.

“Are you sure you want me to do this?” Rainbow Dash asked. “This was Applejack’s idea; why can’t she test it?”

“Because this is an experiment,” I answered. “And she’s helping me run it. It wouldn’t do for a scientist to test a product on himself and then expect to be able to properly study the effects.”

“Well, why is she helping you with this thing? I thought Twilight was the egghead!” she retorted.

“Because it’s my apples he’s using for the formula! It’s also my apples that’ll be making any more of this stuff, if we decide it’s okay after you try it. So hurry up and try it!”

“Now, a few disclaimers before we start,” I said. “First, do not try to fly if you do get drunk. I cannot stress this enough. Do not fly! I don’t know how this will affect you. I will tie your wings to your body if you start trying to fly. Second, I don’t know how much of this it’ll take you make you drunk. So we’ll go with P for plenty. Third, if you need to, aim for the bucket. Fourth, don’t blame me when you wake up.”

“Wait, what were those last two?” she asked.

“Don’t worry about it. Let’s get started!” I passed her the first bucket of applejack and she hesitantly started drinking.

“Hey, this isn’t that bad!” With that, she started at it with a bit more gusto. The first bucket quickly emptied and I passed her the second one. “It’s got a bit of a kick to it, though.” She shuddered for a moment before starting on the second. She finished it and reached for a third, but I stopped her.

“Let’s see how you handle what you’ve drunk, first,” I said. She was putting this stuff down. I was hoping I’d have enough left over for a personal stash, but if she could handle too much more, I might not.

“Alright, I guess…” She took a step and immediately fell on her ass.

“So it turns out ponies can get drunk. One bucket was probably enough… Interesting.”

While I was noting my results and Applejack was laughing, Rainbow Dash was struggling to get up. “I mushta tripped on shometin’. Stupid farm.” This was punctuated with another attempt at walking that somehow flipped her on her back. Now that just shouldn’t be possible.

“Slurred speech, trouble walking, impaired thinking… Well Applejack, we got Rainbow Dash drunk. Very drunk.”

“What happens if she tries to fly?” Applejack asked. “Think she might get hurt?”

“If she tried to fly, the moniker Rainbow Crash would be very appropriate. As to her getting hurt? Well, I think she has bones of steel. You and I have both seen her make crash landings that would kill a human, but she just shrugs them off.” Titanium might be more appropriate, with the speed she flies. 

“Well, what can we really do to her in this state?” Applejack asked. “I mean, it is funny watching her stumble about and fall, but we get to see her do that every day.”

“Well, another stickling point about alcohol is that it supposedly lowers inhibitions. A lot. If you have any male ponies you want to play a great prank on, we could sic Rainbow Dash on them now and she might try to flirt with them. We just have to be ready to step in, in case it gets out of hand. Or we could play truth or dare with her to get her to do something funny or stupid or get some secrets out of her. As drunk as she is, it is improbable that she’ll remember much in the morning.”

“Yer saying she won’t remember any of this?” she asked with a gleam in her eye.

“She probably won’t remember any of this.”

“Keep her here. Imma go get Big Macintosh! This is gonna be great!”

I feel that I should point out that, despite my mandate, Rainbow Dash was trying to fly. I emphasize trying. I was watching her with some interest during the previous conversation and noticed, much to my amusement, that she couldn’t flap her wings in unison. When Applejack left, I walked up to her.

“H-how are you flying? You don’t have any wings!” she yelled at me, perhaps thinking her imagined rustling wind would somehow steal her words.

“Special human trick,” I winked. “Don’t tell the others. It’s my trump card.” I love playing with drunk people. “I know you’re probably not very lucid right now, but how are you feeling?” I asked her, ready to write down a response. Truth be told, I don’t know why I was really bothering to record any of that. I already knew exactly what Twilight would say when she learned what we did.

“How am I feeling?” she slurred. “I’m the greatest flier ever and I’m going full speed through the skies! How do you think I feel? It’s amazing!” Subject feels elation and is having delusions. Interesting… 

Our conversation continued much the same, until Applejack came back leading a large red stallion. I’m neither gay nor into bestiality, so I can’t tell you if he was handsome or not. I did know, however, that as boozed up as she was, I honestly don’t think it would matter to Rainbow Dash.

After patting Dash on the side, I walked over to where Applejack stopped with Big Macintosh. “Did Applejack tell you why we needed you?” I asked him.

“Nope,” he replied.

“Hm. Applejack, would you kindly go entertain Rainbow Dash for a sec? I’ll explain the experiment to him.”

“He don’t need to know nothing to do this, other than that he needs to go flirt with her!” she retorted.

“Wh—” Macintosh started.

“Humor me, please,” I told her. “I really should tell him what’s going on.” She acquiesced with a few grumbles, but she finally went to occupy Rainbow Dash’s interest—in more ways than one, as it turned out.

Big Macintosh just looked at me. I guess he doesn’t talk much. 

“I’m testing a human drug on her. Basically, it lowers her inhibitions so she’ll do things she wouldn’t normally do. It’s only temporary, so I would like to test the effects while I still can. We’ve tested a few things already, but we haven’t tested her social inhibitions. That’s where you come in. If you could do some casual flirting and see how far you can get her, that would be a big help. She probably won’t remember anything tomorrow and if she does we’ll just tell her it was part of the experiment.”

“You want me to take advantage of her?” Longest sentence out of him yet.

“Don’t worry about that. Applejack and I will be watching the entire time. We’ll step in if things go too far or don’t appear to be going at all. If you don’t trust me, you should be able to trust your sister.”

He sighed and shrugged. “Eeyup.”

“Great! Oh, and try to make sure she doesn’t either manage to fly or try to run off. Now, go tell your sister to come back and start up a conversation. Do whatever it is that male ponies do to attract female ponies.” I’d fucking burst out laughing if he displays himself like a peacock. He looked at me dubiously, but did as I asked.

When Applejack got back, I could see that she was trying hard not to laugh. “Oh, this is gonna be great!”

“Remember, not a word to the others,” I said. “I sure as hell don’t want to get in trouble for this. If anything goes bad, we blame Spike and hope we get off scot free.”

“Why Spike?”

“Because I had his help making the brew. He doesn’t know what plan we had for it, but he does know what it does. He almost blew half the lab up, with us in it, before I managed to get his mouth shut…”

We made more casual small talk as we watched Big Macintosh work his manly magic. Sadly, we were too far off to hear what they were saying, but we could see their reactions. Eventually our talk tapered off as we just watched. Macintosh was obviously uncomfortable, but it didn’t look like Rainbow Dash noticed much. We could hear the too-loud drunken laughter from where we were.

“I’m willing to take that as a sign the experiment was a success,” I said. “Think we should call it off now, before we risk it going too far?”  

“Naw, not yet. Big Macintosh… he doesn’t get into town much, doesn’t have much practice with the mares. This might give him some confidence.”

“What works on a drunken Rainbow Dash probably won’t work on most mares, but if you think it’ll help, we can wait and see. I will cut it off if I think it’s going too far.”

As it turns out, I didn’t have to. Big Macintosh did it himself, motioning us forward. We met him halfway.

“Don’t ask me to do that again,” Big Mac said. He was a very big pony. One that I didn’t like the idea of screwing with.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “I have no plans to make more of the drug. It is dangerous if not controlled.” I looked pointedly at Applejack as I said that last bit. “How did your… conversation… go?”

“You were right about her inhibitions being lowered. You were wrong about needing a stallion.” With that, he walked away. Well, there’s another suspicion confirmed.

I looked at Applejack. “Not a word to anyone. Let’s hope she doesn’t remember this…”

Whatever she said in reply was lost as I suddenly saw Rainbow Dash stumble forward and not get up. Apparently, she finally passed out. I ran up to check on her, making sure her head wasn’t facing up.

“What’s wrong with her?” Applejack yelled, trotting up.

“She just passed out. That’s a common side effect of too much alcohol. She should wake up in the morning with a splitting headache. I don’t know if horses can throw up, but if you can she probably will. She’ll need several buckets of water, too. If you have either an empty bed or an empty hay stack in the barn, I can stay the night and make sure she’s fine in the morning.”

“Do you wanna just… leave her here? That seems a mite bit dangerous.”

“If you want to move her anywhere, we could. You’d just have to carry her the whole way. I know I’m not strong enough to lift up one of you ponies. She probably would recuperate better without the sun in her eyes when she wakes up.”

“Maybe I wasn’t clear. Wherever she sleeps is where we’ll be sleeping.”

“Well, toss her over your shoulder or something and we can get her ass inside. Hey, maybe you can put her in your bed and mess with her when she wakes up.”

“Ah, shoot! That’d be real funny, but I ain’t willing to risk it. She might get upset,” she said, lifting the lazy blue horse up and unceremoniously tossing her over her shoulder.

And into the warm house the three of us went, Dash already starting to snore in her probably uncomfortable position.

 

Later that night, I found myself pacing around Applejack’s farm. It was a typical fall night, colder than an ex-wife’s heart, but it was much preferable to trying to fight sleep and the nightmares in the warm house. I was cresting a hill, wondering what might be causing them, when I heard a slight whooshing sound and a louder crunch of broken leaves behind me.

Without turning, I said, “Nice night. Bit cold, though. Way too cold to be flying, I’d say.”

There was a small silence, what I assumed was shock. Then, deciding to play my game, an unsure, feminine voice replied, “Aye, ‘tis a bit cold. Though the beautiful night makes the flight worth it…”

“Shame we have a new moon. I would love to see this area in the moon’s light.”

“We don’t know about that. The stars are light enough and there are many activities one could hide in the dim light of a new moon.” We? 

“Many activities, many of which are illegal. And my lady, I am no thief, unless you find yourself wanting a heart stolen.” Maaaan, I didn’t know how much I would come to regret saying that.

“Oh? We seest thou walking away from a farmhouse near a forest of evil, late at night—a night thou thyself said is darker from a new moon. Thou art also a creature of a like which we have never seen before. ‘Tis a feat most difficult. Thou may not be a thief, but thou do appear to be fleeing. What dark scene will we see if we return to the house thou leaveth behind?”

I turned at this, thinking her question was an insult. In the darkness, I could see nothing of her but a silhouette, however. For some reason, it was a moving silhouette. She appeared to be a dark pegasus with some kind of strangely moving hair. But when she shifted her head, I saw a glimmer of a horn and gasped. I am rarely speechless, but I have to admit I was incredibly surprised at running into one of the princesses.

“Don’t worry, Navarone. Our sister told us about thee. We know what thou art.”

I could only mumble something, still too surprised to do much else.

“Everypony we’ve met seems to have the same reaction to us. Are we truly so terrifying?”

“Surprising is more like it,” I finally managed to say. “I wasn’t expecting to find one of the princesses of the realm out in the middle of an orchard late at night. Alone, at that.”

“We are hardly alone, Navarone. We simply left our escort back a ways, since they seem so often to drive ponies away in fear. We don’t know why… We are their princess! They should trust us!” she finished in a booming voice, making me wince.

“Well, it might have something to do with the loud voice, or your use of ‘we’ instead of ‘I.’ Now, I don’t know how fashions go, here, but I don’t imagine such things are still terribly popular.”

“Tradition demands it!” she continued in her booming voice. “The only reason we stooped to thy casual speak is because thou initiated it.”

“Traditions change. Why stick to an outdated system when it makes your subjects uncomfortable?”

“Why should we be forced to change to their desires? We are royalty!”

I hope Equestria doesn’t have executioners… “Because you can force obedience, but not love or loyalty. You can make your people obey you, but you can’t make them love you. Forcing them to adapt to traditions older than any of their memories will not endear them to you.”

She stood to her tallest height, which put her head a few inches over mine. Enough for her to think she had some manner of intimidation effect, I suppose; however, the only thing I was afraid of was her magic, or perhaps her ability to order me killed. “Thou art insolent! Disrespectful! And…” she said, lowering her head a bit and dropping the booming effect, “...correct, we fear. We—I—have visited a few small townships, here and there. Usually late at night, and during festivals or some such. They flee at the sight of us—my escort and I.”

“You also have to remember that until a few months ago, you were sort of their biggest boogeyman. No matter how hard you try, most ponies will take some manner of time to get used to you.”

“And yet th—you—seem fine with us—me. Dost thine heart hold no fear?”

“Not hardly. I just wasn’t around when you were to be feared. As far as I’m concerned, you were always Princess Luna. Though I do have to admit, I am very honestly surprised to see you. What would bring you here, now?”

“We had heard that thou were plagued with doubts and we thought we could perhaps assist. But truly, ‘twas mostly happenstance that found us together this night. When we found that thou weren’t in the library, we decided to go flying, for exercise. ”

“Sounds fun, I guess. If I was born with wings, I’d probably fly a lot, too.”

Her eyes looked confused for a second. “Fun? What is this... fun?”

“You don’t…” How the hell can you not know what fun is? “Huh. Have you ever played a game or performed in some manner of competition?”

She shook her head. “Such is not for royalty, Navarone. What if we were to lose?”

“Fun comes from the risk of loss or failure. Winning is all well and good, but what’s the point of even trying if you already know you’ll come out on top? I understand that a princess isn’t supposed to be inferior than a subject at anything, but the truth of the matter is that you’ll never be the best at everything.”

She paused for a moment. “Tell me more about this… fun, then.”

“Uh… Well, take the prank a friend and I just pulled on another friend. Got her drunk off her ass. She was doing all manner of funny things: Flapping her wings out of sync, falling on her face every time she tried to walk, slurring her speech and falling for anything you told her. She told us some interesting things she didn’t want anyone to know. Some might consider it mean, but after some of her pranks it’s fair to say she deserves a big doozy to get back at her. It’s all in good fun.”

“I don’t know why a pony was riding a donkey, but none of what you said really sounds that… entertaining.”

I waved my hand. “It’s situational. You wouldn’t know Rainbow Dash, so it doesn’t make as much sense. That’s the only real story I have from this world; I’ve been trapped in a library for most of a month, since so few of the ponies trust me.”

“We—Celestia and I—could give out a royal edict declaring you to be a true royal subject, not to be feared. You are safe, correct?”

“I see no reason to hurt someone if they haven’t done anything to me. Nothing to gain from it. But no, keep your edicts. I might be able to walk freely around town, but that won’t mean I won’t be looked at crosswise. If they can’t learn to trust me themselves, no amount of royalty will ever change their minds.”

She snorted. “Things have changed. I was never as loved as Celestia, but nor was I ever this feared. And if ponies can’t even trust royal announcements, what can they trust?”

“They can trust friends. If you were to get to know some of your people, they would likely trust you more.”

She opened up with her booming voice again, “They always flee before they can know us! How can we make friends if they do not meet us halfway?”

I can practically feel the headsman’s axe. “You are hardly meeting them halfway, with that voice. Just being there isn’t enough. You have to participate, mingle. Stopping with that mind-shattering voice might help, as I have already said. No one likes being yelled at. Go to a festival or public event and ask—politely—if you can play some games or something. Hell, I think there’s some manner of festival going on in Ponyville in a few weeks. I’m sure no one would mind if you showed up, as long as you honestly tried to meet them halfway.”

She dropped the booming. “And what, pray tell, would that include?” she asked, her voice grating.

“No yelling. Try not to use archaic grammar or the royal we. Act like a person trying to make friends rather than a princess.”

“And how does a… person go about making friends?”

“Fuck all if I know. I just sort of fell into most of mine. If you met me outside of town, I could bring Twilight or one of the other relatively normal ponies to meet you. You’ll receive a much better hearing if you’re in their company.”

“Tell me about this festival, then.”

I shrugged. “I don’t know much about it. From what I’ve heard, it’s analogous to my people’s Halloween. That means there will be costumes and candy and ‘scary’ stuff. I was planning on spending all night with Rainbow Dash, pulling pranks and scaring the shit out of people, but helping you seems like a more noble cause.”

She gave me a somewhat stern and very womanly look for that. I shrugged. “Tell me where to meet you, then, Navarone,” she said. “We will learn more about this festival and we might meet you there when the sun sets.”

The only landmark outside of town that I really knew very well was Fluttershy’s humble home. I told her where it was. “The pony that lives there is… well, ‘coward’ doesn’t begin to cover it. If you can befriend her, you can befriend anyone. We used her to prove to the ponies in town that I’m not a monster. That helped a lot, but it wasn’t enough to fully gain their trust.”

“And this pony, she will give me a fair chance?”

“She gave me one and I look a lot more like a villain than you do. I’ll warn her you’re coming, so it shouldn’t be much of a shock.”

“Where can we find you if I wish to discuss this ahead of time?”

“I don’t sleep all that well, so there’s a better than even chance I’ll be sitting in Twilight’s library, reading some manner of book. It’s the large tree near the middle of Ponyville. You are welcome to come by at any time, as far as I’m concerned. We might have to go on a walk, though, to avoid waking Twilight or Spike up.”

“We are more comfortable with the open sky above our head.” She flinched, realizing what she had said. “This… new dialect will take some getting used to.”

“As long as you are making an effort to change, I’m sure most ponies will be fine. Some might be confused, but whatever.”

“What do you have in mind for if this plot fails? Or perhaps makes things worse?”

“I’ll figure something out. I’m good at dealing with chaos. Or if I can’t do it, I’m sure Twilight can. Her plans are generally too meticulous to fail, as long as she has time enough in which to execute it properly.” As I later found out, that was about as bad a lie as any I could come up with.

“I will take your assurance on this matter, then, Navarone. Until we meet again.” She spread her wings wide and jumped straight into the air. Another thing we need to work on: her iciness.

The rest of that night passed mostly uneventfully, with the exception of nearly twisting my ankles in some of the ruts worked into the farmland.

 

Morning found me curled up in the guest bed Applejack designated for me. When I asked her about the shitload of rooms she had, she mentioned something about having room for harvest. We were busy lugging an unconscious pegasus at the time, so I wasn’t really paying much attention.

Knowing how Applejack feels about her apples and her trees, she probably stores the apples in those rooms and puts them to bed during harvest. Why else she would need such a large farmhouse for four ponies is beyond me.

Knowing nothing about the house other than the way in and out, I just laid back and waited. With my luck, I would have wound up in someone else’s room, or seeing something I shouldn’t see. I don’t know, a sacrificial altar to the apple gods or something. Not long after I woke up, I heard someone bustling about below. It was a farmhouse, so I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that people were up early.

Now, what did surprise me was an assault by a blur of yellow fur that coalesced into a small pony called Applebloom. This was Applejack’s little sister, a little filly always looking for a way to get her Cutie Mark, which is a tattoo ponies get on their ass that marks their lot in life. Sounds too confining to me, and I’ve mentioned that to some of the ponies, but none of them seem to agree.

Anyway, I had met Applebloom a few times before and each time she seemed to be trying some new harebrained scheme with two friends. They tried dragging me in once… But they relented when I told them they were too small to be Amazon warrior ponies.

“Get up, sleepy head!” she yelled at me, pouncing on my bed.

“I am awake, pipsqueak. Who else is up? I heard someone else moving around.”

“I ain’t gonna tell you. You gotta tell me what you did to Rainbow Dash, first. She isn’t awake yet, but she looks awful…”

“Rainbow Dash helped us with an experiment. I don’t suggest being around when she wakes up. It will be… unpleasant.”

“What did you do to her?”

“Ask your sister. If she thinks you should know, she’ll tell you. As it stands, I don’t. I will tell you this, though: Don’t look to get your cutie mark that way, since that was an experiment we won’t be repeating.”

“Awww… You old ponies take all the fun out of everything!” Not quite a pony, but whatever.

“If you knew some of the things I considered fun, you wouldn’t be so sad about that. Anyway, who else is awake?”

“Just Big Macintosh and me, so far. And you, I guess. Applejack is usually awake by now; I don’t know why she’s still asleep.”

“Let her sleep, I say. I’ll probably wander off to Rainbow Dash’s room in a bit. She’ll wake up feeling terrible, disoriented, and confused, which is not a good combination for someone that can fly Sanic fast like her.”

“Don’t you want breakfast? I helped make it!”

Remembering stories I had heard about her, I somewhat ungraciously declined. “Religious reasons. Can’t eat this early in the morning.”

“What’s… religious?”

“…Never mind.”

 

A few hours later found me and Applejack in front of a finally stirring Rainbow Dash.

“Remember, talk quietly,” I whispered. “She’ll probably hurt enough.” Applejack nodded, a smile on her face.

Rainbow Dash groaned, tried to open her eyes, saw the glare of the sun, and immediately forced them shut. She croaked, “What… what happened? Everything hurts…”

“Mornin’, sunshine!” Applejack boomed. Rainbow Dash winced and I glared at Applejack. She just smiled and whispered, “Couldn’t help it…”

“Anyway,” I said quietly, “the experiment was a success. And we’ll never do that again. We’ll talk about it later after you feel a bit better. We’ve arranged some things that’ll help you. Namely, a few empty buckets and some buckets of water. Drink all the water you can hold, then drink some more. Come down when you stop feeling like death. Until then, call if you need anything.”

“Yeah, we’ll send Big Macintosh to help you…” Applejack teased.

“Why would you send him? This whole mess is your fault,” Rainbow Dash replied.

“So she doesn’t remember! This’ll be fun!” Applejack said.

“Don’t remember what?” Rainbow Dash groaned.

Before Applejack could respond, I said, “Rainbow Dash, recuperate. Stop talking unless it’s important. And do your best not to think, as that will make it hurt worse. The water will help.” Applejack and I started walking to the door.

“Wait, remember what? What did I—” That last was cut off by the closing door.

“That was mean,” I said.

“Maybe, but it was also funny!”

“You raise a good point.”

 

After another awkward wait, spent with both of us being pestered by Applebloom, Rainbow Dash tenderly extricated herself from her room.

The first thing she said: “Never. Again.” The second thing she said: “Seriously. Never again.” The third: “Now, what happened? I don’t remember anything after getting to the farm!”

“Nothing much,” I told her. “We tested your ability to talk and to think rationally, we let Macintosh flirt with you, we let you try to fly, and we let you try to walk. You weren’t able to fly or walk, and your attempts were very humorous. Your speech was slurred, and your mind wandered a lot.”

“Wait, what was that second one?” she asked.

“We let you try to fly. Your head is still probably fuzzy. I’m certain it hurts.”

“I don’t think that’s what you said… Did you really let—”

“And now you’re being paranoid. Applejack, mark it down as another symptom, would you?” She pretended to write something down, which is interesting, as she has no thumbs. Or paper. Or a pencil…

Rainbow Dash gave us the oddest look I’ve ever seen. I swear she thought we were retarded at that point. We both looked back as innocently as we could.

“…So when can I leave?” she finally asked.

“If you really feel up to flying, you can leave whenever. Just be careful. The bright light will be painful and disorienting at first. Thanks for your help.”

“You’re not welcome. I still don’t know why you had to have me for this experiment!”

“We had to have you because Twilight or Rarity would be too dangerous with their magic, Fluttershy would be too afraid to take the risk, and Pinkie Pie would be very, very, very scary if she got drunk. I’ve heard your stories about her manic depressive states. Alcohol could seriously unbalance her.”

“Then you better not be making any more of this stuff,” she said. “Especially if it’s as popular at parties as you say.”

“Don’t worry. I have no intentions of making more,” I lied.

“Good. I’ll see you both later.” With that, she walked out and very unsteadily took off.

“I feel like we should feel guilty for this,” I said.

“Nah. She wasn’t permanently hurt.”

“We did sort of accidentally make her reveal a secret she didn’t want to.”

“Yeah, but it’s not like it’ll hurt her. I mean, I ain’t gonna do nothin’ with it.”

“And I can’t do much with it. Not that I even would, but still.”

“I reckon you’ll get used to us eventually,” she said with a smirk. “Now, I gotta get ta work. And I’m sure Twilight’s probably wondering what’s taking you so long.”

“Yeah. She’s a cruel taskmistress. I’ll see you later, Applejack.” We parted company soon after. I didn’t mention Luna’s visit to her.

Upon learning about my experiment, if not all the results, Twilight was not overly pleased. She knew, of course, that I was planning something, but she did not know what and against whom.

“She could have been hurt!” she exclaimed.

“Yes, she could have. However, even your experiments with magic run a risk of hurting someone. Like, y’know, me. But I’ve heard stories, back where I came from, of people getting horses drunk. I must admit, the truth of it was a lot funnier than the stories were. Though maybe that’s just because my experiment was on a sapient being…”

“This isn’t a joke, you know! She really could have been hurt!”

“You already said that and I already admitted that you are correct. What’s done is done, though. And at least now I know where I won’t be starting a life in this new world. Not like you ponies need booze anyway. I can’t imagine many of you having terrible things in your past you want to forget.”

“That doesn’t mean it’s okay.”

“I know. But I stand by it. I’m more interested in what happened after, anyway.”

“Oh? And what could have been interesting enough to take your mind off your ‘valuable experiment’?”

“Oh, Rainbow Dash had already passed out by then. I was walking around the fields when Princess Luna dropped by and started talking to me.”

“Princess Luna!?” Twilight gasped in surprise. “What was she doing out there?”

“Looking for someone to talk to. She thought I was one of her subjects. Which I guess, in a way, I am now. Anyway, we got to talking. She’s very lonely, apparently. I invited her here to talk to me, if she’s ever in the neighborhood and I’m still awake. I also invited her to the festival coming up in a few weeks. I hope you don’t mind.”

“Not at all! Though… it seems weird to have a princess coming by to visit. Shouldn’t we prepare everypony? Or formally greet her, as a princess deserves?”

“Nah. I mean, you could. But I don’t care too much about titles or shit like that. She may be a princess, but to me she’s just a lonely person that needs someone to talk to. The dark stuff she did in the past alienated her from the entire pony community, aside from her sister. I wasn’t around when any of that stuff happened, so I can honestly talk to her with no feeling of fear or residual mistrust. She needs some way to make friends and meet her subjects. I figured this party thing would be a decent way to do that. We might have to help her a bit, though, since her speech patterns haven’t changed in a thousand years. She uses archaic grammar and occasionally lapses into a booming voice.”

“Well, of course Princess Luna is welcome here, as far as I’m concerned. Hopefully we can help her get more acclimated to how things work now. You’ll have to tell me more about your plans for the Nightmare Night Festival.”

“It’s called what.” That didn’t come out as a question.

Twilight saw it as a question, of course. Any chance to explain some obscure tradition was good in her books. The festival was, as I said, analogous to Halloween. The added bit was that not dressing up would cause Nightmare Moon to come and eat you, or something. Near the end of the night, some of the candy each child collected was donated as a sacrifice to a Nightmare Moon statue or something.

Now, anyone reading this should be able to see a bit of a problem here. Luna was coming to this festival dedicated to being afraid of her alternate personality. I tried explaining this dilemma to Twilight.

“She’s not Nightmare Moon anymore, Nav,” was the answer. “And we’ll be able to help her prepare for the visit when she meets us at Fluttershy’s home. Which was a good choice, by the way, if what you say about Princess Luna’s voice is true. Fluttershy can help her learn to speak gently. It’ll be fine, Nav. And you made the right choice, inviting her.”

I shrugged, sighing. “Too late to recall the invite anyway. I quite like having my head attached to the rest of my body.”

“That’s the spirit!” Ugh, I knew I shouldn’t have taught her gallows humor. “Now, care to help me and Spike with some chores?”

I’ll be the first to admit: I was surprised when Princess Luna actually did come by. I was more surprised that it was the first night after the offer. I said as much as I reached up to grab my coat for a walk.

“We had a bit of free time,” she explained. “There’s not much to rule over when the kingdom is sleeping. If there was any real emergency, the courtiers would rather wake my sister than bring it to us, anyway,” she continued with more than a little bitterness.

It was quite a chilly night, as befitted the cool season. A pale mist greeted every word. The weak street lights barely lit the road, while the nearly empty moon reflected gently off the glass windows. It was a night the likes of which I had rarely greeted back on my world.

“Surely you could deal with a big incident just as well as your sister. You’ve both spent a long time ruling, despite your small hiatus. Besides, anyone with a small lick of common sense can dictate orders around. What takes the skill is carrying them out. Though maybe that’s just bias from living so long in a democratic system.”

“Democracy… We read a mention of that in one of Twilight’s letters about you, but she didn’t go into detail.”

“It is a form of government by the people,” I said as we passed by an eerily lit Carousel Boutique. Looks like Rarity picked up too many orders again. “The people are allowed to vote on the issues, and whoever they want to rule them. There is a very big problem with a democracy, however. It allows the majority complete control. If the majority of people decided, for example, to ban reading because they don’t like it, the minority has no power to stop it. That is why my people created the idea of a republic.”

We were passing Sugarcube Corner at that point, the bakery at which Pinkie worked. “Such a building would not have existed a thousand years ago,” Luna commented, looking at it. “We had… bigger concerns than fitting themes to a simple bakery.”

“It’s a bit more than a bakery, but that’s understandable. It does look rather off, though not as bad as Rarity’s shop that we passed a few minutes ago.”

“Hm… Continue your explanation, please.”

 I shrugged and thought of where I left off. After a second, I continued, “A republic is a democracy with limits. Everyone has certain rights that cannot be taken from them. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, stuff like that. People elect a small number of representatives to vote on issues that just about anyone can put forward. No one can put into action anything that denies anyone any of the unalienable rights, however.”

She stopped, looking toward the park we were passing. My gaze joined her as we watched a couple holding each other on a bench, peering up at the stars. “Another thing that would not have occurred…” she whispered, looking away. “If it had, I wouldn’t have…”

“Things have definitely changed,” I said, nodding. “You’ll probably find more ponies awake at night now than ever before.”

“I might have to… explore, then.”

“I suggest the cities. If they’re anything like they are where I came from, they’ll have an extremely active nightlife with parties and all kinds of fun stuff.”

“That is something to consider.” She started walking yet again. “Are you done with your explanation, then?”

My feet joined her hooves in their slow walk down the cobbled roads of Ponyville. “Not quite, but mostly. It’s a very historically based concept.” I took a second to think before nodding and starting again, “It was a system designed by a people that had been abused by a monarchy. It allows for the changing of leaders every certain number of years, with systems in place if that leader needs to be removed sooner. I have thought long and hard on it, and can see no reason ponies would ever need such a system, or any way to make it applicable here anyway.”

“Oh? And why is that?”

“Everyone here has an assigned role in life. They may pick it themselves, but it will be something they will always be able to do. This includes the leaders. Why would ponies need to vote in new leaders if the only leaders they get are specifically born to lead? And why would they need a new ruler if they ones they have are wonderful, eternal, and benevolent? It’s a perfect system that couldn’t exist on my world.”

“I see. So why bring it up at all?”

“I mentioned it to Twilight, or maybe Spike, before I knew much about your people. And then you asked about it. I was merely doing my civic duty and informing my princess about a matter of which she was ignorant.” She didn’t seem overly enthusiastic about my answer, for whatever reason, so I decided to change the subject. “Do your feet get cold in the weather, or do the hooves protect them well?”

“I’m very used to the cold. Remember, I spent a thousand years on the moon.”

“That hardly answered my question, Princess.”

“Yes, my hooves do get cold. I imagine yours do as well, with that strange protection or not.”

“Back where I come from, we don’t get much cold weather. Hell, it rarely dips below freezing. No one here knows how to make human shoes, so I’m forced to wear the warm weather shoes I had back home. I’m freezing.”

“Then shouldst thou not be inside?” she impassively asked. “There is less chill to be found there.”

“Hey, what happened to learning how to speak modernly?” I asked with a smile, once more trying to change the subject.

“Is that building there a schoolhouse?” she asked, pointing to what was, indeed, a school.

“Yeah. I think the teacher’s name is Cheerilee.”

“Hm. Yet another thing that’s different. There was no public education before. It’s… strange to find that it is now.”

“I can imagine. So again, what happened to speaking modernly?”

She snorted and asked, “Are all humans this stubborn? Or does that dubious honor go to thee?” I lifted an eyebrow at her. “To you, then.”

“Nah, it’s all men that are this stubborn. Or at least, when we know we’re right. Which is usually, since we usually are right.”

She harrumphed.

“Oh, and I had a question for you, by the way,” I said. “I heard one of Twilight’s friends talking about Princess Celestia having a nephew. If you were trapped on the moon for a thousand years, how does that work out? Or is he also really old?”

“She runs an adoption agency. I don’t know why they all started calling her Auntie Celestia, but she decided not to stop it, so they all became her nieces and nephews. That said, there aren’t that many orphans in Equestria, so not many go through her agency.”

“That clears that up. I was thinking there had to be a third sister no one ever mentioned.”

We walked in silence for a bit, before she asked, “Did you leave anypony important to you behind on your world?”

Where did that come from? Oh, this could end poorly… “Just family. I never made many friends. If my school wasn’t so small, I’m sure my disappearance wouldn’t have even been noticed, other than the sudden lack of something not being a complete sarcastic dick to the teachers. The only thing I was known for at my school was my scathing and dark wit, directed at anyone that made themselves an enemy. To be quite honest, I consider the spell that brought me here a kindness to the world I left behind, though even now I’d still prefer to be home.”

“And what of us, then? Do you consider yourself such a blight on our kind?”

“To be honest, yes, but in a different way. I am a corrupting influence on your people. I try not to be, but much of what I say drives people to think, and many of those thoughts aren’t always pleasant. I make people think about things from my world, about the problems I left behind, rather than to the peaceful setting that is their own world. This could help some of the common ponies grow more mature, but they have no reason to mature. It’s… strange, having so few people I can truly talk to anymore for fear of saying the wrong thing. I want the ponies to continue living in relative harmony with their world, which might be difficult should I truly attempt to befriend some of them. But I imagine that my problems are of little interest to a princess.”

“You told me that I should befriend my subjects, Navarone. That I should care for them and their concerns. You are now one of my subjects, are you not? So we should and do care about thy concerns and problems. You are free to tell me all that you wish, Navarone.”

I snorted. “Looks like I’ll be a bad influence on you, then. My problems are my own, Princess. I shouldn’t have even said anything.”

She stopped in her tracks. It took me a second to realize she wasn’t walking next to me. When I did, I turned to face her. “Navarone, that is a poor decision to make,” Luna said. “You know of my past, of Nightmare Moon. That entity was born from my silence, from allowing my concerns and problems to eat away at me with no release. Wouldst thou truly risk such a fate for thyself? And risk the harm thou might inflict upon others? Twilight’s letters of you speak of many things, but none mention selfishness. Your problems are your own, but there are many who would be willing to share them.”

“And you’re one of them?”

“Yes, Navarone. am one of them.”

I looked away, not wanting to meet her determined gaze. “I’ll think about it. Talking like that would be… new to me.”

“Think quickly, then,” she said, beginning once more to walk. I fell in at her side as the two of us slowly padded through the dark streets of the town.

“So I learned more about the festival,” I said after around a minute of silence. She tilted her head to indicate she was listening as I told her what I knew about the coming holiday.

She listened in silence. When I finished, I could tell she wanted to use her booming voice to show some form of anger, but forced herself quiet. “We did not expect this,” was her first response. “But then, we were also a villain for a good while…” She sighed. “We are not surprised. I am not surprised. Disappointed, perhaps, but not surprised. I suppose I shall find friends elsewhere than in this little town.”

She raised her wings to go. “Hold on, Princess,” I said. She stopped, looking at me. “You aren’t Nightmare Moon. You are Princess Luna. This festival isn’t about you. It is about what you were, not who you are. You should take this as a chance to prove that you’re better than the legends make you out to be.”

“We—I—will think about it. Thank you, Navarone.” She took off.

Could have gone worse, I guess.

Since Luna was too much of a drama queen to even walk me home, I did the job myself, quickening my steps so I could get back to the warm embrace of the tree house. Since most of what we did was just a circuit around the town, it didn’t take me long to get back. When I quietly opened the door and let myself back in, a rather blushed Twilight walked down the stairs to greet me.

“How did your date go?” she asked, a strange hitch in her voice.

“That’s… ew. First, she’s a princess. Second, she’s a horse. Third, I barely even know her. And finally, why are you all blushed?”

When I mentioned her face, the red stain across it spread even farther. “I… I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

I furrowed my brow, looking more closely at her. Every part of her body seemed rather tense and her tail was held low against her. “...Are you feeling alright?” I asked.

“Just tired! I was uh… staying up to make sure you got back! Yep, that’s what I was doing, alright!” Can you be any more obviously lying?

“Uh huh. Well, I’m back. You can go to bed now.”

“Right.” She didn’t move for a few seconds, and we just stared at each other. “Oh yeah, bed!” Her horn lit up and she suddenly disappeared, going who knows where else.

“Ponies are fucking weird,” I sighed to myself, shaking my head. “Now… What to do until I fall asleep?”

 
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