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Anon Filly CYOA Part 3

rubyist Mar 23rd, 2019 (edited) 117 Never
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  1. BEGINNING OF SECOND STORY
  2. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  3. Guilt, regret, and anger. Three tidal waves of emotion flood your mind as you try to process what just happened. In your selfishness, you have single-handedly doomed all of Equestria to a fate of enslavement and likely starvation at the hooves of a communist, while simultaneously fucking over your own friends. What kind of idiot were you to-
  4.  
  5. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!" Twilight lets out a blood-curdling scream at the top of her lungs. She's been doing this for the past five minutes, interspersed with hyperventilating and striking Lyra and Daring when they try to cheer her up. She is not taking any of this well.
  6.  
  7. "GOD DAMMIT ANON, YOU FUCKED US. YOU ALL FUCKED US. DID ANY OF YOU WISH TO REMAIN PONIES WHILE WE WERE CREATING THE PORTAL? BECAUSE SO FUCKING HELP ME WHEN I FIND OUT WHO'S RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS SHIT. I'M GOING TO TAKE YOU TO A CIA FUCKING BLACK SITE AND GET FUCKING MEDIEVAL ON YOUR ASS!"
  8.  
  9. You've had enough of this shit. It is absolutely impossible for you to focus on how much of a miserable failure you are when Twilight keeps trying to blow everyone's eardrums off. You walk up to her and clock her in the face with a wind-up hoof punch, knocking her to the ground, but not unconscious. She looks angry, but not seriously injured.
  10.  
  11. "Shut the FUCK up Diana. Do you think I don't know we all fucked up? I'm trying to wallow in my own FUCKING misery here, and I can't exactly do that when you're SCREAMING AS LOUD AS YOU CAN!"
  12.  
  13. "Umm… guys?" Coco steps forward and attempts to position herself between the two of you. "I don't think fighting is going to solve any of our problems. And I mean, at least we're home, right?"
  14.  
  15. Twilight turns an angry glare to her and gets back on her hooves to start screaming again. "SHUT THE FUCK UP, COCO, NO ONE ASKED YOU. YOU'RE PROBABLY THE REASON WHY WE NEVER TRANSFORMED BACK. I BET YOU SECRETLY WISHED THE ELEMENTS WOULD LET YOU STAY A PONY SO YOU COULD GET THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS. RETURN TO EARTH BUT STAY YOUNG AGAIN? I BET YOU'RE JUST FUCKING ECSTATIC WHILE THE REST OF US ARE SUFFERING."
  16.  
  17. "I…" Coco is speechless. Her attempt to defuse the situation backfired, and now Twilight has turned her ire towards her. The rest of your friends, likely not wanting to invoke the wrath of Purple Cunt, have distanced themselves away on a nearby park bench. You will have to fix this… somehow.
  18. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  19. Coco doesn't deserve any of this. All she wanted to do was help, and now she's getting yelled at. She did what she knew was right, and now you feel you need to do the same for her. Using both of your front hooves, you grab Twilight's face and force her to look you in the eyes. She is not happy, but this has to be done.
  20.  
  21. "Diana, what the HELL is your problem? This is NOT how you are supposed to treat a friend. Coco never asked for ANY of this, and you fucking know it. I get that you're mad. I think we're all fucking mad, but right now you're acting like a spoiled fucking child. Daring is a literal criminal and she's behaving better than you right now. Yeah, we've fucked things up - royally. We'll fix it, somehow. I don't know how, maybe it'll involve some sort of rainbow magic like in that one episode. But you know what? If you're going to act like this, you'll get nothing, and we'll leave you. Element of Harmony or not, I am not going to work with you - ever - if you act like this again."
  22.  
  23. Twilight glares at you like she's about to kill you, but in the end, does nothing. The two of you are silent for the next half a minute, simply staring into each other's eyes. She sighs. "You're right, I am being a bit of a cunt. I'm still mad though… and I want to destroy something."
  24. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  25. You offer Twilight a hug, which she graciously accepts. As you stand together with hooves wrapped around each other's shoulders, you sigh and whisper into her ear, "I know you're angry. I'm angry too, partially at myself. But I think it might be wise of us to get out of here before someone sees a bunch of talking horses."
  26.  
  27. From this position, you can't really see her face, but you can almost feel her crack a smile. "Alright Anon. Although just give me one last second to vent out the last of my rage. I promise I won't take it out on any of you guys."
  28.  
  29. Your heart almost seizes up at that suggestion. You're not quite sure what the hell she's going to do, but you hope it doesn't bring any attention to all of you. This fear seems to be realized quickly as the next thing she does is to fire a bright red laser at a metal plaque sitting upon a stone plinth that is supporting a flagpole. The plaque subsequently glows red and partially melts over itself, rendering it unreadable. She then collapses onto the ground.
  30.  
  31. Panicked, you shake her somewhat weakened body. "Twilight, what did you just do?"
  32.  
  33. She smiles again. "I just defaced a national survey mark."
  34. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  35. You offer Twilight a hoof and help her up. "Well done, Ms. CIA. Based and red pilled."
  36.  
  37. She rolls her eyes and shrugs. "Is that some kind of a meme, or did you just really like watching The Matrix?"
  38.  
  39. "It's… it's a meme. What year did you last leave Earth?"
  40.  
  41. "2015. You?"
  42.  
  43. "2017. Fuck, I wonder what year it is now."
  44.  
  45. "Hopefully not too far off. Anyways, we need to think up a plan. We have no money, no food, no car, we're in the middle of nowhere, and um… oh right, we're a bunch of talking ponies."
  46.  
  47. "We could always camp out in the woods."
  48.  
  49. Twilight stares at you for a moment, wondering how stupid you could possibly be, before using her hoof to point out the scenery around you. Most of the world around you appears to be grass, with a few small roads, and farmhouses spaced very far apart. There are some patches of trees, but you can generally see where those patches begin and end, so it would clearly not make for a decent forest.
  50.  
  51. "We're not in Equestria anymore, Anon. We're in Kansas. Does it look like there are any woods around here?"
  52. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  53. "Well then, let's go hide out in a stable!"
  54.  
  55. She stares at you yet again like you're some kind of idiot before eventually shrugging and walking over to the rest of your friends.
  56.  
  57. "Alright, so… first off, I should probably apologize for acting like a complete bitch back there. And second off… we need a plan to get out of this joint. Does anyone have any ideas?"
  58.  
  59. Your friends mostly twiddle their hooves together, not really sure of the best course of action themselves. Eventually Lyra stands up and tosses up a radical idea, "We could always hitchhike. There's got to be plenty of truckers that pass by here."
  60.  
  61. Twilight's jaw almost drops. "You are aware we're a bunch of talking ponies, and look like we come from a cartoon show, right? Are you sure it's a good idea to just expose ourselves to people?"
  62.  
  63. "Are you sure it's entirely a bad idea? I mean, if you saw the real Twilight Sparkle walking around in the middle of the DC area, what exactly would you do? Would your natural reaction be to shoot her or capture her or anything?"
  64.  
  65. "I'd probably assume I'd been drugged."
  66.  
  67. "Well what if you actually were on drugs at the time? Would you help your good pal Twilight Sparkle out? I mean fuck, she's right there, she's super cute, and she just wants a ride to the nearest airport."
  68.  
  69. "That is- okay, I just want you to know that I call not it on providing any sexual favors to truckers who happen to provide us a lift. Although even if we do manage to make it to a bigger city, what the hell are we going to do about money? And where are we even going long term? Much as I really want to go home right now, I'm not certain if Langley is exactly the safest place for me right now."
  70. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  71. "Well I, for one, if seeing the real Twilight Sparkle would attempt to restrain her and sell her on the Internet to some basement dwelling weirdo. And in fact, I think the most opportune time to do that would be right when she just burned through most of her magic defacing a monument."
  72.  
  73. You whisper those last words directly into Twilight's ears for greater emphasis, which causes her to shiver from just how creepy it sounded. "Oh God Anon, don't even joke about shit like that."
  74.  
  75. "You say it's a joke, but it's a real possibility to be concerned about. You said it yourself; we're not in Equestria anymore. I might be a good person, but it just takes one nutjob to-"
  76.  
  77. "Anon, cut your bullshit!" Blossom shouts, cutting you off. You're a little bit stunned by her boldness, but she continues. "There's a lot of bad people out there, but there's a whole lot more good people. When you're a kid, you get told not to talk to strangers, but as you grow older, you come to realize that that's more of a guideline than a rule. Most people aren't the type to just grab a kid and run off with them. Obviously you shouldn't take candy from random creeps and follow them into their van, but you can probably assume that most randos on the bus are just average Joes on their way to work. There's a lot of people who don't want to harm anyone, and I'd think Kansas of all places has got to be filled with good people."
  78.  
  79. She sounds like she has more to say, but the sound of a pickup truck driving by silences all of you. After it passes, you almost feel relief, until you hear the breaks squeal, and the car stops a ways down the road. It begins to turn around.
  80. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  81. You turn your face to look at Blossom with a deadpanned look. "Really Hannah? You fucking jinxed us."
  82.  
  83. "Sure I did. As if there wasn't bound to eventually be a truck coming by."
  84.  
  85. "Whatever. Just be ready for a fight. There's six of us and only one of them."
  86.  
  87. As soon as you finish the sentence, the truck stops again, right in front of you. You can finally see the driver, who appears to be a black woman in either her late 20s or early 30s. The person in the seat next to her, however, is difficult to see, but they pull off their seatbelt very fast, and come barreling out the door. It's a young girl who appears to be around 7 years old, with skin slightly lighter than that of her mother's, and frizzy strawberry blonde hair.
  88.  
  89. "Oh my God it's Twilight Sparkle, it's Twilight Sparkle! Mommy mommy look! I told you, it's really her!"
  90.  
  91. Before you can react, she runs over and practically tackles Twilight in a hug. Almost instinctively, Twilight tries to hug back, only to loosen up somewhat upon realizing how awkward it must be to hug a complete stranger's kid. She shoots a glance over to the older black woman, and mouths the word, "help?"
  92. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  93. You feel almost compelled by the voices in your head to spout as many racial epithets as physically possible, like a Klansman with Tourettes. It's not that you hate these two strangers, it's just that you have an almost supernatural compulsion to say the absolute worst possible thing you can for this scenario. And yet… your willpower is almost supernaturally strong. You keep your lips sealed and sit back to watch cautiously what happens next.
  94.  
  95. "Mommy, she's so warm and soft. Can we keep her?"
  96.  
  97. Twilight's muscles seem to tense up at the girl's suggestion, but fortunately, the mother has other ideas in mind.
  98.  
  99. "Oh hell no, we can't afford a pony, let alone six. What would we even feed her?"
  100.  
  101. "Steak!" Twilight shouts, earning a surprised look from both of the two humans in front of her. "Cooked medium rare with a side of onions, some portobello mushrooms, and maybe some bearnaise sauce."
  102.  
  103. "You- you can talk? Jessica, I don't think we should be keeping talking ponies as pets. And I think this one is way out of our price range."
  104.  
  105. The little girl looks like she's about to cry, so Twilight offers her another hug. As she does, she turns back to the mother to speak to her again.
  106.  
  107. "I don't think I'd want to be your girl's pet anyways. If you don't mind letting me and my friends ride in the back of your pickup though, we could keep you company until you get to your destination. Right now we're kinda stranded, so to speak."
  108.  
  109. "Stranded? How'd a bunch of colorful talking ponies end up stranded in… literally the middle of America?"
  110.  
  111. "It's a long story."
  112.  
  113. "Well this is gonna be a long ride. We're driving all the way up to Fargo. It's gonna be a 9 hour drive, probably longer if I have to avoid the interstates with you lot in the back. You sure you alright with that?"
  114.  
  115. Twilight turns her head towards you and the rest of your friends with somewhat pleading eyes.
  116. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  117. The voices return, and they will not relent. Nigger. Coal burner. Porch monkey. Every possible word you shouldn't say in this situation is running through your head faster than a jiggaboo on the run from the law. There it is again! There's no end to it. You need to say it, just once. All of the suffering will be over if you can just call a black child a nigger to its face.
  118.  
  119. "Nn- nih-" You are fighting back the words as they try to escape your lips. Twilight gives you a slightly concerned look as you appear to choke on your own speech.
  120.  
  121. "Something wrong, Anon?"
  122.  
  123. "Nig-" You begin to sweat bullets. This is inevitable.
  124.  
  125. "Anon, what are you trying to say?"
  126.  
  127. "Nicker! It's… it's a horse thing. It's what you call it when a horse does a sort of soft whinny, and it's kind of ironic that this word suddenly popped in front of my head because we're surrounded by a bunch of…"
  128.  
  129. You hold your hooves over your mouth and start to hyperventilate. Not now. Any time but now, when you need these people the most. Your heart starts to race incredibly fast, and everything around you begins to feel incredibly hot. You could almost pass out at any minute. Your eyes start to well up with tears. Why can't you just say it once? You can barely hear anything except for your own thoughts and… is someone casting a spell?
  130.  
  131.  
  132. You look up. There appears to be a mostly colorless bubble surrounding you. Lyra is mouthing some words at you, but you can't hear what she's saying. Did she put you in a soundproof bubble? You point to your ears, but she simply shakes her head and pretends to scream, then points to you. Does she want you to try to scream? Here goes nothing, you suppose…
  133.  
  134. "FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKIIIIIIINNNNNNGGGG NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGEEEEEEEEERRRRSSSSS!"
  135.  
  136. You scream as loud and as long as you can until you feel as though you'll run out of oxygen, and then suddenly collapse…
  137.  
  138. And wake up in the back of a pickup truck with the rest of your friends, still inside a bubble. Clearly your hosts must not have heard you. As soon as you wake up, you see Lyra with a pad of sketch paper and a crayon. It must have been Jessica's. She writes a message on it and passes it to you. It reads, "What happened back there?"
  139. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  140. You take the crayon and try your best at mouth-writing an answer on the paper, silently wishing that you had opposable thumbs, and thinking about how difficult Earth will be for you in a pony body. Okay, probably about as hard as Equestria in terms of manipulating things. Nonetheless, you manage to write out "the voices" on the paper and pass it back to her.
  141.  
  142. She looks a little bit confused when she reads it, and you realize how relatively little you've interacted with her compared to Twilight and Blossom, so she likely doesn't know about the voices in your head. Actually, you can't remember too well how much Twilight knows about them. You first mentioned the voices back in a time that was technically erased from your memory and then forced back into your head through her magic. You're not even sure how much of that is even real when you think about it.
  143.  
  144. The notepad and crayon are back in your hooves with a new message, "Care to explain?" You shake your head as you write your response, "Long story. Let's just say I feel like I've had a weight lifted off of my chest. You might want to keep the bubble up for the rest of the ride though, just in case. In the mean time, what's the plan?"
  145.  
  146. Lyra scratches her head with her hoof a bit and starts talking to Twilight. You can't tell the exact words though, since her soundproofing spell seems pretty decent. After a few minutes of talking, Twilight takes the paper from Lyra and starts scrawling out a message:
  147.  
  148. . . .
  149.  
  150. 1. Get to Fargo.
  151. 2. Expose our existence to as many people as possible to keep the government from being able to cover us up.
  152. 3. ????
  153. 4. Profit!
  154.  
  155. In all seriousness, I'm stuck on the part where I have no idea what our story should be. Should we even mention the fact that we're a couple of transformed humans? I really, REALLY would like to get back to my old life, but I don't know if that's even possible.
  156.  
  157. Honestly, I'm a bit torn. Any thoughts?
  158.  
  159. . . .
  160. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  161. You think for a moment about the best course of action, but nothing seems to come up, at least not immediately. The paper and crayon are still within your grasp, however, so you scrawl out a bit of a joke, "So I've got an idea, how about we jump out the back of the truck on the count of three? If we die, great! We don't have to deal with this anymore. If we live, I say we look for an abandoned nuclear silo and nuke Australia."
  162.  
  163. Twilight looks like she's giggling as she reads your suggestion, and quickly writes out a witty response. "So are those voices in your head Australian?"
  164.  
  165. You nod, and so she writes out another response. "How about we get you some anti-psychotics? Having a panic attack after trying to hold yourself back from shouting out a racial slur (yes I know what you were trying to say, thank God Lyra had a silence spell), and wanting to jump out of the back of a pickup truck are not exactly things a sane person would do.
  166.  
  167. Ha! Says the pony who was screaming bloody murder at everyone around her just a few minutes ago. Or, well, maybe not a few minutes ago. You don't really recognize the fields around you, so you might be out of Kansas already. Is this Nebraska? Or have you traveled even farther? Has anyone noticed you on the highways yet, or have you been ignoring the main roads? The road you're on seems to only have two lanes, and cars rarely pass you, so maybe you haven't been exposed yet.
  168.  
  169. This gets you thinking a bit more about what to do next. You grab the paper once more and start writing. "Pills aren't going to do a damn thing, although if I tell you why, I'm going to break the spacetime continuum in the process. No that's not me being crazy, you already know I've time looped once. Though I'm not in any mood to try and do that again, we probably should try and find our way back to Equestria if at all possible. I've got a bad feeling that something really fucked up is going to happen back there, and if we don't save them, it's going to bite us over here. As for what our story should be in the mean time… tell the truth I guess? It's far-fetched, but so's being a bunch of talking horses. Besides, some autist online will probably realize we aren't the real versions of ourselves pretty quickly."
  170.  
  171. Twilight takes her time reading through your note, and as she reaches the end of it, rummages through some items behind her to find a small bag. Upon closer inspection, it is the very saddlebag she left Ponyville with. She produces from it the shattered remains of the Elements of Harmony, which you suppose she picked up before she left. She then scribbles out one final note on the paper, "Pretty sure there's no going back, Anon."
  172. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  173. Having to talk through writing is starting to get annoying. Just for a second, you'd like to be able to speak naturally. You move your head forward a bit, in hopes that you can stick your head out the bubble, but unfortunately, you only succeed in moving the bubble slightly. Naturally, the bubble can't be fixed in one place, or else it would fly off while in a moving vehicle. Hell, it would fly off just because you're sitting on a giant ball that spins at 1000 miles an hour because there's no one to lift the sun up every morning. In this state, you don't feel like you could write much more, so you mouth the words, "I wish I could talk to you." It's not like anyone could hear them, so you don't even try to voice them.
  174.  
  175. Twilight rolls her eyes and flashes you a smile just before climbing into the bubble with you. Admittedly, the bubble wasn't too small, but the rest of your friends were all sitting on the opposite end of the truck from you, and it had somehow never occurred to you the exact mechanics of how the bubble works.
  176.  
  177. "Was wondering how long it was going to take for you to try to move the bubble."
  178.  
  179. "Twilight, I…" You struggle to think about what you want to say, but the first thing to come to mind is, "I think we're gonna need a lot of glue."
  180.  
  181. "Glue?"
  182.  
  183. "The elements. Maybe we could fix them? Or, barring that, since you and Lyra can still use magic, maybe we could find some other way to get back? Maybe Earth has magic too? Hell, maybe the CIA's been suppressing some supernatural science of their own?"
  184.  
  185. "If they have, I haven't heard of it. And I probably won't ever hear of it, because I can't exactly get my old job back as a pony. Or maybe I will, I dunno. I could always try and re-apply or something. Would that be crazy, trying to get a security clearance as a pony?"
  186. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  187. You look Twilight straight in the eyes with as serious a face as you can muster. "Twilight, if there was ever a job that would be easy to get as a pony on Earth, it would be with the CIA."
  188.  
  189. She pauses for a moment and puts a hoof to her chin, and then slowly smiles. "You know what, Anon? You're right. I have intimate knowledge of the governmental and military structure of a kingdom on another planet, and I'm the only person on Earth with this level of expertise. I could sell myself as a consultant"
  190.  
  191. "Uh… not to burst your bubble there, Twilight, but since we're literally from the world of My Little Pony, wouldn't they just be able to ask Hasbro?"
  192.  
  193. Her smile widens. "Now when has the government ever been known for doing things efficiently. The very fact that I'm here and not there means there's just enough of a difference in narrative that the government will pay top dollar to hear things - literally - straight from the horse's mouth."
  194.  
  195. "Twilight, it's minds like yours that make me glad I got paid so little that I never owed any taxes."
  196.  
  197. "Yeah, well if you play your cards right, that won't necessarily be the case, now will it? Got any plans now that you've got basically a new shot at life? Well, sort of."
  198.  
  199. You suddenly realize how quickly the CIA psycho-analyst has changed the subject from returning to Equestria to future plans here on Earth.
  200. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  201. Again, you look Twilight in the eyes, and make sure she is looking back at yours. She seems a little confused, but you push back on your earlier point. "Don't think we're done with Equestria for good. We still have to go back and save them. Otherwise, we might as well just kill ourselves for all the doom we've brought to the universe."
  202.  
  203. She rolls her eyes, clearly annoyed by this matter. "Fine. If we find a way back, I'll go back willingly and curb stomp that communist once and for all. I'm not going to kill myself if we don't succeed in returning though. And I don't want you talking about suicide with the others. Lord knows Blossom's still at an impressionable age."
  204.  
  205. "Hrm…" After a bit of thinking, you spit on your hoof and offer it forward. "Shake on it, Twi. Swear you'll help Equestria to the best of your ability."
  206.  
  207. "Fine." She spits on her hoof and gives you the grossest hoofshake you have ever done before (and now that you think about it, the only one).
  208.  
  209. "So…" With the awkward tension still lingering around, you look to see if there's anything around to change the subject. You begin to notice that the volume of cars around you has increased recently, as well as signs of real civilization. To the side of the road, you see a sign of interest:
  210.  
  211. . . .
  212.  
  213. CITY LIMIT
  214. Grand Island
  215. POP 48,520
  216.  
  217. Home of the
  218. Nebraska State Fair
  219.  
  220. . . .
  221.  
  222. Twilight seems to notice the same sign as you and starts to smile again. "Think we could convince them to stop for lunch?"
  223.  
  224. You shrug. "Hopefully, I'm fucking starving. I want a truck stop burger with the works."
  225.  
  226. "Ha! I knew I'd get you back to eating meat. I don't know why you'd associate 'truck stop' with 'good food', but it's a start."
  227. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  228. "Hey, what better way to get back to eating meat than with the messiest, greasiest slab of meat possible? Fuck my filly heart, it should get acquainted to some damned fine American cuisine!"
  229.  
  230. Twilight hugs you as she hears those words. "Spoken like a true American. Alright, I'll see what I can do."
  231.  
  232. She exits the bubble and starts talking to the driver. You're not quite sure what all she's saying, but from the looks on their faces, there seems to be some disagreement, although neither seems particularly irate. At some point in the conversation, Twilight reaches into her bag and pulls something out. It's a bit hard to see, but you can make out that it's an Equestrian bit. A gold coin that she levitates and places on the dashboard of the truck. She seems somewhat surprised, and takes a brief look at it, but not with enough focus to get distracted from the road. Then Twilight says something more afterwards, and the driver shrugs her shoulders and pockets the coin.
  233.  
  234. A moment later, the driver passes her smartphone to her daughter and says something to her. The daughter then starts searching on Google for something, and within a couple of minutes, as the truck turns on to another road entering into the city, the daughter says something. Eventually, the truck comes to a stop at a four way intersection, and the daughter hands the phone back to her mother, who takes a look at the phone and seems to approve.
  235.  
  236. You aren't entirely sure what all was said back there, but you are now suddenly aware that people at the intersection are taking pictures of you and your friends.
  237. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  238. Since you still can't speak, you quickly grab the notepad and scrawl upon a brand new page, "No one cared who I was until I put on the mask." You have just enough time to flash the message to everyone else before the light turns green again, and the truck continues on its way towards… wherever Twilight bribed them to take you.
  239.  
  240. You end up traveling deeper into the downtown area, occasionally waving at people out and about. Many of them seem a little bit surprised, but most are friendly and wave back. Eventually, the truck seems to pull off one of the main roads that seems to bisect the city, suggesting that you are relatively close to your destination. Given that you passed a number of fast food restaurants along the way, you can safely say you won't be eating total garbage. Your suspicions are confirmed as the truck seems to stop in front of a somewhat hip looking hole in the wall restaurant called the Sin City Grill.
  241.  
  242. Before anyone gets out, Lyra pops her way into your bubble and asks if you can manage to behave yourself, or if the voices are going to be plaguing you the entire trip.
  243. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  244. You shrug. "The voices will plague me no matter what. It's just a matter of if they will behave."
  245.  
  246. "And will they behave?"
  247.  
  248. "I think they say yes. I just have to do one thing first."
  249.  
  250. "What's that?"
  251.  
  252. "NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER! Okay, now you can drop the shield, I'm hungry."
  253.  
  254. Lyra winces as she hears you casually drop n-bombs, but eventually lets up and drops the shield. You can now speak freely, no longer confined by the need to write things down. Thankfully, everything seems to be out of your system. With the feeling of a weight lifted off of your shoulder, you walks straight into the restaurant and look for a table.
  255.  
  256. As soon as you enter, you are met with stares from a few patrons. Many of them seem to stop eating, completely mesmerized by just how otherworldly you look. Finally, one man, a somewhat heavyset gentleman who looks like he drives a semi truck for a living, decides to speak up. He asks, "So are you all in costume or something? Because it must be really uncomfortable walking like that."
  257. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  258. You take a seat in a nearby booth and face the man as the rest of your friends pile in to wait to be served. With a heavy sigh, you shake your head and say, "Buddy, do I wish it was a costume."
  259.  
  260. He seems a bit surprised by your remark, and you find it hard to blame him, given that both your facial mannerisms and your vernacular do not quite match your relatively high-pitched and feminine voice. Nevertheless you continue, as you feel that telling the truth may be your best option; the situation being insane already as it is.
  261.  
  262. "Yes, I really am a cartoon pony. No, you're not on drugs. And for what it's worth, my friends and I all used to be human. I don't know if we're cursed or what, but I just spent the past month on another planet in this… weird body, and right now I'm just looking for some grub."
  263.  
  264. In a bit of uncanny timing, a waitress stops by at this exact moment and proceeds to drop the three glasses of soda she is carrying in the shock of seeing you. Some of the soda splashes on you, and reflexively she begins to apologize profusely. "Oh my gosh I am so sorry. I hope I didn't stain your uh… those are costumes, right?"
  265.  
  266. "No. We are honest to God, real talking ponies. And it's fine. Could we get some menus?"
  267.  
  268. She seems a bit taken aback. People not believing their eyes may just be something you'll have to get used to for the next few days until you get called in for an interview on CNN or something. After a short pause, she stutters out, "I- uh… I don't even know if we're allowed to serve animals."
  269.  
  270. "Ma'am, we're a party of 8, and we're all hungry; you can make an excuse. And technically, humans are animals too if that's the rules."
  271.  
  272. "Okay… I guess I could say you're all service animals if anyone asks?"
  273. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  274. "Wow, first contact with an extraterrestrial species and we're 'service animals'? Smooth"
  275.  
  276. The waitress seems even more flustered now. "Hey, I only started working a few days ago, and I wasn't expecting to serve a bunch of talking ponies. Cut me some slack, alright?"
  277.  
  278. "Alright, alright. I'll try not to be an asshole. Just bring us some menus when you can, yeah? We're customers like any other."
  279.  
  280. "R-right."
  281.  
  282. The young waitress scurries off to fetch some menus and a broom to clean up the broken glass on the ground. While she's gone, the trucker-looking man you were talking to earlier asks if you could continue your story. You oblige, and proceed to tell him a more or less abridged version of what happened while you were in Equestria, leaving out a few of the less tasteful parts of your adventure that would not belong in a good Christian community such as this. A few others start to listen in alongside him, and very soon, you find yourself once again playing the role of storyteller to a bunch of strangers. Fortunately, you won't have to be talking for several hours straight, just until your meal arrives.
  283.  
  284. When the menus come, you glance over them for at most a minute before you figure out what you want. You order a "Texas hold 'em" - a sort of bacon cheeseburger on Texas toast with onion rings - and a $5 chocolate shake. The prices are a bit off-putting to your two human companions, but Twilight assures them that if the solid gold coin she paid them for their trouble doesn't cover the cost of their meal, that she will reimburse them when she gets back to DC. How she plans on doing that, you're not quite sure, but you suppose accessing her bank account as a pony is going to be her problem.
  285.  
  286. With your orders placed, you return to your story, and get around to the point where you were performing "Stan" in Dodge by the time your meal comes around, and it smells quite heavenly. The others around you would love if you could finish the story, but you're not quite sure what's the best way to put your decision to abandon Equestria to go home.
  287. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  288. You sink your teeth into your burger, and it is amazing. You haven't had cow for your entire time in Equestria, and now that you're back, you can't help but savor the juices as they slide down the inside of your cheek with every bite, coating the bottom of your tongue with their delicious flavor. The crunch of the toast and the crispy bacon actually makes a nice contrast with the absolutely perfect patty, despite the complaints of a certain Australian voice in your head calling you a degenerate. You were going to nuke Australia anyways, right?
  289.  
  290. "'Ah gotta know," says the trucker man as you find yourself halfway through your burger, "how'd you end up back here?"
  291.  
  292. You suppose you might as well come clean about that too. In between bites of your burger, and sips of your very thick and delicious milkshake, you begin to tell how you made the trip from Dodge back to Ponyville, and then from Ponyville to Manehatten soon after, and how just a few hours ago, you stood in a secure room in the Bank of Manehatten and used the elements to return your friends home. You described it as a "moment of weakness," and that now with the elements destroyed, you're going to have to find a new way to get back, and somehow save them.
  293.  
  294. The man takes a while to process the story, which you gladly use to finish off the rest of your meal and sip up the last few drops of your milkshake. Finally, he takes a deep sigh. "That is… quite a story. And if it's really true, I'm not sure what I could say t' ya. It's moments like these, I'd turn to the Lord. Would you like a Bible for your travels?"
  295. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  296. "May the Lord be with you, brother," you say, nodding.
  297.  
  298. The man pulls a small Bible out of his jacket pocket. It reminds you of those pocket Bibles you often see people passing out in front of public schools. You feel relieved at its light weight as the man hands it to you.
  299.  
  300. "Oh good, I was hoping it wouldn't end up weighing as much as me!"
  301.  
  302. He laughs. "Nah, I keep pocket Bibles around for people who need 'em. You meet a lot of interesting people when you travel around, and you never know who needs the word of the Lord. Although I must say, you are by far the most interesting. I'll keep you in my prayers, alright?"
  303.  
  304. "Thank you, kind sir. If I may ask, what's your name?"
  305.  
  306. "Ha! It's Jeremy."
  307.  
  308. Okay, that's like the third J-name you've encountered today. Fate is being weird today.
  309. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  310. If fate is going to be weird, you might as well test it. You close your eyes and try to focus on the future. What will happen in this world, something crazy? Something boring? You focus on the man who just gave you the Bible. Will he be okay? You see him traveling on the freeway for nine hours, only to come home to his wife and kids who love him.
  311.  
  312. Okay, maybe you should focus on something less boring. You try to narrow your vision to the most important event that will occur anywhere in the world in the next week. Unsurprisingly, you find yourself in the oval office. You look up, and see two aides standing confused looking at a blonde horse with an impressive mane cut. Is that…?
  313.  
  314. You are snapped back to reality with Blossom's hooves waving in front of your face. "Hey, are you there?" she says, somewhat frantically, "Jasmine says we gotta go. You've been spacing for like the past ten minutes. Did you fall asleep?"
  315. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  316. Well that's just lovely, your arrival might be turning more people into ponies. Fan-fucking-tastic! You think you'll just keep secret what you saw in the oval office. It's probably better for national security that no one knows at this time. For now, you should probably deal with your current problems.
  317.  
  318. "Hmm? Oh, I was just checking into the future to see if I still can. Good news is yes, I can. Mr. Jeremy, I can assure you your 9-hour drive home will be safe and uneventful."
  319.  
  320. Jeremy nods and thanks you for the sign of good hope. He leaves the restaurant with his tip on the table. Meanwhile, Blossom continues to urge you about how you have to leave and that yes, Jasmine already paid for everything. So naturally, you head on out and get in the truck again.
  321.  
  322. The trip ahead is obscenely long and also incredibly boring. It takes a little over 7 hours to get from Grand Island all the way to Fargo, and most of the areas you pass through are sparsely populated farmland. The highway is narrow as well, and there aren't many cars to wave at to cause massive freakouts. Probably for the better, since it would not be in your best interests to cause a traffic accident.
  323.  
  324. You manage to pass at least some of the time talking amongst your friends, and with the little girl Jessica. From her, you manage to learn a few things. Firstly, it is March of 2019. You seem a bit surprised to hear this, as while you spent a month in Equestria while around a year and a half passed on Earth, Twilight spent 2 years in Equestria while 4 years passed on Earth. Unless you ended up spending much more time in the time loop than you actually perceived, time in Equestria must be erratic. Twilight notes that this might not be the case, however, as from what she learned from Fizzlepop before dropping her, she had literally been from the Soviet Union. Despite coming to Equestria after Twilight relative to Equestria's time, she had come from Earth earlier, relative to Earth's time.
  325.  
  326. In the last couple of hours, you end up taking a nap to conserve some energy from when you have to leave. You are woken up a few miles out of Fargo as Jasmine asks where you and your friends would like to be dropped off. As she mentioned before to her daughter, she can't keep you all as pets, although she did enjoy the company during the long trip.
  327. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  328. You turn your attention to the rest of your friends. "What do y'all think?"
  329.  
  330. Most of your friends turn up nothing but shrugs. With the exception of Blossom, none of them have even been to North Dakota, and in Blossom's case, it was while passing through on the move to Manitoba. Twilight remains pensive, but eventually pops up a question.
  331.  
  332. "Hey, Fargo's a big city, right? So there's gotta be a university campus there, I presume?"
  333.  
  334. Jasmine answers pretty quickly, "Yep. North Dakota State."
  335.  
  336. A mischievous smile forms on Twilight's face. "Oh goody, a state college. Anyone else feel like crashing a dorm party, getting stupid drunk, and falling asleep in the library at 3 in the morning?"
  337. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  338. "A-a party?" you stammer, "a-as in, social interaction?"
  339.  
  340. Twilight raises an eyebrow with intrigue. "Oh? The pony who only a few weeks ago invited practically half of her class to a party just to trick her crush into kissing her at truth or dare is concerned about social interaction?"
  341.  
  342. "Look, you are heavily overestimating my social skills and my ability to hold in my spaghetti."
  343.  
  344. The grin that has been developing on her face widens. "You mean the same pony who, while completely sober, has no problem rapping in front of a live audience of complete strangers; AND who on the very next day proceeded to entertain an entire train car of ponies with a random story she seemingly made up on the spot? If this is what you call poor social skills, then all the better to crash a party with, dear."
  345.  
  346. She's starting to get on your nerves with this, but she does have a point. Still, you don't feel like backing out of an argument so easily. "Twi, those were ponies, these are humans. I was never good at socializing as a kid, and I'm still not that good at it."
  347.  
  348. "You had no problem waving at random strangers while in a bubble and writing up cute lines on your notepad to make them laugh. And back in the cafe you were practically a social butterfly with that trucker. Are you sure that you becoming a pony hasn't made you a more sociable person? I don't think any of us are really the same person we were when we came to Equestria, even if we discount the physiological factors. I know I'm certainly not…"
  349. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  350. "Honestly Twi, I don't think it's as much me changing because of going to Equestria, as it is me changing from the voices. A lot of my boldness came from them telling me what to say or do, and me just going with the flow."
  351.  
  352. She shakes her head in disappointment. "Do you really think listening to a bunch of random voices in your head is such a good idea?"
  353.  
  354. "Well it's gotten me this far."
  355.  
  356. "It's also caused you to do and say some incredibly stupid things. You sure you don't need help with them? I've got a couple of friends from college who went into psychiatric medicine, and I'm sure any one of them could make the voices go away."
  357.  
  358. "Tell you what. If I still have them in my head when I stop being a pony, then you can send me to as many quacks as you see fit and fill me full of all of the drugs you want. Until then though, I'll stick with the voices."
  359.  
  360. Twilight sighs, defeated. "Alright. Just don't let them turn you into someone you'd hate. Anyways, I'm gonna guess dorm parties are probably a bad idea. Most students are going to be studying for midterms anyways. And I guess Blossom's a bit young for it anyways."
  361.  
  362. Blossom scowls at that remark. "Hey, I'm pretty sure we're all too young - physically - to be drinking."
  363.  
  364. Twilight shrugs. "Ponies handle their liquor better than humans. Even as a filly, I can still handle vodka without passing out."
  365.  
  366. Remembering back to your time loop days, you mouth the words you heard far too often from Twilight, making quote gestures with your hooves as you say it, "Fuck me, remind me not to drink when I have research in the morning."
  367.  
  368. She leers at you. "Cute, just cute. So what are we doing anyways, camping out in an abandoned section of the university library planning out what the heck we're gonna do tomorrow? Because that sounds like the safest option to me. I'm not gonna sleep in the streets."
  369. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  370. You shrug. "Whatever you feel like, really. I'm not feeling too decisive right now."
  371.  
  372. For the next few minutes, you're relatively silent as you try to take in the appearance of the city of Fargo. It seems quite large, but also rather flat. None of the buildings seem to be any more than 3 or 4 stories tall at the highest. In a way, it's almost the exact opposite of Canterlot, which was dense and filled with tall ornate buildings. You shutter at why you now feel the need to compare human settlements with those of ponies.
  373.  
  374. You are soon dropped off in front of a Jimmy Johns, right next to the university. Across the street in one direction, you see a credit union. In the other direction, hidden by some trees, you see another building, which Jasmine informs you is the library. After saying goodbye to your human companions, you make your way to the library, taking every chance you can to stretch out your legs. There aren't many people outside to see you, as it is getting rather close to dark, but you do get a few stares from everyone you can see yourself.
  375.  
  376. There are a lot more students inside the library than there are wandering around outside. Most don't notice you, as their faces seem buried in either laptops or books, speaking quietly with classmates to plan for what you assume to be upcoming tests or group projects. The librarian at the checkout counter, however, does notice you, and seems quite surprised as Twilight immediately approaches her with a smile, asking, "Hi, do you happen to have any private study rooms we could check out?"
  377.  
  378. The librarian is speechless. "A- are you students?"
  379.  
  380. Twilight nods. "Yes, I'm a student. I've misplaced my ID though. I hope that won't be a problem."
  381.  
  382. "Um, okay. Can I get a name? And wait a second, why do all of you look like ponies? Am I seeing things? Or are you all in costumes for some theater program?"
  383.  
  384. "My name's Diana, and I'm actually a physics student. Of course you're seeing things. You're not blind, are you?"
  385.  
  386. "No… no I'm not. Tell you what, is the basement fine with you? Because most of the study rooms are booked, but there should be a couple free in the basement I can loan out."
  387.  
  388. "That would be lovely. Thank you."
  389.  
  390. The librarian pulls out a key and places it on the counter, which Twilight makes a point of grabbing in her telekinesis, leaving the librarian unable to come up with a response as she cheerily waltzes towards the stairs.
  391. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  392. You sprint to catch up with Twilight, who is pulling a few random books from the shelves on her way to the stairs. You're not even sure if she's even looking at the titles of those books or just grabbing literally anything to keep herself entertained for the night. Once you're close enough, you try to catch her attention by whispering, albeit somewhat loudly.
  393.  
  394. "Hey, what's the plan for when we get arrested by the men in black, huh? I know you're trying to go for the whole, 'get exposure' thing, but you're not even being subtle."
  395.  
  396. She slows down finally, takes a look at a few of the books she's grabbed, and puts half of them on a nearby cart for returns, keeping the rest to herself. Just to make sure she's not ignoring you, you clear your throat in hopes of getting a response, which you do.
  397.  
  398. "You have an overactive imagination, Anon. Half the people we interacted with today were convinced we were wearing some really elaborate costumes. A couple of talking horses that look exactly like characters from a cartoon show do not necessarily warrant government attention."
  399.  
  400. "Showing you have telekinesis does!"
  401.  
  402. "I showed it to one librarian who works an evening shift. She might blog about it tonight, but we have people claiming to see magic every day. They're usually dismissed as being on drugs or having a mental disorder. Or they're religious. We're in North Dakota, so she might as well be claiming to be seeing angels. At the very least, we won't have to worry about getting a visit from the feds until tomorrow."
  403.  
  404. "And what happens tomorrow?"
  405.  
  406. "Oh that's easy. I start doing magic tricks all day in the most populated area on the campus and see what happens. I think I might just test out my moth wings spell on a human, what do you think?"
  407. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  408. "Well, I guess we're making Mothman a reality. Still pretty sure it's a bad idea though. Do you have any plan at all, or has the screw that loosened back in Equestria completely fallen out?"
  409.  
  410. Twilight shrugs. "I'm kinda making it up as I go along. It sounds dumb, but it's the best option possible when you think about it. If we spend all of our lives hiding away from humans, we'll be miserable as fuck. If we spend enough time around humans, eventually we may get a visit from Uncle Sam. If we are a household name, we put Uncle Sam in a bind where he can't make us disappear so easily. I figure the safest route is to gain as much fame in a short amount of time as possible, as to give ourselves immunity."
  411.  
  412. You bury your hooves in your face in response to her nonsensical 'plan'. "Twilight… that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard."
  413.  
  414. "Do you have any better plans?"
  415.  
  416. "No."
  417.  
  418. "Then maybe you should put your fortune telling powers to good use tomorrow."
  419.  
  420. You're not even sure if you want to dignify that with a response, so for now you stay quiet as you make your way downstairs and past a number of rooms that are thankfully mostly empty. It takes little time to find the basement study room undetected. Inside, you find the room rather small and mostly featureless. There's a table, some chairs, a whiteboard with markers, and an electrical socket. Once all of your friends make it inside and lock the door behind you, you feel a slight twinge of claustrophobia. This room might not have been designed for a party of six, and it definitely wasn't designed as living quarters. Regardless, this is where you suppose you will be sleeping for the night.
  421. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  422. Seeing the electrical socket gives you an odd bit of morbid curiosity. Do hooves conduct electricity? You step walk over to it and pass it over with the soft part of your hoof, rubbing it against the terminals. It does actually feel kinda cool - in a way that only an autist who enjoys fidgeting about could understand - but you feel no electricity. Not that you necessarily would, since your hoof is far too large to insert into such a tiny hole, and also isn't made of metal.
  423.  
  424. After a few minutes, you get bored pretty fast. You wish there was a switch on it that maybe you could fiddle with for a while, but like most electrical sockets in America, there is none. Just two slots to insert a power cord. Thus, you need something new to do. Reading would seem like a good option, so you scooch up to Twilight and ask her if she can spare any of her books. Most of them, it seems, she passed out amongst your friends almost immediately, while you were playing with the electrical socket for whatever reason. Nevertheless, she offers two books that she pulled back off the cart while the two of you were talking - 1984 and Animal Farm. Your heart sinks a bit thinking about the nature of the two books, and the state you left Equestria in.
  425. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  426. Between the two, Animal Farm seems more palatable to you right now, so you take it and begin to read. Despite the novel's relatively short length, it does take you a while to complete it, as the room around you is filled with numerous quiet, yet distracting sounds. Twilight is reading an encyclopedia, but she keeps flipping between several different pages, seemingly cross-referencing one entry with another. Coco is in the corner of the room, dictating your bible in a whispered tone to Blossom, who is reading over her shoulder. Lyra and Daring are both writing on the white board to keep a somewhat hushed conversation going between the two of them, but in the absence of any vocalized words, you hear each individual stroke of their markers, as well as each time the board is erased.
  427.  
  428. It starts to get annoying after a while, and so as you get to the chapter in your book where Boxer the horse is sent off to the glue factory in exchange for some whiskey for the pigs, you begin to read out each word in your normal speaking voice, purging the silence from the room, and filling it with a chilling thought as some of your friends begin to look at their hooves and shiver. Towards the end of your dramatic reading, you see the bubble form around you once again, and everything around you becomes completely silent. You manage to finish your book in silence, and fall asleep. Tomorrow will be a big day for sure.
  429.  
  430. . . .
  431.  
  432. Ajna's voice reverberates through your mind like a bad microphone on a voice chatting application. You are surrounded by a black canvas in every direction. From the darkness, your clone comes bolting out of nowhere and tackles you to what you can only assume to be the ground, pinning you under her hooves.
  433.  
  434. "Anon, I hope you're happy because you completely fucked us all!"
  435.  
  436. You roll your eyes. Ajna is not someone you want to be dealing with right now. "Relax, cunt. I'm planning on coming back just as soon as I figure out how to fix the Elements. I'm sure you can handle a few changelings and a communist until then. They weren't exactly on the verge of attacking when I left anyways."
  437.  
  438. Ajna looks frustrated and seems as though she is about to smack you, but instead snaps and yells at you only a few inches away from your face, "You fucking idiot. Do you really think that's our biggest concern right now? Did you not think that maybe, just maybe, the Elements were there to protect us from something worse?"
  439.  
  440. "Such as?"
  441.  
  442. In lieu of a response, Ajna warps the world around you to show an image of Canterlot. The night's sky is illuminated by the blood moon, and it appears to be raining. Upon closer inspection, the rain is brown, and the streets are not filled with ponies, but… Goombas. It takes you a second to process why an enemy from Super Mario Bros is in Canterlot, but the sight of a dark alicorn being thrown into the walls of a house tells you everything you need to know. Discord is back, and so is Nightmare Moon.
  443.  
  444. . . .
  445.  
  446. You jolt awake at around 7 AM, based on what a nearby wall clock reads. At least you hope that's what the time is, since you don't have the ability to look out the window to tell if the clock is at all accurate, nor do you have a smartphone to verify anything. The rest of your friends are sleeping in more or less uncomfortable positions. You also feel a sudden need to pee.
  447. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  448. If you could, you would probably pee out the window right now. Going out alone would have to be the dumbest thing ever in your current state, but unfortunately you're in a basement. Your next best option is to ask for one of your friends to come with you to the bathroom. A bit embarrassing, but better safe than sorry. Naturally, you pick Twilight for this, since you've known her the longest. You walk over to her and shake her awake.
  449.  
  450. She's a bit groggy waking up, but upon seeing you and taking a quick look at the clock, she seems to decide against going back to sleep. You try to think of the best way to ask her the question.
  451.  
  452. "Twilight, I know this may sound a bit weird, but I need to go to the bathroom and I don't want to go alone when we're surrounded by humans who might freak out if they saw me and…"
  453.  
  454. She puts a hoof over your mouth and answers in a very soft voice, "You don't have to speak so fast, I've got you. I haven't had my coffee yet though, so I might not be entirely alert right now."
  455.  
  456. Given that none of you have any money, you're not entirely sure how or when she intends to get coffee today, but no matter, at least you've got a bathroom buddy. Twilight takes her keys with her as you leave, making you realize this was probably a smart decision after all, as otherwise you might have been locked out when you tried to come back in.
  457.  
  458. The way to the bathroom goes by pretty uneventfully, as there are no humans in the halls whatsoever. Twilight casually mentions that she thinks she read that the library opens at 7:30 or something, so there shouldn't be anyone here except for one or two members of the staff. When you reach the bathrooms, you almost enter the men's room out of habit, only to realize that technically you are not male. After an odd look from Twilight, you end up walking into the women's bathroom, which is thankfully empty, although you feel no less uncomfortable from the fact that this is technically your first time in the women's restroom… at least on Earth. In fact, now that you think about it, you're not quite sure if you've used public restrooms much back in Equestria. Most of the time it was just a single room at your home or at Sugarcube Corner (which had just one bathroom).
  459.  
  460. As soon as you've finished your business, you head back to the study room with Twilight, and proceed to break the news of your most recent dreams.
  461.  
  462. "So I'm pretty sure we fucked things up a bit more than normal. Apparently the Elements were responsible for not just banishing Nightmare Moon and Discord, but also containing them in their banishment. Once they were destroyed, Discord ceased to be a statue and Nightmare Moon left the moon 10 years early. They're fighting over Canterlot right now and wrecking the place up."
  463.  
  464. Twilight doesn't show much reaction, perhaps due to her lack of coffee. She pauses for a moment to process before responding with a simple, "that's nice." She then proceeds to gently nudge the rest of your friends to wake them up.
  465. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  466. You join Twilight in the process of waking up your friends, who seem just as displeased as you to be up at this hour. Unfortunately, as you are both hungry, and not exactly in a room designed as a living quarters, you will all have to be leaving soon, a prospect no one seems to be looking forward to. Yesterday, you were able to get by without too much exposure to humans, which was somewhat kept controlled by the fact that you had a chaperone of sorts. Now you only have each other, and anything can happen.
  467.  
  468. As soon as everyone is up, Twilight opens the door and beckons the rest of you outside. You follow, and ascend the stairs to the main floor of the library. Fortunately, the librarian seems to be distracted when Twilight drops the keys to the study room on the front counter, along with all of her books in the book drop. You are able to walk out the door with no issues.
  469.  
  470. Outside does not have such a dearth of people. A number of sleepy-eyed students are walking, coffee in hand, to their morning classes. One of them stops to point you out to the rest of his friends. You hear a few chuckles along with lines such as, "holy shit, there's ponies," and the like among several groups of people. There's no mention of the words "Twilight Sparkle" among them, however, so it's likely that you haven't encountered any fans of My Little Pony… at least not yet.
  471. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  472. "So Twilight, what kinds of magic tricks are you planning to start with?"
  473.  
  474. She pauses a moment, putting a hoof to her chin. Within seconds, the idea comes to her, and her horn begins to glow with an aura you are all too familiar with. In front of you, a dark purple colored text begins writing by itself in the air, accented by little flecks of pink, like magic glitter. In her finest cursive, this message reads one simple word, "Howdy!"
  475.  
  476. You've only seen this spell used on solid surfaces, so this is definitely a new one for you. You're also not used to the visual effects, but you have to admit they make a nice touch, and the makeshift audience seems to agree.
  477.  
  478. "Ha! Howdy there," calls out one of the students. "Where are you uh.. ponies from? You are ponies, right?"
  479.  
  480. Twilight takes a few steps forward and flashes a smile. "That's a damn good question. While I don't want to speak for my friends here… the name's Diana, and I'm a unicorn from Virginia. How about you? You guys are called 'humans', right?"
  481.  
  482. The student who had previously responded steps forward to get a little closer himself, closing the distance. "Name's Eric," he says, offering a hand forward, which Twilight instinctively shakes with her hoof. "I guess yeah, you could say I'm a human."
  483.  
  484. "Well you certainly don't look like a giraffe!"
  485.  
  486. He laughs. "Yeah, I guess not. So what's a unicorn doing in Fargo? You're a bit far from Virginia, I'd say."
  487.  
  488. "Long story, empty stomachs. I could tell you all about it if you could guest me and my friends into the dining hall."
  489.  
  490. Eric looks a bit troubled. "Ah, I wish I could. I've got a midterm in half an hour, and the dining hall is on the other side of campus. Do you think you could wait maybe an hour and a half?"
  491.  
  492. Twilight playfully rolls her eyes. "I dunno… I bet I could find a number of students who have the time right now…" She turns to you and the rest of your friends. "Any of you guys mind waiting a bit on breakfast?"
  493. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  494. "Yeah, sure. Any man who spells his name as Eric with a 'c' instead of a 'k' is worth waiting for."
  495.  
  496. Eric looks a little confused. "Wait, when did I say I spelled my name with a 'c'? How did you know that, did you guess?"
  497.  
  498. You smile. "Nah, psychic. Or maybe I did guess, I'll never tell. It's a coin flip anyways, right?"
  499.  
  500. He shrugs. "Lucky guess then. Anyways, I gotta go. See you when I get out."
  501.  
  502. Eric runs off with a few of his friends in the direction of what you assume to be his classes. You can still hear them talking among themselves about how psyched they are that they got to speak to a real life unicorn. There are still a number of students out and about, but many of them seem to just be staring at you as they pass by to their classes, or taking pictures with their phones.
  503.  
  504. Since you've promised to be around for Eric when he gets back, you find yourself with an hour to kill before breakfast. You turn to your friends for their suggestions on what to do. Coco notes that since the day is rather warm, it would be nice to take a nap in the morning sun. Twilight suggests doing some sight-seeing to explore the campus, while Lyra simply wishes she had a guitar on her and asks if you think there might be issues if she explores the performing arts center. As for Daring and Blossomforth, they are both… mysteriously gone.
  505. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  506. Losing both Daring and Blossom together stands a chance of causing some major issues, knowing Daring. You look around you as quickly as possible, and still do not find them, bringing a slight bit of panic.
  507.  
  508. "Hey Twi, have you seen Blossom and Daring? They've gone AWOL, and I'm a bit worried."
  509.  
  510. She looks around, and then up, and takes a rather large step back. You look up, and finally see the two of them, with a big hunk of cloud right above your head. Daring stomps on it, causing the entire puff of concentrated vapor to fall down upon you as rain. Your mane is completely soaked, and you're not sure which is worse: the fact that Daring managed to prank you good, or the fact that Blossom is giggling like a schoolgirl the entire time.
  511.  
  512. "Hey, that's not fucking fun-"
  513.  
  514. Before you can finish your sentence, Blossom flies down and boops you on the nose. "Tag, you're it!" she shouts before bolting off as fast as she can.
  515. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  516. "REEEEEEEE!" you scream as you gallop after your friends with a rage-fueled swiftness that would rival Usain Bolt. To your advantage, Blossom flies low to the ground, perhaps to give you a sporting chance. Unfortunately, she also zig-zags around the trees a lot, making it very difficult to maintain momentum.
  517.  
  518. "YOU THINK YOU CAN OUTRUN ME WITH THOSE FUCKING FEATHERY FLAPPERS, YOU FLYING FILLY FAGGOT!?"
  519.  
  520. Blossom turns her head around to stick her tongue out at you in response. When she immediately face plants into a tree and collapses to the ground. You slow down, not wanting to fall to the same fate, and catch yourself by placing your hooves forward, bouncing off the tree and tripping to fall right next to your thankfully not too injured friend.
  521.  
  522. You boop her on the nose. "Tag, you're it."
  523.  
  524. Before she can react, you get back on your feet and start running again, all the way back to the entrance of the library. Blossom isn't that far behind you, so you lead her towards a good diversion: Coco, who has been spending this entire time lounging around on the lawn. The young pegasus drops a hoof as she flies past, grazing Coco as she sputters out a quick "tag you're it."
  525.  
  526. It doesn't take long before every filly ends up involved in the high speed tag game, which draws out for what feels like an hour or more. Onlookers occasionally stop to take pictures or videos with their phones, but you quite frankly can't be bothered to deal with their schenanigans. You've got all day to answer dumb questions, and just one hour to burn up as much energy as possible to work up an appetite.
  527.  
  528. After a while, you end up collapsing on the grass with the rest of your friends. Twilight was the last to be it, as she doesn't nearly exercise enough. The grass, after such a work out, feels like absolute heaven. Nice and cool, slightly damp from what you would guess to be rain maybe a day ago, all caressing your hot and sweaty fur.
  529.  
  530. You take a nap next to Blossom, resting your head on her belly. She either doesn't care, or is too tired to protest. A short while later, a familiar face comes running up to you and your friends. It's Eric.
  531.  
  532. "Oh good, you guys are still here. You wanna get some breakfast?"
  533. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  534. "Fuck. Yes. I am so fucking hungry, I could eat out a horse."
  535.  
  536. Eric laughs. "Sounds like you've got quite the appetite. Although I'm pretty sure the idiom is 'could eat a horse'"
  537.  
  538. Twilight presses her hoof against him and shakes her head. "Trust me, she's got a dirty mind. She meant exactly what you thought she said. And no, you shouldn't encourage her. Come on, let's go."
  539.  
  540. Stupid Twilight, not letting your inner pervert shine. You stick your tongue out at her in response, and make other silly faces at her along the way to the university dining hall. For the most part, she just ignores you. Not ignoring you, however, are a few dozen passer-bys who can't help but stare and take pictures. You're not quite sure if you're used to this or not. On one hand, it feels just a bit creepy. On the other hand, it's been happening constantly every time you're out in public, so in some ways it just feels like it's part of the background.
  541.  
  542. Getting into the dining hall plays out strangely similar to the restaurant in Nebraska. A staff member makes a comment about how they can't have animals in, and this time it is Twilight who responds. "Just pretend we're regular people, and I'll pretend you're not high right now."
  543.  
  544. "I-I- I'm not high right now."
  545.  
  546. "Really? Your eyes are a little red. Are you feeling alright? Are you having any hallucinations right now, like that there's some sort of talking purple unicorn in front of you?"
  547.  
  548. "Uh… tell you what, I'll just let you in and pretend I didn't see anything."
  549.  
  550. You give Twilight another dumb look. "How many times are you planning to pull that trick? One of these days you're gonna run into someone who's not high."
  551.  
  552. She just smiles. "Oh she's not high right now. But she does drugs. And if she hasn't checked her Facebook in the past hour, she may not have been aware that there were ponies on campus. Quite frankly, I'm surprised she hadn't at least learned about us from word of mou-"
  553.  
  554. "HOLY SHIT, IT'S THEM!"
  555.  
  556. A table full of students, phones in hand, come rushing out of their seats towards you.
  557. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  558. With little time to react, you begin shouting. "WOAH WOAH WOAH. I'M NO SHOWPONY OR HORSE EXHIBIT, I FUCKING BITE. IF ANY OF YOU GET IN MY WAY BEFORE THERE'S A SANDWICH IN MY FACE AND A COFFEE IN MY USED-TO-BE-HAND, SOMEBODY'S GETTING VAPORIZED."
  559.  
  560. As soon as the crowd reaches you, they stop and form a sort of half-circle around you, eyes in complete awe, and phones out taking video.
  561.  
  562. "Oh my God, she's so cute! And wait, did she just say she used to have a hand?"
  563.  
  564. "Oooooo! Think she's got a story to tell?"
  565.  
  566. This many people this close to you is sensory overload. You try to see if any of them are wearing anything that might reveal them to be a threat of some sort, but for the most part all you see is fairly in-fashion clothing and some "woke" buttons on a few people's backpacks. There's not a single item among them to suggest any of them are bronies of some sort, and the presence of about 60% women in the group leads you to an easy conclusion: these are normalfags.
  567. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  568. A primal rage builds within you. Normalfags are a special kind of terrible, doubly so when they get between you and your food. You take a deep breath and shout once more. "ALRIGHT YOU MOTHERFUCKERS, NOW YOU'VE DONE IT> I'M GONNA SAY THE N WORD!"
  569.  
  570. One of the students tries to interrupt you. "Wait wait wait, don't do that. You're gonna get me demonetized!"
  571.  
  572. "NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER! I'M 100% NIGGER!"
  573.  
  574. The room suddenly becomes silent. You take advantage and look the one youtubing normalfag dead in the eyes. "If you don't stop crowding around me, I'm going to tell your whole audience the exact mathematics about why the holocaust could never happen."
  575.  
  576. The youtuber quickly moves out of the way like the soy-eating runt that he is. Not wanting to deal with any of the others, you walk through the break in the crowd towards the main eating areas, but not without dabbing to demonstrate your dominance. You're not sure if the kids still dab these days, but fuck 'em, they deserve it.
  577.  
  578. No one else seems to bother you as you make your way through the cafeteria, though you do get a few odd looks. Thankfully, the dining hall is served buffet style, so you don't need any awkward confrontations with staff. You grab a few slices of pizza and some juice, and sit down at an empty table. A few bites into your tasty breakfast, however, and you realize the rest of your friends are still talking to the crowd, possibly doing damage control.
  579. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  580. You lean back in your chair and savor your pizza slowly. Though you feel slightly guilty about leaving your friends to the whims of the crowd, the feeling passes quickly as you realize that technically, you gave them the opportunity to get out of the situation with you, and they chose to stay. Silly ponies.
  581.  
  582. As you finish your first slice, a somewhat tubby student wearing a black shirt and cargo pants asks if he can sit at your table. Not wanting to deal with socializing after possibly making an ass out of yourself, you decide that the best course of action is to make an even bigger ass out of yourself. You get up on your chair and attempt to stand in a T-pose to assert your dominance. This is, unfortunately, rather difficult when your legs are not designed for standing upright, and you end up pushing the chair out from under you and falling flat on your face on the table. The table, in response to the sudden incidence of force upon one side, starts to tip and eventually fall over, causing your pizza to land straight into your face.
  583.  
  584. The whole scene causes a considerable amount of noise, and now you have once again drawn the attention of every single person in the room onto yourself.
  585. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  586. The pizza has clearly deemed you unworthy of eating at this table. Nevertheless, you cannot show weakness to the crowd around you. A few people around you immediately rush over to ask if you're okay, but you simply shrug, pull the pizza off of your head, and lay down on the floor to eat it. As you do, the crowd around you seems to increase in size just a bit, giving you a bit more shade than you'd like.
  587.  
  588. You sigh as you finish your slice. Sooner or later, you're going to have to deal with these people. They seem to all ask you similar questions. "You can talk, right?" and "Hey, you hit your head there pretty hard, are you okay?" Somewhere behind the people in your immediate vicinity, there is also some nerd asking if you need a vet, who keeps pointing out that he's actually studying veterinary medicine and wants to offer his assistance (however good that may actually be).
  589.  
  590. Yes, everyone seems to want a piece of you. You ignore them and take a bite out of your second piece of pizza, which thankfully fell plate first onto the floor, and not cheese first. That would be a disaster. As you begin to finish it up, the crowd starts to shift to make room for Twilight, who approaches you with a somewhat neutral facial expression.
  591.  
  592. "So are we done making an ass out of ourselves for the day, or do you need to get some more out of our systems?"
  593. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  594. "Hrm… one more thing."
  595.  
  596. You reach around for another slice of pizza, only to realize that you had only grabbed two slices. There is no more pizza in your immediate vicinity to eat.
  597.  
  598. "Hey, where'd my pizza go? I could have sworn I had a third slice! It was such a delicious flavor of Hitler did nothing wrong."
  599.  
  600. A few of the student around you seem a little shocked, but Twilight's face is unchanging.
  601.  
  602. "Are we done NOW?"
  603.  
  604. "You know, you don't have to damage control for me. I gave you plenty of room to escape the crowd and get breakfast for yourself. Of course, you were the one who said you wanted some attention and, well, you got it. So what's the problem?"
  605.  
  606. She sighs. "Look, I get that you aren't the brightest among us, but bear with me. The phrase 'all press is good press' is bullshit. I know I said earlier today that I wanted to get us some attention so we don't end up disappearing easily, but that doesn't mean you have to act like a complete edgelord all day."
  607.  
  608. As she speaks, Twilight uses her magic to put the table and chair back in their original positions. The crowd is even more shocked, but they refrain from speaking over her, as every word she speaks is deemed worthy of their attention.
  609.  
  610. "Just yesterday, you called me out - and rightfully so - for being a major ass to Coco and the rest of everybody, because I was stressed out from coming back to Earth still in the body of a horse. And now here I am having to tell you to stop acting like an autistic kid having a meltdown. I get that you're stressed and hungry, and you don't like having a crowd around you that DOESN'T KNOW THE MEANING OF PERSONAL SPACE…"
  611.  
  612. At the sound of those words, the crowd takes a few steps back, widening the circle around you and Twilight.
  613.  
  614. "…but come on, you're an adult, Anon."
  615.  
  616. You try to put on your cutest face with wide googly eyes. It seems to work at bringing a sudden "awww" from the crowd. Perhaps being part cartoon character has its benefits. Nevertheless, you take advantage to try to redpill the crowd.
  617.  
  618. "Did you know, that despite being 13% of the population…"
  619.  
  620. Twilight closes your lips together with her hooves.
  621.  
  622. "Don't be a butt, Anon."
  623. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  624. You contemplate a few ways to rebuke Twilight. A quick "facts don't care about your feelings" would make for a great edgy comeback. You could pull a Bugs Bunny and smooch her out of nowhere before dropping truth bombs left and right to your new audience. Hell, you could even just finish your sentence to be a complete butt about things.
  625.  
  626. The one question this raises, however, is whether or not it would be worth it. You have very few friends at the moment, and if you burned your bridges right now for a good laugh, it would be very easy to make you disappear. Hell, most people wouldn't care about you because you were some stupid racist who just happened to be cute. In fact, now that you think about it, the very neoliberals who you would love to dunk on might even see fit to punish you by sending you to a Bill Clinton rape island. You do not want to go to a Bill Clinton rape island.
  627.  
  628. Reluctantly, you lower your head, and in a defeated tone say, "Sorry Diana. What's the plan?"
  629.  
  630. Your apology brings a warm smile to her face. You must be on her good side or something.
  631.  
  632. "It's simple, Anon. We sit down at the table, we have our breakfast, and we answer some questions for our new adoring fans. Just keep things PG, yeah? We're guests at NDSU for the moment, so we might as well be on our best behavior, yeah? And if you feel uncomfortable, you can always get these people to line up and ask one at a time instead of crowding around us. Would that make things easier for you?"
  633. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  634. "Hmm… PG-13 and you have a deal."
  635.  
  636. She shrugs. "I suppose that'll be fine."
  637.  
  638. You spit on your hoof to try and get Twilight to shake on it, but she seems rather unamused. "Anon, I'd rather have clean hooves when I eat my breakfast. We're just going to have to take each other's word for things, alright?"
  639.  
  640. You sigh. "Alright Tw- er, Diana. Say, think maybe we could visit a gun store after we're done doing interviews?"
  641.  
  642. Twilight takes a seat at the table and lays her head down to look at you. She has a slightly amused smile on her face. "So tell me Anon, were you planning on window shopping, or were you planning on finding some way to buy a gun with no ID and no money?"
  643.  
  644. "Hey, I could make some money! I don't know how I'll deal with the whole ID thing, but I'll figure something out."
  645.  
  646. The crowd around you seems quiet, but very focused, likely wondering what kind of zany things the two of you will say next. Recognizing this, Twilight playfully teases you, "so you're planning on getting residence in North Dakota, right?"
  647.  
  648. "I, er… probably not. Why would I want to live in North Dakota?"
  649.  
  650. "Oh, you know. Because gun shops can't sell across state lines and so you'd need a North Dakota ID to buy a gun."
  651.  
  652. One smartass from the crowd finally decides to throw his voice into the ring. "So are you guys hiding fingers under those hooves? I mean, how would you ever fire a gun? Can the green one do telekinesis like the purple one?"
  653. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  654. You hold up your hoof to face the smart ass. "Of course I have fingers. Can't you see what I'm doing with them right now?"
  655.  
  656. A number of the crowd "ooo"s and "ahh"s in response to your comeback, with a couple of students proclaiming that the man just got "wrecked." You feel good about yourself now.
  657.  
  658. Out of nowhere, Blossom and Daring fly in to drop off breakfast for the rest of your friends. Somehow you hadn't noticed their sudden disappearance, and now you are wishing they would have brought you another slice. Since you ate early, you're basically the only filly at the table without a plate. Before digging in, Twilight instructs the students the students to form a line, so you all can address their questions one at a time. Without much difficulty, they do so, forming a line stretching all the way out of the room. This may take a while.
  659.  
  660. The first person in line is a neckbeard, somehow. He asks, "Okay, so I noticed you all seem to look exactly like some of the characters from My Little Pony, but where's the green one from? I don't think I've seen her as even a background character, so are you just some weirdo's OC?"
  661. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  662. This horsefucker isn't worth your time if he's going to insult you. You roll your eyes and with a complete lack of enthusiasm in your voice, say, "Yeah… next!"
  663.  
  664. The man seems completely flabbergasted, but he is quickly replaced by the impatient student next in line. No one else seems to care much about your rather dismissive answer, presumably since most people agree that no one should have to justify your existence.
  665.  
  666. Most of the questions that follow seem to be directed at the group, rather than you specifically. You let Twilight handle those ones. Among the things the people learn are that yes, you are in the bodies of characters from My Little Pony, but no, you weren't born that way. It takes a little bit of time for the crowd to start to believe the bits and pieces of your story that Twilight lets through, but a few demonstrations of magic and flying, as well as of common human knowledge seems to back your stories. As time passes, they begin to become more sympathetic, with a few people offering words of support, including a couple welcome backs.
  667.  
  668. For your own part, you make a point of answering questions aimed towards you with short, often cryptic responses. One girl asks if you really think Hitler did nothing wrong, so you simply shrug and say "Eh." You express non-committal towards any question that could demonize you, although when asked if you just enjoy fucking with people you smile and suggest, "probably." You do not get many questions after this.
  669.  
  670. After half of the line has died down, you see a small crowd of people burst into the cafeteria with cameras and what look like press passes. They introduce themselves as being from KVRR (a local news station) and the Associated Press respectively, and immediately ask if you are available for an interview.
  671. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  672. If you had a fidget spinner available, now would be a good time to use it as a prop to emphasize your point. Unfortunately, you aren't Pinkie Pie, and you can't just pull items out of thin air for the purposes of plot convenience. Instead, you elect a simple, yet serious answer. "Don't put any spin on this, and we'll consider it."
  673.  
  674. The AP reporter laughs. "Trust me, there's no spin to be had with talking horses. Honestly I'd rather let you all do the talking."
  675.  
  676. "Ponies," Twilight corrects him.
  677.  
  678. "Oh, right. Ponies. And you are… no wait, don't tell me. Twilight Sparkle?"
  679.  
  680. She shakes her head. "I have the body of Twilight Sparkle, but not by choice. I will take the name I was given at birth, which is Diana Rose Fischer."
  681.  
  682. "Not by choice?," he asks, somewhat in jest, "So you're telling me you're not a bunch of advanced toys that snuck out of a Hasbro factory somewhere?"
  683.  
  684. "And here I thought you weren't going to give us any spin. Sorry Mr. reporter, but what you see is the real deal."
  685.  
  686. The next half hour or so consists of Twilight hogging as much press attention as she can, while the remaining crowd disperses in part, except for a few students who choose to watch on the sideline. It's a bit boring from your own perspective, so you try to find something to keep your mind entertained so you don't end up screaming "nigger" at the top of your lungs. Aside from playing a few old clapping games with Blossom, however, not much helps quell the dullness of the situation.
  687.  
  688. In the middle of all of this, you feel a pair of hooves tossed around you from behind out of nowhere. Not knowing at first that they were hooves instead of hands, you jump out of your seat in shock. Their seafoam color puts you at ease, however.
  689.  
  690. Lyra whispers into both of you and Blossom's ears, "Wanna sneak off and listen to me play some music for a few of our new fans?"
  691. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  692. You glance over at Twilight, still blabbing off the basics of your life's story together for perhaps the third time today. It is doubtful that she'd notice you were gone, at least for a while. And if she did, well, it shouldn't be that hard to find a couple of fillies surrounded by a big crowd.
  693.  
  694. "Nooooooo," you tell Lyra with as much sarcastic exaggeration as you can muster, "I'd rather listen to Diana blather on. Of COURSE I want to listen to you play."
  695.  
  696. As you say this, you boop her playfully on the nose, earning a joyful giggle out of her. You silently motion to the rest of your friends to follow, and lead them out with Lyra and a small crowd. On the way out, you notice that Lyra seems to have swiped one of cups and a pair of spoons from the dining hall. These aren't plastic throwaway tableware, so you become a little suspicious.
  697.  
  698. "Hey, you're not trying to st-"
  699.  
  700. "Don't worry. I'm gonna bring them back. Just need 'em for one song."
  701.  
  702. "What song?"
  703.  
  704. "You'll see."
  705.  
  706. You make it out of the dining hall into a sort of clearing with a few paved walkways surrounded by grass. It is on one of those walkways that Lyra sits down upon with the cup and the two spoons and starts to play a familiar percussion line with them. As the crowd draws around her, you hear her sing once more.
  707.  
  708. "I got my ticket for the long way 'round. Two bottle 'a whiskey for the way. And I sure would like some sweet company, and I'm leaving tomorrow, wha-do-ya say?~"
  709. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  710. As Lyra finishes up playing the cup song, you offer to play the next song. She simply smiles and tells you to break a leg. You join the center of the crowd and attempt to perform the song "Spoonman" using the spoons as an accompaniment. It earns you a light applause, but not much.
  711.  
  712. "Hmm, not bad," Lyra remarks. "Seems like it's missing something though. Maybe a guitar? Speaking of which…" she walks over to one of the humans in the crowd. "How's progress on getting one here? Danny getting back from his dorm yet?"
  713.  
  714. "He'll be another 5 minutes or so."
  715.  
  716. "Well that's a bummer. I really need some strings for my best covers. Hrm… Hey Anon, can you rap? Because if you can, I can beatbox."
  717. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  718. You'd really like to play some Moonman here, but you made a promise to Twilight to keep things PG-13. You're not quite sure where the cutoff is between PG-13 and R, but rapping about black people hanging from trees probably crosses the line. Probably.
  719.  
  720. Naturally, this leaves Eminem as a close second. You ask Lyra to put down a beat similar to the one from "Lose Yourself", and proceed to belt out the best meme rap from your time…
  721.  
  722. "His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. There's vomit on his sweater already, mom's spaghetti~"
  723.  
  724. This earns a lot more applause from the crowd compared to your spoon song, and even a few laughs to boot. You're not quite sure if this is their first time hearing this variation of the rap. Regardless, the thunder dies down as soon as the guitar arrives. Lyra is speechless as she lays eyes on it. It's an original Gibson Les Paul.
  725.  
  726. "Danny… Danny boy, you keep a Gibson in your DORM?"
  727.  
  728. He shrugs.
  729.  
  730. "Rich parents. Just don't ding it, alright?"
  731.  
  732. Lyra gently levitates the guitar out of his hands and straps it around her back. She closes her eyes as she summons forth what appears to be a seafoam green ethereal hand that she grasps around the neck of the guitar and contorts into a chord. She then strums the guitar once with her hoof and lets the strings ring out in perfect pitch, and amplified by her magic. The crowd appears to go wild from her display of magical abilities, but she brings them quiet once more as she blasts out a few more notes and chords to a song that, admittedly, you had not heard before.
  733.  
  734. "Home in the valley, Home in the city.
  735. Home isn't pretty, Ain't no home for me.
  736. Home in the darkness, Home on the highway.
  737. Home isn't my way. Home will never be.
  738.  
  739. Burn out the day, Burn out the night. I can't see no reason to put up a fight.
  740. I'm living for giving the devil his due.
  741. And I'm burning, I'm burning, I'm burning for you
  742. I'm burning, I'm burning, I'm burning for you!"
  743. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  744. You close your eyes and listen to Lyra's impromptu concert. The sun is warm on your back, and you feel your worries begin to melt away as Lyra plays song after song, hitting you with a mix of nostalgia and good vibes. This doesn't last forever though. Within half an hour, a few members of the university police begin to show up.
  745.  
  746. "Hey, if you guys are going to have a concert here, you can't be am…pli… what the heck are you?"
  747.  
  748. Lyra stops playing as soon as she hears the cops. She flashes them a friendly smile. "Oh hey, we're a couple of talking ponies. Is there a problem, officer?"
  749.  
  750. "I, um… right. You were a bit loud. Can be heard in the building over, and they're trying to hold tests."
  751.  
  752. "Hrm…" Lyra strums the guitar again and the volume of the amplification drops markedly, but still enough to be heard by the crowd. "That quiet enough?"
  753.  
  754. The officer seems to be lost in his thoughts, staring at your musical friend. She snaps the magical fingers in his ears and he shakes back awake.
  755.  
  756. "I- I guess? Just don't cause a ruckus."
  757.  
  758. As soon as he says this, the doors of the dining hall burst open, revealing Twilight with a big grin on her face, and a reporter tagging along.
  759.  
  760. "Who wants to go to DC?"
  761. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  762. DC is a complete liberal shithole, and you'd rather not go there, but there is some potential for advancing your position. You're inclined to say yes, but there's still some important issues to resolve.
  763.  
  764. "That depends. Are we being hand delivered to be dissected and studied thoroughly by a bunch of nerdy secret fucks?"
  765.  
  766. Twilight giggles at your response. "No, silly. I wouldn't even ask if that was the case. Actually we're going to be meeting with some politicians, and a few more media personalities. The Associated Press is going to be covering our lodging and security detail, so we probably shouldn't have to worry about disappearing. For the media, we're worth more alive than dead."
  767.  
  768. "Assuming someone doesn't find a high enough price to pay for us."
  769.  
  770. She rolls her eyes. "Be honest, how much would you pay for you, if you were a big billionaire oligarch?"
  771.  
  772. "About three fiddy?"
  773.  
  774. "Right. You're worth more than that because your cute green ass is going to distract people from talking about the Mueller report, or whatever it was called."
  775.  
  776. You can think of a few more events that will distract the media in good time, but for now she raises a good point. You're worth more alive than dead.
  777.  
  778. "Alright, fine."
  779.  
  780. "Great. Flight's at six. Think you can find something to do in the mean time?"
  781. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  782. Twilight raises a good point. You've got about six hours to kill in the middle of North fucking Dakota. There's fuck all to do here, and you have no money. Maybe the media tailing her wherever she goes could help though.
  783.  
  784. "I LIKE BEER!" you shout over to them. This seems to grab their attention for a moment, but doesn't seem to give you the reaction you want. One of them gives you a thumbs up, but then they walk off with Twilight, likely to discuss something further. You feel a little torn. On one hand, you wouldn't want to associate with liberal media anyways. On the other hand, they should be giving you at least some attention, right?
  785.  
  786. Lyra and Blossom sit down next to you and both put their hooves around your shoulders. At least you have friends to enjoy your time with.
  787.  
  788. "Pretty sure it's a bit early for beer," says Lyra. "You might as well have shouted, 'I like titties.'"
  789.  
  790. "Well I like those too."
  791.  
  792. Blossom giggles. "Haha, you like boobies. What are you Anon, gay?"
  793.  
  794. "Hey, I'm not gay. I used to be a guy, after all."
  795.  
  796. Suddenly one of the humans from the crowd lifts you up and presents you to the crowd. Before you can react to kick him in the nuts, he shouts to the rest of the humans present, "Ladies and gentlemen! It is 2019. I present to you the first transgender horse!"
  797. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  798. You want to scream at the top of your lungs right now, but even more, a primal urge within you compels you to correct this man's fractal wrongness. You take a deep breath and prepare to address the crowd.
  799.  
  800. "FIRST OF ALL, you're wrong. I'm not the first man to get turned into a filly, I'm the fourth. The first was an honest to God Soviet, who is thankfully no longer with us. The second and third are with us right now, and if you touch Daring, she WILL bite."
  801.  
  802. On your cue, Daring makes a point to flash her pearly whites at the crowd. "Did you know," she adds, "that it is incredibly easy to bite through the human finger?" There is a sudden unease among the crowd and so Daring takes a bow. Good thing too, they needed to be taken down a peg.
  803.  
  804. You continue your pseudo-lecture. "SECONDLY… Did you just assume our species? We're ponies, not horses. Aren't you guys supposed to have a good veterinary program here or some shit? I am legit offended, and demand beer as an apology. I also demand another beer as apology for FONDLING MY FUCKING TITS. Seriously dude, where the fuck do you think you're grabbing? If you're gonna fuck me, at least get me a drink first."
  805.  
  806. At that line, the man quickly drops you, and you thankfully land on your hooves. You make a mental note not to pick up cats like that if you ever gain your human form again, because that fucking sucked.
  807.  
  808. "Seriously though, am I getting any beer or what?"
  809.  
  810. The man who picked you up stutters out a response. "I mean, I g-guess I could. Wait, how old are you exactly?"
  811. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  812. "I may look 10, but I was a full-grown adult before getting stuck like this."
  813.  
  814. The man scratches his head. "So are you 10, or are you an adult? I'm confused."
  815.  
  816. You sigh. "Somewhere back in Texas I have a driver's license that shows I'm 27. Actually 29, since I apparently skipped a couple of years on the way back here. It's 2019, right? Because I was born in 1989."
  817.  
  818. "Oh. I guess we could get a beer then. So do you want to go out to a bar or something, or are you like screwed for time and just need a quick one? I think I have a few in the fridge at my apartment."
  819.  
  820. "Hey, if you're treating, I'm not complaining. Can my friends come too?"
  821.  
  822. He shrugs. "Sure, why not. How often are you gonna get a chance to hang out with talking ponies?"
  823.  
  824. You shout off to the rest of your friends, "Hey, you guys wanna to get a beer with this rando?"
  825.  
  826. The responses you get are mixed. Daring and Lyra seem pretty game for it all, and Coco doesn't seem to mind tagging along, but Blossom is apprehensive. "Umm…" she walks up to you and whispers into your ear, "I know you guys are all adults, but I never was one before I turned into a pony. Are you sure it's alright?"
  827.  
  828. Now that you think about it, Blossom never joined you and Twilight on your drinking nights.
  829. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  830. You pull Blossom off to a nearby bench where the human can't eavesdrop on you. "So, never had a drink before?"
  831.  
  832. She shakes her head, which you respond by giving a playful noogie with your hoof.
  833.  
  834. "Well to tell you the truth, you should probably be alright if you just have one beer. You've already eaten, and food slows the absorption of alcohol."
  835.  
  836. "Wait, really?"
  837.  
  838. You nod. "Yeah. Also beer's not that high in alcohol content compared to say, wine or vodka. Just try not to drink too much, and get plenty of water with it too or you'll be screaming in the morning about a hangover. I know that might sound fun by some people, but I'm pretty sure I might have some post traumatic stress caused by waaaaking up to the same hung over Twilight for over a week."
  839.  
  840. Blossom almost chokes up trying to suppress a laugh. "Alright, triggering you like that almost sounds too good to pass up."
  841.  
  842. "I'm serious Hannah, I don't want to wake up on a plane next to you complaining about how wasted you got the day before."
  843.  
  844. She runs off back to the group, shouting, "Oh man, that's it. I'm having TWO beers, and then we're doing karaoke and talking to the crows on the power lines!"
  845.  
  846. Just the exact thing you wanted to prevent.
  847. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  848. "Reeeee," you mutter under your breath. Of course Blossom is going to be a teenager about it. What was even the point of her asking if things were okay? As you run back to your friends, you shout back at her, "That's future you's problem. Don't expect any pity if you wake up with a massive hangover!"
  849.  
  850. When you finally make it back, the man offering to buy you all drinks looks at you a little confused. "What was that all about?"
  851.  
  852. "Oh, right. Blossom's first time drinking. She umm…" You don't want to say she's underage, but now you're a bit caught. She completes your sentence for you, "Religious parents."
  853.  
  854. "Yeah, that."
  855.  
  856. He shrugs. "Alrighty then. Well the place we're going to sells more than just beers, even if it is called JL Beers. So you don't actually have to drink if you think Jahovah's gonna kick your ass or something."
  857.  
  858. She laughs. "Nah, I'm down for a few beers."
  859.  
  860. "Alright, cool. I guess we should head off instead of dicking around here much longer, especially if you guys have to catch a flight."
  861.  
  862. You agree, and let the man lead the way. It takes maybe half an hour or so to walk there, and while doing so you learn a little bit about your host. His name is Josh, and he's an "intersectional feminist" in his own words. You kind of want to gag upon hearing this, but let him continue speaking, all the while making gestures to Daring with your hooves that Josh's words make you feel like hurling. The message seems to get across okay.
  863.  
  864. Eventually, you arrive at what looks like a rather small pub sandwiched between a few larger buildings. The signs on it advertise that they also have great burgers, which you keep in mind. You had breakfast not too long ago, but you never know when your next meal is going go be on this world. Technically, you're homeless. It doesn't take long, however, for you to get the stares you are by now so used to receiving in any establishment you visit.
  865.  
  866. You take a seat at the main bar and make a brief announcement. "Can we ignore the fact that I'm a talking pony and just get me a beer for God's sake?"
  867.  
  868. The bartender takes a good, long look at you. "Don't suppose you have ID, do you?"
  869. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  870. Of course they're going to pull this shit on you. You sigh. "Would you accept my ID if it's for a five foot eleven white guy from Texas who may or may or may not be on a missing persons list?"
  871.  
  872. The man pauses for a moment to think before replying, "do you have that ID with you?"
  873.  
  874. "No."
  875.  
  876. "Well, we kind of need to check ID in order to sell you a drink."
  877.  
  878. You want to scream. There's almost nothing you can do in this situation. You have literally nothing to your name, and you just want a fucking beer. Is that too much to ask for, world?
  879.  
  880. Lyra takes a seat beside you and smiles at the man who you are practically staring daggers at. Putting on her best charm, she asks, "So is it actually state law that you have to ID each and every person who comes here, or just the ones who look underage? If someone came in here looking like they fought in World War 2, could you serve them a beer without any questions?"
  881.  
  882. The bartender shrugs. "Pretty sure it's just a store policy and all, cause we can get into huge trouble for selling to a minor."
  883.  
  884. Lyra nods in seeming agreement. "It's a pretty good policy. Keeps you from getting screwed by Uncle Sam and all. But it can be pretty inflexible. So let me ask you this…" She gestures with her hooves to point at you. "Does my friend here look like a child? Or, actually let me rephrase that. Does my friend here look like a human child?"
  885.  
  886. "Obviously not."
  887.  
  888. "And do you know of any laws on the books stating that you can't sell beer to a pony?"
  889.  
  890. The man scratches his beard as he thinks some more. "Not that I know of, but how do I know you're actually a bunch of talking ponies? You could be some nine year old girls in an elaborate costume. The fact that you have high pitched voices, and that you're speaking English, isn't making me think it's the contrary."
  891. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  892. You turn around and shove your butt in the air, facing the bartender, and proceed to shake your tail back and forth. "Hey buddy, that pony enough for you? Do I need to neigh too?" You try your best to make horse noises on the spot, only to realize that they do not come naturally. All of your friends start to giggle.
  893.  
  894. "Oh my God, good one Anon," Blossom says as she floats above the counter, suddenly eliciting some awe from the bartender. "Can this pegasus and her friends get a few beers?"
  895.  
  896. "Err… right." The bartender quickly pulls out a few beer mugs and fills them up with IPAs, sliding them over to you and each of your friends. Finally, some nourishment! You carefully grasp the glass with both hooves and slowly savor it. Looking over to Blossom, you see her carefully sipping at it. The look on her face suggests she doesn't quite like it, but as soon as she sees you eyeing her, she takes the glass between her hooves and lifts it up to chug the entire thing until it's empty. Now the rest of your friends are staring at her.
  897.  
  898. She playfully sticks out her tongue at you. "Top that!"
  899. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  900. If this were Equestria, you would gladly drink Blossom under the table to show her teenage butt a lesson about disrespecting her elders. This isn't Equestria, however. You're on Earth, and in a somewhat large city. Bad people actually exist, and you can never tell who they are until you're blackout drunk and getting raped. Given that you are currently in the presence of a male feminist - a breed of men most likely to be a wolf in sheep's clothing - you don't like your odds.
  901.  
  902. You take another swig of your beer, even slower this time, and turn to look Blossom in the eyes. As your eyes meet, you shake your head in disapproval. "It's a shame you drank your beer so quickly. You're not getting another one."
  903.  
  904. "And just what do you mean by that?" she huffs.
  905.  
  906. "Simple. Joshy boy here is covering our drinks. Since there's five of us, and he's a poor college student, we wouldn't want to overburden him, would we?"
  907.  
  908. It's a simple enough excuse, and it avoids getting into a "teach men not to rape" argument that you know avoids the truth of the matter. Later, perhaps on the plane, you'll have to give Blossom a lecture about not getting too drunk, particularly when you don't know if you can trust the people around you. Maybe she can try drinking a bit more if you all manage to get some sort of apartment together, but for now, a little moderation never hurt anyone.
  909.  
  910. Blossom looks like she's about to pout. "Hmph. The beer tastes terrible anyways!"
  911.  
  912. Josh places his hand on your shoulder and seems to breathe a sigh of relief. "Thanks, bro. I was hoping not to have to drop too much on your drinks, though I wouldn't mind covering lunch if you're up for a little conversation."
  913. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  914. You shiver in response to Josh's touch. There is no way in hell you want a soy addict touching you with his filthy hands. Fortunately, he seems to back off as soon as he notices your reactions. He doesn't ask why you reacted in that way either, so you hope this puts you in the clear. You briefly consider his offer.
  915.  
  916. On one hand, free food is usually pretty great. Your ability to eat may be sporadic for a while as long as you're on Earth and still in the body of a filly. On the other hand, there's a good chance that the CIA are around you. It would take a single prick to the back of the neck with some fucked up needle to knock you out and have you waking up God knows where. A bar is probably the best place for that shit to happen too, since it could easily be blamed on you passing out drunk. Really, you should probably get the hell out of here as fast as possible, but you still want to finish up your beer.
  917.  
  918. Okay, so it's settled. One beer, then you get the hell out of here. Maybe you're being paranoid, but given your current situation, you think it might just be justified.
  919.  
  920. "So…" Josh inquires, "you still up for…"
  921.  
  922. "Pass."
  923.  
  924. "Oh. Okay." He seems a bit bummed out. Maybe he is an okay person after all, but you're not taking chances.
  925.  
  926. Daring suddenly interjects, "Oh come on cunt, he's not gonna poison your food."
  927. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  928. Poison. Now that's something you weren't worried about before, but now are. That's probably an unreasonable level of paranoia, but you still remain convinced that unreasonable paranoia would be justified.
  929.  
  930. "Sorry Daring, but I have my reasons. I don't care if all I have to eat tonight is airline peanuts. Something's spooking me the hell out."
  931.  
  932. "Spooked, huh? That's good enough for me." Daring quickly downs the rest of her beer in the same way that Blossom did. Lyra and Coco soon follow suit. Your friends are now huddled around you in anticipation of your next words.
  933.  
  934. Lyra drapes a hoof around you. "Where to, fearless leader?"
  935. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  936. With your friends all looking to you for what to do, you feel as though you've suddenly lost your train of thought. Now would be the kind of time to turn to Twilight and take a backseat on decision making, but she does not appear to be here. You really want to just track her down right now, but barring some sort of actual emergency that's not just the heebie jeebies, you think it might be best to let her find you instead.
  937.  
  938. What else could you do… You think for a moment, and instantly you find a light bulb turning on in your head.
  939.  
  940. "We should do Karaoke. Does anyone know if this bar has Karaoke? I want to do Karaoke."
  941.  
  942. Lyra looks around the room for the signs of a Karaoke machine, or a place where one might be set up. She shakes her head. "Don't think so. It's a rather small bar, and it seems like most of their space is taken up by tables for people who come here to do lunch. Maybe we could look around town for a Karaoke bar? Either that or we could just burst out in the middle of the street and start singing until people start to complain."
  943. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  944. For some reason you feel a sudden urge to pee, despite having only started drinking about a minute or two ago. You're not quite sure if you can go to the bathroom without getting mugged, however. Logically this means only one course of action.
  945.  
  946. "So, I'm thinking sporadically bursting into song in the streets of Fargo might be fun."
  947.  
  948. As you speak, you start to pee on your bar stool. You hope that the sound of your words would manage to mask the sound of urine hitting whatever faux leather they use to cover these things, but your sentence ends before your pissing. Moreover, the smell is immediately apparent.
  949.  
  950. Lyra is the first to take notice. She takes a few deep sniffs of the air and turns out a disgusted look on her face. "Why does it suddenly smell like pee in here?"
  951.  
  952. Daring then notices the small puddle of urine on the floor. She points her hoof at it and immediately bawls out laughing. "Holy shit Anon, did you just fucking pee yourself? You dumb fucking cunt, did you develop an uncontrollable bladder when came back to Earth?"
  953.  
  954. The rest of your friends join in and laugh at you. Just great. You piss yourself one fucking time and no one has any sympathy. You want to just sit there and wallow in your own misery, but unfortunately the commotion draws the attention of the manager. He seems awfully mad and immediately starts shouting. "Oi, did you just piss on my bar stool? Those things are brand fucking new! Do you not know how to use a fucking bathroom you stupid animal? Get the hell out of my bar!"
  955. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  956. Fuck this noise. You climb onto the bar to yell at the manager. "I DON'T KNOW HOW TO STOP THE STREAM WITH A HORSE PUSSY. FUCK YOU AND FUCK YOUR STOOL, COCK ASS!"
  957.  
  958. This seems to catch him by surprise, so you take advantage of his confusion to finish up the last of your beer. If you're gonna get 86'd from the bar, you might as well get the most of your trip there. As soon as the last drop touches your tongue, you leave the mug on the bar and march out without looking back. Your friends follow slowly behind, though Josh stays to settle the bill. You're not sure if he's banned too, but given that you won't be seeing him after today, you don't really care.
  959.  
  960. You feel frustrated as you walk out onto the streets, so you don't end up saying anything for a while. Instead you brood over your sudden lack of bodily functions as you wander throughout the town. Your friends show some degree of concern for once, but you ignore them and simply mutter under your breath about how stupid you were and how fucked up the world is.
  961.  
  962. Eventually, Lyra gets fed up and starts singing "Your Song." You want to stay mad, but her voice is so soulful it's hard for you not to want to join in. You stop in the middle of the sidewalk and start singing the chorus alongside her.
  963.  
  964. "I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind, that I put down in words… how wonderful life is, now you're in the world~"
  965. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  966. As you finish your song, you finally feel your anger cooling off. In the heat of all of your brooding, you had not been paying much attention to where you were going, so you take a moment to look around you. You appear to be next to a semi-upscale (for Fargo at least) restaurant called Mezzaluna. You're not particularly hungry, and given that the one person who could pay for you is still at the bar that you just got kicked out of, you couldn't afford to eat there anyways. Nevertheless, something catches your eye. You peer in through the Window and see a familiar purple face dining with a reporter. They appear to be laughing and drinking red wine.
  967.  
  968. Daring hovers over next to you and peers into the window with you. When she sees what you see, she lets out an annoyed gasp. "The nerve! She went out to get wined and dined and didn't even invite us! We coulda been drinking the good grog, mate."
  969. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  970. "Oh no, not again." Your eyes light up with panic as you feel your bladder suddenly fill up from 0 to over capacity. This clearly can't be a coincidence, someone has cursed you.
  971.  
  972. Not needing to ask what you mean, all of your friends immediately take a step away from you as you unleash a torrent of piss all over the sidewalk. You cry as you let it all out. Why does this shit happen to you? Does some cruel God hate you? You can be a better filly, honest! It keeps coming, however. Does God want you to be worse? Fuck it. You back up and let loose the rest of your stream all over the nearest car.
  973.  
  974. Eventually your body finds a way to stop pissing, and you collapse on the nearest dry section of sidewalk. You're still crying, however. Somehow, you figure with all of this water being lost from your body, you're going to end up with a hangover. Nonetheless, given your sudden inability to control your bladder, you aren't sure if you even want to get anything to drink to fill it up.
  975.  
  976. Daring takes a seat next to you and drapes a wing around you.
  977.  
  978. "Alright, once is comedy, twice is tragedy. You alright, mate?"
  979. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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