daily pastebin goal
84%
SHARE
TWEET

Anon Filly CYOA Part 2

rubyist Jul 15th, 2018 (edited) 366 Never
Not a member of Pastebin yet? Sign Up, it unlocks many cool features!
  1. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2. "Hello to you from the next thread."
  3.  
  4. Celestia looks even more confused and turns to Twilight to see if she can make any sense of your random response. Her response is a shrug.
  5.  
  6. <<"Anon, by chance, did you repeat this exact same sequence of events twice, with this being the only difference between the two 'threads'?"
  7.  
  8. "I'll leave that to your imagination. Really though, I have no idea what I'm going to do during the next loop. Maybe I will return to Canterlot for no other reason than to confuse you. While I still have time though, do you think you could answer a question?"
  9.  
  10. <<"I suppose."
  11.  
  12. "My first and second loops were pretty damn similar in how they went about, up until about lunch time. I noticed the second time around, my friend Rarity had a completely different choice of lunch, eating huckleberry pie instead of sushi. I'm pretty sure my actions could not have influenced that decision, since I didn't interact with her before she arrived at school."
  13.  
  14. <<"Did you interact with anyone else?"
  15.  
  16. "Err… Twilight and one other guy, I think."
  17.  
  18. <<"Did that other guy know your friend?"
  19.  
  20. "Well, he's in our class and he was late to class, while she wasn't. I don't think he could have influenced her."
  21.  
  22. <<"Hmm… then that is an interesting concern. There could be yet another looper in the mix that you don't know about."
  23.  
  24. >"Or it could just be the butterfly effect. If Rarity made her choice at random, even an infinitesimally small change in the state of the universe, such as the sight of a butterfly outside her window that was not there before, might have swayed her mind."
  25.  
  26. "Yeah, but how could that have even been possible? I'm pretty sure I didn't step on any butterflies, or even see any."
  27.  
  28. >"We live in a tree house. There are no doubt a few small insects that come in and out of the house. They have eyes, and can tell where we are, and make their decisions based upon that information. If you were in different rooms at different times during the loops, you might have influenced their behavior differently. And one insect influences another, which may influence another. Did you by chance skip breakfast?"
  29. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  30. "Umm, I think I might have. I get your point though."
  31.  
  32. >"Good. And now that we know how effective the butterfly effect can be, I'm pretty sure I'm never going to research any time travel spells in the future if I can at all avoid it."
  33.  
  34. "And based on my experiences thus far, I think I'd rather avoid it too. Not that you learning this lesson yourself will mean anything soon enough. Not unless this timeline magically solves itself "
  35.  
  36. >"Gah, you're right. Well if I have any amazing epiphanies in the next few minutes, be a dear and tell my alternate self what it was?"
  37.  
  38. "I'll see what I can do."
  39.  
  40. <<"Anon, seeing as you're going to be leaving any minute now, would you care for some tea?"
  41.  
  42. "Sure, why not."
  43.  
  44. The three of you head back into the kitchen and enjoy one last cup of tea. Not surprisingly, Celestia knows how to make a damn good cup. As she puts it, Earl Grey is the one flavor she can count on tasting absolutely perfect when she isn't sure if the world is going to end that day. It tastes strangely familiar. It is only when you finish the last of your cup and the world fades to black once more that you realize why. This was the same tea she served you the day you got your cutie mark.
  45.  
  46. >"Fuck me, remind me not to drink when I have research in the morning."  
  47. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  48. "Hey, you know what? At least you don't have to remember the time loop, Diana Rose Fischer."
  49.  
  50. She winces as you emphasize each individual word in her name, then shakes her head as if trying to get rid of a bad memory.
  51.  
  52. >"Great, you know my name. And based on the fact that you're using my full name, I'm willing to bet that you just learned it. Where'd it come to you, in a dream?"
  53.  
  54. "Time loop. I am in a time loop."
  55.  
  56. >"Right. You said that earlier, okay. So is this like some sort of Groundhog Day scenario?"
  57.  
  58. "Yes, exactly."
  59.  
  60. >"Okay, well that sucks. How many loops have you done?"
  61.  
  62. "This is the eighth loop."
  63.  
  64. >"So I'll take it you've made some attempts to get out thus far? What have you tried?"
  65. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  66. "Uhh, let's see here. I've tried being a better person, killing myself, getting knocked up, going on a crime spree, talking to Pinkie Pie - by the way she's on the same time loop, and talking to Celestia. She suggested we use Spike for fast two way communication to save time next time we need to talk. But enough about me, I need you to do something."
  67.  
  68. >"Oh?"
  69.  
  70. "Yeah, I need you to go do your flight spell research. Really, just do what you'd normally do and let me know when you're done. You had a working prototype by lunch time on the first loop, and I've got a theory on how I'm going to get out of this whole thing."
  71.  
  72. >"And what is that theory?"
  73.  
  74. "The Aussie is dying in the woods and I need to rescue her."
  75.  
  76. >"Okay then, I guess I'll just do exactly what I was planning to do today. Wanna go get breakfast?"
  77. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  78. "Yeah, sure thing. Also hey, since I already know today's lessons, would it be a bad thing to ditch classes?"
  79.  
  80. >"Do you want to explain this whole time loop scenario to your teacher tomorrow, assuming you sort this whole thing out today?"
  81.  
  82. "It would not be my idea of a fun time."
  83.  
  84. >"Then if you want my advice, go to class as usual. Who knows, maybe your time loop situation has to do with what's going on there. Or don't, see if I care. I'm not your mom."
  85.  
  86. "Aww, but I thought you were supposed to be me and Blossom's mama."
  87.  
  88. >"Says the naughty filly who never eats her vegetables. Now come on, let's get some waffles."
  89.  
  90. "Good. I haven't eaten in like… a week."
  91.  
  92. >"Wait, seriously? You had all the excuses in the world to eat like a pig without consequences, and you wasted it doing silly degenerate things like sex outside of wedlock and a crime spree? What is wrong with you, you silly filly?"
  93. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  94. "Many things. I thought you would've gotten that by now."
  95.  
  96. >"Well alrighty then. Come on, let's get you fed, weirdo."
  97.  
  98. You head upstairs and get ready to enjoy breakfast. A very sleepy Cadance is making her way to the stove, but Twilight manages to snatch up the frying pan before her, with some sense of determination in her to fill you full of calories. You're not sure if it's out of a motherly instinct or jealousy over your figure. Twilight may not be fat, but from all of the exercise you've been doing over the past few weeks before the loop, you're certainly a bit more svelte. You contemplate making a fat joke at her expense, but decide to pass.
  99.  
  100. Within minutes, you find yourself faced with a tower of waffles, each covered in syrup, with a pad of butter atop them. Not knowing whether this will your last loop, or one of many to come, you take her advice and savor every bite look a good hedonist.
  101.  
  102. When you finish your meal, you find yourself at odds with what to do next. Twilight has already situated herself on the couch with a book, and you know that without any intervention from yourself, she should have a flight spell by around noon. You could go to school in the mean time, but you don't want to. You could do something crazy and possibly illegal, but if you do, you can't let this be your final loop, and your actions thus far will have been for nothing.
  103.  
  104. What will you do?
  105. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  106. Since you aren't planning on going to school, you decide now would be a good time to start preparing for your trip into the Everfree. Though you plan on simply flying over the forest as much as possible, you realize it would not be a bad idea to familiarize yourself with anything you might encounter when you eventually have to land. Fortunately, among Twilight's growing collection of books is a nice tome on the flora and fauna of the Everfree Forest. Over the next few hours, you find yourself studying as much as you can of it in your room, hiding from your adoptive parents after you made it look like you left for school already.
  107.  
  108. From the book, you manage to find a few choice bits of information about how to survive in the forest, and what types of threats you might face. You probably won't be able to face any large creatures, like hydras, with the stuff you have available to you, but fortunately they can't fly or breathe fire, and they mostly tend to stay in the adjacent area of Froggy Bottom Bogg. Of greater concern to you are cockatrices, poison joke, and timberwolves. For the cockatrices, you figure that a mirror would be the best weapon against them, and you manage to find a decent recipe for a poison joke cure. You're not quite sure about how to deal with timberwolves yet. Though you consider for a moment using Spike, his fire breath is really weak still, and it only comes out when he eats spicy enough food - Twilight's idea of cheating her assignment.
  109.  
  110. After about a half hours of brainstorming ideas on how to take out a possible timberwolf threat, you hear the loud shattering of broken glass coming from upstairs.
  111.  
  112. What do you do?
  113. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  114. The sound of the glass immediately makes you wonder if Twilight remembered to put away the Vodka last night… or if someone else pulled it out and it fell upon the floor. The very thought that your precious booze might be in jeopardy summons within you a primal anger and drives you to rush upstairs to see what is the matter.
  115.  
  116. As you throw open the door, however, the source of the noise becomes very obvious, and thankfully it wasn't the booze. Instead, you see the family crowded around a winged Twilight recovering from a crash. She had apparently flew through one of the windows and collided with the wall. Of course, despite the amount of attention she is receiving, you have not managed to avoid being noticed by Mama Velvet.
  117.  
  118. <<"Young lady, why aren't you at school?"
  119. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  120. "My psychic powers told me something would happen, don't question it!"
  121.  
  122. Mama Velvet gazes into your eyes intently. Somehow you must have flinched or otherwise betrayed your thoughts, because she soon develops a very smug grin.
  123.  
  124. <<"I don't think you're being that truthful with me. In fact, I think you're hiding something from me, Missy."
  125.  
  126. It's around this time that Twilight starts to slowly get up, thus saving you from Mama Velvet's attention.
  127.  
  128. >"Anon, I… I don't think I'm gonna be able to come with you today."
  129.  
  130. She fires a familiar magic spell at you and wanders her way over to the couch, where she promptly collapses.
  131.  
  132. You are now a moth pony again.
  133. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  134. The entire family, with the exception of Twilight, seems to be staring at you. If you had a mirror on you, you could probably hazard a guess as to why (it's probably the wings and the bug eyes). Right now, however, you're not in the mood for explaining those wings, as you have no idea how long they'll last, or how long you'll need them in your search.
  135.  
  136. "Hey guys, I'd love to stay and chat, but I've got to get the fuck out of dodge right now. I'll be back in time for dinner, hopefully."
  137.  
  138. Before anyone else can get a word in, you fly your way out the door and head straight towards the Everfree Forest. Though it's been a while since you've last used your wings, it's nonetheless much easier the second time around. You try to gain a good bit of height to stay out of view of most ponies, but you still manage to get a few odd glances from some pegasi on your way to the forest.
  139.  
  140. Once you find your way over the trees, you fly a little bit lower to keep an eye on the ground. You're not quite sure what you should be looking for, only that it's a pegasus, who should probably be in trouble around the time you go back in time. The forest is pretty wide, and your wings are not as fast as you'd like them, so by your own basic calculations, this could very well take several loops to go through. Still, you won't find anything without taking your first steps, so you persevere your way through a mostly fruitless search.
  141.  
  142. The forest below is surprisingly very boring for the most part. You manage to spot a couple of cockatrices after about a half an hour of flight, but fortunately, they're both asleep. After another half an hour, you see the Castle of the Two Sisters off in the distance. Though you'd love to pay it a visit, your wings seem to suggest otherwise as you feel them fading out of existence. With your last few seconds of having them, you manage a somewhat rough landing in a small clearing below.
  143.  
  144. You are now standing in the middle of the Everfree Forest.
  145. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  146. Based on what you had seen from the surrounding area prior to landing, the area you're in should be pretty safe for now. That is, as long as you stay away from the scattered poison joke patches. Knowing this, you decide it would be an okay time to take a short break to masturbate. You've never done it out in the wild, nor have you done it anything not designed for sexual purposes, like a stick. Regardless, you've pretty much gotten used to the idea that your actions have no real consequences, so you proceed to grab the nearest tree branch and shove it up your ass.
  147.  
  148. This hurts pretty bad. Sticks are pretty rough around the edges, and assholes are pretty sensitive on the inside. After pulling it out, you see a little bit of blood on the stick, suggesting that you scratched the inside of your rectum.
  149.  
  150. You're not sure if you want to continue doing this, but at least you know first hand why bitter people are said to have a stick up their ass.
  151. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  152. After that spur of the moment idea, you're pretty sure you don't want to shove anything more up your ass today. Instead, you need to continue your search. Based on your current running theory, the Aussie filly should be dead by the time you loop back, so if you were to hazard a guess, the best place to look for her would be wherever there's the most danger.
  153.  
  154. You sit down for a moment to listen to the sounds of the forest. The Everfree is a pretty dangerous place, but you need to seek out the greatest danger. It takes a few minutes, but you manage to hear the growling of a manticore further south. Immediately, you run in the direction of the roar as fast as your legs will permit. Though you have no idea how you plan to take on a manticore, you're not entirely afraid to die a few times to find out.
  155.  
  156. Eventually, you can vaguely see the manticore in the distance. Before you can get a closer look at it though, you feel something tugging at your hind leg, and then lifting you up into the sky several feet.
  157.  
  158. You are now hanging from a tree by a snare trap.
  159. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  160. You look up at your hind leg as you dangle helplessly from the tree. If you were still a human, you might think to undo this knot with your highly nimble fingers. Or perhaps you might cut it with a knife that you would have kept in your pocket because all humans wear clothes, and most good clothes have pockets. Alas, you do not have fingers or a knife, and undoing this whole thing with your teeth would be an absolute pain.
  161.  
  162. Instead, you resign yourself to just giving up, not even positioning yourself better to avoid all of the blood running to your head. This is, of course, incredibly uncomfortable, but at least it gives you a good look at the ground below you, so you should hopefully be able to avoid it the next time you find your way here. That is, of course, assuming you don't lose a few IQ points in hanging upside down for so long.
  163.  
  164. A few minutes pass with you hanging like this, with a headache that seems to slowly get worse, before you eventually feel yourself drop to the ground. You look up, and see a filly version of Daring Do.
  165.  
  166. >"Well well well, look what the cat dragged in. Y'alright there cunt?"
  167. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  168. "Listen, ya soft cunt. I've been stuck in a goddamn time loop 'cause you keep gettin' yourself killed out here. Now you're either comin' with me conscious or unconscious back to town, 'cause it gets REALLY FUCKING ANNOYING when you have to re-live the same day over and over and over."
  169.  
  170. >"And what if I said no?"
  171.  
  172. "Excuse me?"
  173.  
  174. >"Well, you're an Earth pony, and based on the way you ran into my snare, I'd say you might have less brain cells than an abbo with a gutful of piss. So I'll wager you can't actually do anything to me, can you?"
  175.  
  176. "Dude, you're gonna fucking die at around 5:30. I'm trying to help you."
  177.  
  178. >"Then I'll sleep on a cloud until 6. And then I think I'm gonna hunt a cragadile with a rusty spoon. How d'ya like that, you bloody seppo?"
  179. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  180. "Or, or… better idea. You could come help me and my friend hunt down a commie with that bush magic of yours."
  181.  
  182. Daring looks at you a little perplexed.
  183.  
  184. >"A commie? There ain't no fuckin' reds in Equestria."
  185.  
  186. "There is one. And she's working with the changelings to take down Princess Celestia."
  187.  
  188. >"Yeah, like anyone's gonna fuck with the Goddess of the Sun. Are you daft?"
  189.  
  190. "It's a communist. They're dumb enough to try. And with an army, they just might succeed. She's only one pony."
  191.  
  192. >"Right, and what's all this got to do with me exactly? First you're telling me you're trying to keep me from dying, and now you're telling me you want me to stop an army with a rabbit snare? Are you taking the piss?"
  193. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  194. "Yes."
  195.  
  196. She seems taken slightly aback.
  197.  
  198. >"Okay, just so we're clear here, you do know what 'taking the piss' means, right"
  199.  
  200. "It means I'm fucking with you and this is all a joke."
  201.  
  202. >"Okay, well, right she is. That just leaves one question. What the hell are you doing all the way out here? I specifically made my home in the middle of the fuckin' woods to get away from you ponies. But then, I suppose you're not a pony, are you?"
  203. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  204. "Would a pony know you y'all lost the Emu War?"
  205.  
  206. Daring rolls her eyes and chuckles.
  207.  
  208. >"Would a pony know y'all lost to rice farmers?"
  209.  
  210. "Okay, fuck you, that was uncalled for."
  211.  
  212. >"Aha, I knew you were an American!"
  213.  
  214. "How so?"
  215.  
  216. >"Dude. Goddamn. Commie. It's your vernacular. Your accent's pretty right for any of the small pony towns around here, but how often do you hear a pony reference God? The closest thing they have to a god is Celestia, and they just call her Princess. It's a wonder anyone knows what the fuck you're saying, but based on the fact that you're not at all surprised to meet a fucking Aussie cunt, I'll wager that you're currently living in the company of some other humans, yeah?"
  217.  
  218. "Yeah, kinda."
  219.  
  220. >"And you're not gonna leave my backyard until I come with you, right?"
  221.  
  222. "Pretty much."
  223.  
  224. >"Right then, what's your story? And don't lie; I don't like liars."
  225. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  226. You give Daring a look of suspicion for her constant questioning of your motives.
  227.  
  228. "Look, I was a dude, now I'm a horse. What do you want, my fucking Social Security Number?"
  229.  
  230. She rolls her eyes.
  231.  
  232. >"Well for starters, I'd like to know what you're doing in my backyard."
  233.  
  234. "Do you really want to know?"
  235.  
  236. >"Yes."
  237.  
  238. "Alright… Well, this is the story all about how my life got-"
  239.  
  240. >"Alright, you can fuck off now."
  241.  
  242. "You didn't even let me finish."
  243.  
  244. >"If you're not going to answer me seriously, I'm not going to bother with you."
  245.  
  246. She starts walking away.
  247. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  248. "Look, I'm stuck in a time loop, because you're gonna fucking die soon!"
  249.  
  250. You shout out after her, but she doesn't seem to respond. She just keeps walking away.
  251.  
  252. "I know we're supposed to save the world or some shit, but… it just isn't flying with reality right now."
  253.  
  254. She continues to ignore you and takes up in flight up to the cloud layer. Eventually, she falls asleep on a cloud, just like she said she would do at the start of your conversation. You begin to suspect that you may have made a bad first impression by telling her that this was all a joke. Alternatively, she's just a cunt.
  255. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  256. She'll have to come down eventually. You know she will; every pony has to eat at some point. Alternatively, she'll get killed, and you'll see what it is that kills her, so you can warn her about it in the next loop. Really, either works. All you have to do is stay in one place until that happens… or you get eaten by whatever was going to kill her.
  257.  
  258. As it turns out, this is extremely boring. You're not quite sure if Daring is actually asleep, or just pretending to be asleep in a stubborn attempt to make your every second here as boring as possible. It would be nice if you had something more interesting to watch, like maybe a clock so you could tell how close you are to dying, but alas, you seem to be in one of the more boring parts of the forest. Even the manticore in the distance has decided to take a cat nap. Your boredom begins to take over, and in the place of watching a filly sleep, you instead start to berate yourself.
  259.  
  260. It's those damn voices in your head at fault for all of this. They make you say one thing, and then turn around to say another. And so the Aussie doesn't trust you. You've never been able to find any consistency in your own actions, and that inconsistency is the one thing that makes her mad - well, that and the fact that you won't leave her private property, but you can't really help that. Plus, you're pretty sure she doesn't actually own any part of the Everfree Forest, she's obviously just squatting.
  261.  
  262. After a few hours, she gets up, and flies onto a cloud closer to you.
  263.  
  264. >"So are you just planning on playing sentinel all day?"
  265. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  266. "Would you actually believe me if I said yes? I mean, you didn't exactly say you believed me on the whole time loop thing or destiny thing."
  267.  
  268. >"You know, I asked you if you were fucking with me, and you said yes."
  269.  
  270. "Well I fucked up on that one, so I guess I'm just gonna be watching you until one of us gets eaten."
  271.  
  272. >"So is that permission to feed you to my cat?"
  273.  
  274. "No."
  275.  
  276. >"Right. Well, I guess I have no choice but to invite you inside for a beer and a Vegemite sandwich."
  277.  
  278. "Vegemite? Is that shit even edible?"
  279.  
  280. >"You tell me. I've been trying to reverse engineer the recipe ever since I came here. I think I've managed a good approximation with some ground black sesame seeds, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, and of course, brewer's yeast. It is not as disgusting as it sounds, promise. What do you say?"
  281. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  282.  
  283. "You know what? Fuck it, sure. If your weird-ass bread spread kills me, I guess I won't have to fight a monster next loop."
  284.  
  285. She takes one look over you and begins to laugh.
  286.  
  287. >"You? Fighting? No offense, but you don't look like you'd last long here. Next time bring guns or something."
  288.  
  289. "Yeah, I'm pretty sure they don't have those in Equestria."
  290.  
  291. >"An American without a sidearm? Now imagine my shock!"
  292.  
  293. The two of you exchange more banter about one another's countries as you approach Daring's shack in a small forest clearing. When it comes into view, you find it surprisingly well-built, thought the small vegetable garden out in front is clearly not this pony's strong point.
  294.  
  295. You do manage to pass by the manticore you saw earlier, but Daring assures you that it really is tame, and she demonstrates this by throwing a Frisbee and having it catch it. She explains that she managed to nurse the bastard back to health when she initially found it bleeding out after a bad fight with a hydra. Though the two can't talk, they do have a bit of a mutual understanding of one another.
  296.  
  297. Finally, she invites you into her house, which you find relatively cozy-looking. She has a proper bed, an ice chest in the corner, a table with some chairs, some cabinets full of food, etc… everything she could need for a tiny forest cabinet. Except, of course, for a bathroom. Here, she explains, the outback is your bathroom and leaves are your "dunny rolls". You swear, it's like she's using her weird slang on purpose to fuck with you.
  298.  
  299. She offers you a seat at the table and tosses you a bottle of some Appaloosan lager. You take a sip and, to be honest, it's pretty decent, though you're growing concerned a bit for your liver - this is technically the second day in a row your filly body has been exposed to alcohol. Fortunately, you've got some food to wash this all down with - a couple of slices of toast with some weird blackish shit smeared over them. You take a bite and… honestly, it's not too bad. You're not quite sure what to call the flavor though.
  300.  
  301. >"Nothing like a cold one and vegemite, yeah?"
  302. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  303. "Yeah it is pretty alright. But are you sure you got the flavor right? This is far too good to be Vegemite."
  304.  
  305. She shrugs.
  306.  
  307. >"Fuck if I know. Just as long as it tastes good, who gives a shit?"
  308.  
  309. "Fair."
  310.  
  311. You finish up the rest of your food and beer and soon find yourself collapsed on Daring's bed.
  312.  
  313. >"So…"
  314.  
  315. "So…"
  316.  
  317. >"What do we do now, sentinel?"
  318. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  319. You look around for a clock in Daring's shack, only to find it lacking in quite a bit of technology, including an accurate measure of time.
  320.  
  321. "Hey, you wouldn't happen to know what time it is, would you?"
  322.  
  323. She opens up the door and takes a peek outside, looking up at the sky with a hoof to block out the sun.
  324.  
  325. >"Well, going by the position of the sun, I'd guess around 4, but I could be off by a half hour or so. Why?"
  326.  
  327. "Cause you're supposed to die in like… 2 hours from now?"
  328.  
  329. >"Ahaha, any idea what's supposed to do me in?"
  330.  
  331. "Not a clue, so I guess we got some time to kill. I know you don't have a clock in here, but do you at least have some games? Maybe Chess, Backgammon, or even Scrabble? Or hell, we could just fuck."
  332.  
  333. Daring makes an honest attempt to contain her laughter for all of about 3 seconds before bursting into a very hearty laugh.
  334.  
  335. >"You said you were a dude before becoming a pony, right?"
  336.  
  337. "Well yeah…"
  338.  
  339. >"Were you a faggot too?"
  340.  
  341. "Not really."
  342.  
  343. >"Well you are one now!"
  344. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  345. "Hey, there's nothing wrong with a dude wanting to fuck a filly. Fucking baka."
  346.  
  347. >"So now you're speaking nip? That's fucking cute. But there still remains the fact that we're both dudes in filly bodies, so it's totally gay. Now I hope you don't mind, but you're going to sleep for a little bit."
  348.  
  349. "Wait, what?"
  350.  
  351. Time seems to freeze for just a few seconds, and you begin to hear a few voices inside your head. These are familiar voices, the ones that keep telling you to do stupid shit. This one has a soothing voice. 'Look, filly. I'm sorry for all of the shit we've put you through, but it's by no means over yet. So prepare your anus.'
  352.  
  353. And in a flash, you snap back into reality, and the next thing you know, you're being lifted up into the air and hung from the ceiling by your ankles. You feel strangely woozy, and in front of you, you can vaguely see Daring hovering in front of you.
  354.  
  355. >"Good, you're awake. Knockout drugs worked like a charm. You know, I originally considered dumping you in the middle of the forest for being an annoying stalker, but you said you wanted to fuck, so why the hell not. Hope you're into rope play, because I've got you like a fly in a spider web."
  356.  
  357. You lift your head to observe your current predicament, and you are indeed quite more tied up than you thought you were. Indeed, your front hooves are tied behind your back in what appears to be a straight jacket made of rope. You aren't given much time to adjust, however, as your face is quickly shoved right into Daring's snatch. Admittedly, she tastes rather nice, but you could do without the loud moaning and calling you a faggot for seemingly enjoying it.
  358.  
  359. The next thing you notice, something very large is entering your ponut, very fast, and stretching it much farther than anything should be able to stretch it. The lack of lubrication definitely isn't helping, nor is the fact that you can't see it due to Daring's thighs being in the way. If you had to hazard a guess, she just shoved her entire hoof into you.
  360.  
  361. This goes on for a good ten minutes or so, but it feels like an hour. Eventually, Daring ends up squirting over your face, and brings you down from the ceiling, placing you on the bed, still tied up. She leaves the cabin to go wash her hooves in a stream.
  362.  
  363. Your body aches.
  364. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  365. You haven't always felt like you really are a filly in the few weeks you've been in Equestria. You've wanted to have sex with about half of your friends, you drink, you curse… if you had to evaluate your decisions in life, you would definitely say you do not make for a very good filly. And yet despite this evaluation, you somehow find yourself shaking and pissing in your rope binds like a scared little filly.
  366.  
  367. Becoming an Australian rope bunny's bitch was not on your plans at all, even if you did ask to have sex, and even if you did have the insane idea of shoving a stick up your ass earlier in the day. Maybe it might have been a little bit hotter if she had thought to use SOME sort of lube, but she didn't. You'll definitely have to get back at her at some point, although you expect it'll have to be in a different timeline, when she won't remember any of this at all. With any luck, she'll get eaten while she cleans off her hooves, and you'll never be able to speak with her about this again.
  368.  
  369. Or perhaps not. The door swings open, and in walks Daring, slightly off-put as she sees your shaking.
  370.  
  371. >"Y'okay cunt?"
  372. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  373. "What the fuck do you think? You know in the civilized world, we usually use SOME lube."
  374.  
  375. >"Do we look like we're in the civilized world? I don't tend to go into town very often, and when I do, I don't tend to buy lube because I don't plan on fucking a random filly in my shack in the middle of nowhere."
  376.  
  377. "And you couldn't use spit?"
  378.  
  379. >"So what you're saying is, you want me to spit in your ass?"
  380.  
  381. "Not now! It fucking hurts. But you know, some warning might have at least helped!"
  382.  
  383. >"Well sooorrry, Ms. Talks In Her Sleep About Wanting To Be Fucked In The Ass."
  384.  
  385. "Are you fucking kidding me? Now I know I had a dream telling me to prepare my anus, but I'm pretty sure I didn't literally say that in my sleep."
  386.  
  387. >"Look, I'm not going to lie to someone who's supposedly in a time loop. But hey, believe whatever you want. It's some other Daring's problem, right?"
  388.  
  389. "Yeah, that still smells like a huge crock of shit. You're just saying that to cover your own-"
  390.  
  391. You hear the voice of Ajna coo sweetly into your ears.
  392.  
  393. >"Payback's a bitch, ain't it, honey?"
  394. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  395. "Oh ha ha, very funny, bitch. I've still got plenty of time and plenty of tries to cause some REAL lasting damage."
  396.  
  397. Daring tilts her head in confusion.
  398.  
  399. >"You drunk already? I only gave you one beer mate."
  400.  
  401. "Nevermind that. I talk to myself sometimes."
  402.  
  403. >"So do I, but usually not when there's company around."
  404.  
  405. "Well then, I'll owe you one not making fun of you when you do that."
  406.  
  407. >"I'll hold you to that. Not that it matters, since you seem to think you're in a time loop."
  408.  
  409. You shrug.
  410.  
  411. "I'm pretty sure the reason I'm looping is because something's supposed to kill you. I might not even end up looping since I've already changed your entire schedule for today."
  412.  
  413. >"Just pretty sure? You know it would really suck…"
  414.  
  415. "Don't say it!"
  416.  
  417. >"It would really suck if…"
  418.  
  419. "You're gonna jinx it!"
  420.  
  421. >"What? I was just gonna say it would really have to suck if the entire reason you're looping isn't because I'm supposed to die, but instead for something completely mundane like-"
  422.  
  423. . . .
  424.  
  425. >"Fuck me, remind me not to drink when I have research in the morning."
  426. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  427. This cannot be happening. You were absolutely sure saving Daring was what you needed to do to escape the loop. You took a stick and a hoof up your ass for this, and now…
  428.  
  429. "FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKK!
  430.  
  431. Your scream is so loud that you can hardly pay attention to anything around you, like the fact that you've made Twilight cover her ears hard with her hooves and cringe.
  432.  
  433. >"Jesus fucking Christ Anon! Do you not have a hangover too? What the fuck is wrong with you?"
  434.  
  435. You hear hooves stomping in the background as someone rushes down a flight of stairs. Your door springs open, revealing a very not awake Shining Armor.
  436.  
  437. >>"Is everything alright, Anon?"
  438. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  439. "NO! I'M STUCK IN THIS SHITHOLE OF A TIME LOOP WITH EVEN LESS OF AN IDEA OF WHAT I NEED TO BREAK IT NOW THAN WHEN I FIRST STARTED IT!"
  440.  
  441. Twilight is still cringing as she holds her ears even tighter with her hooves.
  442.  
  443. >"Anon, could you please try and be a little quieter?"
  444.  
  445. >>"Wait, you're in a time loop? What?"
  446.  
  447. "NEXT TIME I SEE THAT FUCKING AUSSIE CUNT I'M SHOVING A GODDAMNED EMU SO FAR UP HER ASS SHE'LL BE TASTING OMELETTES FOR THE REST OF HER NATURAL LIFE!"
  448.  
  449. >"GODAMMIT ANON! I HAVE A HA- Wait, did you say Aussie?"
  450.  
  451. "YES I MET HER, NO SHE'S NOT MY TICKET OUT OF THIS MESS. AND SHE'S A FUCKING BITCH!"
  452.  
  453. Cadance and Velvet finally make their way to the door, seemingly less awake than Shining.
  454.  
  455. <"Anon, what's with all the shouting?"
  456.  
  457. >>"She says she's in a time loop.
  458.  
  459. <"What's a time loop?"
  460.  
  461. >"It probably means she's returning to the same period of time repeatedly while retaining her memories."
  462.  
  463. "IT DOES AND IT FUCKING SUUUUUUU-"
  464.  
  465. Twilight shoves a hoof in your mouth and stares into your eyes.
  466.  
  467. >"If you do not stop shouting, I am going to shove a dirty sock into your mouth and make you eat it."
  468. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  469. "TRY ME, BITCH! YOU CAN'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!"
  470.  
  471. Twilight is starting to look very visibly annoyed. She had already looked like she was missing a few hours of sleep, but now her face is much more flush red.
  472.  
  473. >"Do you want to know what a bitch looks like?"
  474.  
  475. "DO IT. WHATEVER YOU'RE GONNA DO, JUST DO IT. IT WOULDN'T EVEN BE THE THIRD WORST THING THAT'S HAPPENED TO ME THUS FAR. YOU WANNA PUNCH ME? GO AHEAD, KNOCK ALL MY GODDAMN TEETH OUT."
  476.  
  477. She raises a hoof as if to slap you, but the Velvet's voice brings her to a stop.
  478.  
  479. <<"Twilight, Anon, both of you stop it. I don't know what in Tartarus has gotten into you two, but you're both grounded. Twilight, stay here, no books for the day. Anon, come upstairs and tell me what in the name of Celestia has come over you, that you are shouting this early in the morning."
  480. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  481. You follow Velvet up the stairs and try to think as fast as you can for an excuse to provide her. Thus far, you haven't told any of your adoptive family, outside of Twilight, about your time loop. You're not sure if they're going to understand, and you really don't want to have to explain things in detail. Instead, you use the first excuse that comes to your mind.
  482.  
  483. "Mama Velvet, I think I might be pregnant."
  484.  
  485. It takes a few seconds for her to react as you sit down at the breakfast table to explain things.
  486.  
  487. <<"Wait, what? How? With whose foal? Did somepony hurt you, or did you do this willingly?"
  488. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  489. You try to adopt your best sad filly impression, using your memories from the previous loop's events as inspiration, as you whisper your response into Velvet's ear.
  490.  
  491. "It was Shining. I don't think Cadance knows about it yet, so I'm not going to say this out loud."
  492.  
  493. Velvet looks unsure how to react, with her face seemingly trying to shift into anger, confusion, and worry at the same time.
  494.  
  495. <<"A-are you sure it was him?"
  496.  
  497. <"Who's him? It's not Night Light is it?"
  498.  
  499. "Yeah, I'm sure. And it was pretty scary too; whenever I think about it, I wanna cry. I could use some motherly affection right now honestly."
  500.  
  501. She wraps her arms tight around you, showering you with as much affection as you might give to a loved one you hadn't seen in months.
  502.  
  503. "Thanks. I really need as much intimacy as possible right now. Say, you're not still lactating, are you?"
  504.  
  505. She let's go of the hug.
  506.  
  507. <<"You made that whole thing up, didn't you?"
  508. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  509. Somehow, you were hoping that this would end in breastfeeding. This did not end in breastfeeding, and even more, Velvet's innate motherly ability to tell when her children are lying has caught you in the act. Since you have absolutely nothing to say in your defense, you make a run as fast as you can for the upstairs window.
  510.  
  511. Part of you wants to make a finger gun motion right before the jump, but unfortunately you lack the appendages to be this cool. Instead, you elect to dab in mid air as you collide with the window, shattering the glass and causing you break your front leg bone as you land on the adjacent tree branch. From there, as you try to get up, you slip off the tree branch and fall straight to the ground, landing on your other front leg, which you also break.
  512.  
  513. You now finally have an excuse to not attend school today.
  514. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  515. You're in a hospital… or a clinic. You're not quite sure. The past hour or so has been rather blurry. You were never really sure if Ponyville had a proper hospital or if injured ponies had to be transferred somewhere else, but nonetheless, you're hooked up to an IV and being pumped full of painkillers. Or at least you're assuming they're painkillers, because you can't really feel your forelegs, which are most certainly not the color you think they should be.
  516.  
  517. A nurse walks into the room. Sadly, she isn't Aryanne, but she is at least rather cute. You would consider smacking her fine plot with your hooves, were it not for the fact that you can't move them very well, and moreover, you wouldn't be able to feel it. So much for this loop being fun.
  518.  
  519. <"Oh good, you're awake. How are you feeling right now?"
  520.  
  521. >"I'm not feeling anything right now."
  522.  
  523. <"Well, that would be the painkillers you're on. They're going to be keeping you here for a couple of days while the regeneration spells take effect. You know, you're actually kind of lucky. Were you alive just 50 years ago, these drugs wouldn't have been invented yet, and you'd be in extreme agony while the magic tries to heal you. You'd live for sure, but it wouldn't be fun."
  524.  
  525. >"I take it there's no such thing as a magical painkiller? Maybe something that doesn't make your memory as fuzzy?"
  526.  
  527. <"None that I know of. But who knows what the future will hold?"
  528.  
  529. >"So what happened anyways?"
  530.  
  531. <"You fell out of a window and fractured some of your leg bones. They should be back to normal in a few days."
  532.  
  533. >"Why does my leg look so funny?"
  534.  
  535. <"Internal bleeding. That's what the magic is for. Had your mother not gotten you here sooner, you could have had some complications from that."
  536.  
  537. >"Well, I guess I'm stuck here for a while then. Got any lollipops?"
  538.  
  539. <"Sorry, fresh out. Not that you'd be able to taste them anyways."
  540. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  541.  
  542. "You know, back where I'm from, they put horses down when they break their legs for a reason. Because this sucks all the ass."
  543.  
  544. The nurse shrugs.
  545.  
  546. <"I don't know where you're from, but here in Ponyville, we try and help every one of our patients receive a swift recovery. Now get some rest."
  547.  
  548. Seeing as you don't have much else to do, you follow the nurse's instructions. Fortunately, getting to sleep isn't too difficult when you're on drugs, and so you find time passes very quickly until you eventually wake up in a familiar bed with your legs, fortunately no longer broken.
  549.  
  550. . . .
  551.  
  552. >"Fuck me, remind-"
  553.  
  554. "Shut up, Twilight."
  555. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  556. >"Wow, rude much?"
  557.  
  558. "You know what? I don't fucking care. This has been the 10th goddamn time I've heard you say that exact phrase. Fuck me, remind me not to drink when I have research in the morning. Those are your exact words, every time. I am stuck in a time loop, and I do not need to hear this shit because you sound like a broken record. So unless you know something about time loops that you haven't shared with me in the previous nine loops, DIANA, I don't really care what you have to say?"
  559.  
  560. She pauses for a moment to process your verbal tirade.
  561.  
  562. >"Um, okay, what have you tried to get out of it?"
  563.  
  564. "Fucking up. Apologizing for fucking up. Killing myself. Getting pregnant. Going on a crime spree. Meeting up with Pinkie Pie, who's also looping. Going to Canterlot to see Celestia, who isn't looping, and can't really help me because it takes too long to reach her. Looking for the final filly. By the way, her name's Daring Do, she lives in a shack in the middle of the woods, and she has some FUCKED UP fetishes. And finally, I tried jumping out a window and breaking both of my front legs. Apparently they don't put you down in Equestria, they just use modern medicine to numb you and magic to heal your fractured bones. I would really rather be dead right now than stuck in this stupid loop."
  565.  
  566. >"Sounds like everything you've done so far has been self-destructive. Have you tried just having a normal day?"
  567.  
  568. "YES! The second fucking day I went to school as normal after apologizing profusely for the events of the first loop. Clearly this isn't going to work. It has to be something fucked up going on that I have to fix, and I have no idea what the fuck it is because Equestria is fucking huge and it could be anything."
  569.  
  570. >"Well clearly it can't be something you're incapable of doing, right? A time loop is probably purposeful, and with the intention of correcting something, right? I mean, this kind of power doesn't just come out of the blue. So what all happened on your first loop?"
  571.  
  572. "I really don't want to talk about it. The end result was you tying me up in the basement and interrogating me about something stupid I did. And I already apologized for it, so I really don't want to talk about it again because it won't help anything."
  573.  
  574. >"Okay, whatever it is, it sounds pretty terrible. I assume if I help you, you'll never do this shit again?"
  575.  
  576. "YES! As long as I never have to deal with this loop again."
  577.  
  578. >"Then tell me about your day leading up to the fuck up."
  579.  
  580. "Well, I go upstairs, eat breakfast, get stuck on my homework, and go to school. I end up late for class because I was rushing through my assignments. Then the teacher gives me a lecture about how I'm both late and my homework isn't even complete. Then I sit through classes, and go to lunch, only to find out I forgot to bring something to eat. Apparently, the food Rarity offers me differed between the two days and the only explanation I have is it's the butterfly effect, which you offered. I'm pretty sure the world is actually just fucking with me. Then at the end of lunch, you end up crashing into the school walls and give me the wing spell you were working on. I turned into a moth, and then I did the messed up thing."
  581.  
  582. >"Did you remember your homework and lunch on the second day?"
  583.  
  584. "Well no. But I wasn't chastized because I made Time Turner late for class."
  585.  
  586. She stares at you, seemingly unenthused with your actions thus far.
  587.  
  588. >"Anon…"
  589.  
  590. "What are you looking at me like that for?"
  591.  
  592. >"DO. YOUR. HOMEWORK!"
  593.  
  594. "What?"
  595.  
  596. >"It's all so simple. You made three mistakes on the first loop: not doing your homework, forgetting your lunch, and the other thing. You didn't make that last mistake on the second loop, so it had to be one of the first two. Since you didn't go to school on the later days, you never got to correct it at all, and you kept looping because you kept fucking up in other ways. You know what? Start working right now, I'll go make breakfast. And your lunch. If this works, you owe me."
  597.  
  598. She rushes up the stairs, leaving you alone in the room. With nothing better to do, you pull out the worksheet from your backpack and get back to work. The material is hard, especially seeing as you covered the material a week ago, but at least you covered the answers in class. Some of them you can sort of remember. At the very least, you don't spend a ton of time remembering what the hell the quadratic formula was. Twilight's voice from the first day starts to echo in your head. It's actually rather annoying, but focusing on it like a mantra at least makes it easier to focus. Halfway through your work, Twilight comes back into the room and places a plate of pancakes next to you.
  599.  
  600. >"You're making great time. If you keep up that pace, you'll have no problem getting to class on time. Don't worry about making a lunch, I've got you."
  601.  
  602. Without another word, she leaves, and you are left to finish your work. You take large bites of your pancakes as you trudge your way through the worksheet, not wanting to waste a second. If the experiences of the past week and a half have taught you anything, it's that time is both a precious commodity, and also a dangerous adversary, not to be trifled with. The last problem of your assignment ends up taking up an almost worrying amount of minutes, but to your relief, you manage to finish it just as Twilight comes into the room again with a sack lunch.
  603. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  604. >"You ready to go?"
  605.  
  606. "Yeah, but do you have time to maybe check my work?"
  607.  
  608. >"We can do it on the way there. I can take some time out to walk you there, seeing as it apparently only takes half a day to research a working flight spell when I'm hungover."
  609.  
  610. "Maybe you should take your time and sober up. You might not end up crashing into walls this time."
  611.  
  612. >"Good idea."
  613.  
  614. The two of you rush out the door and make your way to the school. Along the way, Twilight looks through your work, passing it back to you halfway there, describing it as "good enough." Owing to the fact that you were both running, you manage to make it to school reasonably early, and Twilight leaves you to socialize with your friends, but not without giving you your lunch first.
  615.  
  616. Your school day passes by relatively uneventfully, although it still feels rather surreal. You remember most of the lecture, but not everything is quite the same. No one is late, so there's no lecture about it, and the choice of words used to explain the concepts of everything is slightly different in various points. Lunch is surprisingly pleasant, and involves no flying unicorns crashing into the walls. Instead, you simply get to enjoy a fried egg sandwich with french fries. Twilight must have been experimenting with new spells, because it's actually still warm somehow despite being kept in a paper bag in chilly weather.
  617.  
  618. When school finally lets out, you aren't quite sure what to do. You want to head home and just stare at the clock until it hits 6, but that would be incredibly boring. So instead, you play a game of hoofball with your friends, and let the day pass by as it is. No matter what you do, you cannot make the day go by any faster than one second per second, so you might as well enjoy those seconds while they last. Eventually, it starts to get dark, and you head home. Awaiting you is Twilight, floating around the house with butterfly wings, and a warm meal cooked by Mama Velvet.
  619.  
  620. You don't even notice the time passing 6 PM until you start to get tired and realize it's already night. Without hesitation, you crawl into bed as soon as you realize you can. You have no dreams, but this doesn't matter much.
  621.  
  622. The next morning, you wake up to the sound of something falling. Looking around, you see Twilight off the bed in an all too familiar position. You look at her in the eyes for just a few seconds before she finally starts to speak.
  623.  
  624. >"Fuck me. Remind me not to-"
  625.  
  626. "Noooooooooooo!"
  627.  
  628. >"Gotcha!"
  629.  
  630. "What?"
  631.  
  632. >"You should see the look on your face, time looper. Sorry, but it's Tuesday. Boring old Tuesday. No more doing retarded shit because you can redo it later. Everything that happens from now on is permanent. Probably. Try not to screw up."
  633. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  634. You're not sure what to believe right now. Over a period of around ten days of apparent time, you went through hell and back facing apparent judgment for what you could only assume to be crimes against the gods. In the end, the one and only thing you had to do to fix everything, rather than an epic quest or a major sacrifice, was to just go through a normal day of school and finish your fucking homework.
  635.  
  636. If you skip a day again, will you have to go through a time loop again? Can you recreate time loops at will just by shirking your duties? Or is the universe just playing a major prank on you, and you have no control over anything?
  637.  
  638. No, that can't be it. You have control over one thing at least. You might not always have control over your actions or your thoughts, and you certainly have no control over that shit life decides to throw at you, but at the very least you have control over how you feel. And right now, you want to feel pain. Pain, at the very least will make you feel as though you are living in the here and now.
  639.  
  640. "Twi, you wouldn't happen to have a pencil sharpener, would you?"
  641.  
  642. >"Umm… I might. Just a sec."
  643.  
  644. She rummages through a nearby drawer and manages to produce a tiny pencil sharpener. It has a somewhat exposed blade, so you push it against the back of your forelegs and slowly drag it against the flesh. The contact was poor, but it did the job.
  645.  
  646. >"What in the world are you doing?"
  647.  
  648. "I need to hurt, Twilight. I'm having an existential crisis right now, and pain is the only thing that's going to get me through this."
  649.  
  650. She immediately smacks you across the face with a hoof.
  651.  
  652. >"Is that better?"
  653.  
  654. You toss your hooves around her in a tight embrace.
  655.  
  656. "Thanks. You're a faggot, but you're my faggot."
  657.  
  658. >"Says the filly who says she got pregnant on one of her loops. Now come on, we should probably get some breakfast or something."
  659. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  660. "Yeah, breakfast… not a bad idea."
  661.  
  662. You don't want to admit it, but Twilight's smack in the face just didn't cut it. You feel no real connection to this world anymore, and even greater amounts of pain won't make you feel any more "real". As you ascend the stairs to the living room, you hang your head low and try to make sense of the events that transpired.
  663.  
  664. Unfortunately, the more you think about it, the less everything makes sense. Hell, the very fact that you're here in a pony world instead of on Earth makes no sense. Is this an afterlife? It surely isn't Heaven. Perhaps not Hell either, but time loops are certainly strange for Limbo. And if it IS an afterlife, what happens when you die? There's only one way to find out, and somehow, a knife seems even more enticing.
  665.  
  666. "Hey Twilight? I think I'm going to make breakfast today. Do you mind?"]
  667.  
  668. >"Oh, um… sure. Need any help?"
  669.  
  670. "I think I'd rather do it on my own, thank you."
  671.  
  672. >"If you say so."
  673.  
  674. You wander off into the kitchen, looking behind you a few times to see if you're being followed. When you are satisfied that Twilight has sat herself down on the couch and isn't looking at you, you start looking for the knives.
  675.  
  676. As it turns out, most of the knives in the kitchen are serrated, owing to the complete lack of meat in the typical pony diet, combined with a desire for less accidents in the kitchen. There are no steak knives, but luckily, there is one proper chef's knife in the kitchen after a little bit of searching. You place it on the counter in front of you and marvel at its sharpness. This is the same knife you had used to kill yourself in the third loop. It wasn't quite in the same place as before; someone must have put it away wrong after washing the dishes the night before. It was probably Cadance; she can never do anything right.
  677.  
  678. But you can. And you're sure as shit not going to fuck up a suicide. Without hesitation, you grab the knife between your hooves and thrust it towards your neck.
  679.  
  680. Or not.
  681.  
  682. A magenta glow envelops the knife and you find you cannot move it. Not towards your neck, not away, nor in any other direction. It's as if it's stuck in time. Except it's not, and you know exactly where that glow is coming from.
  683.  
  684. >"How about you take the day off school today, and you and I have a long chat about that time loop you just came out of?"
  685. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  686. "Twilight, I refuse to live in a world where I can be forced to reset the same day indefinitely just because I forget to do my homework. Let me die!"
  687.  
  688. >"Have you repeated this day too?"
  689.  
  690. "No. It's my first time experiencing it."
  691.  
  692. >"Then how would you know you're going to start looping again?"
  693.  
  694. "How do I know I'm NOT going to?"
  695.  
  696. >"And that's somehow a reason to KILL yourself? There's a ton of stupid things that MIGHT happen, and we both know this universe is crazy enough to throw 'em at us. And yet I'm still here. It's been two years. You think I haven't had my share of craziness?"
  697.  
  698. You pause for a moment to think of a good retort.
  699.  
  700. "In those two years, have you ever been raped?"
  701.  
  702. >"Umm… wow, okay. Do you want to take this conversation somewhere a little less… around sleeping family members?"
  703.  
  704. "Yeah, fine."
  705.  
  706. She leads you back downstairs into your room.
  707.  
  708. >"So tell me what happened."
  709. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  710. "Well Twilight, I'll give you 3 guesses as to why I want to nuke Austrialia."
  711.  
  712. Her eyes widen.
  713.  
  714. >"Tell me she didn't."
  715.  
  716. "She fucking drugged me. Said she wanted to abandon me in the middle of the wilderness, but then I propositioned her, and when I wake up, she has me tied up and shoves her entire hoof up my ass without any lube. I asked for sex, not to get fucking fisted."
  717.  
  718. >"That sounds horrible."
  719.  
  720. "Yeah. It hurt like a son of a bitch. I do not think even horse assholes are meant for that much stretching."
  721.  
  722. >"They sure as hell aren't. What the hell made her think that was a good idea?"
  723.  
  724. "Apparently I talk in my sleep. Pretty sure I'm not responsible for anything I say when I'm not conscious."
  725.  
  726. >"Well, that leaves us with a problem. She's supposed to be on our side, but if she's this kind of pony…"
  727.  
  728. "Then she gets thrown out of a weather balloon like the commie?"
  729.  
  730. >"Wasn't she supposed to be a pegasus?"
  731.  
  732. "Well yeah, but you could tie her up, right?"
  733.  
  734. >"If I have the ability to tie her up, I have the ability to simply slit her throat. With Fizzle, I tricked her into the balloon and then shoved her off when she wasn't paying attention. Come on Anon, get your head in the game. The only problem is, she's supposed to be an ally, isn't she? Do you think we could get the next pony to show up on our side?"
  735.  
  736. "Twi… the filly who's showing up next shot up her school."
  737.  
  738. >"And who would you rather have on your side, a sexual deviant who doesn't respect you, or a cold blooded killer who you don't know yet?"
  739. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  740. "Hmm… give me a minute to consider that."
  741.  
  742. A tune starts playing in your head, and so without a thought, you sing along with it out loud.
  743.  
  744. "All the other kids with their pumped up kicks. You better run better run, out run my gun!"
  745.  
  746. >"You know your shooter pony probably isn't going to actually have a gun on her, right?"
  747.  
  748. "Yeah, but the point is she knows how to use one. She knows how to kill people, so she'll know how to kill a changeling. I'm also half hoping she's Elliot Rogers."
  749.  
  750. >"Isn't he dead?"
  751.  
  752. "Aren't most school shooters dead?"
  753.  
  754. >"Many, yes. A few are in jail for life though. And since we know neither of us died before coming to Equestria, chances are this one was alive too."
  755.  
  756. "We could have died in our sleep."
  757.  
  758. >"I'd rather not consider that possibility."
  759.  
  760. "What are you, scared of death?"
  761.  
  762. >"I consider myself sane in that I can say yes to that question. But what's more scary is not going back. And as I see it, you're one part of that ticket back. I'm actually a little worried that if we get rid of Daring, we might lose our one chance at getting out of here. Of course, considering her actions thus far, I'd say it's probably a bad idea to bet anything on her."
  763.  
  764. "Yeah, I'd rather not associate with her if I can avoid it."
  765.  
  766. >"So what's the plan now? Kill her before she becomes an enemy? Leave her alone in the woods? Try to reform her somehow? I'm not necessarily against the idea of allying with the shooter instead of her, but we would have to wait several months for her to show up. Who knows what could happen before then?"
  767. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  768. "When you put it that way, I think a little bit of diplomacy might be a better idea than killing her. And I mean, I guess she doesn't really remember what she did in the other timeline anyways."
  769.  
  770. >"Well that's very mature of you."
  771.  
  772. "I'm still a bit scared of dealing with her again though. Do you think you could come with me, and maybe do all of the talking?"
  773.  
  774. >"That would probably be for the better. So do you want to head off now, or…?"
  775.  
  776. "Twilight. Do you remember me saying earlier about not wanting to live in a world where I can't just forget to do my homework? I feel like I need SOME kind of validation that I have some free will in this world, and being able to continue onto the next day after playing hookie would be a good sign."
  777.  
  778. >"Anon, you know you're not really playing hookie. You're 'taking a mental health day.' And what better way to improve upon your mental health than by taking a walk in the woods with a friend?"
  779.  
  780. "And where does one learn to tell bullshit like that?"
  781.  
  782. >"What bullshit? You really did try to kill yourself, did you not? Would it not be completely irresponsible to send you to school in your current mental state? Would it not be equally irresponsible to allow you into a forest with extremely dangerous creatures unaccompanied? And if you really must know, remember that I watch North Korean state-run media for a living and have to sift through all of their garbage."
  783.  
  784. "Listening to commie propaganda all day sounds gross as hell."
  785.  
  786. >"It is, now get ready to go."
  787. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  788. Aside from a couple of lunches, which you pack to make sure that neither you nor Twilight have to partake in any of Daring's potentially poisoned provisions, you don't take much for your trip into the forest. From your point of view, it's only been a few days since you visited her, and you're pretty sure you know the path. Moreover, you have Twilight coming with you to be able to re-cast the spell as needed, thus preventing any unnecessary crash landings -- or falling into rabbit snares.
  789.  
  790. After only a few minutes, you head out the door together, humming the tune to Pumped up Kicks, and fly off towards the forest with a more improved flight spell on your backs. Twilight explains that she took your advice on taking more time to perfect the spell, and while she's only had a few hours extra to perfect it, she's a lot more confident about it. She is, however, not sure whether the better quality is because she researched it while properly sober, or because she cast it while sobered up. She suggests that she may need to try performing more spell research while hungover to see what the results would be; not that she's looking forward to the experience.
  791.  
  792. Along the way, you try to focus a little on your future sight to see if you can learn more about Fizzlepop's plans. It's hard for you to tell, partially because you have to keep focusing on your flying, but you do manage to catch that it's Autumn during the invasion, while it is still Winter in Equestria. This should give you at least half a year to make preparations, assuming Fizzlepop's plans aren't already being put into place.
  793.  
  794. You land right in front of Daring's house and knock on the door, this time still bearing wings. She takes a while to answer the door, to a point where you almost thought she wasn't home. When she opens the door, she is carrying a crossbow in her hooves.
  795.  
  796. >"Right, who are you cunts and what are you doing at my house? It's a bit late to be trick or treating, don't you think?"
  797. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  798. "Look, I know this may come as hard to believe, but Australia is not real. It's a hoax, made for us to believe that Britain moved over their criminals to someplace. In reality, all these criminals were loaded off the ships into the waters, drowning before they co-"
  799.  
  800. Twilight shoves a hoof over your mouth before you can finish your spiel.
  801.  
  802. >"Let's cut the crap. You're from Earth, right? Australia, I'm guessing?"
  803.  
  804. Daring rolls her eyes and responds with as much sarcasm as she can muster.
  805.  
  806. >"No, I'm a fucking Kiwi. What do you think?"
  807.  
  808. >"I think New Zealanders are usually a bit nicer, and you're not living out here in the middle of a dangerous forest full of timberwolves and cockatrices for your own protection, now are you?"
  809.  
  810. She lowers her crossbow.
  811.  
  812. >"What are you on?"
  813.  
  814. >"Did you ever do anything bad back on Earth? Anything that you really regret?"
  815.  
  816. Daring raises an eye and clutches onto her weapon tighter.
  817.  
  818. >"If you're here to take me back, I'm not going. I served my time, let me live in peace."
  819.  
  820. >"So you ARE a criminal. Well, good to know that the fate of this world rests in the hooves of a criminal, a teenager, a street musician, a college dropout, an old lady, and me. What are we, the breakfast club?"
  821.  
  822. >"Fate of this world?"
  823.  
  824. . . .
  825.  
  826. The world around you disappears and you find yourself in another pony's body. It doesn't take long to tell from your red hooves that this is Fizzlepop. It is the middle of the night, and she is sneaking her way through the castle halls. She approaches Celestia's bedchambers and opens the door. Immediately, a magical alarm is triggered, echoing throughout the entire castle. Though the princess wakes up, she is not able to react in time before Fizzlepop tosses a magical orb at her, instantly turning her to stone. She then descends out the window using a grappling hook and runs off into the freshly fallen snow.
  827.  
  828. . . .
  829.  
  830. You are now the filly again. What do you do?
  831. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  832. You tug rather abruptly on Twilight's shoulder, interrupting her brief explanation of the future to come. As soon as you have her attention, you whisper into her ear.
  833.  
  834. "Hey Twi, we need to get to Canterlot, and fast. Celestia's in danger."
  835.  
  836. You're pretty sure you won't make it in time. The train to Canterlot leaves in the morning, and it only runs once a day. It should have already left by now. But if Fizzlepop does indeed come in the night, it might be nice to take the petrified princess as a keepsake to adorn your room… and perhaps to use her ear as a dildo when Twilight isn't looking.
  837.  
  838. >"If you could excuse us for a second, Daring."
  839.  
  840. Twilight pulls you off to a spot behind the shed where Daring won't try to eavesdrop, and casts the privacy spell you remember from the Celestia loop.
  841.  
  842. >"So what's going on and how much time do we have?"
  843. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  844. "Well, all I know is that it's happening at night, and that the commie is gonna turn Celestia into a lawn ornament. I'm pretty sure we have all the way until winter to wait for it, so it should be immediately urgent, but I thought you'd want to know."
  845.  
  846. >"The current winter we're in, or next winter?"
  847.  
  848. "There was snow on the ground, and I'm pretty sure it's getting close to spring. It hasn't been feeling THAT cold lately."
  849.  
  850. >"Canterlot's a pretty cold place, you know. It could be happening soon."
  851.  
  852. "Well shit, now what do we do, take the next train to Canterlot?"
  853.  
  854. >"That would be tomorrow, and it's probably not wise. We could be putting ourselves in danger."
  855.  
  856. "Hrm… I suppose we could always use Spike to send a message when we get home, and in the mean time try to get to know our neighbor here better."
  857.  
  858. >"Okay, Spike it is. And I suppose 'neighbor' might be better than 'friend' for now."
  859.  
  860. She drops the spell and makes her way back to Daring, who has taken to playing a didgeridoo while she was waiting.
  861.  
  862. "Where the hell did you get that?"
  863.  
  864. >"Oh this? A little pink pony with a poofy mane gave it to me late last night. Said she just got done stopping a parasprite invasion of the Castle of the Two Sisters and didn't need it anymore. Thought I might like to have it. Don't know who she was, but I guess she just sort of 'got' me."
  865. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  866. "Pink pony, poofy mane? Sounds like Pinkie. Did she pull that instrument out of a pocket dimension in her mane?"
  867.  
  868. >"Nope. She was carrying it when she came to my door. And what sort of pocket dimension are we talking about anyways?"
  869.  
  870. "She's an alien infiltrator. Has a few superpowers. If you see her, do me a solid and tie her up until we come back."
  871.  
  872. Twilight taps you on the back, and as you turn to see her, you find her shrugging with a face that asks what the hell is wrong with you.
  873.  
  874. "What? She's a slippery one. You can never tell when you're going to find her next."
  875.  
  876. She sighs and turns her attention to Daring.
  877.  
  878. >"No funny business with her, alright? Just, you know, keep an eye on Pinkie, will you?"
  879.  
  880. >"I suppose I could. Not sure what I stand to gain though. Is she dangerous? I mean, she seemed friendly enough, but she could easily become annoying if I had to keep her in my house without so much as a gag in her mouth."
  881. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  882. "Mate, we're talking about an epic-level prankster who does not feel obligated to obey the laws of physics, or logic for that matter, despite appearing as an ordinary pony nine tenths of the time."
  883.  
  884. >"Epic level you say? How good is she of an escape artist?"
  885.  
  886. "I don't even know."
  887.  
  888. >"Okay, let me rephrase that. Do I need to watch my asshole?"
  889.  
  890. "Daring… Pinkie Pie is not for sexual. Listen to Twilight, no funny business."
  891.  
  892. >"Hey, I'm just worried about my end."
  893.  
  894. "Well, in all likelihood, she's going to throw a big party at your house with lots of balloons and streamers, and invite the entire neighborhood in."
  895.  
  896. >"And you want me to keep her willingly?"
  897.  
  898. "Well, I mean… you could always just give her a rotating kaleidoscope or something. That'll keep her occupied for hours. I'd avoid sugar though. She will literally bounce off of your walls like she's made of flubber."
  899.  
  900. >"Hmm… well I don't have a kaleidoscope, but I might be able to make a makeshift fidget spinner, will that work?"
  901.  
  902. "Probably."
  903.  
  904. >"So what is she, autistic?"
  905.  
  906. "No, she's-"
  907.  
  908. You are suddenly interrupted by Pinkie Pie's face appearing upside down in front of you, as if she was hanging from something. When you try to find out what that was, she is standing right-side up. You are not sure if your mind is playing tricks on you, or if this is just normal behavior.
  909.  
  910. ^"Hey guys, what'cha doing?"
  911. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  912. Clearly your mind isn't playing tricks on you. This is Pinkie Pie we are talking about. Obviously, she must have did a backflip off of her extraordinarily springy tail, slowed her head-first descent into the ground via normal cartoon physics just long enough to appear to be hanging from the sky, and then landed on her feet. Sure, we'll say that's what's happened.
  913.  
  914. "Oh hey Pinkie. Nothing much, just you know, solved the time loop."
  915.  
  916. ^"You did?"
  917.  
  918. "I mean, we're not in a time loop anymore, right?"
  919.  
  920. ^"Well of course not! It's just that-"
  921.  
  922. Twilight clears her throat loudly to the attention of all.
  923.  
  924. >"If I recall correctly, I'm the one who thought up that you needed to do your homework to fix the loop."
  925.  
  926. ^"Was that all it took?"
  927.  
  928. "I don't see why it wouldn't. I mean, I went to school normally and did all of my homework for the first time in the loop, and then lo and behold, I'm out of the loop."
  929.  
  930. ^"Oh, well that's a relief. I thought it was because I had stopped a bunch of genetically modified parasprites from trying to eat some magic jewelry. At least I know if I had failed that, I wouldn't have had to repeat the loop again. By the way, do you have a clone? Because I saw somepony who looked like you limping away from the castle."
  931. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  932. This would be a great moment for you to do a spit take, but fortunately you have been smart enough not to ask for or accept any drinks from Daring. Instead, you settle for dropping your jaw so you have some sort of stupid look on your face.
  933.  
  934. "Excuse me, what?"
  935.  
  936. ^"What, is it so difficult to believe I could take out a parasprite invasion with nothing but a didgeridoo?"
  937.  
  938. "No, not that part, the part about me having a clone. When the hell did that happen? Is it a changeling? Maybe some sort of fragment of myself that split off during the time loop? If that's the case, I'm going to need you to take me to it so I can merge with it."
  939.  
  940. She shrugs.
  941.  
  942. ^"I don't know where she is now, she seemed in a bit of a hurry to get out of the forest. She could probably be all the way to Dodge Junction by now."
  943.  
  944. Daring suddenly taps you on the shoulder.
  945.  
  946. >"So… between time loops, evil clones, and something about the princess apparently being completely and utterly fucked, I'm not quite sure what the hell is going on. Can someone explain?"
  947. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  948. "Uh, Twi, can you handle this? You're better with words. Pinkie, come with me."
  949.  
  950. ^"Okie dokie lokie!"
  951.  
  952. >"Um… okay?"
  953.  
  954. You head off deeper into the forest with Pinkie, further away from Twilight and Daring. You keep them within earshot, however, just in case one of them does anything stupid.
  955.  
  956. ^"So what did you want me for?"
  957.  
  958. "I want you to take me to my clone. Surely you've got some way of getting to Dodge, right?"
  959.  
  960. ^"You know, it's funny. Most ponies want to get OUT of Dodge!"
  961.  
  962. "Cute, but I'm being serious. Whatever she's doing, it could possible jeopardize me. I'm pretty sure she's a changeling, and it's kind of my job to stop the changelings."
  963.  
  964. ^"Well you could always take a train."
  965.  
  966. "Don't Ponyville's trains only leave in the morning?"
  967.  
  968. ^"Not the ones heading to Dodge and Appleloosa, silly. Those leave in the afternoon. You could probably still make it if you ran there super fast. You should probably bring your friends with you though. If you want to face a clone, don't do it alone. Hey, that rhymed!"
  969. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  970. You're going to really need to hoof it if you want to make it back to Ponyville on time. Or perhaps literally winging it might be a better idea, in case Daring left any more traps around the forest for you to accidentally step into. Taking into account that you'd rather not step into a bear trap the next time around, you fly as fast as you can towards your friends and attempt to lift them up without warning.
  971.  
  972. "NoTimeToExplainHaveToGoBackToPonyvilleNowComeWithMeIfYouWantToLive!"
  973.  
  974. You're not really used to moving or speaking that fast, but it seems to have grabbed your friends' attention, as Twilight and Daring take to the air with you.
  975.  
  976. >"Slow down, Anon. What's going on?"
  977.  
  978. >"Yeah, what's the big idea mate?"
  979.  
  980. "We need to catch a train to Dodge Junction to stop my clone."
  981.  
  982. Twilight sighs and starts to slow down, prompting you to as well. It was probably for the better, as your speed was not really sustainable without some sort of burst of adrenaline.  
  983.  
  984. >"Really Anon, do you actually know if she's there? Or are you just going based on where Pinkie thinks she might be?"
  985.  
  986. "Has Pinkie ever been wrong?"
  987.  
  988. >"Okay, fair, but I still don't think it's something to rush into on the drop of a hat. Speaking of which, if you want to keep flying the way back, I'm going to need you to stop so I can re-cast the spell. I'm pretty sure these wings can only take so much abuse."
  989.  
  990. "Alright, fine."
  991.  
  992. You stop for a moment as Twilight begins working her magic once again, letting your wings rejuvenate. Though you hadn't noticed the state of your wings before, feeling them return to a pristine state is almost like stepping into a warm bath after spending all day in the snow. Really, you ought to do this more often.
  993.  
  994. As this is happening, Daring Do finally manages to catch up with you after having lagged behind for a while. She does not seem rather pleased with your excuse.
  995.  
  996. >"Okay, I get that I'm supposed to help you two save Equestria or whatever, but why do you have to drag me off for a simple clone problem? Can't I just go back to my shack until you need me to stomp on the old commie bug queen?"
  997. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  998. It's one thing for Daring to be a criminal with a potentially ambiguous definition of the word consent. In a way, you've partially come to accept that. Not completely, but just enough that you're willing to work with her. It's another thing, of course, for her to be a metaphorical pain in the ass on top of being a literal pain in the ass. From the day you met her in the time loop, she has shown no desire to be around any other ponies, whether they be other ex-humans like her, or relatively normal ponies like Pinkie Pie. For someone whom you are apparently supposed to weaponize friendship with against a potentially world-ending adversary, she sure doesn't seem to understand the concept of what a "friend" is. If ever there were a pony to test your patience, it would be this one, and yet she has to be dealt with.
  999.  
  1000. You sigh and take a deep breath for the lecture you are going to need to deliver to her stubborn plot.
  1001.  
  1002. "Look, Daring. If I'm going to let you spend all of your days living like a hermit in that fucking shack of yours, we're all going to die. The second we need you to cooperate, you'll be unable to perform because you don't know how to play well with others. The weapons we're supposed to use together are called the Elements of Harmony. By definition, they require users who are, well, in harmony with one another. And right now, I don't think that's going to be possible because your anti-social ass can't be bothered to even make one friend. But you know what? I don't even care. Go ahead and go home, and enjoy clopping your cunt off to some hoof-drawn pictures of kangaroos. When the commissar comes to your door and demands you share your house with a bunch of changelings who want to feed on you, you don't get to complain, because your lazy ass couldn't even bother with a simple friendship lesson."
  1003.  
  1004. There is a pregnant pause as Daring tries to process all of what you just said.
  1005.  
  1006. >"Well jeez, you don't have to act like such a bitch about it."
  1007.  
  1008. Without warning, Twilight smacks her across the face with her hoof.
  1009. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1010. "Yo, is there a reason why women feel the need to slap everyone they meet?"
  1011.  
  1012. Twilight shrugs.
  1013.  
  1014. >"What's the phrase you guys always use? Talk shit, get hit?"
  1015.  
  1016. "Diana, there is a time and a place for everything, and this clearly isn't helping. The goal is that we all become friends, not enemies."
  1017.  
  1018. A cheeky smile appears on Daring's face.
  1019.  
  1020. >"Well I don't know about that. How do you know I'm not a masochist, huh? Maybe this 'Diana' chick ought to hit me again. Give me a clean one right in the jaw. Or, no, no, better idea - slap my ass and call me Sheilah."
  1021.  
  1022. Twilight is trying her hardest not to cringe as she shoves her hoof into her forehead.
  1023.  
  1024. >"I curse whatever version of me told you my real name in that time loop."
  1025.  
  1026. >"Diana, didn't you say like a few minutes ago that Anon was a psychic or whatever? Wouldn't she have found out sooner or later anyways?"
  1027.  
  1028. She pauses, somewhat dumbfounded as she stares into her hooves.
  1029.  
  1030. >"Everything is meaningless and none of my secrets are safe unless I can trust my future self not to screw up and admit something stupid while I'm drunk. Oh God, what a world you have cursed me with."
  1031.  
  1032. Daring bursts into laughter.
  1033.  
  1034. >"Oh man, maybe I should stick around anyways, just to screw with you two."
  1035. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1036. "Well, hopefully you'll stick around when we get on the train. In the mean time though, we need to hurry."
  1037.  
  1038. >"Yeah yeah, hold your horses. If I'm staying with you now, I'll stay with you on the train."
  1039.  
  1040. >"You know, there's a certain irony in saying 'hold your horses' when we're all pretty much horses now."
  1041.  
  1042. "Ponies, Twi. We're ponies."
  1043.  
  1044. Twilight rolls her eyes as the three of you begin to pick up the pace, this time not so fast as to jeopardize the integrity of your wings.
  1045.  
  1046. You manage to make it back to Ponyville in decent time. The train to Dodge does not appear to have pulled into the station yet, leaving you a little bit of time to screw around if you wanted to. You're pretty sure many of your friends are still in class, however.
  1047.  
  1048. What will you do?
  1049. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1050. "Alright everyone, we need to stake out the train station. If my clone decided to take the train too, I'd like to catch her before we even board."
  1051.  
  1052. Twilight tilts her head in confusion.
  1053.  
  1054. >"I thought we were taking the train to catch up with her, because she's either already in Dodge, or headed there."
  1055.  
  1056. "Hey, all I know is that she COULD be all the way in Dodge Junction by now. Or she could be taking a train, you know?"
  1057.  
  1058. >"Yeah, I don't think she's going to be taking the train. If I was a clone of you, I'd want to stay as far away from you as possible. Besides, if she really is in Ponyville, we'd still find her while boarding the train, and we might find her earlier by spreading out and forming a search party. And since I'm the one to suggest this, I think I'll search for her in Sugarcube Corner. Because I'm hungry and I don't want to eat on the train."
  1059.  
  1060. Daring flashes a cheeky smile.
  1061.  
  1062. >"And I will be searching the local hayburger joint."
  1063.  
  1064. They both run off and ditch you.
  1065. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1066. Clearly, it looks like you will have to abandon the idea of staking out your clone. Perhaps Twilight did have a point about food, however. The train ride to Dodge will be long, and while you haven't tried train food thus far, you're not about to start now. Thus, it would probably be a good idea for you to get a bite as well, and you know exactly where you want to go for it.
  1067.  
  1068. It isn't a long walk before you find yourself at Sweet Apple Acres. There's no sign of Applejack or Big Mac, so you're pretty sure they're still at school. Instead, you see their father, Bright Mac, fixing up a broken window on the house. He waves over at you
  1069.  
  1070. >>"Hey Anon, shouldn't you be at school?"
  1071. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1072. "Public education is a scam. Most of what you learn is never used by the common pony in his or her place of work, and the rest could be easily taught by the parents. This is especially true in Ponyville, where most ponies are either farmers or run businesses out of their living rooms, and therefore could afford to spend a lot more time with their children. For what purpose could our government possibly demand we be separated from our families for such a time every day, for 5 days a week? Indoctrination, I tell you!"
  1073.  
  1074. Bright Mac starts to chuckle just a bit.
  1075.  
  1076. >>"You've got some pretty big opinions of that system I take it. Maybe you should run for mayor and try to reform it?"
  1077.  
  1078. "I would beg the question of why it's even needed at all."
  1079.  
  1080. >>"Hrm… well, I've always felt it's not so much the lessons they teach in class that's important, as much as it is the social lessons you learn from being around so many peers your age. Plus, sometimes it helps to get away from the family every so often. If I'd've listened to everything my ma said, I wouldn't've married my dear Buttercup. Spending time with her at school gave me the opportunity to bond with her. While I wouldn't say it's always a good idea to go against your family's wishes, I think every pony needs to develop the skills to think for themselves. And that's kind of what the point of school is, even if the the work they give you sometimes seems to imply the exact opposite."
  1081.  
  1082. "Okay… but what about those of us who don't have a star-crossed lover with whom we spent all of lunch break smooching behind the schoolhouse?"
  1083.  
  1084. He shrugs.
  1085.  
  1086. >>"You'll find some life lesson to take out of it. Now… did you have any particular reason you wanted to stop by, or did you just feel like saying hi and trash talking the public education system?"
  1087. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1088. "I honestly have no idea."
  1089.  
  1090. >>"So you're just kinda bored?"
  1091.  
  1092. "Well yeah, that and a bit hungry."
  1093.  
  1094. He chuckles a little at your comment.
  1095.  
  1096. >>"Figures as much. Want to come in and have a slide of Apple pie?"
  1097.  
  1098. "Yes please!"
  1099.  
  1100. >>"You know, I always love the enthusiasm ponies have about our apples."
  1101.  
  1102. You follow him into the barn and are served a very warm and very tasty slice of pie. Though you can only wonder what Twilight and Daring are stuffing their faces full of, absolutely nothing can beat the home cooking of the Apple family. Though you try to make some light conversation with Pear Butter, you find that there aren't a lot of topics you can get into that wouldn't involve you sticking around for an extended period of time to go in depth, and somehow you don't feel like letting them know that you've got a train to catch within about an hour.
  1103.  
  1104. When you finish your meal, you say your goodbyes and head off in the direction of the train station. It would be the one logical place for Twilight and Daring to be. Sure enough, they are there when you get there, but you find one extra pony will be joining your party - Blossomforth.
  1105.  
  1106. >"Hey, I'm tagging along. If you have a clone, I'm gonna braid her hair and call her Tammy."
  1107. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1108. "And here I thought that cruel and unusual punishment was outlawed. I love it!"
  1109.  
  1110. Blossom giggles.
  1111.  
  1112. >"It's not that cruel… and also, clearly that's not the case here in Equestria. Just look at the moon every night and you'll know not to piss the princess off."
  1113.  
  1114. You see Twilight walk off to the ticket counter to acquire train tickets for the four of you. As soon as she's turned her backs, Daring positions herself between you and Blossom, and wraps a foreleg around each of you.
  1115.  
  1116. >"Yeah, I still don't get how the fuck Equestria's supposed to have enemies. Just let Celly start crucifying changelings or go full Vlad the Impaler. Your problems will be gone overnight."
  1117.  
  1118. Blossom seems to wince at the mention of crucifixions, leading you to wonder for a second whether or not she might be a changeling. Then you realize that a changeling probably would not know what a crucifixion is. You nonetheless make a mental note to pull a prank on her to make sure it's really Blossom. As soon as this thought disappears, you find she's managed to sneak away from Daring's hug and made it to your other side. She whispers into your ear.
  1119.  
  1120. >"Is this normal for her?"
  1121.  
  1122. "She's only touchy when you get to know her. Otherwise, she's extremely asocial. I have no idea what her game is."
  1123.  
  1124. >"Hey guys, what are we whispering about?"
  1125.  
  1126. Before you can answer, Twilight gently lifts Daring up in her telekinesis and moves her about five feet away.
  1127.  
  1128. >"Alright guys, train's supposed to be here in about ten minutes. Here are your tickets, don't lose them."
  1129.  
  1130. She passes each of you a train ticket, which you keep in your mouth so you don't lose it. She then heads over to a nearby bench to sit down, and the rest of you follow suit. The wait is relatively quiet, but you do notice Blossom clinging to you a little bit, and Twilight keeping a close eye on Daring the entire time. You're not sure if Blossom was creeped out by Daring, or whether Daring made some sort of bad touch while you weren't paying attention. Regardless, as the train pulls in, you try to think of a prank that might prove this is definitely Blossom.
  1131.  
  1132. "Hey Blossom, I think I have something on my face. Can you check real quick?"
  1133.  
  1134. She turns to face you.
  1135.  
  1136. >"I don't see any-"
  1137.  
  1138. You kiss her suddenly, and she freezes for a second, then makes a face that looks like a cross between a pout and a scowl.
  1139.  
  1140. >"Hey, just because I let you be my first kiss doesn't mean you can have 'em whenever you want."
  1141.  
  1142. Clearly not a changeling.
  1143. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1144. "Okay, it's confirmed. No way a changeling could make a face that cute."
  1145.  
  1146. Her sour face disappears as she starts to giggle.
  1147.  
  1148. >"Wait, did you seriously think I was a changeling? Or are you just flirting."
  1149.  
  1150. You shrug.
  1151.  
  1152. "A little bit from column A, a little bit from column B. Really though, I am actually a bit suspicious that my clone might have come here to Ponyville before making her way to Dodge, and it would really suck if you had been replaced with a changeling."
  1153.  
  1154. >"I should be offended, but I'll take that as a sign you're worried for me. Which, actually kind of means something to me, cause I see you kind of like a sister. Or maybe a brother. Hard to say when you used to be a guy and now you're a filly."
  1155.  
  1156. "Eh. Either works."
  1157.  
  1158. Twilight seems to be trying to grab your attention, pointing you in the direction of the train.
  1159.  
  1160. >"Alright you two lovebirds, we really need to get on the train now or we might miss it, and I'll have wasted my money on these tickets. Do you want to catch that clone or not?"
  1161.  
  1162. Blossom takes a short moment to react.
  1163.  
  1164. >"Wait, did you just call us… MOM! That's gross!"
  1165.  
  1166. Daring can't seem to contain her laughter.
  1167.  
  1168. >"So wait, if you two are supposed to be 'sisters', and Twi's your mama, can I get in on this? What am I?"
  1169.  
  1170. "You're the creepy uncle, now let's go."
  1171.  
  1172. You step onto the train and now long after, it begins to depart. You realize you never bothered to tell anyone in Ponyville where you were going, or even that you're going, but it's a bit too late now.
  1173. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1174. As the train begins to leave your town of Ponyville, you look back at it and shrug. You wonder in the back of your mind whether or not this should be a bigger thing than it is, but your voice of reason advises you that in the grand scheme of things, this is normal. It certainly isn't the first time you've up and left the town without a moment's notice, although granted, the last time was in a time loop, so you didn't have to figure out a way back. Nevertheless, if this Equestria is anything like it is in MLP, a group of fillies going on an adventure halfway across the country is nothing special, and you'll end up back home in a week with stories to tell, and no problems with truancy or make-up homework at school. So fuck all of those worries, it's time for an adventure!
  1175.  
  1176. You look around the train to get a sense of what ponies there are besides your group of friends. By the looks of things, there's only four others. One's a donkey who's sleeping in his seat. You're not sure if he was supposed to get off in Ponyville, since he was sleeping when you got on the train. Or maybe he just likes sleeping on the train until it reaches the end of the line.
  1177.  
  1178. Aside from him are two elderly Earth pony mares who got on the train at Ponyville. You're pretty sure one of them is a cousin or something of Granny Smith. The other mare you're not sure of.
  1179.  
  1180. The remaining pony does not appear to be a pony at all. In fact… it's an undisguised changeling reading a newspaper! You're not quite sure what the hell he thinks he's doing here, or how you didn't seem to notice the fact that he's a changeling until now, but clearly he has some nerve!
  1181.  
  1182. Actually, wait, no. Upon closer inspection, that's not a changeling at all. Just a normal black stallion with really velvety smooth fur. His eyes are dilated from smoking marijuana in a pipe. You might be paranoid.
  1183. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1184. You ignore your previous thoughts and leave the stallion to his own devices. Perhaps more pressing to you right now is your friends. Though you know Twilight relatively well, and Blossom somewhat well, you don't know much about Daring. Hell, you don't even know what name she went by back on Earth. You take a seat next to her.
  1185.  
  1186. "So…"
  1187.  
  1188. >"Sooo….?"
  1189.  
  1190. "Alright, so I know Twilight's name before she came to Equestria, and I know Blossom's. What's yours?"
  1191.  
  1192. Daring raises an eyebrow.
  1193.  
  1194. >"How about YOURS? What kind of name is Anon anyways? Some kind of pseudonym?"
  1195.  
  1196. You give her an almost emotionless stare before delivering your answer.
  1197.  
  1198. "My real name is Anonymous. I just go by Anon for short. My mom died in childbirth, and she was the one that was supposed to give me a name. She never really discussed it with my dad, so he figured if I couldn't have the name she would have given me, I would have a no-name -- Anonymous. If I had my driver's license on me, I'd show it to you."
  1199.  
  1200. >"Wow, that's kinda fucked up. And your dad couldn't just name you something simple off the top of his head, like George?"
  1201.  
  1202. "Nope. And shortening it to Anon so it wouldn't sound so damn much like I have no name at all was my decision. So that's what I'd rather be called, thank you very much. So what should I call you, if not Daring?"
  1203.  
  1204. >"Oh that's easy, I'm David."
  1205.  
  1206. You stick a hoof out and attempt to shake with David. It's just not the same without hands.
  1207.  
  1208. "Well, nice to meet you David. Now, I'm just curious. I remember you mentioning to Twilight that you'd been to prison before. If it's not too personal, what did you do?"
  1209.  
  1210. She shrugs.
  1211.  
  1212. >"Oh that's easy. They caught me having sex with a wallaby."
  1213. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1214. "So how was she?"
  1215.  
  1216. >"What, the Wallaby?"
  1217.  
  1218. "Well yeah. I mean, for something that got you sent to jail, Was she at least worth it?"
  1219.  
  1220. >"I mean, she wasn't worth the jail, that's for sure. But had I not been caught… yeah, she was alright. Really, the females aren't nearly as aggressive as the males, especially once you establish yourself as the alpha male."
  1221.  
  1222. You look around to see if either of your other friends are listening in on the conversation, but it seems they're both on the other side of the car chatting with each other. Probably for the better, considering the subject of the conversation.
  1223.  
  1224. "You ever thought about moving to America? Bestiality's perfectly legal in a few states."
  1225.  
  1226. >"Eh, not really. Just because you fuck one animal doesn't mean you want to make your entire life about fucking animals, you know? Besides, your immigration system is a bitch and a half."
  1227.  
  1228. "What, so you haven't been fucking all the animals in the Everfree?"
  1229.  
  1230. >"Nah, most of 'em will tear you limb from limb. I haven't had any sex since getting into this body anyways."
  1231. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1232. For some reason, perhaps against your better judgment, you feel compelled to try fooling around with Daring for a second time. Perhaps without her rope and drugs, she might be a better lay. Besides, she doesn't have to know about what happened in the time loop. In fact, you make a vow to yourself to never mention what happened back then, lest it taint your friendship. Besides, can you really blame someone for what they did in an alternate universe? Maybe. But you're not going to.
  1233.  
  1234. You inch closer to her and whisper into her ear.
  1235.  
  1236. "You wanna change that?"
  1237.  
  1238. Her ears perk up.
  1239.  
  1240. >"I'm listening."
  1241.  
  1242. "Well, though there isn't any real privacy on this train, I wouldn't object to a little after-hours fooling around in a hotel room once we get to Dodge."
  1243.  
  1244. She looks your young filly body up and down with a lecherous grin across her face.
  1245.  
  1246. >"Yeah, I think I'd like that."
  1247.  
  1248. "Only one rule: no anal."
  1249.  
  1250. >"Awww, but that's my favorite part!"
  1251.  
  1252. "Yeah, well, my butt's sore from the time…"
  1253.  
  1254. You pause, catching yourself from almost mentioning the time loop.
  1255.  
  1256. "…from the time I tried shoving a stick up there. Dumb idea, scratches your insides."
  1257.  
  1258. >"Okay, yeah, I know what you mean. Honestly, if you're gonna be playing with wood, you gotta whittle it away with a knife. And even then, you have splinters to worry about. And if you're me, half the time you try whittling away with wood it turns into a shiv because you spent so much time in jail, and you look at it in your hooves and you're like… what the fuck am I supposed to do with this?"
  1259.  
  1260. Suddenly you see Blossom right next to you in the corner of your eye. You're not sure how long she's been standing there.
  1261.  
  1262. >"Hey guys, what'cha talking about?"
  1263. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1264. "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It's… kind of an adult subject, not something I'd expect you to understand."
  1265.  
  1266. She scratches her head.
  1267.  
  1268. >"Zion… isn't that like another name for Israel?"
  1269.  
  1270. "Well, Jerusalem specifically, but yeah."
  1271.  
  1272. >"So are you two Jews or something?"
  1273.  
  1274. You share a glance with Daring and then suddenly both burst into laughter.
  1275.  
  1276. "Oh God no. It's… it's definitely an adult subject."
  1277.  
  1278. >"Well could you explain it to me? Cause I mean, I could always ask Twilight…"
  1279. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1280. "Blossom, what do you know of the Bogdanov brothers?"
  1281.  
  1282. >"The who?"
  1283.  
  1284. "No Blossom, not The Who. The Who are a British rock band with many great hit singles like 'My Generation' and 'Pinball Wizard'. No, I'm talking about a couple of French scientists, Dr. Igor Bogdanov and Dr. Grichka Bogdanov."
  1285.  
  1286. >"Dr. who?
  1287.  
  1288. "Really Blossom, you must drop this obsession with British pop culture. It's unhealthy. Listen, these bothers, they're men of extraordinary power and influence. Do you know of the Rothschild family?"
  1289.  
  1290. >"Uh, no?"
  1291.  
  1292. "Well they're a big Jewish family that has a fuckton of money from banking and a few underhanded tactics. They basically own a few governments. But they bow to the Bogdanovs."
  1293.  
  1294. >"Why?"
  1295.  
  1296. "Psychic powers and the ability to communicate with aliens."
  1297.  
  1298. >"Well you have psychic powers and we're on an alien planet. Why don't the Rothschilds bow to you?"
  1299. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1300. "Oh don't worry about that Blossom, they will bow to me… in time."
  1301.  
  1302. >"Somehow I get the feeling that this won't actually happen"
  1303.  
  1304. "What, and you're psychic all of a sudden?"
  1305.  
  1306. >"No, just call it intuition. Have you ever had a prediction where we make it back home?"
  1307.  
  1308. "…I haven't. Although my visions haven't said we're going to be stuck here forever either."
  1309.  
  1310. >"Well, I think we're going to end up spending a lot more time here than we've planned."
  1311.  
  1312. Daring places her forelegs behind her head and lounges back into her seat as she finally decides to rejoin the conversation.
  1313.  
  1314. >"I don't know about you two, but I've come to accept this pretty quickly."
  1315.  
  1316. You aren't sure how to feel about the possibility of being a pony forever. If you stay in Equestria long enough, you'll grow up from being a filly and into a mare. And then later on into an old crone. Somehow, you can picture yourself running a fortune telling business out of a tent. Whether the tent is for the perfect gypsy-type fortune teller aesthetic or because your special talent isn't as useful for making money as you might have thought, you aren't sure.
  1317.  
  1318. Your eyes begin to wander, and you find Twilight sitting alone on the opposite side of the train, lost in thought. You wonder what it is she could be thinking about, though you're pretty sure it's not the same subject as you. If she was, she'd look worried. And this reminds you - whatever happens, she's not going to accept not coming home for an answer.
  1319. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1320. You do your best to try not to think too much about Twilight's situation. Hopefully, whether you stay or leave, it will not come down to a group decision, lest Twilight's goals and Daring's goals conflict. Instead, you'd rather fantasize about the future.
  1321.  
  1322. "So what do you guys think I'd be like as a full grown mare?"
  1323.  
  1324. Blossom and Daring both give you a quick once over as they try and imagine a larger you.
  1325.  
  1326. >"Cute."
  1327.  
  1328. >"Finer than a wallaby."
  1329.  
  1330. Blossom tilts her head in confusion at Daring's comment.
  1331.  
  1332. >"What's a wallaby?"
  1333.  
  1334. >"They're like kangaroos, only smaller, and more cuddly."
  1335.  
  1336. >"Aren't kangaroos aggressive?"
  1337.  
  1338. Not wanting the conversation to turn to bestiality in Blossom's presence, you quickly interrupt to change the subject.
  1339.  
  1340. "I think she means they're cuddly in the same sense as raccoons. They look like you'd want to snuggle 'em, but they're still wild animals and you definitely should not get too close to them. Anyways, I wasn't talking about how I'd look, but what you think I'd be getting up to? I mean, I know Twilight's supposed to become the Princess of Friendship, Daring's supposed to write novels and go on adventures, and Blossom's supposed to become a weather pony, but what about me?"
  1341.  
  1342. Blossom gasps in shock at your suggestion.
  1343.  
  1344. >"And just how am I supposed to be a weather pony? Do I look like a weather pony to you? No, screw that. I'm gonna make pretzels or something. I'm already getting training as a baker."
  1345.  
  1346. Daring jumps up and raises her voice for the entire train to hear.
  1347.  
  1348. >"And from this day forth I shall never write, nor even read a book so long as I shall live."
  1349.  
  1350. Twilight and Blossom both subsequently plant a hoof into their respective faces.
  1351. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1352. That was just embarrassing. You kind of feel like shoving your face into your hoof too, but honestly at this point, you might as well kill yourself. You won't ever have to deal with any of these losers ever again.
  1353.  
  1354. You make your way towards the bathroom with the intention of drowning yourself in a toilet bowl. As soon as you open the door, a nauseating smell gives you immediate second thoughts. Whoever used the toilet last had diarrhea and forgot to flush. Without hesitation you flush it to relieve yourself of the smell, but what remains isn't exactly the cleanest looking toilet bowl. Sure, there's no stool left in it, but somehow the off-color porcelain makes you keep thinking about how agonizing a death it would be. Hell, the very idea that the water in there might not be so clean, and that you'd be trying to get it down your wind pipe almost makes you vomit. You dry heave a bit and stumble back out of the bathroom.
  1355.  
  1356. When you finally make it out, you find a somewhat concerned looking Twilight staring at you.
  1357.  
  1358. >"Are you okay, Anon?"
  1359. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1360. "Ugh, unflushed diarrhea and suicides don't mix."
  1361.  
  1362. Twilight's face immediately turns to worry.
  1363.  
  1364. >"You're not thinking about suicide again, are you?"
  1365.  
  1366. "No! …okay maybe. The bathroom on this train is so filthy it makes me want to hurl- myself out a window."
  1367.  
  1368. She sighs.
  1369.  
  1370. >"I don't know what all that time loop did to you, but you clearly haven't made it out in one piece. I know you're hurting so please, can we talk about it? I don't want to see you go. We might not have known each other long, but you're one of the few people I can consider a real friend on this world, and I know I'm not the only one with that sentiment."
  1371. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1372. "So Twilight… do your motherly instincts kick in being surrounded by children like me, or is your prepubescent pony biology blocking them?"
  1373.  
  1374. She stares at you blankly.
  1375.  
  1376. >"Neither. The only child here is Blossom. I see you like the fully grown man that you are. I would think your overly high sex drive should block any maternal instincts towards you."
  1377.  
  1378. "Then what's your angle, is this some sort of CIA psyop?"
  1379.  
  1380. >"What? No! You're a friend. Friends don't want to see other friends being hurt. You tried to kill yourself this morning because of what happened in the time loop, and now you're talking about suicide again. I'm worried about you."
  1381.  
  1382. "We're… friends?"
  1383.  
  1384. Twilight is starting to look a little bit annoyed, but nonetheless manages to keep up a relatively pleasant demeanor.
  1385.  
  1386. >"We sleep in the same room every night, we've partied together, and we've told each other some very personal secrets. Yes, we're friends. I don't care if you come from a background that believes men and women can't have platonic relationships; I think we can, and I'm concerned about you. So will you please tell me what ails you, as a friend?"
  1387. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1388. "I'm not really sure. Between the voices in my head telling me to do graphic and obscene things, and whatever sick bastard is putting me through it all with a grin on his face, I'm just getting tired of it all. I want off this ride."
  1389.  
  1390. Twilight looks pensive for a moment, and takes a seat again as she tries to contemplate your comment.
  1391.  
  1392. >"Voices… would these be the same voices you mentioned when you first came to our house in Canterlot? The national socialist and the communist?"
  1393.  
  1394. "Oh it's grown to more than just those."
  1395.  
  1396. >"Care to explain in detail?"
  1397.  
  1398. You sigh and sit down as you try to think of the best way to describe this to Twilight. You know that the truth of the matter is that you don't really have free will in this world. It's all a game. And yet the last time you described things in this way to Twilight, you ended up looping through time almost endlessly until you somehow managed to stop screwing everything up.
  1399.  
  1400. In a way, as you reflect the past week or so of yesterdays that you experienced, there is only one way to explain the illogical means by which those events came about, and the even more illogical means by which you were able to escape them. This world has rules. When you break them, you become punished until the lesson has been learned. It only stands to reason that should you break the same rule twice, the punishment will be more severe. You tread carefully as you try to explain your condition within these limitations.
  1401.  
  1402. "I- I'm not sure how to put this. I think I might have become schizophrenic or some sort of clinically insane ever since I became a pony. I hear voices in my head and they try to argue over my every move. They can't decide if they want to have me kill myself, feel some deep emotions, or just hop onto the nearest pony and rut until my mind goes to mush. And having died so many times in that loop, I can't tell if I'm alive or dead anymore."
  1403.  
  1404. >"Well if you ask me, you're very much alive."
  1405.  
  1406. "And how do I know I'm not in purgatory, and you're not some figment of my imagination."
  1407.  
  1408. >"Well those voices are a figment of your imagination and you still seem to listen to them. Can you try to ignore them?"
  1409. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1410. "I… I don't know. I probably won't be able to, at least not all the time. I make a lot of dumb decisions, and listening to these guys is probably the worst of them all. And to be honest, it's a mistake I'm probably going to make over and over again. I can only hope you- my friends will help push me in the right direction."
  1411.  
  1412. You are starting to develop tears in your eyes as you confess your troubles to Twilight, and without warning, you thrust your hooves around her into a tight hug. For what it's worth, she reciprocates and holds you close against her, allowing you to dry your eyes on her chest fluff.
  1413.  
  1414. >"You're a silly filly, you know that?"
  1415.  
  1416. You barely manage to muffle out an "I am" in your current emotional state as you feel her slowly running her hooves through your mane.
  1417.  
  1418. >"Did your voices tell you to hug me, just now?"
  1419.  
  1420. You nod.
  1421.  
  1422. >"Well, at least they're not always pushing you into bad decisions."
  1423.  
  1424. "I'm worried about the future though. What if you're not around to stop me from doing something stupid?"
  1425.  
  1426. She pauses for a moment to think, and then her horn glows for just a second, which she touches to your forehead.
  1427.  
  1428. >"There. I've put a charm on you to keep you from getting too out of hand. You'll start to have second thoughts if you do anything completely dumb."
  1429. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1430. "Let's put that to the test, shall we?"
  1431.  
  1432. Without saying another word, you immediately decide to take a bite of the nearest seat cushion. It isn't very tasty, and you can't seem to rip anything off to really chew on it, but at least you can safely say at least one dumb idea got through Twilight's charm.
  1433.  
  1434. "Okay Twilight, what gives? I thought your charm protected me from stupid ideas."
  1435.  
  1436. >"There's a difference between stabbing yourself with a kitchen knife dumb and eating furniture dumb. I'm pretty sure whatever compelled you to start chewing on that wasn't aware that the pony who had diarrhea might have also sat on that seat cushion."
  1437.  
  1438. Suddenly, you feel like vomiting. You crack open a window and dry heave a bit before you can finally catch some fresh air. As you stick your head out, you wonder what it would be like if you were to jump out. You'd probably tumble very fast onto the ground and possibly end up rolling under the tracks for the train to run over your head. Definitely unpleasant. You opt instead to close the window and sit down next to Twilight.
  1439.  
  1440. "Okay, you win. The charm works."
  1441.  
  1442. >"Glad to know I'm stronger than your subconscious."
  1443.  
  1444. "I can only hope so, Twi."
  1445.  
  1446. Now what?
  1447. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1448. Now, you think, would be a good time to sleep. There's still plenty of time left on the train ride, and it would suck to run into your clone while tired. And yet… there's still some things you could be doing. You have a new friend. Though this friend had hurt you in another timeline, you're willing to put that behind you - for now. Nevertheless, that friend doesn't get along well with your other friends, which is clearly going to be a problem. Friendship is more important than sleep right now, because as everyone knows, friendship is magic.
  1449.  
  1450. "Hey Twi, how's about you, me, Daring, and Blossom get together and do something while we wait on this boring train ride to get over with?"
  1451.  
  1452. >"Uh… sure? What'd you have in mind?"
  1453.  
  1454. "I dunno, like a game or something?"
  1455.  
  1456. >"Hmm… maybe. No Truth or Dare though."
  1457.  
  1458. "I take it you don't trust Daring that much?"
  1459.  
  1460. >"Actually no, I was thinking about the fact that you and Blossom are way too incorrigible. Getting her to give you the dares that you want so you can Carpe Diem without consequences? You are an absolutely naughty filly, do you know that?"
  1461.  
  1462. "Oh come on, that was ONE time!"
  1463.  
  1464. >"And knowing you, you'll do it again. Now, do you have an idea for a game 4 fillies can play on a train that won't end in lewdness?"
  1465. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1466. "How about a Rock Paper Scissors tournament?"
  1467.  
  1468. Twilight blinks, unsure how to respond.
  1469.  
  1470. >"Have you forgotten we have hooves?"
  1471.  
  1472. You laugh.
  1473.  
  1474. "Nah, I'm just messing with you. That actually gives me an idea though. What about charades? Might be a little harder as ponies, but we could do it."
  1475.  
  1476. >"Hmm… that sounds fair."
  1477.  
  1478. Twilight calls over your other friends, who both seem relatively bored from the train ride. Blossom at the very least doesn't seem as creeped out by Daring as she was before she got on the train, although you're not sure if that's for the better or for the worse. At least they're getting along.
  1479.  
  1480. Charades, as it turns out, is quite a difficult game to play, but not because of your lack of fingers. Rather, neither Blossom nor Daring had played it before, and therefore neither of them knew any of the signals, like pointing at your ear to indicate that the word "sounds like" something. After a few games that end up terribly, Twilight ends up explaining to them some of the intricacies of how to not suck at charades, and after a couple of hours of play, they finally start showing some consistent guesses.
  1481.  
  1482. Eventually you grow tired of the game, however, and of staying awake in general. The sky in the distance becomes orange as the sun starts to set. You're not quite sure why Celestia chooses to lower the sun earlier in the winter and later in the summer, but for whatever reason it is, you're probably going to have to spend some time on the train in the dark.
  1483.  
  1484. You feel drowsy.
  1485. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1486. It isn't exactly a proper hour to sleep, but your body just won't listen to reason. You're not quite sure why you feel sleepy, but you consider perhaps that it might be a delayed reaction to all of the energy you expended on your way back to Ponyville. Regardless, you compromise with your body's demands and decide to take a nap for a few hours. Your sleep schedule likely won't be normal over the next few days anyways.
  1487.  
  1488. . . .
  1489.  
  1490. You are in a swamp of sorts, surrounded by willow trees. The sky above you is dark, and the ground beneath you is wet, chilling your hooves. Somehow, this does not bother you, as you seem determined to get wherever you are going. There's a small satchel in your mouth that you've been lugging along for miles. It's starting to get tiring, but if you stop now, you'll have no place dry to leave your stuff. Moreover, there are flash bees about, and they are very territorial. Just a few more miles, you think, and you'll reach the-.
  1491.  
  1492. You stop thinking about whatever you were thinking about and close your eyes. Someone is watching you, and you don't want them to know where you're going. Suddenly you realize you are not the pony in the swamp, you are the pony who is watching her through her eyes. Despite there being no one around, she decides to speak aloud, and you hear your own voice.
  1493.  
  1494. "Go away Anon. I know you're watching me."
  1495.  
  1496. . . .
  1497.  
  1498. It's the crack of dawn. You must have overslept by a longshot. On the bright side, however, you can see a desert out the window, so you must be close to Dodge.
  1499. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1500. You look around the train to see if you can find your friends, only to find them asleep right next to you in their seats. Now would be as good a time as any to wake them up, but somehow you feel as though this might not be the smartest idea. You have no idea how long they've been sleeping for, and nobody likes to be woken up at the crack of dawn. Still, you're not going to be able to get back to sleep at this point, so instead you opt to look out the window for a little while and ponder a few thoughts until they wake up on their own.
  1501.  
  1502. The desert outside gets boring quick, but luckily you have your worries to keep you company. You're not sure how that's supposed to be lucky, but you're sticking with it. The biggest problem on your mind right now seems to be how it is that your clone knew you were watching. Does she have psychic powers like you do, and if so, is she watching you right now? Should you be paranoid right now? Or what if it was just a dream? You can never tell these days, so you always assume that every dream you have is some sort of prophecy. Nevertheless, the feeling of complete uncertainty towards your own perceptions is extraordinarily uncomfortable. Is this what they call gaslighting? Are you gaslighting yourself? Is that even possible? More things to ask Twilight when she wakes up.
  1503.  
  1504. After an uncounted amount of time spent questioning your own sanity, you finally notice something different on the train. There is a sweet aroma wafting throughout the cabin, and you notice a very cute pony with a breakfast cart passing out danishes to a couple of ponies who are just waking up. Not wanting to wait on your friends any longer, you gently nudge them awake and point out the breakfast pony. They all begrudgingly start to roll awake and accept their continental-style breakfast as it comes around to them.
  1505.  
  1506. Twilight stretches out her hooves as she tries to bring herself awake and turns to you with a warm, but still half-asleep smile on her face.
  1507.  
  1508. >"You were out like a light last night. Couldn't even be woken up when dinner came around. How'd you sleep?"
  1509.  
  1510. "They had dinner? And… I had another vision."
  1511.  
  1512. >"Yep. It was mostly a sort of fruit-based salad. I tried to wake you up, but you seemed pretty focused on whatever you were dreaming about to be bothered. Speaking of which, what DID you dream about, Nostradamus?"
  1513.  
  1514. "Saw my clone. She was walking through some sort of swamp. Read her mind for a little bit and could tell she was heading somewhere she thought was important, but she locked me out pretty quick and told me she knew she was watching me. How the hell do ponies know when I'm watching them?"
  1515.  
  1516. >"That's… troublesome. Although she IS your clone supposedly, so she should have whatever psychic powers you do, unless she's a changeling of course. Maybe this just rules out the possibility of her being a changeling?"
  1517.  
  1518. "Maybe, but that would be even more terrifying. I don't remember cloning myself through something like the mirror pool or whatever. Could the changelings have cloned me with my DNA? Do they even have that sort of magic? And where the heck could that swamp be? Did she know we were heading to Dodge and decide to take a different path?"
  1519.  
  1520. >"Well, I have no clue about the changeling magic, or if it's something else entirely, but I can answer the swamp question. Dodge actually borders a huge wooded area called the Hayseed Swamp. Did you see any distinguishing features in it?"
  1521.  
  1522. "Uhh… flash bees and willow trees?"
  1523.  
  1524. >"Yep, that would be it."
  1525.  
  1526. "So we're going to have to trudge through the same cold, wet, and grimy swamp she did?"
  1527.  
  1528. >"Unless you have any better ideas on where you think she might be headed."
  1529. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1530. "To be honest I haven't the faintest clue."
  1531.  
  1532. >"Then I guess we're going to be following her a day behind. Maybe a half a day depending on how deep she is into the swamp. You wouldn't happen to know where, would you?"
  1533.  
  1534. "No, but I'll tell you if I see it. A lot of the wilderness can sort of bleed together to me sometimes though, so I can't guarantee it'll be exact, just that it'll look like where she was."
  1535.  
  1536. Twilight shrugs. There's not much either of you can do without more information about your clone's whereabouts, so you decide to enjoy your breakfast in silence. Well, mostly silence. As you imagine trekking through the swamp, you picture yourself as a soldier in the jungles of Vietnam, and can't help but hum - rather loudly - the tune to the song "Fortunate Son". You are soon joined by both Twilight and Daring, who despite being still half asleep, escalates the three of you from humming into singing.
  1537.  
  1538. No one else on the train seems to know what the hell you're singing about, not even Blossom, leaving you to believe her musical education is lacking. In fact, you almost wish you could turn this entire train around and send it all the way to Manehatten just so Lyra could show her what "taste" is. Instead, you will have to be taking her through a swamp to Celestia knows where. This of course reminds you - you have no idea what the hell to bring to a swamp.
  1539.  
  1540. "Hey Twi, what should we bring before we go into the swamp? Malaria shots? Fly swatters? Galoshes?"
  1541.  
  1542. She sighs.
  1543.  
  1544. >"Well there's not much we can do for preparations. I've got money for a return trip to Ponyville, but not enough for a spending spree. I probably wouldn't worry about Malaria though, and you should have a natural fly swatter already"
  1545.  
  1546. "Natural fly swatter?"
  1547.  
  1548. She gently smacks you with her tail, and you suddenly realize you have been neglecting the fact that you have one.
  1549. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1550. You roll your eyes at Twilight's physical equivalent of banter.
  1551.  
  1552. "Oh, so terribly sorry. It's not like I haven't been so damn used to not having a tail or anything."
  1553.  
  1554. Despite your sarcasm, she smiles.
  1555.  
  1556. >"Well you've been here for what, maybe around a month if you include the time loop?"
  1557.  
  1558. You do a mental once over of all of the days you've been in Equestria and realize you still can remember each individual one. It hasn't been that long. Hell, you can even count some of your actions back on Earth still in the category of recent memories, though not that many.
  1559.  
  1560. "Shit, I'm still a noob, aren't I?"
  1561.  
  1562. You suddenly feel a pair of hooves thrust around you from behind, and you see that they are the alabaster hue of a certain flexible filly - Blossomforth.
  1563.  
  1564. >"You're the noobiest of noobs here, but at least you got friends, right?"
  1565. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1566. There is no way you are going to let Blossom one-up you on bants. Like a proper older brother-type (or perhaps older sister in this body), you give her a good noogie-ing.
  1567.  
  1568. "1v1 me scrub, we'll see who's the noob then!"
  1569.  
  1570. A smug grin appears on her face and out of nowhere she places her foreleg on the seat between you as if to hoof wrestle.
  1571.  
  1572. >"1 2 3 4, I declare a hoof war!"
  1573.  
  1574. Quickly, she moves to knock your foreleg down to the ground before you can even realize what game you're playing. Unfortunately for her, you're an Earth pony, and strength is always going to be your advantage. She gets you about halfway down before you realize what she's doing and flip her hoof back around effortlessly, leaving her with a half sour look on her face.
  1575.  
  1576. "Now who's the noob?"
  1577.  
  1578. >"Alright alright, you win. Mare of steel"
  1579.  
  1580. "Yeah yeah, we all know I'm-"
  1581.  
  1582. You are interrupted by what seems to be an intercom-like system on the train. It's not digital though, as it appears to be using a system of pipes to carry a pony's voice into each of the cars.
  1583.  
  1584. >>"Attention passengers, this is your conductor speaking. We should be arriving at our final destination in Dodge City sometime within the next half hour. When we disembark, please make sure you have not left any items on the train, and thank you for riding the Friendship Express."
  1585. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1586. Having no luggage to have to worry about, you figure the best way to pass the time would be with a little bit of skinship (furship? you are not certain the appropriate term for ponies) with your friends.
  1587.  
  1588. "Well, I guess we're almost there. I suuuuuuure hope nopony tries to SUFFOCATE me in their CHESTFLUFF for the next thirty minutes. Hint hint."
  1589.  
  1590. You were hoping for Blossom to be the one to respond to this, but an Australian accent out of nowhere suggests you might not get that wish.
  1591.  
  1592. >"I gotcha mate."
  1593.  
  1594. Daring's surprisingly strong forelegs wrap around you from behind into a crushing bear hug. You would never believe a filly could be so strong, let alone a pegasus, and yet had you been facing her, you're pretty sure she actually could have suffocated you. Out of pure curiosity, you turn around to nuzzle her chest fluff, and sure enough, she is pretty soft for an outdoorspony. It almost makes you forget that she took advantage of you in another timeline.
  1595.  
  1596. Almost.
  1597.  
  1598. The rest of the train ride, you are plagued with thoughts over what to think of this pony. When you first met her, she was unfriendly, and drugged you to try and kick you out of her house to leave her alone. When you offered her sex while on said drugs, she took your offer way too far and unleashed some pretty sick - and painful - fetishes on you. And in this timeline… she went from asocial and answering the door with a crossbow to super friendly and affectionate in way too short of time. Was the version of Daring you met in the previous timeline a changeling? Does she have multiple personalities or some other fucked up mental illness? Were you just cursed?
  1599.  
  1600. Okay, you were literally cursed at the time, but were you also just cursed to receive the worse possible outcome of this situation? Everything is way too confusing for your filly brain to comprehend and…
  1601.  
  1602. Oh hey, the train's stopped. And for some reason you never left Daring's embrace. You make a silent prayer that this isn't Stockholm Syndrome.
  1603. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1604. You make your way off of the train with your friends, staying somewhat quiet the whole time as you contemplate Daring just a bit more. Eventually, you come to the simple conclusion that she is a psychopath - able to change her personality to suit whatever she feels she needs, and not particularly having much actual concern for anyone. She may prove useful despite these qualities, especially if you can turn her and her rope and assorted weapon skills against your enemies… just as long as you can make sure she doesn't find a reason to put a knife in your back. Yes, that's the explanation you'll use.
  1605.  
  1606. As you finally step outside the train, you get the sense that Dodge is a bit warmer than Ponyville, though you're not quite sure why that is. If ponies control the weather, and Celestia controls the sun, why are there deserts to the south and tundras to the north? Moreover, how is there a swamp on the other side of town? From what you remember from the show, there was supposed to be just hills and desert here.
  1607.  
  1608. "Hey Twi, this is Dodge Junction, right?"
  1609.  
  1610. >"This is Dodge City. I think the junction was a while back."
  1611.  
  1612. "So we passed her?"
  1613.  
  1614. >"Didn't you say she was in the swamp by now? We just caught up."
  1615.  
  1616. "I know, but Pinkie said she'd be in Dodge Junction…"
  1617.  
  1618. >"That was a day ago."
  1619.  
  1620. "Fuck she moves fast."
  1621.  
  1622. >"Well, with any luck, she's going to get tired and crash soon. Did she seem sleepless in your vision?"
  1623.  
  1624. "I… maybe? She seemed like she was trying to get somewhere at all costs, and was weathering through a lot of bullshit."
  1625.  
  1626. >"Well then, we've got a good night's rest and she doesn't. We just have to show as much tenacity as she did and we'll catch up in no time."
  1627. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1628. "Alright, that's a good point. I've had my breakfast and a very long sleep, so let's get the heck out of Dodge."
  1629.  
  1630. For some reason you're not quite sure of, Daring starts staring daggers at you.
  1631.  
  1632. "Uh… something the matter?"
  1633.  
  1634. >"Language, missy."
  1635.  
  1636. "Oh, right. 'Scuse me. Let's get the FUCK out of Dodge."
  1637.  
  1638. >"Better."
  1639.  
  1640. You walk at a brisk pace through the city, trying not to get too distracted by sightseeing. Despite this, the city does appear rather beautiful, with brightly colored buildings that make it seem almost as "homey" as Ponyville. Had you not been in a hurry to track down your clone, perhaps your choice of colloquialisms would not have been as apt. But alas, you hardly have time (or the funds) to even stop for lunch. At least you had the foresight to bring a survivalist along for the trip.
  1641.  
  1642. In spite of your fast pace, it actually takes a couple of hours to reach the edge of the swamp, which actually looks more like a normal forest on its outskirts. You can definitely tell it is the right place, however, because the landscape is dotted with dreadlocks-shaped foliage of willow trees.
  1643.  
  1644. Faced with the massive behemoth that is the Hayseed Swamp before you, you suddenly find yourself with a conundrum - you have no idea which direction your clone is heading.
  1645. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1646. Before continuing any further, you decide to sit down for a bit to try and think about which way your clone was going. Thinking back to the memory, you realize the sky was dark, and there were too many trees obstructing your view of the sky, so using the sun for direction sense would not be possible. Instead, you consider the trees. Moss always grows on the north side of trees, right? So if that were the case, she might be heading… North East? Probably better to double check with your friends.
  1647.  
  1648. "Hey guys, moss grows on the North side of trees, right?"
  1649.  
  1650. Daring shakes her head.
  1651.  
  1652. >"Nah, it grows in the South."
  1653.  
  1654. Blossom bursts into laughter.
  1655.  
  1656. >"Maybe in Australia. Equestria was designed by Americans and Canadians, so it should be in the North."
  1657.  
  1658. >"The fuck do you mean designed by Americans and Canadians?"
  1659.  
  1660. >"You know, the show it's from?"
  1661.  
  1662. >"What show?"
  1663.  
  1664. >"My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic?"
  1665.  
  1666. >"Holy shit, I'm in a little girl's cartoon? Piss, shit, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits! If this shit is airing on television somewhere, tell all the little girls I'm gonna rape their mothers, because this shit ain't right."
  1667. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1668. "You know what? Fuck it. Daring, you're right, it is on the south side. Let's just go south. Well, southwest, seeing as I was originally thinking it was northeast.
  1669.  
  1670. Your friends are all staring at you.
  1671.  
  1672. "What?"
  1673.  
  1674. Twilight places a hoof on your shoulder.
  1675.  
  1676. >"We just came from the west."
  1677.  
  1678. "So southeast?"
  1679.  
  1680. >"Look, you're trying to navigate by the moss you saw in your vision, right?"
  1681.  
  1682. "Yeah."
  1683.  
  1684. >"And if you originally thought it was in the northeast, that would mean that the direction she's headed in is the same direction as would be faced by the right part of the mossy side of the tree, right?"
  1685.  
  1686. "Uh… yes?"
  1687.  
  1688. >"Well then by deduction, if the moss was growing on the south side, the right part of the moss would point west, causing her to head back in the direction of Dodge. So logically, this would mean…"
  1689.  
  1690. "That she's headed back to Dodge?"
  1691.  
  1692. Twilight plants her hoof into her face and you can see Blossom becoming visibly annoyed with this silliness.
  1693.  
  1694. >"Oh my god guys, can we just check the trees already? They're right fucking there!"
  1695.  
  1696. You look to the sky and check the sun to get a good sense of where north is, and then walk up to a tree. The moss on most of the trees appears to be on the northern side.
  1697. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1698. "Well fuck, why didn't I just check the sun in the first place? Alright, she's this way."
  1699.  
  1700. You point your hoof in the general direction of south, and slightly to the east. Twilight tilts her head like a kirin in response.
  1701.  
  1702. >"Are you… sure about that? I mean, you seemed to imply the opposite a little bit ago."
  1703.  
  1704. "Well, if I'm remembering my vision properly, the direction she was headed in was actually on the other side of the moss, now that I think about it. I mean, I shouldn't have been even able to see the moss if I was facing its opposite end, right?"
  1705.  
  1706. >"Well it's not uniform, so you can see it partially from the other side of the tree in some areas, but if you're saying you were facing it, I guess it would make sense to go in that direction."
  1707.  
  1708. You are, of course, lying through your teeth. The reason you were able to see the moss was because you saw it from the side. When you looked forward, you typically saw the non-mossy side of trees. Nevertheless, your gut is telling you that it's a good idea to get lost in the woods right now, and you trust your gut, so you do just that.
  1709.  
  1710. For the next half a day or so, you trudge through a woodland that becomes increasingly wetter and more resembling a swamp with each hour that passes. Dirt paths become mud, and mud in turn becomes deep puddles that in some areas ride all the way up to the lower part of your flank. You make a silent prayer thanking whatever god that put you here that the swamp is not magically enchanted to make you depressed, and that you are not Artax about to die. It is nonetheless very cold, but not freezing.
  1711.  
  1712. Eventually, you come to a small, run-down village with wooden walkways that run between raised houses. It seems familiar, though many of the ponies there do not. You are starting to get hungry.
  1713. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1714. You walk up to the first pony you see, a sort of middle-aged mare with dreadlocks. She seems a little surprised to see you and your friends, and you get the sense that this village might not receive that many visitors.
  1715.  
  1716. "Hey, this may seem strange, but have you seen a filly that looks just like me passing through here, possibly acting suspicious like she might be a clone or a changeling?"
  1717.  
  1718. There's a brief pause before you get any sort of response, and as soon as the mare opens her mouth, you get the sense that she's not all that… there.
  1719.  
  1720. <"Dude… what's a changeling?"
  1721.  
  1722. "Uh, it's a bug-like pony that can turn into other ponies?"
  1723.  
  1724. <"Whoa. That's pretty awesome."
  1725.  
  1726. "They're also incredibly warlike and plan on taking over Equestria."
  1727.  
  1728. <"Okay, never mind, not awesome. Totally bogus."
  1729.  
  1730. "Yeah, and I think one of them might've come through here. Have you seen any?"
  1731.  
  1732. <"Nah, nopony comes through here. It's hard enough to get supply carts coming in. I think you've probably seen first-hand what the area around here's like. Say, do you want to come in to dry off and have some brownies?"
  1733. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1734. "Alright, sure. I'll stick around for a brownie and a couple of cones."
  1735.  
  1736. The mare looks at you somewhat confused.
  1737.  
  1738. <"Cones? We don't have any ice cream here. Besides, isn't it cold out?"
  1739.  
  1740. What is she, dense? Or do not all weed terms translate over to Equestria properly?
  1741.  
  1742. "Uh, forget I said that. Say, do you have any spliffs or blunts?"
  1743.  
  1744. <"Well I've got a pretty blunt kitchen knife that needs sharpening…"
  1745.  
  1746. Okay, she is clueless.
  1747.  
  1748. "Nevermind. Do you mind if I bring my friends too? I'm pretty sure they're all just as cold and wet, and also hungry."
  1749.  
  1750. <"Sure, go ahead. I've got plenty."
  1751.  
  1752. You quickly round up your friends, who seem to have wandered around the town to check the place out. Though Twilight did seem to be engaged in another conversation with a local, it isn't hard to pull her focus away with just the words, "scored us some brownies."
  1753.  
  1754. Soon, you find yourself inside a surprisingly cozy shack. The mare who invited you, properly introduces herself to you as "Baked Goods," and tells you she is the town chef. The whole place is a sort of commune, so everyone has a job, and the resources get shared so long as everyone pitches in their labor. As she passes you a plate of some of the most delicious brownies you've ever tasted, she laments that her own daughter, Brownie Bun, will probably not be able to take over her job, as she is terrible at cooking.
  1755.  
  1756. As soon as said daughter walks into the room and takes a brownie for herself, you realize there probably isn't any weed in Baked Goods' baked goods.
  1757. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1758. "Hey Baked Goods, these brownies wouldn't happen to have any marijuana in them, would they?"
  1759.  
  1760. Twilight shoots you an odd glance that seemingly asks if you really just asked that question.
  1761.  
  1762. <"No, what's marijuana?"
  1763.  
  1764. "It's uh… it's a plant. Normally you smoke it and it makes you relax and feel kinda funny, but it's also sometimes processed into an oil and made into brownies."
  1765.  
  1766. <"Haha, sorry dude, nothing like that here. If I find anything like that around the swamp I'll have to try it out though. My husband often comes home waaaaaay exhausted from chopping wood and could use some relaxation."
  1767.  
  1768. "Oh definitely. You know, if you could get me a piece of paper and something to write with, I could show you what the leaves look like so you could know what to look for."
  1769.  
  1770. <"Sure thing. I should have some around here somewhere."
  1771.  
  1772. She walks off into another room, so you decide to pitch an idea to your friends while her back is turned.
  1773.  
  1774. "So, what do you guys think are the odds that these ponies are the free love types?"
  1775.  
  1776. Twilight rolls her eyes.
  1777.  
  1778. <"Well, you're zero for one on casting her as a stoner, so I'm going to guess zilch. Say, why are you trying to bring drugs into an otherwise peaceful village anyways?"
  1779. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1780. "Same reason the CIA brought crack to the inner cities. You remember the reason for that, don't you?"
  1781.  
  1782. >"If you're referring to the CIA contra affair, I was in middle school when that happened, so I couldn't have overseen it to have first-hand knowledge of the situation. And even if I was, it wouldn't be in my department. The Contras were involved in Nicaragua, and my field of work was in the Korean peninsula."
  1783.  
  1784. "Nice excuse, spook."
  1785.  
  1786. >"Well at least I have an excuse. You, on the other hand, presumably believe that the CIA had malicious intents with their drug smuggling, and yet say you have the same intentions with them with this village. Can you just leave them alone?"
  1787.  
  1788. "How about YOU leave them alone? It's not like I'm trying to get them on some sort of dangerous drug. It's just pot! Besides, maybe they're short on textiles and could use some hemp or something."
  1789.  
  1790. >"And hemp is a completely different plant from pot. If you tried to smoke it, the only thing you'd accomplish is giving yourself an increased chance of lung cancer. Which by the way, they have similar looking leaves."
  1791.  
  1792. "Why do you hate pot anyways?"
  1793.  
  1794. >"To be honest, I don't. Hell, half my office gets stoned when they get home from work despite the fact that the agency frowns heavily on it, because of all of the stress. I just don't think our host needs to gets any more baked than she is now, don't you agree?"
  1795. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1796. Clearly, Twilight must have literally smoked rope in college if she thinks that hemp grown in the wild can't get a pony high. But you'll let that slide, lest her ego be totally shattered.
  1797.  
  1798. "Alright fine, but you're gonna buy us all ice cream when we get back home."
  1799.  
  1800. She rolls her eyes and smiles.
  1801.  
  1802. >"I can live with that."
  1803.  
  1804. Baked Goods shows up shortly afterwards, empty-hooved and slightly dispirited.
  1805.  
  1806. <"Well, I don't know what to tell you, but I think we're all out of paper."
  1807.  
  1808. "That's alright. I'm pretty sure marijuana doesn't grow in swamps anyways, at least not natively."
  1809.  
  1810. <"Bummer. I'll have to ask about it next time a trade caravan comes through."
  1811.  
  1812. And thus Twilight's desire to keep the town off of drugs was ultimately defeated by the free market. You sit smugly and enjoy the rest of your brownie, knowing full well that she still owes you some ice cream.
  1813.  
  1814. <"So you mentioned earlier that you were looking for a changeling. Do you need to do that now, or can you spend the night and continue your search tomorrow?"
  1815. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1816. You take a look out the window. It's starting to get dark out, and you know full well that the swamp outside is cold. You'd like to think you'll have an advantage over your clone for not being dumb enough to stay up all night walking, or sleeping in the wilderness.
  1817.  
  1818. "Uhh, if you're offering, I think I'll have to take it."
  1819.  
  1820. <"Well of course I'm offering. What kind of pony do you think I'd be to let you sleep out there in the cold?"
  1821.  
  1822. "Obviously not the same kind of pony that took in a couple of strangers and offers them brownies. Do you have a guest room?"
  1823.  
  1824. <"Nah, but I can put you guys up in the living room if you don't mind."
  1825.  
  1826. "Hey, a roof's a roof."
  1827.  
  1828. <"Good. I don't want to seem like a bad host or anything. We don't tend to see a lot of strangers around these parts."
  1829.  
  1830. Around this time the door bursts open to reveal a very burly cream-colored stallion wearing a red plaid jacket and carrying an axe in his teeth. He has two saddlebags on either side of him, each overfilled with firewood. He sets them down and throws his hooves around Baked Goods and Brownie Bun, lifting them into a crushing bear hug. After he sets them down, he turns to you and your friends with a jolly smile on his face.
  1831.  
  1832. >>"Well who are these cute little fillies? I haven't seen you in the village before?"
  1833. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1834. "Alright, down on the ground, this is the FBI. We're here on reports of some 463,000 images of foal porn!"
  1835.  
  1836. Daring bursts into laughter.
  1837.  
  1838. >"What in the hell was that, mate?"
  1839.  
  1840. "No, nothing?"
  1841.  
  1842. The stallion shrugs.
  1843.  
  1844. >>"Sorry, haven't heard of this 'FBI' you're talking about."
  1845.  
  1846. Blossom jumps in before you can come up with a response.
  1847.  
  1848. >"Filly Bully Insurance. We're here to insure your house against being bullied by fillies into giving away your sweets."
  1849.  
  1850. >>"So you're saying you can keep Brownie Bun from stealing from the cookie jar?"
  1851.  
  1852. >"Yes, absolutely. That is our entire purpose in being here. We will distract her all night if we have to, to keep your cookies safe."
  1853.  
  1854. >>"Well, okay then. And I take it you'll be needing some cookies yourself as payment?"
  1855.  
  1856. <"Nah dude. I already gave them some brownies and let them stay the night. They're some pretty cool travelers and I think one of them might be a botanist or something. She's green, so she knows a lot about plants. Told me about one that could make it easier for you to relax. We might be able to get some off of the trade caravans next time they're in town."
  1857.  
  1858. That logic makes perfect sense.
  1859.  
  1860. >>"Aww, now that sounds pretty nice. So you're travelers? Where are you headed?"
  1861.  
  1862. "We're tracking down a changeling. It's like a sort of bug pony that turns into other ponies"
  1863.  
  1864. >>"Yeah, I've heard of 'em. Saw one in the woods when I was a colt, damn near scared me half to death. So there's one around here now?"
  1865.  
  1866. "Well, it's somewhere in the swamp, and it's taken my form, so I'm bound to track it down."
  1867.  
  1868. >>"Just don't invite it into town. And if it does come, let me know. This axe ain't just good for trees, you know."
  1869. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1870. "I'm gonna have to say thanks, but no thanks on killing it with that axe. I have some questions I need to ask it first, so I'm gonna need it alive."
  1871.  
  1872. >>"Sounds dangerous. Do try to be careful, because those things are dangerous."
  1873.  
  1874. "Trust me, I am well aware. But I don't think this one's going to try to hurt me. Actually, it's running away. Where it's going, I'm not quite sure, so that's why I'm tracking it."
  1875.  
  1876. >>"Do you normally look for trouble, or does trouble just happen to find you?"
  1877.  
  1878. "The latter, but sometimes you have to seek out trouble before it finds you later. What would you do if someone was walking around with your name and face?"
  1879.  
  1880. He pauses, staring off into space for a bit.
  1881.  
  1882. >>"Hope that they never talk to anyone who comes to my village."
  1883.  
  1884. "Well my village is a little bit bigger than this one, and it's bound to blow up in size."
  1885.  
  1886. >>"Then I guess you have to do what you have to do. Stay safe, little filly."
  1887.  
  1888. The stallion leaves you and your friends in the living room to crash out as he retreats to the master bedroom with his wife. Once alone, you look out the window and see that it is starting to become dark. Though it is perhaps possible for you to stay up for a few more hours, Twilight recommends against this, noting that the best course of action would be to sleep early and leave early to maximize your time on the road. Not wanting to argue with this, you crash out on the couch and drift off to sleep.
  1889.  
  1890. . . .
  1891.  
  1892. The ground beneath you is hard and uncomfortable, and seems to rock gently back and forth. You're not quite sure where you are, but when you try to open your eyes, a force instinctively reacts to keep you from doing so.
  1893.  
  1894. "Why do you even bother? Just leave me alone."
  1895.  
  1896. >>"Who ye talking to, lassie?"
  1897.  
  1898. "A ghost."
  1899.  
  1900. Your vision fades.
  1901.  
  1902. . . .
  1903.  
  1904. It is the crack of dawn, and Twilight has nudged you awake.
  1905.  
  1906. >"You ready to get going?"
  1907. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1908. "Yeah, gimme a second to wake myself up. Fuck we've got a lot of ground to cover."
  1909.  
  1910. You stretch yourself out a bit to snap yourself awake. Waking up at the crack of dawn really isn't your style, even if you are an Earth pony. But given your current situation, sleeping in probably would not be the smartest move.
  1911.  
  1912. >"Am I to take it you have a clue as to where she is?"
  1913.  
  1914. "Sort of. She's hitched a ride somewhere. Couldn't see shit though, she kept her eyes closed the entire time."
  1915.  
  1916. >"So you're seeing her through her eyes, rather than from some sort of third person view?"
  1917.  
  1918. "Yeah. Didn't stop her from telling another pony that she was talking to a ghost when she started talking to me though."
  1919.  
  1920. >"Okay, so there's other ponies there. What kind of ride was it, a train? A carriage?"
  1921.  
  1922. "Well, it was sort of rocking back and forth. Maybe a pirate ship? The pony she was talking to kinda sounded like a sailor of some sort."
  1923.  
  1924. >"Hmm… if she's all the way out to sea, she could be anywhere by the time we get to her. Do you think it was a large ship, or a smaller one, meant for a river or a lake?"
  1925.  
  1926. "Uh… I'm not sure?"
  1927.  
  1928. >"Well, then that leaves us three possibilities. One is that she's already made it out to sea, and we can't catch up to her at all. Two is that she's on the river to the north, and we could possibly cut her off at Baltimare if we hurry. Three is that she's crossing  lake to the south and going who knows where. Do you have any idea where she might want to be heading other than just away from you?"
  1929. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1930. "Hrm, that's a tough one. Getting away from pony civilization would probably be the smart thing for her to do, so we should probably just keep going south south east and cut her off before she reaches Baltimare."
  1931.  
  1932. Twilight blinks.
  1933.  
  1934. >"So wait, are we going to Baltimare or are we not?"
  1935.  
  1936. "We are definitely going to Baltimare."
  1937.  
  1938. >"Then we should be going north east."
  1939.  
  1940. "No, we should be heading south east."
  1941.  
  1942. >"Well which is it, are we heading to Baltimare, or are we going south east?"
  1943.  
  1944. "Both. We're headed south east to Baltimare."
  1945.  
  1946. >"Do you intend to wrap around the planet once before we reach there? Because Baltimare's to the north."
  1947.  
  1948. "Nonsense, it's to the south. This is the direction I sensed civilization in."
  1949.  
  1950. >"Civilization you suggested it would be smart for your clone to be running away from. So we should be heading north east, in the direction of Baltimare."
  1951.  
  1952. "I… fuck."
  1953.  
  1954. >"Alright, north east it is."
  1955.  
  1956. <"Hey, I couldn't help but overhear…"
  1957.  
  1958. You turn around to see a very tired-looking Baked Goods craning her head out from her door.
  1959.  
  1960. <"Are you dudes headed to Baltimare? Because we've got a caravan headed in that direction with a shipment of Bog Iron. If you're willing to wait until noon, you could probably make it there much faster. And without uh… needing to argue over which direction it's in."
  1961. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1962. Without saying yes or no to Baked Goods' suggestion, you immediately grab a blanket and fall back asleep on the couch. It is way too fucking early, and Twilight can handle the particulars. Moreover, you've got a clone to spy on.
  1963.  
  1964. . . .
  1965.  
  1966. You are on a small wooden cabin boat sailing down a wide river. In the distance on both sides, you can see an endless expanse of bright green trees, illuminated by the sunrise in the distance. On the bow of the ship is an old brown stallion sporting a white beard, a long blue coat, a pipe, and of all things, glasses. There is an annoyingly bright glare off the corner of his glasses from the light of the morning sun, and you instinctively shut your eyes upon seeing it.
  1967.  
  1968. Your eyes stay shut. Someone is keeping them like that.
  1969.  
  1970. "What do you want, Anon? Why can't you leave me alone?"
  1971. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1972. What kind of moron is she? She's running around in your body, shouldn't it be obvious?
  1973.  
  1974. "On the contrary Anon, it is you who are running around in my body?"
  1975.  
  1976. Wait what? How did she…
  1977.  
  1978. "Read your inner monologue? Same way you can see through my eyes."
  1979.  
  1980. Okay, but that doesn't explain what she means by…
  1981.  
  1982. "My body? Take a guess."
  1983.  
  1984. Alright, clearly she isn't a changeling.
  1985.  
  1986. "Very good, but could you mind not referring to me in the third person, and yourself in the second? That's very annoying. It's like you've got some other pony talking in your head."
  1987.  
  1988. And she'd be… err, YOU are half right about that. I've got a hoof full of voices in my head and you're only scratching the surface thoughts. But I'm going to have to disappoint you in case you feel like changing the channel, because the last time I let them interact directly with a pony, I got sent into a time loop.
  1989.  
  1990. "Oh the time loop. That was fun. I especially loved the part where I made you talk in your sleep. I think you know what happened next."
  1991.  
  1992. Fuck you.
  1993.  
  1994. "Can you guess who I am yet?"
  1995. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1996. You're pretty sure she's Pinkie Pie, and this is some elaborate prank.
  1997.  
  1998. "Bullshit, and you're doing it again."
  1999.  
  2000. You don't particularly give a damn about her opinions on this.
  2001.  
  2002. "Then you clearly don't think I'm Pinkie Pie, now do you?"
  2003.  
  2004. Alright, that one was probably true. Though you're left wondering who she could be.
  2005.  
  2006. "Okay, this self-narration thing is seriously annoying. Is this seriously what goes on in your head all the time?"
  2007.  
  2008. You can, but you won't.
  2009.  
  2010. "Well fuck it, I'm not even going to tell you who I am."
  2011.  
  2012. Like you don't know she's really Ajna. Although that begs the question of how she got out of the astral plane.
  2013.  
  2014. "Now that's a good question. How about I tell you, but only if you promise to stop following me and go home? And also, stop talking like that, at least to me."
  2015.  
  2016. Don't you know I have nothing better to do?
  2017.  
  2018. "Hmm… that's a start. I suppose I can give you a little bit of a hint. Magic. That's a bit vague though, so if you want the whole answer, you're going to have to agree to leave me alone."
  2019. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2020. Anon suspects Ajna will merely lie to her. Anon thinks she and Ajna should meet and talk it out unless the world literally depends on it, or it's at least life threatening. Anon thinks Ajna should stop being an anti-social nerd and make some friends. As Anon knows, the world literally does depend on friend-making, and Anon thinks Ajna knows this. Anon thinks…
  2021.  
  2022. "One, you're doing the thing again, just in a weirder way. Two, what makes you think I have no friends?"
  2023.  
  2024. Well you're kind of a bitch.
  2025.  
  2026. "And you're kind of a perverted degenerate who's pretty terrible at this whole saving the world thing."
  2027.  
  2028. Wow, you're still mad over that shit?
  2029.  
  2030. "You defiled my body."
  2031.  
  2032. Oh wow, I masturbated. Big fucking whoop. Everyone does it where I come from.
  2033.  
  2034. "In the ass though?"
  2035.  
  2036. Psh, what are you, a fucking prude? Oh no wait, you couldn't be. You watched!
  2037.  
  2038. "Oh fuck you. I followed you thinking you'd try and make use of the one item of mine that was in that box, and you don't even know what it does, do you? You got a crystal ball that could have told you where all your friends were, and instead you decide to shove some fucking wood up your ass. Hell, even when you were seeking out Daring you took a detour to shove some wood up your ass."
  2039.  
  2040. Do ponies seriously not do anal or something?
  2041.  
  2042. "Not when we're TWELVE!"
  2043.  
  2044. Well I'm not twelve. I'm twenty seven. I just have a body that's twelve.
  2045.  
  2046. "Then maybe you should go back to your twenty seven year old body and let me have mine back!"
  2047. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2048. I'd love to, but I don't think that's much of an option anymore.
  2049.  
  2050. "You'd be surprised what powers lie in Equestria's magical artifacts. If you were brought here, you can be sent back."
  2051.  
  2052. And in my old body too? Because you have no idea how much I miss having a penis. And speaking of bodies, you seem to have that bit covered. What's up with that?
  2053.  
  2054. "I suppose since you're at least willing to cooperate on the leaving part despite having made a few friends here, it's worth telling you a little bit. This is a temporary solution. I never really obtained a new body. I just made my astral body corporeal."
  2055.  
  2056. So… if you died, what would happen?
  2057.  
  2058. "I have no clue, nor do I intend to find out. Fortunately, I have a little bit of protection until I can come up with a plausible solution."
  2059.  
  2060. And what would that be?
  2061.  
  2062. "Oh, now if I told you that, you might come running to take it away from me. Hence why I required you to make a promise that you'd go home. That offer is still open if you're willing to make a promise that you can't break."
  2063. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2064. Maybe I can play along. I'm not sure if I can trust you though. Just who are you and how do you have such powerful magic?
  2065.  
  2066. "Didn't we go over that before? I'm Ajna"
  2067.  
  2068. Yeah, and the Ajna I knew didn't have anything beyond some psychic powers.
  2069.  
  2070. "And I still don't."
  2071.  
  2072. Then how the heck do you plan to keep me from breaking the promise?
  2073.  
  2074. "Call it a hunch, but I think you're the type of pony to be loyal to her commitments. When's the last time you've blown somepony off?"
  2075.  
  2076. To be honest, I don't think I've sucked any dicks yet.
  2077.  
  2078. "I sincerely wish I could slap you right now."
  2079.  
  2080. Well you can't. You also can't keep me from tracking you down either. I can pop in on you at any time, day or night and figure out where you're at. Whatever you've got to hide from me, I'll find out eventually, because this adventuring thing is actually pretty fun.
  2081.  
  2082. "…Fine. Since it'll make no difference, close your eyes and empty your mind."
  2083.  
  2084. You do as she asks, and you feel yourself separated from her body somehow. Though you aren't sure why, you get the sense that this whole time you have been capable of moving independently of her, and just didn't. An almost blinding light forces your eyes awake, and you see Ajna, an almost perfect duplicate of yourself, wearing about her neck, the Element of Loyalty.
  2085.  
  2086. "I took your necklaces."
  2087.  
  2088. . . .
  2089.  
  2090. A sudden scent of pancakes and maple syrup wafts through your nose and forces you back into your original body. You open your eyes and see Blossom, standing on top of you with a plate of food.
  2091.  
  2092. >"Wakey wakey, sleepy head, we've got grub!"
  2093. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2094. The next sounds that come out of your mouth could not be accurately typed on a US-English keyboard, nor reasonably pronounced with a human tongue. At best, it could be described as the insane ramblings of a drunken homeless man, mixed with an annoyingly high-pitched Bashee's wail. Towards the end, five clear English words manage to make it out of the deluge of otherwise meaningless noise: "Bitch stole my Jew gold!"
  2095.  
  2096. >"Wait, I thought you said you weren't a Jew."
  2097.  
  2098. You reach your hooves forward and start shaking Blossomforth about.
  2099.  
  2100. "JEWELRY. GOLD. OUR FUCKING BLING IS GONE!"
  2101.  
  2102. >"We had bling? Really?"
  2103.  
  2104. "Gaaaaaahhhhh!"
  2105.  
  2106. A rather annoyed-looking Daring flies over you and presses her hooves around both sides of your head as she stares down at you.
  2107.  
  2108. >"Anon, if you don't shut your fucking mouth, I'm going to beat the black out of you."
  2109.  
  2110. "Do I look black to you?"
  2111.  
  2112. >"Your hair's as black as tar, and you're acting like an abbo fucked up on petrol. So if you keep screeching like that I'm going to give you a fucking shiner, roger?"
  2113.  
  2114. You stay silent and nod your head. Even if you wanted to fight back, it would be difficult with Blossom sitting on you right now.
  2115.  
  2116. >"Now, what exactly did you mean by 'our bling'?"
  2117. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2118. You take a deep breath and sigh to calm yourself from your previously hysterical state. Getting bitch slapped right now doesn't seem like the best idea.
  2119.  
  2120. "So, the pony we're following is a filly named Ajna. She was the pony who originally had this body before I took over."
  2121.  
  2122. You are interrupted by an overly enthusiastic Blossom.
  2123.  
  2124. >"Can we call you Ajna now since the rest of us are going by the names of the ponies we're inhabiting?"
  2125.  
  2126. "Absolutely not, Hannah. Some of us have dignity and don't ascribe to Twilight's bullshit. Besides, everyone already knows me as Anon anyways, and Ajna's a bit of a prudish cunt who I don't want to be associated with. Now anyways, the thing she took from us are these worthless little necklaces called the Elements of Harmony. Well, they would be worthless if we didn't need them to save the world from the communists."
  2127.  
  2128. You can hear Twilight shouting from the kitchen as she fixes herself up some breakfast with Baked Goods.
  2129.  
  2130. >"She stole what now?"
  2131.  
  2132. "The elements"
  2133.  
  2134. >"FUCK!"
  2135.  
  2136. Twilight almost drops her plate, but catches it with her magic before it hits the floor.
  2137.  
  2138. <"Whoa, is everything gonna be alright? What are the elements?"
  2139.  
  2140. >"Super powerful magical artifacts that Princess Celestia used to send Nightmare Moon to the moon. Every time you look up at the night's sky and see a pony on the moon? That's not supposed to be there. That's Princess Luna, Celestia's sister, being punished by a couple of magically charged necklaces."
  2141.  
  2142. <"That's wicked. And you're saying somepony stole them?"
  2143.  
  2144. >"Yeah, and we need to catch that pony. Speaking of which, Anon, where is she right now?"
  2145.  
  2146. "She's on the river, traveling east."
  2147.  
  2148. >"Do you know anything about her that might suggest where she's headed?"
  2149. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2150. "Well, if she's heading to the coastline, she'll probably try and take a ship north to Manehatten. She's got family there."
  2151.  
  2152. >"Manehatten? Then why was she in Canterlot when you came here?"
  2153.  
  2154. "Psychic vision. Told her she was supposed to be there. No idea why. I think what's more important is what she's doing with the elements though. Maybe she's working with the commie. Either that, or she might think one of our party isn't who they say they are."
  2155.  
  2156. >"Well I never claimed to be an element bearer, nor did anyone else here. Pretty sure that's all your visions."
  2157.  
  2158. "And I trust my visions more than I trust her right now."
  2159.  
  2160. >"Alright, so she's either working against us, an idiot, or she somehow knows something we don't, and isn't willing to share that with us. What's the plan, we go to Manehatten and stop her?"
  2161.  
  2162. "We could do that. Would certainly end up meeting up with a couple of our friends when we eventually get there. Or, and I think this is a much better idea, we could go home and use Spike to tell Celestia to send in the royal guard. We might even be able to get her to relay a message there before Ajna even arrives, assuming Equestria's ships are slower than its trains."
  2163.  
  2164. >"That would probably work. I take it you've gotten tired of adventuring?"
  2165.  
  2166. "I miss friends and school - especially Cheerilee - and you kinda owe me some ice cream. Maybe we could make that milkshakes?"
  2167.  
  2168. >"If you can still keep up an appetite for a cold treat after going through that cold marsh again, sure, why not."
  2169.  
  2170. She breathes a deep, heavy sigh as you both realize that you'll have to be walking through the swamp once again.
  2171.  
  2172. >"I guess we're not going to be taking Baked Goods up on that ride offer after all. Got anything you need to do before we leave?"
  2173. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2174. You search your mind for any last tasks you need to do in the town, and find nothing. The voices in your head are surprisingly quiet as well, and you feel at peace.
  2175.  
  2176. "I think I'm ready to go now, actually."
  2177.  
  2178. >"Um, alright. I guess if nobody else has anything to…"
  2179.  
  2180. Daring interrupts her tangent before it has a chance to go anywhere.
  2181.  
  2182. >"Let's get the show on the road already. If we wait any longer, we're gonna freeze our cunts off when night falls before we make it back to Dodge."
  2183.  
  2184. That seems to shut everyone up, and so with only a short goodbye to your hosts, you set out back to the swamp, tracing back the steps you took previously. Though you worry a little that you might forget the path back, Daring's excellent tracking skills manage to make you consistently find the same landmarks that you had run into the previous day. Unfortunately, this also means wading through some of the same mud lakes, which makes a lot of the trek very uncomfortable. You do at least manage to find a small creek to wash off in later in the afternoon, but due to the temperature outside, it's almost bone chilling, and it makes the wind on your fur send you into a constant shivering frenzy. The fact that Twilight is suffering just the same as you is only slightly comforting.
  2185.  
  2186. And then a thought hits you.
  2187.  
  2188. "Hey wait a second, why didn't you just magic us up some wings so we could have flied over the mud lake like Daring and Blossom?"
  2189.  
  2190. >"Magic takes energy. I'd rather be freezing than starving. Get me a bacon double cheeseburger with extra special sauce though, and I'll make you fly like a Griffin."
  2191.  
  2192. "Wouldn't that make you feel ill though?"
  2193.  
  2194. She shrugs.
  2195.  
  2196. >"I don't even care. I want meat."
  2197.  
  2198. Daring, who had been flying slightly ahead of the party as its de-facto navigator, suddenly stops.
  2199.  
  2200. >"You know if you guys want to take a break for lunch, I could hunt us an elk or something."
  2201. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2202. "Oh yeah, sure, absolutely… not. Are you aware that we're in a world with magical talking horses?"
  2203.  
  2204. >"Well yeah, but what's that got to do with anything?"
  2205.  
  2206. "Have you considered the fact that we might not be the only species here to talk?"
  2207.  
  2208. >"Hasn't stopped me in the past! The elk and I in the Everfree have an understanding, see? They come near my cottage, and I serve them with cottage cheese. I'll be the wildlife here might not know me so well."
  2209.  
  2210. Twilight's eyes widen.
  2211.  
  2212. >"So wait, you've actually eaten intelligent life in Equestria? That is utterly barbaric!"
  2213.  
  2214. >"Nah, I'm fucking with you. I did once find an elderly deer in one of my traps and scared her off once I set her free though. Didn't eat her cause she was an old prune."
  2215.  
  2216. >"Remind me again why we keep you around?"
  2217.  
  2218. >"Because you love my charming personality? Or maybe you love the fact that I know more about nature than you and can make you have a temporary lapse in moral judgment over your need for meat? Speaking of which…"
  2219.  
  2220. She pulls a knife out of a saddlebag with her wing and tosses it almost randomly at a tree behind you. A few seconds later, you hear something hit the ground. You turn around to see what it is and find a very fat owl bleeding out on the forest floor. Daring flies over to it and drops it beneath your hooves.
  2221.  
  2222. >"Apex predator my arse. Lunch is served."
  2223. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2224. You stare down at the owl lying on the ground beneath your hooves. The knife is sticking out of its belly, and it looks to still be breathing, but in the process of dying. Daring's aim, while good, was apparently not perfect.
  2225.  
  2226. "So…"
  2227.  
  2228. You try to think of the best thing to say in this situation, but before anything comes to mind, Twilight quickly lifts the knife out of the owl and thrusts it into its brain, putting it out of its misery instantly.
  2229.  
  2230. "Who wants to bet it tastes like chicken?"
  2231.  
  2232. Twilight sighs.
  2233.  
  2234. >"Probably gamey, to be honest. But a dead bird is a dead bird, so I guess we're having lunch now. I'm gonna need to de-feather this thing. Could you be a dear and get me some firewood? Make sure it's good firewood. We need to cook this owl thoroughly unless anyone here wants parasites."
  2235.  
  2236. "Uh, right. I'll get right on that. Blossom, do you want to come with? It'll go faster with two of us."
  2237.  
  2238. She nods in acknowledgement and the two of you set out to collect the driest twigs you can. By this point in the day, you've already made your way out of the worst parts of the swamp, so the task isn't too hard, but you're still a little thankful for pulling Blossom aside, since she can fly to reach the thinnest branches in the treetops. You had a slightly ulterior motive for bringing her though - not wanting to have her sit alone with Daring to watch Twilight rip all of the feathers out of a bird. Even if it is a necessary fact of life for those who eat birds, it's pretty gruesome for a child to watch, especially a child who has feathers of her own.
  2239.  
  2240. When you find yourself satisfied with the amount of wood you'll have for the fire (and the amount of time that's passed), you make your way back to camp. When you arrive, you find Twilight and Daring with a field dressed owl on a stick that's been whittled with a knife to remove its potentially dirty exterior. Twilight appears to be wrapping it in some sort of wild aromatic herb, though you're not sure what.
  2241.  
  2242. She turns around to see you as you approach, sporting a rather joyful smile on her face.
  2243.  
  2244. >"Oh good, you've got the wood. Do you like what I've done? We're having rotisserie owl tarragon."
  2245. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2246. You point your hoof at the strange-looking bird that Twilight has mounted on a stick, with a look of confusion and surprise about your face.
  2247.  
  2248. "Okay, two questions. One, what's a tarragon? Two… that's an owl? What the fuck?"
  2249.  
  2250. Twilight pulls up a second sprig of tarragon and levitates it over to your nose. It certainly smells like something you might find in a well-stocked spice cabinet.
  2251.  
  2252. >"That's tarragon. It's an aromatic herb. Goes well with chicken and turkey, will probably work for owl as well. If you're gonna cook poultry, you might as well do it right. Especially when it's an animal that isn't that common precisely because it's an apex predator."
  2253.  
  2254. Her tone gets a little more annoyed towards the end as she glares over in Daring's direction.
  2255.  
  2256. >"Anyways, yes, it's still an owl. Birds look a little weird when you pull out their feathers and internal organs. It's looking a little bit thinner than it was before though, so I'm thinking about stuffing it with mushrooms."
  2257.  
  2258. "Do you actually know what mushrooms here are edible?"
  2259.  
  2260. >"Yeah, the yellow ones that look like…"
  2261.  
  2262. Daring pipes up to speak over her as she starts digging up a firepit.
  2263.  
  2264. >"They're called chanterelles. They look kinda like a whore's used up cunt, but golden. Remember to wash it first in case it's covered in ants. Also, don't pick anything that glows in the dark. Those are jack o' lanterns, and they'll actually make you sick. Well, they'll make a human sick. Don't know about horses."
  2265.  
  2266. Twilight rolls her eyes, still rather annoyed by the ex con.
  2267.  
  2268. >"Yeah, what she said. Anyways, do you think you could forage some up while we get the fire going?"
  2269. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2270. "Shame, I was interested in watching the CIA go up against an outback ex con in wilderness survival skills."
  2271.  
  2272. >"Yeah, this isn't a competition right now, this is lunch. Unless you'd rather go hungry until we get back on the train…"
  2273.  
  2274. "I'd rather not, but I'm gonna be honest, I don't really like mushrooms and don't really feel like scrounging around in the dirt with my mouth like a dog."
  2275.  
  2276. She tosses you her saddlebags.
  2277.  
  2278. >"Pick them up with your hooves, put them in here. You can have a slice of the owl without any mushrooms on it, but you're not getting any more than anyone else, okay?"
  2279.  
  2280. "…fine."
  2281.  
  2282. Begrudgingly, you set about foraging again, still taking Blossom with you, if only to give yourself someone to talk to. She doesn't have so much of a problem with picking up mushrooms with her mouth, although she stops as you start adding a few "extras" that Twilight didn't ask for. You're not quite sure what they look like, but you're pretty sure if you add a wide variety of mushrooms to the bag, one of them might be psilocybin.
  2283.  
  2284. >"Are you sure you should be shoving those in the bag with the others?"
  2285.  
  2286. "Eh, it'll be fine. I'm gonna check with Daring if any of these are good."
  2287.  
  2288. With your bag filled up, you make your way to a creek to wash the mushrooms off. Blossom carries a few extra chanterelles in her mouth "just in case", despite your notes that it would be unnecessary. Once cleaned, you bring your haul back to camp and present them to Daring.
  2289.  
  2290. "So Daring, are any of these mushrooms, uh, 'magic', if you catch my drift?"
  2291.  
  2292. She picks one up and scratches it lightly with her hoof, watching the bruised fungus change color to black before her eyes.
  2293.  
  2294. >"This mushroom will cause renal failure. You will die very, very slowly. It would probably be healthier to swallow a few shards of broken glass, to be honest."
  2295.  
  2296. "Okay, and the others?"
  2297.  
  2298. >"Well, all of those mushrooms have spent time rubbing against one another in the bag, so I'd consider the whole batch to be poisoned. Good job!"
  2299.  
  2300. "I'm pretty sure a mushroom can't make another mushroom poisonous just by touching it."
  2301.  
  2302. >"Maybe, maybe not. I'm not taking any chances. Neither should Twi if she knows what's good for her."
  2303.  
  2304. Blossom places down her chanterelles in a separate pile.
  2305.  
  2306. >"I still got some!"
  2307.  
  2308. Twilight lifts up Blossom's mushrooms with her magic, inspects them, and then promptly stuffs them into the owl. She begins roasting it slowly over the newly-created fire, rotating the stick constantly to make sure all sides get cooked evenly.
  2309.  
  2310. >"That'll do guys. Lunch'll be served soon. I hope you all have an appetite."
  2311. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2312. You ought to be mad about having your hard work thrown out just because you thought you might like to try psychedelics, but somehow, you're not. Despite the outcome, you still have meat. And even though you know you're going to have a stomach ache later on, it's still food.
  2313.  
  2314. The owl tastes a bit gamey when it's finally removed from the fire, but the herbs make it into some pretty decent fair. You savor every bite, thanking the heavens that one of your party members is someone's mom, even if she's not your own. Having someone who can cook -- and really cook -- makes everything worth it.
  2315.  
  2316. Just as you're starting to feel comfortable about all of this, the voices start popping into your head again. Maybe you should hit yourself in the head. Like really hard. You're a dumb filly who keeps making the same naughty mistakes you made in your childhood. Why can't you just be good and listen to the purple one next time?
  2317.  
  2318. Gaaaaah, why can't they just shut up? You don't want this. There's only a little bit of owl left and you stopped savoring it to think about those stupid nonsense voices! You try to clear you mind, if only for a few minutes, so you can enjoy the last of the meat. You probably won't be getting anything more like this in months.
  2319.  
  2320. And as you finish it up and start packing everything up to get back on the road, the voices come back. They tell you you're a slut, who would fuck anything that moves just to satisfy your immense sexual curiosity from being put into a female body. Lesbian sex, straight sex, impregnation, rape, doesn't matter. Fuck, you might just start licking another pony's dirty hooves one of these days, wouldn't you?
  2321.  
  2322. "Fuck off!"
  2323.  
  2324. You said that one out loud, didn't you? You haven't been talking at all for about 20 minutes, and out of nowhere, you shouted this at the top of your lungs. Your friends are all staring at you, somewhat concerned. Twilight is the first to break the silence.
  2325.  
  2326. >"Anon, are you alright?"
  2327. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2328. You opt to make an "okay" sign with your forefinger and thumb, only to realize you don't actually have fingers. Clearly, an actual answer is necessary.
  2329.  
  2330. "I think I miss my mom."
  2331.  
  2332. Blossom almost instinctively tosses her hooves around you in a warm hug. Twilight looks like she's about to do the same, but then stops.
  2333.  
  2334. >"Wait, didn't your mom die in childbirth?"
  2335.  
  2336. "I- yeah. Doesn't mean I can't still miss her. I never got to know her. And now I'm in the middle of a swamp in the middle of Equestria without a mom I never got to meet. It fucking sucks."
  2337.  
  2338. She places a hoof over your shoulder.
  2339.  
  2340. >"It sucks for all of us. I miss my husband and my kids. Blossom I bet misses her parents. And Daring…"
  2341.  
  2342. You all turn to face the ex-con, who simply offers a shrug in response.
  2343.  
  2344. >"I guess I miss my penis."
  2345.  
  2346. This turns Twilight's face rather sour. As if she didn't have enough problems with Daring.
  2347.  
  2348. >"You're happy to be here, aren't you? Completely new life, no criminal record? Population's low enough that you can live out in the wilderness without being bothered except when you're needed to save the world?"
  2349.  
  2350. >"Pretty much."
  2351.  
  2352. >"…I'm planning to find a way to get back home. I don't know if it will send just me, some of us, or all of us. It will probably easiest to send all of us, since our fates are tied together. I don't care if you want to stay, but don't get in my way."
  2353.  
  2354. She turns back to you and seems to relax a bit, passing a gentle hoof along your cheek.
  2355.  
  2356. >"And as for you… I can't bring your mom back from the dead, but I will get you home. I don't care what it takes. But I can't do this alone. I know all of this sucks, but I guess sometimes you need to just soldier on. We'll make it through this, okay?"
  2357. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2358. "Yes… yes we will. I just… I just need to clear my head while we continue on home. I'll be fine."
  2359.  
  2360. >"Alright, good. We only have a few more hours to travel, so let's keep moving."
  2361.  
  2362. Without much more to say, you continue on your journey, with Daring leading the way, and Blossom walking close beside you to keep an eye on you. It doesn't take long before the effects of eating meat start to kick in, and your stomach starts to scream at you. You don't end up throwing up like last time, but part of you wants to. Blossom does, however, and you can tell this is definitely not something she's used to. She ends up snacking on flowers over the course of the day to settle her stomach, which you still can't get yourself to see as normal.
  2363.  
  2364. Something you find peculiar is how little Daring and Twilight have been affected by their meal. Daring you can somewhat understand, since she lives in the wilderness and regularly hunted, but just how often was Twilight getting meat from the castle kitchens back in Canterlot? Or maybe she's just really good at not showing pain. You're not sure.
  2365.  
  2366. Between stomach cramps and trying to suppress stupid voices in your head, the walk back to Dodge feels a lot longer than just a few hours. As the scenery becomes dryer and more forest-like, however, time feels like it's sped up back to normal. You manage to make it back to the city right around sundown.
  2367.  
  2368. Twilight notes that the train back to Ponyville doesn't leave until morning, and recommends checking into a hotel before doing anything crazy in town. You make your way to the nearest, cheapest hotel, and as soon as you enter the lobby, you find yourself met with a surprisingly familiar face - Mama Velvet. She does not seem pleased.
  2369.  
  2370. <<"You fillies are in so much trouble right now."
  2371. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2372. "I thought we were forgetting something when we went off on an adventure. Sorry mama, I'll let you know before we leave next time."
  2373.  
  2374. <<"Next time? Do you plan to make a habit out of traveling halfway across Equestria in the middle of the week during the school year?"
  2375.  
  2376. "Maybe? I'm really not sure. Like right now I just want to go home, but I'm not too sure about the future."
  2377.  
  2378. <<"Says my psychic adoptive daughter. I guess I can forgive you though, because you are such a sweetie."
  2379.  
  2380. She wraps her hooves around you in a warm embrace, which you gladly accept, since it's much better than her being mad at you. In the middle of the hug, however, she points an accusatory hoof towards Twilight.
  2381.  
  2382. <<"YOU though… you know exactly how I feel about you going on adventures WITHOUT INVITING ME, young lady!"
  2383.  
  2384. Twilight does not seem to so much as flinch at her mother's raised tone. In fact, she makes a point of not even looking her mother in the eyes, but instead, lifts a hoof up and inspects it thoroughly as she provides her nonchalant answer.
  2385.  
  2386. >"Oh I'm sorry what kind of adventure was it you think we were going on?"
  2387.  
  2388. <<"I know what you're doing Twilight. Look me in the eyes."
  2389.  
  2390. >"Initiating eye contact with a pony who is angry with you will make you appear combative. I am deliberately avoiding eye contact because I do not want to argue with you. Now I believe I asked you a question."
  2391.  
  2392. <<"Combative? What do you think I am, some kind of abusive troll? I'm your mother!"
  2393.  
  2394. >"No, I'm saying I do not want to appear combative. You are the one who is angry and thus misinterpreting what I am saying. I understand that you are jealous because you want to go on adventures like you did when you were a kid. You also believe that because you are an adult, that you are more apt for protecting us from the dangers we might be facing, when based on certain recent events - namely you getting captured by changelings - I would think you would serve more as a liability than an asset."
  2395.  
  2396. <<"A lia… you know what? You're grounded missy!"
  2397.  
  2398. >"Oh yes, I will be spending all of my time indoors doing nothing but studying for Princess Celestia's personal assignments… like I always have."
  2399.  
  2400. <<"Are you asking for a more creative punishment? Because I can give you one. Just keep up that attitude."
  2401.  
  2402. >"Try me."
  2403.  
  2404. <<"Fine. You want to study, I'll let you study. At Anon's school."
  2405. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2406. You flash Twilight an evil grin as you realize the possible implications of sharing a class with her.
  2407.  
  2408. "Welcome to public education, where the teachers are paid minimum wage and the only thing you learn is communist propaganda!"
  2409.  
  2410. She doesn't seem too phased by your comment and simply shrugs.
  2411.  
  2412. >"Fair enough."
  2413.  
  2414. Without a word more, she takes a seat on a nearby bench and begins to stare at the ground with a hoof under her chin. You suspect she is planning something, but you're not quite sure what. Whatever it is, the coming school week may become very interesting, very fast.
  2415.  
  2416. At this point, you remember that you're still in Mama Velvet's embrace, so you take advantage and nuzzle your face into her chest fluff.
  2417.  
  2418. <<"Awww, you're sweet. So when are you going to introduce me to your new friend? I know Blossom, but who's the tan filly?"
  2419. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2420. "Oh, right."
  2421.  
  2422. You gesture over to Daring to grab her attention.
  2423.  
  2424. "Hey, hey Daring… do you come from a land down under?"
  2425.  
  2426. Her response is almost monotone, and somewhat sarcastic.
  2427.  
  2428. >"Actually no. I'm from the frozen north, where the beer is flat and the stallions are always flaccid."
  2429.  
  2430. She pauses to look at you with the most serious of gazes for all of about 5 seconds before you both burst into laughter.
  2431.  
  2432. "For a second there, you might have accurately described Canada."
  2433.  
  2434. Velvet seems confused.
  2435.  
  2436. <<"What's Canada, and why are you fillies talking about such inappropriate topics?"
  2437. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2438. You put on your absolute worst singing voice and attempt to remember the lyrics to the Canadian national anthem.
  2439.  
  2440. "O Canada, my home and native land. Something something something, in all thy sons' command!"
  2441.  
  2442. Blossom places a hoof over your mouth.
  2443.  
  2444. >"You don't actually know the lyrics, do you?"
  2445.  
  2446. "Nope."
  2447.  
  2448. >"Well neither do I, but don't screw it up."
  2449.  
  2450. <<"Okay, I'm just going to pretend to know what you all are talking about. Can I at least trust that you'll all be here in the morning to catch the train back home?"
  2451.  
  2452. "Yeah, we were pretty much planning on doing that anyways."
  2453.  
  2454. <<"Then while we're here, does anyone want to take a look around town?"
  2455. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2456. "Sure, why not? Maybe we can see if there are actually any dodges here."
  2457.  
  2458. Mama Velvet chuckles at your suggestion.
  2459.  
  2460. <<"You know, despite its name, Dodge City isn't the kind of place most ponies would want to run away from. I was actually a little bit relieved when I found out you two were headed to Dodge."
  2461.  
  2462. "Huh. And wait, how did you find that out anyways?"
  2463.  
  2464. <<"Ponyville's a small town. You think I can't just ask the train station owner where my fillies went?"
  2465.  
  2466. "Okay, fair. Guess it's gonna be hard to get into a lot of rebellious trouble in my teen years if this whole hiding away from Canterlot thing keeps up. What's so special about Dodge though?"
  2467.  
  2468. <<"Oh, it's a desert oasis. It might not be as exciting as, say, Los Pegasus - which by the way, if you got there without inviting me, you actually will be in trouble. But it is a very beautiful town."
  2469.  
  2470. "Anything you recommend here?"
  2471.  
  2472. <<"Well you fillies have been out adventuring all day. How about we get you dinner first?"
  2473.  
  2474. You still have a bit of an upset stomach from the meat.
  2475. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2476. Clearly your stomach needs to be told to fuck off. Your adoptive mother (and now that you think about it, the only mother you've actually known) is offering you something actually nutritious, and dammit, you're gonna enjoy it.
  2477.  
  2478. "Sure, why not. I'm craving a salad right now."
  2479.  
  2480. <<"Really? I think I actually know a great place for salads here, actually. Assuming it's still around. It's been about a decade since I've been here."
  2481.  
  2482. With Mama Velvet leading the way, you and your friends head out into the city. Though the sun has already set, you can still still make out the many vividly colorful wood buildings illuminated by the civil twilight. You briefly contemplate that there is a poetic coincidence in seeing this view with two ponies whose names are both Twilight.
  2483.  
  2484. As you make your way towards what you hope to be a restaurant, you try to make what observations you can about Dodge. It seems to have been built mostly around the tracks that run straight into the city core, with the oldest buildings being closer towards the forest. This was likely a small town which eventually grew larger as it connected to the rest of Equestria through the rail system. The town is also fairly flat, even compared to Ponyville, with some suburban sprawl spilling out into the desert.
  2485.  
  2486. Eventually you find yourself in a dark green building with a rather old-timey looking interior. As you enter, you notice a beautifully crafted wooden sign which reads, "Leafy Dreams: Soups, Salads, Sandwiches, Satisfaction." There also appears to be live music playing on a stage for diners to listen to -- an open mic type of affair.
  2487. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2488. As Mama Velvet grabs you a table, your eyes are glued to the stage. You want a taste of it all, and you don't care if you make a fool out of yourself. Worst case scenario, a bunch ponies you'll likely never see again think you suck. You walk up to the cafe owner.
  2489.  
  2490. "Any chance I could get in on that? I've got an act I'd like to play."
  2491.  
  2492. She smiles and answers cheerfully.
  2493.  
  2494. <"Oh sure. Just sign up and we'll call you when it's your turn."
  2495.  
  2496. She passes you a clipboard and a quill, and you sign your name as best you can. Your mouthwriting isn't as great as you'd like it to be, but it's been getting better quickly since attending school.
  2497.  
  2498. When you make it back to your table, you find a big fat Caesar salad in front of you, which you snack on as you plan out your act. You pass a look towards Twilight and Blossom when you realize what you want to play.
  2499.  
  2500. "Either of you a fan of Dido? I'm gonna be performing, and I'd like some accompaniment."
  2501.  
  2502. Twilight just shakes her head, while Blossom takes a moment to think.
  2503.  
  2504. >"Dido… don't think I've heard of her."
  2505.  
  2506. "Okay, you know that song that goes, 'it reminds me that it's not so bad, it's not so bad…"
  2507.  
  2508. >"Oh, yeah, I know that one."
  2509.  
  2510. "If I wrote down the lyrics for you and cues for when to come in, do you think you could sing while I rap?"
  2511.  
  2512. >"Like a duet?"
  2513.  
  2514. "Kind of, yeah."
  2515.  
  2516. >"Then let's do it."
  2517.  
  2518. You grab a napkin and start writing down lyrics as fast as you can. There's a few acts ahead of you, so you some time to get Blossom used to the timing of each of your parts, but you don't have much room to practice. You nonetheless manage to hum out the tune for her off in a corner so she'll be able to do her part right.
  2519.  
  2520. With barely just enough preparation, the store owner calls you to the stage, and together with Blossom, you perform "Stan", by Eminem, complete with the accompaniment. The performance was surprisingly decent despite the lack of practice, but the audience was nonetheless left confused. Half the lyrics dealt with topics one would not expect to come out of a filly's mouth, and a some of them make references to items clearly not from their world. They applaud anyways, and you take a bow with Blossom as you make your way back to your table once more.
  2521.  
  2522. Mama Velvet seems a bit stunned still as you take your seat.
  2523.  
  2524. <<"What in Equestria was THAT?"
  2525. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2526. "That? That was a work of art is what it was."
  2527.  
  2528. She doesn't look too convinced.
  2529.  
  2530. <<"I see… is there anything in particular that inspired this?"
  2531.  
  2532. You try to think up a good excuse. If you tell her it's from another world, she probably won't believe you, and you might tick off a certain purple friend of yours. On the other hand, you don't want to give her the impression that something wrong is happening in your life.
  2533.  
  2534. "I came up with it on the fly."
  2535.  
  2536. <<"Oh. Um, okay. Well it was certainly a bit more, um… mature than what I was expecting."
  2537.  
  2538. "I'm a complex pony. Let's just leave it at that."
  2539.  
  2540. There's a bit of an awkward silence as you all finish up your meals. When Velvet heads off to settle the bill, Twilight leans in to whisper to you.
  2541.  
  2542. >"Eminem, right?"
  2543.  
  2544. "Ayep. Do you think it was a good impression of him?"
  2545.  
  2546. >"Maybe too good. A lot of parents were a bit worried about the influence he'd have on kids when he first started rapping. Next time you bring music from our world, try someone a little less controversial, or at least something that doesn't make references to suicide. That's a big red flag. Honestly, if I didn't know that the song was from our world, I might have gotten a little worried given what you tried just two days ago. By the way, how are you feeling now?"
  2547. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2548. "How do I feel? Hmmm… like some sort of monster for eating a defenseless bird? What am I, some sort of cannibal now?"
  2549.  
  2550. This forces a chuckle out of her.
  2551.  
  2552. >"Okay, okay, just curious - are you serious about that?"
  2553.  
  2554. "I dunno. Maybe it's guilt, or maybe it's just the stomach ache. I felt a lot better after the salad though, so that's something."
  2555.  
  2556. >"Well don't feel too guilty. Owls are tertiary predators. They sometimes eat other birds. Just because an animal's cute doesn't mean it wouldn't rip your head off and eat you if it could."
  2557.  
  2558. "Well we're cute ponies and I'm pretty sure you ripped that owl's head off to empty out its guts."
  2559.  
  2560. >"Human babies are cute and then they grow into hunters, soldiers, and even the most brutal murderers of all - politicians."
  2561.  
  2562. "Or CIA operatives?"
  2563.  
  2564. >"Oh hush. We all do what we must to put food on the table. That's the nature of life. We eat, we breed, and sometimes we have to crack a few eggs that might have been someone else's baby. Or are you going to tell me next you plan on going vegan? Because just so you know, you need eggs to make cake."
  2565.  
  2566. "I haven't really been considering going vegan, but I'm pretty sure that's bullshit. Blossom, you can make a cake without eggs, right?"
  2567.  
  2568. She pauses to think for a moment.
  2569.  
  2570. >"I think so, yeah, though I've never personally done it. All of the cakes at Sugarcube Corner use eggs in the recipes. Eggs are pretty important for baking. Also, vegans can't eat ice cream anyways."
  2571.  
  2572. "Yeah, I don't think I'd have a problem eating ice cream, ever. No one has to die for it."
  2573.  
  2574. >"Well that's true, but you do have to keep the cows pregnant all the time. And if half of their calves are bulls who can't produce milk, you have to wonder what ponies are doing with all of that dead weight."
  2575.  
  2576. "…we're selling them to the griffons, aren't we?"
  2577.  
  2578. >"I don't know, and I try not to think too much about it. When's the last time you ever talked to a cow anyways?"
  2579. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2580. "I guess it's just the fact that the animals we usually eat back home are more or less sapient here. It's screwing with my head."
  2581.  
  2582. >"Sapient?"
  2583.  
  2584. Twilight answers before you can get a word in.
  2585.  
  2586. >"It means intelligent, Blossom. And more intelligent than, say, pigs or dolphins. You have to be able to reason and possibly be able to communicate."
  2587.  
  2588. >"Then wouldn't all of the woodland creatures here be sapient, seeing as Fluttershy can talk to them?"
  2589.  
  2590. "Please don't make me feel even MORE guilty about eating an owl."
  2591.  
  2592. Twilight places a hoof around your shoulder.
  2593.  
  2594. >"Anon, tell you what. I will never again ask you to eat meat while we're here in Equestria. But if I ever meet you back on Earth, I'm inviting you and your family over for Thanksgiving dinner, and I'm not taking no for an answer."
  2595.  
  2596. "But what if it's not Thanksgiving when we get back?"
  2597.  
  2598. >"Well I probably won't be able to invite you off the bat anyways. I'm might need to get a new job, seeing as I've been missing for over two years. And I don't think anyone in the office is going to buy the excuse of being sucked into a world of a children's cartoon."
  2599.  
  2600. Daring places her hind hooves up on the table and leans back in her chair, drawing the attention of everyone at the table.
  2601.  
  2602. >"You know Twi, you wouldn't have to worry about any of that shit if you just stayed here."
  2603.  
  2604. Twilight glares at her for a long, awkward moment, interrupted only by Mama Velvet returning to the table.
  2605.  
  2606. <<"So are you fillies tired or do you want to see more of the town?"
  2607. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2608. "Me, tired? Please."
  2609.  
  2610. At this moment, the accumulated fatigue from walking through the forest nearly all day, followed by walking around town and then performing on stage, finally catches up to you. In a sudden fit of narcolepsy, you collapse onto your plate of what is now mostly salad dressing that you had neglected to lick clean.
  2611.  
  2612. You aren't sure what happens next, but after a completely dreamless sleep, you wake up in a hotel bed next to Daring, who is out like a light. Blossom and Twilight appear to be in an adjacent bed with Mama Velvet. You look up to a nearby wall clock. It's 3:12 in the morning.
  2613.  
  2614. What do?
  2615. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2616. Since you're up at this hour, you consider a nice little prank you could pull on Twilight. Just dip her hoof in a glass or a bowl of water while she's sleeping and see if she wets the bet. Only one problem - you're in a hotel. You're not sure where to find either of those, and you're willing to bet any dining facilities are closed at this hour. Oh well, might as well sleep.
  2617.  
  2618. As you shut your eyes, you try to focus on Ajna and your desire to see what she's up to. With little effort, you feel your spirit departing your body, looking down upon your sleeping self, connected to your current vessel by some sort of ethereal cord. So this is astral projection, huh?
  2619.  
  2620. You find yourself in Ajna's room as fast as you can imagine. She is also in a hotel, though in a different city. You imagine it's likely Baltimare. She'll likely make it back to Manehatten in a day or so by ferry. Beside her bed is a chest. You try to open it, but your hooves simply slide through it. It seems you can't interact with anything while astral traveling. You suppose if you could see into it, it might contain the elements. Not that you could do anything with them either.
  2621.  
  2622. Before you can do anything else, you are sucked back to your own body and fall back to sleep. You're not sure if there's a time limit on this whole thing, or if you're simply out of practice. Either way, you wake up in the morning with your hoof in a bowl of water on a nearby nightstand. Whoever did this and how they found the bowl completely escapes you. At least you didn't pee the bed, but you really feel like you need to use a toilet right now.
  2623. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2624. You quickly make your way to a nearby bathroom to both relieve yourself and vent your frustrations, only to find it occupied. It quickly dawns on you that you had not noticed that Daring was gone when you left the bed. Had she woken up already? Was she the one who put your hoof in the water bowl and, coincidentally, is now hogging the bathroom? Complete bullshit!
  2625.  
  2626. With little time left, you scamper through the hallways looking for another bathroom, eventually finding one in the lobby. You rush in and let out everything. Once you feel no longer tortured by your bladder, you find a mirror and scream into it.
  2627.  
  2628. "Why can't you hold up a stupid fucking projection you incompetent cunt!"
  2629.  
  2630. You're not sure if that woke anyone up, but you're hoping the walls are thick enough for no one to notice. Nonetheless, you run out of the hotel anyways, slamming the door behind you.
  2631.  
  2632. You spot a nearby park, and run to it, sitting down on a nearby bench to watch the sunrise. It's kind of beautiful when you think about it. Celestia's been doing this for over 1000 years with no screw ups. Her sun radiates down on you, keeping your fur warm despite the chilly wind protesting it. You wonder how she manages it all.
  2633.  
  2634. A half hour later, you are eventually joined by Blossom.
  2635.  
  2636. >"There you are! We were looking for you. What are you doing out here?"
  2637. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2638. "Oh me? I've just been challenging the sun to a staring contest."
  2639.  
  2640. >"Have you been winning?"
  2641.  
  2642. "I already did."
  2643.  
  2644. >"…how?"
  2645.  
  2646. "The sun blinked. You weren't there to see it, but it blinked."
  2647.  
  2648. >"I'll take your word for it. Let's head inside though. Your mom's ordering breakfast, and after that, we've got an early train to catch."
  2649.  
  2650. "Alright alright, I'll head in."
  2651.  
  2652. Your mom. Those words still never feel natural to you, but you very much want them to. It's kind of weird to think that Twilight Velvet is the only sentient being in the universe who you could actually call "Mom", and she's not even the same species as you. Well, at least not the same species you were born as, and even now, you wonder whether earth ponies and unicorns are considered separate species or not. You guess they're technically the same species because they can breed together, but then again chihuahuas and rottweilers are also the same species (technically), and they don't even have the same level of differences that ponies do. Weird.
  2653.  
  2654. This thought tangent carries you all the way to an in-hotel diner table where Mama Velvet and your friends are all sitting. Daring seems to have a very smug grin on her face that is struggling hard to hold back a laugh. She was definitely the one who dipped your hoof in a bowl of water while you were sleeping.
  2655. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2656. You take a seat right next to Daring and lean in close so you can whisper into her ear.
  2657.  
  2658. "Didn't realize you were into that kind of thing. That's actually pretty kinky."
  2659.  
  2660. She giggles and whispers back to you, earning you some intrigued looks from the rest of your friends (and mother) at the table.
  2661.  
  2662. >"Yeah, you know me. I always like making cunts dripping wet. You know, you said on the train that you wanted to fool around in a hotel in Dodge. But then you went and decided to crash out, leaving me high and dry. What gives?"
  2663.  
  2664. "We both spent practically all day walking, and you wanted to have sex? Even if I hadn't fallen asleep, I would have completely lost the mood."
  2665.  
  2666. >"Hey, I was up for it. And you know you don't need to be that energetic as a sub."
  2667.  
  2668. "Okay, and have you forgotten also the fact that we were sleeping in the same room as my adoptive mother? That kind of throws a wrench into the whole thing."
  2669.  
  2670. You notice Blossom trying to lean in.
  2671.  
  2672. >"What are you two whispering about?"
  2673. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2674. "Blossom… if I'm going to tell you about the adventure of my life, explain how I got to this place with these people, and why I did what I'm going to do next - I should probably start by explaining a little bit about PipBucks. What is a-"
  2675.  
  2676. >"Nope."
  2677.  
  2678. "What do you mean, nope? I was just about to get to the best part."
  2679.  
  2680. >"Whatever tangent you're about to go off on, it's probably super boring. I'm just going to assume you and Daring were talking about taxes."
  2681.  
  2682. "You're no fun."
  2683.  
  2684. >"I'm plenty of fun, you're the boring one."
  2685.  
  2686. "No, you're boring!"
  2687.  
  2688. A sexy white unicorn waitress levitating plates of pancakes over to your table interrupts your argument. It's really hard to get into a filly fight over silly things when there's fluffy, sugary deliciousness right front of your face. As soon as the plate touches the table, you immediately set to drenching it in blueberry syrup and start chomping down on it. Without a fork, of course, since you're a horse.
  2689.  
  2690. This makes your face incredibly sticky from the syrup, which you proceed to lick off. Okay, you might be pigging out a little bit, but this is real food. Food that's clearly good for horses, why else would your mommy buy it for you? Wait, did you just call her mommy? You're starting to wonder if you're getting too used to your new life.
  2691. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2692. You know what? Fuck it. For all intents and purposes, she is your mommy. Might as well own up to it. You savor every bite of the delicious pancakes and then get out of your seat to give her a giant hug as thanks for the meal.
  2693.  
  2694. "You're the best, mama."
  2695.  
  2696. She giggles a bit and returns the hug.
  2697.  
  2698. <<"Aww, thanks Anon. Now come on girls, we've got a train to catch."
  2699.  
  2700. "Is there anything else we should check out in town before we leave?"
  2701.  
  2702. <<"Oh there's a few places that would be rather nice to visit, but I'm afraid we don't have much time. It's an early train. Now come on, let's go."
  2703.  
  2704. Not wanting to make your mama worry, you leave the hotel with the upmost expedience, and after a short walk, find yourself at the train station. When you get there, the train is already boarding. You try not to think too much about what would happen if you had missed it. At least you hadn't been foolish enough to leave anything in the hotel…
  2705.  
  2706. And after a brief bit of worry, that thought subsides. You never brought anything from Ponyville to begin with! Twilight did, but you're not her keeper, and you're going to assume she's taking care of her- oh hey, she's wearing her saddlebags. Nevermind.
  2707.  
  2708. You make your way onto the train, and then relax - cuddled up right next to Mama Velvet.
  2709. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2710. You want milk - mother's milk. It's something you've never had straight from the tap, and that depresses you. Sure, your current body may be 12 years old, which is a bit too old to be sucking on your adoptive mother's tits, but so be it! There's only one problem: you have no access.
  2711.  
  2712. A mare's breasts, unlike a woman's, are much closer to her belly and crotch than to her chest. Regardless of their placement, however, they are not exposed when she is sitting down. Despite the invention of chairs and benches, ponies seem to prefer laying somewhat on their belly than to awkwardly sit on their flanks like some sort of bipedal freak. And so it is that you find yourself resting your head on the barrel of Mama Velvet, contemplating how to obtain milk from the teats that seem to be exposing themselves exclusively to the seat below you.
  2713.  
  2714. You could, of course, just ask. In fact, it would probably seem improper to just start suckling for milk and explain away later. And yet somehow you find this difficult. How would you even word such a question? Hello mama can I suck on your tits? No, that sounds too crass. Can I have some milk? She would likely interpret that as cow's milk. There's just no right way to ask this sort of question. Maybe you could wait until she's asleep? You'll leave that idea in the back of your head. If you wait until you get home to do it, you'd have to be very sneaky, somehow managing to not wake up Twilight, Shining Armor, Cadance, and Night Light. You'll need a plan.
  2715.  
  2716. Those plans will have to wait, however, as you find yourself suddenly interrupted by Blossom taking a seat right next to you.
  2717.  
  2718. >"Anon, I'm soooooo booooooooored. Entertain me!"
  2719. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2720. "Well, I WAS going to tell you the story of Littlepip the Lightbringer before you so rudely interrupted me back in Dodge. But like you said, you probably would have found it boring anyways."
  2721.  
  2722. >"It's gotta be more interesting than staring out the window at endless desert for several hours."
  2723.  
  2724. "It has guns, mutated monsters, crazy murderous psychopaths, and explosions. It is absolutely more boring than the dry old desert."
  2725.  
  2726. >"Alright, alright, you can tell me."
  2727.  
  2728. "Who says I want to now?"
  2729.  
  2730. >"I mean, I could always just decide to pass the time by singing a lovely rendition of the classic tune, 'I know a song that gets on everybody's nerves' for 1500 stanzas."
  2731.  
  2732. "…Well played, Blossom. Well played."
  2733.  
  2734. You proceed to recent an abridged version of a good portion of Fallout: Equestria, up to around the point where Littlepip makes it to Canterlot. As you tell the story, you seem to attract a bit of a crowd of ponies on the train who, though unable to understand many of the references due to their complete lack of exposure to modern technology, nonetheless seem enthralled in the post-apocalyptic Equestrian hellscape that you are plagiarizing to pass the time.
  2735.  
  2736. Despite the fact that your story was abridged, there was still enough details to carry you all the way through until dinner comes around. At this point, you feel unable to keep talking. Your jaw feels as if it's going to fall off, and it becomes difficult to even chew through your beet, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. You end up chewing it very slowly, and then sort of passing out into a half asleep state for the rest of the train ride. This is probably for the better, since the train arrives in Ponyville in the middle of the night.
  2737.  
  2738. You feel somewhat groggy as you step off onto the platform of the Ponyville station.
  2739. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2740. Walking does not seem fun right now, and Mama Velvet's back seems pretty comfy the more you look at it.
  2741.  
  2742. "Mama, can I have a ponyback ride? I'm exhausted."
  2743.  
  2744. She smiles, rolls her eyes, and grabs you by the scruff of the neck like a mother cat to lift you on top of her back. You rest there in comfort for the rest of the way home, wondering why she didn't just use magic to lift you up. Not that it hurt, just that it seemed like a strange way to lift you.
  2745.  
  2746. You don't remember crawling into bed, you just remember being on Mama Velvet's back, and the next thing you know, it's morning. Twilight's still asleep, and it's apparently a Saturday assuming you hadn't completely lost your sense of time during the loops, but it is indeed morning.
  2747.  
  2748. What will you do?
  2749. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2750. You aren't sure what time it is exactly, but it doesn't seem like you can force yourself back to sleep. Instead, you climb over Twilight - carefully so as not to wake her - and ascend the stairs to see if anyone else is up.
  2751.  
  2752. When you enter the living room, you note it is still pretty early, around 7:30 or so. No one's made breakfast yet, and it seems the only pony awake is Cadance, who is reading a newspaper at the table. You decide to grab a random book off of one of Twilight's bookshelves and join her.
  2753.  
  2754. "Hey."
  2755.  
  2756. She sets her newspaper down as she notices you.
  2757.  
  2758. <"Oh, hey. Have fun running away from home? Came back because you couldn't stand to go one more day without reading… Advanced Equine Biology?"
  2759.  
  2760. "Oh you know me. Always want to study a mare's body in depth."
  2761.  
  2762. She chuckles, likely thinking that was a joke.
  2763.  
  2764. "And I wasn't exactly running away. We had the full intention of coming back. Heck, we ran into mama after we decided to turn around and head home."
  2765.  
  2766. <"Well you know, the entire reason why we're here and not in Canterlot is precisely to keep you fillies safe. And I get that you guys do some stupid things here that we shouldn't be letting you get away with, like sneaking into Velvet's liquor cabinet, but at least we're able to keep an eye on you when you do make mistakes. We can't help you if you decide to sneak off halfway across the country without telling anyone, and then get eaten by timberwolves. Can you at least promise me you're not gonna pull that kind of nonsense again?"
  2767. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
RAW Paste Data
We use cookies for various purposes including analytics. By continuing to use Pastebin, you agree to our use of cookies as described in the Cookies Policy. OK, I Understand
 
Top