Chance of Flurries [In Progress]

HK-FortySeven Feb 27th, 2019 (edited) 710 Never
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  16. >"Ahahahah! See, I told you the city was beautiful, my dear!"
  17. >"M-my goodness…"
  18. >Oh, are you here already?
  19. >God, you wish you weren't here at all.
  20. >"Well, my boy?"
  21. "Hm?"
  22. >"Really now, Anonymous!" your mom chides as per usual. "Travelling to such a spectacular place, and all you do is stare at that screen of yours!"
  23. >Ugh, this again?
  24. >Whatever, you don't need this.
  25. >"Anonymous, are you even listening to me?!"
  26. "Mmhmm."
  27. >"Don't you 'mmhmm' me, mister!"
  28. "Mmhmm."
  29. >Yeah, you care so much about this dumb city you're going to.
  30. >Stupid parents.
  31. >Stupid trips.
  32. >Stupid royal bullshit.
  33. >"Incognito, please help me!"
  34. >Now, back to beating your last score.
  35. >Just a few more shots and--
  36. >Quick as a flash, an orange blur swipes away your phone.
  37. "What the--?! Hey!"
  38. >"Eyes up here, my boy!"
  39. >Oh, you've got to be kidding!
  40. >Like you have any other choice but to look up at your stupid dad, with his stupid smile and stupid horseshoe stache.
  41. >The game over screen flashes on your phone.
  42. "Seriously?! I was in the middle of--!"
  43. >"Wasting your time? Ah, yes, what a terrible loss!" he grins, totally aware of what he just did.
  44. "Uugh, give it back already!"
  45. >"Ahahahah! Not quite yet, my boy!"
  46. "Stop calling me that!"
  47. >"Shall I? But you seem so eager to play with these little children's toys!"
  48. "Dad, I swear to God, I'll--"
  49. >"Tell me more about where we are if you want your phone back?" he booms, smiling ever wider. "Why, yes! That's a wonderful idea, son!"
  50. "Oh my God I'm going to fucking hang you!"
  51. >"Anonymous Clover Augustulus!" your mom gasps, "You will mind your language this instant!"
  52. >"My boy," dad intones, leaning down to get right into your face. "I would love to see you try."
  53. >Whatever, he doesn't scare you!
  54. >So what if he's built like a tank?
  55. >So what if his stupid muscles are barely contained by his stupid military suit?
  56. >You could take him!
  57. >M-maybe.
  58. >Uhh…
  59. >Wh-why is it so hard to look him in the eye now?!
  60. >And would it kill him to stop with his stupid fucking smile?!
  61. >Ugh, you hate him so much!
  62. >"Ahahahah!" he booms like always, "I didn't think so, my boy!"
  63. "I hate you so much it's unreal," you grumble, arms folding.
  64. >"So, what are we doing out here, my boy?"
  65. >What kind of sick God would just let you suffer like this?
  66. "Going to some stupid Hearthswarming party to talk to a bunch of stupid rulers about their stupid politics," you drone, refusing to look at him.
  67. >"That is not at all what--!" your mom tries to get in.
  68. >"Ahahahah! Very good, my boy!"
  69. >"Incognito, please! You know that's not what the Hearthswarming summit is all about!"
  70. >"Ahh, but it is quite close to it, my dear sweet Innominate!"
  71. >See, he agrees!
  72. >What's mom's problem, anyways?
  73. >She's never happy with anything you do, but of course doesn't fucking tell you what to do better or anything.
  74. >Noooo, that would take actual effort on her part!
  75. >"Now, you do remember where the summit was being held, don't you?"
  76. "Yeah, yeah, Canterlot. Like I didn't get it the first eleventy billion times the stupid aides said it."
  77. >"Wonderful, wonderful!"
  78. "Can I have my phone back now?"
  79. >"I'm sorry, what?"
  80. "Oh my God in heaven, you--!"
  81. >He's such a fucking dick you hate him so much holy fucking shit why doesn't he just fucking die in a fire.
  82. "Please can I have my phone back?"
  83. >"I don't know, can you?"
  84. "Aaaaagh! May I have my phone back, please?!"
  85. >"That's more like it!"
  86. >Finally, thank fucking God--
  87. >"You may not."
  88. "A-are you serious?!"
  89. >"Your mother is quite right, my boy!" dad booms, tucking the tiny slate away into his coat. "Canterlot is such a beautiful city, it'd be a waste to spend time here with your eyes glued to that fancy little toy!"
  90. "It's better than talking to some stupid ponies about stupid friendship magic!"
  91. >"Ahahahah! Only one pony I know does that, my boy!"
  92. "I don't care! I don't wanna--!"
  93. >"Want has nothing to do with it, my boy! You're a prince, after all! Royals like us have no choice in the matter!"
  94. "Yes I do! Give it back!"
  95. >"Now," dad chortles, straightening out his jacket, "We're going to be escorted to Canterlot castle very shortly, my boy! We'll be led through the city for all the ponies to see, so I expect nothing less than star behaviour out of you if you ever want to use your phone again this year!"
  96. "That's not fair!"
  97. >"You'd best straighten your clothes out, my boy! These Canterlot types won't settle for anything less than perfection!"
  98. >A guttural cry of anguish escapes your throat.
  99. >It's not fucking fair!
  100. >You didn't ask to be their fucking kid!
  101. >God damn it, you're almost nineteen!
  102. >You don't have to take this shit from them!
  103. >You're a grown-ass man who can--
  104. >Oh wait, mom's straightening your clothes out already, huh?
  105. >"You had best be on your best behaviour tonight, Anon! Understood?"
  106. "Yeah, yeah."
  107. >"Don't you 'yeah, yeah' me, mister! Now come along, we're almost there!"
  108. >Whatever.
  109. >The doors to your carriage open up soon after it comes to a stop, and a bunch of ponies lead you and your parents down, where they make a show out of bowing and boxing you in with their stupid guards as they lead you on through the city.
  110. >Yeah, yeah, it's so cool, because it's not.
  111. >You saw the pictures, it's nothing special.
  112. >At least that one Cloudsdale trip was actually cool, since the city was, you know, made out of fucking clouds!
  113. >And didn't have a bunch of rich fucks and nobles eyeing up your every move, like the assholes passing you by on the streets!
  114. >Ugh, just look at them!
  115. >They must have silver spoons spot welded to their fucking teeth!
  116. >Bet they're all inbred, too.
  117. >Fucking nobles, every goddamn time.
  118. >If every noble were to die today, the world would be a better fucking place.
  119. >Fucking shit fuck son of a bitch you hate this trip and you want to go home.
  120. >"S-so, dear," mom starts, "Why did you want to come to their party this year?"
  121. >"Got to keep relations up with those pesky minotaurs, my love!"
  122. >"They're not still upset about that mine dispute, are they?"
  123. >"Oh, my dear, they're upset with just about everything we do!"
  124. >Yeah, because humans are better than minotaurs in every single possible fucking way.
  125. >Even their porn is God awful.
  126. >Stupid minotaurs.
  127. >"But alas, you know how Equestria is with keeping their neighbours happy. I hardly think the two sisters want to deal with us and the minotaurs going to war, after all!"
  128. >Yeah, but the Dominion of Man could totally take the stupid Bovine Federation.
  129. >The world would be a better fucking place without those stupid bulls.
  130. >They're better as steak anyways.
  131. >Stupid ponies and their stupid obsession about peace and friendship and all that gay shit.
  132. >You watch, they're gonna just declare war on everyone around them when they least expect it.
  133. >Hell, it's what you would do.
  134. >Mercifully, you all arrive at the castle entrance without any further trouble.
  135. >Okay, the castle actually does look kinda neat, but Jesus is it such a badly defensible design.
  136. >Stupid ponies.
  137. >"You must be the ones from the Dominion, yes?" the doorman-- uhh, doorpony asks dad.
  138. >"Quite right!"
  139. >"Right this way, Emperor."
  140. >God, that sucks the most about being the prince!
  141. >Mom and dad have the coolest titles, and everyone else is a stupid king or a queen, or a princess pony fairy gaylord.
  142. >But you still get called the fucking prince!
  143. >What the fuck, man?
  144. >Why don't they call you a 'duke', or something?
  145. >It's so fucking lame!
  146. >Anyways, you all funnel into this big, expensive looking dining hall, where nobles and leaders of all kinds and races mill around, eating plates of shitty food and talking to each other about dumb shit.
  147. >What else are they gonna talk about, fixing their countries?
  148. >Nah, that'd take actual effort, wouldn't it?
  149. >Dad takes some kind of list from one of the ponies, and mom's busy talking to some other waiter pony about something else, leaving you hanging around with your thumb up your ass.
  150. >Why the hell do they even bring you, anyways?
  151. >It's not like you ever talk to anyone important.
  152. >All you ever do is just sit around and look pretty, like every other leader's kid.
  153. >Whatever, at least there's food for you to--
  154. >"Anon?" asks mom.
  155. >Nevermind, no there isn't.
  156. "What?"
  157. >"Anon! Use your manners!"
  158. "Yes, mother?" you drone, rolling your eyes for good measure.
  159. >"The party doesn't start for another hour and a half, and this nice pony was wondering if you'd prefer to be somewhere else until then?"
  160. >Hell yes you'd like to be somewhere that isn't this fucking hellhole!
  161. "That sounds neat."
  162. >"They've got a whole separate area for the princes and princesses to mill around in, somewhere that you might be more, well, comfortable in."
  163. >That sounds horrible.
  164. >But still less horrible than where you are now.
  165. "I'd be okay with that."
  166. >"Y-yes, well," she starts, almost sounding disappointed. "Just follow--"
  167. >Just then, a loud, unnaturally long gasp sounded out from none other than your dad, who you both turned to the instant the noise cursed your eardrums.
  168. >Well, he looks excited about something on that list.
  169. >"What? Wh-what is it, love?"
  170. >"It can't be! She's here?!"
  171. >"What? Who's here, Incognito?"
  172. >Quick as a whip, dad pulls out his old flip-phone, punching in a number and waiting for the caller with bated breath.
  173. >Uhh, what the hell's he all worked up about?
  174. >Well, more worked up than usual?
  175. >"Candy?!" he nearly shouts into the beaten up little phone, "Is that really you?! Yes, it's me, Nito!"
  176. >"C-'Candy'…?"
  177. >What the hell?
  178. >"Good God almighty, my girl! It's so good to hear your voice after all this time! Where have you been?! Actually, wait, don't answer that yet! Are you at the…? Yes, I'm here as well! I saw your name on the register, and-- Yes! Ahahahah! My God, I didn't think you still kept this old number, my girl!"
  179. >"H-honey, who is that?"
  180. >Yeah, you're just gonna… leave, before he drags you into whatever horrifying new circle of hell he's conjured up.
  181. >"Oh Candy, I'd love to catch up again! Where are…? Oh, you little devil! I'll be there right away! What do I want? Oh, do you still remember the usual? Yes, that's it! Ohh, we'll be there right away! Yes, I did say 'we'! Oh, I'll tell you when we get there! Don't you go anywhere! Alright, goodbye!"
  182. >The phone flips closed, and he spins in place, grabbing mom by the wrist.
  183. >"My love, I'd like to introduce you to a dear old friend of mine!"
  184. >"A-an old friend? Who?"
  185. >"Bah, I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise! Come, come!"
  186. >"B-but what about--?"
  187. >"My boy," he calls over to you, "Me and your mother have important things to do right now, so be on your best behaviour until we get back!"
  188. "Uhh, o… kay?"
  189. >"We'll see you in about an hour, my boy!"
  190. >Mom doesn't even get a chance to reply before dad runs off with her into the crowd, leaving you all alone.
  191. >Okay then, that happened.
  192. >Well, whatever.
  193. >Deciding to promptly get the hell out of this dump, you follow along with that pony mom was talking to before, who leads you into a smaller, much less populated dining hall.
  194. >Yep, exactly what you thought you'd see here.
  195. >Princes and princesses of all the same races you'd seen in the last hall.
  196. >Trading one hell for another, are you?
  197. >God, you wish you had your phone right now.
  198. >Stupid dad.
  199. >Fortunately, the dumbfuck hellspawn in the room don't pay attention to you for long, thanks to whatever commotion was coming from another set of doors in the back.
  200. >They fly open with some freaky pony magic, and--
  201. >"At least give me my phone back, damn it!" cries some girl pony.
  202. >"After your behaviour today?" answers some man pony. "Absolutely not."
  203. >"But I--"
  204. >"Your mother and I are going to be talking to some friends of hers now. Stay here, and don't cause any trouble."
  205. >"Dad, would you please just--?!"
  206. >"The answer is no, Flurry."
  207. >"But--"
  208. >"We'll see you in an hour."
  209. >Well, of all the things you expected to see, you didn't expect to see some white, blue haired, effeminate unicorn man all but shove some other white unicorn girl into this room, before shutting the door behind him.
  210. >Somehow he'd even managed a pitch perfect 'so done with this shit' look on his face, too.
  211. >"Aaaaagh!" that girl pony screeches back at the door, her wings flaring out. "I hate you so much!"
  212. >Wait, wings?
  213. >Wait holy shit, is that pony an--?
  214. >"Whoooooamygosh!" a ditzy sounding girl calls right after getting into your face. "You're one of those hyoomans!"
  215. >Oh dear God no, not a fucking hippogriff.
  216. >"Hi there! My name is Seastar! Princess Seastar, but hey, we're all royalty here, right? Heeheeheehee!"
  217. >Ravioli ravioli, please shoot me in the headioli.
  218. >"So what's your name, huh?"
  219. >Don't answer her.
  220. >"Aww, c'mon! You can tell me!"
  221. >Fucking hippogriffs.
  222. >Should've stayed as fish people in the fucking ocean.
  223. "Anon."
  224. >"Anon? Heehee, that's a funny name!"
  225. >She'll look even funnier laughing with a broken beak.
  226. >Piece of shit bird horse thing.
  227. >"So, what brings you to Canterlot, Anon?"
  228. >Jesus Christ why do they ask questions they already know the fucking answer to holy shit will somebody please end your life.
  229. >"Ahh, I get it, you're shy!"
  230. >Maybe if you glare at her hard enough, she'll get the message.
  231. >"Heeheehee, that's okay! My dad's pretty shy too!"
  232. >Why did you even bother raising your expectations for her?
  233. >You know, faced with situations like this, you really come to appreciate the fact that the Storm King did nothing wrong.
  234. >Just as she opens her beak back up to assault your intelligence, an explosion of confetti in the back captures everyone's attention.
  235. >"Woooooooohoooo!" an aggressively pink, impossibly energetic pony bellows from behind an honest to God cannon, "Who's ready to par-tay?!"
  236. >Definitely not you.
  237. >But hey, this random bullshit got the fucking hippogriff to leave you alone, so there's that.
  238. >Whatever, they can do whatever the merry fuck they please.
  239. >You'll just be over here at the table, far the fuck away from that cesspool of degeneracy.
  240. >Eeeeexcept for a fucking pony hanging around here.
  241. >Wait a second, that's that same girl pony from before, isn't it?
  242. >Okay, so you weren't seeing things before, she's definitely an alicorn.
  243. >Great, just fantastic.
  244. >Don't know why the fuck she's wearing clothes either, but you stopped caring the moment you figured out she was a prissy fucking princess.
  245. >Just ignore her and take some punch.
  246. >So here you stand, sipping on this sugary liquid garbage while hoping and praying that you'll be left alone.
  247. >Huh.
  248. >That pony's actually leaving you alone?
  249. >Glancing over briefly, you see her looking over at you with a foul look on her face, but she turns away as soon as you look over.
  250. >Wow holy shit, you're not being pestered for once?
  251. >Maybe this won't be so bad--
  252. >"Heya there, Nonny!"
  253. >Oh fuck you Murphy.
  254. >Fuck you with a chainaxe.
  255. >"And hello to you too, Flurry!"
  256. >"Go away."
  257. >"Heehehehe, don't be such a grumpy-pants, Flurry! C'mon, you're missing the fun!"
  258. >"What a shame," the princess deadpans.
  259. >Yes, pester the fucking princess, not you.
  260. >"What about you, Nonny? How come you're not partying?!"
  261. >And fuck you too, Sod.
  262. "I have a crippling allergy to parties."
  263. >"Pfffft, don't be such a hermit, Nonny!"
  264. "Don't call me that ever again."
  265. >"C'mon Nonny, try it! Try it and you may!"
  266. "I'd rather try bleach, thanks."
  267. >"Oh a bleach joke, so original," the princess mutters.
  268. >"Heehee, bleach doesn't go onto colours, silly!"
  269. "What?"
  270. >"I mean, who'd want to ruin that fancy suit of yours?"
  271. >That kind of insult to your intelligence very nearly caused you to physically cringe and you want no further part of this please fuck right off posthaste you stupid fucking horse.
  272. "I'm not joining the party."
  273. >"Gee, that's not very nice. What would your parents think?"
  274. "You assume I give a damn," you fire back, arms folded. "That's cute."
  275. >That princess just snorted, while the pink horse began to look quite offended.
  276. >Okay, you're doing good.
  277. >Just a little more passive aggression and she'll--
  278. >"Aaaaaaaawww, come on Anon!"
  279. >Oh Jesus Christ no not the fucking hippogriff again please piss off--
  280. >"Nope," the princess blurts out, wrapping the hippogriff in magic. "Nope. Piss right off, Seastar."
  281. >"B-but Flurry, I--"
  282. >"Am not welcome anywhere in a five foot radius of me."
  283. >"But he--"
  284. >"OUT."
  285. >And off she flies back into the now staring crowd.
  286. >"Flurry!" the pink pony gasps. "That was--"
  287. >"Completely necessary, and don't you dare tell me otherwise."
  288. >Yeah, fuck this.
  289. >Back to the punch.
  290. >"Oooh, you're in big trouble, missy!" the pink one says, finally beginning to sound angry. "Wait until your aunt hears about this!"
  291. >"Ooh, I'm so scared. She might tell my parents or something! I'm shaking!"
  292. >Your turn to snort.
  293. >"Flurry--!"
  294. >"Uh-uh, no. This trip has been bad enough! First my phone, then Seastar, then this stupid monkey!"
  295. >Nani?
  296. >"I don't need you adding to--"
  297. "I'm sorry," you interject, facing the stuck-up princess. "What did you just say?"
  298. >For the briefest of moments, she looked surprised.
  299. >Key word being briefest.
  300. >"I said, that things are bad enough without the stupid monkey hanging around."
  301. >Man, what a punchable face she has.
  302. >"You, genius."
  303. "Wow."
  304. >Wiping that smirk off will be naught but joy.
  305. "I mean, wow! 'Monkey'. Damn, you come up with that all by yourself?"
  306. >Look, it's working!
  307. >"That's right. Made it nice and simple for your dumb ass to comprehend!"
  308. "Wooow, you're right! You're the smartest pony I've ever met! Shame the same can't be said about your looks."
  309. >"The hell did you just say to me?"
  310. "I mean, I don't see why else you'd be dressed up like that. What, you late for the Seamare Luna audition or something?"
  311. >She gets mighty protective of her skirt and shirt all of a sudden.
  312. >"Hey! This stuff--"
  313. "Looks like something out of the Hot Content dumpster? Wow, chalk one up for your smarts, princess!"
  314. >"You know what," she fumes, "I don't have to take that from a braindead weeaboo like you!"
  315. "The fuck's that supposed to mean?"
  316. >"Oh, 'Seamare Luna'? I'm sure that's not all you've seen. Cardcapture Sakurai? Pink Princess? Tomadachi Wa Mahou?"
  317. "Hey, those shows are--"
  318. >"Exactly what a flaming queer like you would watch? Wow, who'd have thought the monkey could get smarter?"
  319. >Oh she's fucking done for.
  320. "Okay princess," you fume, setting your punch glass down with a mighty thunk, "You wanna fucking go?"
  321. >Not one of you cares about the pink horse's gasp.
  322. >"Sorry, dipshit. I don't like to fight the handicapped."
  323. "Ooh, imagine that! The pwetty pony pwincess doesn't whanna fwight!"
  324. >"Like I'd even need to try! Those arms are floppier than the dicks you suck at your Chineighse cartoon conventions!"
  325. "Yeah, you'd know all about sucking dicks, wouldn't you? Did your sugar daddy there tell you to dress up like a total whore too?"
  326. >"Oh imagine that, the disgusting weeb is into inbreeding! Wow, maybe that's why you came out so fucking stupid!"
  327. "Another weeb joke? Damn, girl! You're just dazzling me with your intelligence here! Want me to get you a fedora while we're in the city? My treat!"
  328. >"Wow, a fedora joke right after a bleach joke! Aren't you just the most original limp dick around?!"
  329. "I'm unoriginal? You're a fucking pony, Rick! You've got the magic tramp stamps that literally pigeonhole you into doing only one thing!"
  330. >"At least we don't need pussy fucking weapons and machines to do basic fucking things! Oh wait, that's humans! Yeah, real fucking tough taking out minotaurs with anything but your spindly bitch noodle arms!"
  331. "Ooh, the noodle arms again? And you call me unoriginal? Say, how come you're hiding away your tramp stamp behind the cosplay getup, bitch?"
  332. >"Yeah, you're super into cosplay, I bet! Bet it gets your boyfriends real hard when you're bent over in the schoolgirl outfit! Aah! Y-Yamete! B-Bubba-senpaaaai!"
  333. "Wow, you know a lot about Bubba, don't you? You take turns with him and Chad? Bet that's why you're hiding the tramp stamp, 'cause mommy and daddy are too embarrassed to have the princess of sucking dicks as their kid!"
  334. >"Aww, you jealous? You want in on the action, don't you? I'm sure I can get you to sit in the corner and watch, you whiny little cuck!"
  335. "What do you need me around for? I'm sure you get plenty of hits on your fucking Tweak stream! 'OMG, thanks for the points, guise!' Bet you've got a fucking Neightreon, too!"
  336. >"The only thing Tweak deserves is to be nuked from fucking orbit, just like you and your shrimp dick race of horse fuckers! Yeah, that why you're so obsessed with my cutie mark? You want me that bad? Sorry, but I don't give pity fucks to unwashed shit lickers like you!"
  337. "I wouldn't touch you with a thirty nine and a half foot length of rebar, you fucking skank!"
  338. >"Good, I'd rather be knocking your lights out instead, you piss gargling fucknut!"
  339. "Wow, such complex words! You get those lines from your daily Leddit binges, you cum slurping queen of the damned?!"
  340. >"Oh, that's it, you're fucking dead!"
  341. "Noo, not the rainbows and sprinkles! Anything but that!"
  342. >"Ooooookay," the pink one interrupts, "Why don't we just calm down--"
  343. "Nobody asked you, bitch!"
  344. >"Nobody asked you, bitch!"
  345. >Yeah, she better take off!
  346. >"You're not leaving this room until you're kissing my hooves, shit for brains!"
  347. >She jabbed you in the stomach with her hoof.
  348. "Ooh, nice horseshoes there! Backup for when the other cheats you have don't work, dickhead?"
  349. >You punctuate 'dickhead' with a jab to her horn.
  350. >"Get your fucking dick beaters off me, you damn dirty ape!"
  351. >She jabs you harder.
  352. "See? Perfect match-up, you squirrely fucking thot!"
  353. >You jab the horn harder.
  354. >She grabs hold of your jacket to try and pull you down, and your hand grabs hold of her horn to try and pull her up.
  355. >It's hard to tell who let loose the piercing REEEEEEEEEEEEE in the exchange, but the only thing you know for real is that there will be fucking blood.
  356. <...
  358. >"She sells sea shells by the sea shore~"
  359. >"She sells sea shells by the sea shore~"
  360. >"While the ships in the harbour set sail~!"
  361. >"While the ships in the harbour set sail~!"
  362. >"Eeeeeeeeee! You still remember it!"
  363. >"I'd never forget the creed, Candy!"
  364. >You're not even a minute into your wife's sudden meeting, and already you're the most confused you've been this year.
  365. >While those two hug one another, giggling to each other like schoolfillies, your eyes turn to the strange orange human's wife.
  366. >Who, coincidentally, has turned her eyes to you at the same time.
  367. >And boy, does her look match your own feelings to a T.
  368. "Sooo, uhh… I didn't catch your name."
  369. >"Y-yes, well, my husband didn't make me privy to yours, either."
  370. "Oh, you too, huh?"
  371. >"Mmhmm."
  372. "Well, my name is--"
  373. >"Shiny!" Cadance squeals, trapping you in one of her signature death grip hugs. "This right here is my bestest old friend in the whole widest world!"
  374. >She gestured way more dramatically than necessary towards the smiling, jovial human.
  375. "Uhh… hi?"
  376. >Extending your hoof, he bolts right over and grabs hoooooooold--!
  377. >"Ahahahah! A true pleasure to meet you, mister…?"
  378. "Sh-Shining Armour…" you wheeze out.
  379. >Holy Goddess in Elysium his grip should not be that strong what the buck
  380. >"Then it is an ever truer pleasure to meet you, Mr. Armour! Incognito Augustulus Sr.; Emperor Incognito Augustulus Sr., at your service!"
  381. "Pl-pleased."
  382. >Why is his hoofshake somehow worse oh Goddess your leg is going to fall off please stop
  383. >"But you can just call me Nito! Any friend of Candy's is a friend of mine!"
  384. "O-okay."
  385. >"H-honey, who is--" the woman tries to get in, before being cut off by a huge gasp from Mr. Augustulus.
  386. >"Dear God, I am so sorry, my dear! I'd almost forgotten to introduce you!"
  387. >Mercifully, he lets go of your hoof, flowing over to the side of his wife and throwing an arm around her withers-- uhh, shoulders.
  388. >"My love, this is a very old friend of mine! We go way, way back!"
  389. >Cadance swoops in and grabs the human's hand, and from the look on her face, she's suffering as much as you were under the assault of Mr. Augustulus's hoofshake.
  390. >"It's so, so good to meet you! I'm Princess Mi Amore Cadenza, but everypony just calls me Cadance!"
  391. >"I-Innominate…"
  392. >"Ohh, I know we'll be the best of friends, Mrs. Innominate! Eeeeeeeee!"
  393. >Sweet merciful Goddess, you don't think you've seen Cadance this excited since she first found out she was pregnant.
  394. >"I-I'm sure…"
  395. >And in another instant, the human's hand is released, and Cadance fixes Mr. Augustulus with a glare.
  396. >"Nito, why didn't you tell me you were happily married?!"
  397. >"I could ask the same of you, Candy! My God, I'd have been at the wedding in a heartbeat!"
  398. >"I know! It was such a crazy wedding, too!"
  399. >"Oh, I've heard the stories! Ohh, you'll have to tell me all about it!"
  400. >"Sit down, you! It's story time!"
  401. >"Ahahahah! The best time there is, Candy!"
  402. >The two of them, uhh… hop, skip and jump with their arms locked together, only letting go after the final jump, where they land in their seats with pinpoint accuracy.
  403. >"Shiny, Innominate, come on over!"
  404. >"Agreed! No need to be strangers!"
  405. >This guy couldn't be any stranger if he set out to try.
  406. >After you and Mrs. Augustulus share a look, you walk over to the small coffee table and seat yourselves.
  407. >From there, the two of you witness what must be the liveliest conversation you've ever seen, and you've been at ground zero for most of Twilight's tangents.
  408. >Those two just talked and talked and talked in rapid fire, completely enraptured in one another's stories, only taking breaks to synchronize their drinks of water.
  409. >It was, uh… surreal.
  410. >"And then my sister-in-law used her magic to banish the evil king and restore the Empire, and we lived happily ever after!"
  411. >"What a story, Candy! And to think, I'd convened with such a brave soul in the past! God above, I had no idea she was your sister-in-law!"
  412. >"Heeheehee, she's a wonderful mare, and an even more wonderful aunt!"
  413. >"What? Aunt?!"
  414. >"That's right, Nito!"
  415. >After gaping in disbelief for a moment, Mr. Augustulus picked up Cadance and looked over her belly like a gemstone, all while Cadance remained perfectly still, sporting a look of pure pride.
  416. >"You did not give birth, Candy!"
  417. >"Been there, did that."
  418. >"On what planet?! My God, there's not a mark on you!"
  419. >"Alicorn life is the best life."
  420. >"And your figure! Augh, it's so hard to describe how envious I am right now!"
  421. >"Gaze upon me and despair, Nito. Gaze and despair."
  422. "Put her down, sir."
  423. >"Incognito, set her down now."
  424. >At least Mrs. Augustulus had the same idea!
  425. >You really don't like how… touchy those two are.
  426. >"Ohh Shiny, you big jealous lunk! You know you're always the one for me!"
  427. >"My love, nobody could ever replace you in my life, you know that!"
  428. >Why'd they have to be so smooth with their responses…?
  429. >"Besides, what kind of an example would I be setting for our son, just gallivanting off with the first woman I set my eyes on? Downright repulsive, that would be!"
  430. >"Whaaaaaaaat?! Y-you have a…?!"
  431. >"We have a son, Candy. And yes, yes we do!"
  432. >Instantly, Cadance bolts over to Mrs. Augustulus, crushing her in one of her hugs.
  433. >"EeeeeeeeeeeeohmygoshI'msohappyforyoutwoeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"
  434. "Please let her go, honey."
  435. >She complies without another word, backflipping into her seat while Mrs. Augustulus takes several deep breaths.
  436. >"Nito," Cadance says, a devilish glint in her eyes. "Pictures."
  437. >"Candy," he replies, the same glint in his eyes. "You needn't ask."
  438. >From deep within her mane and deep within his jacket, they pull free a modest stack of photos.
  439. "Honey, why do you keep those in your mane?"
  440. >"A-and why did you bring those with you today, honey?" Mrs. Augustulus concurs.
  441. >"Shiny! Really, now! It's our sacred creed!"
  442. >"Never, ever leave home without the baby pictures!"
  443. "Okay."
  444. >"I-if you say so."
  445. >Synchronized sighs escape both you and Mrs. Augustulus, and with no time wasted, the two begin to fawn over their stacks of photographs like a pair of teenage mares.
  446. >They go through emotions at a breakneck pace: fawning one moment, lamenting in another, laughing in another, and bawling like foals in others.
  447. >"Th-they grow up so fast, Nito!" Cadance bawls into his chest. "I'm not ready! I'm not reeeeeahdyyy!"
  448. >"Me neither, Candy!" he quietly weeps into her mane. "We laughed at our parents for this notion! Laughed, we did! And this is our penance!"
  449. "He's always like this, isn't he?"
  450. >"Yes he is," Mrs. Augustulus replies just as monotonously as you. "And she…?"
  451. "Mmhmm."
  452. >"Do you ever wonder sometimes why we married them?"
  453. "Never more than today."
  454. >"Ah, so that wasn't just me."
  455. >"So!" Cadance replies, flipping from sobbing to chipper on a dime, "How old is your little Anonymous?"
  456. >"Ahh, the tender age of eighteen!" he replies, flipping just as quickly.
  457. >"Ohh, that's so funny! Our little Flurry is, too!"
  458. >"Oh, she's beautiful, Candy!" he booms, small rivulets of tears streaming down his face without any warning. "Takes right after her beautiful mother, that one!"
  459. >"And yours! Ohh, he's got your chin! And your build!"
  460. "Cadance," you intone.
  461. >"Incognito," she intones.
  462. >"My word, you two are such worrywarts!" Mr. Augustulus huffs, his tears vanishing into thin air. "Do you really think so little of us?"
  463. >"Yeah, Shiny! After everything we've been through!"
  464. >Just…
  465. >Don't answer them.
  466. >"Ohh, but I'll tell you, raising him and keeping an empire together is no easy feet, my girl! Why, I haven't had the time to practice even a tiny smidgen of our old craft!"
  467. >"Me too! Augh, ruling sucks!"
  468. >"Alas, we are the best suited to the task."
  469. >"Don't care, still sucks!"
  470. >Aaaaand now they're pouting.
  471. >Really not much you can say, now is there?
  472. >"Candy!" he booms out of the blue. "Did you bring her with you today?"
  473. >"Of course! She's got to learn how the game is played, somehow!"
  474. >"Ahh, but she's been resisting, hasn't she?"
  475. >"You too, huh?"
  476. >"Quite! Why, I swear they're more interested in their fancy magitech toys than they are with reality around them!"
  477. >"Right?! In fact, we had to take our Flurry's 'phone' away from her today, didn't we Shiny?"
  478. "Yes, dear."
  479. >"What a coincidence, I had to do much the same thing! And to think, he became indignant about it, too!"
  480. >"Same here! Ohh, she needs real social contact, not that silly magitech substitute!"
  481. >"Precisely my point, Candy! We brought our dear Anonymous too, didn't we darling?"
  482. >"Yes, dear," Mrs. Augustulus replies.
  483. >"So my thinking here was that we have those two--"
  484. >"Socialize?! Ohmygosh, YES! Nito, you've always got the best ideas!"
  485. >"I know! Elementary, really! Why, it may even clear up some of his foul mood!"
  486. >"Goodness knows she could use it," Cadance grumbles.
  487. >"Cheer up, Candy! I've a good feeling about this!"
  488. >"Yeah, you're right! I know ponies better than anypony, and those two might as well be the best of friends already!"
  489. >"Ahahahah! Positive as always, Candy! Why, I'm sure that positivity has already suffused their bond as we speak!"
  490. >The door to this room is knocked on repeatedly.
  491. >"Pr-princess Cadance, E-emperor Incognito!" a guard's voice calls from behind the door. "Your presences are required at once!"
  492. >Those two just jinxed everything, didn't they?
  493. >They just grin to each other for a split second before bolting upright, jogging towards the door.
  494. >"C'mon, Shiny! Let's see what's happening!"
  495. >"Up and at 'em, my love! Politics waits for no man!"
  496. >Both you and Mrs. Augustulus share a groan before tailing after your respective spouses, who have since been following a very agitated looking pony guard.
  497. >Yelling can be heard in the distance, and you swear that one of the voices sounds…
  498. >"You won't live to regret this, you fucking ape!"
  499. >F-Flurry?!
  500. >"I'll slap yer shit in, I sware on me mum!"
  501. >Who's voice is that?
  502. >Rounding one last corner, you see a group of guards on both sides of the hallway, keeping a green-skinned young human away from--
  503. >Flurry!
  504. >"Flurry!" Cadance chirps.
  505. >"My boy!" Mr. Augustulus booms.
  506. >Both children look to their respective parents, their scuffed, bruised faces morphing to shock and then terror in short order.
  507. >"Aww, shit," Flurry groans.
  508. >"Fuck my life," the human groans.
  509. <...
  511. >You know what?
  512. >You've been through your fair share of bullshit trips that have had shit go wrong before.
  513. >That one fucking yak princess was the absolute worst.
  514. >Key word being 'was'.
  515. >Because now?
  516. >"What in the world were you thinking, Anonymous?!" your mother almost screams at you.
  517. >This definitely tops the fucking list.
  518. >You didn't even know that ponies could punch that hard.
  519. >Or that that stupid fucking cunt princess could return fire like that.
  520. >Seriously fuck her with a chainsaw you never want to see her again Jesus Christ can you just go home already.
  521. >"Are you even listening to me?!"
  522. "Not really."
  523. >"Do you even realize what it is that you've done?!"
  524. "Defended myself?"
  525. >"Defended yourself?! Against what? What could that poor young lady have possibly done?"
  526. "'Poor young lady', she says."
  527. >"Are you--?!"
  528. "Mom, you weren't there."
  529. >"Did I have to be?! You picked a fight with a close ally's princess! Do you have any idea what--?!"
  530. "First off, those crystal horses aren't allies."
  531. >"For the love of God, do not call them 'horses'!"
  532. "But it's true."
  533. >Good, she's losing her cool.
  534. >The sooner she leaves you alone, the better.
  535. >Right as she opens her mouth again, the door to this little infirmary room is heard creaking open.
  536. >Oh Jesus Christ if it's dad you're going to flip your fucking shit--
  537. >Oh no wait, it's that one effeminate gaylord horse from before.
  538. >Mom gasps upon seeing who it is, and darts over towards him.
  539. >"Mr. Armour! Oh, I am so, so sorry about what--"
  540. >"N-no, I should be apologizing, Mrs. Augustulus."
  541. >Holy fucking shit he has a fucking surfer dude voice why the fuck how the fuck what the fuck man.
  542. >"Actually," he continues, "Could I have a word with you alone, please?"
  543. >"O-of course, whatever you need!"
  544. >And of course mom fixes you that oh-so-frightening 'big trouble' glare of hers, like that's supposed to fucking mean anything.
  545. >"Don't you dare move from that spot, young man."
  546. "Whatever."
  547. >After a moment of grumbling, she leaves the room with that other horse.
  548. >Alone at last, thank fucking God.
  549. >Jeez, this shit stings.
  550. >Fucking pony magic only does so much.
  551. >Fucking cheating hooves, might as well have been bringing clubs.
  552. >At least you got to ruin the dumb cunt's stupid fucking outfit.
  553. >Seriously, just fuck her.
  554. >Not like you had to care either: the Crystal Empire is technically separate from Equestria proper.
  555. >So it's not like you'd socked that one Twilight princess in the jaw.
  556. >See, you think of these things!
  557. >Besides, she was actually kinda nice, unlike that fucking cunt princess.
  558. >Yeah, you'd like to see her act all fucking tough without her trashy fucking outfit.
  559. >Actually, you'd prefer never seeing her again.
  560. >Fuck this trip so hard.
  561. >You don't even care about your fucking phone anymore, you just wanna go home already.
  562. >The doorknob turns, and the clenching commences.
  563. >Clenching that soon lets up when you see it's that fairy fucking white horse from before.
  564. >The hell does this faggot want?
  565. >"Anonymous, was it?"
  566. >Oh Jesus Christ you're not answering him.
  567. >Just fucking listen to his voice!
  568. >"W-well, ah, I suppose I'd best start by apologizing for what my daughter did to you."
  569. >Seriously where did he even get his fucking accent from anyways--
  570. "Wait, what?"
  571. >"I'm not happy that you fought back, but I do understand that she started it all."
  572. >Wait wait wait, he gets it?
  573. >Double fucking wait up, is he actually implying that the cunt princess is his kid?
  574. >"And, well, I'm sorry about that. I hope you can forgive her."
  575. >Oh Jesus Christ, he is her dad, isn't he?
  576. >Snrk.
  577. >Wow, okay, that explains a lot.
  578. >"I-is something funny?"
  579. "Oh, yeah! I mean, geez, now I see how she just flew off the handle like that!"
  580. >Oh boy are you still fucking mad but boyohfuckingboy is this also so fucking funny.
  581. "What, you never hear of spanking before?"
  582. >"I-I'm sorry?"
  583. "Spanking, genius! Maybe that bitch wouldn't fly off the handle so much if you'd done your fucking job right!"
  584. >Whatever soft look he had just evaporated.
  585. "Nonono, wait, lemmie guess! Too buys working on your surfboard, brah? 'Nah, bruh, this parent shit is too wack for me, dude bruh man duuuude'!"
  586. >"Excuse me?"
  587. "Yeah, I fucking figured you were fucking useless the second I saw you bring her in!"
  588. >On comes the musical number:
  589. "I never spanked my kids, and I raised a piece of shit, and I drop my kids off at soccer practice every Tuesday~!"
  590. >This has to be one of the most humourless laughs you've given to date.
  591. "Hey, who knows? Maybe she'll grow up to be the next fucking Ponichet or something! Hell, not hard to see that fucking psycho throwing people off of that giant dick you call a palace--"
  592. >Oh wait, he left the room.
  593. >Hahah, you've still got it!
  594. >You know what else you've got?
  595. >Anger, endless fucking anger!
  596. >Seriously fuck this place will somebody please just get you the fuck home already you don't even fucking care anymore!
  597. >Aaaaaaaaaagh this fucking suuuuuuucks!
  598. >The door opens again, only this time--
  599. >"My boy!"
  600. >Oh fuck no not him anyone but fucking dad why has God forsaken you tonight--
  601. >"Ahahahah! Still kicking after that little thrashing, eh?"
  602. "Oh just go away."
  603. >"But how am I supposed to bring you home then?"
  604. >Wait what okay nevermind.
  605. "Oh fucking finally!"
  606. >"Incidentally, you can forget all about that quaint little phone of yours--"
  607. "Don't fucking care! Just get me out of here!"
  608. >And would it kill him to stop with those fucking smirks of his?!
  609. >"Of course, son. Up and at 'em!"
  610. >Was there any reason he emphasized 'son' there?
  611. >Nah, you're just imagining things.
  612. >Through the halls you go.
  613. >Step after step closer to fucking home, thank the lord Jesus Christ.
  614. >Only your sojourn is cut short by the fucking surfer dude horse.
  615. >"Mr. Augustulus!"
  616. >"Please, please! No need to be so formal, Shining! Just Nito will suffice, my friend!"
  617. >"Nevermind that! What in the world is the matter with you?!"
  618. >Oh, now he asks the important questions?
  619. >"Ahahahah! Not enough, my friend!"
  620. >"I-- w-what?"
  621. >"Indeed, the shorter answer may be to ask what's right with me, wouldn't you agree?"
  622. >Never thought you'd empathize with a horse as beta as him, but damn if that eye twitch wasn't a perfect summary of your own feelings right now.
  623. >"Ohh, but do go on, Shining! You were about to say something, weren't you?"
  624. >"You're darned right I was!"
  625. >Oh Jesus he can't even swear holy shit how fucking cucked can you get?
  626. >"I sincerely hope you're going to punish him for what he did today," he half harrumphs, eyes flicking to you.
  627. "Yeah, look who's talking--"
  628. >A brief WHOOSH, a blur of orange ending in a hand right in front of your face, and a mild jump on your part.
  629. >"Ah-ah-ah, it's not nice to interrupt, son."
  630. "Oh whatever."
  631. >"See?!" the dumb fucking horse snorts, "I thought it was my daughter that started it, but now I'm--"
  632. "She did start it, genius!"
  633. >That hand grabs your shooooouldeeeeer--!
  634. >"I don't particularly enjoy repeating myself, son."
  635. >ow ow ow please stop squeezing it hurts losing feeling losing feeling
  636. >"Sorry about that, Shining. I completely understand your concerns, and rest assured, I've arranged for the appropriate disciplinary action."
  637. >"Oh, thank goodness."
  638. >"You should be thanking your wife, Shining!"
  639. >"Wha? C-Cadance?"
  640. >"Why, yes! She's the one who came up with the idea! You know, it never ceases to amaze me how creative Candy can get when it comes to soothing relations!"
  641. >Wait, who the fuck is 'Candy'?
  642. >"Wh-what do you mean?" he stammers, now looking a bit nervous. "What did she--?"
  643. >"A magician never reveals their secrets, my good man! You'll find out soon enough!"
  644. >"But--"
  645. >"Oh, relax!" dad laughs, finally releasing your shoulder to clap his hands for a moment. "I think you'll quite like what we agreed upon!"
  646. >"I-I don't think--"
  647. >"Now come along! I don't want any of you to miss this!"
  648. >You know, you've got a seriously bad feeling about all of this.
  649. >A bad feeling that only gets worse when you hear mom's voice off in the distance:
  650. >"That's unacceptable! Y-you can't just--"
  651. >"Not tell you?" some voice you don't recognize sing-songs back. "A magician never reveals their secrets, Minny~!"
  652. >"Y-you're incorrigible!"
  653. >"I know! Old habits die hard, after all! Teeheehee!"
  654. >Why does this other voice make you super fucking nervous?
  655. >Dad can barely keep the excited grin off of his face as he opens the door in front of him, and is met with--
  656. >Wait, that's the same pink alicorn Dad was with!
  657. >"Ahahahah, Candy! Is everything ready?"
  658. >"You know it, Nito! She'll be here any minute!"
  659. >Mom filters in after the pink horse, followed by--
  660. "You?!"
  661. >"You?!"
  662. >Oh hell no, not that fucking psycho horse!
  663. "Get her out, get her out!"
  664. >"Get that crazy ape away from me!"
  665. >"Incognito!" mom yells across the hall, "What are you playing at?!"
  666. >"Cadance!" the surfer cuck yells across the hall, "What are you playing at?!"
  667. >All dad and the pink horse do is laugh, even as you and that fucking psycho white horse take cover behind the two of them.
  668. "What the fuck are you animals doing, letting her in here?!"
  669. >"Right back at you, asshole! Mom, what the fuck is your problem?!"
  670. >The pink horse wraps the psycho one in a one-legged neck hug, and you feel a hand on your shooooouldeeeeeer--!
  671. >"Now, now," dad starts,
  672. >"There's no need for such language," the pink one finishes.
  673. >jesus christ of latter day saints it hurts please stop doing that
  674. >"Now, we're going to let go of you two," dad starts again,
  675. >"And when we do, you two are going to settle down," the pink horse finishes again.
  676. >okay okay fine just please stop doing that it hurts oh god no more please
  677. >You gingerly caress your poor oppressed shoulder the moment dad's hand comes off of it, and that psycho horse takes a lot of deep breaths after her mom lets her go from that death grip.
  678. >Jesus Christ what is going on here.
  679. >All of a sudden, a big door off to the side flies open in a flash of purple magic, and through it is--
  680. >"Whew, sorry I'm late!"
  681. >Wait a minute, that's that Twilight princess pony!
  682. >"Ahahahah!" dad booms yet again, "You're right on time, princess Twilight!"
  683. >"Yep, just like always!" the pink one concurs, both her and dad smiling widely.
  684. >Dad pats your shoulder and the pink horse pats the psycho's withers, then they both head off to that Twilight pony for--
  685. >Oh good God in heaven, are they seriously doing a group hug right now?!
  686. >Mom is left utterly speechless, same as that gaylord surfer dude.
  687. >It's weird, but in this exact moment, that psycho looks just as confused as you feel.
  688. >"Cadance," Twilight starts, "You didn't tell me you knew the Dominion's Emperor!"
  689. >"Oh, we go way back, Twilight! We just haven't had the time to connect until now!"
  690. >"Yes," dad booms, "And we're so very glad you could make it today!"
  691. >"Well, any friend of Cadance is a friend of mine, Incognito!"
  692. >"Ahahahah! Took the words right out of my mouth, Twilight! Oh, it's good to see you again!"
  693. >What the hell is going on?
  694. >"Now," Twilight says after they all break the group hug, "Let's get this friendship problem straightened right out, shall we?"
  695. "What?"
  696. >"What?" the psycho concurs.
  697. >"What?" mom double concurs.
  698. >"What?" surfer dude triple concurs.
  699. >"Well," dad booms, "We can't very well let this little tussle harm our diplomatic relations, can we?"
  700. >"Yeah, those minotaurs can be real geezers," the pink horse concurs, "And I don't want our children to hate each other!"
  701. >"So, we've come to a little arrangement!"
  702. >"Twilight here is going to sort this little friendship problem out, lickety split!"
  703. >"They'll be her guests down at her lovely Ponyville castle for the next few days!"
  704. >"Becoming the best of friends while we straighten this little incident out!"
  705. >"I've already gotten your bags packed and ready," Twilight concurs, floating a long slip of paper out. "And a whole list of things that'll be sure to help you two become best friends in no time at all!"
  706. >As if processing this wasn't enough, the three of them decide to strike a pose together.
  707. >Sparkles fly from the tips of their limbs as they fall into place, and a small blast of air accompanies their loud, simultaneous proclamation:
  708. >"It's the perfect solution!"
  709. >Utter silence dominates the room, their simultaneous pose standing tall in the midst of what they just said.
  710. >Actually, one thing does come to your mind during all this.
  711. >Just one, singular word.
  712. >What.
  713. >Excuse you?
  714. >What?
  715. >They don't actually…?
  716. >No.
  717. >No way.
  718. >Uh-uh.
  719. >No.
  720. >No, no, no.
  721. >No.
  722. >No!
  723. >This is not fucking cool.
  724. >This isn't even remotely fucking cool!
  725. >Almost as if God himself synchronized all four of you, those not part of the magnificent pose all called out in one voice:
  726. "WHAT?!"
  727. >No sooner does this bombshell of bullshit drop on you than everything starts glowing purple and--
  728. >Holy shit what the fuck you're floating--!
  729. >"Oh, I'm really looking forward to this, you two!" that Twilight pony says--
  730. >Her horn's fucking glowing!
  731. >Oh, hell no!
  732. "Put me down!"
  733. >"Cut it out, Twilight!" that psycho half screeches.
  734. >Wait she's being floated too?
  735. >Oh, no.
  736. >Oh, hell no!
  737. >Hell the fuck no, you are not staying anywhere near this fucking psycho!
  738. >That Twilight horse wraps the still struggling psycho in a full-body hug, complete with very one-sided cheek nuzzling.
  739. >"Oh, it'll be just like old times, Flurry!"
  740. >"Those didn't involve holding me prisoner!"
  741. >"D'aww, you'll do just fine! I'm sure of it!"
  742. >"I'm not going anywhere with that crazy ape!"
  743. >"Uncle Spike's really missed you, you know! You'll have lots of time to catch up with him now!"
  744. >"Twilight I swear to Epona--!"
  745. >The psycho is briefly silenced by a big kiss to her cheek, before her purple assailant turns her gaze to you.
  746. >"And I'm so happy to see you again too, Anon!"
  747. >Dad and that pink horse just look on with big smiles on their faces.
  748. >"I know you really enjoyed your last visit with your parents, so I went out of my way to make this little sleepover as enjoyable as possible for you!"
  749. "I never agreed to anything like a sleepover!"
  750. >Oh dear God, if you have to bunk with that psycho--!
  751. >"You remember Spike, don't you?"
  752. >Only that he was kind of cool.
  753. >Dragons have that effect.
  754. >Didn't he have some kind of pony girlfriend over then, too?
  755. >"Well I had him stock up on all kinds of meats, special for you!"
  756. "Is that supposed to make me feel better about being abducted?"
  757. >Okay, context completely aside, that was quite the gigglesnort she had.
  758. >"Don't be silly, your parents okayed the whole thing!"
  759. "My parents are demons from hell that want to see me suffer!"
  760. >"Yeah," the cunt princess cries, "What he said!"
  761. >This time, it's the nearby parents that laugh alongside this Twilight pony.
  762. >"Now wait just a minute, all of you!" mom calls from behind, sounding quite agitated.
  763. >"We never agreed to anything like this!" that surfer dude concurs.
  764. >Great, the only two adults on your side here, and they're completely fucking useless!
  765. >See, these three are only laughing harder!
  766. >"Ohh goodness," dad chortles, "I remember when I called my father the same thing!"
  767. >"Me too," the pink one giggles, "And that was just over me being out too late!"
  768. >"But in all seriousness," dad says, eyes pointed straight at you, "You will be attending this little excursion with princess Twilight."
  769. >"And you will make up with each other," the pink one adds, her eyes aimed at the psycho. "And we'll both be very, very disappointed if we hear you've caused Twilight any trouble."
  770. >"After all, as a princess of Equestria proper, causing a stir in her domain would be quite… unwise."
  771. >Uh-oh.
  772. >"And I can't say it would go over well with my ponies, being such good allies with Equestria and all that."
  773. >Oh Jesus Christ they planned it like this didn't they.
  774. >It's right then, when the implications dawn upon you, that you finally see it.
  775. >That evil sparkle in both dad's and that pink horse's eyes.
  776. >"I don't care let me go already I don't wanna go!" the psycho screeches, flailing against her magic floating.
  777. "You said you were gonna take me home," you grumble at dad.
  778. >A few moments of that evil sparkling in his eyes later, and he finally responds in his normally jovial tone.
  779. >"Ahahahah! Why yes, I did! But alas, you failed to clarify as to which home it was going to be!"
  780. "Cheating son of a bitch."
  781. >"Ahahahah! Complaining about cheating in politics! Ahh, you've still much to learn, my boy!"
  782. "You are the devil and I resent your very soul."
  783. >"So, will there be any problems with this arrangement, my boy?"
  784. "How long?" you sigh.
  785. >"Until it's sorted, of course!"
  786. >You fucking knew he wouldn't give you a straight answer holy shit you hate this asshole so fucking much.
  787. >You fold your arms and grumble, and somewhere along the line you're finally set down onto the ground.
  788. >Holding your fucking country's alliances over your head like that, what a fucking dick.
  789. >Fucking shit fuck god damn son of a bitch orange juice looking piece of shit go die in a fucking fire.
  790. >"Now!" that Twilight chirps, "We all set and ready to go?"
  791. >She'll get nothing but grumbles out of you, and apparently the psycho feels the same way.
  792. >"That's great! Come on, right this way! I even got the heated carriage for this! Eeeeeee, I can't wait!"
  793. >Wow, isn't that just so fucking luxurious?
  794. >You don't even bother looking at any of your bastard parents from hell as you march to your doom behind Twilight, making sure to keep a healthy distance from the grumbling psycho horse.
  795. >And there it was, a big flashy chariot that was as garish as it was covered in gems.
  796. >Seriously, what's with ponies and gems?
  797. >Gold is the objectively better choice.
  798. >"Now it'll take a few minutes to reach the castle, so I went ahead and got some tea ready for the trip there!"
  799. >Well, at least there's some good news.
  800. >Ponies do have some bomb ass tea, after all.
  801. >You step into the carriage, and okay, you'll admit, it's pretty nicely furnished, gay pink and purple colour scheme aside.
  802. >And the tea set was pretty balling, too, all loaded with antigravity magic and shit.
  803. >So this Twilight was still at least somewhat based, despite her jailkeeper role for the forseeable future.
  804. >Ooh, and the tea's good, too.
  805. >Perfect temperature.
  806. >Unfortunately, the psychotic cunt went for some as well.
  807. >A brief glaring match passed between you and the now unclothed twat, until it settled into sipping away, trying to avoid all eye contact.
  808. >Yeah, this is gonna go from sucking to blowing, real fucking fast.
  809. >Fuck your life sideways.
  810. <...
  812. >"This is absolutely unacceptable!" Mrs. Augustulus screeches at her husband.
  813. "What were you thinking?!" you nearly yell at Cadance.
  814. >"Well," she replies in an ever-cheery tone, "I was thinking of getting this little rough patch between them straightened out, of course!"
  815. >"Indeed!" Mr. Augustulus booms, as if unaware of any wrongdoing, "Those pesky minotaurs are a persnickety bunch! Why, their own little prince was on the scene when those two had their disagreement, after all!"
  816. >"D-Disagreement?!" his wife gapes, incredulous as can be. "You call that a disagreement?!"
  817. >"Why yes, my love! A small trifling scuffle that a little proximity can fix right up!"
  818. >"Yep!" Cadance adds, cheery as can be. "Oh, I'll bet they'll be best of friends by this time next week! I can feel it!"
  819. "Honey, I know this isn't the first time I've said this, but have you lost your mind?!"
  820. >"What, you don't think your sister can do it?"
  821. "That is not what I am saying!"
  822. >"Did the pair of you just… just forget everything that happened between those two?!" Mrs. Augustulus repeats.
  823. >"Oh, just a little tussle is all!" Cadance chirps to your ever-growing disbelief.
  824. >"They called each other horrible names, some of which I'd never heard before!"
  825. "And did you just forget about the bruises that had to be treated with magic?!"
  826. >"Bah, no need to be soft on them, my man!" Mr. Augustulus booms. "Why, I remember getting and giving far worse on a weekly basis with my best friends!"
  827. "Y-you beat up your friends?!"
  828. >"Absolutely! Why, nothing could separate us!"
  829. "That doesn't even--! Aaaagh, you're missing the point!"
  830. >"Who, me?"
  831. >His face becomes even as his eyes settle upon you, and his tone shifts to something more… serious.
  832. >"Or do you mean you, Shining?"
  833. "Wh-what?"
  834. >"Well, think about it," Cadance chimes in, her own tone matching his. "Equestria's trying to avoid war, and the Federation is chomping at the bit to fight it out with the Dominion!"
  835. >"Oh, my son is quite right about us being able to defeat them militarily, but that wouldn't paint the best picture of us, now would it? Why, just imagine if those slimy griffons decided to join the fight against us!"
  836. >"Mmhmm. Those guys are super angry at humanity all the time! And of course, the buffalo would do almost anything to help their minotaur friends, even after everything Twilight did for them!"
  837. >"This is a real powder keg we've found ourselves plonked right atop of. And now, as if things weren't strained enough, our children have a public tantrum, for all the other royal children to see!"
  838. >Both you and Mrs. Augustulus can't help but shrink back as they lean in closer, no trace of a smile on either of their faces.
  839. >"Leaving us to perform damage control while they make up with one another," he intones.
  840. >"So as you can see, this is about a lot more than just a pair of old friends playing catch-up," she intones with him.
  841. >"We'll be stuck in this castle for as long as they will be in princess Twilight's, repairing far more than I'd bargained for."
  842. >"Mmhmm. And there's no way I'm letting war break out, especially not with one of my very best friends."
  843. >"Understand now?"
  844. >"Understand now?"
  845. >U-uhh, w-well…
  846. >Oh gosh darn it, Cadance looks so scary when she's serious!
  847. >But that Incognito, geez…!
  848. >That look of his might as well be staring right through your soul!
  849. >"Wh-why didn't you tell us about this first?" Mrs. Augustulus whispers.
  850. >"I'm terribly sorry my love, but there was no time to deliberate."
  851. >"To be honest," Cadance says, "Twilight was the real lifesaver here. I still don't know how she's so good at making plans!"
  852. "M-me neither. But still, you should have--!"
  853. >She cuts you off with a swift hug.
  854. >"Oh I'm sorry Shiny, please don't be mad!"
  855. >No no no don't make the puppy dog eyes!
  856. >You're supposed to be angry!
  857. >"Pleeeeeease?"
  858. >Aaaagh, this mare!
  859. >Every time!
  860. >Why does it work every single time?!
  861. >"Come now, honey!" Mr. Augustulus booms, embracing his pouting wife. "What's done is done!"
  862. >"I'm still not happy about this," she grumbles.
  863. >"I know, and I am terribly sorry about that."
  864. >"You actually think he'll, well, make up?"
  865. >"Absolutely! Why, he picked up on the gravity of the situation right away! I'm sure it'll be nothing but a runaway success with him and that young lady!"
  866. >Aaaaah, Cadance, seriously?!
  867. >She had to gasp that loud, right next to you?!
  868. >"Nito!" she squees.
  869. >Uh-oh, she has that sparkle in her eyes…
  870. >"NitoNitoNitoNitoIjustthoughtofthecraziestbutbestestideaever--!!"
  871. >Said human reaches out to shush her with a hand clamped around her muzzle.
  872. >"Sorry Candy, but not all of us have that enviable princess stamina. Can your idea wait until tomorrow?"
  873. >Wow, he does look tired, doesn't he?
  874. >"Oh, fine!" she huffs. "Gosh, you used to be so much more energetic!"
  875. >"The hottest stars burn out the quickest, I'm afraid. Well, that and I lack a literal magic star right inside my soul."
  876. >"Nito, you've gotta stop reading that thaumaturgy tripe! Talk about fake news!"
  877. >"But it's so entertaining, Candy! The action! The drama! And that antagonist with the Biblical name, my goodness!"
  878. >"But it goes on forever and ever! Honestly, are they ever going to write the ending to it before the publisher shuts down?"
  879. >"I've got faith, Candy! The writers just need to stop getting sidetracked with all those side projects!"
  880. >"So, never?"
  881. >"Ohh, really now!"
  882. "Ahem."
  883. >"Ahem," his wife concurs.
  884. >"Fine, fine!" Cadance huffs. "Well, you two will be happy to hear that I got the best diplomat's suite in the castle!"
  885. >"Candy, your people skills never cease to amaze!"
  886. >Sleep sounds wonderful right now.
  887. <...
  889. >"And the day after tomorrow's going to involve so much outdoor activity, you two! I've already made reservations at the lake, gotten all the temperature spells ready to go, and have all the swimwear sizes for Rarity to do her thing with!"
  890. >Sweet merciful Christ riding a burning unicycle, how much can this princess talk?!
  891. >You only just got inside her freaky castle, and she's still going on about her day plans!
  892. >"Now, the meal plan for that day will involve a lovely continental breakfast of…"
  893. >Yeah, you're just gonna tune that right out.
  894. >And do your best to ignore the presence of the cunt princess.
  895. >Wait.
  896. >Jesus, she's still going!
  897. >And--
  898. >Wait.
  899. >Did she…?
  900. >No fucking way.
  901. >She didn't even stop to breathe!
  902. >Holy piss, she's been going on three minutes of uninterrupted talking, and without a single fucking breath!
  903. >Fucking alicorns are freaks of nature what the actual fuck man now you're starting to get kinda scared by this whole fucking prospect.
  904. >"Aaaaaand I've still got to get to work on planning the days after that!"
  905. >Oh thank Christ she's finished with that shit.
  906. >"Now, this is where you'll be staying!"
  907. >Huh, when did you get to this big ass door?
  908. >Twilight whisks it open with magic, and…
  909. >Uhh, okay, this is different.
  910. >Good different, that is!
  911. >Look at this place, a fucking four-post bed!
  912. >And is that a fucking thaumputer on the desk there?
  913. >Oh please say it has a good Visternet connection, for the love of God.
  914. >You know, maybe this won't be that bad!
  915. >"Well, get comfortable! We'll be having dinner soon, so I'll be back in half an hour to get you two!"
  916. "Okay!"
  917. >Yeah yeah whatever, you're hitting that machine like--
  918. >"Twilight," comes the irritating voice of the cunt princess, "You are not serious right now."
  919. >"Mm? Well, why wouldn't I be serious, Flurry?"
  920. >"Don't play that with me! Where's my room?!"
  921. >"This is your room, Flurry!"
  922. >Wait what the fuck is she whining about now?
  923. >You turn towards the bickering alicorn pair, but your head whips right back to the room after you catch sight of something very, very horrifying.
  924. >The same exact bed, desk, and thaumputer setup mirrored on the other side of the room.
  925. >Oh, no.
  926. >Oh, hell to the fuck no!
  927. >Murphy you absolute fucking son of a bitch, you're gonna fucking kill his fucking family in front of him!
  928. >Back to Twilight you turn with the fury of hell itself burning in your gut.
  929. >"I am not staying with him around!" she screeches, pointing at you.
  930. "I am not staying with her around!" you bellow, pointing at her.
  931. >What may have been a gigglesnort for her was a huge eye twitch for you.
  932. >"Oh, it's not such a big deal!"
  933. "Yes it is!"
  934. >"Yes it is!"
  935. >"Well why else would I give you two half an hour before dinner to get used to this? I think of these things!"
  936. >"Witch! Tirek didn't get locked up for this!"
  937. "Everywhere I go, I'm surrounded by fucking demons from--!"
  938. >A zap of purple fires from her horn--
  939. >Yaaaaaagh!
  940. >"There will be no swearing in my house, Mr. Augustulus," Twilight says, curt as can be.
  941. >Jesus Christ that fucking hurt what the fuck is her problem?!
  942. >"Now, me and the others are gonna be hard at work getting dinner ready."
  943. "Wait just a minute--!"
  944. >"Twilight don't you fucking dare--"
  945. >ZAP
  946. >"Yaaaah, fucker--!"
  947. >ZAP
  948. >"Holy shit stop--!"
  949. >ZAP
  950. >"Oowww! Okay, okay, I get it!"
  951. >"Remember, half an hour! Be ready by then, you two!"
  952. "This zapping business is highly illegal in the Dominion!"
  953. >"See you two later!"
  954. "Hey, don't you walk off--!"
  955. >Aaaaaand she just teleported away.
  956. >Bitchtit gargling son of a monkey's whore what the fuck man?!
  957. >The autistic screech that just escaped your lungs was somehow matched by the twat princess beside you, not that you fucking care because holy mother of God this fucking blows you want out of here right fucking now!
  958. >Oh fuck this so hard man!
  959. >No you know what, fuck dinner, you just wanna fucking deepthroat an S1000 right now!
  960. >And fuck this gay noise, at least you can see if the thaumputer fucking works right!
  961. >Funnily enough, your shit was already laid out on the right half of the room, making the thaumputer choice a no-brainer.
  962. >Flicking the power on, you're met with--
  963. >Are you serious?!
  964. >A fucking time lock?!
  965. >And she set the fucking supervisor password, too?!
  966. >No fuck this, fuck everything, this is the literal fucking worst fuck this fuck that fuck every living being on the planet fucking Equus you're so fucking done right now Jesus Christ have mercy!
  967. >In the end, you just flop onto the bed, completely ignoring the awesome cloud mattress in favour of tossing around and occasionally glaring at your similarly flopping cunt roommate.
  968. >Dinner comes, and you're all too happy to leave this prison cell.
  969. >Twilight was there along with that Spike guy, a head shorter than you and with the arms of a serious lifter.
  970. >And some other pony.
  971. >Starbright Twitter?
  972. >Fuck if you know, hell if you care, but she was obviously Spike's bitch.
  973. >Yeah, that's the fucking secret to Equestrian dominance right there.
  974. >Not the alicorns, not this Element of Lobotomy shit, none of that.
  975. >They've just got an overabundance of smoking hot women that they use to fuck their way into peace.
  976. >And it works, too!
  977. >There's a reason they monopolized the whole fucking porn industry!
  978. >It's like they're fucking built for it, man!
  979. >Well not you, nosiree!
  980. >No fucking quadruped thots for you!
  981. >Dinner ends, and you get sent off back to your-- fuck, the bedroom.
  982. >The door shuts behind, and--
  983. >"Let's get something straight here, shitheel."
  984. >Oh, pwincess wants to tawk shit again?
  985. >"I fucking hate you and I want you to die in a high speed carriage crash."
  986. "And I hope you win the lottery and die the next day."
  987. >"We're not fucking friends, and we never will be. Got that?"
  988. "Yeah, well I don't fucking wanna be friends either."
  989. >"I don't make friends with piece of shit fucking princes like you!"
  990. "And I don't make friends with knock-kneed political chess pieces like you!"
  991. >"I'm just going along with this to get out of here!"
  992. "Finally, something intelligent to relate to!"
  993. >"We're not friends!"
  994. "Damn right we're not!"
  995. >"Yeah!"
  996. "Yeah!"
  997. >"Good!"
  998. "Good!"
  999. >"Glad you understand!"
  1000. "Yeah, glad you understand too!"
  1001. >Have you mentioned yet how punchable that face is?
  1002. >"Good!"
  1003. "Good!"
  1004. >"Okay."
  1005. "Okay."
  1006. >A beat.
  1007. "Fine."
  1008. >"Fine."
  1009. "I'm going to sleep."
  1010. >"Yeah, me too."
  1011. "You better not fucking snore."
  1012. >"Look who's talking."
  1013. "Whatever."
  1014. >"Fuck you."
  1015. "Eat me."
  1016. >"You wish."
  1017. >A glaring contest ensures, one that remains even as you both shuffle over to your bathroom doors.
  1018. >At least this hellhole has separate fucking bathrooms!
  1019. >Nightly cleanup later, and you slink into bed without further incident.
  1020. >Man, fuck today.
  1021. >And fuck tomorrow.
  1022. >Fucking princess cunt and her fucking mouth.
  1023. >Fucking dad and his bullshit politics.
  1024. >Fucking everything sucks.
  1025. >Go to sleep already, Anon.
  1026. >Sleep!
  1027. >Oh for fuck's sake, sleep!
  1028. >Sleep!
  1029. >Aagh, what you wouldn't give for your phone right now!
  1030. >Okay, count sheep!
  1031. >1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16--
  1032. >Fuck, this is supposed to work?
  1033. >What a fucking load!
  1034. >1, 2, 3, 4… 5…
  1035. <...
  1038. "Christ almighty!"
  1039. >"What the fuck?!"
  1040. >Bolting upright at the ungodly loud ringing sound, you frantically wave your head around to find--
  1041. >It's coming from the fucking thaumputer nearest to you.
  1042. >It's screen has an alarm clock lit up on it, complete with the time.
  1043. >That time being six in the morning.
  1044. >Seriously?
  1045. >It's that fucking bitch princess, isn't it?!
  1046. >Immediately you look over to the other side of the room to give that twat a piece of your mind, but are stopped when you see her own system flashing with the exact same thing.
  1047. >Moments after you and the bitch of the moment look at one another, the awful sound stops and is replaced with the voice of your current warden of Friendship Castle.
  1048. >"Gooooooood morning, you two~!" the infuriating visitized voice sing-songs over the speakers. "Breakfast will be served at seven o'clock sharp! Don't be late!"
  1049. "You slimy cocksucker--!"
  1050. >"You evil bitch--!"
  1051. >Aaaaand click goes the machine, returning to it's previously off state.
  1052. >Good fucking God every day here is going to be like this isn't it Jesus Christ what did you do to deserve this a fucking gulag is preferable to this hell!
  1053. >You groan aloud, and you think your cellmate did much the same thing.
  1054. "Why do bad things happen to good people?"
  1055. >"You're not a good person, jag off!"
  1056. "Wow, look who's talking."
  1057. >"Oh shut your fucking hole already! Like I don't have enough reasons to kill myself without your fucking voice being on the list!"
  1058. "Wait, someone's voice is a reason to kill yourself? Geez, talk about being worthless."
  1059. >You sit upright against the headboard in an attempt to not succumb to the sleep-bringing allure of the cloud mattress.
  1060. >"Huehuehue, aren't you just the funniest loser around?"
  1061. >Though her own grating vocals did a fantastic job of that already.
  1062. "Note to self: she can't get under anyone's skin to save her life in the morning."
  1063. >"I can punch your fucking lights out in the morning, how's that sound?!"
  1064. "Please do. No, really, I'd welcome it. Would probably be the first good thing you've ever done with your life."
  1065. >A few splutters, an autistic screech, and eventually she just sits upright herself, wrapped in blankets and pouting while giving you the stink eye.
  1066. >Yeah, because that's totally gonna work.
  1067. >Stupid fucking horse.
  1068. >"You gonna fucking leave anytime soon?"
  1069. "Right after I finish wakin' up."
  1070. >"Well do it faster!"
  1071. "No."
  1072. >"Oh for Epona's sake, just take your shit and go to the bathroom already!"
  1073. "Aaaaaand why would I do that? What, you shy or something?"
  1074. >"More like I don't need your shifty ass staring my way!"
  1075. "Uhh, what?"
  1076. >"Just hurry the fuck up and--"
  1077. "Nononono, hold up. You think I'm gonna, what, stare at you?"
  1078. >"Wow, he got something right for once!"
  1079. "I don't remember humans having eye lasers."
  1080. >"But I sure remember you wanting to fuck ponies!"
  1081. >What.
  1082. >And just where'd she pull that one from?
  1083. >"Princess ponies, to be exact!"
  1084. >Okay, so she's trying to be funny now.
  1085. >Stop the presses, it's not working.
  1086. >"Don't think I didn't see you eyeing me up back at Canterlot, shitheel!"
  1087. >Oh nevermind, she's completely serious.
  1088. >Well, then.
  1089. "Okay, so you're fucking nuts. That's good to know."
  1090. >"Oh, please! Do I look like an idiot to you?"
  1091. "Yes?"
  1093. "Oh for fuck's sake!"
  1094. >"Twilight you fucking bitch!"
  1095. >"Iiiiiiit's six-fifteen~! Time to wake uuuuuup~!"
  1096. >And just as soon as the ungodly interruption happens again, the machines shut back off.
  1097. "Fine, Jesus," you snort, flipping the covers off and pivoting to sit on the bedside. "You know, your aunt's a fucking psycho."
  1098. >"Fucking tell me about it!"
  1099. "Takes one to know one, huh?"
  1100. >"Will you shut the fuck up and get moving already?!"
  1101. "Okay."
  1102. >All you do is stretch out, keeping an eye trained on your continually glaring roommate.
  1103. >It doesn't take very long for her to lose her shit again.
  1104. >"The fuck are you doing, you asshole?"
  1105. "Just seeing how long you're gonna stare at my chest, is all."
  1106. >She blinks, then immediately turns away from your shirtless body with a flustered snort.
  1107. >"Better looking than your fucking face, that's for sure!"
  1108. "Wow, and you thought I was planning on screwing you?"
  1109. >"Get out you fucking douche!"
  1110. "I'll take projection for 2000, Alex."
  1111. >"GET THE FUCK OUT!"
  1112. >Yeah okay whatever, you've had enough of her anyways.
  1113. >Into the bathroom you go.
  1114. >Immediately after the door shuts, you hear magic lighting up from behind it complete with brief bouts of screeching, before you hear hooves clopping along the floor nearby that end in the other bathroom door slamming shut.
  1115. >Wow, talk about fucking repressed.
  1116. >What's she gonna do next, sniff your fucking dirty laundry?
  1117. >Heh, bet that'd make for some good entertainment.
  1118. >Y'know, if you had a fucking phone to record it with!
  1119. >Oh whatever, just get a move on already Anon.
  1120. >God only knows what fucking Twilight will do if you miss her 7 o'clock time.
  1121. >She was nutty enough about timetabling when you came here with mom and dad.
  1122. >Surprisingly, the big square bath was a pretty bitching shower as well, having two hose shower heads to work with and a nice selection of shit to wash with.
  1123. >You could easily fit two, maybe three people in here.
  1124. >Y'know, if you were stupid or crazy enough.
  1125. >Whatever, more for you, you guess.
  1126. >Seriously though, how is dad so fucking good at getting what he wants all the time?
  1127. >Forget mom, forget you, just look at the fucking senate floor!
  1128. >More like a fucking killing floor, at least whenever he steps onto it!
  1129. >Granted, it's not like those overglorified butthole surfers are particularly hard to argue with: you've held up pretty well against some of them before.
  1130. >Can't believe someone who unironically thinks fiat currency is superior to gold standard actually holds a seat there.
  1131. >Held a seat there.
  1132. >Heheheh.
  1133. >That was fun.
  1134. >But then there are the guys who aren't total dipshits, but still fucking wrong!
  1135. >How does he do it, man?
  1136. >Wait, why are you thinking about this?
  1137. >Because it's better than thinking about existing around that other cunt for the next few days, duh.
  1138. >Oh who are you kidding, it's gonna be a fucking week at this rate.
  1139. >Fucking cunt princess.
  1140. >Alicorns were a fucking mistake.
  1141. >Nightmare Moon wasn't a fucking alter-ego, that's who she is normally.
  1142. >You're not stupid enough to believe that 'good girl who dindu nuffin' shit.
  1143. >No scratch that, immortality was a fucking mistake.
  1144. >Yeah, you want someone with bad ideas to keep making bad decisions forever, what could go wrong with that?
  1145. >'Wisdom of the ages', fuck off.
  1146. >Wait, you're supposed to be out of here by seven.
  1147. >Okay, maybe you should actually finish up here.
  1148. >Stepping out of the shower, you go about towelling off, aided by the big mirror in the bathroom.
  1149. >Still lookin' good, Anon.
  1150. >Gotta admit, you hated having to drop some weight and make a few gains at first, because of course fucking dad just came along and was like 'Ho-ho-ho, fuck you just do what I say sonny Jim!'.
  1151. >That was until you realized it felt fucking great.
  1152. >If only the asshole made a better pitch for it.
  1153. >'Course, it wasn't all sunshine and beefcake.
  1154. >The thot brigade sure noticed your gains, too.
  1155. >Well, noticed it more than your position, anyways.
  1156. >God, they must be the dumbest motherfuckers in existence, thinking you're actually stupid enough to fall for their obvious schemes.
  1157. >'Sleep with prince, have his kid, shotgun wedding, gibs for life, cock carousel on the side,' every fucking time.
  1158. >Yeah, you actually paid attention to how Sombra's second attempt to take over everything was just left at the 'attempt' stage, thank you very much.
  1159. >Fucking kirins are clever sons of bitches like that.
  1160. >Totally unlike the brainless cocksleeves that try to--
  1161. >Aaaaaand you just realized you're literally sharing a room with one, only this one's not human.
  1162. >Yeah, now proceeding with dressing.
  1163. >Be just like a fucking pony politician, sleeping around with her enemies to get fucking gibs.
  1164. >As if the repressed 'hard to get' schtick wasn't the most obvious thing in the universe.
  1165. >Yeah, you're onto her shit.
  1166. >She'll get no bargaining chips from you into her, thank you very much.
  1167. >Walking out of the bathroom, and mercifully not encountering said thot in the process, you head on down towards the dining room where you see Twilight sitting with a paper while chatting with Spike and his bitch.
  1168. >"Good morning, Anon!" the purple alicorn chirps your way, setting her reading glasses aside. "Where's Flurry?"
  1169. "How should I know?"
  1170. >"Well isn't she getting ready?"
  1171. "Again, how should I know?"
  1172. >For all you knew, she could be jilling off in there.
  1173. >Wouldn't put it past her.
  1174. >For her part, Twilight gives an annoyed little hum before excusing herself and trotting off past you, presumably to interrogate her.
  1175. >Leaving you to take a seat at the table, filching a nearby paper.
  1176. >Let's see…
  1177. >'Changeling delegates to the--'
  1178. >Yeah, stopped reading right there.
  1179. >Like those prissy gay moose are capable of doing anything other than being a helpless Equestrian vassal state.
  1180. >Chrysalis did nothing wrong.
  1181. >"Nice seeing you again, Anon," that Spike guy calls from across the table.
  1182. "Yeah, you too."
  1183. >At least dragons are still pretty cool.
  1184. >Hell, they flat-out reject the idea of diplomacy altogether; they just do whatever the fuck they want, and nobody can stop 'em.
  1185. >There's a reason their borders change every time the maps update.
  1186. >"So, uhh…" Spike's girlfriend starts, "I don't think we've met before, uhh, Anon, was it?"
  1187. >Or is that 'marefriend' in ponyese?
  1188. >Whatever, don't remember, don't care.
  1189. "That's right," you idly reply, flipping to the next page of the paper.
  1190. >'Internal conflict in Yakyakistan continues for the third month in a row'
  1191. >Wow, yaks can't keep their government stable, who'da thunk it?
  1192. >"I'm Starlight Glimmer!"
  1193. "Okay."
  1194. >Next page, 'Dominion expansion for controversial "oil" continues'
  1195. >Yes, yes it does.
  1196. >"You, uhh, really like that newspaper, huh?"
  1197. "It's something to do."
  1198. >Next page, 'Dominion emperor Incognito hosting peace talks with Federation president Steel Wrench'
  1199. >Yeah, two week old news thanks to the press laws back home.
  1200. >Spoiler alert: they fell through.
  1201. >"Sooooooo how about those peace talks, huh?"
  1202. "They fell through."
  1203. >"H-huh? They did?"
  1204. "Ayup."
  1205. >Next page.
  1206. >"B-but how do you know that?"
  1207. "Dominion has two week delays on breaking news."
  1208. >"Two week delays?! But why?"
  1209. "Because news outlets care more about getting sensational hits than they do about actual reporting. No day-one scoops, no sensationalism, no fake news. Great system."
  1210. >And of course she'll ignore that the Federation only has one state-run news agency that literally censors everything unfavourable to the Federation, failed talks very much included.
  1211. >"No wait, hang on! That totally violates the ULN treaties on freedom of the press!"
  1212. >Oh nevermind, she brought up something even worse.
  1213. "Yeah, ULN treaties couldn't be more worthless if they were printed on used toilet paper."
  1214. >Well, you're glad you looked up from the paper to catch this, uh, Starlight character's surprised and dismayed look.
  1215. >"But the ULN--!"
  1216. "Is bureaucratic resource waste given flesh. Pretty sure my dad's thinking of just pulling outta the council altogether."
  1217. >"What?! B-but they're the ones keeping everynation from--"
  1218. "Stop you there. They don't do anything. Anything useful, anyways."
  1219. >"But what about all the outreach work they do to the developing nations of the world?"
  1220. "You mean the outreach work that Equestria does to those glorified dirt farmers."
  1221. >"Th-that is NOT what--!"
  1222. >"Yeah, Anon?" Spike interjects, an unamused look on his face. "Mind canning the attitude?"
  1223. >Sorry, the fuck did he say?
  1224. >Before you could squeeze your retort in, you heard the quickly approaching sounds of Twilight and the resident thot jabbering back and forth:
  1225. >"--you at least behave yourself, Flurry?"
  1226. >"Behave myself? Behave myself?! Have you seen the other guy?!"
  1227. >"Yes, he's right there."
  1228. >Oh great, you can already tell today's going to be a roller coaster ride of anguish and disappointment.
  1229. >"Ohh no, no no no no no! I am not sitting anywhere near--!"
  1230. >"Discussion over, Flurry. Sit."
  1231. >If you don't look at them, they can't harass you.
  1232. >The twat's pulling up a chair next to you.
  1233. >God fucking damn it.
  1234. >Just don't look at her.
  1235. >God damn it she's magicing a paper over.
  1236. >No.
  1237. >Ignore.
  1238. >"So!" Twilight chirps, "How about some breakfast, everycreature?"
  1239. >Your fist slams down onto the table with a loud CRASH, your present state of being immensely fucking triggered doing wonders to make you ignore a similar SLAM right beside you.
  1240. "Never say 'everycreature' again."
  1241. >"Never say 'everycreature' again."
  1242. >Holy fucking dicks how fucking anthropocentric do you have to fucking be to call everything that's not you a fucking creature.
  1243. >Even minotaurs don't do that, and they're the biggest dicks around.
  1244. >Fucking ponies and their stupid fucking overinflated sense of self-importance holy fucking shit.
  1245. >"Really?" Spike deadpans from across the table. "Are we really doing this again, Flurry?"
  1246. >"You think I want to do this, Spike?!" she nearly screeches back. "Like I don't have enough to--"
  1247. >"That's enough, Flurry." Twilight intones. "Anon, I'm sorry if I offended you."
  1248. "Just not sorry enough to not do it again, right?"
  1249. >"You're on the fast track to having no breakfast at all, mister."
  1250. >"Alright," Spike interrupts, "How about we all take a big, deep breath?"
  1251. >What they need to do is leave you the fuck alone--
  1252. >Wait, what are they doing?
  1253. >Oh good God, they're actually doing deep breathing?
  1254. >Even the cunt next to you?
  1255. >Ugh.
  1256. >Fine, whatever.
  1257. >Fucking pony herd mentality bullshit's gonna make this drag out for longer if you don't go along with it.
  1258. >Eyes shut.
  1259. >Through the nose.
  1260. >Out the mouth.
  1261. >Through the nose.
  1262. >Out the mouth.
  1263. >You stop when you hear them all stop.
  1264. >"Right!" Twilight chirps, though a bit more forced this time around, "How about some breakfast, everypony?"
  1265. >That's better.
  1266. "Sure thing."
  1267. >"Oh, yes please," your bitch of a neighbour groans.
  1268. >"Yes please," Spike asks.
  1269. >"Me four!" Starlight also asks.
  1270. >"I'll juuuust be a minute, everypony!" Twilight chirps before heading off.
  1271. >Thank fucking God.
  1272. >Back to the paper.
  1273. >'Opinion: Does kirinkind need regulations on cross-species reproduction?'
  1274. >Pfffffft.
  1275. >Sounds like the writer's jealous that the ponies got one-upped there.
  1276. >"Ugh, does this filly just not know when to stop?!" Starlight complains to Spike.
  1277. >"It's Equestria Daily, Starlight," he replies evenly. "They'll print anything these days."
  1278. >"Yeah, isn't that the truth?" the cunt beside you concurs.
  1279. >"But I can't believe she'd say such horrible things about the kirin!" Starlight cries.
  1280. >"She isn't wrong, you know."
  1281. >Guess even your neighbour can be right about something every once in a while.
  1282. >"Uh-oh," Spike groans, "Here we go again."
  1283. >Ooh, are you about to hear an argument go down?
  1284. >Oh please say there is.
  1285. >You could use some entertainment right about now.
  1286. >"Breakfast, everypony!" Twilight is heard calling, trotting in with a stack of plates in her magical grasp.
  1287. >Nevermind, the fun was over before it even started.
  1288. >Oh, well.
  1289. >A mountain of eggs and toast is on the menu today, and you'd be lying if you said it wasn't some delicious shit.
  1290. >Probably a big reason why the table fell silent, only adding to how nice the entire affair was.
  1291. >Guess that Twilight's not so bad after--
  1292. >No!
  1293. >Don't fucking--!
  1294. >"Alright, now how about we get to today's big activity?"
  1295. >Every time!
  1296. >Every fucking time, you keep tempting Murphy!
  1297. >Why, Anon?!
  1298. >"You remember what that is, you two?"
  1299. >Not in the slightest.
  1300. >"I wish I didn't remember what it was," your cellmate groans.
  1301. >"Ohh don't be silly, Flurry!" Twilight chirps. "You always loved going on those hikes!"
  1302. >Wait, hikes?
  1303. >"Yeah, when it was just the two of us!"
  1304. >"Three of us," Spike corrects.
  1305. >"Oh whatever!"
  1306. >"Well now it's going to be all five of us!" Twilight says, her previously forced smile now quite genuine.
  1307. >"Uuuuuuuugh," the neighboring cunt groans, burying her head in her forelegs. "Why?!"
  1308. "Wait just a second. What's this about a hike?"
  1309. >You already hate where this is going.
  1310. >"Anon, weren't you listening to my plans for the next few days?"
  1311. "Not even peripherally."
  1312. >You don't care if you're gonna pay for that remark later; seeing her scrunch out of annoyance was totally worth it.
  1313. >"Wow," Starlight comments, "Aren't you a ray of sunshine?"
  1314. "Who asked you?"
  1315. >"Ahem," Twilight interjects before Starlight can, "We're going on a hiking trip into the mountains behind the castle, Anon."
  1316. "Oh, okay."
  1317. >"Now, if you'd been listening, you'd know about the route we'll be taking, what we'll be bringing for lunch, and how long we'll be out there."
  1318. "And these are important details for me to know why, exactly?"
  1319. >Princess Cuntsalot snorts under the cover of her forelegs.
  1320. >WHAP
  1321. "Gah, what the--?!"
  1322. >Did Twilight just swat you upside the head with a rolled up newspaper?
  1323. >Y'know, you could make a case for declaring war here!
  1324. >"And for that, you get to carry the water."
  1325. >Hatred for the purple one beginning to eclipse your like of her.
  1326. >"Now, you two head back to your room to get changed, we'll be leaving in twenty minutes."
  1327. >What is it with fucking women and their short notice bullshit?
  1328. >"I'm not going," the twat mumbles.
  1329. >"Oh yes you are," Twilight fires back.
  1330. >Okay yeah, you're gonna abandon ship and get the changing business out of the way before anything else happens.
  1331. >And to that effect, you sit up and turn back towards the--
  1332. >"Anon, you haven't excused yourself yet."
  1333. "And I don't care to."
  1334. >"In my house, you will excuse yourself before leaving the table."
  1335. "That's nice."
  1336. >"So you'll be okay carrying the food too, then?"
  1337. >Knew that was coming, but you doubt she'll know this was coming.
  1338. "Sure, piece of cake."
  1339. >"I thought so-- Wait, wha--?"
  1340. "See you in twenty."
  1341. >And off you go, keikaku executed.
  1342. >Joke's on her, you already hike with heavy loads.
  1343. >Intentionally useless heavy loads.
  1344. >Well, more like dad makes you hike with stupidly heavy loads along with him, whenever he drags you out to hike with him.
  1345. >Which is almost every other fucking day.
  1346. >Fucking hate hiking with him, but hey, gains are gains.
  1347. >Finally arriving at your prison room, you waste no time in slipping out of your current attire.
  1348. >The door chooses that moment to open, and the grumbling gave the intruder away as your cellmate long before you saw her come in herself.
  1349. >Her eyes bug out slightly at seeing you half naked, who'd have fucking guessed.
  1350. >She looks away quickly with a snort, running to her side of the room to get her shit together.
  1351. >Yeah, you hadn't realized it at the time, but she wasn't wearing anything when she ate this morning.
  1352. >No fucking clue why she even bothers wearing clothes at all, given how she's a fucking pony, but hey, you're more than happy to chalk that one up to another facet of her being fucking crazy.
  1353. >Whatever, she can wear whatever stupid bullshit she wants.
  1354. >You meanwhile have hiking shit to slip on.
  1355. >The mountains here are comically short and gently curved, and the snow tops are almost certainly that artificial pegasus nonsense, which'll also rule out any rain issues.
  1356. >You'll go with a modestly warm setup.
  1357. >All-wool base layer, all-wool mid layer, your nice nylon jacket, and your awesome boots.
  1358. >Should've guessed mom would have packed all that in your ride to Canterlot.
  1359. >Part pack mule, part "planning for dad's random bullshit".
  1360. >And boy was this some random bullshit.
  1361. >Still, you had time to squeeze in some much needed stretches.
  1362. >Now, you'd better get out of here before princess child support over there decides to jump you--
  1363. >Oh great, she just had to leave at the same time as you.
  1364. >All she's got are saddlebags, and from the sounds her steps were making, actual horseshoes.
  1365. >Huh, didn't think she had the guts.
  1366. >Well, whatever.
  1367. >Just ignore her.
  1368. >It takes a few moments of glaring for that to happen though, but once it does, you're only happy to find your way back down to wherever the merry fuck Twilight was at.
  1369. >Sure enough, there she was at the entrance hall, with loaded saddlebags of her own.
  1370. >That Starlight broad was there too with her own bags, cozied up to Spike--
  1371. >Aaaaaaand what the fuck is Spike doing.
  1372. >Is he seriously going to hike with a fucking denim jacket on?
  1373. >Wow okay, that's respect lost right fucking there.
  1374. >What kind of fucking idiot hikes in anything cotton?
  1375. >Oh whatever, you can already see the water and food all stuffed into and hanging off of a backpack.
  1376. >Without any prompting, you beeline right for that.
  1377. >"Okay," Twilight calls out, "You're all here! Ready?"
  1378. >"No," your cellmate snorts.
  1379. >"Okay, and what about you, Anon?" she says with a smug little tinge to her voice. "It's not too late to just say that you're sorr--"
  1380. >Whatever smug look she had evaporated when she saw you almost effortlessly throw the pack on.
  1381. "So, where're we headed again?"
  1382. >Totally worth it.
  1383. >Fuck, this doesn't even touch the 'bag of potatoes' bullshit that dad loves to pull.
  1384. >It's like, two-thirds a bag at the very most.
  1385. >Besides, looks like she only packed picnic shit for food, so it's not much extra on top of the water.
  1386. >"To the mountains," Twilight grumbles. "Is everypony ready?"
  1387. >So, so totally worth it.
  1388. >Everyone checks in with the notable exception of the cunt princess, what a fucking shocker.
  1389. >Pwetty pony pwincess doeswnt wike to go owtside.
  1390. >Whatever, fuck her.
  1391. >You could use the fucking cardio, anything to get your mind off this bullshit.
  1392. <...
  1394. >"You know," Spike says off to the side, "It wouldn't kill you to try and be nice."
  1395. "Must've missed the part where they deserve me being nice to them."
  1396. >"You're going to make this hard on everypony until the bitter end, aren't you?"
  1397. "Better believe it."
  1398. >"Seriously, what's your problem?"
  1399. "Ask my cellmate."
  1400. >Spike gets all fed up talking to you and leaves, headed back to the little campsite.
  1401. >About fucking time he fucked off and left you the fuck alone under your tree.
  1402. >This 'hike' man, Jesus.
  1403. >You knew the mountains were all gently curved and shit, but you didn't expect Twilight to just take you all up a clearly marked path up the mountain with the least possible curvature.
  1404. >The best part?
  1405. >She and the other attending ponies actually got a little winded at the end there!
  1406. >Meanwhile you lug around the bulk of the weight and barely break a goddamn sweat!
  1407. >How are you supposed to get any kind of workout with that kind of shitty anemic 'exercise'?
  1408. >Clearing your mind, your ass!
  1409. >So here you sit, under a fucking tree with a semi-decent view, trying to get some goddamn peace and quiet--
  1410. >"Anon!" Twilight calls, "Time to eat!"
  1411. >Can you make her death up here look like an accident?
  1412. >Actually no, the resident cunt princess deserves an 'accident' more than she does.
  1413. >Ugh.
  1414. >With a great mighty sigh you push yourself up, and make your way back to the tiny little campsite.
  1415. >They've literally just laid out a picnic, without even a single campfire.
  1416. >Seriously, what fucking casual packs picnics for a hike?
  1417. >At least dad has the good sense to bring raw food, a hatchet, and a proper fucking cast iron pot for real stew.
  1418. >Even made the potato bag business less of a meme at the end there.
  1419. >Oh wait, you forgot.
  1420. >Ponies and meat.
  1421. >"All right, have a seat!"
  1422. >Everyone's present and accounted for, though princess twatsalot there looks even fouler than usual.
  1423. >Must've been caught screwing a tree branch or something.
  1424. >Or a squirrel.
  1425. >Actually yeah, your money's on squirrel.
  1426. >Whatever.
  1427. >You sit down and start devouring your meal, just like everyone else in attendance.
  1428. >You think this thing in the sandwich is supposed to be some kind of ham, but obviously prepared by someone who doesn't eat any kind of meat.
  1429. >It's bad enough that you have to stop and peel it out before finishing it off, something that aggravates that Starlight character over there for some reason.
  1430. >"Seriously?" she grumbles.
  1431. >"Don't," Spike consoles with a shoulder rub. "Just let it be, Starlight."
  1432. "You got something to say?"
  1433. >"Now, now," Twilight starts, "Let's just--"
  1434. >"No, you know what, I do have something to say!" Starlight yells.
  1435. "I'm waiting."
  1436. >"What in the world is your problem?!"
  1437. "Problems."
  1438. >"I-- What?"
  1439. "Problems. Plural. You want the full list?"
  1440. >Your cellmate snorts a little.
  1441. >"Don't change the subject!"
  1442. "I corrected your question. Nowhere did I change the subject."
  1443. >Something tells you this isn't the first time her eye's twitched like that.
  1444. >"I think she's trying to say that you have an attitude problem," Spike answers for her.
  1445. >"Yeah!"
  1446. "Tell me you didn't just figure that out."
  1447. >Now your cellmate snickered for a moment.
  1448. >"Ohmygosh, why?! Spike and Twilight said you were pretty cool! I was looking forward to meeting you! And this is what I get?!"
  1449. "Yeah, except I actually wanted to be here when I last saw them. I don't right now."
  1450. >"You don't want to-- then why are you here?!"
  1451. "Because I--"
  1452. >Wait, what?
  1453. >No.
  1454. >No, please say she was told--
  1455. >"You didn't tell her," your cellmate deadpans at a now nervous Twilight.
  1456. >"Tell me what?"
  1457. >"That the dumb monkey's here because of my mom."
  1458. >"Because of--?"
  1459. "God, again with the monkey thing?"
  1460. >"Oh I'm sorry, did I hurt your feefees?"
  1461. "Nah, but God damn does your originality hurt my brain. How do you do it?"
  1462. >"Really, you're back to the originality thing? Awful unoriginal of you!"
  1463. "I like how you didn't actually answer my question there. Very smooth."
  1464. >"That was a question? Wow, could've fooled me!"
  1465. >"That's enough!" Twilight yells.
  1466. >Aw shit, her again.
  1467. "She started it!"
  1468. >"He started it!"
  1469. >"I don't care who started it, I'm going to finish it!"
  1470. "Hey, get off my case! Not my fault this 'hike' sucks!"
  1471. >"What did you say?"
  1472. "I said, this leisure stroll sucks! Where's the steep trails? Where's the bad weather? Where's the campfire cookouts? Where's the actual heavy weight to carry along everywhere you go?"
  1473. >"Anon," Twilight intones, "Watch your tone."
  1474. "Oh come off it, mom. Your 'punishment' coming up here was terrible, and you tried to kill me with the goddamn mystery meat in my damn sandwich! On that note, who the hell packs picnics for hikes?"
  1475. >"I don't think your father will like hearing about what you just said."
  1476. "Goddamn right he won't like it! He's not gonna stand for this affront to the art of hiking!"
  1477. >She narrows her eyes, like that's supposed to mean something.
  1478. "Seriously, what's with the mystery meat anyways?"
  1479. >"Oh quit your crying," the nearby twat chortles. "Even she can't mess ham up."
  1480. >"Flurry!" Starlight cries.
  1481. "Oh, this is supposed to be ham? Could've fooled me!"
  1482. >"Pretty easy to fool a big baby like you, princey."
  1483. >If there is a God, he'll let you get away with punching her.
  1484. "You wanna try it, princess?"
  1485. >She won't do it.
  1486. >"Sure," she smirks, floating an untouched piece over.
  1487. >She took a bite.
  1488. >She did it.
  1489. >And just like that, her eyes bugged out, her face scrunched up, and she spat the thing out.
  1490. >"Aaaaaughmygosh, what the hell is that?!"
  1491. >You blink.
  1492. >Holy shit, she actually did it?
  1493. >"Starlight, what the hell is this supposed to be?"
  1494. >"It's ham!"
  1495. >"My flank, that's ham! I'm supposed to be poisoning him, not you!"
  1496. >"Okay," Twilight bellows, horn crackling, "That is enough!"
  1497. >Oh God what is she doing now--
  1498. >POOF
  1499. >After a brief flash of everything tasting purple for a second, you find yourself inside some kind of small room with the purple horse herself.
  1500. >Boy does she look pissed off.
  1501. >"You two have just earned a night in time out! And you can forget all about dinner!"
  1502. >And with another POOF, she vanishes.
  1503. >Ahh, alone at last…
  1504. >Finally.
  1505. >See, this was all that you wanted.
  1506. >Now where the hell is this slice of heaven, anyways?
  1507. >Well, it's definitely not the library anymore, but some kind of little room with a bright gemstone chandelier overhead, a coffee table with a pair of couches flanking it, and a loudly tick-tocking grandfather clock.
  1508. >Oh, and there's no doors or windows.
  1509. >Wait.
  1510. >There's no doors or windows.
  1511. >What.
  1512. >"Twilight you bitch," an all-too-familiar voice shrieks, "Let me out of here!"
  1513. >Double what.
  1514. "Oh, you're shitting me."
  1515. >She's too busy banging on the walls to reply.
  1516. >No, that's bullshit.
  1517. >Start looking, Anon.
  1518. >There can't not be a fucking exit.
  1519. >She did not just dump you in a fucking room with no hope of exit.
  1520. >Much less with the very last person you want to be doing fucking solitary with.
  1521. >No fuck her, keep hunting.
  1522. >Her horn lights up real bright and she squints with effort until she POOFS out of existence with a teleport.
  1523. >Only to immediately return to where she was before after the walls flashed.
  1524. >"Twiliiiiiiight!" she bellows.
  1525. "Okay where the fuck is the way out of here?"
  1526. >"There is no way out, you fucking asshole!"
  1527. "Bullshit, there's no way out!"
  1528. >"Are you fucking deaf? I just said there's no way out! Welcome to 'time out', asshole!"
  1529. "This is 'time-out'?! On what fucking planet?"
  1530. >"Twilight you bitch, get him out! Get me out!"
  1531. "No seriously, where's the damn exit?"
  1532. >"There isn't one you fucking idiot! You think I haven't looked?!"
  1533. "Oh for fuck's sake."
  1534. >"Aaaaaagh, this is all your fault!"
  1535. "Wh-- my fault?!"
  1536. >"Yes, your fault! You had to fucking bring that stupid poison up!"
  1537. "Are you fucking high? All I did was point it out! You're the one who decided to eat it!"
  1538. >"I wouldn't have had to eat it if you weren't such a fucking crybaby bitch about it!"
  1539. "Oh look at you, passing the blame around! Very fucking Equestrian of you!"
  1540. >"Wow, the human brings pain and suffering to everything he's around, who'da fucking thunk it?!"
  1541. "You wanna fucking go?"
  1542. >"We both know how that went last time, shithead!"
  1543. "With you eating my fucking fists? How could I ever forget?"
  1544. >"I'll kick your fucking ass!"
  1545. >Cries of battle are loosed as you barrel towards the bitch of the millenium, limbs drawn back to punch at--
  1546. >ZWING
  1547. >Tiny little purple magic shields spring up out of nowhere, stopping both of you from actually landing your blows by about an inch.
  1548. "The fuck are you doing now, cheating again?"
  1549. >"I didn't do this, you asshole! Who-- Ohh, Twilight, you can't be serious!"
  1550. >Another attempt at a punch is thrown at her desperately deserving face, only to get bounced off by a tiny shield again.
  1551. "I can't even fucking hit you?"
  1552. >Yeah no, Twilight has to be fucking evil.
  1553. >What sick, sadistic fuck comes up with a 'time-out' room that does shit like this?
  1554. >Never have you been more confused about anyone before, let alone a fucking pony.
  1555. >Try as you might, you can't actually land any hits on the testy fucking thot before you, quickly leaving you with only one option:
  1556. "Fuck."
  1557. >Well, that's that avenue of retaliation out of reach.
  1558. >She, however, doesn't get the memo, punching away over and over again.
  1559. >"You motherfucker! I'm not through with you!"
  1560. >Y'know, there's something kinda funny about watching her lash out at you in vain like this.
  1561. >Doesn't change how pissed you are, but it's there.
  1562. >You decide to just sprawl back on one of the couches, and once she has her fill of trying to deck you, she flops onto the other couch herself.
  1563. >"I fucking hate you."
  1564. "Right back at you."
  1565. >"You're a fucking asshole."
  1566. "You're a psychotic bitch."
  1567. >"And things were going so fucking well this afternoon, too!"
  1568. "You have a real talent for ruining good things, you know."
  1569. >"Look who's fucking talking! I was actually having some fun today until you fucked it!"
  1570. "Oh don't fucking kid yourself, it wasn't fun in the first place."
  1571. >"Yeah, because you came along and fucked it all up! Case in point!"
  1572. "And how was I supposed to know that your aunt was such a thin skinned fucking pussy?"
  1573. >"That's Starlight, shit-for-brains! One of her friends? Y'know, one you just shit on? She's not the princess of friendship for nothing!"
  1574. "Those two are friends? I thought she was some squirrely hooker that Spike picked up!"
  1575. >"No, that would actually make sense! Seriously, how did you miss those two being big friends again?"
  1576. "Oh I'm sorry, I'm just not as fucking psychic as you'd expected. Please forgive me, 'O feminine one!"
  1577. >"Feminine, really? That's the first thing that came to mind?"
  1578. "Am I wrong? You fucking women and your bullshit mind games! Sorry that not all of us are as fucking psychic as you are!"
  1579. >"Oh, give me a fucking break! If I were fucking psychic, I'd be telling you that you've still got no fucking chance with me!"
  1580. "Wait, the fuck do you mean with 'no fucking chance'? Chance for what, kicking your teeth in?"
  1581. >"Oh dear fucking Epona, stallions are so fucking stupid! No, dipshit, I mean with you wanting me!"
  1582. "Wanting you? The fuck does that even--"
  1583. >Oh.
  1584. >Wait, seriously?
  1585. "Ohh."
  1586. >"Yeah, that! Wow, you actually figured something out for once, who'da thunk it?!"
  1587. "Yeah, I sure figured it out all right! Figured out that you're still fucking crazy!"
  1588. >"Oh, please! Do I look like an idiot to you?"
  1589. "Not at all, because calling you an idiot would be an insult to idiots everywhere!"
  1590. >"Yeah, who do you think you're fooling, shitheel? So what do you want out of me, huh?"
  1591. "What do I want out of you? Does throwing you into a fucking volcano count?"
  1592. >"Enough with your bullshit already--!"
  1593. "That's my line, you fucking skank! Don't pull this reverse psychology bullshit on me!"
  1594. >"What the fuck are you on about now?"
  1595. "Speaking of my lines, what do you want out of me anyways?"
  1596. >"What do I want? I don't want a fucking thing out of you, asshole!"
  1597. "Riiiiight, so you don't want any of my dad's money to keep your shitty vassal state afloat. Sure, okay. I buy that shit."
  1598. >"Whoa whoa wait wait wait, what?"
  1599. "I'm sure that'd get you real big and famous with those Canterlot types! I mean, bagging the prince instead of a senator? Already got the vacation planned out too?"
  1600. >For some reason utterly beyond you, she just looks at you like you've grown two heads.
  1601. >"Wait," she starts, halfway caught between laughter and offence, "Waaaaait wait wait! You think I'm after you?"
  1602. "Stop the fucking presses, the dipshit figured something out!"
  1603. >"What the actual flaming ostrich fuck is this bullshit now? You're the one after me, retard!"
  1604. "I want not a fucking thing to do with you, you lying sack of shit! There's no way in candy-coloured hell that I'd want you!"
  1605. >"Riiiiight, because you totally don't want the perfect fucking political shield in the bag, nosiree!"
  1606. "The only thing I need a shield against is your obvious hunt for my fucking gibs!"
  1607. >"Don't you fucking talk to me about gibs, monkey! You're the one with the literal army of senators dicking their way into the Canterlot elites for all the gibs they can get!"
  1608. "Hah, wow, okay. That's a new one, even for me! Get fucking real, princess. You're the one with the fucking armies of sentient cock warmers sucking and fucking their way towards 'world peace'!"
  1609. >"Oh, so this is what next level denial looks like? That or you're the best bullshitter I've ever had the misfortune of meeting!"
  1610. "I'm the bullshitter? Fucking griffons could learn a thing or two from you, princess!"
  1611. >"Don't you ever compare me to those fucking grease merchants again!"
  1612. "Wear the fucking shoe if it fits, bitch!"
  1613. >She launches herself at your couch, as if expecting her to change anything with her attempt to hit you.
  1614. >You can't say you were expecting her to kick the couch over, sending you bowling over backwards.
  1615. >By the time you scramble back up again, she's back to kicking at you again in a vain effort to hurt you.
  1616. >Boy does she look pissed, though nowhere near as much as you feel!
  1617. >"You can't fucking have me!"
  1618. "You can't fucking have me!"
  1619. >"I hope you deepthroat a fucking shotgun!"
  1620. "I hope you suck twenty-five dicks and die!"
  1621. >While neither of you can punch at each other, you can trip each other up with the miscellaneous furniture lying around.
  1622. >And so, the onslaught of roundabout attacks begins.
  1623. >God only knows how long it goes for, but by the time you're too winded to continue, the entire room is in absolute chaos, with the only thing not overturned being the grandfather clock.
  1624. >The sofas and table on the other hand were all overturned, and you're lying on top of the cushions with glowing chandelier gems strewn all about, glaring at the twat opposite to you in much the same state while the two of you pant with exertion.
  1625. >What a lying piece of fucking shit.
  1626. >Doesn't want your fucking gibs, oh please!
  1627. >She's a fucking pony!
  1628. >She's fucking built for the art of milking out gibs!
  1629. >If not you, then some other dense fucking sap!
  1630. >Just look at her!
  1631. >Yeah, you know all the signs of how ponies lie, all the cues they've got written on their faces!
  1632. >She's a real good fucking liar, being able to cover it up as well as she is right now!
  1633. >Seriously, there's not a fucking sign of lying on her dumb face!
  1634. >Forget good, she's a fucking ace at lying!
  1635. >But you'll find the crack!
  1636. >Eventually!
  1637. >Just gotta keep looking.
  1638. >Don't give her an inch, in any sense.
  1639. >Just keep looking.
  1640. >And looking.
  1641. >And looking.
  1642. >And…
  1643. >Uhh.
  1644. >Wait.
  1645. >She can't have that good of a fucking poker face, can she?
  1646. >Not even fucking Celestia can pull that off!
  1647. >Is she…
  1648. >Is she actually being serious with you right now?
  1649. >No.
  1650. >No, that can't be right.
  1651. >Right?
  1652. >Surely she must be really, really good at this; like, groomed for it?
  1653. >But wait, she's a fucking dipshit.
  1654. >She wouldn't be smart enough to…
  1655. >You can't say for sure that your face must be softening up, but hers most certainly is.
  1656. >That's not right, though!
  1657. >Right?
  1658. >She's…
  1659. "Are you serious?"
  1660. >"Are you serious?"
  1661. >A shared blink.
  1662. "But that's not right!"
  1663. >"But that's not right!"
  1664. "Ponies want our fucking gibs!"
  1665. >"Humans want our fucking gibs!"
  1666. >No, there's no mistaking it.
  1667. >She's actually completely serious.
  1668. "How the fuck does that even work? That's not how pony politics work!"
  1669. >"That's my line! Human politics don't work that way!"
  1670. "And how would you know how our politics work? Ever been to the senate before?"
  1671. >"Can't be any worse than the bullshit that is the royal court! You don't know how bad our politics are until you've been to the court!"
  1672. "Is it worse than fucking special interests bribing big blocks of senators to shill their causes? Every fucking hearing?"
  1673. >"Ever had the same inbred nobles come up and ask for a tax break every court for more than three years straight?"
  1674. >It isn't long before you end up telling her of the hellscape that is the Dominion senate.
  1675. >How absolutely fucking petty and insufferable they are, and how dad somehow hasn't outright fucking abolished it by now.
  1676. >Meanwhile, she tells you about pony court, and oh good Lord was it worse than you thought.
  1677. >What it lacks in SIGs, it makes up for in inbred nobles doing anything from demanding their competitors be legislated out of existence, to demanding to get hitched to their siblings!
  1678. >"Oh fuck off, that didn't happen."
  1679. "I swear to God it did! This fucking senator unironically said fiat currency was better than gold standard! Right there, on the floor, totally straight face!"
  1680. >"That I buy, but the applause? Fuck right off."
  1681. "I'm serious! Didn't find out until later that it was the same fucking special interest backing them all!"
  1682. >"Yeah, whatever. Besides, fiat may be shit, but everyone knows gem standard is the best."
  1683. "Uhh, what? Did you just forget that dragons exist?"
  1684. >"Proving my point. They're scarce because of them, therefore they're valuable."
  1685. "Gems are scarce, really? You can dig them up literally in your backyard. Try doing that with gold."
  1686. >"Yeah, the shit ones that not even dragons want. Besides, gold's too scarce to be a common medium."
  1687. "Excuse me? You can literally cut it up and melt it back together perfectly. Try doing that with a gem."
  1688. >"That's why sliver grades exist."
  1689. "Yeah, the scale you'd need to be a griffon to understand."
  1690. >"Y'know, if I had my phone, you'd be proven wrong in no time at all."
  1691. "That's my line."
  1692. >"Whatever."
  1693. "Hey, can't be more bullshit than this court inbreeding business."
  1694. >"That's not bullshit, that literally happens every single day up in Canterlot! And it's fucking spreading to the Empire!"
  1695. "We both know that the rednecks are the bigger sister fuckers."
  1696. >"Oh sit down, you haven't met pony nobles before! Ever hear of the fucking Bluebloods before?"
  1697. "Never."
  1698. >"You're lucky! Apparently Celestia's super far off in their family tree, and boy are they not afraid to flaunt it!"
  1699. "She is? Yeah, the princess of celibacy having kids, fuck off."
  1700. >"She's over a thousand years old! Bet she was a huge fucking whore back then! And lo and behold, her mistake's still haunting Canterlot to this day!"
  1701. "Did you just call her a whore?"
  1702. >"Damn right I did! Come on, that perfect a public image? You just know she's into some fucked up shit behind the scenes!"
  1703. "Aaaah, not arguing there. Where does that leave her sis, then?"
  1704. >"No, at least Luna's fucking honest! If she could arrange the stars into the words 'GIVE ME DICK', she'd fucking do it!"
  1705. "I'll take your word for it. Now what's this about Blueblood?"
  1706. >"Oh the fucking Bluebloods! Okay, so their youngest kid swung by with his spoiled daddy and his fucking sister wife a few years back!"
  1707. "What, to bump uglies with his sister?"
  1708. >"No, to bump uglies with my aunt!"
  1709. >What?
  1710. "What? You mean--?"
  1711. >"Twilight? Yes! He fucking said, right there, to her face, that their foals would be the best in the world!"
  1712. "Oh fuck off."
  1713. >"I'm serious! But that wasn't the best part! Then he saw me next! He dropped trying to fuck my aunt and just went straight to hitting on me instead!"
  1714. "Yeah, doesn't sound uncommon for their type."
  1715. >"I was fifteen!"
  1716. "Oh."
  1717. >"Yeah, 'oh'! He put his fucking hoof on me, and I broke his muzzle! Never saw him in court again!"
  1718. "Okay, stop. No way in hell you can just punch your fucking subjects like that."
  1719. >"You can if they touch first! And you think any lawyer wanted to stick up for a wannabe foal fucker?"
  1720. "Well fair enough I guess."
  1721. >"You mean you can't punch anyone who touches you first?"
  1722. "You can, but you can't go overboard. Justified self-defence limits or something. It's bullshit."
  1723. >"Hah!"
  1724. >A brief silence follows.
  1725. >Wait, when did you end up sitting so close to her?
  1726. >You blink.
  1727. >Oh, no.
  1728. >You see where this shit is going and you're having none of it.
  1729. "Just so we're clear here…"
  1730. >"Just so we're clear here…"
  1731. "You're not getting my fucking gibs."
  1732. >"You're not getting my fucking gibs."
  1733. "Understand?"
  1734. >"Understand?"
  1735. >A brief stare-off.
  1736. "Thought we went over this already. You're after my gibs."
  1737. >"Yeah, no. You're after my gibs. Nice fucking try though."
  1738. "You're fucking lucky my phone's gone."
  1739. >"What, so you can prove me right? Yeah, real shame, that."
  1740. >Just as your mouth opens…
  1741. >POOF
  1742. >Everything tastes purple again for a moment, and--
  1743. "Whoa!"
  1744. >"Aaaah!"
  1745. >Next thing you know, you're falling for a split second before landing on something soft.
  1746. >"Now you two had better be on your best behaviour tomorrow!" an all-too-familiar purple voice calls out. "Because if I hear one peep of anything rude from either of you next morning, neither of you will get any breakfast!"
  1747. >The mere mention of food triggers a stomach grumble.
  1748. >"Now, I'll see the two of you tomorrow!"
  1749. >Doors are heard slamming as you scramble up to take stock of things.
  1750. >You're back in the bedroom, and the clock reads 7:30 at night.
  1751. >When the fuck did that happen?
  1752. >"Oh good, finally out of that hellhole!" your cellmate groans on her own bed.
  1753. "Yeah, with no food to show for it."
  1754. >"She does that when you trash the time-out room."
  1755. "You trashed the room."
  1756. >"Really? Wrong about the room, and wrong about the gibs?"
  1757. "Oh, I'm wrong am I?"
  1758. >You climb off the bed and try powering up the thaumputer.
  1759. >Amazingly, it actually boots up to a normal looking desktop this time around!
  1760. "Phone or no phone, the visternet doesn't care."
  1761. >She jumps off herself and boots up her own thaumputer.
  1762. >"Holy shit, she was too angry to turn the locks on?"
  1763. "So," you grin, "Not too late to admit you're wrong."
  1764. >"Well I'm sorry to hear that," she shoots back, "Because you're about to get fucking schooled."
  1765. "Bring it."
  1766. >Up comes the browser.
  1767. <...
  1769. >Mr. Augustulus shoves one of the double doors open, while Cadance shoves the other one open at the same time.
  1770. >Both you and Mrs. Augustulus quickly follow them out of the debating chamber, and on their route towards the castle suites.
  1771. >It's only when they're several yards away from the debate floor that their exhaustion shows through fully on their faces.
  1772. >"Good God, Candy. I didn't think old Steel Wrench's aides could drag things out like that."
  1773. >"Whew, you said it, Nito. I don't even think I can talk about my idea today…"
  1774. >"Nor do I think I could fully appreciate it in my state. I'm sorry."
  1775. >"No no, don't be."
  1776. >The two of them sigh simultaneously, while both you and his wife trail behind, concerned for your respective spouses.
  1777. >How could you not be worried about them?
  1778. >You knew those two would somehow make one heck of a team on the debate floor, but oh goodness were they slammed by their opponents.
  1779. >You think you're starting to see where minotaurs get their bad reputation from…
  1780. >No!
  1781. >No, don't think like that!
  1782. >"Honey?" Mrs. Augustulus calls out, mindful of her volume. "Are you sure about staying here for this long?"
  1783. >"You know it must be done, my dear."
  1784. >"You've been working so hard these last few days, I-I'm…"
  1785. >"We're committed now, my love. Reneging now would be a terrible misstep."
  1786. >Right now, you're just expecting Cadance to--
  1787. >Yep, there she goes.
  1788. >She flew up a little bit and laid herself out along your back.
  1789. >"Shiiinyyyyy…" she groans, tired as can be.
  1790. "We'll be there soon."
  1791. >Geez, Mr. Augustulus was really dragging his heels now.
  1792. >Was today so much worse than you thought?
  1793. >Mercifully, none of you have much longer to go, reaching your respective suites quickly.
  1794. >Both him and Cadance arranged for the suites to be opposite to each other, once again without you or Mrs. Augustulus's input.
  1795. >Here you thought she was getting better with impulse control, but this human really brings it out of her…!
  1796. >And you still don't know all that much about their relationship!
  1797. >She never brought it up at all before now, so what gives?
  1798. >Speaking of her, she's out like a light, snoring right into your ear.
  1799. >Mr. Augustulus shuffles in through his door, while Mrs. Augustulus stops for a moment and turns back to you.
  1800. >"What are we going to do with them?"
  1801. "You're telling me."
  1802. >If nothing else, his wife has been nothing short of understanding and relatable.
  1803. >Not at all what you expected, but then again, you hardly expected Mr. Augustulus either…
  1804. >"So, did you get that extension sorted out?"
  1805. "Yeah. Goddess knows these two are gonna need it."
  1806. >"Oh that's a relief, at least."
  1807. "The hard part's keeping these two apart long enough to sleep in!"
  1808. >"No kidding. Still, it's hard to believe these two just know each other this well. He's never mentioned either of you before now!"
  1809. "I was just thinking the same thing. She never brought him up at all."
  1810. >"Hmm. Well, maybe when we have a spare moment tomorrow, we could take a few moments to talk about this over some tea?"
  1811. "Oh, that sounds great. Goodness knows we need some kind of plan for these two."
  1812. >"You've got that right," she says, rolling her eyes. "Have a nice night, Mr. Armour."
  1813. "You too, Mrs. Augustulus."
  1814. >She heads into her suite with one last smile, leaving you to carry Cadance into your suite and onto the bed.
  1815. >Of course, all your plans to wash up for the night went out the window when she started clinging to you.
  1816. >"Mmmmm no, don't go…"
  1817. >Despite your eyes rolling, you can't help but smile at the display even after all this time.
  1818. >You slide all of her golden princess items off with practiced ease, and tuck the pair of you into bed.
  1819. >Yet you can't help but worry about how Flurry and that rude young man are doing…
  1820. <...
  1823. >"Aaaaaaugh!"
  1824. "Seriously?!"
  1825. >Six o'clock sharp again.
  1826. >"Time to wake up, you two," Twilight's visitized voice calls out, far less cheery than yesterday. "Remember, breakfast is served at 7 o'clock. Don't be late."
  1827. >Yeah you know what, you're just gonna get up now before any other myriad bullshit happens.
  1828. >Looks like your roommate had the same idea, jumping up and heading straight for her bathroom.
  1829. >You follow suit towards your own, once again lost in your thoughts as you shower away yesterday's events.
  1830. >God, that fucking princess.
  1831. >She had some fucking nerve, claiming it was you and the fucking Dominion that was getting all the fucking gibs they could get their hands on.
  1832. >Like your country hadn't worked hard to stay independent, in both resources and politics.
  1833. >It went against everything you knew about how ponies ran the show of geopolitics.
  1834. >Just come on, look at all the interspecies relationships that feature ponies!
  1835. >Especially the ones in the political elite, shacked right up to other foreign elites!
  1836. >It was so fucking good that the thaumputer was working then and there, because it was stupid simple to pull up your sources.
  1837. >You thought it'd be stupid simple to prove her wrong.
  1838. >And to be fair, you did.
  1839. >She got all indignant and resisted of course, and there you were, feeling smug as all hell.
  1840. >Right up until she pulled her own sources up and had you look over them.
  1841. >Turns out, you were both right.
  1842. >You have no fucking idea where she even thought to dig up those pages on the senators, but her sources were damn solid.
  1843. >More surprising was the military council and even a couple of church leaders, all taking part in Equestrian gib leeching.
  1844. >She in turn was fucking floored by all the shit you pulled up on the Canterlot nobility, and even some Crystal Empire noble houses.
  1845. >Shit got real, and you both wound up digging deeper and deeper into this for what must've been a couple of hours.
  1846. >And wouldn't you know it, there was a common connecting thread between the back-and-forth gib thieves.
  1847. >The connecting thread?
  1848. >Griffons.
  1849. >Fucking griffons.
  1850. >Nearly every single one of those political relationships had griffon names attached to them; middlemen, negotiators, lawyers, collectors, griffons in all kinds of positions!
  1851. >Always tucked away in the fine print, doing all the background stuff.
  1852. >Taking nice little cuts of the gibs that get shuttled back and forth between nations.
  1853. >And it wasn't just between the Dominion and Equestria, either.
  1854. >You'd found some connections to the Federation, to Yakyakistan, to the dragon lands, even one to the fucking arimaspi!
  1855. >That was all you two did before deciding to call it quits for the night.
  1856. >Holy shit, though.
  1857. >How the actual fuck do those big-nosed catbird fucks worm their way into literally everything like that?
  1858. >How are the memes about them so fucking real?
  1859. >Just…
  1860. >Fuck, man!
  1861. >No you know what, that's enough about the fucking griffons for now.
  1862. >You jump out of the shower and go about the remaining two steps of the S3 plan, finally getting dressed in your last set of dress shirt and pants.
  1863. >After that, you're down to hoodie and sweats.
  1864. >They better have fucking laundry done around here.
  1865. >Seriously, would it kill Twilight to staff this fucking place?
  1866. >Place is chock full of free space, and it goes fucking unused!
  1867. >Ugh, whatever.
  1868. >You head out of the bathroom, and find your roommate already hanging by the door with a gray hoodie thrown on.
  1869. >Seriously, what's with her and clothes?
  1870. >Oh whatever, just head for the door--
  1871. >"Hey, hold up for a second."
  1872. >Oh God what does she want now?
  1873. "Hm?"
  1874. >"Listen, neither of us wants to be here, right?"
  1875. "That's an understatement. Let me guess, calling for a truce?"
  1876. >"Temporary truce. Just bullshit Twilight for a bit, make her think we're friends or something, and we'll be outta here in no time."
  1877. "Yeah, if Murphy's taught me anything, it's that nothing's ever that simple."
  1878. >"You got a better plan?"
  1879. "Yeah, get her to alter her plans so she's not around to bother us."
  1880. >"Pffft, yeah, Twilight changing her plans. Good luck with that."
  1881. "Okay, and she's the literal princess of, y'know, friendship. Pretty sure she can tell real friends from fake."
  1882. >"We're not friends."
  1883. "I don't remember saying we were."
  1884. >"And we're not gonna be friends."
  1885. "Oh how I'd love for that to stay that way."
  1886. >"It's gonna stay that way!"
  1887. "With your aunt, your mom, and my dad demanding otherwise?"
  1888. >"I don't give a shit what they want!"
  1889. "Wish I could stop giving a shit about what they want, too. Really do."
  1890. >"Look, I--!"
  1892. >The pair of you groan at the interruption.
  1893. >"It's six-fifty, you two," comes Twilight's annoyed, disembodied voice, "Hurry it up."
  1894. "Tell me she can't hear us."
  1895. >"Oh she used to, until my dad gave her shit for it."
  1896. >That's a snort from you.
  1897. >"Look, just don't piss her off today, all right?"
  1898. "Don't have a lot of choice there."
  1899. >"And don't get any funny ideas about being friends."
  1900. "Friends? And here I thought it was gonna be about gibs."
  1901. >"That too," she says, eyes narrowed.
  1902. "I'll grant you the no gibs business," you shoot back.
  1903. >"Good."
  1904. "My sentiments exactly," you say, pushing the door open. "I need some goddamn food."
  1905. >"Yeah, I hear that."
  1906. >So off you go, your disgruntled 'companion' in tow.
  1907. >She was making one hell of an effort to stay beside you, never once going in front.
  1908. >Who the hell knows what she's thinking with that shit.
  1909. >The table comes into view, a mildly annoyed Twilight and a very disgruntled Starlight there, along with an unamused Spike.
  1910. >All the food was already laid out: pancakes from the looks of things.
  1911. >They better be real ones with eggs in the mix, none of that buttermilk horseshit.
  1912. >Wordlessly, you seat yourself next to your cellmate, who immediately TKs some food over for herself.
  1913. >You meanwhile, take stock of the situation.
  1914. >Okay Anon, think this over.
  1915. >This is all just diplomacy bullfuckery at it's core.
  1916. >Try to start things out on some measure of a good note.
  1917. "So, how's everyone doing this morning?"
  1918. >Starlight frowns even deeper.
  1919. >Well, the key word was try.
  1920. >"Not bad, Anon," Twilight says with a smile, your politician senses giving it away as a total lie. "What about yourself?"
  1921. "Can't say it's good, but hey, better than yesterday."
  1922. >You at least can retain some measure of honesty.
  1923. "So, what's on the table for today? Y'know, literally and figuratively."
  1924. >Okay good, she believes she's getting through to you.
  1925. >Pretty sure Spike doesn't believe your about-face, and he's got every right to disbelieve it.
  1926. >"Well, I made us all some nice buttermilk pancakes."
  1927. >God fucking damn it she couldn't even get that right she's so fucking lucky you're starving half to death right now or she'd be getting a faceful of fucking syrup.
  1928. "Oh really? That sounds good," you lie with a smile, really flexing those politician skills. "Mind passing me some?"
  1929. >"Sure," she smiles back, totally believing you.
  1930. >Yeah, you think you've just figured out why you've never seen her in international politics before.
  1931. >Well, besides her habit of lasering everything with her magic.
  1932. >You've seen the vids.
  1933. >Anyways, you get a plateful of the disgusting fucking 'pancakes', and proceed to slather them in copious amounts of butter, sugar and syrup.
  1934. >God damn it they're dry like only buttermilk can be and it won't even fill you for the day all you can do is drown it in pure sugar Jesus fuck why.
  1935. >Just choke it down and pray for something better later.
  1936. >As long as it's not fucking meat brought to you by Starlight there, anything's fucking better than this.
  1937. >Sod, that is not your cue to fucking jinx it you absolute shitstain.
  1938. >"Do you not know what we're doing today, Anon?"
  1939. "I do not."
  1940. >"Hrmph," she frowns.
  1941. >She's still mad about that?
  1942. >Has to be autistic, this one.
  1943. >"We'll be going out to the lake for some swimming today."
  1944. >Nani the fuck?
  1945. >Something that's actually remotely taxing on your body?
  1946. >Holy shit, say it ain't so!
  1947. >Your cohort, meanwhile, catches her spit-take in a field of magic before it can cause any damage.
  1948. >"Seriously, Twilight?!"
  1949. >"Yes, seriously."
  1950. >"Oh there's no way in Tartarus I'm going to--!"
  1951. >"Flurry," she intones, very clearly taking no shit from her.
  1952. >She in turn headdesks with a mighty groan.
  1953. "Sounds good to me," you say, this time being genuine. "Even if I didn't pack for that."
  1954. >You'll make it work.
  1955. >"I've already made arrangements for that. We'll be stopping in town first to get some swimwear for you two."
  1956. >Oh, okay.
  1957. >Wait, what?
  1958. "You got that sorted out?"
  1959. >"I made sure to get your measurements from your parents."
  1960. >Well that's not creepy at all.
  1961. "So when do we leave?"
  1962. >"Eight."
  1963. >Works for you.
  1964. "Alright."
  1965. >Through some Herculean feat of willpower and digestive control, you choke down your plate of sugar encrusted junk with a straight face and waste no time in reaching for the milk and newspaper to take your mind off of it.
  1966. >Okay, let's see here…
  1967. >'Canterlot Hearthswarming Summit Extended by Princess Celestia'
  1968. >Not by her choice, you'd bet.
  1969. >Man, mom's gonna be so pissed when you see her again.
  1970. >Ugh.
  1971. >'Groundbreaking Summit With Arimaspi Diplomat Confirmed, Set for Appleoosa'
  1972. >Oh Jesus Christ it's the same fucking arimaspi you read about last night that had griffons involved.
  1973. >Do they have some kind of fucking mind control magic that lets them control even those bloodthirsty fucking animals?
  1974. >Now that's a scary thought if you've ever had one.
  1975. >Moving right along.
  1976. >'Dominion of Man Alleged to Acquire Badlands Oil Exploration Rights'
  1977. >Confirmed acquired, despite all the senatorial autistic screeching.
  1978. >Those environmentalist hacks can call when they've got a better alternative to magic than electricity.
  1979. >Until then, they're fucking leeches in the senate.
  1980. >Eternal fucking lobbyist whiners, backed by fucking griffons.
  1981. >Seriously, how did she figure that out before you did?
  1982. >The rest of the paper is a whole lot of nothing, though that one pony author raving against the kirin again is funny shit.
  1983. >Still fucking mad that they're stealing the 'fuck their way through geopolitics' spotlight away from the ponies.
  1984. >That's the dragon in the kirin talking right there.
  1985. >Well known fact about dragons: they can knock up whoever the fuck they want, species be damned.
  1986. >Usually don't turn out as freaky a hybrid as the kirin wound up being, but that's a whole different breed of speculative brain fuckery you want no part of.
  1987. >Point is, they kept the universal breeding perk.
  1988. >Unlike dragons though, the mares can do it too.
  1989. >Meaning they can pull the old pony trick of milking out child support gibs without a single lick of freaky magic or questionable zebra alchemy.
  1990. >Top that off with the old dragon trick?
  1991. >And total control over the demon spawn's species?
  1992. >And that people seem to find their chicks hotter than ponies?
  1993. >Yeah, they really got around after they broke that silence pact bullshit.
  1994. >Weirdly enough, they had almost no griffons pulling their strings.
  1995. >Probably because the fucking catbirds can't offer shit that'll top what they've already got, no doubt.
  1996. >Wait, is that why these op-eds get published so much?
  1997. >Uh-oh, more research for later, you think.
  1998. >Well, that'll be fun.
  1999. >You sit on a bench in the foyer in sweet blissful silence, your cellmate laying down across the bench opposite yours with her own paper.
  2000. >At least she knows the value of silence here.
  2001. >Soon enough though, Twilight rolls in with her bags on.
  2002. >"Ready to go?" she chirps.
  2003. >"No."
  2004. "Yeah."
  2005. >"Well all right then, let's get going!"
  2006. >"Uuuugh."
  2007. >Geez, she can't even fake excitement, huh?
  2008. >Not sure if that's her problem, or a fucking pony thing.
  2009. >Whatever, don't care.
  2010. >The three of you walk out into the small town, Ponyville according to the sign.
  2011. >Ponyville, really?
  2012. >Last you checked, 'Humanshire' wasn't exactly a popular town name.
  2013. >Sure lives up to it's name though, you'll give it that: it's all ponies as far as you can see.
  2014. >The walk goes smoothly enough, though you do get the expected number of looks.
  2015. >Yeah, you're just gonna go ahead and keep your prince status here under wraps if at all possible.
  2016. >Don't need them getting any funny ideas.
  2017. >Your stop is some clothes place that looks like a fucking carousel of all things, and stepping in immediately assaults you with 'high class fashion' vibes.
  2018. >Oh God almighty, the owner's gonna be a total fucking snob, just watch.
  2019. >"Just a momeeeeent~!" some chick's voice calls.
  2020. >Oh yeah, snobbimus equus maximus.
  2021. >And walking from out back is some white unicorn, all styled up.
  2022. >"Twilight!" she gasps, "Oh, it's wonderful to see you again!"
  2023. >The two close the gap and hug it out.
  2024. >"Likewise, Rarity!"
  2025. >'Rarity'?
  2026. >Oh good Lord, here we fucking go.
  2027. >"My, you seem so tense darling! You absolutely must come with me to the spa this week!"
  2028. >She gets some uncertain laughter in response, while the white horse breaks the hug to look at the other white horse that rode in with you.
  2029. >"Lovely to see you again too, Flurry Heart!"
  2030. >"Mmhmm."
  2031. >"Ah-ah-ah~!"
  2032. >"Oh, for--!"
  2033. >She clears her throat and changes her tone:
  2034. >"It's lovely to see you too, Rarity."
  2035. >"Much better, darling!"
  2036. >Okay, if she can make Princess Twatsalot there bend like that, you're putting the deflector shields to fucking maximum.
  2037. >This 'Rarity' takes one look at you, and gives that all-too-familiar gasp of 'oh my word, a famous person is in my shop!'.
  2038. >"Oh my word, is that the young prince you told me about?!"
  2039. >Every fucking time.
  2040. >"That he is," Twilight confirms.
  2041. >In that instant, the white horse walks her way up towards you, grabbing your hand and shaking it without ever asking.
  2042. >"Welcome to the Carousel Boutique, Mr. Augustulus! My name is Rarity!"
  2043. >God you fucking hate it when they do the 'Mr.' business with you.
  2044. "Just Anon will do, thank you."
  2045. >"Oh I'm sorry, but I simply cannot do that, darling! Just think of the impropriety of it!"
  2046. >Okay you're getting annoyed now.
  2047. >"Oh, heya Flurry," another voice calls from behind the counter.
  2048. >"Hi, Sweetie," said princess calls back to it's source.
  2049. >Another white pony, definitely related to the one annoying you, only somehow without getting the annoying genes.
  2050. >You can tell just by looking.
  2051. >"Heya Twilight," she calls to the pony in question before looking over at you with the expected curiosity. "And who're you, mister?"
  2052. "Name's--"
  2053. >"This, Sweetie Belle," the annoying pony calls back with that special undertone of indignation you hate so very very much, "Is the crown prince of the Dominion of Mankind!"
  2054. >"Oh yeah, you said something about a prince coming by."
  2055. >"And Mr. Augustulus will be addressed as such while he is here, Sweetie Belle!"
  2056. >And that other pony, she just looks at the annoying one with the most perfect unamused look.
  2057. >She doesn't even have to say anything when she looks over at you.
  2058. "Name's Anon."
  2059. >"Sweetie Belle," she replies. "Nice to meet you, Anon."
  2060. "Yeah, you too."
  2061. >There's something about flustering these upper-crust types that's so very satisfying.
  2062. >"Guess you're here for the swim suits, huh?"
  2063. "So I've been told."
  2064. >"Be right back."
  2065. >Off she goes, the picture of understanding your pain.
  2066. >So nice to meet a fellow professional.
  2067. >"W-well," that Rarity starts, "I can hardly just leave things at this, Mr. Augustulus! Twilight, darling, you don't have to go right away, do you?"
  2068. >"I've only got about thirteen minutes free, Rarity."
  2069. >"Seven! Seven is all I ask for!"
  2070. >Oh God, the white one's got that fucking glint in her eyes.
  2071. >You see your cellmate smirk off to the side, a smirk that quickly vanishes when that Rarity looks her way.
  2072. >"And I haven't forgotten about that dress I promised you, Flurry Heart!"
  2073. >Somehow you don't think that instant karma was worth it.
  2074. >"Darling, you simply must let me make something for you!" Rarity says, whipping right back to you.
  2075. >Oh God no tailors are the literal worst.
  2076. >Definitely not worth it.
  2077. "In seven minutes?"
  2078. >"Yes!" she proclaims far more enthusiastically than necessary.
  2079. >Whoahkay, that look in her eye's bordering on crazy.
  2080. >And oh great, fucking Twilight's looking over with that smug ass look of hers, like she expects you to just roll with it.
  2081. >Fucking fantastic.
  2082. >"I'm back," your fucking saviour Sweetie Belle calls out, folded suits in tow.
  2083. >Elastic shirt to go with the elastic shorts--
  2084. >Oh God almighty that's gonna put your fucking package on display for everyone and their mother to see.
  2085. >No, absolutely not.
  2086. >Mama may have fucked up a lot, but she didn't raise no faggot.
  2087. >As if sensing your objection, Sweetie TKs a pair of similarly styled trunks out with a conciliatory look.
  2088. >You barely know this fucking horse and already she's your fucking hero.
  2089. >No idea what your cellmate got, and to be honest you don't really care.
  2090. >"Lovely, Sweetie Belle!" the ever-annoying Rarity chirps. "Now, I'll need your help with making our guest some attire fit for a prince!"
  2091. >Fuck, Sweetie's look just screams 'sorry man, can't help you outta this one'.
  2092. >Guess that's as good as you're gonna get.
  2093. "Alright," you somehow avoid groaning, "Where is this happening?"
  2094. >"Aha, straight to the point already! Right this way, Mr. Augustulus!"
  2095. >You swear to God she just gave you a little telekinetic nudge to follow after her.
  2096. >Motherfucking--
  2097. >No.
  2098. >Settle down, Anon.
  2099. >Seven minutes is all she can spare to play with you.
  2100. >That's nothing compared to the half hour mom made you suffer through at that Godforsaken 'popular tailor'.
  2101. >You can handle this.
  2102. >Though you do give Sweetie a little sign of 'time it for me', and she got the pocket stopwatch ready to roll.
  2103. >Now that's customer service.
  2104. >Prisoner service.
  2105. >Oh, whatever.
  2106. >What follows after you take center stage in a big circular room is damn near a storm of floating measures, fabrics and God only knows what else as that Rarity performs whatever unholy ritual she's prepared for the dark gods of envy here.
  2107. >Though mercifully, she does make whatever final results there are on a manikin, the kind that you can resize with magic.
  2108. >Which she does with frightening detail, even down to the muscle definition.
  2109. >So that's what the calipers were for, huh?
  2110. >Is this a fashion store, or a fucking cloning lab?
  2111. >"Aaaaaand presto~!" she proclaims, showing her creation off with a flourish.
  2112. >It's…
  2113. >Uhh, hold up.
  2114. >That actually doesn't look half bad.
  2115. >It definitely resembles a military suit, especially in the shoulders, but this one actually looks half decent.
  2116. >All white, gold buttons, nice understated pockets, even some gold vine patterns on the edges of those shoulder pad things.
  2117. >But the biggest standout had to be that little red cape that draped straight from the right shoulder pad down to the waist, with the Dominion insignia in black near the bottom of it.
  2118. "Wow."
  2119. >"Is it to your liking, Mr. Augustulus?"
  2120. "I, uh… yeah, actually."
  2121. >It's like what dad wears all the time, except far fucking better.
  2122. >His is well-worn and in light gray, with a small selection of medals and no cool thin capes.
  2123. >Good luck making him change his suit though, though God only knows this horse would try.
  2124. >"Ohh that is so wonderful to hear, darling!"
  2125. >Okay, so this horse is also unlike the tailor that shall not be named in that she has actual talent.
  2126. >And took, what, only five minutes?
  2127. >That's actually kind of impressive, not gonna lie.
  2128. >Well shit, guess that settles that.
  2129. "How much do you want for it?"
  2130. >"Ah-ah-ah, absolutely not, Mr. Augustulus! For you, your satisfaction is payment enough!"
  2131. >Wait, seriously?
  2132. >That can't be good for business.
  2133. >Normally this is where you'd be insisting on paying up, but once again Sweetie's look tells you that you've lost that fight before it even began.
  2134. >Great.
  2135. "Well, if you insist, I guess."
  2136. >"Please, come by tomorrow at your earliest convenience, Mr. Augustulus, and I'll have it all ready for you!"
  2137. "Sure, just one condition."
  2138. >"A-a condition? Whatever would that be?"
  2139. >Max persuade, come on.
  2140. "My dad is Mr. Augustulus, Ms. Rarity. Just my first name will do."
  2141. >Never felt right, stealing his limelight like that.
  2142. >Oh God she's getting all teary-eyed.
  2143. >"Ohh, h-how very humble of you, sir! I-I didn't realize you felt that way!"
  2144. >Well yeah, but not enough for the waterworks!
  2145. >"V-very well, if you insist, Mr. Anonymous!"
  2146. >Well, you guess it worked out anyway.
  2147. "Thanks. No guarantees about tomorrow though, schedule's very touch-and-go."
  2148. >"Oh don't worry yourself about that, Mr. Anonymous! Whenever you're free!"
  2149. "Alright, sounds good."
  2150. >"Aaaaaand that's seven!" Sweetie calls out with the stopwatch in view. "Great job, Rarity!"
  2151. >"Wonderful! Ohh, still a ways until six minutes however! Perfection never sleeps!"
  2152. >Sheesh, that can't be good for her stress levels.
  2153. >"Be a dear and see him out, Sweetie! Thank you for your time today, Mr. Anonymous!"
  2154. "Uhh, no problem."
  2155. >Is it weird that you actually kinda meant that?
  2156. >Sweetie sees you out, where a very unamused twat laid with both folded swimwear and a boxed-up dress floating in her magic.
  2157. >"Ah, back already you two?" Twilight calls out.
  2158. >"Yeah, it went well," Sweetie replies.
  2159. >Bizarrely well.
  2160. >"All right then, let's head back everypony!"
  2161. >Oh yes please.
  2162. >Once again giving your thanks to that capeless hero known as Sweetie, you give your farewells and trudge back to the castle with your water-safe attire in tow.
  2163. >"All right," Twilight starts the moment you set foot in the castle, "Both of you get changed and meet back here, okay?"
  2164. >"Twilight seriously, I don't want to--"
  2165. >"You'll be fine, Flurry."
  2166. >Did she just look nervous there for a moment?
  2167. "Wait, how far do we have to go for this?"
  2168. >"Oh not far, it's the lake just outside the castle."
  2169. "Oh, okay. Back in a few."
  2170. >That's plenty doable.
  2171. >Your cellmate doesn't follow as you head back to your room, and already you find towels and sunscreen laid out on your bed.
  2172. >That works.
  2173. >Getting into your form-fitting swim shorts has the expected degenerate Chad bulge going on at full throttle, so yeah, fuck that noise with an RGL-220 full of incendiaries.
  2174. >Though you do keep the nice shirt on when you switch over to the trunks.
  2175. >They're even styled in expectation of that.
  2176. >Good shit.
  2177. >Heading to the door with towel and lotion in tow, you're met with the door opening to the face of your roommate.
  2178. >In the split second you see her face in that moment, she actually looks kinda nervous.
  2179. >Then she flips to anger and pushes past you, storming her way to the bathroom.
  2180. >Well fuck her too then, you guess.
  2181. >Too bad all of your PMS jokes don't work on ponies.
  2182. >Anyway, off to the foyer you go.
  2183. >Spike and Starlight are already waiting there, and she still looks as disgruntled as ever.
  2184. >Whatever.
  2185. >Your neighbour comes trotting out in her own swimsuit: a light blue, short-sleeved, form-fitting, full body affair.
  2186. >Y'know, that's weird.
  2187. >Ponies don't normally wear swimsuits, and both Twilight and that Starlight aren't wearing suits either.
  2188. >What's her deal then, more clothes autism?
  2189. >"All right everypony, let's head out!" Twilight calls.
  2190. >Finally, something you want to take part in!
  2191. >The whole group heads on out, and Twilight goes ahead and takes the lead, firing off several beams of magic at the very clear but still obviously artificial lake.
  2192. >Even has a sandbar off to one side!
  2193. >Man, and people want swimming pools?
  2194. >You'd love something like this back at home!
  2195. >While everyone does their own thing, you go right ahead and trudge your way into the water with no time to waste.
  2196. >If only there were a diving board, but you'll take what you can get.
  2197. >Ohh man, it's even all warmed up and everything?
  2198. >That must've been from the spells she was shooting at it before!
  2199. >Oh fuck yeah boi, this is just what the doctor ordered!
  2200. >It doesn't take very long at all for you to hit your stride in the water, going right for the other end of the lake.
  2201. >Part of you wishes it was longer, but hey, it's already a hell of a lot longer than the pools back home!
  2202. >And isn't chlorinated.
  2203. >That helps too.
  2204. >A lot.
  2205. >Once that first lap has you all warmed up, you really start powering through the laps in the water, trying your damndest to actually wear yourself down for once here.
  2206. >Of course, you do stop for a moment on the return laps to take stock of what your unwelcome entourage is up to.
  2207. >That Starlight is all cozied up to Spike on a floating bed, only breaking their constant goo-goo eye routine to nuzzle up or kiss.
  2208. >Turning swiftly away from the draconic miscegenation hour nets you the sight of Twilight paddling around in the water, beckoning over your cellmate.
  2209. >Well, trying to anyways.
  2210. >You didn't think much of it on your first lap around.
  2211. >The second lap had her up to her knees in the water, Twilight's beckoning never stopping.
  2212. >But the third?
  2213. >Oh, you had to stop for that one.
  2214. >Her wings were spread out and her neck was craned up, doing their very best to stay above the now chest-high water she was standing in.
  2215. >It didn't take a politician to figure out she was close to freaking out.
  2216. >Nor did it take a swimming enthusiast to figure out what she was about to freak out over.
  2217. >Her eyes briefly shoot over to you, and that's apparently enough to make her flip.
  2218. >She bolts out of the water with a big flap of her wings, taking a moment to get her breathing steady and her legs to stop shaking once she lands back on solid ground.
  2219. >Twilight paddles her way out of the water to help console her, something quickly rebuked with a bat of her wings and an angry yet inaudible screech.
  2220. >Yeah, you're gonna dive over for this.
  2221. >And that's exactly what you do, taking a breath and submarining over towards the two.
  2222. >You crawl your way underwater once you run out of swimming room, eventually poking your head up out of the water.
  2223. >Man it is so tough to keep yourself from gasping for air, but in the name of stealth, you manage.
  2224. >However, there's now a bunch of new ponies approaching from off in the distance that weren't there before.
  2225. >One of them you recognized as that Sweetie Belle from before, the other two being some orange pegasus and a yellow dirt horse.
  2226. >Obvious dyke and hick, respectively.
  2227. >"Just leave me alone, Twilight!" your cellmate screeches at the horse in question. "I've had enough, just send me home already!"
  2228. >"You know I can't do that, Flurry."
  2229. >"Yes you can! The train stop's literally right--!"
  2230. >"Flurry. This is not up for discussion."
  2231. >"Neither was you trying to drown me!"
  2232. >Twilight just noticed the approaching trio, and waved over to them.
  2233. >"Hi there, girls!"
  2234. >"Hey Twilight," they all reply in unison.
  2235. >That twat looks relieved to see them at first, but quickly becomes concerned.
  2236. >"Wh-what are you three doing here?"
  2237. >"Nice tah see yew too," the hick horse deadpans in the most typical yet somehow endearing country voice imaginable.
  2238. >"What do you think we're doing here?" the orange horse shoots back in the most typical and very grating sporty dyke voice imaginable. "Hitting the lake, duh!"
  2239. >"Sorry if we were interrupting anything," Sweetie apologizes like a total pro. "I just thought you'd want somepony to hang out with here, is all."
  2240. >"It's no trouble at all, Sweetie," Twilight chirps. "It's nice to see all of you."
  2241. >"Likewise. You too, Anon."
  2242. "Yeah, good to see you."
  2243. >Sweetie is the only one that doesn't jump upon suddenly realizing you were there, lying in the shore water with your head being the only thing sticking up.
  2244. >"What are you doing there?!" your cellmate screeches, the feathers flying from her sudden jump still fluttering through the air.
  2245. >"Anon!" Twilight chides, or at least tries to. "How long were you there?"
  2246. "Does it matter?"
  2247. >Without waiting for her to reply, you stand up to your full height, the cool air chilling the water still trying to drain off of your skin.
  2248. >So good.
  2249. >Twilight goes ahead and arranges for introductions to happen, all while your cellmate just sits off to the side in a huff, with a foul look and a fouler mood to match.
  2250. >Apparently, these three call themselves the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
  2251. >You don't ask, they don't tell.
  2252. >"So, ahh, Mr. Prince?" that Applebloom asks of you.
  2253. "Just Anon's fine."
  2254. >"So y'all are here fer a vacation, Mr. Anon?"
  2255. "Yeah sure, let's go with that."
  2256. >"But it's Hearthswarming."
  2257. "In my field, there's no such thing as Hearthswarming breaks."
  2258. >But there is such a thing as terrible fucking parents who imprison you with a foreign leader's kid in a foreign leader's territory, but hey, they don't need to know that.
  2259. "Funny, thought this place would be covered in snow by now. Just looks like fall to me here so far."
  2260. >"Yeah, weather factory's been on strike for the longest time," that ever-so-grating Scootaloo answers. "We only just got things together for the big dump tomorrow, but Winter Wrap-up is only three weeks from then."
  2261. >You did remember reading something about that.
  2262. "I'm both impressed and disturbed at how a goddamn strike can just stop winter from happening."
  2263. >"What, you jealous?"
  2264. >Definitely the least favourite of the three.
  2265. "I kinda like my weather to take my by surprise."
  2266. >"Yeah, that's what she sai-- Ow!"
  2267. >Her predictable joke is stopped by a brief hit to the head from Applebloom.
  2268. >Can't decide yet if she's second worst or second best.
  2269. >"Anyways, I wanted to ask you something Twilight," Sweetie pipes up.
  2270. >"Oh, what is it?"
  2271. >"Would you mind if we could take Flurry out into town tomorrow? It's been so long, after all…"
  2272. >Instantly you can see Twilight's stringent planning autism warring with her obvious friendship with these three in her eyes.
  2273. >Yeah, 'Princess of Friendship'?
  2274. >You'd have to be retarded to not see what'll win out.
  2275. >The princess being spoken about, however, brightens considerably and turns towards the young trio.
  2276. >"Ohhhhmygosh, yes please," she groans.
  2277. >Hah, you might actually get some time away from--!
  2278. >No.
  2279. >Anon, come on.
  2280. >You know better than this by now.
  2281. >"On one condition," Twilight finally says with a small knowing smile. "That you take Anon with you."
  2282. >Yep, there it is.
  2283. >Fucking knew she'd keikaku you into this somehow.
  2284. >"What?!" that dumb cunt shrieks. "Ohh no, no no no no no no! No! He is not coming with me!"
  2285. >"Flurry," Twilight once again intones.
  2286. >Sweetie's smile is diplomatic as can be, but her eyes betray how much she's enjoying the display.
  2287. >Applebloom rolls her eyes like she's seen this shit a million times already, and Scootaloo just snickers at the display.
  2288. >"Now, will there be any problems with that, Anon?" Twilight asks.
  2289. "Not one," you shoot back.
  2290. >You'd expected to be stuck with that stuck-up yet surprisingly redpilled twat horse for a while now.
  2291. >Really, the central figure of suffering here is Twilight and company.
  2292. >Getting away from her is quite the plus in your book, even if it's only for a day.
  2293. >"Then that settles it," she declares. "Oh, you two will be good friends in no time!"
  2294. >"Over my dead body," the princess in question grumbles while glaring your way.
  2295. >As much as you'd like to just never see her again, that's not an option here.
  2296. >But you'll be damned if you're going to make it an easy win for fucking dad.
  2297. >"Well, I think we've got about another hour left down here before we'll head back!"
  2298. "Fine by me."
  2299. >Today's been really good, all things considered.
  2300. >"Sure you don't want to go for another swim, Flurr--?"
  2301. >"NO."
  2302. "More for me, then."
  2303. >Off into the water you wade.
  2304. >"Hey Anon," that Scootaloo calls out, wading out along with you. "Wanna race?"
  2305. >Race, huh?
  2306. >Yep, there's the fucking competitive glint in her eye.
  2307. >You'll abstain from answering for the moment, just to see what she does.
  2308. >"What, afraid I'll win?" she continues, getting mighty cocky at an accelerated rate.
  2309. "At losing? Absolutely."
  2310. >She recoils a little, surprised at getting the shade thrown right back at her.
  2311. "Aww, what's wrong? Lost your nerve already?"
  2312. >"N-no! I'm just--"
  2313. "Admiring what peak performance looks like? Well, try not to stare."
  2314. >"Ohh it's on now, your majesty!"
  2315. "That has yet to be seen."
  2316. <...
  2318. >The door to your bedroom flies open.
  2319. >Whew, what a day!
  2320. >New digs for tomorrow, got your swim on, and wouldn't you know it, Twilight's night 'activity' for the day was a movie night.
  2321. >Unfortunately, Starlight got to pick the movie after you and your roommate both suggested The Griffon Centipede and An Arimaspi Film as candidates.
  2322. >Not your fault she's a thin-skinned pleb who can't appreciate high art.
  2323. >But when she picked, oh boy was she picking to spite you.
  2324. >So of course she picked Scaled, and continued her couple routine with Spike all throughout just like when they were on the water.
  2325. >Twilight of course made you stay put and suffer through it, something Starlight always made sure to shoot evil little grins your way about.
  2326. >At least the home theatre here was bitching, and sported a proper oil popcorn machine.
  2327. >Dinner was lighter as a result but oh boy was it so much better.
  2328. >Both in substance and in show.
  2329. >Your cellmate opted to take over cooking the meat this time around, and unlike Starlight she wasn't afraid to sample the goods herself.
  2330. >You mean, ponies never eating meat was always kind of a meme, but them disliking it is not.
  2331. >Acquired taste, you think it was, and something about every horse race except mud horses being whole protein intolerant.
  2332. >Most ponies being allergic to soy will never not be funny to you.
  2333. >Anyway, she was super eager to show off her meat eating abilities by doling out some of her pulled pork for herself.
  2334. >It shames you to say that it was fucking amazing.
  2335. >Okay, new train of thought, stat.
  2336. >To the shower you go, where the memory of destroying that Scootaloo in that swimming race comes back to you.
  2337. >Ponies swim slower than humans, so you weren't sure where that confidence of hers was coming from.
  2338. >Turns out she had this actually pretty neat trick where she buzzed her somewhat small wings such that it propelled her forward, using her legs to keep her afloat and steer.
  2339. >As neat as it was, and as fast as she went at first, her endurance problems became apparent once she reached the halfway mark.
  2340. >After that, you were the victor by a considerable margin.
  2341. >God, you still remember her grumbling about a rematch as she left.
  2342. >Heh.
  2343. >She's welcome to keep trying.
  2344. >Man, today's been great.
  2345. >Please for the love of God say that tomorrow will be like this.
  2346. >For once, can things go well for you?
  2347. >Please?
  2348. >Once you're out of the shower and ready for bed, you're stopped by your frowning roommate.
  2349. >"Do not fuck tomorrow up for me."
  2350. "Don't fuck it up for you? I'd prefer if tomorrow didn't fuck up at all."
  2351. >"I'm serious, asshole. I haven't spent any time with them this last year."
  2352. "Lemmie guess, old friends of yours or something?"
  2353. >"None of your damn business."
  2354. "So that's a yes, then."
  2355. >"You say that like it's some kind of big secret."
  2356. "Fair point, but then why get all snippy about it?"
  2357. >"Oh whatever," she snorts.
  2358. "By the way," you start, unable to believe these words are coming out of your mouth, "Nice job on the food tonight."
  2359. >Yeah, she blinks a little bit, as disbelieving as you are that you just said that.
  2360. >"Uhh, thanks?"
  2361. "If only breakfast could be so fuck-up free."
  2362. >"Okay, what's with you all of a sudden? Don't tell me you're actually starting to enjoy staying here?"
  2363. "Hell yes I'm enjoying it. My fucking dad's not breathing down my neck for once. I can't remember the last time that happened."
  2364. >"Did you forget about the part where we're fucking locked up here?" she shoots back, her volume rising.
  2365. "I've got no control over the situation as it is. Why not enjoy what little the ride's got to offer?"
  2366. >"What's your fucking--? Augh, whatever!" she snorts. "Just shut up and go to sleep, and so help me Epona, if you fuck this up…!"
  2367. "Yeah yeah, you'll use your daddy issues powers against me. I'm shaking."
  2368. >"Mind projecting a little less, princey-pie? You're dazzling me over here."
  2369. "You really need to stop stealing my schtick. Now if you don't mind, listen close the sound of me hitting the sack."
  2370. >And hit the sack you do.
  2371. >"Oh my fucking sweet merciful Epona you're the fucking worst and I hate you!"
  2372. "Sorry, did you want me to go to sleep, or did you want to talk? Pick one and only one."
  2373. >She screeches, but doesn't do anything but grumble less than flattering shit about you after that.
  2374. >About the only thing you do hear from her after that is her bed creaking from being jumped on.
  2375. >You meanwhile are feeling too damn good to care.
  2376. >Only thing that's missing is being able to break this impromptu nofap streak.
  2377. >In fact, that and the good vibes are the only things keeping you awake for longer than you'd like.
  2378. >Soon enough, Anon, soon enough.
  2379. >Once you're home.
  2380. >Once the pony thots are gone.
  2381. >Before you know it, you nod off to sleep.
  2382. <...
  2384. @@@@@@@@
  2386. >"Have a nice day!" Twilight calls out after your group.
  2387. >Yeah, it's gonna be real nice with her gone.
  2388. >But there you go with that hope shit again, Anon.
  2389. >Whatever, at least she's out of your hair for today.
  2390. >Only lament you've got is that you don't have anything better to go out in.
  2391. >Because of fucking course she didn't have proper laundry staff on-site, meaning you had to go out in the goddamn backup hoodie.
  2392. >And hell if you're wearing that super nice suit in this weather.
  2393. >The pony weather crew were really unleashing the snow upon the landscape as you all walk on towards the little town, just utterly blanketing the countryside in streaks of thick snow from giant clouds like they're reaping fucking wheat or some shit.
  2394. >"What do yew think, Mr. Ahnon?"
  2395. >Glad you've got at least passable insulation to deal with it.
  2396. >Unfortunately, so does she, sporting a hoodie of her own.
  2397. >No seriously, they've got teams going back and forth to those damn clouds, just dumping bucketfuls of snow from--
  2398. >"Mr. Ahnon?"
  2399. "Wait, what?"
  2400. >Focus officially broken and pointed at the apple-themed Crusader.
  2401. >"Ah said, yew fine with headin' up tew Sweet Apple Acres?"
  2402. >Sweet Apple Acres?
  2403. >Wait shit, that's right, she's one of the Apples, and this place might as well be called Applesville with how fucking integral they are here.
  2404. "Yeah, sounds fine to me."
  2405. >She seems happy with that answer, and so continues the journey to town.
  2406. >Man, you're actually kinda looking forward to seeing the Acres.
  2407. >Hicks the Apples may be, but they wouldn't be the roaring successes they are across this country if that was all there was to it.
  2408. >Royal edicts aren't good enough, you'd know.
  2409. >Still can't believe dad actually bought that tidal energy bullshit back then.
  2410. >Wait, that reminds you.
  2411. "Hey, actually, could you all do me a favour when we get to town?"
  2412. >All mares in attendance turn their heads towards you, the cunt of the bunch frowning.
  2413. >Well fuck her too, you guess.
  2414. >"What is it, Mr. Ahnon?"
  2415. "Could you please keep the whole 'royalty' thing a secret?"
  2416. >Cunt frown intensifies, Sweetie looks understanding, Applebloom looks confused, and--
  2417. >"What?" Scootaloo exclaims. "Why the hay would you want to do that?"
  2418. >Why did she have to be the one to ask God fucking damn it you don't want to answer someone with that fucking dyke voice.
  2419. "Because it's been years since I've been able to go under the radar, and I hate it when everyone and their mother sucks up to me because of who my dad is. Good enough answer for you?"
  2420. >"Wait, what? But that sounds cool--!"
  2421. "No it isn't," you hiss.
  2422. >"No it isn't!" the neighbourhood cunt hisses.
  2423. >"Yeah, it really isn't," Sweetie adds in a far more diplomatic tone. "They've got enough to deal with."
  2424. >"Huh?" Scootaloo asks. "What do you mean, they've got enough to deal with?"
  2425. >"Don't ask," she quickly replies.
  2426. >"Don't ask," roomie quickly replies.
  2427. "Don't ask," you quickly reply.
  2428. >"Oooookay then," came Scootaloo's ever-intelligent reply. "I uh, won't tell anypony?"
  2429. "Thank you."
  2430. >Looks like Applebloom has questions of her own, but decides against asking them for the moment.
  2431. >Thank God there's at least two ponies here who know what fucking subtext is.
  2432. >Ugh, are you there yet?
  2433. >Oh wait, yeah you are.
  2434. >"We'll grab some breakfast at Sugarcube Corner first, alright?" Sweetie calls back to you.
  2435. "Uhh, where?"
  2436. >"You'll see," she smiles back.
  2437. >Not too sure you'll like what you'll see.
  2438. >Your trek continues towards a very… unique building in town.
  2439. >Yeah, even for pony standards, a huge fucking candy-shaped building is weird.
  2440. >The bystanders all stop and murmur excitedly when they notice the nearby royal pain in the ass walking on by, but she just tries to suppress rolling her eyes.
  2441. >You'd think she'd be smart enough to be a little appreciative of them, but hey, what the fuck do you know about monarchies, right?
  2442. >Speaking of, they seem plenty curious about you, but you've been around enough people to know caution and suspicion when you see it.
  2443. >Maybe they're just not used to your kind around here?
  2444. >Yeah, probably.
  2445. >Not surprising, seeing how the town is fucking called "Ponyville".
  2446. >Hey, maybe they'll leave you alone for once!
  2447. >God, wouldn't that be the fucking best?
  2448. >Too good to be true, with your fucking luck.
  2449. >You enter the building in short order, and it becomes immediately obvious from the smell alone that this place is a bakery.
  2450. >Right on cue, your stomach couldn't help but growl out it's mighty need for nutrients.
  2451. >"Somehuman's hungry," the annoying orange dyke intones.
  2452. "You have no idea."
  2453. >A strangely familiar gasp rings out from behind the till, and out pops a decidedly far more familiar pony.
  2454. >A far more aggressively pink pony.
  2455. >The same one from the fucking Canterlot disaster event, the one that tried to stop you from pushing your annoying cunt roomie's shit in.
  2456. >And boy does she sure look all bubbly, sounding out an incomprehensible string of manic glee before the best Crusader of the bunch magics her mouth shut.
  2457. >"We'll get the usual please," Sweetie says to the still flailing, still hyperactive teller before looking over at you, "Surprise him."
  2458. >Your setup senses start ringing something fierce, but there's no time to vocalize your complaints before the pink one vanishes, off to do God only knows what.
  2459. >"Our table's over there," she continues, also capitalizing on the lack of complaints.
  2460. >Oh she's good.
  2461. >Bordering on too good.
  2462. >Everyone's seated, and before any words could be said, a pink blur sped on by and dropped off a whole bunch of baked stuff for all parties involved.
  2463. >Except for you; all you got was a plain white box on a plate with 'super-duper apology food' written on top.
  2464. >Uhh.
  2465. "What?"
  2466. >Your attempt to reach for it is thwarted when it's pulled away from you by the same pink pony, wearing a very annoyed expectant look.
  2467. >"Hey, what gives?!" your cohort whines.
  2468. >It's at that point that you realize the box she yanked back was one of two.
  2469. >Wait…
  2470. >Oh.
  2471. >Ohh, you get it.
  2472. >You see what's going on here.
  2473. >It's petty, roundabout, and complete bullshit, but hey, you're used to that by now.
  2474. >So, you clear your throat and give her what she wants.
  2475. "I'm sorry about what happened at Canterlot, miss…?"
  2476. >"I'm Pinkie Pie!" she chirps while switching to bubbly and excited faster than any living creature has any right to.
  2477. >Just as quickly, she flips back to annoyed.
  2478. >"Now mean it this time."
  2479. >You blink, and sigh.
  2480. >Great, it's this kind of apologia.
  2481. >"Pinkie for the love of--!"
  2482. >"The only thing I want to hear out of you is an apology, missy!" Pinkie barks at your neighbour with frighteningly high intensity.
  2483. >Okay, this one's got some screws loose for sure.
  2484. >Better say it like you mean it this time, lest you end up in a sex dungeon or something.
  2485. "I'm very sorry about insulting you back at Canterlot, Miss Pie. My day was going from bad to worse back then, and I was wrong to take my frustrations out on you."
  2486. >You can almost see the gears in her head turn, processing your sincerity.
  2487. >"Good enough for me!" she chirps.
  2488. >She tries to slide it back to you, but you push it right back.
  2489. "However," you continue, full-throttling politician skills here, "As the one overseeing the event, as well as the other royals in attendance, you should have known better than to push both me and my companion here like that. I would have been perfectly happy to leave her be, as she would have liked as well, had you not misread our situation as you did."
  2490. >"Nope, I did nothing wrong!" she says without skipping a beat. "Your mom told me to help you make friends, and here you are with four new ones! Nice try with the switcheroo though, kiddo!"
  2491. >Excuse you what the fuck?
  2492. >"No really, great try! You'll do awesome in the senate! Hope your application goes through lickety-split, Nonny!"
  2493. >You cannot muster the energy to push the plated box back, instead staring holes through her.
  2494. "How the hell did you know about that?"
  2495. >"You next, Flurry!"
  2496. "No, not her next! How did you--?"
  2497. >Aaaaaand that's a death glare.
  2498. >Shutting up now.
  2499. >"Uuuuugh, I'm sorry, okay?! There, I said it! Now can you please just give me my damn food?!"
  2500. >"Nicer~!"
  2501. >You really want to laugh at her anguish, but decide against it.
  2502. >"I'm really, really, really sorry about that stuff that happened at Canterlot," your cellmate forces out.
  2503. >"Meh, close enough!" Pinkie chirps before sliding her box back over. "Gotta work on your acting though! Be more like Nonny!"
  2504. >"I don't want anything to do with him! Like I'd want to be some slimeball lying politician!"
  2505. >"♪You can't always get what you want♪, princess~!" she sing-songs right back. "Enjoy, everypony!"
  2506. >And like that, she's gone.
  2507. >Well.
  2508. >That was…
  2509. >An experience more terrifying than it had any fucking right to be.
  2510. >Yeah, maybe it'd be best if you didn't piss that one off ever again?
  2511. >Agreed?
  2512. >Agreed.
  2513. >Okay.
  2514. >Moving on.
  2515. >While your 'companion' does her signature groaning headdesk, you open the box to unveil--
  2516. >Jesus tittyfucking Christ what the fuck it's a stack of sugar waffles topped with tiramisu how in the seven-layered hell did she know this was your favourite fucking breakfast of all time.
  2517. >"So, uhh, is nopony gonna tell us the story here?" the orange one asks off to the side.
  2518. >Seriously what the shit does that pink one have some kind of elite spy network oh good god that would explain so fucking much but you fail to give any kind of a shit at this precise moment as she has so perfectly mastered the art of bribery as the current evidence before you so perfectly suggests now where are your fucking utensils oh there they are now on to the main event thank you very much.
  2519. >Oh sweet heavenly god they're fucking perfection this is proof positive that there is a god in this world please god let you have more of this pretty please with tiramisu on top.
  2520. >"There's nothing to tell," your cohort snaps, pulling the box off of what was presumably her favourite of crêpes suzette minus the performance.
  2521. >Of course she'd fucking rob you of your religious experience, patrician taste notwithstanding.
  2522. >"Flurry, c'mon. What's the deal?"
  2523. >"It's nothing!" she barks before stuffing her craw, her scowl melting into pure delight upon doing so.
  2524. >"Okay, you want to tell me what the deal is?" Scootaloo asks again, this time of you.
  2525. "Not particularly."
  2526. >"Oh come on!"
  2527. "Fine," you false-concede, setting your utensils down to look her dead in the eye. "We were discussing the terms of a mining deal."
  2528. >And she just looks at you like a deer in the headlights, processing what the fuck you just said to her.
  2529. >"Uhh… m-mining?"
  2530. "That's what I said."
  2531. >"Ooookay, uhh, mining for what?"
  2532. "I'm very glad you asked," you continue in mock annoyance, a millisecond from cutting her off at the end of her sentence. "Two very rare materials called `drop the subject` and `stop bothering us`."
  2533. >While she's busy reeling, you go at it again.
  2534. "I'm glad you see how important it was. Now, if you'll excuse me, I--"
  2535. >"Y'all got into ah fight, didn'tcha?" Applebloom deadpans.
  2536. >Well nevermind, guess you're gonna be the one struck dumb here.
  2537. >"Yeah, I kinda guessed that too," Sweetie agrees.
  2538. >"And y'all are here tah make up, ain'tcha?"
  2539. "That obvious?" you sigh.
  2540. >"That obvious," came Sweetie's reply.
  2541. "Gee, thanks."
  2542. >"My pleasure."
  2543. >Okay fine, she wins that round.
  2544. >"Jest don't start fightin' in town, all right?"
  2545. "Can't say I was planning on it."
  2546. >"Yeah right, you damn maniac," said antagonist grumbles.
  2547. "You got something to say, you psycho?"
  2548. >"Yeah, stop talking! How about that?"
  2549. "You first, your majesty."
  2550. >"Oh don't you even start with that horsesh--!"
  2551. >BANG
  2552. >Both of you snap towards the frowning face of Applebloom, hoof slammed on the tabletop like a judge's gavel.
  2553. >"Now listen here ya two," she starts with some surprising ferocity, "Ah don't rightly care what kinda beef y'all got with one another. While yer with us, y'all are gonna quit behavin' like a bunch'a foals! No fightin', no cussin', no nothin'!"
  2554. >You know, you never quite understood why Apples had that reputation for being a forceful bunch.
  2555. >Never, that is, until just now.
  2556. "Fine with me," you shrug. "But it's not me--"
  2557. >"Yew cut that malarkey out right now, Ahnon."
  2558. >Shit, didn't realize you were dealing with a fucking hall monitor.
  2559. >Resisting the urge to roll your eyes, all you give is a supplicating gesture.
  2560. >"Flurry, wipe that grin off'a yer face."
  2561. >"Oh whatever," she snorts.
  2562. >"So yew'd rather go back tah Twahlight?"
  2563. >"No, no! Okay, fine! I get it!"
  2564. >"Good."
  2565. >This pony has a very well refined bullshit detector.
  2566. >You know what, you'll consider her second best after all.
  2567. >So hard to find such capable bullshit busters these days.
  2568. >Said bullshit buster sits back down to finish her food off, which you take as a cue to do much the same thing.
  2569. >The eating continues in silence, a very welcome thing as far as you're concerned.
  2570. >Soon enough, your food of the gods is gone, and it's not long after that that everyone else finishes, and the walk through town continues on.
  2571. >Man, wonder what the Acres are gonna look like?
  2572. >With how much volume the family moves out of this place alone, they must be fucking loaded.
  2573. >You mean, how else can you afford to open a branch store in the capital, after all the fucking Dominion tariffs?
  2574. >And they're really hardcore into reinvesting their dough into their business too, so the farm equipment alone must be some high tier shit.
  2575. >The path your group takes is very decidedly out of town, and leads on towards some kind of red barn, way off in the distance.
  2576. >Ahh, you get it; that's gotta be where they store all the apples from--
  2577. >Holy fucking shit you just realized the huge amount of apple trees all across the hills you thought those were just woods but no they're actual apple trees what the actual fuck man.
  2578. >Well, ah…
  2579. >At least they never starve?
  2580. >Jesus, and this is supposed to be second to the farms down in Appleoosa?
  2581. >How many fucking people must they employ from town to work this place?
  2582. >Your musings are cut short by the sound of kids up in the distance, running down the path from that barn.
  2583. >Yep, two horse kids, very decidedly of the Apple variety, barreling down with big smiles on their faces.
  2584. >Their squeals and callouts to 'auntie Applebloom' were cut short a few yards before they reached your group, the moment their eyes laid on you.
  2585. >In that moment, they skid to a halt, and just about all their cheer had evaporated to be replaced by obvious fear and suspicion.
  2586. >You mean, you're not unused to this kind of treatment from all your trips, but where the fuck did this come from?
  2587. >Applebloom was quick to reassure the two that you 'were okay', and 'with her', which only had a limited effect.
  2588. >They rid on her back the rest of the way, never taking their eyes off of you.
  2589. >Applebloom for her part shot you an apologetic look.
  2590. >Okay, there's obviously more to this story.
  2591. >Whatever, can't say you care all that much.
  2592. >Soon enough you arrive at the big red barn, presumably to head off to wherever the big family homestead was at.
  2593. >It was at that point that the voice of a very decidedly more redneck mare made itself known from the barn, calling out to the kids who promptly jumped down off of Applebloom's back and rushed into the barn.
  2594. >Your group follows along at your same walking pace, plenty of time to see what could only be the Apple matriarch come strolling out.
  2595. >Orange, blonde hair, one hell of a cowboy hat, three apple butt stamp, a few lines under the eyes, and most importantly, very pregnant.
  2596. >Really, who else could it be?
  2597. >"Hey, Applejack!" Applebloom hollers out to the pony.
  2598. >Yep, pretty much the nomenclature you were expecting.
  2599. >"Landsakes, y'all are back already?" this Applejack calls back.
  2600. >"Yep! Didn't take long to get those two!"
  2601. >"Right, yew were sayin' somethin' about another pony in town--"
  2602. >It's at that point that she goes from noticing your roommate with a warm smile, to noticing you with a very suspicious sideways frown.
  2603. >"Uh, Applebloom? Who's this feller?"
  2604. >Murphy, just for fucking once, can you and Sod not team up to fuck things up so fucking badly?
  2605. >"Oh, this?" Applebloom says, very obviously trying to smooth things over. "This feller's called--"
  2606. "Name's Anon," you smile, once again firing the politician skills up with an extended hand. "Who might you be, ma'am?"
  2607. >This only seemed to make her frown even deeper.
  2608. >"He's from the Dominion, Mrs. Applejack!" Sweetie jumps in. "He's on vacation here, and he's been super nice so far! Me and Rarity even made him a nice suit, right Mr. Anon?"
  2609. >Damn, how much royalty must this girl have suffered through to get this good?
  2610. "That's right," you say, capitalizing on the momentum. "She had me meet her friends while I was at it! Miss Applebloom there has been nothing short of wonderful to me! Really, how could I have refused her offer to come visit Sweet Apple Acres?"
  2611. >Okay, switch on the fake apologetics.
  2612. "Is, ahh… is that all right with you, ma'am? I mean, I don't want to impose, you know?"
  2613. >Well she's still frowning, but she at least doesn't look like she wants you to leave and never come back again, so that's progress you'll take.
  2614. >"Applebloom, we need tah talk."
  2615. >Said pony doesn't get a chance to object before she's dragged into the barn.
  2616. "Uhh… anyone want to tell me what just happened?"
  2617. >"No," your roommate blurts, shoving past everyone to get into the barn herself.
  2618. >Jesus, and you thought your attitude was bad.
  2619. >Scootaloo's nervous laughing wasn't helping matters.
  2620. >"Heheheh, well uh--"
  2621. >"It's nothing you did wrong, Mr. Anon," Sweetie interjects. "Just… it's a really long, touchy story. Please don't be mad at Mrs. Applejack, okay?"
  2622. "I'm not mad, just confused."
  2623. >"I know, just… we kinda promised to keep quiet about it, so…"
  2624. >Oh, that kind of open secret, huh?
  2625. "Well all right," you shrug. "So where to next?"
  2626. >"What do you mean?"
  2627. "I mean, where's the house? Can't imagine it'd be that far off the beaten path, right?"
  2628. >"Uhh, Anon?"
  2629. "Yeah?"
  2630. >"Do you know any barns that have curtains in the windowsills?"
  2631. >Confused, you look up at the barn to see what--
  2632. >Oh.
  2633. >Ohhhhhh.
  2634. >Wait, really?
  2635. "This is their home?"
  2636. >"You sound disappointed."
  2637. "Not really, just… I expected a big, loaded homestead, not a converted barn."
  2638. >"It's been the Apple family home for a really long time."
  2639. >Well, now you just feel like kind of a dumbshit.
  2640. >But no, hold on a minute.
  2641. >If this is their home, then what's with the little bits of damage here and there?
  2642. >There's paint peeling off in some places, and a few rusty tools resting against the barn-house, left to nature's devices.
  2643. >Apples are supposed to be prouder than even your fucking dad is, right?
  2644. >Wouldn't they keep it as well maintained as their equipment?
  2645. >"What?" Scootaloo interjects, annoying as ever. "You thought it'd be a palace, your majesty?"
  2646. "I'm not even going to dignify that with a response."
  2647. >Into the barn-house you walk, objections be damned.
  2648. >What met you was, without a doubt, the homiest barn you've ever seen, somehow even more rustic and old-fashioned than you expected in the best of possible ways.
  2649. >Only, once again, there's signs of wear and neglect where you would expect there to be none.
  2650. >Dust on some objects, and a rocking chair with tape holding a leg together, just to name the obvious ones.
  2651. >Scootaloo runs inside to do God only knows what during your observations, while Sweetie decides to hang around you.
  2652. >"See, it's a nice place, huh?"
  2653. "Mmhmm."
  2654. >Now you're getting really suspicious.
  2655. >Accompanied by the best Crusader, you make your way to the kitchen, where there are fucking pies cooling in the windowsills.
  2656. >As amazing as that smells, that isn't your goal here.
  2657. >Your eyes head to the kitchen equipment, and your suspicions get more and more pronounced.
  2658. >Furniture is one thing, but why is the fridge this old, this beaten up?
  2659. >The kitchen surfaces and sink, while clean, are definitely showing their age, and they should have been replaced long ago.
  2660. >This isn't tradition talking; dad's family retreat on the Imperial Isle is rustic and traditional too, but it's kept in tip-top, thematically correct shape.
  2661. >Both dad and the Apples have the dough and the good sense to make these kinds of fixes.
  2662. >Something's not right here.
  2663. "Question for you, Sweetie."
  2664. >"Sure, what is it?"
  2665. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the Apple family was supposed to be--"
  2666. >"An' jest what do ya think yer doin' in here, son?"
  2667. >Oh boy that Applejack character just wandered in and she does not look happy to see you.
  2668. "Well, I--"
  2669. >"Sweetie Belle, yew take this varmint out for lil' Flurry to keep watch on, now!"
  2670. >Okay it's pretty obvious she's not going to listen to anything you're going to say.
  2671. >"A-Applejack, what's wrong--?"
  2672. >"Now."
  2673. >And something tells you her short temper isn't because of pregnancy hormones.
  2674. "If you insist," you shrug.
  2675. >"An' Ah do," Applejack snaps back.
  2676. >She looked rather mad at how nonplussed you must have looked, but you don't give it a second thought as you head out the back door with Sweetie on your tail.
  2677. >"Anon I'm so sorry about all that!"
  2678. "I'm not mad, just confused. Again. And I'm guessing you're not at liberty to talk about it, huh?"
  2679. >"N-no, I'm sorry…"
  2680. >Okay, you're gonna have to give this some more thought.
  2681. "Well, you heard the lady. Guess you'd better take me, uh, wherever it is I'm going."
  2682. >"O-okay…"
  2683. >Damn it this is no time to be distracted by her sad looks.
  2684. >She looks around for a brief moment to scope out where she's supposed to go, but doesn't have long to look before Applebloom comes running over.
  2685. >You wave off the apologetics and just ask for her to take you to your roommate.
  2686. >Hate to say it, but she might be your key to getting some answers to this mystery.
  2687. >If she even listens.
  2688. >Which she won't.
  2689. >Probably.
  2690. >Okay, very likely won't.
  2691. >She'll probably try and kill you again, knowing your luck.
  2692. >Probably genesteal you before you die, get at least a couple of postmortem gibs.
  2693. >But still, you don't have a better plan.
  2694. >But while you're en route, and speaking of answers…
  2695. "Hey Applebloom, question for you."
  2696. >"Q-question, Mr. Ahnon?"
  2697. "These orchards have got to be a nightmare to tend to with just a few ponies. How many ponies do you hire on as farmhands?"
  2698. >"O-oh, Ah don't do the hirin' 'round 'ere, Mr. Ahnon. Ah just handle the business parts'a it, an' tha specialty apple items," she says, gesturing to her cutie mark.
  2699. "Oh, that right? Must make a killing off of selling to the town, let alone all the exports."
  2700. >"Y-yeah, heheh, we sure do…"
  2701. >Okay, is that `no we don't` nervous chuckling, or `yes, but we can't use it` nervous chuckling?
  2702. >Well, when in doubt, probe for details.
  2703. "I mean, I don't see how else your family could keep the Big Apple open."
  2704. >"Oh!" she lights up, "Tha Big Apple? That was mah idea!"
  2705. "No kidding? Haven't been before, but it's been a serious hit down in Augustgrad."
  2706. >And that's even with the tariffs and the bit-to-solidus reminting ratio, nevermind the rent of setting up in downtown Augustgrad.
  2707. >"Ah've been down there every so often, checkin' in on how tha place is doin'! Yew'd swear all them hyoomans never ate fresh apples in their lives, with how fast it's been sellin'!"
  2708. "Guess I get to sample it right at the source, huh?" you smile her way.
  2709. >"Yew betcha! Only Sweet Apple Acres's best go up tah tha Big Apple!"
  2710. "Well, I know where I'm visiting when I'm downtown next."
  2711. >She looks really happy now.
  2712. >And now you knew for a fact that she really was making bank, and wasn't afraid to use it.
  2713. >All the while, your eyes have been shooting looks over at the occasional tool shed, with worn out equipment inside and out, just like the ones you saw at the barn-house.
  2714. >So it's not that they have problems making their money, it's that something's keeping them from reinvesting it on their own farm.
  2715. >But that doesn't answer the question of who or what the bullion bandit here is.
  2716. >It occurs to you that none of this is any of your business, really.
  2717. >But then you remember that anything's better than being trapped in that fucking castle with Twilight and her psychotic niece.
  2718. >So mysteries that are absolutely none of your fucking business it is.
  2719. >Foreign meddling, heyo!
  2720. >Yeah, this is gonna end badly, isn't it?
  2721. >Whatever, like it wasn't going badly in the first place.
  2722. >Oh wait, you're here already.
  2723. >Yep, there was the worst princess, rearing back to kick that apple tree--
  2724. >Wait what the fuck why did the apples just fall out right into those baskets how the unholy fuck does that work?
  2725. >Oh wait, horse magic.
  2726. >Nevermind, crisis averted.
  2727. >The two Apple spawn from before are cheering for her, and she looks all too happy to soak up all the attention.
  2728. >Well, until she saw you that is.
  2729. >Then it was all snorts and scowls.
  2730. >Meanwhile the Apple kids clammed right up as well upon spotting you.
  2731. >In swoops Applebloom to whisk them home, citing the oncoming winter snow dump crews and the fact that none of them were wearing anything winter ready.
  2732. >Well, technically with the exception of you and the local princess.
  2733. >Not like there's wind here, so these hoodies are about all you need.
  2734. >Lord knows Sweetie tried to stick with you, bless her heart, but the Apple spawn wanted their turn with her, so off she went.
  2735. >There may have been an unspoken agreement to not pick fights with your roommate exchanged there.
  2736. >Well, you'll do the best you can at any rate.
  2737. >Wow shit, those weather crews are making trails in the distance.
  2738. >Yeeeeah, best to start walking back to the barn.
  2739. >But first…
  2740. "You heading back?" you call to said roommate.
  2741. >"And waste my time around you? Yeah, no thanks."
  2742. "Well I'm not leaving without you, so here I'll stay."
  2743. >"Oh great," she goes off, wrinkling her snout. "And here I thought you weren't after my fucking gibs."
  2744. "You wish. Fraulein Applejack's words were, and I quote, to `take this varmint out for lil' Flurry to keep watch on, now!`"
  2745. >"Oh you've got to be shitting me! And wait, since when did you start following rules?"
  2746. "When there's more important shit to worry about."
  2747. >"Oh right, like there's so much more for you to do here than stare at me all day."
  2748. "As a matter of fact, there is."
  2749. >"Riiiight."
  2750. "Piss off. I told you, I'm not interested."
  2751. >"Riiiiiiight."
  2752. >Piece of shit.
  2753. >No.
  2754. >Calm.
  2755. >Deep breath.
  2756. "If you're ready to start listening," you continue after a brief nose bridge pinching session, "I need to ask you a few things about Sweet Apple Acres. Maybe a few Apples by name."
  2757. >"Uhh, what? You trying to griff them out of their shit now, princey?"
  2758. "Not at all, but I get the sneaking suspicion someone's already doing that."
  2759. >"Huh?"
  2760. "You're familiar with the Acres, right?"
  2761. >"And what if I am?"
  2762. "Did anything here strike you as weird or out of place at all?"
  2763. >"Yeah, you being here."
  2764. >Bitch.
  2765. "Oh, so I guess all the peeling paint, taped up chair legs, and rusty tools are just normal here then?"
  2766. >She opened her mouth to no doubt berate you, but the gears started turning and stopped that particular verbiage in it's tracks.
  2767. >"Wait a minute, you calling them poor?"
  2768. >Oh God damn it.
  2769. "Please tell me you at least know basic economics."
  2770. >"Please tell me you're gonna answer my question."
  2771. "That was my answer, genius. But if you want me to spoonfeed you that badly, then here I go. The Apples are far from poor. In fact, they're fucking loaded."
  2772. >"Well duh. Everypony knows that."
  2773. "Did Applebloom tell you about her store down in Augustgrad?"
  2774. >"She has a store there?"
  2775. "So that's a no."
  2776. >"Who cares? She opens apple stores all over the world. Hay, there's one in the Crystal Empire!"
  2777. "Yeah, but the Crystal Empire doesn't charge out the nose for property rental."
  2778. >"Uhh, what? They charge, like, five hundred bits a month! That sound cheap to you, smart guy?"
  2779. "Downtown Augustgrad rent starts at fifteen thousand solidi per month."
  2780. >"Fifteen thousand--? What the fuck?!"
  2781. "That's not counting the tariff rates for Equestrian produce. Don't remember the number, but shit's high. And I'm pretty sure the bit-to-solidus reminting ratio is somewhere in the 1 to 6 range before the forge rates."
  2782. >"Fucking Epona have mercy, no fucking wonder nopony sells to you fucking humans!"
  2783. "But she is. And her store is popular as all fucking hell downtown. Even with the costs, she's making some serious profit, easily enough to balance it all out."
  2784. >"Okay, so Applebloom is smarter than human businessmares. Women. Whatever. There a fucking point to this?"
  2785. "My point, if you'd stop trying to be clever for two goddamn seconds to fucking put two and two together," you snap, "Is that if she's making that kind of a fucking killing, why the hell does this place look like a fucking dump?"
  2786. >She looks like she can't decide whether to be contemplative or offended by your choice of words.
  2787. >"Okay, you piece of shit," she begins, evidently going down the offended route. "Go ahead, get it aaaaall out of your system. No really, keep going on about this big old dump! I'd love to hear more, your highness!"
  2788. >This fucking pony needs an ass kicking so fucking badly Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in heaven--!
  2789. >No.
  2790. >Rein it the fuck in, you shitbag.
  2791. >The burden's still on her.
  2792. "So you don't think it's a dump, do you?"
  2793. >"It's old fashioned, you stuck up sack of fucking garbage!"
  2794. "Well, then you shouldn't have any trouble proving me wrong."
  2795. >"Oh, you want to be proven wrong, do you?"
  2796. "I'd love to be, really."
  2797. >"You want to get proven the fuck wrong?!"
  2798. "I literally just answered that."
  2799. >She starts pulling your arm with her magic really hard.
  2800. >"All right, you pompous shitbag, I'll show you!"
  2801. "Hopefully before I die of old age, princess."
  2802. >Well then, she's just decided to float you along while she stomps off somewhere.
  2803. >Well whatever, she's obviously on the warpath.
  2804. >Mission accomplished.
  2805. >Man, senate's gonna be a breeze if you can string her along like this.
  2806. >Either way, you've got a point to prove, no matter where she's dragging you off to.
  2807. >After a minute or two of this, a small gasp is all you hear before you're unceremoniously dropped on the floor without warning.
  2808. "Hey, what's your--?"
  2809. >"What the fuck is this?!"
  2810. "Wha…?"
  2811. >Off she bolts towards some kind of treehouse.
  2812. >Well, it may have been a treehouse at once point.
  2813. >The house portion is kind of in a dilapidated heap off to the side, it's place taken up by a very flashy and very human-designed sky-facing pegasus advertising board.
  2814. >A board that she looks quite devastated to see at first, followed by angry once she flies up and over to see it's contents.
  2815. >Wish you knew what was on it, but you're sure she'll tell you in just a moment.
  2816. >Man, is it just you, or is her wingspan fucking huge for her size?
  2817. >"What the fuck did you do, you piece of shit?!"
  2818. >It took a moment for you to realize she was screeching at you from up high in the air.
  2819. "What? Me?"
  2820. >"Who else, shit-for-brains?"
  2821. >She swoops back onto solid ground to more closely stink eye you.
  2822. "I don't know what makes you think I did this."
  2823. >"Oh I don't know, how about your dad's fucking seal on the board!"
  2824. >Huh?
  2825. >Dad's seal?
  2826. "I'm sorry, what?"
  2827. >"Oh yeah, here comes the fucking denial! And you had the fucking nerve to come to the fucking Acres, too!"
  2828. "No wait, stop being stupid for a second. What the fuck did you say, my dad's seal is on that?"
  2829. >You'll take your sudden bout of floating through the air as a sign that she's about to show you.
  2830. >"This, dipshit! Ring any fucking bells now?!"
  2831. >And sure enough, she does.
  2832. >It's a billboard for Applebloom's store, a bit different than the one you saw in the city.
  2833. >Only…
  2834. "What the actual fuck is this doing here?"
  2835. >"You tell me!"
  2836. "No, like, this isn't even legal to have here."
  2837. >"Don't you fucking-- wait, what?"
  2838. "Hey, bring me in to the seal. I need to check something."
  2839. >"Check what?"
  2840. "The registration. Every bit of signage my dad has to OK has a number. I need to see it."
  2841. >You'd expected sass, but she actually does what you ask, and you make a note of the number.
  2842. >This is several layers and degrees of not fucking okay now.
  2843. >There is some serious fucking griffing going on here and your fucking name is getting attached to this.
  2844. >Not on your fucking watch.
  2845. >The weather crew decides to show up with their regularly scheduled snow dump around you, and your next question is to ask about the sign.
  2846. >They look a little less than pleased about being asked, but with the princess also asking, they tell you it was put up about five months ago, and that the treehouse was a Ponyville favourite that shouldn't have been destroyed.
  2847. >Five months?
  2848. >That's how long the Big Apple's been open downtown.
  2849. >Thanking them for their time, you get set back onto land by a still very upset princess, but one who is very much less upset at you.
  2850. "Flurry, the Apples have a visternet connection, right?"
  2851. >"Yeah, everypony has one!"
  2852. "Good, because I need to use it right fucking now. Where's their thaumputer at?"
  2853. >"You want to tell me what the fuck is going on, Anon?!"
  2854. "I'll tell you the precise moment I figure it out myself, and that's a goddamn promise."
  2855. >The rush back to the barn-house is unfortunately through snow, but that's not about to stop either one of you.
  2856. >Into the house you go, no other ponies in your path, where you get led up to the tiny little study with an older thaumputer inside.
  2857. >It'll work.
  2858. >"What are you even looking for?"
  2859. "You want the list?"
  2860. >Browser open, private mode, navigate to the Dominion nodepage, signing in.
  2861. >"It's a fucking start!"
  2862. "I'm ninety percent positive that sign isn't supposed to be there."
  2863. >Imperial database, signage, and serial number goes in.
  2864. >"No shit it's not supposed to be there! I grew up playing in that fucking treehouse, and so did all the other Apples!"
  2865. >Oh she's really upset.
  2866. "Make that a hundred percent," you say, pointing to the search result. "That sign is absolutely not allowed to be in another nation's territory."
  2867. >Pull up the laws, just to double check.
  2868. "Yeah, see? Only signage made in the Dominion has that seal on it. And there's restrictions on international use, unless you fork over more money for the fancier seal. Which the signee here didn't."
  2869. >You get the tariff rates and reminting forge costs while you're at it.
  2870. >"Then who the fuck did this?!"
  2871. "Well, I'll tell you this much. The shitfucker in question is definitely human, but--"
  2872. >The machine picks that moment to suddenly shut down, but a light clattering shows the reason to be a still pissed off Applejack yanking the cord.
  2873. >When did she show up?
  2874. >"Ah thought Ah made myself plenty clear there, Mr. Ahnon. Git outta mah house, now."
  2875. >Oh for fuck's sake this is not the time for her to start ziggering you--
  2876. >"Applejack, what the hay is going on here?!"
  2877. >"Y'all better not take that tone--"
  2879. >Holy shitting dick nipples what the fuck kind of amplified voice bullshit did she just pull?
  2880. >Well, it certainly shut Applejack right the fuck up!
  2881. >"Why is the treehouse a fucking wreck?"
  2882. >"Ah--"
  2883. >"And why does this place look like such a fucking dump now?"
  2884. "Oh, now you acknowledge it."
  2885. >"Shut your fucking mouth! Why is there a fucking ad board where the fucking treehouse is now, Applejack?!"
  2886. >To her credit, Applejack recovers from being on the back hoof pretty quickly.
  2887. >"Firstly, y'all best watch yer language there. Second, t'ain't yer concern, lil' Flurry."
  2888. >"Oh really? Is it their concern?"
  2889. >"T'aint. Yer. Concern."
  2890. >Okay, situation escalating to angry stare-off, intervention commencing.
  2891. "Miss Applejack, why is there an illegal sign on your property?"
  2892. >She froze up at the word 'illegal'.
  2893. >"Y-yew callin' me ah criminal now?!"
  2894. "Dominion made signage used internationally without approval is punishable by a 300 bit fine plus 20 bits for every day it was displayed illegally."
  2895. >Total bluff, she's not the name on the sign registry, and the Dominion can't fine Equestrians.
  2896. >But she falls for it all the same, taking a step back while going a shade white.
  2897. >"A-A-Ah don't--!"
  2898. "Miss Applejack," you continue, refusing to let up on the assault, "Are you responsible for this?"
  2899. >"No!"
  2900. "Then who is?"
  2901. >A series of knocks can be heard on the front door downstairs, and Applejack waddles her way down as fast as she can.
  2902. >"Hey, where are you going?!"
  2903. >"A-Ah'm comin'!"
  2904. >"Don't you walk away from me--!"
  2905. "Let's see who it is."
  2906. >"What? Why?"
  2907. "You didn't see how freaked out she looked? Could be our guy."
  2908. >It's at that point that the door can be heard opening.
  2909. >"Miiiiiiss Applebloom," an unfamiliar man's voice calls out, "You really ought to keep a phone on you, girl! I've been trying to reach you all day!"
  2910. >Whoever's voice it is, it's got that fucking smug undertone to it that you hate so very fucking much.
  2911. >"You!" Applejack hisses. "Git out, now!"
  2912. >"Can't and won't, my dear. Not until my business is concluded."
  2913. >"Ah said--!"
  2914. >"Unless of course you'd like to speak to the RETA about this little incident?"
  2915. >Wait, the Royal Equestrian Tax Agency?
  2916. >Applejack doesn't reply, but Applebloom can be heard pleading:
  2917. >"Ah'll handle this, o-okay Applejack?"
  2918. >"Oh I'm so terribly sorry about the trouble, partner!"
  2919. >Not with that tone, he's not.
  2920. >One look at your scowling cohort later, and the two of you march down the staircase.
  2921. >"Now then, you do have my dues for this week ready, don't you?"
  2922. >"Y-yessir," Applebloom sighs.
  2923. >The entrance hall comes into view, and oh boy.
  2924. >Between the pissed off Applejack hovering nearby and a defeated looking Applebloom handing over a small sack of coins, the only thing completing this spectacle was the coin sack recipient.
  2925. >Unmistakably human, with the ear studs, sunglasses, and oiled back hair that was almost like the dictionary definition of 'douchebag' had just walked out of the book and into the doorway, the only thing missing being the bluefang earpiece.
  2926. >"Who are you?" your cohort growls.
  2927. "Who are you?" you intone, more confused than anything.
  2928. >"Why Applebloom, partner," he sounds off, "You didn't tell me you had guests over!"
  2929. >That response was far faster than it should have been.
  2930. >Only hucksters, politicians, bullshit artists, and Faust's Witnesses react that fucking quickly.
  2931. >"Well, I'd best be on my way, partner! Wouldn't want to intrude, you see!"
  2932. "Hey, wait a--!"
  2933. >Too late, door's shut.
  2934. >Flurry wastes zero time, bolting for the door with wings half folded in the 'fucking murder' pose.
  2935. >She probably would've pushed the door in if it weren't for Applebloom blocking her.
  2936. >"Flurry, stop!"
  2937. >"Applebloom, what the actual fuck is going on here?!"
  2938. >"It's nothin'! Really!"
  2939. "That didn't look even remotely like 'nothing' to me," you follow up, arms folded.
  2940. >Is it just you, or does Applebloom look somewhat relieved to see you here?
  2941. >Wait.
  2942. >Wait a fucking second it just fucking clicked is that why she fucking asked you to be here today?
  2943. >Oh if she thinks this is gonna be on her terms she's got another fucking thing coming.
  2944. "Now would somebody like to answer the good princess's question, please?"
  2945. >"I-it's a bit of a long story--"
  2946. >"Who do ya think yew are, mister Ahnon, comin' in and askin' all this?!"
  2947. >Okay miss Applejack, that just about does it for your patience, and it was already working serious overtime.
  2948. "Flurry, do me a solid and hand me that phone, please."
  2949. >For some reason, she actually does as you ask, levitating over an older cordless thing you waste no time in grabbing and dialing up.
  2950. "Miss Applebloom, you have five seconds to start talking before I ask my dad to start an official investigation into your business."
  2951. >And there goes the colour in her face.
  2952. "Five."
  2953. >"Why yew--!" Applejack tries to get in.
  2954. "Four."
  2955. >Finger over the call button.
  2956. "Three."
  2957. >Looks like that was Applebloom's limit.
  2958. >"A-all right, all right, Ah'll tell ya! J-jest, please don't…!"
  2959. >That's some genuine terror in her expression if you've ever seen it.
  2960. >Hit cancel on the phone, hand it back to Flurry.
  2961. "And you'd best tell me the truth. I've been jerked around quite enough for one day."
  2962. >And down droops her head, defeated as can be.
  2963. >"She doesn't hafta tell yew a darned thing!" Applejack once again pipes up, pissed as can be.
  2964. >"No, it's okay, Applejack… J-jest lemmie handle this, okay?"
  2965. >"Uh-uh, Ah don't think so--!"
  2966. >"Please?"
  2967. >Okay, it's blatantly obvious at this point that Applebloom here got herself into a very big pile of shit.
  2968. >No doubt involving señor douchefuck back there.
  2969. >But you guess you're gonna have to hear it from the horse's mouth.
  2970. >"C-could you go an' rustle up Sweetie and Scoots for me, Applejack? Please?"
  2971. >Well fuck, even watery pony puppy dog eyes work on other ponies, even ones as mad as her.
  2972. >"Fine," she half sighs, half snorts, before fixing you with stink-eye. "Yew'd best not cause trouble, iff'n ya know--"
  2973. "I never started causing trouble, miss Applejack. So far, the only trouble here was caused by--"
  2974. >"Oh would you two just let it go and get to it already?" Flurry complains.
  2975. >Quite effectively, since it made Applejack go on her way.
  2976. >"Applebloom, what the hay did you get yourself into?"
  2977. >No response from her, just a solo march of shame into the dining room.
  2978. >"She wanted you up here to fix her fucking business trouble."
  2979. "Sure looks like it."
  2980. >"And you're okay with that?"
  2981. "Not even slightly. You may even say I'm real fucking pissed off. But my dad's name is attached to this fucking mess."
  2982. >"Ugh, Twilight is going to fucking kill us."
  2983. "Well, she can get over herself. Besides, I figured you'd want that treehouse back."
  2984. >"Yeah, when those three all get here, I'm asking that first thing."
  2985. "Fine by me. I need as many details as I can get."
  2986. >The back doors could be heard opening.
  2987. "Can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm probably gonna need your help here."
  2988. >"Can't believe I'm saying this, but yeah, fine by me."
  2989. "Truce two?"
  2990. >"Truce two."
  2991. >Out comes your respective limbs to shake on it.
  2992. >She looks about as pissed as you feel during that brief moment.
  2993. >Then, with a synchronized sigh, the pair of you march into the now populated dining room.
  2995. @@@@@@@@
  2997. >You take a seat directly opposite of Applebloom, with Sweetie Belle filing into the room shortly after you do.
  2998. >"Uh, what's going on?"
  2999. >"They know," Applebloom says quietly, staring at the tabletop.
  3000. >Sweetie's mouth makes an O shape, her ears flopping in the same motion.
  3001. >Your neighbour takes her own seat next to you, her anger far more audible given all the stomping, hard sitting, and table tapping she's doing.
  3002. >The worst Crusader of the bunch is led into the room by Applejack next, who shoots you a dirty glare as she turns back towards the sound of her needy kids.
  3003. >You don't react, no doubt causing that little snort you heard as she left.
  3004. >"So, ah, what's Applejack all ticked off about?" asks Scootaloo.
  3005. >"They know," replies Applebloom.
  3006. >"Oh."
  3007. >She then takes that moment to roll her eyes.
  3008. >"Dunno what you thought would happen, Applebloom. I mean, I did tell you to come clean at the start."
  3009. >Wait, this orange cunt actually had some sense?
  3010. >"Scootaloo, you're not helping," Sweetie chides.
  3011. >"But it's true."
  3012. >"That's not--"
  3013. "No, you know what, she's absolutely right. It is true."
  3014. >Your arms fold, your mask of unamusement concealing your anger as you look on at Applebloom, still finding the table to be the most interesting sight here.
  3015. "But hey, better to beg forgiveness than ask permission, right?"
  3016. >She recoils a bit.
  3017. >"Anon!" Sweetie exclaims. "I thought you'd understand!"
  3018. "That it's okay to deceive your guest?"
  3019. >"N-no! I just--"
  3020. "You think because this shit is normal in my neck of the woods means it's okay?" you start, failing to control your anger. "Is that what you're implying?"
  3021. >SLAM
  3022. >All eyes jump to Flurry, her hoof on the tabletop like a judge's gavel.
  3023. >"Enough! Sit your flanks down, now!"
  3024. >Huh, guess she can be commanding when she wants to be.
  3025. >Sounded like a general there or some shit.
  3026. >It certainly stopped the conversation dead in it's tracks, the other two girls sitting beside their troubled friend while you got your temper back under control.
  3027. >"Alright Applebloom," Flurry starts off, making no effort to conceal how angry she was, "What's going on here? What's the deal with the fucking Klugetown grease merchant you paid off back there?"
  3028. >Well, you'd have gone for New Gettysburg grease merchant yourself, but hey, Klugetown's pretty up there too.
  3029. >"Ohh, you don't know about that part, huh?" Scootaloo decides to blurt out.
  3030. "I'm still on the fence about wanting to know that part. In fact, I've got half a mind to just walk out of here right now."
  3031. >No you wouldn't.
  3032. >"Can't say I blame you."
  3033. >"H-he's mah agent!" Applebloom finally decides to say, falling for the bluff.
  3034. >Wait.
  3035. >A beat goes by as you process what she just said.
  3036. "Your agent," you monotone.
  3037. >"Your agent," Flurry monotones.
  3038. >"Yeah, that's what I thought too," Scootaloo adds, being uncharacteristically helpful.
  3039. >"Scootaloo, come on!" Sweetie says, visibly frustrated. "We didn't have a choice!"
  3040. >"Really? So you didn't have a choice when you two let that guy sweet talk you into wrecking the treehouse?"
  3041. >"I--"
  3042. >"With a construction crew?"
  3043. >"Th-that's--"
  3044. >"And deciding to just blow me off because 'hurr-de-durr durr, Scoots can't into business, she wouldn't get it'!"
  3045. >"We didn't mean tah--"
  3046. >Even Applebloom couldn't cut Scootaloo off from what looked like some well-deserved venting.
  3047. >"Seriously, what the buck made you think that destroying the treehouse - our treehouse - was somehow supposed to be a big, brilliant business move?"
  3048. >You've got a pretty good idea of why they thought it was a good business move.
  3049. >"I mean, you know that Flurry used it as much as we did! It took, like, two weeks to get your nieces to stop crying about it being gone! We still used it for our meetings!"
  3050. "Sounds like it was real near and dear to you all."
  3051. >"You think?" Scootaloo shoots back.
  3052. >"You think?!" Flurry shoots back.
  3053. "Just so we're absolutely crystal clear on this, I don't care in the slightest about what used to be in that tree. I only care about the illegal signage that's up in the tree now."
  3054. >"W-wait, that's illegal?!" Scootaloo cries out.
  3055. "It is--"
  3056. >"No it isn't," Sweetie quickly interjects.
  3057. >Figured you'd meet some resistance at some point.
  3058. "I think you'll find it is."
  3059. >"No, I think you'll find it very much isn't," she continues, shooting you a look of 'don't play this game with me'.
  3060. >You're sure she's good at this game.
  3061. >Unfortunately for her, it's a game you don't intend on losing.
  3062. "Oh, really? Then you must know all about the Dominion laws on signage and international use."
  3063. >"Dominion laws," she continues. "Not Equestrian."
  3064. "Ah, so it is illegal!"
  3065. >"No. Even if it was, Mr. Anon, you wouldn't be able to do anything about it. You know it, I know it."
  3066. >Yep, she's too smart to not bring that up.
  3067. >But you were sort of counting on that.
  3068. "Fair enough," you shrug, allowing yourself a small smile. "There's no way to prosecute the misuse on Equestrian soil. But you can on Dominion soil."
  3069. >"We're not on Dominion soil, Mr. Anon."
  3070. "Not yet," you intone.
  3071. >Yep, there's the uncertain look you were looking for.
  3072. "Question for you three. Who's name is signed on your D-50 forms?"
  3073. >"Th-the business forms?" Sweetie gets out, not sure where you're going with this.
  3074. >"Th-that's me," Applebloom confirms for you.
  3075. "Are you at all familiar with the laws concerning foreign business ventures? Y'know, the laws we very helpfully print on the extra D-58 form that foreign businesses like yours get?"
  3076. >"W-wait, what? Ah didn't get any extra forms!"
  3077. >Huh?
  3078. "Wait, what?"
  3079. >"Yeah, what forms are you talking about?" Sweetie asks, now quite worried.
  3080. >"Oh wow, I almost didn't see this coming," Scootaloo deadpans.
  3081. "It's pretty much what you expected," you deadpan with her, exchanging eyerolls before turning back to the other two Crusaders. "Foreign business owners are required, by law, to visit their businesses every 180 days to refill their D-58's, otherwise the business will be seized by the IBRC."
  3082. >Both Crusaders look like they've just been slapped by the news.
  3083. >Looks like your suspicions are more and more on the mark.
  3084. >But you're not done yet: you need them to work with you here.
  3085. >No better way to do that then to show them the obvious play to griff them out of their business.
  3086. "The IBRC, by the way, is a very, very ethnocentric commission. When it seizes a business, it immediately interviews the humans in it's high-up leadership to find the best fit to take over the business. If there's only one human, they get ownership, no questions asked. Failing all that, it gets auctioned off at the Imperial Palace to the highest bidder."
  3087. >And it's at that moment that you see the dots connect in their heads, their jaws drop, and then…
  3088. >"They'll do what?!" Sweetie cries.
  3089. >"They'll do what?!" Applebloom cries.
  3090. >"Oh for-- really?" Scootaloo throws in. "How did you not see this coming?"
  3091. "Applebloom, the Big Apple's been open for five months now, hasn't it?"
  3092. >Oh, she knows what's wrong now.
  3093. "And your little agent 'friend' is the only human in the high-up leadership chain, right?"
  3094. >"Y-yes," she squeaks out.
  3095. "I'll bet you cash money that your greasy 'agent' was gonna tell you to head to the Big Apple right as your D-58 was due, have you arrested, and then get you investigated for all the illegal signage and God only knows what else he had you do."
  3096. >You shrug, adopting a more casual tone.
  3097. "Hell, he wouldn't have to go that far. He'd just skip town next month to the Dominion when your paperwork was due, take ownership of the Big Apple, and leave a nice warrant for your arrest in the Dominion. You might even get an extradition order put on your head, if he's made you do enough of his dirty work!"
  3098. >"N-no way…!"
  3099. "Way."
  3100. >Wow, you didn't think you'd actually enjoy this, but here you are.
  3101. >You lean in a bit, chin resting on one hand while the other hand's fingers drum away on the table.
  3102. "So, let's talk about your 'agent', shall we?"
  3103. >Yep, you thought Applebloom would be all fired up and ready to throw his ass under the bus.
  3104. >Sweetie however looked so defeated by comparison, like--
  3105. >"I don't believe it," she mutters. "I thought--"
  3106. "You were too smart for that?"
  3107. >"B-but I've helped my sister with so much of her business before! I know all of the tricks!"
  3108. "My uncle always said that thinking you know all of the tricks is exactly what opens you to being tricked."
  3109. >Granted, it's kind of an oxymoron, and he's a fucking weirdo.
  3110. >An awesome weirdo, but a weirdo all the same.
  3111. >Still, no wonder dad has so many fucking advisers to deal with this issue for him.
  3112. "And clearly the guy knows how to play not only you, but the long game as well. And he's playing in Equestria too, so extra points there."
  3113. >"What's that supposed to mean?"
  3114. "That Equestria's a great place for experienced hucksters to get a lot of money and property quickly. There's a lot to work with: the tax code, the trade deals, the gift laws, it goes on!"
  3115. >"Oh the fucking gift laws," your temporary teammate groans. "Your dad at least knows what the fuck he's doing there."
  3116. "Yeah. Didn't your mom try and shutter that loophole too?"
  3117. >"Yeah, tried. But wouldn't you know it, Canterlot wants none of it."
  3118. "What'd you expect, really?"
  3119. >"Pretty much that."
  3120. >"Wait, whaddya mean, 'gift laws'?" Applebloom asks.
  3121. "Easiest way to influence a potential buyer is with a small gift. Give 'em a real small one, you'll want to pay them back. Before you know it, you'll be getting gift after gift after gift, and you'll do more and more and more to repay their, ah, 'generosity'."
  3122. >"Isn't that, like, bribing?" Scootaloo asks.
  3123. "Basically. It's why my dad banned it. No difference between gifts and bribes as far as he's concerned."
  3124. >"Huh, so that's why that guy kept taking those two out to dinner all the time."
  3125. >Sweetie looks so damn embarrassed, falling for the oldest trick in the book.
  3126. >"Yer tellin' me that varmint was butterin' me up from the get-go?"
  3127. "Yep. Isn't illegal in Equestria, since gifts and bribes aren't the same here. I mean, how can you really tell the difference, am I right?"
  3128. >"Fucking nobles," Flurry hisses.
  3129. >"Alright, what do ya need tah know, Mr. Ahnon?"
  3130. >Here it comes.
  3131. "Let's start with his name."
  3132. >"Yeah, let's," Flurry concurs.
  3133. >"Starke A. Culpatus," Applebloom monotones.
  3134. >"Starke A. Culpatus," Scootaloo monotones.
  3135. >"Starke A. Culpatus," Sweetie monotones.
  3136. >Well that was one hell of a simultaneous answer.
  3137. >"Seriously?" your neighbour very reasonably asks.
  3138. >"Yeah, I know," Scootaloo replies.
  3139. >Well, it's a unique enough name that you can get a good match.
  3140. >Your work here is done.
  3141. "Alright, thanks," you chirp, standing up out of your chair.
  3142. >You turn around towards the door right as you hear Applebloom vocalize her confusion.
  3143. >"Wh-- huh? Where are ya goin'?"
  3144. "V-mailing my dad about the guy, what else?"
  3145. >Should be pretty easy to get his licenses and assets frozen once you and your parents are back in the Dominion.
  3146. >Maybe the downtime will actually give you a chance to hang out with uncle Ray for a change.
  3147. >"B-but ain't ya gonna stop him?!"
  3148. "I am…?"
  3149. >"No, Ah mean yew!"
  3150. "I don't follow."
  3151. >"Like, yew goin' out an' givin' that varmint a piece'a yer mind!"
  3152. "Uh, why would I do that?"
  3153. >"Y-yer kiddin' me! Yew said yew were gonna stop--"
  3154. "Stop you there. I said nothing of the sort."
  3155. >"Yes yew did!"
  3156. "I agreed only to sit in here and listen to your situation, in exchange for not calling my dad to investigate your business. An implicit agreement, I might add."
  3157. >"But--!"
  3158. >"Well maybe you're fine with sitting around and picking your ass like a useless fucking smug piece of shit," your neighbour rattles off, "But I'm not. Applebloom, tell me where this guy is so I can kick his fucking ass!"
  3159. >Kick his--?
  3160. >Oh no.
  3161. >Ohh no, that's a very bad idea.
  3162. "Could you maybe not?"
  3163. >"Or what, preemie?"
  3164. "Oh, you'll only possibly maybe spark off a huge ugly clusterfuck of an international incident. I mean, pony princess beating an allegedly clean human business agent? Yeah, that's not gonna get spun into a fucking sanction tennis match or anything."
  3165. >"Well I don't see you offering to help out!"
  3166. "I literally just need to v-mail the dude's name to my dad, and he's finished."
  3167. >"Yeah right, like it's that easy."
  3168. "It literally is."
  3169. >"Well v-mailing your fucking daddy isn't going to get the fucking sign torn down, is it? Or put the fucking treehouse back! Or get Applebloom her business back!"
  3170. "I made it very clear that I don't give a shit about--"
  3171. >"And I don't give a shit about your fucking 'international incident'. Like you have any fucking room to talk about that after fucking Canterlot!"
  3172. "Oh, you mean that thing you fucking started?"
  3173. >"I'm about to start something worse, asshole. Either you come up with a plan to fix all of this, or I go over and kick the shit out of him."
  3174. "Are you fucking joking?"
  3175. >"Motherfucker, do I look like I'm joking?"
  3176. >No, no she doesn't.
  3177. >God damn it.
  3178. >God fucking damn it this stupid fucking horse you want to fucking strangle her so fucking badly and dump her body in a ditch somewhere holy shit.
  3179. >Literally all you need to do is v-mail your dad and he can just revoke the asshole's licenses and freeze his assets and put a fucking warrant out for him, then Applebloom can file for all the IBRC audit work to get his grubby prints washed off her business.
  3180. >But no, she wants to be a fucking hero or some shit, get her instant gratification on.
  3181. >Fucking dad doesn't need to deal with the fallout of this dumb fucking cunt beating that smarmy piece of shit until he's like a black and blue Dalmatian, he should be throwing him in the slammer instead of being forced to stick up for him.
  3182. >Uuuugh.
  3183. "I fucking hate you," you groan, bridge of your nose firmly pinched.
  3184. >"Right back fucking at you. Fucking trying to snake out of this shit, honestly--!"
  3185. "Yes, you're so fucking virtuous, O great seraphic one. Truly, you are what we all aspire to be."
  3186. >"I'm still waiting for your game plan, smartflank."
  3187. >Going back to Twilight almost sounds more appealing.
  3188. >Almost.
  3189. <...
  3191. < Keep up with the thread:
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