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Anon Artemis

By wingedanon
Created: 2021-05-11 03:08:16
Expiry: Never

  1. >Day return of sanity in Equestria.
  2. >Holy horse nuggies you are actually back this time and not an insane mad horse about to destroy the world with eternal night.
  3. >Be known as Artemis, Prince of Equestria and Warden of the Moon.
  4. >Also be Anon from a previous life after being literally backstabbed by his human sister.
  5. >Damn, this is confusing still.
  6. >Everything feels like you were just slammed with the most powerful force of magic in Equestria.
  7. >Again!
  8. >Not quite pain, but it really isn’t something you will want to do again anytime soon.
  9. >Time for a systems update.
  10. >Ears ringing, check!
  11. >Mouth dry as moon dust, check.
  12. >Got tiny hoovies, that’s new.
  13. >Little to no magic, like you were given a hard reset.
  14. >Eyes slowly focus back to reality, and you hear something.
  15. >Somepo-one familiar.
  16. >Celestia towers over you like an ivory monolith.
  17. >”Prince Artemis, it has been a thousand years since I’ve seen you like this.
  18. >She’s going to finish the job.
  19. “No! Stay back! Don’t hurt me.”
  20. >Scrambling as fast as you could did no good, you were already backed up against a wall.
  21. >Much to your surprise, Celestia has stopped dead in her tracks.
  22. >Her eyes are wide, like someone just slapped her.
  23. >”Brother, please I’m not here to hurt you. I’m not here to continue strife, but put aside our differences.”
  24. >She knows you are eyeing the window, but you know it wouldn’t matter.
  25. >Not operating at full capacity here with this tiny teenage like body.
  26. “We both tried to kill each other, putting aside our differences is an understatement.”
  27. >Celestia stays where she is, and slowly bends her legs to lie down look at you eye to eye.
  28. >They are starting to water.
  29. 1/11
  31. >”Arty. I wasn’t trying to kill you.”
  32. >Resist the urge to grind teeth.
  33. “You used the Elements of Harmony on me! What exactly were you expecting to happen? The only time they had been ever used was when we were fighting Discord and we turned him into a rock. Again, what did you think was going to happen to me!?”
  34. >Cheeks are damp, must be raining inside this old castle.
  35. >She’s quiet.
  36. >Celestia would always have an answer for everything, and speak her mind.
  37. >This is unusual, you’ve never seen her looks so defeated.
  38. >What do you do?
  39. >Great, now you are both crying.
  40. >”I-m, I’m sorry, my dear brother. I’ve carried this yoke around my neck like a millstone. Shortsighted and arrogant I was that I couldn’t see how my actions and words were destroying the pony I loved most. Bathed in the praise and glory from others, while ignoring your unhappiness under my shadow. These thousand years have been very lonely and fearful without you.”
  41. >Damn.
  42. >Honesty just damn everything that happened.
  43. >Something needs to be done.
  44. >Don’t tell her what happened on the moon, it’ll crush her.
  45. “I…”
  46. >Come on, think of something, anything.
  47. >This sister loves you, well so did the other one who killed you.
  48. >No, that line of thought got us where we are now.
  49. >Look over to the fillies who are uneasily watching the scene right now.
  50. >Elements of Harmony hanging from their necks.
  51. >The qualities that you bore alongside your sister.
  52. >Honesty, loyalty, and laughter.
  53. “I forgive you.”
  54. >Celestia looks up, some hope edges into her heart.
  55. “I can’t ask for your forgiveness yet. Not yet.”
  56. >Before you can continue, she swoops you up into a hug.
  57. >”You already have it.”
  58. 2/11
  60. >What has happened to her, Celestia is nothing like who she used to be.
  61. >She’s gotten old.
  62. >Still smells like morning dew.
  63. “My sunshine.”
  64. >“My moonlight.”
  65. >“Whew for a moment I thought we were going to have to use the elements again.”
  66. >Crack an eye open to see the other mares given the pink one varies degrees of shock and disapproval.
  67. >Pinkie had the decency to look embarrassed when she realizes what she just said.
  68. >”Artemis, it has been a long time. Please come back with me and rule by my side like you always should have.”
  69. >Pull back to look up at her, her small smile is encouraging.
  70. >But you can’t.
  71. “I’m sorry. I don’t think I can.”
  72. >Not wanting to see how much this is going to hurt her, you look down.
  73. “Forgiving me is not something I am worthy of, and I struggle to forgive myself. I am unfit to rule, and this world is not my own. After all, our castle stands in ruin. I need time to recover. Find my place in all this.”
  74. >”Please come back.”
  75. >Celestia and you are brushing cheeks as she whispers in your ear.
  76. >Her body has a faint hint of trembling, or perhaps it is your own.
  77. “I’m not leaving. I don’t plan to disappear into the night. Just can’t return back home, not yet.”
  78. >Ears flat, and wings drooping, Celestia gets up with you.
  79. >”What will you do?”
  80. “That cute little pony village seems like a lovely place to recoup.”
  81. 3/11
  83. >Pulling together as much regal air you can muster, you address your savors.
  84. “Pink one whos hoof is currently lodged in your mouth.”
  85. >Pinkie looks at her hooves with some confusion until the white one whispers to her.
  86. >”He’s talking about what you rudely said earlier.”
  87. >”Oooooh, I was hoping he forgot. Yes, your majesty?”
  88. >Her nervous giggle is a little amusing.
  89. “You lack a filter. Regardless, does the pony village you live in have any hovels for temporary stay? I know that while I am a male without a mare I was hoping with enough money I could pay for my lodging and find work. Seeing as owning my own property is out of the question.”
  90. >”Oh there’s lots of places to stay. I know plenty of ponies that herd into a home to split rent, the library has several open rooms and is currently empty.”
  91. >”Brother, you are allowed to own property.”
  92. >Celestia softly coughed to the side, like she was embarrassed.
  93. “I see. A lot of things have changed. All the more reason I can’t reclaim the throne.”
  94. >You lift up a hoof and stomp on a brick in the wall, it sinks in slightly before a bag of bits pop out from a hidden hidey hole.
  95. “Perfect, I knew this would come in useful.”
  96. >The mares look at you and the wall, Celestia leans down to whisper in your ear.
  97. >”D-did you just leave behind money?”
  98. “Oh yeah, I was incredibly paranoid. I have stashed money everywhere amongst other things. Let us return to that little town. I’m sure the populous would like to know that their princess is well.
  99. >”The town is called Ponyville.”
  100. >Human side of you shudders at the pun.
  101. 4/11
  103. >Ponyville is a rather quaint place, if you are being honest and polite.
  104. >It is also full of mares.
  105. >Eyes watch you intensely as the parade brings you to the center of town.
  106. >Celestia is enjoying this.
  107. >Wreath of flowers adorn your neck.
  108. >”Citizens of Ponyville, neigh, all of Equestria. My brother, Prince Artemis, has returned after being rescued from the clutches of Nightmare Moon.”
  109. >Interesting perspective from sister, one you disagree with.
  110. >”These brave mares who discovered the magic of friendship are heros of the realm. My beloved personal student, Twilight Sparkle and her friends.”
  111. >Rightly so they are praised for their efforts.
  112. >For you, however, you just take everything in.
  113. >Thousands of years you have missed this.
  114. >Warm air, cool breeze, singing birds behind the herd of cheering ponies.
  115. >The sun, never have you missed the sun in all your years.
  116. >Surreal as it all is, you are back.
  117. >The boards, the freaking wooden boards you are standing on is novel.
  118. >”Brother, would you like to say anything?”
  119. >Celestia is looking at you, her soft smile.
  120. “Ponyville, thank you for your hospitality. It is inspiring and hopefully you will accept me as a resident.”
  121. >The herd whispers amongst themselves, so you continue.
  122. “I’ve been away for so long, I need to reconnect with myself and my fellow ponies. Please take care of me as we trot on this path together, until I am truly worthy of the title.”
  123. >Celestia leans down as whispers in your ear.
  124. >”Is there no way I can convince you to stay in Canterlot?”
  125. “I don’t even know what Canterlot is.”
  126. >She gestures with her eyes.
  127. “Is-is that real!? It’s on the side of a mountain.”
  128. 5/11
  130. >”Prince Artemis, as Mayor of Ponyville I would love to welcome you to our humble town.”
  131. >The little grey mare bows.
  132. “Oh, please. That shouldn’t be necessary. Just Artemis is fine.”
  133. >She bites her lips.
  134. >”I will love to call you my majesty, sire. Please.”
  135. >Is she?
  136. >Celestia clears her throat.
  137. >”While I appreciate you taking your duties seriously, do know I will be keeping tabs.
  138. >Mayor Mare gulps and nods.
  139. “No guards.”
  140. >”You shouldn’t be without protection.”
  141. “It would undermine everything I wish to do if I am flanked on both sides by muscle. No guards.”
  142. >Celestia looks back and forth, then settles on her student.
  143. >”Very well. Twilight is staying here to continue her studies on the magic of friendship. If you stay with her she will be able to help you.”
  144. >Twilight, for her part, looks confused until it settles in her mind what exactly Celestia was saying.
  145. >”Me!? Working with Prince Artemis? In the same house, at the same time!?”
  146. >Mayor Mare rubs the back of her head.
  147. >”I was going to send Ms. Twilight to the library permanently, there are plenty of rooms there for Prince Artemis as well.”
  148. >Sister is rather pleased with this information.
  149. >”Perfect, both of you have a lot to work on I’m sure.”
  150. >Ponies shout with happiness at these turn of events.
  151. >Celebration is going to be in full swing.
  152. 6/11
  154. >Later that day, you find yourself in your new temporary home.
  155. “Rather a coincidence that after I asked to not have guards flanking me that my sister’s personal student is staying at the same place I am.
  156. >Twilight Sparkle rubs the back of her head as she nervously chuckles.
  157. >”Well you know, this is a library and I love books. Princess Celestia wants me to learn all about the magic of friendship.”
  158. >Her little dragon familiar peaks out from behind her leg.
  159. >”It’s true. Twilight loves books more than anything.”
  160. >She practically growls at the small drake.
  161. >”Spike, don’t embarrass me in front of Prince Artemis.”
  162. >”You don’t need my help for that.”
  163. >Fine, you can live with this for now.
  164. “I’d imagine you will fill the role of librarian then. I should find a different job then. Perhaps a waiter at one of the restaurants.”
  165. >Twilight almost hacks up a lung.
  166. >”Waiter!? You are a prince. No wait, THE Prince of Equestria. You can’t pick something like that!”
  167. >Seems the prissy little canterlot unicorn has some classest tendencies.
  168. “Yes. You shouldn’t look down on such work.”
  169. >”That’s not what I’m saying. You can’t take that job due to the fact that you are the most important stallion in Equestria. Taking a job like that will not end well. You will be bugged, bothered, lechered, and all sorts of indecent actions or unwanted attention. Assuming an employer wants to deal with having the responsibility of you on the payroll.
  170. >Spike tugs on Twilight’s mane.
  171. >”Equestria to Twilight, you are making mountains out of ant hills again.”
  172. >Twilight smacks the claw off.
  173. >”This is a serious matter, Spike.”
  174. 7/11
  176. >”I know, but this isn’t Canterlot with all those stuffy ponies. This is Ponyville, we are living in the small town setting. Prince Artemis might have some growing pains, but he should be just fine.”
  177. “You speak very wisely for one so young.”
  178. >He folds his arms behind his back and kicks the ground.
  179. >”Aw, shucks.”
  180. “Still I will have to find out for myself tomorrow. Since you already have claimed the upper room, I will make space in the basement.”
  181. >Kick open the door into the dark undying base of the library tree trunk.
  182. >”A little spooky down there.”
  183. “Fear not young dragon, darkness is not anything to fear. For We claim dominion over it.”
  184. >Confidence fills you as you march down stairs.
  185. >”He didn’t have to yell, shook the entire tree with his voice.”
  186. >”Twilight, you’re lucky he didn’t catch you ooglying him.”
  187. >Guess you are still attractive, even with your tiny butt.
  188. >Dust and old used book smell is heavy in the air, but there is a decent size bed.
  189. >Move the boxes to one side of the room and air out the dust with a little magic.
  190. >A small hop and your on the bed.
  191. >Springs squeaks in protest as you smother the pillow muzzle first.
  192. >Smells of a decade of being unused and cool to the touch.
  193. >After a thousand years, this is a novel feeling.
  194. >No more sleeping on moon rocks for you.
  195. >Don’t have to worry about having the darkness gnaw at you.
  196. >Also breathing actual atmosphere for once.
  197. >Still your mind mulls over the day.
  198. “Twilight is right, it might be difficult integrating into society again.”
  199. >This isn’t the capitol though, so no nobles to worry about.
  200. >Just ponies that you threatened eternal night with.
  201. 8/11
  203. >There is a familiar hum of magic in the room.
  204. >Someone was teleporting in.
  205. >A ball of light lights up the room before a pony displaces space.
  206. >In all of her sunny glory, Celestia brightens up the room with her mere presence.
  207. >Her mane falls back down over her face after her appearance.
  208. >She shakes it all aside before looking around.
  209. >”Artemis? Are you awake?”
  210. “If I was, I wouldn’t be now.”
  211. >Sitting back up on your bed, Celestia approaches slowly.
  212. >”Sorry. Didn’t mean to surprise you. I was in my bedroom, staring at the ceiling.”
  213. >Don’t say the stupid obvious thing.
  214. “While I’m sure the bed is nowhere as comfy as your own, there is a spot open for you.”
  215. >A pillow pops down on top of the one you were laying on.
  216. >Your sister, who is easily three times your size, slips in beside you.
  217. >Wings and legs try to wiggle into a more comfortable position.
  218. >She is really warm to the touch.
  219. >”You are still cool to the touch.”
  220. “I’ve missed you.”
  221. >An outstretched wing covers you better than the blanket that you had before.
  222. >Nose to nose, sharing breath.
  223. >She closes her eyes.
  224. >You can practically fall into your sister like this, she is so much bigger now.
  225. >Relaxed and ready for peaceful sleep to take you.
  226. >Celestia tenses.
  227. >Cracking one eye open you see your sister staring at with worry.
  228. >”You’ve missed me?”
  229. >Oh?
  230. >Oh, crude.
  231. >You might have said too much.
  232. >Gotta save this.
  233. “Even in the darkest moments as Nightmare Moon, a small piece of me still missed you.”
  234. >Please work, please buy it.
  235. >Celestia takes your face into her hooves.
  236. >”You. Are you lying?”
  237. 9/11
  239. >That’s not good.
  240. >”Don’t you dare. I’ve watched many ponies try to work me over, relive every memory of our time together, and worked with diplomats of every country. My brother. Tell me the truth.”
  241. >You start to muster up a serious face, hoping to deter her.
  242. “We should rest tonight. After so long away from each other. Don’t make this sweet moment bitter.”
  243. >”What happened on the moon.”
  244. >Not even a question, that is big sister talking.
  245. “Is one stab in the heart not enough for you? I saw how you reacted when I screamed in terror today.”
  246. >Celestia has stopped blinking, she is gazing deep into your eyes.
  247. >You can see the small fire light that dances within those mirrors to the soul.
  248. “I didn’t stay Nightmare Moon up there.”
  249. >There it is, the words you were afraid to tell her.
  250. >Her eyes search all over your features.
  251. “When the paranoia and anger faded, I could no longer feed Nightmare Moon. Being self reflective on my actions, what led to everything. Who I was.”
  252. >”How bad did it get?”
  253. >That was a terrible question to ask.
  254. “I screaming for forgiveness and mercy. Hoping my cries would carry across the void to your ears. Days became weeks, months pass to the next. Waiting for an answer of any kind.”
  255. >Tears start to fall off your sister’s face.
  256. “I became angry, tried to bargain, and cried. Some days you were all I can think about. Started having fantasies that I was back home and everything was just fine. Others were bleak, like when I dwelled to the dark side of the moon.”
  257. >”You didn’t, do it? Did you?”
  258. >Very sure she is talking about taking your own life.
  259. “I don’t remember.”
  260. >Just one more lie, she’ll accept that.
  261. 10/11
  263. “But when years become centuries, I slowly lost it. When I came back, it wasn’t the same Nightmare Moon that started a coup against you. No, I was fully completely out of my mind. I only vaguely had an idea what I wanted. Like I was living a nightmare.”
  264. >There it is, all laid out because you are a moron who can’t watch what he says.
  265. >At this point her tears are overflowing, snot is smearing your coat.
  266. >Quickly you muster up a silence barrier spell.
  267. >The sound from her is not one you ever wish to have heard.
  268. >Celestia tries to say words, but they only come out as heaving cries.
  269. >She buries her face into her neck, whole body shaking.
  270. >You can’t help but join her.
  271. >Feel every full body aches and mourning.
  272. >”I’m so sorry.”
  273. >Repeated over and over ad nauseum.
  274. >Tightly wrapped around you, she doesn’t loosen a little with her grip.
  275. >Afraid that you’ll fade away from her.
  276. >Everything is so tiring.
  277. >Exhaustion is taking you as you cry dry tears.
  278. >But you can’t leave it like this.
  279. “Celestia, my dear precious sister.”
  280. >Bringing her face up to face yours.
  281. >Holding her in place.
  282. “I. Love. You.”
  283. >Wet eyes, and running nose, your sister hiccups a little.
  284. >She nods, then allows you to hug her back into yourself.
  285. >Sleep takes you.
  286. >Tomorrow is a lot to look forward to.
  287. 11/11
  289. Part 2
  290. >Dawn of a new day in Equestria.
  291. >Wide awake, for the time has come.
  292. >Bounce out of bed with youthful energy.
  293. >Not something you would be doing when you were human.
  294. “It’s time! It’s time. Let’s do this. Come on. Come on, come on, come on.”
  295. >Celestia stretches in bed, her oversized wings outstretched.
  296. >”Somepony is excited.”
  297. “Sister, we haven’t done this together in eons. Raising the sun and moon is our birthright.”
  298. >She yawns, joints pop with each leg stretch.
  299. >The solar diarch slides off the bed, it squeaks in protest from the shuffling weight.
  300. >”Let’s not wake up my student, if she were to find out I was here she might panic.”
  301. >Rolling your eyes, you cast a silence damping spell.
  302. “There is a balcony, we can see the heavens and perform the task.”
  303. >Bounce up the steps, you don’t even slow down when you miss a step and trip.
  304. >Clumsiness is not going to stop you.
  305. >There is another set of stairs, maybe you should slow down.
  306. >Don’t want to put splinters in your shin.
  307. >Stop at the bottom, stretch out your wings, and flutter to the top with elegance of a prince.
  308. >Too bad the door frame is smaller than you anticipated.
  309. >Wings crash into the frame making you plop on the floor.
  310. >Doesn’t matter, you bounce back up.
  311. >”Brother, please calm down. I don’t want to take you to a hospital if you give yourself a concussion.”
  312. >Grumble under your breath.
  313. “Fine. I’ll be more careful. It only hurt a little.”
  314. >The moon is on the horizon, this is your time.
  315. >Magic flows to your horn, that familiar feeling courses through you.
  316. >Just need to reach and touch the moon
  317. >Caress the heavenly body to the other side.
  318. 1/11
  320. >It’s a little far.
  321. >No problem, just stretch a little farther.
  322. >”Artemis, are you ok?”
  323. >Peak out with one eye open.
  324. “Just peachy. Don’t worry. I got this.”
  325. >You are a manly man!
  326. >Or stallion.
  327. >Regardless, you can move many moons.
  328. >The Prince of full moons, that’s what they use to call you.
  329. >Though with the human information you are now pretty sure they were talking about your butt.
  330. >Kind of got a scrawny butt right now.
  331. >No, focus.
  332. >Focus on the moon, that is teasing you just out of reach.
  333. >Grit teeth, get into power stance, and just do it!
  334. >”Artemis. Please.”
  335. >Wave her off with your wing.
  336. “No, no. It's just been a while, got some rust on me. Just need to amp it up.”
  337. >Pull all of your power into this, feel the energy spark off your horn.
  338. >You got this, here comes the big one.
  339. >Rear back, wings fully drawn, you are a fully loaded lethal weapon.
  340. “Moooooon power!”
  341. >A blue beam blasts off from you.
  342. >Careening towards the pale marble in the sky.
  343. >This is the big one to do it, also somewhere in the back of your mind you are calling yourself a nerd.
  344. “It’s going, it’s going, it’s going!”
  345. >”It’s off course, and it’s fizzling out too.”
  346. “Noooooo.”
  347. >You flop halfway onto the railing with your forearm outstretched.
  348. “I put everything I had into that. Need more horsepower.”
  349. >Celestia sighs and her horn glows.
  350. >Sure enough the moon dips down, and the sun rises once again.
  351. >”Don’t worry. It’ll come back to you.”
  352. >Still leaning off the railing you kick your little hooves.
  353. “And you’ve been doing this for a thousand years.”
  354. >She joins you by your side with a sweet smile.
  355. >”It wasn’t easy, but I eventually got the handle of it.”
  356. 2/11
  358. “Probably why you are so much bigger now.”
  359. >Puffing her cheeks out, Celestia blushes.
  360. >”Excuse you?”
  361. “You had to do double the work, so I’m pretty sure why you started to eat more. Get all those calories to move the sun and moon. Don’t you deny it, I saw how much cake you ate!”
  362. >Celestia huffs and turns away.
  363. >”You shouldn’t talk like that about your sister. It’s rude and not very becoming of a prince. Why what would our parents think if they heard you saying--where are you going?”
  364. >Stomping downstairs with the most upset look you could muster.
  365. “To the kitchen, clearly I need to eat enough meals to stop looking like a child. I’m going to catch up to you. Mark my words. I’m going to eat twelve dozen eggs, milk, pancakes, waffles, bacon, and orange juice! Every morning until I’m large enough to look you in the eye.”
  366. >Celestia giggles softly as you disappear from view.
  367. >”I don’t recall him eating bacon. Or cooking for that matter. Maybe it was a hidden skill he never told me. Old memories are so hard to keep hold of.
  368. >Her ears perked up when she heard hooves clammer up the steps.
  369. >You tackle her with a hug.
  370. “Sorry, almost forgot. Have a good day at work, sis. I’m going to find myself a job.”
  371. >Wings return the hug, warm with love.
  372. >”My precious brother, thank you.”
  373. >Hesitation on both of your parts keeps the hug lasting longer than expected.
  374. >You break the hug, kiss her on the cheek, and back away.
  375. >Sister rubs the spot on her cheek, before looking up to the sky.
  376. >Legs bend slightly before one flap of her wings sends her soaring.
  377. >Waving goodbye, you hope to join her in flight one day.
  378. 3/11
  380. >Figures this place doesn't have bacon, probably an earth pony who ran this place.
  381. >This is going to change real soon.
  382. >Gonna have to stomach hay for now.
  383. >Still got plenty of eggs, pancakes, and hot cereal.
  384. >”Something smells good. Spike is that you cooking?”
  385. >”I haven't left my bed since we crashed after the after-after party. Pinkie doesn't stop. Somepony else is cooking.”
  386. >Twilight stumbles down the stairs with Spike holding onto her tail in tow.
  387. >Twilight wobbles around the main library lobby until she pokes her head into the kitchen.
  388. >She owlishly blinks at the full table of hot food, then up to you in your apron.
  389. >This is repeated a few times while Spike disengages from her and plops himself in a chair.
  390. “Made breakfast. Help yourself.”
  391. >”Is this what having a husbando is like?”
  392. >Can’t help but raise an eyebrow.
  393. >What a nerd.
  394. >Says the guy who was trying to scream out a magic attack to move the moon.
  395. “I am not your mate, Ms. Sparkle.”
  396. >Eyes bulge when she realizes you heard her mumbling.
  397. >”S-sorry, sorry Prince Artemis. I didn't mean to say that!”
  398. “Just sit down and eat your pancakes.”
  399. >Spike waves his fork.
  400. >”Already way ahead of you.”
  401. >No need to tell them that you are on your second plate.
  402. >Twilight dives into the meal like a frat boy on a munchie raid.
  403. >Apply syrup to everything.
  404. >Honestly, you have all abandoned any sense of dignity, you have a full day ahead and yet you are going out with an overstuffed stomach.
  405. “I have not had breakfast in forever. Oh how I’ve missed you orange juice. Need to buy some bacon for tomorrow.”
  406. >Twilight pauses, mouth still stuffed with pancakes.
  407. >”Bacon? You eat meat?”
  408. 4/11
  410. >Let’s test the waters here, she has a dragon familiar, but it might be pussified.
  411. “I do. Wasn’t too common back in the day, but it wasn’t unheard of. I am curious if ponies today have changed in that way.”
  412. >Just a small lie, Prince Artemis really only ate meat when an occasion called for it.
  413. >Anon, on the other hand, was a proud meat eater.
  414. >Twilight is only slightly green around the gills.
  415. >”Well, it doesn’t happen too often either. I personally have only eaten meat maybe twice. Same for Spike.”
  416. >Spike stuck out his tongue.
  417. >”Give me a nice gemstone anyday. Meat is not that tasty.”
  418. >You look back at the kitchen cupboards.
  419. “Just need to get groceries and spices. I would like to regain my former power so I can actually raise the moon.”
  420. >Twilight perks up with interested glee.
  421. >”You were trying to raise the moon? How did it go? Did Princess Celestia show up to help?”
  422. >Can’t help but give a horsie snort.
  423. “More like doing all the work. I couldn’t budge the moon worth anything. Can’t imagine dream traveling will be successful either. Speaking of my old job, I have given your input on my job hunting some thought, and you are correct. A waiter job might bring some problems.”
  424. >She’s already back at munching, she mentally rolls around what you said before replying.
  425. >Apparently it is ok to talk with a mouthful.
  426. >”Well, nom, I didn’t really, chomp, really mean to put a damper, GULP, on your idea, but I am willing to help you in any way I can.”
  427. >Daw, that little smile is cute, and covered in syrup.
  428. “That’s fine. I’ve already figured out the perfect job. So I can meet many town ponies.”
  429. >”Oh?”
  430. 5/11
  432. >”The post mare!?”
  433. >Ah yes, the thankless government job that seems to be a common devot for both of your wordly homes.
  434. “Postman thank you very much. I don’t want to be stuck inside all day, and if I’m out and about meeting ponies it should be a pretty fast way to make friends.”
  435. >Twilight is given that side glance that implies you are slightly nuts.
  436. >”Sure, if the average pony doesn’t mind having the Prince of Equestria show up on their doorsteps. That won’t be weird!”
  437. “Calm down purple. After that party that lasted for way longer than it should I’m sure most ponies in town are familiar with me. It can’t be that weird. Besides…”
  438. >Can’t help sound a little bitter as you cast shade.
  439. “After all this time I’m basically a nobody. My title means squat. I, Artemis, Warden of the Moon, shall serve the common folk by delivering packages!”
  440. >Kick open the door, to find a lone mare sorting mail.
  441. “Hello, fellow pony! I would like to speak with the manager mare.”
  442. >”You’re hired.”
  443. “Hazzaa! I mean, what?”
  444. >The gray mare looks up between letters.
  445. >”I could hear you outside. An extra pair of hooves is always welcome, and I ain’t going to turn away somepony like you.”
  446. >Yay, you get a job because of your status.
  447. >Take the small victories where you can.
  448. >”Uniforms are in the back. I think we have one your size.”
  449. >Turn back to your unicorn friend with a pleased grin.
  450. “I think I’ll be fine, you don’t need to shadow me right now.”
  451. >Twilight seems like she wants to argue this, but sighs.
  452. >”Be careful, Prince Artemis. It has been a long time since you’ve been back, somepony might try to take advantage of you.”
  453. 6/11
  455. “Ponies. Ponies never change.”
  456. >”Why did you deepen your voice like that?”
  457. “No reason. I’ll see you later, Twilight.”
  458. >A swift about face and you follow the gray mare around the desk into the back.
  459. >Place is a mess of boxes and loss mail floating about.
  460. >Several mares are juggling through orders and trying to make a delivery plan, which comes to a halt when you trot in.
  461. “Ladies, good to see you.”
  462. >Heads just slowly track you as you walk past, not a work uttered.
  463. >The mare, who you assume is the head honcho, steps inside of a room labeled, The Box.
  464. >Following suit, you stand across from the desk as the mare wobbly sits in the seat larger than herself.
  465. >”Manager isn’t here, so I get to stand in for her! Now, my name is Derpy Hooves and I will be helping you today.”
  466. >You look at the smiling mare, before glancing down at her badge.
  467. >Badge says Ditzy.
  468. >Blond stereotypes must still be a thing.
  469. >”Muffins is also ok.”
  470. “I think I’ll go with Ms. Hooves.”
  471. >Nodding in approval while clopping her hooves.
  472. >”Very professional. You’ll do very well here. Now, um, I think I should interview you, but that should probably be done by the head mare. So we can skip that part and get you a temporary uniform!”
  473. >She ducks under the table, you can hear her shuffling through what sounds like random junk before popping up with a hat in her mouth.
  474. >”Taadaa, your uniform.”
  475. “Just the hat?”
  476. >”Oh, you’re right. I forgot the name tag!”
  477. >Ms. Hooves slaps a sticker on the table, grabs a marker and slowly tries to write your name down.
  478. “Should I be doing that?”
  479. >”Mah gt thusi.”
  480. 7/11
  482. >”There we go, Prince of the Post Office.”
  483. >The hat has a new hole after it was thrown on your head.
  484. “Prince isn’t my name. It’s Artemis.”
  485. >Ms. Hooves frowns and tilts her head.
  486. >She slaps a stamp with your sister on it on the hat.
  487. “Should I really explain this?”
  488. >”I think it looks great on you.”
  489. >That smile of hers is too sweet for her own good.
  490. >You can hear the clamoring in the workroom before a loud mare yells out for your manager.
  491. >”Ditzy, we have a really big have package we need you to deliver. Stop ogling the stallion from top to bottom and get your dock in here!”
  492. >Ms. Hooves yelps as she falls backwards in the chair, a loud crash accompanied by all the paperwork in the room comes floating down.
  493. >For your part, you just shrug and leave.
  494. >The floor room has plenty of oversized boxes, with the same mares running around screaming out addresses.
  495. >They stop when they see you.
  496. >”He’s wearing the hat. Wait, you’re wearing the hat! You are actually going to work here?”
  497. >”Holy bucking shit, that is the biggest dick in the box if there ever was one.”
  498. >That mare gets slapped over the head.
  499. >”Don’t mind her language. She’s our resident overseas shipper. Some reason she thinks she needs to talk like a sailor.”
  500. >Three random mares and you having trouble keeping track who is speaking.
  501. “Indeed, I applied, but all I got was this hat. Doesn’t seem very official.”
  502. >The purple mare shrugs, mail still in her mouth.
  503. >”Normally the manager doesn’t come down here, she cries everytime, but she might make an exception for you.”
  504. >What have you gotten yourself into?
  505. 8/11
  507. >”Hey, Prince Post Office. Name’s Appointed Rounds, this is Rainy Day, and Sunny Delivery. You’ve already met Ditzy. No, her name is not an accident. She is the accident. Try to avoid the hospital on your first day.”
  508. >Bunch of jokers in this one.
  509. >”I’m here! I’m here! I got stuck in the chair again. I didn’t break it this time. Now, Prince Artemis you get to shadow with me today! Isn’t that exciting!? So our first order of the day is an important package. Which is…”
  510. >Slightly feels like she is talking down to you with that tone.
  511. >Rainy Day points to a rather large crate with bowling balls labeled on the side.
  512. >”That box! I will fly this to the place. Hmm, you need a package to carry to. Can’t have your first day be too boring. Got it, this postcard. Here you go.”
  513. >You look at the small card, back up to the undoubtedly heavy crate.
  514. “You are going to carry all of that.”
  515. >Ms. Hooves pauses as she sticks a hoof to her mouth.
  516. >”Hmm, yeah. I can do it.”
  517. “Why don’t you take the post card and I’ll get the crate.”
  518. >She gasps hard enough almost suck the air out of the room.
  519. >”I can’t let a stallion carry all of that. It’s way too heavy and you are too pretty to hurt.”
  520. >The other mares are suppressing their laughter, just you can’t help but fume a little.
  521. “Too heavy!? I’ll have you know I can move the moon. The moon! Do you know how big the moon is?”
  522. >They don’t need to know your flub this morning.
  523. >”The moon? It’s about the size of a pizza pie. Pizza isn’t that heavy, so I’ll definitely be taking the box.”
  524. 9/11
  526. >Eye twitches as Derpy flaps her wings as hard as she can.
  527. >The box drags across the ground making it sound like nails on a chalkboard.
  528. >You’ve only met this mare a few minutes and already your honor has been besmirched.
  529. >A postcard is sticking out of your hat.
  530. >Breath in, exhale.
  531. >Aboutface to the offloading dock, following after your charge.
  532. >Derpy is struggling to fly with it until you just grab the whole thing with magic.
  533. >”Oh, my diet must be paying off. It’s gotten loads lighter. Wait a moment.”
  534. “I got it. For the record, the moon is bigger than your little town, so don’t underestimate my ‘pretty’ face.”
  535. >Stick the postcard in her mouth before flying up with the package.
  536. “Well, you are in charge here. Where do we take these packages?”
  537. >Derpy ‘ums’ a few times, before pointing in a direction.
  538. >”Should be that way. Are you sure it isn’t too heavy?”
  539. “Yes. WE are fine.”
  540. >The early morning commute has begun, you can hear many businesses in full swing calling out for customers.
  541. >No wait, they’re calling for you.
  542. >”Down here my Prince! I have the best tea kettles around!”
  543. >”Blend me a moon pie! With these blends you can be a blueberry moon smoothie.”
  544. >”Oh Princey! Looking for a double cherry? I got some right here.”
  545. >Bucking nine rings of Tartarus, this town is drowning in thirsty mares.
  546. >You could make an olympic swimming pool from these ponies.
  547. >”We’re here!”
  548. “Wait, what?”
  549. >The world becomes dark, you can feel your face plow straight into the tush of Ms. Hooves.
  550. >It’s like you just walked right into a brick wall.
  551. >More than a little dazed, the world spins as you fall.
  552. 10/11
  554. >Well look at that, it’s the ground.
  555. >It hurts a little bit right now.
  556. >Cough gravel as you look up.
  557. >”Mr. Prince! Are you ok? Normally ponies are knocked out when I accidently hit them. Wow, you are really dedicated to your job.”
  558. >Oh right, the package.
  559. >Not going to drop that just because you kissed the derriere of a mare.
  560. “I’m pretty sure that was my fault for not paying attention.”
  561. >Ms. Hooves wipes her brow.
  562. >”Oh good, it’s your fault this time. You really shouldn’t just stick your nose in a mare’s personal place. I’ll let it go this time. Mostly because I do it too.”
  563. “Stick your nose in mares?”
  564. >”No. In everypony. I tend to have a lot of accidents.”
  565. >Lewd.
  566. “So, my hat.”
  567. >Ms. Hooves looks back down to you and gasps.
  568. >”Oh no! Your hat is missing!”
  569. “It’s stuck in your flanks.”
  570. >She looks behind her, she ‘ooohs’ before grabbing it and with a sudden pop pulls it out.
  571. >”Here you go. Don’t know how that happened.”
  572. >You look at the hat that was just sandwiched between her glutes.
  573. >Don’t really want to take it.
  574. >Also don’t have a choice in the matter when she throws it on your head.
  575. >”Yes! Got a hole in one.”
  576. >A door opens, getting both of your attention.
  577. >”Excuse me, but is that my package? In one piece?”
  578. >This mare got legs for days.
  579. >Derpy salutes before bringing out a paper.
  580. >”Yes it is, please sign here. Don’t forget to say how we did in the review.”
  581. >”Well there isn’t a hole in the wall. So it is an improvement.”
  582. >This job might have not been the best idea.
  583. >”I-is that Prince Artemis!? Eeeeeeh!”
  584. >She fainted, that’s just great.
  585. 11/11
  587. Part 3
  589. >Day lunch break in Equestria post-stallion edition.
  590. >Enjoying a sip of tea behind a magical bubble to filter out the locals.
  591. >All the catcalls were getting annoying.
  592. >”Wow, I've never thought royalty drank and ate with silverware.”
  593. >Ms. Hooves had taken you both to her favorite hay burger dining, Five Fat Mares.
  594. >Her sloppy hay burger dripped all over her hooves.
  595. >”That’s the wrong way to do it. You have to keep it in your hooves.”
  596. “I think I’ll keep doing it this way.”
  597. >”Why not just use magic then?”
  598. >The glowing horn attempts to reach out to the meal before it fizzles out.
  599. “Multitasking is a little difficult at the moment. The shield is good enough. I doubt I want to hear what the next mare has to say about my constitution.”
  600. >Ms. Hooves doesn’t seem to have any reservations on talking with her mouth full.
  601. >”I’ve never seen anypony use utensils with their wings. You’ve done it before.”
  602. >Oh good, this will be fun to talk about.
  603. “Ah yes, the art of presentation. When my sister and I met with foreign rulers we had to learn many forms of etiquette. When it was appropriate to use magic. How to eat dignified even if only limited to your muzzle.”
  604. >Ms. Hooves ‘oohs’ and ‘awws’ before looking at her own fork with determination.
  605. “Practice makes for a pony perfect picture figure of dignified grace and refinement. Despite the power of moving the very heavens with your will, and…”
  606. >Lower your voice to a grumble.
  607. “You’re not just a pretty face but an equal to your older sister.”
  608. >A tongue peaks from Ms. Hooves as she begins to balance the fork in the strongest point of her wings.
  609. 1/15
  611. “Neigh young one, you need to the fork on the most dexterous portion. Like so, then you can manipulate it like mere telekinesis. Power is not needed if you are cutting small portions with the knife.”
  612. >She is focusing rather well, probably the novelty of it.
  613. >”Ok. Cross the feathers, line it up.”
  614. “To avoid getting food on your feathers try to balance as far on the tips as possible. That's why we want dexterity.”
  615. >Ms. Hooves slowly, but with sure steadiness, drives the fork into the meal and starts to cut away with the knife.
  616. >Some measure of pride flows through you as the mare cleanly picks up the bite and gets ready to eat it.
  617. >”Oops.”
  618. >First attempt misses, now with a greasy splotch on her nose.
  619. >Steady there captain.
  620. >It's going in, pass the lips and over the jaw.
  621. >”Nom.”
  622. >Aw, she made a cute noise.
  623. >She swallows the tiny bite with ease.
  624. “Good work, Ms. Hooves. You have the makings of a top delagate. Make all of Equestria proud.”
  625. >Eyes widen as she talks with the fork in her mouth.
  626. >”Ralluy?”
  627. >Reaffirm her with a smile and a nod.
  628. >Wings shoot out and hooves fly up.
  629. >”Hurray! I do have future prospects.”
  630. >Your grin quickly turns pained.
  631. >THUNK
  632. >The knife that was in Derpy’s grip had embedded itself in your shield.
  633. >One the other side of said knife was a mare going cross eyed.
  634. >Being only a few millimeters away from the improvised weapon, said mare faints.
  635. >”Oh no!”
  636. “Can’t believe that I’m so weak that a mere butter knife dents my magic.”
  637. >”Silly colt, not that. She’s the manager!”
  638. >The who what now?
  639. >Releasing the shield spell, Ms. Hooves checks up on the boss.
  640. 2/15
  642. >The manager is a lovely burnt orange pegasus on the plump side.
  643. >Carrying a small filly with her in one pouch and a stack of paper works on the other side, this was what you would call a successful mare.
  644. >Has bore foals, a high paying position in the government, and is still relatively youngish.
  645. >Human you would just call her a MILF.
  646. >Heavy bags under her eyes, Ms. Express orders a cup of coffee and a grilled cheese sandwich for her little filly.
  647. >Ms. Hooves is preoccupied bouncing little Mail Order up and down.
  648. >”When I heard you join the mail force, I thought my tail was being pulled.”
  649. “Indeed. I would imagine it would sound like a tall tail. Here I am, under your directions and orders. If you still wish to accept me.”
  650. >”That’s ok. We all welcome you aboard. Just that I didn’t know you existed until this morning. I don’t usually come to this little village.”
  651. >Express shares a quick glance to Derpy.
  652. >”Never thought I would meet a prince. Is it true then? All I got about your history was that you were the Mane of the Moon and have returned after a thousand years.”
  653. >The waiter returns with the new orders, you have a sneaking suspicion his mustache is fake.
  654. “Yes. I have returned after being banished for that long.”
  655. >She takes a sip of coffee and nods.
  656. >”I was afraid of that. You have no history records then. No documentation proving your identity.”
  657. >Resist the urge to glare.
  658. “I am an alicorn. Warden of the moon. Is that not proof enough?”
  659. >Nevermind you still can’t do a thing to it.
  660. >Express puts her cup down and drops a few sugarcubes in the drink.
  661. 3/15
  663. >”This is the bureaucracy side of things. I need to be able to make an employee record of you, and there is nothing to work with. Social Security Cutie Mark became a thing long after you left, and that’s just the tip of the paperwork. No health records, no magical resonance tests, wing strength.”
  664. >No wonder she looks stressed, you just added a large sudden workload on her plate.
  665. “Any physical exam that is taken now will be useless. I am currently in a very weakened state which will change in time.”
  666. >Express doesn’t respond as she opens up her bag, and drops a stack of papers on the table.
  667. >You look at it up and down.
  668. “Back in my day I would use my axe on this and be done with it.”
  669. >”I would like to borrow that axe, but if you want to work this job, or any job on that hoof, I have to have basic background information.”
  670. >Ms. Hooves stops playing with Mail Order and laughs brightly.
  671. >”Don’t worry Prince. Ponyville Hospital can get all that stuff easily. Probably should go right now as part of your work day. I can go back to the office to get my work done.”
  672. >Guess this is to be expected, the hiring process can’t be simple given who you are.
  673. “Very well Mrs. Express. We have some work to do.”
  674. >A peppermint being pushed towards you by the little filly catches your eye.
  675. >The cutie was pushing it with her nose, before switching to her hooves when it didn’t go far enough.
  676. “What is it little Mail Order?”
  677. >She shyly looks away.
  678. >”Now Mail Order, I taught you to use your words. Be polite to the stallion.”
  679. >Mail Order slowly matches your gaze.
  680. 4/15
  682. >”Iatzs fur yu.”
  683. >Express clears her throat.
  684. >”Don’t mumble.”
  685. >Ms. Hooves whispers encouragement in Mail Order’s ear, but it doesn’t seem to be helping much.
  686. >Like the small filly is trying to be brave, but is hiding some kind of deep rooted fear.
  687. >Mail Order gulps before pushing the little candy closer to you.
  688. >”It’s for you.”
  689. >Daw, how adorable.
  690. “Why thank you.”
  691. >You reach out to grab it with your magic, but she is still holding on to it.
  692. “Is something wrong.”
  693. >”You have to promise you won’t eat me.”
  694. >Something cold grips you.
  695. >Derpy looks confused, but Express is wide eyed.
  696. >How you react must have not been good, because the filly is shrinking.
  697. “Excuse me? Eat you? Why would I do that?”
  698. >”N-now Prince Artemis. Please excuse my filly. She has a very active ima-.”
  699. “Silence.”
  700. >A cloud brews overhead blocking out the sun for just your small area.
  701. “Please tell me.”
  702. >Mail Order gulps, but is frozen still in Derpy’s hooves.
  703. >”You’re Nightmare Moon. I give you candy so you won’t eat me. Like on Nightmare Night.”
  704. >Ms. Hooves ‘oohs’ as to finally understand the filly, something you wish you did.
  705. >”I get it. Nightmare Night is a holiday when we dress up and play games. How does the song go? Nightmare Moon gobbles up little colts and fillies unless you give her candy.”
  706. >Express has inched closer to Derpy and Mail Order.
  707. >You take the piece of candy and inspect it like it is the most interesting object.
  708. >”Mrs. Express, Ms. Hooves, how long has this holiday been going on about me being a cannibal?”
  709. >Derpy shrugs, Express is a bit more vocal.
  710. >”Well you see, it is a very old holiday that went along with the legend. Nopony actually meant any harm.
  711. 5/15
  713. >Thunder rumbles above you all.
  714. >The candy stopped being your main focus as you glare at the golden city on the mountain.
  715. >All this time, it would have been better to be forgotten than become a Halloween ripoff.
  716. >What was Celestia doing?
  717. >Did she not care, what about what she said this morning?
  718. >You became a monster, but she allowed that to perpetuate all these centuries.
  719. >No matter what happened, you were going to be a monster.
  720. >How do you overcome that kind of image when it is ingrained in culture?
  721. “That.”
  722. >Energy builds around the candy.
  723. “Is. Fucking. Bullshit!”
  724. >Peppermint Candy is launched like a bullet from a magnum at the castle.
  725. >It wasn’t going to go far, but you didn’t care.
  726. >You can feel yourself breathing hard.
  727. >Express is covering Mail Order’s ears, while Hooves cover’s the filly’s eyes.
  728. >”Wow. You are loud.”
  729. >”Ditzy, do not say anything else right now.”
  730. >Breath deep, close your eyes, and just breathe.
  731. >It is quieter, the bustle from the streets has dropped to murmurs.
  732. >Great, you just had an outburst in public.
  733. >Slowly open your eyes, your company has huddled close together.
  734. “I will have words with my dear sister. However, we do have work to do.”
  735. >Bring the pile of paperwork closer to you.
  736. “We can go to the hospital and work on this at the same time.”
  737. >Express sighs, releasing tension.
  738. >”Right. Right we can do that. We will also need to go to city hall to establish your citizenship.”
  739. >Today is looking more and more tedious.
  740. >”Oh don’t need to worry too much about that, Prince. Remember Mayor Mare said she was going to help you as much as possible yesterday at the celebration?”
  741. “Guess we could go there now.”
  742. 6/15
  744. >After the stallion secretary announces your arrival, you are immediately called up to meet the Mayor.
  745. >No waiting, which seems rather unlikely.
  746. >Unless she is that good at her job.
  747. >Knock on the office door and you hear a sultry voice.
  748. >”Come on in my prince.”
  749. >Do you dare?
  750. >Might as well get this over with.
  751. >You slightly push open the door until you can look inside.
  752. >Mayor Mare is lying on her desk like a french lady, rose petals are everywhere, and the room is heavy with fresh perfume.
  753. >”Prince Artemis, thank you for coming today. We both have so much to discuss.”
  754. >She has lavender flowers in her mouth.
  755. >”Do please come in.”
  756. >Your deadpan stare doesn’t seem to deter her, so you push open the door the rest of the way.
  757. >”Mommy, this room smells funny.”
  758. >Mrs. Express seems to be sharing your expression.
  759. >With unusual dexterity and grace, Mayor Mare spits the flowers into the trash can in the corner, kicks up the window with her hind leg, and scoops as much flower petals off the desk and out the window.
  760. >”Oh hello there! Welcome to my office. I think I remember you. Mrs. Express, yes? A long way from Cloudsdale.”
  761. >”We’re here so my employee here can have some paperwork finished.”
  762. “I need to have an official identity for the government I helped create.”
  763. >Mayor pulls out some documents.
  764. >”Very well. Who are your parents?”
  765. “Mother is the consuming void, Entropy. Father is the ever distant Time.”
  766. >”Oh dear.”
  767. 7/15
  769. >”Well that was enlightening. Never realized just how old you and your sister were.”
  770. >Sitting the hospital waiting room filling even more paperwork.
  771. “Going to be interesting when they try to draw blood.”
  772. >Little Mail Order pales at that.
  773. >”Needles are scary.”
  774. “That they are. No one really likes them.”
  775. >”Nopony.”
  776. >You glance down at the little filly.
  777. >”You say words weird.”
  778. >”Order! Don't talk like that to a stallion. My apologies Prince Artemis. My filly has been very rude today.”
  779. >Express was giving her child the Look.
  780. >It was super effective.
  781. >”Sorry.”
  782. >She offers you a sucker she got from the nurse.
  783. >Grumbling you accept the offering.
  784. “No more candy. Just listen to your mother.”
  785. >”Prince Artemis, the nurse will be ready to see you. Please come this way.”
  786. >You put aside the paperwork, and leave your boss behind.
  787. >Leaving one sitting room for another.
  788. >Diagrams of the pony body line the wall, you are pretty sure the skeleton does not look like that.
  789. >”Prince Artemis? I'm coming in.”
  790. >A young white mare trots in pushing in a trolley with random horsie hospital equipment.
  791. >”Hello. I'm Nurse Redheart and I'll be taking care of you.”
  792. >Right, not a doctor here.
  793. “This is going to be a baseline, because I am not going to stay in this form. Once my magic is restored I'll be significantly larger.”
  794. >Redheart puts on a stethoscope.
  795. >Wait a moment, how is she going to use that?
  796. >”That's very interesting. Now breathe deeply when I tell you.”
  797. >That tone is not appreciated.
  798. 8/15
  800. >Nurse Redheart frowns as she listens, taps her tool and tries again.
  801. >That’s the tide. Is that normal?”
  802. “Varely it is my proven dominion over the movements of the ocean.”
  803. >”Okay then, let's move on to your pupil reaction. Please don't blink when I shine this little light on your eyes.”
  804. >Redheart brings up the little flashlight.
  805. >She is carefully watching you as she boops the one switch with her nose.
  806. >Screaming was what you were not expecting.
  807. >”Ow, ow, ow. Did? Did your eyes just reflect all light? I think I'm seeing spots. How?”
  808. “The Moon and I are connected. It reflects the light from the sun.”
  809. >Nurse Redheart rubs her eyes while she tries to find her little hat after it fell off.
  810. >”Ok. I get it. What other strange things can you do?”
  811. “My body changes based on the phases of the moon. Other than that, normalish pony functions.”
  812. >She groans as she wonders if she should throw out the physical form.
  813. >”Must stallions make everything difficult? Let me guess you also control libido because you are the night life.”
  814. >You tilt your head, somewhat amused you are incidentally messing with this mare.
  815. “Don't be ridiculous, that's my sister’s thing. Unless she dropped her fertility title.”
  816. >She stares at you with a dropped jaw, clearly her question was not remotely serious.
  817. >”You are pulling my tail. Princess Celestia represents purity and all that stuff.”
  818. >A grin forms as you lean down to her eye level.
  819. “Oh? Did she say this herself? If she's abandoned the title maybe I should take up the mantle. Someone has to make sure the subjects produce the next generation.”
  820. >Steam boils from the nurse’s ears as the once white mare turns red.
  821. >”O-open your mouth and say aw.”
  822. 9/15
  824. >What a day this has been, but at least your job is now official.
  825. >Felt good being home, with your housemates.
  826. >Twilight is sitting across the table, you made tacos.
  827. >Spike is digging in like he's never eaten a day in his life.
  828. >”I love not having to cook all the time. Twilight spent all day here making her job official.”
  829. “Well thank you for filling our pantry.”
  830. >Glancing back to the unicorn, she seems to be perplexed by her meal.
  831. >”This is good.”
  832. “Thank you.”
  833. >”How do you know what tacos are?”
  834. >Oh, that’s an interesting question.
  835. >”I’ve had it before.”
  836. >She tilts her head like something wasn’t processing right.
  837. >Her eyes seemed to be studying you.
  838. “If you are trying to decide how to make me your husband you can stop right there.”
  839. >That got her going, Twilight’s hair stands up straight and starts to wave her hooves.
  840. >”No, no, no. This morning was an accident. I didn’t meal, wait no, mean to imply any advances on you, Prince Artemis.”
  841. >Spike is clutching his stomach and he roars in laughter.
  842. >”The look on your face is priceless!”
  843. >Twilight whinnys in anger.
  844. >”Spike cut it out.”
  845. >That only makes him laugh harder about to fall out of the chair.
  846. >A mint materializes next to Twilight.
  847. >”Well now that you have finished your food, your dragon breath stinks!”
  848. >The candy is lodged into Spike’s mouth, forcing him to nearly gag.
  849. >”Ok, I get it. Bleh, don’t need to force candy into my mouth.”
  850. >Twilight snorts before she pulls out another piece of candy.
  851. >”Prince Artemis, would you like a mint candy?”
  852. >Perspective narrows at the offering, and you take it.
  853. “Twilight.”
  854. >She pauses at your tone.
  855. >“Yes?”
  856. ”What is Nightmare Night?”
  857. 10/15
  859. >Two pairs of eyes widen at your question.
  860. >Carefully you place the mint down on the table.
  861. >Spike seems to look from side to side.
  862. >”Well, um, look at all of these dishes. I’m going to go clean them! See ya!”
  863. >A Spike shaped dust cloud slowly dissipates as all the dishes vanish just as quickly.
  864. >Twilight shifts uncomfortably, ears completely flat.
  865. >”It’s a holiday about Nightmare Moon.”
  866. “Yes. Yes it is.”
  867. >”I’ve done some research on the subject when I was little. I always had fun dressing up, but you know me I had to find out why I could get so much candy.”
  868. “Did you parents tell you I would find you and eat you?”
  869. >She slowly nods.
  870. >”It was an old tradition. A prevailing theory was that it was started in response to the moon suddenly changing overnight. Ponies had no explanation for why a pony’s face appeared on the moon, but it did come with ill omen. Nightmares became more prevalent, so ponies thought it was connected.”
  871. >Interesting, could easily see that happening.
  872. “With no one able to regulate nightmares, I’d imagine the sudden onslaught of sleepless nights would lead to paranoia. Rather ironic given what I was trying to do.”
  873. >”R-right. That seemed like the most reasonable explanation in my studies. You regulated nightmares?”
  874. >Getting up from the table, you take the piece of candy and walk upstairs.
  875. “Yes. One of my realms is that of dreams, I would protect our ponies from night terrors that plagued them. Seems that ponies got used to that over time. Made an entire celebration for it. Another reason how I became unnecessary.”
  876. >Twilight raises a hoof, calling your name, but doesn't say anything else to you.
  877. >”I’m an idiot.”
  878. 11/15
  880. >Sunset looms overhead, you sit patiently on the balcony.
  881. >Twilight and Spike don’t come up to talk to you.
  882. >They mutter about downstairs before they had to their room.
  883. >Bunkering down for the night.
  884. >The sun lowers, as ceremony for your sister.
  885. >Spotting her from on high, she descends with the sun.
  886. >Open wings, and sweet smile.
  887. >”Brother. My dear brother.”
  888. >Smile, there is no need to darken her day.
  889. >Or maybe you should.
  890. >No.
  891. >Lay down your troubled mind.
  892. “Sister. Shall we attempt again? Perhaps the day has brought about new change.”
  893. >Wings envelop you, her soft breath on your withers.
  894. >”Don’t change too quickly on me. You are quite adorable as you are.”
  895. “You enjoy being the bigger sister too much, but it isn’t so bad.”
  896. >Practically feel like a small child in her embrace.
  897. >”Very well. Let’s see how much you’ve grown.”
  898. >Right, time to focus.
  899. >Stare at the moon, magic pulsing from your horn.
  900. >Just become one with it, let it out.
  901. >Let it all out.
  902. >You can do this.
  903. >Magic flows out and reaches like a hand to pull up a ball.
  904. >Shadows fall on your failing magic.
  905. >Doubt edges your thoughts with failure.
  906. >The moon hangs as a reminder.
  907. >Can’t escape what you did.
  908. >Tears are cracking through.
  909. >Legs are wobbling, barely holding you up like a newborn.
  910. >Celestia must have noticed as she quickly casts the spell, allowing the sun and moon to exchange places.
  911. >”Arty? Artemis, what’s wrong?”
  912. >You can barely look at her, your mind wants to scream.
  913. >Take the candy and put it down between you two.
  914. >She looks at it, confused, obviously.
  915. “I met a child today. She offered me candy.”
  916. >Sister pales.
  917. “Why? It would have been better to be forgotten.”
  918. 12/15
  920. >Both of you stare at the candy.
  921. >You are such a jerk.
  922. >I have a right to know.
  923. >This is not how you treat your sister.
  924. >You shouldn’t be a monster in the public eye.
  925. >This was out of her hand, or hoof.
  926. >All this did was pump up her own status.
  927. >Shut up!
  928. >I don’t deserve this.
  929. “Well maybe I do deserve this.”
  930. >Crap, crap, crap you said that out loud.
  931. >”No.”
  932. >Celestia is staring hard at you.
  933. >”Nightmare Moon had you in his grip. He is a monster.”
  934. >Lean back in indignation.
  935. “Excuse you? Do you assume I was some naive summoner that was a puppet to some foreign demon? I was Nightmare Moon.”
  936. >A hoof stomps down hard, the wooden boards groan in protest.
  937. >”That is not what happened. You were not yourself. I could see it in your eyes. The way you talked. Your actions of hatred.”
  938. >Her voice is sharp, and commanding.
  939. >Like a mother telling a child the truth he was denying.
  940. >Only, you know that isn’t the case.
  941. “My intentions were clear as your sun’s light. There is no smoke and mirrors here. There is no scapegoat we can sacrifice to the altar. I was him, and he was I!”
  942. >You stomp as well, crushing the candy under your hoof.
  943. >”Artemis. I can’t. I can’t believe that.”
  944. >How long did your sister live with this?
  945. >A thousand years to figure how what went wrong.
  946. “They do!”
  947. >You point out to the kingdom.
  948. “I am the monster to them. Your intentions might have been to put the blame on another, but they don’t see it like that. I hide in the shadows to feast on the young, come in on dark nightmares to stuff my belly.”
  949. >Wait, nightmares.
  950. 13/15
  952. >Inspiration dawns on you.
  953. “Nightmares. How many times have you relived it? The sleepless nights that haunted you.”
  954. >Celestia’s commanding aura had been chipped away, she stares defeated.
  955. >”I’ve spent many nights, lost count really. You’ve always been on my mind and in my heart. I would wake up screaming for you every blue moon or so.”
  956. “I.”
  957. >Take out a tissue and wipe away the tears from her eyes.
  958. “We are going to bed in your room. I see what I need to do to help you heal. Skies above, I can be really thick sometime.”
  959. >She coughs out a forced laugh.
  960. >”What? What’s this sudden switch around?”
  961. “You might be the most important pony in all of Equestria’s history, but you are still a pony. You are still vulnerable to the doubts and guilt in your subconscious. I don’t know if you ever confided with another, but the dreams were always my domain.”
  962. >Celestia sits, and lies down.
  963. >She is very quiet.
  964. >”Are you coming home?”
  965. “I am not ready to call that place my home, but I will stay with you each night.”
  966. >Push her nose up with yours.
  967. >”What about what you just talked about?”
  968. >How do you deal with that?
  969. “That is going to take a while to heal. I don’t know what to do about my image. But, I think the best way to help myself is to help you. I can walk in at least one pony’s dreams, and I’ll protect you.”
  970. >She snorts a little, her horn glows to ready a teleport.
  971. >”Protect me. Some big sister I am.”
  972. >There is a flash before you find yourself in an unfamiliar spacious place.
  973. >Ornate furniture, pictures, and one very large bed.
  974. >Celestia pulls the covers aside.
  975. 14/15
  977. >She has you pulled close.
  978. >”This has something I’ve always hoped for. Every day and every night.”
  979. >Everything is soft, makes your room feels like cardboard in comparison.
  980. >Once again, like last night, large wings cover you like a shield.
  981. >She loves using her wings like this.
  982. >The warm breath of your sister mixes with your naturally chilled breath.
  983. >Practically sink into the bed and her.
  984. >Celestia is slowly dozing off, but not before she hums a lullaby.
  985. >Occasionally she mutters words.
  986. >”Give it. Words. Sweet harmony. Melody of love. Sing a melody. Love.”
  987. >Just like her sun, Celestia is out like a light.
  988. >You cast a quick spell, whenever she starts to have nightmares you will know.
  989. >No nightmare will curse her ever again.
  990. >Sleep peacefully dear sister.
  991. >Tomorrow is a new day.
  992. >You need to form relationships.
  993. >Ones that can help you, save you even.
  994. >The Elements of Harmony might have saved your life, but this is just the beginning.
  995. >Friendships will make you a new person.
  996. >For all the damage you have wrought.
  997. “Hopefully I can learn how to live with myself.”
  998. 15/15
  1000. PART 4
  1001. >Day enjoying the city life in…
  1002. >Not in Equestria that's for sure.
  1003. >The busy downtown traffic sings the usual melody.
  1004. >The coffee house’s outdoor balcony allowed you and your guest to take in the sights rather easily.
  1005. >The towering skyscrapers, to the bustling sidewalks.
  1006. >”What? What is this!?”
  1007. >This morning brew is especially delicious.
  1008. >Just the perfect amount of cream and a pinch of mocha flavoring.
  1009. >Though your friend across the table doesn’t seem to agree with his.
  1010. >”What is this? Who are you? Where is my treacherous sister, Celestia?”
  1011. >Not that he has much choice in the matter, not that he would know.
  1012. >If memory serves you correctly, your home is closeby.
  1013. >”You wretched beast, what did you do? I am Nightmare Moon, I will not be denied my revenge.”
  1014. “No.”
  1015. >Like the simple minded shadow he is, Nightmare wretches back like something just grabbed him by the throat.
  1016. “I am Nightmare Moon. And I am not burdened by you no longer. You are nothing.”
  1017. >A blue spark flashes in his eyes as his horn is lowered at you.
  1018. >”You are mistaken.”
  1019. >The blue magic blast that would have knocked your head off dissipates like smoke before it even reaches you.
  1020. “No.”
  1021. >Nightmare Moon is frozen in shock, his eyes darting around.
  1022. >”W-what are you? Who are you!?”
  1023. “I already told you, but being as you are a mere copy I’ll explain. I am Prince Artemis. Though I am enjoying my old body of Anonymous the Human.”
  1024. >Jaw is wide open, not that you seem to care as you sample more of your drink.
  1025. >”Prince Artemis? Anon? What is this madness! I’m in control of Prince Artemis, a pony! I control his mind and poison it against his sister. Where is Celestia!? Answer me!”
  1026. 1/18
  1028. “My sister is none of your concern, aberration.”
  1029. >Nightmare Moon clams up, sitting up straight in the chair slightly too big for him.
  1030. >A waiter walks by asking if you need a refill.
  1031. >You wave him away, as you are still half empty.
  1032. >Nightmare Moon is eyeing you like a defeated Diamond Dog growling weakly at his new superior.
  1033. >”This is a dream.”
  1034. >Now it is your turn to be surprised.
  1035. “Ho, ho, ho, this is interesting. You have a brain after all. I’m very impressed.”
  1036. >He glares like an angry toddler after being told he wasn’t going to have two scoops of icecream.
  1037. >”I’m the dream then, but not for you.”
  1038. “Correct. My dear sister, Celestia, has been plagued by you since I was imprisoned all those centuries ago. You’ve done a cruel work making her dreams not peaceful.”
  1039. >Hooves stamp down on the table as Nightmare Moon rises up.
  1040. >”She deserves it! You know this! She wronged us, hurt us, weakened us. Wounded us like mere gazelle before a lion slaughter. Now here you are telling me that you have made peace with that horse!”
  1041. >A backhand loudly smacks across his cheek.
  1042. >The city is frozen in time, you rise up from your chair, towering over the alicorn.
  1043. “You deserve nothing parasite. Now and forever you will never touch my sister ever again.”
  1044. >Rubbing his cheek, Nightmare Moon sucks in the spittle dripping from her mouth.
  1045. >He lunges with murderous intention, stating as much
  1046. >Caring not, you grab him by his outstretched hooves.
  1047. >Quick jerk and a simple misdirection, you twist him around and slam him into the ground.
  1048. >One hand grabs his throat, while the other fist punches him.
  1049. >Legs wrap around his torso, twisting it to make his spine burn from the torture.
  1050. 2/18
  1052. >Nightmare Moon tries to bite you, but you give him another punch as a reward.
  1053. >”Hate her! Hate her!”
  1054. “I loathe you and everything that you are.”
  1055. >Another punch, there is much satisfaction.
  1056. >A smile drapes your face as you start to give in.
  1057. “You want hate? I’ll show you hate.”
  1058. >Red colors your vision, as you punch again and again and again.
  1059. >The hand around his throat spider crawls up to the horn.
  1060. >More punching, it is so satisfying.
  1061. >His scream cries out desperately as your grip around the horn tightens.
  1062. >One jerk and a twist is enough to put great strain on it.
  1063. >Another punch chokes his cries of pain.
  1064. “I hate you. I hate you. I hate myself for what you are.”
  1065. >A deafening crack rings out as the alicorn horn is freed from Nightmare Moon’s forehead.
  1066. >Ichor has painted your edges.
  1067. >Teeth are missing, eyes blinded shut, jaw swollen.
  1068. “Abomination.”
  1069. >With a flick of the wrist the horn spins in your hand until it is facing down.
  1070. >Pointed like a spear above his head, you ready to plunge it.
  1071. >So you do.
  1072. >Into your visage.
  1073. >”Time to wake up.”
  1074. >---------<
  1075. >The world vanishes, your form mists away, reality returns.
  1076. >Drapery hangs overhead, and a familiar body is rolling out of bed.
  1077. >Celestia yawns, not a tired one, but a fulfilled happy yawn.
  1078. >”Did you hear me? Time to wake up.”
  1079. “I hear you. I’m up. Just need to stretch these old joints.”
  1080. >A giggle erupts from sister and she tries to cover it with her hoof.
  1081. >”Old joints? Brother, you look like a young stallion. Not a day past twenty.”
  1082. >Hooves clop on the floor with a satisfying stomp.
  1083. 3/18
  1085. “Is that what you tell all the cute stallions? I’m sure it woos them at the nightclub.”
  1086. >A slight stumble in her step gives you slight satisfaction.
  1087. >”Please, I don’t have time to solitate a stallion at a bar. Thank you by the way, I had a restful night.”
  1088. >Stretch your legs out and feel phantom fingers from your dreams.
  1089. “You almost had a nightmare, but I was able to put it down.”
  1090. >Both of you walk to the balcony in her room overlooking the kingdom.
  1091. >The moon is ready to sink below the horizon.
  1092. >It hasn’t been nearly long enough to push it, but it is always worth a try.
  1093. >Just a small easy to use spell for max range, maybe you can touch the moon.
  1094. “Come on. Just brush it.”
  1095. >Energy sparks as you push, it is definitely not going to reach.
  1096. >A warm feeling tickles your horn.
  1097. >Looking up you see Celestia’s magic intertwine with your own.
  1098. >A rush of heat colors your cheeks, but you don't say anything.
  1099. >Her magic pushes you along, helping it stretch.
  1100. >The essence of her power is bare to you, like a clear summer day.
  1101. >It begins to intertwine with your own magic, like a lead dancer.
  1102. >With experience that only a thousand years can give, she casually guides you to the moon.
  1103. >The moon, you can touch it.
  1104. >Heavenly orb feels so familiar, like coming back home.
  1105. >Celestia pushes it with a soft nudge.
  1106. >Everything snaps back as she lets go of the moon and your magic.
  1107. >Light brightens the room as the sun flows over the horizon finally announcing the morning.
  1108. >”Well, we did it together. The sun and moon have traded places for a new day.”
  1109. >You can’t look at her, still embarrassed.
  1110. 4/18
  1112. >”Brother, is something the matter? Your blushing is brighter than the sun.”
  1113. “Sister, dear sister, that was incredibly intimate.”
  1114. >Celestia looks down at you with a raised eyebrow.
  1115. >Your wings attempt to hide your face and your blush.
  1116. >She sucks in her lips as she runs through what could possibly be the matter.
  1117. >Then it dawns on her, much like the sun currently.
  1118. >”Oh. Oh! That, um, yes that. Wow, that has been a long time. That is no longer considered intimate to use magic with each other.”
  1119. >Peaking through your feathers, you almost hiss.
  1120. “What devient generation broke that boundary? That use to only be done with married couples. Everything is bare, do ponies now a days just flaunt their magic on one another.”
  1121. >Celestia snorts, like what you say is incredibly amusing.
  1122. >”It really isn’t seen that way. Though I too felt the same way when it happened in that generation. Pure Harmony the movement was called.”
  1123. “If any mare or stallion dare to handle me like so I will be very cross. Regardless, I have work. Please send me back to my home.”
  1124. >Sister drags her front right hoof across the carpet a few times.
  1125. >”Must you? Please stay with me.”
  1126. >A quick stomp, and a stern look always works.
  1127. “I mustn't slack on duties I’ve sworn to perform. Besides, I’m not going anywhere, you know where I live.”
  1128. >Celestia sighs with that sad smile.
  1129. >”Very well, have a good day brother.”
  1130. >Like a solar flare, there is a brief flash before you find yourself back in your old dusty room.
  1131. >Quickly you grab a rag and start to rub your horn.
  1132. “Ew, ew, ew. I will be feeling her for days. I need to make something to eat now before work.”
  1133. 5/18
  1135. >Day lunch break once again in Equestria.
  1136. >”Lunch break!!!”
  1137. >Ears pin down as Ms. Hooves once again shouts from the top of her lungs.
  1138. “I’m aware. Why did we come back to the same establishment?”
  1139. >Tilted eyes look at the entire menu order, you are sure that she already knows all the items being sold.
  1140. >”It’s the best place in town. Great job today Mr. Prince.”
  1141. >Most of the menu doesn’t look all that tasty, but food is food.
  1142. “Please call me Artemis. Even if I did adopt my title, prince isn’t actually my name.”
  1143. >Ms. Hooves is humming to herself as she picks out her food item.
  1144. >You are still not quite sure if she is messing with you yet.
  1145. >Some do play the fool until the right moment.
  1146. >Or perhaps you are still just a stallion in her eyes.
  1147. >”Whatcha gettn’, Arty?”
  1148. >It sounds gross, as burgers are supposed to be made of meat not hay.
  1149. “Just the standard meal please.”
  1150. >The pimply waitress simply gawks at you two, clearly her young adolescent brain needs a few more jumpstarts.
  1151. “Did you not hear our order or do I have to repeat myself slower?”
  1152. >She starts to stutter through her braces.
  1153. >”S-sorthy. A number 5 with large Dr. Mare, and a hotti-Number 1 with water.”
  1154. >Simply nod and move on.
  1155. “Yes. Please deliver it post haste, we can only stay here for so long.”
  1156. >The gangly teenager scrambles away holding the order in her mouth.
  1157. >”You say we don’t have to stay here long, but you’ve done almost a full day's work already. Your magic is really strong.”
  1158. “Productivity is good, but we can’t slack off. After All, I’m sure many people will have their eyes on me.”
  1159. >”People?”
  1160. >Her head tilts.
  1161. 6/18
  1163. “My apologies, I meant ponies.”
  1164. >That is a strange mistake, not one she will be able to easily connect.
  1165. “As public servants we are held responsible for many things, just because we excel at our job doesn’t mean we should slow down. Many of the common ponies rely on us to do our work.”
  1166. >For a moment, you see Ms. Hooves eyes focus on something.
  1167. >”Just like that hunk of a stallion wearing a uniform.”
  1168. >Turn to see the object of her gaze, you see a white unicorn royal guard marching around.
  1169. “He’s decked out in the real ceremonial armor, he means to show off.”
  1170. >Ms. Hooves sighs dreamily.
  1171. >”Wow, wonder what he’s looking for?”
  1172. >A purple blur smears across your vision as you only blink a moment.
  1173. >Twilight Sparkle, your roommate, has currently clomped the stallion and is screaming happily.
  1174. >”Ooooh, the new librarian has a brother.”
  1175. “Looks like it, though he didn’t seem to expect the sudden collision.”
  1176. >Hopefully he is here only for family business and nothing serious is actually happening.
  1177. >A gasp from your partner jerks your head back to her.
  1178. >She is pointing a stray shaky hoof to the sky.
  1179. >”W-W-Wonderbolt! It’s a Wonderbolt!”
  1180. >What the hell is a Wonderbolt?
  1181. >Same scene, repeat again, and you see a pegasus zipping around the clouds.
  1182. >She’s wearing a blue skin tight uniform.
  1183. “I don’t know what a wonderbolt is, but she is also looking for something. Makes me worried.”
  1184. >Ms. Hooves ‘ptths’ and tries to wave her hoof at you.
  1185. >”If there was an emergency there would be an announcement. I guess you wouldn’t know who the Wonderbolts are, imagine the best pegasus fliers ever. Something every young filly inspires to be one day.”
  1186. >That forlorn sigh tells you it was once a personal goal.
  1187. 7/18
  1189. >The Wonderbolt gets waylaid by Rainbow Dash, by the way she seems to be acting, Dash is also a fan.
  1190. >Dash keeps trying to talk to her, much to the mare’s frustration.
  1191. “Seems like she has company too.”
  1192. >Derpy ‘ooohs’ once more, you regret having to ask.
  1193. “Let me guess, you spy another important figure.”
  1194. >Ms. Hooves nods as thrice repeats the same action.
  1195. >A carriage rolls down the street with an insignia on the side that you actually do recognize.
  1196. “That’s House Platinum. They were, and imagine still are, a powerful unicorn noble family.”
  1197. >”Oh yes, I deliver to them sometimes to Canterlot. That must be Prince Blueblood. I recognize his stature anywhere. Kind of a meanie, I didn’t mean to crash into his window. Still got him his package.”
  1198. >Something is going on, and you don’t like it.
  1199. >Focus on everything and everyone.
  1200. >The waitress comes by with your meals, and quietly places your food down with professional smoothness.
  1201. >Way too smooth.
  1202. >You look up at the waitress.
  1203. “You didn’t have a mustache earlier.”
  1204. >A curse slips her lips as the earth pony tries to give you the slip.
  1205. >Casually, your horn lights up and entangles her.
  1206. >A gadget tries to roll out of her hooves, but you quickly snuff it out.
  1207. >Drag the earth pony closer to your table, you sit her down.
  1208. “Well, well, what do we have here?”
  1209. >”Oh hi Bon Bon! I didn’t know you also worked at this restaurant. Who’s running your candy store?”
  1210. >The creamy color mare blushes at being called out so easily.
  1211. >”Derpy, shut up.”
  1212. “Bon Bon is it?”
  1213. >Past her angry glare, you see a little spark.
  1214. “I see the emblem of my sister in the back of your eye. You work for her.”
  1215. 8/18
  1217. >”Bucking tartarus, you can see that too!? Look passed my disguise so easily.”
  1218. >Ms. Hooves is already eating her food, seeing as your new guest isn’t going anywhere fast you start to do the same.
  1219. “You must be a special agent then, what organization I’m unsure. Why are you watching me? I told my sister I didn’t need a babysitter.”
  1220. >Bon Bon doesn’t say anything as you munch away.
  1221. “Or you are keeping tabs for her on how I’m doing. That would be something she would do.”
  1222. >She sighs.
  1223. >”Prince Artemis!”
  1224. >A new voice catches your attention.
  1225. >The stallion royal guard is marching up to you, and stops short with a salute.
  1226. >”Prince Artemis...and Special Agent Sweetie Drops? Nevermind, I am Captain of the Guard Shining Armor.”
  1227. >Bon Bon whines under your spell as her struggle renews fruitlessly.
  1228. >”Brother, you are here to meet Prince Artemis? Guess you haven’t been introduced to him officially. Prince Artemis, this is my brother, Shining Armor.
  1229. >Thanks, Twilight
  1230. >He already told me that.
  1231. >Before you can get a word in, a blue blur zips by overhead, flips, and lands with a powerful stomp.
  1232. >”Finally found you, Prince Artemis.”
  1233. >A jostle nearly knocks you out of your seat as Rainbow Dash bodily slams right next to you.
  1234. >She is prancing in place at a rate that would make a humming bird jealous.
  1235. >Spewing out what you believe is words, Dash is gushing all over you and the Wonderbolt.
  1236. >Still can make out who this is, Spitfire.
  1237. >”Relax, you don’t need to tell him my entire biography. He probably doesn’t even know what a Wonderbolt is.”
  1238. >Dash gasps loud enough to make your ears ring.
  1239. >”How is that possible!? The Wonderbolts are the best thing ever!”
  1240. 9/18
  1242. >Spitfire rolls her eyes with a knowing smirk.
  1243. >”Cause the Wonderbolts weren’t established until after Nightmare Moon. Prince Artemis, I’m Captain Spitfire of the Wonderbolts. Wait, when did you get here Armor?”
  1244. >Shining Armor looks slightly annoyed, he gets ready to say some kind of retort.
  1245. >It dies when a blaring trumpet announces someone’s presence.
  1246. “The carriage from earlier, and Ms. Rarity alongside it.”
  1247. >A servant rushes out to the carriage door, swinging it open.
  1248. >Red carpet unrolls from the ride and ends at the table.
  1249. >A small pillow boings up at the end of the carpet.
  1250. >Ponies around you are holding their ears as the trumpets plays the traditional House Platinum melody.
  1251. >Another white unicorn saunters out, you are a little surprised that he is also a stallion.
  1252. >”Accouncing, Prince Blueblood regent of Canterlot in the presence of his majesty Prince Artemis, regent of the moon.”
  1253. >Rarity is swooing hardcore right now.
  1254. >Probably going to need a mop after this mess is over.
  1255. >Blueblood, with head held high, trots down the red carpet and stops in front of you.
  1256. >He tilts his horn down to you and waits.
  1257. >You stand up and stand in front of him.
  1258. >Hooves mirrored, horns crossed, and eyes locked.
  1259. “The Crown rules, the crown serves.”
  1260. >”The three tribes in harmony.”
  1261. “Earth is the foundation.”
  1262. >”Sky is the protection.”
  1263. “Mountain is the magic.”
  1264. >”Stand now before inheritor of Sun and Moon. May your reign last as they do.”
  1265. >Well that’s done, you sit back down and eat your sandwich.”
  1266. >Shining Armor and Spitfire are looking between you two.
  1267. >”What the buck was that!?”
  1268. >Blueblood flicks his mane aside.
  1269. >”Captain Armor, I didn’t see you there. That was the royal greeting between House and Head. It is an old tradition, not something you would understand.”
  1270. 10/18
  1272. >Wow, not sure if you like this guy.
  1273. >”What is that you are eating, Prince Artemis!? It looks disgusting.”
  1274. >Yeah, not going out of your way to see him.
  1275. >”Prince Artemis! There you are! I’ve been looking for you.”
  1276. >The loudest voice yet blows everyone away as the pink one arrives.
  1277. “Pinkie Pie.”
  1278. >”That’s-a me! I’ve been looking for you.”
  1279. >Dear me, what can make this crazy house nuttier?
  1280. >You hear Shining Armor mutter an ‘oh no’.
  1281. >Welp, this is not going to end well is it?
  1282. >Pinkie Pie runs away only to return a split second later dragging someone.
  1283. >”Whoa, not so fast. You’re going to make me hurl.”
  1284. >Pinkie doesn’t seem to care what her helpless victim says as she plops the mare decked out in dark armor right next to you.
  1285. >A waft of alcohol brushes your nostrils.
  1286. >”I knew I should have come.”
  1287. >The mare wobbles a bit before she gets a good look at you.
  1288. >”Oh. Oh buck. You’re real. Horse apples, you’re Prince Artemis.”
  1289. >Just going to let this play out, you glance between all these other important ponies.
  1290. >Armor looks disappointed, Blueblood looks disgusted, Spitfire has planted her hooves in her face.
  1291. >The mare removes her helmot allowing you to see the very fuzzy looking ears confirming that she is a thestral.
  1292. >”I’ma, um, Captain of the Night Guard.”
  1293. >You wait.
  1294. >”...Oh a name. Captain Nightshade mame. Sir!”
  1295. “I didn’t think I would still have a guard. Given that I was banished over a thousand years ago.”
  1296. >Nightshade is leaning in extremely close to you.
  1297. >”You. You're actually real. It’s a little late, but wow. Prince of the moon is back.”
  1298. >Did she really come all this way drunk?
  1299. >”You’re pretty cute.”
  1300. >Everything erupts.
  1301. 11/18
  1303. >Everyone is screaming at her, then each other, than at you to get your attention.
  1304. >Pinkie Pie seems to be saying that a gathering this big is a party, having already bought out decorations and cake.
  1305. >Dash,Twilight, and Twilight are trying to help but their voices are added to the bunch.
  1306. >Ponies around town have come to see the what the hullabaloo is all about.
  1307. >Chaos is spreading, and you are at the center of it all.
  1308. >Between all the neighing, whinnying, and hissing you take a nice long gulp of water.
  1309. >Pat your chest, and clear your throat.
  1310. “SILENCE!”
  1311. >Royal Canterlot Voice echoes throughout the land.
  1312. >Those in the immediate area are nearly pushed away by the force.
  1313. >Raise one hoof and point it at Bon Bon.
  1314. “You are free to go.”
  1315. >Magic around her releases, Bon Bon gulps as she quietly slinks away back into the crowd.
  1316. “Captain Shining Armor, Captain Spitfire, Prince Blueblood. If you wish to speak with me make an appointment.”
  1317. >Captain Armor tries to speak up, but you hush him with by raising a hoof high.
  1318. “I keep in contact with my sister, talk through her and she will tell me when and where. Not during my work hours.”
  1319. >Respectively they all nod.
  1320. >Including Nightshade, unfortunately for her.
  1321. “Not you, Captain Nightshade. We are having a talk tonight. Go back to Canterlot and I will summon you from your post.”
  1322. >Silence reigns over the meal.
  1323. “That is all. You are all dismissed.”
  1324. >With that, the group starts to dissipate, the herd that had grown around the nonsense return to their daily lives.
  1325. >Once again leaving Ms. Hooves and yourself.
  1326. “And Bon Bon it seems. Why are you here?”
  1327. >”You said I was free to go, but I wouldn’t mind lunch.”
  1328. 12/18
  1330. >You sigh as you stare down your half eaten hayburger.
  1331. >There is a small note next to it now.
  1332. >Pull it up and see a little ‘R’ insignia.
  1333. >Ms. Hooves hums as she notices what you are holding.
  1334. >”You got a letter! I don’t recall any in our mail bag.”
  1335. “This was dropped off during the confusion. ‘Prince Artemis, please visit my boutique. I would love to introduce you to my services and wares. Yours truly, Rarity.’
  1336. >Bon Bon is trying to get the waitress to come serve her, but seems to be failing.
  1337. >”Rarity is a gold digger. Mare still has a foalish desire to marry to a prince. Always has been since we were all young in this town.”
  1338. >And she just had two here.
  1339. “I’d imagine she is over the moon right now.”
  1340. >Ms. Hooves gives you a giggle-snort while Bon Bon gives you an unamused stare.
  1341. “So you are really here to spy on me?”
  1342. >Bon Bon shakes her head.
  1343. >”Not really. I’m semi-retired and have set up shop here in Ponyville. When you said you would be planting roots here Celestia asked me to watch you. That’s all really.”
  1344. >A little young to be retired, must have been in dangerous work.
  1345. >”Do you plan on visiting Rarity?”
  1346. “I have no need for her services. A tailor is more inline for what I need. If I need a hat I’d give her a shot.”
  1347. >Bon Bon ‘tsks’, you are thinking she is trying very hard to be professional and stonewall any emotions.
  1348. >Too bad she is an adorable little mare.
  1349. >”You won’t have much choice in the matter. She is a very pushy mare, but I don’t think she’ll try to take advantage of you.”
  1350. 13/18
  1352. >”Ms. Rarity is a nice pony!”
  1353. >Ms. Hooves is once again the ever glass half full.
  1354. >Bon is giving Derpy a very odd look, but doesn't say anything.
  1355. “If she went out of her way to escort Blueblood to me, then she knew where I was. I’m sure she is a nice pony. Everyone seems to want a piece of my time.
  1356. >This time you gave Bon Bon the very same look that she was passing to everyone else around her.
  1357. >To her credit, she does blush a little.
  1358. >”You didn’t have to catch me.”
  1359. “Then don’t be so obvious this time. A fake mustache, really?”
  1360. >Bon Bon grumbles under her breathe.
  1361. >”It normally works.”
  1362. >You point to Ms. Hooves, who is currently attaching said mustache upside down on her muzzle.
  1363. >”Look at me, I’m a fashionable stallion!”
  1364. “That’s it. I’m done with this lunch break. We’re back on the clock.”
  1365. >Your partner ‘woohoos’ and springs up from her seat.
  1366. >This day was nuts enough as is, just finish this work day and go home.
  1367. >---------<
  1368. >You sit at the table, Twilight is giving you an apologetic grin.
  1369. >Hope it is apologetic.
  1370. >Across the other side of the table, is her brother.
  1371. >Shining Armor seems to think himself very slick.
  1372. >”Well hello, Prince Artemis. Fancy meeting you here, I was just visiting my dear sister, Twilight Sparkle. Because I’m her brother. You know, gotta make sure the little sister is a-ok.”
  1373. >Closing your eyes, you simply sip your tea.
  1374. >Silence hangs over the lot of you.
  1375. >Twilight coughs and slightly scoots her chair in place.
  1376. >Shining Armor clears his throat.
  1377. >”So right. As Captain of the Guard, I’m sure you have several questions, and I have some things I would like to cover with you.”
  1378. 14/18
  1380. >Your tea cup freezes solid.
  1381. >Despite that, you calmly place it down.
  1382. >Shining gulps, but seems to keep a determined face.
  1383. >”I’ll let you start.”
  1384. >You open your eyes and glare.
  1385. >They both gasp and lean far back.
  1386. >Must have the slit iris right now you are so angry.
  1387. “Twilight, I will be skipping dinner. Hope you can make your own. Good. Night.”
  1388. >Purposefully step on each stair up to the balcony.
  1389. >It’s early, but maybe she’ll notice you sending up a magic flare.
  1390. >You charge up a spell and blast it straight up.
  1391. >Should be bright enough for someone to see in Cante, who put out the lights?
  1392. >”Guess who?”
  1393. “I didn’t even hear you teleport. You have gotten good.”
  1394. >A giggle brushes your ear.
  1395. >”You didn’t guess who I am.”
  1396. “After what we did this morning I am not going to accept this lowbrow teasing, Celestia.”
  1397. >Wings raise up from your eyes.
  1398. >No longer on the balcony, you are back in her room.
  1399. >She has gotten really good.
  1400. >”How was your day?”
  1401. >A groan escapes your lips.
  1402. “Most of Canterlot decided to come down to give their respects to me. What happened to the night guard? The captain was a slush and came onto me. The others were acting like a bunch of foals trying to out scream the other.”
  1403. >You stomp to the door and swing it open.
  1404. “Captain Nightshade, We will see you now!”
  1405. >The guards drop their spears in shock before you slam the door shut.
  1406. “I thought I made my intentions perfectly clear, should have been in every newspaper why I was staying in Ponyville. Then the freaking Captain of the Guard has the gall to disrespect my wishes and try to loophole my orders.”
  1407. 15/18
  1409. >Celestia watches you pace back and forth.
  1410. >”The night guard does have some identity issues I’m afraid.”
  1411. “Who’s in charge of them now? Are you in charge of your own guards? A stallion leading on top of that?”
  1412. >Sister puffs up her cheeks as everything else in the room become much more interesting to look at.
  1413. >”Brother, you are a stallion.”
  1414. “And since when have I been in charge of anything, even back so long ago everyone turned to you for rulership. Turns out that was the right choice to do, one thousand years of peace. Sister, there hasn’t been any government that has lasted nearly that long without some kind of strife. You certainly held down the entire kingdom without a stallion just fine.”
  1415. >”I married a few times, and I would have been so much happier if you were by my side.”
  1416. >You kick open the door again, don’t see your captain so you slam it shut.
  1417. “Happiness, or lack thereof, doesn’t change the fact that this kingdom didn’t need me. Ever. Even the nightmares didn’t slow the ponies down, they simply adapted and it became a fact of life”
  1418. >A knock at the door snaps your attention.
  1419. >The door guard pokes his head inside, he starts to say something but you cut him off.
  1420. “Captain! Get your tail in here!”
  1421. >Nightshade looks scared to step inside, but you magically grab her bodily and toss her in and slam the door.
  1422. >”P-princess, I mean Prince. Sir, your highness.”
  1423. “I can look past Captain Spitfire and Captain Armor for their intrusion, and Blueblood had the decency to greet me properly, but am I some kind of joke to you, Captain?”
  1424. >The testral is standing rigid, wings clamped as tightly as possible.
  1425. 16/18
  1427. >”No. No sir. I can explain. Poorly.”
  1428. >”Brother, please. No need to be upset.”
  1429. >You give your sister a stink eye, which shuts her up quickly.
  1430. >”Your highness, my work shift is at night, during the day I do indulge occasionally. As for why I was in Ponyville looking for you. I overheard Shining Armor planning on visiting you.”
  1431. >Her voice lowers a bit to a grumble.
  1432. >”Told me I had no business seeing you.”
  1433. >Voice quickly picks up to cover up her disgruntledness.
  1434. “I’m inclined to agree. I don’t know if you have business leading the night guard if you see me as wasted as you were. What does the night guard do now?”
  1435. >Nightshade trembles slightly as you lean over her.
  1436. >”We mostly just stay here in Canterlot. Make sure everything is safe here in the castle. We. There are not many guards compared to the Day guard. Recruits tend to favor the more charismatic day guard work.”
  1437. >Stopping short of a hair breathe, you stand up and walk away.
  1438. “Useless as I am it seems. Why even have the night guard if the day guard does all the work.”
  1439. >A sudden loud stomp almost makes you jump.
  1440. >Celestia has seem to have enough of your nonsense.
  1441. >”Artemis, I will not allow you to bad mouth yourself like that. I made sure the night guard persisted because they were yours to command. Just because you were banished didn’t mean I would dissolve any of your power. You may have decided to stay in Ponyville for the time being, but I have always planned for you to reclaim the power that is rightfully yours.”
  1442. >A snort escapes your muzzle.
  1443. >Before you retort, there is dragon fire and a letter falls in front of your sister.
  1444. 17/18
  1446. >”A letter from Twilight.”
  1447. >Celestia unravels the scroll and begins to read out loud.
  1448. >’Dear Princess Celestia, today I learned that just because you have good intentions doesn’t always mean you will have the results you are looking for. My friend is trying to fit in a place that is far removed from what he would call home. There is a lot of pressure on him. My friends and I believe in him and we all want him to succeed. It’s going to be tough, and maybe sometimes I should just back off and let him do his own thing. He is incredible.’
  1449. >’Sincerely yours, Twilight Sparkle.’
  1450. >She closes it and puts it down next to her tea cup.
  1451. >The room is quiet for a while before you speak up.
  1452. “Captain Nightshade, you have been without directions and orders for a while now. I can accept some responsibility in making the Night Guard worthy of protecting Equestria and its citizens. I apologize for my wrath. You are dismissed unless you have anything else to say.”
  1453. >The bat pony bows.
  1454. >”No, Prince Artemis. Thank you for your mercy.”
  1455. >She trots quickly out the room, softly opening the door and closes it.
  1456. >You walk out to the balcony and sit down.
  1457. >Staring up at the sky you wait for the time to change.
  1458. >Celetia sits next to you with her cup of tea.
  1459. >”Your self loathing is not healthy, please do not hold on to that grudge.”
  1460. “I am worse pony.”
  1461. >A single wing wraps around you.
  1462. >”None of that now.”
  1463. “I will look into getting a shrink.”
  1464. >Celestia gives you a strange look before nodding.
  1465. >”Don’t forgo friendship. You’ll find many ponies value you.”
  1466. “I love you.”
  1467. >”I love you too.”
  1468. 18/18
  1470. PART 5
  1471. >Day lots of packages to deliver in Equestria.
  1472. >Working for the post office can be a good way to meet ponies.
  1473. >All who want chit chat with you.
  1474. >Like the mayor, you are holding a single small envelope for her while flying outside her window.
  1475. >She wanted airmail.
  1476. >”Meeting you outside my window like this, ponies will start to notice.How are you my prince?”
  1477. >Mayor Mare is holding an assortment of lavender flowers.
  1478. >”Care for an exchange?”
  1479. >How did she know?
  1480. “Interesting choice of flowers. Would have thought you would present a rose after last time.”
  1481. >She waggles her eyebrows only slightly with her toothy grin.
  1482. >”I do have an eye for what ponies desire.”
  1483. “Ms. Mayor, I see what you are trying to do, but please understand you are far too young for me.”
  1484. >An audible ‘thunk’ is heard as her jaw hits the bottom of the window.
  1485. >”T-To young?! What?! I am not-”
  1486. “It would be greatly inappropriate if I take advantage of a young filly’s love. I am sorry, but I am too old for you.”
  1487. >Her eyes are darting everywhere trying to process what you just implied.
  1488. >Words seem to fail her so you slip her letter on the boutique of flowers.
  1489. “Have a lovely day.”
  1490. >Dodging any further questions, you flutter off and head to the next destination.
  1491. >Rainbow Dash had a box that needs to be dropped in her front door.
  1492. >Floating houses are a pain to make an address for.
  1493. >Speaking of, you see the customer napping on a lazy cloud.
  1494. >Poor work ethic aside, maybe you can give it to her.
  1495. “Ms. Dash, I hope your job isn't too stressful.”
  1496. >An eye shoots open, she scans you and gives a small smirk.
  1497. 1/14
  1499. >”When you can do your job in less than ten seconds, you have all the time in the world. Sweet, the package for you.”
  1500. >You look back down at the box, still says for Rainbow Dash.
  1501. >”Relax, I'm not messing with ya. I just bought some stuff I'm gonna give you. Trust me you’ll love it!”
  1502. “You ordered products from Cloudsdale to give to me? I'm unsure why.”
  1503. >Dash yoinks the box and messily rips it open.
  1504. >There is a loud squeal as she pulls out a jersey.
  1505. >”Perfect! Wonderbolts jersey with Spitfire’s name, Wonderbolts hat, and the cute bobble head of Fleetfoot. She's also a Wonderbolt.”
  1506. >Her athletic prowess allows her to juggle between the materials with ease.
  1507. “So you wish to decorate me like a cheerleader.”
  1508. >Dash bites her bottom lip before shaking away whatever lewd thoughts she had.
  1509. >”No, no, no it's not like that. So you got a meeting with Captain Spitfire.”
  1510. “Eventually.”
  1511. >“But you are like ancient old and stuff, you’ve missed out on so much amazing stuff.”
  1512. >Holding back a glare you simply turn away to fly to the next destination.
  1513. >Dash floats upside down above you and continues to rattle on.
  1514. >”So to help you out I bought a starters fan kit for the legendary Wonderbolts! I even got you tickets.”
  1515. >Pausing a moment to glance up at the joyful Dash as she holds all the stuff.
  1516. “You bought all that for me? Dash, I can ask my sister for that. You didn't have to.”
  1517. >With a flip she drops the hat on your work hat.
  1518. >”Well, yeah, I guess, but I feel it is my duty to introduce you. Trust me, you'll love it.”
  1519. 2/14
  1521. >A sigh escapes your lips as you magically lift the hat off your head and plop it on her noggin.
  1522. “Take the box to the library. I'll look through it after work and figure out when I can go see them.”
  1523. >You think you hear a cheer of appreciation, but with how fast she flew off you can't be sure.
  1524. >The hat is back on your head as well.
  1525. >Shrug and flip it backwards so you can look cool wearing two hats.
  1526. >Well, cool if you were a hat obsessed mercenary.
  1527. >”Nice hat, Prince.”
  1528. >Ms. Hooves has a knack for giving fly-by compliments, she’s gone before you can retort.
  1529. >Right, next on this list, Fluttershy and her heavy ‘fragile’ box.
  1530. >Haven’t seen her at all since that fateful day, most likely busy.
  1531. >She’s all the way across town.
  1532. >Well, magic has slowly been improving, let’s try a teleport.
  1533. >You’re not lazy, it’s good practice.
  1534. >The all-encompassing void takes you, the chill of nothing is but a brief bite and reality returns
  1535. >Good to see mother again.
  1536. “What a quaint little cottage.”
  1537. >Fluttershy lives well for whatever job she has, package says she needs to sign this one.
  1538. >A quick knock on the door and you wait.
  1539. >Eyes you peering at you, don’t see them but you can feel it.
  1540. >”I’m coming. What are you all worried about, if you see the mailmare she has something for us.”
  1541. >She opens the door slowly, her shaky but polite smile is evident.
  1542. >”H-hello Ms. Mailmare ho-ho-ho-how Nightmare Moon.”
  1543. >The door is almost slammed shut.
  1544. >It abruptly halts millimeters from the frame.
  1545. >Ears point forward to make out the hush reprimand.
  1546. >”Mom said be nice to stallions.”
  1547. 3/14
  1549. >The door opens painstakingly slow, and you are unsure you if you should smile or not.
  1550. >The fangs might scare her again.
  1551. “Ms. Fluttershy I have a package for you and I need you to sign it. Carnivorous feed.”
  1552. >She nods a little too rapidly to be comfortable.
  1553. >Magically hold out a pen and clipboard.
  1554. “Please sign.”
  1555. >Pinpoint pupils looks at the clipboard like it is a lethal weapon and looks back to you.
  1556. >Like frozen molasses, her right wing takes the pen from you.
  1557. >Wordless, not breaking eye contact, she gives her signature.
  1558. >A bear peaks around the top corner of the doorframe.
  1559. >Can hear other critters just out of sight.
  1560. “Thank you. Where would you like the package? It is very heavy so please be careful.”
  1561. >Fluttershy looks behind her before snapping her head back to you.
  1562. “Ms. Fluttershy, I am not a monster. You made sure of that.”
  1563. >You place the package in front of her.
  1564. >Hooves quickly scramble around it, Fluttershy heaves with all her might fruitlessly.
  1565. >Sighing, you look straight at the bear.
  1566. “Help her now.”
  1567. >Hair stands on end, but he doesn’t refuse your decree.
  1568. >The bear snatches the package up and moozies back inside.
  1569. >Fluttershy looks slightly guilty after being plopped down.
  1570. >”It’s, um, sorry. The animals seems to be scared to.”
  1571. >It it wasn’t for your keen hearing you wouldn’t be able to hear her at all.
  1572. “Fine. We are done here as it is.”
  1573. >”Wait!”
  1574. >Ears tense after being so focused on listening to a quiet pony.
  1575. >You rub them as you try to not glare at the pegasus.
  1576. >She gulps as she takes out a plate of cookies.
  1577. >”Sorry. I give one to the mailmare. I know my home is out of town.”
  1578. 4/14
  1580. “Thank you.”
  1581. >You take one cookie, it is pleasantly sweet with a hint of cinnamon.
  1582. >”You are not a monster.”
  1583. >She is slowly closing the door and most of her mane hides her features.
  1584. >”You are intense.”
  1585. >Can’t help but smirk at that.
  1586. “Just a little, but you’ve stared down a dragon. You can handle things that other ponies can’t.”
  1587. >Chomp down on the rest of the cookie, it is time to move on.
  1588. >Rarity, after the Mayor, this can’t be a coincidence.
  1589. >Maybe choosing to stay in a town full of bachelorettes was a poor decision.
  1590. >Better than being around nobles who want to take advantage of you.
  1591. >Oh Prince Artemis, you are such a dashing colt, would you come with me to my chambers for a private viewing of your glorious moon.
  1592. >Bleh, none of that please.
  1593. >Is that a carousel?”
  1594. “She had a theme and stuck to it. Does she do children’s clothing?”
  1595. >It’s a little weird.
  1596. >”Are you goin’ to just hover there or are you actually going to do your job.”
  1597. >Freaking Bon Bon seems to enjoy drive-by snide remarks.
  1598. >One middle feather later, you knock on the door.
  1599. >A sing-songy voice greets you.
  1600. >”Come in. I’ll be with you in a moment.”
  1601. >It swings open with ease, you see rows of suits and dresses.
  1602. >In a town of nudists.
  1603. >These are some nice pants though.
  1604. >You might be a pony, but a lovely pair of pants would be fantastic.
  1605. >Bah, human sensibilities.
  1606. >”Your majesty. I am honored to have you in my humble abode.”
  1607. >Sneaky unicorn sneaking up behind you.
  1608. “Please, I come from the moon, not the mountain. I also bring mail.”
  1609. >Rarity gives you a curtsy before retrieving the letter.
  1610. >”It does give you an air of mystery.”
  1611. 5/14
  1613. >The envelop obscures most of her face, but her eyes remain glued on you.
  1614. >For completely different reasons than Fluttershy.
  1615. >”So, Prince Artemis, is there anything you see that you like?”
  1616. >Oh, that leading question.
  1617. “Yes. Your clothing products made me realize I have an empty closet.”
  1618. >Rarity tosses the letter onto the table and gets an arm length closer to you.
  1619. >She is holding a hoof to her chest.
  1620. >”I see. A stallion of your caliber should have options when you present yourself to the adoring public. You do have many admirers after all.”
  1621. >You really, really hope she doesn’t start a shrine for you, she seems like the type.
  1622. >Her arm dramatically outstretches to her products.
  1623. >”Would you come see my work of art!”
  1624. >The harmony of music is twitching in your ears.
  1625. “Ms. Rarity, I’m working. I will not be distracted.”
  1626. >Everything goes silent as you teleport once more before winking back into existence over a farm.
  1627. >Very rude on your part, but you have a feeling she will accept your apology.
  1628. “With strings attached.”
  1629. >A quick check tells you where to go, and there seems to be a pattern.
  1630. “Am I meeting all the mares who saved me today? Who designed this route?”
  1631. >You recall Ms. Hooves tripping with the whole box of deliveries all over the time schedule board.
  1632. “This must be some kind of divine quota.”
  1633. >Applejack could be anywhere here, no need to waste time looking for her.
  1634. >A silent flutter down to the main house door and you find an older pony on a rocker.
  1635. >Her snoring could saw trees.
  1636. >Just place the box at the door, and be on your way.
  1637. >You step on the first step and it creaks loud enough to wake the dead.
  1638. 6/14
  1640. >”What’s that!? Who’s there?”
  1641. >You can hear her joints crackle just her waking up.
  1642. >Despite this, she bounces out of her chair like greased lightning.
  1643. “Just the mailman, or is it mail stallion? Doesn’t really flow well. I have a package for you.”
  1644. >Squinting at you like your about to raid her fridge, she takes the package.
  1645. >”You are a strange lookn’ one that’s for sure.”
  1646. “Thanks.”
  1647. >Old people never give a damn about anything, which can be funny.
  1648. >”What a darn tootn’ moment. You look familiar.”
  1649. “I am Artemis, if you didn’t see me during the festival celebration then you might not know me. Or slept through the entire thing.”
  1650. >She huffs and rolls her eyes.
  1651. >”Youngn’s these days show no respect for the elderly.”
  1652. “I’m older than you.”
  1653. >That caught her attention.
  1654. >”What say you such nonsense? You still look like a spring chicken.”
  1655. >Hope this won’t happen every time you talk to the elderly.
  1656. “I’m Princess Celestia’s brother. Alicorns cheat.”
  1657. >Granny Smith gives you an unimpressed look.
  1658. >”Sure you are, and I’m the princess of Saddle Arabia with a harem of virgin colts. That horn of yours some kind of party hat?”
  1659. >Persnickety mortals.
  1660. >You jump up and start to hover in the air, your horn glows and steals the glass next to her.
  1661. >Watch her shocked eyes as you drink it all in one gulp.
  1662. >Well you were, but you stop short as a familiar smell wafts.
  1663. >Wait, is this moonshine?
  1664. >”Great orchid in the sky, you are a princess. I mean a prince. The one Applejack has been spinning tall tales about.”
  1665. >It smells off, like the flavor is missing a certain spike.
  1666. “What is this weak sauce you call alcohol? Are you so old they only give you the tame drinks?”
  1667. 7/14
  1669. >Granny flinches in shock before pointing to you with defiance.
  1670. >”That there is the family recipe passed down through generations. What do you know about a good drink.”
  1671. >Wings outstretched you can’t help but be a little dramatic.
  1672. “I am the blessing of the moon that graces all with the nectar of gods, the first autumn harvest is sacrificed upon my altar for good drink that it may ever flow under my burnt orange moon.”
  1673. >Lower your voice a bit.
  1674. “Though if I am to believe, it is just Nightmare Night now.
  1675. >Closing your eyes, you flip your horn up as your magic falls into the cup.
  1676. >The drink glows briefly with a soft orange before that fades, you give it back to the old mare.
  1677. >Despite her age, she has that look of a young filly seeing true magic for the first time.
  1678. >Her sip short, but bountiful.
  1679. >Granny Smith seems to be rolling the taste around her mouth.”
  1680. >”Well I’ll be, you weren’t kiddn’. Now I know I’m old, but how come I’ve never heard hide nor hair of this?”
  1681. >Now it was your turn to be slightly embarrassed.
  1682. “I only got to do it a couple of times before I was banished to the moon. Looking back, I really could have used a strong drink.”
  1683. >She places the empty drink down.
  1684. >”Well if you are serious about your ‘divine’ responsibilities I’ll wouldn’t mind seeing a few of your blessings. By the way, are you single? My Applejack is a fine young mare, but she has no head on woon’ stallions.”
  1685. >Wow, when you are so bad at picking up stallions your grandma does it for you.
  1686. “If Applejack is half the pony you are, she should try to woo me, other mares are already trying.”
  1687. 8/14
  1689. >”Oh? And how are they doing?”
  1690. >Can’t help but grin maliciously.
  1691. “They are certainly aiming for the moon. Ms. Apple, have a good day.”
  1692. >She waves slowly as you fly off, for a moment you thought Applejack would save you down, but she never showed.
  1693. >You saved this package for last, Pinkie Pie.
  1694. >Honestly, you are still upset with what she said after the elements purified you.
  1695. >Not going to teleport this time, just a nice lazy flight.
  1696. >Occasionally bouncing off clouds as they drift your way.
  1697. >”Prince!”
  1698. >Shooting up next to you, Ms. Hooves is noticeably many deliveries lighter from this morning.
  1699. >”You know time it is? Lunch break time! Where are you taking that package?”
  1700. >Gesture with your head at the bakery.
  1701. >Eyes light up with joy and does a little happy dance for you.
  1702. >”Perfect! We can eat there. I recommend everything.”
  1703. >Well that's one way to do your job.
  1704. >The town seems to be excited about something.
  1705. >Ponies are running around and talk to each other about some kind of event.
  1706. >Really hope it is just local town wackiness you’ve come to associate with Ponyville.
  1707. >Landing softly in front of the bakery, Ms. Hooves eagerly opens up the door.
  1708. >”After you.”
  1709. “Thank you.”
  1710. >Sure enough, Pinkie Pie is manning the registrar and she looks upset.
  1711. >There are no other ponies here.
  1712. “Is there a celebrity in town I don’t know about?”
  1713. >Pinkie Pie perks up.
  1714. >”Princey! There is a new pony in town, I want to go but I can’t leave work. What brings you here?”
  1715. “Work.”
  1716. >You take the small letter and stick it in her puffy mane.
  1717. >It sinks in like it was being consumed.
  1718. >Creepy.
  1719. >”We’re also here for lunch! Prince here is going to have a blueberry muffin special.”
  1720. 9/14
  1722. >Did she just decide your meal for you!?
  1723. >”Woo, it got chilly here. Anyway, I want a honey oat muffins. Two please.”
  1724. >Pinkie salutes with professional grace.
  1725. >”You got it!”
  1726. “And a coffee.”
  1727. >You toss the bits on the counter and settle down at a table close to the window.
  1728. >Ms. Hooves sits across from you and Pinkie Pie sits with her back against the window with her own meal.
  1729. “Lunch time for you too?”
  1730. >Pinkie Pie swallows an entire key lime pie in one bite.
  1731. >”Sure is. No other pony is here, and probably won’t come in. How are you doing, Arty? The mail business is everything you hoped and dreamed?”
  1732. >Take a fork and you cut a little off the top of your blueberry muffin.
  1733. “It has allowed me to become part of the community fairly well.”
  1734. >Ms. Hooves nods and starts to talk with muffin in her mouth.
  1735. >”He sure has. He’s done great. As you’ve seen across town. So many ponies like him.”
  1736. “You mean the mares are tripping over themselves.”
  1737. >Pinkie Pie readies to absorb another dessert when her tail starts to wiggle demon possessed.
  1738. >Her ears flap, and her mane twists into a honeycomb shape.
  1739. “Pinkie. Are you having a seizure?”
  1740. >She sighs as she puts down the pie.
  1741. >”No. When something is about to happen, my Pinkie Senses tell me. Right now there is a new pony in town.”
  1742. “That is unique earth pony magic. Is it hereditary?”
  1743. >”Oh yeah, pretty sure my grandma had it. My sisters have their own versions of it. Twilight tried to study it, but hit a mental wall. Gave up quickly.”
  1744. “The science equipment was a surprise when I fell over it in my room.”
  1745. >You take your fourth bite as she finishes her third plate.
  1746. 10/14
  1748. >Ms. Hooves seems to be in bliss with her muffin.
  1749. >Ms Pie actually slows down to enjoy her meal.
  1750. >Getting close to finishing your muffin.
  1751. >Overall, this is rather peaceful.
  1752. >Clean the crumbs off your lips with your napkin and take a look outside.
  1753. >A wall of mares are staring inside.
  1754. >...
  1755. “Ladies, we are being watched.”
  1756. >As they turn, the door opens and a lone mare enters.
  1757. >Pinkie sits up straight with a smile that defies her features.
  1758. >”The new pony! Hi there, I’m Pinkie Pie. Welcome to Sugarcube Corner.”
  1759. >She’s pink, but not as pink as Pinkie Pie.
  1760. >”Good afternoon. Thank you. I’m Princess Mi Amore Cadenza. Please, just call me Cadance. I’ll take your apple fritters please.”
  1761. >Oh, how did this information pass you up?
  1762. >Another princess?
  1763. >Cadance has rather pleased smile as she makes her way to your table and sits down.
  1764. >”Prince Artemis, I’ve been looking for you.”
  1765. >Huh, she’s an actual alicorn.
  1766. “My apologies, I didn’t realize my sister had a daughter. Celestia didn’t mention you.”
  1767. >Tittering a bit, Cadance saves face with a smile giggle.
  1768. >”No. Nothing like that. I was adopted when I became an alicorn princess.”
  1769. >Glancing at her cutie mark, you do a double take almost choking on your muffin.
  1770. >”Oh? Yup, I’m the Princess of Love. Nothing grand like the sun or moon, but I find many mares come to me.”
  1771. >That is not what it represents, that is the old emblem of the crystal princess.
  1772. >Who you recall is very, very dead.
  1773. >As is that city.
  1774. >Either Celestia hasn’t told her, or Cadance doesn’t want to talk about it.
  1775. “Did you really come here just to look for me? By yourself?”
  1776. >”Shining Armor insisted on being my bodyguard. He seemed worried.”
  1777. 11/14
  1779. >Worried for her safety, or meeting me.
  1780. “I see, the town population is very excited to meet you.”
  1781. >Cadance glances at the town hovering around the window with smooshed faces.
  1782. >You think you see Mayor Mare trying to push her way in.
  1783. >Ms. Hooves finishes her muffin with a satisfying sigh.
  1784. >”Well if I was him, I’d be worried that you might try to woo Prince Artemis. Right now he’s just guarding the door from all those mares.”
  1785. >How does she have so much insight at random times?
  1786. >Cadance laughs, practically throwing her head back.
  1787. >”That’s silly. I’m not interested. Not that you aren’t a handsome stallion. But I just wanted to meet you.”
  1788. “Of course. You came all this way from Canterlot, looked for me in a small town. Just to say hi.”
  1789. >You glare coolly as you start to finish your coffee.
  1790. “Just like Shining Armor some time ago.”
  1791. >She doesn’t seem to be fazed.
  1792. >”I do remember hearing that. You don’t cave under pressure.”
  1793. >Thanks for not answering my question.
  1794. “So here you. Do you think that you are a princess that you are above my wishes?”
  1795. >Cadance is not breaking eye contact.
  1796. >Ms. Hooves slightly squirms in her seat and you are not sure when Pinkie Pie disappeared.”
  1797. >”Um, Artemis, I think I’ll go finish my break somewhere else.”
  1798. “No.”
  1799. >She pauses as you spring open your left wing to stop her.
  1800. “She is not going to bully you from enjoying herself.”
  1801. >You close your eyes and toss bits on the counter.
  1802. >A muffin pops into existence in front of Ms. Hooves.
  1803. “So then, Cadance. I will drink my coffee, and you have until it is finished. My time is not yours.”
  1804. >The young alicorn’s eyes dart between you and her before she starts.
  1805. 12/14
  1807. “I wish you had gone home to Canterlot. Do you know how much Celestia told me her hopes?”
  1808. “I doubt she’s told you much.”
  1809. >Cadance huffs in annoyance, this young alicorn is not used to such a cold shoulder.
  1810. >Or wasn’t expecting it.
  1811. >”I am very empathetic. Love in all of its forms are easy to read for me. Celestia is hurting and it is not getting any better.”
  1812. >You keep drinking.
  1813. >”It was fine when you returned, but over time Celestia has been hurting more and more. You’ve not been to Canterlot and spending any time with her.”
  1814. >Interesting, so she doesn’t know that you and your sister were sleeping with each other.
  1815. >Still though, this is worrying.
  1816. >She is giving you her best ‘authority’ face.
  1817. >”I don’t know if you are still angry with Celestia, but you need to grow up and stop acting like a child.”
  1818. >Excuse you.
  1819. “Excuse you.”
  1820. >Derpy ducks under the table whispering ‘oh buck’.
  1821. >Cadance steels herself and continues.
  1822. >”Celestia has been giving everything you desire, but you have been pretty selfish, and…”
  1823. >She looks at the window and stops.
  1824. >Her breath is visible.
  1825. >Frost obscures the window, and the mares on the other side can be heard in an uproar.
  1826. “You assume much, young mare. Ignorance is not becoming of a future ruler. Go back home, and review how to talk with a peer. Better yet, learn more about the person you will talk to before mouthing off.”
  1827. >Turning the coffee cup over and leaving it in the saucer.
  1828. “Breaks over.”
  1829. >Standing up from the table, you walk past Cadance and open the door.
  1830. >Shining Armor is standing there looking concerned.
  1831. “Move.”
  1832. >His hair stands on end and instinctively steps aside.
  1833. 13/14
  1835. You jump into the air, and start to fly away.
  1836. >”Wait!”
  1837. >Cadance yells out from the door.
  1838. >Pausing, you slowly turn around face her.
  1839. >She gulps, but gathers her resolve.
  1840. >“Don’t you care about your sister?”
  1841. >You hear thunder rattle the houses, but it doesn’t faze you.
  1842. “Hear me. My sister and I have a divine connection that you will never understand. DO. NOT. LECTURE. ME.”
  1843. >Once again, you slipped into that Canterlot Royal Voice.
  1844. >Ponies rub their ears as they try to find cover.
  1845. >Cadance seems to be frozen in place, so you are done here.
  1846. >Flying back to the post office, your thoughts is dark with worry.
  1847. >Air headed she might be, but you have no reason to doubt Cadance’s powers.
  1848. >If something is bothering Celestia, she hasn’t told you.
  1849. >Tonight, you need to talk to your sister.
  1850. 14/14
  1852. PART 6
  1853. >Day doing your freakin’ job in Equestria you lazy human wearing a horse.
  1854. >Be Artemis Equestrian Moon Prince.
  1855. >The moon rises above the horizon, trading places with its sibling.
  1856. >You did it, you raised the moon.
  1857. >Bringing with it all the wonders of stars, hidden celestial bodies, and the night life for anyone clubbing.
  1858. “Ha! I own you now moon. You’ve allude me no longer.”
  1859. >Can't help but grin like a maniac.
  1860. >Infectious enough to spread to your sister.
  1861. >”Didn't need help from big sister this time.”
  1862. “I've really missed being able to do this. Like fulfilling a core of my being. So, sister, what was your day like?”
  1863. >Celestia brings her warm tea up and blows in it.
  1864. >”Mostly focused on our frontier settlements. Ponies are expanding closer towards borders like the badlands. Appaloosa is forming trade agreements with the buffalo tribes that I've been reviewing.”
  1865. >Her soothing tea passes her lips.
  1866. >She sighs and leans back into her pillow overlooking Canterlot.
  1867. >”What about you?”
  1868. >Still unsure how to broach this.
  1869. “I've enjoyed it, but it isn't without its frustrations. Though I shouldn't be surprised, even if I live among the common pony I am still an alicorn prince. There are exceptions, Ms Hooves, who I work with, treats me equally as everyone else. So before you ask, I do have friends.”
  1870. >Sister’s soft smile tells you she is pleased.
  1871. “Had an interesting visitor today. Princess Amore Cadenza.”
  1872. >Celestia stops drinking the tea and slowly puts it down in the saucer.
  1873. 1/12
  1875. >Keeping one eye open you close the other as you sip your tea.
  1876. >Floor is hers.
  1877. >”She was asking about you.”
  1878. >Boo, that's a lame horse excuse.
  1879. “She seemed to be under the impression that I was giving you the cold shoulder. Have you been doing that thing were you give a dodgy answer and pass it off as a sage?”
  1880. >“Don't scowl like that and no. I'm pretty sure. I’ve been fairly open with her.”
  1881. >’Is that so’,as you give a sly smile.
  1882. “So does she know about her cutie mark then? That's quite a burden to carry.”
  1883. >Celestia refuses to look at you eye to eye.
  1884. >”She's not ready yet.”
  1885. >That you agree on.
  1886. >Sitting up straight, you clear your throat to announce serious time.
  1887. “So, the crystal empire will be returning soon. I know I said I didn't want the crown, but I'm not stupid enough to not help here. When the time comes we'll blast that idiot to dust and make sure it sticks.”
  1888. >Celestia shakes her head slowly.
  1889. >Jaw slowly drops as you try to figure out when sis went coco for coco puffs.
  1890. >”That is something I have planned for. Twilight Sparkle and her friends will defeat him.”
  1891. “What!?”
  1892. >“Indoor voice brother.”
  1893. “You are placing the fate of an empire on the withers of your student? Why?”
  1894. >”Twilight has a special destiny, and I'm trying to guide it as carefully as possible.”
  1895. “Ms. Sparkle is enjoying a peaceful life as a librarian while studying ‘the magic of friendship’ in your own words. One mad stallion should be enough to overcome.”
  1896. >Celestia frowns as her ears pull back.
  1897. >”You shouldn't refer to yourself like that.”
  1898. “Don't change the subject.”
  1899. >Hope your unamused muzzle sells the no bull allowed.
  1900. 2/12
  1902. >”Twilight’s potential will change the face of history and the future of Equestria.”
  1903. “And the potential being what exactly? Don't make me some nagging housestallion. Oh wait, you know exactly what you want and I am not going to like what you say. Let me think, harness the power of the elements, deal with delicate situations like dragons, and defeat world threatening evils. That sounds familiar.”
  1904. >You both did that back in the day.
  1905. >Celestia’s right, you don't like this.
  1906. >Is this something that Twilight wants?
  1907. >Given how long you’ve known her she seems to be proud of her academic lifestyle.
  1908. >Wonder if this all started when Cadance popped up.
  1909. >Is this your fault?
  1910. >What you did most likely set this all into motion.
  1911. “Now I'm beginning to wonder how much you don't tell me.”
  1912. >Celestia sucks in a little air.
  1913. >”Arty.”
  1914. “No, no. Not like that. I understand keeping secrets. Especially after keeping a country running for a thousand years. But, if something is bothering you, would you tell me? If I’m causing you grief you wouldn’t bottle it up inside?”
  1915. >Sister looks into her empty tea cup, no smile or frown.
  1916. >”I’d must admit that while I do plan for many things you not coming home was not what I expected. Now with you coming home to sleep has become the highlight of my day my little moonbeam.”
  1917. >That sudden bright smile nearly blinds you.
  1918. “You are so sappy.”
  1919. >A yawn forces its way up.
  1920. “I think the tea is working. I think we'll shelve this discussion for another time.”
  1921. >”I too feel your dreamland calling me.”
  1922. “Shall this sandman sprinkle sand over your crown?”
  1923. >Celestia pauses mid stride to the bed.
  1924. >”Sandman? Not familiar with that title.”
  1925. 3/12
  1927. >Kick off your shoes and a small hop brings you up on the bed.
  1928. “Oh, that just means I'll be working my magic to give you good dreams. The sand is when you wake up with grit in your eyes.”
  1929. >Celestia slowly slides up the bed and puts her crown aside.
  1930. >”So what is the man part?”
  1931. >Wiggling your hooves at her you start making ‘ooohing’ like telling a spooky story.
  1932. “A creature that guards your dream like a vigilant warrior.”
  1933. >A blanket fluffs up before settling over your head.
  1934. >”Silly Arty. So what do dream walking stallions dream?”
  1935. >You don't dream, you haven't allowed yourself to dream.
  1936. “I'm too busy shepherding other dreams to worry about my own. You are a rather scattered brain mare.”
  1937. >Deserve that pillow whacking you upside the noggin.
  1938. >”How are you going to take care of all of Equestria if you can't handle one mare?”
  1939. “With stallion whimsy.”
  1940. >Celestia’s horsey snort is always amusing.
  1941. >”Sleep well, Artemis.”
  1942. >Her head reaches around and lays in your soft feathery wings.
  1943. >The naturally warm body compliments your cool nature.
  1944. “You as well sister.”
  1945. >~~~~~~~~
  1946. >The halls echo with every step you take.
  1947. >Taking in the extravagant glass work adorning the windows.
  1948. >You haven't walked these corridors in the waking world, so this must be a dream.
  1949. >Celestia is having a nightmare, but it doesn't make sense to you.
  1950. >Nightmare Moon isn't the cause this time.
  1951. “Can't help her if I don't know what to stop.”
  1952. >Bon Bon marches past you, startling you.
  1953. “Crap! Stupid spawning figments.”
  1954. >Her features are muted and lack detail.
  1955. >Eerily she is missing eyes, just a darkness washes over her mug.
  1956. >Best bet is to follow her.
  1957. >The specter stops at the throne room and knocks.
  1958. >The agent’s blows sound all encompassing.
  1959. 4/12
  1961. >”Enter.”
  1962. >The doors open, and you see for the first time the ruling power at her height of power.
  1963. >Blood orange colors the room as the low setting sun hangs closer than normal.
  1964. >Like in most dreams, everything is exaggerated.
  1965. >The stairs up to Celestia is like a Mayan pyramid.
  1966. >”I’ve brought another report your highness.”
  1967. >Celestia sits on her heavy stone throne and can't say anything.
  1968. >She can't see you for some reason.
  1969. >Bon Bon unfurls a scroll and starts to give a rather standard report.
  1970. >”Continuing spying on Artemis has progressed with no issues.”
  1971. >Oh.
  1972. >”He works diligently and has no problems with anypony. Outgoing. Does what he is told. Has only praise for you. He is a model pony citizen.”
  1973. >Head tilts to the side as you try to wrap your brain around this situation.
  1974. >This is a nightmare right?
  1975. >“Princess Celestia!”
  1976. > Twilight?
  1977. >She looks similar to Bon Bon.
  1978. >”I wanted to give you My report. Nothing aboUt friendship, but ARtemis has been a good pony. Just a few oDd quirks, but he has beEn fitting in gReat.”
  1979. >What was that?
  1980. >The undertones here are starting to creep you out.
  1981. >Need to get closer to Celestia, try and shake her out of this.
  1982. >Captain Shining Armor is giving a salute.
  1983. >”Prince Artemis has adjusted with no problems.”
  1984. >Well that isn't true.
  1985. >”Well spoken and carries himself as he should. Like he was never gone.”
  1986. >Did Blueblood actually say that?
  1987. >Nevermind that, you phase closer to Celestia until you are right next to her.
  1988. >She’s frozen in place, stuck on her throne and slowly sinking into it.
  1989. >Tears are running down her face.
  1990. >Yeah, time to put an end to this.
  1991. “Celestia. Celestia look at me. It's time to put an end to this.”
  1992. >”Arty?”
  1993. 5/12
  1995. >As she turns to look at you, the ground dissolves beneath your hooves.
  1996. “No! Celestia! This is a nightmare! Snap out of it.”
  1997. >Careless and stupid.
  1998. >The nightmare has integrated you into it.
  1999. >Your words fail to reach her.
  2000. >Fall a short distance before you get caught up in string.
  2001. >Wire untangles you from your fall, wrapping all around you.
  2002. >”It is amazing how well he's doing. It's pretty much what you wanted.”
  2003. >Now it feels like the nightmare is taunting you.
  2004. >String to cable to razor sharp wire it starts to dig into your skin.
  2005. >Throat is being choked, wings pulled tighter, legs restrained.
  2006. >This is some real hellraiser bullshit.
  2007. >Jeering ponies praise you some more.
  2008. >Can't panic.
  2009. >Time to let loose.
  2010. >A soft glow radiates from you.
  2011. >Change, change form of pony.
  2012. >Free the prince forever phony.
  2013. >Free the might from fleshy mire.
  2014. >Boil the blood in the heart for fire.
  2015. “Gone, gone form of pony, and rise son of man, Anon!”
  2016. >Clumsy hooves vanish into powerful hands.
  2017. >Grabbing the restraints you yank them loose with ease.
  2018. >Freedom lets you fall to the ground, landing on your feet.
  2019. >The stairs leading up to Celestia has crumbled, leaving behind a continuously fracturing pillar.
  2020. >Screw leaving her up there.
  2021. >Fingers dig into the rock, forget playing by the rules.
  2022. >Time to superman this.
  2023. >Using your grip and coiled legs, you spring up.
  2024. >Easily scaling the structure, Celestia is taken aback by your sudden appearance.
  2025. >”What!?”
  2026. >Grabbing her, you lift your leg and slam your boot into the throne.
  2027. >The symbolic cage explodes from your power as you sweep your sister up in your arms.
  2028. >”You? Are you the sandman?”
  2029. >The pillar starts to give way, so you leap.
  2030. >Nightmare or not, you are in control.
  2031. 6/12
  2033. >Using one arm to shield your sister, your jump takes you through one of the glass stained windows.
  2034. >One that depicted the first Nightmare Moon event.
  2035. >How poetic.
  2036. >Shattered glass bites you, but your grip does not falter.
  2037. >Outside was not outside.
  2038. >A void greeted you as you land on what you assumed is ground.
  2039. >Carefully you put your sister down on her hooves.
  2040. >She’s in a cold sweat.
  2041. >Looking around, what you see gives you pause.
  2042. >The same strings that had caught you up were everywhere.
  2043. >Attached to the buildings and ponies.
  2044. >They all stem from your sister.
  2045. “What is all this?”
  2046. >Celestia tries to pull at the strings coming out of her hooves.
  2047. >”This is me. I did this. I control everything. Everything is done by my hooves. My brother.”
  2048. >She looks around frantically.
  2049. >”Artemis! Artemis!”
  2050. >”Sister?”
  2051. >Tingles crawl up your spine.
  2052. >That was you, but something was wrong.
  2053. >The strings tighten and pull at your sister.
  2054. >Grabbing her you, you plant your feet down.
  2055. “This is a nightmare. You need to wake up.”
  2056. >Celestia shakes her head as the strings continue to try and pull her back inside.
  2057. >”Everything is my fault.”
  2058. >The castle wall starts to crumble.
  2059. “No it isn’t. You are gracious, patient, and the shining light for all ponies in Equestria.”
  2060. >This nightmare has a terrifying grip on her.
  2061. >A ear deafening crack rings out, and the castle wall falls.
  2062. >The room you just escaped from opens up.
  2063. >The remains of sister’s throne lies in rubble, but you see a pony behind it.
  2064. >Behind her throne is a smaller, less impressive throne that stayed in the bigger one’s shadow.
  2065. >Your cutie mark crests the top of it, and you see Artemis sitting in it.
  2066. 7/12
  2068. >”Sister. Did you call me? Your dutiful brother is here.”
  2069. >Strings move, limbs follow, body parts twist.
  2070. >Limp headed, the thing falls off the throne.
  2071. >It continues to move.
  2072. >Stitches and wet scars outline the fly ridden body.
  2073. >Dry joints crackle as the poor excuse for a stuffed cadaver takes plodding steps
  2074. >”I’m everything you wanted.”
  2075. >Celestia is wide eyed as fresh tears roll down her face.
  2076. >”I didn’t mean to.”
  2077. >You grab the strings, muscles bulge as you heave with all your might.
  2078. >The world quakes, buildings fall, ponies fly up, and the castle falls.
  2079. “BEGONE!”
  2080. >”No!”
  2081. >Sister tries to rush past you to save her ‘brother’.
  2082. >Reaching out, you pull her back before everything falls.
  2083. >Dust rises up.
  2084. >Vision is clouded, you try to hold on to your sister tightly.
  2085. “That is not your brother.”
  2086. >”I know.”
  2087. >What?
  2088. >”I...I.”
  2089. >The dust doesn’t settle, it picks up.
  2090. >Air sweeps it up into the atmosphere.
  2091. >Large blue legs rise up to support a giant.
  2092. >A grin all to wide hangs above you both like a crescent moon.
  2093. >Unkempt dry feathers fall from the naked limbs.
  2094. >Empty eye sockets stare straight through you.
  2095. >”Sister. Sister. Sister.”
  2096. >You stand in front of your sister, arms outstretched.
  2097. >”I love you sister. Why wouldn’t you call me brother? Am I not Art em is?:
  2098. >That voice is grating your ears.
  2099. >Why?
  2100. >Why does your sister see you this way?
  2101. >”I’m sorry.”
  2102. >The pestilent giant pauses, allowing Celestia to continue.
  2103. >”I killed you.”
  2104. >...
  2105. “What?”
  2106. >A barking dry laugh erupts from the undead Artemis.
  2107. >”Killed me? Kill? Kill? Murder? Murder. Sister. I’m everything you wanted.”
  2108. >It lunges, mouth wide open to consume you both.
  2109. >You saw this coming, grabbing your sister you leap out of the way.
  2110. >Keep falling, and falling.
  2111. >Falling.
  2112. 8/12
  2114. >Muzzle slams into the floor.
  2115. “Ouch! Ow, ow, ow, ow.”
  2116. >Something heavy has followed you and slams into your back.
  2117. >Once again your face is squished against the floor.
  2118. “Sister. Please. Before you crush me.”
  2119. >Celestia seems to be caught in sheets and is trying to kick them off.
  2120. >Shaky hooves find purchase against the ground.
  2121. >Slowly you pull yourself out.
  2122. >Heart races and you're breathing rapidly.
  2123. >Sister frees herself, she’s in a similar state.
  2124. >A few minutes pass, allowing the effects of adrenaline cool off.
  2125. “What was that?”
  2126. >She’s not looked at you at all during this time.
  2127. >”Just a nightmare.”
  2128. “Don’t give me that! You killed me!? What the hell does that even mean? All the reports you’ve been getting about me, and you come to that conclusion!?”
  2129. >Celestia turns on the lights in the room, she walks around the bed.
  2130. >Absentmindedly she starts to fix it.
  2131. “Do I have to call my captain in her and demand she goes collects every single report you have about me? I’ll do it if you keep shutting me off.”
  2132. >”That’s not necessary.”
  2133. >She opens the curtains to the balcony, the moon is still high in the sky.
  2134. >”There is no use denying it now. Artemis. My dear brother.”
  2135. >Cantering around so you can face her.
  2136. “Explain. Don’t look away, face me.”
  2137. >Celestia is gathering as much courage she can find.
  2138. >”When you came back, everything seemed fine. Your outburst about me killing you did surprise me, but you reassured me.”
  2139. >She breathes deeply before opening her eyes once more.
  2140. >Ears forward, wings loose, she’s in serious mode.
  2141. >”However, you have integrated into society too well.”
  2142. >That is a strange concern.
  2143. >”A thousand years had passed, and yet you acted like it never happened.”
  2144. 9/12
  2146. >“You talk like a modern pony, you have the sensibilities of a modern pony, and you act like you never left. Make strange references like when you tried to move the moon our first night.”
  2147. >Oh.
  2148. >Buck.
  2149. >Can’t believe that Cadance was right.
  2150. >”Modern technology doesn’t phase you, the level of independence you display is unsettling, and you know what a post office is. Brother, we never had a post office back in our day.”
  2151. >She’s right.
  2152. “So you think you killed me.”
  2153. >”The Elements of Harmony are a powerful force, when I used them Fate saw you and threw you to the moon. Your stories while on the moon still pains me, but then you returned. I sent my student like soldier and had her use the Elements of Harmony on you again. Order has changed you so you can fit in Harmony. My brother. My dear sweet Artemis. I changed you. In all aspects of my actions, a justice system could say that I murdered you. Wiped your mind, you are no longer the same pony.”
  2154. >The tears are creeping around the corners of her eyes.
  2155. >You pause, slightly limp.
  2156. >This is your fault, you’ve put this off for so long now.
  2157. >All this time, and you should have told her.
  2158. >The biggest cruelest idiot in the world right now.
  2159. “Damn it!”
  2160. >You kick the railing clean off.
  2161. >Eyes widen, you reach out to try and grab it with your magic.
  2162. >A soft bright glow already has them in their grasp.
  2163. >Breathing a sigh of relief, you try to knead away the headache rising up from the frustration.
  2164. “Sister. You have been crying tears over a crime you did not commit. I should have told you sooner.”
  2165. >”Told me what?”
  2166. 10/12
  2168. “Discord.”
  2169. >A chill passes between you two.
  2170. >Celestia is taken aback.
  2171. >”What about him?”
  2172. “When we faced him, he threw many spells at us. I don’t know what he intended, but one of them worked on me. Slowly. I remember my life.”
  2173. >You grab a fountain pen and scroll with your magic and start to draw.
  2174. “Unlike you, I had a former life. Guess I am unique in this way. I was once a young man, a human. If you remember your dreams then you might recognize what I’m drawing.”
  2175. >Her eyes widen as your crude picture takes form.
  2176. “My name is Anonymous. A human before I was pony. This previous life has all the modern qualities you saw in me. These memories returned to me slowly in dreams. It was distressing.”
  2177. >Celestia picks up the finished picture and looks at it closely.
  2178. >”Disturbing?”
  2179. “I had a sister. I loved her with all my heart. She, however, did not see me that way. After many poor choices, she was in a bad spot. Being a good brother I helped her as much as I can. But she saw opportunity.”
  2180. >Sister’s ears fold back.
  2181. >She is connecting the dots.
  2182. “She murdered me for money. Insurance I think. When these memories returned to me, it was when you started to be cold towards me. Just like her. The behavior was similar.”
  2183. >Can’t help but look away and stare up at the moon.
  2184. “I thought it was going to happen again. So I became Nightmare Moon to cope and defend myself. You never killed me. I did this all to myself and to you.”
  2185. >Both of you are quiet.
  2186. >Celestia walks next to you and sits down.
  2187. >The night life marches on around you.
  2188. 11/12
  2190. >”It seems that we both made a lot of mistakes.”
  2191. >A wiry grin cracks your face.
  2192. “Yeah.”
  2193. >”Artemis. You’ve lifted a great burden off me, but I still am responsible for many actions I’m not proud of.”
  2194. >You sigh.
  2195. “Plenty of skeletons in the closet. Celestia, I know I threw the secrets thing in your face, but I seem to have the same problem. I’m sorry.”
  2196. >A wing wraps around you.
  2197. >”All is forgiven. Now forgive yourself.”
  2198. >Don’t be mean sister.
  2199. “Fine, but you have any problems with me don’t you dare hide it away. That dream was terrifying.”
  2200. >Celestia groans.
  2201. >”Don’t remind me. By the way, Sandman?”
  2202. “Yes, that is me.”
  2203. >”You are much better looking than your drawing.”
  2204. “Har. Har. Maybe I’ll take up painting as a hobby. Won’t that be fun? I’ll give you a window into a whole new alien world.”
  2205. >Sister raises an eyebrow.
  2206. >”That does sound intriguing.”
  2207. >It kind of does.
  2208. >You both don’t go back to sleep that night.
  2209. >So many things to talk about.
  2210. 12/12
  2212. PART 7
  2214. >Day return of madness in Equestria.
  2215. >This isn't wonderland and you aren't Alice.
  2216. >Be Artemis (Anon), the wayward Prince of Equestria.
  2217. >Strange events have been going on around Ponyville.
  2218. >”Lunch break!”
  2219. “Ms. Hooves, I know you like shouting that, but I asked you a serious question.”
  2220. >Derpy tries on a serious face.
  2221. “Tradition must be upheld, can't have break without loudly proclaiming your joy.”
  2222. “Oh? Some mares think I should be in the kitchen cooking. Is that the tradition you're ok with?”
  2223. >She leans back in her chair, sweat drops forming on her brow.
  2224. >The mischievous smile on your face puts her at ease.
  2225. >”I have heard from Twilight that you are a good cook.”
  2226. “Excellent even. Now that I have your attention. Ms. Hooves, do I scare ponies? I’ve had my anger get the best of me a few times in public. It has been on my mind when I talk to others during and outside work.”
  2227. >Derpy waves her hoof at you nonchalant like.
  2228. >”Don’t worry about it. I heard one pony call you something like an ice prince. Which was silly cause the other mare said that was hot. Then she said ‘Too soon dear.’ So ponies like you.”
  2229. >Not exactly what you were asking.
  2230. “Physical attraction is one thing. Wish I wasn’t known for a common character trait found in a picture book.”
  2231. >”Artemis.”
  2232. >She just said your name, crude she’s in serious mother mode.
  2233. >”I’ve known you for a while now, and I do consider you a friend. You have to see that you are not like other ponies. My little filly likes to put her drawings of you on the fridge now.”
  2234. >Aw, little Dinky is making adorable pictures of you.
  2235. >Makes you want to sneak a peek.
  2236. 1/17
  2238. >”You are a pretty private pony, so you don’t have a wide social group. Doesn’t change how important you are to everypony.”
  2239. “Still doesn’t change the fact that if I get upset the weather moves and the earth shakes.”
  2240. >Ms. Hooves gives you a perplexed look.
  2241. >Right, not really a mindset ponies would have.
  2242. >Mostly a human thing.
  2243. >”Well I guess you might worry about that, but you are pretty responsible. I think you only been upset maybe two times.”
  2244. >Maybe the conflict is just mostly in you, trying to balance a pony/human mindset.
  2245. “Maybe that is just how I am, I was a rather lonely pony all those centuries ago.”
  2246. >Derpy blows bubbles into her drink as she listens.
  2247. >”I’m not sure how you could be lonely. You see a lot of ponies in the dream world.”
  2248. >Pausing a moment, you resist puffing your cheeks out.
  2249. “You? What!? How do you remember that?”
  2250. >Derpy nods her head rapidly.
  2251. >”Sure do. Not often a stallion visits you in your dreams.”
  2252. >Head meets table as you groan.
  2253. “I went on a nightmare patrol last few night. Guess I'm still amateurish with my approach.”
  2254. >The ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ from Ms. Hooves tells you how impressed she is.
  2255. >”Wow, that's really neat. So you control the moon and dreams.”
  2256. >A human would be furious if they found out you were playing in their mind.
  2257. >”Guess that’s why I didn’t have any nightmares. Princey, thanks.”
  2258. “Yeah, I was patrolling a small sample size, Ponyville. Mostly focusing on foals given how simple they can be, but you were close by after visiting Dinky.”
  2259. >Ms. Hooves gasps with a wide grin.
  2260. >”You saved my little filly from a nightmare? Prince, you give yourself so little credit.”
  2261. 2/17
  2263. >”My turn to ask a super serious question!”
  2264. >Ms. Hooves almost slams her hooves on the table, but is stopped short by the disapproving glare of the waiter.
  2265. >So with a light tap, she continues.
  2266. >”Have you seen all the strange stuff going on in town?”
  2267. >Oh no, those three fillies better not be up to something again.
  2268. “I’ve been in the office this morning, just came out to have lunch with you before I start my run.”
  2269. >With shifty eyes, Derpy looks around.
  2270. >”I’ve seen strange stuff like pink clouds and strange animals. It started outside town, but it has slowly gotten worse.”
  2271. >Pink clouds?
  2272. “Haven’t seen anything like that. Could you describe them?”
  2273. >”Really sticky stuff, almost like cotton candy. The animals are all long legged weirdos.”
  2274. >That sounds really strange.
  2275. >Is Twilight trying out some spells that have gone horribly wrong?
  2276. >Wouldn’t be the first time a wizard messed up reality.
  2277. “I would have to see it for myself, or perhaps Twilight needs to be told. She can handle a magical mishap.”
  2278. >Ms. Hooves nods with stern approval, like a courtroom had passed down an acceptable verdict.
  2279. >”Good idea. Probably something from the Everfree Forest. All kinds of strange stuff live there.”
  2280. >You sip your tea, you decide to stop playing around and actually order your meal.
  2281. >Before you wave the waiter over you feel something.
  2282. >The familiar is yanked from you.
  2283. >Everything spins, but you sit still.
  2284. >A pit falls in your stomach, a headache blooms in your mind.
  2285. >Squinting tightly, you try to focus on the cause.
  2286. >Ringing ears fade, but you don’t open your eyes.
  2287. >It’s cold.
  2288. >No, that’s wrong.
  2289. >The sun isn’t as warm.
  2290. >Opening your eyes, you see it is night.
  2291. >You remember when this happened before.
  2292. “Discord.”
  2293. 3/17
  2295. >Ponies around you talk to each other with worried voices.
  2296. >Some look to you.
  2297. >Ms. Hooves is understandably confused.
  2298. >”Did the sun just disappear? Wait, it’s back again!”
  2299. >Shaking away the shock to your system you get up.
  2300. >Does your sister know, she must.
  2301. >Can you even do anything about this?
  2302. >Only the Elements of Harmony can stop Discord.
  2303. “We’re in trouble. Everypony I need you to remain calm. I fear a villain has appeared in Canterlot.”
  2304. >Then you hear it, the laugh that makes your hair stand on end.
  2305. >”Yes. Yes. Remain calm, what a pedestrian announcement.”
  2306. >Discord floats overhead with an upside down umbrella.
  2307. >He is wearing what you can assume is a poor cosplay of Betelgeuse, if he knew who that was.
  2308. “Well, you’re up again. I suppose we didn’t stone you hard enough. Did being a stool for pigeons not suit you?
  2309. >What are you doing!?
  2310. >Don’t try to antagonize him.
  2311. >His eyes widen, but his grin doesn’t vanish.
  2312. >”My my, what a sharp tongue. You are much more interesting than your sister.”
  2313. >Maybe you can contain this for just a little while until the heroines arrive.
  2314. “If you say anything about lashing you with it I’ll choke you with your tail.”
  2315. >His fingers come up, and snap.
  2316. >A house turns into a screaming blob of lime jello, thankfully no one is home.
  2317. >”Threats and erotic promises. You’ve changed since I’ve been gone.”
  2318. >”Um, Artemis, who is this?”
  2319. >Ms. Hooves has scooted closer to you, in fact, all the ponies at this restaurant is hiding behind you.
  2320. >A lot of misplaced faith right now.
  2321. “This stitched together ragdoll is what universe likes to call a mistake. Behold the fool, Discord.”
  2322. >Where is this coming from!?
  2323. >Is your human side more volatile in his presence?
  2324. 4/17
  2326. >Another snap, and abominations now dance down the street.
  2327. >”Behold the true ruler of Equestria, I am Discord the Magnificent. The Disharmony of Melodies. Don’t let our little pony prince get you so confused. You’ll see how great everything will be.”
  2328. >Bubbles rise from the dirt walkways like dish soap.
  2329. >Discord wears a cardboard crown proclaiming his title vocally.
  2330. >The fingers rise once more, directed to the ponies around you.
  2331. >Not this time, counterspell you bastard.
  2332. >He looks slightly surprised, snaps a few more times with little result.
  2333. >While he is far stronger than you, he was always more careless and half hearted when he throws magic around.
  2334. “Once again, despite your title, you are still a creature of habit. You repeat the same mistakes over and over again.”
  2335. >”Habit you say? Please, I'm bringing new color to this town. And if you think I'm going to fall for that same old ‘friendship’ nonsense, believe me, I took care of them all ready. Now for these ponies.”
  2336. >Crude, he’s actually going to try.
  2337. >Horn lights up and they all wink away.
  2338. >Discord merely laughs.
  2339. >”Teleport them away? How boring and pointless.”
  2340. “I was sparing them from your dull bloated wit. Your imagination amounts to vomit from a pig’s slop.”
  2341. >He fiddles with his beard, studying you.
  2342. >”You are very different from what I remember. Well, I'll play with you another time. Right now it's all about rubbing all of this in Twilight’s long face.”
  2343. >He’s leaving?
  2344. “Wait! I think that might be because of something you did.”
  2345. >”Muwah?”
  2346. >Discord points at himself before wagging his finger.
  2347. >”Tisk, tisk little prince. I haven't laid a finger on your pretty little crown. You are not worth my time.”
  2348. >Glare at him after an unimpressed eye roll.
  2349. 5/17
  2352. “Make a copy of yourself. Bastard of a corpse.”
  2353. >A Discord sits across the table from you reading an upside down menu written in kangaroo lingo.
  2354. >”Fine. Enjoy my precious company since you begged.”
  2355. >”I certainly won’t.”
  2356. >”Quiet, you handsome fellow.”
  2357. >Discord vanishes away, probably to go antagonize Twilight Sparkle and the others.
  2358. >”Well, tell me how important I am.”
  2359. >Copy Discord is eating an appetizer, looks like nachos.
  2360. >Cheese sauce replaced with ketchup.
  2361. “When we fought do you recall the spells you were throwing at my sister and I?”
  2362. >He scratches his brain before closing his skull back up.
  2363. >Then shrugs.
  2364. >A hiss escapes your lips.
  2365. “I might as well be beating a dead horse when talking to you.”
  2366. >Discord leans back slightly before giving you the malicious grin.
  2367. >”Prince. How unusually morbid of you. Now you have me curious. Spells. Spells. Let me see.”
  2368. >Putting on small reading googly eye glasses, Discord opens up his autobiography ‘Discord Rules; Ponies Drools’.
  2369. >Soon to be required reading under his rule.
  2370. >”Right, the chapter about the annoying siblings that couldn’t keep quiet. Couldn’t let the good ol’ king rule peacefully could you two?”
  2371. >Bile seems to rise inside you.
  2372. >Hold it down.
  2373. “Nothing you do is sustainable in anyway. Besides, an anarchist like you would appreciate a government overthrow or two.”
  2374. >Discord chuckles as he snatches a crown off your head you weren’t wearing.
  2375. >You think.
  2376. >”Silly, Arty. I’m not an anarchist. I’m a metheist. I rule everything and everyone has to follow that, but not a bad line of thought. Here we go! Right in this paragraph, threw a few seeds, some cocoa milk, and random spells. Bad memory spell.”
  2377. >Not heard of that spell, but isn’t hard to guess what it does.
  2378. 6/17
  2380. “So a spell that makes me remember something horrible that happened to me?”
  2381. >He shrugs and throws the book onto his plate.
  2382. >Bite per bite he consumes the wretched tome.
  2383. >”Well if I had to guess what my brilliant mind was running through.”
  2384. >His brain sprints across the rooftops being followed by Discord’s pinkie.
  2385. >”I would mess with your body, mind, and spirit. Just for fun anyway. You both were surprisingly tough. Probably had to do with those shiny rocks you found. I know you are a stallion, but chasing jewelry is shallow.”
  2386. >Ignoring that statement, this just brings up more questions.
  2387. “So I remember being human because how I died, but not my sister. Unless one of the Elements of Harmony gave Celestia protection. Maybe I am made different from other ponies.”
  2388. >A microscope focusing on your eye breaks your thoughts.
  2389. >”Human? I’ve never heard of a human before.”
  2390. >Discord sticks a finger into your ear.
  2391. >A electric spike fills your body as you feel Discord poking your brain.
  2392. >”Lots of porn in here actually. You shouldn’t be the one walking in other’s dreams at all.”
  2393. >An explosive blast blows him away.
  2394. >Magic power radiates from you as you stare death at him.
  2395. >Discord doesn’t look worse for wear, just very amused.
  2396. “Only your ego keeps you going, if for a moment you had a single bit of reflection you’d realize that you are the equivalent of a retarded toddler fellating a shotgun. When the universe was born you were the aborted afterbirth stillborn parasitizing off existence because you have no concept of original thought.”
  2397. >Discord raises a paw to object, but you stomp his limb down.
  2398. “A coma rat has more lateral thinking than the neuron you call a brain.”
  2399. 7/17
  2401. >A snap of chaos magic crashes on you.
  2402. >Vines wrap around you, constraining your limbs.
  2403. >”Humans must be very annoying, because you don’t seem to shut your trap.”
  2404. >A strong bite snaps the vine around your muzzle.
  2405. “Basic facts evade you. Time for a reality check. You aren’t chaotic.”
  2406. >Discord flinches back like you slapped him.
  2407. >Flames of rage flicker in his eyes.
  2408. >”Care to run that by me again.”
  2409. “You have never changed. You did this a thousand years ago and have repeated the same damn thing all over again. No imagination, the magic you use is wasted on you. You aren’t chaos. You are Order with lead paint.”
  2410. >Darkness sucks you up.
  2411. >A void surrounds you.
  2412. >Orientation is completely gone, everything is a blur.
  2413. >No air, nothing to breath or catch with your wings on.
  2414. >You crash into something, head slams into the ground.
  2415. >Bounce once before you settle back down.
  2416. >The pain is not as intense as it should be.
  2417. >Your nose smells something familiar.
  2418. >Opening your eyes, you see white dust covering your muzzle.
  2419. >Eyes refocus.
  2420. >You are back on the moon.
  2421. >Looking up you see the planet.
  2422. >”Congratulations. You flipped your muzzle one too many times.”
  2423. >Discord is floating above you rolling up his wrists.
  2424. >”I’m going to give you a whoopin’ little prince. The moon is going to have craters of you peppering it for all time so you will never forget.”
  2425. >He starts to laugh like a bellowing ox at his own joke.
  2426. >This idiot had all the power to slap your face off your muzzle.
  2427. >However.
  2428. >”OW!”
  2429. >Discord is silenced by a rock crashing into his face.
  2430. “Anywhere else I wouldn’t stand a chance, but you brought me to the one place I am strongest! The Moon!”
  2431. 8/17
  2433. >”I know that.”
  2434. >Discord whips the moon dust off his face, he grins.
  2435. >”Enguard.”
  2436. >Need to throw him off, can’t let him see you coming.
  2437. >A dust storm sweeps up.
  2438. >Moon dust engulfs everything like a hurricane.
  2439. >You hear a snap, but you aren’t where he last saw you.
  2440. >Can’t tell what he just did, but you know exactly where he is.
  2441. >Discord unique magical signature is hard to miss.
  2442. >You can hear him taunting you.
  2443. >Ignore it, don’t respond.
  2444. >”Are you going to do anyt--Ow!”
  2445. >Distract him by pelting more rocks.
  2446. >You spy winged pigs flying overhead.
  2447. >”No sign of bogies, General Discord.
  2448. >”I didn't ask if you were picking your nose porkchop. Fine, I'll do it myself.”
  2449. >A vacuum cleaner roars to life, and it starts to suck away your moon dust storm at an unreal rate.
  2450. >Don't have long, you send your little package towards the planet.
  2451. >Just survive long enough for it to come back.
  2452. >”Peek-a-boo. I see you!”
  2453. “Good to see that you are a skilled house-stallion. Very good cleaning skills make a mare happy someday. Shame about your personality and looks..”
  2454. >Welp, you are out in the open with no defense.
  2455. >Discord twirls the hose end of the vacuum.
  2456. >”With all the dust you kick up, little wonder why your parents abandoned you and your sister.”
  2457. >His sinister grin tells you exactly what he’s about to do to you.
  2458. >You look at the cartoonishly oversized vacuum cleaner.
  2459. “You missed a spot.”
  2460. >”Hmm?”
  2461. >You drill a sharp needle-like moon rock right into the bag.
  2462. >Ducking away at the last moment, the explosion ripples your mane and tail.
  2463. >Silhouetted by the dust storm once again, you hear him cough out a lung.
  2464. >”Worthless organ, go wheeze elsewhere.”
  2465. >The ground is melting.
  2466. 9/17
  2468. >Your hooves can’t find any traction as the moon’s form starts to loose texture.
  2469. >Flapping your wings, you kick up more dust that is settling faster than you can conjure up.
  2470. >”I like the idea of the moon being made of cheese, hold my nachos.”
  2471. >The terrain is changing, you were hoping to hold this trick for later.
  2472. >Later is now.
  2473. “Hey Discord, I have the thing to keep your nachos hot.”
  2474. >”Oh do tell.”
  2475. >Hair stands on end as he appears right next to you.
  2476. >Figures that he would know exactly where you were the moment you say anything.
  2477. >Stealth is difficult around him.
  2478. >The moon rumbles as you exert your power.
  2479. “Under pressure or under sky, crust makes my title reclassify.”
  2480. >Discord snaps his fingers, iron clamps shut tight around you.
  2481. >”Hmm, makes me hungry for some pie.”
  2482. >A fissure cracks under his feet, the cheese flowing into the space.
  2483. >Good old human knowledge, you doubt ponies know what the core of the moon or planet is made of.
  2484. >Magma erupts from the canyons you magically forced into existence.
  2485. >Discord screams in shock as lava ruins his day.
  2486. >A teleport gets you out of your binds.
  2487. >Can’t make cover anymore, you have to go on the offensive.
  2488. >Laser bolts fire from your horn, pelting his blistering hide.
  2489. >Discord tries to retaliate, but the blazing lava has already melted off his favorite hand.
  2490. >Guess the redheaded hand will have to perform.
  2491. >”Don’t mess this up or I’m putting you on clean up duty and docking your pay.”
  2492. >He snaps his fingers.
  2493. >A jug of ice orange juice crashes into the moon.
  2494. >A sheet of ice solidifies everything, nachos and molten lava.
  2495. >”Well, I think you burnt the nachos.”
  2496. 10/17
  2498. “You are taking this well.”
  2499. >He pulls out another hand from behind his back and starts to reattach it.
  2500. >”I can always get more cheese.”
  2501. “No. Me kicking your sorry tail.”
  2502. >Discord frowns.
  2503. >”You've thrown a lot of tricks at me, but as far as I'm concerned. Your done.”
  2504. >A shadow casts you both in darkness.
  2505. >”Hmm, is that a second moon over our heads?”
  2506. >Looks like your best trick is up.
  2507. “No, just a little package I sent around the world collecting mass and velocity. By the way, you can keep this. Too kinky.”
  2508. >You slam the iron clamps he had around you earlier and tighten it around his smug mug.
  2509. >A quick exertion of your power and the moon starts to move.
  2510. >Your asteroid is upon you both, no time to teleport.
  2511. >Form becomes like mist, just like when you were Nightmare Moon.
  2512. >Red hot from the atmosphere, the asteroid hurtles towards the target.
  2513. >When watching the moon from Equestria, ponies don’t really have any idea just how fast it can be moved.
  2514. >Or how much the moon can be pushed.
  2515. >The crater is going to be ugly, but this will be worth it.
  2516. >Discord pulls off his iron clamp just in time to see impending doom.
  2517. >His umbrella does not save him.
  2518. >Impact is blinding.
  2519. >Thrown far, your senses are completely out of whack.
  2520. >Debris is everywhere.
  2521. >You try to slow yourself down, avoiding rocks.
  2522. >Reform into a physical form.
  2523. >Behold your handiwork.
  2524. “Holy bucking tartarus. At least I know what it would be like to kill the dinosaurs.”
  2525. >Lava is reflowing from the crater impact.
  2526. >A soft hum of your magic and you settle the dust.
  2527. “Well if there ever was a proper tombstone, here you go.”
  2528. >The smoldering asteroid was much smaller now.
  2529. 11/17
  2531. >Now to return home.
  2532. >Look at the planet, you know all you killed was a copy.
  2533. >If only it was the real thing, then all this would be over.
  2534. >”That.”
  2535. >Everything starts to shift.
  2536. >You look back, the boulder has turned over.
  2537. >”Hurt!”
  2538. >Can’t help but gap is awe, and take an instinctive step back.
  2539. >Discord is practically the size of a kaiju snake twisting around the moon.
  2540. >Third degree burns cover his body.
  2541. >He is missing a horn.
  2542. >One eye is swollen shut, while the other is bulging.
  2543. >”You want to play tough? I’ll show you how dangerous I can be.”
  2544. >His angry grinding teeth is the last thing you see as he snaps his fingers.
  2545. >Reality, becomes a suggestion.
  2546. >No, it has become Discord’s reality.
  2547. >”I tried being nice, but you really pushed your luck. I am the spirit of chaos.”
  2548. >Moon melts like a clock wax painting.
  2549. >Stars smear together.
  2550. >Gravity becomes a singularity, and yet pushes away every way.
  2551. >”Chaos is now everything.”
  2552. >Creatures you don’t recognize nor have the cognitive ability to assess dance to an unknown rhythm.
  2553. >Is there a rhythm?
  2554. >Madness just runs away.
  2555. >Colors that would drive a mantis shrimp mad flash everywhere like a kaleidoscope.
  2556. >Laughter, you can make out laughter.
  2557. >Discord is laughing.
  2558. >What...are you again?
  2559. >Are you Discord?
  2560. >Just.
  2561. >Loopy.
  2562. >Let it all go.
  2563. >Let.
  2564. >Let me take.
  2565. >Control.
  2566. >Who said that?
  2567. >Let me take control.
  2568. >You are familiar.
  2569. >I’m you, but also just a part.
  2570. >Confusing.
  2571. >We are going to die.
  2572. >???
  2573. >”I said we will die if I don’t do something.
  2574. >Oh, I think I know you.
  2575. >Anon right?
  2576. >”Our mind is completely shattered, but I’m still here. Let me control this.”
  2577. >Ok.
  2578. “Just sleep ok. This will be over.”
  2579. 12/17
  2581. >Eyes become emerald green.
  2582. >You see Discord looking closely at you.
  2583. >”Huh. You are still here?”
  2584. >No time like the present.
  2585. >You boop him.
  2586. “Nope. Artemis is taking a nap.”
  2587. >Nothing around you makes a lot of sense.
  2588. >Perfect.
  2589. >Discord is wiggling his nose, slightly scrunched.
  2590. >”I take it you are that human thingie.”
  2591. “Sure am. I’m going to rip you to shreds.”
  2592. >Discord rolls his eyes, as he pushes you away.
  2593. >”Guess that’s why Artemis is so delusional. Get the picture little man, I control everything.”
  2594. “Yeah, yeah, sure. You know how he likes to go on and on about being the prince of the moon and stuff.”
  2595. >”Like you are now.”
  2596. “So Discord, besides the moon. What else does Artemis control?”
  2597. >He’s dirtying his nails, not really paying attention.
  2598. >”Don’t really care. Was it pies? Probably pies given how much cake Celestia likes to eat. By the way, your sister is a horse.”
  2599. >Not going to play along huh?
  2600. “Dreams. He controls dreams”
  2601. >”That’s nice. What about th-where did this cord come from?”
  2602. >A glowing cord stretches from him to your horn.
  2603. “Oh that. When I booped ya. Dreams are subconscious thoughts, feelings, and a whole lot of other junk. You’ve been trapped in stone for a thousand years. A thousand years of nightmares and terrors I now control.”
  2604. >With a wing feather pointed at him like a gun.
  2605. “Bang.”
  2606. >Like a gorgeous watercolor painting, the subconscious explodes from Discord’s mind and fills everything.
  2607. >Twisted figures of Artemis and Celestia seem to be everywhere.
  2608. >Chains wrap around Discord, his appendages are frozen in stone.
  2609. >You rise up, a grim representative of the void gaps with a hideous open mouth.
  2610. >”No. No, no. No, no, no. I am not going to let it end like this.”
  2611. 13/17
  2613. >You can’t help but laugh.
  2614. “Welcome to your new reality! Everything you are is mine. Your power, your fears, and your life.”
  2615. >Discord breaks out of one of his hands, and snaps.
  2616. >Whatever he had intended, fails.
  2617. >He’s sinking into a mire of nothing.
  2618. >”How is this possible, you’re a pony? Your kind has never had this kind of mindset.”
  2619. >Eyes feel dry, must have not blinked at all.
  2620. >But you are having so much fun right now.
  2621. >Grin hasn’t left your face.
  2622. “I am not a pony. You did this to me, and now I will be your undoing. I will drag your corpse to the real Discord. I will introduce him to pain that has never been seen in this land. I will wipe all memory of your existence, you will be forgotten!”
  2623. >Discord’s eyes widen.
  2624. >Laughter is all around him.
  2625. >He’s being mocked by unseen faces.
  2626. >All of his limbs are now stone, forcing him to faceplant.
  2627. >Gritting his teeth, for the first time in eons, he motivates himself.
  2628. >Discord using the remaining strength to shatter the stone limbs.
  2629. >Like a snake he slithers away, between stomping pony hooves.
  2630. >He just needs to escape.
  2631. “Why don’t we visit my nightmares.”
  2632. >Then he falls over the edge.
  2633. >He can’t see anything.
  2634. >Feel anything.
  2635. >Worse than being a stone statue.
  2636. >You want him to feel oblivion, before you gift it to him.
  2637. >With a crash, Discord slams into invisible ground.
  2638. >Shaking off the stars, Discord grows himself new limbs.
  2639. >There is nothing around him, no light.
  2640. >Gravity increases rapidly, forcing him back on his belly.
  2641. >”Humans must be the most annoying species.”
  2642. “Oh yeah, ponies are ridiculously in harmony with each other compared to humans.”
  2643. >That look of disdain on his face is delicious.
  2644. 14/17
  2646. >Fate can be funny sometimes.
  2647. >You were so focused on torturing this Discord, you lost track of time.
  2648. >A rainbow explodes on the planet, it’s light breaking through everything.
  2649. >The Elements of Harmony had been activated, those mares are moments away from breaking down Discord.
  2650. “Well now.”
  2651. >Discord’s eyes are wide open, and his jaw dropped to the ground.
  2652. >”Well, that’s a setback. How? I won. I broke them.”
  2653. >Some things never change.
  2654. >He is slowly fading away, main Discord’s power is being contained.
  2655. >You can feel becoming normal again.
  2656. “Well, for your final thoughts. I leave you this. I’m going to find your statue, and rip your mind apart. Slowly. When Artemis is asleep, you’ll be getting visited by me.”
  2657. >He turns to you, flames in his eyes and an angry growl.
  2658. “Then I’ll visit ponies dreams and erase all memories of you. Turn your statue into dust, and launch that dust into a black hole. Nothing of you will exist. Ever, again.”
  2659. >The maniacal laughter can’t be healthy.
  2660. >Well, you have lived longer than a human probably should.
  2661. >Artemis really is tougher than he thinks.
  2662. >”You think you’ve won.”
  2663. “Discord, anything you do now is going to be undone. I am going to kill you in every aspect. I win.”
  2664. >He stares at you, thinking.
  2665. >Then he lifts up his claw.
  2666. >”I can think of one thing.”
  2667. >Well if he wants to fight, you still have your dream control over him.
  2668. >Twisting black thorny vines erupt around him, not sure what they’re about.
  2669. >Discord wiggles and weaves through them.
  2670. >The magic dream cord grows taunt.
  2671. >Oh crude, he yanked on it.
  2672. >You go flying straight at him, you pull back to resist.
  2673. >Too late, he brings his hand close to your face.
  2674. >Snap.
  2675. 15/17
  2677. >You are the worried, but ever regal princess of Equestria, Celestia.
  2678. >For the past few hours you’ve been trying to subvert Discord in every way possible.
  2679. >Give Twilight the motivation she needs to overcome him.
  2680. >For your part, you have every confidence she will succeed.
  2681. >Nothing is more powerful than friendship.
  2682. >What you are worried about, is your brother.
  2683. >For some Faust-forsaken reason, he is picking a fight with Discord.
  2684. >Watching everything unfold on the moon, Artemis is throwing everything at him.
  2685. >You want to help, but it would only make everything worse.
  2686. >He’s defacing his own moon just to win.
  2687. >Artemis, what is possessing you?
  2688. >You can only watch as everything keeps escalating.
  2689. >Discord’s chaotic reality has covered the moon for a while now.
  2690. >”Princess Celestia, what is going on up there?”
  2691. >Cadance has been by your side, trying to help as best as she can.
  2692. “I don’t know, but I can only hope for the safety of Prince Artemis. I can’t lose him again.”
  2693. >”Can you teleport to the moon?”
  2694. “No.”
  2695. >Just trust Twilight.
  2696. >As if an answer for your pleas from the heavens, you feel it.
  2697. >The same powerful magic that you wielded so long ago.
  2698. >The chaotic magic that was corrupting everything around you evaporates like morning dew under your sun.
  2699. >”Aunt Celestia! They did it! Twilight and her friends were able to stop Discord.”
  2700. >A smile paints your face, close your eyes and silently thank your favorite pupil.
  2701. >Now you just need to make sure everything is in order.
  2702. >A snap, your hair is standing up on end.
  2703. >Jerk your attention to the moon.
  2704. “No.”
  2705. >Like a cracked egg, a fissure runs down the moon.
  2706. >Something terrible has just happened.
  2707. >Think, think Celestia.
  2708. >Your brother is in danger, he needs your help.
  2709. 16/17
  2711. >Teleport, you need to teleport.
  2712. >Better yet, move the moon closer, and then you can teleport easier.
  2713. >Your horn glows, and you grab that familiar orb.
  2714. >Just close enough to make two trips easy.
  2715. >”Cadance, prep the medical team for my brother. I’m going to go get him.”
  2716. >”Understood, Auntie.”
  2717. >You can hear her hooves gallop away.
  2718. >Now focus, your brother is waiting.
  2719. >Eyes shoot open, you felt him just teleport.
  2720. >He’s here.
  2721. >Now you can relax.
  2722. >”GUARDS!”
  2723. >Ears pin back from the royal voice.
  2724. >The voice wasn’t right, it sounded feminine.
  2725. >In the throne room, you rush there as fast as you can gallop.
  2726. “Artemis? Artemis!”
  2727. >Turning the corner into your throne room, you halt to a stop.
  2728. >Your brother is smaller, and not a stallion.
  2729. >”Sister! Please, we need help. I fear Discord left us a parting gift.
  2730. >On her back laid an unconscious creature.
  2731. >One that you recognize.
  2732. “That’s Anon the Human.”
  2733. >What the buck.
  2734. >”The fiend undid the spell he had, by splitting us in half. Sister, he’s not waking up.”
  2735. 17/17
  2737. PART 8
  2738. >Day welcome back to sanity in Equestria.
  2739. >Repeat visitors get an ice cream cone.
  2740. >Or was that repeat visits to the afterlife?
  2741. >Wait, what were you doing again?
  2742. >Can feel a soft bed under you, and thin blankets covering you.
  2743. >Hear someone breathing.
  2744. >Nothing hurts, but you feel like you just ran a marathon.
  2745. >Everything is tired.
  2746. >Fluttering eyes reveal a rather plain ceiling.
  2747. >If you had to guess, you must be in some kind of hospital.
  2748. >Smells way too clean.
  2749. >The breathing you heard quickens.
  2750. >”A-are you awake? Oh thank the stars.”
  2751. >The female voice, you don’t recognize it.
  2752. >Turning your head you see blue horse.
  2753. >Wait, no.
  2754. >Memories are coming back, she looks like you?
  2755. >That doesn’t seem right.
  2756. “You look familiar.”
  2757. >I’m you.
  2758. >”I’m you.”
  2759. >Did?
  2760. >Did your mind just get an impression?
  2761. >”That is peculiar.”
  2762. “You’re telling me. Oh.”
  2763. >Oh.
  2764. >You were Artemis, Prince of Equestria.
  2765. >But, you’re human now.
  2766. >”We were physically, mentally, and spiritually split by the despicable spirit of chaos.”
  2767. “Discord.”
  2768. >Practically hiss from that memory.
  2769. >Everything that happened, it is all coming back.
  2770. “Well this isn’t ideal.”
  2771. >Pulling yourself up, you sit up in your bed.
  2772. >What happens now?
  2773. >You’re not Artemis anymore.
  2774. >”Yes we are.”
  2775. >The mare stomps her hoof after she trots to the bedside.
  2776. >”Separated we may be, but we are still parts of that stallion.”
  2777. “Well I’m not him, are you calling yourself Artemis?”
  2778. >She hesitates, but you can tell.
  2779. >”You speak truly, I do not call myself Prince Artemis. For now, until we decide what our fate will be, I am Full Moon!”
  2780. >Wings outstretched and hoof raised, she is very proud of herself.
  2781. >Did she name herself?
  2782. >Oh, she did.
  2783. “Why did you name yourself that?”
  2784. 1/10
  2786. >Bravado slowly evades her as she has trouble looking you in the eye.
  2787. >”I had to come up with something, sister thinks it’s fine.”
  2788. “Sister thinks it is fine because it is another pony name. Artemis and Celestia are not pony names.”
  2789. >’Moon’ huffs, with only a little pout.
  2790. >You really hope you didn’t look like that when you were not having your way.
  2791. >”Well then, as the stallion here, you would come up with a more appropriate name.”
  2792. “Celestia is just derivative of heaven. She moves the sun. We move the moon, so the name should be--”
  2793. >The door opens, an earth pony wearing a nurse hat comes backing in pulling a rolling trolley.
  2794. >”Excuse me, just need to check in. Oh. You’re awake!”
  2795. >Hopping to the other side of the bed, a hoof is planted in your forehead.
  2796. >Rapid fire questions are directed your way.
  2797. >Before you could answer a blue wing wraps in front of you.
  2798. >Despite the feathery shield you can tell ‘Moon’ is glaring.
  2799. >”He has just woken up, mind yourself.”
  2800. “Let her do her job.”
  2801. >Pushing her wing out of the way, you see the nurse has backed up significantly.
  2802. >”I’ll, actually I will inform Princess Celestia you are awake. Be right back.”
  2803. >That nervous forced smile vanishes as the nurse dashes out of the room.
  2804. >Rolling your head back around, you are not impressed.
  2805. >”What? You are the weaker sex here.”
  2806. “I’m in a mortal body not native to this world. And don’t give me that sexiest nonsense, when has that ever applied to us?”
  2807. >Looking at the mare, she is smaller than Artemis in every way.
  2808. >Small frame, wings, horn.
  2809. >No small penis.
  2810. “Did you really just think that!?”
  2811. >She leans back with a nervous smile.
  2812. 2/10
  2814. >”Think what? I have no idea what you mean. Besides, you were just comparing me to whole us.”
  2815. >You groan with a face palm.
  2816. >She’s trying to maneuver away from her slip up.
  2817. “And how did that lead to talking about my dick?”
  2818. >”Hey now, it’s ours.”
  2819. “I don’t see it attached to you.”
  2820. >’Moon’ puffs up her cheeks.
  2821. >”Well, why is it so weird looking now. It never looked like that before.”
  2822. >She throws aside the covers and points at it.
  2823. >Huh, you don’t have any clothes on.
  2824. >Oh.
  2825. >Pointing at it she continues to rant.
  2826. >”See, it’s all off. Was it always like this? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t.”
  2827. >A white figure is at the corner of your eye.
  2828. >Both of you look up, Princess Celestia is standing at the doorway.
  2829. >A deep heat colors your cheeks, and hers too which stands out on her white coat.
  2830. >’Moon’ throws a wing over your lower body.
  2831. >”S-sister. You arrived rather promptly.”
  2832. >Grabbing your blanket and pull it back up.
  2833. >You slowly turn to look at your counterpoint.
  2834. >Got the perfect name for this lunatic mare.
  2835. “I’m going to call you Luna.”
  2836. >”Don’t call us that!”
  2837. “It means moon like how Celestia means heavens. It fits.”
  2838. >”That’s not what you said.”
  2839. >”I think it sounds like a proper name.”
  2840. >Thank you sister.
  2841. >No, don’t encourage her.
  2842. >She already agreed with us.
  2843. >Only because you’re not giving her context.
  2844. >No, we just flash our sister instead, that’s so much better.
  2845. >”Are you talking to each other. You’re making expressions without words.”
  2846. “Oh sorry. We do share, well everything apparently.”
  2847. >Celestia walks over to the window and stares out of it for a moment.
  2848. >She’s thinking something profound.
  2849. >Wouldn’t you if you were her.
  2850. >Sometimes I wish we were her.
  2851. 3/10
  2853. >”Anon, Luna, what has happened to you both is complicated. Anon, how do you feel?”
  2854. “Like I’m recovering from being the worst case of sickness.”
  2855. >”Anon, I don’t think Discord knows what a human is, it wasn’t a clean split. Our doctors had to finish making you a whole body just so you wouldn’t die.”
  2856. >Luna clears her throat, ears folded back.
  2857. >”Conditions worsened when I tried to go to our room in Ponyville for something. Our soul can’t handle us being too far from each other. I was struggling outside Canterlot until help came.”
  2858. >Great, you are still a burden.
  2859. >Counterpart gives a frustrated look, but doesn't say anything.
  2860. “How long was I out?”
  2861. >”Two days.”
  2862. >If you had a drink you would be doing a spit take.
  2863. “How?!”
  2864. >Celestia smiles, you can see a hint of pride.
  2865. >”The royal doctor, Miracle Worker, has incredible talent. A few restoration potions kept her energy up. She has since retired after you stabilized.”
  2866. >Luna seems to have some resentment.
  2867. >“She kept asking us questions about you that I had no idea about.”
  2868. “Let me guess, you got on each other’s nerves.”
  2869. >A hoof stomp tells you as much.
  2870. >”Our ignorance was not due to our own inadequacies. I don't know what the appendix does in a human.”
  2871. >Sister holds up a hoof.
  2872. >”Regardless, her knowledge with other species helped. You being more delicate to magic.”
  2873. >Delicate?
  2874. >Interesting choice of words.
  2875. “So at this point all we can do is wait for me to recover.”
  2876. >Celestia nods with a soft grin.
  2877. >”I know you both wanted to live away from regal living, but given your condition you both will be staying here.”
  2878. >Didn’t even give a two weeks notice to your job.
  2879. >Your frown is noticed.
  2880. 4/10
  2882. >”Yes?”
  2883. >Luna and you look at each other, before you address Celestia.
  2884. “While I would like to inform our friends what has happened, do you wish for me to remain hidden until it is safe?”
  2885. >Both of you watch Celestia, she is rolling it over in her head.
  2886. >”I haven’t thought about it.”
  2887. >Could just say Discord did it.
  2888. “Not sure if that would work, Luna. Discord was dispelled by the Elements of Harmony. If you were walking around, it wouldn’t add up.”
  2889. >She looks down, her ears drooping.
  2890. >It might be time.
  2891. >Time?
  2892. >”Maybe it is time to start taking our place by Celestia’s side. While it isn’t how we planned things out, it might be wise to start a new path in life. Plus it would keep you safer here.”
  2893. >If a glare could turn to stone.
  2894. >”Ponyville is attacked by monsters practically every week.”
  2895. >Celestia’s eyes widen, looks back between you two.
  2896. >”Twilight has not mentioned such an influx of monsters.”
  2897. “She’s exaggerating.”
  2898. >Mostly.
  2899. “I don’t think I need a throne. Luna and you can sit together.”
  2900. >A loud snort tickles your hair.
  2901. >”We both shall make decrees. There is no reason for you to hide away under my shadow.”
  2902. >Leaning onto an elbow, you address your other half.
  2903. “There is no way ponies are going to accept some random creature sitting on the throne next to you. Much less her.”
  2904. >Luna sits up straight.
  2905. >”You don’t think it won’t be difficult for me? For all of our life we were the stallion of Equestra. Prince of the Moon. There are poems, riddles, and tales written about Artemis, the stallion. Now I sit here less imposing, I’m barely taller than the pink one.”
  2906. “Princess Cadance.”
  2907. >”Yes that one.”
  2908. 5/10
  2910. >”When we were whole, we never believed we could be equals with sister.”
  2911. >You hear Celestia protest, but it is drowned out by Luna.
  2912. >”Now we are less than what we once were. I can’t do this without you. Anon, please. I need you.”
  2913. >Gipping the blanket tightly, you mumble.
  2914. “I wasn’t going to leave.”
  2915. >”No, just let depression drown you.”
  2916. >Now, now you’re just tired.
  2917. >Can’t respond to that.
  2918. >When you were whole you had that little niggle in your mind.
  2919. >Wouldn’t surprise you if Artemis started to punish himself in some matter.
  2920. >That’s neither here nor there.
  2921. >What do you want?
  2922. >Looking up at Luna, she just looks sad.
  2923. “Well, I could use some pants.”
  2924. >Luna faceplants onto the bed, before slowly tilting her head back up.
  2925. >”Really.”
  2926. “Yes.”
  2927. >”I don’t get it.”
  2928. >Celestia tilts her head between you both.
  2929. >”It’s a human thing. He’s going to want to wear clothes.”
  2930. “I can’t go around wearing just a crown. Not decent.”
  2931. >Sister just ‘hmms’ at that as she starts to think.
  2932. >”Well could always bring one of your friends from Ponyville. Rarity, I believe, was the local seamstress, yes?”
  2933. >Oh no.
  2934. “Nope. I’ll pass on her. She is good with her work, but that mare was hungry for us something fierce. I had so many gifts mailed to me from her.”
  2935. >”Indeed sister, Rarity pinnes to be of royal status. When she forgets her positive qualities she becomes troublesome to deal with.”
  2936. “I would allow some commissions with her, just so I won’t outright snub her.”
  2937. >Would fly in the face of everything I had wished to do in Ponyville.
  2938. “Let me rest on this. Everything needs to settle.”
  2939. >Still want some pants.
  2940. >I’ll get you pants!
  2941. >Stop complaining!
  2942. >Roll your eyes at Luna.
  2943. 6/10
  2945. >Celestia nods, not commenting on your obvious mental conversation with your half.
  2946. >”Luna, let me get you up to speed with the state of the kingdom.”
  2947. >She nods as she follows sister out the room.
  2948. >They stop short when they find someone listening in.
  2949. >”You!? Were you spying on us?”
  2950. >”N-no! I just got here. I was about to knock.”
  2951. >”Sister, please. Cadance means no harm.”
  2952. >You hear a ‘harrumph’ from Luna.
  2953. “Did you want to speak with us?”
  2954. >Calling out to them.
  2955. >Are you really going to appease her?
  2956. >”It’s fine. I’ll wait.”
  2957. >Given your impression of what Luna is seeing, Cadance seems curious.
  2958. >Also walking on eggshells.
  2959. “Come in. I’m allowed to have guests. You two go on.”
  2960. >”Fine.”
  2961. >Hear them trotting off, while Cadance waves goodbye.
  2962. >She ‘casually’ walks in, closing the door behind her.
  2963. >Just watch her go to sit down in the lone chair in the corner.
  2964. >”Glad to see your awake.”
  2965. >Small talk, can work with this.
  2966. “Haven’t been long enough to despise the jello yet.”
  2967. >She laughs, it is forced.
  2968. >Human humor went over her head.
  2969. “You don’t have to laugh. It was a bad joke.”
  2970. >”Oh. Right then. So you’re Artemis? The male half of him anyway.”
  2971. “You nailed it.”
  2972. >”So what are you?”
  2973. “Human. Before you think about it, our situation is unique. Our parents made us this way.”
  2974. >Cadance is a sweet mare, bit bland but sweet.
  2975. >She keeps you company while you relax.
  2976. >Can feel Luna slowly understanding how everything has been going with the kingdom.
  2977. >”You seem much calmer.”
  2978. “If you are talking about how we’ve gotten angry with you in the past then I suppose I could give that illusion.”
  2979. >Cadance has been brushing your hair now.
  2980. >She’s good at it.
  2981. 7/10
  2983. >The irony of a pretty pink pony princess brushing you is not lost on you.
  2984. “I’m not upset with you, though it seems Luna has been harsh with you.”
  2985. >She nods.
  2986. >”Luna? Is that her name?”
  2987. >No!
  2988. >No, no, no, no, no!
  2989. “Yes.”
  2990. >Buck!
  2991. “She doesn’t like it, but it fits her. Better than Full Moon. What was she thinking with that name?”
  2992. >It is a pony name.
  2993. >”I think it fits her. Goes along with Celestia as a name.”
  2994. “Indeed it does.”
  2995. >”Your name, Anon. Doesn’t really fit. In fact, it is a rather alien name.”
  2996. “It is who I was before I was a pony.”
  2997. >Cadance ‘hmms’ as she finishes brushing you.
  2998. >Tempted to scratch her behind the ears.
  2999. >A knock on the door catches your attention.
  3000. “Come in.”
  3001. >”Ah ha! You’re awake! Couldn’t scarcely believe the news, but I am a genus.”
  3002. >A bright red earth pony mare on a metal prosthetic come clopping in.
  3003. >”Oh, Doctor Miracle Worker, surprised to see you up again. Anon, this is-”
  3004. >In a swift motion, the doctor attaches a magnifying glass on her hoof.
  3005. >”I am the mare that put you back together.”
  3006. >She’s looking very closely at you.
  3007. >Bite her nose!
  3008. >No Luna!
  3009. “How are you here? You worked on me non-stop.”
  3010. >A spitfire grin edges the corner of her mouth
  3011. >”Because the final touches could only be done when you’re awake. You look absolutely lovely by the way. Can’t even tell you were on death’s door.”
  3012. >Not sure if that is a compliment or not.
  3013. >She sticks her tongue out as she studies you.
  3014. >Cadance looks nervous for you.
  3015. >”So do I need order my staff to feed you bananas now? That is something that primates enjoy right?”
  3016. 8/10
  3018. >Ok, maybe you will smack this mare.
  3019. >Thank you.
  3020. “Why would you come to that conclusion? Of all the things.”
  3021. >Not even missing a beat, she is transferring her tools on her arm.
  3022. >Scanning over everything.
  3023. >”Body seems to run on electrical currents and chemical cocktails. Princess Luna wouldn’t tell me any details. Didn’t want to fix you wrong.”
  3024. >Groaning, you boop the snoot of the little poot.
  3025. “I’ll allow this on the grounds you are my doctor and you saved my life. Bedside manners aside.”
  3026. >Her crossed-eyed muzzle gives you some satisfaction.
  3027. >But you do have a real question for her.
  3028. “Humans also live in a magicalless environment. How is this body handling it?”
  3029. >Miracle Worker wiggles her nose a moment before she can respond.
  3030. >”Magical levels seem normal, standard alicorn level. Well, standard with the small sample size we had.”
  3031. >You wait.
  3032. >”Hold on, you said no magic where you are from? Oh. Ok then. That makes things more complex. Can you use magic? Wait, that doesn’t work. No horn.”
  3033. >Looking at Cadance, you shrug as the doctor starts to pace around your bed.
  3034. >Can see her little cutie mark, a pony with a heart imprint inside it.
  3035. >”Princess Luna was able to move the moon just fine. She didn’t mention any deficiencies on her side.”
  3036. “Oh did she now?”
  3037. >Luuuuna.
  3038. >What?
  3039. >Were you having problems with your magic?
  3040. >There is a pause between thoughts before the answer comes to you.
  3041. “Oh, Luna can’t dreamwalk.”
  3042. >Your company pauses.
  3043. >”Come again?”
  3044. >Doctor looks confused.
  3045. “I can communicate with my other half and she said she can’t dreamwalk.”
  3046. >Both hooves plant on your bedside.
  3047. >”Most incredible. To think I wa--”
  3048. >Miracle Worker faceplants into the bed.
  3049. >Soft snoring ripples into the fabric.
  3050. 9/10
  3052. >Sighing, you stare down at the snoozing body of your doctor.
  3053. >Cadance trots around to the other side, showing some concern.
  3054. >Picking up your doctor, she lays the mare on her back.
  3055. >”Dream walking? It might be possible you can do it.”
  3056. “I’ll give it a try tonight.”
  3057. >Honestly, could go to sleep right now.
  3058. >Your guests leave you to your thoughts.
  3059. >Tuning your ears, you can hear the breathing of ponies on the other side of the door.
  3060. >Guards are posted at your door.
  3061. >At this time, you might be the most protected person in this castle.
  3062. >Celestia would see to it that nothing bothers you.
  3063. >Settling down back into the bed, you wiggle your toes and stretch your fingers.
  3064. >Everything is there, everything is normal.
  3065. >Just the magic question now.
  3066. >Guess you were never going to be completely human.
  3067. >Close your eyes, calming your thoughts.
  3068. >Command sleep to take you.
  3069. >’Open’ your eyes.
  3070. >Find yourself in a familiar place.
  3071. >Dreamscape as far as you can see.
  3072. “Guess I’ll be the Sandman. Take care of my little ponies.”
  3073. >Luna can take care of moon duties.
  3074. >You got dreamland.
  3075. >Not held back by your physical body, you run free.
  3076. 10/10
  3078. Part 9
  3079. >Day ruling midget horses and you are the only one who wears pants.
  3080. >You were Artemis, but now you are just Anon.
  3081. >Luna, your other half, fell asleep going through research material sister gave her.
  3082. >She’s somewhere in the castle.
  3083. >Dreamwalking was really easy, easier than when you were a horse dude.
  3084. >So many nightmares and you destroyed them.
  3085. >Now, what do you do?
  3086. >Morning chill is creeping away from your bed.
  3087. >There will be guests, you don’t doubt that.
  3088. >Peace will eventually flee.
  3089. >How long until then you don’t know.
  3090. >Doubt you can walk, still feel feeble.
  3091. >Settling in is easier said, you’ve been stuck in bed long enough.
  3092. >Breakfast, that’s going to be fun.
  3093. >Can you still eat hay?
  3094. >Haybrowns might be terrible for a normal human.
  3095. >Normal human, what are you now?
  3096. >A knock on the door interrupts your thoughts.
  3097. “Come.”
  3098. >A guard marches into the room, gives a small bow.
  3099. >”Sire, Prince Blueblood is here.”
  3100. >This mare must have been guarding your door.
  3101. >Glad you don’t talk out loud when you are by yourself.
  3102. “Very good. Please let him in.”
  3103. >She bows, slowly walking backwards while doing so.
  3104. >That really seems unnecessary.
  3105. >”Be ready to go guard. Ah, your royal highness. Breakfast will be soon, I wish to escort you. Are there any preparations?”
  3106. >Blueblood?
  3107. >How curious.
  3108. “Doctor Worker gave approval? She was zoned out the last time I saw her.”
  3109. >A wheelchair rolls in behind him, he carries it with his magic right next to the bed.
  3110. >”Her words were no extraneous activity. A short stroll and breakfast might fall under that bar of activity.”
  3111. >Would be nice to see the other two.
  3112. >Looking towards the bathroom, you wonder how much you should clean up.
  3113. >Stallion quirks, but it is expected.
  3114. 1/12
  3116. “I need clothing to cover most of my body.”
  3117. >Blueblood clears his throat.
  3118. >”Ah yes, I was making preparations the moment you were under emergency treatment.”
  3119. >A servant pulls away from Blueblood’s shadow, he was definitely not there before.
  3120. >He unravels what looks like a toga.
  3121. >”I may be a little presumptuous, but I had this made that will be suitable until you can decide what to drape your frame with. Stallions work hard on our presence after all.”
  3122. >The toga reminds you of Luna’s coat.
  3123. >It even has the cutie mark on the sleeve with the button.
  3124. >Pulling yourself to the side of the bed, you lift up your arms.
  3125. >The hoof-butler starts to pull it over you.
  3126. “My other half is still reeling from learning all the functions of the kingdom.”
  3127. >”I’m not surprised. You both use to be one stallion.”
  3128. >Not sure if you want to take that as a back-handed statement about Luna.
  3129. >Toga wraps around rather nicely.
  3130. >Feels good.
  3131. >Expectantly, the butler looks at you.
  3132. “A quick clean will be appropriate.”
  3133. >His eye gleams as a brush and toothbrush conjure up in his hooves.
  3134. >Sneaky servants.
  3135. >As a brush combs through your hair, Blueblood continues talking.
  3136. >”Your condition is still limited to the staff of the castle and some guards, I’ve seen to it that nopony spin any tales until a decision is made.”
  3137. “Bry Gud.”
  3138. >Talented enough to talk with a toothbrush in your mouth.
  3139. >A wet cloth is dabbed on your face.
  3140. >The stallion pauses as he holds out a tray of a selection of powders.
  3141. >Did not miss this.
  3142. “I’m just speaking with family today. After this I’m most likely going back to this room.”
  3143. >With a quick snap shut the case pulls away, the stallion bows and retreats.
  3144. 2/12
  3146. >Right then, just get in the chair.
  3147. >One foot, cold floor.
  3148. >Tense up a little, anticipating flopping on the floor like a carp.
  3149. >Ok, you’re standing.
  3150. >And now the little ponies all looking up to you in awe.
  3151. >Adorable.
  3152. >There’s that exhaustion creeping back.
  3153. >Come on, you’re not geriatric yet.
  3154. >Well, maybe you are actually.
  3155. >Eons old and still looking good.
  3156. >With a swift about-face you sit down in the chair.
  3157. “This is not a normal chair.”
  3158. >”Correct. Your doctor designed this, I had the royal smithy put priority work on it.”
  3159. >Blueblood really is going all out on this.
  3160. >Doctor Miracle Worker is also good at her job, outside of her eccentric personality.
  3161. >She still asleep last you check from your dream walk.
  3162. >The butler takes the handle of your wheelchair after you sit down in it and you are finally wheeled out of the room.
  3163. >Two mare guards salute and start flanking you.
  3164. “You’ve been waiting for this.”
  3165. >The prince doesn’t make any obvious reactions.
  3166. >But you do have a slight feel from him.
  3167. >”The moment you had returned to this world, the castle has been prepared for your arrival.”
  3168. >Very diplomatic.
  3169. “Perhaps not this way.”
  3170. >Can’t help but give a sneaky grin.
  3171. >”True.”
  3172. >Oh, he feels like you’re testing him.
  3173. >Probing his position.
  3174. >Shouldn’t be so blunt.
  3175. >”Nopony would have ever anticipated your situation. You have a habit of keeping everypony around you perpetually unsure how to approach you.”
  3176. >Well you were trying to work on that in Ponyville.
  3177. >Never really bothered coming to Canterlot outside secret visits with your sister.
  3178. “You did fine when you came down to visit me. Even if I did get upset by the lack of respect of the whole situation.”
  3179. >Silent acknowledgment hung in the air.
  3180. 3/12
  3182. >”Don't worry. I'll make sure everything goes smoothly.”
  3183. >You look up to him.
  3184. >Absolute sureness.
  3185. >Well, this is the life he has devoted himself to.
  3186. >A stallion in authority.
  3187. >This is something you are about to jump in, at the highest level of authority in the land.
  3188. >You are the government.
  3189. >Along with Celestia.
  3190. “I can't even get out of bed by myself.”
  3191. >”Your frustration is understandable, but please remember you just recovered from fighting that demon. No small feat.”
  3192. >Fought a fake copy.
  3193. >Paying more attention to your surroundings, you see other servants.
  3194. >Ponies pay their respect like you've always been here.
  3195. >Maids and stallions alike, and you feel the chattering from their mind.
  3196. >Curiosity seems to be a common thought.
  3197. >Only human.
  3198. >“Prince Anon.”
  3199. >Hmm?
  3200. >Blueblood was trying to get your attention.
  3201. “Oh sorry, mind was elsewhere.”
  3202. >”We’re here.”
  3203. >Double doors open to the dining room.
  3204. >There they are.
  3205. >”Prince Anon to your Royal Highnesses.”
  3206. >Sister smiles, that ever so pleasant smile full of memories.
  3207. >”Anon, I hope you slept well.”
  3208. “Celestia, Luna. I’m glad to finally make it out of that room.”
  3209. >”Anon, we need to return back to Ponyville. The state of the kingdom is a titanic effort. A mailponies job was much simpler.”
  3210. >Celestia seems to have a slight aura of justification.
  3211. >”Not so easy now is it?”
  3212. >You can feel Blueblood, the guards, and the butler leave the room.
  3213. >Why did Blueblood escort you here?
  3214. >The sunny warm magic of your sister pulls you closer.
  3215. >Following that up with a comfy wing hug.
  3216. >Sighing, you lean up against her and rub against her shoulder.
  3217. “Don’t worry, Luna. As I get better, we’ll focus on it together. Me being this disabled probably isn’t helping you.”
  3218. >She nods, nibbling on breakfast.
  3219. 4/12
  3221. >Eggs, toast, ham.
  3222. >They rolled out the griffon menu for you.
  3223. >Of course, I made sure of it.
  3224. “Thanks, Luna.”
  3225. >She is frustrated it seems.
  3226. >Jealously, she rolls the haybrowns on her plate with a fork.
  3227. >Staring at your slices of ham.
  3228. >”Of course I’m frustrated. I can’t eat it like we used to. This body is much like all the other ponies.”
  3229. >Can’t help but raise an eyebrow.
  3230. “Not even a little slice? Equestrians are a much tougher lot than the equines from earth.”
  3231. >Unless you were told ‘no’.
  3232. >Perhaps.
  3233. “Oh. I see. Maybe that’s why you were so curt about the doctor.”
  3234. >Lune doesn’t answer, she stabs an apple slice, brings it up to her mouth and bites down.
  3235. >She kept eye contact the whole time.
  3236. >Fruity.
  3237. “Pancakes!”
  3238. >An erect pale tower of mouth-watering deliciousness.
  3239. >”I was hoping you would notice. A favorite of mine.”
  3240. >Celestia hadn’t broken away from her hug as she brings her plate over.
  3241. >”How about a bite?”
  3242. >A fork pierces a piece and floats up to your mouth.
  3243. >”Sister, that’s juvenile. You only did that when we were foals.”
  3244. >Celestia floats the small syrapy snake around, just outside bite range.
  3245. >”Luna, look how adorable he is. Small eyes and nose.”
  3246. “Adorable!?”
  3247. >The moment you opened your mouth the pancake pops into your mouth.
  3248. >”Adorable.”
  3249. >”Celestia why must...Anon. Anon keep chewing.”
  3250. >I am.
  3251. >”I can taste you tasting that.”
  3252. >Slowly swallow.
  3253. >A slice of ham covered in blue magic floats up.
  3254. >”Eat it.”
  3255. “I’m a grown adult. I can eat my own food.”
  3256. >Luna tilts her head and smiles.
  3257. >”But I am.”
  3258. >Technically correct, the best kind of correct.
  3259. >With a short ‘ahh’ you bite down on the ham.
  3260. >That’s the good stuff.
  3261. >Luna rolling her tongue in her mouth.
  3262. 5/12
  3264. >Celestia watches with some amusement.
  3265. >Chewing on bites of her pancakes.
  3266. >Luna keeps feeding you more ham.
  3267. >”Anon. Luna told me you were dreamwalking last night. How do you feel?”
  3268. >Resist urge to talk with a mouth full of ham.
  3269. >Just a quick gulp.
  3270. “Like it always had. Easier, in fact. I was able to rest in bed while performing that task. How was Luna’s magic?”
  3271. >”Task was easier as well, now that you mention it. I was worried about losing some of our talent until you said you could dreamwalk.”
  3272. “I haven’t tried doing any other magic. Mental magic seems to come easily to me, but that’s it. Without a horn, I have no idea how to even perform the most basic of spells.”
  3273. >Sister is reading you, probably trying to see any underlying meanings you might suggest.
  3274. >Don’t think you are hinting at anything.
  3275. >Celestia looks between Luna and you.
  3276. >”It will take some time before I can read you as well as I can with Luna.”
  3277. >For her part, Luna tries not to look offended.
  3278. >”I’m not an open book.”
  3279. >Tia warmly chuckles.
  3280. >”Nothing escapes your older sister. Anon, if you are worried about becoming the stallion stereotype because of your weakness do not forget. We are all equals. In authority and power.”
  3281. >You must not look very impressed because she pokes your side with the edges of her feathers.
  3282. >”Not just magical, both Luna and you have authority in our kingdom.”
  3283. >”Doesn’t count for much. So much red tape.”
  3284. >Luna groans from what sounds like an overworked college student.
  3285. “The most important thing I have to offer is the dreamwalking powers. Legislation and policy making that’s...”
  3286. >Celestia’s sad eyes are not lost on you, her ears are slightly folded down.
  3287. 6/12
  3289. >”When you returned from your banishment, I had it all planned out. Join me as equal ruler. That has never changed, even now with you both being separated. Even now, I wonder if I’m pushing you to this decision.”
  3290. >Celestia gets up and walks to an open window.
  3291. >”Artemis deciding to stay in Ponyville was a wake up. Everything after that couldn’t have been a greater blessing to witness. That being said.”
  3292. >That tone, you recognize that unhappy tone.
  3293. >”What were you two thinking? Of all the foalish things, I would have thought you would have more wisdom than fighting Discord.”
  3294. >Ouch, she's not wrong.
  3295. >Luna seems to be mirroring your expression as guilt drains color from your face.
  3296. “I. We had to know what Discord did to us. I can't help but feel that everything is my fault.”
  3297. >What are you saying?
  3298. “Luna.”
  3299. >”Don't you dare say what we did was because of you.”
  3300. >Muscles tense up, if you could snort like a pony you would have.
  3301. “If you never had my memory we would have never gone mad. Every terrible choice we inflict on ourselves and others has been because of me.”
  3302. >”No.”
  3303. >Celestia cuts you down.
  3304. >”Artemis’ qualities is shared with you both. Anon, you inherited the guilt you have suffered from. Arty has always struggled with that because his sensitive heart.”
  3305. >The table is quiet.
  3306. >Can't even look at them in the eye.
  3307. >”We have always reacted strongly. Despite our efforts to temper our emotions it still flairs wildly.”
  3308. >Look up to see Luna get off her chair and walk around to you.
  3309. >”If anything you have been an anchor. You didn't just appear when Discord fought us, together we made one pony. It was always like this since we were born.”
  3310. 7/12
  3312. >Will others see it that way?
  3313. >When you put it all under scrutiny with no bias, can you really say everything is ok?
  3314. >”Anon, I understand why you don’t think it isn’t ok. I’m you remember. This is not going to be an immediate thing. Just like your physical health, we will work on this together. With sister.”
  3315. >Nodding, you stop slouching and sit up.
  3316. “What is happening today?”
  3317. >”There is an award ceremony for the Elements of Harmony for defeating Discord and saving the kingdom.”
  3318. >Celestia’s anger subsides, you can tell it was still lingering.
  3319. >Honestly can’t blame her, it was incrediably dumb fighting Discord and you paid for it.
  3320. >”When do you two want to announce your return to the throne?”
  3321. >The public is probably wondering what has happened to us.
  3322. >Nodding, you scratch that itch you feel behind Luna’s ear.
  3323. “Given how the moon looks, there is a lot of rumor mongering I’m sure. It needs to be addressed as soon as possible.”
  3324. >Roll myself out on a wheelchair.
  3325. >Now, Celestia and you pride yourselves on not being taken off guard so easily.
  3326. >So when the door slammed open hard enough to crack the walls, and what you assumed to be an asteroid crashing into the table, you are a little jumpy.
  3327. >The golden glow of Celestia’s magic protects you three as what left of dinner drips down the shield spell.
  3328. >The chandelier dances above what’s left of the overturned table.
  3329. >Waiting for it to fall.
  3330. >”A-anon.”
  3331. “Yes, Celestia?”
  3332. >”I’m glad that you are still strong, do you mind prying your arms from around my neck?”
  3333. >Apologetically, you release your grip.
  3334. >Flinch when the chandelier finally collapses onto the ground.
  3335. >Luna is in a guarded stance.
  3336. >”This seems more like an accident, than an attack.”
  3337. 8/12
  3339. >Groan of pain is muffled by the table cloth.
  3340. >That mare sounds familiar.
  3341. >A postmare’s hat pokes from behind the table.
  3342. >”I’m ok.”
  3343. >Wait, a moment.
  3344. “Derpy!?”
  3345. >”Ms. Hooves!?”
  3346. >The bubbly grey mare wiggles her way out of the mess she just made.
  3347. >”I’m not sure what went wrong, that curtain rod and the spear. Prince Artemis? I’m looking for Prince Artemis. I have a letter for him.”
  3348. >The golden shield dissipates, Celestia looks at disaster in front of her.
  3349. >”I didn’t believe you when you told me about her. I’m sorry I doubted you.”
  3350. >”Princess Celestia! I’m Ms. Hooves. Or Derpy is you prefer, your humble postmare at your service.”
  3351. >Derpy bows quickly.
  3352. >She hopes up to a slow hover.
  3353. >Turning her head side to side she is holding a large envelope.
  3354. >”Um, you look like Artemis.”
  3355. >Ms. Hooves’ eyes focus before puffing her cheeks in embarrassment.
  3356. “Oh sorry, didn’t mean to. You are a very lovely mare. You sound like Arty, but you are, um, not a pony.”
  3357. >Luna remains tightlipped.
  3358. >”My little pony, what is this about?”
  3359. >Celestia looks up at the overturned table that could knock out a family of earth ponies.
  3360. >”Also do you need to see a doctor?”
  3361. >Derpy shakes her head rapidly, doing that cute thing where her eyes end up in opposite directions before she started.
  3362. >”Nope, I’m good. Happens all the time. Like I said, I’m here to deliver a letter to Prince Artemis. I just didn’t know you had a sister that looked just like him.”
  3363. “Young mare, the royal facilities take care of the mail. How did you get in here?”
  3364. >Derpy taps her hooves together.
  3365. >”Well I might of had some help from some friends.”
  3366. >She doesn’t have contacts in this city, unless.
  3367. “Twilight Sparkle.”
  3368. 9/12
  3370. >Ms. Hooves should never play poker.
  3371. >”No, no, no, maybe. Well yes. But it is a good cause, everypony in Ponyville is worried about him.”
  3372. >Luna’s guard is slowly dropping.
  3373. >What was once a guarded standoffish expression is slowly melting to a frown.
  3374. >”The guards were tough to get past, but that unicorn was really nice. Blue gave directions and everything. This place is so big.”
  3375. >Celestia clears her throat.
  3376. >”You’re dodging the issue. You risked a lot trying to find my brother to deliver this letter.”
  3377. >Ms. Hooves hugs the envelope close.
  3378. >”The last I saw him, he saved my life and everypony around us from a monster. Please Princess, let me deliver this letter. We have pictures, little notes, and I think there is a piece of candy in here.”
  3380. >Her earnesty, what did we leave behind?
  3381. >”Young mare, thank you for caring about my brother. However, until the time is right he’ll be--”
  3382. “It’s us.”
  3383. >”It’s us.”
  3384. >Like identical twins, you answer her desire.
  3385. >Celestia stops, she closes her eyes, and steps back.
  3386. >Derpy looks between Luna and you.
  3387. >She stops flying, and softly lands.
  3388. >Need to prove it.
  3389. “Favorite treat is an oatmeal muffin but you’ll cheat occasionally and add strawberries on top.”
  3390. >”Your fastest record is 101 packages in half a shift.”
  3391. “You’re saving money to get Dinky in the magical school in that big shiny city on the side of the mountain.”
  3392. >That does it, Derpy’s eyes are watering.
  3393. >”W-what happened?”
  3394. “Discord split us in half. I’m Anon, the male side, Luna is the female side. We are both Artemis.”
  3395. >She drops her jaw, then looks to your sister behind her.
  3396. >Whatever confirmation she is looking for, Celestia was have confirmed it.
  3397. >Ms. Hooves stomps her right leg.
  3398. 10/12
  3400. >”How could you? Do you think we don’t care? After all the friends you made, and you throw it all away so you can fight the biggest monster. You’re in a wheelchair! Did you almost die?”
  3401. >Silence answers her question.
  3402. >Ms. Hooves stomps up to you both and is trying her best look you both eye to eye.
  3403. >”Did you know we had a search party to try and find you? If Twilight hadn’t asked her teacher we would still be looking for you.”
  3404. >She stops yelling, and goes quiet.
  3405. >”What kind of mare am I when I couldn’t even keep my partner safe. Got each other’s back no matter what happens. Rain or shine. So I’m making up for failing you. I’m here right now.”
  3406. >Puffing up her chest, ears forward, wings out.
  3407. >”We miss you and hope you come back home soon.”
  3408. >She wing salutes and hoofs over the envelope.
  3409. >It’s bulky and looks like it was they had to tape it close.
  3410. >You grab her and pull you in, Luna wraps her wings around you both.
  3411. “I’m sorry.”
  3412. >Luna and you hold this mare, you don’t know when it happened, but it is raining.
  3413. >You can do this.
  3414. >This short time you lived in Ponyville and each and every pony there is important to you.
  3415. >It will be a lot of work, but it will be worth it.
  3416. >”Sister, the award ceremony today. We should present to congratulate the heroes.”
  3417. “Ms. Hooves, will Ponyville be there to celebrate?”
  3418. >She nods.
  3419. “Ok. We need to bring closure to everyone. Ms. Hooves, we are going to join our sister on the throne. We’ll come back to Ponyville, but I need to