GREEN   6481   0
   9835   55.75 KB   754

The Long and Short of It (RGRE) Part 6

By SQA-non
Created: 31st January 2022 06:26:29 AM
1st April 2022 10:11:52 PM

  1. AKA A Guardsmare Of Half Height And Double Spirit Finds Love Twice As Tall And Thrice As Strong: A Reverse Gender Roles Equestria Story of Epic Proportions And Minuscule Stature
  2. Special thanks to Comfy, Uh-hmmm, Ephemeral, ScribblesAnon, APA, HotKinkajou, LaP, Rot, Editfag, QoC, Bobbles, and Shu for prereading/editing help.
  3. And and super special thanks to NigNogs for the top tier fan art, and de facto cover art, which can be viewed here: ponybooru.org/images/33009?q=artist%3Anignogs
  4.  
  5. >You are the one, the only, Cut N. Paste.
  6. >You audibly grumble as the sunlight streaming through the window lands perfectly on your face, rousing you from your comfortable slumber.
  7. >The first thing you notice upon waking though, is you seem to have pressed your face into somepony’s decadently soft tuft.
  8. >In no rush to get up, you snuggle further into the pony and take a deep breath.
  9. >That... smells nothing like Anon.
  10. >Suddenly a pair of small but strong hooves wraps around your head, pressing you further into the tuft.
  11. >As you’re pushed further and further into the fuzz, an unmistakably feminine voice rings out.
  12. >”Oh, you like that don’t you, slut?”
  13. >Okay, you did not like how that made you feel!
  14. >You should probably pull away... but...
  15. >Pike’s tuft is so soft and voluptuous...
  16. >You can’t look down at your own, pathetic tuft from your current position, but you can feel it.
  17. >Her’s is so much bigger, so much softer...
  18. >You sigh, wistfully.
  19. >Why must your genes be so accursed!?
  20. >Confronted with a paragon of femininity, how can a lowly beta like you not be filled with /totally platonic/ attraction?
  21. >How could you not want to completely drown in your herdsister’s tuft?
  22. >There’s nothing dyke about that!
  23. >But you know what’s even less dyke?
  24. >Dreaming about your coltfriend shoving your face into that same tuft with every thrust as he rails you!
  25. >Nothing homosexual about that!
  26. >Not to imply you have dreamed that, of course.
  27. >...More than three times.
  28. >....Consecutively.
  29. >Suddenly, you feel a familiar weight fall onto you, bringing you back to reality.
  30. >>”Babe, didn’t anyone ever teach you that sharing is caring?”
  31. >Pulling your face back just enough that you can look up, you see that Anon has draped himself over you AND Pike.
  32. >Sometimes it's easy to forget just how big he is, but times like this make it easy to remember.
  33. >H-Hot...
  34. >Shoving his face right next to yours, the both of you enjoy bathing your snoots in Pike’s lovely tuft.
  35. >Now Anon’s in here with you, that DEFINITELY means it's not dyke! Right? RIGHT!?
  36.  
  37.  
  38. “Okay, it’s fucked how much longer your years are here.”
  39. >You are Anonymous the unicorn, and as the three of you go through your morning routines, you can’t help but notice how long this winter has felt.
  40. >Mostly because seasons here are actually longer than they are back on Earth.
  41. >”No,” Pike pipes up as she follows you into the bathroom, “what’s bucked is that your Earth months are complete nonsense! Twelve months, each with thirty-five days, makes so much more sense!”
  42. >>”Yeah,” Cut adds through a mouthful of toothpaste. “What were the humans thinking!?”
  43. >Cranking the valve on the shower you resist the urge to sassily roll your eyes.
  44. “Sor~ry humans can’t, you know, control the weather!”
  45. >Pike scoffs as she takes a place at the twin sinks next to Cut, searching for something.
  46. >”Sounds like an excuse to me!”
  47. >You chuckle as you test the water with your hoof.
  48. >Ahhh, nice and warm already.
  49. >Pony water heaters really are magic!
  50. >Without further ado, you cross the threshold and immerse yourself in the wonderful world of a morning shower.
  51. >”Move over, stud!”
  52. >But before you could even think about closing the curtain, Pike zips into the shower with you.
  53. >She cheekily comes to a stop right under you, taking advantage of all the water running off you, and now on to her.
  54. >Blushing a little at the lewd positioning, you briefly consider asking Cut to join you as well.
  55. >However, that thought is immediately snuffed out by the memory of the last time the three of you all tried to squeeze into the shower together.
  56. >Talk about a disaster!
  57. >Pony showers really aren’t meant to have two ponies in them, but THREE!?
  58. >Frankly, you were lucky no one broke anything.
  59. >Pike, meanwhile, is contently humming below you, and you can feel her hips bump your hocks as she lazily sways them side to side.
  60. >”Mmmm, Thanks for volunteering to help me scrub all those hard to reach places.”
  61. >Giving in to the banter you summon your hands...
  62. >...and give Pike’s cute little nips a tweak!
  63. >You can tell her guard was down by how she stiffens under you.
  64. >And by the adorable little shriek she makes!
  65. >”EEEEEEEEEEEEE!”
  66. >After getting ahold of herself again, she glowers up at you, gone is the smugness she entered the shower with.
  67. >”Don’t do that.”
  68. >You blow her a raspberry.
  69. “Fine fine, your nips aren’t as tweakable as Cut’s anyway.”
  70. >The moment those words leave your mouth you hear the sound of a surprised and flustered Cut knocking something over at the sink.
  71. >She must have been listening in, just as you hoped.
  72. >>”Oh jeez!”
  73. >SCORE! That’s two for two, baby!
  74. >With a victorious smile on your face, you get to work scrubbing yourself, and Pike.
  75. >Looking down at her, you have a front row seat to the sight of her glower melting away under the power of your semi-skilled ministrations.
  76. >Today’s going to be a great day, you can already tell!
  77. >Splashing some fresh lather into your hands, you set to work /really/ working it into Pike’s flanks.
  78. >Which she appreciates of course.
  79. >”Mmmmmm.”
  80. >The more you work the suds in, the more she leans into your hands.
  81. >Which, considering they’re not actually attached to anything, is an odd sensation.
  82. >It's almost like you’re both standing above her and standing behind her at the same time.
  83. >Schrödinger's fondle.
  84. >”Don’t think this makes up for twisting my gals.”
  85. >Oh, now you're so, SO very tempted to grab them again, but you resist.
  86. >There’ll be plenty of time for more of that later.
  87. “I know deep down a part of you likes it. And that part can’t hide from me forever!”
  88. >She pleadingly looks up at you, a touch of genuine desperation in her eyes.
  89. >”Isn’t it enough that you’ve got Cut’s to play with?”
  90. >But of course, you are unmoved.
  91. “No.”
  92. >She drops her head into her hoof.
  93. >”Their balls are always fatter when the full moon’s out, just a day or so more,” she mutters under her breath.
  94. >That’s not the reaction you expected.
  95. >A pony saying maybe?
  96. >You make a note to ask her about that later.
  97. “Consider it a small price you’ll pay so we can spend our first Christmas with your parents instead of just as a herd.”
  98. >That makes her stiffen up more than tweaking her nips did!
  99. >Did... you say something wrong?
  100. “Hey, hon, I was kidding about—”
  101. >”It’s not that,” she cuts you off, “it’s... nothing. Don’t worry about it.”
  102. >That’s weird, is there something about going to her parents that’s got her worried?
  103. >What could that possibly be? She’s always spoken so highly of them.
  104. >Another topic to broach when you’re not about to start the day you suppose.
  105. “Hey, speaking of your parents’, have we got Cut in on that plan yet?”
  106. >”Of course we have! We told her...”
  107. >Pike’s statement trails off as Pike searches her memory.
  108. >After more than a few moments of clearly drawing a blank, she calls out beyond the shower in a last ditch effort.
  109. >”We told you about that, right, Cut?”
  110. >>”Um, well, no,” Cut weakly answers.
  111. >Pike looks down at her hooves for a moment, before something dawns on her.
  112. >She turns to you, confusion mixing with dawning horror.
  113. >”Oh Luna, we haven’t planned the trip out there at all, have we?”
  114. >Her realization makes your stomach drop.
  115. >Oh FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!
  116.  
  117. >Unfortunately, you were forced to leave that situation more or less unresolved.
  118. >You and Pike at least got Cut on board, but seeing as you all had to go to work, you were forced to put planning the trip on hold until at least tonight.
  119. >Which left you sitting at your desk, worrying and lamenting.
  120. “Oh God, it's so much closer to the holidays now! Tickets are probably so much more expensive!”
  121. >Cut stops in the middle of her work, looking up and squinting for a bit before turning to you.
  122. >”Why would train tickets get more expensive?”
  123. >>”ANONYMOUS!” a voice yells out from across the office.
  124. >Both you and Cut’s heads swivel to the source of the voice, Jargon’s office.
  125. >>”GET IN HERE!”
  126. >Jargon’s tone, as always, demands immediate attention, so with a shrug towards Cut, you stand up from your desk and head out.
  127. >Seeing as Jargon’s office is on nearly the other side of the office floor, you’ve got quite a little trek ahead of you!
  128. >As usual, you opt to walk around the outside of the cube farm as opposed to through it.
  129. >You prefer the snide comments coming from one direction as opposed to all sides, thank you very much.
  130. >Although, after you started dating Cut, you can’t help but appreciate the direction those comments have taken.
  131. >>>”How did that loser manage to hit THAT?” one mare cries.
  132. >>>>”He must have a fetish,” another chimes in. “You saw the hangers between her legs when she walked in! She didn’t even try to hide them!”
  133. >Their comments turn your canter into distinctly more of a strut, and all the while taunting them in your head.
  134. >Oh yeah, Cut gets a piece of this and you don’t!
  135. >So if you think she’s a loser, what does that say about you, /bitch/?
  136. >The thoughts put a devilishly smug smile on your face.
  137. >But, not wanting to waste more energy on your cringe coworkers than strictly necessary, you turn your attention away from them and towards the office itself.
  138. >You’d never really appreciated it before, but ponies really do their damnedest to liven everything up, even cube farms.
  139. >Despite being an office building, the interior makes you think of a cottage more than anything else.
  140. >The parts of the walls that aren’t dedicated to windows are all extravagantly painted too, full of color and life.
  141. >Even the cubes have some color on them!
  142. >They’re all made of polished wood with white trim, and low walls so you can easily talk to your neighbor!
  143. >You know, they kind of look like—
  144. >Wait a minute, oh my God.
  145. >They’re just stalls, from a barn!
  146. >Pony cubicles are /STALLS/.
  147. >You’ve been working in a STALL this whole time!?
  148. >What the fuck!?
  149. >This revelation disturbed you so deeply you didn’t even notice you’d Jargon’s office.
  150. >This, of course, causes you to run face first right into the door.
  151. “Ah! Fuck.”
  152. >Pausing to rub a hoof on your now sore muzzle, you just barely catch Jargon chuckling to herself and saying something about how ‘stallions walk around with their heads in the clouds’.
  153. >Okay, let’s get this over with then.
  154. >Pushing open Jargon’s door with a /little/ more force than you meant to, you step into her office.
  155. “You called, boss?”
  156. >Very annoyingly, she does not get right to the point.
  157. >>”Ahh, I remember what my husband was like after we first met. It was months later and he was still knocking things off the counter!”
  158. >You sure he wasn’t just scrambling to escape you, Jargon?
  159. >>”I’ll have to set aside some PTO for the two of you come spring. You won’t be able to keep your hooves off each other!”
  160. >You balk a little.
  161. >You’re really not a fan of the implications of her trying to predict your sex life.
  162. >Nor was that even close to one of the things you expected to hear when you walked in today.
  163. >>”I’m sure you’re thinking you don’t want foals now, but no stallion can escape the power of an Earth mare’s fertility!”
  164. >Okay, what the fuck!?
  165. >The vitriol in your head definitely leaks into your response.
  166. “Boss, is this /really/ what you called me over for?”
  167. >She looks at you like you’re insane.
  168. >You certainly /feel/ like you’re going insane, at least.
  169. >>”Of course not! Here, this showed up at the office for you.”
  170. >She taps a gilded envelope on her desk.
  171. >Closing the distance to it, you see ‘gilded’ doesn’t actually do it justice.
  172. >This whole thing is wreathed in an ornate gold pattern depicting two majestic unicorns.
  173. >And written in gold ink is your name, front and center.
  174. >You suppose it must be fan mail or something, otherwise they would have just sent it to Pike’s apartment.
  175. >Curiosity piqued, you pop the envelope open and slide the contents into your magic hands.
  176. >It's, predictably, a letter.
  177. >Surprisingly however, a small gold medallion also falls out.
  178. >Much like what was on the envelope, it depicts a unicorn, this time standing in front of a blazing sun.
  179. >What the hell?
  180. >Turning your attention to the letter, you give it a read.
  181.  
  182. Dear Anonymous,
  183. I’ve been a fan of your articles for quite some time, and recently I came into possession of some very interesting information. As my favorite gossip writer in the city, I can think of no better pony to share it with! So please, come by the castle this evening at seven sharp, and we can discuss this juicy development. Just show this medallion to the guards and they’ll take you right to me!
  184. Hope to see you soon,
  185. A fan
  186.  
  187. “Hm.”
  188. >Looking up from the letter, the look Jargon’s giving you makes it intuitively obvious that she expects you to tell her what it says.
  189. >Wow, rude.
  190. “It's a fan. Says they want to meet, that they’ve got a scoop for me.”
  191. >Jargon smiles like a wolf eyeing a fresh piece of meat.
  192. >>”Well, what are you waiting for then? Get going!”
  193.  
  194.  
  195.  
  196. >You are Anonymous, and with a newsie cap on your head and a saddlebag full of supplies, you’re approaching the castle now.
  197. >Frankly, you were rather iffy about answering the letter’s summons, but your normal fonts of information had been running dry.
  198. >Plus, crazy things always seem to happen when the castle is involved, and that usually means more sales, plus a fat bonus for you!
  199. >Even better, you don’t need to sneak in this time.
  200. >All you’ve got to do is show that weird medallion to the mare on front gate duty and she'll take care of the rest.
  201. >Much less of a hassle.
  202. >Hopefully that’s a sign it’ll be much less of a hassle /in/ the castle, too.
  203. >The ponies of Canterlot all but sing hymns about how patient Celestia is, but even she’d start getting testy at two diplomatic incidents in a row.
  204. >You’re almost there now, and you can’t help but notice you’re making pretty good time!
  205. >Not that you hadn’t believed her, but Pike really was spot on when she called unicorns, “the tribe of the mountaintops”.
  206. >Even with the foot of snow on the streets left by the recent fall earlier today, you’re having no trouble at all keeping your footing.
  207. >Or would it be hoofing?
  208. >Regardless, you’re navigating the would-be difficult terrain with ease!
  209. >It's like your hooves are natural snowshoes.
  210. >That, combined with your relatively long legs, makes trotting through the snow on this sunny winter day feel like the most natural thing in the world.
  211. >Makes you want to start prancing around, kick up some snow, and neigh!
  212. >...
  213. >As soon as the thought hits your mind, you stop dead in your tracks.
  214. >Okay, that’s a little /too/ native for your liking.
  215. >Let’s tone that back a bit, thoughts.
  216. >You feel like you ought to think of something American to balance it out.
  217. >Something like a... fourth of July Barbeque!
  218. >Ah, now those are some good memories.
  219. >If only vegetables benefited from slow cooking...
  220. >Feeling your natural zen restored, you set off once more.
  221. >It only takes a few more minutes of walking, and definitely not prancing, before you arrive at a familiar set of gates.
  222. >But the gates aren’t the only familiar thing, there’s a familiar face as well.
  223. >”Well, well, well,” a sly voice calls out. “I thought you were banned.”
  224. >With a smile to match Astral Blade’s own, you correct her.
  225. “Temporarily.”
  226.  
  227.  
  228. >Not long after, the mare herself was leading you through the bustling halls of Canterlot castle.
  229. >Today it seems like everywhere you look the halls are packed with ponies cleaning, guarding, and rushing about their day.
  230. >A far cry from the nearly empty halls back when the orders were to keep the place locked down for visitors.
  231. >And a much more welcoming sight, you might add.
  232. >”Hey, don’t space out too hard there, Anon. Pike would /kill/ me if she heard I’d lost you in here,” Astral prods.
  233. >You make a show of rolling your eyes at her; she, of all ponies, knows you know your way around here.
  234. >She even already told you the destination!
  235. >It’s just ‘in one of the Castle’s nice lounge rooms’, that’d be easy to find!
  236. >Probably.
  237. >Unfortunately though, while Astral knew where to go, her orders hadn’t included who sent them.
  238. >But, if they’re using official channels like that it's probably not that shady, right?
  239. >Plus, if they’ve got clearance to use one of those lounges, they’ve got to be on pretty good terms with the crown if nothing else.
  240. >But, either way, you’re glad it's Astral escorting you.
  241. >It's nice to both see a familiar face and know that if something is up she and Pike would be on it in an instant.
  242. >”Speaking of Pike,” Astral starts, “did she ever mention she was going to set up a chance for the two of us to meet ‘n greet?”
  243. >You think back to the past couple of months and nothing comes to mind.
  244. “No, I don’t think so.”
  245. >”I figured,” Astral grumbles.
  246. >She abruptly takes a corner, and you follow her.
  247. >”She said she’d set something up /forever/ ago and she never followed through.”
  248. >Astral looks back over her shoulder at you.
  249. >”But I’m not letting her off the hook, /we’re/ hanging out. Especially now that you’ve got that new mare with you.”
  250. >Without even looking away from you, she smoothly maneuvers around a fallen bust that some maid is cleaning up.
  251. >Man, bat echolocation is kind of freaky sometimes.
  252. >”How is she, by the way?”
  253. “Cut? She’s great.”
  254. >Astral looks like that is /not/ what she was expecting to hear.
  255. >”Really?”
  256. >You playfully scoff at her.
  257. “Why do you sound so surprised?”
  258. >She laughs back and fully commits to the bit.
  259. >”Probably because I am.”
  260. “Come on,” you bristle. “What she did wasn’t /that/ bad.”
  261. >Astral stops dead, fully turning to face you with a very surprised look on her face.
  262. >Giving you a confused once over, she keeps searching your face for something in particular...
  263. >Oh, did she think you were joking?
  264. >After a few more moments of not finding what she’s looking for, she barks out a single “Ha!”
  265. >”Mare, I knew a lot of gals growing up who’d have killed for a coltfriend /half/ as forgiving.”
  266. >Turning on a dime, she resumes leading you down the hallway.
  267. >As she does, you notice that this particular hallway actually dead-ends in a large, gold-trimmed door.
  268. >Guess that must be your destination.
  269. >”Did the Princesses ever establish a line to your homeland? It’d be nice to import some /stallions/ for once.”
  270. >You laugh at the mental image.
  271. >Trains and trains of stallions pulling up to the station, all eager for a tomboy.
  272. >Guess the influx of Kirin must be hitting the single mares hard.
  273. >A part of you feels for her, but the rest of you is reveling in her misery.
  274. “Oh? And here a little batty had told me you weren’t into janefillies.”
  275. >The description of Pike as a ‘little batty’ nearly knocks Astral off her hooves.
  276. >”HA! Surely you’ve got at least a few /normal/ stallions.”
  277. >The particular emphasis she puts on ‘normal’ tells you it's a joke, but you still play along.
  278. >After all, it's not every day you get to crush someone’s dreams.
  279. “Well, there’s a major emphasis on /few/.”
  280. >Astral sighs, with a look of despair on her face that might be a touch genuine.
  281. >”Damn..”
  282. >Finally, the two of you reach the door.
  283. >As you do, her mood immediately one-eighty’s, dropping the (mostly) faux-despair.
  284. >”Well, here we are!”
  285. >Without a moment’s hesitation she unceremoniously shoves the door open.
  286. >”Try not to cause /too/ big of a diplomatic incident this time,” she wryly says.
  287. >Stepping past her, you roll your eyes.
  288. “Hey, you helped!”
  289. >Just as you’re stepping across the threshold however, Astral stops you with a hoof on your withers.
  290. “Hm?”
  291. >You're surprised to see she looks genuinely concerned about something.
  292. >”Hey, before you go, has Pike mentioned anything about something bothering her?”
  293. >Your mind immediately flashes back to this morning, and the reaction she had when you asked about her parents.
  294. >That’s not really worth bringing up though, at least not yet.
  295. “Nothing in particular. Why?”
  296. >She glances back the way you came, almost as if to check that Pike’s not there.
  297. >”She just seems... off. I don’t know, it’s hard to describe to somepony who hasn’t worked with her for years.”
  298. >Well that’s not very helpful.
  299. >At least now you know /something’s/ up. Probably.
  300. “I’ll keep an eye out.”
  301. >Astral gives you an appreciative nod.
  302. >”Thanks. Good luck in there.”
  303. >You nod back, and step forward.
  304. >Entering the chamber proper, you take in just what sort of spider’s parlor you’ve wandered into.
  305. >Gotta say, if this really is just some elaborate ruse to kidnap you or something, they’re sure rolling out the red carpet for it.
  306. >Set before you is nothing less than a fancy lounge taken straight out of a Victorian drama.
  307. >Any wall space that isn’t dedicated to a window with a view of the gardens is taken up by either massive pieces of artwork, or bookshelves.
  308. >Taking a quick gander at the art, the unifying theme seems to be unicorns doing important things.
  309. >Fitting considering the accents on the envelope the fan sent you.
  310. >There are unicorns climbing mountains, weaving spells, there’s even a painting of a group of unicorns that looks eerily similar to the one of the Founding Fathers signing the Constitution!
  311. >Really, similar in fact.
  312. >Really, /really/ similar.
  313. >...How did that get here?
  314. >Tearing your eyes away from the dimension-shattering painting, you take a look at what dominates the center of this room.
  315. >Namely a collection of lounge sofas set around a large table.
  316. >A table filled with silver platters and bottles of wine!
  317. >You must have been duped into attending some sort of fancy get-together, there’s seating for at least five and more than enough wine to go around.
  318. >No one’s here yet though, not even the host.
  319. >You were admittedly expecting them to be here waiting for you. Where could they be?
  320. >As if on cue, you become cognizant of the one feature of the room you hadn’t noticed yet.
  321. >There’s a door directly across from you, muffling the sound of running water behind it.
  322. >No sooner had you set your eyes upon it than the door flew open, sending a cloud of steam spilling into the lounge.
  323. >You can’t see anything through the haze, but you can hear someone’s hoofsteps moving through it.
  324. >Anticipation and trepidation are currently having a no-rules cage throwdown inside you, and it's only getting worse the closer the mystery pony comes to being in view.
  325. >Finally, a white hoof steps before you, revealing the pony to be...
  326. “Oh come on, you /again/!?”
  327. >The beaming smile that was on Blueblood’s face is gone in a flash.
  328. >”Wha- what’s that supposed to mean!?”
  329. >Oh you said that /out loud/.
  330. >That’s a little awkward.
  331. “You just, ya’ know, got me hyped for the mystery! I was expecting some new mystery patron! Not someone I’d seen just a few days ago.”
  332. >Seems you managed to worm your way out of that, because Blueblood’s smile comes right back.
  333. >Although now it's much more smug.
  334. >”I knew there was some stallion in there somewhere!”
  335. >Happily trotting past you, he continues, “Sorry Anon, but you’re not living in some tantalizing serial, as exhilarating as that would be.”
  336. >Says the guy who invited you via mysterious medallion and unsigned letter!
  337. >Guess that’s just how this world’s nobles get their sick kicks.
  338. >Could be a lot worse honestly.
  339. >The Prince, oblivious to your internal monologue, comes to a stop at the table and starts giving its contents a once-over.
  340. >”But I’m glad I was right! I figured this was the best way to get you to my bi-weekly wine and cheese hour, and here you are!”
  341. >Oh! Well, that explains all the wine.
  342. “So uh, why the sudden interest in having me around again?”
  343. >Blueblood pauses, with what you hope is an /embarrassed/ blush on his face.
  344. >”Well, it's a little embarrassing to admit...”
  345. >Oh thank God.
  346. >”...but you’re here to settle a wager for me.”
  347. “What kind of wager?”
  348. >Turning around to look at you, waves his hoof dismissively.
  349. >”Oh, just a friendly one of course. One of my newer acquaintances believes ‘Anonymous’ to be a group of stallions who publish their articles anonymous/ly/.”
  350. >Interesting.
  351. >You suppose you can see where that mix-up could come from, but Jargon made it pretty clear it was /you/ writing them when you first started.
  352. >Guess she wasn’t exaggerating, most stallions really didn’t read newspapers before you started writing in earnest.
  353. >Including the one that featured a major article about your hiring!
  354. “I better get a cut of those winnings.”
  355. >He smiles at you, with the most shit-eating grin you’ve ever seen on a pony.
  356. >”Of course, though I doubt you’ve the required interest in foreign cosmetics to claim it.”
  357. >THAT’S what they’re betting with!?
  358. >Lame! Where’s the cash?
  359. “What is it, eyeliner made of gold?”
  360. >”Well if I win, Golden has to give me a case of the Prench Morceau de Merde foundation that he got from his most recent trip to Prance. If you really wa—”
  361. “No, that's okay, I’m good.”
  362. >You can see his face scrunch in annoyance at being cut off, but instead of lashing out he turns away and busies himself inspecting the bottles of wine.
  363. >”Suit yourself.”
  364. >Indeed you will!
  365. >But damn, that leaves this whole venture at a net loss.
  366. >Blueblood doesn’t seem to actually have a scoop for you, and you can’t even make money off that bet!
  367. >You’ll probably just dip out after Blueblood’s friends see you’re real.
  368. >No reason to stick around and listen to a bunch of rich socialites yammer drunkenly about the recent gossip.
  369. >...
  370. >Wait a second.
  371. “Hey, Blueblood, your friends won’t mind if I take some notes about our conversations, will they?”
  372. >Your question catches him in the middle of grimacing at a wine bottle like it insulted his family.
  373. >”Hm? Oh, of course. Fancy would undoubtedly /love/ the opportunity to gush about his upcoming spring fashion line to another member of high society. Especially to one as knowledgeable as you.”
  374. >Alright! Now that’s something you can... report on...
  375. >After the initial excitement at having such a scoop fades, the implications of Blueblood’s words puts a deep, deep pit in your gut.
  376. >The ponies at this little get together will be your readers personified.
  377. >Almost literally.
  378. >If you make a joke of yourself here, not only will you not get the scoop, but your reputation could be toasted.
  379. >No one will read your stupid articles about fashion if a group of major socialites start spreading around to everyone that you don’t actually know anything about fashion!
  380. >You’d be fucked!
  381. >Is it really worth it to stick around and risk it for the metaphorical biscuit?
  382. >Well, as far as you know no pony’s complained thus far.
  383. >/AND/ you really could use the story...
  384. >Aw what the heck, how hard could it be?
  385. >Ponies seem incapable of assuming anything but the best in others, so you’re sure it will turn out totally fine!
  386.  
  387.  
  388.  
  389. >Unfortunately your conversation with Blueblood did not peter out after that.
  390. >He wanted to know ALL about what you’ve been up to.
  391. >Seems that Celestia gave him the impression that you’re a noblestallion yourself, albeit from a far away land.
  392. >Another prank you suppose.
  393. >That’s probably why he wanted to hang out with you so badly when you first arrived.
  394. >No reason to correct him now, you guess.
  395. >”Oh, it must be so jarring to live amongst the gentry now. I can’t believe Auntie didn’t set aside a fiefdom for you!”
  396. >The two of you are currently lounging on some of the couches, waiting for the other guests to arrive.
  397. >You wanted to get into the wine already, but Blueblood annoyingly /insisted/ you wait.
  398. “It's fine, really.”
  399. >He shudders at your words.
  400. >”I can’t imagine what it must have been like to grow... /accustomed/ to that life.”
  401. >Jesus, this guy really is a living stereotype.
  402. >Thank God you know who he’s dating, otherwise you’d be terrified that you’d soon see a horse Habsburg with your very own eyes.
  403. “Says the guy who’s also dating a guardsmare.”
  404. >”Oh pish posh,” he says, “it's only natural that one becomes /intimately/ familiar with the one guarding his life.”
  405. >Hold on, was that an innuendo?
  406. >You didn’t think he had it in him!
  407. >What’s even more shocking is that for the briefest of moments, gone is the pompous prince, and in his place is the spitting image of a human teenage girl.
  408. >”Besides, she really /gets/ me. You know?”
  409. >You’re tempted to laugh at the stereotype but honestly... you DO know what he means.
  410. >If you had a glass, you’d toast it.
  411. “Amen to that, brother.”
  412. >”...Amen?”
  413. >Thankfully, before you were forced to explain what ‘amen’ means, a knock on the door interrupted your conversation.
  414. >Finally! Goddamn did he tell you to show up an hour early or something?
  415. >In a shocking show of speed, Blueblood’s already on his hooves and at the door.
  416. >You sit up in attention yourself, curious to see the first of whatever menagerie he invited.
  417. >And as Blueblood pulls the door open, you’re greeted with the sight of a white coat with a familiar blue ‘stash and stuffed looking saddlebag.
  418. >”Fancy!”
  419. >The mustachioed unicorn strides into the room, and man does he look peeved off.
  420. >>”Well, Blueblood, I made it. Despite your directions.”
  421. >”Oh come now! This week’s wasn’t /that/ hard.”
  422. >>>”For you, maybe,” a new voice chimes in.
  423. >Following Fancy in is a new unicorn you don’t recognize.
  424. >He’s pretty plain as far as ponies go, with a tan coat and a swept back blond mane.
  425. >He’s got a pretty snazzy looking suit coat on though!
  426. >>>”After all, you’re the only one here with a compass rose cutie mark,” the new guy observes.
  427. >Hm, seems like you weren’t the only one who received a wonky invitation.
  428. >Blueblood looks back at his own rump, like he’s surprised his own cutie mark is there.
  429. >”Hm, I suppose I hadn’t considered that.”
  430. >Nearly as soon as they appeared, the minuscule traces of doubt in Blueblood’s face disappeared.
  431. >”Ah well, you two arrived just fine, if a bit late! And Anonymous seemed to have no trouble at all with this week’s riddle-map!”
  432. >A riddle-map? Jeez, no wonder they sounded so annoyed.
  433. >But wait, why’s Blueblood talking like you got one of them too?
  434. >Seemingly trying to answer your silent question, you catch him giving you a sly little wink.
  435. >Ah, he must be trying to get you to cover for him and save some face.
  436. >Hmm, now here’s a conundrum.
  437. >Leave Blueblood high and dry, or mess with Fancy Pants and the new guy?
  438. >Well, two ponies messed with is better than one...
  439. “Yeah, it wasn’t that hard.”
  440. >Both Fancy and the new guy evidently hadn’t noticed you and were caught off guard by your interjection.
  441. >But with wildly different reactions!
  442. >>”Anonymous, my colt!” Fancy bellows, “I feared I’d never see you around these parts again!”
  443. >>>”Wait, that’s Anonymous!?”
  444. >Fancy shrugs at his friend.
  445. >>”I tried to tell you not to take the bet, Golden.”
  446. >The pony, who you suppose is Golden, wastes no time galloping over to you.
  447. >Stopping on a dime, he runs his gaze up and down your body, taking in your every detail and making you feel more than a little uncomfortable.
  448. >>>”Hmmm, he certainly dresses the part...” he mutters.
  449. >You self-consciously adjust your newsie cap with your magic, trying to draw the pony’s attention to it and hopefully end this uncomfortable moment.
  450. >>>””Hmmm.”
  451. >Finally getting the hint that you’re the real deal, he stands up straight and offers his hoof.
  452. >>>”My name is Golden Gavel, and do you swear on your noble house you are Anonymous of the Canterlot Canterer?”
  453. >Man, this dude must /really/ not want to lose this bet.
  454. >You bump his hoof, albeit a little uneasily.
  455. >His words are another reminder of what you’re putting on the line here.
  456. >These ponies really think you’re one of them!
  457. >“Um, yeah.”
  458. >He lets out a heaving sigh as his face falls, and he slumps forward with resignation.
  459. >>>”Drat.”
  460. >As he turns back towards Blueblood, you catch sight of something shuffling around in his suit pocket as he lights his horn.
  461. >>>”Take it!” He shouts, whipping some across the room toward the Prince.
  462. >Blueblood, surprisingly, catches the object with ease, stopping the projectile dead in his golden magic.
  463. >It's a little case of makeup, his reward.
  464. >>>”It's last season’s shade anyway.”
  465. >Wow, /that’s/ the level of banter these guys have?
  466. >That’s pretty pathetic.
  467. >Although not as pathetic as the fact it makes Blueblood start moaning and groaning like a kid that just got told Santa wasn’t real.
  468. >You can practically hear Pike’s voice in your ear scornfully saying, “/Stallions/.”
  469. >Desperately hoping for something to look at besides the sordid scene, by chance, your eyes fall on the door just as someone new walks in.
  470. >An Earth pony of all ponies, no less!
  471. >An Earth pony you think you vaguely recognize from the Marg Monday you went to so long ago.
  472. >Gray coat, bluish silver mane, golden laurel cutie mark...
  473. >Yeah, you’ve definitely seen this guy before. Count something, you think.
  474. >”Ah, Caesar! Good to see you,” Blueblood greets him.
  475. >It's a good thing Blueblood didn’t let you into the wine after all, you have just spit it all over yourself.
  476. >He’s Count /Caesar/.
  477. >Honestly, how the hell did you forget a name like that?
  478. >Golden immediately leaves your side to go greet the stallion himself, and it occurs to you that if you want to pass as some high society putz, you should probably start acting like.
  479. >So, without further ado, you hop off the couch and make your way over to the gathered stallions.
  480. >Caesar sees your approach, and surprisingly sends a friendly smile your way.
  481. >>>>”Ah, Anonymous,” he says, extending his hoof, “I always knew you’d come around eventually.”
  482. >He did?
  483. >Deciding against jumping down whatever rabbit hole that comment entails, you simply return his hoof bump.
  484. “Good to see you again Caesar...”
  485. >As your hoof makes contact, you hesitate for the briefest of moments.
  486. >Are you about to risk looking like a weirdo for a joke that’ll only make you laugh?
  487. >Yeah, you are.
  488. “...a shame, what happened to Julius.”
  489. >Much to your shock, Caesar does not ask who you’re talking about.
  490. >Instead, he just sadly shakes his head.
  491. >>>>”Indeed. Nobody anticipated that the senate would react that poorly, but I suppose you cannot win them all.”
  492. >It takes every ounce of willpower you’ve got not to cry out in alarm.
  493. >It's okay, Anon, it's just like the painting. Don’t think about it too hard.
  494. >Just accept it and move on.
  495. >>”Seems like that’s just about everypony,” Fancy interjects to Blueblood. “Shall we get started my friend?”
  496. >”Preposterous!” Blueblood cries. “We’re still missing one!”
  497. >>>”Yes, one who probably won’t arrive for another hour if last time was any indication,” moans Golden.
  498. >Blueblood’s face scrunches in annoyance in a way that’s becoming increasingly familiar to you.
  499. >”Oh fine! He won’t mind if we open a bottle or two. Come!”
  500.  
  501.  
  502. >In hindsight, it was now obvious why Blueblood insisted on waiting to open the wine.
  503. >He’d only said he’d open “a bottle or two” but as soon as he downed that first glass it became obvious there was no stopping what had been started.
  504. >It's been only half an hour but almost every bottle had been opened by this point.
  505. >You thought the whole point of these was to try a little of each wine, but the guys keep filling the glasses like they’re trying to get sloshed.
  506. >And the peer pressure is HIGH!
  507. >Mares openly trying to get you drunk have been less pushy.
  508. >”Anonymous, dear colt! You simply must try this Frausberg with the Marelot!” is your only warning before Blueblood shoves a new glass and a piece of cheese in your face,
  509. >Thankfully, Golden immediately intercedes on your behalf and magically pushes the foodstuffs away.
  510. >>>”Let the stallion breathe, Blue, he hasn’t even finished the glass he’s got!”
  511. >Blueblood’s eyes flick to the partially-full glass you’ve already got floating in your hand before he sighs.
  512. >”If I must.”
  513. >You shoot Golden a thankful look.
  514. >After all, the more you drink, the more likely you are to say something stupid.
  515. >Better to take it nice and slow while you observe.
  516. >>>>”Say, Anonymous,” Caesar draws your attention to him, “Your coat has quite the sheen to it. What’s your coat care routine?”
  517. >That’s an unexpected thing to ask out the gate.
  518. “Just Dr. Alkaline’s Castile Soap. Why?”
  519. >>”No no no, old colt,” Fancy cuts in, “He means your entire routine!”
  520. >Oh. Uh oh.
  521. >You didn’t think about that.
  522. >How are you going to tell these guys you use an 18-in-1 soap created by a stallion that believes the worship of the sun can make you immune to the tricks of changelings?
  523. >It's not like you know the names of any other products to bullshit with!
  524. >Wait! You just had an idea.
  525. >Hope this works...
  526. “W-Well, I’m not really comfortable giving away /all/ my handsom-y secrets. Especially since I don’t know any of yours!”
  527. >You let the statement hang for a moment, searching the faces of the gathered stallions.
  528. >As the silence slowly becomes more and more awkward, you send up a silent prayer that your shot in the dark was correct.
  529. >Thankfully, your prayers are answered as the sweet sound of acquiescence hits your ears.
  530. >>”I suppose that’s only fair.”
  531. >>>”I’m certainly loath to give up some of my best kept secrets.”
  532. >Phew, bullet dodged.
  533. >Now you’d better come up with a new conversation path, fast.
  534. >”Alright alright,” Blueblood ends the murmuring, “I’ll share first, then.”
  535. >Wait, what? No!
  536. >The white stallion clears his throat, and sits up a little straighter, like he’s about to give a speech.
  537. >You didn’t think they’d start monologuing about what they do!
  538. >This isn’t what you wanted!
  539. >”Well, to start, in the morning I’ll put on an ice pack if my face is a little puffy.”
  540. >His statement makes you curiously prod your face with your hoof.
  541. >How can he even tell under all the fur?
  542. >”After I remove the ice pack, I quickly apply a deep-pore cleanser lotion. Then, once that’s absorbed, I get in the shower and use both a water-activated gel cleanser and a honey-almond coat scrub.”
  543. >Okay, seems a little excessive, but—
  544. >”For my face, I break out my favorite exfoliating gel-scrub. Oh, and for my mane and tail I use a tea tree oil extract shampoo, followed by one of the finest Prench conditioners!”
  545. >>>”Oh!” Caesar interrupts. “Do you still use that herbal mask you were telling us about last time?”
  546. >For once, Blueblood doesn’t look pissed about being interrupted.
  547. >”I do, actually. It's an herbal mint facial masque. I put it on the moment I get out of the shower. I definitely recommend it.”
  548. >Without missing a beat, the Prince immediately slides back into his monologue.
  549. >”After rinsing that off, I shave any unsightly whiskers and dab on a splash of aftershave. Without alcohol of course.”
  550. >Your confusion at his need to clarify that must have been written on your face, because Golden leans into your ear and whispers, “Alcohol dries out your skin and coat. Makes you look older.”
  551. >”Then on goes my moisturizer, an anti-aging eye balm, and last but not least, a final moisturizing protective lotion!”
  552. >”Then voilà!” He finishes with a smile and a flourish, “I’m ready to start my day!”
  553. >Almost immediately the gathered stallions all start clopping their hooves together.
  554. >>>”I never get tired of hearing that,” says Golden.
  555. >>”My colt, such dedication is what all true stallions strive for,” adds Fancy.
  556. >You, meanwhile, are stunned.
  557. >You feel like you’ve once again fallen into a brand new universe.
  558. >What is wrong with these guys!?
  559. >>>”Shall I go next?” Golden cries excitedly.
  560. >You want to cry out for them to take a recess, you’re still thrown for a loop!
  561. >You can’t take another, not now!
  562. >”By all means.”
  563. >No, please NO!
  564. >>>”Well, mine’s admittedly modeled after Blue’s. Except, a key difference is I don't use an ice pack at the start. You see, those odd, fluffy, Earth ponies in the North have been exporting this thing called ‘liquid nitrogen’...”
  565.  
  566.  
  567. >You feel broken.
  568. >The insane assault of the elaborate beauty routines these stallions go through every morning has mentally broken you.
  569. >You didn’t even know there were that many ways to moisturize!
  570. >That spa day kit really undersold what the average stallion does to himself.
  571. >>>>”Impressive, very nice.” Caesar says to the recently finished Fancy, “Let’s hear Anonymous’ routine.”
  572. >Your mind spins for a few moments, but the gears are too worn down to produce anything worthwhile.
  573. >You don’t even have it in you to lie now.
  574. “I just use Dr. Alkaline’s 18-in-1 Peppermint Castile Soap.”
  575. >The stallions all share a worried look.
  576. >>>”You, uh, already mentioned that.”
  577. >You shrug.
  578. “Cause that’s all I use.”
  579. >>”For /everything/?” Fancy asks, clearly disturbed.
  580. “Everything.”
  581. >Now you’ve managed to stun the stallions into silence.
  582. >Almost all their faces frozen in shock, the only sound in the room is the sound of Blueblood taking a sip from his wine glass.
  583. >Which he immediately proceeds to spit back out.
  584. >”BY MY LESSOR AUNT’S MILLENNIA OLD UNTRIMMED LEGBEARD!”
  585. >With that, the dam is broken, and the wailing begins.
  586. >>”I simply can’t imagine using the /same/ product for both my coat and mane!”
  587. >>>”How has all your fur not fallen out!?”
  588. >You suppose this is to be expected.
  589. >Oh well, if this is how it all falls apart then this is how it all falls apart.
  590. >Although, just as you’re about to give up hope, you notice one of the stallions isn’t freaking out.
  591. >The one who originally asked you the question, Caesar.
  592. >Instead, he’s intently leaned towards you.
  593. >>>>”How can one product manage to do 18 things at once?” he asks.
  594. “Well, you don’t just use the concentrated soap,” you weakly answer. “You mix it with stuff you’d find in your kitchen.”
  595. >You slowly start to tune out the sound of wailing stallions in favor of the one pony actually interested in what you’re saying.
  596. >>>>”Like what?”
  597. “Well, apple cider vinegar makes it into a great shampoo. Coconut butter makes it an excellent conditioner. Diluting it makes it a pretty great coatwash. Oh, and baking soda makes it into a decent toothpaste.”
  598. >>>”You can really do all that with it?”
  599. >The sudden interruption makes you nearly jump out of your seat.
  600. >It seems that you’ve somehow managed to re-entice all the previously horrified stallions.
  601. >Blueblood, Fancy, and Golden, who were previously all but rolling around on the floor in agony, now mirror Caesar.
  602. >Leaning in, intensely focusing on what you’re saying.
  603. >Feeling somehow even more put on the spot, your answer comes out shaky.
  604. “Well, uh, yeah. You can even use this as a makeup remover too. It's way better than that Original Oakley A’s crap. That stuff’s basically just cheap coatwash.”
  605. >”That’s amazing!” Blueblood shouts, “You sound like one of the stalchemists of old!”
  606. >Did... did he seriously just portmanteau ‘stallion’ and ‘alchemist’ to make ‘stalchemist’?
  607. >>”Like the old stories of Starswirl in his lab!” Fancy adds.
  608. >Jesus Christ. He fucking did, didn’t he?
  609. >The sheer indignation you feel at such a disgusting phrase puts the wind back under your metaphorical wings.
  610. “Still too /scary/ for you?”
  611. >Blueblood huffs and puffs as stallions do.
  612. >”I think I can speak for ALL of us when I say you had us a little worried at first. But, it sounds like a quality product. This, Dr. Alkaline, must know what he’s doing.”
  613. >Your mind’s eye drifts back to the wall of text that is the soap’s label.
  614. >Yeah, the dude either knows exactly what he’s doing or is completely insane.
  615. >Feeling a little cocky, you turn up the snide.
  616. “Maybe you should give it a try? It's nice to not need to buy /45/ different things.”
  617. >Blue scoffs at you.
  618. >”Ha! Preposterous. I simply couldn’t live without my herbal mask.”
  619. “You only started using it recently, right? Seems like you were getting along just fine before it.”
  620. >He starts blushing furiously as the gathered stallions all burst into laughter.
  621. >Puts a feeling in your heart you haven’t felt for quite some time.
  622. >The warm feeling of a group of guys, laughing their asses off at what you said.
  623. >”I just didn’t know what I was missing, is all!”
  624.  
  625.  
  626. >You are the unflappable Count Caesar, and you’d say you’re about an hour into the wine and cheese ‘hour’, and it shows no signs of stopping.
  627. >But that’s no surprise.
  628. >The idea of a wine and cheese hour was always just a formality, an excuse.
  629. >Fittingly then, at this point the facade has more or less been completely discarded.
  630. >The stallions have all abandoned the idea of tasting wines and cheeses, and have instead opted toward simply drinking from the bottles.
  631. >All except for you of course.
  632. >A proper stallion must be measured in all things, especially his drinking.
  633. >You’ll forgive your friends for falling short of that lofty ideal though.
  634. >Especially Mr. Anonymous, who’s currently engaged in quite the titillating conversation!
  635. >”Say, Blue, how’s it feel to be a part of unshorn gang?”
  636. >Blueblood, understandably, looks at the stallion with abject confusion.
  637. >>”Unshorn? Oh! You mean my fetlocks?”
  638. >Anonymous nods enthusiastically.
  639. >In response, Blueblood looks down at his hoof, as if he hadn’t considered anyone would notice.
  640. >You take the moment to briefly check on yours as well.
  641. >As expected, your gray hooves are as finely shorn as ever.
  642. >Prim and proper, a far cry from those two shaggy miscreants.
  643. >>”I’m not sure. Rook certainly seems to like them, but I’ve nearly knocked myself out tripping over them!”
  644. >Anonymous grimaces and sucks in his breath through his teeth.
  645. >”Yeeeeeeeeeeah. But it sure does drive the gals wild. I’ve been growing them out since the tournament and they seem to really dig that rugged look.”
  646. >Anon, seemingly at nothing, suddenly barks out a laugh.
  647. >”Ha! Hey wait a minute, if they like the look of a working stallion so much, why do they hate it so much when we get a job?”
  648. >Both stallions fall into hysterics at your revelation, and you chuckle yourself, before a tap on your withers calls your attention.
  649. >Turning toward the culprit, you ask, “What is it, Golden?”
  650. >Your old friend gives you a jolly smile.
  651. >>>”You did good keeping your cool back there.”
  652. >Ah, he must mean when Anonymous started talking about his soap.
  653. “Just because I was as shocked as all of you doesn’t mean I needed to express it. Honestly, you all could learn a thing or two about being more discreet.”
  654. >In a rare sign of humility, Golden cannot meet your gaze.
  655. >>>”Yeah, I guess you’ve got us on that one.”
  656. >Clearly eager to shift the subject he points to a still laughing Anonymous.
  657. >>>”But, seriously, look how much he’s loosened up since. Before he was hardly drinking at all! I think it's safe to say you being in his corner saved his evening.”
  658. >Hm, you honestly hadn’t noticed.
  659. >But that’s what makes you and Golden such a good team.
  660. “Perhaps we’ll be able to get some gossip out of him now.”
  661. >Golden smiles, positively deviously.
  662. >>>”That’s my stallion!”
  663.  
  664.  
  665. “And that’s why I’m thinking of trimming them down again. It's just, so uncomfortable to have long fetlocks in socks, ya know?”
  666. >You are Anonymous the Unicorn and things are going great!
  667. >You’re feelin' good, got a little wine in you, and these guys haven’t asked you about work once!
  668. >”By my Aunt!” Blueblood cried, “Long fetlocks IN socks!? Have a little self-respect, stallion!”
  669. “Are you kidding?! Listen, Blue, any “shame” I’d feel from “”””debasing”””” myself like that, is nothing compared to what I can get Pike and Cut to do so they can see me like that.”
  670. >The Prince looks utterly stupefied.
  671. >”I never thought about it that way...”
  672. >You feel a pony take a seat next to you on the couch, and your bet is its Fancy, returning from the restroom.
  673. >>”My, my, did I hear that right? Mr. Independent went and got himself a herd?” comes Fancy’s cheeky voice.
  674. >You shift your posture so you can address either stallion equally, unintentionally leaving you sitting like a human.
  675. >You’re pretty sure he’s joking, so you don’t lay on the indignation. Yet.
  676. “Heeeey, what’s that supposed to mean?”
  677. >Fancy chuckles into his hoof, confirming your suspicions.
  678. >>”Nothing, nothing. It's just that last time we met, you gave off the impression you were the kind of stallion who’d prefer to play the eternal bachelor.”
  679. >Hmm, you guess to an outsider you do seem to fit the stereotypical strong independent stereotype to a T.
  680. >You know, you and the gals could probably make a pretty good bit out of that...
  681. “I just hadn’t really found the right mares yet,” you respond with a shrug.
  682. >The sound of laughter heralds Golden and Caesar moving to a couch closer to you, and joining the conversation.
  683. >>>”Oh I know some guys who’d /hate/ you for saying that!”
  684. >You’re about to question why, when suddenly several mostly suppressed memories of Jargon rise to the surface.
  685. >Memories of her repeatedly saying something about how you’d quit your job once you found the right mares to settle down with.
  686. “Oooh, uh, yeah. Poor choice of words.”
  687. >That just makes Golden laugh harder.
  688. >>>>Caesar himself chuckles before asking, “On the topic of your refusal to settle down, how’s being one of the most influential writers in Canterlot?”
  689. >What? Bologna.
  690. >Was that some sad attempt at buttering you up?
  691. >With a peeved hoof pointed at Golden, your reply is pretty indignant.
  692. “How exactly does that work when someo-pony, /in this room/ didn’t even know who I was?”
  693. >If Caesar was fazed by your jab though, not an inch of it shows on his face.
  694. >>>>”Debates about your identity not-withstanding, nopony can deny your influence.”
  695. >>>”He’s right,” Golden chimes in, “I may have been wrong about who you were, but I’ve still been an avid reader!”
  696. >>”At this rate, most stallions in Canterlot are, I’d wager,” Fancy finishes.
  697. >With every statement you felt yourself sinking further and further into the couch.
  698. >Jesus, no pressure you guess.
  699. >This must be what it feels like to be Cut.
  700. >To make matters worse, you can tell where this line of conversation is going.
  701. >>”And that’s why,” Fancy continues, “I’d like you to have a look at these.”
  702. >He turns around to look over the back of the couch, and the familiar sound of TK activating preludes the sound of shuffling saddlebags.
  703. >Oh God, he’s gonna ask your /opinion/ on something!
  704. >Shit!
  705. >Based on some unspoken understanding, Blueblood wastes no time clearing a spot on the table, pushing aside everything from plates, to glasses, to bottles.
  706. >Everyone at the table is positively giddy with excitement as Fancy waits for Blueblood to finish, giggling like highschool girls.
  707. >Not wanting to stand out, you smile and hope it doesn’t look as forced as it feels.
  708. >Eventually Fancy decides the space cleared is large enough, and his saddlebags drift over the couch and settle on the table.
  709. >Looking at the gathered ponies, and grinning ear to ear, he addresses them with gravitas unfitting for a room of five guys.
  710. >>”What I have brought today is something very special. Working prototypes for TWO of my upcoming Spring line!”
  711. >An auspicious murmur rises up amongst the stallions, and for once you genuinely participate.
  712. >Fancy’s fashions are kind of a big deal, especially if those rumors about him collaborating with one of the Elements of Harmony are real.
  713. >This is almost too good to be true!
  714. >>>”So /that’s/ what you were hiding in those saddlebags! Can we try them on!?” Golden practically shouts in excitement.
  715. >Fancy grimaces in a way that reminds you of a Mom telling her daughter she cannot in fact have a pony for Christmas.
  716. >>”Well, you /could/. They would just hardly fit.”
  717. >>>>”Why not?” Caesar asks as everyone exchanges confused looks, “We’re of standard build. Well, except Anonymous.”
  718. >>”That’s just it, Anonymous is the only one who they’ll fit!”
  719. >You feel like your eyes are about to bug out of your skull.
  720. >There is no fucking way this dude’s about to ask you to try that shit on.
  721. >>>”How did /that/ happen?” Golden asks with what you feel is an appropriate amount of disbelief.
  722. >Fancy unbuckles the straps of his saddlebags and starts sliding the garments out as he gives one of the deepest sighs you’ve ever heard.
  723. >>”Ah, it was this whole mess. Rarity—”
  724. >You catch Blueblood’s groan at the mention of Rarity, but it seems the others either didn’t hear it or didn’t visibly care.
  725. >>”—was commissioned to make something for some big lad in Ponyville, and somehow his measurements got mixed up with measurements for our prototypes!”
  726. >By now he’s fully slid the first outfit out of the bags, and it certainly looks like there’s a whole lot of outfit there.
  727. >It really is probably around your size.
  728. >>”Unfortunately neither of us realized this until most of the fabric had already been cut. By then she decided we should try and finish these projects that none of my mannequins would fit, ‘for the challenge’.”
  729. >He sets the outfit in front of you while he goes to unpack the other one.
  730. >Seems this one has a leafy, floral theme.
  731. >>”And I’m sure you all know how mares can get when they feel like they’ve got something to prove,” he adds with an eye roll.
  732. >You’d probably have mumbled something in agreement if every neuron in your brain wasn’t currently occupied trying to come up with a convincing excuse to not do this.
  733. >”*Cough*I told you so *cough*,” interjects Blueblood.
  734. >You’re allergic to every kind of fabric known to ponykind? No, that's way too obvious.
  735. >You’re so in your own head that you hardly notice Fancy scornfully scoffing back at Blue.
  736. >>”Blue, you need to end this foalish feud already. Ms. Rarity is a wonderful mare!”
  737. >You don’t feel comfortable being the only one so dressed up? No, if the whole soap debacle was any indication, they’d just take the chance to dress up in their own stuff.
  738. >Fancy’s got the second outfit unpacked by now.
  739. >Out of the corner of your eye, you spot a lot of colors on sky blue and, strangely, a lot less clothing to it than the previous ensemble.
  740. >”Bah! I’ve met mares like her dozens of times! The only reason she approached me was for my princeliness. She probably just wanted me to /stud/!”
  741. >>”Oh come, now you’re just being irrational. That’s been taboo since before we were born!”
  742. >Shit, if only ponies had cell phones, you could just call Pike to come and get you!
  743. >Actually, the trade off of giving ponies cell phones probably isn’t worth it.
  744. >*SLAM! SLAM! SLAM!*
  745. >The loud sound demolishes both your train of thought and the stallions’ argument.
  746. >Confusion present on every face, everyone tries to shake off the shock and start blearily looking around for the source.
  747. >*SLAM! SLAM!*
  748. >Goddamn, it sounds like someone’s trying to tear one of the windows off its hinges.
  749. >*SLAM! SLAM!*
  750. >It /really/ sounds like that, actually.
  751. >Which makes this your perfect chance to totally detail what Fancy was trying to do!
  752. >You’ve only got one shot, time to make it count!
  753. >Feeling the power of Tricky Dick flowing through you, you shout.
  754. “Sounds like someone’s breaking in!”

The Long and Short of It (RGRE) Part 6

by SQA-non

Odd Jobs With Odd Job Ep 1. We're Off You Know

by SQA-non

The Long and Short of It (RGRE) Part 5

by SQA-non

I D O L

by SQA-non

The Long and Short of It (RGRE) Part 4

by SQA-non