Maneia laid under a large yellow umbrella, her forelegs crossed behind her head and her right hindleg cocked over her left, relaxing in the warm summer breeze. Vapid sat to one side, silently mulling over how his life had gotten to this point. Nocturna floated a few inches above the ground, a black aura surrounding her body. She kept her eyes closed, a look of deep concentration painted across her face.
Slamming her hoof down, Faith cried “Check mate!”, causing Luster to scowl and throw his hooves up.
“I was going easy on you that time,” he said grumpily. “Either that or you cheated again.”
Faith blew her lips noisily. “Why do you always assume I cheat?”
“Because you always do!”
Dixie lounged by the pool, absorbed in a trashy romance novel, although she would never openly admit she was into such things. She wore a pair of stylish black sunglasses. Daisycutter splashed in the crystal clear water, throwing a red rubber ball as Wildflower swam after it. Using her wings to burst out of the water, Daisycutter flew several yards into the air before slamming her wings shut and falling back into the refreshing liquid. A small tidal wave splashed out, engulfing Dixie.
“Whoops,” Daisycutter said bobbing in the water.
A sparkling orange sphere surrounded the unicorn. With a pop, it burst, revealing a perfectly dry, if a little peeved, Dixie.
“Sorry bout that.”
Dixie smiled. “It's quite alright sweetheart, just please dial it down a touch.”
Wildflower paddled up to Daisycutter and dropped the ball. She looked at the pegasus expectantly. Daisy snatched up the ball and squeezed it, causing it to make a high pitched squeak. Wildflower yipped excitedly.
“You want it?” Daisycutter asked playfully.
The green pony barked in response.
“Well go get it!” Daisy said throwing the ball.
Vapid watched everything, thinking how almost normal it all seemed. If you took away the half decayed ponies slowly trimming hedges in the background, the fact that no one seemed to mind that Wildflower needed some extensive psychiatric help, and that he had technically been kidnapped and was currently being held against his will, then one could almost think that it was just a group of ponies enjoying a day by the pool and not a secret cabal of anarchists.
After finally letting his brain digest all the morning's information, Vapid resignedly decided to play along with the absurdity.
“So....” he said, breaking the silence.
Maneia turned her head to look at the stallion. “Yeah?”
After thinking of something to actually say, he nodded his head towards the floating Nocturna. “What's she up to?”
“She does that sometimes.” Maneia shrugged. “I'm not really sure what she's doing. She say's it something to do with expanding your inner consciousness and feeling beyond the senses or something like that.” Maneia reached over and ran her hoof through Nocturna's tail, absentmindedly playing with it. “She tried to teach me how to do it once, but all I ended up doing was falling asleep.”
Maneia looked up at the oblivious unicorn. “She does a lot of stuff I don't fully understand, but that's just her being her.”
The two ponies fell back into silence, the sounds of splashing and the clatter of chess pieces being placed and the occasional swear or celebratory shout from a well-made move filled the air.
“Why?” Vapid asked softly. “Why are you ponies trying to dethrone the Princesses?”
“Why not?” Maneia replied.
“You can't just say that for something like this,” Vapid said angrily.
The blue unicorn smiled, but there was no joy in it. “We all have our reasons. Some big, some small, there are a myriad of reasons why we don’t hold the Princesses in our hearts, but there’s an undeniable truth we’ve all found that drives us. Why do I want the Princesses gone? Maybe one day I'll tell you, but for now it doesn't matter. They have lived longer than any pony deserves to live. During this time they've done nothing but hold Equestria back. We need somepony to lead us that isn't afraid to move forward, somepony who can lead Equestria into a future without alicorns. The princesses have failed Equestria, it's time for real ponies to rule.”
Vapid remained silent, knowing it would be pointless to argue with the mare.
“I'm not stupid. I know you don't like us, but we aren't bad ponies, Vapid,” Maneia said. “Well Faith might be, but everypony else deep down are good ponies. They just need to get used to you, they'll accept you if you give it time.”
“I doubt that.”
“Luster is a grumpy old stallion, but he just likes to play it up, he's actually really nice.”
“What about Miss Friendly?”
“Well Dixie will take a bit of work, but it's not anything personal. She just doesn't like stallions, is all.”
“Is that all?” he replied sarcastically. “What about Luster, he's a stallion.”
“Exactly, you have to show her you're alright. She can put her prejudices aside if she likes you. She and Luster get along... most of the time.... some of the time..... occasionally, so I'm sure you can win her over too.”
Maneia looked up at Nocturna, still speaking to the stallion. “I know she forced you to stay. She's my best friend, and she's just trying to make me happy, but sometimes she doesn't realize when she goes a little too far. Vapid, if you don't want to be an Overly Impressive Mare, then I won't make you stay here.”
The stallion perked his ears. Maneia turned back to him, looking into his eyes. “But I ask one thing of you. Think about my offer. You could be part of our family here; we take care of each other. What do you have out there? Will the Princesses be there to help you when you're down? Will they laugh with you, cry with you, feed you pancakes? I know you belong here... with us.... but I can't force you to see it.”
Maneia stood up and pointed across the manicured lawn, towards a wide dirt road cutting into the forest. “Follow the path and it will take you to Ponyville before you know it.” She turned away from the stallion. “All I ask is you consider what I've told you. Celestia will arrive at Golden Oaks Library at sundown. If you change your mind... I'll be there.”
Vapid gazed at the mare for a few moments, unsure of what to say. He stood up, looked at the blue mare one final time, then galloped away, dodging around bushes and flowers, hurriedly making his way to the road, praying that it wasn't some kind of sick trick by the mare. With a hop, skip, and a jump Vapid cleared the lawn and landed on the dirt path. Within the blink of an eye the gray stallion was gone, hidden by the thick forest.
Maneia let out an exaggerated sigh. “Well darn, I thought for sure he'd stay.”
“Hey Maneia!” Faith called cattily. “If your looks are that bad, you should probably hide the rest of your face behind your mane. Maybe then you wouldn't scare off the stallions.”
The blue unicorn glowered back, not wanting to rise to Faith's bait.
“Don't mind her honeypot, you look good and you know it,” Dixie said without looking up from her book.
“Better watch what you say,” Luster advised the metallic mare as he pushed a game piece forward. “It'll come back to bite you one day.” The stallion chewed his lip. “Or now, if I think about it. You're not turning any heads yourself.”
Faith's digital eyes narrowed. “Are you kidding? The stallions love me, I'm exotic.”
“Is that why you wear camouflage whenever you go to town?”
“Ooooh!” Daisycutter teased from the pool.
“You know why I have to do that!” Faith said louder than she had intended. She no longer had enough real face to blush, but from her expression it was clear to see. The cybernetic mare quickly stood up and slowly trotted back towards the mansion, visibly trying to hide her distress.
“That was mean, Luster,” Maneia admonished.
Dixie lowered her sunglasses and gave the old stallion a reprimanding glare. “You know she's sensitive about her situation.”
“Excuse me?” Luster said defensively. “After the things she's done, that girl doesn't have a right to feel sensitive. In fact, I'm the one who needs your pity. Who knows what she'll do to get back at me. I won't be able to safely go to sleep for weeks!”
“You deserve it, father,” Nocturna said as she gently floated to the ground, the magical aura around her dissipating. “To be so old, yet still have no idea how to deal with females.”
“That's because in my day mares weren't so tricky,” he replied curtly. “When I was a young stallion all the fillies in my village would have considered themselves lucky to be my mare.”
“That must have been one sad little village,” Dixie said snidely.
“Hmmp. I guarantee that I could bed any one of you if I wanted to. Nocturna excluded of course. All it would take is a few of my moves and you'd be begging for more.”
“Ugh!” Dixie said revolted. “You lecherous old satyr!”
“You say that now, but we'll see if you change your tune.”
Maneia smiled and called out to the stallion. “Maybe you should try wooing Wildflower first, I'm sure she's not too choosey.”
Dixie clicked for Wildflower's attention. The green mare jumped out of the pool and shook herself before trotting over to the unicorn. Dixie rubbed behind the pony's ear. “Wildflower may be a bit uncultivated, but that doesn't mean she isn't as sensible as the next girl.”
Luster packed up the chess board and started to make his way back inside. He called over his shoulder playfully. “I'll leave you ladies to whatever it is mares do nowadays. I'll be in the study if you can't resist your primal urges.”
Dixie stuck her tongue at the stallion. “Come Daisy, I've got appointments to keep.” She stretched out her hooves, and then stood. “Don't worry Maneia, we'll be there tonight.”
As the sisters left, Nocturna's horn flashed, two cups of tea appeared before herself and Maneia. She took a sip and waited.
Wildflower trotted up to Maneia and laid down beside her. “Vapid left,” the blue mare lamented.
A good distance away, Vapid crested a hill, the city of Ponyville coming into view. Asylum from the insanity was almost upon him. Vapid's relief was short lived as he collapsed. He gripped at his chest, a searing pain coursing through him with every heart beat.
“I know we're not the most.... normal ponies, but I really thought he'd see our charm.”
Tears streamed down the stallion's face. His insides were aflame with pain, a roaring flood of agony that threatened to consume him.
“It's his loss,” Nocturna soothed. “I'm sure he's already regretting it.”
Vapid coughed violently, flecks of blood rained onto the ground.
“You think so?”
Vapid's vision went dark; a single image was burned into his mind. Nocturna's disapproving stare akin to Vapid's own Sword of Damarecles, watched as he squirmed in anguish.
“I know so,” She replied reassuringly.
Vapid felt his bones begin to shatter, as if under an extreme pressure.
“Do you think he'll show up tonight?” Maneia asked.
Vapid opened his eyes. No pain, no wounds, nothing, he was perfectly fine, as if nothing had happened. He picked himself up off the ground and continued forward. One word rang in his head, “tonight”. Undoubtedly this had been Nocturna's way of telling him he wasn't off the hook. Vapid wanted to cry, he had almost gotten away, going back to a normal life had felt tantalizingly close.
“Can my day get any worse?”
Luster stood outside the door to Faith's room, a white mouse gently floating next to him, held in the air by a golden aura. He stared silently at the door for several minutes, considering whether he could just leave and forget all about it. The absurdity of the situation stayed the stallion's hoof. Luster, a stallion that once struck fear into the hearts of ponies, who even the alicorns trembled before his might, now stood preparing to apologize to a mare that was barely older than a filly. Once upon a time he would have destroyed her for daring to be upset with him, but the old unicorn knew those days were long since past.
“I'm scared.... of apologizing... how far have you fallen Luster?” he asked himself quietly.
Exhaling loudly, he rolled his eyes. “Might as well get this over with,” he said, knocking on the door.
The metal door slid open, revealing a placid Faith. “What's up?”
Luster pushed into the room, clearing his throat he looked around, not wanting to look directly at the mare. “I found this mouse and thought you might want it. I know how you like doing unspeakable acts to the defenseless,” he said, casually floating the mouse towards the mare.
Faith picked up a small wooden box and placed the mouse within. “You know me too well,” she said with a smile as she put the box on an already cluttered shelf, between a skull of questionable authenticity and a pile of small barbed balls.
Luster walked over to the center of the room where a large white bed rested. He poked it with a hoof, not wanting to continue.
Faith sidled up next to the stallion. “Is there something else?”
After poking the bed a few more times, he spoke. “I'm only going to say this because I like you.” He turned to the robotic mare. “I'm sorry I upset you. I know you've had it rough, that's part of the reason why we get along so well, and I didn't mean to hurt you.”
“You're actually apologizing?” she asked.
“Yes, I just did and I'm not doing it again,” he said with a chuckle. “So you don't need to cut off my horn in my sleep or anything now.”
Faith smiled. “I forgive you, Luster.” She walked past the stallion, playfully bumping him with her flank. “I was just messing with you anyways. I just wanted to make you feel bad.”
Luster shook his head. “What else is new?”
“I don't understand,” Vapid said dejectedly. “I paid for that house.”
“You have my condolences,” a squat earth pony said in an emotionless tone. “But there's nothing we can do.”
“But I paid for that house,” Vapid repeated.
The pony looked at the distraught stallion over her glasses. “Upon Princess Luna's last visit, the residence at...” she looked down and shuffled a few papers. “1256 Rosebud Lane was destroyed by a rampaging cave troll. After the troll was successfully subdued and relocated, the princess decreed that it was the perfect location for...” more shuffling of papers. “a quote 'glorious display of nature's beauty' unquote.” The mare pushed her glasses up. “She then used her magic to grow a new public garden. Property values have risen 9.7 percent.”
“But what about all the bits I paid?”
“The princess has provided 1,000 bits to compensate for your losses.”
“But that's nowhere near what I paid for it!”
“You have to keep in mind that the princess is still adjusting to our time period. She probably hasn't gotten inflation down quite yet,” she said levelly. “You could always reject the compensation and try your case in the Royal Court, but you know how it is getting bits out of bureaucrats. I would advise you to take the 1,000 bits, for it's the best you are going to get.”
“This... this is...” Vapid stuttered.
“The will of the Princesses,” the mare finished. “Have a nice day sir.”
Mr. Cake walked slowly, carefully pacing his stride. Precariously balanced on his back, a large crystal bowl was filled to the brim with purple punch. Rippling with every step, the drinks dark surface threatened to spill at the slightest provocation. Beads of sweat rolled down Mr. Cake's neck. Dealing with an ornery elderly stallion had put him behind schedule. Mrs. Cake had already made her way to the Library with a wagon full of tasty treats, now all he had to do was make sure to get the punch to the party.
Out of nowhere, a large pegasus flew past him, buffeting the stallion with a strong wind. “Ooh boy,” he cried as the bowl began to tilt. As his cargo reach the tipping point, a hoof reached out and steadied the punch bowl.
“Thank you so much,” he said turning to meet an orange mare. “I'm already late, so if I showed up empty hoofed, then my wife would have my hide.”
“You're more than welcome,” Dixie said in a not quite convincingly friendly tone. “I'm only glad I was passing by when I did.”
“You can say that again,” Mr. Cake laughed as he adjusted the bowl to sit squarely on his back.
Dixie stepped aside, an empty glass vial in her hoof. “You better get on to that party then, you don't want to keep Celestia waiting.”
“You got that right!” The stallion started forward before stopping again. He didn't recall telling the mare that Princess Celestia was at the party. “How'd you know...” he said, turning back to the mare, but stopped and blinked in surprise. The road behind him was desolate, not a single soul to be seen.
He chewed his lip in thought, then shrugged. It wasn't a secret that the Princess was in town, and the mare probably just assumed that he would be going there.
After Mr. Cake had disappeared from view, Nocturna stepped out from behind a building, her horn aglow. As the magic aura died away, Dixie popped back into existence.
“That's a handy little spell,” Dixie commented. “You'll have to teach it to me sometime.”
“It involves both bending the physical laws of reality and warping a pony's sense of perception.”
“Oh... well, maybe not then,” Dixie said a little deflated.
“You may want to brace yourself,” Nocturna warned.
“For what, darling?”
Nocturna pointed a hoof down the road. A speeding bullet shot towards the two unicorns, eliciting an alarmed, “Oh no,” from Dixie.
Throwing her wings wide, Daisycutter barely stopped just short of slamming into her sister, instead causing a gale of wind to blast into the unicorns. “So did you do it?” she asked excitedly.
Nocturna replied with an affirmative nod, her mane blown completely back. Dixie stood in wide eyed horror. Her perfectly kept mane had been utterly ruined, windswept failed to even come close to her current state. Coupled with the fact the gust of wind had kicked up a dust cloud, her coat was now sullied and dull.
“So we're done right?” Daisycutter asked warily, the reality of her situation sinking in.
“Daisy.... sweetie... we are going home now,” Dixie forced through gritted teeth. “I'm going to take a long, soothing bath. Then you are going to brush my mane... until your hooves bleed!”
Golden Oaks Library stood tall and proud. A massive tree, that even after being hollowed, still tenaciously clung to life. Orange and purples hues splashed across the sky as the setting sun was eclipsed by the grand tree. Rays of golden light framed the library, a fitting display for the Princess of the sun. Two white pegasi outfitted in golden armor stood to either side of the library's door.
Maneia stared at it in distaste, her brow furrowed as she watched ponies laughing and smiling as they entered the dwelling.
“Disgusting, absolutely disgusting.” She spat on the ground.
“You're not going to win any beauty pageants any time soon, but I wouldn't go that far,” Faith said beside her with a snicker.
“I wasn't talking about me!” Maneia said shooting the pony a glare.
Instead of her usual metallic appearance, Faith looked all the world to be just another average earth pony. Her body had gone from shiny gray to light pink and her now azure mane was styled up into a spiky fashion.
“Alright, the others should have spiked the punch by now. It's time for our move,” Maneia said, glancing around, checking to see if anypony was watching them. “Okay....go!”
The blue mare broke into a sprint, rolling and dodging around, rushing towards an unattended cart. Throwing herself behind it, she quickly looked around, checking whether or not she had been spotted. Satisfied nopony had seen her, she motioned for Faith to follow. The pink pony leisurely trotted over to the wagon, only one step above dragging her hooves. As Faith reached the hiding spot, Maneia reached out and quickly pulled her down. The mare poked her head around the edge of the cart, scanning the library.
Shooting Star waited until the last pony, a tall lanky stallion struggling under a large punch bowl, had entered the building before flexing his wings. He hated assignments like this. Standing guard, doing absolutely nothing while ponies laughed and partied directly behind him wasn't his idea of a good time. He didn't even see any real point in standing guard, either. Who would want to threaten the Princess? Nopony. The few times that anypony even wanted to attack the Princess, they would always be some super-powered freak that two measly guards wouldn't stand a chance against.
The stallion stared blankly ahead, hoping against hope that somepony would dare litter within his range of vision, thus giving him an excuse to actually do something. That, or a monkey, he liked watching monkeys. The way they used all their little fingers to hold things was his favorite thing to watch, but swinging in trees was a close second. Back in Canterlot he had even started a fan club he dubbed, Apeilepsy.
“Hey, check out those two,” the other guard whispered, nodding towards Maneia and Faith.
Shooting Star blinked several times, coming back from his primate filled fantasies. “What is it, Falling Star?” he whispered back out of the corner of his mouth.
“Those mares,” Falling Star replied. “They've been watching us for thirty minutes now.”
“Oh. What do you think they want?”
Falling Star allowed himself a quick smirk. “In a small time town like this, a couple of attractive Canterlot studs probably look pretty good.”
“Huh?” Shooting Star said, not quite up to speed with his partner.
“They want us you donkey brain!” Falling Star said raising his voice. Just on the other side of the library door, Cranky Doodle Donkey shed a single tear.
“Oh... that's nice.”
“Not as nice as the flank on the blue one,” Falling Star said sleazily.
“Yeah,” Shooting Star agreed absently.
Falling Star narrowed his eyes. “You're thinking about monkeys again aren't you?”
“Hey, they're moving,” Shooting Star said deflecting the question.
The two guards watched silently as the blue mare tripped, falling onto her face. She quickly rolled on the ground, pretending like she had meant to do the maneuver the entire time. She bobbed and weaved in no discernible pattern. Rolling in the dirt a few more times, she leapt behind an empty cart. Her curled purple tail still stuck blatantly out in the open. Her pink friend leisurely walked over to join her before getting yanked behind the cart.
Falling Star was quiet for a few moments. “So...... monkeys then?”
Wiping the sweat from her forehead, Maneia sighed in relief. “I don't think they saw us.”
Crawling to the other end of the cart, she peeped around the corner. “Alright Faith, here's the plan. See those bushes underneath the window? When I distract the guards, you sneak over there and do your thing. Got it?”
“I'll consider it,” Faith replied coolly.
“Good, and be sure not to miss a thing. I want you to record all of it,” Maneia smiled wickedly.
“Really?” Falling Star said incredulously. “That many bananas?”
“Mmmhmm.” Shooting Star affirmed. “Uh oh.”
“Uh oh what?”
“Your marefriend is coming this way.”
Falling Star groaned. “Why do I always get the crazy ones?”
“Well thank you very much,” Falling Star said flattered.
“No problem buddy.”
“Shh! Act professional.”
Maneia trotted up to the pegasi and flashed them her biggest, most totally not suspicious or crazy in any way smile. Shooting Star would see it in his nightmares for weeks.
“I was just passing by when I couldn't help but notice that you were throwing some sort of shindig.” She nuzzled up to Falling Star, causing him to blush profusely. “What does a girl got to do to get a little party on in this town?”
Looking fixedly ahead, Shooting Star addressed the mare. “You are free to go in. It's a meet and greet. The Princess wants to be more personable with her subjects.”
“I can just go in?”
“Yeah, just behave yourself.”
The three ponies stared at each other, unspeaking.
Clearing her throat, Maneia stepped forward. “Well I guess I'll go inside then.”
The two pegasi stepped aside, allowing her to pass through. After she had gone, Falling Star let out a breath that he didn't realize he'd been holding.
“How come she rubbed up against you?” Shooting Star asked enviously.
Vapid swirled the drink in his cup, watching the liquid form into a small whirlpool. Why did the world always have to be against him? Why couldn't he get a break, just once? Lifting the paper cup, he angrily downed the punch, wincing at an unfamiliar sour taste.
He didn't even know why he was at the library. He didn't care about meeting the Princess, although if he were a braver pony he might feel inclined to express his displeasure about her sister, and if he had any sense then he would have been as far away from the town, and by extension the malevolent Nocturna, as his hooves could carry him, but for some reason he had come here.
He had lost all his earthly possessions along with his entire savings to the rushing waters of Ghastly Gorge. He had been physically and mentally tortured by an insane unicorn. He had been made homeless by the sudden fancy of the Princesses. He was sick of it. The stallion's stomach gurgled noisily. Too sick of it, he thought, as a wave of nausea rose through him.
Ponies milled about the library, chatting and obliviously imbibing the party's refreshments. Celestia stood in the room's center, the party orbiting around her. She smiled and spoke whenever ponies reverently approached her, wanting to see and be near their Princess, but not daring to push close enough to risk offending her. Standing beside the monarch, Twilight Sparkle happily regaled the Princess with tales of her latest adventures in friendship. Celestia laughed as Twilight told her of Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy's recent mishaps.
“That sounds like quite the mix-up.” Celestia said, sipping from her glass.
Twilight nodded in agreement. “It was, but it really brought them closer together as friends.” The purple unicorn grimaced.
Celestia raised a regal eyebrow. “Is something wrong Twilight?” Celestia frowned slightly as a severe queasiness overcame her.
“It's nothing Princess,” Twilight said, rubbing a hoof against her stomach.
The sound of a pony violently vomiting cut through the room, the first sign that the floodgates were about to open. Retching filled the library, a symphony of sick and bilious ponies. Vapid gained control of his body long enough to watch as the Element of Magic spewed the contents of her stomach onto the goddess of the sun. Everything after that turned into a blur as his vision began to spin, sending the stallion to the floor. Vapid curled into a ball, his stomach a churning cauldron of anguish. Moaning and heaving bombarded the stallion. Squeezing his eyes shut, his head was assaulted by a splitting headache.
“Vapid!” a mare's voice said, cutting through the din of sick. “You did come!”
Forcing his eyes open, Vapid looked up into Maneia's beaming face. Her visible eye almost sparkled as her grin grew wider and wider. “I knew you wouldn't leave us.”
“Uhhurgh,” Vapid replied shivering as his body started going cold.
In a flash of blue light Vapid levitated off the ground and onto the mare's back. “Come on.”
She stepped gingerly across the room, past squirming ponies and over puddles of assorted nastiness, careful to not get any on her coat. She sidestepped out-of-the-way as the two guards frantically rushed towards the Princess. Shooting Star's hooves shot out from underneath him as he stepped on a slick spot. The stallion cried out as he careened into the royal alicorn, forcing her to rupture more of her bodily fluids. Standing in the doorway, Maneia took in her hoofdywork and smiled impishly.
“Disgusting, absolutely disgusting.”
Her moment of triumph quickly turned to one of repulsion as Vapid gagged up some fresh bile onto the back of her neck, sending a shiver down her spine.
Bolting upright, Vapid awoke in a cold sweat. Fluffy blankets covered the stallion, caressing him in their warm embrace. Back in his room at the mansion, Vapid noted blankly, unsure of how he had actually gotten into the bed.
“Welcome back to the world of the living,” Maneia said warmly, placing a bowl of oatmeal on the bedside table. Sitting on the bed's edge, she held a hoof to the stallion's forehead. “You seem to be doing a lot better.”
“What happened?” the stallion asked, trying to remember the previous night's events.
“A glorious victory happened. Last night was the Overly Impressive Mare's first ever strike against the alicorns and it was a rousing success if I do say so myself.” She allowed herself a smug smile. “Diluted manticore venom can cause one heck of a show.”
Vapid grimaced as he all too keenly recalled what it could do.
“After I ingeniously tricked the guards into letting me in, I watched the magic happen.” She leviated Vapid the bowl of oatmeal and prompted him to eat. “I then saw you were in a bad spot, so I hightailed us out of there and brought you back here. Faith pumped your stomach out and Nocturna brewed up some kind of elixir. It smelled pretty bad and I think it might have been sentient, but I got it in you eventually.”
Almost spilling his breakfast, Vapid jumped as a large mass moved under the sheets. Popping her head out, Wildflower licked the stallion's cheek.
Maneia laughed. “You wouldn't stop shivering, so she wanted to help keep you warm.”
Looking at the green mare, for the first time in longer than he could remember, Vapid smiled. With a gentle hoof he reached out and petted her, rubbing behind her ear.
“You said you used diluted venom?” Vapid asked confused. “I thought you were trying to kill the Princesses.”
“Well aren't you the enterprising one!” she replied, amused. “The demise of the Princesses is coming, but we don't necessarily have to kill them to gain our goals, we're not savages after all. We just need to prove that they're not the supreme beings everypony thinks they are.” Maneia locked eyes with Vapid, the genuine belief in her words shone clearly in her voice. “If we can show ponies this undeniable fact, that the Princesses are not better than you or me, that their time has long since passed, then change will surely follow in its wake. Realization brings revitalization. Last night was just the start, the first chink in their facade. It's hard for somepony to look high and mighty when they're writhing in a pool of their own vomit. Plus, everypony else who got sick will always remember that night when they think of the Princesses, thus associating bad memories and the Princess together.”
Vapid shook his head. “Even if what you said was true, the Princesses won't just give up.”
As the two ponies concentrated on each other, Wildflower took the opportunity to lap at the bowl of oatmeal sitting in the stallion's lap.
“If enough ponies see the truth, then they'll have no other choice.” She playfully punched his shoulder. “Besides, with you and me as a team, who can beat us?”
Hundreds of reasons why they would lose should have come to the stallion, a sense of dread or even anger at being held against his will should have wracked his mind, but instead, a strange sensation took their place. All his life he had been ignored and unwanted by everypony, but for the first time, there was somepony that actually cared about him, two counting the mare busily scoffing down his breakfast. Yes, the others were less than welcoming, Nocturna could and most likely would end him, and during the past two days he'd been put through more mental trauma and physical anguish than he'd every experienced, but even though every fiber of his body should have been screaming at him to leave and never look back, in that one moment, sitting in a bed with a pony that thought she was a dog and a mare who wanted nothing more than the annihilation of thousands of years of Equestrian existence, he was happy. Friends had always seemed an elusive dream, something that happened to other ponies, and now the opportunity he had given up for naught laid before him. With one hundred percent certainty, he knew that he would end up regretting it, but Celestia herself couldn't stop him from doing it.
He reached out and took Maneia's hoof. “No pony, that's who!”
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit thelordofdust.deviantart.com
or visit obsessionismagic.blogspot.com
or visit http://www.youtube.com/user/ObsessionIsMagic