Nothing Wrong with your TV 4
Previous chapters ANYASEMF003, ANYASEMF010, ANYASEMF022
"Isn't Spike at your place?" Alex asked.
"Yes, however my presence should calm him down and show there's nothing to fear," Rarity explained, "then we can put all of this behind us."
Alex pulled at his pants to keep them from falling off his much thinner frame. "I'm still very upset with him."
"And understandably so," Rarity said reasonably, "but he's still just a child and shouldn't be worried he's about to be eaten."
Alex sighed. "A little fear will teach him not to eat other people's stuff, but… you have a point."
"I always do, darling," the white unicorn said with a smirk as they reached her shop.
"Besides the horn," Alex said with a chuckle, getting the joke.
"Miss Rarity, look out!" the small purple dragon yelled as he rushed out of the shop, leaping in between them and spreading his arms to try and cover her.
Alex sighed. "Relax Spike, I'm not going to eat anyone, I was just upset that you had trapped me here, far from home for who knows how many years."
"Seriously?" he asked cautiously.
"Seriously," Alex said. "You destroyed every single tool I needed to get home, so now I have to recreate all of them from scratch and I don't know everything I need to know to do that and neither does anypony here. It's going to take years before I can find my way home… if ever."
"Geez," Spike said, drooping. "Sorry man, I didn't mean to separate you from your family."
"You didn't, because I don't have one," Alex replied. "I'm an orphan. All I had was Kenny my Tamagachi… Which you also ate."
Spike winced. "Sorry, didn't expect anyone to have all their tools made out of candy."
Alex sighed. "They weren't. Your diet is a lot different than mine is, it'd be like claiming everyone is made out of burgers because I could eat them."
"Yeah," Spike agreed, embarrassed. "I gotta go help Twilight," he said, making an excuse so he could leave.
"Have fun," Alex said.
Rarity lead him into the shop. "Thank you for being so kind to him, I know he caused you a lot of trouble."
"He's a child," Alex said, "I can't really hold it against him, though I doubt we're ever going to be friends."
"He can be quite endearing," Rarity said, "but I won't push. Now, come behind the screen and remove your clothing so I can make the necessary adjustments."
Alex stepped behind the screen and was surprised to find Rarity following him, before realizing she had to measure him so she'd know what adjustments to make. Of course the floating measuring tapes were a big clue.
"My, you certainly are in shape," Rarity said with approval.
"I was in shape before, that shape just happened to be round," he deflected, unused to compliments.
"Well, regardless of what you looked like before, you currently are impressively built," she offered with a smile.
Alex blushed and changed the subject. "Why do you have privacy screens when you don't have any nudity taboos?" He tried to hold still as the measuring tapes slithered over him as if they were alive.
"So I can unveil a new look all at once, darling," Rarity replied as she telekinetically wrote down her measurements. "To get the full effect it has to be beheld in full, not simply a piece at a time while they get dressed."
"That makes perfect sense," Alex said thoughtfully.
"Your clothes do not have a pouch for…" Rarity cleared her throat and gestured.
"We allow a little extra space down one leg. I dress right, for instance," Alex explained.
"Oh, that should be no problem. Back in a moment." Rarity left with his clothes.
A few minutes later…
"Thank you, I can't tell you how good it feels to be properly dressed once more," Alex said, amazed at how well everything fit.
"It was no problem at all," she assured him, "Now, what can you tell me about fashion?"
"I never took classes in it, but I had to do some research to develop my signature look," Alex admitted, "so I have picked up quite a bit without meaning to."
"It is quite distinctive," Rarity complimented him.
"If you have any books on fashion I can compare them to my own and point out the differences," he suggested.
"That would be a perfect starting point," Rarity agreed excitedly. "Come to my room, I have my fashion library and desk in there."
"Sure," Alex agreed. "Do you just want to know about the legit successful styles or do you want to hear about the crazy stunts and spectacularly bad disasters?"
"Oh darling, you simply must tell me everything!"
Peter set down the piece of rebar he'd tied into a knot. "I don't know why getting bit by a spider caused this, but I'm positive it did."
"Oh my," Aunt May said, picking up the rebar and examining it.
"This is incredible," Uncle Ben said, stunned.
"There's more," Peter said, "I can sense danger, walk up walls, and leap dozens of feet."
"Like a giant spider," Ben said with a nod.
"No webs, but that's kinda a relief," Peter said, "considering where the web spinners are located on a spider."
Ben chuckled and Aunt May tittered.
"I wasn't bitten by accident though," Peter said seriously, "a man deliberately dropped the spider on me, saying he'd 'explain it to me later' when I asked why."
"This is bad," Ben said, causing the two to stare at him. "Peter," he paused, "your parents weren't just scientists, they worked for the government. I was given a certain number to use in case anyone came after us, trying to gain access to their work."
"And you think that's what this is?" Peter asked.
"They didn't share what they were working on, but I caught enough hints to know they were trying to recreate the super soldier formula that was used to make Captain America," Ben explained. "Oscorp has a lot of military contracts, someone could have figured out who your parents were and decided either to use you as a demonstration of their formula or it's unfinished and they need your parent's work to stabilize it. Either way, something is rotten in Oscorp and I should call this in so they can help you."
"Unstable?" Peter asked nervously.
"It's a possibility, that's why we need to check and make sure you're alright," Ben said. "I don't think there's any reason to panic just yet."
"Alright," Peter said, calming down. "So, you have someone to call?"
"Yeah, let me find the card they left."
"You look worn out," Twilight noted as Alex returned to the library.
"Rarity squeezed all the knowledge of fashion I had out of me," Alex replied. "I didn't even know I knew everything she got out of me."
"Fashion is her passion," Twilight replied brightly.
"Tell me about it," Alex said with a laugh. "She actually got me interested in it, so much so that I didn't realize how long we'd been at it till my well of knowledge ran dry."
"So you had fun?" Twilight asked.
"Quite a bit," Alex agreed, "but now I'm exhausted and hungry."
"Spike is making lunch," Twilight said. "What kind of dietary requirements do you have?"
"I can eat vegetables, grains, fruit, and meat," Alex listed off. "I can't eat hay, grass, or flowers. I also can't eat rocks, gems, or metals, but I think that's standard for non dragons."
"Avoid the gems in the cake and the hayburgers and you should be fine then," Twilight said. "Spike's a talented chef.
"I hope he made extra," Alex said, "because I haven't had any solid food in days."
"I told him you'd be eating with us," Twilight assured him.
"Cool," Alex said. "Now, let's talk tech."
"Tech?" Twilight asked curiously.
"Technology," Alex replied, just before Spike came in and served them all cake, sliced fruit, and a sandwich filled with flowers. "Thanks, Spike."
"Don't mention it," Spike said, "it's the least I owe you."
"So, tech?" Twilight said quickly wanting to steer things away from a painful subject.
"Yes, technology," Alex said as he cautiously picked at his food. "Do you have transistors?"
"Is it anything like resistors?" she asked hopefully.
"No, but the fact that you know what resistors are means you are much more advanced than I feared," Alex said excitedly. "Do you have… televisions?"
"Distant viewing?" Twilight tried to puzzle out what the word meant.
Alex sighed. "I'll take that as a no then."
"Tell me about them," Twilight demanded eagerly.
"Alright," Alex said, amused at how excited the little purple unicorn was. "Imagine a box with a window in it that allowed you to watch news, weather, sports, and plays from all over the world."
"Dude, that sounds pretty sweet," Spike said.
"It is," Alex agreed. "There is an electron gun in the back of the device that shoots electrons at the screen, lighting up individual pixels. It does this rapidly enough to create a picture on the wire mesh screen just behind the glass."
"Like a video game," Spike said.
"Cathode ray tube?" Twilight asked with a grin.
Alex just stared.
"The 'tech' is new and we use vacuum tubes, but we do have them," Twilight said with a smile.
"Really?" Alex asked, eyes lighting up.
"Really," Twilight assured him. "I don't think anyone has considered using them the way you suggested, probably because the graphics aren't that complex; everything looks blocky."
"We have an arcade with some pretty sweet games, like Pong, Golden Hooves, and Buck Mare. Buck Mare is the best," Spike said, "you play a pony bucking apple trees while Timber Wolves chase you through an orchard."
Alex grinned. "I might not be stuck here after all; I've traveled through video games before. This is great!" His stomach growled loudly.
"How much do you eat?" Spike asked as he saw that Alex had eaten everything in front of him and was still hungry.
"About four times what you served me and probably twice that right now, since I'm in recovery," Alex admitted.
"That's why you eat meat, you need the calories," Twilight said.
"Yeah, since our brains developed, we needed to eat meat to fuel them," Alex said, dimly recalling a biology lecture.
"Twilight has a huge brain, but she doesn't eat that much," Spike said.
"My brain is the same size as any other pony," Twilight said, blushing slightly.
"We have vastly different biologies," Alex replied. "Can you fry up half a dozen eggs? That should tide me over while I go fishing. I can't really hunt since every animal is sentient here."
"Sure," Spike said, leaping to his feet, "I'll have them done in a jiffy!"
"I'm glad you're not going to be trapped here, though I am a bit sad I won't get to learn more about your science and culture," Twilight said.
"Let's not count our chickens before they hatch," Alex said, "I don't know that your video games have a complex enough mythology behind them to support travel yet."
"Mythology?" Twilight asked curiously.
"My form of travel is powered by stories and myths," Alex explained, "imagination and wonder are the key."
"Those are powerful forces," Twilight said wide eyed. "You can tap into them?"
"Just like my father before me," he agreed. "Of course the format is different, he used movies projected on the screen through celluloid."
"I have a projector and dozens of movies," Twilight offered.
"They don't work for me, I've checked," Alex told her.
"Could someone use books?!" Twilight asked excitedly.
"Libriomancy? It exists, but it's kinda weak. Each step up in complexity is more powerful and it's near the bottom rung. It's also something I can't do."
"But it exists!" Twilight squealed. "Tell me everything!"
"Alright, calm down," Alex said cautiously. "Libriomancers will sit down and read a book, getting lost in the story, and when their focus is completely on the book they can reach in and pull things out. Things, not people. Pulling anything with a mind out pretty much drives them insane."
"Can you go into a book?" Twilight asked, practically bouncing in place.
"Yes," Alex replied, "you can go in and visit, but it's not the real thing. If you read a book about a hundred years ago, you wouldn't go back to a hundred years ago you'd simply visit what the writer and all his readers thought the place was like a hundred years ago, though it may contain actual details both are unaware of."
"That would be so wonderful," Twilight said. "How about books written about places that don't exist?"
"Just as the writer described," Alex replied.
"This is so exciting!"
"It has its downsides," Alex warned. "When you pull things out you are simply creating a copy of the item using your own magic, so you can't just pull things out willy-nilly. Also, the older and more well known a book is, the more you can pull out before char sets in."
"Char?" the purple unicorn asked with a shudder, instinctively disliking the word.
"Char is what happens when you pull things out," he explained. "The books will look normal to everyone, but libriomancers will see them as burned. Now, books will recover over time. If you pulled a mundane item out of popular series, the char wouldn't even be noticeable and would probably heal in an hour. Naturally, pulling out powerful magical items is harder and causes a lot more damage."
"I'd hate to damage a book that way, even if I had multiple copies," Twilight said with a shudder.
"It wouldn't matter, char affects every copy of the book from that particular printing and if you pull out something powerful enough it may affect other printings as well."
"That's awful!" she exclaimed, wide eyed.
Alex nodded as Spike slid a plate of eggs in front of him and quickly dug in, devouring it in seconds.
"But… visiting books doesn't cause char?" Twilight asked hopefully.
"None at all," he assured her.
"That's a relief," Twilight said. "So, I could write a story about… the world's largest library and visit it?"
"No," Alex said flatly. "Trying to enter your own creation would drive you insane. Writers cannot enter their own books. Also, books that are popular and well known are the easiest to enter, you are piggybacking on the imagination and excitement of the readers."
"That still sounds pretty wonderful," Twilight decided. "I could visit famous literary characters and get their autographs."
"That's a pretty safe and reasonable use of it," Alex said, "as long as you don't overdo it. Some libromancers vanish and we're all pretty sure they either died in the book or just decided not to come back, if they didn't get lost or go nuts anyway. You are dealing with some pretty powerful forces, so it's not entirely safe."
"Could I pull out a futuristic invention and make a blueprint of it, so I could build my own?" she asked.
"The item would work, but it'd work because of magic, not actual scientific principles," Alex replied.
"I don't suppose you know how to perform libriomancy?" Twilight asked, already knowing the answer from how he spoke of it, but hoping otherwise.
"Not a clue," he admitted, "it's not where my talents lie, but it was close enough I researched it to help figure out my own."
"I'll figure it out," Twilight decided cheerfully, "after all, it has two of my favorite things, magic and books, in it."
"Just keep the dangers in mind," Alex warned her. "If you start hearing the voices of fictional characters in your head it's time to take a break for a few days."
"I simply must write all this down, while it's fresh in my brain," Twilight said, telekinetically retrieving a quill and some parchment.
"The food was great, Spike," Alex told him as he got up.
"Thanks, its nice somepony notices," the little dragon said, rolling his eyes at how oblivious Twilight was when she was writing.
"And I'm off to fish," Alex said. "Um, where exactly is the best place to fish?"
"Check with Fluttershy, she's the only pony who fishes around here," Spike suggested.
"Good idea," Alex said, "I want to thank her again for helping me when I was sick. See you later, Spike."
"Bye and… sorry," he apologized. "For… you know."
"Just don't do it again, alright?" he said with a wave as he left.
"Promise," Spike called out.
Alex stepped out into the cobblestoned streets of Ponyville, smiling at how fresh and clean the air was compared to a modern city as he strolled along. Feeling a tingle of approaching danger from behind, Alex sidestepped a blue blur that shot through the space he'd just been occupying. There was a crash as a rainbow maned Pegasus smacked into the side of a building and he continued on, ignoring the stares and whispers from the local ponies who had no doubt never seen a human before.
The tingle returned, this time from the side, so he stopped and stepped backwards and the Pegasus crashed into a tree. He resumed heading for Fluttershy's place, wondering exactly how many times Rainbow Dash would try to tackle him before either giving up or actually trying to speak to him first.
As he bent down to tie his shoe and she overshot and went through someone's window, he figured the answer would be quite a lot.
Oh well, it wasn't like he was in a rush, it was still early in the day and he had plenty of time to get to where he was going.
Typing By: Abyssal Angel