A/N: So here I am... writing about ponies.
Never thought it would come to this.
Chapter 1: Dream Part 1
"DOWN DOWN DOWN!"
I hit the dirt...
Didn't even hear the explosion, just saw rocks and other debris fly towards me the split second before I covered my head. I could hear the muffled sounds of gunfire through my ringing ears, but I couldn't move.
Dying had always been expected when a soldier got sent out like I did, but that didn't stop us from enjoying what little remained of our lives, and trying our damnedest to get back home on two legs and not in a casket. For me it was the scariest thing I'd ever done.
And right then... right at that moment, I closed my eyes and prayed that I would make it home safe to my family.
I managed to pull my head up and looked at my surroundings.
The gunfire was still going on, our vehicle was crippled, but despite being ambushed we were holding our own.
I couldn't quite hear, but I saw a familiar face close in on mine, and felt a hand grab my shoulder.
"Reggie's injured, we gotta get the fuck outta here, call in air support..."
I could tell he was yelling, but he might has well have been whispering.
I went for the radio on my belt.
"HQ this is Road Runner!"
I took cover behind the remains of our vehicle...
My gun... where was my gun?
As soon as I asked myself that question someone had already pressed an M9 sidearm into my free hand; I didn't see who.
"HQ this is Road Runner!"
"Go ahead Road Runner."
"Jenkins, are you alright?"
Just like that I was laying on a soft couch once more, staring up at the ceiling of a richly decorated office, an oak fan spinning above me, dim light in the center.
A cold sweat was running down my forehead, "I am now... thanks Doc."
Doctor Mitchell was a very composed and kind man. He didn't charge people much, and he knew what he was doing.
Granted, some part of me thought a lot of the shrinks and psychs on the market were money grubbers, but talking to Doc Mitchell really helped me.
I wasn't over it, and I doubted I would ever really be over it, but talking to someone about it, especially after living on my own for so long, helped a lot.
"Talking to your parents again?"
"Yeah... yeah, Mom's been real worried about me, but it's helped a lot. I haven't told them about the things I saw or the PTSD, but it helps..."
"Why won't you tell them?"
"That'd just be adding more stress to what they have to deal with, besides, I like to think I've been doing pretty good so far. I don't drink myself under anymore, I don't have to take sleeping pills."
"But you still have the flashbacks and nightmares."
"Yeah. They're really... vivid. Almost like I'm there, but not quite."
"It's different for everyone Jenkins. Your case is pretty intense, but nothing a man like you couldn't handle, just remember, you're not on your own, and you never will be."
Our session was over before I knew it, and I was back on the street and walking through crowds of people to get back to my apartment building.
I was doing okay, I really was, especially compared to when I first got back.
I got discharged from the military, well... not discharged.
I only had a few months until my reenlistment, so they labeled me ineligible and let me fall out of line like a good little soldier. I wanted to keep serving, but I was in no condition to do it, and I knew just as well as everyone around me that I needed help, so I went out and got it.
The charges were always either paid for completely or discounted considerably. The paper work and arguing I had to do to get it going was ridiculous, but it ended up on the better end of things.
Of course, there was the matter of what Doc had said.
"You're not on your own, and you never will be."
That was what scared me the most.
Eventually my parents would die.
I had my friends at a small desk job, but we never really did much together.
Not to mention, I wasn't exactly in any hurry to get married.
At least... until THAT happened.
A crosswalk about halfway back to my apartment was always the most annoying one to cross. The walk light was broken, so people had to rush really fast across when the corresponding light turned red, lest they ended up playing a live action game of Frogger to prevent death by delivery truck.
So that was exactly what I did, just like every other time walking home from my shrink.
Unlike every other time, I collided into someone and we both took a nasty fall onto the asphalt.
I managed to catch myself on my hands falling back, and I was already feeling the burns forming on my palms.
"Ow... ow ow ow, crap..."
I looked up, and was greeted by the strangest sight I had the privilege of seeing since I had returned from my little overseas trip.
A girl about a foot shorter than me, fallen on her backside, panicking over a stack of what looked like a lot of school material.
That wasn't what caught my eyes though.
It was her weird hair.
Down to her mid back, it had been dyed a very dark purple, almost a blue, with a single magenta streak running from her hair line all the way down to the bottom.
"Erm... lemme help you with that."
"Crap, now I'm gonna be late."
'Or you could just ignore me.'
I decided it would be more productive to help her pick up without waiting for her permission, and set about doing so.
"Sorry I ran into you," I mumbled, handing her the half of the books I had retrieved, "You sure you don't need help with all this stuff?"
She took them from me without so much as a thank you. The stack of books reached all the way to her neck as she carried them.
"No time. In a hurry... can't be late!"
And just like that she was gone.
The blare of a horn snapped me out of my small daze and I ran the rest of the way across so the intersection could get moving again.
'Huh... what a strange girl.'
I reached the third floor of my apartment building and opened the door to my new home just as the sky started turning orange.
I was immediately accosted by a small and furry orange creature rubbing against my leg and purring. "Hey Mishmash," I said, picking the cat up and closing the door behind me. "You miss me?" I asked with a grin, rubbing him behind his ears.
I set about my daily tasks, throw my sweater on the couch, turn on the TV, and plop down to watch it until I got over my laziness enough to cook a terribad TV dinner for myself.
All in all it had been a pretty good day, and for some reason, instead of thinking about what Doc had said I started thinking about that strange girl on the intersection.
It was kind of hard not to.
Even in a city like that she stuck out like a sore thumb. Never in my life had I encountered someone with hair like that. I'd seen punk hair girls dye their stuff blue, I'd seen spike mohawks dyed red...
But it was weird, aside from the color her hair cut had been rather normal.
"Guess it takes all kinds," I muttered to myself, closing my eyes to take a nap while the TV blared in the background.
At first I thought it was coming from the TV...
"Shut the fuck up! What did I tell you! Huh!"
Then I heard a loud noise out in the hallway.
I jumped up from the couch, almost knocking poor Mishmash into the air and hitting my shin on the edge of my coffee table.
I hissed in pain, stumbling out of the apartment and catching sight of something that made my stomach turn.
There was a small part of my mind that told me to close the door and ignore it, the same part of my mind that almost caused me to back out of my enlistment in the military.
Did I really want to get involved in this?
That was the question.
"Hey!" I shouted, propping the door open with the small trash can by it and walking to the couple on my left, which the commotion had been coming from.
I caught sight of the poor girl, huddling against the wall and muttering under her breath like she was broken.
The guy standing over her looked like a college dropout, messed up dust jacket on, tussled black hair, and facial hair that made him look like a drug head, combined with his pale complexion and the welts on his face it was safe to assume he was on something.
"The fuck is going on out here, eh? I'm trying to sleep!" I yelled.
The guy smirked and threw his arms out, as if innocent, "Just a little lovers quarrel, nothin' for you to be worried about man."
"Just go back into your apartment man, nothing to see here."
"Step away from the girl."
The man frowned, "This ain't your business man."
"Did you fuckin' hear me or not? I said get away from the girl!"
"Wanna play hero? Aight."
The next seconds were like a surreal flashback to me.
He pulled the gun from his jacket and I had almost no time to react. I reached down for the trash can and yanked it from the door, throwing it right at his face. This attack sent him stumbling a bit, but not before he got a shot off.
I thought I heard the girl shriek, but I already had the guy pinned down before he was able to shoot again. I disarmed him and put his own gun against his head.
Every instinct was screaming at me to pull the trigger.
"HQ this is Road Runner!"
"They're coming up on our flank!"
"WE NEED AIR SUPPORT NOW!"
I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding. The guy I had pinned to the ground was looking up at me, fear in his eyes, but the voice hadn't come from him. I looked over at the girl he was hitting and yelling at earlier.
She was about as tall as me, and was in her pajamas at the moment. Her hair was almost unnaturally long, all the way down to her waist, and was a light brown color.
"I um... I... I'll call the police, so... you don't have to do that."
Despite having a black eye, she was the perfect picture of calm.
Her voice was extremely soft and subdued.
"Besides, um..." she pointed to my shoulder.
Apparently the first shot had hit me in the left shoulder, and now that the adrenaline was gone and it had been pointed out to me I started feeling the pain.
"Get the hell offa me man!"
I responded by hitting him upside the head with the butt of the gun, causing the girl to flinch a little.
"Please don't do that," she said gently, "You could be arrested for hitting him after you subdue him. I'll be right back with bandages, don't move."
I noticed that the blow had knocked him out cold, he probably couldn't sustain much damage because he was so drugged out.
It was odd that besides the black eye, the girl had looked healthy, usually drug heads like these guys dragged people down with them.
I sat against the wall and let out a sigh, setting the gun by my side just as the girl emerged from what I assumed to be her apartment... right next door to mine apparently.
After another moment she emerged with a first aid kit and smiled at me. Tucking her hair behind her ear, she knelt down at my left side and set to work.
"The police will be here in a few minutes."
"You're pretty calm considering what happened," I said.
She nodded, "He's not my boyfriend, I've been trying to help him."
"That's risky business."
"I know." She set the gauze and began to wrap the bandages through and around my shoulder. "My name is Felicia, Felicia Shirley."
"William Jenkins... you can just call me Bill, or Jenkins. How'd you get mixed up with a guy like him?"
"I feed the pigeons on the roof."
"Um... excuse me?"
"Oh they're such sweet little birds. I have a small coop that's completely open, and I go up to the roof every morning and feed them. There were hummingbirds where I used to live, it's a shame they don't have them here."
"What's this have to do with that guy?"
"Oh... right, sorry..." she blushed, "I love animals, so I get sidetracked sometimes. One morning I saw him up there, injecting himself with something, I started talking to him, and he was an okay person, but whenever I brought up that he should quit things like this happened."
"And you kept trying anyway?"
"Yes, but I'm afraid he's becoming too violent, and it's time to call the police."
"Anyone ever tell you that you're some weird mix of naive and responsible?"
She giggled, "Only my friend Rachel."
An awkward silence followed.
"So..." I said.
"I'm sorry. I'm not very good at talking to people. I um... uh..."
"It's alright, thanks for the bandages, when the police question us at least we'll be stuck waiting together."
She smiled and blushed again, "Thank you... for your help."
The trip to the hospital, the stitches, and the police taking our statements lasted an extremely long time; I didn't make it home until midnight with Felicia, and we said a quiet goodbye in the hall before returning to our respective apartments. Mishmash was on me in a second flat as soon as I laid down on the couch and turned the TV on.
I didn't sleep in my bed anymore because there was no TV.
Sometimes leaving a funny show on would help keep my head straight in my dreams and drive the nightmares away.
... I really needed to put my TV in front of the bed.
That night I wasn't in for the nightmares of gunfire and explosions and screaming.
It was nothing that traumatising...
But it was just as vivid.
Chapter 2: Dream Part 2
The first thing I noticed upon waking was that the feeling of my couch was gone, and replaced by soft grass.
The second thing I noticed was the warmth of the sun on my face.
But something didn't feel... quite right.
I opened my eyes, and in my dazed state realized I was staring up at a blue sky.
'How did I end up outside?'
That question was less important than the fact that there was no grass around my apartment building, just sidewalk and streets, and the park was several blocks away.
Then it dawned on me and I began to slightly panic.
I tried to stand, but for some reason I couldn't move quite right, it was almost as if I couldn't push myself up.
I couldn't feel my fingers... this caused my slight panic to turn into a full blown freakout.
My breathing became ragged as I once again tried to stand up and failed, falling onto my chest and knocking the air out of my lungs. I struggled to breathe.
A panic attack...
My immobility coupled with the strange surroundings brought beck something I hadn't dealt with in quite a few months.
I remembered the basics, pace your breathing and try to slow it down, think about things that calm you down.
Once I gathered myself I was able to take deeper breaths, then I looked down and screamed.
Brown hair covering my body.
I fell back and my panic attack started from the beginning.
This time I didn't recover, and my world went blank.
"... be alright?"
"I don't know, I found him in a clearing outside of Ponyville. Hopefully he wakes up soon. Do you know him?"
"No way, never seen him in my life. Anyway, I gotta go an' meet Fluttershy."
"Right, thanks for the help Applejack."
My brain functions started coming back to me, and the first thing I felt was the warmth of a soft bed.
"Spike, get some hot towels."
"Aye aye Ma'am!"
"Oh no! Don't push yourself."
Something pushed me back down when I tried to sit up.
My body still didn't feel right at all.
"Where am I?"
For some reason the voice I was hearing was slightly familiar to me. I opened my eyes and let out a sigh when I saw the wooden roof above me. Then I turned to my left and fell out of the bed at what I saw.
"What are you... Hey!"
For some reason I was back on the bed again, "Wh... what are you?"
"What are you talking about?"
She... it... looked like a small horse, a small purple horse with a horn... a small purple unicorn.
The mane on it looked eerily familiar.
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks.
The girl I ran into on the way home from Doc's place. I didn't say anything.
"This is a dream... right?"
The small horse laughed, "No... you look pretty awake to me. What's your name?"
"Hey, you're in a safe place. My name is Twilight Sparkle."
"W... William Jenkins."
I didn't know what else to do.
A very small, very expressive, very strange horse was talking to me.
It had to have been a dream. I decided to just roll with it. I had never had a dream that vivid before. It was almost like it was real.
Her 'face' showed confusion, "Really? That's a strange name."
"No weirder than Twilight Sparkle," I said, giving a forced laugh. "Have we um... have we met before?"
"I'm pretty sure I would have remembered you, so no, not that I know of. You look like you've been through a lot, give those hooves a rest."
"Hooves?" I looked down again and sighed, "Oh, right."
"Is something wrong?"
"I... no... nothings wrong."
"So did you crash land while you were on a trip or something?"
"You know, from flying? There was a pretty nasty storm scheduled yesterday, and if you don't live in the area and were flying through, you could have gotten caught in it."
"It's alright, just get some rest and we'll..."
"Hot towels as ordered."
The voice came from at Twilight's feet... hooves. whatever, and when I looked down a small spikey creature with large eyes greeted me.
Their eyes widened, and Twilight started to panic, "What, what's wrong? Are you okay?"
"Okay look!" I shouted, "I really shouldn't be here, this has to be a dream."
"What are you talking about?"
"I'm... I'm a horse, why am I a horse?"
Twilight looked down at the small spikey creature, confused at my outburst. The spikey creature shrugged.
"Why are you talking?
Twilight laughed nervously, "Because I learned to when I was little?"
"Is he okay?" asked the creature.
"Where am I? Just tell me where I am!"
"Please, calm down! I'll explain, and then when I'm done, you'll explain, okay?"
Calm? I couldn't be calm in a situation like this. Calm was completely out of the question.
I could shut up though.
"Okay, since you don't know where you are let's start with that. You are in my home, the library of a small town called Ponyville. The town is in a country called Equestria, and is adjacent to the capital Cantalot, which is ruled as a monarchy by the Great Princess Celestia."
"You don't have to explain everything Twilight."
"Something tells me I do Spike. Now..." she nodded to me, "Your turn, where are you from?"
I tried not to let my panic get the better of me again. I was over that stuff, there was no need to go back to jumping at my shadow and being afraid of everything.
Especially considering as this was a dream.
A very vivid, very lifelike dream...
"I'm uh... well... God this is weird. Wherever this Equestria place is, or Ponyville or whatever, I've never been to it. I'm a human, not..." I threw my 'arms' out so they could both see, "This."
Spike tilted his head, "A human?"
Twilight frowned, "Oh no."
"What is it Twilight?"
"Oh no. No." She turned around and descended what looked like stairs leading to the bulk of her house, which happened to be a library, just as she mentioned.
I could still hear her panicking.
"Nonononono... noooooo, this is not good."
"Twilight!" shouted Spike, "What's going on?"
Twilight came back upstairs with her horn glowing and an extremely thick book floating next to her head. "How did you get here?" she asked.
At least it was easy for her to believe me.
"Last thing I remember is going to bed after I got home from the police station."
"Police station?" asked Spike.
Twilight grinned nervously, "Think guards Spike."
"Ooooh. Wait, how do you know all this?"
I decided to start a checklist at that moment.
Things I never thought I'd see horses do, but did anyways:
Number one, roll their eyes.
"Because I read Spike. Anyways, what were you doing at the police station?"
I sighed and 'sat up' in bed, it wasn't as uncomfortable as it looked, "There was a girl outside my apartment. She was getting beat by this guy, so I knocked him out and she called the cops. They took us in to make a statement, then I walked her home and we both went to sleep, and... I ended up here in Ponydale."
"Ponyville," said Spike.
"This is fascinating," mumbled Twilight, "Spike, strike a letter."
"But we just sent one."
"This one is more important." Spike pulled a paper out of seemingly nowhere, along with a quill, and Twilight started, "Dear Princess Celestia, I'm writing you now for a gravely important matter. On the edge of Ponyville we found a pegasus..."
I twisted my head around.
I expected myself to panic again, but at this point it was just dull surprise I was in for.
"When awakened he was greatly confused, and through questioning we have come to find out that he is from beyond the veil. Despite the limited knowledge available on the veil, this could be extremely dangerous, and we should investigate this matter further. Please reply as soon as possible. Your Faithful Student, Twilight."
Twilight let out a sigh, "Listen... William. Our goal right now is to get you home from where you probably came."
"Well, no one knows much about the veil, other than the fact that it's forbidden, but it's the most likely case."
"I'm still not sure whether or not this is a dream."
"Well, in any case, she should reply by the end of the day, and depending on her decision you might have to stay in Ponyville for a few days. I have an extra bed that I can set up downstairs."
"Thanks... I guess."
"This must be really weird for you."
"You don't know the half of it."
"You must be hungry, we should go get something to eat, can you stand? From what I've read human's walk on two legs."
I was kind of hungry now that she mentioned it. "Yeah that's about right. Two hands and two feet, fingers and toes."
Twilight grinned, "Fascinating, you'll have to tell me as much as you can before we get you back."
"Just... don't make me eat hay."
"Don't worry, I know the perfect place to take you, but first..."
"Right... standing, gotcha."
I was surprisingly dextrous for being a horse... pony... whatever thing, probably because I still retained my higher brain functions.
It wasn't that hard to get out of bed like I do every morning, 'feet' to the ground first. Only this time I pushed myself forward and landed on my 'hands'. It took me a few seconds to get the balance issues down, but hell, it seemed easier than walking on two feet all the time, maybe I wouldn't trip as often in this weird place.
"Huh... you don't have a cutie mark."
"A what now?"
"Nothing. Think you can walk?"
"Walk? Trot? Yeah I don't know."
Twilight started to lead me, and I felt slightly humiliated by the fact that I had to be taught how to walk by someone. After a few minutes of trying not to fall on my face I finally got it down, and she lead me outside.
"We're heading out Spike."
"Alright, I'll hold down the fort."
It was a bright day, just like when I had woken up, "You sure there was a storm earlier, would it clear up that quick?"
"It was scheduled to."
"Scheduled? You mean like a weather report?"
"No," said Twilight, leading me around the corner of her house and down the dirt road deeper into town, "The pegasi are in charge of the clouds, when we need rain they make it."
"Man... wish we could control weather back home."
"Your weather acts on its own? That's pretty convenient if you ask me."
"Well, not really, it can get pretty nasty. Tornados, tsunami, hurricanes. People die in extreme weather like that."
Twilight frowned, "Is death... common where you come from?"
"I'm sorry to hear that, but still, it can't be that bad, right?"
"It's not. Life is good, sometimes a bit boring. Sometimes I feel like I could be happier though."
"You're not happy?"
"I am, I am happy. Happier than I was a few months ago."
"Well here we are, the Ponyville cafe."
From what I could see of this little town it was... brightly colored, but not so much that it was blinding. Most of the buildings were white and made out of simple materials like wood, the cafe was no exception, and it looked like the tables were all outside, which I suppose made sense, you wouldn't need an inside dining area if you knew exactly when it was going to rain.
"Please tell me you have sandwiches."
I knew it wouldn't have meat, but I didn't care, I was absolutely starving. There was an egg sandwich though, so I asked for one of those. The tables outside didn't have chairs near them, and were low enough where we could just sit on our hinds and eat like that.
"You're taking this surprisingly well."
"I've been through worse, besides, I already got all my freaking out and screaming out of my system. Now I just want to get home, If I don't show up to work or my shrink I'll get called in as missing."
"A psychologist. He um... helps people with their problems by talking to them."
"Really?" Her eyes widened in excitement, "How come I never thought of that?" She frowned, "We could REALLY use one of those here."
"You don't have psychologists or anything? Then again, this place seems rather... cheery compared to where I'm from."
"No, trust me William, we need one."
For some reason she sounded desperate, and for some reason that made me smile.
"It's not funny," she grumbled.
"What, is everyone crazy?"
A nervous laugh was all I got in response, so I decided not to press the issue any further.
"God it's weird," I grumbled to myself, adjusting my position, "Hopefully I won't be sticking around long enough to get used to it."
Twilight sighed, "Too bad is what I say. The veil and the humans are some of the most interesting subjects I've studied. I know it's selfish, but it would be really neat if you got to stay here for a few days, and I think you'd like it."
"Well, I'm not exactly human right now," I said with a smirk.
"That doesn't matter, I can still ask you questions, and I've got questions."
"Better get started then."
"What's your government like?"
"Wow, way to choose the hardest question right off the bat. Anyways, it depends on what part of the world you're in. You guys probably have countries over here too."
"Yeah, we do."
"Alright. So the world is split into seven continents, and these continents have their own countries. I'm from the North American continent, from the country of the United States of America. Our government is what you call a democracy, we vote in a bunch of people to make decisions, including one person called the president, who has a hand in leading the military, and some of the bigger decisions."
"You vote ponies into positions of power?"
"Yeah, it was founded on being able to choose and have freedom. People abuse it naturally, but hopefully it works out in the end."
"Abuse of power huh?"
"Yeah, it's pretty common where I'm from."
Before we knew it our sandwiches had arrived.
Twilight seemed to have some sort of magical power she used to carry stuff, because she was now using it to levitate her sandwich so she could eat it.
I sighed and leaned down to start eating mine, not even bothering to use my 'hands'. Twilight didn't say anything, so it probably wasn't that weird.
Honestly, it was the best egg sandwhich I ever had.
Toasted to perfection, tomatoes, lettuce, and yolk cooked eggs.
Then again, I had been eating TV dinners for a year, anything was better than that stuff.
"That was the best damn egg sandwich I've ever had."
Twilight laughed, "What's that word?"
For some reason it was REALLY weird hearing a word like that come from Twilight, "Erm... don't worry about it, it's a human thing."
"Alright, well, I'm glad you liked it. While we're waiting for a reply I should take you to meet my friends."
My whole world flipped.
I ended up on my back with my hooves tucked and a sharp pain rolling up my spine, "What the..."
Then I heard the laughing.
"Rainbow Dash, what are you doing?" shouted Twilight.
I craned my neck to get a better look and laid eyes on the entire spectrum of the rainbow, and that was just her mane and tail.
"Oh man, I'm sorry... heheheh, hahahaha..."
She didn't SOUND sorry.
"Thanks for checking on the shell shocked veteran over here," I grumbled, rolling over and pushing myself back up.
"OO OO!" The rainbow pony was in front of me in an instant, "Did you just say veteran? You must know some SWEET flying moves then."
"Um... not that kind of veteran."
"Awww..." her face fell, but then she perked up in the next instant, "Well I can show you some stuff."
"I'm not really..."
"We should go dive bombing, that would be AWESOME!"
"I don't know how to fly."
She stopped and tilted her head at me, "You what?"
"I... I can't fly..." For some reason I was embarrassed to admit this. There I was with a pair of wings glued to my back, and despite humanity dreaming of flying I couldn't do jack with them.
"What is thi... I don't even..." she turned to Twilight, who laughed nervously.
"Listen, I'm not exactly from around here."
Rainbow Dash turned to me once more, "You mean Ponyville."
"No, just... here."
"No, as in... HERE." I gestured to the ground at our hooves, which only made Rainbow Dash even more confused.
"He came from the veil," said Twilight.
"Wait, you're a human?"
Twilight frowned, "You sure know a lot Dash."
"I don't read as much as you, but I've seen a few things, especially since you moved here. Well no wonder you can't fly then! C'mon, let's go, we've got work to do!"
Before I knew what was happening Rainbow Dash was shoving me away from the cafe, and for some reason I felt compelled to follow.
"Wait!" shouted Twilight, "Dash, he's..."
Rainbow Dash had taken me to some hills on the edge of town, and Twilight had followed, her protests drowned out by Dash's excitement the entire way.
The sound of a coaches whistle blowing drew my attention to Rainbow Dash.
Where in the hell she got an orange jumpsuit and a whistle I will never know, "Listen up Trainee!"
... That sounded familiar.
"Today you will learn to fly! You will push yourself to the limit, and then you will push more!"
If there was one thing I still had going for me it was my military bearing and discipline.
Rainbow Dash was not fucking around, so I wouldn't either.
Twilight rolled her eyes, "You're getting way too into this."
Dash grinned, "I like that attitude! Alright Trainee. The first thing you must learn is that flying is not easy, it does not come naturally, and it will take time!"
Twilight frowned, "Dash, he won't have the time to..."
"Now, first we'll cover the basics. Get your belly on the ground trainee, we're going through the positions!"
It went like this for a while. I figured out how to move my wings on their own, and we cycled through the in air positions on the safety of the ground over and over again.
Another whistle blow.
"Same time tomorrow!" shouted Dash.
"That's the thing," said Twilight, "I don't know if he'll be here tomorrow."
"Oh, trying to get home?"
"Pretty much," I said, "Sorry about that."
Rainbow Dash looked really disappointed.
Even if it was all a dream, I still felt bad for ditching her like that, "Listen, I'll be back same time tomorrow after lunch if I'm still not back home."
Dash took a deep breath, "Alright, you better be ready!"
This was getting ridiculous.
"Alright, this'll be our last stop for the day, since the suns going down."
"Who lives here?"
Twilight had taken me to the edge of what looked like a forest. In front of us was a strange looking cottage.
"I wanted to do this first, since she's the hardest, but Dash kind of... interrupted."
"It's alright. This is all weird and wrong to me, but you guys are pretty cool."
... Despite the brightly hued color scheme and the diabetes inducing surroundings.
Twilight walked forward with me tailing behind her, and brought her hoof to the door to gently tap it. "Fluttershy, it's Twilight."
I found it weird that Twilight didn't yell to get her friend's attention, and normally you would knock harder, then when the door opened I didn't find it weird anymore.
"Oh... hello Twilight..." Then Fluttershy's gaze landed on me and she let out a gasp.
Twilight kicked her hoof into the door, ensuring retreat was impossible, "Relax Fluttershy, he's just a friend. He'll be staying in Ponyville for the night, and maybe a few days."
"Oh I um..."
"Hi," I said it as gently as humanly possible, but Fluttershy sat on her hind quarters and brought her hooves up to cover her face.
My heart melted like butter, "Maybe we should leave," I said through gritted teeth.
I felt like I was trespassing somewhere sacred.
"No, it's okay, she'll be alright. Go on, introduce yourself."
"My name is uh... William, William Jenkins."
She talked so quietly I barely heard her.
"Uh... nice to meet you."
Things were getting very awkward very fast...
Wait a minute.
"What do you like to do?"
An extremely long moment of silence passed before she answered again in a quiet voice, "... Animals."
I managed to keep my head on my shoulders. If I started doing anything weird now it would probably freak the poor girl out.
"Have we um... met anywhere before Fluttershy?"
"I own a cat," I blurted out.
She didn't say anything, but her hooves went back to the floor and she seemed a little less reserved.
"His name is Mishmash and he's like... the best pet I've ever had. Every time I come home he rubs on my leg and begs for food, and he makes sure the mice don't get into my pantry. He loves the soft food that I can get in cans from the supermarket, his favorite is the chicken."
The look of fear vanished, and was replaced with a smile, "Does he like to play?"
"All the frikkin' time. I have a bunch of cat toys I went out and bought for him. One of them is this fuzzy thing on the end of a stick that I dangle around, he loves to chase that thing."
I heard Twilight let out a breath of relief.
"How did you get him?"
"My mom bought him for me when I came back home from the w... from far away."
"That sounds nice, do you think I could meet him?"
I frowned, "Sorry, I'm not exactly from around here."
Fluttershy pouted and looked at the ground.
"We should get going," said Twilight, "It's almost dusk and Princess Celestia probably sent me a letter back by now."
"Um..." I turned to Fluttershy, who continued when I was looking at her, "Do you think that... that you could tell me more about Mishmash tomorrow?"
"I'm trying to get home..."
Her gaze fell again.
"But if I'm still here then yeah, I'll tell you all about him."
She smiled, "Thank you."
Twilight didn't say anything until we were back at her place and through the door, "That went a lot better than I thought it would have," she said with a smile, "She told you she liked animals, but how did you know how to get her talking?"
I could keep secrets, but I was a notoriously bad liar.
"Okay then Mr. Lucky," she said with a laugh, "Spiiiike!"
Spike was by Twilight's side in less than a second.
Damn he was fast.
"Has Princess Celestia sent a letter back?"
"Yep, I wanted to wait until you were back to open it up."
"Alright what's it say?"
Spike pulled the letter out and unrolled it, "AHEM, My Dearest and Most Faithful Student, Don't worry..."
A moment of silence passed.
I thought I saw Twilight's eye twitch, "Wait, that's it?"
Spike coughed, "Er... I guess so."
Another moment of silence.
"No," said Twilight, "Nope, I'm not gonna let this get to me. Here's what's going to happen, we're going to go to bed!"
"We're what now?" I asked.
Twilight turned to me and huffed with a smile, "We're going to bed William."
"No, trust me, in the few years I've spent in Ponyville I've learned a very valuable lesson."
"And that is?"
"To take vague terms and strange letters as literally as possible, so if the Princess tells us not to worry, then we... what William?"
"We don't worry?"
"Exactly, now I'll get your bed ready."
Twilight actually looked kind of scary right there.
In a frame of ten minutes I was laying under a rather cosy comforter on the first floor of Twilight's tree/library. I was slightly nervous about not having a TV to distract my thoughts, but there was something else on my mind as I drifted into a fitful sleep.
I was stuck in Ponyland, no one was feeding my cat, my parents and boss would be worried sick...
And I was supposed to not worry?
What kind of princess was this anyways?
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP
I rolled over and slapped the alarm clock to silence it.
a small couch with an alarm clock on the floor and a TV showing The Animaniacs.
"So it really was a dream..."
My doorbell rang.