Starlight in a Broken Vessel

by the-pieman

Chapter 84

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Chapter 84

The monster is gone. The ponies, Myrna, even Anne got in on saving the day.

Turns out, it was just scared, the Shoes. Or whatever, Twilight talked at me, but I wasn’t really listening.

Right now, I’m just sitting in a tree, waiting for everyone to go away. I couldn’t save them, so they just stop caring. Besides, it’s not like they wanted me, they wanted a savior. They just like me because I can save them... When I save them, that is.

I hear the sound of scales on grass and gravel, and know that Myrna’s here.

“Well look who we have here. The big town hero. To what do I owe the pleasure, oh great warrior?” I say, not even bothering to sound like I care.

“Anthony, please, come down from the tree.” Myrna’s voice is soft, but I can hear the imperious tone in it. She just wants to order me around.

“Look, don’t get all high and mighty with me. The ponies only give a crap because you saved them. They don’t want you or me. They just like our powers. I guarantee you that if a pony had the same powers we do, we’d be just freaks.”

Myrna sighed. “And can you say that humans would act any different? Listen, Anthony, Celestia and Luna told us about the Smooze. It... it messes with your head, if you touch it.”

“So now you’re saying my head’s fucked up because I did something stupid. Yeah, thanks a ton. Go read your fan mail. Tell me how many of them want to fuck you just ‘cause you’re the new champion.”

“W- what? I- No, Anthony, come down please. I’m your friend, right? I just want you to be alright.” I hear a sound I don’t immediately recognize, and it takes me until I see Myrna’s hooded face slide up the tree to realize she’s coiled completely around the small piece of foliage in order to climb up. She begins draping herself onto the branches nearby me, and looks at me with concern.

“I am alright, and I do know you’re my friend... but I’m serious. Those ponies don’t care. For the next few months you’re going to walk around town getting favors and ponies are going to bow in your presence. But it’s just because they like your powers. It had nothing to do with me as a person, so I’m saying it’s going to be the same to you.”

The next moment is a little muddled, as the coiled Myrna springs towards me, catching me off guard she she hugs me tightly. “And so the little fillies crying because they thought you ran away don’t care? The two dozen ponies who began organizing search parties to find you in case you’d been hurt don’t care? They organized themselves, by the way. Nobody prompted them.” She pulls me against her, leaning back to turn herself into what amounts to a giant pillow.

“Yeah yeah, I get it. I’m important to them. I just don’t really understand the way they worship me though. They act like I’m some kind of deity just because I protect them. All Spider-Man has to deal with is a ton of press.”

“Yeah, but around here you aren’t Spidey, you’re Superman, or Iron Man, or even Mega Man! You’re not just a hero with a P.R. team from hell, you’re the hero who not only saved people’s lives, but then stuck around and made their lives better. I’ve had a lot of chances to talk with the ponies in the two months you’ve been gone, and they’ve got a lot of good to say about you.”

“Alright alright, but you’re wrong with a few things.”

“Oh, and what am I wrong about?” I feel a full-body squeeze from her, but her tone is playful.

“Well first of all, Mega Man isn’t a superhero, he’s basically just a last-ditch option. Most of those robots were made by the same guy who made Mega Man to begin with. And secondly, don’t you dare say Spidey isn’t better than Iron Man. Spider-Man could kick Stark’s butt any day.”

“What? No way, Tony can totally take Spidey. Iron Man has freakin’ laser beams! He can burn Spidey’s webs, fly, and is almost as strong!”

“Pfft, yeah, let’s see a computerized targeting system match the Spider-Sense.” I sit up, smug look on my face. Myrna laughs, but doesn’t disagree.

When I’m finally coaxed back to Ponyville, Myrna’s carrying me because I’m still feeling exhausted. A veritable swarm of little fillies crowds around us, including the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Scootaloo poofing up into Koosh-mode when she sees us.

“Heya, everybody. How’re ya doin’?”

The children all bounce and cheer that I’m back, and it actually does make me feel better. A bunch of the adult ponies around look relieved. Myrna finally stops and puts me down when we’re confronted by Big MacIntosh. He doesn’t look too happy.

“Hey man... what? Did I do something wrong?”

He jabs a hoof at my chest, and it hurts a pretty fair amount. “Don’t ever scare mah little sis’ like that again.” His voice is perfectly level, no trace of anger in it, only disappointment. I see that Applebloom is hugging my leg and get it.

“Yeah, guess I should tell the entirety of Ponyville next time I want a vacation... but it sure is good to be back.”

The burly stallion offers me a hoof, and I give it a fist-bump.

Feeling a little better, I looked at the pony children, all of whom seemed happy to see me. Scootaloo was still doing a koosh impression, and I kinda want to know why. Maybe I can get her to sit down and talk about herself. Maybe later, I’m actually kinda hungry for once, and really tired.

“Well, I’d love to stay and tell you about Wonderland, but I’m gonna go get something to eat.” I gently remove the children who were attached to my legs and wandered off in search of an eating establishment. I could really go for a chicken-burger... but who in Ponyville would serve me one?

After a moment of thought, I realize two things. One, that Myrna is following me, and two that I’ve already been introduced to one such place. Possibly. That gryphon chef will at least be able to serve some kind of meat.

“So Myrna, I’m gonna take you to the only place I’m aware of that is within town limits and doesn’t mind serving meat. Not sure what he’s got other than fish, but the chef’s a gryphon, so no problems with killing and cooking.”

“Oh, yeah, I’ve dined there. Maestro’s a real sweetheart once you get past his manners. Apparently, that’s a gryphon thing. I sat down and talked with him the first week I was here; he was the only one who didn’t flinch from me.”

“Yeah, cause I doubt a giant bird-lion would have any problem with a snake-person. Given the fact that birds eat snakes and lions eat people... minus the fact that male lions don’t actually hunt... but I digress.”

“But they have great hair!” Myrna chirps happily.

I snap my fingers. “That’s it! They don’t wanna mess up their hair! It all makes sense now!”

Myrna and I share a laugh, and I see in the corner of my vision that she’s pulled up next to me. It’s incredible, really, how fast she can be, especially given how bulky her snake-body is.

“So yeah, I think once Anne gets some appropriate clothes from Rarity, she’ll get to meet the town properly. Being a bird... or a snake must be weird.”

“Yeah... So how long were you just wandering around with her, no clothes on either of you?” Myrna’s question is spoken in a cold tone, and I feel prickles on the back of my neck as the hairs there rise. I get the feeling that the side of my head had eyes, I’d be a statue right about now. Or slag.

“Uh, none unless you count when the Cheshire Cat magically stripped me down to just my undies. But at that point I just wanted to get home. You think I’d get with a bird-chick I’ve only known for...” I think. “About a day and a half now?”

Myrna is silent for a moment, and I start sweating. “So, how long was she without clothes for that day and half, mister Anthony?”

“Listen mom, getting clothes for someone whose arms are giant razor blades is rather difficult. Not like I didn’t try to help her cover up.”

“Uh huh.” Never before has the term ‘stony stare’ meant more to me than now.

“Why do you care anyway? I just rescued her from being treated like a literal inanimate object. Sorry for caring about the treatment of others... wait... don’t tell me you’re jealous?” I give her a strange look, but still trying to avoid direct eye-contact.

“What? N- no! I’m just worried for her well-being. Making sure you didn’t take advantage of her or anything like that.” Huh, that sounds hollow to me through my layers of crazy.

“Sure, because All Men Are Perverts, thanks a lot for the vote of confidence. I have the self-control to keep it in my pants, thank you very much.”

Myrna didn’t have much to say to that, and the conversation petered off until we reached the restaurant. To my surprise, there’s a pair of beautiful pillars in the shapes of ponies, pegasi wrapped around carven clouds. As we draw closer, I can see that the white stone statues are intricately detailed - Indeed, worryingly so.

“Your handiwork, I assume, Miss Master Stone-carver?”

“Actually, yes. They took forever to get into the right poses.” Boy does that sound bad. “It was like they were fighting it the whole time.”

“Clarify you meant the models you were using to base the carving on, or we’re gonna have a serious problem...” I say halfway angrily.

“What? Oh, you think I- no! I shaped them as practice moving stone without touching it! they’re made of white granite, not petrified ponies! Besides, you can’t petrify clouds without basilisk breath.”

“No, I actually don’t think you would. On purpose at least. I’m not new to the idea of making a mistake and covering it up, either. Just saying. Not a bad job though, not bad at all.”

Myrna flushes under her hood, and I see the back of her hood shift positions. I’m a little curious why she covers the snakes, but I hold off asking as we step into the restaurant. I can ask once we’re seated. There’s actually a lowered section of the restaurant with a large amount of area and a table mounted to the wall, which Myrna makes a beeline for.

“Favorite spot, or are you just hungry and it’s the first table you saw?”

“Heh, it was installed for me after I kept having to sit outside for the first three weeks. I helped make the foundations stronger for the whole restaurant while I was at it, so I get ten percent off on my bills.” Myrna slides into a neat coil in the depression in the floor, laying back against cushions set into the wall next to the table. She pats some of her coils. “Don’t worry, you’re plenty light enough for me to deal with.”

“That’s what she sai- wait...” I just realized that meant I was unsatisfactory. As Myran smiles at me, I grumble. “Forget I said anything.”

As I climb up, careful not to put too much pressure on any one place, Myrna takes her hood down. Almost immediately, the five snakes that make up a large portion of her ‘hair’ began to move about, each about four feet long. The snakes began to settle themselves all over the back of the little booth area and Myrna’s arms.

“Shouldn’t you give them a little more air now and then? Why keep the hood up anyway?”

“Because Twilight is afraid of snakes, and I can’t prank her with them if she gets acclimated.”

I give her a hug. “I’m soooo glad you ended up here and not somewhere else on the planet.”

“Yeah, I’m not so sure my hair would deal with saltwater well.” Myrna ‘fluffs’ one of the snakes, as if it was a curl of hair. The snake appears unamused, but they always look like that. The largest of the snakes, a bright emerald green anaconda, has decided to settle its five-foot self onto my shoulders.

“Looks like your ‘roommate’ likes me.” I say giving her a grin. “Do I need the other’s approval as well, or do you get veto power?”

Myrna looks over at the longer snake and immediately flushes. “Oh, I’m so sorry. the big one keeps laying on everyone.” she begins to carefully extricate me from the snake’s coils.

“Aw, now I don’t feel special.” I say, feigning sadness. I‘m getting kinda hungry, and I wonder where the waiter is. I look around for a pony with a platter or a suit or some kind of uniform. Almost immediately, an earth pony in a white dress stamped with the restaurant’s logo shows up.

I take the menu she places in front of us. “I don’t want anything special to drink, I’ll just have some ice water.” The pony nods, avoiding eye contact with Myrna. However, she doesn’t look nervous or anything, just that she’s trying not to look Myrna in the eyes. Strange, last I knew, she could control it as long as she isn’t scared...

I flip through the menu and look for anything that wasn’t super fancy. Or at least something with chicken in it.

Sure enough, I find a Ceaser Salad. Oh god, the puns again. Moving on, I keep looking through the dinners section. I’m not a big fan of uncooked veggies.

I see that there’s chicken cordon blue, and I’m sure there’s a pun or something in another language hidden in it. However, it seems the safest option, tied with a turkey pot-pie. At least the gryphons seem to have good taste in their edible birds. I decide that I’d go with the Chicken Cordon Blue. Even if the name is weird, I’m sure the dish itself is fine.

A few moments later, the waitress comes back, bearing a tray with a glass of water, and something Myrna had ordered as just ‘the usual’. It kinda makes me wonder how often she eats here. Then again, when your mouth is full of razor-blade teeth, there aren’t many places you can go without freaking out everyone. And the inability to properly grind vegetables.

Either way though, Myrna and I take the time to order or meals. To my surprise, Myrna orders a roast turkey. Just... the entire turkey. The waitress doesn’t bat an eye at the request, wishes us well on our date, and leaves. Oh wait, yeah, hundred-plus foot snake-body. Must need a lot of food for... date!?

“Uh, Myrna, this isn’t an actual date, right? I mean...” I look at her, and see that her face is covered by a shroud of her fingers and snakes, but I catch glimpses of a fiery red blush through the coverage. The gorgon squeaks with embarrassment.

“Just say if it is or isn’t, alright? I don’t mind either way, I’m just saying...” I pause and remember our conversation earlier and I grin. “You like me, don’t you?”

“I- ah, well... I don’t really know you, but... I... I would like to know you.”

Next Chapter: Chapter 85 Estimated time remaining: 23 Hours, 4 Minutes

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