Starlight in a Broken Vessel

by the-pieman

Chapter 86

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Chapter 86

I wake up, pleasantly ensconced in a gentle sort of warmth, my head settled in the perfect crease in my pillow. It’s so wonderful to have such a wonderfully soft, firm pillow, contoured to my head after sleeping on it so long.

I get ready to try falling asleep again when my bedcovers shift, and I feel an arm drape itself over my back, a hand completely covering my shoulder blade.

Huh... oh, right. Myrna. Yeup, she likes me. I suppose I like her too, but... I guess I just have to get used to the whole ‘snake’ thing. I do my best to turn so I’m facing her and then I realize what the wonderfully-comfortable cushion my head is resting on. Or rather, somewhat between. Awkwaaaaaard... Though not entirely unpleasant... brain, this is not the time!

My brain retorts, But it’s certainly the place!

Goddamnit, brain. Come on, what can I even do anyway? She’s huge and I’m practically immobile at the moment!

I feel Myrna shift, her chest rising as she takes in a large breath. Unfortunately for me, this means I’m more or less sliding down her, which brings unfortunately-worded possibilities immediately to mind.

“Hey, Myrna... you awake?” Part of me hopes she isn’t, because then she wouldn’t be doing this on purpose.

“mmmph... wha?” She yawns hugely, by which I mean I get a good look at twin rows of needle-sharp teeth on either side of her mouth, each set curved to point toward her throat. “Whozzair?” She blinks owlishly, before looking down and seeing I’m rather stuck in her embrace.

“The guy you had dinner with, semi-kidnapped, and then took home, genius.” I say, half jokingly, half annoyed. As long as I act somewhat unimpressed with the situation, she won’t get any ideas...

Almost immediately, she sits up more fully, dumping me on her ‘lap’ of coils. “Ohmigosh, I’m so sorry!” Myrna almost immediately picks me up, gently, and starts her way down the tree. Just like last night, it’s rather like a super-cool carnival ride, like a spiralling roller-coaster. I’m going down a spiral at almost twenty miles an hour. It is awesome.

“I don’t mind hugs or anything, but I think I draw the line at ‘restrictive hape’.”

“Hape?” Myrna gives me a puzzled look as she sets me down.

“Nonconsensual hugging. Like rape, but with cuddles.” Myrna flinches at the comparison, physically withdrawing away from me. Maybe that was a bit of a harsh wording...

“Seriously, I don’t mind as long as you ask first, alright? You need a bit more self control when you’re entering a food-coma.”

Myrna blushes, still looking rather upset. “Sorry... And I forgot about the whole falling asleep thing. I was out looking for you all morning, then I had to come and get you, and-” Myrna trails off, still looking embarrassed and guilty.

“And then we went out on a date where you ate an entire turkey, acted drunk, took me home, and zonked out.” Myrna covers her face, her snakes even grabbing her hoodie and drawing it over her head. Wow, that’s some coordination. And embarrassment

“Again, I don’t really mind as long as you tell me about your ‘after-dinner plans’ alright?” I step closer to her. “You’re very comfy, by the way.” If I can make my second ‘cool/suave’ attempt work, I might actually get a girlfriend finally! I just have to not screw up.

... I just realized how desperate that line of thought sounds. Ah well, I am the last guy on this earth. I can’t have too big a disadvantage, right?

Either way, I think I may have accidentally set Myrna’s face on fire, with the way she’s blushing a bright red that turns to an impressive, almost-luminous green where the blush runs under the scales. As well, she looks so cute when she’s flu-

-stered. Woah, when did I get into the library? And I’m wet, too. “What the heck?”

Twilight looks up from the couch. “Oh, goody, the potion was just slow this time. You should be more careful, and nicer! Myrna said you were teasing her.” Twilight gives me a squinty look that I think is meant to be a glare.

“Well, I can’t help it if I have so much charisma that I can make her lose control, Miss Magicless. How’s life with a useless horn, by the by?”

Twilight’s horn glows, and she gives me a telekinetic jab in the chest, which kinda hurts. “The effect, whatever it was, disappeared as soon as I left Wunderland. No thanks to you.” Wow, is she bitter about that?

“And what’s to say you’d also return to normal size? You were smaller than a pocket-watch, or did you forget?”

“Size-changing isn’t too hard. And by the way, I asked Princess Luna about something, and I’d like to give you a taste of what I went through from that.” Before I can do anything, her horn and my hands glow, before my hands disappear completely. “The spell will give out at midnight. Have fun.” Wow, she is bitter! Wait, I don’t have hands now...

“Twilight, you are good, but you forget how resourceful humans are. Plenty of people are born without arms or legs due to birth defects, and they manage their entire lives. I can deal until midnight.”

“Oh, good. Because you have plenty of chores to do today. You made that deal with Spike to take one day of his chores in return for help with pranking me, remember? I may have convinced him to take today off.” Twilight looks at me smugly.

“You’re going to have to do better than that. What’s first?”

Twilight sets  pook onto the six-foot stack of other books next to her, reclines on the couch, and grins at me. “Reshelve the library by the Melshin-Western sorting code.”

“That’d be great. I’d get started right away. Except I don’t have any idea what that is. I can use the Dewey-Decimal system, though.” I pray that they don’t know what that is.

“Well, I don’t know what that is, but you sort in Melshin-Western by subject, then by author’s name. Or is that too hard for someone with no hands?”

“Hah, you think you can beat me? Look, I’ve gone two minutes without my usual means of manipulating objects and I’m still not a somber pocket-rider.”

“Great! Oh, and when you’re done taking care of reshelving the main library, you’ll need ot get the Almanac collection put up on the top shelves again. I had a reading spree last night. Careful, though, those’re fourteen pounds apiece!” She sounds all too chipper about this. Still, it’s a challenge I can rise to!

“Oh, and you’ll need to go help Fluttershy after you’re done here, she’s taking looking after Anne and needs your help, just to get some of the basics down.”

“Sie sind ein schleimiger Hündin.” I say with a pleasant, toothy grin. If she doesn’t know Gryphon, then she can’t understand German. She just waves at me, pulling yet another book off the top shelf to look at.

It does take a while, but eventually I finish. Although my arms were the most dextrous part of my body did not change how flexible the rest of my body could be. Also, it might take a while to get the taste of ‘book’ out of my mouth. But my job is done and I’m off to see Fluttershy... after a trip to get some more coal.

I tried to speed up, but after falling on my face and having to get up twice, I decided I used my arms for balance more than I realized.

“Oh, you’re done reshelving? Good, there’s still fifteen more things on Spike’s chore list, which is yours for the day. It’s much too bad you had to get them today, this is when all his weekly chores cycled back in!” She chuckles, just like she did when I fell on my face the second time. “Now, you need to sweep in here, do the dishes, clean the bathroom, and dust the shelves and furniture. I’ll give you the rest of the chores after that.”

I stifle a groan. This would be so much faster if I had the coal, at least.

All fifteen chores are finished, and it’s only about one o’clock! Ha! Even Spike normally takes until three. With hands. Of course, I don’t think Twilight thought I’d just burn the crud off the ceramic and metal dishes. Meh, it saved a half-hour, minimum. Dusting was a bit hard, but I managed well enough. As for cleaning the bathroom... that is better left unmentioned.

I head off to the train station, but it seems that there are no trains today for some reason. I didn’t bother asking. This will not stop me. I may be dealing with a whole bunch of difficulties, but I will not crack!

No matter how dependant I am on my arms, I will prove that my willpower is still far beyond that of the star pupil of the greatest mage in the world.

Or I just haven’t dealt with a hard enough task and once I do encounter it, I will start crying on the floor rolling around without arms. Huh, I was wondering where my paranoia went to all day.

Sighing, I trudged towards Fluttershy’s house, only to get thrown to the ground as Scootaloo, riding her scooter and towing a wagon filled with fillies, slams into me. Not only is there pain all up and down my shins, but without my hands, I kinda scraped up my cheeks and nose. A lot.

In what I assume is a very humorous display, I roll myself onto my stomach, curl my knees, roll back onto them and stand up from my kneeling position. The girls are laughing, but I feel rather accomplished.

Scootaloo, though comes over and noses one of the bleeding cuts on my shins. “I- I’m so sorry, Anthony!” she’s going koosh again, which actually helps my mood a little.

“Heh, I’ve had worse. It’s just a flesh wound.” I say, grinning that I finally get to use the line. “Seriously, this isn’t a big deal, though it is interesting since Twilight figured I should try getting by without arms. I think I’m doing pretty good so far.”

“Without yer arms? Why’re ya doin’ that?” Applebloom asks, looking confused. In the wagon with her are Sweetie Belle and Noi, the little orange filly apparently inducted into whatever scheme they’re enacting this time.

“Because I gave Twilight a hard time when she couldn’t use magic in Wonderland. She was really whiny about it, so she figured I’d be just as useless without arms. Shows how much she knows about human adaptability!” The smug grin not leaving my face. “So where are you th- four off to?”

“We’re gonna get our cutie-marks!” Sweetie Belle says, hopping in place.

“Yeah,” Scootaloo says, beaming at me, “Noi said that her mom distills stuff, and makes things that ponies wanna buy. So we’re gonna distill some apples, and try to sell it! there’s, like, three chances for cutie-marks right there!”

The other two nod, though Noi appears just to sorta be in for the ride. She looks up at me with big eyes. “Are you alright, Mister Anthony?”

“Yeah I’m fine but, uh... distilling fruit of any kind to a point where it’s something people wanna pay a lot of money for takes a long time. You’d need a lot of fruit, too. If it really is your talent, you’d have to wait a long time to find out.”

The four fillies look down, giving a chorus of heart-rending, disappointed ‘awww...’ noises. Noi looks back up at me. “So... you’re not running away? ‘Cuz Diamond Tiara said you ran away from the Smooze, but I said you wouldn’t, and then Diamond Tiara called me a skinny blank-flank, and, uhm, I kinda... hit her.”

“Alright, I’m going to cover a few things. Yes I did run, but only from the Smooze. The Smooze is gone now, so I’m not running anymore. The only reason I ran was because I couldn’t hurt it, but it could hurt me. I only ran away so that I wouldn’t be... hurt really bad.”

I pause to let the info sink in. Cowardice and strategic retreat are very different. I continue. “Also, hitting is never okay unless it’s in self-defense. Hurting others because you’re mad at them is not a good thing to do. Use words instead like ‘At least I’m not a fat pink pig who has to look pretty to get friends.’ or something. The more creative you are, the better it is. If she hits you for that, then she gets in trouble.” I am absolutely the worst role model in history.

“B- but she is bigger than me.” Noi says, looking sad. “I am skinny...” almost immediately, Sweetie and Applebloom hug Noi, before I need to interject.

“So? Where I come from, skinny is good. Or at least, it’s supposed to make you more attractive.”

The fillies all make weird faces at me, except for Scootaloo who starts going koosh again. seriously, what is that filly is trying to do?

“But Anthony,” Noi starts, “Howzat make sense?” All the fillies look confused. I really don’t want to discuss topics that would likely lead to such concepts as fetishes and the like, but I can’t just not answer, not with all four adorable faces looking at me like that.

“No idea at all, it’s just how it works for humans. But being skinny is also practical. The rounder you are, the easier it is to roll you down a flight of stairs.” I give an evil grin. “Not that I’m telling you to do that... just saying you could...” I wink. The fillies seem more unsettled than interested though.

“Okay, fine, if fat is beautiful here, then fine. Also, size doesn’t matter. It’s how smart you are. But if Diamond Tiara keeps giving you trouble, you just let me know, okay?”

The foals nod, and Noi pipes up again. “I heard daddy say, once, that he liked mommy because he can bounce his rocks off her flanks. But he doesn’t have any rocks.” I try to maintain a straight face. From the mouths of babes...

“Yes well, adults say a lot of things you don’t understand. We’re weird like that. Anyhow, good luck with your marks and all, but try something a bit more practical, alright? Just because it’s imaginative doesn’t mean it’s your special talent.”

The fillies nod, and Scootakoosh begins revving her wings like a little engine, and the four of them take off, bouncing on the little divots and potholes in the road.

My shins hurt.

Next Chapter: Chapter 87 Estimated time remaining: 22 Hours, 47 Minutes

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