Starlight in a Broken Vessel

by the-pieman

Chapter 88

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Chapter 88

“Uh, cute?” I shift a bit, still in my sitting position. “Nah, come on, I just want her to feel welcome, I’m not...”

Anne peeks at me from the side of her eyes, looking a little hurt. I’m not trying to reject her, just...

Fluttershy, apparently oblivious to the two of us, just squees, the sound shrill enough that it should hurt, but quiet enough to not quite hurt. Mostly, it just leaves my ears feeling funny.

I sigh. “Really, I’m fine with just friends, I’m already dealing with enough romantic issues as it stands.”

Fluttershy ignores me, fluttering over on quiet wings, as silent as an owl. “Oh, I think you two will do so well together. Oh! You two should have a picnic! I’ll get the food packed.” Before I can say anything more, she practically zooms towards the kitchen.

I’m about to bury my face in my hands, but I remember I can’t. So I resort to just hanging my head and closing my eyes. “I’m sorry about this Anne, I never pegged Fluttershy to be the kind to... you know.”

“Well... you did kinda rescue me, it’s not that far-fetched. And, uh, you’re really nice when you’re not tired.” She smiles broadly at me, her blush still firmly in place.

“Anne, I blew a demons head off, and saved one town. Now I get fan mail from other cities asking for marriage or just a chance to get in bed with me. Just because I save someone doesn’t mean I want to date them!”

Anne looks contemplative. “So... you’re, like, a hero then?” She looks at me, her blush a little faded.

“Ponies sure seem to think so. I suppose I am, but not like most heroes. I’m more like the Punisher than Superman.”

Anne thinks it over, and while she does, Fluttershy re-enters the living room. “Alright, I wasn’t sure what you’d like, so I got together a large salad, some spaghetti, a fish brulee, and I made some pudding!” Fluttershy beams at the two of us, her eyes flickering back and forth between us.

“If we do this, ‘Shy, will you please drop it?”

“If I drop the basket, the food would get ruined! Silly.” Fluttershy hands the basket to Anne, who takes it in her wings. “Now, shoo! Out the back, there’s plenty of space for a picnic out there.” Before I can protest, the pony pushes me and Anne outside, something that surprises me a little because the pegasus hardly seems to weigh anything when I carried her.

“Great.” I say, rolling my eyes. “We’ve been Fluttershipped...” I get up and follow after Anne. While getting up isn’t hard without arms, it certainly involves more rolling.

We step outside, and I head towards the little hill that Fluttershy indicates. within moments, the buttery-colored pegasus has dived into a bush and is doing a terrible job of watching us sneakily. I have to wonder, does she do this when she finds animals that are maybe compatible?

I wonder if she watches them while they... reproduce. Fluttershy is suddenly a lot more... disturbing to me. Anyway, I turn to Anne and wait for her to set up the picnic as best she can with her wings.

Surprisingly, she seems to be able to scoop and move the various little parts of the picnic, including a fairly substantial bowl for the salad. It really only makes sense that there’s so much salad; omnivores or not, ponies are still mostly herbivorous.

Once everything is set out, I carefully sit down. Whether this is a date or not doesn’t matter, I don’t want to look like a moron toppling over while trying to sit.

“So Anne, how’s it going getting acclimated to Ponyville?”

“Well, it’s actually going alright... but it’s only been one day. Well, not even, really. Uhm... so what’s it like, living here?” Anne at least seems interested in holding a conversation.

“Well, as a human... strange. First of all, if you don’t duck every once in a while, you’ll hit your head on a doorframe. Though I guess that won’t be a problem for you. I still don’t know why I never got the ability to shrink.”

Anne shrugs, the motion causing her, ah, chest to rise and move in ways about as interesting as a lava lamp’s. “Why am I a harpy that turns into metal?”

“Same reason Myrna’s a Gorgon with stone-manipulation and I’m a living star. Hell if I know.”

Anne giggles slightly, and straightens up a little, looking with intent at the fish she’d set in front of her. “How do we eat this?”

“Discard manners, acquire food.” I proceed to shift my weight, pushing myself forward and I land face-first in the salad.

I begin to munch on the plain leaves of lettuce and... daisies? Spitting a bit, I’m pretty sure daisies aren’t human-edible. They don’t taste bad, but I don’t know about eating them.

“Okay.” I say, probably muffled by the bowl. “Ponies eat actual flowers. Weird. I have a feeling the pudding could get messy though.” I return to eating, using my tongue to shift aside any flowers.

“Uhm, here, give me a moment, I’ll help you eat.” Anne reaches under me, lifting me away from the bowl of lettuce. “After all, it’s not cheating to get help from a friend, right?” She smiles at me.

“Nope, and it’s only cheating if you get caught anyway.” Anne giggles, and spears a chunk of greens with a feathertip, lifting it towards my mouth. Eh, it’s no different than eating off a knife, I suppose.

“So yeah, the ponies are nice and all, but pretty harmless. They’re certainly not stupid, but they are still rather... technologically simple. Wait, where and when did you come from?”

“Ah, I came from earth.” Anne looks uncomfortable. I just stare at her.

“No. Really?”

“Well... yeah. Didn’t you?” Anne looks at me curiously. “I’m from washington, you know where that is?”

“I lived in Everett before I wound up here, yes I know Washington. Now how about a ‘when’?”

“Idunno the year... the demons knocked out power near seattle pretty quickly, and my family... uh, I got away in time, but a ton of people didn’t.” She shakes herself, making a sound like a handful of silverware being rattled. “I started taking spots high up, to keep me away from the roaming ones on the ground. There’s this big crevasse near ninety-second street from where one of the big ones came out, and I started living on the cliff there.”

“Well, I never met any demons until I ended up here. Demons might be coming to this planet, but I’ve only fought one in the last year or so.”

“Only one? Wow... they’re so scary, and they’ve done such terrible things...” Anne trails off, and it looks like she’s tearing up.

“They’re demons, what do you expect? They aren’t Care Bear Advocates, that’s for sure. Come on, it seems that I can take on anything that tries to come in through some Hell portal or whatever anyway.”

Anne smiles. “Yeah... you’re a real hero, aren’t you?” She’s starting to blush a little again, the bluish color really kinda pretty with the bronze nimbus around it. I wonder if I can get that color on purpose, it’d be a great paint color.

“Nah, you want a hero, call Sonic the Hedgehog. I’m just protecting people that aren’t able to understand the idea of killing in self defense.” Anne nods in understanding. She shifts on the blanket a little, settling into a sort of sideways-recline, before she skewers a chunk of fish and lifts it for me to eat.

I lean over and bite it off of her feather. At least some ponies don’t mind meat eaters. “So, how long do you think Flutters is gonna hide in that bush before she realizes that we aren’t gonna do anything?”

“I don’t know that she will. She reminds me of one of my f- friends... heh. She’ll probably stay over there and write down everything we do.” Anne giggles. “Ooh, I have an idea! Let’s pretend we’re, ah, getting somewhere, and let her get all flustered! She makes such adorable noises, I bet it’d be cute as hell.”

I give her my usual smirk. “I can make any girl make cute noises.”

Anne blushes, the blueish patina spreading across her face like a sudden, virulent infection. She makes an absolutely adorable squeak, drawing her wings up towards her face as she does. If she wants to do a little romantic roleplay, she should know that I never play badly... or fair.

“See, there’s one now! This would probably be easier with arms but I think I can make do.” I lean a bit closer to her, though I do lose a bit of balance. At this point, Anne is my main support against gravity.

At the last moment, she pulls her wings away, and between the hill and my lack of arms, I overbalance towards her. I plop onto her chest in what is probably the most awkward ‘happy accident’ I will ever do or be a part of. Especially seeing as how I’m very suddenly in danger of drowning in her plush breasts, the incredibly soft mounds practically swallowing my entire head.

Luckily, I can go for quite a while without air in Spark form. That suddenly has lots of non-environmental applications. I decide to reduce the awkwardness in the best way I know. Humor.

“Nice catch, there. If you wanted something, you just have to ask, you know.”

Anne has gone completely solid. As in, she’s turned to bronze, and trapped my head, which is more than slightly awkward. And not for sexy reasons, more because it’s actually kinda painful now that I can’t even turn my head.

I don’t bother with struggling, I just go intangible and phase through her, stretching my legs out and, once pulled out, right myself. “Nice booby trap.”

After a few moments, I see her start to turn back from being completely solid bronze. Almost immediately, her blush returns full-force, and she hides behind her wings.

“So if this isn’t your idea of ‘putting on a show’ then what is?”

“...” Anne seems too stunned to speak. Huh...

“Keep in mind, I won’t find you any more or less attractive no matter what happens. I can roleplay a romantic dinner with you, but it won’t change a thing.” Anne nods behind her wings.

“So, what do we do? Just start making out until Fluttershy turns her notes into a fucked-up fanfic, or what? I’m a roleplayer, not a dungeon master.”

“...” I think I broke her.

“You know, if you get embarrassed by romantic encounters, even fake ones, then why’d you suggest it?”


I can’t work with this. I just shake my head and get up. “I’m out of here. Seriously though, Anne... none of this has changed my opinion of you. If ya wanna talk later, let me know.” With that, I make my way slowly down the hill. I don’t want to fall and I’ve never been good on sloped ground anyways.

On my way out, I wonder what I’m going to do with the rest of my day. There’s not a whole lot I can do, so I decide I could go over and see if Rarity is back. Arms or not, she’s gonna spill the beans. I make my way to the Boutique, and see that it’s closed, and apparently has been for the last three days. ‘Closed on account of business trip’? And she won’t be back for a few more days, too...

She must be planning these things on purpose. I just shake my head and find a bench or something to sit on while I think of something to do. I could bug Twilight and brag about how relatively well I’m doing without arms. Nah. I just wander around town thinking of what I could do.


I consider my ‘eaten arms’ prank on Rainbow, but I-


I thought I heard something, but I just ignore it. It was probably just some squirrel or-


“Huh?” I look around, that was definitely a voice. I see Rainbow Dash on a cloud above me, pushing the little poof of vapor across the sky as she slides towards me through the air.

“Anthony! I’ve been looking all over for you!”

“Of course you have.” I say with a cocky grin. “Whatcha need?”

“It’s not what I need! I heard you’re gonna be courting Myrna! As such, you need help from the best of the best!” Rainbow Dash puffs out her chest and gives me a cocky grin.

“But Rarity’s out of town on business.” I say with a smirk.

Rainbow Dash looks shocked for a moment, before rallying. “No, dumb-bucket, me! I’m going to get you all shaped up to court her. And, since you’re the one courting her, I’m gonna ex pasta later that earth has some crazy guys pick up girls code or something, and give you tips like you were a mare. It’s the best thing I can offer you.” Ex pasta later? Oh, extrapolate.

“Really? Wow, that must be some really weak skills you got. As for courting, it’s ambiguous who courts who. Secondly, if I needed advice or help, I’m not taking any from someone who’s not even in a relationship.”

“Hey! I’ve been in plenty of relationships. Just, y’know... none recently.”

“Yeah well, I got something to tell you about psychology. Myrna is still mentally human. If I tried to court her like a pony, it’d be like being proposed to by livestock.”

“Idunno what that means, and that means you’re trying too hard! She’s a big, athletic type of person, so you’re gonna want to start exercising immediately! The only way to really win a colt’s -or in this case, a human girl’s- affections is through conquest! I read it in a book one time. Anyways, you’ll need to be able to face all five of her trials if you want to earn her heart, like in Daring Do and the-”

“Let me guess, you have never had any idea what courtship is like for people, so you just assume it’s exactly the way you would do it. That’s racist, and where I come from, racism is a crime. On another note, I’m pretty tough already. You’d be screwed without me around.”

“Aw, come on, you ran from the Smooze!” Rainbow realizes what she said about the same time as my eyes narrow, and she literally puts a hoof in her mouth. “S- sorry! I didn’t mean it like that!”

“Just remember you and the rest of Ponyville would be demon-chow if it weren’t for me. As for the Smooze, let’s see you fight something you can’t hurt at all. Period.” Rainbow mutters something under her breath, looking both guilty and defiant. At least she’s not crumbling, the way Twi and Fluttershy do.

“So, Racist Dash, how would you go about romancing a giant, super-strong hundred-plus foot long snake lady with petrification powers? I know what I’d do, but let’s hear your idea.”

Dash cheers up almost immediately. “Alright, so the first thing you need to do is get an artifact of world-destroying power, but you gotta steal it from her. Then, you confront her over the theft, and lock eyes! But since you are in true love, you’re totally fine from her gorgon death-glare! And then, you make passionate love on her throne room floor!” Dash is putting way too much detail into this process.

I just stare at her, both confused, disgusted and just... “What the fuck?”

“It’s how Daring Do managed to both take down and seduce the Emperor of-”

“How about, just, talking to the girl and finding things you have in common? Or just being generally nice to her?”

“What? Colt’s never wanna do any of that stuff, it’s too sissy! And besides, Daring Do-”

“Is complete bullcrap and even in the case of all the other stories somehow being true, that ‘romance’ idea sounds like complete tripe. Secondly, pony guys may not like it, but thousands and thousands of years of human history says human girls like it a lot. Guys too.”

Rainbow Dash looks crushed. “Aww... So, it’s not actually helpful advice?”

“Of course not. Your ideas are awful by human standards. Stealing from someone? Calling them a thief while you stole from them... Are you stupid? That doesn’t sound like it’d work unless you wanted to get punched in the gut!”

“B- but it works for D-”

“A completely fictitious character. That author can write whatever the heck they want. Anything can happen with any result, because the author has no concept of good writing. Your little adventure hero is just a Mary-Sue with temporary minor inconveniences that are only dangerous if you aren’t her!”

Dash’s ears fold down, and she looks like she’s about to cry. “I- just...” Before anything more can be said, she spins about and zooms away, leaving a rainbow-colored streak behind her.

I sigh. This is why people shouldn’t get too invested in fiction. As fun as it is... these ponies seem like children no matter how old they are.

Next Chapter: Chapter 89 Estimated time remaining: 22 Hours, 26 Minutes

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