Kickaha and Calex visit Equastria in order to complete an important quest! Or errand! One of the two.
My Little Kickaha
“Hey, don’t blame me, you’re the one who said ‘hey is for horses.’ I was just helping out.” Kickaha snickered at the small horse, really more of a pony, that he had been addressing. She was currently trying to come to terms with the fact that she was a yellow and blue pony, which was shocking by itself. But what had really sent her for a swerve was the fact that someone had the audacity to talk back to her.
“How… How dare you?!” The pony stammered. “You can’t talk to me like that! I’ll have you know that my cousin’s friend’s niece is an English teacher, so I know what I’m talking about! You should be thanking me for correcting your awful attempts at conversation.”
“Seriously? That’s what you want to focus on?” Kickaha gave a blank stare. He was roughly eye level with her now, which wasn’t surprising considering that he too was a pony right now. He still had his normal orange rust colored fur, and the brown and orange mark that was normally on his back was now on the side of his haunches.Behind his flapped his normal green cloak.
“You’re darn right! Now address me properly!” The yellow pony demanded. This entire thing had started when Kickaha had, for the most part, been minding his own business. That was to say he was setting up an elaborate magical trap using an ingenious system of pulleys, spring boards, big fancy gears and a tea kettle. And how did the entire thing operate? Why, magic of course, or ‘The Art’ as Kickaha would describe it. The rest was just for show. When it came to The Art, presentation was just as important as the actual spell. After finishing setting the trap, Kickaha was waiting patiently for the person who was supposed to walk into it human, but walked out of it as a ferret. It was at that moment that a woman had exited a nearby store, started down the sidewalk and was about to walk into the trap.
And so Kickaha had tried to warn her about it.
And she took exception to how he called out.
“Look, we got off on the wrong hoof, and there’s all kinds of opportunities for banter here, but I don’t really have time for this right now.” Kickaha actually had plenty of free time on his hooves right now. But he didn’t feel like talking to this pony any longer. She was boring. If she wasn’t going to act surprised by the transformation, she could at least show some appreciation for Kickaha finding the perfect shades of yellow and blue for her body and mane to compliment each other coherently. But, no, she was still complaining about his warning to her. So, Kickaha was not emotionally available to spend time on this, therefore he technically wasn’t lying. “Well… Good luck with whatever you were doing. I’m going to go stand over here and stop talking to you now. I’m sure you have some children to admonish for horsing around somewhere.”
“Hmph!” The yellow pony gave him an indignant look then turned and walked off. Kickaha recognized this. She was in denial of her transformation. This was an annoying thing about humans. As they got older, they tended to become more set in their ways. Their definitions of what was possible and impossible eventually became rigid and uncompromising. No matter how overwhelming the evidence, once most people reached a certain age, they would deny the impossible right in front of their eyes.. Still, there was some entertainment value to be had in these types of people. On the other hoof, children, and the young at heart tended to be a bit more boundless in what they thought possible. Watching them react to a bright yellow pony pretending she was still human? That did have a certain entertainment value.
But, there were more important, and interesting things about to happen.
A storm of chaos was brewing. A cataclysm of highly imaginable weirdness. Yes, trouble was coming. Or, if not trouble, at least mischief. But, the hour of Chaos was nigh.
And Chaos? Chaos was about two feet tall, covered in uniform orange fur, buck naked and was likely to leave anyone who tried to force pants on him covered in scratches.
“Hi Kickaha!” A childish voice called outfrom directly behind Kickaha. The pony turned, and saw an orange bipedal kitten sitting on the wall of the city park, playfully kicking his legs through the air. “So weirdest thing, I was on my way to the park, running on all fours and then someone dropped something shiny! Turned out it was just a dime. I went to return it to them and they were a ferret. Kickaha… I think dimes might be cursed artifacts keeping humans as well… Human.”
“Hello to you too Calex.” Kickaha had a chipper tone in his voice. Though as the werekitten was still a kitten, it meant that his trap had not in fact worked. It was just intended as a little prank between friends. One he knew Calex would appreciate, especially the whole Rube Goldberg part of it. Shame it was all to waste. “No, that was just a spell I had set up but sort of lost sight of. Dimes aren’t magical or cursed.” Kickaha felt the need to quickly dash any theories the kitten might have about magic dimes. Letting the kitten continue to think that could be dangerous. Calex had a very active imagination, so much so that reality often molded itself to fit the world as he saw it.
Plus, if every human ended up furred, feathered, tailed, or otherwise, Kickaha was going to need a new job! He couldn’t swindle people out of their humanity if there weren’t any around.
“Anyway, since we’re here I thought-“ Kickaha started.
“Something’s different about you today.” Calex hopped down from the wall. Even though Kichaha was a rather small pony, especially by normal Earth standards, Calex was still shorter. Probably one of the few people in existence small enough to ride Kickaha properly. “But… Not sure…”
“It doesn’t stick out to you as obvious at all?” Kickaha asked with a deadpan look. “Maybe the whole ‘pony-instead-of-foxyote’ thing?”
“No that’s not it.” Calex waved a paw dismissively. “I’ve seen you in so many forms that you could pretty much show up as any animal and you wouldn’t be different. You’re still Kickaha.”
“That is… Actually kind of touching in a strange ‘Calexy’ way.” Kickaha couldn’t help but grin.
“AHA! Figured it out!” Calex beamed. “Your cloak is even shorter than normal.”
“It is?” Kickaha blinked. “I guess… That makes sense, I’m not exactly bipedal right now, and it was never a full body cloak to begin with.”
“So… Why are you a pony?” Calex asked. “You entering a race or something or-“
“Well… You know, there was the TV show, and then a sort of bet with friends… Maybe bet isn’t the right word…” Kickaha tried to think of how to explain it. “But this is the new me for the next few months. I’m going to-“ He stopped as he noticed Calex had begun to vibrate in place. “C-calex you alright?” Kickaha was worried someone might have given the kitten caffeine again. Chaos and mischief were fun, sure, but there were limits. And you did not caffeinate a six year old reality bender who doesn’t even know that they’re doing it.
“Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” Calex let out an ear piercing squeak of delight. “So, that’s the thing! We’re doing ponies now! I haven’t done ponies in forever! Something about me and Odin being banned from Sweet Apple Acres. Ohhhh I haven’t done an Equestrian adventure in forever! Where’s the portal? Is it close by? Is it open yet? When are we going to the other world?”
“Well… I didn’t make a port-“ Kickaha started.
“FOUND IT!” Calex shouted excitedly. He ran on all fours to the archway leading into the park. When one looked through the arch, they saw a much more colorful outdoor area than what the city park offered.
“Well, I guess there’s one now.” Kickaha looked at the portal. Any number of people could easily walk through that and suddenly find themselves ponies in a new world. Someone responsible really should probably do something about that.
But no one fit that description here.
“I guess I know what we’re doing today.” Kickaha let out a small ‘oof’ as Calex leaped onto his back, and grabbed ahold of his cloak as if it were reigns.”
“Onwards! Into the portal!” Calex shouted. “Ahhhh this is gonna be so much fun… Never experienced an adventure with-“
My Little Kickaha
My little Kickaha
These syllables really don’t fit
My Little Kickaha
But we’ll make it work trust me
Have some fun
Now where should we start
Can’t do this wrong
Just make a guess
It’s an easy feat
A pony friend makes it complete
Hey my little Kickaha
Did you know you’re one of my very best friends?
The two arrived in a colorful field, with numerous ponies going about their daily business. Though the appearance of two new ponies through a portal wasn’t exactly notable, it still went unnoticed. Even in a magical world, the unexpected was often ignored.
And it /was/ two new ponies. Where there had once been a kitten, there was now a small orange Pegasus, though unlike Kickaha he had no mark. They fell through the portal into a small pile at its base. While he was small in comparison to the adult pony, having your rider suddenly go from a biped to a quadruped was still a clumsy process, causing the two to fall on top of each other.
“So… was the song absolutely necessary?” Kickaha crawled out from beneath the colt.
“Absolutely.” Calex nodded as he got up to his hooves.
“You were a bit off in the rhythm… But then you also lampshaded that.” Kickaha rubbed a hoof to his chin. “Not bad for making it up on the spot.” He paused. “Wait… Did you make it up on the spot, or did you start planning out the lyrics before even approaching me.”
“That’s a secret.” The Pegasus colt grinned.
“Uh huh.” Kickaha looked down at Calex, taking note of both the wings and lack of a cutie mark. The latter was kind of strange. Calex worked as a junior detective, routinely fought kaiju and had a number of talents for getting into mischief. Considering all of that, Kickaha would have expected there to be some kind of mark, or at least something hinting to his true nature.
Was it blank because Calex wasn’t even aware of his own nature?
“A Pegasus then?” Kickaha quickly chose to talk about something else just to refocus his mind. He couldn’t shake the feeling that he knew something he wasn’t supposed to, and that there could be consequences for dwelling on that knowledge for too long. “I would have expected an Earth Pony. You know, with the whole super strength thing.”
“Hey, I like to be free to move around as I please.” Calex flapped into the air and did a little loop around his elder. “I’m more confused as to why you’re not a unicorn.”
“The Art and unicorn magic are not quite the same thing. Similar yes, but different universe, different rules.” Kickaha shrugged. “I still have a bit of my magic leftover, but since magic operates differently in this world, it might prove… Unpredictable if used.”
“Oh, good, it’s functioning normal then.” Calex said it without any hint of teasing. Just the tone of someone making a general observation.
Kickaha wanted to defend himself and go on a diatribe about the nature of the Art, but that would involve explaining that it wasn’t a perfect science and unpredictability was the rule, not the exception. Generally speaking, the Art makes things happen in the most interesting way possible, regardless of the caster’s intent. This was also why presentation was so important to the final product. The more interesting your intended result, the more likely it is to happen, but only if you pretend you don’t know you’re influencing the odds. The universe doesn’t like a wise guy.
“So what kind of adventure are we on?” Calex asked. “Is there a giant monster that needs to be sent packing? Maybe… some kind of horrible accident at the bakery resulting in an emergency hiring of extra taste testers.”
“Pretty sure that’s not a thing.” Kickaha snickered.
“Let a colt dream!” The Pegasus slammed a hoof into the ground. “There’s got to be some kind of deed or ordeal we’re here for. Maybe we should start by figuring out where… Well, Sweet Apple Acres is out, I’m banned from there.”
“Did you turn all the elder members of the family into foals at a reunion or something?” Kickaha grinned.
“Nah, all I did was eat some apples and everyone got angry.” Calex, being a natural shapeshifter, had a metabolism to support his ability to change forms and an appetite to match. Just because he only weighed five pounds didn’t mean he couldn’t consume fifty pounds of fruit in one sitting. While watching that might have been a strange sight, it was stranger still that he continued to weigh five pounds after he finished his meal.
“Uh huh.” Kickaha looked around. “Well, I didn’t really have anything planned. We kind of just came here on a whim.” Not that Kickaha thought that would stop something from happening anywhere.
“What are you talking about? You were already a pony and everything.” Calex narrowed his eyes. “Is this gonna be a mystery themed adventure? Am I supposed to not know we’re on an adventure? Are you going to randomly vanish and I have to find you.”
“Preferably not. Someone randomly vanishing and you being the one looking for them is bound to end in the use of a microscope.” Kickaha shook his head. “Maybe, we can just enjoy the nice day?” He knew that wasn’t an option. But ceremony was important to not provoke the universe’s ire.
And as if on cue, a small piece of paper came fluttering from the heavens themselves, and landed on the ground between the two.
“Aha! The first clue!” Calex dove for it and picked it up. It was just a normal envelope. He showed an unusual amount of restraint, studying it carefully rather than ripping it open immediately. “Huh… So while checking this thing for poison gas traps, I found an address. Turns out the letter isn’t for us. Somehow, it was lost along the way to the post office and now destiny has chosen us to take it to its destination.”
“Or the portal that opened up created a small whirlwind which threw a mail pegasus off course and a letter fell out of their bag.” Kickaha pointed out the more logical conclusion. Having to play both the straight man and the jester around Calex was sometimes weird.. It took a bit of juggling things around. Sometimes literally.
“Nope! It’s an adventure!” Calex shouted triumphantly. “Let’s see… according to this… they live in a small cabin out in the middle of the Everfree Forest. See, if this was just normal mail, there’s no way it would be delivered to the woods. Fate has chosen us for this task.” His eyes shined with hope.
“Well, I suppose it can’t hurt to deliver it.” Kickaha paused. “At least not hurt in any way no one will be able to recover from. What the heck, what’s the worst that can happen?” Kickaha regretted the words as soon as he said them, but it was too late. The wheels of the universe had already been set in motion. This was happening. Whatever weird, bizarre thing that came with it was just going to be something they had to deal with today.
“Alright, then… Let’s get supplies for our journey then meet up at the edge of the forest!” Calex ran off into town.
“What supplies?” Kickaha asked. “And with what money? I don’t think they take anything I have and you don’t wear-“ Kickaha watched as the Pegasus soon became nothing but an orange speck in the distance. Well, at least he was having fun.
Kickaha headed out of town and towards the edge of the woods. There, he sat down in the grass and patiently waited for Calex. The forest cast an unnatural shadow over him, which probably meant it was supposed to be spooky or haunted, but traversing a magical forest full of bizarre, strange, and possibly dangerous creatures was a pretty common hat for Kickaha to wear. Heck, he was a bizarre, strange, and possibly dangerous creature from a magical forest. Or, at the very least, a magical burrow.
Eventually, an orange dot appeared in the distant sky. It approached at a rather alarming speed, becoming larger by the second. Kickaha was sure it definitely had to be Calex, but before he could un-U the UFO, it crashed directly into him, landing on his back with a loud thud.
“Okay, so flying is easy, but landings are hard.” Calex’s voice came from Kickaha’s back. For some reason, he now fit on Kickaha’s back easily, like before they had gone portal hopping. Kickaha craned his neck around, and saw an orange furred dragon with cat-like eyes and a prominent fang looking back. Kickaha did not register surprise. These were just the kind of things that happened. The only surprising thing was that Kickaha hadn’t somehow been involved.
“So… I see you got changed for the forest visit.” Kickaha got to his hooves in a swift motion. The small dragon didn’t add much additional weight to his back, maybe five pounds, so it was an easy task.
“Truth is, I’ve been having a hard time deciding what I want to go with.” Calex sighed. “There are so many good options. So at first I thought Pegasus Pony was the way to go… But I dunno, as I spent time in it, I started to think of the other forms I had considered… And after some thought, I decided baby dragon was the way to go. I feel like, that fits my kind of pseudo-sidekick shtick better.”
“I see.” Kickaha turned to look back at the forest. “So how did you change forms anyway?”
“Oh I didn’t, I was always a dragon.” Calex beamed.
“Okay, hang on.” Kickaha stopped. “Look, I have come to expect- and even contribute to- a certain level of nonsense. But I know for a fact that is wrong, and I’m about ninety… No, eighty percent certain that nothing has rewritten history in the twenty minutes since we parted ways.”
“Well, I mean obviously I was a kitten before we came to this world. But in this world I’m a dragon.” Calex didn’t seem to think there was a problem.
“Except you were a Pegasus Pony earlier.” Kickaha reminded him.
“Well yeah, but I decided that wasn’t quite right. So, dragon.” Calex shrugged. “Look, we magically transform to fit this world when we come into it. You… somehow did it before, but the portal is what changed me. So, if I was a Pegasus Pony at any point that meant it was what I always would have been in this world. Now that I’m a dragon, this is what I always would have been in this world. So, I was always a dragon.”
“Ugh. Kitten logic.” It was the only thing harder to follow than human logic. “Well then, let’s get a move on. You still have the letter, right?”
“Yup! Right here, tucked under my wing for safekeeping!” Calex brandished one of his wings as Kickaha looked back, showing the letter held firmly in place by a piece of tape.
“Well into the woods we go.” Kickaha trotted onward, crossing the threshold into the Everfree Forest.”
“Into the woods it’s time to go
We hate to leave, we have to, though
Into the woods, it’s time and so
We must begin our journey.
Into the woods and through the trees
To where they have expected mail
Into the woods to the strange fellow’s house
“You’re in a musical mood today.” Kickaha interrupted. “And while I’m aware that that’s sort of ‘on brand’ for the world we’re in right now… I can’t help but feel like you’re mixing up franchises.”
“Well, what am I supposed to sing then?” Calex asked.
“You don’t have to. You don’t usually do it on our other adventures.” Kickaha continued along the path in the woods, keeping an eye out for any sign of danger. Who knew what monsters lurked within the darkness beyond the trees? Kickaha would feel absolutely terrible if those monsters had a bad encounter with a Calex and wound up bedridden for several weeks. Kickaha preferred karmic punishments that didn’t result in someone getting punched in the eye. And some things just had so many eyes to punch.
“But it feels like we should, considering where we are.” Calex sighed. “And we haven’t really been presented with a problem to overcome yet, so I don’t have anything good to sing about… Other than the fact. That we’re in the woods. And we’re walking. And there are trees. And the trees are just wood.”
“I really hope a freelance adventure can’t get a takedown notice.” Kickaha managed to slap a hoof to his face. “Look, if we encounter a monster, I’m good for you to do your thing. But if we encounter any very stern looking ponies in business suits, I am bolting. Some powers, you just don’t mess with.”
“I… see?” Calex did not sound like he understood. “But something has to happen and… WAIT!” The dragon gave a loud shout that shook the trees in the forest as Kickaha skidded to a stop. “THERE! A problem to overcome!” Calex gestured ahead.
There was a chasm with a bridge leading across. Or at least the remains of what had once been a bridge. All that was left of it was two and a half pieces of rope atached to three planks of rotting wood hanging off the side.
“Hmmm, we’ll have to look for another crossing.” Kickaha started to turn away.
“No! We have to cross here!” Calex insisted. “The bridge is out! This is a problem! We’re on an adventure! You don’t walk away from a problem, you address it head on! Or in a strange unconventional way where it looks like you failed but then you reveal you accomplished your goal much later and retell the entire series of events with new key information added in.”
“Isn’t finding another crossing addressing the problem?” Kickaha asked.
“Nope! We gotta cross here!” Calex insisted. “Hmmmm, you said you still have some of your magic. Can you teleport across.”
“Can I? Yes. Should I? Absolutely not.” Kickaha shook his head. “I already told you my magic has unpredictable interactions with this world’s own. I would prefer not to have my teleport misfire and leave me hanging directly above the chasm.”
“Hmmmm, I see, that makes sense.” Calex mused. “Too bad you weren’t a Pegasus Pony or a dragon or we could just fly across.”
“Why can’t we fly across?” Kickaha asked. “Can’t you just carry me?”
“Kickaha, I’m a tiny little dragon that’s about as big as your head.” Calex feigned a meek voice. “How am I going to carry something as big as you over there?”
“Ignoring the fact that you probably have at least thirty ways to make one or both of us smaller at any moment? I mean, as a dragon, I wouldn’t be surprised if you had shrink breath.” Kickaha made a mental note to be prepared to duck if Calex sneezed. “I’ve seen you grab a kaiju by its big toe, chuck it into the air, then kick it back into the sea. I think you can bear my weight.”
“Well yes, if we were going by our world’s logic. But we have to solve problems for how they would do things in this world.” Calex grinned smugly.
“… So does that mean you don’t have super strength right now?” Kickaha narrowed his eyes.
“I plead the fifth.” Calex leapt down from Kickaha’s back and turned his gaze away.
“You know, I am pretty sure that doesn’t exist in this universe…” Kickaha paused. “Also, aren’t you legally Odin’s pet? I don’t think constitutional amendments apply to you.”
“And I don’t think I can be called to testify, even against myself.” Calex puffed out his chest smugly.
“Okay, that would be true in a court of law but-“ Kickaha started
“Look, we can do this bit, go back and forth for a while. Then you’ll make that face. That face all adults make after talking to me for too long when they say they need to go sit down for a minute.” Calex sounded slightly exasperated. “So how about we just skip to figuring out how we solve it using what we should be capable of in this universe’s rules.”
“Fine.” Kickaha briefly displayed a sour face. Then he got to thinking. Solving problems was a lot harder without using magic. With magic, you could take care of any problem by turning it into a bigger problem. Sure, you had a new problem, but the original one was solved. For some reason, a lot of people were never grateful for Kickaha’s help. “So… I’m not gonna be able to jump that… And what’s left of the rope I don’t trust to hold my weight if I try to shimmy across.”
“So we’re going to need some new building materials.” Calex considered. “The trees here look pretty healthy. I can probably find some sturdy vines. Get enough of them, weave them together to make a stronger line, run it across then… Hmmm, maybe we should make some kind of net…” Calex looked down at Kickaha’s feet. “Pony hooves seem to be capable of far more things than I would expect but, hanging precariously from a vine while you try to cross a cliff without fingers seems… Unwise.”
“True.” Kickaha lifted up one of his hooves. “I’ve had these for a couple months now and even I don’t fully understand how they work or what their limitations are. Things just work, or they don’t. And I don’t really have any way to know until I try…”
“This would be a bad time to try and find out you can’t climb across a vine.” Calex chided.
“I wasn’t going to argue for it.” Kickaha looked over the ledge. He couldn’t see the bottom of a chasm. As someone who was a bit of an expert in running for his life, he had found himself at the end of a number of cliffs, holes, and other drops where his choices of escape were limited. He had a pretty good idea of how far down he could fall before he got seriously hurt, and that distance was about halfway down to where he could see. Who knew how far down it actually went? Normally, he’d just turn into a bird and fly across, but that wasn’t really an option right now. It also didn’t always work in past cases. While the nurse at the hospital was nice, Kickaha strongly preferred not to give in to stereotypes of his coyote-side heritage and go hurling himself off into chasms.
“Alright… We’ll get some vines and you start weaving them together. Then I’ll fly them across and find a sturdy rock or something to tie them to on that end. It will take a bit of time, but eventually we’ll have a little net bridge set up for you to cross.”
“Yes, we will have solved the problem in a time consuming manner that definitely would have been faster than looking for another crossing.” Kickaha rolled his eyes.
“You know for a fact if there was another crossing it’d be in even worse shape.” Calex chided. “You know how these adventures go.”
“Fair point.” Kickaha grumbled.
And so they got to work. It turned out that Calex did not in fact have shrink breath, but fire breath, and so was able to burn the edges of vines to make them easier to pull off of trees. (This still didn’t rule out shrink breath.) Calex fetched as many vines as he could while Kickaha began to weave them together. He chose not to ask questions as he sat on his haunches, and worked the individual vines with his hooves, slowly making a net pattern. It took some time, and the sun was low in the sky by the time they finished, but eventually, the bridge was done. Calex grabbed one end and flew away into the mist on the other side looking for a place to tie it, while Kickaha found an anchor on this side.
“Calex?” Kickaha called after Calex had been gone for a while.
“Coming!” Calex’s voice rang back. A moment later, an orange griffin, who somehow had a fang despite the fact he had a beak, flew back across and landed in front of Kickaha. “It’s all set up. Sorry, took me a while to find a suitable rock that would hold. If you fall into the chasm and are assumed dead for the rest of the adventure before coming back at the last second, it won’t be my fault.”
“I can never tell if you watch too much TV or not enough.” Kickaha chuckled, then paused as he looked the griffin up and down. “So… should I even ask about why you’re not a dragon?”
“Why would I be a dragon?” Calex asked.
“Because that’s what you were-“ Kickaha started. And then he changed what he was saying mid sentence. “But you were always a griffin in this world.”
“Hey, how’d you know what I was going to say?” Calex looked annoyed.
“Even you can be predictable sometimes.” Kickaha rolled his eyes.
“Look, when there are so many options, picking what I am in this universe is hard. But, once it’s decided, that’s it, that’s what I am, and always will be.” Calex insisted.
“Unless you change your mind and decide something else feels more right.” Kickaha gestured with his hoof.
“Exactly! And then I will always have been something else.” Calex beamed happily, seeming to believe that Kickaha understood.
Kickaha understood enough not to ask further questions.
“Well… I suppose we should cross now…” Kickaha started along the vine bridge. It was difficult to find footing with hooves. It would be all too easy to slip a hoof through a hole, but at least the holes were too small for his entire body to fall through. It still didn’t make the crossing feel any less precarious.
“Don’t worry.” Calex flapped through the air slowly keeping pace with Kickaha as he crossed. “Griffins of my age are bigger than dragons. For some reason. If you fall, I’m pretty sure I can catch you and carry you the rest of the way.”
“If that’s the case, why are we even bothering with the bridge” Kickaha demanded.
“Well you spent so much time winding those vines together… I didn’t want to just make all your hard work meaningless.” Calex spoke earnestly, which somehow made his tone even more annoying.
Upon finally reaching the other side, Kickaha quickly clambered onto stable land and took a moment just to collect himself. He was glad that was over with. At least until they had to cross back on the return trip. It was weird, no one ever talked about the return trip on these adventures and what plans or preparations one should make for them.
“We’re only a short distance away now!” Calex landed on the ground and trotted in front of Kickaha. “Just think how happy the recipient will be. We came all the way out here to deliver this. If they live out here, they’re probably some kind of spellcaster. This is likely an urgent message of someone in dire need of their help. Lives might be at stake. Maybe even an entire town! Or an entire kingdom! We could be saving an entire kingdom right now delivering this letter.”
“Or it could be a bill.” Kickaha snorted.
“I hope not.” Calex spoke cheerfully. “If they’re a powerful spellcaster and we delivered a bill, they might try to blast us. Then again, with how these things work we’d probably wind up mice or something and that’d certainly make crossing the bridge back easier on you.”
“Just because I’m a pony does not mean that I’m suddenly ok with being delicious.” Kickaha shot Calex a glare. “Let’s just continue.” He paused. “Hey… How do you know the letter goes out here anyway? Like, what’s actually written on the address.”
“Oh there isn’t one.” Calex continued to trot happily.
“There… What?” Kickaha came to a stop. “Then why did you say that their address was in the Everfree Forest?”
“Cause it is.” Calex shrugged.
“But… If there’s no address written…” Kickaha started.
“Yeah, but it just kind of has that forest aura.” Calex replied chipper as ever. “I know, I’ve been mailed places enough times to get a feel for these things. Also, the second I picked up the letter I could feel a tug telling me where to go.”
“A tug huh?” Kickaha felt slightly better. He didn’t fully understand how Calex’s strange senses worked. He knew that the werekitten/dragon/griffin/whatever, could instantly find any of his friends when they were in trouble and arrive at their side in moments. Even if it meant breaking several laws of physics and possibly causality in the process. If Calex felt a tug, it was likely that the moment he committed to delivering the letter, he had formed a ‘contract’ of sorts, and that was what led him. If that was the case, then they were definitely in the right place.
But it wasn’t a hut that they came to. It was a cave. A large, dark, spooky cave.
“Hmmmm… no mailbox outside. Maybe we have to take it inside?” Calex asked as he held the letter in his paw-like hands and looked around.
“Maybe or we could leave it out here and-“ Kickah paused and looked at Calex. “WHEN DID YOU BECOME A KITTEN AGAIN!?”
“Pretty sure I was always a cat.” Calex gave a laugh. “I mean everyone knows that.”
“You were, but you were also always a Pegasus Pony, and always a dragon, and always a griffin.” Kickaha continued.
“Yeah, that about sums it up.” Calex nodded. “I don’t really see why you sound confused.”
“I just…” Kickaha threw his hooves up in the air. “I suppose, if anything, I should just be confused about why you’re back in your normal form from our universe.”
“What? This isn’t my normal form in our world.” Calex sounded confused.
“But… You’re an orange cat. You look identical to your normal self.” Kickaha insisted.
“Nuh uh.” Calex insisted. “Back home I’m a werekitten. Here, I’m an Abyssinian Cat. Completely different.”
“Okay, I know I shouldn’t ask, but I have to know. How are they different?” Kickaha didn’t know the answer, but he already knew he hated it.
“A werekitten is a shapeshifter. An Abyssinian Cat is not.” Calex stated matter-of-factly.
“So the difference is, that you can’t change forms now.” Kickaha stated. “Except, when you get bored and decide to switch forms.”
“Ya got it!” Calex nodded eagerly.
“But that… Then there’s no actual…” Kickaha’s hoof met his face for the second time that day. “Let’s just deliver the mail.” At this point it was easier to just roll with it. Kickaha knew that Calex and chaos came bundled together and accepted them both willingly. Plus all they had to do was finish this delivery. And Kickaha felt ready regardless of who was receiving it.
Unless they turned out to be something stupid like a ‘Forest Pirate.’ If they were dealing with Forest Pirates next then Kickaha could not be held accountable for whatever happened.
Thankfully, there were not any bullheaded cosplayers occupying the cave. Just a massive bear that appeared to have a hide made out of a constellation of stars. It was currently asleep.
“Ah, this must be who the letter goes to. Yup, tug is towards them.” Calex looked around. “Still no mailbox. Guess I better hand it to them directly.” He walked up and gently poked the bear in the side.
“Calex!” Kickaha hissed and grabbed the kitten by the scruff pulling him away. “Do not poke the bear.”
“But I have to give them their mail.” Calex insisted.
“Calex, that is an Ursa Major. Right now, we just want to back out of this cave very slowly.” Kickaha started to back up.
“But the letter!” Calex squirmed free and started towards the bear again.
“I’m pretty sure Ursa Majors don’t get mail.” Kickaha bit down on the kitten’s tail to grab. “More likely, someone they ate was supposed to get the letter.”
“Nah, it’s definitely the bear’s letter.” Calex walked forward, dragging the larger pony along with him. “It’s just one of those things I can tell.” Then his voice rose to a shout. “Excuse me! Mr. or Mrs. or Mx. Bear! I have a letter for you!”
A growl echoed throughout the entire cave. The star covered bear opened their eyes, rising to their feet. Their back scraped across the cave ceiling, causing several bits of it to fall dangerously close to the two adventurers. It blinked a few times, looked down at the two intruders, and let out a roar.
“Calex… I don’t suppose Abyssinian Cats are just as strong and nigh invulnerable as werekittens?” Kickaha asked hopefully.
“No, they’re more of the ‘fragile speedster’ type.” Calex explained. “And charismatic. Anyway…” Calex waved the letter around in the air. “I brought you the mail!”
For a brief moment, everything was silent. The Ursa Major stared at the two, as if it was in disbelief of what it was actually seeing. Kickaha continued to bite down on Calex’s tail, trying to pull him away from the bear. Despite the kitten’s claim of being ‘fragile,’ he was easily more than strong enough to resist the pony’s efforts.
“I gotta admit… Of the many ways I thought it might all end, I did not even consider a bizarre crossover episode with a beloved children’s show.” Kickaha muttered. “Well, at least it’s ridiculous. I’d feel insulted if it wasn’t.”
“Eh what are you talking about?” Calex asked.
“The fact we are about to di-“ Kickaha didn’t finish before the Ursa Major let out a roar. The sound of it alone was enough to push Calex back to the point he tumbled into Kickaha.
“We’re in trouble.” Kickaha muttered. “Look. Jump on my back. If I run as fast as possible maybe-“
“Ah, I’m grumpy when I first wake up too.” Calex laughed. “Sorry to wake you from your nap, just really wanted to make sure you got this.” He stood up and once again began to wave the letter in the air. “I know it’s always a crummy feeling when you’re waiting for something and it gets lost in the mail. But… I didn’t know giant bears sent letters. Do you have, like, a pen pal with giant bears in other parts of the world? Or are they other giant animals with different constellations?”
“Calex, would it hurt you to have the tiniest amount of self-preservation instinct?”
“What?” Calex looked back at Kickaha. “You think I should steal the mail of a giant star bear thing. I feel like that would end poorly.”
“Well, no but…” Kickaha backed up as the Ursa Major lowered a claw. This was it. This was where he died.
And then it gently took the letter out of Calex’s paws.
“Groaaaaawrl.” The Ursa Major let out a growl that almost sounded grateful before sitting down on its haunches and very delicately using one claw to slice open the top of the letter.
“Huh… Well. Okay then.” Kickaha stared at the scene dumbfounded. Apparently, the mail was for the giant bear. Who had even sent it?
“I wanna see what it says but I can’t fly anymore.” Calex whined. “Maybe I should go back to having always been a Pegasus Pony or a griffin so I can fly over its shoulder and read.”
“I’m going to admit, I’m very curious about the contents of the letter… But I feel like that would be an invasion of privacy.” Kickaha hissed. “An invasion of privacy of a very large supernatural beast with an even larger temper.”
“I suppose you’re right…” Calex sighed. “It wouldn’t be right of me to try to read it without their permission.”
“Good, then, can we go?” Kickaha asked.
“Yeah, let’s go.” Calex started for the cave entrance. Then he stopped and turned and waved one time at the Ursa Major. “It was nice meeting you! Hope the rest of your mail arrives fine!” Then the strangest thing of all happened. The Ursa Major lifted one paw and waved back.
Kickaha felt like his heart had stopped by the time they got out of the cave.
“You know… It’s a good thing you make me revisit childhood so often when you decide to hang around.” Kickaha muttered.
“Huh? But you’re still an adult today.” Calex gave him a quizzical look. “I mean I’m sure I can find some way to make-“
“There’s no need.” Kickaha muttered. “I’m just trying to figure out if it’s a net gain or loss with the years you just shaved off my life, plus the extra ones you’ve given.”
“I don’t know what would have shaved them off… But if I’m in the red, I’ll get you some extra years back to make up for it.” Calex beamed.
“Of course you will.” Kickaha rolled his eyes. “Let’s… Just head back to town and find a place to sleep for the night.”
Roughly 20 minutes later, a rusty orange-colored colt and Calex wandered into town.
“Does Ponyville even have a hotel?” Calex asked Kickaha, who was now a young colt.
“I don’t know.” Kickaha didn’t mention anything about his age change. There were a lot of things he wasn’t going to mention about today. “But I’m sure we can find someplace to stay. Let’s start asking around.”
“Alright!” A pegasus pony colt bounded up next to Kickaha and nuzzled him. “Hey we kind of match! Except you have a way more complicated pattern and I have wings.”
“You’re a Pegasus Pony again.” Kickaha muttered.
“Just like I always have been.” Calex nodded. Kickaha just accepted it. It was easier that way. And with that, the two colts began to search the town for a good place to spend the night.