Chapter 6: One Brick at a Time
The day wasn't even over when the cyan pegasus had returned, wearing two saddlebags across her back, and one more tied onto one of her front hooves. 'So much for three days trip,' he thought to himself.
"Was it really worth that much?" he asked, mouth agape.
"All that and more," the mare replied. "I have to go back and pick up the last of it tomorrow." She dropped the bags at his hooves, and held out the tied one so he could untie it.
"How much is left?" he asked, amazed at the great amount he already had. He could probably live comfortably for the rest of his life if he cashed in a hoofful more.
"Not much, about another half a bag. I'm Rainbow Dash, by the way." She held out her right front hoof toward him.
"Akaitora. A pleasure to meet you."
"So how'd you get your hooves on a couple of florins?" she asked. He thought he heard an accusing undertone accompanying the curious tone, but shrugged it off.
"Well, I was exploring a ruin to the south of here." truth. "When I came across this locked chest," truth. "I opened it up, and there were a hoofful of these gold coins lying at the bottom." understatement of the year.
He slung two of the saddlebags over his back, but instead of carrying the third, he simply put it inside of Fluttershy's door and locked it tight. Twilight had already gone home, something about a spike of wonderful in her back. He had no idea what that meant, but he would just have to ask her tomorrow.
Tomorrow. Would he return? would he have a need to return? Of course he would. keeping up appearances and all that for a time.
"Well, I need to get back to where I'm staying."
"Oh, where's that?"
Curse his big mouth. "Uh, with a friend of mine." not entirely a lie. he had started making friends with Fluttershy, at least.
"Alright. See you tomorrow, then." and with that, she flew off into the clouds, slow for her, but Akaitora still thought she was going fast.
Akaitora trotted back into the everfree, not able to go fast because of his burden. 'Note to self: discover or create a means of bestowing brute strength.' At least the time alone gave him a chance to collect his thoughts and even hatch a few new ideas. He aimed to try one out immediately.
"So, how'd it go?" asked Fluttershy as he entered the room. It caught him off guard, and he jumped, dropping the saddlebags he was carrying. Fluttershy apologized for scaring him, to which he just waved it off. he levitated the saddlebags over to a corner, and dropped them against the wall.
"It went fine. I even got all the chores done, with plenty of time to spare. I spent a good portion of the day updating my history with a young mare named Twilight."
"Twilight?" asked Fluttershy, seeming to know the name.
"Do you know her?"
"Know her? We're great friends!" she squeed. "Along with Applejack, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, and Rainbow Dash!"
"Which reminds me, I also met Rainbow Dash. She was quite the flyer." he had a thoughtful look on his face. "She would have made an excellent specimen."
"That's what I was trying to tell you yesterday."
He stopped in his tracks. Facehoof.
He picked up exactly where he had left off in his mind before arriving, and pulled out a quill, an inkwell, and a blank scroll. He wrote down a few lines at the top, outlining the purposes of his next important project.
1. To hold a pegasus from flight.
2. To keep the bound pegasus from leaving beyond a set barrier.
He had just finished writing these down and a few theories as to how the device would work when he heard a loud gurgling sound. H let it slide by, paying it no heed. Then it happened again. He turned, and saw only Fluttershy sitting quietly in he cell,dragging her hoof in circles in the dust.
"Did you hear something?" he asked.
"Oh no, nothing at all," she lied. He could tell because the noise occurred again, accompanied by Fluttershy's vain attempts to cover her stomach with her forelegs as the skin jiggled a bit.
"Oh! I'm so very sorry, where are my manners? Are you hungry? Would you like something to eat?" he asked, not waiting for an answer before trotting over to the door.
"If it wouldn't be too much trouble, you don't have to if you don't want to..."
"Nonsense." He came back with a wooden tray with five apples, two bottles, one containing a clear liquid, the other an amber liquid, and a small loaf of bread. he levitated it over to her, and proclaimed: "Guten Apetit!"
"You didn't have to do this for me," she said, digging into the loaf of bread the moment he turned away.
"Actually," he said, matter-of-factly, "I did. You see, If I hadn't I would have to listen to your stomach churn all night. In a little while, I won't have to, but for now, let's just call it reconciliation for bringing you here."
Fluttershy nodded, and began to eat one of the apples. One bite, and her eyes grew to be saucers. It tasted fresh off the vine. But how could that be? Apple season was months away, and the only place to get them this fresh this time of year was miles away. How could he have been all the way to Apploosa and back in under five minutes?
"Where did these apples come from?" she asked.
"I have a greenhouse just a few rooms down. I made it so I could be self-sufficient. It's always summer in that one room, a result of one of my machines. But my word isn't credible, and hasn't been for years, so I gave up on explaining how they work."
"Why isn't your word credible? You seem to know what you're talking about."
"It's a long story."
"I've got time."