To quote, they are like "Running up behind an old lady, warning her that you'll be taking her purse, knocking her over as you rob her blind, and then sprinting away yelling 'I told you so!' over your shoulder.
THE FIVE-LEAF CLOVER
"... All right, seriously. How did you fillies manage to do it?"
"Do what, Mr. Rust?"
"We were in there for ten minutes. In that time, you three have somehow managed to completely destroy the fucking place, duct-tape Mayor Mare to the flagpole, and, to top it off, I think you traumatized Featherweight over here!" Rust gestured to Buckshot, who was sitting on the ground, slowly rocking back and forth with a glazed look in his eye.
"No more lima beans, Mum, I'm full, I swear..." The stricken stallion muttered to himself.
The Cutie Mark Crusaders, Buckshot, and Rust were outside the Town Hall, or, at least where the building used to stand. There was an enormous pile of wreckage in place of where the local government of Ponyville had once existed. The group had come here to fill out Buck's residency paperwork, and in that time the Crusaders had lived up to and exceeded their destructive reputation. The fire department had parked a firetruck out in front, with a ladder extended upwards. A lone firemare was perched in the basket, trying to cut down Mayor Mare, who was tied upside-down to the flagpole at the very top.
"I'm not mad at you or anything. At this point, I'm just curious as to how in the hell you were able to do that."
Sweetie Bell pulled a red, tubed shaped stick out of Apple Bloom's saddlebags. She held it up for the unicorn to see.
"Is that... Holy shit in a box, Batman, is that dynamite?!?!"
The reply was as swift and coordinated as it was detrimental to hearing health. "CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS PYROTECHNICS EXPERTS! YAY!"
The earspiltting cry seemed to snap Buck out of his mental stagnation. He looked up and shook his head, as if he'd just been hit with something heavy. "What about Mayor Mare? Crikey, she must be at least thirty feet up!"
For a response, Scootaloo revved her wings, and Apple Bloom pulled a miniature trampoline from her saddlebags. Strangely, the trampoline itself was bigger than the bag she pulled it from. To this day, nopony knows how she does it.
"Righto, so Scootaloo used her wings and the tramp to tie her up. But how didja get Mayor Mare up there in the first place?"
Sweetie Belle sheepishly waggled the stick of dynamite. Rust burst out into hysterical laughter, rolling around on the cobblestones in a fit of hilarity. Tears leaked from his eyes as he held his stomach, giggling madly. Buck facehooved and sighed, mightily resisting the urge to join him. "Gimme that, Sweetie; you'll blow your eye out with it. Or worse." Somewhat reluctantly, the light gray filly gently hooved it over to him. Buck gingerly put it in his own saddlebags. "I think it's time you girls went home," he stated. "And please, for the love of Luna, next time you go Crusading, try something that isn't likely to level the town."
"Awwwwwwww! But why?" The reply was simultaneous, and its effect was only increased as the three proceeded to activate their Ultra-Cute faces. The word "adorable" doesn't even come close to describing it.
"Dude, that is so fucking cute that I think my eyeballs are going to burn up." Rust covered his face with his hooves. "Make it stop before I go on an uncontrollable rampage of love and toleration," he pleaded vehemently.
Buck simply pointed to the wreckage of what was once the Town Hall. "That is why, my little sheilas." As he spoke, an unbroken stretch of wall collapsed, sending up an enormous crash and great clouds of dust.
After the Crusaders had left, Buckshot and Rust headed into town. As promised, Rust was going to take Buck to a local pub to meet some friends and neighbors of his. They strolled down Stirrup Street, admiring the town in the evening sun. As they walked, Buck found himself constantly having to adjust his pace; his long legs took one step for every two that Rust did.
Around this time of day, the vast majority of tourists and vistors to Ponyville tended to leave the broad avenue of Stirrup in favor of the smaller side streets. Shops with open counters that directly catered to the passerby on the street tended to make a killing. Colorful confections, trinket shops, and street kiosks took advantage of the influx of potential buyers enjoying the cool air of the shaded streets by offering special deals. For a few bits, and a respectable sense of haggling, one could walk away from these small shops with a decent haul of knick-knacks and fatty foods.
While the surge of daily visitors migrated to the more back-door ends of Ponyville, the town's main street came alive with its true denizens. Making full use of the space that the wide road provided, a nightly festival, put on by those ponies who felt inclined to do so, would take place under Princess Luna's moon. Street musicians played for free around this time, seeking only to brighten the atmosphere with a colorful sonnet or a warbling melody. As the two stallions made their way down the street, they were assaulted by the sudden barrage of neon glows, emitted by the windows of many establishments seeking to attract more customers by having the best and showiest signs.
They stopped outside a particular building, halfway down Stirrup Street on either side of town. It was a few stories tall, a squat brick building that had a bar situated on the top floor. The bottom two floors held various apartments and storage rooms, but none of them were used very often, due to the chaotic nature of the business over their heads. A slightly faded large green sign advertised the pub's name in an elegant script.
"I like the name," Buck murmered, gazing at the particularly iconic neon sign that displayed the bar's namesake. "That's where we're headin'?"
"Da, comrade." A new voice spoke up. Buck turned around to find Ragdoll calmly gliding down the sidewalk from the way they had just came. The rainbow of colors shining from nearby windows dyed her fluffy white coat an unusual spectrum of hues. Ragdoll approached them in a strange silence, padding towards them on silent hooves with all the veiled grace that a lion with a full stomach might approach a wounded antelope with. "This place has been second home to us for many years," she explained. "We have sort of tradition of coming here at least once a week to meet friends, ponimat?
Rust's voice sounded softly from where he was standing, holding the door open for the two ponies still out on the sidewalk. "A word of advice. Frankly, these guys make about as much sense as someone telling you that we're a pair of immortal aliens that live an tower with an impossible amount of flooring; where you can go upstairs and end up in the basement."
Buck scratched his head in confusion. "But I've already been through that."
"Otlichnyi. Then you know what to expect." Ragdoll entered the doorway and ascended the staircase in bounds, taking the steps four at a time.
"Trust me, I gave up tryin' ta figure out what's gonna happen next a long time ago, sheila," Buck muttered as he followed her up.
The inside of the bar was lit in the way that only a place devoted purely to alcohol consumption could be: bright enough to see your drink in front of your hooves, but dim enough so that your eyes wouldn't hurt too much when you woke up on the floor the net morning. A long, darkly-stained oak bar took up the left side of the room, ending where the floor rose up a few steps to a sort of elevated seating area in the back of the pub that contained a few booths. The right side of the roof contained a various assortment of tables, all different sizes. The chairs that sat next to them were also all different. The entire setup of furniture indicated that the original barroom furniture had either been destroyed by now, or the place had started out with the slapdash assortment of tables and chairs that would look more at home in a grandmother's garage sale. Buck assumed it was the first cause, due to how each piece seemed to have numerous nicks and scrapes that can only come about from having it slammed around into something hard.
At the bar a stocky dark gray Pegasus with a yellow buzz-cut mane was busy cleaning a wall of glasses with numerous cloths held by his wings. While his two extra appendages were occupied, he used his front hooves to set drinks down for the four or five patrons at the long bar. The vast majority of ponies in the room were sitting at the tables or booths in the back. One of them in particular, a chocolate brown unicorn with a short, wavy mane of a darker coloration, square glasses, and magnificent goatee put down the harmonica he'd been playing as the three newcomers entered the room.
"R 'n 'R! How are you two doing on this fine winter's night?" he called out with exaggerated eloquence. Rust and Ragdoll, whom Buck had supposed were the ones the unicorn had referred to by "R and R" went up to him and exchanged greetings.
"Omnius, you son of a bitch, when'd you get back here?" asked Rust as he bumped hooves with the bearded pony.
Ragdoll gave him a small hug. "More importantly, where did you go this time?"
Omnius gave a chortle. "Oh, you know, I get around." He slammed his hoof down on the bar and called to the bartender. "Hey, Shwartzenneighger! Two of the usual for R and R, and my own special for me."
The stocky gray pegasus looked up from the glass he'd been cleaning. "Omnius, this is a bar," he said with a ridiculous Germane accent. "You don't have to drink just the soda here."
"But I LIKE the soda!"
The bartender hit his head onto his bar. "Confound these ponies," he muttered. "They drive me to drink!" He turned around and gazed at the vast plethora of brews on the wall behind the bar. "Good thing I own the place!"
Omnius turned back from the bar and eyed the third member of his friend's party with interest. "Who's your friend here? He kinda looks like Big Macintosh, you know." He scratched his beard thoughtfully. "I like the hat by the way. I feel like I've seen it before." The unicorn hopped off the stool and stood before Buckshot, holding out his hoof. The sheer size of the massive stallion towering over him did not seem to intimidate him in the slightest. "My name's Omnius the Traveler. Traveler's the name, Traveling's the game!" Buck shook his hoof in the usual Apple fashion and admitted himself a small grin of amusement as he watched the smaller pony shake violently from the exchange.
"G'day, mate. Name's Sir Buck Apple. But you can call me Buckshot, or Buck, for short." He tapped the old Stetson on his head. "As for the hat, my, uh, niece gave to me for Hearth's Warming."
The bartender slid a bottle of soda down the bar, which Omnius caught, popped the top off, and drained in one smooth gulp. "Apple, huh? Say, you wouldn't happen to be related to the delightful ponies down at Sweet Apple Acres, eh?"
"As a matter 'o fact, I'm their uncle. Why, you know 'em?"
Omnius' eyes lit up with the light of experience. "You know, when I first came to this town, they were the first ponies I met. I don't recall seeing you at the Acres, or at the Apple family reunion, though."
"I've been away for a long time, mate. Only recently got back," Buck said with a twinge of melancholy.
Sensing he'd hit a sore spot, Omnius dropped the subject. "Well, seeing as you're new here, why don't I introduce you to a few ponies I know? I'm sure the readers would love for you to do that!"
"The readers..?" Buck was suddenly reminded of PInkie Pie.
"Hah! Did I say that? I meant... You know what? Just come with me, big guy."
The two left Rust and Ragdoll at the bar and headed to the raised area in the back. Seated at corner booth against the wall and a window were three ponies, all nursing drinks of some sort or another. Closest to Buck and Omnius sat a muscular, white, gold-armored pegasus who looked like a member of the Royal Guard. He gave a stiff nod of acknowledgement at the pair's approach. Another Pegasus sat to his left, smaller, his coat the blackest of black, with large, extremely feathery wings, and dark shaded goggles covering his eyes. He was busy reading a small book, too absorbed to look up. Sitting across from the two pegasi was a massive unicorn who was built like a tank, also quite black, with a short, ragged black mane, who was also reading a book. He put it down when he noticed Buck and Omnius, though, and rose up from the table to greet them.
Buck almost had to do a double take, the black unicorn was almost as big as he was. Almost. With a smug sense of pride he realized that he and Big Macintosh were still the biggest ponies around, save Princess Celestia, who easily had half a foot on Big Mac, and Princess Luna, who was of the same height as Buckshot.
"Hey. Name's Obsidian," the dark mountain introduced himself gruffly with a hint of a northern accent. The two enormous stallions shook hooves. Buck immediately decided he liked this pony. The unicorn sat back down at the booth and edged over to the window, patting the spot near the edge, indicating Buck should sit down.
Omnius grinned from where he was standing at the head of the table as Buck sat down next to Obsidian. "I guess I'll leave you four to yourselves, then." He turned to Buck and said teasingly, "Play nice now, I don't want to have to leave because of you." With a laugh, he sauntered over to his open space at the bar next to Rust and Ragdoll, playing a merry tune on his harmonica as he went.
Obsidian grunted with a bit of annoyance. "I just love how he's always so giddy when he's here, and yet all he drinks is soda." he said dryly.
The armored pegasus looked up from his drink, which was non-alcoholic. "What's wrong with just drinking soda?" he barked. The white hoof holding his mug moved left and right, mixing the contents. "Maybe someponies just like to keep a clear head, have you ever considered that?" The tone he used indicated that he was used to having people listen to him without raising his voice.
The smaller black Pegasus next to him looked up from the little book he had been absorbed in. "For shame, Cloudhammer. Why must you be so argumentative? Calm down; our friend was just making an observation. We do a have a new face amongst our midst, after all." He murmured gloomily. He turned a page and adjusted one of the silver bands worn on his legs. "The world is bad enough as it is, no need to make it any more unpleasant." he added rather melodramatically. "And besides, you're off duty for the next two days, you need to loosen up."
Cloudhammer snorted. "That's Captain Cloudhammer. And I don't drink alcohol. As a member of the Royal Guard, I need to be on the tips of my hooves at all times. This includes when I am currently not on duty."
Buckshot interrupted. "Royal Guard, y'say? Aren't they supposed to be, you know, with the royalty?"
"I was ordered to come here explicitly by Princess Celestia herself. Her sister, Princess Luna, is coming to town in a few days and she's having me scout out the town advance before the other Guard arrive." He looked at his beverage like he'd just lost his appetite. "I wouldn't dream of leaving Princess Celestia's side unless she forced me to."
Princess Luna was coming back to Ponyville? Buck digested this particular bit of information as the conversation continued. Obsidian gave out a chortle, emitting a sound similar to two large boulders grinding together. "She threatened you with the 'Brushie-Brushie' again, didn't she?"
The Captain reddened slightly from under his helmet, but otherwise maintained the famously rock-solid facial expression of which the Royal Guard was famous for.
The smaller black pegasus spoke up again, reciting from the small book in his hoof.
"From more than fiends on earth,
Thy life and love are riven,
To join the untainted mirth
Of more than thrones in heaven."
Buck scratched his head in confusion. "What's that suppose to mean, mate?"
Obsidian thumped the table with his hoof in approval. "Edgar Allan Poney. Good stuff." He turned to the other large stallion sitting next to him. "Kashiro here is basically saying that the good Captain needs to see the humor in life before it's over." Kashiro nodded in agreement.
"You aren't the one whose services are being horribly misused. My helmet bristles are not a hair-care product, despite what the Princess will say." The Captain ran a hoof through the tough blue hairs sticking out of the top of his helmet crest and shuddered slightly with the memory.
Kashiro placed a reassuring hoof on Cloudhammer's shoulder. The Captain shot the smaller Pegasus a look that could thaw ice and freeze it all over again. The extremely feathery wings on Kashiro's body wilted in fear from the stare, which had been perfected on generations of Royal Guard trainees at the Palace in Canterlot. Desperate to change the subject, he looked at Buckshot. "So, my friend, I believe you have not introduced yourself yet."
Buck nodded. "The name's Sir Buck Apple." He noted the Captain's eyes widen slightly at the mention of his title. "But you can call me Buck. I'm new in town, and I'm lookin' for work, too, if ya have any ideas." Ignoring that the Captain had just struck a small salute, Buck continued. "I'm livin' with Rust and Ragdoll over by Sugarcube corner."
Obsidian rumbled with laughter. "Oh, I love those two. I was wondering when somepony would answer their ad for renting out a room." He rubbed two massive hooves together. "As for a job, I have an idea."
"Do tell, mate."
"How about down at the railyard? I work there myself, and I know we have a position up for opening. We need a big stallion like yourself, and you look plenty strong enough for the job."
Buck rolled the unfamiliar word around in his mouth. "What's a railyard?"
Kashiro spoke up. "The railyard is the place where the cars from trains that stop at Ponyville are sorted and arranged for their respective departing or arriving lineup."
"Errr... What's a train?"
Cloudhammer gave him a look of disbelief. Buck just shrugged. "What? Like I said, I'm not from around here."
"Clearly..." The Captain muttered.
Obsidian re-entered the conversation. "Why don't you meet me at Sugarcube Corner at dawn, and I'll show you the railyard. Who knows? You might like what you see."
Buck pondered this. Here was an opportunity to find a new job, and one which clearly seemed physically demanding, if ponies like Obsidian and himself were the normal workers. It sounded like a very good idea.
"I'd love ta. I'll see ya at dawn, savvy?"