Chapter 2: Strings
Being Quarry means that you are big and strong and scary when your sole want in this world to be is respected and admired.
Being Quarry means that you were always accused of being the bully, even when you were the victim.
Being Quarry means that you were the one that always got picked for fights, even when you did not want to.
Being Quarry means growing up mean and angry and having no real choice in the matter.
She had considered licking the frosting off of the end of his nose.
As they held the two large pieces of gingerbread, she pondered the white dollop with a smile. She had placed it there as a small joke, a little sign of affection. So, Cup Cake realized, it was no surprise that he had not removed it.
Together they held the pieces of gingerbread that would make up the roof, leaning across the table to one another. They had tried other ways over the years, but simply trying to adhere each piece to the frame of the house only resulted in it sliding off. Likewise, leaving it on its side to dry as one piece made it uneven and hard to place.
No, this way was fine. They simply held their halves together, and if they were patient, giving, and willing to adjust, then it would come together.
Cup Cake continued to stare across to her husband as he smiled back at her.
She had considered licking the frosting off of the end of his nose, but she knew he had left it there simply because she was the one whom had placed it, that he had let it sit there as a token of her affection.
So she left it there, shimmering in the morning light as she looked upon his happy face.
As history unfolds, it leaves strings of causality behind it. Things play out one way or another, and all things move on currents that are beyond mortal perception.
Things happen in Equestria for a reason, and there as in any other reality, history shimmers and shakes at the tiniest of movements. So, one wonders, what would have happened if they had not met at the gazebo?
What if Carrot, who had been nervously walking around the outside of the gazebo, had not turned back and began trotting in the opposite direction?
What would have happened if Cupcake had simply walked around and around the outside as well, looking for him but never seeing him? What if she, or he, had given up and simply walked away heartbroken?
One shudders to think of the implications.
However, for all of the happiness and fear, all of the gladness and sadness that would follow, something made Carrot turn around and begin to circle backwards around the gazebo as he began to fuss and worry…
…and caused them once again to meet nose to nose.
They stood there with their noses pressed together again as the sound of the band that had occupied the gazebo fell over them lightly.
A smile grew on her face as she lifted her nose, looking first away with a small blush and then back up to him. As she saw her expression mirrored on his face, she spoke.
"Oh! Hello… hello, Carrot!" she said with a nervous giggle. "I was goin' around and around, don'tcha know…"
"Heh, ummm, yes, me-me too," he said with a little laugh. "Good thing I turned around…"
It was a good thing indeed. Fate smiled happily as they looked at each other, and soon the welcome feel of the unexpected touch began to fade.
He fetched something from a nearby park bench, and with that, the two went off through the village square, leaving the music of the band to float over the cobblestones.
As they walked together down the streets, Cupcake realized that he had retrieved a picnic basket. As they went, she wondered what pretty scene or secluded spot he had chosen for this little rendezvous, what beautiful space he could have selected.
Her face curled up in an unimpressed smirk as they followed the river to an open space just opposite a familiar structure.
"So, ummm, we… we came back to the mill, then?" she said while she looked past him to the big brick building beyond.
"Yeah, I saw this spot here the other day and…" he said as he lowered the blanket over a spot of mown grass beneath a vast sycamore tree. At once, his eyes flashed open and the look of pride disappeared from his face.
"Back to the…oh! Dang it! I just thought that it looked…I mean it's, if you want to go someplace else," he said, dancing his hooves a bit and turning to face her. All at once he seemed to be at once trying to finish laying the blanket and gather it back up. "I thought that… this, well..."
At once, a touch of a hoof to his brought him back to attention. "Oh, it's not a bad spot," she said, "let's give it a go?"
He calmed and looked down to where her hoof touched his. With a smile they spread the blanket once more. From the basket came their lunch.
"Oh, Carrot!" she said as little trays of assorted treats were spread out before her. "It all looks so good! Did-did you make them yourself?"
"Yes, yes I did. It's my mark, you see," he stated, pride filling him as she took her first few bites of a pastry.
"I-I saw that. Matches your name well! I-I like baking too," she replied as he poured them both tall glasses of sun tea.
"I noticed that when I was looking at, I mean when I saw your mark," he spoke as he prepared her a glass. "It, it matches your name too…."
She looked back over her own body, back down to where the three cupcakes stood in stark contrast to her coat that shimmered in the spring sunlight. They stood out visibly from the shade of blue that she herself had never really defined, her mark contrasting with her tones.
"Well, I'm quite good at baking, if I do say so myself," she began, "but it's not the bakin' itself that got me the mark but the celebrations that I plan that go with-with them…"
Cupcake arched an eyebrow as she looked up to the colt. He continued to pour the tea even as it spilled over the side of the glass.
As she realized that his eyes were still upon her mark, her flank, she gave a little polite cough that brought him back to his senses.
"Hmmm, oh! Errr, sorry, sorry!" he cried, going from a contented sound to one of small panic in one breath. He lifted away the overfilled glass and poured it back into the carafe'.
As he looked away with a blush across his face, she put her hoof across her mouth to hide her smile, to conceal her own blush. It would have been unseemly coming from any other colt, to have them eyeing her so. Yet his moment of gazing caused her no alarm, and she giggled at how surprised he had been.
"He just wants to be with me, talk with me," she whispered under her breath.
"I'm-I'm sorry, did you say something?" he asked, sliding the glass across the blanket to her.
"Oh, no nothing too important," she said, taking a small sip. "So," she asked, "do you enjoy working at the mill?"
"No, not really," he said with a sigh, sitting down upon the blanket heavily. "Please, don't-don't get me wrong, I appreciate Mr. Ledger giving me a job, Miss Ivory's dad, he's really helped me out. It's, it's hard for those of us who can't get apprenticeships. He, he's really done all of us a favor, all the colts and fillies in there."
He nodded towards the mill, looking it over for a long second as he did.
"But," he said with a sigh, "if you can't get an apprenticeship in something that matches your mark, and you can't afford school, then there's not much other than the mill or the army… and I was too thin, the recruiter said…"
She looked up him and saw the disappointment creased across his face.
"I wish I had your problem, Carrot," she said, offering him some soft reassurance, "I've only ever been too… round."
Carrot smiled. This time he knew exactly what it was that he was expected to say.
"You're not round," he spoke with some certainty.
"Oh, don't fib to me!" she called as she turned away with a disapproving glance. She looked up just in time to see all of the color drain out of his face.
"Don't, don't worry about it," she said with a smile, realizing how unfair it was. "It's a bit of a trick question."
With a great sigh of relief, Carrot returned to preparing their little lunch. As he did, they talked about a thousand tiny things: their preferences, their likes, their wants, and their dreams. As they did, gates of knowing opened up between them and strings of causality wrapped around the two.
She looked up and saw something in his face as he spoke about getting his job at the mill. As Carrot talked she felt a cart go by on the big white wooden bridge behind them, saw an old pony with a crumpled hat pulling it across as the wheels sounded out across the boards.
She looked back to Carrot, saw the light falling through the sycamore upon him.
Carrot stopped speaking, turned to ask her a question. He had been about invoke the oldest of all Equestrian pick-up lines, "How did you get your mark?", when instead he saw the winds run through the tones of her mane. He looked on as her face lifted to his, caught the rose colored eyes once more. As he drifted in her stare, the waterwheel across the river went around and around and around with soft wet sounds…
He broke the gaze and looked up to the sycamore. Deep inside the tree something flit about, and he risked a little call.
Cupcake tilted her head as he gave a whistle. To her pleasure, one bird answered his call and then another. Soon two sets of chickadees were perched upon the handle of the basket.
Together the ponies dropped crumbs from their lunch that the birds ate with happy sounds or carried off to fledglings in the nests beyond, the newborn birds growing strong in the new spring.
Soon other birds joined them.
Cupcake and Carrot began tearing off pieces of pastries and throwing them to the ducks that came waddling up the grassy beach to where they sat. Carrot could only smile as Cupcake left the broken bits of pastry in the hollow between her hooves and leaned forward. Venturesome little brown ducklings soon ate directly from her offered hooves.
Their gullets full, the ducks settled into the shade beneath the sycamore as well, dozing quietly besides the ponies.
There was a great splash, and Carrot and Cupcake looked up to see two vast white birds lift themselves from the millpond.
"Oh, Carrot, look… they're swans!" she called as she sat upright, causing the ducks to come awake and fidget. "Aren't they beautiful!"
The two trumpeter swans made their way purposefully up to where the picnic was set.
"Oh, and-and aren't they… large," said Cupcake, wrapping one of her hooves around Carrot's foreleg and leaning into him slightly.
Carrot inflated himself and began breaking a croissant in half. As the swans came near, he tossed both halves to the birds.
To his surprise they seemed to eat their halves in seemingly two bites and then began pecking their way through the lunch as though it had been set for their enjoyment.
"Hey! Hey, birds!" called a rather alarmed Carrot as he stood and attempted to gather up his tray of pastries. At once the male swan hissed at him and bit his hoof. After a surprised yelp passed his lips, Carrot reached in once more to retrieve the quickly disappearing evidence of his craft.
This only resulted in him being hissed at once again and getting his other hoof bitten by the swan.
Carrot darted in and grabbed up his tray. The great white bird spread its wings and hissed once more. As Carrot attempted to save the pastries it was all that Cupcake, the ducks, and the chickadees could do to watch without laughing as the female swan ate her fill and the male swan chased a rather put-upon looking Carrot Cake around the picnic in a wide circle.
The bird kept flapping its wings, hissing at the pony who tried to face it down and make up rather fabricated and unimposing threats against it. Every so often he would stop from dizziness or general exhaustion. This would only result in the swan biting his flank and sending the pony once more running around in circles.
As Cupcake watched, she could not help but smile. Soon she was laughing despite her attempts not to: laughing so hard that it awoke the duckling that sat in her forelegs, laughing so hard that the female swan looked up from her feasting with a judgmental glance.
There was a pause. As a heaving Carrot sat in the grass, the male swan grabbed up a pastry and ate it.
With that the two swans traded positions, and now, as the male swan ate his fill and beheld a laughing Cupcake, it was the female who bit and hissed at a rather deflated looking Carrot Cake.
Cupcake could not keep herself from laughing, from looking upon the poor pony who slowly circled the scene. Every so often, he would look to her, look like he was afraid that she was mocking him, that she was soon to leave the disaster that was unfolding.
She tried to show him that she understood, that she did not mean to be laughing, that it was not his fault. He had tried so hard. As he looked back to her with pensive eyes hers, were calm and even understanding as she laughed.
Before long, the swans had eaten all they cared to eat, had settled far away and begun to nap.
Carrot Cake slowly walked back to the blanket and looked over the ruins of the picnic. An entire night's worth of baking sat ruined, now only fit for the birds.
"Miss Cupcake, I'm-I'm so sorry…this, isn't going so well," he said, shaking the crumbs out of a tray. "I'm sorry."
"May I have another glass of tea?" she asked as she slid the glass back over to where he sat, trying her best not to awake the ducklings that slumbered upon her outstretched hooves. He looked down to her glass and then back up to her. At once he filled her glass before returning it.
To his surprise, she returned the duckling to its mother's side. As the glass of tea sat between them, her hoof sat upon his.
"I-I know it's not what you were hoping for," she said as she looked over the desecrated remains of the picnic, "but, but I do appreciate it. I-I had enough to eat, and… please, don't stop trying. I do appreciate it, this day."
"Of course… you're, you're welcome. I'm-I'm so glad," he said smiling back down to her.
Together they sat wordlessly: drinking their tea and watching the warm spring day play out across the millpond. Across the way, a small stand of cherry trees was surrendering its pink petals to the ground. As they were tossed on small breezes or fluttered to the surface of the water, they swirled around in the wash from the big mill wheel. The wheel carried out its constant rhythm with a perfect cadence, the wet sounds seeming almost like a heartbeat.
The sound reached Cupcake as she sat there next to him. As the smells of the forests beyond carried over the water of the river, it reached them with a sweet scent, and soon she felt herself become heavy. As the small peeps of ducklings and cascades of warm air drifted around her she, felt her eyes close. With that, her head lowered upon the nearest inviting place.
There was a heartbeat nearby, and as it matched the turn of the mill, her senses sought it, and soon her head was tucked into the space from which it sounded.
Carrot gave a small sound. He looked down as Cupcake's head lay across his forelegs, pressed against his chest. Inside his mind he sang happily as she soon gave small breaths, and with that, she was asleep across his outstretched legs.
The colt fought to think of the right thing to do. He had wanted to do so much today, had so many plans, so many things he had wanted to show her. Would it be right to wake her? No, no of course not, not with the small look of contentment that lay on the serene face.
Instead, all he could do was look across the body of the lovely mare, ponder the perfect shades of her coat, her mane. How very much like her eyes her mane and tail were. The tones of rose flowed into and out of each other, playing upon one another in highlights and pale symphonies of a shade so much happier than pink, so much humbler than red.
Her coat, he realized, was a shade of blue that one can only speak about in poetry. Words like turquoise, cerulean- these all failed to capture the perfection of the shade.
There was only one word for it, only one that came close.
She was beautiful.
Inside the colt words grew, phrases that he did not know how to articulate. How to tell her that she was beautiful, but that her beauty alone was not why he felt this way. How to tell her how very little it mattered that she was round?
Yes, she was a little round. That he knew was true, but pleasantly so.
In his head, the only fact that repeated itself was this… that this mare had wanted to spend time with him, had chosen to give him this chance. How could he not try, no matter how badly it went? Is it okay to tell a mare these things on a first date?
The same smells that had drawn her down now reached him as well, those wonderful scents of spring along the river and the pond spread over them. Suddenly these questions did not matter… suddenly the feel of her head upon his legs made up his whole world.
With that he too lowered his head and placed it gently alongside hers.
The ponies laid there together upon the checkered blanket as light fell softly through the branches of the sycamore, and the soft cadence of the waterwheel sounded out in a happy rhythm.
"Miss Cupcake?" came a soft voice. "Miss Cupcake?"
Cupcake raised her head and looked around in a bit of surprise. When she looked to him, insight grew across her face and at once she began to apologize.
"Oh no! Carrot! Did-did I fall asleep? For how long?" she said as she raised her hoof and began to straighten her mane.
"Oh, oh not so long only about an hour or two… or four…" he said, trying to keep up a smile.
"Oh, you're fibbing to me again!" she said, looking upon his face as it drew down in pain. "I can tell… I'm sorry!"
"No, it's okay really," he stammered even as his face contorted.
"If it's okay why do you look so upset?" she asked, her own face sinking.
"Because my legs are starting to wake up!" he answered in a whisper of pain.
She pondered this for a moment, looked down to where her head had been resting. As the colt struggled to stand a pained look shot through him.
She felt herself smiling to him even as she winced. As he wobbled, she began to giggle, offering her own forelegs to help him stand.
The remains of the picnic were soon cleared away, and together the two went up the hill back into the city.
The day shifted from afternoon to evening as they walked and talked, stopping to look over stalls of market goods or just observing the ponies that walked past. Soon their thoughts turned to dinner, the avian-befuddled meal beside the river having lost its potency.
"We-we could eat at the bistro, or Trot's Café, or the restaurant in the Seabiscuit Hotel, or…" he began, rattling off names of places to eat nearby.
"The Seabiscuit," she said, turning that way, gathering his hoof once more to follow. "They have such a lovely quiche, you know." He marveled once more at her decisiveness, how much she seemed to know what she wanted.
Dinner progressed well enough, even though the waiter dropping Carrot's salad upon the colt's lap made for some small discomfort.
As the waiter apologized, Carrot helped him tidy up. Cupcake's small laughter leapt around again, and he looked to her once more with worried eyes.
Yet, kindness sat upon her face. The colt was trying so hard, she knew, wanted this to be special. "Just keep trying," she spoke to herself, "that's all I ask, that you just keep trying."
When they finished their deserts and headed back out into the city, they saw how quickly time had passed. The fireflies were once more making long luminescent trails across the scenes, and following them, the two arrived back at the very park where their time together had begun.
To their amazement the band was still playing, the soft sounds still drifting around the gazebo as a panorama of stars opened overhead and night crept over them.
"Is-is there anything I can get you?" he asked as they sat together upon the bench. "The shop across the way is still open. I'm pretty sure they have roasted almonds. Would-would you like…"
Carrot felt her lean closer into him as the spring air began to turn chilly, felt her hoof ask for his.
"Oh, okay," he said with a smile, gathering her hoof beside his, leaning back into her in the slightest as the music still flitted around them.
All too soon, it was too dark for the band to read their notes, the small lights of the magical lanterns not providing enough to overcome the shroud of darkness.
With a sigh the two lifted themselves from the bench. Carrot grabbed up the hidden picnic basket and laid a few bits in the big glass jar that sat before the gazebo. As the band gathered their things up, they wished the two goodnight, and with that Carrot let Cupcake lead him towards what he assumed was her home.
"Oh, wow! You have a beautiful house!" he said, looking upon the tall, pillared dwelling, one so large it was visible even as they turned down the block.
"It's-it's not mine… I'm-I'm staying with Ivory and her family for the moment," spoke Cupcake, her voice falling down into a tremble. Carrot almost tripped over the tone. It was so different from anything he had heard from her. He nearly stopped to ask her if anything was wrong, but at once she gave a small laugh and pointed to the wide porch as they entered the gates around the house and its garden.
"Oh look," she said in a tone that was at the same time sarcastic and happy, "Mother has waited up for me."
Carrot ran his hoof through his mane, ran his tongue across his teeth to make sure none of his dinner clung there in anticipation of meeting her family. Still, even as he readied himself, he wondered why Cupcake's mother would be at Ivory's house.
As he got his first look, he realized why Cupcake was still giggling.
Ivory herself smiled upon them as he led Cupcake up the steps, the other mare moving aside to make room for them.
"Oh no, Ive! Did I miss curfew?" Cupcake asked in a falsely painted tone of worry.
"Oh, Cuppy!" she said with a laugh. As the two mares turned back to face Carrot, their expressions fell. As the colt stood there in the porch lights, his smile was small, his unhappiness hidden behind it poorly.
"Carrot, Carrot… what's wrong?" asked Cupcake, trotting back over to him.
"Miss Cupcake," he said, his ears falling back in worry. "Now… now that it's over, I-I have to ask. Despite-despite the swans, and the salad, and not actually doing all that much…"
He took a little breath.
"Miss Cupcake, did you have a good time? May-may I see… may I see you again?"
He took a much larger breath.
"I-I really enjoyed being with you. Did-did you enjoy spending time with-with me? I really hope you did. I really, really hope…"
Equestrians rub noses on any number of occasions, and it is not simply reserved for those whom are growing their relationship.
The act occupies a position in their interactions that say many things. An elementary student may rub noses with a favored teacher on the last day of school. A child might rub noses with a beloved cousin whom they have not seen in months.
A colt may often rub noses with both of his parents before he leaves for university for the first time, or when all of his things depart their home for the last time.
It is an appropriate greeting for a pony to give their parents on the occasion of handing them their newborn grandchildren.
It is that much more than a hug, that much less than a kiss. So, it must be said, that one was offered up at the end of a first date means that things must have gone very well indeed by most measurable standards.
"Yes," it said, as Cupcake took a step forward, lifted her nose to his, "I did have a good time… I promise I did."
"Yes," the act spoke as he lowered himself slightly into her, let her begin the small warm motion. "Yes, please, I do want to see you again."
"Yes," it called in very clear terms as they touched themselves to each other, let the feeling of this contact fly between them for a long moment, "I really, really, really like being with you."
Ivory looked upon them with a small smile as they lifted their noses from one another, looked at one another for a long while as they said their goodbyes.
"Carrot?" came Cupcake's voice, lifted into the cool breeze of the spring night.
"Miss Cupcake?" he answered, teetering slightly on the stairs.
"Would you please just call me 'Cupcake' from now on?" she asked as she stood in the doorway. "I'd like it if you would, you know."
"Oh, of course," replied the colt, tilting his head to watch her as the door slowly closed. "Of course. Goodnight, Cupcake."
"Goodnight!" she called back as the thick white door closed behind her.
That was too bad, as through the door she could not see how he had taken a deep breath, how he had gone cantering off through the garden towards the gate with a large dopey smile across his face.
She could not see how he had spun, had given joyful whoops as he leapt through the air like a wild horse, his joy running through him.
Even when he was far beyond the door, he was still running, laughing and calling out joyfully. Out he went, running through the fields beyond the city, dashing among the fireflies that flickered and lit in the wake of his passing.
"She wants to see me again!" he called aloud as he ran past the trees behind the old dancehall.
His calls immediately stopped and his eyes went wide as he tripped over one of the many strings of causality that had been built that day, this one taking the form of a couple who had been hidden among the tall grasses.
As he rubbed his head, he looked back at the scowling stallion and giggling mare. For a brief moment, he could not decide whether to apologize or ask for relationship advice.
Back within the house the big door came closed, and at once an enthusiastic Ivory had spun to entreat upon her dearest friend.
"From that display of affection I take it that it went well indeed," she began. Soon all she could do was look at Cupcake. The mare stood in the hallway, her hoof lifted to her face, resting upon it lightly as she smiled and smiled and smiled.
"Oh, Cupcake, do stop!" giggled Ivory.
"Stop what, Ive?" answered Cupcake in a small tone.
"You're beaming! You're simply radiant, Cuppy!" answered the smiling mare as she lifted her hoof. Slowly, gently she turned Cupcake's face towards the tall hallway mirror.
Cupcake looked deep within, saw her wide smile, saw in that reflection a look of happiness upon her face that she had never seen before. It seemed almost to encompass all of her; it was almost as though a visible aura of contentment had swept the length of her body.
"He just wants to be with me, Ive, he doesn't want anything from me except to just be with me. I-I fell asleep with my head to his chest…"
Cupcake stood staring into the mirror, her hoof moving slowly to her nose. Ivory stared on with a wide smile, tilting her head back and forth to ponder her friend.
"Oh, Ive," Cupcake finally sighed, her voice at first soft and rolling around inside an emotion and then ending in a high tone of realization, "I'm falling in love, Ive… I'm falling in love!"
Ivory lifted Cupcake's chin so that her head rested across her withers. Gathering her friend into a deep hug she spoke softly, rocking her back and forth.
"I am so happy for you, Cuppy," she said as she smiled. "Oh, Cuppy, I am so happy for you!"
Even as that evening drew to a close for Cupcake and Carrot, the strings of causality upon which they had plucked continued to make their quiet music.
In the reaches beyond Ponyville there sat a little farmhouse. Even as the dark of the spring night settled around the house, as the little voices of the insects leapt out across the farm, a single room within was still illuminated by candlelight.
The stallion walked slowly up and down the room, listening with a tired smile as the foal upon his back went on and on and on about her latest triumph.
"Those were the biggest balloons yet! They were balloon-tastic! Balloon-erific! Do you think we can find bigger balloons next week? How about brighter paper for the presents! Ohhh! That's right, I'm out of ribbon! I need more ribbon! Daddy, daddy! How about a piñata that looks like…"
At once she stopped. He was almost as surprised by her sudden silence as he had been by her waking calls, the ones that had sent him into her room in alarm. The stallion turned, looked at her with a thankful smile as a great vast yawn consumed the face of his little filly.
"Here now, time for bed," he said as the filly slowly laid her head against his withers once more.
"But… I wanna plan my next party," she said blearily as her mother entered the room on quiet hooves.
"Hush, hush, hush," spoke her mother, "How can you be so mean to tomorrow?"
"What?" asked the little pony, almost surprised by her mother's question, "Whatcha mean by 'mean', momma?"
"With all the wonderful things tomorrow has planned for you, how can you still be awake?" asked her mother with a small smile.
"Omigosh!" called the little filly, her head wobbling around in tiredness. "If I don't go to sleep it can't be tomorrow! It'll still be today, kinda!"
With that she reached out her foreleg, let her mother lift her gingerly, and with that revelation, the three went up the stairs.
They entered the room quietly, did their best to let the other two fillies sleep as they laid this one into her bed.
"Goodnight kiss, goodnight kiss, oh how I wish I wish…" began the little filly as they tucked her in, the singsong becoming quieter as she went.
"Oh wait," she said as they planted their kisses upon her in turn, "kiss and… wish, don't… rhyme…"
With that the little filly was asleep.
As they made their way out of the room, the mare was surprised that he did not follow her to their bedroom. Instead, he headed down the stairs, and soon the sound of the door opening sounded through the house.
"Clyde?" she asked in a worried tone as she followed, her hooves silent upon the stairs, going gingerly out into the night air.
She found him sitting not far from the house. The stallion sat there, staring up to the night sky, looking to the panorama of stars that sat over his farm.
"Clyde?" she asked again as she sat beside her husband. "Dear, are you well? Are you not tired, love?"
"I have flowin' through me enough sugar to keep me awake long inta' a fortnight," he said with a small laugh.
Roxy laid her head on his withers, sighed in sympathy.
"If it all makes her happy," he said, leaning his head upon hers, "I shall have a party every week for the rest of me days… I shall have parties until me blood runs frostin' and I sweat punch and cider."
The two laughed, looked out to the starscape beyond the rock farm.
"Oh Roxy," he said, closing his eyes and drawing her closer to him. "She saved us all, made this family happy and whole with her mark, bless her."
"Our Pinkamena," said the mare, drinking in his warmth as the spring chill set in, "all spark and smiles. The girls are so happy now, how much better these weeks have been…"
Clyde's head fell, and at once she drew him up.
"What's wrong, love?" she asked, nuzzling beneath his chin.
"I have nothin' for her, Roxy, I don't have anything except my heart to give her. I know nothin' of the world her mark has opened up for her… I have only ever been… quiet. You know that."
Clyde swallowed hard, his head falling once again. Inside a moment he felt her hooves touching beneath his chin, gently lifting his face to look into hers.
"You've only ever been my stallion, Clyde. You've only ever been the stallion I've loved. Whatever the future holds you'll find a way for her, for all our girls. I know that… I believe that," she said, slowly raising herself to him, rising to lay her cheek to his.
He held his mare there, beneath the stars, as he looked out across the stretches of fields of rock. Soon Clyde closed his eyes, gathered her deeper into himself, and shared his warmth with her.
He opened his eyes, looked out across the fields, and breathed a gentle Invoke.
"Oh Celestia," he whispered. "Help me. This isn't to be her world. Help me, let me find some place for my Pinkie, help me make her happy…"
With that the two stood, she motioning for him to follow, to make for their room and the bed beyond wherein they would lie in their shared embrace and await the coming day.
He went with her, his hoof in hers, as they made for the door.
Yet even as they went, his ears perked up. Strings of causality flowed from the rock farm, snapping taut to ponies far over the hills in Ponyville.
As these connections were made, it seemed to him that a voice carried on the small spring breeze, only just audible over the sounds of the insects that chirped happily in the spring night.
Clyde shook his head, laughed to himself as he opened the door for his wife. He must have eaten far too many cupcakes, he thought, if he was hearing things on the breeze.
With that they disappeared inside, and night finally settled around the little farmhouse.
The breeze blew once more, and though there were now no ponies there to hear the murmur, it seemed to repeat itself.
"Fear not. Don't be afraid," it seemed to whisper in the slightest of divine giggles. "I am working upon it. I am working upon it indeed."
Being Quarry means that you learned very quickly that if ponies look upon you, they either feel a smirking superiority or fear. You prefer fear.
Being Quarry means that they will try to use big fancy words to confuse you or intimidate you into doing things their way. You silence them with acts of savagery and then do things your way.
Being Quarry means knowing that some ponies will talk down to you like a child. You learned long ago to answer them with shouts of wrath.
Being Quarry means knowing all of these things, and sitting up long into the night wondering if it ever could have been any different.