Special Thanks to:
Well now, fancy meeting you here my young colt. Do you like this dark abyss?
Whoa now, no need to get angry and curse at me. You’re my guest, so show some respect to your host or else I’ll just toss your flank right back out there.
What’s that? Where are you, and who is this dark, handsome robed figure which is moi? Well, that is a rather long story my young friend. If I just came out and told you who I was... well, where’s the fun in that? Would it sate your curiosity? Does it even matter?
Of course not. What matters to you is exactly how you arrived here, is it not?
You’re asking me who you are? Hmm, seems to me that our little colt here has amnesia. Do you truly not remember?
You remember being hit on the head, but not much else, eh? Talk about being vague, sheesh. I’m surprised you didn’t die, especially with how hard it hit ya, but don’t worry, I’m here to... refresh your memory. It’s actually quite a thrilling tale. Would you like to hear it?
Hey, get your hooves off me and sit down! Here I am, going out of my way to help you out, and you have the nerve to ponyhandle me!? I am your memory seeker, your story teller, and your only source of information at this time. So are you going to fight me or do you really want to know what happened to you?
You want to know what happened to you, eh? Very well, here in this leather tome, is your very own story of how you got here and how you began. Why do I have such a suspicious source of material? Well, I suppose you’ll just have to find out then, hm?
Now then, take a seat my young colt. Stay awhile, and listen…
You awake to find yourself in a straw-like bed. You had just had a horrible nightmare and already it was slipping away from you. You tried to recall the specifics of the nightmare, but with each passing moment, they began to devolve into a muddled mess of images and sounds. You could have sworn that you were dreaming of a dragon baking a cake, however weird that may be.
You sighed to yourself, hoping that it was of nothing of importance. You prop yourself up on the nearby windowsill before opening the curtains and windows to let Celestia’s sun shine in.
Ponyville is where you live and it’s been a couple days since you’ve moved in. Seeing the townsfolk going about their usual jobs and businesses put a smile on your face. You mentally thanked a distant friend of yours for the idea of moving here of all places.
You thought back to your time in Canterlot, back when you were up on stage, a Trumpet or Saxophone in hoof, playing beautiful music with your band for hundreds to enjoy. Sadly, it didn’t last for very long and your music career slowly ground to a halt after two years. It was a small time band, always playing for the music and not the money.
Giving a small sigh, you shut the window, leaving those memories behind. Such memories were great to have, but you knew you needed to move on. Grabbing your signature black but worn top hat from your nightstand, you walked over to your closet to find your trusty trumpet and saxophone case inside. You smiled as you laid your hoof on it, feeling the hard yet silky texture of the case beneath. You popped open the case for old times sake and there they were. Your silver trumpet was just as you left it, polished to a near perfect finish yet still managing to look worn out. Then there was the brass Saxophone, its dulled color giving it an older look than it truly was. Their conditions were a testament to just how much you played and cared for them.
You closed the case and smiled. You had named these two Silver and Brass respectively. The band mates thought that that was stupid and silly, but you couldn’t care less. No one else knew the ins and outs of these 2 instruments better than you.
Closing the closet door, you walked out into the living room. It was still fairly empty of furniture, so all you had was a couch, a couple bookshelves, and the bare necessities for a working kitchen. You always admired how little one actually needed to survive. One could save so much if they took the time to find the difference between their wants and their needs. You didn’t have that much money either, so spending money was always a big deal.
But you didn’t care; you had what you needed. No more, no less.
Tapping your top hat to see that it was still there, you exited your small one story house to head out towards the local bakery, doubly named as Sugarcube Corner. You’ve seen it once or twice during the actual move, but never actually paid them a visit as of yet. Everything that you knew about it was heard from passing ponies and gossip amongst the townsfolk.
You merely sighed as you reached your destination, taking in everything to the icing encrusted walls to the cupcake tower above. You wondered if a unicorn or a Pegasus had built the place. With this amount of detail, they must have had a passion for pastries and baked goods.
You opened your pouch to find a few bits huddled together at the bottom. Seeing that you came prepared for anything that struck your fancy, you walked in, top hat and all.
A sweet aroma drop kicked your nostrils into submission the moment you entered the bakery. You lost yourself, quickly taking in the smell of cakes, fruits, chocolate, and other delectable pastries that wafted through the air. The design layout was a bit wacky, but you quickly assumed that it was their theme. It clearly shouted out to anypony one clear message: ‘We sell sweets, pastries, and diabetes!’
“Welcome! What can I get for you?”
Your vision shifts to an older looking blue mare behind the counter. You give her a smile as you place a hoof on the counter, filling her in about how you were new in town and were looking around. A smile formed on her face.
“A new pony in Ponyville? Oh my, I had no idea but it’s still a pleasure to meet you. Well, if you need anything, please let me know. I’ll help you in any way I can. I’m Mrs. Cake by the way.”
You give her a firm nod, understanding her words. You took a look at their baked goods display. Everything ranging from the most extravagant of cakes to the simplest of muffins lined their shelves. You couldn’t help but gawk at their expansive selection.
“Impressive isn’t it?” The blue mare said, your eyes quickly averting to her. You nod in agreement and she smiled.
“Me and my husband started this business a long time ago. We have a bit of a sweet tooth and it just seemed right, what with our cutie marks and all. So, with the suggestion of my husband, we started our own bakery: Sugarcube Corner. Oh dear me, I’m rambling about the past again, aren’t I?” she said, giggling into a free hoof. ”It’s quite a long history though and I wouldn’t want to bore you with the details…”
You motioned for her to go on, curious of the history the store has, but she only grinned as she waved a hoof at you.
“Are you sure? It will bore you to tears.”
You tapped a hoof to your chin, wondering if it was a good idea to hear such a story. The last time you agreed to listen to an older mare’s story, you fell asleep in the middle of it. You could have sworn the story was at most 8 hours long. However it was an understatement when you later found out that her story lasted to at most, 12 hours long!
But still, you were new in town, and you couldn’t pass up learning a bit of history to how it came to be here. Shrugging, you nodded once more. Mrs. Cake gave a bigger smile towards you as she clapped her hooves together.
“Great! Since there aren’t any customers at the moment, I’d be happy to!”
You leaned against a nearby wall, curious to hear her tale. As she opened her mouth, however, you noticed something out of the corner of your eye lunging at you. When you turned to face whatever it was that caught your attention, you lost it. You blinked as your head suddenly felt lighter. Placing your hooves on top of your head, you realized your top hat was gone. You panicked, turning around to look wherever it might have fallen. There, you see a small green lizard on the ground, clutching onto your hat with its toothless gums. It was scurrying off and you gave chase, shouting out the different things you’d use its hide for when you got your hooves on it. The lizard slinked over to a pink pony in the back and crawled up her leg. Your eyes followed the lizard as it stopped at the pony’s head and hid inside the hat.
“Gummy! I’ve been looking all over for you! And you brought a present for me? You’re so sweet!”
Your gaze finally landed on the pink pony with fluffy pink hair with a trio of balloons as her cutie. You blinked, confused and angry at the same time.
The pink pony finally caught notice of the new guest and grinned.
“Ooh, ooh! Who are you? I’ve never seen you before! Are you new in town? My name’s Pinkie Pie, and that was my pet alligator, Gummy!” You tried to follow her with your eyes, but her bouncing around quickly made you regret doing so as you began to feel queasy and nauseous. You watch as she adjusts your top hat on her head and extends out a hoof, as if expecting a hoofshake.
“I am madam Pinkamena Diane Pie, your caretaker, candy maker, baker, and other ers, hee hee!” You hear her say in a mocking high-class voice.
You could already feel the massive headache cresting the proverbial hill.
Special Thanks To:
Interesting, so you had just moved into Ponyville then? Then you decided to pay a visit to the locally renowned bakery known as Sugarcube Corner and chatted with some of the locals there, right?
It’s coming in a little more clearly to you now, eh? Well good. That makes my job a lot easier! Guess I won’t have to keep narrating then... Well, have fun in life, eh?
Now THAT was uncalled for my boy, and how in the world does my mother play a part in all this!? Is it wise to tick off the one pony who truly knows what happened to you?
Yeah, I thought so. Now, was that any way to react to a joke?
Mocking your loss of memory isn’t a joke? Well, I agree with you there... It’s actually pretty damn hilarious!
Yes yes, I know. I’m wasting time with my hilarious banter, but you need to lighten up a bit. Not everything is all balloons and streamers, but you should get the most out of life whilst you still can.
What’s that? You say I should just keep reading the book? But I enjoy watching you squirm around and suffer. Look at me, I’m smiling at how hilarious this all is.
Alright alright, no need to curse. I’ll continue reading. Now, where was I…?
You sighed as you placed your hoof in hers, shaking it, only to have a jolt of electricity shoot up your leg and into the rest of your body. You could have sworn that your body lit up like a lightning bolt. You jumped back in utter shock as the pink pony collapsed to the ground in a fitful of giggles.
You growled at her and asked why she did such a thing, only to be interrupted by Mrs. Cake.
“Pinkie Pie! That’s no way to treat a new customer!”
Pinkie got up from the floor as she stifled her laughter.
“Heh heh, sorry! It was too good of a joke to pass up!” she squeaked about between giggles.
“There’s a difference between a joke and scaring away new customers!” scolded Mrs. Cake.
You brushed down some fur that was sticking up after that impromptu electroshock therapy as Pinkie Pie and Mrs. Cake argued over what is and what is not a joke. You could have sworn your mane was singed from the amount of juice that buzzer was packing. Checking to see that your mane wasn’t on fire or anything of the sort, you tell them that while you were slightly miffed, you were perfectly fine.
You looked over at Pinkie, your top hat still gracing her cotton candy-esque mane. You hold out your hoof, asking for her to return it.
“But Gummy gave it to me as a present!” she said, grasping onto it with both forehooves.
Your brow twitched in annoyance. This mare was pushing your patience to the breaking point, and it wasn’t even noon yet. You motion with your hoof again, asking for it back once more. Mrs. Cake looked at Pinkie with a frown.
“Pinkie, that’s his hat. Now give it back to him already.”
“But Gummy gave it to me!” she repeated vehemently.
“Honestly Pinkie, I don’t know why you carry that alligator with you when you work. Your alligator stole that hat from him. Now would you please give it back to him?”
You see Pinkie frown, reluctantly hoofing the hat back to you. You grasp it and put it on top of your head. You smiled, satisfied that your lost possession was returned...
...But then you felt a tug on your head, almost as if something was tugging your hair. You blinked and removed your hat, only to find the alligator biting gnawing on your hair with its toothless maw. For all intents and purposes, you assumed that the alligator was the aforementioned Gummy. Annoyed but with an air of calmness, you yanked him out of your hair and passed him to Pinkie, reminding her to keep a closer watch on her pet. This caused Pinkie to frown.
“But why? Gummy is a friendly alligator, isn’t he? Aren’t you, Gummy?” she questioned as she placed him on top her head, where he began to gnaw on every poofy lock of hair in range.
You were about to mention something to her about how friendly it would be as a suitcase, but thankfully Mrs. Cake cut you off before you could say so.
“Pinkie dear, could you please take him upstairs? It’s obviously bothering him.”
Pinkie frowned as she gave a small nod. “Okie Dokie Lokie!” she said, hopping up the stairs. You looked back at Mrs. Cake, confused, but she merely smiled.
“I’m very sorry about Pinkie’s antics. She can be something else from time to time. Don’t get me wrong though. She’s a great help around the store, but she tends to go overboard quite often.”
You merely sighed as you brushed off the matter, forgiving the hyperactive pony’s misdeeds. Mrs. Cake clapped her hooves together, happy.
“Well great! Now then, about that story I owe you…” she leaned on the counter, her fore-hooves propping her up while you leaned back against the cool wall.
“It all started when…”
You woke up with a start. Hazily, you looked around to find that you weren’t in your bed but inside a bakery of some sorts. Your eyes snap completely open as you realize what had just happened. You swivel your head around until you find Mrs. Cake still recounting her story.
“…And that’s how I met my husband, and we lived happily ever after!” she finished with a smile, unaware that her audience had fallen asleep at the beginning. You immediately nod as if you had heard the whole thing. The last thing you wanted was to appear rude to the pony who owned the local bakery. No-telling what they would do to the stuff they’d sell you then. You looked around once more for a clock and found one hanging up on the wall by the door.
You recalled it was sometime around 9 in the morning when you left your house, and if you accounted for the travel time, you were here for a little over an hour now. You thanked Celestia that she didn’t notice you nod off. You pretended that you were listening the entire time, and told her it was a wonderful story, to which she happily smiled.
“I’m glad you enjoyed it but I’m sure I’ve wasted enough of your time already. Is there anything else you’d like to know?”
You shook your head before deciding on a cupcake to buy in exchange for her surely wonderful (but forgotten) story of hers.
After exiting the bakery that presumably came out of a story book, you take a deep breath, reveling in its freshness. While you enjoyed living in Canterlot, nothing beat how fresh the air smelled out here in Ponyville.
After leaving the store behind, you opened up the bag the cupcake was in and pulled it out. It was a simple, red velvet cupcake topped with a frosting made of white cream cheese. You start munching on the cupcake you bought inside, thinking of the next item on the agenda for the day.
“Ooh, ooh! You’re Mr. Top Hat, aren’t you!?”
…Only to be interrupted as that pink pony from before appeared before you. How you didn’t notice her there in the first place was anypony’s guess, and now you were paying for it.
You asked her why she wasn’t back at the bakery working, but she just started to laugh as if she had just heard the funniest joke ever.
“I’m on break, silly! Why else would I be out here?”
You started to question how anyone would go on break in such a short amount of time.
Pinkie Pie just kept on smiling as she stared at you. You asked her to not call you Mr. Top Hat, but the request was met with deaf ears as she leapt through the air and took your hat for the second time today. This earned an audible growl from you.
“Oh wow, it’s the Top Hat Gummy gave me! It looks a lot like my other top hat! Here, let me show you!”
She placed a hoof into her pink, fluffy hair and pulled out a brown top hat twice the size of yours. Now, you’ve heard of hiding things in certain places on your body, be it pockets or hidden spaces... but this... this was ridiculous. That hat was bigger than her head and yet she pulled it out of a place half that size. It didn’t stop there...
“Speaking of hats, let me show you my collection! I’ve got a stetson hat, a party hat, a flower hat, ooh, I even have a lollipop hat and...”
She continued on her rant, pulling out another hat out of her mane and stacking it on the previous one until it towered high above you. You stared at where her hoof was disappearing into, each time reappearing with a hat en-tow. The only thought that ran through your head was how in Equestria she was pulling this off. One thing was clear. She wasn’t a a normal, run-of-the-mill pony.
“...And that’s my entire hat collection. What do you think?”
You stared speechless at the tower of hats and the bubbly, pink mare wearing them all. When you opened your mouth to say something, the high tower of hats sunk back into her hair like water swirling down the drain, leaving behind your top hat on her head yet again.
You rubbed your eyes with a hoof and did a double-take as you couldn’t believe what had just happened. It defied numerous laws of physics, not to mention ones of fashion, but this didn’t stop the pink pony from rambling on.
“So anyway, Gummy was really thoughtful when he gave it to me, because I can use it in my high-class act that I’ve been practicing on! Did you know it involves me and Gummy? Ooh ooh, and Twilight too? Maybe I can add Rarity in as well! Oooooh it’ll be the best, most exciting act ever!”
You didn’t know what she was bumbling about, and none of the names she mentioned seemed familiar. You tried to keep your cool, asking her to give you your hat back. She acted confused.
“This hat is yours, Mr. Top Hat?”
You again told her to stop calling you that, but apparently she paid it no mind as she took off your hat and handed it back to you.
“Sorry Mr. Top Hat. I just got so excited, and your hat looks super duper-rific! I’ve never seen a hat like that before, well, except when I went to Canterlot this one time. Ooh, is that a small grey patch on there? Did you tear it before? Or maybe get it wet? Or did you feel like re-coloring it at some po—“
You placed a hoof on her muzzle, attempting to stem the flood of words coming out of her pink muzzle. Despite the hoof-in-mouth approach, she kept on talking, albeit muffled. You gave a heavy sigh as you could still decipher what she saying despite her handicap. You assumed the quickest way out of this would be to explain your hat.
After assuring her that you would tell her, she immediately stood quiet, awaiting the story with anticipation and a smile.
You gave a deep breath as you explained. Your hat was given to your father when you were younger. In fact, your father was a talented musician himself back in his day, skilled with a flute instead of the trumpet and saxophone like you. The hat had been passed down for at least a generation, and since you were the first in this one, you were the next to inherit it. You remember your father’s words about the hat too, saying it was a good luck charm and that it was up to you to take care of it now.
Since then, you’ve kept the hat with you, keeping that idea alive. Pinkie couldn’t help but go ‘ooh’ at the story in fascination.
“Ooh! Your father gave it to you! That’s awesome! Where is he now?”
You stood silent when she brought up the whereabouts of your father. Placing the top hat on your head once more, you told her it would be a tale for another time, saying you had other pressing matters to attend to. In reality, you didn’t really want to talk about it, in fear of bringing up sad memories. You were about to walk off until she somehow materialized in front of you again. How was she doing that?
“Aw, well okay! But hey, you’re new in town aren’t you?” she questioned rapidly.
You thought about your response for a few seconds, in fear that she’d pester you to no end if you didn’t answer correctly. You hesitantly nodded, her eyes developing a sparkle-like sheen.
“You’re new? Like really really new!?” You mentioned to her that you’ve just moved in, which made her leap into the air at an incredulous height. You wondered how she had such a spring in her jump, but you didn’t bother to ask. Most likely it was due to the amount of sugar she consumed at that bakery she worked at.
She forcefully gave you a hug after landing back on Equestria. Your face flushed a crimson red and you froze in place, not knowing how to respond to such treatment. Thankfully, you regained your senses the moment she let go of you.
“I should throw you a super fantastic party tonight, so I can welcome you to Ponyville! Ooh, everypony’s going to be so happy we have a new pony in town! Meet me at Sugarcube Corner tonight, alright? Good? Good! Okay, time to make the bestest awesome-est party EVER!”
You weren’t much of a fan at participating in parties unless it was a gig. It wasn’t that you hated them, it was more like you were neutral about them. Most of your time spent at parties was up on stage playing songs for the rest of the ponies present. Before you could tell her it was a bad idea, she immediately disappeared in a puff of smoke. You looked around until a pink blur disappearing down the road caught your eye. You inwardly sighed.
Why do you keep attracting the weirdos in your life?
Special Thanks To:
So you got invited to a party then? Sounds like a fine time to ‘boogie your tail,’ don’tcha think?
What? You can’t dance!? I find that very hard to believe, coming from someone of your stature and background. Are you pulling my leg here?
Why am I even asking you this? Well, I used to be a dancer back in the day, maybe a millennia or so ago. With my skills and giant afro, I rocked those dance floors until the sun came up to end my crusade. It was madness I tell you.
How am I still alive if it was a millennium ago? Well that’s for me to know and you to find out. Besides, I thought you were interested in your own story, not mine?
You’re curious as to who I am? Well, I’m sure you’ll find out when your story comes to a close. Trust me, all of the answers will be revealed in due time. You just need to keep listening. Now, shall we continue?
You were still rather puzzled why Pinkie, a pony that you barely even knew, would go and organize a party in your honor. But then again, you had met crazier folk back when you were still in the music gig. However, Pinkie was definitely not one of those normal, run-of-the-mill crazies.
That bubbly, pink mare was uniquely crazy.
She still had that craziness that everypony had, but again, hers was unique. If you had to put it in different words, you’d daresay it was refreshing. Her carefree attitude and infinite reservoir of happiness topped that off like the cherry on top of an ice-cream sundae.
All you could do was rub your head at the sheer confusion that is Pinkie Pie.
You had to admit though; you loved her cotton candy mane. The amount of time she put into styling it that way must have been staggering. That or it was all natural. You had trouble wrapping your head around that thought.
Wait, why were you thinking of her so much? You blamed it on thinking of the upcoming party for now. Speaking of which, you needed to get ready, but would it even matter if you dressed for the occasion? Back then, there were always the after-parties whenever you finished a music gig with your band. There were only four things that mattered at those: the mares, the drinks, the food, and the fame.
You had to admit you missed that life a tad. Some of your best memories with the band and your fans were at those parties. But that string of great times came to an end when your band disbanded and went their separate ways.
Back at your house, you held your trusty silver trumpet in your hooves while you laid in your bed, absentmindedly twirling it around. You examined every bend and tube, looking for any dirty spots or deformities that could possibly influence its overall sound quality. You sighed contentedly as it was still in pristine condition. If anything were to happen to your instruments, you wouldn’t be able to live with yourself, since these inanimate musical companions had been with you since the beginning.
You positioned the trumpet’s mouthpiece onto your muzzle, tapped each valve to ensure they slid without any resistance, and buzzed your lips. A hearty tone escaped from the bell and traveled through your apartment quickly. Glad that it was still in tune, you began stringing together more notes, your hoof dancing across the valves. You poured your soul and skill into the trumpet, and it responded in kind with a smooth jazz-like melody that swam through the air. Everything else in your mind went blank as you focused on playing.
You missed this sound and you missed your band, but after a certain event forced your band to retire, you had no choice. Recalling this, you abruptly stopped, the melody ceasing to exist as it was replaced by silence. You looked at the trumpet for a moment longer before a single tear found its way down your cheek.
You sighed sadly, dropping the trumpet by your side. You lay on your bed, thinking, until your eyes could no longer keep themselves open...
You don’t know where you are, or how you got here, but you knew one thing: it was pitch black. You felt weightless, as if you were floating in place. You couldn’t see anything, and it was deathly quiet. The only sound you could hear was of your own breathing. You turned your head, looking for anything that might give you an idea of where you were.
All of a sudden, your body felt heavy, and that weightless feeling mysteriously disappeared. Your hooves impacted something hard and flat. Then, a bright light blinded you. You shielded your eyes with your hooves, trying to make out where it came from.
When your eyes had adjusted, you found yourself in a small study. Bookshelves lined the walls, each filled to the brim with books of many different sizes. There was a lit fireplace in the corner with a couple of sofa chairs surrounding it. You couldn’t shake off the feeling of de ja vu.
You turned in place to see until your hoof hit something by accident. You looked down and immediately regretted doing so.
An old, yellow earth pony laid there in a pool of red, looking up at you with its glazed eyes. You retched as the smell of rotten flesh and blood finally hit your nostrils. You backed up hastily, only to trip over something else. It was the very same body that you were just looking at. You turned around in a panic as the floor was covered in copies of the same pony. Eventually, there was nowhere left to stand on the floor.
You wanted to get out of here. To escape. To retreat; anything to get away from wherever this was. You looked around to find a door on the opposite side of the room. Hastily, you ran towards it, your movement faltering as you stepped on one of the many dead bodies lying on the floor. Reaching for the knob, you opened it only to come face to face with an intimidating, black Pegasus.
At least, you assumed it was black. The light in the room seemed to cut out as it crossed the threshold of the door. You could only tell it was there as it was a shade darker than the rest of the inky blackness behind it. There was only one reason you could determine where its face was:
It had a devilish smile, its razor sharp teeth gleaming even in the pitch black miasma on the other side.
You then notice something in its hoof. You couldn’t tell what it was, but before you could so much as blink…
You felt it stab your heart.
You awoke with a start, sweat dripping down your face as you gasp for breath. You quickly looked around your dim-lit room, searching for that dark pegasus. You tried to calm your breathing, already piecing together what just happened.
But you already knew. You knew exactly what all of that was. It was the same nightmare you’ve been having since the death of your father. It’s been six months now, and it still hasn’t relented. The nightmare came and went spontaneously in the beginning before, but now it was almost every single time you fell asleep. You’ve only gotten used to a little bit of the nightmare, but it was still enough to terrify you.
Your father was a brilliant flute player with an astounding sense of pride and friendship. It was that very same stallion who inspired you to take up the trumpet and saxophone. He was kind, caring, and supportive; the best father any colt or filly could dream of having. He had a smile that assured you nothing would go wrong.
...Until he was murdered in his own study.
You didn’t know who murdered him, but the nightmares never stopped.
Nevertheless, you needed to move on with your life. You didn’t know who the murderer was and you certainly couldn’t do anything about it. Not even the royal guard could figure it out. You assumed they were just a bunch of bigots who didn’t know how to do their job and left it at that, but no matter what you told yourself, there was no stopping the tear that ran down your cheek. You couldn’t recall how many restless days and nights you had cried yourself to sleep.
You grabbed a nearby tissue to wipe the sweat and tear off your face and peered outside your window. The sun was almost behind the distant mountains now, draping the quaint town in their massive shadows. You couldn’t believe you had fallen asleep for this long.
You slapped your cheeks, trying to eradicate the rest of your grogginess by force. You didn’t want to show any weakness today, especially if you were the ‘main attraction’ at Pinkie’s party. Part of you didn’t want to go, in fear of running into that pink ball of crazy but also because of the nightmare.
However, you didn’t want to appear rude. This is your home now, and first impressions were extremely important, something your father had taught you.
You sprung up off the bed and almost tripped over Silver on the floor. It must have fallen when you fell asleep. You picked it up and brushed it off from whatever dust it might have accumulated when you dozed off. You looked at it for a moment and smiled.
If first impressions were everything, why not wow them and bring some of your jazzy soul with you?
Special Thanks to:
Nightmares over a dead ol’ coot, huh? Must’ve been some traumatic imagery there.
Hey, I’ll call him what I want to call him now sit down, shut up, and listen before I make you. Good? Good. Now where was I? I used to have traumatic memories too... that is until a certain pony came into my life. Fixed me right up, almost to the point where I couldn’t dream anymore.
Who was this pony? Well, I’d be half lying and half truthful if I said it was a Psychiatrist, but for simplicity's sake, we’ll say it is.
Let’s see, flip a page here and a page number there... Ah yes, so, according to this, you liked to groove with your jazzy soul, I take it?
You still don’t remember!? Well that’s good, gives me more to look forward to. It would’ve spoiled the ending if that was the case.
Now, shall we?
With your Trumpet case firmly strapped to your back, you started the walk towards Sugarcube Corner for the second time today. All the while, you wondered if this really was a good idea, attending your welcoming party and all. Then again, what better way was there than to mingle with the residents of Ponyville whilst partaking in the consumption of delicious cake?
Besides, this quaint town is your home now; probably best to make a good first impression before that window closed. It wasn’t long before the rooftop of Sugarcube Corner came into view. The sun was already beginning to slip behind the distant mountain range to the west, casting the mountain’s massive shadow over the town.
You stood in front of the door, brought up your hoof to knock, and paused. What would happen if you entered? A surprise, a party, all the beverages you could drink, or maybe total and utter humiliation? You don’t know what that pink pony was up to, but hopefully she’d go easy on you, seeing as you were still new.
You slapped your cheeks to snap out of your delusional stupor. It was a welcoming party. Nothing more, nothing less. There was nothing suspicious about attending a party that was thrown for you... right? Taking a couple of deep breaths, you place your hoof on the doorknob, only for it to swing open before you even nicked the wood.
A bunch of hooves shot out from the darkness within and pulled you inside, the door slamming shut right behind you. You feel them let go of you and you fall to the ground, more out of shock than anything else. You manage to eek out a small hello to the pitch-black abyss before somepony flicked on the lights, blinding you as if you were staring directly into the sun. You threw up a hoof to cut off the light assaulting your eyes before a resounding shout rang through the air.
You slowly lowered your hoof, and as your eyes finally adjusted to the bright indoor lights, several ponies came into clear view. Behind them, you could begin to make out the streamers, the balloons, and the exorbitant amount of glitter that seemed to have exploded onto every corner of the bakery. You eyed everypony as you got back up onto your hooves, forcing a small smile and a greeting to them all in general. You tapped your top hat to make sure it was still on and noticed a white cloth banner with red writing that said:
‘Welcome Mr. Top Hat!’
You grumbled to yourself, seeing as Pinkie still didn’t get that you didn’t like that name. You mentally sighed.
The party was rather lively at first. Pinkie Pie brought out an old Gramophone which completely surprised you. How could somepony so rambunctious use something so old and dilapidated? It was a rather old antique that read old vinyl records with a needle and played the music through the big brass horn attached at the top. You knew these days that music was either digitalized or played live, but a gramophone? Saying you were baffled was an understatement.
Regardless, the party was already in full swing, and you noticed several curious ponies quickly closing the distance.
“What’s your favorite animal?”
“What kind of hat is that?”
“What’s that hat made out of?”
“Ooh, ooh! What’s that case you have on your back? Can I see it? Oooh pretty please let me see it!”
The question barrage was fully underway. You expected to answer a hoofful of questions by the time the party was over, but they just kept on coming. They ranged from the simple ‘Where did you live before’ to ‘What’s your take on the new fashion trend in Las Pegasus’. You tried to answer each question completely, but it was soon apparent that you were in over your head. Thankfully, somepony noticed your distress and came to your rescue.
“Now now everypony, I’m sure you all want to get to know the new pony, but give him some breathing room!”
A lavender-colored unicorn shoved her way through the crowd and began shooing the crowd away, the ponies reluctantly returning to the festivities. She smiled while you scratched your head with a hoof.
“Sorry about all that. Most ponies around here are just like that.” she said before her eyes lit-up in realization.”Oh, I didn’t introduce myself yet did I? I’m Twilight Sparkle, and I’d like to be one of the first to formally welcome you to Ponyville. It’s not often that we get new ponies around here.”
You nodded and shook her hoof, saying you moved here due to it being peaceful and tranquil. At this, Twilight’s smile grew wider.
“Well, you found the right place. Ponyville is as friendly as you can get. Oh, speaking of friends, let me introduce you to mine. Not all of them are here, but some managed to make it.” She motioned at the crowd, and a moment later, an alabaster white unicorn with a royal purple mane joined you.
“How you do? I’m Rarity, clothing fashionista and the proud owner of the Carousel Boutique. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. By the way,” she said, leaning in and whispering, ”not many ponies can pull off the top hat ensemble correctly, but you do it justice!”
You figured that she was one of those high-class ponies, and frankly you were right. You didn’t want to be rude, so you acknowledged her, saying that it was also a delightful pleasure to meet her.
“And I’m sure you’ve already met Pinkie Pie.” Twilight said as she pointed a hoof to her, whom was working the gramophone, greeting the guests, messing with the punch bow—
You shook your head a little, readjusting your eyes to make sure that you weren’t seeing triple. You wondered how she was showing up in so many places at once. Twilight took notice of your confusion and giggled.
“She’s just being Pinkie Pie. Don’t think about it too much. It makes much more sense that way.”
On that you could agree.
A small boom echoed throughout the room. Everyone shifted their eyes—yours included—towards the source, seeing a gramophone spewing out smoke from its speaker tube. Pinkie coughed from the smoke as she waved it away, whilst nearby ponies backed away for their own safety.
“Oh no! It’s broken!” she said with a frown, her mane seemingly deflating.
You walked up beside Pinkie Pie and examined the Gramophone: the smoke was coming from the inside of the tube, so you assumed a delicate part of internal machinery was out of commission. Upon closer examination, the record needle had also snapped off. You don’t know how it broke, but you assumed it was from the combined efforts of wear and tear as well as the tiny explosion a few moments ago.
You told her what condition the gramophone was in and she frowned, clearly disappointed and sad.
“It’s really broken? But… but what about the music? We can’t have a party without music!” Pinkie exclaimed. You looked towards the guests, each of them eying each other in confusion. You pointed out a party can still be done without music, but Pinkie shook her head.
“You don’t understand, Mr. Top Hat! Without music, how’s everypony going to dance? You can’t dance without music and you can’t shake your tail without it either. It’s like baking a cake without the batter! It wouldn’t even be a cupcake!”
Despite your reassurances, she had a point. Dancing in a party with no music wasn’t unheard of, but it would definitely be awkward and dull. However, it seemed that this party mare wanted everything to be perfect for your welcoming party without exception. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case.
You tapped a hoof with your chin, eying the crowd as they looked rather sad and disappointed. You gave a small sigh. You didn’t like seeing a crowd unhappy, especially when they’re at a party of all places.
Music can make or break the life of a party... that or a rampant drunk who’s getting into everypony’s business, but it also soothes the soul. The right music accentuates your body’s rhythm and makes you dance like you’ve never danced before.
You unfastened the strap of your instrument case and placed it on the floor. Pinkie eyed you carefully as you began undoing the clasps holding it closed. In fact, everypony was staring at you but you didn’t care. Opening the instrument case, you pulled out your trumpet and sat into a rather conveniently placed chair, with your top hat leaning in front, just enough to cover your eyes.
Nothing said cool like a tipped top hat.
You could feel their stares drill into you. The anticipation. The tension. It reminded you being up on stage with your band, and this feeling of trepidation and suspense was something you embraced wholeheartedly.
You liked it.
You put your muzzle on the mouthpiece and placed your hooves on the handle and valves of your Trumpet. You took a deep breath...
And let it sing.
Your trumpet buzzed as your hooves flew across the triple-valved brass instrument, delivering a simple yet elegant beat. The crowd ooh’d at your skill with the piece of silver metal in your hooves. You tipped your hat back slightly to find everypony swaying to and fro with the beat.
Everyone seemed to be enjoying it, but you knew it needed something else; having only a trumpet player perform solo wasn’t easy. The only time a trumpet would be heard exclusively was during their short improvs or solos during a piece. There was always a backup of some sort, whether it be a saxophone, a cello, or a piano, to add another layer and provide a base for you to work off of. It was unnerving, but you pushed on regardless.
That’s when Pinkie Pie tapped your shoulder and showed you a small, toy-like piano. Your pacing on your instrument wasn’t interrupted, but you raised a brow at her, giving a ‘what are you doing’ sort of glance.
Without bothering to respond, she set the mini-piano next to you, excitedly hooking it up to an amp she pulled out of her mane, and looking up at you in anticipation.
You almost missed a note on your trumpet. You knew exactly what she was trying to do: join in. Having a pianist by your side would certainly help the flow of the music, but the idea of playing along with a toy piano was embarrassing to say the least. However, you were curious how she had the patience to even play a rather complicated instrument such as the piano. You thought about it for a few seconds. Seeing as how she did organize the party for you, you couldn’t really tell her no. You were about to give her the okay, but she beat you to the pass.
She touched the small keys on the tiny piano, the music coming from it causing you to almost falter in your playing. You couldn’t believe it. How was she making that toy sound like a 10,000 bit grand piano!? You expected to hear something along the lines of a cheap xylophone, but this was something else.
You were stunned at how Pinkie was able to follow along with you despite your improvisations along the way. It didn’t matter how she learned what she knew, but you were most definitely impressed.
You decided to step it up a notch, fed up with the slow beat. You stopped playing your trumpet for a moment to eye the crowd, in which they eyed you in return curiously. You had no doubt that they were wondering what you had in store for them next.
You smiled as you looked at Pinkie Pie. You whispered to her that it was time to speed things up a bit. She nodded and proceeded to crack her legs and hooves in ways that made you cringe, limbering up for the next bout.
You jerked your head back to the crowd, placed one forehoof on a chair, and planted the trumpet on your muzzle.
Just like old times.
Special Thanks To:
How about now? Anything?
It’s starting to come back? That’s it? Anything stick out like a sore hoof?
You only remember what I’ve read to you? Well then you haven’t remembered anything then! You’re merely remembering what I’ve—you know what, it doesn’t matter. Either way, you’re quite the talented musician. A jazzy solo with your trumpet and then a minute later, this Pinkie pony joined in and turned your solo into a duet. Surprised?
Well, frankly I wasn’t. I mean c’mon. I was surprised that she didn't join in earlier. Even me of all ponies used to be a musician back in the day. The trombone was my weapon of choice persay back in my teens. Oh great, now you’ve gotten me thinking of the past… with the freckles and buckteeth I used to have. It feels so long ago.
Why do I keep bringing up my old memories to you? Well, one can reminiscence and monologue whenever they so please. Are you saying it’s not nice to talk to yourself?
Oh... well it’s clear to me that you’ve never stood in a dark abyss where there’s not a single pony around except yourself. Trust me, it’s rather fun, but I think we’ve rattled on long enough. Shall we continue on with your tale?
Saying the crowd liked it would be like saying that Pinkie Pie only liked cake. They were cheering for you, almost pleading for an encore. You hadn’t felt this kind of thrill since back when the band was still together and playing almost nightly gigs. You thought that since this was a special occasion, you started up again, Pinkie Pie already backing you up.
Having Pinkie Pie in hoof made it exceptionally better. She surprised you at every turn, whether it be with her ability to switch pacing on the fly or the ability to somehow balance a cake on each hoof and still be able to play that good. Not to mention that it was all on a toy piano! You still couldn’t get over that. You shuddered at the thought of what would happen if she got her hooves on a real piano.
As the last notes slowly faded, they were replaced by the hoof-stomping applause from your audience. You could see Pinkie was certainly happy and shivering with excitement. You kinda figured it out when she began bouncing around the room like a pogo stick attached to a rocket.
After the party was over, the majority of the guest filed out into the night. Soon, it was only you, Mrs. Cake, Pinkie, and Twilight. You were currently sitting down, chugging down a bottle of water as you wiped the sweat from your forehead. You hadn’t played that hard since your opening gig.
“Wow, I had no idea you were so talented! I’ve never heard such music move me like that before.” Twilight said ecstatically.
“Hee hee, yeah! You should’ve seen her GO. She was all up on her back hooves, shaking her front hooves all about like a monkey. Ooh, I haven’t seen Twilight do that since that party in Canterlot and—”
Mrs. Cake interrupted Pinkie before she could finish.
“What Pinkie is trying to say is that you were utterly fantastic. You definitely have talent.”
You stood up and bowed, appreciating their praise of your performance and skill. You placed the trumpet back into your case before heaving it up on your back and strapping it on, tugging on the straps to ensure they wouldn’t slip en-route. You once again bowed, thanking them all for an outstanding night and for welcoming you to their town open hoofed.
“I’m glad you enjoyed one of my super fantastic parties, Mr. Top Hat!”
You face-hoofed. Would she ever stop calling you that?
After you said your goodbyes, you set out for home. The sun had already fallen over the horizon, leaving Luna’s moon in its wake. It was chilly and you were already starting to shiver. Your thoughts drifted back towards the party as you trotted through the desolate streets.
You couldn’t stop thinking about it; that feeling of standing on stage, pouring your soul out into your instrument, as the crowd cheered you on, not to mention Pinkie Pie as well. After all that downtime, it was refreshing and nostalgic to play in front of an audience. You could still remember your band mates clearly…
You were one of the three members that made up the band, in which you were the Sax and Trumpet player. Jazz was your specialty, and you liked to think that when compared against other ponies of similar profession, you were slightly better than they were. You didn’t exactly have any rivals to compare yourself to, so it was probably just your ego doing the talking. You dabbled in the Classical genre too, but that’s because your father introduced it to you at an early age. However, the point of the matter was that Jazz was your bread and butter.
One of the others was a pegasus by the name of Flying Beaver, but you usually just call him Beaver. You didn’t know why he was called that, but it probably had to do something with his two large front teeth that continually hung out of his mouth. Perhaps his parents thought he looked like a beaver? You stifled a laugh as memories of all the tomfoolery the band took part in resurfaced in force. He seemed to end up as the scape goat in the end, but you thought he liked being that pony. Regardless, he was a talented Bassist and Pianist, playing those smooth grooves like they were nothing. He was an energetic sort, but something about him always struck you the wrong way. Maybe it had something to do with those teeth after all.
Then there’s the unicorn percussionist, Loud Hoof. He was a very talented percussionist, and you were constantly amazed at his ability to change tempo and beats on the fly. From the booming beats of the bass drum to the sharpness of his snares, if you asked him for a specific beat and tempo, he’d deliver it with his own twist; however, he was always the quiet sort. You and Beaver used to tease him about it, but he always shrugged it off.
You sighed as you thought about the experiences you had had with the band. You wanted to live them again, but alas, you all had to go your separate ways. You didn’t know where they were or what they were doing. You assumed they were off in Manehatten or in Canterlot playing small gigs here and there, but regardless, you don’t think you’ll be seeing them again.
As you snap out of your thoughts, you find yourself in front of your house already. Quickly trotting up to the door, you take out your key, open it, and step inside to escape the chilly night. Your first pit stop was on the nearby sofa. You were completely out of energy after all that, and crashing on the couch was so much more enticing than walking the extra steps to the bed. However, you noticed something... peculiar about the apartment tonight.
You scanned the room, looking for anything that might be out of place. It could have been just your over-tired nerves playing around with you, but you could have sworn that you felt another presence inside your house.
You just shrugged as you scratched your head with a hoof, believing it to be your imagination.
“Hee hee, ooh, scratch a little more to the left.” came a relaxed voice.
You did as your head asked, eliciting a happy groan from—
You froze. Since when did your head talk by itself? And in a girly voice too?
“Aw, why’d you stopppp... It was just getting goooood...” came the same voice again, this time slightly irate.
You breathed out a sigh of relief and sat down. Of course, of ALL the ponies that you had met in your short stay, only one of them would do this of all things. You placed both your hooves on your head, feeling a body sitting and resting atop your head. That’s when a fluffy, pink pony placed her face in front of yours.
It was none other than Pinkie Pie, whom was sitting atop of your head this entire time. She hopped right off and sat right next to you, with your hat on her head. How she managed to pull that off without you noticing was beyond you, but there were other pressing matters to attend to, like how she had your hat again. Before you could ask for it back, she placed it back on your head and brushed something off of it.
You pointed a hoof at her, irritatedly asking her what she was doing on your head. She shrugged.
“Good question, Mr. Top Hat! While you were leaving Sugarcube Corner, I started to think what it would be like being a hat. Then I realized you wear a hat everywhere you go, so I figured ‘Hey! I should be his hat! It looks soooo comfortable!’ So I rested on top of your head the entire way. You were pretty zoned out by the way.”
Her logic confused you to no end as you rubbed your temples with a hoof. She got off the couch and looked around the living room and the kitchen next door.
“Ooh, so this is where you live? It’s not very ‘homey’. I mean, where’s all the furniture? You need tables, chairs, and other furniture things.” she said, before gasping very loudly. “It doesn’t even have that ‘Look at me! This is fun!’ look. Do you always live in boring houses? I think you need to have a party here to live it up a little!”
You pointed out to her that you didn’t have much money to afford much except the bare essentials. Pinkie frowned.
“You don’t have a job?”
“But that won’t do! You need to get a job so you can afford all the super-duper things out there. Like candy, ooh, or maybe you could work at a candy store! That would solve both problems! Wait, that’s too much candy…”
You also pointed out the fact she was trespassing to which she broke out in raucous laughter.
“But I’m your hat silly! Hats can’t trespass into other people’s homes!” She then crept up to you and whispered into your ear with a creepy voice. “Or can they?”
It was a bit uncomfortable with her being so close to you, so you backed away as fast as you could and shook your head. It was late and you asked her to politely leave, citing the fact that her party had completely worn you out and that you had a busy day tomorrow.
“Aww, but I wanted to play some more funky jazz music, Mr. Top Hat! Pleeeeeeeeeeease!?”
You were taken aback by this, but you pointed out to her that she followed you due to her… hat fetish, as you put it. Her response was to break out into another fit of giggles.
“Hey, a pony can multitask too ya know. I actually wanted to see where you lived so I can stop by whenever I want and play with you! The music we made was super-duper terrific!”
You told her that it’s because a Piano and a Trumpet go well together when it comes to Jazz, blues, or fast paced duets. You didn’t want to hurt her feelings on the matter, not to mention that you did have a spectacular time playing with her. You discreetly let slip that in the future, you wouldn’t mind playing with her. She bought up her hoof and scratched her chin, apparently deep in thought, before the proverbial light bulb turned on and she bounced around happily.
“Really really? So you mean we can play again together sometime?”
You sighed and just told her directly that she indeed could. She seemed to be a very easy pony to please. She began digging an imaginary hole in the floor with her hoof absentmindedly with a small blush on her face.
“W-well, I do a lot of parties, and I play a lot of instruments. With parties comes music. The gramophone I have—well, had—was only one of the things I have! Did you know I saved the town from a bunch of parasprites from just music alone? Here, let me show you! I’ve got triangles and maracas and—”
She proceeded to pull out a plethora of instruments ranging from the simple triangle to the complicated accordion. You were still stumped though, as she kept pulling out instrument after instrument. Where was she finding the room to put all these things in that mane of hers!? Was there some sort of gravitational anomaly that resided there? Was it a portal into another world? You felt a headache coming on and stopped down that line of thought, remembering what Twilight said earlier.
You also didn’t know what she meant by parasprites, but you swept that under the rug for now. It was clear to you now that she was a jack-of-all-trades pony; something very hard to pull off nowadays. A baker, a musician, a party-goer, and who knows what else. She had quite the future ahead of her, you assumed.
A yawn escaped your lips, your weary body reminding you of just how exhausted it was after the party. Pinkie stopped her rant when she noticed you yawn.
“Am I boring you? Ooh, I don’t want to do that! Quick, cheer up before you fall asleep!” she quipped.
You chuckled tiredly, saying it was just because of the impromptu gig earlier at the party. Pinkie nodded with a small smile.
“Ohhh, okay! Well, I guess I should let you get to your sleepy-weepy dreamland?”
It was a foalish way of putting it, but you didn’t have the energy to correct nor admonish her. You just nodded.
“Alright then! Get to sleep then mister!”
Pinkie shuffled out the front door and before you could close it, you caught one last look of her smiling face. It brought a smile to yours as you wondered why she smiled so much. Was it because she wanted to make ponies around her happy or was it just a perk of her cheery personality?
You didn’t know, but despite that, it’s been a day. You were beginning to grow used to her, but her spontaneous-ness confused you to no end. You had a feeling that that might never change.
After sliding your trumpet case back into your closet, you threw yourself onto the bed, and fell asleep before you even hit the pillow.
Special Thanks to:
Growing used to the Pink Pony I see? Hah hah hah! I still can’t believe you didn’t notice her sitting on your head the whole time. I mean, she had to weigh something right? This party pony confuses even me sometimes.
You’re confused too? Glad to see I’m not the only one. This mare seems to be in a never-ending sugar rush of epic proportions the likes I have never seen before. Those types tend to be trouble though. Back when I was younger, there was this cute mare in middle school I used to see. She was always smiling, never letting anything take her—
No one cares about me? Now that’s just plain rude. I’m going out of my way to help you regain your memories, and you have the nerve to interrupt my own personal flashback? Didn’t we go over this before!? When one is telling their life story, you sit there and listen; I learned that the hard way with a few mares. Have you ever been stomped to death? Let me tell you, it’s not a pretty sight.
Yes, I got beat up by a few mares. You got a problem with that? I can just, you know, get up and leave you here all alone and clueless.
Yeah, I thought so. Now shut up, pay attention, and you might actually learn something.
You yawned loudly as your mind returned to the land of the living. Sunlight poured through the blinds of the window, illuminating the rest of your somewhat meager apartment. Reluctantly, you pulled yourself up from the comfortable mattress and went about your morning rituals. You sat on the couch and reveled in the afterglow of sleep still lingering, your mind floating about freely. Yesterday certainly was interesting to say the least; going to Sugarcube Corner, meeting that crazy pink mare, attending the surprise party, playing music at said party, and to top it all off, finding out that she can play a mean piano.
You couldn’t recall the last time you played with somepony that talented since… well, never. She earned your respect last night, even if she did rub you the wrong way most of the time.
Still, it didn’t change much with what you wanted to do with your life. Even though you came to Ponyville to relax, you didn’t have an exact goal or a plan laid out for when you arrived. It kept things fresh and made everyday a new adventure. However, that didn’t mean you could just forget the bare necessities.
In other words, money.
While you were sure you could pay the rent for a couple more months, you needed a steady job to supplement your current savings, hopefully one that suited your talents. You didn’t know how many businesses in this quaint town were looking for a jazz musician. On your way in, you also didn’t see any kind of concert hall either so it ruled out that avenue of potential business. However, there was always that.
Decided, you picked your trusty top hat off the nightstand, threw it on your head, and pulled out Brass from the closet. From what you learned in the past, most ponies preferred Brass over Silver. Throwing it on your back, you inwardly sighed as its weight was a constant reassurance. You heard somepony say once that having an inanimate friend was weird, but you could care less.
Your stomach growled, reminding you of the fact that you were about to skip on breakfast. Grabbing an apple off the counter, you bit off a chunk as you strode out the door and into Ponyville.
It was a beautiful morning. You walked down the street and took a deep breath of the fresh, flower-scented air, something you couldn’t do back in Canterlot. Before you knew it, you found yourself at the entrance to the square. Ponies were trotting through, most likely running errands or working. Set up in regular intervals were a hoofful of merchant stands and carts, each pedalling their wares to the ponies passing by. All in all, it was pretty crowded.
You weren’t surprised at how busy it was though. It was a spectacular morning, and it seemed everypony was out and about; the perfect time for a entertainer to make some bits. You shrugged as you walked around the square, looking for something to supplement that apple. After all, an apple wasn’t going to satisfy your appetite.
A heavenly aroma floated through the air as you walked deeper into the square. Pancakes, bagels, donuts, and fruits were only a few of the smells you could parse out from the air. It made your stomach growl loudly in anticipation.
You opened your bit pouch and frowned. With only a few meager bits to your name, anything substantially filling was off the table. You sighed as you tipped your hat forward and looked around at all of the ponies mulling about the stands.
There were a good few, and it didn’t seem like they were leaving anytime soon, since the majority of the ponies hadn’t even finished setting up yet. Some looked bored while others were starting up some small talk to pass the time. Other ponies might have seen this as a normal morning in Ponyville.
You took this as an opportunity.
A quick lap around the square and you had the perfect spot picked out: just in range of the entrances and the majority of the stalls. You took off your hat and placed it upside down on the ground before unclasping the latches on Brass’s case. Street performances had saved you on many occasion when you were low on bits and needed an extra bump to get you through to the next paycheck. You’d think that playing for street tips in the city of Canterlot would be worthwhile, but it always proved fruitless. You got ugly sneers and boos whenever you played, so for the sake of keeping the peace, you refused to do so for the rest of your music career.
But here in Ponyville, it was going to be different. You didn’t know what made you believe that, but you could feel it deep down.
You leaned your back against a wall and placed the mouthpiece into your mouth. You eyed everyone carefully. They hadn’t noticed your presence yet.
You blew into the mouthpiece as your hooves flew over the levers and valves on the long and smooth, brass metal neck of the sax. You began with a slow tune, building into a quick, upbeat jazzy solo that danced through the air and out into the square. You scanned around, watching as everypony in the vicinity turned their head at the new sound. A few passing ponies actually stopped and listened before starting off again, this time with a noticeable skip in their step.
When it came to a crowd, you wanted everypony to nod along with the music, to dance to it, to entwine them in the rhythm. Having fun while doing so helped you relax which in turn made you perform even better. It was a good loop that you loved about playing.
One by one, ponies wandered over. Soon, there were over a dozen ponies clustered around, each listening in rapt attention. You smirked as you played. The ponies in front of you differed completely in color and cutie marks. You saw one that was purplish in color and had grapes for a cutie mark, and a bright cyan Unicorn with a Lyre or a Harp as a cutie mark.
Regardless, all sorts of different ponies had listened to you play, and they were smiling and nodding their heads around, clearly enjoying themselves. If that wasn’t a clear sign, then the muffled clinks of bits striking your hat was.
You finished off your performance with a frighteningly fast solo, your hooves shooting over the levers as fast as lightning. It caught some ponies off guard, but their speechless looks gave away what they were truly feeling.
After that, silence fell. You placed the sax down on your case and took a bow but something felt off. You chanced a glance to find that everypony was staring at you in awe. At first you thought you had misjudged your ability and thought everyone was disgusted by your performance.
An ecstatic applause exploded a moment later, rivaling that of last night’s, utterly destroying your pessimism.
“Wow, that was amazing!”
“I want to hear more!”
You stood up from your bow and took in the flowing praise from your audience. The fact that they wanted an encore also meant more tips, and who were you to tell them no more? With a small laugh, you picked up the saxophone and readied yourself for another bout. A hush befell the crowd as the mouthpiece touched your lips.
Just like old times.
Before you could take that starting breath, however, a familiar, yet obnoxious, voice shot out through the silence.
“Oooh, you can play the sax too, Mr. Top Hat!? I had no idea! You’re like some saxotrumpet whatchamajigga! Or a trumpophone!”
You face-hoofed as a cotton-candy-pink mane bounced through the surrounding audience. She popped out the front, her face as cheery as it was last night.
“What are you doing out here anyway? I had no idea you would play in the streets!”
You explained to her that you were playing for tips today, accidentally letting slip that it was for food. Pinkie gave you that confused look.
“You can’t afford breakfast?”
You shook your head and before you could offer a rebuttal, she had taken your hoof and pulled you along behind her. You scooped up your top hat as she pulled you along, not wanting to lose both your hat and earnings. Despite her eagerness to get you somewhere fast, you managed to eek out a question as to where you were going and what she was going to do to you.
“I’m taking you to Sugarcube Corner, silly! We’ve got tons of food there, and I’m sure the Cakes wouldn’t mind either! Nopony with that much musical talent should go hungry! Not on my watch!”
You went a bit wide-eyed as what she was saying sunk in. She was going out of her way to give you a free meal. Nopony had done that before. However, that didn’t mean you could just leave the generous audience hanging. You told Pinkie to let go for a moment, and she actually did. With a quick apology, you told the crowd you’d be here ripe and early tomorrow morning for another show. The crowd voiced their disappointment, but you re-assured them you’d play longer and maybe even take requests.
With that said and done, Pinkie resumed her stranglehold of your forehoof and dragged you toward your awaiting breakfast. You could see the dancing donuts already.
You were flabbergasted.
There you were, sitting at the kitchen table inside the bakery, waiting for Pinkie Pie to rustle up some breakfast entirely gratis. It wasn’t often that you got a free meal and the fact of the matter was that this crazy mare was eager and willing to do so.
“It’s ready~!” she sang.
She turned the corner with a rather plain-looking cherry pie. Raising an eyebrow in confusion, you explained to her that breakfast meant actual breakfast food and not desert. She broke out in a fit of giggles.
“Don’t be silly, silly! It’s not just any pie… it’s a cherry-filled pie! Here, let me show you.”
She pulled out a knife from her mane and sliced the pie with the tip of the edge. By now, you wouldn’t be surprised if she pulled out a pipe organ from there. Anyway, you assumed that if it was a cherry-filled pie, it wouldn’t be all that bad to have for breakfast. It wasn’t unheard of, but such sweets weren’t the ideal breakfast food.
Oh how right you were.
As soon as the blade broke the pie’s surface, it jiggled slightly. You raised a brow at this, and Pinkie merely ooh’d at the event. She poked at it with the knife this time, eliciting another jiggle from the dessert turned breakfast. All of a sudden, she threw up her hooves and ran away, screaming at the top of her lungs.
“It’s the killer cherry pie! Run for your lives!” The only thing left after that was a pink cloud shaped like a pony and the flapping of the door leading out of the kitchen. In fact, she wasn’t screaming out of fear, but screaming out of hilarity. No matter what she did, she always confused the living daylights out of you.
Now that that distraction was out of the way, you brought your attention back to the jiggling, cherry-filled abomination. You grabbed the leftover knife that Pinkie had left behind on her retreat. Hesitantly, you poked the pie with the sharp end. This time it seemed to avoid the edge, ever so slightly morphing around it. Okay, now you were just seeing things. As you sliced it down the middle, the pie jiggled furiously, as if it didn’t like being cut.
It exploded in your face.
Special Thanks to:
Hah! I betcha didn’t see that coming! An exploding pie! Who would’ve thought?
Oh c’mon! You seriously didn’t think that was funny!? Well of course you wouldn’t; it exploded in your face!
Now now, no need to get hostile. It’s just a joke. Everyone likes jokes. Although, I’m still very curious as to how Pinkie Pie managed to bake a cherry bomb pie. Remind to ask her about it later, would you? Ohhh I can see the look on my co-worker's faces already.
What office? Well, it’s an office. Ya’ know, tall building with walls of windows and cubicles as far as the eye can see? You got a problem with where I work?
If I went and told you the name of my office, I’d be breaking over a dozen clauses in my NDA. Maybe if you’d let me finish this riveting tale, I might let it casually slip by after a couple of drinks. Now don’t worry; all will be revealed in due time…
Besides, I’m more interested in reading what happens next rather than tell you of my amusing life, don’t you agree?
You agree partially, huh? Good enough. Let’s continue shall we?
You didn’t know what to feel.
Anger. Confusion. Laughter. Any of those emotions would have fit the bill, but neither of those took the plate; you were hungry. Plain and simple hunger. With a shrug, you wiped the pie off your face and took a cautious sniff. Throwing all caution out the door, you licked the cherry red filling off your hoof and reveled in its sweetness. After a minute of sucking the last smudges of pie off your hoof, you got up from the table, your fur literally caked in that delicious pie.
You stepped out of the kitchen to see Mrs. Cake handling the register while Pinkie Pie giggled like a madpony behind the counter. With a deep breath, you began to formulate a thoroughly detailed and factually accurate response to her explosively delicious pie.
Pinkie noticed your presence and ooh’d at your cherry predicament. Mrs. Cake noticed Pinkie Pie and followed her gaze until she laid eyes upon you.
“Oh my! What happened to you!?” she gasped.
“Oh no, you got swallowed by the evil cherry pie!” Pinkie managed to eek out between fits of laughter. ”I knew you’d break free! So what was it like being eaten by a pie? Tell me, tell me, tell me! Ooh! Or maybe it exploded… I mean those old pies can be—“
Blast the calm approach, you lost it. Before you knew it, your hooves were on Pinkie’s shoulders, and you were scolding her for covering yourself in pie. However, it only served to fuel her incessant laughter.
“Aw come on, Mr. Top Hat! Nopony got hurt, and sometimes these pies have minds of their own!”
You pointed out that pies were inanimate objects and that she made absolutely no sense. Mrs. Cake sighed in annoyance.
“Pinkie, I don’t know what’s with you and your pranks, but testing an exploding pie on a guest just isn’t proper… in the store, too!”
“But Mrs. Cake, it’s not my fault the pie has a mind of its own.” she pouted. ”Those evil pies are crafty... sometimes too crafty—“
“That’s enough, Pinkie!” Mrs. Cake admonished. She turned around to find you brushing some stray pie crust off your top hat with your off-hoof. Thankfully, it seemed to have dodged that proverbial bullet.
“I’m sorry about all this.” said a rather embarrassed Mrs. Cake. ”We have a bathroom upstairs if you want to wash off the rest of that pie.” Pinkie was about to open her mouth to say something, but Mrs. Cake motioned her to stay quiet, which she thankfully followed. “And no Pinkie, you can’t join him. I’m sure he has had enough of your randomness today.”
“Awww…” Pinkie said disappointingly.
You could have sworn Mrs. Cake was psychic, but you just filed it away as her knowledge of how she’d act in similar situations. Seeing as you couldn’t just walk around covered in pie for the rest of the day, you graciously accepted her offer. While you were still angry at Pinkie Pie, you had to admit one thing:
That pie was pretty damn good.
It took almost half an hour to get to cleanse every nook and cranny of your body of that scrumptious pie. You could have shaved ten minutes off that if you didn’t lick some of it off but it was a crime to let such a delicacy go like that. Their bathroom was pretty modern when compared to their overall theme. You’ve seen fancier bathrooms in your time, but still, it wasn’t too bad. They had enough soap and shampoo available thankfully; you even managed to get rid of that stubborn stain you acquired in that bar in Canterlot. That soap was some powerful stuff.
As you walked down the steps, a rhythmic hum on your lips, you noticed a couple of ponies perusing their wares. Pinkie Pie wasn’t anywhere in sight, and Mrs. Cake was at the counter. You assumed she had gone back to the kitchen to either clean up her mess or to bake more exploding pastries.
As Mrs. Cake rang up a customer and handed the mare her goods, she waved you over.
“Did you enjoy the bath, dear?” she asked as she packaged up a baker’s dozen of muffins. You nodded with a smile on your face. “I’m glad. Again, I’m very sorry about Pinkie’s behavior. She usually gets like this whenever she’s with a friend. Sometimes I wonder how they even put up with her personality. Honestly? It baffles me.”
You asked her if Pinkie considered yourself as a friend. As Mrs. Cake finished tying up the box of muffins, she sighed.
“She’s always trying to make friends, even with the new ponies in town. She tries really hard, but sometimes she gets a little carried away. I hope you’ll forgive her for that. That’s just how she is.”
You tapped a hoof on your chin in thought. If she wanted to be friends with you of all ponies, did she have to act so... spontaneous? Granted you’ve had your share of fan-mares, but they were an entirely different brand of crazies.
Regardless, if she was trying to be friendly with you, you couldn’t really hold it against her. It still bugged you to no end though.
“So, you must be that new musician pony around here?” came a mare’s voice.
A new voice from behind you caught your attention and you whipped around. A purplish mare with a mulberry-colored mane walked in through the door. Her cutie mark was what looked to be a stem of grapes and a single strawberry. Something seemed familiar about her despite that this was your first face-to-face meeting with this unknown mare. You recalled seeing somepony similar in the crowd while you were playing for tips. She smiled as you mentioned this.
“Glad you remembered me and yes, I did listen to your performance in the market today. I’m sure you get this a lot, but you’ve got some serious musical talent.”
You nodded in appreciation of the praise. She giggled as an embarrassed blush shot up her face.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t introduce myself. My name’s Berry Punch, and it’s a pleasure to meet you Mr…?”
“His name is Mr. Top Hat!” shouted somepony from the kitchen
Why did she keep calling you that!? Hadn’t you made it explicitly clear when you stated several times it wasn’t your name? Pinkie popped up out of nowhere with her sheepish grin. “And he’s one super duper musician! You should’ve seen him yesterday at his party! He was like lightning, or sugar, or sugar lightning, or maybe like me, hee hee!”
“Yes, well, nice to see you again too, Pinkie.” she replied hesitantly. ” So, Mr. Top Hat then?” You facehoofed, wondering why ponies blatantly ignored your every request to call you by your actual name. For the sake of not starting up with Pinkie again, you nodded. “Strange name… but it fits you, so Mr. Top Hat it is then.” Berry concluded. You double facehoofed. Were all the ponies here always this insufferable!?
“Well, anyway, I hear you’re the new pony in town. Still trying to get used to things around here?” You nodded in response, to which Berry smiled. “What about a job? Do you have one yet?”
With another shake of your head, you told her that you hadn’t bothered to properly search for a job yet, as you were still getting a feel for the tow; however, the hidden meaning behind that question didn’t escape your keen mind, and you brought it up.
“Straight to the point, huh? I like that. In that case, I run a place called Berry’s Delights, or in other words, a bar. We’re looking for talented musicians like yourself to liven up the place a bit. There are tryouts later today at the pub, but If what I heard this morning was anything like you normally play, I’m sold.”
To say you were slightly taken aback was an understatement. It’s only been a couple days since you moved in, and you had somepony practically offering you up a job on a silver platter. The best part was that you hadn’t even looked around yet! However, the name of the bar seemed rather suspicious. In fact, it reminded you of that Sock Club your band mates took you to one time in Canterlot. The night was all a blur due to the astonishingly large amount of hard cider that you had downed. By astonishingly large, however, you meant that single shot they tricked you into drinking. The only thing that remained clear in your head of that entire night was this:
There were socks everywhere.
You shook your head to stop your train of thought before it barreled through the rest of that fuzzy night. Either way, you weren’t fondly interested in bars as seven out of ten times, drinking lead to trouble; however, that only seemed to happen at the shadier bars, so you inquired with Berry about the bar itself.
“It’s a regular bar with drinks, tables, music, and, well, drinks. Is there a different kind of bar that I should be aware of?”
“Ooh ooh, what kinds of drinks, Berry? Are we talking grape juice, or maybe apple juice? Ooh, Ooh, or is it pomegranate juice!? I love that stuff!”
“Pinkie, I’ve been in town for quite a long time. How do you not know what kind of bar I run?”
“Guess I forgot!” she nonchalantly replied.
An inkling in the back of your head pushed you to ask if it was a sock club, but your common sense reeled it back in. Your first impression was a good one, and botching up the face-to-face with a snide question would probably dig your own grave. Besides, she already clarified that it was as normal as a bar can be. Still, the chance to perform again left you apprehensive at best. Sure, there was that street performance, but that was strictly for breakfast bits. Accepting a job to perform on stage nightly was a whole ‘nother shtick especially after Canterlot.
Admittedly, your bit bag was as empty as Pinkie Pie was pink, and a steady job would do wonders in rectifying that problem. That and the tension you felt while up one the stage, the audience’s eyes watching your every move as you played through a set, was something you just couldn’t replace. Then again, it wasn’t like Berry had yourself in a magically binding contract that wouldn’t go away until she died, so you could leave whenever you felt like it.
So, with a noticeable upbeat tone in your voice, you accepted Berry’s gracious offer. In return, Berry smiled. “Glad to hear it! So, this evening then?” A quick nod was your reply. “Great! Now I need to get going, since I was supposed to be at work like five minutes ago. See you there!”
She waved her goodbyes as she walked out the exit and into the bustling town. Glad that that was over, you turned to find Mrs. Cake and Pinkie smiling at you.
“I’m glad to see everything worked out just fine.” quipped the older mare.
“Yeah! I can’t believe Berry owned her own bar full of drinks and stuff! I have to throw a party there now! There’s gonna be sarsaparilla, apple cider, apple juice, fruit punch—”
Just how oblivious could this sugar-coated pink mare get!?
Special Thanks to:
Playing music in a bar? Now that’s a nice job right there. I remember my first time at a bar… or don’t remember. I woke up the day after in a stranger’s bed surrounded by no less than ten mares. I had no idea how I ended up there, but let me tell you, I didn’t care. I was ecstatic!
Well of course I’d be happy! Wouldn’t you!? Mind you, I did make for the door as soon as I could walk straight. Trust me, when you’re drunk off your ass and surrounded by ten mysterious mares, you do not want to stay for breakfast. It’s not pretty when everypony is sobered up and sporting a hangover.
I should have stayed? Well let me share some advice with you: Don’t. I had a similar situation happen once before with four other mares, and when they woke up, they started asking questions that I very well could not answer. Then they got violent. Let’s just say I almost didn’t make it out of there with my jewels intact.
Yes, I got drunk before all that and woke up in a much less mare-y situation. Hah, get it? Merry, Mare-y? Ah, I crack myself up sometimes…
Oh shut up, I thought it was funny. Now, enough of my mare—er, drunken chronicles, let’s move on.
When it came to bars, you weren’t a stranger to them. After all of your gigs in Canterlot, after-parties were pretty much mandatory for the band to attend. Most of the time, they’d always wind up inside of a local night club or a nearby bar that was still open despite the late hour. You couldn’t help but chuckle at all the times when Beaver and Hoof were drunk off their flanks from hard cider alone.
But alas, those cherished memories faded away when you stood in front of Berry’s Delights. It was a one-story purple building with a neon sign hanging off the side sporting the bar’s name next to a neon outline of purple grapes. You looked up to see the sun already starting to dip beyond the distant mountains, casting their gigantic shadows over the town. It was almost time to meet with Berry, and since you had arrived early, there was no point in keeping her waiting. With a quick adjustment of your hat, you opened the door and stepped inside.
From first glance, it was a typical bar like many others back in Canterlot. There was the actual bar itself, the rear shelves stocked to the bursting point with bottles of amber and clear liquid which you assumed was alcohol. A dozen or so swiveling bar stools, some currently occupied, surrounded the tavern’s counter that looked worn but well taken care of. Just peaking over the edge of the counter were a row of kegs and barrels that probably held whatever Berry had on tap. The rest of the space was dotted with small tables and a couple chairs for the patrons’ use. Over on the side was a mahogany pool table and dart board, the latter currently occupied by a pair of stallions in the middle of a game.
There was a small stage in the back hosting a small, brown upright-piano and a microphone stand. It seemed that Berry had planned on having live music ever since she opened the bar. From her stock to the overall appearance of the place, it wasn’t hard to tell that Berry’s business was nothing less than prospering.
You flicked your top hat up a little before making a bee-line to the closest unoccupied stool. Just because you couldn’t hold your liquor didn’t mean you couldn’t drink anything a liquor bar had. That and you had some time to kill, so what better way to spend it than drinking something rather refreshing. As you took your seat, more ponies filed in through the door and took their seats along the counter, shouting their orders to the bar-mare. To your surprise, it turns out that the bar-mare was Berry Punch herself.
“A couple Berry Cider’s coming up!”
She pulled out four mugs, each made of wood with a vine of grapes branded onto their sides, and filled them up from one of the taps sticking out of the counter. With a quick flick of her foreleg, she sent them careening down the counter to their respective ponies. As she turns back to whatever she was doing, she catches you out of the corner of her eye and trots over with a smile on her face.
“Well now, it’s Mr. Top Hat himself. I wasn’t expecting you to show, and you’re ten minutes early to boot.” she said, to which you replied with a hearty laugh, saying that you hadn’t gotten your hooves stuck in ice yet.
“Don’t you mean getting cold hooves?” she corrected lightly to which you shrugged, mumbling that it was something like that. Berry held a hoof to her mouth and giggled.
“Well, I would certainly love to see those hooves at work while in bed, don’t you think?” she asked huskily, giving you a half-lidded stare.
Your retort was bit back as you doubled back in utter shock. Did she really just insinuate that!? Before you could get a word in edgewise, she busted out in raucous laughter that drew some glances from the other patrons.
“Ah ha, I’m kidding. I find that the best way to keep an employee on their hooves is by either giving them a raise or scaring them. Seeing as how I’m not made of bits, I go with the latter.”
An eyebrow twitched in irritation. You didn’t like it when mares teased you like that but let it go regardless. After all, the boss was the one who paid you at the end of the day.
“So, can I get you anything before we get down to it?”
While you did fancy a glass of gin and tonic on occasion, even that was enough to send you past the buzz stage and into drunken land. You settled for a glass of water instead, choosing to take the safe path tonight.
“What, no cider or anything hard to loosen up those limbs of yours?” she asked curiously.
Your band mates always kept on about how much of a lightweight you were when it came to alcohol. Those memories of the times while drunk were extremely hazy, and the ones that were clear you wished you could forget.
Regardless, you just told her that drinking dulled your senses, which was still truthful and the much shorter explanation.
“Oh come now, no wonder you’re single—you are single, right?” She blinked in surprise as you nodded. “Really? You’re single? That’s surprising… I hear all the musician ponies out there are never single….”
Ah yes, that magical rumor that you had heard countless times since you started your musical career. After all this time, it was most definitely nothing BUT a rumor. The story behind it was that since most mares loved ponies who played music, then it was only a matter of time until they got married. That was a load of crap. The true story was that most relationships between a fan and a musician ended with a slap across the cheek. Simple as that.
Shrugging, you just re-affirmed that you were single, explaining that you hadn’t had a special somepony in quite awhile. She hesitantly nodded.
“Well, I wouldn’t mind being your marefriend…” she said while placing a hoof on yours, with a seductive smile. “if you wanted?”
You immediately yelped and leaned back into your stool. Today was the day you learned that stools do not have back rests as you tumbled off and landed hard on the wooden floor. You rubbed your head in agony as you got up from your fall.
Berry Punch laughed up a storm as you maneuvered back into your seat. So this was what you would have to deal with on a daily basis, and you thought Pinkie Pie was bad enough. Berry Punch was definitely a different kind of bad. Unadulterated bad too. At least Pinkie was more childish.
You thought these mares were going to drive you to an early grave with their antics.
A few minutes had passed after your short face plant in which she apologized profusely for her joking. Still, you couldn’t hold it against her; older mares had a way with words, and she knew which buttons to press to knock you off your rocker. Hopefully, she’d ease off on the jokes as time passed. Celestia knows how much more of that you could take.
Regardless, after downing that glass of water, she started asking you questions. Most of them dealt with your proficiency when it came to music and instruments, but there were still a good few that were directed towards your private life. You answered each question honestly and to the best of your ability. As you ended your last response, she nodded happily and motioned towards the stage in the back.
“Now it’s time for the practical interview. The stage is already set up, so get up there and show me what you got.” She leaned in and whispered into your ear, “I even managed to snag a willing pianist who wants to accompany you.”
You grabbed your sax and took to the stage, planting yourself in front of the microphone stand. The piano behind you was still devoid of an actual player, so you just set up, hoping that he or she would be there by the time you were ready. A quick glance around the bar revealed that the majority of the seats had a pony sitting down, each with glass or mug filled with alcohol of some sort. Tightening the mouthpiece on the sax itself, you threw the sax strap on and pressed each flap, lever, and button a couple times, making sure they were oiled and ready to go.
“Hi Mr. Top Hat! What are you doing up on stage?”
That loud, obnoxious voice almost made you trip over yourself.
How you didn’t notice her the first time, you didn’t know, but there she was, sitting at a corner table, staring at you with those blue, energetic eyes of hers.
How this pink mare managed to pop up wherever you were was anypony’s guess. Was she stalking you? Was it all a game to her? Why was she continuously shirking work!? You leveled her with a stare of your own, but that didn’t last long.
“Hey, music pony! Play something already!” shouted one of the impatient patrons, waving a half-empty mug in the air.
Sighing, you motion at the empty piano seat. While you could play just by yourself, it was always better to have a second or third instrument providing a base melody or tune to work off of. If you had the right pony playing alongside you who knew what your strengths were, then your own performance was substantially better.
“Oh c'mon! Stop keeping that pretty mare waiting, and get cracking, boy! We ain’t got all night here!” replied the same patron, pointing at the piano.
Exasperated, you spun around and said that there wasn’t any pianist up there save Pinkie Pie.
Wait a second.
Sitting in the pianist’s stool was the Pink Menace herself, grinning cheerfully and waving enthusiastically at you. Whirling around, her corner seat was now devoid of the pink mare except for a spinning umbrella in her drink. Looking over at Berry for an explanation, she just grinned and motioned for you to get on with it. So this is what Berry meant by a familiar pianist.
You face-hoofed. Even at work, she wouldn’t leave you alone.
“You ready, Mr. Top Hat!? I’m so excited I could eat a whole cake—no, TWO cakes and play at the same time! Let’s do this!”
Before you could get a word in, she had already started to play a quick jive. Seeing as how the majority of the town was at your party, it wasn’t far-fetched to think that Berry had watched you two perform as well. Not wanting to spend any more time looking stupid in front of Berry’s patrons, you spun back around to face them, saxophone at the ready as you blasted out a jaunty tune.
The only thing that flew through your mind that entire time was that random pink pony behind you.
Not much time had passed since you started your audition for Berry. With Pinkie Pie in hoof, you played through two songs, but since the rhythm and tone didn’t change, you kept on playing through the break. What should have been two short songs turned into one, jazzy tune.
The audience stomped their hooves in applause as the last note flickered out amongst the noise. A quick bow in appreciation of their time was in order, and soon after, they were already requesting an encore. However, Berry motioned you over and clapped you on the back with a hoof.
“Bravo, Mr. Top Hat. Come to the bar, I need to talk to you.” You mentioned to her you wanted to play another song for the audience, but she shook her head. “Got another interviewee who’s going to be trying out as well. What? Did you think you were the only one trying out?” she added with a chuckle as she noticed your face.
Sitting back at the bar, you relaxed as the next musician stepped up onto the stage taking her spot on the piano. A soft melody filled the room as Berry talked to you from behind the counter. She placed a clipboard with a sheet of paper, along with a jar of ink and a quill on the counter.
“You didn’t disappoint me in the slightest. That was probably the best jazz I’ve heard in a long time. If you’re as good in bed as you are with that sax, then I wouldn’t mind taking you out for dinner.” she said, nudging a hoof at your chest. A glare was all she got in return this time. Still, she broke out laughing again.
“Don’t take it so personally. A mare’s just trying to have a little fun. Is that so bad? Anyway…” She tapped her hoof on the clipboard. “Seriously though, you were superb. I would love to have you work here. All you have to do is sign this here contract, after reading through it of course, and you’re hired. We only have a few night shifts available right now though, but that will change soon though.”
Reading through the contract, she was telling the truth: The night shifts were only a few days a week, and the pay seemed pretty decent. That and you always seemed to play better at night, so that was always a big plus.
You nodded, quill in hoof, and brought it down to scribble your name on the dotted line.
At least, you attempted to.
“Let me take care of that for ya, Mr. Top Hat! Writing is my middle name!”
The next thing you knew, you were flying through the air and onto the floor one again. In the stool’s place was Pinkie Pie, who grabbed the quill out of midair and began signing your name. You told her it was a contract you yourself had to sign, but your words fell on deaf ears. Berry stood there with a raised brow. She poked Pinkie in the shoulder, nervously chuckling all the while.
“Um, Pinkie. He has to sign it, not yo—”
You cursed under your breath. Without fail, she kept nudging her way into your life. First it was her hat fetish, then the crazy party, then the exploding pie, and now she was signing your own contracts.
Why wouldn’t she just leave you alone!?
Special Thanks to:
Wow, I didn’t think Berry Punch was THAT promiscuous of a mare.
I’ll talk about who I want to when I want to. Besides, it’s my job to both annoy and inform you of your current situation. Don’t you love it?
Fine, fine, I’ll shut up. But that also means I’ll stop reading the book too.
Oh no, that’s not what you said earlier, it’s… wait, that’s exactly what you said earlier. Huh…
Fine, I’ll stop rambling but just this once. As soon as we finish this chapter though, all bets are off. Deal?
Scratch that, your opinion is null and void. I’m still gonna do it anyway. Now, where were we?
Back in Canterlot, everything had an order. A place. A niche in everyday life. Wake up, practice, hang out with friends, play a gig, party, and then sleep. Rinse and repeat until satisfied. Once in a while though, certain aspects would deviate from the norm, but it would still bare some resemblance to your daily schedule. Everything was predictable and plotted out ahead of time. Even after moving, there was still order in your life.
Until Pinkie Pie came along and shot that all to hell.
She had literally thrust herself into your life and had started wreaking havoc on your definition of the ‘norm.’ Despite all the chaos, you were conflicted. Half of your mind liked the spontaneity that that mare seemed to revel in whilst the other half was definitively fed up and annoyed by it. However, it all wound up with you playing music in front of the crowds again. Her welcome party threw you back into the musical world. That was one thing you had to thank that pink mare for.
Actually admitting that was an entirely different story.
Ever since Pinkie signed your contract, Berry’s Delights was filled with your music three days a week. It was both exhilarating and enjoyable. It was everything a pony could ask for wrapped into a bundle: a good salary, an opportunity to play the very music you love to the ponies around you, and for some odd reason, Pinkie Pie. She came to the bar seemingly whenever it was your turn up on stage. Maybe she just came to the bar daily? Somewhere inside yourself, you felt that assumption was wrong. You struck up a chat with her in between your sets, but it was mostly small talk, the demanding task of being a musician keeping your attention elsewhere instead.
Berry always had a smile on during your performance, leaving you to wonder; was Berry falling for you, or was it just a sign of admiration for your skills?
Honestly, it was anypony’s guess at this point.
Two weeks had passed since your first performance, and you were still jazzing up a storm on stage. With your top hat at the ready and the trumpet in your hooves, a funky tune soon found its way out of your trumpet with a pianist providing a snappy rhythm. It wasn’t Pinkie Pie playing the piano, but the brown stallion was definitely skilled. Part of you wished it was Pinkie, since she was a magnificent piano player, almost too good, in fact.
With another round of applause from the crowd, you took a bow and stepped off the stage, eager for something to drink. The brown stallion seemingly disappeared the moment you stepped off stage. You raised a brow as Berry trotted up to you, a glass of clear liquid, presumably water, balanced on her back.
“Good job once again.” she said, hoofing you the glass. “I swear, the crowd gets bigger every day. I probably have you to thank for that as well as some of the other ponies I’ve hired.”
You asked her about that brown stallion that disappeared off to nowhere, and she just merely giggled.
“Oh, Brownie? He likes to leave the bar after a performance. Something about appealing more to the mysterious side of the mares or whatever that means. I didn’t really like it at first, but he plays a pretty darn good piano. I can’t really badger him about the way he acts, as he doesn’t cause any trouble with it.”
Since it was her bar and here-say, you mentally shrugged. You yourself had once tried that approach with mares and met with less than satisfying results, namely missing the awesome after parties. Couldn’t really blame the colt for trying a different avenue though.
You took a swig from the glass of water Berry had brought you and sighed in relief. Nothing beats a drink after a performance.
A hoof tapped your shoulder.
“Hi Mr. Top Hat! Whatcha dooooing?” came a sing-song voice from behind.
A fine mist flew through the air as you sputtered out a shocked yelp. Apologizing profusely to the ponies who were hit by the mist, you grabbed a napkin and wiped the water off your muzzle. Fortunately, Berry wasn’t in the fallout zone. You never would have lived that down otherwise.
You grumbled a little as you swiveled around to find Pinkie Pie bouncing on all four hooves, giggling like a madpony.
“Well, if you didn’t like the water here, why didn’t you just say so?”
Despite your animosity, you inwardly grinned. Even when you were angry with her, she still managed to turn that rage into laughter.
“Ahh come on, you need to swallow, not spit. Here, like this!” She takes your glass of water and threw it into her mouth. You were surprised for three reasons:
She just drank an entire glass of water in under a second.
She drank the glass too.
Since you drank from that glass, would this count as an indirect kiss?
Admittedly, you’ve never actually had one of those before, at least you don’t recall ever having one. Berry caught on to this, evident by your furious blush, and jumped on the opportunity.
“Oh hoh? A first kiss between two ponies. My, my, how I love seeing love blossom.”
A ferocious glare directed at Berry made her clam up whilst Pinkie Pie merely laughed it away.
“Well of course Berry, I love everyone! I love Mr. Top Hat, Berry, Twilight, Rarity, Flutter—“
Your heart skipped a beat when she said she loved you, but quickly leveled out as she listed out the names of her friends. So she meant that kind of love. Why did that really bother you though? Before you could continue down that line of thought, Berry added wood to the fire.
“No no, Pinkie. When I mean love, I’m talking about caring for someone, loving someone, you know, a pony’s special somepony.”
“Huh? You mean...”, Pinkie stuttered, a small blush on her cheek, “Love love?”
“Yes Pinkie. So are you sure you still ‘love’ me? Heh…” Berry said with a small giggle.
“No, I mean I love you as a friend, Berry! And even Mr. Top—“ As her eyes landed on yours, she paused mid-sentence. Those dazzling blue eyes seemed to stare into your soul for a moment as time seemed to come to a standstill. Your eyes were locked on hers, and they refused to budge. You wanted to say something, but your voice didn’t seem to work either.
Mysteriously, your hat flew off your head and landed on the ground. More out of reflex than anything else, your eyes followed its movements, breaking the stare between yourself and Pinkie. Thankful for the reprieve, you stepped over to it and placed it back on your head. Even now, your hat was getting you out of sticky situations.
Apparently in more ways than one.
The sound of shattering glass and snapping wood filled the air as a hanging light fixture fell on the spot you were standing in a moment ago. Some of the patrons yelped in shock and jumped away from the source of the noise. Shards of glass and splintered wood were all that remained of it now.
You looked at your hat and back at the spot you were standing in just a second ago. If your hat hadn’t flown off, you would’ve been squished.
A curse slipped out as your legs buckled from the relief of having avoided a rather gruesome demise.
“By Celestia, that stupid architect is going to get a mouthful from me!” Berry said as she slammed a hoof on the floor. “That’s the last time they overcharge me and skimp on the materials!”
Berry was fuming in anger despite your best attempts to calm her down. Berry angrily shook her head.
“That lamp would’ve shredded you though! You’re not hurt now are you!? Any cuts? Bruises?”
Thankfully, you were perfectly fine, save a few busted nerves. Pinkie Pie was looking at the now destroyed fixture, more-so at the wire that was holding it up. She placed a hoof on her chin and ‘hmmm’d.’ Why was she more concerned with that than the pony who almost met his end?
“Hmm… Mr. Top Hat, does anypony hate you out there?”
Raising a brow, you said that you didn’t know anyone off the top of your head that hated you. Then again, there were some weird fans out there, but that was something entirely different. There shouldn’t be any fans out there who would want you dead. Right?
“Well, this wasn’t an accident. See? The wire is frayed here, like somepony took a hacksaw to it, and trust me, I know my hacksaws. No party pony alive could live without knowing their way around tools!
A chill went up your spine when she said that. You questioned her if the wire breaking wasn’t an accident, but she was adamant.
You held onto your hat, thanking it dearly for saving your life.
Berry had promised that she would look into why the lamp broke and possibly yell at the builder who put that lamp there to begin with. Regardless, you trotted through the deserted streets of Ponyville, breathing in the cold night air.
Well, otherwise deserted save for the bouncing pink ball of sugar following you.
Instead of asking her to buzz off, which she probably wouldn’t do anyway, you asked her why she was following you home.
“I dunno, just like walking with you I guess?”
You pointed out that she wasn’t walking, but hopping.
“Same thing. Ooh! Actually, there’s another reason why I’m following you.”
You stopped in the middle of the dirt road and looked at her with a questionable gaze. She took out a small pamphlet from Celestia-knows-where and shoved it in your face, literally. You mumbled how she should stop doing things like that and held the paper in your hooves. Apparently, a small candy restaurant was opening up in Ponyville, and their grand opening was in two days time.
You told her you didn’t have any interest in going to a sweets restaurant. In fact, the thought of a ‘candy restaurant’ almost made you ill to your stomach; who would open a restaurant that served purely candy!?
Pinkie giggled and wrapped a hoof around your neck. “I want you to come with me and check it out, silly. It’s a candy restaurant! Do you know how rare those are!? I thought I was the only one who loved sweets too! Ooh, I wonder if the restaurant is edible! Wait, that might cost too much… But I’d still like to eat it!”
You were taken aback. The fact she was inviting you to a restaurant was a bit surprising, given your relationship with her. Was she moving too fast, or were you just over-thinking things a bit?
Still, it had been ages since you’d went out with another mare on any occasion. The idea of a candy restaurant though still left you skeptical at best.
You asked her if she was asking you out on a date.
“Why would I ask a calendar out? Calendars don’t talk, or do they?”
You assumed she just misheard you, so you repeated the question but in a simpler fashion. She then went ‘oooh’ as if she understood but then she furrowed a brow and asked an even simpler question.
“What’s a date?”
Special Thanks to:
Talk about Naivety at its finest! A mare who doesn’t even know what a date is? That’s a rarity nowadays.
Now, I wouldn’t say that. While there are some stupid ponies, Pinkie Pie is much more... entertaining than idiotic, even if she does have a few screws loose. But that doesn’t answer my question. Why would you ask her out on a date?
Oh come now, that’s not natural at all. Colts and Stallions are the ones who ask mares on dates, not the other way around! But then again, there was this one time that—
Don’t interrupt me! Can’t you see I’m trying to tell a story here!? Now about the… um, wait, what was I talking about?
Oh fine, spoilsport. It’s always about you and not me; do I not get the time to talk about myself? Geez… Very well, let’s continue with your story...
“You’re really going to Candy Paradise!? But I thought you didn’t like that much sweet stuff!”
A day had passed after Pinkie had asked you out, and you were sitting at Berry’s bar, enjoying a nice glass of apple cider after a performance. She cornered you as you sat down at the bar and began talking about that restaurant. Seeing as you didn’t really pay attention to its name the first time, you were relieved when berry came to your rescue and let slip what it was again. In fact, how did she even know about that place too? She didn’t strike you as a sweets enthusiast like Pinkie Pie did.
“Me? Well I’m planning on going to the grand opening tomorrow.”
Your face met the counter. Part of you wanted to know why anypony would go to a restaurant that served only candy dishes while the other was wrapped up in a grand conspiracy plot between Candy Pradise and the local dentist. Berry merely giggled at your little scene.
“If you chip that counter, it’s coming directly out of your pay. Now listen, I’m just letting my curiosity getting the best of me. Besides, it’s a grand opening; that means deals galore.”
You just nod at her in response. While Pinkie Pie did invite you to go with her, you told Berry that it definitely wasn’t something you were fond of.
“Wait, Pinkie Pie asked you out? As in a date?”
You shook your head, explaining that she didn’t even know what a date was to begin with. Guffawing laughter was her response.
“Oh, that’s so Pinkie Pie,” she said, wiping a tear from her eye, ”naive of the most normal of things… But that’s good though.”
You raised a brow at that last response, wordlessly motioning for her to go on. She flinched but brushed it off with a hoof.
“It’s nothing, just an old mare mumbling. Ha ha…”
You downed your last mouthful of cider and hopped off the bar stool. It was about time to head home anyway, and you waved a good-bye to Berry as you made for the door.
“Er, wait. You’re still going to that restaurant tomorrow right?” You gave her a firm nod, to which she smiled. “Would you mind if I join you and Pinkie Pie? We’re all going anyway, so it’d be better as a group, right?”
She definitely had a point, but the thought of hanging out with both Pinkie and Berry drop kicked you back into reality. It would definitely be fun for them. On the other hoof, you’d probably be on the receiving end of their ‘fun’ for the entirety of the trip. While you didn’t really like where this was going to go, it was a welcomed change to the monotony of daily life. With a sigh, you mumbled your agreement and stepped out of Berry’s Delight.
Time to Stallion up, as the saying went.
The day of the grand opening had arrived. When one thinks of a ‘Grand Opening’, there are the key events that one has to go through: the long line to get in, the long wait once your in line, and the exorbitant amount of patience one would need to survive such an ordeal.
Concerts were pretty much the same thing, now that you thought about it. Nothing as monstrous as a huge line of ponies wanting to see you or anything, but such a thing did happen to the more famous musical ponies out there. Pinkie Pie and Berry Punch were by your side, all eyes locked onto the building before you. It was actually just a normal, brown building covered in candy-esque decorations; lollipops, gumdrops, cherries, and cotton candy. Next to the door were two over-sized chocolate milkshakes, topped off with whipped cream and a bright red cherry. None were edible of course but they looked real enough. There was one problem, however.
There was no line.
You stood there dumbfounded. Berry had come to the same conclusion as well and looked around for something to shed some light on this. There was a pony greeter at the front, who looked extremely bored, but there wasn’t any line, or pony for that matter, in particular waiting to get inside. It was as desolate as a barren desert.
“Whee! No line! C’mon Top Hat, let’s go!” Pinkie Pie said excitedly.
“Wait Pinkie Pie, don’t you find this really strange? It’s completely empty out front.” Berry pointed out.
“How’s that a problem? It means we don’t have to wait!”
You pointed out how this was probably a really bad sign. Berry profusely agreed.
“Yeah, what he said. If nopony else is here, then the food can’t be good at all. It’s really odd nopony is here for a grand opening of all things.”
Your response was cut short as Pinkie Pie grabbed your hoof and Berry’s hoof, literally dragging the two of you towards the door. Apparently, either she didn’t listen to you two, or she did and didn’t care. After all, there were sweets to be had. She let you go once you all reached the front as she gave her energetic smile to the welcome pony.
“Hi there! Table for three please! Ooh, and go easy on the tablecloths too, I almost ate one of ‘em once. Did you know that candy tablecloths exist too? Ooh, actually, do you have candy tablecloths? They’re delicio—Mmph!?”
You placed your hoof over her muzzle to get her to shut up. The blue stallion behind the welcome podium seemed rather annoyed with your talkative friend already, and you hadn’t even made it through the door yet. A quick apology later, you asked for a table for three.
“That depends. Where do you want to sit?” he said in a slightly annoyed tone. You furrowed a brow in confusion, asking how many ponies were inside. He merely shrugged.
“Only two, maybe three ponies are inside. What? Were you expecting a crowd?”
The greeter’s attitude was quickly grating your nerves. You could see why there wasn’t a crowd here now: Probably because they were disgusted with this stallion. However, you took the high road and simply refused to respond to his verbal jab, not wanting to stoop to his level.
Thankfully, you managed to hold onto your calm demeanor long enough to ask him once more for a table. The blue stallion sighed heavily as he reluctantly grabbed a few menus from inside the podium and led you inside.
Where was the candy?
That was the first question that popped up in your mind as you stepped inside the restaurant. The outside was clearly decorated in lieu of a candy them. The inside was a completely different story.
There was absolutely nothing candy-themed inside. A simple, wooden square room, the floor and ceiling a bright pink with white walls, was the dining area. The chairs and tables were placed in a systematic fashion to allow for most ponies to sit down while taking up the least amount of space. It looked absolutely dull. The longer you looked around, the more your eyes hurt. Berry couldn’t help but frown as she eyed the owner's taste in interior design . Pinkie Pie was seemingly unaffected, now counting the wooden planks on the ceiling with gusto. The blue stallion growled as he noticed their disgusted faces.
“Yes, I know it looks ugly. Got a problem with it?”
He certainly wasn’t helping with the mood, though. A bad attitude combined with the interior design made you wonder how this place even managed to place an ad at all. Berry furrowed her brow.
“How rude! We come here to eat, and you’re giving us this attitude of yours?”
“If you have a problem with it, then I suggest you leave. It’s all you’re getting.”
You placed a hoof on Berry’s shoulder, shaking your head. You give a fake chuckle to the welcome pony and said that you just needed to look at the menus for a little bit. The blue stallion just shrugged and went about his business.
Berry smacked your hoof away and growled at you.
“Why did you do that!? I could have given him a hoofful if you hadn’t stop me!”
You explained that despite the negativity surrounding this place, you’ve yet to try the food. That’s when Pinkie Pie joined in and hugged the both of you.
“Yeah! I bet their food is great! You won’t know unless you try!”
For once you agreed with her. If it was the other case, then you could all just leave and go somewhere else instead. Berry was about to pout, but she reluctantly agreed.
“I was hoping this would be romantic…” Berry mumbled. Your ears perked up, and you stared at her. So she did have other intentions. Berry glanced at you and only giggled. “Oh, it’s nothing. Never mind me.”
You raised a brow, confused, but you merely gave a shrug as you looked at the menu before having to shut your eyes once again. Not only was the menu as dull as the interior designs, but it was just plain text; no images or drawings showed what any of the choices are. It got weirder as you read through each of their dishes.
‘Out Of This World’
‘Hay Fries w/ Cheese’
The first three seemed mediocre at best, but you groaned at the last one. For a restaurant that claimed to only serve candy, that was definitely as far away from candy as you could get.
You immediately changed your mind and wanted to leave, now. You frowned at Pinkie and Berry, and they gave similar expressions.
“Don’t like the options either?” Berry asked, in which you shook your head. She looked at Pinkie. “What about you Pinkie?”
“Ummm, I don’t know! They all look pretty tasty to me!”
You both facehoofed.
“Pinkie, I really don’t think we should eat here: A rude welcoming, bad interior designs, nothing ‘grand’ to speak of, and that pony in the corner is giving me weird looks. Now, I’m all up for bringing in customers, but that ad they had was as fake as fake could get. Let’s get out of here before that poor excuse for an employee comes back.”
You wholeheartedly agreed with her and started to stand up. However, Pinkie Pie grasped your hoof in hers and stared at you with those puppy eyes of hers.
“Nooo! Please, stay! Let’s at least give the food a chance!” she implored, shaking your hoof for added effect.
You groaned, stuck at an impasse now. You couldn’t exactly ignore Pinkie’s honest request, but you didn’t want to leave Berry all alone when she left. A voice piped up behind you that brought the world to a sudden stand-still.
“Yes, please Saxxy, stay. It’s not that bad once you pick the right product. It is mediocre at best though.”
Your ears perked up. Of all the ponies to run into, you never thought it would be him. A light black Pegasus with a brown mane and piano keys as its cutie mark, sipping a milkshake, trotted into view and stood at the end of your table. He grinned as you returned his gaze before he stretched his hooves out and placed them on the table.
“It’s been awhile, Saxxy. I never expected you to be here. It’s been months, hasn’t it?”
There was no mistake. It was Beaver and he managed to find you in Ponyville.
Special thanks to:
Right then, on to the next chapter. Let’s see…
What? I thought you wanted me to stop monologuing? Besides, I don’t always feel like rambling before every single chapter. Even I need a break sometimes.
Don’t give me that smile. Fine, just for that, I’ll ramble. I can ramble on about nothing for days on end so unless—
Ohhhh no you don’t! I ain’t letting you back out of this just yet! It’s too late for apologies now. However, I am feeling quite lenient at the moment, so you’re off the hook... for now. Anyway, Beaver huh? And reuniting in a sweets restaurant of all the places too? For shame... those architects and decorators need more fashion sense, or design sense in this case.
Regardless, let’s continue on. I’m itching to find out what happens next.
Of all the ponies in Equestria, you never expected to run into Beaver again. The band broke up in Canterlot and went their separate ways to Celestia-knows-where. Now, through some ironic miracle, your paths had crossed once again, minus Loud Hoof of course.
Beaver brought his drink over to your table and took an empty seat. He looked between you, Pinkie, Berry, and grinned at the whole group.
“Well Saxxy, I didn’t think you had it in you. I mean, two mares at the same time? You’ve certainly grown a pair since back then.”
Saxxy, the nickname Beaver decided to give you after a stunning solo on brass one night. You honestly wanted to know why no one called you by your real name. Still, it was Beaver you were talking to, so anything short of inappropriate from him was a stretch. You vehemently denied what he was insinuating, but Berry cut you off.
“Not true at all, Mr. Top Hat,” she said flirtatiously, “I think you’re quite lucky to have us both.”
“Yeah! Aren’t you glad you have such nice friends?” piped in the naive pink mare.
“Oh hoh? So the colt has finally become a stallion?” Beaver said, leaning forward to give your head a noogie. You smacked it away absentmindedly. He had always treated you like a colt, and even now, it aggravated you to no end. Beaver quickly sat back in his seat, nursing his hoof as if it had been burned or cut off.
“Ouch man, take it easy will ya? Just checking up on an old friend of ours and since you’re here too, the more the merrier.”
You didn’t exactly know what he was talking about at first, but you had a small idea of who it might be.
“Can I take your or—Huh? No way...” Your eyes averted to a stallion sporting a bow tie. That white coat, those azure eyes, and freckles were all dead giveaways. Loud Hoof stared at you as you returned the stare, mouth slightly open in shock.
So the band was back together...
Half an hour had passed since Loud Hoof joined the table. That feeling of wanting to leave was still there, but you wanted to catch up with your old friends, especially with Loud Hoof.
“Heh, me and Hoof got here a few days ago, actually. When you left, we were at a bit of a stand still on what to do, so with my devilish good looks and cunning personality, we teamed up to do some work on the side. We just couldn’t jump back into the music; it lacked a certain somepony, and it just didn’t feel the same, right, Hoof?”
“Y-Yeah, but you—“
“Ah stop selling yourself short, Hoof!” Beaver cut in, rapping him on the shoulder with a hoof. ”Even though I do all the work around here, you’re still a good contribution to them team!”
Ignoring Beaver’s usual antics, you asked why him and Hoof were here of all places. Beaver responded with a raised brow at first.
“It was a grand opening event. That means good money.” He gestured at the surrounding restaurant with both hooves. “But as you can see, ‘twas a waste of time, and now Hoof is stuck here until the day is over. Lousiest. Opening. EVER.”
It was hard to find qualms with such a statement when it was as clear as day just how bad this place truly was. False advertisements suck.
Besides that, Beaver didn’t seem to change much since the last time you talked. Sure, he was an outstanding musician like yourself, but he always tried to skimp out on work. Sometimes, he’d get somepony else to do his work for him, and only after it was done did you find out. Sadly, Loud Hoof was usually on the receiving end; you might even say all of Beaver’s feats were accomplished through manipulative use of Hoof in some way, shape, or form.
Now Loud Hoof was the polar opposite; he was a strong, innocent stallion who didn’t have any backbone. He wasn’t the type to incite confrontations and certainly not the type to fight back. Thanks to this, he was usually very nervous and easily bossed around.
That temptation to leave was still there, nagging away at the back of your head, but you quickly kicked it out the metaphorical door. With the table still buzzing with idle conversation, you glanced at Berry and Pinkie Pie. They did order a couple drinks, something like an apple or pineapple shake each. The menu choices were mediocre at best, but the girls did seem to be enjoying themselves so no harm, no foul.
You didn’t bother ordering anything when the girls placed theirs. Your appetite seemed to go up in smoke once you had locked eyes on Beaver walking up to the table. Well, that and having a stomach full of sugar and caffeine didn’t sound quite appealing.
An elbow to the waist by Loud Hoof got your undivided attention.
“So um, how have you been? What have you been up to?” Hoof asked.
A quick recap of your time in Ponyville later and Hoof nodded and smiled happily.
“You’re back to playing music? Wow, nothing seems to keep you away from your instruments. I wish I was like you sometimes,” Hoof said.
You only smiled at him in agreement, but Beaver had to ruin the moment.
“Hah, playing music again? I bet that’s not the only thing you like to do…” Beaver said, a smirk growing across his face. “I bet you got the job through bed than anything else. Let’s face it: you’re just a playcolt picking up mares with that fancy music of yers.”
Berry and Pinkie paused mid-sip and stared—nay, glared at you with mirth . Chuckling nervously, you calmly explained that you weren’t anything of the sort. Thankfully, you weren’t smooth with the opposite sex. Although, you oftentimes wished you were.
“Ahh don’t lie. Loud Hoof and I know you like tooting your own trumpet and shoving it up their—“
The rest of his sentence was cut short as you slammed a hoof on the table in aggravation. This was definitely something you did not miss when the band was still together. The table fell silent, all eyes staring at you. You locked eyes with Beaver, leaned forward, and told him to shut up.
Beaver merely grinned but didn’t say anything else. You sighed heavily and excused yourself from the table, making a bee-line for the bathroom.
After washing your hooves at the sink, a sigh escaped your lips.
It was typical of Beaver to incite an outburst, trying to make you look bad under a certain light. He had a persuasive way with words just for all the wrong reasons, to the point of provocative.
It reminded you of when the band actually broke up…
“What do you mean ‘we’re breaking up’? I thought we had the best damn Jazz here in Canterlot!”
“Uh, Beaver. Maybe it’s for the best? I mean, we were talking about it, and—“
“And so what? You can’t just go on your own little adventures and leave me out of the picture!”
“T-that’s not it! We just think it’s for the best we go our separate ways! Remember what happened to the last two gigs we had? He almost got injured from accidents waiting to happen. A sand bag almost fell on his head, and he almost fell through that trapdoor on stage! We’re lucky he’s still breathing!”
“Bah, so what if he had some bad luck? It comes with being a musician! Sure, there are some rather extreme fans out there, but that doesn’t mean we should give up! They love us!”
You made a comment on how it just wasn’t working anymore. The band, Beaver’s constant bickering and disagreements, the constant scrapes with death; it was starting to affect your performance and you wanted out before it got any worse. Beaver didn’t think that way though.
“To hell with that! This band will NOT disband as long as I’m still here!” Beaver shouted at you. No matter what he said, you’d already made your decision along with Loud Hoof. It was time to move on. Motioning for Loud Hoof to follow, you turned around and started towards the exit..
The last thing you could remember was Beaver’s derogatory shout and a sharp pain in the back of your head…
You’re jerked back to reality as somepony taps your shoulder. You turn around to find Loud Hoof standing there, a nervous look on his face .
“Hey… you alright? You seemed pretty angry back there.”
You shook your head. Not once had you met a pony who didn’t get mad after hanging out with Beaver for
“Yeah… I tell you, Beaver’s scary. He’s gotten more aggressive over the past few weeks.”
You raised a brow at Hoof’s comment, wordlessly asking him to go on. He averted his eyes for a moment before he continued.
“Well, after we broke up the band and went our separate ways, he found me a week later, apologizing for what he did. We stuck together and travelled around, taking the occasional odd job, but honestly? He hasn’t changed a bit. I’m still doing all the work, and he’s taking all the credit.”
So nothing had changed in the past month then. You couldn’t say you weren’t surprised; a month is a relatively small span of time for somepony to change. Then again, why was Loud Hoof still hanging around that slouch?
“And yes, I know I shouldn’t let him boss me around like this, but I don’t like fighting. I’ve got the muscles, but... well, you know me.”
Yep, typical Loud Hoof, a pacifist to the core. Countless times in the past, you nagged and pushed him to become more self-confident and to stand up for himself. Despite the constant reminder on your end, he never really seemed to care.
That’s when your hat flew off your head mysteriously. Thoughts flew through your head: why did your hat keep flying off as if it had a mind of its own? Should you look into pinning it on as a preventive measure? What about glue? Shrugging, you picked it off the floor and put it back on.
You jumped forward, more out of shock than anything else, as something heavy smashed into the floor. You looked up at the ceiling and saw a nicely shaped chunk of ceiling missing. On the ground was that missing piece, strewn about where you were standing a moment ago. You took a hesitant step back, a cold sweat beginning to break out. Hoof was staring at the ceiling, jaw agape and just as shaken as you were. That was the second close call since you came to ponyville.
You needed to get out of here.
“Heyyy there stud! Squeezed the lemon right, aye?”
You rolled your eyes and tried to push back the thoughts of kicking Beaver’s arse until a later date. They were still sitting around the table, idly conversing with each other, but it seemed you came back to Berry in a bad mood. Despite your better judgement, you decided to ask what was wrong, although the fact that she had her nose up in the air away from Beaver made it quite clear who was causing her such gripe.
“Rude much?” Berry scoffed.
“Hey now baby, there’s no need to play hard to get. After all, I’m a good lookin’ stallion who’s always rarin’ to go, eh?”
“Ooh, ooh! What kind of action? Do you mean some party action? Or maybe some music action? I want in!”
You knew exactly what kind of action Beaver meant, and despite your steadily growing anger, you couldn’t help but chuckle. Leave it to Pinkie Pie to defuse a tense situation like this. You placed a few bits on the table and told Berry and Pinkie Pie that you were leaving. The two mares exchanged confused looks as Beaver raised a brow .
“So the playcolt reverted back to a scared filly? What? Can’t handle a little adult conversation?”
It was hard to believe that you used to play with him on a daily basis now that you thought about it. You merely walked out the door, despite the mare’s protests. You waved goodbye to Hoof and wished him luck with whatever he was doing.
“H-hey! Wait, Mr. Top Hat! Where are you going?”
“Yeah, the party was only just getting started!”
Pinkie and Berry had followed your departure, obviously concerned about what just happened. Berry twirled her hair a bit in her hoof, staring at you inquisitively.
“What’s gotten you upset? Something wrong?”
You mentioned how you couldn’t handle Beaver’s inappropriate comments and just wanted to leave. That’s when Pinkie tackled you from behind and grabbed you.
“Hey! You’re not going anywhere, Mr. Hat Pants!”
Ok seriously!? Now it’s Mr. Hat Pants!?
“I know it’s something else. You look like you went through a cotton candy maker at full speed without any sugar! C’mon, you can trust us!”
You grumbled something about ‘curiosity killed the cat’ before Pinkie Pie decided to stand on the floor instead of your back. It was a long story, and now was not exactly the time nor the place to break out into a story. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to give them a condensed version for the time being.
“Again? That’s really strange… Why would a similar accident happen twice to you? It’s like… somepony is out to get you,” Berry said with a gasp.
There was some meaning in her words, but who would be out to get you? It didn’t make any sense. Nopony truly hated you. The majority of them probably loved you because of how good a musician you are. Then again, there would be some ponies that are of the extremely jealous type. You just chalked it off as a coincidence, but Berry didn’t feel the same.
“No, this is the second time it’s happened. This is not just a coincidence.”
You merely sighed. Honestly, who would be out to get you? Out the corner of your eye, you saw Pinkie eyeing her tail. So after all that, she just stares at her tail like she’s never going to see it again?
“Oh, it’s nothing,” she said when she noticed you giving her an incredulous stare. ”When you went to the bathroom, my Pinkie sense was tingling.”
You squinted one eye, wondering what blabbering nonsense she was talking about now.
“Well, my Pinkie sense can predict the future. I can’t really explain it, but it works! Ask my friends, and they’ll tell you it’s the most awesomest thing ever!”
“Whatever the case,“ Berry interjected, ”Beaver and Hoof made sure you were all right.”
Four times you’ve already avoided injury the past few months or so, and you just want to know why these strange occurrences were happening.
Whatever the case, you just wanted to go home. With these puzzling events put aside for now, you waved goodbye to Pinkie and Berry. However, after Pinkie left, Berry snuck a kiss on your cheek before galloping off. A tint of red filled your face as you placed your hoof on the spot she kissed. When you pulled it back, the subtle red of her lipstick was stuck on it.
Now, part of you is glad ‘something’ good came out of this despite Beaver ruining your nice day out. You couldn’t say you didn’t like the kiss on the cheek, but somehow, you wanted something...
Special Thanks to:
Well, you’re in a sour mood today, aren’t you? Two close calls with death and you act like your father died... Oh wait, he did.
Hey, put your damn hooves down and listen to me. Maybe your father wasn’t the best example. How about a molerat? You know what those are, right? A hybrid of a rat and a mole? Back where I come from, my town was full of them; always stealing our vegetables, getting into the garbage, and you know what? One of them blamed me for it and—
Ya know, I think we had this argument before. It’s your story I’m reading, so I’ll do whatever I damn well—
OW! The hell did you punch me for!?
The next time you do that, I’m throwing this book into the fireplace, you got that? Sheesh, stupid hot-headed jerk...
“Ooh, ooh, Mr. Top Hat, wanna go shopping?”
A few days had passed since the events of the ‘Grand Opening’ and the surprising reunion of the band. It was early in the day, just before noon, and you were sitting at Berry’s Bar, casually sipping some apple cider during your break. You had to get back up on stage in a bit, but you figured wetting your whistle wouldn’t hurt. That, and an apple cider for some reason sounded absolutely refreshing when you woke up.
Seemingly out of the blue though, Pinkie managed to corner you and ask if you wanted to shop with her. You tried, and failed, to suppress a guttural groan at the thought of shopping with a mare, specifically Pinkie, willingly. Most likely, it would involve lots of walking and more window-shopping than anything else.
“Oh, go on you two, go have your fun,” Berry interjected. You looked at Berry incredulously, motioning to the stage and her repeatedly. Was the boss really telling you to ditch work to go shopping?
“I’m extending your break. Besides, it looks like you need some time off. You look like somepony is constantly kicking you in the shins, for Celestia’s sake.”
“Huh? Mr. Top Hat, someone kicked you in the shin? Who did it!? I’ll give them such a talking to… and then we can all be friends!” Pinkie exclaimed.
Leave it to Pinkie to make you chuckle. Sometimes you wondered if the phrase ‘Figure of Speech’ didn’t exist in her little world. It was a miracle that she got this far in life if she was always this naïve and silly. Then again, it’s not like you could hate her for being funny and happy. You tried to play it off as one of Berry’s numerous jokes, but she didn’t let it go.
“Huh!? Someone kicked you in the shins as a cruel joke!? What kind of pony thinks that would be funny? Words are funny, not kicking thin—mmph!?”
Her mindless chatter was cut off as you covered her mouth with a hoof. At least now she could hear you over her own rambling. Despite her previous assumption, your concise explanation quickly changed that.
“Ohhhh, okaaaaay.” She sang before quickly adding, “I still want to know who kicked you in the shins, though.”
So there you were, roaming the streets of Ponyville with a bouncing pink mare to shop for Celestia knows what. Merchants crowded the street, each sporting a small wagon or cart laden with items ranging from fresh produce to furniture. Ponies weaved to and fro between each, stopping here and there to peruse their wares before moving on. Back in Canterlot, the market wasn’t nearly this chaotic, even on a busy morning. It was a far cry from there, but this organized chaos, this hustle and bustle, reminded you of days past. However, they didn’t really feature a sugar-coated pink mare.
You couldn’t recall the last time you went shopping with a mare. Sure, Beaver would regale you with his dating adventures concerning shopping, but they always ended badly. Whenever he got to that particular portion, he merely skipped ahead, detailing it as probably the most boring part of the date. He did let slip that during that time was when his bit pouch became exceedingly light. Beaver came up with the nickname ‘Shopaholics’ for those kinds of mares.
“Ooh ooh, let’s check out that candy store over there!”
Pinkie Pie, however, was a Candyholic.
Your window shopping with her consisted of wandering amongst the confectionery stalls and toy stores. Considering her personality, it wasn’t surprising that this was what she meant by shopping. It seemed she spent every single waking moment of the day surrounded by sugar or toys. Sometimes, you doubted that she was even a pony to begin with, but was actually an alien in her disguise. At this point, you really didn’t care. At least you weren’t bored out of your mind like Beaver said would happen.
“Ooh ooh, what do you think of that Lollipop? It looks so colorful and rainbow-y! Ooh, there’s even a candy-sized pony in there! It looks good enough to eat!”
A chill flew down your spine. Why on Equestria did that give you the shivers? Regardless, the rest of your two-hour shopping experience led to nothing but candy shop after candy shop. At the end of it all, your patience was beginning to wear thin. Just how much candy could this mare eat!? She had to have bought an entire store’s worth by now, yet she was still chowing down like they were going out of style. It didn’t help that whenever you opened your mouth to say something, she’d shove a hoof full of gummy bears or a lollipop in.
You sighed in relief as you took a seat on a bench, dropping the numerous boxes of candy that she had bought on the ground for the time being. Pinkie followed soon after and sprawled out on the rest of the bunch with a happy smile, absentmindedly rubbing her stomach. An abrupt loss of weight on your head meant only one thing, and sure enough, Pinkie was now fiddling with your hat.
“Wow, this hat is always as fit as a fiddle, isn’t it? Say, how did you come by such a neat-o hat anyway? I mean you’ve taken really good care of it, but you’re no tailor; you’re a musician.” She gasped, taking in a giant breath of air before looking at you in utter shock. “You’re not a tailor by day, musician by night are you?!”
You merely shook your head. Apparently the lack of a cutie mark even hinting at being a tailor wasn’t enough to convince her otherwise. When you figured out that you loved music, revealing your cutie mark, your father gave you that hat, telling you to take care of it until you passed it on again. She gave your hat a quick spin in the air and placed it on her head, giggling all the while.
“Oh yeah! I remember, you told me about this before. So your father gave you that hat, then? Come to think of it, where is he now? What was he like?” she asked.
You opened your mouth but closed it a moment later at a loss for words. It wasn’t something you could just talk about in casual conversation. Well, you could, but it would probably make everypony within earshot quickly uncomfortable. Instead, you tried changing the topic of the conversation, but when Pinkie wanted something, she held onto it with an iron hoof.
“Aw c’mon! Can’t you tell me? Pretty please with a cherry and frosting on top? Wait, or is it frosting and a cherry on top? Ohh who cares, tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me!”
Her pleading, blue eyes seemed to eat away at your resolve the longer you stared at her. You’d seen this stare many times back when you were in Canterlot. The fans who wanted an autograph or a hoofshake had the same stare. It made you feel guilty. Countless times of exposure to such stares quickly nullified your original feelings. In other words, her stare wasn’t really doing anything but make her look like an adorable puppy.
Instead, you looked up at the sky, taking your hat off her head and placing it firmly back on yours. She seemed disappointed when you took it away, but averted her eyes toward the ground.
“Why won’t you tell me?” she asked quietly.
You raised a brow at her.
“Is it… y’know, something bad? I mean, you seemed rather upset when I asked...”
You sighed again. This habit of constantly sighing was getting annoying now to say the least, but you couldn’t help it. It was Pinkie Pie after all.
You got up from the bench and began to walk off. Not a moment later, Pinkie Pie was hot on your tail, although lacking in the bouncing department this time.
“W-wait! Mr. Top Hat, where are you going? You haven’t told me anything yet!”
Something inside you snapped, if only but for a moment. You told her that it was none of her damned business. Pinkie recoiled slightly, confused at the way you were acting.
“M-Mr. Top Hat?” she said, her voice cracking slightly.
Almost immediately, you felt bad. Not only had you snapped, but you had snapped at Pinkie Pie, of all ponies. A quick glance in her direction revealed the normally boisterous party mare to be downtrodden and sad. Even her coat seemed to dull in color, not to mention her hair lay flat against her head.
You looked toward the sky once more and sighed in frustration, quietly berating yourself for doing such a thing. It was still a sensitive subject and not something you willingly told anyone, even your own friends. Still, you apologized to the saddened pink mare, explaining that it wasn’t something you could talk about lightly. Pinkie’s mane perked up ever so slightly.
“I’m sorry… I-I didn’t know…”
You told her that someday, when you were ready, you would tell her. Until then, she would have to wait. Thankfully, she seemed to perk up even more.
“So, where are you going now?” Pinkie asked. Seeing as you were technically on break, it was about time that you headed back to Berry’s Bar. Pinkie nodded in understanding. “Um, are you still mad at me?”
You hesitated mid-trot. Of all the ponies that you knew, she was the only one to address the metaphorical elephant in the room so bluntly. You told her otherwise and that you’d see her back at the bar later before continuing down the street, leaving Pinkie Pie behind.
Now that you were alone, you wiped the sweat off your forehead. It had been a while since you thought about what happened to your father. Even now, you still missed him. Sometimes, you envisioned him giving you wise words of advice about life. He was your coach, your teacher, and your father. Even now, you question what kind of path you should take in your life; should you stay in Ponyville, or reunite the old band and get back into the swing of things?
No. You couldn’t go back to that, not after the chaos that made your life a living hell.
You fell back on your butt, massaging your head with a hoof to ease the growing bump on your noggin as your uttered some choice swear words. You opened your eyes, ready to confront the pony who barreled into you before realizing you were staring at a brown, brick wall. While cursing at inanimate objects was a nice stress reliever, you had better things to do. Not to mention you’d look pretty crazy if someone witnessed you cursing at a wall.
After getting back on your hooves, you were about to continue on before curiosity got the best of you and you looked at the overhanging sign.
‘You Wreck It, We Fix It’
A weird name for a shop, to be sure, but you’ve heard weirder. You took a peek inside, noticing their plethora of antiques sitting in the windows and on their shelves. It seemed like it doubled as a pawn shop of some kind, too, if the amount of items inside was any indication of such. One thing in particular caught your eye though.
It was an old-fashioned Gramophone.
You blinked a couple times. You looked at the sign again, and then back at the Gramophone. Is it possible the pony working here could repair Gramophones?
You tapped a hoof in thought, deciding if you should head in or not. Alas, curiosity got the best of you again. You placed a hoof on the doorknob of the store and headed in, the jingling of the door bells heralding your entrance.
Editors: Pissfer & Midnight Dancer
So you’re getting that mare’s gramophone fixed, eh? Why the sudden generosity?
You claim it’s because she’s been nice to you this whole time? Well, I suppose I can see the logic in that: you be nice to somepony, you get nice things in return, eh? Am I right? You know what I’m talking about right?
Oh, I’m the pervert, huh? Maybe you should re-think that claim before talking to your Number One avid reader!
What do you mean ‘who is this avid reader’!? Me, of course! I’m reading you your damn story, am I not?
Now shush up, it’s time for the next chapter.
At first glance, this place seemed more like an antique store than a repair shop. Shelves and tables were strewn lazily about the shop, laden with numerous antiques: knives, musical clocks, and furniture were among the many objects you could see. On a distant table, you spotted a rather peculiar object: a multi-colored cube made up of many smaller ones. You picked it up out of curiosity and examined it. It felt rough and looked worn out as the colorful stickers were awkwardly sliding off.
It was a Rubik’s cube, something you haven’t seen since you were a child. Unable to resist, you gave it a couple twists to see if it still worked. Curiosity got the best of you when you started twisting and turning it, trying to get all the matching colors into place.
“Fancy little toy, isn’t it?”
Surprised, you jump slightly, losing your grip on the cube as it goes sailing away from you. After fumbling with it momentarily, you manage to catch it and set it back on the table. Another quick glance around the store revealed an elderly, brown stallion with a long, white beard. To be frank, he looked more like a mountain hermit than a normal civilized pony. However, you kept that opinion to yourself; no need to gain the animosity of an elder. The bearded stallion gave you the equivalent of a once over and grinned. He picked up the cube in his hoof and absentmindedly gave it a few twists.
“It’s a Rubik’s cube. I’ve had this for quite some time now. I remember the day when some colt around your age brought it in for repairs. I fixed it, but I haven’t seen him since. So here it lies, waiting for another lucky owner to purchase it.” He placed it back down on the table and stroked his beard contemplatively. “So, what brings you here, laddie?”
You mentioned you were only browsing, but that you also came in here for another reason: to see if anyone here had the ability to repair a gramophone.
“Ho hoh? A gramophone you say? I haven’t seen one of those antiques in a very long time. Well, except for the one in the window display. Tell me, do you know what’s wrong with it?”
You mentioned the record needle being broken and the small explosion that took place inside the gramophone, to which the old stallion just chuckled.
“Internally and externally? Well now, in this day and age, it’s no surprise something would go wrong internally. These gramophones are quite the antiques, and they don’t age well.” He looked at the gramophone in the window and then back at you, with a smile.
“The needle I’m sure I can repair, but I would need the actual gramophone to make a proper diagnosis, especially if something is broken on the inside. Do you think you can do that, lad?”
You nodded cheerfully, and after shaking hooves you stepped out of the shop, happy your business was concluded. A moment later, you stop trotting and nearly facehoof as you realize a critical error in your plan.
How are you going to bring it in for repairs when it’s not even yours to begin with?
“You’re going to fix Pinkie’s gramophone?”
Back at Sugarcube Corner, you’ve told Mrs. Cake of the situation, after making sure that Pinkie wasn’t around. You wanted the whole repair thing to be kept secret, since you didn’t want Pinkie snuggling you with one of her hugs.
Mrs. Cake tapped her chin with a hoof, giving a small chuckle.
“That’s very nice of you dear, but I couldn’t possibly give it to you. It is Pinkie’s after all.”
You explained to her that you felt sorry for Pinkie’s gramophone being broken. You told her how thankful you were for Pinkie getting you back into music. You were grateful to her, and you wanted to return the favor.
Mrs. Cake eyed you carefully, examining you from head to hoof, and merely gave a sigh.
"It's not like it's just sitting out in the open, where anypony but me could see it or anything."
You blinked a couple of times. You looked at the corner of the store and did indeed see something over there. You looked back at her and saw a grin planted on her face.
“What’s wrong? It’s not like I’m watching it, so I won’t even know it’s gone.”
You told her you didn’t know what she was talking about, along with a wink of an eye towards her.
"Well, I need to get back into the kitchen and tend to a few things. I'll be awfully busy, so I won't be able to see you off," she said with a grin.
After that, she just walked towards the back, to do who knows what. Honestly, if she was that bad at hinting at things, you would wonder how well she would do in terms of negotiating prices with customers.
Actually, you decided to dismiss that thought, you didn’t want to know. Regardless, you walked over to the gramophone that was in the corner of the room. You looked around you to see that the store was indeed empty inside. Not even Pinkie was around; although, you found that rather strange. You know you separated with Pinkie earlier today to be alone, but the fact she didn’t head back here was just a little odd.
You just shrugged, thinking she was doing something more important, like eating a bucket of candy or something. You lifted the gramophone up with your hooves, and proceeded to carry it out of the store, carefully looking around to make sure no one would follow you.
“Hmm… I see, so this is the little troublemaker, hm?”
Once you brought the gramophone to the repair stallion, he carefully examined it on his desk while you just stood there and watched anxiously. The way he was examining it with the magnifying glass showed he was putting some careful attention to it, but you wondered why he was putting more focus on the needle than on the inside.
“It’s very well taken care of. It’s aged well, and I don’t see any splinter on it either. Your friend must really love this gramophone for such care to be shown to it.”
You give him a silent nod. He looks at the bottom of the gramophone and eyes a few screws that are on the bottom. You only sat and watched him work his mechanical prowess as he opened it up, revealing several gizmos and gadgets inside the device. The stallion ruffled his beard once more.
“Hmm, looks like some minor damage to the gears here. Yes, this shouldn’t be a problem to fix.” You smiled at him. You were worried that the gramophone was beyond repair, but you were relieved to hear the good news. He pokes one of the broken gears with a screwdriver, and places it back down to look at you.
“It’ll take me a few hours to fix this up, but first, let’s negotiate the price to repair this.”
You flinched. With all your joy of getting Pinkie’s gramophone repaired, you completely forgot that this would require money to fix. Admittedly, you did rack up a decent amount of money from working at Berry’s, but did you even have enough to cover the costs of the gramophone?
The old stallion counted up the gears and gizmos inside the broken device, and started writing something down with an ink quill and a piece of paper. After a minute or two passed by, he brought the paper up to you, and your jaw hit the floor.
Not a whole lot, but it was going to hurt you financially for a while. You gave a heavy gulp as you looked at the repair pony, a worried look on your face, to which he just chuckled in return.
“Don’t like the price, hm? Well, I need to make a living, and repairing antiques isn’t cheap. Now you see why I made this my profession. Ho ho ho…”
Part of you wanted to punch him in the face, but for the sake of getting the gramophone repaired, you resisted. You gave a heavy sigh and looked inside your pouch. You had at least eighty of the jingly coins inside. So you had a choice to make.
Pay to get the gramophone repaired, or don’t bother with it at all.
To be fair, you were grateful for Pinkie getting involved with your life. You didn’t like it at first, but that ounce of craziness was enough to push your life forward. Heck, it managed to get you back into music, which you thought you were going to retire from for a long time. But it wasn’t the case.
Why were you thinking of how grateful you were to her though? Because of what she’s done for you? It was beginning to bother you, but you merely shook your head. You needed to get your thoughts in order and focus on the now.
In the end, you placed fifty bits on the repair pony’s desk.
The repair pony took a small step back, a little surprised at the amount of bits he had on his table. He gave a small whistle and looked at each bit curiously.
“Well now, I never expected you to give me the payment right away… And here I thought you young ones were always broke, always offering me loans or an IOU note.”
You raised a brow at his statement, and the repair pony noticed and chuckled.
“Oh nothing, just an old stallion reminiscing about the old days when you young ponies always tried to skip out on payments. Ho ho, those were the times. Anyway, it shouldn’t take more than a few hours to get this repaired. You will be back by then?” he asked, and you nodded. “Good, I’ll see you in a few hours then?”
You nodded again, giving him a hoofshake to confirm the deal. Satisfied with it, you waved goodbye to the repair pony and walked out the door.
Your head suddenly feels one pound lighter when you realized something just whizzed by overhead. You looked behind you to see that your hat was hit with an arrow! You suddenly felt a cold chill go down your spine when you looked behind you once more, to see who had attempted to strike you with it. But mysteriously, there was no one in front of you, not a single pony in sight.
This was the third time that your life was in danger in Ponyville. Did someone want you dead, or was this some cruel joke?
You nudged the arrow out from the wall and looked at your hat, seeing a gaping hole in it. You growled, wondering what in the world was going on. You examined the arrow in your hooves, only to see it was a regular, wooden arrow with an iron tip at the end.
However, that’s not all that caught your eye.
You saw a shadowy figure in a nearby alleyway. Their horn was sticking out, still enveloped in a soft, magical glow. You squinted your eyes to see who it was, but the presumed unicorn immediately took notice of you and ducked their head into the alley. You put on your hat and dropped the arrow, giving chase to the mysterious unicorn.
You were hot on their tail, chasing them down alleyway after alleyway. They were rather fast for a unicorn, and you could barely keep up. They were still masked by the shadows of the dark alleyways, not giving you the proper line of sight to identify who it is.
The unicorn rounded a corner, straying from your sight briefly. You muttered a curse as you pushed your legs even further, feeling your muscles screaming, but you kept on running regardless.
As soon as you reached the corner, you looked down it to see that there wasn’t a single pony in sight. In fact, upon further investigation, it led straight back into Ponyville Square. You shifted your eyes desperately, looking around to see where the unicorn could have fled. But with the crowd full of ponies, you couldn’t tell.
You stomped your hoof on the ground, mad that you couldn’t catch him, or her. You took a seat on the ground, with your legs giving out from under you. You needed to rest your legs, especially since you pushed yourself to try and catch the perpetrator.
You looked up at the sky, seeing that it was sunset, and yet... there was something odd about the sky. There were some faint grey pitches of cloud, almost like a trail going from one place to another. In fact, the air smelled slightly different, almost like burnt charcoal.
“Where’s that smoke coming from?”
“I don’t know, but it doesn’t look good. Do you think somepony’s cooking something?”
“No, that looks too big to be cooking something. Wait... it’s not a forest fire, is it!?”
A crowd of ponies was looking towards the sky, mumbling to one another and wondering what the smoke was. You looked at the sky once more.
With your legs no longer fatigued, you stood up, satisfied with your short rest. But then you realized something. The trail of smoke came from the direction of where you work. It was very unlikely what you were thinking right now, but...
“Everypony! There’s a building on fire! Somepony call the Fire Department!”
A light green pony came rushing forth out of nowhere, telling the ponies what had happened. You went wide-eyed when you looked at the trail of smoke again. You shifted from curious to scared in a moment, worried about what could be on fire and hoping it wasn't what you thought.
Heart beating like a drum, you rushed to follow the trail of smoke, needing to either confirm or deny your fears. The smell of burnt charcoal started to get stronger the closer you got.
You skidded to a halt at the source of the smoke, your worst fears confirmed. You blinked a few times and rubbed your eyes, hoping this was all just some grand joke your brain was playing on you. You wanted to deny this was even happening, why your good life had suddenly come down to a fear you never thought imaginable.
Berry’s Bar was a living inferno of flames.
Editor: Midnight Dancer
So, let me get this straight: You talked to a repair pony, then realized he can repair gramophones, then you deliberately headed to the workplace of your friend who you’ve known for at least… what, 3 weeks? Then the owner of the establishment lets you ‘steal’ it, just to get it repaired?
What kind of idiotic town do you live in!? Your ‘friends’ follow no kind of common sense whatsoever! Heck, I can imagine somepony walking up to you and saying “Hey there, friend! Go ahead and take anything from the store! It’s completely free; it’s not like I’m going to betray you and call the guards or anything!”
Do you have any idea how stupid that sounds?
What do you mean ‘nowhere you go is normal’!? You know what? You’re an idiot, and you need to get your brain examined. I think the town is infecting you with it’s nonsense. Oh, speaking of the town, I see Berry’s bar caught on fire eh? I’m curious to know who would do such a thing. I think fried pony is a delicacy in certain parts of my town, actually.
Oh shush, I was only kidding. There’s no need to curse up a storm. Now, let’s continue on, shall we? I’m dying to know if your friends are dea—er, I mean safe! Yes, safe…
The smoke seemed to cover the entire sky of Ponyville, the burning black abyss clouding up all around you. Your vision was blurry, and it was a little hard to see as the smog stung and watered your eyes.
The fire around Berry’s bar crackled and licked the establishment as if it were the fire’s first class meal, trying to digest it into its fiery belly. You collapsed on your hind hooves, not believing the fiery hell in front of you. You slammed a hoof into the ground, and a small patch of dirt flew a few inches from it, your face contorting up with anger.
That’s when you shot your head up in surprise. You suddenly assumed that Berry and Pinkie were inside the bar! You looked at the doorway to the flaming establishment, only to see that a mix of lumber and embers were blazing at the entrance, blocking any possible route. You called out their names toward the building, hoping for a reply, anything to satisfy your fearful curiosity.
But there was no reply… no squeak, no cry for help, nothing but the sounds of collapsing wood and the crackling flames. Were you too late? Were they burnt to a crisp? Or did they even make it out safely before the fire got even worse? So many ideas flooded your mind, but none of them filled the silent gap.
“H-help,” a familiar voice shouted. “Somepony *cough*, help me!”
Your ears picked up a rather sweet and feminine voice that seemed like angels singing in a choir. You combed your eyes through the smog as you tried to identify who it was, especially with the words ‘help me’ echoing through your ears. The voice was so familiar to you, but you couldn’t quite catch it as you were in a panic.
Your eyes came to a window on the second floor of the establishment, seeing a purplish figure in the window, waving her hooves all about as she coughed out.
“Huh? M-Mr. Top Hat!? Is that you? Please, help me! Get me out of here, I’m trapped on this floor!” It was Berry Punch, covered in black soot as she screamed for help. You got back on your hooves and ran towards the window, only to realize it was one floor above you. You certainly couldn’t reach it, and with all the fire around the building, you couldn’t very well climb it either, unless you wanted to be extra well-done for somepony’s dinner.
You tried to quickly think of an escape route for Berry, but only one came to mind, and it was certainly going to test the endurance of your legs and back. You placed your hooves firmly on the ground, with your back straightened out. Then you immediately yelled to Berry to jump down onto you, to which she gasped.
“Land on you? What are you craz—eek!” A window next to her broke into thousands of pieces as it made a loud, audible shatter. He held her hooves against her muzzle watching the dancing flames pour out from the open window. She looked between you and her current predicament, and nodded towards you.
You see that she was slowly trying to climb out. You assumed her to be scared, to which you told her to hurry up. You were certainly worried about her. In fact, if she was consumed in the flames, you didn’t know what you would do; maybe cry in a corner as you cursed your life. But you certainly didn’t want to be doing that. Besides, it wasn’t stallion-like.
She placed one hind hoof down out the window, but suddenly she lost her grip and started hanging from the window with one hoof!
You shouted at her to let go of the window, but she just shook her head vigorously. You couldn’t help but facehoof. You wondered why she was so scared to just let go and fall down right onto you, especially since she was on the verge of both life and death. You assumed it was due to being afraid of heights, or maybe afraid of falling, but it was anypony’s guess. But then again, it’s the fear factor that hits them, so you couldn’t really blame it or complain.
You dug your hooves into the soil in front of the building, bracing yourself as you prepared to be a pony cushion. You watched her dangle from the window, and eventually her hoof slipped off the window. She went down, screaming as she collided with your back. You gasped when your legs couldn’t support the sheer force she brought with her, making you collapse. Your vision went rocky for a second as you laid there on the ground with Berry on your back. Part of you wondered how much she weighed, but another part of you was thankful that she managed to land on you.
You turned your neck to see she was laid on your back, stomach first and shivering, possibly from the fright of falling. You mumbled to her how she needed to lose some weight. Berry looked at you in disgust and slapped you across the face.
“How dare you! That’s not something to say to someone when they’re falling to their death!”
The right side of your cheek now had a hoof-sized red mark on it, and it stung a little bit, to which you were about to counter with a retort, but you immediately stopped.
Her fearful, magenta eyes were full of tears with her face scrunched up in a frown. To you, it seemed she was scared out of her mind, and she immediately wrapped her purple hooves around your neck, with a grip so tight you almost begged for air.
“Oh by Celestia, I’m so glad you came back, Top Hat. If you didn’t come, I… I don’t know what I would have done,” she said through her sobs and tears, the same ones that started to soak your neck. “Please… please don’t leave me like that again, I don’t *hic* want to be alone anymore…”
You could see she was being pretty emotional, but you understood why. You silently forgave her just this one time for slapping you on the cheek. You calmly asked her to stop squeezing your neck with her hug, to which she just hung onto it more tightly. You tapped her hooves with yours, trying to tell her to let go of you, but you literally had to pull her hooves off you just to breathe properly.
She lets go rather reluctantly and places her hooves on the ground, standing next to you. You got up onto your hooves and merely sighed, telling her that they needed to get away from the burning building. That’s when the fire around the establishment intensified as the roof suddenly collapsed into the bar below. Berry couldn’t help but cry out as she looked at her bar, crumbling right before her eyes. She attempted to run towards it, but you held her back as more tears flowed down her face.
“Let me go! I need to get back in there!” Berry shouted at the top of her lungs as she tried to get out of your grip, to which you were confused, saying that the establishment was coming down and there was nothing they could do about it. She gave you a glare as she gritted her teeth in anger towards you.
“You don’t get it! My bar is crumbling down, and you just want to hold me back!? Let me go I said!”
You still held her down as you watched the building crumble before your eyes. But then you came to a realization. If Berry was in the building, then…
You immediately went wide-eyed. With your hoofy might, you tossed Berry to the side as you galloped forth towards the building. You were worried that Pinkie may still be inside, and you couldn’t waste a second longer, standing there like an idiot.
Despite the flaming hazard that was obviously in front of you, you still wanted to go inside. You looked back at Berry, who was galloping towards you, only to tell her to stay put. She merely shook her head with anger in her voice.
“No! You’re not leaving me here!”
You told her once again to stay where she was, saying that you needed to go in and find Pinkie. But she raised a brow at you and shook her head.
“What are you talking about!? Pinkie isn’t—eeek!?”
Everything around you shook, as if an earthquake was right under your hooves. You lost your balance and fell on your rear, wondering what could produce such a powerful shake. That’s when you looked in front of you, to see that the living inferno that was once Berry’s bar, slowly collapsed. Every single flame that licked the tender wood that was its meal quickly peeled away as parts of it turned to burnt bark and ash.
With the shaking of the earth, you wouldn’t be able to run forwards, and staying where you were was a bad idea, too. You clumsily ran towards Berry, grabbing her by the hoof despite her protests. A loud noise of wood clashing against the ground made it apparent that you were no longer safe, and it was only a matter of time before Berry’s Bar was no more.
Nothing there other than leftover wood and lumber, along with any lingering flames.
Several minutes passed while Berry’s Bar collapsed to the ground, in which some help had finally arrived from the Fire Department; a team of unicorns and pegasi. But by the time the team had arrived, it was too late. The only thing they could do was water away the remaining flames that lay atop the ashes: the pegasi brought rain clouds over the top, and the unicorns controlled the water to flow towards certain spots.
You were rather envious of teamwork like that. It made you wonder why your band couldn’t work together that well, especially Beaver. However, that wasn’t something you wanted to think about right now. What you were more concerned with was the possibility that Pinkie was in that wreckage. Thoughts of her flowed into your mind, the time that she threw that party for you, or the way she was always around you, or even the times she showed up to some of your performances at Berry’s Bar.
You couldn’t help but wipe a hoof across your eyes, only to realize that you’d been crying when you saw a wet spot on the upper part of your hoof. You felt a hoof pat you on the back, only to see that it was Berry, with a frown on her face.
“My bar… who would do such a thing, and for what reason?” She looked at you with sadness in her eyes, and then looked back at the remains of the bar. “It’s like they were making sure my life was miserable.”
You nodded to her. First it was you, and now it was your friends, but the destruction of her bar was more catastrophic. You weren’t sure if this was an accident, or some crazy work of a pyromaniac. You muttered how you missed Pinkie Pie, and why it had to be her to be stuck in that place.
Berry raised a brow at you, surprised. “Pinkie Pie? She never showed up to my bar.”
You went wide-eyed and stared straight at her, asking her to repeat what she had just said, to the point of shaking her shoulders back and forth, trying to get the information out of her.
“H-hey! Stop shaking me, I said Pinkie Pie never showed up!” She pushed you in the chest, knocking you off her. She brushed herself off and glared at you. “She never came back to the bar when I sent you two on your little date!”
First of all, you told her it wasn’t a date. Second, you couldn’t help but smile for at least some good news; knowing that Pinkie Pie never came to the bar meant she was still alive. Or at least, that’s what you assumed. She could have entered without Berry knowing. But still, hearing some kind of reassurance was better than nothing.
You tapped a hoof to your forehead, wondering how the bar caught fire in the first place. It was best to gather some information on the matter, and Berry was the only one who could have known how it happened.
Berry gave a frown and looked towards the ground, kicking at the dirt below her when you asked what had happened.
“I… don’t know. After I sent you two on your way, business was like usual. At one point I had to go upstairs so I could take a small break. After all, bargaining with the guests of my bar can be exhausting work, especially with the good looks I have.” She gave a nervous chuckle but continued on. “Well, I know I took a short nap...I was really tired from all the work I'd been doing." Her pink brow furrowed, eyes still wide and slick with tears. "I...don't know what happened while I slept. But I woke up surrounded by smoke, and my eyes were watering and I was coughing..." She trailed off, looking back to the collapsed bar, and the tears began anew as she buried her face in her forehooves.
She gave you a huge hug. “You’re my knight in shining armor… If you hadn’t come by, I wouldn’t even be here right now.” She glanced at the burning rubble that was once her bar, heaving a watery sigh. “That bar would have been my grave. I swear, once I find out who did this, I’m going to kick their flanks! This is not something you get off with easily!”
As she went on her tangent on how she would torture the ones responsible, you decided that you were no closer to knowing who or what burnt down Berry’s Bar. You were at a complete loss on what to do. Both your and Berry’s jobs were destroyed, which meant no more income.
What you were most worried about was Pinkie: did she just go home? Or did something else happen? As you tried to connect the dots on her disappearance, you merely concluded that she just went home. After all, she did have those boxes of sweets she bought earlier today, so what else could she have done?
That’s when Berry gave you a tug on your shoulder, giving you a look of uncertainty as her eyes darted back and forth towards the ground and then back to you.
“Hey… walk me home?”
Instead of walking her home, you had to follow her home. When you told her you had no idea where she lived, she couldn’t help but give a small chuckle. But regardless, she did lead you to where she lived. When you arrived, you saw a square-like grey building connected to another one similar to it via some kind of walkway.
The front was adorned with several windows and a staircase that seemed to lead from the bottom floor all the way to the top. You felt sorry for anyone that lived on the top floor, which you were sure it would’ve been a pain to walk up to. What surprised you, though, was that she lived in an apartment complex. With her owning her own bar, you assumed she would live in a nice fancy house. But alas, you were mistaken.
After bringing her out towards the front, she begins to walk up the steps towards her own apartment door, but then she asks you to come on in. You didn’t want to intrude on her residence, since you thought she needed some time alone. But with some persuading, you followed her in.
So there you were, sitting on a two-seat purple couch which felt soft to the touch. You didn’t know what kind of cloth was used for it, but it was bouncy and comfortable, and it supported your weight. You saw Berry next to you, sipping a glass of clear liquid—presumably water.
She gave a small sigh as she leaned back on the couch, looking at you with a smile.
“Thanks for walking me home. After everything that’s happened, I appreciate you coming.”
You told her it was no trouble at all and that you were glad that you came with. She got up from the couch and walked towards the open window of her home, with her hooves laid out on the windowsill. You took a peek at the window to see that night had fallen, Luna’s moon shining brightly out in the dark, abysmal night. But you also saw several ominous clouds drawing near towards your location.
Berry sighed as she caught wind of what you were looking at. “It’s going to rain, isn’t it?”
You nodded, saying that it might. You walked up to the windowsill to get a closer look at the sky. The clouds were deep and black, and you wondered what the weather ponies were up to at this time of night.
You did recall that there were some weather conditions that were beyond their control. After all, they weren’t complete masters of the weather; sometimes Mother Nature was a cruel mistress.
“I wonder what I’m going to do,” she said with a frown on her face. You couldn’t help but wonder how many times you’ve seen her frown. Given what made her frown, it was a stupid question to ask yourself. She lightly tapped her forehead on a part of the lifted window. “My bar is gone, and I’ve no way of getting any income. Heh, I’m in a tight spot, aren’t I? Especially since I nearly got killed in a fire.” She looked back at you with a forced smile. “I guess we’re both having problems this month, aren’t we?”
Through that forced smile, you could tell she was hurt. Having her lose her ownership in the worst way possible couldn’t have been easy on her. You sounded like a broken record by saying this, but the point was she was certainly in a bad position. You asked her if she made an insurance claim on the bar, to which she shook her head.
“No, I didn’t bother to. I mean, who would insure a building for fire damage? There’s no fire hazards in my bar, and the weather ponies had everything under control. I thought I would be fine. But, heh, I guess it was a stupid idea to not do so.”
Attempted murder on yourself, and attempted murder on Berry. This certainly wasn’t becoming your month, at all. That’s when Berry walked away from the window sill and went into a dimly lit room. She poked her head out and lightly smiled.
“I’m going to take a bath now. You’re welcome to whatever is in the fridge if you’re hungry.”
She pokes her head back in, and you went back to staring out the window with a sigh. You could understand why Berry needed a bath; she was covered in soot and probably ashes, and after a traumatic experience like that, you wished you could have a bath as well. But it was probably rude to ask a mare to use her bath. You concluded it was best for you to go home and take a bath when it was time.
You kept staring out at the window, wondering what awaited you in the future. You decided to do a recap of everything that had happened to you today:
An arrow shooting your hat, which you assumed was meant for your head.
An unknown unicorn that fled from the scene through an alleyway, and disappeared.
The fire at Berry’s Bar.
You wanted to know who would cause such chaos, and who wanted you and Berry dead. You wondered if it was the same pony or ‘thing’ that caused the accident back at the Grand Opening of that restaurant, too.
But they were merely guesses as you wracked your brain, wanting some answers to impossible questions.
You jumped as you heard a loud knock at the door from behind you—a total of three knocks with at least a second delay in between each knock. You took a deep breath, shaking your head to snap out of it. You were in a safe location with no dangers around you, and even a simple knock was enough to frighten you.
Regaining your composure, you walked over to the door, asking who it was behind it. However, there was no reply. You talked through the door once more, asking who it was, but again, no reply. Curiosity getting the better of you, you opened it, only to see no one in front of it. It could have been a colt or filly playing knock knock pranks on the local neighbors.
But again, that was just a guess on your part. You gave a small sigh as you walked outside, to get a better view of your surroundings. Your hoof then stepped on what felt like a sheet of paper. You looked down to see it was indeed paper; a parchment in fact.
Out of curiosity, you picked it up. You looked at the yellow, tattered sheet carefully to see what it was. You assumed it was a piece of a newspaper, or a blank sheet. But no, you went wide-eyed when you looked at the inked writing on the sheet.
Dear Music Pony,
That fire was fun, wasn’t it?
You nearly dropped the sheet when you saw the first sentence. Was this letter meant for you? And why did it mention a fire? You read on, holding the letter in shaky hooves.
It’s a shame you weren’t in my little barbecue pit which I would like to call hell, but it seems you like avoiding death at every turn. Well, guess what? You won’t be so lucky this time. You may have avoided the arrow, and you may have avoided the inferno at the bar, but there’s one thing you can’t avoid…
The letter ended there. You placed the letter at your side, puzzled, confused, and angry. The hoofwriting you didn’t recognize and you certainly didn’t know who wrote it. Whoever did, though, was definitely intent on killing you. You wanted to know who was responsible for this, and you wanted to strangle whatever creature would do such a horrid thing.
“The thing you can’t avoid…”
You went wide-eyed when you heard a rather deep and hoarse voice come from behind you.
“…is the danger you and your pink friend are in.”
You immediately turned around, but the back of your head was immediately hit with something large and blunt. You didn’t make out what it was, but your vision became blurry, shaky, and you nearly lost control of your bodily functions. You couldn’t keep your eyes open as so many emotions erupted from you: confusion, anger, pain… and the fact that your vision was getting darker as every second passed. You were vaguely aware of hitting the ground with a thud, only to slowly lose consciousness as you felt your body being dragged away...
Interesting, so that’s how it all happened. You saved a mare from certain death, you got invited into her house, and you even had a chance to smack some pony flank, eh? How could you not join her in the bath, you idiot!? That was your number one opportunity to get lucky, and you blew it! Honestly, stallions these days don’t have the balls to take a chance…
I find it funny that you got snuck up on while reading a letter on the ground. It was clever, and ingenious, although I would have preferred just hitting you in the back of the head with no warning. But you got to admit, it’s like those cheesy comic books they write, always having the villain announce their presence before whacking you on the head.
Yes yes, I’ll continue the—hm? Well, this is strange…
Well, see for yourself. See the book that I’m dangling around? That was all the pages in the book. There’s no more to read! It seems your life is pretty much over. My guess is that you died from the blow to the head. Well, that was pretty anti-climactic. This fiend somehow puts your pink pony friend in danger, and you die from a blunt object to the head. Well, that’s certainly going to be another report I gotta file.
Ah right, I never told you who I really am, did I? Very well, seeing as how there’s no more to read, and the fact there’s nothing else to do, I will grant this wish. Here, I’m taking off my hood now and… Presto!
Oh don’t be so shocked. What did you expect? I’m a damn pile of bones wearing a robe! What, did you expect the Daisy Flower Express or something? Then again, I don’t have the ability to push up daisies for the dead… But this was rather amusing while it lasted. Now, do you know what I’m going to do with you?
Would you stop acting so damn scared? You’re acting as if I’m here to reap your soul.
Well, whatever you’re assuming, I’m not here for that… or at least, it wasn’t my plan to. But like it or not, your story isn’t over yet.
Yeah, isn’t that odd? You’re not dead. In fact, you’re far from it. You’re just in an unconscious state right now, but sadly that’s all I know. With the book out of pages, I assume that whatever future you have ahead of you, I can’t predict. Do you know what that means?
That’s right, buddy, you’ll be regaining consciousness soon. But I will have to warn you… this whole situation with you being knocked out? It seems the finale to your story is coming, and not in a good way. It definitely doesn’t spell ‘happy ending’, or maybe it does?
Bah, you know what? I’ll let you find out for yourself. I need to get back to my job.
What job you say? Well, I told you I’m a reaper, didn’t I? But don’t worry. If anything much more horrid happens to you, I’ll be sure to come back for ya, but under less friendly circumstances. You know, death and all.
I must admit that you were rather entertaining to read and watch. Although, you don’t take your surroundings into much consideration. Always taking action rather than thinking things through…
But anyway, it seems your end is nearing, and I look forward to seeing how it progresses… will it be death, or happiness?
So long, you crazy musical pony. Let’s see how you fare in this unmarked ‘final chapter’, eh? I’ll be waiting for the results.
Proofreaders: Meeester & Axel_Nyan
Darkness clouded your eyes. Were your eyes closed? Or were they open, and you just couldn’t see anything? Last you could remember, you stood outside of Berry’s apartment door and after that, nothing. You rubbed the back of your head, only to yelp when you found a tender spot just above your neck.
You looked around, hoping to find anything hinting at where you were. Without knowing what else to do, you started walking in a random direction. You didn’t know where it led, but it was better than doing nothing.
A chill swept past you, making you flinch and shiver. Your eyes blinked rapidly as your warm breath condensed in the air. It was strange; you couldn’t see in the darkness, but you could see your breath clearly. Perhaps you were in a black-walled room with a hidden light source?
Raising your hoof in front of your face ruled that out, as all you saw was more of your breath and nothing else.
You closed your eyes for a brief moment, trying to sort this all out. Where were you? And how did you get here? Why was it so dark?
As you stood there with your eyes closed, the chilling cold turned into a flaring heat around you. You opened your eyes in shock, frantically looking around for the reason behind the temperature shift. A bright, almost blinding light forced you to squint your eyes in pain as your light-deprived eyes readjusted.
The light began to twist and turn, morphing into something else entirely. In the blink of an eye, the brilliant light exploded, coating the surrounding abyss in a rainbow of colors. With each beat of your heart, you watched in awe as the color seemed to mold itself into different objects; books, chairs, rugs, windows, and wooden walls until the last brick of fireplace stopped its shifting. You could only stare in abject shock.
It was this room again, the same room where your father was brutally murdered. You tried to stay strong, trying to shield yourself from the inevitable scene that was about to befall your late father. You fought the panic rising inside you, constantly reminding yourself that this was only a dream. It was only a figment of your imagination.
The crackling fire illuminated the study in an orange glow as you fearfully surveyed the room. Thankfully, the body of your father was absent, the place where he used to lay unmarred by blood.
Something shifted in the corner of your eye.
You swiveled around, eyes frantically searching for what you thought you saw only to find your father’s personal desk. It was dark brown in color, made from the finest wood north of the Crystal Mountains. It shined brightly despite how old it truly was. You knew this desk well. Most memories of your father had him sitting at this desk, either with pen in hoof or idly playing his prized flute.
Speaking of his flute, it rested on the center of a pristine white cloth, positioned on the middle of the desk. Most flutes were crafted solely from metal but not this particular one. While it was still made of mostly metal, wood adorned sections of the cylinder as well as each of the keys. This constitution of both metal and wood gave it a unique look and an even more unique sound.
You felt drawn to it, picking it up in your hoof and admiring the fantastic craftsmanship. A minute signature lay inscribed on the end in cursive, which would make for a nice touch if the inscription wasn’t so small.
“Remarkable, isn’t it son?”
You jumped as a familiar deep, baritone voice shook the air. With the flute still in hoof, you turned around to find a rather old stallion, with a white mane and sunflower yellow coat, staring at you.
You rubbed your eyes in disbelief. It was your father, back from the dead. There was no mistaking it. You hesitantly took a step back, bumping into the solid desk, as that tragic night replayed itself in your head. There was no way it was him standing in front of you. He wasn’t real.
Yet, part of you wanted to believe that it was.
Your ‘father’ smiled at you, but this only made you tighten your grip around your father’s flute. You opened your mouth, ready to voice the torrent of questions that bubbled up at his appearance, but you choked. The only noise that you made was unintelligible stuttering.
He walked up to you slowly, but you only stood there, rooted to the spot. He placed a hoof on your shoulder and squeezed. He always used to do that. It was his way of saying that everything would be alright. What disturbed you was that he felt warm.
“It has been a while, my son. I take it you’re doing well?”
You couldn’t say anything, but elected to nod instead. He smiled brightly as he lifted his hoof off your shoulder.
“I’m glad. You’ve grown into a fine stallion.” He pinched your cheeks. ”Maybe a little chubby around the edges though,” he chuckled, grasping the flute you still held in your hoof with his. When he touched it, your left hoof involuntarily let go, as if the flute willed you to.
Your father held the flute in his hooves, examining it with a scrupulous eye. You stood there, watching him all the while. Your heart beat rapidly. Why couldn’t you do anything? Was it fear? Fear that something might happen to him if you did anything? Nothing like this ever happened in your dreams before. Seeing your father alive and kicking was… disconcerting to say the least, but you kept reminding yourself it was just a dream.
“A composite mahogany and silver flute, twelve inches long and designed with a small grip for just the right balance. I’ve had this flute for years,” he began, showing you the small designs on the instrument. “You can tell by the wear and tear that it’s been played in many musical concerts and performances, but I’m sure you already know this. After all, I’ve told you about them all, son.”
Your father placed the flute down back onto the desk and fixed you with a hard stare.
“But enough about my flute, there’s something I must discuss with you.” He looked at you sternly. “Do you know why I was murdered?” You jumped forward, grabbing his shoulders with your hooves. The minute you heard those words, it was like somepony lit a fire beneath you, forcing your body into action. Yet, you couldn’t do anything else. Your father looked at your hooves and sighed.
“Yes, I suppose that would warrant this reaction. You’re aware of the nightmares you’ve been dreaming of?” You placed your hooves down, took a deep breath, and exhaled. You blinked and looked at your father, giving a firm nod, which returned before motioning for you to follow.
He walked towards the fireplace and took a seat in one of the sofa chairs. You chose to keep standing, only to watch him leaning forward toward the fireplace.
“Do you know why you’re having these nightmares?” You nodded your head yes, managing to eke out that one word that plagued your dreams. “Yes, my murder. I’m proud you were able to endure the horrid memories thus far. Such willpower is commendable for a son of mine.”
Silence fell, interrupted only by the crackling of the fire. The silence stretched out as he looked you over with a critical eye. You didn’t know how much time had passed.
“Son, do you remember what you saw when you first found my body?” You went wide-eyed at his question, but you nodded. You also asked how he knew about this information. He chuckled in response.
“I’m just a figment of your imagination, son. What you know, I know. You should know by now that I no longer have a place in the land of the living? Ahh, it was a grim day for my death. Seeing me crumpled on the floor, my flute in hand, and my study completely trashed. You remember the scene all too vividly. Although, I don’t recall your nightmares being entirely correct. Since when could I ever multiply?” He finished with a sad laugh.
“Now, can you remember the rest, my dear colt?”
You didn’t want to, but a sudden wave of memories cascaded through your mind, forcing you to recall that night in stark clarity. You closed your eyes, not wanting to see your father slumped onto the floor. Guard ponies questioned you meticulously, repeatedly poking you about the letter opener that served as the murder weapon. You didn’t get a good look at your father’s corpse, but they told you the cause of death. They concluded that your father was walking around with it, tripped, and stabbed himself with the solid brass letter opener, puncturing his heart by accident.
The scene nearly made you throw up. You opened your eyes again to find your father absent from the chair.
“Yes, but you didn’t believe them in the slightest. You thought it was a murder?” came your father’s voice from behind. You watched as he slowly slid a hoof down the spines of books on his bookshelf. “You believed that there was more than meets the eye but the simple guard ponies didn’t accept your opinion as fact and… let’s see, you ran away crying, correct?”
You nodded again. He sighed. “Well, it’s quite a mystery to me as well. What you don’t know, I don’t know either.
“And let’s face it, you’re just an idiotic musician that needs to wake up.”
You raised a brow, his calm facial demeanor shifting to one of complete disgust and annoyance. He slapped you across your cheek with the back of his hoof.
“Wake up, Saxxy.” Your father’s voice was beginning to grow lighter. After each smack, his voice lost more and more of that baritone it had.
Your surroundings were beginning to dim into darkness. You shouted for him to stop and help, but it was like water draining away as it all swirled away into nothing.
“Wake up. You’ve napped enough. Don’t make me start kicking you.”
Your cheeks stung, and you felt like a colossal wreck, like that time you accidentally downed a shot of hard cider and woke up the next day to what felt like a sledgehammer whacking away at your temples. Your eyes hurt when you tried to open them, trying to take in the surrounding scene as a bright light sent pangs of pain into your head.
You shook your head, trying to regain your composure, but something felt off. You attempted to move your hooves to find resistance, keeping them firmly where they were. Eventually, you were able to keep your eyes open long enough to gauge exactly what was happening.
The first thing you saw was a light black body with wings. Your eyes tracked up to see a rather familiar face. It smiled down at you as he slipped a hoof under your chin and pulled it up to within inches of his.
“We meet again, Saxxy. Did you have a good nap? Must have since you slept like a rock right after you got knocked out.”
Your eyes grew to the size of dinner plates as the realization of who the mystery pony was hit you. The voice, the body, and even the color of his coat only served to confirm your deduction. You spoke Beaver’s name out loud, but it came out slightly muffled. He let go of your face, sending a new wave of pain through your head as it hit the ground, and clapped sarcastically.
“Very good, Saxxy. You just won the ‘King of the Obvious’ award. Do you have anything to add, my liege?” Beaver teased with a chuckle. You muttered how ridiculous that this all was, but Beaver placed a hoof on your lips and smiled. “Now now, let’s not get too testy. Do you know where you are right now? Or even know why I brought you here in the first place?”
You blinked a couple of times at Beaver in confusion. Another sweep of your surroundings made you gasp. Mooring rope fastened around your front legs effectively immobilized you on the many old, wooden boards. You were tied down onto some sort of dock that extended out over a large body of water. A lake or a pond, maybe? You couldn’t really tell from this awkward angle.
Beaver stretched his hooves out and chuckled. “Welcome to the performance in what I like to call ‘Hitting Rock Bottom’, starring your favorite host, Beaver! And your co-host, Loud Hoof! Let’s give them a round of applause, mares and gentlecolts!”
“B-Beaver, I didn’t want to be involved with this,” came a meek voice
Loud Hoof… somehow he got dragged into this whole debacle as well. You looked towards the source of the voice to find the stallion in question, looking around and fidgeting nervously. You tried to point at him but the ropes binding you to the deck didn’t budge at all.
“Give it up, Saxxy, you ain’t going anywhere. You’re not getting out of this that easily. I do believe yer marefriend is in the same position. I’d ask you to lend me a helping hoof, but you’re ‘tied up’ at the moment. Ha!” he maniacally laughed.
Beaver motioned to something on your left. You turned your head and froze in stark horror.
Pinkie Pie was tied up, her head drooped down and eyes closed. You assumed she was unconscious just as you were earlier. Her front hooves were tied together with her back hooves with the same rope. However, there was an additional length of rope that trailed away.
Following it with your eyes, you nearly jerked away when you found that the rope was secured to a sizable anvil. You turned your head to find a similar length of rope leading to the same anvil.
In other words, you and Pinkie were tied to the same hunk of metal. You looked at Beaver with anger in your voice, asking what the meaning of all this was.
“Heh, you’re wondering why you two are tied to an anvil, right? Well, it doesn’t take an idiot to see where this is all going, am I right? I just wanted to have a few last words with you before I send you off on your way. After all, I still have a score to settle with you, especially Loud Hoof.”
“Beaver, I didn’t have anything to settle with him.” Loud Hoof meagerly spoke up. ”I don’t have any qualms at all…”
Beaver wrapped a hoof around the unicorn’s neck, smiling. “Oh that’s bullshit and you know it, Hoof. C’mon, after all of those times that Saxxy played Mr. Nice Guy, you didn’t get the urge to kill him? Not even stage a few ‘accidents’? Did nothing make him rub you the wrong way?”
“N-No! Of course not. He’s a k-kind stallion that’s always taken care of me,” Hoof answered confidently.
“Tell me then, why didn’t you follow him if he was such a kind stallion, hmm?”
“W-well, he needed some time alone, I think? Don’t you remember the time when he nearly died up on stage?”
“Nearly killed? Which time? The sandbag, or that falling lamp back at that bar? Oh, that’s right, you mean every single one of them. Isn’t that right, Hoof?” You stared at Beaver, shocked at this startling revelation. Did Beaver inadvertently try to kill you back then? And what was Hoof’s part in all this?
“B-Beaver, no more. Please.” he begged.
“Oh yeah, let’s also not forget that time you nearly skewered Saxxy’s head with an arrow. You need to work on you aim, you idiotic buffoon. This would have been over with if you hadn’t missed.”
The longer the conversation kept up, the more speechless you became. Even Hoof took a swing at you?
“But I-I didn’t want to, you forced me to do that.”
“Oh but my dear Hoof, I didn’t force you to,” Beaver sang, pulling a shiny metal object out from his mane. With a flick of his wrist, out sprung a sharp blade, maybe three to four inches long. He placed it on Hoof’s chin and watched as Hoof began stumbling on his words, sweating like a pig. He grinned mischievously.
“I thought I told you that I’d give you another hole to breath out of if you didn’t keep quiet.”
Even from here, you could see that Hoof was scared out of his wits. With Beaver the way he was right now, there was no way of knowing how this would all end. You shouted at them, trying to draw his attention away from Hoof and back onto you. It was about time Beaver told you why he was going to such lengths to make your life a living hell. Beaver looked at you, eyes twinkling mirthlessly, before looking at Hoof once more.
He shrugged, flicking the blade back into its slot and storing it in his mane. Hoof’s legs gave way in relief, shaking as he held his hooves in front of his face.
“Sounds like our little Saxxy is impatient, but you’re right, you deserve answers.” Beaver sat on the ground, staring at you intently, like a predator would stalk prey. “Now then, what is it you wanna know, little Saxxy?”
You first asked him to stop calling you ‘little’, and second, asked him where you were. He chuckled.
“You haven’t figured it out yet? And here I am thinking you were smart,” he chided, prodding your forehead with a hoof. “I’ll give it to you straight: we’re on the dock of Ponyville lake, where my grand performance is about to take place.” You raised a brow. What was this ‘grand performance’ of his supposed to be anyway?
“Hah, of course you wouldn’t know. Here, let me show you.” He then grabs both sides of your face, and turns it around towards the anvil behind you. “See that anvil right there? And the rope that ties you and that bitch to it? It’s right at the edge of this dock. Isn’t it obvious?” He walked up to the black, metal anvil and knocked on it a couple of times.
Your eyes went wide as your gaze shifted back at Beaver. His smirk evolved in a full ear to ear grin.
“I see you figured it out. Good boy Saxxy! You’re absolutely right!” He tugged at the rope that was tied to the base of the Anvil.
“As soon as I throw this anvil overboard, both of you will literally hit ‘Rock Bottom’! Doesn’t that sound like fun, Saxxy!? An underwater musical performance, starring you and your marefriend! I am just ‘dying’ to see it, hah hah!”
You tried to twist and turn your hooves out of the rope, but your squirming resulted in the rope tightening further around your hooves.
“Oh give it a rest, Saxxy! There’s no way you’re getting out of those binds! Now… is there anything else you want to ask me before I start the show? Or should I just push it over right now? C’mon, I’m begging you to let me throw it over. I want the fun to begin!”
You merely shook your head. You needed time to think. If asking questions bought you more time, then you’d ask as many questions necessary.
You looked up at Beaver and asked why he was doing this, and why he wanted you dead. Beaver stared at you quizzically.
“You don’t even know why I want you dead? You really don’t? Oh c’mon!” he exclaimed in frustration, turning around on the spot. ”Surely all those ‘accidents’ weren’t obvious enough?” You shook your head slowly. He scoffed. “Psh, of course. When it comes to you, even the obvious has ways of not registering in that dinky peanut you call a brain. You always needed that extra minute to figure out what two plus two was!”
He sat down in front of you once again, and brought his hooves together. He rested his head on them, glaring at you through his dark, chestnut brown eyes. You asked him to stop staring at you and demanded an answer.
“Shut the buck up. I’m getting to it,” he scolded with an irritated sigh. He pulled the switchblade from his mane and flicked it open. You flinched, thinking he was going to stab you with it, but instead he looked at the blade, twisting and turning it as if examining it. “It’s a rather long story. In fact, this knife is part of it.
“You see, it was my father that inspired me to become a bassist many years ago. He was a unicorn of great standing, and my mother played with him in his duets. Ahh, my mother. I’ll never forget her: Her gold mane, her tough personality, and she was one of only a few Pegasi violinists. They were made for each other, always performing, making everypony smile, and of course, they had me. It’s a moment like that that a child can treasure.” He admitted happily, wiping a tear from his eye.
“However, my family was poor,” he continued, this time in a sad tone, “and their performances scrounged up enough to barely make ends meet. At that point in time, I had already moved out to forge my own path. I didn’t want to burden them with another mouth to feed. Despite that, I heard some rather disturbing news, so disturbing that I thought I was going to kill myself… just like my parents did. That’s when I met you guys.”
He continued to examine his knife, more focused on it than you at the moment. It was as if he was the only one on the dock the way he was talking. “Your father—by Celestia, how I hated your father—took everything away from me. My parents managed to save enough money to perform in a musical contest; A ‘battle of the bands’ but more upscale. It was their big opportunity to raise enough money to live comfortably, just like the old days.
“They hadn’t a single gold bit to both of their names when they walked onto the stage. They staked everything they had on that performance; A last ditch effort to make things right again. Naturally, I went to watch them. Who wouldn’t want to watch their parents come out on top of everypony else?
“But no, they didn’t,” he spat out, impaling the knife into the decking an inch from your face.”Your father decided to hog the spotlight with that stupid flute and some other buddy of his; probably some hooker he hired to ‘woo’ the crowd.”
That ‘hooker’ that Beaver had so aptly named was your Mother, which you vehemently sweared at him for. Beaver took note of this and grinned.
“What’s that? Your mother’s a hooker? I would never have guessed! I guess it does take an accidental birth to know that, huh?”
He struck a nerve with that. Your mother was the most kind, loving, and thoughtful mare you had ever known. Nopony, especially Beaver, dissed her. You let loose with a flurry of swears and threats, all aimed at that blasted black pegasus before you.
“Oh calm down, it’s a joke! Do you want to hear the rest of it or not!?” he shouted, jabbing your snout with the razor sharp blade. You shut your mouth quickly in response. “Now, I completely loathed your father after he won. Well, not at first, but as soon as I found out my parents couldn’t support themselves, they… well, I didn’t find out until the next day.” Beaver trailed off, withdrawing the knife and slowly pacing around you. “They killed themselves... They committed suicide…” Beaver stopped, looking down at the switchblade he had in his hoof with pure hatred. “…with this very switchblade.”
You mind reeled in shock. Was your father to blame for his parents death? No, it wasn’t. It was just bad luck for his parents for the contest to not end in their favor, which you carefully explained to Beaver. He stomped on the planks with his hooves.
“Shut up! You don’t know what it’s like when your parents kill themselves because they couldn’t afford anything anymore! Do you know the pain I’ve gone through? This gnawing pain that continually eats at you!? No, no you don’t. You couldn’t possibly understand!”
How this all involved you stumped you. As you thought about it, Beaver chuckled. “Oh come now… Hey, hey Hoof! Take a guess on how this involves Saxxy here.”
Beaver waited for a reply for Hoof, but the instead of a bumbling answer, silence reigned. Beaver huffed in annoyance, turning around to see what Hoof was doing.
“Hoof? You better damn well answer me you son of a—huh?” Hoof was no longer in sight. You couldn’t tell from your position, but you were sure that Beaver was furious. He stomped his hoof into the ground and yelled.
“Hoof! You backstabbing coward! Get your flank back on this dock before I slice out your throat!”
As Beaver started going about his temper tantrum, your hooves felt somewhat looser. You blinked a couple of times as the restraining pressure around your hooves kept lessening until it was no longer there.
You looked at the rope that tied your hooves together, only to see that the rope was no longer tied around your hooves! You subconsciously rubbed them to get the circulation flowing again. Who could have done this?
“Grr, the minute I grab him, it’s going to be… gah!”
You immediately placed your hooves back into the ropes, pretending to still be tied up when Beaver looked at you again, none the wiser.
“Oh forget it. Even if I told him what to say, he’d be a stumbling mess. He’s still pretty damn funny though. He even peed himself once. Now then…”
He grabbed your chin, forcing you to look up him. “Do you know why this involves you? Why the son of a flute player—my own band partner, is here right now? I’ll tell you why, Saxxy…” He leaned closer, bringing his mouth next to your ear.
“I killed your father.” he whispered happily.
Your clenched your jaw and digested what that bastard just told you. You couldn’t believe this. Beaver, a pony that you used to call friend, was your father’s murderer. This was all a bad joke.
But no, you weren’t laughing. You were paralyzed with overwhelming grief and anger. You wanted somepony to tell you otherwise, to tell you that he was completely off his rocker. Beaver chuckled.
“Eh heh… Hah hah, ahahahah! That look, right there: That’s the look I was waiting for! How’s it feel to finally know who murdered your father, eh!? I can still feel the knife piercing through his skin. He wants to kill my family? Then he deserves the same fate as them! He is the one who made me this way and YOU are going to feel the same as I did: All alone, powerless, and nothing you can do to change your fate!
“No… It, it can’t be…”
Your ears turned toward the source of the voice. You turned your head, only to find Pinkie Pie wide awake, her hair drooped down and tears in her eyes. You didn’t know how much she had heard, but if it was any indication, she now knew about what happened to your father.
She looked at you, tears streaming down your face.
“Mr… Top Hat. Is that… Is that why you couldn’t tell me…? Because your father was… was…” She couldn’t finish as she broke into a fit of sobs.
“Hah! It’s like an early birthday present!” You looked at Beaver, whom had a satisfied grin on his face. “This is just rich: two ponies, grieving over somepony’s death? This is beyond perfect. Now, cry your tears of grief, they give me such joy! Hah… Hahahah!” He said as he bellowed with laughter.
You couldn’t take this anymore. You wanted to punch him so badly. You wanted to hurt him, strangle him, stab him, anything to make him stop laughing.
“Actually, I’m joking.” Beaver suddenly said, his laughter ceasing instantly. “I didn’t kill your father.”
You blinked a couple of times and the sobs from Pinkie died down with a final sniffle. You stared at him in mute anger, part of you debating why he would joke about something this serious while the other part was relieved to hear—
“Hah, actually, I lied. I did kill your father.” he smugly stated. ”Geez, you are so easy to fool! The faces you make are just… pffhahah!” he laughed, grabbing his chest with a hoof.
“Mr. Top Hat, I… I’m scared. I, I just want to go home… Why does he have to be so cruel and… and mean?”
“Enough talk.” The next thing you knew, the blade side of the knife was hovering on the spot between your eyes. Beads of sweat trickled down your face as you stared it down. Beaver grinned maliciously. “I was going to drown you, but I think it’s a helluva lot more fitting to kill you before I send you to your bubbly grave.”
Pinkie let off a high pitched scream when she saw the blade aimed at you. You had to spring this just right. If you jumped him at the wrong moment, he might kill right there and then. Beaver turned towards her, eyes burning in anger.
“Shut up, bitch!” Beaver smacked her across the face with a free hoof, knocking her down the deck a couple feet. You looked back and forth from the huffing, puffing pegasus and the crying pink pony. A feeling welled up inside you, this time much more concentrated and directed.
Anger. A sudden urge to punch Beaver in the face. The urge to give him a beatdown the likes of which he’d never forget. All to make him regret ever butting into your life and sending it to Tartarus in a hoof-basket.
“Now that the baby has shut up…” He aimed the blade back at you. “I think it’s time for you to die.”
Protect… you wanted to protect her. You didn’t want to see her sad or hurt. Feelings welled up inside you, building on top of one another. Your heart thumped in your chest like the heaviest of drum beats. Beaver continued his monologue entirely unaware of the turmoil in your mind.
“It’s a shame to see you go, too. I mean, we’ve had so much fun together these last few days. It’s a shame I didn’t bring a camera. Oh well, guess i’ll have to settle for some of your blood instead.”
Why did you want to protect her? Was it because she was your friend? Or was it something else? Something deeper...
“Nice knowing ya, Saxxy. Say ‘Hi’ to your father for me!” He brought the knife up above his head, aimed at yours.
No, you weren’t ready to die yet. You still had a lot to live for, a lot to experience firsthand. And there was this feeling. This feeling that you’d never thought you’d feel ever again.
The desire to protect the ones closest to you.
Everything seemed to move in slow motion as the knife descended. Your hooves moved of their own accord, whipping up to smack the blade out of his hooves. Miraculously, the knife went flying out of his hooves and down the dock. The expression of shock and rage on Beaver’s face was indication enough that he wasn’t expecting resistance.
With the hoof that disarmed Beaver, you jabbed him in the face, aiming for his eyes. Your hoof hit something squishy yet solid, eliciting a painful shout from the black pegasus. He stumbled slightly, caught off guard by such a quick retaliation. You didn’t let up, quickly redirecting your assault to any part of his body that was in hoof’s reach.
“You… how did you—urgh!?” You didn’t bother to reply. Actions spoke louder than words at the moment. Rage coursed through your head, filling it with different ways of exacting vengeance on the bastard before you. He tried to spread his wings at first, presumably to fly away, but you had none of that. You lunged, pinning Beaver and his wings to the deck. You couldn’t use your hooves in this position, so you began headbutting him as hard as ponily possible. Each repeated impact sent a pang of pain through your already throbbing skull, but you kept on the assault. Blood seeped from his nose and bruised face as he tried to wiggle his way out of your grip. You pulled your hoof back, ready to stomp on his face with your weight behind it.
However, Beaver shifted his head at the last second, narrowly avoiding your hoof before kicking you away with his rear legs. You sailed a few feet into the air, landing on your back with a painful grunt.
You weren’t finished, not yet. You pulled yourself up easily, as if that blow hadn’t phased you one bit. Beaver, using the brief respite from your feverish assault, now hung in mid-air, supported by his jet black wings.
Rain began to plunge down from the sky a moment later. Flashes of light lit up the area as thunder cascaded through the area. For a moment, you both stared at each other, rain quickly drenching your coats and panting heavily. Beaver spat at the ground as he wiped blood and saliva off from his muzzle
He looked at his hoof for a stern moment before looking back at you despondently.
“You… you ruined my beautiful face! Look at this, Saxxy, you made me bleed! What the hell is wrong with you!? This… this isn’t how I had pictured it at all; I wasn’t supposed to get hurt, dammit!” Beaver bellowed, grasping his head with both of his hooves.
He was insane, no doubt about it now. It was almost amusing, listening to Beaver throw a miniature tantrum like a 3 year old foal would. He growled at you, until he shifted his gaze slightly to your left.
You caught this and followed his eyes. He was staring at Pinkie Pie, but you didn’t know why. In fact, why was he staring at her? You looked back in Beaver’s direction, only to not see him there anymore. You readied your guard, wondering where he could be, until a sudden gust of wind rushed past you.
You turned again to find Beaver diving towards the anvil. He was going to throw her over! Pinkie screamed for help, realizing what was about to happen, as she struggled against the tight moorings.
“Mr. Top Hat, help!”
You rushed towards the two of them, propelling yourself forward as fast as your hooves could move. Wings triumphed where hooves could not.
Beaver collided into the anvil, sending it toppling over the edge of the dock and into the water. The rope began uncoiling rapidly. You lunged forward, hoping to grasp her hoof and keep her from being pulled under. Just as your hoof almost grabbed her leg, the rope pulled taut, pulling her out of reach. You watched in mute shock as she disappeared over the edge of the dock, screaming your name, before a second splash drowned out her voice.
“Ha… HAHAHAH! How do you like that, Saxxy? Now your marefriend’s going to drown! I hope you’re happy to have another dead pony on your consciousness!” Beaver shouted at you, now high in the sky. He pointed an accusing hoof at you and then waved. “I’ll kill you some other time, Saxxy. I’m satisfied enough with having another pony you knowingly love and care for dead! Ha… Hahahahah!”
Beaver flew off towards the opposite end of the dock. You didn’t know what to do now. If you hurried, you could actually catch up with Beaver and put an end to this chaos once and for all. You started to trot towards the end of the dock but stopped before you took a second step. You couldn’t just leave Pinkie to drown but on the same note, you couldn’t let Beaver escape as well.
You were at a loss on what to do. That’s when you eyed the switchblade that Beaver dropped, just near the edge of the dock. You… you didn’t know what to do. Should you go after Pinkie and abandon your revenge against Beaver, or abandon Pinkie Pie and settle your score with Beaver, once and for all?
-Rescue Pinkie Pie-
-Go after Beaver-
You looked back at the lake, your face scrunched up in pure, unadulterated rage. This ended now. If it didn’t, there’d be no telling who’d wind up in his sights next. He needed to pay the consequences for his actions. You muttered a quick apology to Pinkie, promising that you’d come back once Beaver was dealt with once and for all. You prayed that Pinkie was good at holding her breath.
You galloped off the dock and began your search for that psychotic maniac. From the direction he was heading, he was somewhere over on the opposite end of the lake, somewhere amongst the thicket and trees.
Big, grey storm clouds began rolling in, no doubt the work of the weather team. The area quickly grew dim, the sun’s light no longer beating down undeterred. Your pupils adjusted, dilating to allow more light in. As the distance to the place you last saw Beaver quickly diminished, you began shouting his name at the top of your lungs. You skidded to a stop, panting from your quick sprint whilst bellowing Beaver’s name. By Celestia, he’d hear you, and when he came for you, it would be his end.
Rain began to fall, quickly progressing from a soft mist to a roaring downpour. Lightning lit up the sky, temporarily blinding you before the following thunder blasted your eardrums like a drummer would a bass. Your patience grew thin. Your shouts turned into derogatory slander, calling Beaver as many names as you possibly could, each one more insulting than the last. That monster hadn’t showed his face yet but by Celestia, he would if it was the last thing you did.
You looked back at the dock, feeling a small tug on your heart. It still wasn’t too late to save her. Searching for Beaver like this was a lost cause. For all you knew, he could be halfway to Canterlot by now.
You berated yourself, having realised just how much of an idiot you were. You were too hasty in your decision and now somepony else was paying the price. Still, maybe there was enough time left to save her. You shook your head and began sprinting back to the dock. Before you could take your first step, your ears caught a faint sound, almost like a soft, metallic kerchak. The next instant, your back erupted in searing hot pain. You tripped over your own hooves, landing on your side screaming in pain. A pained glance at your back revealed the polished metallic handle-end of a knife.
Your screams of pain turned into ones of outrage. It felt as though a manticore had decided to shove its tail through your back. Everything started to grow cold. Your heart beat fiercely but your vision was slowly narrowing, like closing your eyes but much different. You tried to stand up, but undiluted waves of searing pain knocked you back down.
You coughed hoarsely, spitting something up on the ground as the telltale taste of iron flooded your tastebuds. The splotch was distinctly red, already beginning to dissolve due to the rainfall. Your examination of your own blood was cut short as the knife in your back was yanked out and shoved into your back once more. You screamed as the knife sunk up to its hilt in your back again, and again, and again...
You couldn’t think straight anymore, the only prevalent thought was that of tremendous pain. Your legs refused to budge anymore, your strength now flowing out of you in droves like your blood.
“You’re an idiot Saxxy, following me like that.”
Your ears picked up Beaver’s voice loud and clear. Your eyes weakly shifted in the direction of the noise, a hazy image of Beaver standing above you smiling maliciously filling your sight. You wanted to kill him, to make him pay for the wrongs he committed, but that wasn’t going to happen.
“You looked so helpless that I just couldn’t help myself. Don’t you know how foalish it was to run willingly into the dark where all the nasty creatures can get at ya—especially me?”
He holds something up in front of you, but you couldn’t make out what it was, save that it reflected the dim light well. Beaver began chuckling evilly as he twisted whatever it was in his outstretched hoof.
“I’m glad I brought a spare switchblade with me. If I didn’t, well, I guess we wouldn’t be having this conversation here now would we? But let’s face it Saxxy.” The blotch that was the knife suddenly grew a lot larger as he brought it next to your eyes.
“You’ve lost. Eh heh… Hahahh… HahahahahaAHAHAH!” His maniacal laughter echoed in your ears, echoing and echoing, refusing to stop. Oh how you wanted it to stop.
Peace and quiet was going to entrust you with this, as the object in question pierced your very skull, sending you spiraling into the black abyss.
Hmm, my my, I never knew this book had a couple pages stuck to each other. It makes me wonder if someone poured cider inside this book, or maybe a piece of chewing gum. Honestly, who would do such a thing? It’s bad manners, and it makes you look like a slob. I mean, look at it! Books have feelings too, you know?
Oh calm down, you should be happy to see me again. Then again, I’m not.
Why am I here? It’s actually quite simple...
Oh pipe down you insufferable twit. You deserved a rock hard kick in the ass after that. Do you have no common sense? You see your mare about to die and your first instinct is to chase after the murderer and for what? To get you both killed? I mean, what is wrong with you? Back when I was still alive, mares in a life threatening situation took priority over anything else.
Well, then again, none of them were really in situations like that, more like they complained over a chipped hoofnail, or had a toad in their salad. Something like that.
That doesn’t answer your question? Here, I’ll explain it in a way that even you should understand:
Yes, dead. Not asleep, not knocked out, not in a coma, dead. One hundred percent dead, game over, you lose, your life is over.
Well, don’t blame me, blame yourself. I told you before that if you screwed up, I’d be here to collect your soul and take you to heaven, or hell. It really depends on what the higher-ups think. I’m something more of a courier than anything else.
Now, are you ready to-- hey! There’s no point in running away: You go in one direction, you come out the other. It’s futile I say!
Oh stop crying like a foal. If you didn’t want this, you should’ve paid more attention to your decisions. Now, lessee here... turn the scythe like this, think a few happy thoughts and... a-ha, there we go. See that glowing, white circle enveloping you? You’re about to face the Purgatory Judge. I hope he has mercy on a cruel soul such as yours. It’s a shame, I was having fun with you too, but all things must come to an end.
See you never, you heartless asshole.
Your eyes were locked onto the direction in which Beaver flew off in. You wanted to strangle him, make him regret ever messing with you or anyone close to you.
However, you couldn’t abandon Pinkie.
No matter how much you wanted revenge, you couldn’t let a friend drown to fulfill your vengeance. Your decision was as clear as Celestia’s sun was bright. You leaned over, bit down on the blade’s handle and picked it up. No doubt this would help with freeing Pinkie from her restraints.
You backed up a couple steps before bursting towards the end of the dock as fast as your legs could carry you, each heavy hooffall thumping on the wooden dock like a drum. As soon as there were no more wooden planks in front of you, you leapt as far up into the air as possible. At the peak of the arc, you brought your hooves together in front of you.
With a muffled splash, you disappeared below the surface of the water and into its murky depths. Involuntary shivers rattled your body as the frigid temperature of the water began its work. Sure, you could have checked the temperature beforehand or thought about what you were doing first.
However, little things like that don’t matter when there’s a life on the line. With your lungs full of air, you swam down towards the bottom of the lake. The visibility here was mediocre at best, the only illumination being the moon’s rays that managed to pierce the surface of the lake. Bubbles rose past you, motivating you to descend faster towards their source.
It got darker as you reached the bottom, but you were able to see a shadowy figure on the bottom below. It took every ounce of willpower not to gasp when you laid eyes on Pinkie Pie struggling fruitlessly against her restraint. That’s when she noticed you and stared into your eyes, desperation ringing clear despite the poor visibility.
She stopped her struggling and resigned to keep her muzzle shut, probably to retain however much air for as long as possible.
You didn’t have time to just sit there and dilly dally. With the knife still gripped in your teeth, you dove towards the rope. Using your hooves to pull the rope taut, you placed the blade’s edge on a section and started rocking your head back and forth like a makeshift saw. Unfortunately, the rope wasn’t one of those thin ones. It was a heavy duty, multi-stranded fiber rope, similar to the ones used with mooring boats or for heavy farm machinery. Each pass with the blade only cut through a few fiber bundles out of the hundred or so that it was made out of. With determination, you began to saw it harder.
That’s when your water-filled ears picked up a rather disturbing sound, a gurgle-like bubbly sound that only made your heart sink. A big group of bubbles were floating towards the surface of the lake, in which you looked back at Pinkie Pie, only to see her eyes wide-open in terror and her mouth gasping for air. You almost dropped the knife in shock.
You just floated there, staring at her eyes as they lost that spark of life and began to focus on nothing. You wanted to cry a river of tears in this vast deep lake, but no, you didn’t want it to end like this, not yet.
Your lungs contorted in pain, reminding you that you didn’t have much time before joining Pinkie in this watery abyss. You went back toward the rope and sliced at it with the knife, seeing strand after strand of rope torn and float down to the muddy lake floor. The rope was now only half sawed through.
The need to breathe in a fresh lung full of air was constantly forcing you to keep it under check. You didn’t want to, obviously, since it would mean certain death if you did. Seconds felt like minutes as the tension began to overpower your own will. Still, you powered on, hoping to hear that tell-tale—
There! She was free now. However, she wasn’t moving any more. Her legs suspended in place by the frigid water and her eyes stared into nothingness. You gritted your teeth and pushed off the lake floor. If you could get her up to the surface, she’d still have a chance.
Now, the need for air was like a knife stabbed deep into your chest. Each second longer spent down here brought you that much closer to drowning. You had no time to lose.
You wrapped a hoof around Pinkie’s waist and started the ascent. It would have been easy by yourself, but with Pinkie Pie dragging you down, you had to effectively do the work of two ponies. Each progressive stroke seemed to get harder and harder. Your muscles ached fiercely from the lack of air.
Your body couldn’t take it anymore.
As if something squeezed your lungs, the last of your air escaped in a torrent of bubbles. You tried to clamp down and hold onto as much as you could, but it was all for naught. Water began to fill your mouth and, coupled with the need to breathe, almost sent you into panic mode.
With your strength all but gone, your legs failed to respond to your brain’s commands. You coughed sporadically as you tried to expel water that had entered your lungs, but you were slowly losing control over even that.
This was the end, all of this a wasted effort to save somepony that was your dear friend, maybe more. Memories of Pinkie flashed through your brain; the times when she threw you that party, the ways she kept intruding in your life, the way she was so… energetic.
All of it was meaningless now, as your limbs stopped resisting, only accepting the watery embrace. Your vision blurred, your mouth releasing whatever little oxygen was left as you hopelessly watch the bubbles float to the surface.
You tried to say something, anything at all, but were only met with more water inside your lungs. You couldn’t see anything anymore. Everything was dark and cold...
“…ake up …on’t die lease!”
“…e fin.. lot of… conscio…”
You couldn’t move and you could barely think straight. You still felt cold and lifeless, yet you were still alive. Why was that?
“…octor… oka… alright…”
“…on’t die… lease…”
Everything sounded broken, like listening to a broken record underwater. Regardless of what it might be, you couldn’t see or hear anything happening around you. Your chest felt heavy, and you were chilled straight to the bone.
Where were you? What happened? Were you alive, or were you in heaven?
“on’t wake up… unconscious…”
The voices were getting louder, maybe even clearer.
“Let me try… I’ll wake him up…”
A stinging pain snapped you out of your daze. You shot up into a sitting position instantly before falling back onto the ground with a monstrous headache. You groaned in pain, debating what to hold first: your cheek or your head.
“He’s alive! Oh by Celestia he’s alive!”
“S-see? I told you he couldn’t stay down for long.”
“Ma’am, don’t harm the patient!”
“Oh screw you! Look at him, he’s awake now!”
“All of you, out of this room, right now!”
You hesitantly tried to open your eyes, only to shut them tightly as a light blinded you. You rubbed your eyes as you slowly opened them once more to adjust to the light. The first thing you noticed was that you were in a white square room. Covering you was a white cloth blanket, and to your right was an open window.
The curtain was pulled around the left side of the bed, maybe for privacy? Regardless, you concluded that the room resembled that of a low-budget bedroom. That’s when something forcibly stuck itself into your mouth. You gagged as you tried to eject whatever it was using your tongue.
“Would you hold still, sir? I’m trying to take your temperature,” a random voice scolded as what felt like hooves kept your mouth shut around the thermometer. From the edge of your vision, a white mare with a red cross cutie mark appeared and was placing the thermometer back into its proper place.
“Hmm…” she said, pulling the offending mercury stick out of your mouth and holding it up to the light. “95.9, a little on the low side, but seeing as you were suffering from severe hypoxia and hypothermia earlier, that’s perfectly normal. It’s good to see you conscious though,” the pony remarked, backing away as she placed the metal thermometer on a nearby table out of sight and writing something down on a clipboard.
You demanded to know where you were, to which the pony just raised a brow at you and placed her clipboard down.
“You’re in the hospital, sir, and may I remind you to keep your voice down?”
You were confused. She said a hospital, but your memory was still a wreck. What exactly had happened? She returned to your sight with another instrument in hoof: it was some kind of black cuff with tubing on it connected to a stethoscope. She shimmied it up your right foreleg and started compressing it to the point of it being extremely tight and uncomfortable. Sometimes, you felt like their guinea pig whenever they did their tests on you.
The last thing you could remember was the docks and the bottom of the lake when… did you drown? It was fuzzy at best. That and the pounding headache definitely didn’t help make things clearer.
“Now that that’s all taken care of,” she stated, placing the stupid cuff on the table and eyeing you carefully. “Any questions that don’t involve loud outbursts?”
Of course you had some. What kind of pony wouldn’t? However, what came to the surface first was simply wanting to know what happened to you. The nurse sighed as she picked up the clipboard on the table and scanned through it.
“You fell unconscious due to a combination of hypercapnia and hypoxia.” A blank stare was all she got when she looked at you. ”That means you had extremely high levels of carbon dioxide in your blood and not enough oxygen. Now, you’ve been out for at least two days.” She walked up to your bedside and smiled. “It’s a miracle you got here when you did. If your friends didn’t get you here any sooner, I’m afraid you would have sustained irreparable brain damage from the lack of oxygen. Honestly, ponies these days need to learn how to perform CPR. It’s amazing that your friends had no idea how to,” she added with a sigh, tapping the clipboard with a quill.
“That buff-looking pony and your mare-friends were certainly worried about you. You should be glad to have such friends rushing to your side. Although, I wish that purple mare didn’t slap you. Honestly, that could have done more harm than good.”
You do recall a stinging sensation on your cheek, but you didn’t know how long ago it was, to which she shook her head. A purple pony she said… Berry?
“Regardless, you’re conscious and you seem stable. However, you should stay in the hospital for a couple more days so we make sure anything else doesn’t pop up. Last thing we’d want is to let you go now and find out that you have pneumonia or something later, right?”
You couldn’t agree more. You rested your head against the soft pillow of the bed you were in, alleviating a small portion of the headache while staring at the white ceiling.
“ Now, I do believe you have visitors outside waiting to see if you’re alright. Do you want me to tell them to come back later after you’ve rested?”
You shook your head and told her to let them in. The longer they waited to see you, the worse they’d get, you reckoned. The nurse pony nodded, grabbed her clipboard, and walked out of the room, leaving the door open behind her. Three ponies filed into the room following the nurse’s wake. No, sorry, it was more like watching a small herd of stampeding buffalo approaching. They surrounded your bed and froze in place, staring at you in shock. A precursory sweep of the room revealed the faces of two mares and one stallion:
Pinkie Pie, Loud Hoof, and Berry Punch…
What shocked you the most was that Pinkie was there with them as well. She looked as alive and well as any other day you’d seen her. Berry’s eyes looked so bloodshot and swollen that she must have been crying for days. Loud Hoof just stood there, staring at you with a hearty smile on his face.
A few moments passed in silence, which felt more like hours as they continued to stare at you. Pinkie was the first one to break the ice when she walked towards you, resting her hooves on your bedside.
“You’re alive… oh Celestia, you’re alive…!” she weakly said, a tear running down her cheek. Out of nowhere, she wrapped her hooves around your neck and started openly sobbing into your neck. Despite how uncomfortable it was, you felt that she needed to vent her sadness. That and she was actually very warm, so it kind of balanced out.
Berry joined with the sobbing as she grabbed on to you too, nuzzling your neck and her tears soaking your coat as well. There was probably a joke in here somewhere about how you got all the mares, but this wasn’t the time nor the place. Your neck was in a vice composed of Berry and Pinkie’s forelegs, and they were slowly choking you. You tapped them on the shoulder, and they immediately relented slightly, wiping away their tears with a hoof.
“I can’t believe you’re alive… it’s a miracle! When you disappeared from my apartment, I just… I thought I’d never see you again!” Berry sobbed, before wrapping around your neck again. Naturally, Pinkie felt it best to resume her chokehold as well.
With your hooves under their bellies, you managed to barely push them away before having to stop, panting from exhaustion. The deeper a breath you took, the more it hurt. That and your muscles were probably still weak after that entire ordeal. Hoof thankfully interjected here, still sporting that sincere smile.
“Hey… h-how are you?”
You mentioned how your body felt rather stiff, and how your stomach felt like someone threw it into a pot of boiling water. Hoof sighed in what seemed to be relief. “I figured as much… I’m just glad you’re okay. You and Pinkie had a close brush with d-death. It’s a miracle you two are alive.”
“But what happened the other night? Why did you leave my place?” Berry asked.
Hoof Interjected, “I-It’s a long story, ma’am, but I’m sure you all deserve to hear it.”
You certainly did. After all, why was Hoof working with Beaver? You had a small idea on why, but you wanted to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Everypony pulled a chair up to your bedside before sitting down, the mares and yourself eagerly awaiting Hoof’s explanation.
Hoof looked at you and everyone else before scanning the rest of the room, as if to make sure they were alone. Hoof gave a small sigh.
“It’s b-been going on ever since we entered Ponyville… Beaver had an elaborate scheme to hunt you down and to make sure you were either dead or gravely injured.” He looked down at the floor for a few seconds before looking up at you. “He threatened to kill me if I didn’t listen to him,” he whispered.
It figured that Hoof was being strong-armed by Beaver, but you never thought it was that bad. You asked if Hoof was responsible for any of the accidents, to which he shook his head.
“No, B-Beaver was the one who planned the l-lamp and ceiling accidents, but I did fire that arrow at you back in that shopping district. I want you to know I’m really sorry for doing that.”
“But if Beaver was blackmailing you into doing this, why didn’t you just tell the guards?” Berry commented, to which you nodded as well. Why didn’t he tell the guards?
“B-Beaver kept a close eye on me. Every time I went out, it felt like I was being watched, or better yet, stalked all the time. I looked behind once, and I saw him staring, no, glaring at me, i-it was really scary…”
“So you couldn’t go to the guards, in fear that Beaver would kill you? That’s… that’s horrible.”
“Who… who would do something like that?” Pinkie whispered with a frown.
You knew Beaver was paranoid, but this took the proverbial cake. After that entire ordeal last night, it wasn’t hard to believe what Hoof said. Hoof didn’t have any backbone, and it certainly wasn’t out of the norm for him to be under somepony’s hoof.
With that answered, the ocean of questions you held back rushed in. Each one vied to be answered, but one stuck out the most: how did Pinkie and yourself get out of that lake? You explained what happened from after you dived in until after you blacked out, and Hoof just smirked. Pinkie and Berry gasped.
“You… you saved me, Mr. Top Hat?” You looked at Pinkie and nodded, but restated that you met the same fate as her shortly after. You frowned and started mumbling about how you could have prevented this if you had acted faster.
“It wasn’t all for naught though,” Hoof hinted. ”If you hadn’t dived in to save Pinkie, I never would’ve found you.”
You stared at Hoof at a loss for words. How was that helpful in any way?
“Ah right, you don’t remember… Maybe this,” he remarked, reaching over to you side where the night stand should be, ”will jog your memory.” He placed it on your chest, and you blinked in unabated awe.
Your black top hat…
You reached out and took it in your hooves, checking to see it was alright, except for the big hole where the arrow narrowly missed your head. All in all, it looked well intact except for the water marks on the entire brim of the hat. You looked over at Hoof, still confused. Hoof face-hoofed.
“Your hat was floating on top of the lake,” he stated obviously. ”When I walked back to the dock to look for you, that’s what I found in the lake. I took this as a sign that you dove in, and I dove in right after you. Thank Celestia I did too. The both of you looked half-dead, and I thought you two had drowned, but…
I used my magic to levitate you and Pinkie out of the lake. I didn’t know how to perform CPR, so I took you two straight to the hospital,” Hoof conceded.
You looked at your hat for a moment, still at a loss for words. Your hat had saved you. That was something else entirely. After all that that hat had been through, it was still faithfully at your side, almost like a dog, but less messy. If it weren’t for it, you’d probably be fish food by now.
“Wow, you saved both of them? You’re one courageous stallion…” Berry said with a smile, staring at Hoof.
“N-No, it’s nothing. I just didn’t want my friends to die…”
You thanked him profusely, grateful that your life and Pinkie’s was saved.
“I… I just don’t know how to thank you, Mr. Top Hat, and you too, Hoof. Both of you saved my life, it’s just… I just don’t know what to do. I think I should throw you all a super duper party though!”
“Um, Pinkie? Could you come here for a minute? I need to talk to you?” Berry motioned to Pinkie, to which Pinkie just tilted her head.
“Huh? What for?” she inquired.
“Just come here, alright?”
You raised a brow, seeing Pinkie and Berry walk out of the room. Berry just smiled and waved.
“Mare talk, something stallions shouldn’t know about.”
After that, they just walked out the door, closing it behind them. You and Hoof just looked at the door in confusion for a moment before sighing at the same time.
“I wonder what that was all about?” You merely shrugged at Hoof’s response. “Well anyway, is there anything else you need to know?”
You asked him where Beaver was. He shrugged, “I’m not sure. He flew off over me when you beat him up. My guess is he disappeared off somewhere. I’m going to tell the guards about this incident though. I’m sure they’ll put out a search warrant for him.”
You nodded, saying that would be for the best. You just couldn’t believe all of this would happen. Beaver going insane, your father… it was all unbelievable. You leaned back on your pillow, ramming your hoof on the bed despite its painful twinges, mumbling why Beaver would go to such lengths to kill your father over some stupid misplaced revenge.
Hoof just sat there silently, frowning at you. “I won’t pretend to know how it was like, losing a father, but I’m sure you’ve gone through a lot.” He placed a hoof on your shoulder. ”You need to calm down.”
You slapped his hoof away, glaring at Hoof. You told him how Beaver just practically ruined your life anyway. Berry’s Bar was probably nothing more than a pile of charcoal and ashes now. You had almost died from that deranged lunatic and his displaced anger. Everything that you thought you knew was slowly turning around to kick you in the flank.
“Not everything, Mr. Top Hat.”
You and Hoof looked towards the hospital door, with Berry and Pinkie standing behind it. You didn’t see or hear them open the door and neither did Hoof. Berry patted Pinkie’s back with a smile, motioning for her to go forward.
“I believe Pinkie has something to say to you, Mr. Top Hat. Hoof? Think you could step out for a bit? I believe these two need to be alone.”
Berry crossed her arms and glared at Hoof. Hoof gulped.
“Er, well, I mean…”
Berry grabbed him by the ear, practically dragging him towards the door.
“Hey, ow! Don’t pull my ear like that! L-let go!”
After what seemed to be a rather amusing scene, Berry closed the door behind her, with Hoof in hoof(ba dum bump tish). Pinkie seemed to have taken a great interest in the floor and was staring at it with unbridled focus. She seemed to be trembling though, her cheerful attitude no longer present.
You tilted your head, trying to get a look at her face, but you couldn’t see it from your bed. You asked her what was wrong.
“Huh? Oh, um…” Pinkie gasped when she shook her head. “No, it’s nothing, it’s just… Berry just said some things to me, and well… asked me some questions.” Pinkie walked up to you and took the closest seat to your bedside, placing her hooves up onto the bed.
She gave you a precursory once-over before actually looking at you with her big eyes. She opened her mouth but closed it a moment later. You asked her what was wrong, but she didn’t reply. There was a palpable tension in the air, and the silence felt painfully awkward.
“When I learned that you saved me…” Pinkie Pie said, in a weaker tone than usual. “I didn’t know how to react. I felt really really happy, but I just didn’t know how to express it. The first thing that I always do is throw a party, or bake them a cake. But this… this is a different kind of ‘happy’.
“When Berry brought me out to ask me a few things, I told her that I was extremely happy, but then she told me if I felt anything different than what I usually do.” She looked back at you, brows furrowed. “My stomach felt weird, my heart was beating really fast, and I felt really… warm.”
“That’s when she told me about something I’ve never thought about, I…” She didn’t say anything else, her gaze falling back to the floor.
You didn’t know how to react to this situation. You had a feeling you knew what she was saying, but was it really that? Could she be talking about… love? She looked back at you, with her front hooves clopping against each other.
“Ooh… I don’t know how to say it. I just… I get all weird when I’m around you, and not the bad sort of weird. I don’t…”
She leaned her head in, bringing her face in close to yours. Your heart was beginning to beat even faster. “Berry told me if I couldn’t express it in words…” Her lips were brought closer to yours. “…I should express it with actions.”
Your eyes went wide when something wet and soft touched your lips. Pinkie’s face was very close to yours and her pink lips brushed against yours. You were certainly shocked that your gut feeling was right on the dot, but was she doing this out of love, or out of confusion?
Millions of scenarios flooded your brain, but only one made perfect sense: that she loved you.
Your body felt like a bolt of lightning was flowing through it, radiating from your lips and out to the rest of your body. The pain seemed to melt away the longer you kissed her. Involuntarily, your hooves snaked around her, pulling her in closer and strengthening the kiss. She flinched when your hooves touched her, but she seemingly melted in your hooves the longer you held her in your embrace. Everything seemed to dissolve around the both of you. Nothing else mattered at this moment, nothing at all.
Eventually, she broke the kiss, panting heavily. You stared up into those deep blue eyes and smiled.
“I love you… Mr. Top Hat.”
So here you are, standing on the dock on Ponyville lake, staring out over the calm water. A gentle wind blows past, sending several rogue strands of your mane fluttering idly. Subconsciously, a hoof comes up and grasps the front brim of your trusty hat, keeping it anchored in place.
Two months had passed since that eventful night. Now you found yourself here, once again pondering away the recent past. Beaver going to jail, Pinkie Pie’s confession, and yet despite their differences, everything seemed connected by a string of fate.
Yes, Beaver… Right after Hoof explained everything, you learned that he was captured by the royal guard and taken into custody earlier that day. It was impossible to hold back your satisfaction at the fact that he was now behind bars, serving time for his transgressions.
However, where would you be if Beaver hadn’t done any of this? Maybe still in Canterlot living with your Father? Touring Equestria with your band in tow? After all, it was ultimately your band’s actions that drove you to Ponyville, seeking peace and quiet from that rowdy life.
And yet… all of this went up in flames when Pinkie began butting into your life.
Your vision blacked out instantly as something covered your eyes, making you gasp in surprise.
“Hee hee, guess who?”
You recognized that voice anywhere and calmed down, smiling. You spoke the name of the one pony in your life who you thought about everyday.
Your vision returned, this time with a vibrant pink mare with sapphire blue eyes standing in front of you, smiling from ear to ear. “That’s right! And here I was thinking you forgot about me.”
You shook your head, chuckling to yourself. There was no way in Tartarus you’d forget a mare like her. Your internal monologue was cut short when the mare in question kissed you, your heart skipping a beat.
“I’m so happy right now.” she said after breaking the kiss. ” You make my stomach feel like a cupcake on a trampoline! Or a muffin! Wait, that doesn’t make any sense... Ooh! But you know what it does feel like? It feels—”
“Hey!“ interrupted a stallion’s voice. ”Are you two lovebirds done yet? It’s time to go!”
You turned around to find Hoof making his way over to you from the other end of the dock. In the past two months, he seemed to have gained confidence in himself. He was becoming more daring and more bold. He sported a sharp, pink suit, complete with a slightly darker pink bow-tie. In fact, it was the exact same kind of suit you were wearing too. Pinkie also sported one, but it blended in so well with her fur, you could barely tell it was there.
That’s right… during those two months, you, Hoof, and Pinkie formed your own band, and you were officially out of retirement. Being with those two just seemed to make you happy. With the skills of a A snazzy saxophonist/trumpeter, a gifted piano player, and a daring drummer; everything needed for a heart-pounding band of awesomeness.
Pinkie Pie was the inspiration behind the pink suits. You were against it til the bitter end until she pulled out her trademarked sad puppy dog face. Once that came out, it was a lost cause.
Hoof smiled as he gave your noggin a noogie. “We’ve got a gig to go to in Ponyville, and we’re running late as it is. We can’t keep the crowd waiting.”
You looked back over the lake and then back at Hoof. You gave him a firm nod, saying that you’ll be ready soon. Hoof sighed in annoyance. “Well hurry up. Remember what happened last time we made a crowd wait? It was pure chaos!”
“He’ll be ready soon, Hoof! He just needs more time,” Pinkie conceded, placing a hoof around your neck. “Right?”
You nodded, nuzzling her hoof slightly. “Ah…”
Hoof looked at you two for a moment and shrugged. “Well, just hurry up. I’ll be waiting back in Ponyville, alright?”
You watched Hoof depart before turning your head to Pinkie, smiling at her. She smiled back and leaned in to kiss you again, this time much longer than before. Her mouth felt warm and wet, her lips continually pressed against yours. She tasted sweet, almost sugary but not quite. It was something you had grown to like now.
When you broke the kiss, she leaned against you, happily sighing.
“I love you so much.”
You leaned against her as well, resigning yourself to stare over the lake once more. The memories of days past flew through your head. From your arrival to now, everything seemed to lead up to the here and now, despite how obvious it might sound.
“When it all boils down, I guess I have to thank Beaver for something.“ you added, pecking Pinkie on the cheek. ”It was all because of him that I have you.” You took out the small retractable dagger you used to save Pinkie out from your pocket. With a squeeze of your hoof, the small blade popped out of its casing, gleaming in the sun’s light.
“Beaver was the sole reason I came to Ponyville, and if it wasn’t for him, I never would’ve met you, Pinkie. Heck, I don’t know where I’d be now.
“Everything happens for a reason,” you conceded, stroking your love’s hoof, ”whether it be good or bad. My new life is something to be happy for: a wonderful marefriend, a new band… something I’m fully content with.” You glanced over at Pinkie. She was smiling again, tears of joyous joy running down her cheek.
“I think you’re the one who named it, didn’t you?” you finished, wiping away an errant tear with a hoof.
You threw the switchblade into the lake, its impact making a soft ker-plink. You smiled as you wrapped your hooves around your pink ball of happiness.
“I hope our happiness will last forever… in our Pink Symphony.”