The Long Ride
Over on the sunny horizon, spanning across from eye’s view to all possible directions, flew a brown sparrow; its small wing par pushing the air down to maintain the height and the delegate, yet speedy movement. Pushing itself to the limits, the tiny bird flashed through the thick layer of plumed cloud field, narrowly dodging few pegasi who had their hooves on moving particular forms of compressed air over to Cloudsdale and to near the surface.
And that was also the direction the sparrow took as it planted the brown wings to its sides, halting the forward movement and starting the downwards one with ever so growing fast pace that made it look like it had been swooned in middle air.
Then, some hundred feet up from the surface level and from the place for the dinner, something caught the little birds attention while its black ovals leered out towards along with the feathery wings that altered the birds fall to a new tracks. Over the course of mere seconds, the the black dots formed an image of something long and slender, its body color consisting out of candy flavour colors.
Something that the sparrow very much liked.
With a one swift beat, the tiny bird landed itself on a somewhat narrow piece of wood and eagerly in large hops made the way up to the red wall. But as soon as the beak hit the delicious color, only a faint ‘thump’ erupted out that made the framed bird’s body tremble and stumble backwards. This, nevertheless, only lasted for a minute and instantly the bird leaped back, only now being more careful and meekly pushing itself against the red, sturdy wall in determined mood to get that-
In the instant, the world around the sparrow engulfed in a powerful light which frightened it beyond believe and allowing the primal instincts to take ahold. What followed was that the bird flew high up the sky, deciding it was best for it to look for some other, more peaceful place to dine.
And the bird still dazzled bird disappeared over the clouds.
And the stallion at the window cursed in deep as he realized that the camera hadn’t been loaded and he had just wasted a bulb for nothing. As his cyan hooves fell down from the haunch, so did the silver box fell back to the open saddlepack between his stretched out back hooves. At the same time, the male pony relaxed down his other two hooves to the back of his head, over the felt hat, and over the short, straight cut blond mane that left his forehead hidden yet not even touching his neck. At the bottom, his long tail was barely visible under the dark blue overcoat that currently acted as a temporary blanket for the pony.
Then, the door left from the seat slit opened up to reveal the smiling unicorn conductor.
“Sir, ticket please.” the diligent mare said while walking up to the stallion, now reaching out to the pocket of his coat and soon handing over the golden ticket to which the mare replied with a deepened smile.
“Alright, everything seems alright.” she said while giving back the pierced card “We at Friendship Express like to personally welcome you aboard this trip.”
But the stallion merely nodded and turned his head back over to the window, looking at the countryside image that raced across the field of his vision. Still, he could heard as the conductor walked back over to the door.
“The waitress is standing by at the end of the cart and you can call her anytime you want during this trip, be it food, drinks or just company. You’re quite lucky, there ain’t no other special passengers so the service should be quick.”
With that, the door slid closed and the sounds of steps echoed over but soon vanishing, leaving the fancy passenger cart silent as the stallion on the velvet seat stayed still.
Then, finally, the Earth Pony smirked and closed his violet eyes.
“Now now... Don’t be so upset-”
“Upset? I... am... FURIOUS!! How can you allow Strong Scotch to continue on ruining himself like this?”
“*sigh* What’s the trouble with a little fun?”
“FUN?! You think it’s funny that mare got knocked up? And don’t claim this was only a terrible mistake, both you and I know that’s total bullsh-”
“HOW DARE YOU QUESTION ME! IT ISN’T LIKE YOU'RE ANY BETTER THAN HIM!”
“*sigh* Now, listen very carefully to my offer....”
*Knock knock knock*
Woken up from his deep sleep, the boggled stallion had his head tilted to the source of the knocks. As his eyes laid at the pull-door, so did he note that the train’s movement had halted and that many different incoherent voices filled the air, although very muffled out.
“Sir,” the voice rang out from the hallway “We have arrived at the destination.”
Reaching out towards the window, the stallion carefully raised the red curtain.
In a less than a minute, the door slid open and from inwards of the velvet room emerged the Earth Pony stallion, now wearing the overcoat that covered the cyan coat from neck down to the whole flank while from around his neck hung a black satchel. After re-checking out nothing else had been left over, the pony marched at the end of the quite short corridor where the stewardess stood, carrying a suitcase over her mouth which she dropped in front of the stallion before walking past to open up the door leading....
First thing the cyan pony did was to breath.
Breath in deep of this clean, fresh air that tingle in his lungs accustomed to the dust of the long stone streets where nothing of green emerged expect in gardens and public parks.
It felt good.
“Ponyville....” he mumbled.
But the Earth Pony breath in and out once more before glaring to his left and the stallion got an overlook of the whole station that barely consisted out of a ramp, for the passengers to drop in and out of the train, and actually newish looking building with the word ‘Station’ labelled on the top with black letters. All over the station lots of different ponies either stood, talked or did the two at the sametime, mostly in groups.
In the end, he found it rather peaceful and calm, even in the midst of constant blabber and words that went unheard by everypony near. And as he finally neared the station corner, he found what looked like a small kiosk that sold anything from souvenirs to toothpicks.
He dropped his suitcase up to the bench right next to the open shop before beginning to trot down to the counter where an old geezer sat and read what looked like days old Canterlot Chronicles while on the other side stood a mare about the same age.
“Hmph, bucking nobles; cannot keep their kids straight nowadays.” the clerk over the counter said while flipping a new page over.
The mare snorted “Well, what can you expect from somepony whose father isn’t much better? Don’t you remember how notorious he was from his...side trips.”
“Heh, well at least now that party goer is down for good, at least if you believe his statement over the damages he caused and how he’ll try to get help. But then again; like father, like son.”
A cough rang out and both of the older ponies turned their looks at the cyan pony standing near them, staring at them quite emotionlessly.
“Oh, how can I help you mister?” the clerk instantly responded while paper the paper down to the counter, leaving the front paper turned open.
“Yes, is there perhaps an inn nearby?” the stranger pony said, his face hidden under grey hat and a cyan hoof holding a folded paper “And I’ll be also taking this map.”
From outside, it looked like any other of the most structures in Ponyville with their timber-framed walls with distinct thatched roofs and overhanging upper floors. Maybe a bit dusky, then again it might have been only the dirty walls that hadn’t been cleaned in what looked like eons.
After all, one didn’t really want to clean something bound to get the soiled every single night as the last round was served up and the last drops were dipped down from the mugs to the hot, throbbing throats. Some local residents had started to file complaints over loud music and even about the danger the youth would face with the drunken slards.
But it wasn’t like Berry Punch, owner of the Snoozin’ Speakeasy, cared over the accusations. Luckily, even larger crowd supported her establishment with their hard-earned bits and assuring voices, that told over and over again how well she took care of her father’s prestige spot that had served town since establishment.
Heck, it had been the second building to be raised, and nowadays also one of the few that had survived the harsh competition, in the end being the only proper sanctuary for anypony to search for the hard stuff.
And now the owner of this dandy bar was holding a mop by her mouth and wiping the last mushes of daisy sandwiches off from the floor while heavily panting.
“This...definitely... has to be...dealt... with!” the light purple mare mumbled and let out her final breath, signaling her relief as she eyed over rest of the lounge area that glittered in the show lights. Even the olden, yet reliable stage was clean, something she hadn’t seen a while.
“And I’m damn sure that’ll stay the same. Next time some prick gets the idea to use it as a personal toilet, they’re gonna lick it clean.” Yet Berry Punch smiled at the contradiction in her promise as she knew that by the end of tonight’s Friday show, she’d need to hire the carpenter and ask for that normal discount involving couple of older bottles from under the counter and couple of free chips to the poker table.
Then, Berry chuckled as she had forgotten the most important part of the deal; newest issue of the Playcolt magazine, fresh out of the regular shipment from Canterlot. And as the mare sat down on the bar stool, her eyes moved to the top of the cabins over the counter, where the two distinctive magazines were piled up.
Well, at least the few remaining...
Their popularity laid one cornerstone in the bar’s business as nopony else had the dignity to sell them in their shops without fearing to lose their face in public, and Berry’s father had filled the gap before anypony else had the apples. That, Berry thought, had been the last testament to the old fool’s wisdom.... and his love for bits.
A cling echoed over as Berry popped open the cork from the whiskey bottle and poured a shot for herself while also taking the Playmare’s latest issue for quick read. Even a bartender had her needs and, admitted, many of the model stallions were really hunk-
“Huh?” the startled mare said before glancing forth and at the now opened up door, covering her eyes with her free hoof as the other held the still open bottle. But it didn’t really matter, as the door fell closed and now Berry could make out that somepony was standing close to her leaning frame.
“Sorry, we ain’t open yet. Come back in couple of hours.” Berry replied as she flung over in her stool and back onto tasting her shot to get the actual day started out. She even promptly began to read the Playmare magazine, not caring a bit over the fact some stranger was close to her. But then she heard a faint ‘thump’ echoe over, promptly something heavy hitting the wooden panels.
“Can’t talk, clopping.” said the pissed off mare, however the stallion still stepped forward.
“Actually, I heard you had free rooms available and I’d like to rent out a one.”
For a brief moment, Berry Punch forgot that nothing liquid was meant to be breath in. In the intense coughs that followed as she felt her throat, along with lungs, burst in flames, the mare hastily flung back over to the stranger stallion.
“W-w-wait, for reals? You’re actually interested in renting out a room!?” Berry asked, shocked over the fact somepony actually stood there and was interested in staying. In all sense, it wasn’t that much of a surprise, seeing that this was alongside with being Ponyville’s only bar and gambling den also the last remaining inn that offered room for the travellers.
Too bad there hadn’t been a single wanderer in the past year; no after what happened in the Summer Sun Celebration...
And with the incident of Parasprites.
And over the fact this Goddess forsaken place didn’t holster any interest whatsoever for possible tourists from the big cities, minus the usual business ones dealing with farms like Sweet Apple Acres and Carrot Family Fields.
The blue stallion nodded in an agreement and proceeded to open up a pocket in his satchel. Berry Punch caught a glimpse of something what seemed like a box, but didn’t see much else as the hoof quickly pulled it close and now Berry noted the wallet.
A very thick wallet, to say the least.
In what seemed like a flash, Berry Punch jumped off from her stool and took the suitcase over from the floor before having her hooves turn over towards the stairs at the end of the lounge area.
“This way please; I’ll show you to your room!” the excited mare hummed as she leapt up the stairs, still making sure the stallion was close by and following her trail, until hitting the solid wood of the second floor. Waiting for her guest to arrive, she briefly checked out on the rooms, unhappily finding herself once again coughing up as the lingering dust flew up in a cloud. But as the fine attired pony got up, Berry ended up choosing the most presentable chamber, the one close to hers.
The stallion stuck his head inside the room and looked over while the mare beside prayed he wouldn’t care over the tiny bits of dust looming over.
“Umm, I’m sorry for the current condition of the room but-”
“It’s fine,” the blue pony cut in between and returned back onto the mare “this one will do just fine. But I do expect that you’ll have this room cleansed by tomorrow. And I hope you don’t mind if I pay when I leave, do you?”
Berry, thanking both Celestia and Luna deep within, nodded in a reply and presented the suitcase to him. And before she got to say nothing over the fact of food and bathroom times, the stallion calmly trotted inside and tucked the door close behind.
In a slow motion, the light purple mare pumped her hoof up in the air.
But on the other side of the door, the photographer pony had his breath salvaged. As he calmly counted to three, assuring that the bartender mare had gone back downstairs, he also continued to trace through the small room that consisted out of a single room. At the other end laid the cupboards, yet no microwave oven nor even a simply fridge were present, and... that was pretty much it; other than the oak wardrobe, from the looks barely standing on its legs, and the bucking huge bed right on the edge of the room, taking over fourth of the space
As the numbers faded away inside him and no steps echoed over from outside, his finally let out a sharp breath as he headed directly towards the bed, flinging his suitcase and the hanging satchel on top of the linen cover. It didn’t take him too long to place the few necessities to their respective places around the room and he even dropped his overcoat over to the bedpost along with his hat, freeing little bit of the pressed up mane underneath.
But there was one thing that remained, and that was his own silver encased camera.
Now sitting on top of the bed, the cyan stallion had his eyes locked to the small box. After a while of silent peace, the camera fell back down to the deeps of the brown bag and the stallion sighed as he lowered down onto the bed.
As so, now he's bare flank was visible and that way his Cutie Mark of an open roll film and on it was printed a peculiar black symbol...
The brand logo of his father's media empire; the infamous Playcolt -symbol.
A sigh rang out as the stallion kept looking at the hanging light-bulb, flickering the light in otherwise dark room.
“Bucking family...” he swore inaudibly as his eyes fell down and the world fell truly black.
It didn't take too long for Shoot Off to fall asleep.
“.... Wait wait; what do you mea- Can you even do that?”
“Of course I can; I’m the head of this company by Celestia’s mercy and nopony can tell me what to do.”
“But what about the shareholders? They barely know anything about me, not to mention the press!”
“Far better than being on the headlines of the tabloids every bucking day and night. So; what do you say?”
“WHAT?! Right here?!”
“Hehe, not at all...”
Encounter Around Shot Glasses
“Ugh...” the stallion moaned under his rock hard pillow, stained in saliva, as his dizziness still had a firm hold over him. Still, his hoof was still able to pull away the covers, to reveal rest of his sweating body, although his head stayed hidden.
After what felt like an eternity for him, he just laid there.
Then he merely rolled over on his other side.
“Still too tired...” he muttered, eyes tightly closed, and pulled the cover back.
He closed his eyes-
-to have them dart back open, as the sudden noise rang in his ears. From what he could gather, it had erupted from somewhere underneath him. Less than a second later, it was followed with a tidal wave of laughter and sounded like glasses being banged down on hard surface.
Shoot Off finally was awake.
And first thing he did was to utter a swear.
Back understairs and by the counter Berry Punch let out a pent-up sigh. Just as she had predicted earlier this day, the old doopy stage had given up under the weight of the Friday Night and crashed down, as the huge pile of splintered wood by end of the lounge showcased.
It had been instantly followed up by a burst of laughter from her nightly customers, as they watched how members of the rookie band, youngsters able to perform solid pieces for couple of bits, weakly stood up and joined in the laughter, ignoring the scratches over their bodies.
So Berry Punch did what she knew best and waved the players to join her by the counter.
“Come on,” Berry Punch reached out behind herself, over to the glass cupboards, for couple of glasses and some of her milder liquors, not prefered by the general base “These are on the house,” she said while pouring the drinks down for them, to heal the wounds and hopefully not charge her for them.
Thankfully everything was fine, as the band instantly lifted their glasses for themselves, so Berry Punch left them be, accidentally leaving two more unopened bottles close by, as she walked away to other end of her working area.
As she eyed rest of the bar, everything seemed to be fine; it was a full house night once again and everypony was enjoying this environment of chit-chat, smoke from pipes (something Berry Punch herself hated but allowed for the longtime customers), friends meeting up, etcetera. Everypony here was after something, Berry Punch merely was offering safe surroundings for them, away from life waiting outside the flip doors, and garnishings to lift mood up.
Okay, not all are ponies were needed.
As the mare turned back, just as she arrived to other end, her eyes saw something too familiar, a pony leaning by the counter top.
“Oh no, not this crap again,” she sighed whilst moving closer to get a better view of the pony. But then her mouth gawked open while her hooves nearly gave up upon her. “C-c-car-Caramel?!”
The light amber stallion’s head rolled over, blue eyes slightly open past the dark brown mane, as he turned to look at the shocked bartender. He gave her a smirk “Guess you weren’t expecting me yet back.” the stallion then proceeded to rub both of his ears. “And ouch! Don’t shout like that, Berry.”
But Berry Punch didn’t listen to him “What the hay Caramel?! Aren’t you supposed to be hauling stuff around until ten?” she then turned to look over to the counter, an empty ounce glass and piled up bottles.
Caramel saw this and snorted “Hope you don’t mind my self service.”
“SHOOTER?! You mixed a SHOOTER?!” Berry Punch shouted and smacked the stallion across the back of his head, sending him crouching by his stool. But her pummeling still continued “You better have bits to pay up for those ingredients or, May Celestia Have Mercy, I will geld you!” she swore as she laid her last strike on him and backed off, leaning herself on the bare wall, minus some old alcohol advertising poster from time when they were legal.
But the yellow pony calmly stared back on her eyes.
“Black Stone fired me.”
Caramel looked away, ashamed of his revelation “Screwed up the last haul, he shouted before giving this,” a tiny bag fell over to the wooden counter, under Berry’s shocked expression “Last pay and telling to get the buck out before he'd have his goons throw me out."
Just then Berry noticed the condition he was in as the stallion moved a bit and showed his lower body, badly bruised up especially around the back and over his Cutie Mark, three iron horse shoes. Nothing too unusual you'd find in work involving hard labour but Berry knew too well these kinds of wounds, too well...
"They also kicked me out of the company barracks, when I tried to get my stuff," Caramel continued and laid himself on the counter before weakly snickering "Well... if nothing, at least two of them won't be having fun with their marefriends for some while."
And they damn sure won’t be drinking in here, Berry thought.
Suddenly laughter rang out and as the two ponies turned to look along the counter. Those youngsters Berry had served were now leaning on each other, talking and cheering now that the alcohol had kicked in. Not that Berry didn’t really expect much tolerance from them.
Caramel snickered at the sight, sounding a bit healthier. “Guess life isn’t that hard on all of us...” he sighed and reached out over to the empty bottles “Guess I should clean these up. At least that’s one thing I can do correctly.”
But then a plum coloured hoof stopped the cream hoof in midway, pushing it down to the wood surface. As Caramel looked up, he saw how Berry Punch grabbed all of the glassware and turned around, not looking at him.
The violet mare gave him ‘that’ look, enough to make him shut his trap. “Just quit it, Caramel. It's bad enough to see you like that let alone have you act that way.” but she smiled to the colt, who now too did the same. "Just let me give a hoof, will you?"
“Thanks.” Caramel finally said in low-tone and presented his bag of bits to her, the last of his money “At least let me pay up for the shooter.”
Berry Punch shook her head. There weren’t nearly enough bits in that bag to pay up for the fancy ingredients he had used up and what she now needed to stock up on. To her, it was even a miracle Caramel was even able to mix something so complicated up. If nothing, seeing him use his swift hooves would have been enough to allow this pass.
But for a far more important:
Berry Punch took his bits and opened it up “Hmm... Looks like you’re fine.” Caramel breathed in relief. The mare gave him a serious look and dropped the bits down beside the money box.
“In fact so well, you don’t need to pay up for tonight's drinks.”
This left the stallion in turn gawking and his eyes, now fully open, looking at Berry Punch in awe.
“I.. am...” but then he merely turned over and reached out for one of the liquor bottles from her personal stash. “Aha! You really ought to hide these somewhere else, Berry, or a drunkard like me will drink you dry.” As the cork snapped open, so did the violet mare turn away from Caramel, now tasting one of her finest bottles from years of collection.
The things we do for friends, Berry thought and giggled, as she passed by the now nearly drunk band that had began to sing a raunchy song in mixture of baritone and contralto.
But unbeknownst to her, Caramel had just turned to close the bottle and ready to gulp down his first drink just as a cough rang over, halting his bitter drink inch away from the lips.
“Excuse me,” the cream stallion glared to his left, making sure no drop spilled over, to see a cyan stallion, dressed in a dark blue overcoat, standing beside him. “But is this seat here free? Rest of the room’s crammed full”
Caramel looked through rest of the room, only to see that the stranger was telling the truth.
Finally, he shrugged “It’s free, take a seat,” and as the stranger pony, fine in all of his dandy clothes, sat beside him, something dawned on him “Hang on a second, you don’t look like a regular visitor.” Caramel questioned from the fellow earth pony.
The blue stallion leered at him, turning his odd pair of violet eyes on him, but before he got to open his mouth, Caramel already gave an apologetic look “Sorry, but its true. You don’t look anything like a regular customer,” the cream colored pony paused to finally taste his drink. “Ahh, this is the stuff right here... Anyways, as I said, you’re likely either another lost soul looking for medicine to fix you up or passing traveller, a salesman from the looks. I’d guess the latter, as a local wouldn't have asked my permission to sit down.”
Much to his joy, this left the other stallion very much shocked and dumbfounded.
But then, as he was taking a new sip, a snicker.
“You have sharp eyes,” the stranger commented after calming down. “Yet you’re wrong. I’m not some slack-off fraud pony selling pots and pans door to door. I’m actually a resident in this establish-”
His words cut short, as a burst of alcohol shot straight out from Caramel’s mouth, splashing all over the bar section, and he turned to stare at the stallion, coughing last drops from his throat.
“You-*cough*-you’re kidding, right? You’ve gotta be!” Caramel explained whilst lowering his glass down “I mean, nopony has stayed in Snoozin’ Speakeasy, this ‘establishment’ of strong drinks and slow music, ever since the troubles began.”
“Don’t ask.” Caramel shuddered before continuing on with a lowered tone, “Lets just say that ever since them, Ponyville hasn’t been the same. For example, this town has been demolished at least twice! Twice too many for Celestia’s sake!” he ended up shouting his last words, recalling just how he had lost his precious cargo to the parasprites.
The overcoated stallion rubbed his jaw. “Well that’s totally opposite to what father said. Well, what father’s friend had said to him. Fucking bricks, only wanting to get a better image...”
Caramel chuckled unbeknownst of what the hay he was talking about, yet Caramel had began to feel some compassion towards this fellow, so what he did was to grab a new glass from the usual place. “Here you go, have one on my tab.” He poured the glass full, just to the edge before handing it over. “By the way, seeing we’re now sharing drinks, name’s Caramel. What’s yours?”
The stallion obliged with a grin. “Name’s... Shoot Off,” he finally said and took his glass for a drink. But at the same time, some very deep alarm bells rang inside of Caramel’s head, enough to get him pause for a brief moment to let his mind do something unthinkable.
Think over somepony who isn't a beautiful mare.
Shoot Off... Now where- I swear I’ve heard that name somewhere, Caramel wondered whilst pouring more liquor for himself. Or was it written somewhere? Have only read those magazines over there. Which by the way reminds me...”
In midst of the pouring the drink, he gazed over to end of the counter, to other side of the wooden slab used to serve drinks. Much to his luck, he found what he was looking for near to him, although way out of range of his hoof.
“Hey Shoot Off, pal, do you see those two piles over there?” The stallion rose from his drink and turned over where Caramel had just nodded, to see exactly two piles of magazines, neatly tucked inside iron frames like the owner feared they’d be stolen. “Grab one copy from the pile that’s closest to you.”
Shoot Off did as told and took one copy.
Yet he suddenly froze up, falling pale as he saw the cover, and his violet eyes popped open.
This got Caramel excited over “Ohhoh, it’s a frisky cover mare, eh?”
But the blue stallion continued to eye the Playcolt magazine and Caramel started to get even more excited, as his imagination got over-
“Holy buck, they got the March mare back didn’t they?” Caramel whispered in disbelief, and as he yet again got silence as a reply, the curious stallion proceeded to forcefully yank the porn away.
Lust filled his eyes as the magazine fiddled in his grasp-
“Oh boy, Fleur de Lis, prepare to bath in-”
-only to be yet again forcefully yanked away by a violet hoof of the frustrated barmare.
“Aw-Awwwwww!” Caramel let out a whimper and saw how Berry Punch waved the magazine in front of his face with her tongue sticking out.
“Sorry pal, but I ain’t gonna hand this stuff out for free. You know how much each of these is wor- HEY!” the desperate stallion tried to grab it, but got smacked in the head by Berry’s free hoof and he recoiled back to whimpering.
However, at the same time she saw Shoot Off who was taking a healthy gulp from his glass “Oh it’s you mister...”
“Shoot Off,” the mare paused for a moment, Sorry, didn’t introduce myself back in the morning. Name’s-excuse me for a moment.”
And the violet mare moved both piles of porn down under the counter, away from Caramel who had tried to sneak past her.
“Sorry. Name’s Berry Punch and I’m the owner of Snoozin’ Speakeasy. All this, mind you,” she explained and relaxed her hooves while leaning on the counter, ahead of the drinking earth pony “So what brings you out here to the wilderness, Shoot?”
This question led to Shoot Off cough up remainders of the liquor out and directly on the not amused mare. “Umm... sorry but I’m here merely on vacation... Not any work or something like that,” the stallion mumbled while Berry Punch cleaned her face and Caramel laughed his flank off. “Maybe relax a bit, look at the scenery. You know, usual vacation activities.”
Berry Punch, not even after having her face cleaned, wasn’t amused but she didn’t get any further into the subject. Simple bartender etiquette. Instead she nodded briefly before turning round to face the cabinets.
“Interesting, a vacation.... Anywho, did you enjoy your room?” the mare continued after having taken out a jug of rose juice and poured a mug of it to herself. Back at the stool, her customer lazily shrugged, which had her breath in relief. “To be honest with you, those rooms are not... really taken care of. Just let me know if something happens, or suddenly jumps out of the sink, and I’ll have it sorted out.”
The stallion cocked his eyebrow “Pardon me, but jumps out of the sink?”
“Anyways,” Berry Punch quickly added whilst leaning to the counter, right between the two guys and tasted her own non-alcoholic drink “So, mister Shoot Off, have any plans for your vacation?”
What she got was silence from the cyan pony. But as she was going to speak, he reached out to his jacket pocket and placed a folded paper on the bar stand. It didn’t take either Berry nor Caramel, who was already feeling the effects of high dosage, too long to see what it was.
“Well, I was thinking about seeing the local sights. Yes, that does sound like a fine plan.”
But Caramel took the folded map into his hooves. “Yeah, I won’t get into that statement quite. But I can tell you one thing for sure.” Then the earth pony ripped the map with a swift stroke, then again and again until nothing but shreds remained. “And that is you’ll never find anything with one of these! Buck’s sake, local tourist department was once charged because one ‘showcase’ trail led straight into local hydra cavern.”
Berry Punch snorted. “However those ponies can only blame themselves for taking pictures of it instead of running away. Poor thing, those flashing lights scared it so much it escaped straight to the Froggy Bottom Boggs.”
“Meh, at least the thing won’t harm anypony there,” Caramel said and drank the last of his scotch.
But the overcoated stallion’s right eye was twitching, as he fiddled at the paper shreds. Berry Punch saw this, so she swooped the trash away and down to the bin.
“But yes, you really shouldn’t be walking around with that. We cannot have you run into pack of timber wolves, now can we? Should that happen, I wouldn’t get paid for your room,” she stated and began to laugh rather loudly.
Shoot Off grunted and smacked his head down on the wood surface. Caramel at the same time rolled his eyes and was about to pour more for himself from the sudden new bottle on the counter (everypony could agree on one thing, and that is Caramel has the head of a mule, when it comes to drinking).
But then, an idea sprung to life inside Berry’s head.
“Say Caramel, you’re out of work, aren’t you?”
The yellow pony grunted, being unable to catch the imaginary bottle that now floated above the desk. “Really, do you need to rub salt in the wound?”
“Oh, shut up you martyr. Anyways, you, Shoot Off, don’t really have an idea on what to do, correct?”
“You... could say so, but-”
“But listen to me here,” the mare cut in between and smirked before pointing her hoof between the two earth ponies “You two might be useful to one another; you, Shoot Off, could hire our dear Caramel here to act as your guide.”
“...What?” both of the stallions finally muttered.
“Now now, just think about it. It could easily work out. Caramel would take you to see whatever might strike your interest. He know the areas around of Ponyville quite well and is smart enough to not lead you straight into danger.”
Now the two stallions turned to stare at each other.
Caramel coughed “I... I guess it COULD work out, but-”
“You get to stay here as long as this deal lasts.”
“That, and whatever Shoot Off here will drink.”
Caramel rubbed his chin for a moment, pondering his situation thoroughly. In the end, however, he grinned in satisfaction of the terms and looked back at the coated earth pony.
“I agree. But only if you agree, too.”
“... Well, I do need to-”
Berry Punch happily clopped her hooves together “This is great! In fact, I think this calls for a free round!”
“But I already have free drinks for tonight...” Caramel muttered, and then was covered in... pages of mares in provocative positions.
“You get twenty min-” but the bartender never got to finish as the stallion rushed straight to the bar bathroom “But you better clean up afterwards and not harm the magazine, or you will never clop again!” However she then laughed weakly whilst walking off to get the band members back to stage.
Nevertheless, in midst of all this happening, the stallion left behind all alone took a long stare at the bottom of his shot glass while constantly swirling the dark liquid in an endless loop.
Just what the buck happened? he sighed mentally and finished off his glass.
A/U: Special thanks for NATOstrike for sorting this crap out for me. I'm in debt!