A Twist in the Tail
Edited by and Posted with permission by Midnight Shadow
Blue. Everywhere he looked was the same rolling blue. It was calming he supposed. Almost like he could lose himself within the vastness of it all. As if the very ocean could simply wash away all his worries. At least... He certainly would have liked it to.
It had been a couple of days now since he had boarded the first in a series of Equestrian ships, asking for passage from each one to where ever they happened to be going. He didn't mine, as long as he got to Equestria eventually.
For payment, he helped out when he could, but otherwise kept to himself. He was on a quest after all. Not that he really had any idea where to go. Generally most boats would have headed straight to the mainland of Equestria. It was just his bum luck that the first had been the exception to such a voyage, and had been littered with little side stops. Still, it kinda suited his mission. With each stop he would go on shore and ask around one simple question. The same question he had been asking for days now.
So far, no one had been able to give the answer he desperately hoped to hear. An answer he was worried he’d never have.
Yet another gust of wind flicked at his body from behind. It had a rather good strength to it today. He knew that was suppose to be good, as it meant they’d make good time while sailing. So It was a shame he could only focus on the minor irritation it had been causing him by slapping his grey mane and tail around they way it did. The mane constantly whipping around his eyes making it difficult to see. He was sure the salty air wasn’t going to do his purple coat any favors either.
The previous days when this happened he had simply gone back to his quarters. Away from the wind, the sea, and the rest of the ship’s crew. But even that seemed like to much of a hassle for him to do today. Right now, all he could manage was to stare blankly ahead. As if the very mare he sought would appear before his weary blue eyes.
If only there had been more information... It hadn’t been hard to find which bureau she used. No, that had been the easy part. The rest however...
Well, after what had gone down, they bureau’s were still attempting to file all the ponifications that had gone through. There had actually been several on that day, and a few unauthorized ones at that. There was simply no telling which one had been her. Not that he didn’t have any leads. There had been three sixteen year old girls that all became ponies at the same time. It made sense that she would have waited for that, for her friends to catch up to her age.
In fact, when he checked into it, he was able to confirm that they had run off as well. So it had to be them. It just had to. If only he had thought of what she may have been planning sooner. Before her letter had arrived...
If only he had told her... She might have waited for him...
But he hadn’t told her. He had kept it a secret, and she had kept her plan a secret from him. It was karma he supposed. An eye for an eye so to speak. But now, now that she was gone...
The letter had come in the mail the following day. Delivered by a mail pony no less. He knew it was from her the moment he saw whom it was addressed to. Tommy, his old human name. She had been one of the few he hadn’t told about his ponification. That his name was Grey Bolt now. All because if they knew... Well he didn’t need to guess that any attempts to contact her after that would have been intercepted.
How ironic that it had turned out this way. Her running away from it all. Just like it seemed he had...
What if he never saw her again? Never managed to find her? He didn’t even know which type of pony she had become! How was he suppose to find her like this? All he had was her human name. No telling what the pony name she had come up with for herself was. Assuming she had come up with a pony name. Gah! He was looking for one pony newfoal among hundreds! This was a fools quest!
Yet here he was... Sailing upon the Sea Pony Fancy in search of her. With no idea where she was, or where to even start looking for her. Still... He would look. He would travel all over Equestria if that’s what it took.
He HAD to find her, there was just no way he could let things end the way they had.
“You gonna ogle him all day, Pumpkin Cream?” The unicorn pony known as Anchor Watch asked the not-so-well hidden orange unicorn pony. Pumpkin Cream hadn’t even heard him trot up behind him, and thus nearly jumped out of his own flank at the sound of the question.
“GEEZ Anchor. Are you sure your special talent isn’t being a ninja?” Anchor Watch snorted.
“With a white coat, and blue mane such as mine? I wouldn’t blend in to the background very well unless it was snow season. Besides, you’ve been so interested in Mr. Grey Bolt over there, that I doubt you’d have noticed me had I been banging some frying pans together.” Anchor said shuffling next to him. He took a moment to watch the purple stallion himself for a few seconds before turning his attention back to his crew mate.
“He certainly is a looker. I can see why you like him.” The orange unicorn scoffed.
“Come on! It’s not like that!” He protested. Anchor Watch took a moment to study the young stallion’s face before sighing.
“I suppose not. Thought maybe you had finally taken an interest in somepony.”
“Well I have, I mean, I do... But not in that way.” The orange unicorn rambled as he ambled forward a bit into the light of the sun. It was close to the sea line now, ready to set any minute. Grey Bolt would most likely go back into the passenger quarters soon. There to stay till the morning came. Rarely would he speak to anypony on the ship. Not that there were many on the ship to talk to, but it was still strange that he kept to himself so much.
“So if you aren’t interested in him in that way, then why all the staring? “ Anchor Watch asked, breaking the unicorn from his thoughts.
“I... I don’t know really. It’s just... Well...” He closed his eyes trying to focus. Why WAS he so obsessed with this random pony?
“When he first asked for passage, I thought it was Summer Glenn all over again to be honest. The troubled look on his face. Thought he was running from something. Yet... It seems more that he’s looking for something. Or somepony, but he doesn’t talk about it, he doesn’t talk about himself. He just doesn’t talk to ponies period. I just can’t help but wonder what’s eating at him.”
“Well Pumpkin, I’ll give ya some advice. You ain’t gonna find out by just watching him.”
“I know that,” He replied with a sigh. “It’s just- Wait a minute. You called me Pumpkin again! Dagnabit Anchor! For the last time my name is Bronze! I don’t want a nickname like that!”
“Aw, but it fits you so well. I really do need to thank ol’ Summer for coming up with it!” Anchor teased while trotting away before Bronze had a chance to retaliate.
“Drat that guy, er gal...” Bronze mumbled annoyed. He almost regretted bandaging that mare up. Or should that be stallion as Summer was one during that time? Gah that pony was confusing!
She/he had been a simple earth pony. Chestnut in color, with a burgundy mane and tail. Anchor Watch had found them run ragged on the beach. They had taken him in, and being the ship’s nurse, Bronze himself of course had bandaged the wounds. It was Anchor Watch who had spoken to the pony first. Learning his/her name of Summer Glenn.
Before leaving the ship, Summer had inquired as to whom had bandaged them up. This was what had lead to their meeting in the first place. It wasn’t really that Bronze disliked Summer, they actually got along rather well. But it was just when Summer had pointed out ‘IT’
“You know... Don’t take this the wrong way...” Bronze could hear Summer recite in his head. “But that orange color with that white mane... You kinda look like a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream!”
Oh he had chuckled at it then. Even he had to admit he could see what she meant. The problem was that the Captain, Sea Spray, had overheard. He thought the name was a riot. Apparently he’d never seen the resemblance himself. Bronze wished he never had. Unfortunately, the damage had been done, and from that day onward, the Captain had begun to call him ‘Pumpkin Cream’ and the nick name stuck.
Bronze had wanted to tell that stallion Summer what for. Except the next time he saw him, the stallion had become a mare and gotten a Pegasus mate at that. What a strange life that one must have led. Those changes had been so startling for him to see, that he had forgotten to even mention the nickname business to her. Not that she didn’t learn of it. Sea Spray made sure she did. Probably didn’t know it was her fault for it in the first place though. So it’d figure that he hadn’t seen her since then. Even with their recent carting of some of her friends. He never did get the chance to call her out on it...
Bah, he didn’t want to be thinking about that right now. Besides, he was pretty sure Grey Bolt didn’t know about his nick name anyway. They’d probably have a nice conversation if they talked. Maybe he’d even learn what was bugging the guy...
“...Horseapples, I hate it when Anchor’s right.” Bronze spat before trotting toward Grey Bolt. He had to know. Had to see what was bugging this guy, and if there was anything he could do to help. He still didn’t know why he had to. There was no reason he should care about this guy’s problems. No reason at all, and yet... For some reason he did. He did and just wanted to help.
“Um... Howdy...” Bronze said slowly from the stallion’s side. It almost seemed that Grey Bolt hadn’t heard. He was about to call again when Grey’s eyes finally turned in his direction.
“Oh... Uh... Hello...” Grey Bolt said slowly while giving Bronze a confused look. He stared at him for a few moments, apparently gathering his thoughts, before saying anything more.
“You are... Pumpkin Pie?” Bronze sighed.
“Well, no. But I know why you might think that. The name is Bronze actually.” Grey Bolt seemed to blush a bit.
“Oh, sorry it’s just, I over heard the others... Er, anyway, my name is Grey Bolt. It’s uh... Nice to meet you.” Grey stuck out his hoof in a gesture of greeting, which Bronze gladly partook.
“Nice to meet you Grey Bolt. Don’t worry about the name mishap. They just like to call me that.”
“I see.” Grey Bolt said, then more hesitantly. “Er... Which do you-”
“Bronze.” He replied. A bit more forcibly then he had intended. Grey Bolt was taken back for a few seconds before chuckling.
“Take it you don’t care much for your nickname?”
Grey Bolt nodded with a hint of a smile. It was the first time Bronze had seen the stallion smile since coming on board. The sight actually made him feel... odd. He was happy that the guy was finally showing some form of positive emotion sure. Yet... there was more to it then that...
“So uh... first time sailing?” Bronze cringed almost as soon as the question had left his lips. Of all the things to ask THAT was what came to mind? Grey Bolt probably thought him a ninny or something now!
“Yes actually.” Grey responded, his tone of speech surprising Bronze. By the look of Grey’s face he didn’t find the question odd at all.
“It’s actually rather relaxing. I was afraid I wouldn’t be much for the sea to be honest. But I’ve been rather fine.”
“That’s good...” Bronze said before lapsing back into silence. This was silly. Why was he standing here talking to this guy? He should be in his office looking over his supplies, or reading in his room. Why in Equestria was he so interested in this one random pony that he was here instead?
“Can I ask you something?” Grey Bolt asked, startling him.
Bronze still wasn’t sure why he was trying to talk to this guy, but if anything he had presumed that if he had wanted Grey to say anything, he would have to be the one to work for it. Out of all the things he might have guessed to come from this idle chatter. Grey asking HIM a question was certainly not one of them. “Uh... I guess so...”
“Do you... meet many ponies while sailing on this ship?”
Bronze actually had to think about that one. He had been sailing with the Sea Pony Fancy for a few years now. Despite the fact the Captain Sea Spray had taken up helping out some of the newfoal stragglers get to Equestria, at least the ones who didn’t manage to get on one of the bigger ships, he couldn’t really say that he had ‘met’ a lot of them. “I... I suppose you could... I’m not really the sociable type.”
Grey raised an eyebrow at him. “Really? But you started this conversation!”
Bronze found himself stunned. “W-well that is... I...” he stammered. He didn’t know what to say. Truth was he really didn’t talk to ponies all that much. Except when he had to treat them. He could be the friendly confident nurse all he needed. But to just talk for the sake of talking? Guess it just wasn’t his thing. So why had he done it tonight?
“Heh, guess it was just a whim?” Grey said with a small chuckle.
Bronze quickly shook his head. “N-No! It’s just... I wanted-”
Grey began to laugh. “It’s fine! Really! I think we all just feel like talking to somepony at times. Better then talking to ourselves right?”
“I... I suppose you’re right... Sorry if I’m bothering you...”
Grey laughed again. “No worries mate. I think it’d be nice to have a bit of company for once.”
“So... You don’t mind if I hang here for a bit?”
“Not at all. Be my guest.” With that Grey turned his attention back toward the sinking sun. It was half way set now. It’s fading light casting a beautiful glow upon the water’s edge. It... It was rather lovely actually.
‘Odd...’ Bronze thought as he stood there with Grey Bolt. Being a member of this ship’s crew for sometime now, it was only natural that he had come here to watch the sun set on the horizon every now and then. He did find the event rather peaceful, and well... nice. Yet... yet something tonight was different. It just couldn’t be... there had to be something different about the sea air, or the visual effect of the sun’s light upon the water. It just couldn’t be the company. No way the mere presence of one random earth pony he had just met could fill him with such a feeling... right?
“It’s beautiful isn’t it?” Grey said, causing Bronze to jump for the second time that night. He had to take several seconds to steady his breathing before it dawned on him that Grey had been talking about the sunset.
“Indeed. Probably the best I’ve seen...” This was very confusing. What was it he was feeling? Why had he come to talk to Grey Bolt? Just what had gotten into him that had caused him to strike up a conversation with some stranger? He had never done something like this before!
The thought was a bit of a clarification for him. He really didn’t talk much did he? Had he really just gotten so used to being alone that he had been keeping to himself? When was the last time he had done anything with either Anchor Watch or Sea Spray? Then again, maybe that was a bad example, given how those two were together...
“So what brings you aboard the Sea Pony Fancy?” Bronze finally asked, feeling he might have done so just a bit too bluntly. The question actually surprised him that he had managed to ask it. It’d taken all his nerve just to say hello. Then again, these inner thoughts he kept having were driving him crazy. Maybe he asked it just to change his focus to something else.
“I’m... Looking for somepony.” Grey Bolt said slowly, “Though it might be a fool’s quest.”
“What makes you say that? Or would you rather not talk about it?”
The look on Grey’s face seemed to indicate that he was seriously considering if he should go on or not. Bronze felt himself holding his breath despite himself. Weird as it was, he seriously wanted to help this pony. ‘Please don’t have him end the conversation here...’ He found himself thinking.
“No... It’s probably for the best I do talk about it. I believe the saying goes that you shouldn’t hold such things in?” Grey glanced at Bronze who simply shrugged. He hadn’t heard of any such saying, but it certainly sounded like a good idea.
“I call it a fool’s quest because while I DO know she’s been ponified. I don’t know what type of pony she’s become, what she might even look like now, or what her new pony name may even be...”
Bronze began to nod before catching himself. He wasn’t sure how that action would be taken in this situation. “I... I see why you may have some doubts...” He said finally. This new information caused even more strange feelings to course through his body. Just what was going on with him tonight? In any case, that certainly sounded like a dilemma. Perhaps he should say something? He tried to think of a question to ask. “You... You have any idea where she might have gone after coming to Equestria?”
Grey shook his head. “I didn’t even know she was planning on going pony. All I know is that her and two of her friends got ponified together. I think they left the bureau with another newfoal. An older Mare. That’s all I have to go on. Thankfully all newfoals in the area I come from get to Equestria the same way; by one of the boats at the same harbor this boat was docked. So I figured if I asked around at all the harbors where the ships dock, I should come across something...”
The plan sounded solid, all things considered. Not that Bronze was some sort of expert on finding lost ponies. “So... This girl who got ponified... You must really care about her...” Bronze wanted to smack himself for asking. Of course he had to care about her! Why else go through all this trouble to find her? Why did he care so much about that anyway?
“I do.” Grey Bolt said flatly. “She’s... She’s all I’ve got left...”
Silence descended upon them once more. Bronze just couldn’t think of what to say to that. He didn’t know what it was like to have somepony like that. “Must be nice...” He said finally without thinking.
Grey’s attention was upon him instantly. “Hmm?” He inquired.
Bronze felt himself blush. “I mean, about having some pony to care about you like that. I’m... I’m kinda on my own you might say...”
“No... No family?”
Bronze shook his head. “Lost to a quake. I know those bureau’s tend to paint Equestria as some sort of paradise on earth, but it really isn’t. We have our disasters and heartaches as well.”
“I’m... I’m sorry...”
Bronze sighed, “No, I apologize. I didn’t mean to lay it on you like that. I’ve just heard more then one newfoal talk about how easy they’ll have it now that they’ve become a pony. Like this is going to be all lolipops and rainbows!”
Grey cringed, “I- I know it won’t. But I mean I’m sorry about your loss.”
“Oh that. Don’t worry about it. Happened a long time ago.”
“I see.... Mind if I ask another question?”
“I thought the weather and stuff was monitored by Pegasus ponies. Does that not apply to earthquakes?”
Bronze shook his head, “Weather is monitored and controlled, but our earthquakes are just and random and destructive as yours. Though admittedly probably no where NEAR as often.”
“Ah...” Grey said before falling silent himself. They simply stood there for a few moments watching the stars begin to come out before Bronze decided to ask another question.
“So how about you?”
“Oh, they’re alive... Though I fear I wouldn’t know the difference if they weren’t...”
“What!?” Bronze felt himself nearly scream. It was true that the ‘human’ world was a lot different then what he knew of Equestria, but how could any creature say such a thing?
“Oh don’t get me wrong. I like them just fine. It’s just... They don’t think that highly of me...”
“Y-You’re... not serious...”
Grey Bolt sighed, “To be honest I wish I wasn’t. That’s... Well that’s one of the downsides of the human world I suppose. Disappointing your parents...”
“I wonder...” Bronze replied softly, drawing a look from Grey. Seeing it, he continued. “Well it’s just that... I’m not sure if that’s just a human thing. I’m sure it’s happened to some ponies here in Equestria. I wouldn’t be the most knowledgeable on the subject of course...”
Bronze paused to gaze upon the horizon. His keen sea eyes latching onto the billows of black storm clouds off in the distance. That was the sky caravan's work, the multi-day huge storm they'd left the island to avoid. They'd managed to pick up this new passenger barely a day out thanks to some debts that another skipper had called in, and had turned right around at the newfoal's request. Luckily for the newfoal, Sea Spray didn't really have a timetable and had more or less decided on a holiday. Still, they’d have to halt their progress to avoid it as it was directly in their path to land. It meant they couldn’t go ashore till afternoon the next day. That distraction aside, Bronze continued, “I don’t know... Maybe I’ve just always thought of having parents as a really good thing...”
Grey Bolt lowered his head. "I’m sorry,” he said quietly, “I wish I knew what to say.”
“No, don’t worry about it." Bronze replied, "Like I said, I made my peace with that loss a long time ago...”
Silence once again. They simply stood there, watching the lightning from the storm clouds in the far off distance. The stars had already come out in full, they were visible in the clear sky which prevailed this far away from the roiling black thunderheads. It was always an amazing sight. Out here on the ocean, away from the lights of towns and civilization, there was nothing to obscure them, their many dots scattered upon the atmosphere in beautiful sparkling waves.
“So...” Bronze finally said, breaking the silence. He almost didn’t want to ask what he was thinking, but the curiosity was gnawing at his mind.
“You said she’s all you have left... Is that really true?” He nearly regretted it the moment he asked. The look in Grey Bolt’s eyes just then... He had never seen somepony look so... Sad before.
“Yeah... I think she’s about the only one who really cares about me anymore...”
Bronze wanted to say something to him. Comfort him in some way. He still didn’t understand why. No more then just wanting to help someone out who was hurt anyway. But just what was he suppose to say? What could he say? All that came to his mind was another question. “Why’d... Why’d she leave?”
“She didn’t know... about me being a pony that is.” Bolt must have guessed Bronze’s thoughts, because he quickly continued. “I kept it a secret. I had to. If news of my ponification got out... well, there’s no way my letters would have been forwarded to her.” Grey Bolt’s eyes stared once more at the horizon. Distant and unfocused. Memories of a happier time obviously running through his head. “You know, on her sixteenth birthday, I was waiting outside the complex. I was so sure that she was going to run away, that I waited outside the entire day so I could be with her when she took off. I mean I knew her. There was no way she’d stick around that place.” The look of happiness remained upon his face for a few seconds more before draining away. “Course... she never did. Never even came outside. Instead she had a huge sweet sixteen party. A party I desperately wanted to attend. I was actually even invited. Never would have thought I’d see the day. She must have argued the decision long into the night... yet because of my new body I couldn’t go. I knew I couldn’t. If I thought I was on thin ice before, well let me tell you: showing up like this would have ended in some sort of violence. I just couldn’t do that to her.”
He stopped there, his eyes wide as if he had just realized something. After a few seconds, he turned to Bronze with a sheepish expression. “Oops, guess I began to ramble a bit there huh? Sorry about that. You must be pretty bored with me rattling about my problems like this.”
Bronze was quick to shake his head. “Not at all! To be honest I’m really enjoying my time tonight. It’s... It’s not often that I get to talk to ponies...”
“I find that hard to believe, what with you being a nurse and all.”
“Heh, I mean talk in a general sense. Sure I speak to ponies all the time when I’m doing my check ups, but to talk just like this? Like normal ponies sharing a conversation? It’s surprising rare.”
It was strange how true those words were. Why had he never talked to ponies before? Thinking of it now, when was the last time he had just chatted with any of his crewmates? He was always in his study. Was it really just his ‘thing’ to avoid others like he had thought to himself earlier? It seemed kinda silly really. Why hadn’t he ever tried to make friends?
“It’s weird...” He found himself saying. “How much I’ve seemed to keep to myself. I’ve been sailing with this boat or that for years, but I don’t think I’ve spoken more then a handful of words to any of the crew at any given time.”
“So, why’d you talk to me then?” Grey Bolt asked the obvious question.
Of course, Bronze didn’t have an answer. “I... I don’t know really. There was just something about tonight I guess. Maybe I got tired of being anti-social?”
Grey laughed. “Would you believe I’m sorta the same way?”
“No it’s true!” Grey added in response. “As a human I was always sort of a loner. Never really made many friends. In fact I hardly made ANY friends. Certainly none that I really kept in contact with. Debby was the only one I ever really had to talk with.”
Bronze remained quiet. His heart was hammering. Everything about this night. About this moment only succeeded in confusing him more. He felt... saddened somehow by the information of this ‘Debby’. He felt longing when he heard that Grey didn’t have many friends either. Maybe... maybe that was it. Maybe that was why he had chosen to talk to his pony in the first place, because they were both in the same boat. Er, bad pun excluded.
Bronze was a loner. So was Grey Bolt. Bronze didn’t have parents. Grey might as well be the same by the sounds of it. They were both so similar and yet so different. Perhaps it was these points that had caused them to be here as they were now. Sharing a night’s chat under the stars.
At any rate, there was one thing Bronze was certain of. “If you wouldn’t mind... Do you think... Would you like to be my friend?” The question was soft, but audible. Bronze looked straight into Grey Bolt’s eyes after speaking it. This one time, this one time he didn’t want to just walk away from forming a bond. This one time he decided he’d make the effort to gain a friend. Now he just had to wait for the reply.
It took several seconds. Several seconds that seemed like and eternity to Bronze. Grey’s face was perfectly blank. Possibly too stunned by the sudden request to function properly. Then, slowly. His mouth curled into a smile.
“I... I think I’d rather like that. I-I’d really like a friend.”
The feeling Bronze felt was near bliss. He had to mentally scold himself for getting so excited over a simple friendship. Just what had gotten into him tonight? So many years content with himself, and now he was going nuts over making just one friend?
“Seems like we’ve stopped...” Grey remarked.
The statement disrupted Bronze’s thoughts. He had to gaze back out toward the storm clouds to remember what was going on. “Oh yeah. You see those storm clouds? We’ll have to wait for it to blow over before making port. No sea crew in their right mind would sail through those type of torrents if they didn’t have to.”
“Makes sense. Guess that means we’ll be stuck here for a while.”
“Indeed it does.” Bronze agreed. Suddenly a thought hit him, “Care to retire to my cabin for a cup of tea? We can talk a bit more during if you’d like.”
“Sounds nice. Though can I suggest one slight alteration?”
“Can we make it cocoa? I’m not much of a tea drinker.”
Bronze laughed. “I don’t think that will be a problem..”
“You’re not still sore about that are you?” Summer Glenn was saying as she trotted along with her life mate, Pointe Vertigo. They had decided to go grab some lunch now that the rain had finally stopped after two full nights of torrential downpouring. Of course, Pointe could have opened a hole in the clouds at any time, but both of them had decided it’d be for the best to let the Cloud Caravan's Weather Schedule run its course.
Summer adjusted the small pouch hanging from her neck, feeling the amount of bits inside jingle, along with one other thing. The bits were to pay for lunch. She was treating Vertigo in an attempt to cheer him up. The other thing was something she simply didn’t feel safe leaving unattended.
“They nearly hit me with a lightning bolt...” Vertigo grumbled back.
“They were just having a bit of fun. They’re kids Vertigo.” Summer said with a smile. In truth it had startled her as well, but she just couldn’t bring herself to mind. After all, she knew of a certain somepony who had done the same thing on a few occasions...
“Not by pony standards. They’re adults and should know better then to randomly cause little thunder storms that scare the daylights out of a couple sharing a moment!” He shot back.
Summer had a feeling that was the real problem here. He was just upset that it had interrupted their ‘cuddling’ time. “If that’s the only problem we can make up for that later...” Summer replied, as alluringly as possible. For added effect, she gently rubbed her tail under his muzzle causing his wings to poof out. She giggled at his look of embarrassment as he quickly put his wings back down. It seemed he still hadn’t gotten his fill after the last couple of days. Then again, she didn’t feel like she had either, not even with recent events.
“Have I ever told you I love you?” Vertigo asked.
Summer grinned.“You’d better given what I’m carrying inside me.” She shot back.
“That just makes me love you all the more.” This time he replied with not just words, but a kiss to her forehead. She loved it when he kissed her there.
“I still want to have a nice long chat with that Zephyr Twist, and Deborah though.” He said as the place they had agreed to eat at came into view. It had been suggested to them by their friend Cocoa Butter, who was currently helping Alice out with something. The poor girl had looked spooked when they saw here just a little bit ago, although she'd hidden it by going on the warpath about Deborah, Zephyr and the other two kids. Whatever was really bothering her though, she wasn’t talking about it just yet. She did say she’d tell them later when she was sure of a few things, but Summer was still worried.
“Come on Vertigo, it was funny!” She teased.
Vertigo simply frowned, “It was not!”
“Just like it wasn’t funny to scare a poor mare with a thunder clap at least twice?”
“That’s uh... different...” he replied with a blush, clearly embarrassed at being caught red hoofed. Summer guessed that the real problem was that he was just sore that they had used his own trick against him.
They continued making small talk as they entered the simple family restaurant. It was a rather interesting sight for Summer, a ‘seafood’ restaurant for ponies. By which it served all sorts of marine vegetation, whether by themselves or combined with some other food. The seaweed pasta was looking particularly appealing.
“-Don’t fret it Grey, I know you’ll find her.”
Summer pricked her ears up as she heard a newcomer speaking outside. The restaurant didn't really have a door, or solid walls, but it did have a wind-chime which tinkled merrily as ponies walked through the leafy screen door that kept the worst of the flies out, letting everypony know somepony had entered. It was rather nice, to Summer, to see such an old fashioned way of letting one know somepony was visting. Though that wasn’t really what caught Summer’s ear. She wasn’t sure, but that voice seemed a tad familiar...
“I know. I know. It’s silly to think that I’d find her just like that, but part of me was really hoping I’d hit gold rather quickly ya know?” Came another voice in reply. They were stallions by the deepness of their voices.
“Well we just got here a little while ago. Still plenty of ponies to ask.” The first pony remarked.
Summer was having a difficult time focusing on her menu. She swore she had heard that pony’s voice before. She kept wanting to steel a glance, but the two were nearly directly behind her. She was too afraid of them catching her in the act if she tried to turn around.
“You’re right. I just need to relax.” The other pony replied. It was rather aggravating not knowing what either of these two looked like. “Besides, I’m kinda looking forward to having lunch with a friend...”
“Y-yeah...” Summer heard the other reply.
She smiled at the slight stutter. The way these two were going on, it almost made them seem like an item! That thought made her pause. Who was to say they weren’t? After all, she had already met such a pair on the Sea Pony's Fancy. Too bad Sea Spray had taken the ship out for a run to Celestia-knew-where after dropping Alice and the girls off. She wondered when they were due back, or even if they'd be back. Wait... wasn’t that where she knew the voice from? The Sea Pony's Fancy? Deciding to deal with an awkward stare if caught, she turned around to catch a glimpse of the speakers. Her eyes widened the moment she did. That orange coat, the white wispy mane. No way she’d ever forget THAT pony.
“PUMPKIN CREAM!” She exclaimed, causing both ponies and Vertigo to look at her oddly. She blushed at not only the sudden attention, but also at the slip up she had just made. She knew very well what his real name was, but had taken to calling him by the nickname Anchor Watch had told her about upon her second meeting with them. Truth be told she did feel a bit guilty that she was responsible for it, but she couldn’t help it. He really DID remind her of a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream on top!
“S-Summer Glenn?” Bronze stammered completely stunned. Of all the ponies he had expected to meet today, this was NOT one of them.
“Summer Glenn?” Grey Bolt whispered next to him. “That filly who ‘cursed’ you with that nickname?”
Bronze nodded, still too surprised by her sudden appearance to say anything. What an odd couple of days this was turning out to be... first he worked up the courage to speak to Grey Bolt, resulting in a friendship he hadn’t been expecting, and now here he was meeting perhaps the only other pony he could consider something of a friend.
It had only been a couple of hours since both he and Grey Bolt had even arrived on this island. After chatting nearly the entire night away, Bronze had begun to think of Grey as not just a friend, but perhaps the best he ever had. His mind was still spinning with that realization. How could one feel so close to somepony they had just met? Regardless, it had happened. As it stood now, there wasn’t anything Bronze wouldn’t do for Grey, and that’s why he was here in the first place.
From what they had talked about, Grey’s life hadn’t exactly been a pleasant one. His parents had wanted him to succeed them in their company, but instead Grey had wanted to go pony. Unfortunately, not only would his parents not have approved, as Grey said, they were supporters of the HLF. They didn’t support violence against the ponies thankfully, but they still believed in a world run by humans, without ponykind ‘muddling things up’ as Grey had put it.
In the end, he had simply told them that he wanted to pursue his own path, and left. His parents had been furious to say the least, but let him go. It had been hard on Grey from that day forth, seeing that he could never see his parents ever again. If they ever found out what he had done... this ‘Deborah’ girl was the only one who’d still talk to him apparently. Whenever Grey would talk about her, he became rather sad and distant. No doubt pained by having to leave her as well. Because of this, Bronze had decided not to ask about her. It wasn’t just that though, for some reason he really found this girl distasteful. He didn’t know why, he knew there was no reason he should, but for whatever reason the thought of how close her and Grey must be just... IRKED him. It was almost like he was... jealous...
Still, to Grey Bolt, she had to be a very important person for him to be searching for her like this, and so here Bronze was. Helping him search for her on these islands on the off chance there might be some information about her here. Whilst trying desperately to silence that little voice in the back of his mind that hoped they'd never find her, so he’d have more time with Grey to himself. He also couldn’t help but feel he was forgetting something. Something about the fact that Grey Bolt said she was with two ponies her own age. Possibly with one older mare. Just why did that sound so familiar to him?
“Fancy running into you!” Summer was saying as she trotted up to him. “How have you been Mr. Bronze?”
“Just Bronze will be fine.” He replied, then glaring at Vertigo, “And don’t pull that ‘just’ joke again. I remember it from last time, and it wasn’t funny then!”
The sheepish grin Vertigo wore told Bronze that he had been about to say just that.
“Anyway, I’ve been good.” Bronze said in reply to Summer's question. It was weird for him to be in such a situation. He didn’t normally run into ponies he knew. It was even weirder since he was here with another friend. Bronze’s eyes widened as he thought of Grey Bolt. He hadn’t even introduced him yet!
“Summer Glenn, Pointe Vertigo,” he said slowly, surprising himself that he remembered the Pegasus's name, “this is my good friend Grey Bolt. Grey Bolt, this is Summer Glenn. That mare I told you about. This gentlecolt-” and I use that term loosely, he thought to himself before continuing, “is Ms Summer’s Lifemate.”
Both Summer and Vertigo blushed a bit as Grey gave his greetings. Neither had actually said they had that kind of relationship to Bronze during their short visit when Summer had gone to visit him. Vertigo of course, reluctant to leave her side. They supposed they might have been a bit obvious about it though.
“So uh, what’s new with you?” Bronze asked after everypony had finished greeting each other.
This caused Summer to blush a bit more. “I’m uh, expecting.” She replied. She didn’t know why she kept telling everyone the news. She still wasn’t quite sure how she felt about the entire ordeal herself even, but for some reasonshe felt that her friends deserved to know. Was that how women or mares usually acted? Oh, why couldn’t being female come with some sort of manual? Besides, Bronze was a Nurse. Maybe he’d have some good advice for her.
“Oh!” Bronze replied, eyes wide. “Congratulations Ms Summer.”
“Thank you...” she replied quietly.
Grey Bolt on the other hand was feeling rather awkward. Should he congratulate her as well? He had only just met her. Thankfully Bronze began to say more, saving him from having to speak.
“Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have on the subject. I’m sure a young mare in your situation might have one or two.” he said as professionally as he could. Oh yeah, he was certain she had a few questions.
“I may have a few things to inquire about later.” Summer admitted, feeling rather put on the spot. She was just glad the ponies running the place didn’t seem to be taking any notice of their conversation. At least if they were, they certainly weren’t showing it.
Meanwhile, Bronze was nodding. “I’ll be in my cabin later tonight if you wish to stop by. I wouldn’t worry though, Ms Summer, I can assure you that you’ll have no problems during your term.” Without even realizing it, he had gone full nurse mode. As a nurse pony, one wouldn’t think he’d know anything about foaling, but he had actually studied up on the subject just in case a passenger on the ship ever went into labor. Thankfully so far he hadn’t had to deliver any foals. But in case it did happen, he'd wanted to have some sort of preparation.
“T-Thanks...” Summer replied rather nervously. Oh why couldn’t she have just kept her mouth shut? This was the last place she wanted to have this conversation!
“Oh, one other thing Ms Summer...” Bronze added as a thought occurred to him. He had debated with himself whether he should bring this up or not. It was unlikely she’d do something so careless during her term, but then again, very little was known about that substance. He’d hate it if he was wrong and it could be used on a pony with foal.
“Yes?” came her reply.
Taking a deep breath, Bronze decided to breach the issue, “Please forgive me for being blunt, but you told me about how you went from a stallion to a mare...” he ignored the startled look Grey Bolt gave him at that. He had told him a little about Summer of course during their idle chatter the previous night, but he hadn’t seen any reason to bring up that particular fact about her. It wasn’t his place. Still, this had to be asked here and now.
“I believe you told me it was a specific type of ponification serum that caused the transformation? And something another unicorn created that had reversed the change? I must inquire to the possibility that you possess any more of it?”
While Summer had been taken a bit a back by the sudden interrogation, she dimly nodded her head. She may not know Bronze very well, but knew enough that he wasn’t a bad pony. If he was asking about this, it was probably important.
“I... I do actually. I don't have any of the ponification potion, that's bureau-only stuff, but I had three vials of the, er, antidote.” she added the last part after seeing Vertigo’s look. “One I used in Ponyville, before I left. One I used to change back, and one final vial I had just in case one of the other I took with me were lost or broken.”
“I’ll admit I’m not familiar with that particular potion,” Bronze said sternly, “but as you are with foal, I can not express heavily enough the risk that taking such a thing might be. As much as I’d like to say that it wouldn’t affect you or your foal, I think it’d be best if you got rid of that vial as soon as possible.”
The warning made sense. There was no telling what would happen if a pregnant pony took such a thing. Summer also agreed that she didn’t want to find out. Removing the final vial from her pouch, it being the one thing she had refused to leave ‘unattended’, she looked over at Bronze. Catching the hint, he used his magic to levitate it into the air.
“Would you like me to dispose of this?” he asked.
Summer nodded, “I won’t be needing it anyhow.” she said, leaning against her stallion. The smile upon Vertigo’s face was priceless.
“Okay, as confused as I am to everything going on right now-” Grey Bolt spoke up from where he had been standing off to the side. “Why not just pour it down the drain or something?”
“Not a good idea,” Bronze said shaking his head. “Not with the amount of concentrated magic that must be in this thing. No, I simply don’t trust it being disposed of in such a manner. I’ll most likely have to attempt some sort of neutralizing magic upon it before I can even begin to dispose of it safely, if I even can. It’ll have to stay in my own money pouch til then.”
Grey Bolt simply shrugged in agreement. All this talk of a stallion becoming a mare and all that sounded mighty strange to him, but then again, so had talking ponies at one point. Now he WAS one. Whatever was going on, it sounded like Bronze had it all under control anyway. He himself was far to focused on finding Debby.
Of course, right now what he really wanted was some lunch.
“Anyway, since you seem to know Bronze, Ms Summer, I was wondering if maybe you’d like to sit with us during lunch? It’d be nice to meet a few more ponies.” Grey Bolt suggested, giving his best smile. In truth the prospect of chatting with these two filled him with fear. He had never been good at meeting new ponies. The thought only made him feel his meeting with Bronze had been some sort of gift. Not only had he managed just fine to strike up a conversation with him, but hadn’t felt that normal nervousness he did with other ponies. Whatever it was that allowed him to do this, he wished he could replicate it. Maybe in the end, it was just fate. Some good Karma after all the crap he had gone through?
“That sounds nice to me, any objections?” Summer asked, turning her gaze toward Vertigo who shook his head.
“Course not, the more the merrier!”
Soon all four of them were smiling and grabbing menus as they attempted to decide at which table they would sit. The entire thing felt like a dream to Grey Bolt. These sort of events... this is what he had been seeking for a long time. The simple joy of being with friends. Hanging out in some restaurant while enjoying a meal. Back at home, he’d have never gotten this. With his parents it had always been work. Long hours of preparing him for the company. A company they were too stubborn to see wouldn’t be needed soon.
Not with the ponies having come. Not with the possibility of the shield extending, or any of the other new developments that had come along with their arrival. But that’s not what he wanted to think about right now. All he cared about now was enjoying some time with a friend, along with possibly making two more in the process. The only thing that would have made it better was if Debby was here.
The windchime interrupted his thoughts.
Have you ever wondered if the universe has a mind of it’s own? Some weird sense of humor? Ask anyone who’s been caught in a downpour, only for it to become sunny the second they get inside, and they’ll tell you it does. Grey had never been so sure. At least until that very moment...
“See?” A peach colored Pegasus mare with a light green mane and tail was saying to her companion as they entered the restaurant. Her companion, a silver Pegasus stallion with a metallic blue mane and tail, indicated he had heard. Though given his look it appeared he would have liked to be any place than where he was at that moment.
“There they are. Now come on, let’s just apologize already.” The peach Pegasus continued.
Her companion took one look at Vertigo and flinched at the look he received. “Can’t we wait till later Debs? He still looks upset...”
“I know Zephyr, I know...” She whispered back, though not as quietly as she probably thought, being Grey could hear her rather fine, and had a feeling everypony else could as well.
“But you saw Alice. Even with everything on her mind she still managed to lecture us on causing a ruckus so early in the morning. Besides, if we apologize she might finally lay off me about you.” At the mention of that last bit a small blush crept upon her cheeks.
“I... I’d really like it if we could be together without her saying anything...” Zephyr Twist looked as he wanted to resist more, but the look in her eyes completely defeated him. With a smile and soft nuzzle against her, he turned to trot toward Vertigo. “Look uh... Pointe Vertigo... I’m er... Sorry for my actions this morning...” He said rather slowly, seemingly forcing the words to come out.
Vertigo was enjoying the young colt’s uneasiness immensely, but refused to show it. “You should be! Youngsters such as yourselves should be more considerate to your elders!” he huffed. Only to have Summer follow him up.
“Oh don’t listen to him. It’s fine. He’s just upset that you managed to use his own trick against him.”
Vertigo coughed. “Summer! Don’t tell him that!” He hissed, causing Deborah and Bronze to laugh, Summer and Zephyr joining in shortly afterward. Even a few of the nearby staff had to suppress a few giggles. In fact the only pony who wasn’t laughing was Grey Bolt. Instead, he was staring at Deborah like he had seen a ghost.
There was just no way, no way this was real. But her laugh, her eyes, the very way she spoke. There could be no mistaking it. He hadn’t seen her up close in person for months now, but he’d know her from anywhere. Even the fact they were both ponies now wasn’t enough for him to not recognize her.
“D-Debby?” He nearly squeaked, his voice betraying him. It had been loud enough though. She had heard what he said. She Froze in place the moment that one simple name reached her ears. Eyes wide, and body shaking she slowly turned all her attention toward him, and him alone.
“D-Do I know you?” she asked quietly. Looking at him now, she could tell instantly that there was something very familiar about this stallion. But it was his voice and the name he spoke that had really set her off. The way he had said it. It was just like... just like...
“Deborah... Parkingson?” Grey asked hopefully. The entire scene seemed like a dream. He kept thinking he’d either wake up, or the mare before him would simply vanish into nothingness. Instead, she looked him straight in the eyes and nodded. Swallowing a lump that had apparently formed in her throat.
“H-how do you know my name?” She squeaked. Her voice mimicking what his had done at the start of the conversation. Meanwhile every pony who wasn’t either of them had very confused faces on.
Well, all except Bronze that was. It hadn’t taken him long to connect the dots. In truth he could scarcely believe what was transpiring himself. When he had agreed to help Grey find his mystery mare. He had pictured weeks, possibly months going by with little luck. So little did they have to go on. He never would have imagined that instead of them finding her, she’d find them.
“I know your name because I share part of it.” Grey said calmly. He could feel the tears forming at the corners of his eyes. She had left him with nothing more then a simple letter. A letter he was certain she had waited till running away to mail. He’d have to ask how she managed it all someday. How she had managed to get away after the stunt he had pulled? But none of that mattered now. Against all odds, she was here. She was right here in front of him. He hadn’t had to spend long months worrying about ever seeing her again. Whether by fate, or pure dumb luck. They had been reunited.
“T-Tommy?” Deborah spoke. Her voice almost inaudible. The moment she saw the purple stallion nod, she rushed to him. Rushed to him and pressed her head against his neck. It had hurt to leave without saying goodbye to him in person. She had kept it inside as to not worry her friends Liz and Trish. She had simply remained quiet and dealt with the terrible thoughts she had been having of never seeing the very person who now stood before her as a pony.
The letter had been the only thing she'd had time to send before they had run for the Conversion Bureau. A letter warning him of her plan, along with warning him about how Mom and Dad would most likely look to him for the blame of it all. In that letter she had said she was sorry. Sorry for not going to visit him before going to the bureau, but he had never told her where he had moved to, and she'd had no time to seek him out. No time to set up some sort of meeting before hand. If she'd been caught, then she’d never have made it.
When she ran, she knew she’d only have one chance at it. One chance she simply could not mess up. She hadn't wanted to think about the precautions that would have been taken to insure she would never have had a chance to run again. Let alone what might have happened to her friends. To think that Liz and Trish still didn’t know the danger they had faced on that day...
“I... I can’t believe it’s really you!” she exclaimed, her own tears flowing freely.
“I could say the same. When I got your letter I was afraid I’d never see you again. I lost many a night’s sleep because of you, I hope you realize that!” he teased, ruffling her mane with his hoof.
With a sniff, she waved his hoof away in mock annoyance. “I- I wanted to tell you. To see you so badly! But you never told me where you had gone! What you were doing! I know it was so Mom and Dad wouldn’t find out and come after you, but still... I wanted... I wanted so bad-”
“Shh! Shh! It’s okay!” Grey said hugging her close to him. “I know, and I’m sorry. It was because of them that I didn’t tell you. I couldn’t. You know how they are...”
“Y-Yeah...” she sniffed. “Why are you a pony anyway? It’s... It’s not because I-”
“No no,” he said with a sad smile, “I’ve been a pony for a while now. Why else do you think I wouldn’t tell you what I was doing, or where I was? Mom and Dad would have NEVER let me talk to you again. Let alone let you have any freedom. No way was I having a hand in my sister becoming a prisoner!”
“SISTER!?” cried two voices at once.
Startled, the two siblings remembered their surroundings rather suddenly. If they hadn’t been so happy to see each other, they might have felt embarrassed. As for the two who had cried out, they were easily able to identify them as Bronze and Summer. The only two ponies who looked shocked. Vertigo, feeling whatever was going on between the two was none of his business, was only mildly surprised, while Zephyr Twist seemed to react in the exact opposite way. In fact, it was he who next spoke.
“Oh so THIS is the brother you told me about!” he said, trotting over. “I told you love! I told you you’d see him again!”
“You were right... I never thought it’d be this soon though!” she replied, her face all smiles.
“You never told me she was your sister!” Bronze exclaimed from his spot.
Summer nodded, “and you never told ME you had a brother!”
“Really? I didn’t?” Grey Bolt replied rubbing the back of his head awkwardly with a hoof. “Huh, I suppose I didn’t. Odd. Yeah, Debby here is my sister. She’s likely the only family I have left.”
Deborah spoke next, “I-I’m sorry Summer. I didn’t really want to talk about it during the Conversion process. It... It still kinda hurt back then. I was afraid I was losing my only family as well...”
Both Summer and Bronze couldn’t find anything to say to that. Summer on one hoof had a feeling she sort of understood how Deborah felt. When she had run away from Vertigo, well, it had stung. Deeply. If only she had realized then what she knew now.
Regardless, they were together now. He was her life mate, and she his. There was even a foal in their future. They joy of being back with somepony you love... she could wait to talk to Debs about all this later. Debs had just been reunited with her brother. Better for them to just enjoy the moment.
Bronze on the other hoof... he didn’t really know what it was he was feeling at this moment. When he had heard that this mare was Grey’s sister. He had felt... relieved. Happy in fact, but not because Grey had completed his quest far earlier then he had anticipated. Not even because Grey was so happy to be in the presence of his sister again. No, these feelings, they were something else. He was relieved that she was his sister. Not a lover. He was happy that Grey was single. He was.. he closed his eyes, hoping nopony saw him do so. It couldn’t be could it? Ever since meeting this stallion last night, he had been feeling all sorts of strange emotions. But it couldn’t be. It couldn’t be because...
“So why do you know of him Zephyr?” Pointe Vertigo asked just then, breaking him from his thoughts.
“Well... he’s my boyfriend. Of course I’d tell him.” Debs replied softly. The blush that crept up upon both her and Zephyr’s faces confirmed that they definitely saw each other as an item.
Summer thought it was rather sweet. Grey Bolt on the other hand...
“So...” He said slowly, giving Zephyr a stern gaze. “You’re her boyfriend?”
“Y-Yes sir...” Zephyr said rather meekly. He felt the same way he did back when Alice had been threatening to geld him.
“You’re treating her right I assume.” Grey said slowly. It was taking a bit of effort to remain civil. After all, he knew his sister would meet some guy, or well, some stallion someday. He just hadn’t been prepared to find out it had happened already.
“YES SIR!” Zephyr said a bit too forcibly. The poor guy's eyes were nearly the size of saucers with the fear he felt. Alice had been bad enough, but this guy was an earth pony. He knew very well how strong earth ponies tended to be. Even a newfoal like this one.
“Oh yes, he’s been treating her very well!” Vertigo said suddenly. The very edges of his mouth nearly curling into a grin. He’d show this little punk not to use his own trick against him! “Why not too long ago I believe they were having a nice time... Canoodling on a cloud, I believe is how the young un’s say it?”
Summer gave Vertigo a disapproving look, while Debs nearly went from peach to red. As for Zephyr. The poor guy’s color seemed to drain.
“Y-You were doing WHAT with my sister?” Grey growled stepping closer to the silver Pegasus.
Zephyr found himself edging toward the door rather frantically while attempting to come up with a good reply. “It’s nothing! We were just cuddling that’s all! Intimate cuddling!”
That wasn’t a good reply. Much to his horror his brain processed what he had just said. He had meant to say ‘innocent’ cuddling. Even if it had felt rather intimate.
“H-How long have you know each other?” came Grey’s response. His words sounded clam. Collected, and very VERY dangerous.
“Um... A few days?” Zephyr replied. Later he’d curse himself for not simply remaining quiet.
“I’LL KILL YOU!” Grey Bolt roared suddenly charging the colt.
“RUN ZEPHYR!” Debs screamed. The silver Pegasus didn’t need any further warnings. In a flash of metallic blue, he was out the door and down the path, only remembering several seconds later that he could fly. A large angry Purple stallion rampaged behind him.
Summer was still scolding Pointe Vertigo when Debs went racing after her enraged brother screaming for him not to kill her boyfriend. With a sigh, Bronze began to head toward the door himself. Chances were, he was going to have to keep his new best friend from committing murder.
“So... some day today, huh?” Bronze remarked as he sat upon a pier watching the sun set. The large purple stallion next to him nodded.
“Some day alright. I still can’t believe I went off the handle like that.” Grey replied with a sigh.
“Hey don’t worry 'bout it. Any brother would act the same way I bet.”
“I suppose so. I still feel rather bad for Zephyr. He seems like a really nice guy. I’m glad it’s him who my sister found.”
Bronze nodded but said nothing more, letting the soundtrack of the scene before them be the only thing that played for a while. It was a several hours later since the scene at lunch. None of their group had managed to grab a bite to eat thanks to that. Instead, they'd decided to grab a big dinner. Not at the same place though. Summer had figured they’d caused enough trouble there for one day, and the rest had agreed.
Other then that, the rest of the day had been rather pleasant. Grey Bolt had been introduced to Alice, who had been so busy with some issue of her own, that she had barely had enough time to give a rushed greeting. Both Liz and Trish of course had met Grey once or twice while they had been human, so were rather glad to see him again. It had been the first time Bronze himself had met them.
It was rather ironic actually. All four of them, the three young mares along with Alice, had all been on the Sea Pony's Fancy at least twice now in the past. They had in fact been the friends of Summer’s they had carted to the island in the first place! It was just that Bronze had never left his cabin to see them. How funny that this could have all been over even quicker than it had been, if only he’d have been just a little more sociable.
Well, it was no use in worrying about what ‘could’ have been. What was important was what was happening right now. The fact that he was sharing another sun set with Grey Bolt. The situation warmed him, and he knew it wasn’t because of the setting sun.
The thoughts he had earlier wouldn’t leave his mind. They kept crawling up from some abyss to demand that he acknowledge them. But he didn’t want to acknowledge them, he didn’t want to even consider what they could possibly mean. He knew he hadn’t exactly been into relationships in his life, but it wasn’t like he had found what Anchor Watch or Sea Spray did in private fascinating or something. Until a few hours ago, he had figured he was just shy or unlucky. He certainly hadn’t guessed that he... he was a...
There was nothing WRONG with that fact of course. If there had been, he’d never have put up with the Sea Pony's Fancy for so long. Anchor Watch and Sea Spray were probably the closest thing he'd had to any sort of family. It was just... he'd always figured he was into, well, mares, not colts. Certainly not THIS colt beside him. They had only known each other for a day if that after all! Yet... and yet...
“Hey... Grey?” he asked before being able to stop himself. His heart began to pound ever so slightly faster. His throat becoming dry. He wasn’t seriously... could he really bring this up today? Now?
“What’s up Bronze?” Grey Bolt asked, turning his head toward him.
Bronze froze at the image. The way the wind was playing with his mane. The way his eyes sparkled in the dusk light. The very shape of his neck... no matter how well educated a nurse Bronze was, there was one thing he knew he’d never be able to fully understand. He had been there when Anchor Watch had become the Captain’s ‘mate’ in more ways then one. Heard later on how Anchor hadn’t even realized he was into colts. It was an even stranger story with Summer. The very mechanics of how two ponies could feel attracted to each other or even fall in love would forever remain a mystery to those who hadn’t experienced it for themselves.
“I... I...” he said, unaware of what he was even saying anymore. His heart had begun to pound louder and louder. He was afraid it’d burst through his rib cage at any second. This couldn't be happening. It would be the perfect end to the day... but it was much too fast. Much too soon for him to know. For him to make a move. For Celestia’s sake he had barely learned of his feelings today!
Grey continued to watch his friend with a very confused expression on his face as Bronze’s body seemed to switch to auto-pilot. Before he realized what he was doing, he found his lips pressed firmly against Grey’s own. Experiencing the very first kiss of his life time. It was both blissful, and amazing. At least until Grey jerked his head away about a second later.
“W-what?” Grey rattled off stunned. His face was flushed, his expression all over the place. He had absolutely no idea what had just happened. His new best friend, who he had been enjoying a peaceful moment with had suddenly kissed him! That wasn’t something he had been prepared for!
“I’m sorry!” Bronze cried suddenly, turning away.
The brief look Grey got of his face made him feel terrible. He hadn’t realized Bronze felt that way about him. It had probably took the guy all his courage to do that, and here he went and reacted in such way. He felt bad, horrible, but the problem was... the problem was that he truly hadn’t enjoyed it.
“No! No I’m sorry... I just... wasn’t expecting that.” he said quietly, trying to gather his thoughts. Bronze was the first real friend he had made in a very long time. If they were to remain friends, he knew he was going to have to be honest with him, but being honest was the one thing he knew Bronze wouldn’t be able to handle right now.
“I know, I don’t know what came over me. I’m sorry. I’ll try to-” Bronze was rambling but Grey held up his hoof to stop him. He had to do it. Had to tell him. He sighed as he turned to look his friend in the eyes.
The day had been going so well too...
“It’s okay. I’m not mad or anything, I want you to know that you are STILL my friend. The best one I’ve ever had.” The look in Bronze’s eyes confirmed his worst fears. This wasn’t what he wanted to hear.
“But Bronze... please, please don’t hate me, but I’m just... I’m not...”
“You’re... Not into colts are you?”
Sadly, and slowly Grey shook his head. “I love mares... I’m... I’m sorry...”
There was silence between them for a brief moment before Bronze’s horn flashed white. When Grey was able to see again, he found that his friend had vanished. Most likely that flash of magic had been a teleportation spell. With a great heavy sigh, Grey gazed into the nearly set sun. “Dear Princess Celestia, and dear Princess Luna,” he said as a tear ran down his cheek. How ironic that he felt so sad after being so happy, “please don’t let me loose my best friend after just meeting him...”
It was a little know fact among the humans that Equestria actually DID have it’s own versions of alcoholic beverages. It was one such beverage that Bronze found himself drinking even now. Being the nurse on a sea vessel, he had learned a great deal about which drinks had the most kick, and which ones would make you feel ‘good’. Thus he had found a pretty good way to get over his ‘earlier disappointment.’
“Stupid, Stupid, STUPID.” he yelled at himself. Not caring if anypony heard him anymore. It hadn’t been that long since night had fallen. An hour or two if that. Then again, he was too far lost in his conflicting emotions to really tell. It could be near dawn for all he knew.
It was his fault really. Everything had been going too well for it to last. He should have been able to tell that Grey wasn’t into colts. He had spent enough time around a couple of colt cuddlers that he should have been able to tell. At least that’s what he kept telling himself.
“There you are!” came a voice from above him.
For a split, agonizing second, Bronze had thought that Grey Bolt had found him. Had come to scream at him for everything. But then he saw the flash of green feathers. It was only Summer’s mate. Pointe Vertigo.
“You have any idea how long we’ve been searching for you? Grey came running to us soon after you had your argument or whatever. Said he was worried sick about you!” Vertigo said as sternly as he dared. As disappointed he was to see this young buck had gone and gotten himself drunk, he was pretty worried himself. The look Grey had given them when he told them of their ‘argument’ was very similar to how Vertigo himself had felt when Summer had run away.
“You lie!” Bronze cried, releasing his magic, and thus dropping his bottle. “He wouldn’t worry 'bout me! Lies...”
“Oh come now, you know I’m not lying. Now come on. Let’s get you back.You can settle this with him directly-” Vertigo began, but Bronze merely staggered away from him.
“No! Don’t want to go... Don' wanna...” he sniffed, trying to curl himself into an invisible ball. Of course, even if he had been sober enough to use his magic, he didn’t have a spell that could do that. Pointe Vertigo, meanwhile, was trying his best to remedy the whole situation.
“Come on mate. It’ll be okay. We don’t have to go see him if you don’t want, but let’s at least get you to a proper bed or something-”
“REJECTED!” Bronze yelled suddenly, causing Vertigo to suspend himself a few feet into the air.
“He rejected me! S-said he wasn’t into colts! How was I supposed ta know I liked colts? Huh? Why couldn’t he be into colts too?” Bronze wailed to the sky.
Vertigo was shocked. Almost to the point that he nearly forgot to flap his wings to stay afloat. So that was what had truly happened. Poor guy. Though to be honest, he was really surprised this had affected him so much. From what he understood from their idle chatter over dinner, these two had met only about a day ago. He had no idea Bronze’s feelings had apparently developed so deeply. Then again, his feelings for Summer Glenn had progressed rather quickly, and look at them now.
“I... I’m sorry man.” Vertigo said finally. Just what was he suppose to say to a colt who had been rejected by another colt? Especially when they seemed this broken up about it. Somehow, he doubted the ‘plenty of sea ponies in the sea’ line would be appropriate right now. He also couldn’t tell him to buck up and keep trying either. He was pretty sure the reason Bronze got rejected was because Grey Bolt wasn’t about to develop a taste in colts.
“Why... Why don’t we tackle all this after a good nights sleep eh?” He said, hoping it’d get the unicorn to follow him to a hut. He knew enough about drunk ponies to know that if he managed to get the stallion to a bed, he’d likely pass out for the night.
“Y-You think that’ll help?” Bronze asked eyes red. Vertigo did his best to sound positive.
“Oh sure! A good night’s sleep? Why that helps anypony out. Why I remember this one time Summer had a stomach ache-”
“Summer?” Bronze repeated as he began to shuffle his way toward Vertigo.
“Yeah Summer. She’s out looking for you as well you know. Why don’t we go show her you’re okay?”
“Y-yeah...” Bronze replied falling into step behind Vertigo. What a weird way to end the day. As long as he could keep the unicorn from feeling sorry for himself, it should all end fine.
“Summer was a colt once...” Bronze said suddenly.
Vertigo was cautious, but nodded, “Y-Yeah. She was. Funny that right?” Just keep walking there Bronze. Just keep walking...
“Did she... did she do it for you?”
Vertigo shook his head, “No, she did it for herself. I’d never have made her do it for me.”
“You love Summer as a mare right?”
Vertigo didn’t like where this conversation was going. For one, he could tell it was dangerous territory. For two, Bronze wasn’t slurring his speech anymore. Indicating that he was putting some serious thought into whatever was running through his head.
“I love Summer, period. Regardless of what she is.” Vertigo replied matter of factly, "I mean... I was prepared to..."
“I bet... I bet Grey would like me if I was a mare...”
“Who knows pal. Not like you can find out. What happened with Summer was kind of a complicated matter. You’d have to ha-” Vertigo had been saying, before the world seemed to stop around him. His eyes widened with dread as a certain event leaped to the forefront of his mind. A certain little vial Bronze had taken from Summer...
Vertigo had never spun around so fast in his life. Even then it was too late. He was just in time to see the last bit of green liquid disappear down the unicorn’s throat. As Vertigo continued the watch, he saw the bulky male frame of the unicorn seemingly melt away into a sleek, curvy feminine one. Within seconds, the rather lean, stocky and completely drunk stallion was replaced with a very cute, delicate and equally drunk mare.
The new filly looked around in bewilderment, apparently confused as to what she had just done, before passing out completely upon the sand.
“...Horseapples.” Pointe Vertigo cursed as he stared down at the now-female pony. It was NOT going to be a fun time explaining this. It would almost certainly be blamed on him. “Why do these things always have to happen to the ponies I know?”