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The morning sun rose quietly, unannounced by the songs of morning birds or by the crowing of roosters. Branches lay across the small roadway, bent and torn from the nearby trees, fresh sap still flowing out of the open wounds left from their separation.
Stretching his forehooves, the stallion stared forward, dark eyes hidden by the shadow cast upon his face by his thick hood. A sigh escaped him, the air hissing through the gaps in his mask.
A hoof reached out, pushing against the remains of the farmhouse’s battered door which creaked and squealed as it opened. Hoofsteps rang out over the empty fields of unkempt grass and gangly trees as he stepped across the home's front porch. Every hoof fall was followed by a wooden creak.
It didn’t take long for sweat to begin pouring along the edges of the stallion's thick coat. His saddlebags bounced, their heavy load slapping the stallion’s sides as he began wading through the sea of grass. The only sound accompanying him was the swishing of grass against his stomach.
His eyes shifted in focus as his mind wandered, ears absently perked and alert to any dangers. Suddenly, a thick, cold shadow crossed over him. Ducking down into the grass, the stallion scanned the world around him. Above him, tall, thick branches poked at the sky as limp leaves baked in the hot sun.
Another sigh escaped the pony’s mask, turning into a single bark of laughter as he trotted to the thick willow, tapping it with a hoof before leaning against it. Below him, the landscape dropped, slowly cascading hills leading to a tiny, almost idyllic town.
Thatched roofs of every colour shimmered in the morning heat as bright beams of sunlight reflected off windows. Narrowing his sharp eyes, the stallion took in the smaller details.
Pastel tufts of rotting fur were tucked in the corners of alleys, and spilling out the doorways and windows of homes. The small sparkles of sunlight reflected off broken glass. Toys, tools, and clothes were scattered and abandoned to the mercy of the weather and the wind.
He shook his head and closed his eyes, before looking up to the sky in a vain attempt to find peace. There was none, all that met him was a sky filled with unmoving clouds. His head thrust down suddenly, eyes picking out his destination that lay past the small town.
The large red cross of the Ponyville hospital was still clearly visible despite the grey muck that had splashed across it. The beige building had all the obvious signs of disuse, from a recently smashed in door to grass poking through the paved entrance way.
The stallion nodded to himself, picking up his resolve with a huff before he began trotting down the hillside. Sharp blades of grass sliced uselessly against his coat and hood as the heavy pony raced down the hill, kicking up a cloud of dust that immediately settled onto the dry ground.
Finally, he slowed down upon reaching the worn, paved road leading to town. The glass of his mask clearly reflected the peaceful little town as it slowly grew larger and larger.
His hoofsteps subsided as he neared a sky-cart. The vehicle was leaning on its side with its driver and pilot hung crookedly off the harness. Behind it, boxes with yellow suits littered the ground.
The stallion averted his eyes, preferring to pick up his pace once the scene of death and despair was behind him.
Ponyville didn’t have a real entrance. There were no gates marking where it began, nor were there signs that marked its boundaries. Instead, houses and small shops just started haphazardly as the road widened to encompass the small stalls where ponies used to sell everything from cabbages, to apples, to farm equipment, and flowers.
He stopped near one of the stalls. This one was in bad need of maintenance as weeds began to poke through its latticework. A sign above it proclaimed that it sold the best cabbages in Ponyville, though all that was left of the vegetables was a brown muck. The putrid smell of decay made its way into his mask, choking the stallion with its repulsing odor.
In disgust, he shoved the stall away, only to have his coat catch onto its material. With a loud rip that blared through the empty town, the stallion’s coat lapel tore, leaving a gaping hole in the soft tissue. Groaning to himself, he lifted the jacket and inspected it.
Dirt, grime, sweat and even a few splotches of blood adorned his precious jacket. Huffing disgustedly he dropped it and began walking forward again, only to be followed by the nerve wracking sound of the material scratching the soil’s surface.
He sighed, the hole in his mask jutting out as air escaped. His eyes wandered the area, searching for anything that could help, when suddenly they alighted on a store shaped like a carousel that had mannequins displayed behind its dirty glass windows.
Shrugging, the stallion trotted across the empty street towards the building, casually shoving the door open with a bump of his broad shoulder. Inside, dust mites floated idly in the stale, stuffy air. Pieces of cloth and unrolled bolts of tissue gave the bleak un-washed room bright splashes of gaudy colour that assaulted the stallion’s eyes.
Looking around for any signs of danger, he trotted into the building.
Skidding around on the wooden floor, the stallion turned to face the entrance, forehooves set defensively as his body lowered into a fighting stance.
A tarnished brass bell shivered slightly as it hung on a rusty chain above the doorway.
He barked a laugh before untensing his shoulders. Shaking his head to himself, he turned around and headed for a small entrance in the room labeled ‘Studio’. Within, well-oiled sowing machines were collecting dust on tables covered with materials of every type and expense.
Racks at the back held bolts and rolls of tissue firmly while a skeleton-like apparatus in one corner held onto a dozen forms, each cut and pressed by a steady hoof.
He trotted towards the rack, passing a gentle hoof over the tissues to feel them. From soft to coarse to rugged and frilly. Finally, he found what he wished for at the very bottom. Cotton, black and yet still containing the lustre that indicated the waterproof mixture it had been subjected to.
The stallion yanked the material out and brought it to the hoof powered sewing machine, rudely ripping a half finished garment from the machine’s grip and tossing it aside. In a flourish, he removed his own coat and began sewing the thick cotton onto his coat.
Suddenly, as the machine swirled and moved, a slip of paper poked out from beneath it. The machine stopped, its tiny flywheel grinding to a screeching halt as he begrudgingly pulled at the little piece.
More followed, until an entire book came out. It had been opened, its covers bent onto each other so as to unfurl the pages.
With a deft twist of his hoof, the stallion clacked the book shut and examined the front cover. ‘Diary’ was written in a flowing golden script that screamed girly.
Curiosity getting the best of him, he cracked the book open, releasing the thick musky smell of a fresh page before he began to read the first page.
Sweetie Belle, if you have opened this I swear to the powers above that I will end you. Calmly put it back where you found it and never touch it again.
Intrigued, the stallion flipped by a few pages, opening one halfway through the book at random.
Twenty days before spring... and it’s not soon enough!
The weather is warming up, winter wrap up is quickly approaching, and the spring fashion season has begun!
The order that Hoity Toity sent me is going to be the death of me. Really, I should hire some help... Maybe Spike would do; I have to use that silly crush of his at some point!
Regardless, the weather is warming up, and if I’m quick I may be able to squeeze some time to make some of those marvelous hats I saw in Canterlot!
Saw Lyra and Bon Bon today. They were so happy together. I’m almost envious, if it wasn’t for the fact that I happen to know what happened between Lyra and Carrot Top yesterday. Ah, the juiciest gossip is always the hardest to keep.
Speaking of gossip, I heard the most incredible rumours about Rainbow Dash... Seems like that rainbow mane really does suit her! Poor thing, one of these days I’ll introduce her to a nice colt friend!
One of the stallion’s eyebrows perked up. Slowly, he flicked a few pages forward.
Three days until spring and the winter wrap up!
Twilight’s been going on and on about some scientific and magical beeswax. Really, she’s sent more letters to Celestia in the past twelve hours than she has all year.
Meanwhile, I can’t finish my order! The extra supplies are just not coming. At this rate somepony is going to get a very angry letter.
Speaking of angry, Carrot Top approached me today. She wanted to do the same thing to me as she did to Lyra. I was simply appalled, can you imagine the gall someponies have!
I learnt today that Pinkie Pie has been all alone in her house for over three days! Seems like the Cakes left with their two foals on a family trip... and you’d never guess where! Appleloosa, that little dingy earth-pony town. You’d never catch me dead going there!
Winter wrap up!
Winter wrap up!
Let’s finish our holiday cheer!
Winter wrap up!
Winter wrap up!
‘Cause tomorrow spring is here!
‘Cause tomorrow spring is here!
Ah, I still have the song in my head! This year's Wrap Up may have been the best in Ponyville’s history! With Twilight organizing and us taking care of our own divisions... It was brilliant!
Everything was absolutely perfect! I wish things could always be like this... oh, who am I kidding, nothing changes in Equestria!
The stallion rolled his eyes and huffed, flipping forward a few pages to find something more interesting.
Third day of spring.
Twilight went full-on crazy. She somehow found all these... ‘Hazmat suits,’ and is insisting that we wear them. Now, I do enjoy having her side with me in attempting to make others wear clothing, but these things are... atrocious!
Still no news from the company I order my cloth from. I’ve sent three letters already and no response!
Odd ponies have been trotting into town recently, some look out of it. Fluttershy’s been having a field day taking care of them, so many are hurt...
I went to the hospital for Sweetie Belle’s vaccination shots today and overheard a little something... Seems like Carrot Top got her karmic retribution.
Fourth day of spring!
Pinkie Pie has been going crazy, she emptied the town's entire stock of party supplies. She even borrowed some of my own... Goodness knows she couldn’t afford the things I gave her, but she was so ecstatic about the new ponies. Most of them seem to appreciate it. They look so tense!
I must admit, I did enjoy some of their company, although they seem nervous to address the ‘why’ of their coming here. Guess I’ll find out soon enough.
Heard an odd rumor, have yet to confirm it myself. Seems like Rainbow Dash has been spending some time with Carrot Top... She said that there hasn’t been any wind for a while and that the skies are clear because of that... I’ll have to watch out for her, young, inexperienced, and impressionable as she is she’ll get herself into trouble!
This time off is doing wonders for me! Having no materials is an excellent excuse to waste away some free time! I must visit Aloe and Lotus soon~
Fifth day of spring.
An odd day today. Nothing happened.
It was eerily quiet today. Even the birds seem to be moving away, so have Fluttershy’s pets. She’s been having a fit trying to convince them that it’s not autumn yet.
Speaking of critters, Opalescence decided to scoot off as well, I’m certain I’ll see her around soon.
Saw Twilight today. She had teary eyes. Said something about the ‘end being near’ and ‘this might be the last time I see these ponies,’ then ran off. Poor dear, I think she’s been studying way too hard! Princess Celestia might be a great ruler, and Twilight’s mentor, but there are limits to how far our favorite bookworm can be pushed!
Lyra and Bon-Bon broke up. I must say, I never expected Lyra to have such a strong voice!
Sixth day of spring.
Today has been horrible!
Right from the bat, I receive a box from that nice cross-eyed mailmare. Thinking it was my cloth I brought it in and tore into the box. It was a hazmat suit. One of those ugly things. No return address, no message. Nothing I can do about it.
Worse, it’s been made out of white and purple materials, it even has a small symbol of my cutie mark on one side.. I don’t know what’s going on, but somepony is playing a mean trick on me!
To make thing worse, Applejack hurt herself last night, something with her back leg. Stubborn mare doesn’t want to go to the hospital, I even (secretly) offered to shoulder the cost!
Guess I’ll find the time to make her something pretty. A blanket? Oh, maybe a parka!
Miss Cheerilee visited me today, seems like Sweetie Belle and her two friends decided to mix up some trouble with Snips and Snails. I’ve no idea where they learnt of what they did, but it certainly isn’t from my house!
Seventh day of Spring.
Went to AJ’s this morning, she seemed fairly chipper, unaffected by the tension that’s been growing in town. Would have spent more time with her, but there’s some sort of assembly at town hall tonight, and Twilight wants to see us all before it starts. Just enough time to write this and spruce up!
The stallion flicked forward a few pages, finding only blank, empty sheets. He slapped the diary closed, and moved to throw it on the desk before reconsidering. He could always use some fire-starting paper, he told himself as he tossed it into his saddlebags.
Turning, he resumed his work, forelimbs pumping as the machine worked its way through the fabric. In moments, he was done. A large dark patch covered the old tear in his coat.
Smiling beneath his mask, he put on the coat, then threw on his saddlebags. Shifting the weight of it around until comfortable, he walked out of the small studio and into the main room, heading for the exit.
The bell jingled again as the stallion threw the door open and walked out. The sun was noticeably higher in the sky then when he had walked in. Flies had begun to gather in droves above rotting fruit as shimmers of heat rose off the paved road.
Ignoring the thick wave of nauseating heat that battered him, the stallion pushed forward and out into the road, his hoofsteps muffled by the sand covered paving. Back bent, and head held low, he trudged along, uncaring of the world around him as his ears twitched. Occasionally, he would pick up random sounds that never repeated themselves... That is, until he heard the hoofsteps.
Maniacal cackling filled the air. Suddenly, a tall and gangly earth pony ran out of a nearby house, the door slamming against its home with a booming clack.
The pony sprinted forward, hooves sliding against the ground as he came to a sudden halt.
The stallion rose up, placing his hooves in a defensive stance as the two stared at each other. His eyes instinctively searched for cover in the large square he was now in. To his right were chairs and benches, all placed in neat rows facing a not-to-distant building with the label ‘Ponyville Town Hall.’ Amongst the heaps and piles of broken chairs were the trampled remains of dead ponies. His right held a small alleyway, equally filled with junk and garbage that rotted and stank in the warm humid air.
The stallion sighed; there were only two directions he could take: forward, or backwards.
The earth pony laughed again, stomping an injured leg against the ground. A splint, made of an iron pipe and a used shirt, was wrapped around it. “I hate you,” whispered the green earth pony, eyes tearing up. “I hate you soo much! I’m going to eat you!” He screamed. Reaching down, he pulled out an old rust-orange butcher knife. Tears, his own, ran down the blade’s length as he sobbed and laughed maniacally.
Wind rustled as the two faced each other, both panting, both waiting. The earth pony’s long black hair flapped and flew in a strong breeze. “I’m going to kill you!”
So did a yellow blur that galloped out of the nearby alleyway. “C’mon, we neeth tha go!” it screamed, grabbing the stallion’s leg and dragging him along.
He recoiled at first, standing his ground, but the fast approaching form of the mad pony changed his mind. Two ponies ran back into the alleyway, jumping over tall piles of trash as wind following them, kicking up dust and debris. A knife, strong and lean, made to cut meat flew through the air, embedding itself into the alley’s thick brick walls.
“I’m going to get you!” screamed the mad-pony to the two dissapearing forms. “I’m going to get you, and when I do, you’re going to die!”
Who likes cliffhangers? I do!