"Oh, my stars! She's reached one-hundred-three degrees! Sorry, hun, but you're gonna have to stay from school today," said a pink, older mare with a purple, beehive mane.
Well, she caught it...
She caught Connor's cold.
"No, Mom! I'm fine! Really! I can still go to sc--!" She was interrupted by her own coughing. She could feel the mucus peel itself painfully off the walls of her throat.
"No, Sweetie Belle, you have to stay home until this cold lets up. All it needs is a little cough syrup and a nice sleep," her mother insisted.
"Cough syrup? That awful stuff? Yech! I'd rather have a shot from the doctor."
"Enough whining, Sweetie Belle. No matter what you say, you're staying home."
Drat! How was she supposed to see Connor now?? She really wanted to see him again. She did not want to be cooped up in her room for the entire day. What a drag. She slumped on the back of her bed, knocking the back of her head against it in frustration.
"Look on the bright side, Sweetie Belle!" a white stallion with a straw hat coaxed his daughter. "All your friends back at school will make you 'Get Well Soon' cards! They might send some treats, too! As long as you got other colts and fillies thinking about you, you're gonna be all right."
That did not exactly cheer her up. Out of all the colts she met, she only wanted to meet Connor.
"Well, get well soon, my little pony! Mother will check up on you momentarily! Bye, Sweetie!" he waved as he and his wife exited the filly's bedroom.
"Get well soon"... Feh! How was she going to get well soon? Without her favorite colt, she was anything but well.
On the other hoof, as long as she had her portrait of him, she would at least feel like he was there in the room with her. She leaned over to her lavender nightstand, opened the drawer, and pulled out a frame she made in arts and crafts, decorated with red foam hearts and pink marker flourishes. Inside the lovey-dovey frame was a small portrait of Connor. She could not help but smile back at the smiling colt. Man, did she wish to see him in the flesh again.
Wait... Didn't her father mention something about colts and fillies thinking about her? He did, didn't he? Smiling brightly, she came upon a epiphany: Connor could be thinking about her right now. Yeah, he could. It was possible. What was better was that she was thinking about him, too. Wow, what a blast! Two ponies thinking about each other at the exact same moment. How romantic! Better yet, he could come waltzing in through the door and take the time to visit her. Oh, the thoughts just kept piling on top of each other! Anything could happen!
The doorknob clicked as it twisted.
Speak of the devil! However, she acted fast. Connor or not, nopony was to see her little frame with the colt's smiling portrait. She yanked at her drawer, meaning to yank it open, but the knob broke right off.
The door began to creak open. No time! She stuffed it underneath her pillow.
"Hey, Connor!!" she squeaked.
"Sweetie Belle, it's us," said a country voice.
Whoops... Slip of the tongue.
"Ohay, erm, Apple Bloom! Scootaloo!" she corrected herself.
"Howdy!" smiled the yellow filly.
"Hey!" grinned the orange pegasus. She laughed. "Wait, so you thought we were Connor? Do we even look like him?"
"Oh, um, well--," stammered the sick, white unicorn.
"What made ya think of 'im, anyhoo?" Apple Bloom asked.
"W-w-w-well, I left my sleeping bag back at Rarity's. He said he'd come over and drop it off for me," she fibbed, scrunching her muzzle. Hopefully, they bought it.
"Wait, yer were sleepin' over at Rarity's?"
"Oh, that's fun! Did y'all have fun?"
"Mm-hmm!" Sweetie Belle nodded quickly.
Well, so far, so good. They did not suspect anything. Probably because she was sick, and they politely thought that they should take it easy on her. Thank Celestia. She did not feel like being in boiled water again, especially when she was sick. She felt hot enough already.
"Well, we heard you were sick, so we decided to come by and wish you well," Scootaloo smiled.
"Eeyup!" Apple Bloom puffed her chest out in pride. "Get Well Soon, Sweetie Belle!"
"Thank (cough!) you, girls! (cough!)" the sick filly smiled, appreciative for their concern.
"We've got so many things to do to get our cutie marks, but that will have to wait until you're better. We'll wait for you," the pegasus said. "Don't forget us!"
"I-I won't," Sweetie Belle replied. Nervousness was brewing in the filly's insides.
"We'd better git a move-on. Don't wanna be late fer school. We'll see ya later!" the country filly turned to leave with her pegasus friend.
Once again, she was alone in her room. She sighed stressfully. Great... Juuuuust great... Now her friends were eagerly expecting her to return to them so they could try to earn their cutie marks together. Just when she was working so hard to win Connor's heart, she had to soak in all of that? Horseapples! She could not keep up with all of that, trying to win Connor's heart and trying to accomplish her life-long goal.
But, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo were her best friends. She could not just leave them out in the open. They were the ones who helped and befriended her. They helped shape her life.
Maybe she should try to get her cutie mark first. Besides, the society rules said that a Crusader would not date a colt until she gets her cutie mark. That did not seem so bad. Why couldn't she think of it sooner? All she had to do was get her cutie mark, then she would try to win Connor's heart. It was simple! Yeah, simple...
So... simple... really... really... simmm...
"And do you, Fluttershy, take Connor to be your lawfully wedded husband and always be with him in sickness and in health, 'til death do you part?"
"I do," the yellow pegasus squeaked excitedly, wearing a flowing wedding dress, lined with flowers, white as snow.
"And do you, Connor, take Fluttershy to be your lawfully wedded wife and always be with her in sickness and in health, 'til death do you part?"
"I do," smiled the colt, looking as dapper as a prince in his obsidian-black tuxedo.
"They have said their vows. If anyone has any objections that these two ponies should not wed, speak now or forever hold your peace. None? Then, may we see the rings, please?"
"MMMMMM! MMMMMMHHH!" squeaked Sweetie Belle, her mouth full of bird-seed. She was full of objections, but she could not speak.
"I now pronounce you, Connor and Fluttershy, mare and colt!" the stallion turned to Connor. "You may kiss your bride."
"Gladly," the colt eyed his new wife.
However, Fluttershy jumped at him first, eager to kiss her new husband. She wrapped her forelegs around his neck and pulled him in, so their kiss would deepen.
The organ rose from short single notes to a blaring melody, bringing joyful tears to many eyes in the audience, including the other five Elements of Harmony.
Breaking the kiss, the two newlyweds turned to the exit down the path and began to walk regally out. As they walked, Fluttershy happened to see Sweetie Belle coming up next to her. She revealed an evil, toothy grin as he tilted her head towards her and whispered, "Too late, Sweaty Butt."
Then, she gave the filly's stomach a firm kick, causing her to spit out the bird seed in her mouth up into the sky like she was throwing confetti like everypony else. She extended a sad hoof to her favorite colt, eyes wrinkled with defeat.
"Oh, what a lovely wedding!" Rarity exclaimed. "So you lost your favorite colt, Sweetie Belle. If only you've got your cutie mark sooner, you would be in Fluttershy's place right now. No matter now. There are plenty of outstanding colts you could meet. Like Squirt!"
A skimpy, boney colt with a runny nose ran up and stuck his licked lollipop into the little filly's mane.
"HA! Sweaty Butt! Sweaty Butt has gum in her hair! Derrrrrr!"
Sweetie Belle fell on her knees. "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO--"
The filly flinched violently at the sound of a familiar voice. Her whipped around to the sound of--.
"Connor!" she squeaked in surprise.
Wait, that was not the right approach. She slumped herself onto the bed and yanked the covers up to her chin.
"Connor," she smiled weakly, coughing.
"Heyyy," the colt said as he walked up to her. He sat next to the bed, looking at her sympathetically. "I'm so sorry, Sweetie Belle that you caught my cold."
Oh, the irony... Sweetie Belle knew exactly the reason why she got sick.
Shortly after she confessed her love to the sleeping colt the night before, she still did not feel complete. She thought she would give the sleeping, sick colt a warm hug, thanking him for all the good things he did for her. The way he felt in her arms, just remembering it gave her the warm rush. He was hot, but it warmed her chest as she pressed his forehead against it. The back of her mind as she hugged him seemed to say, "You're crazy. Hug him for too long and you will catch his cold.", but the rest of her mind argued, "Shut up. You don't know anything. This is worth the risk.". Well, she caught it. She did not want to admit that she was a fool, but she admitted that she enjoyed every second of hugging her favorite colt.
"No, it's all right. It just happened," she shrugged nonchalantly. "Nothing you can do about it now, except for helping me get through it."
She smiled her most innocent smile.
"Did you come over to take care of me?"
Connor's expression became sad and apologetic. "Awww, you know I would love to, but I've got a lot of work to do today at the Guzzling Gallop. Cherry Limeade's expecting a lot of customers today because of the heat."
"Awwwww!" she groaned.
"I know. I wish I could. But you still got your mom taking care of you. So, no worries, right?"
"Right," she replied, though not enthusiastically.
"Hey, I'm still gonna be here. I'll be around. Tell ya what, after I'm done with my shift, I'll come and visit you before I visit Fluttershy."
Fluttershy, Fluttershy, Fluttershy! What did that colt see in that mare other than her beauty, her kindness and cuteness? What about Sweetie Belle?? She was sick, for Luna's sake! He should be spending the rest of the night taking care of her instead of visiting Fluttershy. Oh, if she heard that name one more time, she was going to lose her sh--.
"Get Well Soon, Sweetie Belle! I'll make sure to bring back a milkshake before I leave the Guzzling Gallop. See ya later!" the colt said, tousling her mane. In a matter of a few seconds, she was alone once again.
She had to move... now.
"Mom!" she hollered. "Pile on that cough syrup!!"
"Wow, Sweetie Belle!" her mother exclaimed, looking at the thermometer. "You recovered quicker than I thought! Well, splendid! Now, you can go out and play with your friends."
"Uh, y-yeah! Yeah!" she feigned enthusiasm.
"See what a lot of cough syrup would do? I bet that you don't think that cough syrup is so bad anymore now. What did I tell ya?"
"No, it wasn't."
Of course, it was still bad. Had she even tasted that awful stuff? Not even rats would enjoy it.
"Well, you go on now! Have fun with your friends!"
"I will..." she said to herself, pulling out her list.
She had one last thing to try out.
That was why there was Zecora.
She trotted out of the house, pushing past the front door like she had a whole new swagger. She sniffed the air, filling her nostrils with chilling, breezy cleanliness. Boy, did it feel good to escape from the mustiness of her bedroom! She felt fresh like a cucumber.
"Ah wonder if Sweetie Belle has recovered from her cold yet," Apple Bloom said to Scootaloo in the distance.
The unicorn squeaked in fear and ducked into a nearby bush. She could not let them know that she was well. If they found out, then their plans on getting cutie marks would only get in the way of her plan. She had to do her best to avoid them.
"Let's ask her parents!" the orange pegasus said.
No, no, no, no, no, nononononononononononononNO! It was no doubt that her parents would be quick to answer that she was well. They would go looking for her. Plus, if they could not find her for some time, they would begin to suspect that she was up to no good, then Sweetie Belle would be in boiling water all over again.
"Actually, let's not," the country filly objected.
"Why not?" Scootaloo looked at her friend in confusion.
"Let's jus' give her some time to rest up a little bit more. Besides, if she really did feel better, she'd come straight to us and let us know."
"Well, maybe she just recovered today."
"We won't know fer sure. Plus, ah don't feel like botherin' her mother about it again."
"Well, all right. If you say so. But, I still don't see why we shouldn't ask."
"S'called bein' polite, Scootaloo. Ya should try it sometime..."
"Aw, come on, Apple Bloom! Get off my back! It's not my fault that dinner was awesomely delicious back at your farm. By the way, thanks for inviting me to dinner last night."
"Yer welcome! Now, let's go see if Miss Rarity fixed our Cutie Mark Crusaders capes yet."
"Yeah! I sure hope that she sewn a lightning bolt on mine!"
"In yer dreams."
"Aw, lighten up. Lightning bolts are cool! Rainbow Dash would say the same!"
Soon, the two little fillies were out of sight, and their voices were thinned out by the distance. Thank Celestia! That was close. Wiping the sweat off her brow, she poked her head out of the bush. She leapt out and brushed the loose leaves off of her white coat.
Knowing that she had little time to spare, she pumped her little legs as fast as she could pump them. She had to get to Zecora's hut in the Everfree Forest. The zebra had to have something in her hut that would help her look older. She had oodles and oodles of crazy potions. One of them was bound to be what she was looking for.
"WHOOOOAA!!" she squeaked.
The white filly twisted and tumbled over bushes and loose leaves down a steep hill. Her little body tumbled helplessly down like a lumpy boulder, until she landed squarely on her face upon more moist and murky terrain. Was she there? Did she make it? She could not see anything with her head in the ground. Placing her hooves flat upon the ground, she pushed with all of her might, until her head broke free from the mucky earth. She shook her head furiously, flinging off excess dirt and earthworms. She spat out the dirt that had entered her mouth. She rolled her tongue over her teeth, catching extra specks of dirt.
Wait, something else was in her mouth... It felt slimy, ropey, wriggly, and--.
"YEEEEEW!!" she shrieked, spitting whatever the hell was in her mouth out furiously like a cannon. To her utmost disgust, it was a worm.
"Pah-tooie! Pah-tooie! Bleah!" she snarked.
After getting over her disgust, she looked up to see that Zecora's hut was just ahead. She trotted up to it and peeked into the window, seeing if zebra was in there. Indeed, she was. Usually, Zecora would be concocting potions with her massive cauldron, but as of now, she was only working with her small pot on the table. She was grinding some peculiar plants in her stone grinder and poured it into the small boiling pot. An orange puff of smoke escaped the lips of the pot, signaling near completion.
"Finally, complete, my potion that tampers with age! Now to take the test subject out of its cage," she proclaimed in rhyming couplets.
Whoo, was Sweetie Belle ever so lucky to stumble upon her now.
She bent over underneath the table, looking for her test subject. Standing up straight again, she placed a cage containing a small bird that hatched from what looked a day ago. Then, she pulled out a spoon and dipped it into the orange concoction. She opened the cage door by a little bit and slid the spoon between the crack, feeding the little hatchling the orange liquid.
"Eat up, little one, for in a few seconds, you will be a big one."
The hatchling choked down every drop. At first, it did nothing.
Suddenly, it started inflating like a balloon, shrinking like a raisin, bouncing off the cage walls uncontrollably, and it fell silent. The bird looked as dead as a drowned rat.
"Oh, haya! Is this some sort of cruel joke? I have followed all the directions, yet I made it croak," she huffed.
The hatchling was engulfed by a large puff of smoke. When it cleared, it revealed a beautiful, fully-grown cardinal. It sat in its cage, singing like an angel like nothing had happened. Zecroa sighed in relief and admired her work. Everything was perfect.
"Ah! Absolutely perfect! As for myself, I stand corrected."
She clenched her teeth down on the handle of the cage and made her way towards the front door. Sweetie Belle had to hide. She ducked behind one of the decorative masks that lingered outside near the zebra's abode. Zecora walked right past her and placed the cage down to the ground. Yanking the string that was attached to the latch, she opened the cage door for the cardinal to fly out.
Now was her chance! Sweetie Belle darted inside, grabbed a vial, poured the entire potion into it, and ran away.
Her little hooves beat the ground furiously and swiftly as she careened and swerved past bushes, trees, and large tree roots. She kept the vial gripped tightly in her teeth, but not too hard the she would break or crack it. After much running, she finally made it out. Just in case some other pony was going to walk on the road towards her, she went off-road to find a place to keep herself concealed. She did not want anypony to stumble upon her while she was going to drink the potion. She had to keep it a secret. She came upon a thick tree, with curtaining, thick leaves. She slumped down onto her rump in the shade, catching her breath. As soon as she got her breathing in rhythm, she spat out the vile into the hallow of her hoof.
Uncomfortable thoughts poured into the little filly's head. So, this was it. If she drank this, then she would be a mare for the rest of her life. Then again, was this potion temporary? She did not know, but nonetheless, she knew this was going to be a huge risk. What if she did not succeed in charming Connor? If so, then all of this would be for absolute naught. She would stay as a mare forever, never again to return to her current filly self. She was not sure if she would look at her friends ever again. Should she run away to a different town, abandoning her family and friends? She was afraid that it would have to be so. Temporary or permanent? She would have to find out for herself.
Her eyes clenched tightly as she hugged the small vial of potion. "Oh, please make this work..."
Sweetie Belle tore the cork off of the vial, and after counting to three, she tipped the vial, drinking the potion. Every... last... drop...
She placed the vial gently down, shut her eyes, and waited.
HOOMPH! Her cheeks expanded. Breaking her lips open, she let out a huge belch.
"WHAT!?" she squeaked furiously. "That's it?! Arrrrrrrgh! Zecora, you failed me!! You have fa--!"
She suddenly expanded like a balloon, shrank like a raisin, and bounced off the branches of the tree. Then, she fell silent, looking like a drowned rat.
POOF! Sweetie Belle was enveloped in orange smog. As it cleared, it revealed a fully grown mare. Her coat was white and flawless like snow. Her long, silky, wavy mane and tail laid upon the grass, unaltered by the thick grass blades. Her body was slender and smooth. She was not too boney or too chubby, but had supple curves, giving her the body of a supermodel.
"Ughhhh," she groaned. "Wha... what happened? Did it work? Di--EEP!"
She clasped her mouth with her hooves. Her voice sounded much deeper than she thought. Then, she looked at the rest of her fully-grown body. She was excited to see that everything held up nicely. Wait, but what about her face? She needed a mirror.
"Ow! What the buuuuhhh..." she growled, rubbing the top of her head. What had hit her?
She heard chittering. She looked up the trunk of the tree to see a squirrel skitter up the trunk and along the branches. Wait, did that squirrel just give her a mirror? There was no way a squirrel could carry a mirror that heavy.
BONK! Something else fell on her head.
It was an inkwell.
Now, where did--??
She looked up to find a rubber chicken fall on her face. Looking past the rubber toy, she saw a chess piece fall out of the knothole above her.
"Oh, right. Pinkie Pie's hidden emergency items," the now-fully-grown mare rolled her eyes.
She grabbed the mirror and brought it up to her face level. She gasped in surprise. She still had her green eyes and her periwinkle and light pink mane. She had lost her baby cheeks and other baby fat. Instead, she was greeted with a taller face, complete with smooth, slender cheeks, and a sweeping nose-bridge. She looked fantastic. The mare nearly squealed by how fantastic she looked. However, she also knew that she did not look fantastic enough. If she wanted to attract a colt like Connor, she would have to give herself some more pizazz. Eye shadow, lip gloss, eye shadow, blush, the works. She could not go to Rarity's. Her acute sense of detail would give Sweetie Belle away. She would have to go to a different salon. She continued to study her face, until she noticed her flank in the reflection.
Oh, no! She still didn't have her cutie mark! Even when she was in her mature form, it still did not show up. Unbelievable! Well, she should have expected that sooner. Cutie marks were really special. Tampering with them would only lessen its value as well as spoil the surprise. Besides, it could be covered with a skirt. Wait, how was she going to buy a skirt without anypony else noticing her blank flank?
A cloth fell out of the knothole and on top of the mare's head. Already at the end of her rope being rained upon by falling objects, she scrambled her hooves and clawed at her face, trying to get the mystery cloth off of her head.
Well, wouldn't you know about that?
A skirt. A periwinkle, ruffled one.
Thank you, Pinkie Pie.
"Annnnnnnd you are done! Tell me, ma'am, does it fit your needs?" the mare who owned the other salon in Ponyville asked.
Sweetie Belle looked at the mirror in placed in front of her seat. "Oh!" she exclaimed.
She looked fabulous! Her eyelids were thick with periwinkle eye shadow, gloriously ornate with black, lustrous mascara on her eyelashes. She was especially proud that her eyelashes were longer and one-hundred percent natural, unlike Rarity's. Her cheeks were as white as Princess Celestia's bath towels: pure, spotless, and ready to go. Except... her lips.
"Maybe the red lipstick is pushing it," she responded.
Wipe, wipe, wipe!
The grown mare stared at her reflection. "Actually, now that I look at it this way, maybe the lipstick isn't such a bad decision."
Whish, whish, whish!
"Ooooh, then again, maybe not. It kind of overshadows the rest, especially with that color."
Wipe, wipe, wipe!
"On second thought, they would look more kissable with it on."
"Yes, ma'am," the mare said through her teeth.
Whish, whish, whish!
"Oh, now I know why why I wanted it off in the first place..."
Wipe, wipe, wipe!
"You know, maybe--."
The salon pony could not take it anymore. Just to shut her up, she applied her a lustrous lip gloss, leaving the white unicorn with glossier lips.
"Perfect!" Sweetie Belle exclaimed.
Thank... Celestia! the mare sighed. "So, you are satisfied, Missssss...?"
Oh, crap! The white mare completely forgot about choosing her name. Putting "Sweetie" or anything that had the word, "sweet," would be pushing it. Her eyes darted around the room, looking for inspiration.
Lip Gloss? No.
Hair Dryer? No.
Pink Blush? No.
Hair Iron? No.
Hoof File? Hell, no!
Fillys' Room? Really?
Oh, those petunias in that vase looked really lovely.
Wait, that was it!
"Petunia," she answered.
"Ah, yes. Miss Petunia. That will be eight bits."
"Just a second," "Petunia" said.
She reached into the pocket of her ruffled skirt and took out her small purse. Clicking it open, she dumped out ten bits. She was really glad that that knothole in the tree had money in it. Again, thank you, Pinkie Pie.
"Thank you, ma'am. Here's your change."
"Keep it, Miss Rosy Cheeks. You earned every bit of it."
She pushed through the doors of the salon. Her eyes adjusted painfully to the brightness of the afternoon from the dull lighting in the salon. She blinked until her eyes were comfortable. She tried her best not to rub them. She did not want to smear her new makeup.
This was it. Time to find and woo Connor. However, she was not going to just walk around like nothing had changed. No, she had to walk around with style. She puffed out her chest, tilted her head slightly upwards, and walked, making sure her hips swayed. After seeing how her older sister walked around for so many years, she was able to mimic every flow and inch of the process. She did want to be like her big sister when she grows up, after all. Now, she could, even though she was really young at heart.
As she walked deeper into town, she casually looked around to look for her favorite colt. Instead, she saw nearby colts and stallions staring at her in amazement.
"Who's the new filly?" a blue-maned, yellow colt asked as his eyes scanned her.
"Whoa! Hoo!" a brown-maned stallion exhaled. His pegasus girlfriend kicked his shins. "Ow!"
"Hellooooooo, ponay!" exclaimed a gray colt.
"Well, now that's bloody brilliant!" a brown colt with an hourglass cutie mark exclaimed.
Sweetie Belle smiled at the results. She was attracting colts and stallions better than honey with bees. She squealed inside, barely containing her outward expression. She knew this was going to be good. If she was able to attract colts and stallions like this, she was certainly able to attract Connor. Annnnnnnd, maybe with a little push in her charm, she could convince him to break up with Fluttershy. HA! Excellent!
She nearly lost her composure when she saw him. There he was! What perfect timing, too. He was at one of the kiosks selling cherries at the marketplace. She scanned his surroundings. Good, she did not have to wait in a line. She could just walk up right beside him.
A unicorn stallion who suddenly popped up right in front of her nearly scared her to death. This unicorn was baby blue, had a short, teased white and cobalt blue mane, and wore a rugged, worn-out, gray scarf. His muzzle was a darker shade of his coat, blending into his original color. His blue eyes stared eagerly into the white unicorn's soul.
"Name's WiseFree!" he smiled
"Uh, hello, er, WiseFree..." she responded. She tried her best to look past the eager colt. However, every angle she tried, his head got in front of her every time.
"What's your name?" the colt smiled brightly, eagerly waiting for an answer.
"Ooh! Lovely name for a lovely pony like you!"
"Mm-hmm, yeah!" Sweetie Belle nodded quickly. Was Connor still there? How would she know? This colt was practically getting in her view. Was there some way to blow past this conversation quickly? She could not lose her favorite colt.
The colt sprang up and leaned on a nearby pole, going for the more casual, cool approach. "So, what do you do for a living?"
Hoo, boy. There was another aspect she missed. If she was going to approach Connor and start a conversation, she would most likely be asked what her career was. How did she forget that? She was so focused on getting her stallion, that it obviously slipped her mind. Well, now was the time to rehearse.
Come on, think! Think, Sweetie Belle!
Press flowers? No, that was Lily's job.
Collect flowers? No, that was too boring for her.
Run a flower shop? No, that was Roseluck's job.
Clean flowers? Wait, what kind of career was that? There was no such thing, was there?
Gardening? Nope, Carrot Top's job.
"Making perfume," she finally answered.
"Oh, really?" WiseFree exclaimed. "Ooh, that's cool! Really cool!"
"Petunia" nodded quickly. Should she resume this conversation for a little while longer? She could use the practice.
"I make perfu--I mean, cologne, too," the colt resumed speaking. "It's called, 'Wise, Free, and Foxy," and there's always plenty of it to go around, if you catch my drift," he winked.
"Hey! Isn't that Fleur-de-Lis, the hottest model in Equestria?" Sweetie Belle pointed.
"What?! Where?" the baby-blue colt looked to where she was pointing.
She dashed directly past him.
"Oh, wait, that's only a white pony with a pink mane. Oh, it's okay, everypony makes mistakes. It's only nat--," the colt turned to see that "Petunia" was gone. He slapped a hoof onto his face, sighing. "Ugh... really? I had to go with the pick-up line? What on earth was I thinking? Well, more cologne, it is!" He sprayed on some Colt Spice.
Behind a grapefruit kiosk, Sweetie Belle sighed in relief. Thank Celestia... she thought that would never end. She got up, fixed her mane, and looked in her mirror for any flaws. She was still good to go. She still looked as pretty as freshly cut diamond. Whipping around, she resumed her way toward to the kiosk where her crush was, without even opening her eyes.
When she opened her eyes, he was gone.
"Oh, ponyfeathers!" she stomped her hoof in frustration. "Now, where am I supposed to find him?"
"Excuse me, I'd like to buy a twenty-four pack of limes please," said a familiar voice nearby.
Turning to the voice, Sweetie Belle saw that Connor was at the citrus fruits kiosk. She thanked Celestia that he was gone completely. She trotted over to meet him.
Suddenly, she found her face flat on the ground. Passersby gasped toward the lovely mare. What the hay had happened? She struggled to get up when she realized the tip of her front hoof was behind a pile of apples which were hap-hazardously placed on the ground. She realized that she had tripped. She noticed that her mirror, purse, and tube of lip gloss had spilled onto the ground.
"Holy crap!" she heard a voice directly next to her. "Man, that looked like it hurt!"
Her face instantly turned to the owner of the voice.
"Are you okay?" Connor asked.
"Oh! Y-yes, I'm okay. Sorry, my little mind just wandered off."
"Happens to me, too. Here, let me help you with your things."
"Oh! Thank you, kindly, good sir," she smiled.
The colt lifted the mare onto her hooves and helped her pick up her belongings. As he was picking up her items, Sweetie Belle gulped. This was it. She could not mess this up. All she had to do was to charm him.
"Here," the colt said as he hoofed her her purse.
"Thank you," she said. Then, she gasped like she was surprised. Her eyes never turned away from him.
"Uh, are you okay?"
"Oh, I'm so sorry. My little mind just lost itself again. It's just... I've never noticed how handsome you look right now."
The colt blushed. A pretty mare like her just called him handsome at first sight. As good as it felt to be complimented, something felt off.
"Thank you," he spoke. "But... we haven't even met yet."
"Oh, silly me!" he tilted her head, making an impression like she was stupid. "Sorry to be so rude. My name is Sweeti--I mean, Petunia. What is yours?"
"'Connor'! Ooh, sounds exotic!"
"Thank you," the colt smiled humbly.
"Wait," she paused. "That name... That cutie mark... You're that human, well, you used to be, but aren't you? Equestria's First Human?? The rockstar??"
The colt only smiled, bracing himself for meeting another fanfilly. "That'd be me."
"Oh, Celestia's mane! I thought I'd never see this day coming! Your music sounds so exotic! Your 'metal', right? I've heard you on the radio. They never mentioned that you looked so dashing." She fluttered her eyelashes as she gazed upon him flirtatiously.
"Oh! Well, thank you, um, Miss Petunia," the colt grinned, stunned by the compliment she had just given him. "And, you don't look so bad yourself."
"And they never mentioned that you had such good manners! Oh, it is such a delight to meet you! Tell me, is that your career?"
"Oh, it's only a hobby. I never saw it as a career."
"You should make it your career!" she insisted as she blindly put some oranges in a small bag. "You make it sound so professional. You could be famous all around the world!"
"Well, I think I already am, don't mean to brag. As the first human to walk in Equestria."
"Who says you can't be even more famous?"
"Maybe, but I'm satisfied with what I got here for now."
"Mmm, so modest, too. Not what you'd expect from most celebrities."
Connor chuckled humbly.
"You know, you really interest me. We should get together soon and know each each other better."
"Yeah. We should really go out sometime. Say, are you free tonight?"
"Oh, sorry. I got a fillyfriend," the colt said.
Yeah, she expected that kind of answer. "Awww..." she pouted coyly. "Really? You're already taken? Oh, poo..."
"But, I still would like to just hang out with you as a new friend."
She really wanted him to say, "Sure! Forget about my girlfriend! She's dead to me!", but he did not. She did not want him just for a friend. But, wait! If she hung out with him enough, his feeling for her would eventually grow and would drive him to dump Fluttershy on his own. She was pretty enough to manipulate him to do that, so why not?
"Yes, of course. I always enjoy making new friends," she winked.
"Great! Anyhoo, I've gotta get back to work. I'll catch you later next time," he smiled politely. "Nice meeting you!"
"Nice meeting you, toooooo!" she called in a sing-song voice. "I love your musiiiic!"
The colt disappeared among the crowd.
Sweetie Belle huffed through her nostrils. "Catch you later next time," he said? Well, next time was going to be right now! She knew where he worked, so she could meet him there and pretend that she did not know that he worked there. Besides, bars were places where the most hook ups occurred.
"Soooooo!" WiseFree trotted up to her, acting casual. "I happened to notice that you are looking for some fruit? MInd if I buy them for you? I can get you the most delicious fruit that anypony has ever--."
"Drop dead," she huffed, flicking her tail and trotting away.
"Hoo, hoo, hoo! This kitten's got claws!"
"Cherry Limeade, I'm back!" Connor called as he entered the bar, bag slung around the base of his neck. "I've got more cherries and limes for the cherry limeade, like you wanted."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa there, slick!" the red-maned, green mare said, placing a hoof on her hip. "Cherries and limes?? I said I wanted starfruit and tangerines!"
"Ah, so you've finally caught up with me!" she laughed. "Well, now you are officially hired!"
"Shut up!" the colt laughed, giving her the bag.
"So, what's up so far? Any interesting happening there? That place can be full of surprises."
"Well," he began. "I just met a mare there."
"Yeah? And..?" she insisted him to keep talking.
"And... she was... really hitting on me."
"Mmmm!" she hummed slyly. "Well, well, well! Didn't know you had it in you! So you are attracting mares left and right. Soon, all the mares of Equestria will be hanging off of you. You guitar-playing bachelor, you!"
"Shut up, I'm already dating Fluttershy. Besides, I'm not even that hot."
"Awwwww, should I arrange a dinner date here? This new mare sounds promising!"
The lime-colored mare chortled as she wiped down a shot glass. "Anyway, thank you for getting those limes and cherries for me. We're going to need them for the Open Mike Night tonight."
"That's tonight? Wow, I completely forgot about that," Connor clapped his cheek with his hoof.
"Well, it is. Plus, before you forget any further, you might want to hook up your guitar to the speakers. Don't forget the microphone, either."
Sweetie Belle was just outside the front door. She could just waltz right in there, but it would be all too soon. She needed to time her entry just right. If she went in too soon, Connor might think she would be stalking him.
Also, when was this Open Mike Night going to start? She noticed a sign taped on the door.
"Open Mike Night @ 7:00," it read.
What time was it now? She looked at the clock tower.
"One o' clock??" she squeaked in disbelief.
No! Too long! She had to act. Not now, though. She had to time it perfe--.
"'Scuse me, miss!" said a voice behind her.
Sweetie Belle flinched in surprise to hear it so suddenly. She whipped her head around to see Apple Bloom and Scootaloo standing next to her. Suddenly, her entire body grew cold.
"Um, y-y-yes?" she smiled nervously.
"We believe ya dropped something back at the marketplace," the country filly said, extending a hoof to offer her her tube of mascara. "My, my, my! Kalvin Klop's 'Leur'! Ah heard that's a purty expensive and rare brand of mascara to come around. Ya better be careful, ma'am!"
"Must've cost a fortune!" Scootaloo exclaimed.
"Oh!" the mare blushed sheepishly, jittering nervously. "Th-thank you, girls! Thank you kindly."
Why was she acting this way? She was cleverly disguised, but why was the scary feeling that they were going to find out occurring?
"Ah haven't seen you before," Apple Bloom smiled. "Are ya new here?"
"No, I mean, yes! I am new here. I just came from... Fillydelphia."
"Well, pickle mah ponytail! That's a long trip!"
"I've always wanted to go there!" Scootaloo exclaimed. "I love the Fillydelphia Flyers. I've wanted to be at one of their games for, like, forever!"
"Yes, they... have been doing quite well."
"They're the best!"
"So what's yer name, miss?" the yellow, red-maned filly asked.
Her mouth felt like it was going to automatically say, "Sweetie Belle," but she coerced herself to not to.
"Hello, Miss Petunia! Purty name for a purty lady," Apple Bloom smiled.
"Aw, thank you, Misssssss..." she hissed, requesting the little filly's name, even though she clearly knew it like the back of her hoof.
"Apple Bloom of Sweet Apple Acres," smiled yours truly.
"And I'm Scootaloo," said the little pegasus.
"Oh! And to think I'm the only one with pretty names," "Petunia giggled.
"Y'know, ma'am, ah like ya already. We do, that is," the yellow filly said, slinging her foreleg around her friend's shoulders.
"Hey, would you like a tour of Ponyville? We're more than happy to give you one," Scootaloo said.
"Oh, I'm fine, thank you. This place is small enough for me to figure out, unlike Fillydelphia. Thank you for your offer, though."
"Okay," shrugged the fillies. "Feel free to ask us anytime you need a little more help."
"Great! Anyway, yer gonna git somethin' at the Guzzlin' Gallop? That's fun! Someone we know works there."
"Oh?" Sweetie Belle asked. "Who is it?"
"He used to be a human. He's a pony now. His name's Connor."
Sweetie Belle (or Petunia) gasped. "Really?? Ohmigawsh! I had just met him!"
"You did?" Scootaloo raised an eyebrow.
"Oh, yes! Equestria's First Human! I absolutely love his guitar skills."
"Well, you're in luck! You could meet him again in here."
"Great! Well, anyway, sorry we interrupted your visit. Stopped you right at the front door. Oy, we are such teases. Anyway, enjoy yourself, Miss Petunia!" the pegasus waved.
"Nice meetin' ya!" Apple Bloom waved.
"The same for me!" Sweetie Belle waved.
After walking a few feet, the two fillies took another look at "Petunia".
"Ya know, she kinda looks familiar," the country pony pondered.
"What do you mean?" the sporty pegasus asked.
"She kinda looks like Sweetie Belle."
"Aw, come on, Apple Bloom. Really?"
"Look at her! She's got the same coat color, same hair color, green eyes... everything Sweetie Belle has."
"Yeah, and Roseluck has the the same coat and hair color as Twist. Big deal! There are millions of ponies out there, Apple Bloom. I'm sure not one of them doesn't have a pony who looks exactly like him or her."
"Ah guess yer right."
Sweetie Belle sighed in relief as soon as the fillies' voices thinned out. Now that was out of the way, she finally found the notion to walk into the Guzzling Gallop. She took a deep breath, fixed her lovely, matured mane, and walked forward.
One... step... at a time...
As she pushed by the door, the air conditioning roared through the crack and blew at her face and mane. Wouldn't you know about that? It would make for a rather regal and dramatic entrance. She did not fight it; she only allowed it to beat against her mane, causing it to wave passionately as she walked in.
As she entered further in, she purposely tossed her head to emphasize the silkiness and delicateness of her mane. She fluttered her eyelashes as she fanned herself with her hoof.
"Whoo! My, my, isn't it hot outside! Oh! I could feel my fur moisten from all of that--(Gasp!) Connor!" the mare smiled brightly.
"Wha--? Oh, hey! Hey, Petunia!" the colt casually smiled, pleasantly surprised on seeing her again after such a short time.
"Small world, isn't it? Oh, and it seems that it just got hot in here, too! Whoo," she said, winking and fanning herself with her hoof once more.
"Well... I'm flattered," he smiled awkwardly, stunned yet again by her compliment.
"And what better than a nice, cold drink on such a hot day?" she winked. "Especially when it's prepared by a dashing new friend."
There she went again. Another unexpected compliment.
Cherry Limeade emerged from the swinging doors. "Hello, ma'am! Welcome to the Guzzling Gallop! Whoo, what a hot day today, amiright?"
"Oh, yes, ma'am! Especially with this handsome colt around," "Petunia" smiled.
"Oh! Well..." she coughed. "So, Connor, is this the new mare you have been talking about?"
The white mare gasped. "You've been talking about me? Awww, so nice to know that someone is thinking about me! You're really sweet, Connor."
Should Connor jot down a tally mark for every compliment she directed at him?
"Oh, it's just one of his out-of-character moments," the green mare said. "When pretty mares aren't around, he's a complete mule."
"Cherry..." the colt grumbled.
The lime pony gave him a punch on the shoulder. "Pphft! Aw, come on! I'm just playing around with ya!" She turned back to the withe unicorn. "Poor thing's just shy. He's not used to having really pretty mares talk to him."
"Don't you have some cherry limeade to make?"
"Right after this lovely, young lady gives me her order. So, what'll it be?"
Something snapped at the back of Sweetie Belle's mind. She was at a bar. So that meant... she was actually going to drink alcohol?? Now, there was a surprise she never expected. She knew she could not drink any of that stuff. She was a filly. It would be disastrous if she drank that sort of thing under age.
But, who said she looked under age?
"Oh! Ummm..." I think I'm going to regret this... "I would like to have your specialty drink, please."
"Cherry Limeade?" the lime-colored mare asked.
"Cherry Limeade," the white unicorn nodded.
"I'm just joking! My name is Cherry Limeade, by the way."
"Oh!" the white mare giggled. "That's funny!"
"Wehehell, I'll be back with your drink. Give me just a minute. In the meantime, you can talk to Mr. Single-and-Sassy, here."
"Har har, Cherry," Connor rolled his eyes. "You know Fluttershy and I are a couple."
The green bartender trotted to the other side of the bar, where most of the accessories and ingredients were for the drink.
"Yup, that's Cherry Limeade for you," the colt sighed. "The joker."
Petunia giggled. "You're funny."
The hell? He did not even attempt a joke.
"So! How about you tell me all about yourself?" she smiled, staring at him with her big, green eyes.
"Well... I might have already told you all about myself back at the market. Why don't you tell me about yourself? Do you have a job?"
"O-oh, yes! I make perfume."
"Yes. My specialty is making perfume that smells mostly of flowers. Single flowers to mixtures of flowers."
"Yes, I think flowers just smell more sensual and passionate. After all, who would not enjoy the hypnotizing scent of flowers?"
"I enjoy a good smell of flowers every so often."
"Excellent! We have so much in common!"
"So, are you new here?"
"Indeed, I am! I came from Fillydelphia."
"Nice. Did you move here or are you just visiting?"
"Visiting. Sad, really. I really like this place. I wish I could stay forever. Friendly folk, homey atmosphere, handsome colts," she said, winking at him.
He should find a piece of paper and a pencil. What number was that one? He should feel flattered and grateful that a lovely mare like her fancied him, but he was already in a relationship. He had to admit, she was definitely a looker compared to Fluttershy, but that did not meant that he was going to give in to her charms. His relationship with the yellow, pink-maned pegasus was very steadfast, and he did not feel like breaking it because of one charming mare.
"So, do you have any siblings at all?" Connor continued asking.
"None. It's just me. Well, of course I still have my parents," she giggled.
"Well, of course," he rolled his eyes, chortling friendly. "Do they live in Filliydelphia as well?"
"Yes, I mean, no! They live in... Cloudsdale."
"Really? But don't they both have to be pegasi to live there? I mean, you're a unicorn."
"Um... Well, my great aunt was a unicorn. Yeah!"
"Oh... I didn't know that it worked that way. Okay, then."
Sweetie Belle nodded nervously. Man, she should have put a little more time into creating her life. Luckily, Cherry Limeade placed the pinkish liquid directly in front of her.
"Here ya go, Miss Petunia! Enjoy!"
The mare felt the hairs stand on her forelegs. This was her first alcoholic drink ever. She swallowed the excessive saliva in her mouth resulting from her nervousness.
"Is something wrong?" Connor asked, noticing the uneasiness in her eye.
"Oh! It's nothing. It's just..."
"Surely, you've had an alcoholic drink before, right?"
"O-o-of course I have! It just looks... so good, I'm feeling all tingly."
She was about to lift the drink up to her mouth with her magic, until her magic had shut off just as she lifted it an inch into the air, causing it to drop back onto the table.
"Whoa, easy there," the colt said, flinching to catch it. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"Y-yes! Aw, so kind of you to show concern to ponies other than yourself! You're very considerate."
She gripped the glass in between her hooves and lifted it up to her mouth. Her nose made its way inside the glass, catching a whiff of cherries and limeade, mixed with the strong scent of alcohol. The scent filled and tickled her nose, causing it to wrinkle.
Connor was staring at her. What was wrong with her? It was only a drink! An... alcoholic drink... a drink with alcohol in it... legitimate alcohol...
Screw it! She had to suck it up and gulp it down.
And that she did. She instantly thrusted the bottom of the glass up into the air and began chugging at the concoction. Her throat shifted noisily and forcefully until the drink was gone.
Every... last... drop...
She set the glass down firmly as she fought back a massive cough from the strong fumes of the alcohol.
"Dude..." the colt gawked.
"Another!" Petunia said.
Gluck, gluck, gluck!
There went another cherry limeade.
Behind the glass was a blushing, glossy eyed, haggard-looking unicorn, who let out a loud belch, resulting from a quickly downed beverage.
"Uhhh, wow, Petunia... You're really quite the drin--."
"(HIC!) And who jus' duz thiz Fluttershy ponee think she iz? Frum whut you juz said about her, she'z shy?? Lemme tell ya somthin': bein' shy meanz... meanz dat one iz weak! She'z nothin'! She'z a like an inzignificant nobody! She'll be nothin' more than a raggedy ol' walking' mat! A pony like that? Datin' you?? Puh-leeze! I cood do zo much better than dat little softy. Uh mean, look at me! Uh'm gorjuhz! Da nerve of her to date a colt like you! She cood take all dose lil' animal friends of herz and shove 'em up her--! ZZZZZzzzzzzz..."
"Some admirer you got there, Connor-boy," Cherry Limeade mumbled to him.
"What the hell? Seriously! What the hell? I mean, who the hell is she to talk trash about my girl like that? My girl!" the colt exclaimed frustrsatedly.
"Plus, she only drank about two and a half glasses. Pretty lightweight, if you ask me. Has this girl even sipped an alcoholic drink in her life?"
"Well, she did now. You know, she says she's a real big fan of me... but, she's no fan of mine."
"Mm-mm! I couldn't agree with you more. Jeez, and she was so sweet before."
"Well, alcohol brings out the worst and truest in us. Goes to show you that's actually just a poser."
"Couldn't agree with you more."
"Whadja call me??" Petunia slurred before hiccuping mightily. Her cheeks puffed out. "Ohm... Ohm, Phuhlephtia! Exfcuphe me furhm a muhment?"
The white mare was gone in an eye blink as she ran to the restroom.
Time to worship the porcelain god.
"HUAAAAAAAAGH!!" retched the once-lovely-looking unicorn.
Pink liquid shot out of her mouth like garden hose and into the toilet bowl. Her eyes were filled to brim with tears from the clenching of her throat.
The hiatus of her vomiting signaled that she had run out of fluids to expel from her stomach. She wiped at her mouth with her tear-stained foreleg and cuddled on the floor near the toilet bowl.
So this was what alcohol felt like when too much was consumed. She resolved to never touch an alcoholic drink again in her life, even at legal age.
The silence of the bathroom helped calm the mare from the disgusting aftermath of vomiting. Soon, the silence was broken by the singing of a bird. It rung loudly, which meant that the bird decided to perch itself onto the windowsill of the bathroom. Sweetie Belle weakly looked up to look at the feathered visitor.
It was a beautiful, red cardinal. It sang proudly on the windowsill until a puff of orange smoke engulfed it. After the smoke cleared, it revealed a small hatchling, chirping desperately for its mother.
Wait... what just happened? Why did that cardinal--? Wait... was that cardinal from earlier today? The cardinal that emerged from a hatchling from Zecora's potion?
Poof! She was engulfed by orange smoke, revealing Sweetie Belle back to her former self as it cleared.
Wait... so that potion was only temporary?
Thank Celestia! She thought she was going to be stuck as a mare forever. It was fun until the drinking part. Now, she could not live the rest of her life abandoning her family and friends...
Crap, she was going to to have to worry about them all over again.
"Petunia? Are you finished in there?" Connor asked from behind the door.
Eep! She scrambled back up, despite feeling woozy and weak from the alcohol. As she climbed the toilet, her little hoof pushed the toilet handle, flushing the expelled vomit. She hopped up to grab the edge of the windowsill and crawled safely out. She landed roughly on her haunches on the other side.
"Ohhhhhhhh..." she moaned. Her head began to hurt after that hard landing.
"Petunia?" the colt asked again. "Huh! She's gone... Well, it's probably for the best. She was not my type anyway. Even if I did break up with Fluttershy, I would not date Petunia. Sorry, girl, but you blew it."
"Who ya talking to? Connor Number Two?" Cherry Limeade called from inside.
"Why, yes! Yes, I was!" the colt responded.
Sweetie Belle hung her head.
She failed... She failed to complete everything on her list. Looks, kindness, age... What was the point?
No! It was not over!
There was only one thing left to do...
She grabbed a piece of chalky mulch and scribbled on her list...
To be continued.