20w, 3dThe Writer's Group
Angel Bunny relaxed beneath a tall tree growing behind Fluttershy’s Cottage, the shade from the leaves only just sheltering him from the Sun’s warming rays. It was a beautiful summer day and he was bound and determined to enjoy it to the fullest, especially before a certain yellow-colored Pegasus decided she needed a certain Bunny’s help with the chores. He was suddenly broken out of his stupor by a high-pitched shriek that can only be made when a young filly’s delight reaches a boiling point. “Oh, thank you, daddy! Thank you!”
Angel opened one eye just enough to get a look at the offending pony. She was, just as he deduced, a young filly with a purple and white striped mane and a light pinkish coat. Standing behind her was an average-sized stallion with a slicked-back mane and a way-too-expensive tie. Opening the other eye, the bunny saw Fluttershy standing next to an armadillo, one of the “animal friends” she took care of. She nudged the curious mammal forward with one hoof. “Go on little one, say hello!”
The armadillo walked up to the filly and sniffed at her hooves experimentally. “Hehe! His whiskers tickle, daddy!” The little pink pony nuzzled her new friend and asked, “Can we name him Dollar Dillo, daddy?”
The stallion grinned. “I don’t see why not, Diamond”
There was a flash of delight in Angel’s eyes as the realization hit him; the stallion was Filthy Rich and he was here to get his daughter a pet from Fluttershy! A slow grin spread across his face; he wasn’t sure how it all worked out, but ponies getting a pet from Fluttershy always meant that that the two of them had a few extra bits to spend. Angel usually took the opportunity to remind his caretaker about the most amazing, most tantalizing, most mouth-wateringly crisp salad ever invented by ponykind. The salad that dreams were made of. He bounced over to where Diamond Tiara was playing with her new friend and gave the armadillo a “thumbs up.” “Dollar Dillo” smiled back at him, and then carried on prancing around with the filly. Angel looked over to see Fluttershy and Filthy Rich discussing payment and grinned as the stallion passed over a few bits.
“Oh, thank you, Mr. Filthy.” Fluttershy said as she tucked the bits into a little coin purse.
“It’s ‘Rich,’ ma’am,” The business-pony said with a sigh.
That last statement went unheard as Fluttershy walked over to Angel Bunny and scooped him up in her foreleg. “Isn’t it wonderful when somepony finds the joy of animals, Angel?” Thinking about his future salad, Angel couldn’t help but nod in agreement.
Angelic Disposition: Part One
Diamond In The Rough.
Angel sulked as he rode on Fluttershy’s back, “I told you we didn’t have time to go to the market today, Angel Bun. We simply have too many errands to run.” He tapped his foot impatiently. “No, we can’t put off on helping Screwloose with her dogs; it just wouldn’t be right.” He waved his front paws around excitedly. “No, Angel Bun, i’m not letting you go shopping on your own.” He then knelt down on her back, paws in a praying position. “Angel, sweetie, no means no. We’ll do it first thing in the morning tomorrow, I promise.”
Having given up on ever seeing the salad today, Angel decided to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Facing backwards, he was the first to see one of Fluttershy’s friends approaching. He nudged Fluttershy in the shoulder to give her a heads-up.
“Oh! Hello, Twilight, how are you today?”
The studious purple pony levitated a shiny new book out of her saddlebag. “I’m great; the library just got that new book you wanted to read! I couldn’t wait to bring it to you!”
“Oh my! Is it the Blah Blah Blah?”
“Yes! You’re gonna love the part where Blah Deedley Blah Blah Blah!”
Noting that the conversation was not about him, and most certainly not about salad, Angel figured that it was safe to tune the chatting mares out. He let his eyes wander as Fluttershy continued down the road to Screwloose’s house, near the edge of Ponyville. As they passed the park, he noticed that Diamond Tiara and Dollar Dillo were playing with another filly, one with a… A spoon for a Cutie Mark? Angel shrugged; he supposed that particular mark made about as much sense as a bunch of bubbles. He watched as they played, a smile spreading across his face as they pranced around the park. He didn’t have quite the sappiness that his caretaker did when it came to pets playing with their ponies, but it did bring warm feelings to his heart to remember how he felt when Fluttershy had picked him out of the litter.
The fillies started rolling the armadillo back and forth like a small ball, giggling with joy. Diamond Tiara looked up and saw something on the other side of the park; motioning that she would be right back, she walked towards whatever it was. Noticing that she was headed a little closer to where Fluttershy and Twilight Sparkle were walking, he decided that whatever the pink filly was about to do had to be way more interesting than what the pegasus and the unicorn were blabbing about; why not eavesdrop?
“Because it’s sneaky and rude and dishonest!”
Angel looked back in shock, wondering if his pony friend had suddenly developed mind-reading powers. To his relief, they were just talking about the book’s main villain. Or something. He turned back to see where Diamond Tiara was headed, and saw that she had already closed in on one of the most boisterous organizations in all of Equestria: the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
Angel suddenly wished that he had a bowl of popcorn.
Diamond Tiara walked up to the CMC (that’s what most folks called the Cutie Mark Crusaders, at least the ones without a tongue-twister Cutie Mark of their own) and began her usual greeting. “Hey, guys! Anypony get their Cutie Marks yet? Or are you all still Blank Flanks!?”
“Go away, Diamond Tiara.” Apple Bloom was having none of it today, it seemed. “We’re busy.”
“How rude! I was just going to ask you three if you wanted to bring your pets over so that we could have our very own Pony Pet Playdate! Oh, wait,” The pink filly said with a sadistic grin. “You three don’t have pets. Do you?”
“You don’t have a pet either,” this time the remark came with a squeak from Sweetie Belle.
“Oh, you didn’t know? My daddy just got me a pet from Fluttershy, he’s an armadillo!” She then added with an absolutely disgusting smirk, “Do you even know what an armadillo is?”
“It’s a leathery-armored mammal of the order Cingulata, typically found in southern Equestria. It has a diet of mostly insects, grubs and other invertebrates.” Scootaloo found herself the subject of several disbelieving stares. “What? Can I help it if I had to do a report on them last semester?”
“Well…” It was clear that Tiara was having a hard time recovering from that little speed bump. “Well it’s not like you’ve actually seen one in real life before!”
“Oh, guys! Remember when Cheerilee brought an armadillo to show the class the other day!?” Sweetie Belle smiled as she remembered. Then her smile fell. “Oh, that was the day you were sick with hay fever, wasn’t it, Diamond?”
Now Diamond was getting mad. Mad as a hatter, if Angel had to guess. Pouting out her lower lip, it was clear that she was about to bring out the big guns, the crème de la crème of comebacks, the mother of all retorts…
“Well, well you’re just…”
Angel rolled his eyes; what an amateur.
Diamond noticed Apple Bloom walking over to the CMC’s combination scooter/wagon, affectionately called the “Scootsmobile,” and decided to pounce. “Where you going, redneck? Back home to mommy and daddy?”
Apple Bloom stopped walking, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle stopped breathing and Angel’s heart stopped beating. Diamond Tiara stood there, a smile of triumph on her face. In the distance, the filly with the spoon Cutie Mark could be heard shouting, “Come on, Diamond! We’re, like, waiting!”
Angel looked around to see if any other ponies had heard the conversation. Typically, no one noticed Diamond Tiara’s venom-spewing. The snotty filly began to walk away from the CMC, confident that she had officially ruined their day completely. This was the lowest Angel had ever seen Diamond stoop; she had been cruel before, but this was just plain nasty. As she got about halfway back to her spoony friend and her pet, Apple Bloom suddenly turned around and shouted at her, face as red as her barn door. “Ya’ll better run! If’n you don’t, you’ll find out eggz-actly how the Apple Family deals with Horse Apples lahk you!”
Tiara just stuck her snout in the air, nudging her friend. “Come on, Silver Spoon, it’s getting really lame out here.”
Silver Spoon looked at her friend, “Like, what happened?” The armadillo was looking from the CMC to his caretaker and back, just as confused as Silver.
“Someponies just don’t know when they’re beaten,” The pink filly said with a sigh. “Come on, we’ll play by the pond.”
Angel looked over at the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Apple Bloom was so angry that she was fighting back tears, while the other two were doing their best to consol her. Angel put his foot down determinedly, he was not just going to lie here and let Diamond Tiara get away with such a cop-out victory to her battle-of-the-wits! Thinking about it, he decided that she was also really mean; that should count against her, too. Of course, now he had to decide on just how to rain down just vengeance upon her…
As usual, Screwloose was having trouble communicating with her two dogs. Also as usual, the blue mare was about as nutty as a fudge factory. “I’ve been barking at them all day long, but they haven’t done a thing I’ve told them!” Angel began to wonder how she had ever gotten a job as a nurse at the hospital, when she clearly needed to be admitted there.
Fluttershy look a bit uncertain about how to handle this. “Well, um… Have you tried to bark in Doberman?”
“Doberman, Cocker spaniel, I’ve even tried Chihuahua! Nothing works! All they do all day is just…” She motioned to the dogs. The two of them sat there like good little puppies; mouths wide open, tongues hanging in the breeze and blank stares in their eyes. “You see!?”
Fluttershy looked at the dogs, then at the ground. She thought for a couple of seconds before turning to Screwloose. “Um… What have you been trying to tell the dogs to do all day?”
Screwloose motioned Fluttershy closer and whispered in her ear. Fluttershy’s eyes widened and Angel began to think that he didn’t even want to know. He was right. “A-actually,” Fluttershy replied, it’s your job to clean up their… Leftovers. Not theirs.”
The blue coated mare looked at Fluttershy like she had just overturned everything she had ever believed. “My job? What are you talking about?”
Fluttershy went into Full Caretaker Mode, “It’s part of your job as the caretaker of these dogs to feed them, train them, clean them up and clean up after them, and protect them from those they cannot protect themselves from.” She looked at the dogs; they seemed to be hanging upon her every word. “Part of that is cleaning up their, um, Leftovers…”
Fluttershy wrinkled her nose, “Didn’t we have this discussion when you got them from me?” Angel would have bet on Screwloose needing to hear the speal every couple of months, if he read the clues about said pony’s mental state right.
Screwloose was beginning to get a nervous twitch in her eye, so Fluttershy decided to wrap it up. “Well, how about this; if you need your dogs to follow you, or to stay, or something that dogs actually need to do…” Angel could tell the pegasus wasn’t sure that she was getting though, yet like a trooper she continued on. “Then talk to them, but not with barking. Speak firmly, calmly, and simply; and tell them what you need them to do, ok?”
Fluttershy smiled uneasily, hoping that she had gotten though to the addled nurse. Screwloose squinted her eyes at the yellow pegasus, examining her from head to toe. With a suddenness that would have left Pinkie Pie reeling, she snapped out of it and smiled at Fluttershy. “Well, alright then, you’re the expert!”
She led Fluttershy and Angel away from the dogs and into the front yard. “You’ve been so helpful, I can’t thank you enough!”
Giving his caretaker some bits that would probably find better use paying for therapy; she practically shoved them into the street. Fluttershy watched Screwloose disappear behind the house, giggling like crazy. “Um, glad to help?”
She started down the road, doing her absolute best to keep a steady pace and not to run for the hills. Angel patted her on the head, hoping that she wasn’t too nervous after her encounter with the odd mare. She smiled at the bunny, “Oh, don’t worry, Angel, I’ve gotten used to Miss Screwloose by now.” A frown appeared on her face and her eyes grew wide. “At least, I think I have.”
Angel cupped his head in his paws, motioning that maybe she should go back to the cottage to rest for a bit. “Well, that was the last errand I needed to do today… And it is getting dark… Maybe you’re right.” She turned down the road leading to the edge of town. Angel smiled and stuck a small carrot in his mouth; he loved it when a plan came together.
Fluttershy had turned in for the evening after the both of them had watched Celestia lower the sun and Luna raise the moon. Angel checked to make sure she was sleeping soundly, and then crept out of a small window in the back of the house. He had decided that the only payment that could truly answer for Diamond Tiara’s actions was a prank. A merciless prank, designed to humiliate her and bring her down! To show her how it feels to be on the other side of the teasing! Angel threw his head back and unleashed the most dastardly, most maniacal, most villainous laugh that he’d ever laughed!
Looking back and forth to make sure that no one had heard his rather pathetic attempt; Angel bounced his way over to where ponyville’s most notorious prankster lived… Rainbow Dash’s house. Hopping up to the floating cloud-house, he stood underneath its main entrance and coughed, just a little “ahem" to get the occupant’s attention. No answer. He “ahemed” again, louder this time. Still no answer. He took a dead breath in preparation for the next assault on his little bunny throat, until he noticed a small green head poke its way over the side of the cloud. Angel waved at his friend and a smile slowly spread across the tortoise’s wrinkly head. The earthbound bunny was about to signal for his aerial friend to bring him up to the house, but the head disappeared back behind the cloud.
Nothing happened for several minutes, leaving Angel to tap his foot on the ground, wondering just what was taking the other pet so long. Suddenly, a green blur shot out of the cloud, zipped down to the ground and stopped inches from Angel’s face. The bunny glared at the Floating tortoise, held aloft by a high-powered beanie propeller. Tank the Tortoise just grinned back toothlessly. Angel pointed towards the house, hoping for Tank to fly them both up there. Tank blinked with all the speed of a lethargic snail. Angel motioned towards himself, then to Tank, then finally to the floating house. Tank slowly looked from the bunny, to himself, to Rainbow Dash’s domicile and then back to Angel. Angel laid his head in his paws and sighed, what he wouldn’t give for a pair of pony vocal chords. He was about to attempt another explanation, when he suddenly felt his feet leave the ground. Tank carried him up to Rainbow Dash’s house quick enough that the bunny thought that his stomach had been left behind. The flying pets zipped through the front door and Tank dropped Angel down on the entry way floor.
The entry way floor that was, as far as Angel could recall, made up entirely of cloud.
Little Mr. Bun screamed as he fell, knowing that without some sort of magical spell, any visitor who was not a griffon or a pegasus had about as much of a chance of standing on a cloud as they had of sprouting wings and flying away. Angel considered his life up to this point, had he any regrets, or any unfulfilled wishes? Had he been the best pet he could be for Fluttershy? Had he done all he could to bring her out of her shell? Was there anything he could have changed…?
Angel opened his eyes, expecting to see a divine light, welcoming him home to Bunny Heaven. Instead he found himself staring into the eyes of a very confused tortoise. He sat up and patted the ground beneath him, it felt like he was sitting on Linoleum. He looked down and saw that, yes, it was indeed linoleum. He looked around the house and saw that while most of the floor was cloud, there was a very distinct path of what looked like various flooring, from hardwood to tiles. He noticed a post-it note by the front door, “Please stay on the special path or YOU WILL DIE! Wipe hooves, also.” He suddenly recalled a conversation between Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash about the possibility of installing special flooring for non-pegasus visitors. Angel mused at his own short-sighted plan, just what had he planned to do once he got up to the house, anyway? Stand on furniture?
Turning back to Tank, he decided that it was time to get the ball rolling and tell the armored reptile his ingenious plan. Reaching behind his back, Angel pulled out a flannelgraph. Placing some recently clipped out Diamond Tiara and Cutie Mark Crusader flannel figures in the proper positions, he began to pantomime the events that took place earlier that day. Placing a speech-bubble-shaped piece next to Diamond, he did his best to represent her teasing and nastiness, while at the same time attempting to portray the CMC’s pain and anguish. Tank watched quietly, nodding occasionally in understanding. Next, Angel outlined his plan for retribution to Tank, going over every detail. Holding his paw out to Tank for a pawshake, Angel asked the tortoise if he was willing to participate. Tank slowly looked down at the hand, then back at Angel’s face. He blinked again; even more painfully slow this time. Then, creakily enough that at first Angel thought that Tank was about to sneeze, a smile spread across the reptile’s face. He started to reach his green foot out, so Angel Bun closed the gap and gave Tank’s foot a good shake.
They headed down the path to gather supplies from Rainbow Dash’s stash of goodies; a can of itching powder, two paint brushes and some specially tinted pink and grey paint. Tank looked at Angel and pointed to the grey paint, raising an eyebrow. Angel pulled out a Silver Spoon flannel figure and put the Diamond Tiara figure next to it, indicating that they were together. Tanks shrugged and continued packing the supplies. Angel knew that Silver hadn’t been teasing the CMCs earlier that day, but figured that his prank would be more effective if Diamond’s fellow bully suffered, too.
As they carried their equipment to the back door, they heard a voice come from the entrance. “Aw, finally! I was beginning to think that we’d never be able to get rid of that stupid hail storm.” Tank shoved Angel further down the path, pointing him towards the exit. The Reptile-copter zipped his way into the kitchen and arranged some letter-magnets in the order “BRB” on Rainbow’s fridge. Zinging his way back to Angel, the two pets flew out the back door and headed to the ground. Just before they got to “ground floor,” Angel saw a rainbow-striped tail through the kitchen door and heard Rainbow Dash express her disappointment. “Aw, Tank. Now I gotta go look for you.”
The dastardly duo moved quickly through the outskirts of Ponyville. Passing the shops, they soon found themselves in the more “expensive” part of town, home to a few business ponies as well as at least one eccentric million-mare. Angel read the house numbers while Tank focused on flying straight with all of their equipment. Reaching the proper house, Angel dove into a bush and motioned for Tank to follow him. Sighing in relief, the burdened Whirly-Herp complied.
Crawling their way to one of the windows and peaking inside, they could see Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon playing with Dollar Dillo by the hearthside. Angel rubbed his paws together in fiendish glee; he hadn’t expected Silver Spoon to be having a sleepover at Tiara’s house, this made their job half as complicated.
Sitting in a chair by the fireplace, Filthy Rich was reading the financial section of the local newspaper. Looking at a timepiece, he told the two fillies that it was time for bed with predictably unhappy results. Angel yanked on Tank’s tail, pulling him towards the bedroom window. Now they just had to wait until the opportune moment for their righteous retribution.
Several hours later, the opportune moment had yet to arrive. The fillies chatted about this and that, seemingly with no end in sight. Angel idly began to dream up ways to prepare the prank while the earth ponies were still awake, though where the pets would get properly fitting ninja outfits was anypony’s guess. Grabbing his fannelgraph, Angel plotted out a flank-painting contraption that would have left Ruben Coltberg in a daze. Before he got really into it, Tank pointed towards the fillies, they had finally sunken into deep sleep. Grinning with impish glee, the oh-so-angelic buck carefully opened the window, slipped inside and found himself face-to-snout with a very confused armadillo. Tilting his head to the side, Dollar was clearly wondering as to the exact reason that Fluttershy’s and Rainbow Dash’s pets were sneaking into his new house, with supplies of unknown intent. Angel grinned nervously, “aheming” and signaling to Tank to please give the nice Armadillo an explanation. Tank looked at Angel with a frown, made a “zipping the lip” motion and pushed the bunny towards Dollar Dillo.
Faced with the fairly sharp claws of an angry armadillo, Angel pulled out the flannelgraph and began to explain. And, boy oh boy, did he ever regret conceiving of the plan in the first place. The armored mammal’s face went from angry, to indignant, to absolutely flaming Furious! How dare they come into his home and threaten his family? How dare they attempt to humiliate the filly who had shown Dollar nothing but kindness? Angel’s mind was racing, he had to find a way out, he just had to! The bunny’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head as he saw the armadillo grab the paint cans from Tank, pop open the lid of the pink paint and dunk the unfortunate tortoise head first. Before he could move, Angel felt his own head pushed inexorably into the grey paint. Lifting the co-conspirators into the air, Dollar Dillo flung them out of the window before closing it, this time firmly locking it.
Angel lay in a puddle of rapidly mixing grey and pink paint. He pulled the can off of his head and unconsciously began itching his scutt. So much for that plan, it would have been hilarious to see the two stuck-up fillies waking up to find that their precious Cutie Marks had mysteriously disappeared in the night. He scratched at his tail again. It would have been icing on the cake to see them constantly irritated both mentally and physically by their blank flanks, thanks to the itching powder. His eyes bugged for the second time in as many minutes; that same itching powder just happened to be lying in the spot that he had landed, and he had fell with just enough force to break the bottle. Angel sighed; at least Rainbow Dash’s Prank Paint came off in water.
The two multicolored pets walked slowly through town, partially because Tank’s whirligig was damaged in the scuffle, partially because Angel couldn’t make more than a few hops before having to scratch his behind feverishly. They made it about to the cake’s residence before Rainbow Dash finally caught up with them. “What the hay happened to you!? I’ve been Sooo worried about you, Tank! You know you’re not supposed to be out after dark, it’s dangerous for a little guy like you! I looked everywhere for you!”
It was at this point that she noticed a pink/grey colored bunny rabbit doing its best to hide behind the berated reptile. “So you’re the one that put him up to this, huh? Does Fluttershy know you’re out so late?” Angel shook his head dejectedly; there was no way to avoid the oncoming punishments. “So, can you tell me what you two were up to?”
Angel’s ears stood straight up; in a flash of brilliance, he knew what he had to do. He was gonna fib. He brought out his astonishingly unmarred flannelgraph and outlined his newly crafted plan. “You were gonna make Pinkie Pie think that she had lost her Cutie Mark!?” Rainbow Dash fell out of the sky, her body raked with laughter. “Haha! Oh, that’s rich! So, what was the grey paint for?” Angel itched his irritated rump again, desperately trying to think of a decent fib. He failed; who else in Ponyville had a grey coat?
“Ah, never mind. Tank, you know that I’ll help you with any pranks you and your friends think up, you didn’t have to sneak out like that. Let’s get Angel back to Fluttershy’s and get you back home for a bath, we’re gonna have a little talk, mister!”
After promising with utmost fervor that he would tell Fluttershy what he did that night (not a fib, he would tell her after they finished shopping for ingredients), Angel entered his bunnyhouse and settled down for a long night’s rest.
About an hour later, the rooster crowed.
The multicolored bunny rose from his bunnyhouse, walked up to the crowing rooster and kicked him soundly between the legs. “Cockadoodle-bwack!” Angel grinned at his own personal snooze button. He had just closed his eyes when he heard a voice call out, “Wake up, Angel Bunny, time to get ready for a day at the market!” Angel looked up at the sky and groaned; couldn’t Celestia use just a few more hours of sleep? He certainly could.
Fluttershy hovered over to him, smiling softly as she coerced him to wakefulness. He rolled over, doing his best to hide his eyes from the bright sun. The yellow pegasus nudged him gently, “Come on, Angel, we’re going shopping for a very special little snack, remember?” It was at this point that she got close enough to see that his normally pristine white coat was now an odd combination of grey and pink splotches.
“Oh my goodness! Angel, what happened to your fur?” She asked, gently as always. Angel started up a pantomime routine that would have made Harp O’Marks proud. Between the arm flapping, the running in place and the silly facial expressions, little Mr. Bun managed to convey… Well… Not much, really. He was getting sick of explaining himself. What he wouldn’t have given for a pair of pony vocal chords…
Collapsing in a heap, the tired animal friend pointed to Fluttershy’s rainbarrel, then made a scrubbing motion with his paws. Understanding immediately, for once, Fluttershy grabbed a sponge and began to wipe the paint off of Angel. “Oh, dear. Did you get caught up in one of Rainbow Dash and Pinkie’s pranks? I know they don’t mean any harm, but they should be more careful about who they surprise.”
She began scrubbing his right foot, then his left. “I hope you’re not going to be too tired to help me go to market, Angel.” He sighed and shook his head, he wasn’t gonna miss this, even if it meant he was going to miss out on prime nap-time.
Finishing off the last of the cleaning, Fluttershy beat her wings quickly, creating a makeshift blow-dryer for her bunny. After suffering the inevitable humiliation of briefly looking like a fuzzy white ball of fluff, Angel brushed his fur down and hopped up on Fluttershy’s back, ready for a day preparing for the salad of his dreams.
After gathering her saddlebags, Fluttershy began walking down the path to the town. Looking at her shopping list, the quiet mare went over the ingredients. “Now let’s see… Fresh asparagus, ripe tomatoes…” She frowned. “Cherries… I think I’ll get those first this time.” Angel nodded in agreement. “Lettuce, of course. Carrots, definitely.” She rolled up the list so that she could focus on walking. Smiling, she looked at her pet. “I think we’re good to go, Mr. Bun.”
They reached the market just as the various shops were opening up. It being the weekend, there were quite a bit of families shopping together. Colts, mares, fillies and stallions made their way through the shops; barters were made, goods were purchased and general controlled chaos presided. Fluttershy was a bit out of her element; Angel could see it from her darting eyes and the subconscious shrinking of her profile. Patting her head gingerly, Angel Bunny smiled at her and pointed over to where most of the fruit stands had gathered. The nervous shopper smiled back at him and nodded her head.
She walked up to the cherry stand and confidently spoke to the vendor, “I would like two cherries, please.”
Noting who she was, and remembering his last encounter with her, the salespony took full advantage of the situation. “That’ll be twenty bits, please,” he said with a grin.
Fluttershy looked slightly taken aback, but quickly recovered. “Twenty bits? Isn’t that a bit, um, excessive?”
He grinned wider, “Sorry, dollface, but that’s the deal with supply and demand. Sometimes, the supply can’t meet the demand.”
She looked down at the veritable mountain of cherries on his cart, eyebrow raised. “I don’t suppose you’d be willing to part with two cherries for four bits?”
He shook his head, “Not gonna happen, these are prime cherries right here! I could take it down to, hmm…” He tapped a hoof against his chin. “Fifteen bits!”
Fluttershy smiled sweetly, “Would you take five bits?”
His expression grew slightly frustrated; Angel could tell that this encounter wasn’t going how the Stallion had anticipated. “Look, lady, I can take it down to fourteen bits, that’s seven bits a cherry and that’s my final offer.”
Fluttershy looked thoughtful, “Seven bits for the cherries, you say?”
The cherry salespony rolled his eyes, “Yeah, that’s right, seven bits.”
Fluttershy placed seven bits on the table, taking two cherries and placing them into her saddlebags. “Oh, thank you, sir. It was a pleasure shopping from you.”
The stallion grinned at the complement, “The pleasure was all mine!” He looked down at his earnings and gave a start. “Waitaminute…”
Fluttershy was already walking across the market, a triumphant smile on her face. Angel was giggling uncontrollably; he had no idea that his caretaker was capable of smooth moves like that! He looked at her inquiringly, wondering where she had gotten the guts. “Oh, Rainbow Dash has been helping me learn how to act confident, even if I don’t really feel confident.”
She walked towards the next vendor and continued her explanation. “I have Iron Will to thank for it, really. Even if I wasn’t satisfied with the methods he taught, the whole episode really did make me realize that I needed to show a little confidence, if I wanted the most out of life.” She looked at her pony pet friend tenderly, “Of course, it’s not perfect… Yipe!”
While she had been talking with her pet, Fluttershy had accidently collided with a blue earth pony stallion. “Sorry! Sorry!” She shouted apologies to him as she made her escape into the crowd. Angel raised an eyebrow at his friend, and she smiled back bashfully. “Like I said, it’s not perfect.”
Passing a stand selling fruit punch, they continued more or less back along Fluttershy’s escape route. As Fluttershy once again pulled her list out to decide what ingredient to get next, somepony caught Angel’s eye. Filthy Rich had come to the market to pick up a few essentials, and he had brought Diamond, Dollar, and Silver with him. Now this was an opportunity the bunny prankster could not pass up. Looking about the town square, he searched for potential humility-inducing setups. As he searched, he noticed a little red wagon rumble down Mane Street; a little red wagon being pulled by a scooter and carrying three excited fillies. The trickster grinned; he would never have dared to hope that this day could go so well.
“Yes, and I’ll take two bags of the feed, please.” Angel looked and saw that Fluttershy had bought two bags of those nasty dried mulch pellets that Equestria had the audacity to call “pet food.” He also noticed that, before her voice had interrupted his thoughts, she had bought a small bag of treats to be given sparingly to her animals. Sneaking the treat bag out of her saddlebags and behind his back, Angel took his chance.
The bunny nudged Fluttershy and pointed over to where the objects of his displeasure were playing. Fluttershy, still unaware of her pet’s intent, smiled and spoke, “Would you like to go over and play with your friends while I finish shopping?” He smiled sweetly and nodded.
Sniggering evilly, Angel Bun hopped over to the punch vendor next to where the snooty trio was playing and tossed one treat halfway between the fillies and the stall. As planned, Dollar Dillo’s keen nose picked up on the savory treat; he waddled over and began to munch. While Dollar devoured the unexpected treat, Angel tossed another treat halfway between the first treat and the stall. Discovering another unexpected treat, the happy armadillo closed the distance a bit faster than last time. Angel tossed a third, then a fourth, and then finally a fifth treat towards the armored mammal. Dumping the remaining contents of the bag on the ground in front of the stall, the devious little bunny hopped onto the table next to one of the punch bowls. Dollar Dillo walked up to the pile without a thought and started feasting.
By this time, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon had noticed that the armadillo was no longer with them. They walked over to where he was eating and Diamond spoke, “What are you doing over here Dillo? Did you find something?”
Angel waited just a few seconds more for “The Scootsmobile” to roll into view, then he dumped the large bowl of fruit punch on the three assembled antagonists. A loud shriek filled the market air as two fillies suddenly came in contact with a deluge of cool, refreshing, sticky juice. The two fillies had no idea what had happened, they were too shocked to think about the why, and soon began concerning themselves with the what.
“Augh! My mane is ruined!”
“My tiara’s going to tarnish!”
“Ooh, the ground’s all muddy!”
The CMC were just a few feet away now, the Scootsmobile going at full speed. Angel allowed himself a satisfied smiled; the prank wasn’t quite as spectacular as the one he had planned for the previous night, but overall it served its purpose. He leaned on another punch bowl so that he could enjoy the scene in total comfort.
“You rotten little thing! You spilled my punch!” Berry Punch’s shout startled the rambunctious bunny and he gave a start. Losing his balance, he grabbed on to the punch bowl for support. He soon regretted his decision as he fell off of the table, the bowl of punch toppling after him. Landing in the now muddy road, he pushed the punch bowl off of himself just to see the Scootsmobile still heading towards them; Scootaloo buzzing along with what he guessed had to be at least a dozen wingpower.
Naturally, there wasn’t enough time for her to stop.
With a mighty Crash-Bang-Boom, Scootaloo slammed into the two fillies and the two pets; the wheels no longer able to find purchase in the muddy road, the Scootsmobile slid out of control. Now carrying a grand total of five screaming fillies, and two small animals screaming like fillies, the wagon slid forward into the crowd. Scootaloo was doing an admirable job steering the careening vehicle away from ponies, despite the slick wheels and a screaming Diamond Tiara gripping on to her for dear life. Silver Spoon, glasses askew, found herself upside-down in the red wagon, stuck between a panicking Sweetie Belle and a stunned Apple Bloom. Both pets were stuck between the scooter and the wagon, Dollar Dillo having managed to roll himself into a ball so that he wouldn’t get dragged along underneath the red wagon. Angel, however, was not as lucky as Dollar. He had gotten his ear tangled in the rope that connected the scooter to the wagon, and was getting dangerously close being run over by the bunny-crushing wheels behind him.
Pushing Diamond Tiara’s hoof out of her eyes, Scootaloo looked to where the Scootsmobile what headed; what she saw made her heart sink. “Oh, no, no, no! Not the manure cart! I hate manure!”
Scootaloo leaned to the side with all of her might, and the wagon began to drift to the right. Silver Spoon shouted above the clamor of the wagon wheels, “We’re not gonna make it!”
“We’re gonna make it!” Scootaloo retorted through gritted teeth. “We have to!”
They closed the distance fast; though the crowd was panicking, the donkey pulling the cart didn’t seem to notice. Scootaloo fought the urge to close her eyes, instead keeping her mind focused on getting away from that cart. The moment of truth came, and the orange pegasus held her breath.
The Scootsmobile passed by the manure cart with mere inches to spare.
Instead, they slammed full speed into a market stall labeled “Jams and Preserves.”
The explosion of jelly could be seen all the way from the library, and it covered everyone within a ten-hoof radius in a thick layer of fruity goop. The stall’s owner, one Hugh Jelly, looked fairly disappointed that his produce and place of business were demolished, yet he seemed strangely content with the resultant jam-shower. Berry Punch, on the other hoof, was absolutely distraught at the loss of her two bowls of fruit juice. She scratched at the muddy earth, attempting to will the fruity mix back into the serving bowl.
Diamond Tiara rose from the mess first, covered in a mix of blueberry and orange flavored preserve. Wiping the jam away from her eyes, she turned angrily to Scootaloo. “Why didn’t you watch where you were going!?”
Scootaloo got to her feet an licked the Strawberry jam from her face. “I was watching where I was going, but I couldn’t stop!”
Diamond snorted aggressively, “Why not!?”
Silver Spoon tapped a Raspberry flavored hoof on her friend’s shoulder and pointed across the market. Diamond Tiara looked at Berry Punch just in time to see her shout to the heavens in anguish. “There will be justice for you, my precious! There will be fruity justice!”
Diamond saw the muddy ground in front of Berry’s stand, and was able to put two-and-two together. “But why did the punch spill? Miss Punch has never spilled a drop of punch in her life!”
Diamond suddenly pointed an accusing hoof at the Cutie Mark Crusaders. “It was you three, wasn’t it? You planned for this to happen, and accidently got caught in your own trap.”
Sweetie Belle looked up from wiping blackberry jelly from her white coat, a hurt expression on her face. “But how could we tip over those punch bowls when we were all riding in the Scootsmobile?”
Diamond rolled her eyes. “You paid somebody, I don’t know! There’s no way this happened by accident, and you Blank Flanks have always been jealous of me!”
“Jealous!?” Apple Bloom interjected angrily, spewing lemon flavored preserve with each syllable. “Why would ah be jealous of a couple of hoity-toity, stuck-up, half-wit prissy pants!?”
“My money, my popularity, my good looks?” Diamond smiled through the orange goo sliding down her face. “My Cutie Mark?”
Apple Bloom glared at her opponent. “If ah had a choice between your Cutie Mark and no Cutie mark, ah’d be happy to be a Blank Flank the rest of my life! Who needs a special talent for wearing tiaras, anyway?”
Diamond rolled her eyes again. They were just this side of rolling completely out of her head. “My talent is making tiaras, you dolt!” Angel noticed that she was getting that venomous look in her eyes again. “And you know what? I think you’re going to get your wish of never having a Cutie Mark! Enjoy having a Blank Flank for the rest of your sad little life!”
Apple Bloom snorted, hoof pawing the ground as if she was ready to charge. “Ah’d gladly give up mah Cutie Mark if it meant ah’d never have to see the likes of you again!”
Diamond Tiara sniffed with her nose in the air, her evil grin widening. “You’d be a foal to do that; everypony knows that anypony who doesn’t have a Cutie Mark can never be anything but Lame!”
Diamond got in Apple Bloom’s face. “You’re lame, your friends are lame, and your stupid little crusade is lame. You’re lame because you don’t have any talent, and you Never Will!”
Diamond held her head up in triumph; Angel had seen that same expression once before, when he was about to be eaten by a nasty timber wolf. Diamond felt a little nudge at her hoof and looked down. Her pet, Dollar Dillo, was staring at her with his beady little eyes, a single tear dripping out past the collected jam. Angel wondered what was going on until he realized that this was the first time the armadillo had seen Diamond Tiara putting other ponies down. She was probably breaking his little armadillo heart. Diamond looked down at her companion and asked, “What? What’s up?”
More tears started dripping down Dollar’s face, Diamond couldn’t understand why. “Why are you crying, Dollar? What’s the matter, are you hurt?”
Dollar wiped the jelly off of the side of his armor and pointed to the clean spot. “What is it? I don’t see anything! What’s wrong?”
Dollar continued to point at the spot, the armadillo’s tears threatened to turn into crocodile tears. “I don’t see anything Dollar! There’s nothing there! It’s clean! It’s Empty! It’s-!”
She stopped, looking like she had been hit by a ton of bricks. “It’s Blank.”
The tears streamed freely down her pet’s face, and she realized that while she had been targeting Apple Bloom, she had accidently hurt her new friend. “But… But I didn’t mean you! I mean, Armadillos can’t even get Cutie-!” She tried to fix it, but Dollar Dillo just wept harder.
Angel saw his chance to escape and started to hop away, but Scootaloo saw him leaving and stepped on his tail. The look she gave him said something along the lines of, “I don’t know why you’re here, but I know you had something to do with it!” He crossed his paws and continued watching the scene.
Diamond had started to tear up as well, “I… I’m sorry Dillo; I didn’t mean to hurt you! I didn’t even think… I’m sorry.” The armadillo couldn’t even look at her; Dollar started his way down the street towards where Filthy Rich stood. The wealthy pony could see the scene, but stood, as was typical for these situations, just out of earshot.
Diamond called out to her retreating pet, “I said I’m sorry! I’m sorry for calling you names! I’m sorry for hurting you…”
Filthy looked at the armadillo, and then looked to his daughter. “Diamond, would you come here please? You can explain all this while I get you cleaned up.”
Eyes to the ground, Diamond followed her father’s orders, Silver Spoon trailing behind. She looked back once, seeing the Cutie Mark Crusaders piling into their vehicle. She shot a nasty face in their direction, but none of them noticed. Dejectedly, she walked up to Mr. Rich and was led away to her house.
Angel Bunny tiptoed away from the scene of the accident, keen to get away from anypony who might have seen him knock over the punch bowls. He got about five steps before he heard Fluttershy talking with another pony. Talking with actually being closer to being talked at.
“Is that little monster yours!?”
“Um, yes, but-”
“How do you explain his actions? Do you know how much fruit punch costs these days!?”
“Well, kind of, but-”
“So what are you going to do about it? Huh? You gonna answer me?”
“So answer me!”
“What are you gonna do about it?” Berry Punch was on the verge of blowing a blood vessel.
“I’ll pay for the spilled punch.”
“All of it!?”
“Then pay up, sister!”
Fluttershy quickly shelled out the bits and walked over to Jams and Preserves. She addressed the pony that ran the stand, “Um, excuse me, Mr. Jelly?”
Hugh Jelly was sitting in the midst of the wreckage of his business, smiling strangely as the jam dripped down his face. Fluttershy spoke a second time, “Um, are you all right, Mr. Jelly?”
The stallion continued to smile, seemingly unaware of the carnage around him. Fluttershy tried again, “Do… Do you want me to pay for the damages, Mr. Jelly?”
He looked up at her suddenly and spoke through a mouth of full of pineapple, “Huh? Oh, sure.”
Tossing the bits into an empty jar, Fluttershy quickly grabbed Angel and carried the bunny away from the market as fast as her wings could take her. Once they were a suitable distance from the Mane Street Market, Fluttershy sat Angel down and began to scrub him off in the river, dressing him down at the same time. “Angel, I’m very disappointed in you, you could have seriously hurt those girls! And you hurt Berry Punch when you knocked over the drinks that she worked so hard to make.”
She began drying him off and continued her admonishment. “Your behavior today was unacceptable! Dumping punch on ponies is bad enough, but doing it to humiliate them? Just because you don’t like them?” She shook her head sadly. “Angel, I’m going to have to ground you for a month.”
Angel gasped, this was horrible news. This was awful news! This was right up there with learning that the night would last forever!
He tried to voice his objections though pantomime, but Fluttershy stopped him. “No ‘buts,’ you have to accept the consequences of your actions.”
Angel moped the entire way home. How was Fluttershy supposed to come out of her shell without him, her anti-conscience? He couldn’t just let her sink into her shell like she always did.
A sudden thought hit him; he tapped Fluttershy’s shoulder, and then pointed at the grocery list in her bag.
“I’m sorry Angel,” she replied. “But I had to spend the extra bits to pay for the damage you caused. We can’t get the super-special salad this time.”
You could have torn Angel’s heart out and it would have hurt less. And, of course, he had nopony to blame but himself. The two of them spent the rest of the walk home in silence, neither of them really wanting to continue the discussion any further.