Stuff excised from next chapter · 7:46am
I realised I spent far too much time on a side story and adding yet more characters not needed for the actual story. I present this snippet here instead. (I did have a side story idea for 4th Squad, 4th Platoon, 2nd Company of the Barnyarders but it will probably never be written.)
The pig sauntered into the camp, removed his snoutguard, tossed it into his tent and trotted through the frozen dirty mush over to the fire. The snow fell steadily, snowflakes melting and evaporating against his thick dirty jacket, his breath forming small puffs of steam as he hummed to himself. He dug out a dirty bowl from under one of the logs surrounding it and scooped up some of the slop which simmered in the pot on the firel. He then lay down by the log and started eating noisily, ignoring the other soldiers present. When he was done, he licked his face, sat up and took off his woolen cap. The pig pulled a smoky glass bottle from under the same log and poured a generous amount into his bowl. Then he spoke up to the gathered ungulates.
“Any of you hooves heard the latest Blueblood?” he oinked happily.
His comrades looked at him with tired muzzles. There was a cow lying down opposite him, dressed in standard issue grey woolen jacket, a red blanket and a Stetson hat which gathered snowflakes on the brim. She was ruminating her Equestrian Yeomanry Standard Fare from the pot, mixed with a generous helping of black market hay. A green-jacketed ewe sat to the right of him, grimacing at the taste as she put down her coffee cup. She was looking disparagingly at a clipboard which she tried to shelter from the snowfall. A nanny goat in a face-obscuring helmet and a second clipboard in her muzzle was trotting out from the pig’s tent, aiming for a seat next to the ewe.
“No, Ace, I haven’t, and I don’t know whether I want to,” the ewe said, frowning. “But go ahead. As we’re still waiting for Tuktu and Marjorie we cannot do anything useful yet anyway...”
The rest of the crew looked moderately interested
The pig grinned and went ahead unabashedly.
“So, Prince Blueblood is at Barley Trotter’s having wined and dined, and is getting his after-dinner saltlick, when the waiter asks: ‘Your Highness, does Your Highness want to hear a riddle?’ And Prince Blueblood goes ‘Do I!’ because as is commonly know, Prince Blueblood loves riddles!”
He took a swig from the clear fluid in the bowl and smacked.
“‘Well, Your Highness, it’s not one of my sisters, not one of my brothers, yet it’s my dam’s foal. Who is it?’ So Blueblood ponders this difficult enigma!”
Ace did his best to look like a foolish pony thinking very hard.
“‘By the Wheels, I don’t know!’ he finally goes. ‘What is it? Tell me what it is!’ And he slams his hoof down the table like that.”
The pig slammed his right front trotter down into the snowy muck for emphasis.
“‘Well, Your Highness,’ the waiter says, ‘it’s me!’ And Blueblood is very impressed, so he says ‘By the Wheels, I have to run that by the fellows at my club!’ and tips the waiter a bag of bits.”
Ace took a second swíg. Another cow disengaged from the ungulates and joined them by the fire.
“Hi Marjorie!” said the pig. “You just missed the beginning of an awesome story! Anyway, Prince Blueblood goes to his club later that evening, and as soon as he has sat down he goes: ‘Fellows, I have heard the most wonderful riddle, and I must test it on you! ‘ ‘Do tell us!’ they all say. ‘Well, it’s not one of my sisters, not one of my brothers, yet it’s my dam’s foal. Who is it?’’ says Blueblood.”
The pig started to giggle.
“A-a-and they all say, ‘Why, Blooey, it’s you!’ And Prince Blueblood says: ‘Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! It’s the salt waiter at Barley Trotter’s!”
The pig chortled merrily and drank some more from his bowl. The others smirked, except for the ewe who rolled her eyes.
“Have you seen Tuktu?” said the ewe and looked at Marjorie.
“No Sarge,” said the cow. “I know some donkeys from the 26th dragged him into the woods earlier today.”
The pig snickered.
“Yeah, not in that way, grow up!” she moaned.
“Why the flying flank does everyone think my translator is their personal bellamb?” the ewe growled.
The goat brayed. Everyone turned towards her.
“The Professah’s right,” said the other cow. “They think all caribou are these badflank woodsdeer and miss that most are just wit’ us‘ cause they make good interpreters here. It’s worse the further from Vanhoover they get an’ those jacks were from ma’ parts of Equestria, if ya get ma’ drift. Ah’ guess poor Tuktu, the worst excuse for a city fawn I’ve ever seen, has spent the day failing to understand whatever tracks them donkeys were worried about.”
“Or they had him looking at poop and try to guess what kind of poop it was,” said the pig and giggled again.
“For that they should’ve brought you,” said the cow.
The goat brayed and pointed.
“Here he comes now,” said the pig cheerfully. “Looks like he could use some food and coffee! Anyone know where his kit is?”
The Equestrian reindeer stopped and made a half-hearted salute as he closed in on the fire.
“Bad day?” said the cow. He nodded.
“Private, why did you follow officers from a different regiment?” said the ewe.
“I’m sorry sargeant,” said the caribou. “They had orders from Major Snowball.”
“She again? She couldn’t use the bloody natives?!” the ewe shouted. “Did she get her commission here because of her name?!”
The caribou winced. If the others took umbrage at her disrespect for a superior officer, they didn’t show it.
“That’s a good one, sarge - ‘because of her name’’,” the pig chuckled. “Y’know, because we’re up here in the armpit of the Windigo, and her name has ‘snow’ in it...” He brought the caribou a bowl of slop.
The ewe didn’t have time to glare angrily at him when a ram came running down the path that divided the camp into two.
“Sargeant!” he shouted. “Surprise inspection! They’re coming this way now! Princess Luna herself! And that bloody reindeer king!”
“Thanks, Corporal!” said the ewe briskly. She stood up on her hindlegs.
“ALRIGHT YOU DAMRUTTERS! CLEAN AWAY THE MESS! UNIFORMS AND KIT IN ORDER! DESERT HOLLY, GET THE BANNER OUT! STEP TO IT!”