he zebra and griffon hurried their way through the Everfree (as much as they could hurry given Gavin's condition, anyway.) Soon, they both reached the edge of the forest, Zecora and Gavin both rushing up behind a large bush as they peered up over the top of it.
“Well, looks clear from here,” Gavin observed, slipping back behind it, “The streets are pretty empty nowadays, especially with half the town probably stuck in their homes.”
“Gavin, if I may ask, do you have a plan to accomplish your task?” Zecora inquired, her face shrouded from within her hood.
“Uh...sorta'?” Gavin shrugged, “My plan was to go in, grab some food for you, maybe try one more time to get the three of them to snap out of it and then come back here. Not necessarily in that order,” he turned to Zecora with a sheepish smile, to which Zecora stared back at him...at least he thought she was anyway.
“Your persistence and loyalty might just be able to make a difference and have this turn out joyfully,” she said before turning her attention up to a tree, “This shall be my perch, good luck with your search.” And with that, Zecora knelt down and leaped up into the tree just above them, vanishing within its branches. Gavin nodded and gave a talons-up to the tree before he squeezed past the bush and started making his way into town.
Just like he had predicted, the streets were almost empty, the only ponies out at all were the ones either on their way to eat food or deliver it to the waiting maws of others. All the same, Gavin did his best to try and stay hidden, running around and diving between walls, trees, and shrubbery before he finally noticed a large box in an alleyway.
“Gotcha'!” Gavin rushed over to the box and flipped it round, trying to pull it over the top of him but ran into some difficulty in getting it on, struggling to push it past his fatty sides, finally managing to get it shoved on all the way, though the sides bowed outward from having to try and contain the bulging griffon, “Perfect...they'll never suspect a thing,”he grinned as he exited the alley, dropping down momentarily as a pair of ponies passed by him before he continued on, wobbling a little as he tried to maintain his balance.
“I really wish the opening on this thing was bigger. I can't see a thing,” he complained as he passed around a corner, only for something to smack into him, sending him falling over as the impact destroyed the box he was in and knocked the wind out of him, leaving him in a pile on the ground, writing in agony and trying to suck in as much air as possible to alleviate the pain as he rolled back on forth on a bed of cardboard. He eventually managed to struggle and roll onto his stomach, also hearing somepony else also recovering near him. Gavin turned his head to see who he had apparently run into and it turned out to be Lyra the unicorn, whose head was wobbling around as she was seeing stars.
“Ahhhh, what happened?” She said, unsteadiness in her voice.
“Lyra!” Gavin got up and moved over to her, “I'm really sorry about that! Are you okay?” He hurriedly checked on her.
“Y-yeah,” she stammered, shaking her head and standing back up, “Are you okay, Gavin? I kinda' ran into you,” she quickly started picking up the contents of her saddlebags and put them back on on her sides.
“Oh yeah, I'm good-wait a sec',” he noticed something about her, “Lyra...are...are you thin?” He asked her.
“Yeah! No time to explain, though! I have to go talk to Twilight!” With that, the minty-colored unicorn galloped off, leaving Gavin sitting there as he watched her leave.
“Wait...how...huh?” He slowly blinked before he looked off again, “Whatever, no time to worry now. I have to go get some of that food!” He started to walk off, but stopped and looked down as his leg brushed by something. Strewn on the ground near the curious griffon were some pears, some rather juicy looking ones at that. The sight of them made his mouth water, causing him to pick one up and go to take a bite of it, but he stopped as he caught himself.
“I'll eat 'em later...I gotta' go talk to Wordy,” Gavin opened his satchel and stuffed the pears into the satchel before running off.
Once again, Gavin found himself greeted by Shutterbug as he arrived at Wordy and her's home.
“Gav? Hey, what's up? Wordy was looking for you,” she said, pushing her glasses back up on her face.
“Oh? Uh...he was, was he?” Gavin smirked, his eyes darting around, “Is...uh...is he here?”
“Yup! Want me to go get him?” Shutter asked him.
“No! That's okay...I”ll...uh...just walk in and find him,” Gavin chuckled, desperately trying to convince her not to alert Wordy.
“Gav? What's going on? Why do you look so freaked ou-MMMPH!” Shutter's eyes bulged as Gavin suddenly shoved a pear from his bag into her mouth and then slid her outside the door, shutting it and locking it behind him.
“Sorry, Shutter. You'll thank me later once I help you too,” Gavin slowly began to make his way up the stairs, heading towards the study. Sure enough, he found Wordy curled up on the floor reading a book, his mass spread across the ground like uncooked bread dough. Before he could say anything, the unicorn glanced up from his book and made eye contact with the griffon, a frantic look crossing his face.
“Gavin!” He cried, his horn lighting up. Before Wordy could do anything, the griffon jumped at him, tackling Wordy and pinning him to the ground while flicking the stallion's horn and disrupting whatever spell he was about to cast. Gavin followed it up by wrapping one of his talons around it and gripping it, hard enough to get a good hold but not so tight that he would risk hurting Wordy.
“Bro! Listen to me!” Gavin said, adjusting his hold as necessary, “You know that this isn't right! Hotshot's got the whole town acting like putty in his hooves and he's bleeding everypony around him dry!”
“Get off me!” Wordy snarled as he kicked his hooves.
“He's using a plant called the blubbercup that grows in griffon territory! It makes you addicted to his food and you keep eating it and eating it and dropping more bits on it because it makes you think that you can't live without it! It becomes your whole life!” Gavin moved in closer, his own bulk pressing against Wordy's softer fat, “Please! You know it's true! We've got the evidence! We can take him down, but I need your help! Snap out of it!”
“You're overreacting, Gavin!” Wordy growled, staring up at Gavin with a deadly look, “Hotshot's helping the town and you're just being a big jerk that's jealous of what he's accomplished!”
“I'M the jerk? Seriously?” Gavin gnashed his teeth, “You, Crash, Stir...EVERYPONY in this town aren't themselves and it's because of him! We're friends! Best friends! All of us!” He yelled, his body tensing up,“He took that away just so he could make his fortune! Are you really going to be a part of that? Are you going to throw away-”
“I'm not throwing away any-”
“DON'T INTERRUPT ME!” Gavin exploded, causing the unicorn to jolt and pin his ears behind his head out of fear as the griffon took deep breaths while trying to compose himself, “Bro...Wordy...” His voice shook, almost a whisper, “Please. Your mind's probably pretty clouded right now, but I know that you know that this isn't who you are,” he said, looking away from Wordy, “You're kind, caring, always eager to listen to ponies around you even if you barely know them...I don't want you to lose that. So please, try and remember that,” he turned back to Wordy, eyes glistening as tears started to fall across his feathery face, “Be the pony that I'm proud to call my brother again.” Silence filled the room as the two of them stared at each other, Wordy unsure of what to say to Gavin's statement. Before the conversation could continue, they both heard hoofsteps coming up the stairs from outside of the room as Shutter rushed into the room.
“Gavin...what is going on?” She glared at him, “Why did you lock me outside?” Instead of answering her, Gavin took in her current state...she was back to her normal, curvy proportions instead of just simply being fat. He quickly tried processing it all in his mind before things finally started to piece together.
“Shutter's thin...but she was just...wait...so was Lyra...and she had the pears...the pears...” He perked up, “The pears!” He quickly reached into his pack and removed another pear, sticking it inside the surprised stallion's mouth as he chewed it. Gavin released his grip on Wordy and jumped off as the stallion swallowed the pear. All of the sudden, Wordy twitched and cried out in pain, making both Shutter and Gavin look on in concern followed by surprise and happiness as a loud pop sounded throughout the room as Wordy's features deflated like a balloon going in on itself until he had slimmed back down to his previous weight.
“Nnngh...” He groaned, rubbing his stomach and lying on his back before he opened his eyes and looked around, “Wha...what happened?”
“Bro?” Gavin leaned in, “Are you okay?”
“Sweetie?” Shutter did the same.
“Yeah...I'm fine...agh, I feel so gross right now,” he gagged and rolled over on his side for a moment before he managed to stand up, “I'm good...no worries.”
“That's good...do you remember anything?” Gavin asked, Shutter and him darting to his side.
“Kinda'?” He rubbed his head, “It's blurred, but it's coming back...what did you do? My body felt like it was on fire and then it was like I woke up.”
“Huh? You too?” Shutter looked at both of them, her focus finally settling on Gavin, “What did you do?”
“I think the pears just went and kicked the blubbercup's flank,” Gavin answered.
“Hotshot...” Wordy suddenly shot up, “Is that what he's using to get everypony to eat his food?”
“Yup. Z and I looked it up and that's definitely what's going on,” Gavin firmly nodded.
“Z? You mean Zecora?” Wordy asked.
“Wait, wait!” Shutter stamped her hoof, “Somepony please tell me what's going on!” Wordy and Gavin glanced at each other and then at her before they proceeded to tell her everything, filling in the details when one of them couldn't confirm what the other had said. Shutter stared at both of them with a blank expression before she slowly started to nod, “Right...good to know,” she said softly before flaring her wings and screaming in anger at the top of her lungs, “I cannot BELIEVE I let that lying snake trick me into taking pictures of his cruddy, awful food and actually try to make it look good...and he didn't even pay me in bits, that shyster!” She ranted and stomped around the study before pivoting and facing the two of them, clearing her throat and sitting down calmly.
“Feel better?” Wordy asked her.
“MUCH better,” she smiled and stepped forward, “So what's the plan now? Does it involve hitting him? Please please PLEASE tell me it involves hitting him,” Shutter begged.
“Take a number and get in line,” Gavin chuckled, “But first things first, we have to get Z some of his food so she can work on a cure since I kinda' doubt there's enough pears in town to cure everypony,” he looked out the window, “And something tells me we might be getting some backup soon.”
“What do you mean?” Wordy asked.
“These pears? I got 'em from Lyra, and she said she was on her way to see Twilight,” he smiled as he pulled one of them out, flipped it in the air and caught it in his bag, “So, while she's doing that, we have to help Stir and Crash.”
“Oh, that's right! They're affected too!” Wordy said, “They're still at the noodle shop.”
“Then that's where we're going,” Gavin firmly nodded.
“Need me to do anything?” Shutter inquired.
“Shutter, you should grab the negatives of those pictures you took and go meet up with Zecora...and be careful,” Wordy walked over to her, putting a hoof on her shoulder.
Shutter stared at him with a worried expression before she nodded, “Fine, but you had better be safe,” she leaned in and kissed him passionately, Wordy closing his eyes as he blushed brightly and returned the kiss, making Gavin turn his back to them, pacing nervously before Shutter pulled away from him and turned to the griffon, “And you'd better keep him safe! You hear that, Gavin?”
Gavin peered over his shoulder at her and nodded, “I promise I'll watch out for him.”
“Good,” Shutter turned and trotted out of the room.
Wordy smiled toward the doorway before he suddenly found himself getting hugged by Gavin, “Gavin?”
“Sorry...I'm just glad you're okay,” Gavin stepped back from him.
“I'm glad you're fine too,” Wordy replied, “And I'm sorry about the way I was acting. I could tell you were really upset.”
“Bro, don't worry about it. It's totally cool,” he patted the pony's back, “I just got you back, so it's all good...now let's go do the same for the rest of our friends.”
“Yeah...uh...what's wrong with your eyes?” Wordy tilted his head.
“Oh...um...” Gavin rubbed his face and glanced away, “Just...uh...fell in a puddle while passing by an onion factory on the way here. Plus, allergies. My allergies are really bad. Onion allergies, ya' know?” He turned back, eliciting a bright, sardonic smirk from the blue pony.
“Right on,” Wordy nodded as he trotted over to his desk, opening a drawer and pulling his bandanna out as he folded it up and tied it around his neck, turning and facing Gavin, determination pouring from his eyes, “Let's roll.”
Wordy and Gavin both approached Stir's restaurant, getting some looks from the rest of the ponies in the streets as they passed by them. Once they got close, the two of them noticed that the sign had been turned to 'closed.'
“That's weird,” Gavin stopped and looked at the sign.
“They're waiting for you, probably,” Wordy put his back up to the wall and used his magic to slowly open the door, “See?”
“Well, if they want me, I'm right here and I've got a special delivery for them,” he chuckled as he walked inside, Wordy sticking close behind. The dining room inside was completely empty, as well as the lights inside being off and the only light being generated from the sun outside.
“This looks like a trap,” Wordy whispered.
“Yeah, but we went in expecting that, right? That pretty much nullifies their surprise, thus making it not a trap,” Gavin grinned.
“We'll see about that!” A voice came from the front as Stir popped up from behind the counter, a large, tube-shaped object slung over his shoulder and aimed directly at them. Wordy and Gavin looked at it before Gavin flipped a table up, the two ducking behind it just as Stir squeezed a trigger and fired a large volley of noodles at them, some of the sauce splattering on the floor behind them as they slapped against the table.
“Is that a food cannon?” Gavin peeked up from over the table, ducking down as more noodles hit the table, narrowly missing him.
“That's a food cannon,” Wordy nodded, “And I'm pretty sure it's got Hotshot's food loaded into it too if past experience is any indication. If we take a hit and the food gets in our mouths, we'll be enthralled again.”
“Where did he even get that?” Gavin threw his talons up in the air in disbelief.
“I think from from Pinkie Pie as a gift from when he started this place up,” Wordy replied.
“Rad,” Gavin rolled his eyes and face-palmed, “Well, this just a lot more complicated...again,” Gavin looked up again, only to almost get plastered again, this time by a barrage of rangoons fired by Crash, who had taken up a position on the ceiling.
“Trust me! You're really gonna' like these ones...NO MATTER WHAT!” She laughed loudly.
Gavin hunkered down lower, “Bro...I just want to take this opportunity to apologize for earlier.”
“Gavin, don't worry about it,” he shook his head, “I wasn't myself, like you said, and I don't mind you tackling me like that to help me. Things turned out and we're going to get through this, so I forgive you.”
“I'm not talking about that,” Gavin grinned sheepishly, “Um...ya' see, when I was talking with Z at her place, I kinda' made a comment about how Stir was gonna' be the easiest of you three to take on...” he chuckled, “So, ya' see, I kinda' feel like I caused this to happen.”
“Oh...um...well, I forgive you for this too,” Wordy nervously laughed, looking just past the table before going back to Gavin, “How many pears do you have left?”
“Uh...” Gavin opened up his bag and looked through it, “I've got three left.”
“Which means we can only lose one,” Wordy sighed, “We'll have to make this count then,” he took one of the fruits into his magic field, “I've got an idea. Crash is a lot quicker. You keep her pinned in place with your shock blasts and I'll try and flank Stir and toss the pear into his mouth. These seem to take effect pretty quick...I just need to get in close.”
“You got it,” Gavin held up his fist, charging it up, “Just say the word, Bro. Good luck.”
“You too, Gav,” Wordy hoofbumped his other fist, “Alright,” he braced himself getting ready to dart out from the table, “3...2...1...NOW!”
“Hey, Crash! Over here!” Gavin popped up from cover, pointing his outstretched left arm at her and firing off bolts of lightning at her, causing the meaty mare to dodge around, only able to fire back at him briefly.
“This isn't going to end well for you, Gavin! Hotshot might give me a bonus for stopping you here and I'm getting it, even if I have to make chicken wings out of you!” She shouted at him.
“Yeesh...evil Crash doesn't play around, apparently,” Gavin kept an eye on Wordy as he charged around the corner, side-stepping as Stir fired a blast of greasy, noodles at him, wincing and turning his head away from the broken bits of noodle and sauce coating his body and mane, getting behind another table before teleporting across the room and getting underneath one.
“Wordy! Where'd you go?” Stir demanded, quickly moving his cannon around, scanning the area in an attempt to pinpoint Wordy's location, all the while Crash kept exchanging rangoon fire with Gavin's lightning shots. As Gavin popped up to shoot at her again, she managed to get a lucky shot off on him, striking his claws and making him wince in pain.
“Got you now, tubby!” She giggled, taking aim yet again.
“Oh no...Gavin!” Wordy dove out from underneath the table and reached out with his magic just in time to snatch the rangoon and change its trajectory...sending it flying right into his own mouth. His eyes bugged out from having it inside suddenly, forcing him to swallow or risk choking on it.
“Wordy, no!” Gavin cried as Wordy landed on the floor, sliding across it. To his surprise, the downed unicorn instead got back up to his hooves, looking no worse for wear and also not immediately jumping on any of the other food strewn across the room at this point.
“Ugh...those are so not Stir's rangoons,” he groaned before also realizing what happened, “Wait, I didn't get affected!”
“No way! Those pears make you immune too? Awesome!” Gavin chuckled.
“I have no idea what you two are talking about and I don't care!” Crash aimed her rangoon blaster at Wordy again, only for it to give her a clicking sound instead. She checked it, noticing that she was out of ammunition, “What? Oh, forget it!” She tossed it to the ground and landed on the floor, kicking a chair out of her way as she advanced on Gavin, “You and me! Bring it!” She glared.
“Oh geez...” Gavin stood up to confront her, putting both his fists up to block a kick she threw at him, followed up by grabbing one of her legs to try and hold her. Unfortunately, Crash wriggled out of his grip and responded by spinning around and slamming him across the face with roundhouse from her back leg.
“Nice try, Gavin,” she smirked, turning to the side and bashing her hips against him, knocking him over a table and leaving him sprawled out on the floor.
“Ow...aggh...” Gavin grunted as he struggled to get up, looking up at Crash as she walked toward him.
“Don't worry. I'll just knock you out. We can get to the feeding later,” she grinned.
“Crash...if this was any other situation, I'd be mad at you,” he got back up, reaching into his pack, “But since I know that this isn't you right now, I'll give you a pass on this one,” he took out the potion Zecora had gifted to him earlier, “So if you want to take me down, go ahead and try!” He popped the top off and chugged the entire thing, swallowing it with a big gulp. The effects activated immediately as his entire body glowed with an ethereal, golden light, making Crash step back in shock.
“What? What did you just do?!” She growled.
“I thought you were gonna' deliver the knockout punch,” Gavin laughed, “I'm waiting, Crash,” he winked at her, “Bring it.” Crash bared her teeth at him as she ran up to him, tackling him to the floor and repeatedly punching his side. Just as the zebra had said, while Gavin could feel Crash striking him it wasn't hurting him at all.
“Why isn't this...WORKING?!” Crash snarled.
“Bro! It worked! I'm invulnerable!” Gavin laughed.
“Good to know! Pear her if you can!” Wordy called back.
“Crash! Hold him down! I've still got noodles left to fire!” Stir brought the cannon back up again, targeting Gavin.
“My pleasure,” Crash again grabbed Gavin by the front legs and did her best to try and hold his beak open.
“Gaack!” Gavin squawked as he struggled with Crash, trying again to escape and making failed attempts to bite her hooves.
“Open wide, Gavin,” Stir prepared to fire again, only for a bright flash to shine throughout the room, causing him to cover his eyes with his hooves and drop the cannon, the large object clattering to the ground with a loud bang.
“Say cheese, Stir!” Shutter flew in from the side, taking pictures at him, the large flash bulb on her camera going off repeatedly before she looked at Wordy and smiled at him.
“Shutter!” Wordy beamed back at her.
“Huh?” Crash looked up at the other pegasus pony only to get kicked off Gavin and into the air just as Gavin's body ceased its glow. She glared at her attacker, meeting the eyes of Zecora, who stared back at her with a focused, calm expression.
“Sonic Crash, pegasus of fiery passion, I am only going to ask you once to cease your feisty action,” she said, circling Crash.
“Z, be careful! Remember her wings!” Gavin stood up, almost collapsing as he did so.
“Of that I am conscious,” Zecora glanced back as Crash flew down at her, “And I shall be cautious.”
“Eat this!” Crash cocked her hoof back and threw a hard strike at Zecora. The zebra rolled away just as her hoof slammed into the ground next to her and, with blindingly fast precision, jabbed her hoof into a few sections of Crash's portly torso. All of the sudden, Crash stopped and simply fell over onto her side, “Wha-what the hay did you do to me?!”
“A few points of pressure I needed to poke, and now your mobility I have indeed broke,” Zecora responded, looking down at Crash.
“Woohoo! Nice job!” Gavin clapped, only to groan a little as he felt his stomach gurgle loudly, “Okay, that wasn't a hunger pain, what's the dea-URK!” He hiccuped loudly as his body ebbed and quivered as he all of the sudden lost his excess weight, “Whoa...hey! I'm not chubby any-” His jubilation was interrupted by his stomach rumbling yet again along with another strange feeling that began to flow all throughout his body, ending with one of his front feet suddenly increasing in size, looking comically out of proportion with the rest of his body. Gavin stared down at it in shock before he looked back over over his shoulder, noticing that his tail all of the sudden lengthened and thickened, “Oh, crap.” As if on cue, the rest of his body joined in, stretching and growing bigger until he was at least twice his original size and still progressing, his burgeoning sides knocking tables and chairs over.
“Oh, that's not good,” Shutter blinked.
“My restaurant!” Stir lamented, giving Wordy enough time to toss the pear into his mouth, making him cry out as he collapsed, the same popping sound coming as the mass of jiggly adipose the earth pony had accumulated vanished within seconds.
“One down!” Wordy vaulted over the counter and galloped over to Gavin's fallen bag, taking another out, “Zecora, catch!” He tossed the green fruit over to Zecora, who caught it and stuck it inside Crash's mouth, causing the same to happen to her.
“And that makes two,” Zecora said, “We are almost through.”
“Yeah, but we've got a bigger problem now!” Shutter pointed toward the still enlarging Gavin. At this point, the griffon towered over them, slowly inching closer and closer to the ceiling and taking up more space the bigger he got.
“How long have you been waiting to make that pun?” Gavin put both his talons against the roof in a failed attempt to try and keep him from bumping into it.
“Since about a minute ago?” The blue pegasus shrugged.
“Zecora, any ideas?” Wordy started to slowly step back, taking Crash up into a magic field.
“I have never had a potion cause such a spurt, we must stop this before anypony gets hurt” Zecora eyed the growing griffon up and down before looking at Gavin's bag, “Wordy Notes, I may require a helping hoof. Transport me up there to the roof,” she pointed up as she put Gavin's bag around her shoulder.
Wordy nodded, “Ready!” He covered Zecora in magic, teleporting her up to the ceiling as she jumped between the beams, “Gavin! I think I know what she's doing! Open your mouth!”
“Hurry!” Gavin craned his head to the side as the roof above him started to buckle against his heightening body, “I really don't want to break this place any more than I already have!” He opened his beak as wide as he could. As she got close, Zecora withdrew the last remaining pear from the bag and jumped toward Gavin, throwing the pear into his mouth before doing a flip mid-air and sliding down his shoulder all the way to the ground before running over to Wordy and Shutter as all three watched with bated breaths, Gavin keeping his eyes tightly shut as not to witness whatever was about to happen. Suddenly, the effect ceased as he still remained the large size had been blown up to from the potion backfiring, but he was no longer getting any bigger.
“Oh, thank Celestia,” Wordy let out a sigh of relief as he sat down.
Shutter looked around the room before she brought up her camera and took a few pictures of Gavin, looking at everypony else, “What? Nopony is gonna' believe this later.”
“So, let me get this straight. Hotshot was using this blubbercup thing to get all of Ponyville addicted to his food?” Crash asked Wordy.
“Yup,” Wordy nodded.
“And it could be cured by eating pears and that's what happened to me and Stir?”
“Mhm,” another nod.
“And we have Lyra, Princess Celestia and some special agent to thank for catching him and turning the rest of the town back to normal?”
“From what I heard, yeah,” Wordy took a sip from a glass of water as he sat up at front bar of Stir's restaurant, Shutter sitting next to him and doing the same, nuzzling his side and giving him a kiss.
“Princess Celestia used a spell to cure the rest of the town since we didn't have enough pears to give everypony else,” Gavin added, bring a large tub of water up to his beak, sipping it like a glass as he sat up against a wall, Stir having cleared a space for the tree-sized griffon to comfortably rest from his ordeal.
“Right. Makes sense,” Crash sighed and put her face down on the counter top, “I'm never touching another oat burger again as long as I live,” she looked up again, “Was it even actually good? I kinda' doubt it was.”
“If that rangoon you shot me in the mouth with is any indication, not really,” Wordy shook his head.
“I guess Hotshot just tried to get the cheapest ingredients possible to maximize the return on his profits,” Shutter added.
“It's a travesty if you ask me,” Stir came back over from within the kitchen, setting a mop down nearby, “I mean, if he was going to go through with that specific plan, he could at least put a little pride into his work.” Stir's statement made all three of the ponies and the griffon look at him with confusion.
“Stir, are you arguing the degree to which he poisoned all of us?” Shutter asked.
“He used frozen, store bought rangoons,” Stir slapped a hoof on the counter, “Frozen. Store. Bought. RANGOONS,” he tapped his hoof, placing an emphasis on each of the words, “He took something that I pour my blood, sweat, and tears into each and every day and warped and crushed it into nothing more than him just using a microwave to serve his customers pre-made, mass produced food they paid their hard-earned bits for!” He looked at each of them before he looked down and stepped back, “I'm sorry...I kinda' wanted to hit him too,” he sighed
“So did Feathers, but apparently somepony else got to him first and gave him a beatdown into next Tuesday,” Crash responded.
“Yeah, but that doesn't change what happened. He used my food against me...against the town...against you guys....” The chef put his head down on the counter.
“Stir, it's okay,” Wordy spoke up, reaching over and patting the somber earth pony's back, “We're not mad at you. At all.”
“Really?” Stir looked back up, “Because you really should be.”
“Yeah, well, we're not, so you're gonna' have to deal with it,” Shutter smiled at him.
“Took the words right outta' my mouth, Snaps,” Crash grinned. Stir's eyes teared up slightly as he hopped over the counter, giving them all a hug.
“Thanks, guys...I really appreciate that,” he said.
“Hey, we're not gonna' let something like this end any friendships!” Gavin wrapped his large tail around all of them and brought them closer to him as he hugged them with his colossal forelegs.
“Well, I don't know about you guys, but I'm not arguing with the over-sized catbird,” Crash chuckled.
“Somehow I think you're enjoying this whole 'gentle giant' thing right now,” Shutter smirked at him.
“It sure isn't by choice, that's for sure,” Gavin rolled his eyes
“Yeah...sorry your potion went back on you like that, Gavin,” Wordy said.
“Meh, it's no big deal. It did what it had to do and it was just a little bit o' bad luck for me,” he shrugged, “I'm just hoping Z's gonna' be able to find a way to shrink me down again. I feel like I'm gonna' break something if I shift my weight the wrong way.”
“You needn't worry too long,” Zecora spoke up, “Fixing your problem is coming along.”
“I'm helping her out with that too. It should be ready soon,” Twilight Sparkle also entered the restaurant just behind the zebra.
“Princess Twilight!” Wordy, Stir, and Shutter immediately bowed to her while Gavin did his best to awkwardly nod and acknowledge her.
“'sup, Bookhorse?” Crash smiled at her.
“I'm glad things are going well for you all,” the alicorn walked over to them, “Stir Fry, I actually came by to talk to you as well. I've been going by the different businesses affected by Hotshot's actions and I wanted to let you know what we'll be offering compensation for you.”
“R-really?” Stir's eyes lit up, “That's wonderful! Thank you so much, Princess!” He said, running over and hugging her.
“You're, um, welcome,” Twilight blushed from the sudden gesture, hugging him back as well. As they watched the display, Gavin leaned down slightly, his head right next to Wordy, Zecora and Shutter.
“Thanks for all the help, by the way,” he said, “I couldn't have done it without you.”
“Anytime, Gav,” Shutter replied, “Just don't lock me out of my house next time.”
“I'll keep it in mind,” Gavin laughed, “You know...this whole thing might actually make for a good song for that rock opera I'm working on,” he snapped his talons before looking over at them and sighing, “Too bad I'm too big to write anything.” His regret was seemingly answered by the sound of a magic flare as Wordy floated a tablet of paper nearby.
“I've got your back...Bro,” he winked at Gavin, to which the griffon smiled back.
“Yup,” Shutter smiled, “This is definitely a Coltak Moment. I gotta' take this,” she grabbed a stool, setting her camera on it and adjusting it on a timer.
“Photo op, huh?” Crash smirked, “I'm down.” She trotted over.
“Same here!” Stir trotted over, “And after this, I'll make a whole, fresh batch of rangoons, my rangoons, for everypony to celebrate!”
“Be sure that, if you abide, to please try and get my good side,” Zecora did the same.
“You want in on this too, Twi?” Gavin asked her.
“Of course,” Twilight got into position as well, Wordy standing between her and Zecora.
“Okay. Everypony say 'Hotshot's rangoons suck!'” Shutter called out as she ran over next to Wordy.
“Hotshot's rangoons suck!” The group (minus Zecora) called out with laughter just as the camera went off and snapped the picture.