"What are you wearing?" My mouth, freed by shock, blurted the first thing that came to mind as the twins trotted down the steps - I was envious of that ability - smiling at the thought of a day out and away from the bakery. I guess. Or the thought of my sweet, succulent pony-flesh but let's be more optimistic. Cause things have been turning out so well so far, right? In a strange inverse of a normal situation, Pumpkin - the yellow-ish unicorn filly - was buck naked and that was the most normal thing about the two.
Pound, on the other hoof, was wearing what I could only describe as the most lacy, frilly and god-awful get-up imaginable. Lacy blue socks with floral patterns, some kind of blue and yellow saddle (Seriously, why? Who is going to RIDE you?) with too many little frilly designs and a ... thing on his head. That thing. That thing was vaguely reminiscent of a Southern Belle's racing hat but taken to an extreme unheard of in mortal lives. Flowers, feathers, frills and even more lace than all the other stuff on him combined. Mr. Cake grimaced slightly and I couldn't blame him in the slightest. If had ever come down the steps in that get-up, I'd have been laughed out of the room by my oh-so-caring family. And probably helped into a noose.
"Oh Pound, you know you're not supposed to wear your new saddle until the first day of school." Ah, yes, the whole gender-inverse thing. Forgot for a second. Least it should be easy to deal with, right? I facehooved as Pound frowned and turned his gigantic eyes on his father. Puppy dog eyes, quivering lips and the slightest hint of a tear. Oh man. "No, Pound. You go put those back. You can wear the purple one if you want but you can't play in the sandbox if you're dressed."
Wow. Wow, that is just ... how do you handle something like that? From 'Bruce, put your pants back on this instant!' to 'You can't do anything if you have a scarf near you.' It's been years since I was yelled at for pulling my pants off at a park. Well, except that one time but I was really drunk. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
Once Pound had returned, a less frilly saddle in place of his 'school clothes' and a slightly unhappy frown where his smile once was, we were herded out into the common area and into a commotion of noise and motion. Ponies. Ponies sitting at the few tables eating and drinking, ponies in a line at the counter, ponies chatting excitedly with their friends. Ponies. Ponies living their joyous lives. And here I was, stuck in a foals body light years or dimensions from home. I groaned at the lovely tricks life likes to play on me.
Pinkie, her mane still a bit straighter than normal, was ma-mareing the counter while I could hear the whistling of somepony in the kitchen. Mrs. Cake, presumably. Mr. Cake waved at the depressed pink party mare as we left, her face struggling to form a smile in return. I caught her eyes once just before I was pushed out the door and sheepishly offered a smile but she quickly turned her head. That hurt a bit but I didn't blame her.
After we wandered far enough from the bakery that the crowd thinned out, Mr. Cake and the twins settled into a nice, gentle pace with me trudging along behind. He would occasionally look back and try to get me into a conversation - when he wasn't trying to corral the kids - but I only grunted at him. I had a lot on my mind. It helped that the twins were so excited that they were trying to weave in and out of his hooves as he walked, peppering him with requests and questions. I tuned their antics out and focused on my thoughts and the ground at my hooves.
Why was I doing this? Why was I trotting down a dirt road in a fantasy pony land after my foster father and siblings instead of struggling to get home? The obvious answer was, of course, the fact that I was smaller than anypony. If I ran, they'd find me and probably put me in a much more confined home with even less of a chance of getting away. With soap. But there was something more. I was having a hard time focusing, a hard time keeping my wits about me. I've always been a bit of a panicky guy. I can't handle change very well. This was different. This was -
A face full of tail. After spitting out Mr. Cakes tail hairs and trying to glare his friendly grin away, I noticed that what few crowds were around had all but vanished. It almost seemed like we were outside of Ponyville itself. Rolling hills of vibrant green grass with small groups of ponies scattered about. Bird song filled the air, enough to be noticeable but not enough to drown out conversation. Clean air that smelled of flowers and the few stately oaks that dotted the idyllic landscape. It was pretty.
"Now foals, I want you to stay within -," the twins took off, yelling and laughing as they ran, "sight distance." Mr. Cake frowned after lamely finishing his sentence. Heh, kids. Filthy, backstabbing kids! Leave me with this man-woman will you? "Well, Bruce, just you and me huh?"
"Uh, um." Trying not to vocalize my thoughts on his spawn was hard. I whipped my head around the park, trying to find the easiest escape route before he started crying or something. Yeah, never had great success with human women, pony men-women-stallions were going to be worse. At my terrified searching he rolled his eyes and huffed.
"Bruce, I have to go make sure those two don't get into anything. Can you stay nearby?" With a pat on my head, he turned and headed off towards one of the hills. It looked to have a good overview of the entire park. He looked over his shoulder and called out one last thing as he trotted away. "Just remember to keep me in sight ok?"
"Really? Really? You're just going to leave me to my own ...?" I asked in the most confused tone I could manage. He didn't seem to hear me and within seconds, I was left alone, standing in the middle of rolling hills with birds whizzing by and groups of very happy ponies sitting around talking about ... stuff. I could go out there and try to join in the foal games, be a good little colt and try to integrate. Work slowly on gaining their trust and eventually get them to at least try to look into my story ...
"Yeah, fuck that."
Five minutes into Ponyville and I was lost, again. I swore loudly, kicking a loose stone against one of the many houses surrounding me. Ponyville is big, I think I said this. It's also THE GOD DAMNED SAME EVERYWHERE! Every single house was similar enough that I couldn't tell you if it was the first time seeing one or the forty-second. There were street signs but I gave up on trying those after I took one look at the wing-dings on it. Seriously, a unicorn head as a letter? Or maybe it was an entire sentence, I don't know.
I looked around at the mostly deserted streets. I had been fooling myself into thinking I recognized anything in this thatch-roofed bumpkin town. Not only did I not know where Sugarcube Corner was but now I didn't even know how to get back to the park and the undoubtedly frantic Mr. Cake. There wasn't a single pony on this street that I could get directions from and almost every other street had barely anypony either. I was completely and total - is that a giant tree?
"The library!" With a burst of speed, I galloped towards the massive tree-building with a soaring heart. At least I wasn't completely screwed. Right?
Genjen edited this. That makes him a swell guy.