Dude, We're Ponies!

by Kayeka

Chapter 10: Lucky Chance's Day Off

The author worked all night on this chapter. Then, in his sleep-deprived enthusiasm, he decided to publish it before the pre-reader got the chance to read it. As such, the following chapter will be rive with typos, grammar errors, awkward wording and other varieties of crappy writing. Though I doubt that this would stop you from reading it, please keep in mind that this is a first draft of sorts.

Dude, We're Ponies

Chapter ten

Lucky Chance’s Day Off

        The Everfree Forest: a savage, magical place, where wild monsters roamed free and trees rose up to the sky unassisted. As evidenced by the occasional ruins, it once had been a place with some measure of civilization, but eventually the wilderness claimed the area as its own, and all was buried under a thick layer of roots and moss.
It was by any standard no place for a pony, yet three courageous individuals braved these lands, walking over the many animal trails in the shadows of the densely layered branches. There was no doubt that these three had a noble purpose in mind.
        “I can’t believe we are doing this because Twilight has to get her coffee. Just why did you agree to this anyway?” asked Midnight Watch. Unsure of what would and what wouldn’t bite, he carefully dodged any root and branch that crossed his path.
        “Because Twilight finally came to her senses, and asked me to protect her. Like she should’ve done the first time you showed up!” said Rainbow Dash with the impressive scowl she had perfected over the past few days. “Why are you here, anyway?”
        “Because if I didn’t, sooner or later Twilight would just make me. I’d rather get this over with right now, thank you very much,” said Midnight while walking in a wide arc around a particularly suspicious rock. “You know, if you were really that concerned about Twilight’s safety, you shouldn’t have let her come here in the first place.”
        “Oh, so now I’m the one that puts her in danger? Last I checked, you were the one that...”
        “Could you two please stop bickering already?” Twilight brusquely turned around, nearly headbutting Midnight in the process, and gave her two travelling companions a stern look.
        “But he/she...” said Midnight and Rainbow simultaneously.
        “No buts! We are almost there, and I will not have you two act like little foals in front of Zecora!”
        Midnight and Rainbow wanted to protest, but eventually hung their heads, knowing that they wouldn’t win this battle. “Fine,” they said with little sincerity.
        Satisfied with their submission, Twilight continued on her way, while her companions gave each other one final glare before following suit. The trio walked wordlessly for a few minutes before Midnight saw fit to break the silence. “Say, Twilight, didn’t you say we were almost there about fifteen minutes ago?” he asked.
        “Maybe, but this time I’m sure of it,” said Twilight without turning around.
        “So you can say for sure that we are on the right track?”
        “Of course we are! I go to Zecora’s all the time! I know exactly where it is!”
        Not knowing what to make of this answer, Midnight looked at Rainbow.
        “Don’t ask me,” said Rainbow in response to the unspoken question. “If I go there, I just fly over the trees.” She fluttered with her wings as demonstration.
        Midnight looked at their surroundings. He saw a huge mass of trees, herbs and wildlife, but very little that could serve as any sort of landmark. He looked up, but the sun was hidden behind the many branches hanging over the trail. He groaned, as the last bit of hope he had left abandoned his chest. “We are completely lost, aren’t we?”
        “We are not lost!” snapped Twilight. “I just took a wrong turn somewhere.”
        Midnight sighed. “Splendid,” he said. “Well, at least this is an easy problem to solve. Rainbow, could you fly above the branches and see if you can point us in the right direction?”
        Rainbow glared at Midnight. “Oh, you’d like that, wouldn’t you?”
        “Yes, I would like to get out of this creepy forest as soon as possible.”
        “Well, that’s not going to happen!” said Rainbow. “I’m not leaving you alone with Twilight.”
        Midnight did not immediately respond, and instead stopped in his tracks, staring at Rainbow with a distorted look on his face. All kinds of new ideas started cropping up in his mind, but most of them were nipped in the bud by the image of his mother repeating the phrase “Men that hit girls are scum” over and over again.
        Eventually he took a deep breath in and out, and let his frustrations fly on the wind. “Okay, then how about this: you fly up there and bring Twilight along for the ride, then come back here so we can all safely walk to our destination.”
        “Leave you on your own so you can go about your sneaky business? Not a chance! I’m on to you!”
        Midnight’s frustrations apparently didn’t fly very far, and he wondered if he could negotiate with his mother about the exact definition of the word “girl”.
        His train of thought was soon derailed by Twilight. “Can you just let it go?” she asked. “I already told you that we are not lost. Just follow me, and we will get there eventually.”
        Midnight opened his mouth to voice a protest, but eventually just sighed and kept walking. His energy would be better spent on keeping an eye on his surroundings than trying to get his way.

        Lucky Chance stared at his reflection in the mirror. He had seen it before, in windows and puddles of water, but never quite this clear. For a moment, he found this confrontation with his new complexion to be most disturbing.
        Not so much because of the way he looked, of course. He knew perfectly well what to expect in that area: big eyes, big mouth, ears pointing upwards, the whole package. The unsettling part was that, despite all these features, he could still recognise the reflection as his own.
        He started making a few funny faces, but was interrupted by a polite cough from Fedora, the owner of the the hattery. She had arrived holding Chance’s requested item, a red, truncated cone, with a tassel hanging from the top, and looked curiously at her customer. Properly embarrassed, Chance was unsure what to say, and eventually settled for a soft, nervous laugh. He then accepted the item, carefully avoiding the shopkeeper’s eyes.
        He ran a hoof across the red felt, baring his teeth with glee, and placed it on top of his head. This was the moment he had waited for all this time. “I wear a fez now! Fezzes are cool!”
        Fedora’s eyes lighted up. “Yes indeed, they are!” she said. “I’m so glad to finally see a stallion with an eye for exotic designs! Or any design, for that matter.” She sighed as she looked at her store, filled with all kinds of hats, but no patronage apart from this one stranger. The inhabitants of Ponyville seemed to care only for the basics of life, and had little use for showy accessories. It would have been nice if the former owner told her about this before he sold her the building and inventory for only fifty bits.
        Chance nodded along as he was mulling something over. He had believed that all the elements were in place, but it appeared that a crucial piece was still missing.
        Adamant to find out what it might be, he tried again. “Hello, I’m Lucky Chance, and I’m wearing a fez!”
        “And I’m sure you’ll make a good impression like that,” said Fedora with a beaming smile. “So, are you buying?”
        Chance slowly turned his head, and stared blankly at the hatter’s face. For an eternity, he sat there unmoving, and Fedora’s salespony smile started to tremble under the weight of his gaze. Finally, he turned away. “Oh, never mind,” he said with a sigh.
        “Is... anything the matter, sir?” asked Fedora.
        “No, nothing at all. It’s just that... There is just no fun to spouting stupid stuff when there is no one around to try and hit you for it.”
        Fedora briefly considered contacting the local hospital to ask if they had anyone missing from the psychiatric ward, but decided that it could wait until after she had made a sale. She choose her words carefully. “Well, sir, I don’t think I really understand what you’re saying, but if it would make you buy that hat, I’d be more than happy to hit you.”
        Chance looked back at the mirror, and after a short period of deliberation, he put down the hat and turned towards the door. “It just wouldn’t be the same,” he said. “How about you hold on to that for a little while longer? I’ll come back later with a friend to check out the rest of your store as well.”
        Though she was prepared to smack him anyway, Fedora resisted the urge as not all seemed lost. She used her raised hoof to awkwardly rub her neck, and forced a smile. “No problem, sir. I’m one hundred percent sure this hat will still be waiting for you when you get back.”
        Satisfied with this assurance, Chance walked out of the door. Before leaving, he turned around one last time. “Good luck with your business,” he said and closed the door, which was fortunate as he wouldn’t have to deal with the unfinished top hat that had been launched at his face. Chance wondered a few seconds about the noise of silk hitting wood, but then turned around and faced the town square.
        He felt completely lost. He hadn’t felt like that ever since he had to transfer to a new elementary school after his parents got their divorce. Wherever he looked, he saw ponies enjoying a beautiful day, but only a few that he recognised, and none that would know him. For half his life, he had either school or jobs to give him directions whenever he went somewhere new, or he could count on his friend being right behind him so they could be lost together.
        But now there was no one to turn to, and Chance stood there frozen among the crowd of ponies. Suddenly, he was being pushed out of the way of a gruff-looking stallion pulling a cart full of all kinds of vegetables. “Hey watch it!” shouted the stallion, to which Chance bowed his head to the ground and mumbled an apology, and then slinked towards the shadows a corner.
        Now that he had a little space to himself, he took a deep breath and cleared his head from the noise coming from the square. He briefly considered going back to the farm to see if he could help Granny Smith with sweeping a floor or something, but then lightly slapped himself on both cheeks. “Come on!” he whispered. “Just how old are you now, huh? You are not that awkward little kid any more! This isn’t the first time this happened, and it didn’t last then either. What did you do back then to solve this problem?”
        He remembered that day as if it were yesterday: he walked up to a kid playing with a Game Boy, and asked if he could see his Pokemons. He and Midnight had been stuck with each other ever since.
        Chance realised what he had to do. He had to find some pony that would accept him, so he could carve out his own little corner in this community from there, and he had just the pony in mind for the job of making a newcomer feel welcome.
With a new course of action in mind, he walked up to two ponies reading newspapers on a bench and cleared his throat. “Excuse me. Could I ask something?” For a moment, neither of the addressed moved, until one of the ponies slowly lowered their newspaper, revealing a long grey beard and glasses so thick that Chance wondered how anyone could see through them. “I’m looking for this place called ‘Sugarcube Corner’, and I was wondering if you could give me some directions.”
The elderly stallion coughed, and answered with a deep, hoarse voice. “Erm, yeah, yah just go down that road there, and keep walking ‘till yah see it on yahr right. Yah can’t miss it.”
Chance nodded. “Thanks a lot, sir. Have a good day.” He started walking towards the indicated road, but suddenly jerked around. “Excuse my curiosity, sir, but why are you holding your newspaper upside down?”
The elder shook up, looked at the paper and laughed nervously. “Gee, ain’t that just silly? Thanks for pointing that out.”
“No problem, sir. Bye, then!” Chance turned around, but stopped in his tracks halfway. “Just one more thing, sir! That’s a very familiar accent you have. Do you happen to be connected to the Apple Family, by chance?”
The elder froze up, and sat straight up in his seat, his eyes moving rapidly behind the glasses. “Maybe,” he slowly answered, and then quickly pointed to the clock tower in the distance. “Woah, nelly, look at tha time! Mah friend and Ah really need ta get going. See yah around, bye,” he said, then rapidly stood up and ran towards an alley on the edge of the square, while his friend stayed in place.
Unsure about what is going on, Chance turned to the other avid reader, who hadn’t moved an inch since he first approached the pair. “Ehm, excuse me?” he asked cautiously.
The pony didn’t answer. Suddenly, Someone shouted “Yah can move now!” from the other side of the square.
The other pony, who had a moustache and baseball cap, sat up, shouted “Okidoki!” towards the voice, and ran off as well, leaving Chance with a lot more question than he originally came with.
After attempting to process the recent events, he shrugged. “Well, that was weird,” he said, and walked away.

“Just hurry up!” Rainbow Dash shouted. “We could have been there already if it wasn’t for you!”
“First of all, I find that hard to believe after walking in circles for hours. Second of all, I refuse to hear any of that from you, miss I-can-fly-over-the-trees-but-I-won’t-because-buck-you!” answered Midnight, who was walking about ten metres behind. “We’ll be stuck here for a long time, and I’m just trying to keep an eye out for monsters!”
“Yes, we get it!” said Twilight, who was walking next to Rainbow. “You two have been repeating the same arguments over and over again. Let me set you straight for the last time: Midnight Watch is not some kind of criminal, Rainbow Dash is just looking out for my safety, and though we might just be a little bit lost, we are not in any kind of danger at...”
Twilight could not finish that sentence. While she and Rainbow were looking back towards Midnight, they didn’t see the conspicuously crossed branches forming a big X on the ground. The leaves above them loudly rustled as they crossed the mark, and before they knew it, they were pressed to the ground by a weighted net. Spurred on by their startled yells, Midnight Watch rushed to their side and began removing the net, but something caught his eye before he could liberate the two mares.
From the bushes came a dozen large insect-like creatures with large eyes glowing dimly red, walking on four out of six legs, and holding a spear in their claws. They made menacing clicking noises with their huge jaws, and slowly approached the trio, weary of the jumps a cornered pony might make.
“Those are Myrmidons!” said Twilight. “But what are they doing here? They never come this close to Ponyville!”
“Well, then I suppose we aren’t particularly close to Ponyville either,” said Midnight. “Got any ideas?”
“Ugh, I can’t do anything with this in the way,” said Rainbow Dash while furiously struggling with the net. “Twilight, can you do something about it?”
Before Rainbow had finished that sentence, Twilight had already activated the aura around her horn. “Twilight, stop!” shouted Midnight. “Think of the doctor!”
Twilight didn’t stop. “Normally, I’d agree, but I think the doctor wouldn’t approve of us getting captured like this either.” She closed her eyes and bit her lip. As she concentrated, small blue flames appeared on the net around her horn. Midnight backed away from the net, afraid that something terrible might happen. The flames banded together in a single large flame, and then dissipated into nothingness without accomplishment. “I... guess I’m not quite strong enough yet,” she said.
Midnight looked around him, and noticed a change in the behaviour of their assailants: they were already weary of their captives, but now they stopped their approach and, for as far as Midnight could read their body language, almost seemed afraid. Smelling an opportunity to get out of this without any real trouble, Midnight activated his horn, turning up the aura as bright as he could manage, and puffed up his chest.
“Hold, you petty insects!” he said in his best impression of an impressive voice. “How dare you stand in the way of the Grand Duchess of Magic? Release my mistress and her companion at once, or face the consequences!”
He seemed to make an impression. The Myrmidons held their spears protectively in front of their faces, and one of the smaller ones started backing away. The would-be deserter didn’t get very far, however, as a particularly large individual appeared from the bushes, and harshly kicked the coward back in line before entering the circle himself. His carapace was adorned with tribal markings, depicting all kinds of dangerous animals. Standing tall, he steadily walked up to Midnight, pointing his spear at the latter’s chest.
“Stand back, I say! do not make me use this!” shouted Midnight, dangerously swinging his horn around. Unfortunately, the giant didn’t seem impressed, and he kept walking forwards until he had his spear at Midnight’s throat.
Though he desperately tried to keep his face straight, Midnight couldn’t stop his knees from wobbling, and eventually, his horn fizzled out. Knowing that the gig was up, he swallowed and smiled sheepishly. “Parlay?”
The great Myrmidon took away his spear from Midnight’s throat and turned around, holding up his claw as some kind of indication to his fellow warriors. Midnight sighed with relief, before being squashed under half a dozen chitin shells.

After following the directions he was given, Lucky Chance was standing in front of Sugarcube Corner, admiring the building. After a quick inspection, he concluded that the confection-based decorations were actually incredibly detailed pieces of woodwork, which he found both impressive and disappointing. Having satisfied his architectural curiosity, he entered the building to the sound of a clear bell hanging above the door.
He felt like he was being hit in the face. In the shop hung a sweet scent so incredibly thick, he could practically swim through it. He considered a tactical retreat, but pressed onward. He approached the empty counter, and knocked. “Anyone here?” he asked the empty store.
From a door behind the counter appeared Mr. Cake, with his face mostly covered by a towel. “Oh, a customer,” he said with a muffled voice. “Welcome to Sugarcube Corner! Sorry about the smell; we had a bit of an accident this morning and are still cleaning up.”
“No kidding!” said Chance with his hoof in front of his mouth. “Sweet geebus on a stick, it’s like my lungs are being sugarcoated!”
“Yeah, it got messed up real good. Can I help you with something?”
“Well, I was actually looking for Pinkie Pie. Is she around?”
“Good heavens, no!” Mr. Cake exclaimed before coughing politely. “Ahem, I mean, I’m afraid that she’s out for now. Can I take a message?”
“That’s alright, really. Could you tell me where I might find her?”
Mr. Cake sighed. “Sorry, but Pinkie is the kind of pony that only shows up when you don’t want her to. Your best bet is to tour the town and see if you run into her. Can I get you anything else?”
Chance took a look at the glass cases displaying all kinds of sweet goodness. Though he personally didn’t care much for sweets, it all looked pretty appetising either way. “Well, now that I’m here...“

Pinkie dropped her spy can, skipped towards her window and looked down at the streets. Applejack was still there, hiding between two shops across the street. Pinkie whistled sharply, and Applejack came out and waited for Pinkie to come down. With little fear of heights, Pinkie hopped down, onto Applejacks back and then the street. “Wheeeee,” she said. “we should do that more often.”
“Right, Pinkie. So, did you get the whole thing?”
“Nope, just the last part. I had to find a new hole for my spy can since Mr Cake plugged the old one.”
“Well, that’s better than nothing. What did yah hear?”
Pinkie shook her head. “Can’t say. He made an order, you see? And after the whole town found out about that famous health guru, Loose Pounds, ordering two dozen cupcakes a week, Ms. Cake made me pinkie promise never to tell anyone about anyone’s orders again.”
Applejack put her hoof to her face with an exasperated sigh. “Yeah, Ah get it. Let’s move on before we lose him.”
“Okidoki,” said Pinkie, and happily skipped after Applejack.

End of chapter 10

The author doesn’t trust updates.