A brisk wind blew through the decimated town. Loose tree branches fell in the stiff breeze to the already cluttered streets, adding another layer of rubble and refuse. The pegasi were busy helping around town, so the weather was kept only mildly in check. It was hard to believe that only yesterday, things had been completely normal in Ponyville.
Carrot Top trotted gloomily in the early dawn light through the destruction. She had just gone to check on her prized carrot patch, and like the the rest of the town, it was utterly destroyed. Her home, like many others in town, was a nasty little ruin of a building, and so, Carrot Top found herself sidestepping scattered bricks along the way to her temporary living arrangements.
Though the town was in shambles, it was far from idle. Even in the early hours of the morning, reconstruction was already underway. Plenty of townsponies willing to lend a helping hoof were busy clearing the streets, patching roofs, and repairing damaged homes. Ponyville had been trashed so many times now, its citizens were getting pretty good at fixing it back up.
Carrot Top brightened a little at the sight. Things may be bad now, she told herself, but we've been through much worse. I'm sure my place will be fixed up in no time, then I can move back out of Mr. Waddle’s house, and start growing my vegetables again like nothing happened! She smiled to herself, swapping her mopey walk with a skip as she continued to the far side of her hometown.
Rounding a fallen clock-tower, Carrot Top noticed three of her friends chatting while clearing out a debris-filled flower bed.
“...some of the best tulips in town came from this patch!” Daisy lamented, shaking her green-maned head, “Now what am I supposed to use in my exotic tulip garden salads!?”
“How about petunias? They're so colorful, and have a wonderful flavor.” Lily suggested, holding up one hoof with a nervous, but encouraging grin.
Daisy sneered back in return for a brief moment, then shot a heated reply to the pinker mare. “It wouldn’t be a tulip garden salad if I used Petunias, you monster!”
Carrot Top rolled her eyes and detoured towards the sound of a growing flower argument. I better step in now before manes start getting pulled... “Good morning, girls! How’s the cleanup going?” She grinned widely as she reached the disgruntled trio of florists.
“There’s not a whole lot ‘good’ about it.” Roseluck grumbled. Her normally immaculate, pale yellow coat was already beginning to gather dirt. “Rainbow Dash just had to show off...and now we get to clean up her mess.”
“It’s not so bad.” Carrot Top said weakly, recalling the spectacular events from the day before. It wasn’t often you got to see an actual Double Rainboom. Well, okay, nopony’s ever gotten to see a Double Rainboom... It had been absolutely amazing, even if it did blow out all of her home’s windows...and one of it’s walls. “You’ll see, once the repairs are done, I bet this place’ll be better than ever!”
“Yeah, ‘til the next time Twilight tries a new spell...and then it starts all over again.” Daisy rolled her eyes.
“Anyway, how’s renting a room at Mr. Waddle’s place working out?” Lily smiled nervously and changed the subject, “I’ve always wondered what that place looked like on the inside; it’s so old and big!”
“It’s very nice, actually,” Carrot Top smiled, “a few other ponies are living there too; I should actually head back so I can get a start on breakfast. I was thinking about making some for them to maybe help take their mind off things.”
“You're making breakfast for a bunch of strangers?” Roseluck asked while attempting to scrape out the dirt stuck to her fur. "How can you be that cheery right now?"
“Well, you know what they say; the grass is always greener on the other side!” Carrot Top laughed for a moment, by herself...then grinned expectantly around at the three florists. The other three mares looked back at her flatly.
“That wasn't funny, Carrot Top...” Roseluck muttered under her breath, leaning back down to dejectedly stir the garden dirt with a hoof.
“Yeah, you probably shouldn’t quit your day job...” Daisy said darkly. Behind her, Lily gave Carrot a meek, but unconvincing smile.
"Well, I thought it was funny..." Carrot Top's grin shrank slowly into a dour look, then she snorted and trotted off in the direction of Mr. Waddle's home. The other mares continued to under appreciate her witty humor while she left, re-beginning their argument. I'd like to see you do better... The dejected thought did little to reassure her of her sense of humor.
The orange-coated gardener spent the remainder of her walk trying to come up with something better she could have said as a joke, but had made little progress when the three-story house came into view. The old three story country house was unquestionably one of the largest homes in Ponyville, and also one of its oldest. Mr. Waddle had lived there alone at one point, though nowadays he lived in the Ponyville retirement center. Lately, he would often rent out some of its many rooms during large events, or if the local inn was full...or, if like now, disaster struck Ponyville. That last one happens quite often.
A steady rumble surged from the large, oak door as Carrot Top approached the giant home’s porch. It was a very sturdy home, but the porch itself almost seemed to buck slightly from the stress of the sounds coming from within. Oh no...it’s far too early for this. Carrot Top frowned as she pushed open the front door and was immediately greeted by the blaring music of Vinyl Scratch, the town’s premiere DJ.
Apparently, she had spent the entirety of the previous day setting up her various turntables, keyboards and the other tools she used to make her...interesting brand of music. She had not come out of her room once since arriving late last night.
The current song she played reverberated deeply, rattling the old home and hurting Carrot Top’s ears, which plastered themselves to her head in an attempt to lessen the pain. Apparently, the equipment she brought with her the night before had in fact been set up.
I don’t get it, this just doesn’t sound like music to me... Carrot thought weakly, and entered the large kitchen in order to shut the door behind her. It only slightly muffled the strange, otherworldly sounds coming from upstairs. She turned and saw she wasn't alone in the kitchen; sitting by herself at the large table was another mare whose home had been destroyed.
“Hiya Carrot Top, morniiing!” The grey pegasus said in a friendly, chipper tone of voice.
“Hello, Derpy.” Carrot Top replied to her with a warm smile, trotting straight towards the stove and tuning out the racket upstairs. “I’m going to make some breakfast, would you like some?”
Derpy seemed to be playing with a strange looking toy. It was a cube that rotated and was made of smaller, colored cubes. "No thanks," she answered, scowling at the strange device she held in her hooves. "I already ate, I treated Dinky and myself to muffin pancakes before I dropped her off at school!” Derpy looked up, and beamed back at Carrot, her hooves began kicking merrily beneath the kitchen table.
Carrot Top smiled and nodded back, then stopped and looked at the pegasus with a confused expression. “...Wasn’t the school house completely destroyed by Rainbow Dash yesterday, Derpy?”
“Oh yeah, Completely!” Derpy giggled, then looked back down and re-concentrated on her strange toy.
“Right...” Carrot Top turned away, smirking to herself. She pulled out a frying pan for eggs while waiting for Derpy to clue in. The grey mare often didn’t, and this time was no different. She sat there contently watching Carrot Top prepare her meal.
Though they had met in passing many times in the small town, Carrot Top knew very little about the blonde mare staring at her fix breakfast with a smile. (As well as the opposite wall.) Derpy suffered from some condition which gave her lopsided eyes. It was part of the reason Carrot Top had remembered her so easily after meeting her, they made her stand out quite a bit in a crowd.
Carrot Top chopped up an assortment of vegetables and cracked a few eggs, then placed them all in the well oiled pan. She may not be a great chef, but Carrot Top knew how to make some pretty mean scrambled eggs. As she cooked, her humming did its best to drown out Vinyl’s noise and soon, the pleasant aroma of cooking food filled the old kitchen.
“Mmmm, that smells great!” Derpy chimed, making Carrot Top jump. Derpy had been sitting so quietly, she had completely forgotten she wasn’t alone.
“Oh- umm, thank you! I learned how to cook from my mother.” Carrot replied, adding the cooked veggies to the eggs along with fresh milk.
“I think I’ll have some after all, if the offers still there, that is...” Derpy spread her wings and flew over to the crowded stovetop, her nose leading the way while taking in big whiffs of the scrumptious meal.
“But of course,” Carrot replied, smiling.
Derpy drifted closer to the counter, then, she drifted slightly too close. Her outstretched wing clipped the open milk carton, causing it to wobble back and forth, and then fall to the floor with a splash. Derpy gasped. “Oops! Oh no, my bad, I’m so sorry.” The mare looked down forlornly at the ruined produce and her wings snapped shut.
Carrot Top gave her a comforting smile and waved a hoof reassuringly. “No worries, there’s no sense crying over spilled milk, after all.” She chuckled at the old saying and leaned down to pick up the milk carton in her mouth.
Meanwhile, Derpy tossed her blonde-maned head about until she finally spotted a cloth hanging from the wall. Her teeth gingerly picked it up from the rung, and she began wiping the floor with a hoof. The cloth soaked up the liquid quickly as she concentrated on cleaning the mess, then, she suddenly stopped moving.
Without warning, she burst into a fit of laughter so loud, Carrot Top almost dropped the milk again.
“Th-that, was good one!” Derpy sputtered, trying to recover. She shook her head and wiped away a tear against her fetlock, “haha, milk.”
Once Carrot Top got over her initial shock from the blonde mare's outburst—and her own heartbeat returned to normal—she then removed the eggs from the burner with a smile. “Why, thank you, Derpy.” Take that, Daisy. I knew I was funny.
Carrot Top began scooping the eggs onto two plates set on the table when the kitchen door opened quietly. Wordlessly, in stepped the beefiest stallion in Ponyville. His bulging muscles made the tiny wings on his back look even more ridiculously small, and nopony would wonder about the meaning of his dumbbell cutie mark.
Carrot Top put on a timid smile and addressed him. “Hello uhm, Roidrage was it...? Would you like some scrambled eggs too?” She asked the white stallion.
Roidrage shuffled over to the table and sat while making a deep grunt, then produced a pair of square glasses and precariously balanced them his muzzle. The morning newspaper on the table rustled open in his hooves, and he began reading without another sound.
I’ll take that as a yes then... Carrot Top shrugged and reopened the cupboard full of plates, taking out one more with her teeth. Upstairs, the odd music came to a sudden stop. Better make that another two. She began wondering if she’d made enough eggs—given that ol’ Roidrage could probably eat a small fortune in food, and that wasn’t even considering Vinyl...
Soon enough, the door opened again and Vinyl cantered in.
“Dude! Something up in here smells awesome! Where’s the grub at and who do I have to grind against to get some?” She said from behind her trademark purple sunglasses, which sat above her trademark cocky grin.
“I made scrambled eggs,“ Carrot Top said with a chime of her voice. She placed the extra plates down on the table and rolled her eyes, seeing Vinyl sitting in front of the plate she’d intended for herself. “You’re welcome to have some, uh, no grinding required.” Her face worked itself into a thoughtful look as she tried to figure out what exactly that was...
“Cool beans.” Vinyl said, grinning. She swept her electric blue mane out from in front of her strange glasses with one hoof and took up a fork with her magic. Beside her, Derpy munched merrily her own eggs, every so often missing the plate entirely with her own fork and hitting the table.
Carrot Top smirked at the familial sight and began to spoon a heap of the eggs onto Roid’s plate. “So, sounds like you’ve got your ‘music’ going pretty....loud.” Her eyebrow quirked as the DJ pony looked up to enthusiastically respond.
“Yeah!” Vinyl replied without missing a beat, before shoveling two mouthfuls worth of breakfast into her face. Unhindered, she continued to talk. “I got the subs all maxed out nice ‘n smooth, despite getting ruffed up by that light show Dash put on. Even better, I finally got the turbo-traxx mixer working around, like, 6 AM.” She gestured wildly while she spoke, and managed to spray yellow flecks all over the table and Carrot Top as well. “When my new EP drops, ponies won’t know what hit ‘em! I’m glad I was able to salvage everything, I won’t lose any time at all now.”
“Yes, I’m sure they won’t....” Carrot replied weakly, only wincing away from the food attacking her slightly. She gave Roidrage another portion of eggs in response to his gesture for more. The alabaster stallion glanced at the plate over his eggs, then grunted a third time and fixed her with a hard stare. He looked back at his half-filled plate, then back up to Carrot once more. The orange mare smiled sheepishly as she piled the remainder of the eggs in front of him. He grunted his thanks before setting aside the paper and digging into the protein-rich meal.
I wasn’t very hungry anyway... Carrot thought languidly. She began to stack her still empty plate onto the serving platter, when a series of hoofsteps echoed down the thankfully quiet house’s staircase. After dropping the plates on the counter-top, she poked her head out of the kitchen, just in time to see a light blue unicorn rush past.
“Miss? Hey, would you like some breakfast?” Carrot Top called after the blur that only paused upon reaching the front door. Just how many ponies have moved in here anyway? I get that it's a big house and all, but... Her thoughts trailed off, and were concluded by a curt response from the mare who was in such a hurry.
“Thanks, but no thanks, I’m late for work!” A blue aura appeared around her saddle bags as she floated them onto her back.
“Work? Half the town is in ruins, how could you be going in to work?” Carrot Top trotted closer to the mare, trying desperately to remember her name.
“Well, then the clock shop’s in the half of town that wasn’t completely destroyed, apparently. Clockwork’ll flip his lid if I show up late again, especially with so much to do! So thanks for the offer miss, but I really gotta go!” The door slammed closed, leaving a slightly confused Carrot Top alone in the wide foyer.
“Okay then...” The orange mare sighed dejectedly and turned around to reenter kitchen, wondering how a clockmaker could ever be late for something. The kitchen door swung open on it's old hinges to the tune of the boorish voice speaking excitedly on the other side.
“...and then THAT’S when the bass drops and the whoooooole crowd was like, ‘woooooooooooooah’ and I was all like, ‘THAT’S RIGHT!’ and it was basically the best show Canterlot had ever seen, ever!” Vinyl currently stood atop her chair in the kitchen as if before a crowd, playing madly on turntables only she could see. "I wouldn't be surprised if they started inviting back for all of their parties, I could totally do weddings!" Despite the fact one of the alabaster mare's back hooves had planted itself into what remained of Derpy's breakfast, Derpy looked up at her with what seemed to be awe. At least, Derpy seemed to be watching Vinyl. In her wall-eyed state she could have just as easily been looking at Roidrage's newspaper.
Despite the face of amazement Derpy made in response to the unicorn’s boasts, Carrot had the suspicion that the words themselves took a clear path over the grey mare’s head. I think I can almost see her mane parting to make way for them... She watched the strange sight while in thought, captivated.
Roidrage himself flickered his gaze up at the blue maned mare every time she flailed a hoof, but otherwise stared intently at his paper, expression unchanged.
Derpy crooned quietly in response to Vinyl's mock performance, which finally ended. “Oooooh, neat.”
“Yeah, and my new album is going to be even better!” Vinyl continued, unaware of Derpy’s lack of knowledge on anything she was talking about. “I was up all night working on the title track, ‘Bass In Yo’ Faaace!’. It’s not done yet, but trust me, it's gonna be hype! Actually, I was up working on it all night the last night before that too. And the one before that...huh.” With that, she stopped talking, then slumped forward, slamming her head on the table and breaking her half empty plate cleanly in half.
Roidrage’s eyes shot open to their fullest in surprise at the noise, then the wide eyed stare shrank just as quickly. He grunted and stood up off the kitchen chair after rolling his eyes. The newspaper ruffled back together in his hooves, then he folded it up and left the room, grunting one last time to Carrot Top as he went.
...I think I'll take that one as a thank you, I guess. Carrot Top looked back over the bizarre scene in the room, the likes of which she’d never seen before. She'd been an only child; seeing so much interaction in a kitchen like this was...interesting. Is this really what it’s like to live in a house full of ponies?
Almost in as if in answer, Derpy exclaimed loudly, “I’ll help with the dishes!” Without pause, the pegasus gathered up the remains of the home’s dinnerware in her hooves one by one, until the three plates were all stacked neatly on the table, including Vinyl’s broken one. The mare skillfully picked the plates up and flew towards the sink, grinning towards Carrot Top (maybe) as she did so. The grin was short lived, however, for they slipped from her hooves and onto the tiled floor mid flight, just shy of making it to their destination.
Carrot Top cringed back at the sound of shattering ceramic plates.
“I’m so sorry! Uhm, don’t worry, I’ll clean this up in a jiffy!” The pegasus landed—possibly attempting to focus on staring down at the now innumerable shards of plate-ware—her blonde mane draped over the top of her head.
Carrot Top was too shocked to speak, so instead, she slowly backed out of the kitchen, leaving the passed out Vinyl to Derpy’s well-meant, but horrendously clumsy mercy. She heard the sounds of more things smashing and the odd ‘horsefeathers’ from inside.
Maybe I’ll just...go check on my house again. Make sure the repairs are all on schedule... Perhaps I'll just stay there all day and lend a helping hoof. Walking back out the front door, she gratefully breathed in the brisk, open mid-morning air. I wonder if any rooms have opened up at the inns in town?