Another hangover. Luckily, Far Cry had experienced so many already that it really wasn’t intrusive enough to affect his sleep. His windows were already covered with cloth to keep out the sunlight and help with his odd sleep patterns.
For him, living near the edge of Ponyville in a small, rather plain apartment filled with works of clay, latex, and plastic unceremoniously strewn throughout many rooms was all he really needed. Being a unicorn pony has its advantages when it comes to such tedious works of art, and he had already established himself as one of the best artists in town, though he had only lived there for a few months. His dark gray coat and a mane and tail of long, brown, notably unkempt hair, and an inexplicably bare flank was easy to spot amongst Ponyville’s otherwise decidedly more Technicolor residents – that is, whenever he left the apartment.
This had become quite the daily regimen for Far Cry. He would wake up late, spend the day designing various art pieces for other ponies alone in his apartment all the way into the wee hours of the morning and hardly ever venture out into the streets of Ponyville – except to restock some groceries, keep an appointment, deliver a new piece, or track down some form of alcoholic beverage that would suit his fancy. He had a particular enjoyment for the Apple family’s famous cider, but when it wasn’t in season, he would set out to locate a decent whiskey. Far Cry had very few friends within Ponyville. He wasn’t born and raised there, and because he tends to keep to himself a lot of the time, he hasn’t been very successful at – or interested in - making new friends since his arrival there. That is, except for Pinkie Pie.
Having somewhat of a sweet tooth, Far Cry had inevitably found his way downtown into Sugar Cube Corner within the first week of his arrival. Pinkie, who is well-known for her overwhelming desire to personally welcome every new pony into town, learn everything about them, and make them smile, instantly freaked out when Far Cry stepped up to the counter and, as she always does for newcomers, threw him a small welcome party and sang a silly song. It was an amusing spectacle, and, though Far Cry felt uneasy at first, his guard quickly dropped when Pinkie’s infectious attitude began to sink in and make more sense. Well, “sense” in the only way that Pinkie can really make sense.
Since that day, Pinkie would show up at Far Cry’s apartment once in a while to deliver a cupcake or cookie and make sure to sneak a laugh out of him. But she also came to visit because she found Far Cry’s work astonishing – an eclectic mix of sculptures, drawings, masks, and busts - and loved to ask a myriad of questions about whatever new project(s) he was working on at the time. Being her usual Pinkie self, she would excitedly bounce around, talking far too quickly for Far Cry to give a sufficient response before she could ask the next question. To her credit, the work really was quite good. Far Cry, though not a master by any means, knew how to express ideas in clay and on paper in a way that would be visually intriguing. He’d been doing this type of art for most of his life and was attempting to make a living out of it these days, though he had his ups and downs in terms of success.
After a while, Pinkie would leave and Pinkie Promise to return again in a few days. This promise had always been kept, and this day was the day on which she would make her trip once again.
**KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK**
Far Cry rolled over and moaned loudly. Slowly cracking open his purple eyes, he squinted at the clock on the adjacent wall and noted how late it was. “Ugh. I totally forgot…,” he murmured as he slowly dropped out of bed and patted around on the nearby nightstand for his favorite purple hair tie.
Finally locating it, he quickly lifted it in his magic and put his mane in a ponytail, another part of his daily regimen, and began a slow, sluggish walk to his front door.
As soon as the door swung open, an explosion of confetti flew into the room as the sound of a party horn filled Far Cry’s ears. While he had experienced this phenomenon many times before, it always caught him off guard for some reason. Finally wide awake, he could see a familiar face standing in his doorway, wearing her usual gigantic grin. It was a pink earth pony with the craziest mane he had ever seen and a cutie mark of three brightly-colored balloons on her flank. Oddly enough, he could swear that her mane and tail smelled of cotton candy, but he had never gotten close enough to confirm it without a shred of doubt. On her back was a saddlebag, brightly colored with a pattern that included various yellows, pinks, and blues. It really did compliment her color scheme quite well. Her hooves high in the air, she yelled, “SURPRISE!!! IT’S ME!”
Smiling for the first time in what felt like days, Far Cry quickly regained his senses. “Pinkie, it’s only a surprise if I’m not expecting you.” He smiled warmly. “Come on in, if you like! Sorry, I just woke up.” Happily obliging the invitation, Pinkie Pie skipped into the apartment, as she had done many times before. As Far Cry closed the door with his magic, he could already hear her getting excited behind him. “OOOOooooOOOoooo! That is soooo cool! When did you start on this one? Who’s it gonna be? Can I touch it? What are you going to produce it in this time? OOOooooOOOooo, what COLOR will it be?!”
She had already made her way into the workshop area in the next room and was staring down a small, very unfinished blob of clay that had just begun to resemble a rather tall pony figure in a decidedly regal pose. Far Cry’s smile crept wider as he waited for a moment to get a word in edgewise. “Haha! Well, it’s going to be Princess Luna eventually. I started it yesterday, and it’s still very early on. And yes,…” Far Cry rolled his eyes, “…you can touch it. Just be gentle.”
Pinkie Pie grinned and jumped in place before putting her hoof gingerly on one of the sculpture’s legs. “Eeeee!! I touched it!”, she chirped. “Hey, you know what you should sculpt sometime? A CAKE!! Ohmygosh, yeah, a cake! Or cookies! Oh wow, that’s the best idea ever!”
Far Cry laughed at the absurdness of her suggestion. “I…really don’t think there’s a very big market for stuff like that,” he said, “but I guess I could make a special exception for you.”
Indeed, he would consider doing a ton of stranger art pieces just for Pinkie. He had become rather fond of her over the last few months and her spontaneity and incredibly consistent care-free, positive attitude was a nice break from his usual feelings of loneliness, gloom, and doom. While he preferred to be alone most of the time, it wasn’t always the greatest experience to be cooped up in your home without any additional pony contact for days at a time. Pinkie Pie represented a wonderful zest for life that he longed to experience for himself, and secretly savored their time together, though he had never made any mention of it out of pure shyness. He figured she came to see him because she could sense some semblance of that depression in his attitude and decided that she needed to put in some extra focus on keeping him happy…Or maybe it was just…
“Do you think you’ll get it this time?” Pinkie asked, her smile undeterred by the subject at hand.
Far Cry snapped out of his daze and spared a quick glance back at his blank flank as his smile slowly wilted and died. “I hope so.”
Before he even had time to think, Pinkie Pie burst out, “Of COURSE you will! Look how AWESOME this thing is turning out! Don’t you worry, this is sure to be the one!”
Her enthusiasm was so sincere that it brought back a small smile to Far Cry’s face, but it did nothing to calm his mind.
Earning a cutie mark seemed like such a simple concept to him, but then, that was exactly why it was such a touchy subject... Everypony else in Ponyville usually had received one by the time they were fully grown. It seemed to him as though everypony had found what they wanted to do with their lives – fulfilled their destiny - by Far Cry’s age. Far Cry had been trying to fulfill what he believed was his destiny for at least a decade by honing the skill that he was best at: creating art of various types. However, the fact remained that, no matter what he did or how he did it, his own personal cutie mark – much to his own dismay - remained unfortunately elusive.