Tinker watched the trees and hills roll by. It had only been several hours since she had said her farewells at the train station, but yet it seemed like ages ago. She wasn’t sure when exactly she’d be back, Tinker hoped that they could all manage the farm back home. Fixing stuff had always been her strong point, and there was still so much more left in need of repair back at home. She let out a sigh. This was a big step for her, she had never been this far from home, especially not alone. Yet here she was, with all her belongings in one saddle bag, the school address and a one way ticket to Manehattan. She felt nervous and excited at the same time. This was a start of a new life, she was going to be somepony, and she would show them. She was going to make her mark on the world; that much she was sure of. If only they could get there faster.
“What I wouldn’t give to be a pegasus right now…” she thought out loud. Receiving several odd stares from the other passengers on the train. She looked down on the floor and wished she could disappear.
Sometimes she just figured it would be easier to zoom from one place to the next and not have to rely so much on everypony else. With the amount of time she spent with her head in the clouds, she still couldn’t figure out her problem of being grounded. Maybe she’d find something in her studies. Whoa! Her studies! She still couldn’t believe she had really made it! Just last week she had gotten the letter granting her wildest dream. Now she needed a new dream. Tinker looked out the window at the passing scenery, getting lost in thought.
“ALL ABOARD!” The conductor’s voice startled her. She hadn’t even noticed the train had come to a stop. She looked out the window for the station sign to see just exactly where they were.
“Hmm… Ponyville… looks like a nice enough place.” She watched the ponies off in the distance going about their daily lives as the train started to move off. “WHOA!! What’s that!!?” watching intently as a large purplish thing came to rest in the center of the town. Tinker watched in surprise as a pony hopped out, a unicorn no less. “So unicorns can fly… I’ll be.”
“Oh course they can fly.” A stranger sitting across from her groaned.
“Yes, it’s called a hot air balloon, you’re not from around here are you.”
“No, everything’s still kinda new to me.”
“Well kid, the world’s full of surprises just let your mouth dry out gaping at them all.”
“Oh I won’t… um…. I don’t think I got your name, I’m Tinker.”
They carried on a conversation for a good long while, until the kind gentlepony reached his stop that is. She still had a little ways further to go and the train car was starting to fill up fast. There were all sorts of ponies onboard. Everything from farm ponies like herself to important looking ponies wearing fancy looking clothing.
“Manehattan station!” The conductor hollered over the idle chatter that filled the car.
“Finally!” Tinker jumped up, checking to make sure her saddle bag was tight. She filled out of the train car with many of the passengers. The station was rather smoke filled but she could see the tips of the skyscrapers poking out above it all.
“Hey! Watch were you’re going!”
“Oh sorry, I didn’t…”
“How rude.” Tinker dashed off away from the station platform. She was amazed at how big the buildings were, many as tall as the fields back home were long. “I can’t believe I’m finally here.” Tinker circled on the spot, taking in the 360 degree view all around her. The bustling street corners, the bright yellow taxi wagons, the flashing lights on almost every building.
Tinker trotted down the block, admiring all the new sites. She had read so much about the city in books but none of them seemed to do any real justice to the scene before her eyes. She wandered around for a few hours before she started feeling a tad hungry. She browsed the numerous street side stands. Everything from sandwiches to delicate sweets could be had for the right amount. Opening her saddle bag she counted how many bits she had with her.
“Well darn, I barely have enough for my books, maybe I can spare one bit.” She focused her horn on the one small coin, bringing it out and setting down on the table of the stand of her choosing. She couldn’t remember when a sandwich had tasted this good. Or maybe it was just being someplace else, after all it wasn’t quite as filling as the ones back home.
“Excuse me sir…” She had seen quite a bit but still needed to find the university. “Ma’am….” It was if everypony was ignoring her. Oh well, maybe she would just wander about for a good while longer.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” as she rounded yet another corner. “Just how big is this city?”
“Only as big as you make it.” A firm voice answered from behind her.
“Wha…” She turned around, “Oh, hello officer.”
“Are you looking for someplace or just site seeing.”
“Well actually I’m trying to find the university, I have an address but I can’t seem to figure out where I am.” She held out the piece of paper that had the address on it out to the officer.
“Two blocks down, take a left and go another five blocks, the university will be on your right.”
“Oh thank you so much,” a big grin spreading across her face.
“No problem miss, you take care now you hear.”
“I will and thanks again!” She trotted off in the direction the officer had pointed. One, two blocks, take a left. Or was it a right.
“Well shucks, I should’ve wrote them down.” She stood on the corner, looking for any indication of which way she was supposed to go. “Ah-ha! University this way.” Finding a sign with an arrow on it. It was a dark sign, not even lit. “Hmm…. Five blocks was it? Must’ve been, now which side was it.”
“Excuse me, can you tell me how far to the university?” she stopped to ask an older pony.
“Four blocks yet and on your right.”
“Thanks!” she hurried off. “I can’t believe how long these blocks are,” Tinker grumbled, finally coming to a halt in front of the university gates. “Well shoot, they don’t open till seven. I guess I’ll just have to wait.” She huddled down next to one of the gates pillars. The gate was secured with a simple lock, much like the ones back at home. She could have easily picked it with her limited use of magic, but what kind of message would that say about her? “I suppose I’ll just have to wait it out.” Tinker set down her saddle bag. It was an old bag, worn from years of use but it was hers. Her ma had made it for her when she had gotten her cutie mark. She could still make out the twin gears, though they were severely faded. At first it didn’t make much sense, living on a farm and all. Her brother’s marks had to do with farming and tending the land but hers. It took her while before it really clicked. And now here she was, at the gates of the place she could best learn to use her talent. She just hoped it would be easy.
“Miss?” A gentle voice echoed in her head.
“Huh? What…?” She must have dozed off. She could see that it was morning.
“Are you okay?” the concerned voice asked form behind the gate.
“Me, no I’m fine, I was just waiting for the gates to open.”
“Well then, you’d best be going.” The other pony removed the lock with a key and swung open the gates.
“YAY!!” She bolted past him, stopped, turned around and trotted back. Picking up her saddle back she then made her way to the admissions building. Hours of waiting, and after reading all the flyers at least twice she was finally enrolled. She just had to get books. She walked out and froze. There were so many ponies everywhere!
“Holy hock-nippers!! It sure got busy fast…” Tinker quickly trotted down the steps, making her way thought the crowd. “Oh excuse me… pardon me… sorry… my fault…” She was getting nowhere fast. In fact the bookstore seemed even farther away than when she started. “Ugh, how does everypony else do it?” she groaned in frustration.
“You’ve just got to be less polite.” An earth toned pegasus trotted up next to her. “Hi my names, Fluoresce. I overheard you’re in the engineering program.”
“I’m Tinker, it’s nice to meet you…” Taken aback by the brilliant blue mane and tail with red highlights of the pegasus.
“I’m in the engineering program myself, maybe we can be lab partners?”
“Maybe… If I can ever get my books.”
“No problem, here just come with me.” The pegasus took to the air, “Oh silly me, I forgot, you can’t fly.” Landing deftly back down on the sidewalk. “Well then come on, what are you waiting for? Let’s go!”
“Fluoresce, wait up…”
“Please just call me Flo, most everypony calls me that anyway.”
“Ok, Flo it is then.” They brushed though the crowd, maybe she had been too polite, none of the other students seemed to take offence at all the bumping and jostling as everypony headed off to classes.
“Tada!! The bookstore!” Flo did an aerial backflip.
“Thanks for the help. “
“No problem, I’ll see you around, I need to dash or I’ll be late for class again.”
“Bye, see you later.” Tinker waved to her new friend. Things sure were different in the city. She had a lot more to learn than she had at first thought.