“So, assault,” Twilight stated, the question clear in her tone.
“‘Tis not important.” Barrier waved a hoof dismissively.
“It’s kind of important, since I had to pay your bail.”
She does raise a fair argument… Barrier thought to himself as his gaze drifted upwards towards the slowly-setting sun. “I do not get along with griffins. Miss Gilda was no exception.”
“You hit her in the face,” Twilight stated flatly.
“What is thy...your point?”
“Well, why specifically? I know you don’t like griffins…” Twilight thought back to what Daring Do had told her about the pony-griffin conflict being the most drawn-out and messy conflict in recorded history. “But surely you wouldn’t attack her without a reason?”
Not exactly… “It matters not. I made a mistake, nothing more.”
Twilight only frowned and gazed at the stallion pointedly.
“I am sorry, Twilight,” Barrier said quietly, “but this is not a subject I enjoy discussing. I doubt that I will ever be at peace with the griffins.”
“Is it because of that Grimhilde character you talked to Gilda about?” The lavender-mare noticed how Barrier tensed.
She will continue to hound you. If you refuse to tell her, she will simply ask the princess. “Have you heard of a city called Gallopfrey?”
“No…?” Twilight answered hesitantly as she flicked the library door open with a burst from her horn.
Taking a slow breath through his nose, Barrier exhaled slowly. “It is and shall forever be the single greatest reason I will never be able to forgive Griffins. Make no mistake, I shall tolerate them… Princess Luna has ordered me to, but I will never like them.” Barrier made his way into the library behind Twilight. “On a different matter, I should tell th...you I shall be leaving soon.”
“Leaving? Like going out or…?”
“More that I shall be a-seeking a new home away from Ponyville,” Barrier smiled apologetically. “I am immensely grateful for thee...you allowing me to stay here, Twilight, but I need to get out on my own if I’m ever to adapt to this strange new world. Besides that, I owe it to my ponies. To truly see what this new world is like, I should see this new world.”
Twilight nodded as her magic set to scanning the shelves, the mare talking as she searched. “That makes sense.” She couldn’t really fault him. “So where will you go?”
“I haven't the foggiest idea,” Barrier confessed sheepishly. “Mayhaps I shall throw a dart at a map and go wherever it lands.”
“When do you think you’ll leave?” Twilight began to tug books free from their positions, reading the titles before sliding them back into place.
“Mayhaps a day or two after the museum comes to retrieve the monument. Before that however, I need a shower. I was invited unto dinner tonight with an acquaintance and her friend at some place known as the Hayburger.” Barrier had seen the establishment on his treks through Ponyville thus far, but had never bothered to actually enter the establishment.
“That’s nice,” Twilight answered somewhat absentmindedly, her attention primarily focused on skimming through one of her books. “Do you need any bits, or…?”
“Hm, thank you but I’ll be fine.” Barrier began to make his way up the stairs and towards the bathroom, “I’ve a few million bits to spare after the trip to Canterlot. I can’t imagine I’ll spend too much at this Hayburger place.”
“Alrighty then…” Twilight said lamely as her magic cracked open another book, Barrier departing into the bathroom
Horn bringing the shower to life, Barrier stepped beneath the warm stream just in time to hear a heavy book crash to the floor…
“How the hay did you get so many bits?”
…followed by the mare throwing the bathroom door open in surprise… shortly before screaming at the sight before her.
“Does this situation seem odd to you, Twilight?” Barrier asked as he tugged the brush through his coat, wincing and regretting that he didn’t take better care of it.
“Does what seem odd?” Twilight asked from the book that her muzzle was all but buried in.
“I am going to a…’fast-food’ place at…” he eyed the clock on the wall, “nearly eight o’clock.”
“Not really,” Twilight droned.
“Very well, I shall return later, Twilight.”
The door to the library clicking shut behind him, Barrier drifted into his thoughts as his hooves began to move.
Where will you go first? Trottingham, perhaps? Perhaps I could lay rest to some of those memories. Barrier swallowed heavily at the thought of visiting the town once more. It would be nice to see how it’s recovered over the centuries. I could pay my respects to young Forge and his family as well. “As close as I can come to paying respects…” Barrier vocalized the last bit, completely unaware of the unicorn that had taken up stride alongside him.
“Hey there tall, dark, and flat-flanked, where ya headed?”
Well alright then, Barrier’s mind recalled the somber thoughts in favor of the cream-colored unicorn across from him.
“I’m heading forth to meet an acquaintance and her friend,” Barrier replied simply,
“That’s cool. Doin’ the same thing, actually. My marefriend said she was meetin’ somebody and I decided to tag along.” The mare nodded gently, as if she’d said something of great wisdom.
“I see,” Barrier responded simply. After several short moments of silence, Barrier spoke once more. “Tis a lovely night out.” Smooth, Barrier, you dunce…
“Yeah, it is,” the mare tilted her head upright as they walked, her two-tone blue mane bouncing messily. “It’s nice not to be trapped in a club or party for once.”
“A...club?” Barrier asked with genuine interest. This was something he’d not heard of, one of the wonders of the present, no doubt.
“Yeah. I play all over the place these days, but I always seem to end up coming back Ponyville. Usually for Pinkie-parties now that I think about it.” The mare pressed a hoof to her chin as if in thought.
“Ah, Miss Pie…” Barrier conjured an image of the pony-like manifestation of sugar; the mere thought of her never failed to give him chills.
“Heh, yeah. She’s a riot…” The mare chuckled. “but she can be a bit much.”
That mare startles me so much when she seems to appear from nowhere that I nearly strike her in the face… Barrier realized with some degree of shame that his first reflex -one he’d held back quite well- was to strike the mare when she seemingly appeared out of nowhere. “To be certain, she means well, however…”
“Yeah, she’s one of a kind.” The mare chuckled again. “Oh, I’m Vinyl Scratch by the way.” The cream-colored mare held a hoof out, halting her trek.
“A pleasure to meet you, Miss Scratch, I’m Magic Barrier.” Barrier stopped, thrusting his own hoof out to firmly shake the mare’s hoof.
“Nice to meetcha, Barrier.” Vinyl grinned and the duo started moving once more. “So…” Vinyl started with a curious undertone. “Magic Barrier…” she seemed to roll the name around briefly, “Does that mean you can like...magic up a condom or something?”
A condom? What on the ninth level of Tartarus is a condom? How am I to keep tally of all these strange modern terms? “I…suppose it’s possible,” Barrier stated hesitantly. “I’m afraid I’m unfamiliar with these condoms, but my magic is fairly versatile, especially with conjuring spells of protection.”
“That’s gotta be a neat trick. Y’know, if you’re lucky, you might be a part of a foursome tonight. Bet I could talk ‘Tavi into it.”
You’ve already turned down the twins from the spa, will you turn down this mare as well? Barrier found his mind conjuring up images of the admittedly attractive mare across from him. …I’ve not the time for the likes of a relationship in these trying times. Barrier tried to argue with…himself. Yeah, she’s clearly looking for a relationship with an invitation like that. I’m not that stupid. “Perhaps,” Barrier finally replied with a nervous swallow.
“Heh, don’t worry, we’ll figure something out. So where’re you meeting this acquaintance of yours?” Vinyl stopped, the charcoal-unicorn following suit.
“Here, apparently.” Barrier glanced up at the ‘Hayburger’ sign that seemed to light up despite the last vestiges of sunlight quickly fading from the land.
“Oh, tight!~” Vinyl grinned. “Well, let’s go. I’ll introduce you to ‘Tavi. She might seem a little snooty at first, but she’s pretty cool once you get used to it.” Vinyl grabbed one of Barrier’s hooves and tugged him into the establishment behind her.
Tavi… That was the second time he’d heard the name from Vinyl. Why is that familiar… His eyes fell on the mane of the mare in question. Ah, Tavi, an affectionate nickname for Octavia… Barrier glanced at Vinyl who was still tugging him along. She appears to have an interesting taste in mares…
“Tavi! I brought a friend too!” Vinyl called out loudly with a grin, drawing the attention of the grey mare.
“A pleasure you see you again, Miss Melody.” A slight smile wormed its way onto the stallion’s face.
“Ah, Mr. Barrier. You’re a little earlier than expected!” Octavia turned around to greet the stallion, a pleasant smile on her face…which quickly faded when she saw who was dragging him along.
“Wait, you two know each other? Well crap, there goes my plans for a foursome…”
“Vinyl!” Octavia’s eyes widened, clearly appalled.
“Oh come on, you know I’m just fuckin’ with ya’.” Vinyl squinted her eyes in thought, “Well, not fuckin’ with ya right now, but you know what I mean.”
Octavia only groaned and face-hoofed sadly. “I’m so sorry, Barrier. I’d planned on having some time to explain Vinyl’s…eccentricities to you before you met her. Fate, however, seems to be against me.”
“It’s quite alright, Miss Melody. She is an interesting mare, if a little... unique.” Barrier carefully edged himself into the booth Octavia was seated at, Vinyl sliding in across the table alongside Octavia.
“Though it’s a bit unnecessary now, I would like to introduce you to Vinyl Scratch,” Octavia addressed the stallion across the table, “my marefriend. Vinyl, please meet Magic Barrier, the unicorn who was kind enough to tolerate my company after our small disagreement on the train.”
Small? Barrier thought back to the shouting and subsequent door-slamming. Mayhaps in the same way a tornado is an air current, but very well.
“Well then,” Vinyl interrupted, “Now that that’s out of the way, how about we get something to eat?”
“That sounds like an excellent idea,” Barrier said perhaps a little too quickly as he climbed out of the booth with Vinyl. “I was unable procure anything to eat before my arrest.”
“Wait, you were arrested?” Octavia joined them in departing the booth, “When? How?”
“I entered into a minor scrape with a griffin in the marketplace. The guards did not take kindly to it. I am fortunate my niece found out about it, else I may have missed our appointment tonight.”
“Wait, you assaulted a griffin? That’s kinda badass.” Vinyl cut in once more, shifting herself from the counter.
“She was youthful, bold and easily angered.” Barrier shrugged as he took up position alongside Vinyl at the counter, squinting slightly as his eyes roved the menu, trying to recall the new alphabet.
Turning back to the counter, the discussion about the griffin seemingly over, Vinyl hummed softly as her eyes roved across the menu. “Uh, I’ll just have a number four, I think. What do you want, Tavi?”
“Number seven,” the gray mare replied sedately, seemingly lost in thought.
“And you, sir?” the teenaged-pony behind the counter started boredly at Barrier.
“I shall have a number seven as well. I still cannot decipher the drivel ponies write with these days.”
“You can’t read?” Octavia and Vinyl asked in unison.
“I can read ancient Equestrian and…” Barrier hesitated, “I don’t know if the Griffins and Saddle Arabians still use the same alphabets and languages as they did one-thousand years ago, but assuming they do, I can read, write, and speak those, but fluent, modern Equestrian is beyond me at this moment.”
Barrier eyed the pale-blue pony at the counter as he slid a pair of food-laden trays towards them and promptly went back to looking completely disinterested. His movements and manner… they seem like an undead… Barrier idly noted as he took the trays in his magic and made to follow the mares back to the table only for a string of letters on the menu to catch his attention. “Excuse me, does that say vodka?”
Octavia and Vinyl both stopped and turned, Vinyl interjecting. “Ooh! If you’re gonna order booze you should let me choose for you!”
“I’m content with that, so long as it has as kick to it.” Barrier nodded amicably.
“Heh, you guys are gonna love this…” Vinyl went back to the counter.
“Oh gods,” Octavia groaned as they left Vinyl at the counter. “This can only end poorly.”
As the two slid into the booth, the mare shifted topics, “So, you can’t read?”
“I will be able to in due time, but I’ve yet to fully memorize the workings of it yet,” Barrier stopped to levitate a hooful of fries to his mouth, taking a moment to gratefully inhale the food, “but Miss Yearling was quite helpful, and I’ve no doubt I shall soon master it.”
“Well, if you ever need any assistance with it I would be honored to h-”
“Tavi!” Vinyl grinned as she returned to the table with a bottle of clear liquid rather than a drink.
Conversation forgotten, both Barrier and Octavia glanced up at her. Barrier only tilted his head curiously while Octavia groaned and pressed a hoof to her face.
“Oh come on, there’s no way this could be as bad as last time! Besides, we’ve got a new drinking buddy!”
Why do I have this odd sense of foreboding?