• Published 8th May 2013
  • 747 Views, 4 Comments

Nine Is A Crowd! - TheWritingWorkshop

Rainbow Dash has pulled off a Double Sonic Rainboom, and by Celestia was it glorious! However, where do all the ponies without homes go now? Well...

  • ...

All Have Gathered

A feeble knock at the sturdy Ponyvillean home’s front door heralded the arrival of a new visitor.One of its residents, after all, would in all likelihood have simply burst in.

Derpy looked around the kitchen’s doorway and into the spacious living room in surprise, and followed it up with an exaggerated, toothy grin. Guests, I love guests! Oh, this isn’t my home though, so I doubt they’re here to see me... So who could it be? Everypony should be out fixering their homes and stuff. After her mail route had been completed—which had been a short affair given the state of the town—the grey mare had clumsily (as always) flown her way back to the temporary living arrangements in which she and Dinky found themselves.

Derpy stepped carefully through the foyer towards the front door—deftly keeping distance from some of the donated home’s decorations. The knocks sounded again just as she pulled the door open and merrily poked her head outside to welcome whoever it was.

“Hi!” Derpy jubilantly shouted out the doorway. There, standing just at threshold, was a single wide eyed stallion. Behind him down the little path leading to the house, was a mare, slowly making her way closer.

One of the two was familiar to her, that one being the stallion in his golden years. While the other was a far less familiar—but still kiiinda familiar—purple colored pony. Wooow. Derpy’s thoughts oooed. She’s really, really purple! The stranger carried a copious amount of bags behind her, as well a large trunk-like crate which was balanced precariously on her rump. The whole thing was tied together haphazardly with a thick rope.

“Oh, Miss Hooves, you startled me!” Mr. Waddle let out a relieved breath and adjusted his tie nervously. The old pony’s mane was sparse above a shining scalp, and his voice spoke of many a year spent in Ponyville.

Derpy turned her head from trying to focus on the Purple Pony to sheepishly grin towards (or at least as closely as she could approximate was towards) her temporary landlord/gracious host. “Hehe, sorry Mr. Waddle, how is your day going?”

“It’s certainly going,” The elderly stallion chuckled weakly and wiped his brow with a cloth he produced from his saddlebags. “The townsfolk seem to have fixing everything up around here well under control... I do so wish that I was that spry, young go-getter I was forever ago and could help out more.” He sighed and gestured around, waving a gnarled hoof.

“Oh Mr. Waddle, you’ve helped us out so much! What more could anypony ask of somepony as nice as you, young and strong or not?” Derpy smiled again after speaking, trying to ignore that her eyes had decided to begin trading positions again. They did that if she looked at one spot too long...

A cough from behind Mr. Waddle drew both of their attentions to the other mare, who gave them both a strained smile from under her bags. “Hi, sorry to interrupt but...” She glanced up at her burden with a sweating expression.

Mr. Waddle put on an ashamed look. “Ah, sorry, I’m rambling! I’ve brought another tenant to fill in the last available room. Miss Hooves, please meet Burly Lunch!” He gestured to the new pony.

Derpy hopped past the old stallion, already reaching out to help the poor mare with her swaying load. “Sorry,” she began to apologize. “I get distracted easily, let me help you with that Burly!” Her hooves wrapped around one bag above the earth pony’s shoulder and she began to pull enthusiastically.

“It’s Berry, actually, Berry Punch.” Berry gritted her teeth and spoke in almost a grunt, the load she’d brought from the other side of Ponyville had been carried entirely by herself. And I might have overdone it... She took a few steps towards the door to where she could surely set the entire mass of baggage down. Even taking a break every hundred strides, this was way too heavy. I should’ve made two trips, or brought less to drink...well maybe not that.

Derpy tugged again on the bag that refused to budge while listening to Mr. Waddle give Berry a verbal tour of the old country home and its facilities. Grr, let go, you! Derpy gave the bag in question’s rope a vicious tug in order to free it.

A sudden feeling of vertigo overtook Berry as she realized the world around her was tilting. “Wha-? AH!”

“Oh no! Look out!” Derpy held her hooves up to her mouth in panic as Berry and her load tipped over off the brick path and onto the lawn. A strangled squawk emitted from the purple mare as the personal belongings she carried crashed down around her.

Berry’s hooves flailed awkwardly as she tried to immediately free herself. Near her side, Derpy spoke in a hysteric voice while Mr. Waddle stared on in shock. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry! I just pulled it, and it wouldn’t come off and...” Derpy flitted over Berry chaotically while the old stallion began helping the purple mare from her hoof-made harness. “Ar-are you okay?” She landed and stretched her hoof out to the new arrival.

“Ouch,” Berry rubbed a leg and winced while standing back up, but smiled weakly at the other ponies. “Yep, I’m alright, and don’t worry about it. I-” The sound of glass clinking together from the act of standing made Berry’s ears lay back, and her eyes widen to their fullest. “Oh no, no!”

Immediately, she pulled herself the rest of the way from under the mountain of bags to race around to its other side. “Phew, thank Celestia’s flank, they’re alright.” Her hooves had made their way into the carefully packed trunk, and from a quick inspection she could tell none of her prized possessions were broken or shattered.

Mr. Waddle and Derpy stared around the mass at her, worried expressions still on their faces.

Derpy spoke in a slightly strangled voice, still a little distraught at having been the cause of something, again. “Was there something really, really fragile or important in there? I’m so sorry...again.”

Berry looked down at the bottles of spirits again with a nervous smile while untying the pieces of luggage from the cluster. “It’s okay Miss Hooves, you were just trying to help after all, and you did get all the bags off quick...”

“Oh please, call me Derpy! Miss Hooves sounds so formal.” The mailmare flew lopsidedly a few feet in front of Berry while giggling before landing again.

“What an odd name,” Berry mused aloud, wearing a thoughtful look for a moment. “in a nice way. It’s really cute, what’s it mean?” A few bags wilted apart from one another as the ropes came undone, and she hoofed one bag towards the other mare.

“I dunno!” Derpy said proudly, setting the offered bag on her back.. “You really think it's a cute name?”

Berry chuckled and ran a hoof through what she realized was a very frazzled mane atop her head. “It definitely is, I’d say it suits you.” She grinned, then once more frowned down at everything she had brought along with her. “Guh, I probably should’ve cut down on how much my sister and I brought...” Her eyes lingered on the filly’s bags for a moment before moving on. “That, or I should’ve borrowed a wagon.” She sighed, realizing just how much easier that would’ve been. As it was, she was now a sweating, grass stained mess.

Derpy nodded absently while Berry spoke, before her eyes enthusiastically shot wide open once again. “Hey don’t worry! We’ll have all this stuff inside and you’ll be nice and cozy as can be iiiin no time!” Her teeth chomped down on the handle of one small bag and she trotted spiritedly into the home.

Berry wore a grateful smile as they both began carrying the bags into the house, as well as the trunk. “Thanks Derpy, I really appreciate the help.” The last bag settled into the corner of the foyer beside the others. She let out a tired breath while she tried to steady her slightly shaking limbs.

“It’s no problemo at all!” Derpy plopped down on the floor and smiled up at her new roommate as she spoke. “I don’t have much to do at the moment after all. Dinky’s at school and the weather is going to be kept very placid for the next couple of weeks at least, so I don’t need to go in to work I think... So, what with everyone having to be out and fixing their homes I don’t need to go work the weather! A lot of ponies are living in odd places on top of that, and most deliveries have been stopped, too. Everypony just drops by the post office if they need something really, really bad.” The cloud grey mare wore an innocent smile under completely shut eyes as she finished.

“Oooh, you’re the mailmare, aren’t you?” Berry asked, the pegasus nodding happily as the other pony made her guess. “But you’re a weather pony too, why two jobs?” The vintner tilted her head as she recalled seeing the peppy pony flying all around Ponyville with that telltale mail-pony hat and mailbag of her position. I guess I won’t bring up that the mail service is rather dreadful around here, I’m tired of getting the mail from somepony named Cherry Berry...

Derpy blinked a few times as if not understanding the question, or something else perhaps, when the gentle cough of an elderly stallion grabbed both mare’s attentions. She gasped and held a hoof up to her muzzle. “Mr. Waddle I’m so sorry, I think we completely forgot you were there!”

“Hehe,” The old stallion faced Derpy and chuckled heartily. “Yes, some of us ponies do tend to have that problem I feel... Oh well, I guess most of us just weren’t meant to be in the limelight I suppose.”

Berry and Derpy both laughed lightly along with the old fellow out of politeness, not entirely understanding.

Mr. Waddle slowed his chuckling, then adjusted his spectacles and focused on Berry with a squint. “So, this is it then Miss Punch, anything else that you might be wondering?”

The mare shook her head and looked up to the house. “No, I think that’s it. If I have any more questions I’m sure Derpy here can help me.”

“Alrighty then, here are your two keys Miss, the small one is for your room, the new looking one is another house key. Let me know if you guys and gals needs anything at all! I’ll more than likely be down by the retirement home if you need to find me.” Mr. Waddle coughed again, covering his greying muzzle, but smiled over it while walking at a snail’s pace back onto the porch. With a gnarled hoof the old stallion waved goodbye.

Derpy and Berry waved in return, and the door closed with a click a moment later.

The purple earth pony turned to face Derpy, who stared around the room, seemingly at random. Although, it likely wasn’t on purpose now that Berry thought about it... I just won’t bring it up, it might be a sensitive subject for her. She gave a start when Derpy addressed her suddenly.

“Is something wrong...?” The other mare asked hesitantly.

Berry jumped in surprise, so much so that she bit her tongue. Wincing, she did her best to answer Derpy with an excuse. “Gakpbth, I uh...bid muh tongue! Nopf, nothink’s wong! Uhm, aim gonna juft moof mah bagth upstairth, then...” She let out a sheepish laugh and began walking backwards up the stairs, dragging a couple bags along with her.

The confused pegasus scratched her head as the new pony excused herself, then shrugged and merrily trotted into the kitchen with a smile.

“How many stairs does this place have!?” Berry huffed as she heaved the last of her bags up the long staircase. She wiped the new sweat off her brow as she finally made it to the top of the first flight of the building. Exhausted, she slumped to the floor beside the luggage to catch her breath. “I’ll just...go find the room first, then come back for these.” She all but panted the words out.

Having made up her mind, Berry rose off the floor and wandered down the hallway of her new home. The dubious looking floorboards creaked and groaned with every step. Geeeez, how old is this place?

The sound of soft music came from up ahead in one of the rooms as Berry made her way down the hall. Her ears perked up, and she realized it was the deep, somber voice of a cello. The creaking floor and the clop of her hooves as she walked closer to the source was drowned out by the haunting melody. More and more she was drawn in by the beautiful, resonant notes. A wan smile crossed her lips as a stray thought entered her mind. It sounds so sad...

Berry pressed an ear to the closed door the music came from as the song reached its crescendo. With a quick series of alternating notes and a long, mournful low, the song came to its end. That was amazing, I need to know who played that!

Without another thought, Berry opened the door, clapping her hooves as she entered. Inside, she found a lone grey mare, standing while she held her instrument in an upright position. Her head and eyes shot to face the door and Berry. The enthusiastic clapping slowed more and more under Berry’s congratulatory grin, and an awkward silence settled in.

Before Berry could speak, the stranger coughed and spoke. “Can I help you...?” She trailed off and waved a hoof in a circular fashion, haughtily beckoning a response from the intruder in her midst.

“Hey, I just wanted to say that was really good! I love classical, it’s great for hangovers... Anyway, I heard it from down the hall. Could you play another, please? Do you know anything by Marezart? She’s my favorite!” Berry walked further into the room, taking in the mess of sheet music covering every inch of the cramped flat’s small bed. Across from that were several large bags and containers, reminiscent of her own uprooted possessions.

“Oh, please, I prefer to practice alone. If you would be so kind to-”

“Oh wow, that cello is beautiful, you’re really a professional aren’t you?” Berry grinned as her eyes ran up down the finely varnished instrument.

The grey mare pointedly rolled her eyes so Berry could see, then placed her cello on its stand delicately. “Please, I need to practice. This is the first chance I’ve gotten since that infernal disk jockey moved in. Now, if you would be so kind-” The mare’s hooves began to make whisking, shooing motions at Berry in the direction of the door.

“You mean PON-3?” Berry’s head tilted as she realized who the stranger was speaking about. There was only one disk jockey around Ponyville, and everyone knew about her. “I heard from Pinkie Pie that she was living here, but I’ve never really liked that kind of music...”

The grey mare had been about to wrap a hoof around Berry’s shoulder, but stopped abruptly, “You...don’t?” She raised one eyebrow quizzically at the other earth pony.

Berry shook her head emphatically, “Nope, makes my head hurt most of the time. I’ve always preferred the classics. It may not be party music, but it’s still better than anything I’ve heard with ‘wubs’. I’m Berry Punch by the way. Just moved in with my sister, Pina.” She held out a hoof to her new roommate to make their meeting official, smiling broadly.

The room’s tenant eyed the hoof for a moment, then reached out with one of her own. “Octavia Philiharmonica, first chair cellist in the Canterlot orchestra... Well, former first chair.” She finished with a snort, allowing her hoof to fall limply back to the floor.

“Former? Really? But you’re so good! What, did you personally insult Princess Celestia or something; call her fat in front of a bunch of royals?” Berry grinned while she played the funny scene out in her own head, all the while leafing through the written music on the bed. She began admiring the difficult chord progression of a piece that seemed familiar.

Octavia, meanwhile, recoiled with a start at the suggestion. “I did no such thing! I merely...well, there was a... excuse me, I really must get back to practicing.” She all but tore the sheet out of Berry’s hooves and shoved her towards the still-open door.

“But, you were gonna play some Marezart! Aw, come on I didn’t mean it Tavi!” Before she knew what was happening, Berry was back in the hallway with Octavia’s door slamming behind her. “Hmph, rude...” A few moments later, another slow song that was blatantly not composed by Marezart started playing.

Nice to meet you too. Berry scowled as she made her way back to her pile of bags, eager now to get her things in her room. I hope they weren’t in anyone’s way... She thought, walking back to the other end of the home’s second floor. It seemed they had not been, all of the bags sat untouched during her brief break. Where is my room exactly...Mr. Waddle said the second floor, but where? Lines of rooms sat on either side of the hall which easily numbered into the double digits.

Berry nonchalantly tried the handle of the door closest to her beside the bags, and grimaced at the sight of brooms and cleaning supplies along with towels. “This is going to be annoying.” She sighed tiredly and hefted one bag as she began searching the many doors for her room. Should’ve asked him which one was mine...

Ready to give up, Berry returned to her trunk dejectedly. Still fuming over her own stupidity, she reached down to grab its handle and drag it the rest of the hall. Instead, she found she had somehow opened the heavy trunk and pulled out one of the many bottles within. The full, unlabeled bottle sat glistening in her purple hoof, practically begging her to take a few swigs. Hmmm, well I am pretty thirsty. Maybe I’ll just take another short break. She thought, untwisting the cap with a satisfying crack.

Author's Note:

It could happen...

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Comments ( 1 )


Hehe thanks. :twilightblush:

He's a very under appreciated character we felt.

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