• Published 21st Jun 2013
  • 867 Views, 29 Comments

On Our Own - kwr2k13



The continuing adventures of Little Horn and her cousin, Harmony Trebleheart, as they meet other ponies and become closer as a family in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

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Chapter Eight: Chaotic Dis-Harmony

On Our Own

Chapter Eight: Chaotic Dis-Harmony


Harmony groggily turned about in her bed. Glancing around the room, she noticed that it was empty and silent, save for herself. The make-shift beds used by the Little Horn and the Crusaders last night were scattered haphazardly across the floor, and the bedroom door was slightly agape.

The clock on the bedside table read 11:47 AM.

‘Huh, I’ve slept in. Duo and the fillies must’ve already woken up,’ she concluded after several moments in a half-asleep daze.

In her semi-conscious state of exhaustion, Harmony was more than happy to just lie there and drift back to sleep. But alas, nature’s course had other ideas.

Not exactly willing to make an embarrassing mess of her bed, the dishevelled mare grunted as she rolled about to get out of bed. Amidst her uncoordinated movement to escape her bed, her back leg became tangled up in a mess of bed sheets, and Harmony’s face met the floor with an unceremonious thud.

“... Ow,” came the slightly-delayed response.

She gingerly collected herself up off the floor, kicking the bed sheet away and stretching her neck about to release some built-up tension in her neck, before fumbling her hoof across the bedside table for her glasses, accidentally knocking off a book that was left there in the process, which fell to the floor with a loud thump. Attempting to use magic was unreliable in a less-than-alert state, a lesson she remembered she had learned the hard way on her first morning as a complete pony just over a week ago.

‘Wait... only a week ago? Goodness, this situation has developed rather quickly...’ she blinked.

With her vision restored, the white unicorn peered down at the book on the floor.

It was the book of magic spells her Aunt had lent to her, to teach magic to Little Horn from.

Harmony herself had very little knowledge of how to work magic, and had been up late last night trying to master the art of teleportation.

It was a very difficult process, and Harmony herself was still rather inept with the spell, but she had learned and had practised enough safely use the spell, and not accidentally teleport anything to oblivion.

She took a deep breath and sauntered out of the room, frowning slightly from a slight discomfort in her shoulder.

As she passed through the living room, she spotted Scootaloo and Little Horn sitting on either side of the couch, watching the morning cartoons. Babs Seed and Apple Bloom meanwhile were kneeling at the coffee table with their eyes also glued to the tv screen; the former clutching a glass of apple juice in her grip, and the latter fiddling about with the comically oversized bow tie in her mane.

“Morning all,” she murmured half-heartedly in a croaky voice.

Little Horn had finished swallowing her breakfast when she looked up at her cousin’s appearance.

“Harmony? Are you okay?” The unicorn filly asked in a concerned tone as she looked up from eating her maple and brown sugar-flavored oatmeal.

“I just woke up,” came the brief response, “Otherwise fine. Can’t talk now.”

Any further responses fell on deaf ears as Harmony dragged herself in the direction of the bathroom, passing by the Mayor, Duo and Sweetie Belle at the kitchen table; the former reading a newspaper, and the latter two whispering quietly amongst themselves.

Fortunately, the bathroom was unoccupied, and Harmony sighed in relief as she locked the door behind her and went about her business.

As she glanced around the bathroom, finally collecting her bearings, she noticed something terrible had gone wrong.

Very wrong.

“How the flip did we run outta toilet paper?” Harmony whispered under her breath with a frown.

Upon finishing up, her pulse skyrocketed as she quickly glanced around the bathroom in a panic, “Oh no-no-no-no-no-no! That’s not good! That’s not good at all! I can’t go around looking like this! One does not simply use the toilet and not wipe! Oh, what am I going to...?”

She stopped when she caught a glimpse of herself in the bathroom mirror. Her mane looked like a train-wreck, with stray clumps of hair sticking out in all directions.

“Argh! Now I know I look even worse! I can’t believe I just wandered through the house looking like this! Aw, and I left my brush in my room as well!”

Her head rapidly swivelled about, desperately searching for an answer to her problems within the confines of the bathroom.

“Ah, of course! The shower!” She exhaled and wiped her hoof across her brow, before placing her glasses down on the bench next to the sink. “A nice warm shower will help me clean up.”

A solution to all her problems had presented itself! Now, just to turn on the faucets like so... aaand wait for the warm water to kick in.

‘Any second now...’

After several minutes, the water still remained cold as ice.

Harmony’s eye twitched. “Don’t tell me someone’s gone and used all the hot water already!”

Torn between either death from embarrassment or death from hypothermia, Harmony’s sense of pride eventually superseded, and she took a deep breath as she stepped into the cold deluge, resisting the urge to scream all matter of profanity at the icy sensation pounding the sensitive nerves across her back.


Little Horn was very concerned for her cousin, and so, after washing her bowl and spoon in the sink, she went to the bathroom door to listen in. “Harmony, are you okay? I’m worried about you...” The little filly said through the door.

“Who the flip used up all the hot water?!” Harmony’s voice exclaimed through the wall, above the noise of the running shower, “Not exactly a very nice wake-up call, if you ask me.”

After several minutes, all became quiet from the bathroom as Harmony finished up her cold shower and stepped out. If one listened carefully, they could hear her teeth chattering as she shivered.

Little Horn smiled at her cousin, and then frowned as she saw her shivering. “You’re cold! Are there any towels available?”

She went to look for some, only to find them in the dirty clothes hamper near the laundry. “There aren’t any more clean towels! I told the others not to use all the hot water, honest!”

“... T-t-that’s j-just p-p-perfect,” Harmony muttered, “L-H, b-be a lamb and g-go f-fetch a f-fresh one f-from the linen p-press p-please.”

Little Horn smiled and saluted, “I’m on it!”

She cantered off to pull a clean towel from the linen press with her magic and headed back.

“Here you are!” She went to hug her cousin, draping the towel over Harmony’s back. “What do you have planned for today, now that every pony is up?”

“D-dunno,” Harmony gripped the towel in her telekinesis and started scrubbing herself down. “I haven’t even b-been awake for t-ten minutes. F-first, I need some breakfast, and maybe some n-nice hot c-coffee. Scratch that, coffee first, and then some breakfast.”

Little Horn nodded, and led her cousin to the kitchen to help prepare breakfast.

“What do you want to eat?”

“At t-this point, anything warm,” Harmony sat back on her haunches and shifted her attention with the towel towards her tail.

Little Horn looks over at her cousin, “Uhm, Harmony, is this a bad time to tell you that Babs Seed and Apple Bloom ate all the oats and apples?”

“So we’re out of stuff for breakfast?” Harmony raised an eyebrow.

Little Horn shrugged, “We really need to make sure we have enough food for all the ponies we have here. Not sure who was using all the hot water. I told them to not take too long in there.”

“I’m sure you did, just like the first three times you said that to me,” the elder cousin scrubbed the towel about inside her ear, “No matter. I’ll just have toast instead, and do a shopping run this afternoon. On top of that, we need more toilet paper anyway...”

Little Horn heads into the dining room to talk with her friends, “Guys, um, we ran out of food and toilet paper, so Harmony’s going on a grocery shopping trip, and we need to make a list of things we need...on a budget, of course. Maybe the Mayor can help us?”

Harmony meanwhile wrapped her mane up in the towel and trudged out into the kitchen, bee-lining for the toaster oven.

Or more accurately, what was left of it.

“What an earth happened to my toaster?!” Harmony stared in wide-eyed shock.

The device in question looked like it had been fried to a crisp, with thin wisps of smoke leaking out from cracks in the exterior shell.

“Sweetie Belle happened,” Duo pointed out, “When we ran out of oats, she decided to make some toast instead. Ended up cooking the toaster instead of the toast.”

Sweetie Belle shuffled about on her seat nervously, “I’m sorry Miss Harmony. Cooking just doesn’t seem to agree with me for some reason...”

“I see.” Harmony’s eye visibly twitched.

Little Horn looked over at Sweetie Belle, “I know you were trying to help, Sweetie Belle. I guess you’ll have to add a toaster to the list.” She looked over at the other fillies and colt, as well as the Mayor.

The young filly got a pen and paper with her magic and began to make a list of all the things they would need. If Harmony needed her assistance in shopping, she would help. At least she was making herself useful.

“Well, there goes a hundred bucks worth of hardware down the drain,” Harmony muttered, grabbing the destroyed toaster in her magic grip and taking it out to the bin at the front of the apartment block.

As she placed the toaster on the ground next to the bin, a glint of light out of the corner of her eye caught her attention.

Her face went a little whiter than usual. ‘Don’t tell me I left my car lights on yesterday...’

Little Horn came out with her partial list, “Harmony, I have started a grocery list. I have oatmeal, apples, toilet paper, and a toaster. Anything else?” She stopped as she saw her cousin’s expression, “Harmony, are you okay? Something wrong?” The young filly asked with a concerned tone in her voice.

Harmony didn’t respond as she quickly started trotting in the direction of the apartment car park. The headlights on her silver Ford Taurus slowly started to fizzle, and then went out.

“Argh crap, yes I did!” she exclaimed exasperatedly, face-hoofing. “Now I’ll never get that thing started! What with a dead battery and all...”

She turned about and headed back into the apartment block, oblivious to Little Horn’s presence, “Maybe Crankshaft can help me fix this.”

Little Horn smiled, holding up her pen and paper for the grocery run. “I am so sorry you are having a bad day, cousin....would you like a hug? Hugs always help me when I am having a bad day.” The little filly trotted along, carrying the list and pen with her telekinesis, hoping Harmony would take her up on her offer.

“Not now L-H,” Harmony brushed past hurriedly, “I’m a Mare with a Mission! I’m in the Zone!”

After quickly removing the towel from her head and placing it in the laundry hamper (her mane still looked like a mess), she bee-lined straight for Unit D.

She stopped outside the door and rapped sharply on the door several times, “Mister Crankshaft, is this a bad time?”

The door opened up. “Oh, good morning Ms. Harmony! What’s the matter?”

“My car battery died. Can you please give me a hand?” she pleaded.

"Of course." said Crankshaft. “What do you need?”

“I don’t suppose you brought a proper battery charger with you, did you?” asked Harmony.

“Actually I did. I thought I might need it if the battery dies in the van and couldn’t get anyone to jump it.” He replied, “It’s in the shed with my other tools.”

Harmony’s face brightened with a broad grin as she lightly patted his shoulder, “You’re a legend! Thank you so much!”

“No thanks necessary; and I’m not a legend, I was a Boy Scout,” said Crankshaft.

Little Horn came around the corner, “Oh, hi Mr. Crankshaft! Just making a list of grocery’s and items we need for our apartment. Sweetie Belle broke the toaster and we need to get a new one.”

“Let me take a look at it first, I might be able to fix it.” said Crankshaft

Little Horn smiled and levitated the broken toaster to Crankshaft. “If you can fix it and we can keep Sweetie Belle from destroying appliances, we would be grateful. I know she was trying to help, but she usually causes more trouble than good. But, she is my friend, and has a good heart.”

Crankshaft scrutinized the toaster. After a few seconds he said, “I imagine there’s a story here, but I’m a little too scared to ask about it. " he said. He stared at the toaster a little longer.

"It will take a bit of work, but I think I might be able to save it.” He announced his verdict in a professional tone.

Harmony sighed in relief, “Thank goodness for that. It’ll save me a hundred bucks at the shopping center, that’s for sure. Now, let’s get this car of mine charged...”

Little Horn smiled, “Can I come with you, Harmony, or do you want me to stay here and make sure my little friends don’t get into trouble?”

“I’m just going shopping, L-H,” Harmony dismissed, “You’ll just be bored out of your brain there.”

Little Horn nodded, “Okay, I will stay here with Mr. Crankshaft and see if he can fix the toaster and maybe check out the hot water heater. You said the shower was cold this morning? I took my bath and I had hot water. Must have been the other foals.”

“No, there’s nothing wrong with the shower,” Harmony clarified, “It just... ran out of hot water, and it hadn’t been able to refill and heat up in time for me to use it. The hot water will be running again by tonight.”

“The battery will take a little while to charge, how are you going to get the store?” asked Crankshaft

Harmony paused in thought, “... I don’t suppose I could borrow your van for ten minutes?”

Crankshaft was a little hesitant before giving her his keys.

“Yes, but I should let you know, the brakes need some adjustments and I didn’t have time to work on them before driving here. So, go easy on the turns.” warned Crankshaft

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Harmony nodded, “Thank you very much.”

“It’s no trouble at all, you gave me shelter so just consider this me returning the favor.” he said.

“I’ll be back in a jiffy! L-H, just let everyone know I’m leaving, alright?” Harmony trotted out towards the car park.

“If you need me I’ll be in the shed working on the toaster.” said Crankshaft walking in that direction.

Little Horn levitated the list and the pen to her cousin. “Here’s the list for groceries. You can add anything you need to think of on the list.”

Harmony took the list in her telekinetic grip. “Let’s see here... yep, yep, yep...” She folded up the list, “Just let me fetch my bag...”

She ducked back into her apartment, and came back out a few moments later with a satchel tied up around her abdomen. “Won’t be too long. Stay out of mischief.”

Little Horn nods and smiles, “Okay, cousin. Glad you are feeling better. And, don’t worry. I’ll stay out of trouble, as well as keep the Crusaders in line.”

“I’ll hold you to that,” Harmony smirked as she exited the building.

Harmony took a deep breath as she unlocked Crankshaft’s van with the key and climbed into the driver’s seat.

The cabin had a fairly well-worn interior, with the leather upholstery looking a little worse for wear in several places.

“Goodness, I haven’t driven stick in a while,” Harmony murmured, glancing hesitantly at the gearknob for the manual transmission beside her.

For several moments, she held her left hind hoof down on the clutch, barely able to reach the pedals as she moved the gear knob about several times with her magic, trying to get a feel for where the gear patterns were.

Once she was satisfied, she placed the key in the ignition and turned it over.

The van’s engine kicked into action, revving up slightly at Harmony’s behest, before settling down into a purr as it idled.

“Now, where’d ‘Reverse’ go...?” She studied the gear knob carefully, “Ah, there it is. Aaand, release the clutch like so...”

The van suddenly jerked about violently, before stopping dead.

“Aaaand I stalled it,” she frowned in disgust. “Let’s try that again...”

Re-igniting the engine, she released the clutch much more slowly this time, and the van jerked about as it responded to her demands.

“Bloody manual transmission,” she muttered, “What a stupid invention that was.”

-----

Miraculously enough, Harmony was able to reach the shopping center with the van still in one piece. Harmony cringed at the thought that she potentially shredded the clutch, based on the amount of times it went *crunch* every time she changed gear.

The distraction of the manual nearly caused her to have a car accident several times, mostly at roundabouts where speed and concentration were essential to navigate properly, and the journey overall took much longer than she liked.

One particularly disgruntled driver even swore at the top of his lungs at her clumsiness.

“When I get home, I am never driving this van again,” she grumbled vehemently, having found a park and switched the engine off, “I could pick any random brick from the apartment, and it’d handle better than that tank.”

Making sure the van was locked, she placed the key in her satchel and made her way across to the shopping center, sticking close to the walls to avoid attracting attention. The shopping center was unusually busy today, and Harmony audibly gulped at the monstrous task of staying out of the limelight.

“Now, first and foremost on the list is more cereal for breakfast,” She held the list in front of her, “I could probably find all this stuff at Wal-Mart.”

Navigating her way through the chaos of the shopping mall, she was able to locate the big sign marked ‘Wal-Mart’, and slipped in past the front gates, grabbing a basket with her magic on her way in.

“Right, where’s the ‘breakfast’ aisle...?” She glanced about, “Don’t tell me they’ve gone and re-organised everything again! It’s only been a few weeks since I was last here...”

In the busy store, she could already feel the weight of several dozen pairs of eyes staring at her. The feeling made her anxious, and she picked up her pace to a brisk canter, prancing up and down aisles as she found items from the list and placed them in the basket.

Out of the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse of a patron talking to a security guard at the gate. She dismissed it as someone reporting a theft, and paid it no further heed as she continued her shopping.

Wal-Mart was often frequented by shifty people looking to sneak an item or two past the cash registers, and it was a pretty regular occurrence for other people to report any thefts they witnessed.

“Now... that just leaves the toilet paper...” She murmured, levitating a box of oats into her basket.

A loud beep resounded throughout the store, and a voice blared over the loudspeakers, “Attention all patrons! The staff would like to inform you that there is a wild animal loose in the store! We request that you just stay away from it, and let the Animal Control Team do their job. We thank you for your attention and cooperation.”

Harmony’s blood went cold. “What... oh no. That woman wasn’t reporting a theft... She was reporting... me!”

She quickly started cantering towards the exit.

“I’ve gotta get outta here,” she exclaimed, “This can’t be happening! I’m not a wild animal! I might look like one, but I’m really not!”

Her pulse accelerated as she found her route of choice was cut off. Two men wearing uniforms reminiscent of the Ghostbusters stood at the end of the aisle, holding net guns and restraining gear in their hands.

“What the heck IS that thing?” The Ghostbuster-ripoff muttered to his companion, keeping his eye on the strange creature at the other end of the aisle. “I ain’t never seen a critter like THAT before...”

“Me neither,” His companion replied, uncertain. “What I want to know is how the heck it got IN here...”

“Your guess is as good as mine.”

“What’s up with them glasses? I didn’ know animals could wear those...”

“You’re right... It almost looks humanistic.”

“Team Two, this is Team One,” he raised his hand to a radio clipped to his shoulder, “We’ve got the critter cornered in Aisle Twelve, and frankly we’ve got no idea what the heck it is. Get down here and cut it off before it turns and bolts, so we can get a professional in here to have a look at it.”

“Can you give us a description of it?” The voice of Team One asked.

“It looks a little like... a Unicorn, ‘cept about four feet tall, with bright blue eyes the size of saucers, and the strangest-looking mane I’ve ever seen on an equine,” the officer responded.

“... Come again? You lost me at ‘Unicorn’.” Team One sounded incredulous.

“Well, why don’t you get over here and have a look for yerself, because that’s exactly what we’re lookin’ at!” the officer frowned indignantly.

“It’s alright,” The other officer said in a calm tone that to her, sounded more condescending than anything else, “We ain’t gonna hurtcha...”

“I’m just gonna go this way now...” Her eye twitched as she whispered under her breath, turning about and backing away slowly. Her muscles were tense with nervous energy, ready for action.

“Where are you Team One? She looks like she’s about to bolt for it!” the officer murmured anxiously.

As Harmony reached the end of the aisle, she peered around the corner.

The other team of officers were only seven aisles away, and were sprinting right for her.

In a blind panic, she dropped the basket to save weight and started sprinting in the opposite direction for all she was worth.

“Holy crap! You weren’t kidding!” Team One exclaimed.

“It’s getting away!”someone shouted.

“Get it!”

The entire store exploded into a blur of motion as Harmony ducked in and out of aisles, trying to avoid the incoming swarm of Pest Control operatives. Her mind raced as she frantically assembled a plan of escape in her head.

The front entrance was being monitored by security guards, who were trying to keep the curious crowd from entering the store.

“It’s too late,” she moaned, “Everyone’s seen me now...”

She shook her head and steeled her resolve, serving about to avoid running into a patron.

‘Gotta get home.’

Loud shrieks ring out from all directions as the other patrons became fully aware of what the fuss was all about.

With a deep breath, Harmony took the plunge and dove in amongst the dense crowd.

“Scuse me, coming through!” She muttered, dancing her way about.

Passing by the front gates, she was able to find some space and pick up her pace.

The crowd was dense in some areas, with the afternoon rush around lunchtime in full swing.

As she ducked amongst a crowd of people, a heavy force accidently knocked against her side, knocking her to the floor with a thud, hitting her head against the hard marble floor.

“Oof!”

“Oop, sorry about that!” a voice apologised.

Harmony blinked and looked about. Her glasses were lying on the floor a short distance in front of her.

Just as she reached out with a hoof to grab them, a patron nearby wasn’t watching where he was stepping, and her glasses disappeared under his foot with a crunch.

Harmony’s eye twitched as she held her outstretched pose, her mouth agape in horrified shock.

The man glanced down at his shoe, and at the bits of shattered glass now embedded in the sole, “Huh? Oh! So sorry about that! I didn’t mean to... I wasn’t paying attention...”

“We’ve got ‘er now!” Another voice shouted above the cacophony of noise as the Animal Control teams closed in like sharks.

“Gotcha!” one of the Ghostbusters exclaimed as he fired a Net Gun at her from point-blank range, trapping her underneath. The crowd backed away as far as they could to give the Control Teams some space.

“C’mon, let’s get it out of here!” one of the Team members spoke up.

Harmony was nearly hyperventilating as she grit her teeth in frustration, glancing about anxiously for an escape route.

“I am NOT some animal you can just put in a net at your own discretion!” She shouted angrily, “Let me outta here! I just wanna go home!”

“Holy crap, it talks!” the crowd all started murmuring in wide-eyed shock.

Their murmurs turned into exclamations as Harmony grimaced with concentration, an adrenaline rush kicking in as her horn lit up and buzzed with bright blue energy, “I said... I... want... OUT!”

A blinding flash of brilliant blue light illuminated the area with a resounding crack, causing the people to reel back in scream in shock and cover their eyes.

Someone yelled something about a bomb, and suddenly everyone else went into a blind panic.

When the shock of the flash had subsided, Harmony was gone, leaving nothing but a vapor of tiny blue particles gracefully drifting towards the floor, and leaving the Animal Control officers with nothing but an empty net and many unanswered questions.

-----

The first thing Harmony noticed about her new surroundings was that she was falling.

“Eek!” she squealed.

Directly beneath her was a fruit vendor, and there was a loud crash as she fell on top of it, snapping the wooden bench under her weight and throwing fruit in all directions. The awkward way in which she landed meant that her left arm was trapped underneath her, and was nearly tugged out of its socket upon impact.

“... Ow.”

The store owner rushed out with a startled look on her face, and screamed in terror at the sight of the colourful equine.

Harmony struggled to make out any details of her surroundings. The enormous strain of teleporting had sapped much of her energy, and she was breathing rapidly from exertion. Without her glasses, her vision was blurry beyond a few inches from her face. Her head and shoulder now also hurt like hell, further adding to her woes.

“Get out! Shoo! Shoo! Get out of here!” The owner waved about erratically, startling the dazzled mare.

“W-what? Where am I?” she quickly turned about.

“What does it look like?! You’re wrecking my store! Get outta here before I call the Police!” The woman growled.

‘That voice...’ Harmony’s eyes dilated with recognition, ‘That’s Mrs Redburn from up the road! I’m only three and a half blocks from home!’

“I-I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to do that, honest!” She protested, rolling off the broken table and limping away up the street, “I promise to pay for the damages later!”

“I just wanna get home and get away from all of this!” She clenched her eyes shut, wandering aimlessly and stumbling about like a drunkard. There was a noticeable limp with each step as she dragged herself forward. “What is going on with today?! I don’t get it!”

“Woah! Watch it!” someone called out, stepping aside to avoid her.

“Sorry!”

“Hey! I’m walkin’ here!” another voice shouted.

“Ah! Very sorry!”

“That’s gotta be the strangest-looking stray I’ve ever seen...”

“I am not a bloody stray! Nor am I a mere animal!” Harmony snapped irritably.

The pedestrians around her stepped back in wide-eyed shock from the strange, talking creature of white and blue in their midst, before resuming going about their business, trying to unsee what they all assumed to be a hallucination..

Eventually, after navigating three sets of traffic lights, she was finally able to identify her own front door through the blurry haze.

A passing glance at the mostly-vacant car park triggered a realization to arise.

If one listened very carefully, they could hear the last tether keeping her frustration in check snap.

“Oh, get stuffed!” She face hoofed in exasperation, “I can’t believe I left Crankshaft’s van behind!”

“And for all that trouble, I couldn't get any fff... freakin’ groceries!!” she caught herself, before grunting sourly, “I need a drink.”

Ignoring everything and everyone around her, pony or otherwise, she nearly broke every door she passed through as she stormed towards the kitchen. In a flurry, she whipped open the fridge and dug deep into a plastic drawer with her magic, wrestling out a glass bottle of clear liquid. With her prize in possession, she continued her whirlwind warpath and bee-lined for her bedroom, slamming the door shut behind her.

Every pony else just stared about in bewilderment and confusion.

Little Horn was relaxing on the couch when her cousin stormed through the house. Crankshaft had fixed the car and the toaster during Harmony’s absence. She noticed Harmony was not wearing her glasses. The young unicorn waited until she heard the door to the bedroom slam and lowered her head. Should she let Harmony cool off, or go see what was bugging her cousin?

Little Horn decided to go see what was bothering her cousin. She silently went to the bedroom door and leaned against it, sitting her rump on the floor. She placed an ear to listen in on what was going on.

Harmony threw her satchel at the foot of her bed and landed on the quilt with a graceless flop, planting her head into the soft embrace of her pillow with a loud sigh. After several moments, she rolled onto her back, positioning the pillow up against the bed’s frame to create a comfortable sitting position.

She sighed, studying the label closely.

‘Alberta Pure’.

“I usually save this stuff for social events, such as family gatherings or parties,” she murmured aloud to no-one in particular, “Maybe it’ll help me forget all this crap ever happened.”

With a surge of magic, she wrenched the cap clean off and took a large swig of its contents.

Little Horn heard her cousin sigh and tried to gain access to the bedroom. “Harmony, are you okay? I’m worried about you!”

Only silence answered her query.

Little Horn decided to open the door with her telekinesis, enveloping the door handle with a blue aura to gain access. “Harmony? I don’t know what happened today, but I’m glad you’re home!”

Harmony stared vacantly at the far wall, swallowing her mouthful before speaking.

“... Today has just turned out to be a big horror show after another so far. I was up late last night learning a new spell, so I haven’t slept properly, and I’m exhausted.
I somehow missed both breakfast AND lunch, so I’m starving.
The toilet paper was all gone, so I had to take a shower with water colder than an Alaskan winter just to clean myself up.
Sweetie Belle somehow broke the toaster.
My car wouldn’t start because I accidentally left my lights on overnight.
Some dickhead at Wal-Mart took one look at me and called for the Security Guards, and everyone tried to catch me like I was some lost dog. Do you know how degrading that is?! To just be reduced to the status level of just a common animal, that people in crappy outfits try to come and capture you and put you in some god-forsaken cage?!
I lost the groceries, my glasses, and I left Crankshaft’s van in the car park at Wal-Mart.
I accidentally broke someone’s fruit stand when I teleported across town, a feat which was not easy, and has now left me running on fumes.
My head and shoulder are killing me right now, so I’m in a lot of pain; and to top it all off, we’re STILL at square one groceries-wise.”

She tilted her head about towards her cousin, “So I’m more than a little pissed off right now.”

Little Horn smiled as she entered the room, hopping up onto Harmony’s bed to give her a hug. “Mr. Crankshaft fixed your car and the toaster. I told Sweetie Belle that she should let you operate the toaster if she wanted toast, or you can show her how. The girls are behaving themselves for a change. Is that better than your bad day?” The little tan unicorn filly continued to listen to her elder cousin vent while hugging her.

Little Horn’s eyes widened in realization, “Wait... you teleported? Really?! Wow, you must teach me to teleport! I only mastered the levitation through the telekinesis spell when we were making blueberry muffins. That is so cool!”

Harmony took another swig from her drink, muttering bitterly, “Uh huh... At this rate, anything is better than this.”

Little Horn caught a whiff of the alcohol from her cousin’s bottle, and then spotted the label on the side.

She frowned in disappointment, “You know you are not supposed to be drinking around the younger ponies, right? I’d hate for the pony equivalent of CPS to take me and my Crusader friends away because you’re drinking your problems away.”

“So shoot me,” Harmony scowled. She was not in the mood for a lecture, much less one from someone younger than her.

Little Horn was confused about this strange behavior coming from the elder unicorn. “...I’m really worried about you, cousin. I could try to get you something to eat. Maybe that will make you feel better? I can go to the cafe and pick up something for you?.” The little filly suggested.

“... That would be nice, yes,” Harmony nodded, wiping her eye, “... and I’m sorry for snapping at you like that... I’ve just had a rough day, and it’s getting on my nerves.”

Little Horn smiled and hugged Harmony warmly, accepting her cousin’s apology. “First of all, you need some new glasses, and I’ll get you something from the cafe. I have some money saved up, so this meal’s on me. What do you want to eat? Maybe we can eat in...oh, the other ponies will want something to eat too! I cannot allow my guests to not eat.”

“Just a salad sandwich will do for me, thanks,” Harmony nodded. “My purse is in my bag down there if you need any money.”

Little Horn used her telekinesis spell to levitate some money for her cousin’s meal and for herself, as well as for the other guests. “What about going to get you some glasses and groceries we need? From what you told me, we need to be careful when going outside. Maybe the Mayor can help us?”

“Forgive my skepticism, but do tell,” Harmony quirked an eyebrow.

Little Horn thought about how to remedy the situation. “I think we’d better focus on getting you and our guests fed, and in the morning, we can work on getting you back on your hooves. That means no drinking, and making sure you eat and get plenty of rest. You think we can have a vegetarian pizza instead for the other guests, and you can have your salad sandwich? Unless you are feeling up for pizza. I mean, we can have pizza with no meat products on it, right?”

“I’m pretty sure such a concept exists,” Harmony mused.

Little Horn smiled, “There’s the Harmony Trebleheart I know and love! Don’t allow one bad day to ruin everything else. Tomorrow, we can figure a way to go shopping for groceries without drawing too much attention to ourselves.”

Her stomach growled. “I’d better get that food and feed the hungry ponies in this house!” The younger unicorn hugged her cousin. “So that’s how many sandwiches and drinks for how many ponies?”

“Dunno. Why don’t you go out and ask them?” the elder unicorn shrugged.

As the young filly left, Harmony called out with a weary smile on her face, “Also...”

Little Horn’s head swiveled about.

Harmony exhaled, “Thank you. Thank you for trying to cheer me up. I appreciate it.”

“You’re welcome. That’s what family is for!” She gave her cousin another hug.

She surrounding the bottle of vodka with her magic. “I’m going to get rid of this before the others start to talk. In the meantime, if you need me, you know how to find me.”

“Hey! I wasn’t finished with that!” Harmony protested as Little Horn left the room. “It’s not within your jurisdiction to make that call!”

The little unicorn filly ignored her, heading out to dispose of the drink and see if the others wanted anything to eat.

“Oh come on! We could at least save it for later... aaand she’s gone.”


Little Horn was in the kitchen wondering what to do about the bottle of vodka. She contemplated dumping the contents of the bottle down the drain, but she chose to hide the vodka in the back of the fridge where the younger ponies would not have any access to it.

“There, problem solved. Now onto getting food...” The little filly said, heading to talk to Mayor Mare and the fillies, as well as Duo.

The young unicorn went to her friends, “Okay, every pony, listen up! Harmony’s had a really bad day today, and I’m going to cheer her up with some food. She needs her rest, so I think you guys will be camping out here in the living room. So, I’ve been asked to pick up some sandwiches for every pony from the cafe. They sell salad sandwiches, so that’s what we’ll be having. Maybe in the future we can have a veggie pizza.”

“Sounds good,” Babs grinned, licking her lips.

Little Horn smiled, “I have to go get some food for every pony. Harmony’s counting on me to make sure my guests are taken care of. Be back later!” The young unicorn went out to the cafe and found herself waiting in line to place her large food order.

-----

Harmony sighed dejectedly as she approached the door of Unit D, with the keys to Crankshaft’s van levitating along beside her, trapped in the blue aura of her magical grip. Her hooves felt rather heavy, and her movement lethargic as she dragged herself forwards, step by step.

“I told him I’d only need it ten minutes... and it’s now been three hours. What a waste of trust and faith on his part. He’s probably gonna hate me now for this...”

She took a deep breath and lightly rapped on the door.

After a few moments, Crankshaft opened the door. “Oh. Good evening Ms. Harmony. How’d it go?”

“... Erm,” she shuffled nervously, passing the keys across, “There was a bit of an incident you see...”

“You didn't crash it, did you?” Crankshaft’s eyes widened, as he accepted the keys.

“No, no, nothing like that,” Harmony assured him, “It’s just that... at Wal-Mart, the security guards all mistook me for a stray animal and... well, there was a big upheaval, my glasses were destroyed and I was nearly caught so... I teleported straight home, without even thinking about collecting the van from the car park. So... I’m sorry. You now have no van because of me.”

Crankshaft wiped a drop of sweat from his brow, “Oh, phew. For a moment, I thought something serious had happened. Well, not to worry. Since we know where it is, it’s just a matter of going back and collecting it, right?”

“I s’pose, but my glasses are gone, so I can’t drive,” Harmony murmured, “I’m exhausted, and it was an achievement unto itself that I managed to teleport myself home, and I was three whole blocks off-target no less! There’s no way I’d be able to teleport either of us back to the shopping mall.”

Crankshaft furrowed his brow in thought, “Well, I don’t exactly want it to be left there overnight. Don’t want the tow-away guys getting any funny ideas. Do you know the way to the shopping mall from here on foot?”

“The shopping mall is pretty easy to find,” Harmony mumbled, “It’s just ten blocks west, past all the roundabouts, and then you turn right, and it’s a fair distance up that main road. There’s a big roundabout at the main entrance. You’ll know it once you see it. If you walk, it might take around twenty five, thirty minutes to get there.”

“That’s not too bad,” Crankshaft shrugged.

“That’s twenty to thirty minutes of main road,” Harmony emphasized, “There’s nowhere to hide from the public eye along there! People are gonna see you coming from a mile away, and goodness knows how they’re gonna react!”

“Well, what do you suggest then?” He raised an eyebrow.

“I... don’t know.” Harmony sagged, “I’m tired, hungry and flustered, and I don’t really want to be thinking at this point in time. I just wanted to come and apologize about the whole situation... You put trust in me that I’d bring it back, and I stuffed it up.”

“It’s alright, it sounds like you've been through a lot today. You really didn't seem to have a choice.” he said.

He thought for a moment, gears were whirring in his head and the beginnings of a plan were forming in his mind.

“I have an idea!” he suddenly exclaimed.

“Hmm?” Harmony blinked.

“I think I may be able to retrieve my van, it’s a tad risky but it might work.” said Crankshaft he waited a moment before elaborating “I’ll wait until nightfall, my coat is a fairly dark color so as long as I remain out of direct light I should be harder to spot. I’ll make my way over to Wal-Mart and quickly get in the van and drive it home.”

Harmony sighed with relief, “Sounds better than anything I could probably come up with, knowing my luck.”

“Cheer up! I’m sure tomorrow will be better.” said Crankshaft putting a hoof on her shoulder.

“I bloody hope so,” she muttered.

“Well, from what you’ve told me, I can almost guarantee it.” he said.

“Well, at least if my toaster blows up again, I know who to talk to. Thank you for that, by the way. I appreciate it,” Harmony nodded.

“Any time Ms. Harmony, and please tell the others I said ‘hello’” said Crankshaft.

“Will do,” she smiles and turns about, “We’re all having sandwiches from the cafe if you want to join us, my treat.”

“I’d be happy to, but after that I need to go get my van.” replied Crankshaft.

“We’ve still got a few hours before nightfall anyway,” Harmony shrugged, “If we hurry, we might still catch L-H before she goes to the cafe with our order.”

“Lead the way, Ms. Harmony.” he said.

“Please, there’s no need for formalities,” she smiled, “It’s just ‘Harmony’.”

“My apologies, Harmony. It’s how I was raised.” he replied.

“Not to worry,” she shrugged, “Now, let’s go get some food...”

“Agreed,” said Crankshaft.

“Also... if you ever find that the clutch starts slipping, it totally wasn't my fault,” she grinned sheepishly.

“Sure, it wasn't.” he smiled.

“I swear, I have no idea how you can put up with that thing. I could pick out a brick from the wall that could handle better than that old tank,” Harmony smirked.

“It wasn't expensive and I was sixteen when I bought it. I know there are better cars, but I've grown so attached I just can’t bring myself to get rid of it.” Crankshaft replied. “Not to mention, it’s extremely fun to work on it.”

“Fair enough,” Harmony murmured, walking forward and muttering something under her breath about ‘boys and their toys’.