• Published 30th Jul 2013
  • 711 Views, 31 Comments

Progress - suijin

A tale of some not-really friends trying to work together to save the world. They're not even acquaintences, really. WARNING: Sequel.

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Mornings Always Suck

As the sun rose over Sweet Apple Acres, a single rooster's crow rang out to herald the dawn. Before the bird's voice had faded, one of the resident ponies was already up, and preparing for the day.

Big Macintosh was not known for being a very hurried stallion, and was normally quite methodical. But today he all but galloped down the stairs, through the kitchen, and out the back door, only grabbing a single apple as breakfast before leaving.

Granny Smith walked in just after, worried by her grandson's odd behavior. Today was going to be a very important day for him, after all. She hoped that wasn't why he was acting so strange.

Macintosh got to bucking in his family's orchard in record time, already well into the work by the time he was joined by his sister, Applejack. She didn't say anything at first, simply beginning to work alongside him.

After several awkward minutes, however, she decided to break the silence, asking about things he didn't want to think about.

"Ya'll know what day it is, right?"

"Eeyup." If there was one thing Big Macintosh was known for, it wasn't being overly talkative. He gave his signature one word response, not saying any more than necessary.

"And ya'll remember what you're going to be doing, right?"

"... Eeyup." His answer was more hesitant this time, his confidence waning.

"And ya'll know that ya need to get ready to leave?"

Big Macintosh remained silent this time, stopping his work and bowing his head in shame. He knew it, but he didn't want to leave the home he had grown up in, and where he had spent most of his life.

Applejack softened up slightly at the sight. "Listen, I know it sorta stinks and all, but you got other stuff that needs doin'. And it's not like you're not gonna be gone for too long, just a few days. Then you can come back and visit us, again."

Big Mac smiled at his younger sister, glad for her support, before looking around at the orchard that still needed harvesting.

As if she could read his mind and knew what he was going to say, she was already answering before he opened his mouth. "The fields will be fine. I can handle the farm by myself while you're gone." A skeptical look from Big Mac reminded her of the last time she had tried to 'handle the farm' by herself. "I mean it this time. I'll just get some friends to help out if I fall behind. Now get going. There's still a few hours before ya'll need to leave, right? Why don't ya'll enjoy yourself in town 'till then?"

After giving his sister a farewell hug, he did just that, slowly trotting in the direction of Ponyville. He was going at his usual pace now, walking along almost lazily. In a few minutes, he managed to reach 'town.'

The city of Ponyville, still called a town by most of the locals, was situated just outside of the Everfree. Despite its close proximity to the dangerous forest, it was also quite close to Canterlot, and supplied much of the capitol's food through farming.

As Big Mac walked along, he watched the many citizens of Ponyville, going about their daily business. There were also some visitors, likely looking to eat some of the town's famous foods, fresh from the source, or sell goods at the town's market.

Glancing over, he noticed what appeared to be a street performance, done by a light-blue unicorn with a pointed hat and cape, both covered in star patterns. She was showing off her magic, and seemed to be putting on quite the show, but Big Mac continued on past.

He was looking to get a larger breakfast before his day began. While he probably should have just eaten at home, he still enjoyed eating in town every once in a while, so it wasn't so bad. He made a mental note to check the mare's performance later, though.

After ordering some sandwiches at a local restaurant, he began watching the skies, waiting for the inevitable show to start. Just as he expected, two streaks could be seen flying through the air, going at break-neck speeds.

One was Rainbow Dash, an aptly named pegasus, and arguably the best flyer in Ponyville (and all of Equestria, according to her), pulling off the aerial equivalent of a sprint. It would have been impossible to recognize her, were it not for the long trail of colors she left in her wake.

Just behind her, however, was one of the few pegasi that could challenge her in a race: Vanilla, who had an equally ironic name, was trying to keep pace, managing to stick just behind her opponent. While not as naturally fast or gifted as Rainbow Dash, she was almost as talented. Big Mac could still remember her as a filly, flying around town, fleeing from her cranky teacher. She had always had good motivation to practice.

A few other pegasi pulled in behind, apparently part of the same race. Actually, it was more like they were having their own race, and Vanilla and Rainbow were having a completely different one; the two were so far ahead, by this point, that they could probably get back to the starting point before the rest finished.

Vanilla was good, but in a contest of speed, Rainbow Dash was unbeatable in the air. The two managed to reach a cloud that apparently represented the finish line, Rainbow easily winning, albeit by only a few feet.

Just afterward, Macintosh's food arrived, and he dug in greedily, easily finishing the meal within a few minutes. His server looked on in awe as the sandwiches seemed to disappear into the red stallion's mouth, snapping out of his daze when Big Mac paid him.

Now full, he decided to check out the market, and see if their was anything interesting for sale. He usually didn't spend much, but decided that he might as well look around.

Upon reaching it, he was surprised to see a red dragon setting up a stall. He was likely on his way to Canterlot, meaning to meet its unusual ruler, and just stopping in Ponyville for a day or two.

Fairly young, the reptile actually appeared to be a teenager. He certainly had the attitude of one, angrily telling off any pony that got too close, until he was done setting up. He seemed to be selling blown glass, which happened to be of excellent quality.

While Big Macintosh wasn't intending to buy much before, he decided that it might be worth making an exception. He examined the many vases and ornaments curiously, scanning each thoroughly before moving on.

The dragon didn't appear to like being kept waiting, however, and began tapping his claws impatiently. "Are you gonna buy anything, pony?"

A simple, "Eeyup," was Big Mac's only response, never looking away from the glass artwork. He eventually took note of one piece in particular. It appeared to be an apple, but wasn't shaped like any that he had ever seen. And, being of the Apple Family, Big Mac had seen a LOT of apples in his life.

He decided to buy it, and asked the dragon how much it cost (And in only two words!). It was expensive, but a truly interesting piece, and Big Mac happily handed over the necessary bits.

"Your name?" Big Mac made it a tendency to know the name of anyone he bought merchandise from, so that he could ask around for them later, if he wanted to.

The dragon seemed surprised by the question, but still decided to reply. "My name's-"

Before he could finish, he and his stall were knocked over by a large, feathery projectile. In the crash, Big Macintosh accidentally dropped the apple that he had just bought, and it shattered on the ground. But he decided to worry more about the dragon, and whoever had crashed into him, as most of the other glass pieces were also broken.

It quickly became apparent that a griffon had crashed into his stall. According to her, someone had knocked her out of the sky on purpose, but a quick glance back revealed a storm cloud that looked to have just discharged some lightning. Big Mac ignored this, instead simply watching the two, and making sure that they didn't get into a serious fight and hurt someone.

"Watch it next time, bird-brain!"

"What did you just call me, lizard-breath?!"

The two of them squared off, apparently intending to fight. The dragon looked absolutely furious, trying to find any of his wares that weren't shattered. "Look at this! Do you know how much time it takes to make this stuff? You owe me for all of this."

"Ha, as if I would pay you! It's not like it was my fault you were in the way."

The two were practically face to face now, having closed the distance between them during their argument. Smoke was wafting from the dragon's mouth, while the griffon was baring her claws.

Before things could get any worse, Big Mac knocked the heads of the two distracted individuals together, knocking them out cold. After moving them out of everyponies' way, he left some extra bits with the dragon, and took the griffon across the street so that they would be separated when they woke up.

Most of the ponies nearby weren't even fazed, just glad that the large and famous stallion had dealt with the problem before things got out of hoof. Or did the two fighters have hands?

Macintosh sighed, his relaxation time starting to become more of a hassle than it was worth. Just as he was preparing to leave, however, he heard two voices from across the market.

It was easy to find the source of the commotion, as the two showponies weren't exactly inconspicuous. What they lacked in subtlety, they made up for with flair, easily drawing everyponies' attention, and showing off a set of odd machines. They seemed to be selling inventions of some sort, and were getting nearby ponies interested with ease.

Once again, Big Mac found himself intrigued by odd visitors to his hometown. But he had no more bits left to spend, after helping out the dragon whose stand got demolished. So he simply went to check out the pair's odd show.

They were both unicorns and looked remarkably similar; Big Mac probably couldn't have told them apart, if one of them didn't have a mustache. The clean-faced one seemed to be the leader, performing the larger part of a song they were using to attract customers. The other would occasionally join in, but mostly seemed to be backup.

According to their song, the two were brothers. The shaved one was named Flim, while his mustachioed brother was Flam. Big Mac watched the brothers until their song was done, and then started walking away, ready to finally get going. Judging from the crowd's cheering, the two would be getting quite a bit of business today.

Big Macintosh went to the Ponyville Station, boarding the train to Canterlot. He was ready to get his hectic morning over with at last, and mentally preparing for the days ahead. He completely forgot about the magic show he had meant to see...

Author's Note:

In the event that you somehow decided to read this without reading the description, this story is a sequel to a previous one, Through a Glass Mirror. You can find it on my profile, if you're too lazy to look it up.

First chapter. Not much else to say. Comment, and remember to give me honest reviews. I love them.

Also, I would like to thank a few people: PhycoKrusk (I think I'm spelling that right), for always commenting on my stories; lordgodsservant, for helping me come up with ideas for this story; and Scarecrowbrad, for helping me behind the scenes with some of the nuances of the site. They are all awesome, and I would recommend reading some of their stories, as well.

By the way, I have discovered something incredibly strange about my cat, while watching this cover art for this being made: he can crop an entire photo, by pressing a single key. We (meaning the artist and myself) still don't know which key it was, but I have decided that there is only one logical explanation.

My cat is a technomancer. A really dumb technomancer.