• Published 20th Jul 2013
  • 3,172 Views, 61 Comments

Bottom Of The Ladder - GeodesicDragon



Sequel to Top Of The Charts. Freshly released from jail, Anon has returned to Ponyville. The townsponies don't want him back — but there is another, far more pressing, issue to contend with.

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Cold Reception

It's been a few hours since she left, but it has become abundantly clear that Lyra wasn't joking when she said that she was going to tell the townsponies about you being back in town. In that small period of time, you have already had several angry residents standing at the door voicing their disapproval, only to have said door slammed in their face by either Vinyl or Octavia.

It was funny at first, all these ponies coming along and yelling at you from the doorstep, but now it is getting annoying. And as another one is tossed off the porch by Vinyl you sigh and stand up, much to Octavia's surprise.

"What's wrong, Anon?" she asks, her voice full of concern.

"I'll tell you what's wrong," you reply. "Me staying cooped up in here while these ponies come by and hurl abuse at you and Vinyl... I'm just not going to tolerate it any more. If these fuckers want to have a go at somepony, then they can have a go at me."

With those words you walk towards the door, where yet another pony is giving Vinyl their opinion of you. The door is only ajar, so you yank it open and glare at the stallion on the doorstep, cutting him off mid-rant.

"And if that murdering psycho thinks he can— eek!" he jumps a couple of feet into the air at your sudden appearance, but he quickly regains his backbone. "Oh look, you finally plucked up the courage to come and address one of us yourself, rather than get a mare to fight your battles for you." He chuckles at this. "Listen up, Anon, because I'm only going to tell you this once."

"As if I have any choice in the matter, Caramel," you reply. "By all means, go right ahead and vent your anger. Let it flow through you as you tell me exactly what's on your mind."

Caramel narrows his eyes. "Cut the crap, Anon," he growls. "I just came by to tell you that a petition calling for your immediate banishment from town has been doing the rounds, and has now been submitted to the Mayor's office for processing. But given the fact she hates you just as much as everypony else... well, I wouldn't bother unpacking my bags if I were you."

"Duly noted," you say with a roll of your eyes. "Now unless there was anything else you can piss off and tell everypony that the message has been received loud and clear, and that they can stop harassing Vinyl, Octavia and I."

"I guess I could do that," Caramel nods. "After all, it wouldn't be nice if your last day here was spent being constantly reminded of just how much of a scumbag you are." He grins at you. "Bye for now, Anon, make sure you enjoy Ponyville while you still can."

He chuckles and trots away, Vinyl slamming the door behind him with enough force to make it rattle in its frame. "Jerk!" she snarls. "I never realised it was possible for a pony to be so smug, but that just tears it." She turns to look at you. "Don't you worry, Nonny, because Octy and I are gonna make sure you don't get kicked out of town. Right, Octy?"

Octavia smiles and nods. That's good enough for you, and you sweep them both into a hug.

"Thanks, girls," you reply. "It's good to know that I have some friends here. Aside from you two, Pinkie Pie is the only other ally I have... but I doubt that even one of her mad parties could sway the opinions of an entire town."

You release the two mares from your death grip, and Octavia adjusts her cravat. "There are ways around this, Anon," she says. "We just need to know where to look for ideas."

"Yeah," you mumble. "I guess that's something we'll have to think about. Well, I really mean 'me', because it's not you two who are being threatened with eviction. If you'll excuse me, ladies, I need to go and do some pondering. Not only do I need to come up with plans to keep me from being kicked out, I also need to come up with some ideas of what to do if I am."

You walk back through the house into your and Vinyl's room and lie down on the bed, shutting your eyes and putting your arms behind your head. Ideas aren't really your strong point, but you know that you've got no choice but to think of something which will save your proverbial bacon whether the worst happens or not.

Hey, Anon, what's up?

Hi, Brain.

Let me guess: everypony found out about you being back in town, and now they're planning on kicking you out?

Got it in one.

You could always talk to Luna, see what she thinks. After all, you were sent to her jail... so maybe she's responsible for you now?

I'll try it. Anything else?

… all I can really suggest is try not to do anything to antagonise the locals any further. If that means having to put up with all the crap they're no doubt gonna sling your way, so be it. Just give 'em a smile and be on your way.

You sigh. Fine, but I don't plan on going out any time soon — unless Luna wants to see me in Canterlot, that is. But in the meantime, I'll follow your advice about keeping everypony happy.

Good man. Now, about the other thing...

In other words, what I'll do if I am expelled from town?

Yeah, that. Equestria is a big place, so hopefully there are places you can go where nopony knows about you.

If that's the case, then it'll be a huge repeat of when I first got here. The stares, the whispers, the insults...

What would you rather be called, Anon: A 'hairless minotaur runt', or 'an evil murdering bastard'?

The first one, I guess...

Right then. So if you do get kicked out, we'll just get a train to the next city on the line that isn't Canterlot.

I think it's called Manehatten.

… these ponies and their puns. Do you think that they're always hot to trot when it comes to naming new towns and cities?

Focus, brain.

Right, right. As I was thinking: if you are kicked out of town, then we will simply make a new life in Manehatten.

I can only hope that Vinyl will want to come with me. Hell, she'd probably want Octavia to come along as well.

Vinyl loves you, 'Nonny', so you bet your ass she'll do anything to keep the two of you together. As for Octavia... she's a good friend, and will no doubt try to help however she can.

Good point. So it's settled: stay here and be nice to everypony, but move to Manehatten if it all goes south.

Sounds good. Now wake up, because you're being watched.

You open your eyes to find Vinyl staring at you with a small grin on her face. "You look cute when you're thinking," she says sheepishly. "Now get up and have a shower, because we're going out for dinner." A look of worry graces your face at this statement, to which Vinyl snorts and rolls her eyes. "Seriously, Nonny, are you just going to hide here and let everypony get to you?" You meekly shake your head. "Good. Now man the buck up and let's go."

You slide out of bed and trudge unwillingly into the bathroom. As you step into the shower and turn the water on, you begin to wonder just how badly this trip is going to turn out to be. A few minutes later you step out, towel yourself off, put on your suit, splash on some cologne and brush your teeth. You step out of the bathroom to a long whistle from Vinyl. "Lookin' good, Nonny," she says. "Come on, let's go."

She grabs your arm in her magical aura and drags you out the bedroom, through the living room – where a smirking Octavia is sitting on the couch reading a magazine – and into the street. All eyes are on you in a heartbeat, and none of the looks you are getting are good ones. Vinyl stares everypony down defiantly while you fiddle with your tie nervously. Eventually, the looks stop and the townsponies resume going about their business — which now involves bumping into you every chance they get.

Ignore them, Anon, they're just trying to make you mad.

Well it's working. Make me think about something nice!

Okay, here — have Luna in a skimpy negligee.

Knock it off, you bastard!

Oh, all right, I'll throw in Vinyl as well. How do you like me now?

A small grin spreads across your face at the mental picture now taking pride of place in your mind. Vinyl, however, takes it as a sign of confidence and laughs. "That's the spirit, Nonny!" she says. "Way to put up with all the crap! Now, the restaurant is this way."

She trots off down the street with you close behind, focusing only on the wild daydream you're having. You don't know if Luna is really that flexible, but you can't fault your brain for at least trying to make you feel a little better.

***

The trip to the restaurant was an uneventful one. The manager refused to let you and Vinyl in at first, but then you reminded him about the petition. He perked up, clearly cheerful at the prospect of you leaving town, and let you both in — though he did give you the crappy table near the kitchen.

"Well this sucks," Vinyl snarls as yet another waiter barges past you, coming perilously close to upsetting your drink. "Mind you, at least they didn't turn us away... though I'm sure our bill is going to be somewhat higher than normal."

You reach over the table and take her forehooves in your hands. "Who cares?" you say. "At least we can enjoy some sense of normality before I'm forced to leave."

She pats your hands gently. "Don't be so negative, Nonny," she replies. "Hopefully you can send that letter to Luna on time and then she'll be able to help... somehow."

"I'll write it the second we get back," you smile. "And then I'll see if Pinkie Pie can convince Twilight to send it to her." You lean over the table and gently kiss Vinyl's cheek. "But let's not worry about it now, let's just enjoy our evening."

You lean back in your chair and pick up your glass, holding it in the air. Vinyl's horn glows and she takes up her own. "Agreed," she says, before clinking it with yours.

***

A few hours later, the moon is beginning to rise and the two of you are on your way back to the house. Your bill, as Vinyl predicted, was three times more expensive than the diners who had left before you — but neither of you really cared. You walk down the street with Vinyl in your arms, ignoring the stares and whispers of the few townsponies still out and about.

"You were right, Vinyl," you say cheerfully. "I just needed to get out of the house and show everypony I'm not phased by their crap."

Vinyl grins. "I told you," she replies. "I'm always right. I like to think I give good advice, and as soon as we get back, you're gonna thank me for it." She gives you a sly wink.

"Sounds like a fair trade to me," you say with a wink back. "You give me some good advice, and I give you a good f— why is the front door wide open?"

Vinyl cocks her head at you for a moment before looking in the direction you're facing. Sure enough, the front door to the house is open. It sways lightly in the breeze, clattering against the frame. You and Vinyl exchange a worried glance and she leaps out of your arms, the two of you rushing into the hall.

The inside of the house appears to be fine, so you both head upstairs. You both freeze in place upon seeing that Octavia's bedroom door has been kicked in.

Poking your heads inside you find, to your horror, that the room has been completely trashed.

And that Octavia is nowhere to be found.

Author's Note:

This chapter is dedicated to Element of Rainbows, who wanted to see more conversations between Anon and his brain, and Discospider1997, who asked nicely for this update to be published. :twilightsmile: