• Published 7th Mar 2012
  • 4,941 Views, 97 Comments

Twin moon - Little Solarflare



an alicorn adventure story, without the sad, and the philosophical insights

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Chapter 5: The Cutiemark Crusaders (Part 1)

Iron hoof watched from the bushes, his target was on the move, accompanied by another filly of similar age and size. This one too had a ribbon and like his target, no cutiemark.

He hated stalking ponies, especially children. Every aspect of the new orders from the Professor made him feel revolted. He was a soldier, not some slimy thief or journalist. But orders were orders, and he was a soldier. His honour demanded that he follow them without question. He didn't mind spying and eavesdropping, but he couldn't shake the feeling that stalking this little filly was bordering paedophilia.

He sighed, at least the pay was good.

Suddenly a scroll popped in front of his face, promptly knocking his helmet askew. He cursed silently as his target stiffened and began to look in his direction....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Is somethin’ wrong?" Applebloom asks me curiously as I stare into the hedges intently, trying to look for the source of aura which had suddenly appeared out of thin air, and just as suddenly, disappeared.

After looking for another few moments I shake my head.

"Sorry, just thought I heard something" I tell her.
"Alrighty then!" she replies cheerfully as she leads the way down the the path. I look back to the bushes as I trot behind her.

I couldn't help feeling that somepony is watching me.....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In the instant the scroll had appeared Iron had, with deft precision and agility, brushed his helmet back on. Without it, he was exposed, and his target would sense him.

He remained perfectly still. The little alicorn’s red eyes scanned his bush. The slightest movement would give his position away. He held his breath and waited.
His heart thudded in what seemed to be an eternity to him as the alicorn showed no sign of relenting her gaze.

Finally, she walked away, shaking her head as the other filly gave her a confused look.

As soon as they were out of earshot, Iron Hoof let out a sigh of relief, before looking angrily at the scroll which had almost compromised his mission. It was marked with the phoenix, a symbol of the royal guard.

He brushed it open with his hoof. Inside was a vial.

To the 13th Battalion:

Word is out that there is a potential spy within the general vicinity of Ponyville, as of such, it is from personal orders from Her Highness Celestia and Luna that Commander Iron Hoof watch over the Subject Dawn personally for the coming three days.

Orders for the 13th. Patrol and keep surveillance of Ponyville, any threat is to be dealt with stealth if possible.

Orders to Commander Iron Hoof. You are to personally follow the subject, remain undetected for as long as possible, however we have acknowledged the need for rest. In this scroll is a vial which contains a rejuvenation tonic. Anytime you feel drowsy, simply take one sip.

However be warned, a sip at most is to be taken. Anymore will result in a state of hyperactivity which ultimately ends in the total exhaustion of one’s body and loss of cognitive function.

Next report will be updated by 1800 the next day. You have your orders.

Supreme Commander Bulwark

Hoof gave a light chuckle and shook his head in disapproval. “Sir yes Sir!” he thought sarcastically to himself and began to follow the tracks left behind by the two fillies, stashing the vial inside his armour.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We approach a tree-house deep within the apple orchards. “An’ this is where the Cutie Mark Crusaders meet!” She explains in excitement.

“Umm, you still haven’t told me who the Cutie Mark Crusaders are.” I remind her.

Something ticks in her mind, “Oh yeah!” She exclaims with a smile.

“Jes’, wait ‘ere a second,” She says to me before facing the tree.

“Oh Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle, come out! Look who’s here right now!” She calls out towards the little house.

Through the windows, I see two silhouettes scramble to their feet.
The door opens. “Who is it Applebloom?” A purple haired pegasus looks towards us before noticing me and gasping, hopping down next to me. “Princess Luna? Why are you here? How come you aren’t big anymore?” She asks whilst walking to me.

Another voice calls out from the treehouse. “Princess Luna?! Here?!”

A small white unicorn looks out, and like the pegasus, gasps when she sees me.

I begin to feel uncomfortable under their curiosity.

“Oh girls, she ain’t Princess Luna, she’s her daughter; Dawn!” Applebloom answers for me.

“...Hi”, I say nervously.

“Princess Luna has a daughter?” The Pegasus asked confused.

“Didn’t you read the news Scootaloo?” The other filly asks her.

“Girls!” Applebloom calls out, catching their attention, “Dawn here has no cutiemark either, and you know what that means.” She smiles devilishly.

The other two Fillies eyes widen. Applebloom walks to them and turns towards me.

“Dawn, ya said ya wanted to know who are the Cutiemark crusaders?”

I nod cautiously.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Iron Hoof crept closer until he gained a clear view of the alicorn. He viewed his surroundings, there were two more fillies, now probably inviting her to their friendship group. “How cute” he thought to himself.

He listened.

“....ya wanted to know who are the cutiemark crusaders?”

The three fillies all took a deep breath together.

WE ARE THE CUTIEMARK CRUSADERS!” They yell together in unison, the volume causing him to wince as his ears rang from their shout.

The Filly with the red bow speaks up first. “We are the Cutiemark Crusaders yer Highness!”

The Unicorn pipes up. “Yeah! We go around crusading until we get our cutiemarks!”

The Pegasus continues. “That’s right! and we are going to try everything to get them!”

I look at them blankly. “You still haven’t told me; what’s a Cutiemark..”

Applebloom blushes. “Oh yeah! Cutiemarks are the pictures on a pony’s flank! It shows what they are good at or what kinda personality they got!”

The pegasus Scootaloo continues. “Yep! and getting them means that you’re grown up!”
My eyes widen at this new information. “Really?”

Sweetie Belle answers “Yup! and that’s why we are gonna try everything until we find out what we’re good at!”

I look to my blank flank. “umm... Is it okay if I umm, go crusading with you then? I kinda wanna be big like auntie Celestia!”

At this, they beam at each other. Applebloom speaks for. “Of course Princess, It would be an honour to have you!”

“Just one more thing” I add, “just call me Dawn.”

Scootaloo giggled happily, “Oh my gosh this is so awesome! We have a princess with us! Wait till Diamond Tiara or Silver Spoon sees us!”

Sweetie belle joined “I know right?! They’re gonna be so jealous!”

“Great!” I smile widely. “So what is it exactly you guys do?” I ask.

“About that... what should we do first?” Scootaloo asks to nopony in particular.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Twilight kicked open the door to sugar cube corner. “Dawn?! Are you here???! Where are you!!”

Pinkie Pie looked up. “Oh heya Twilight! Here to try out the latest batch? Mr Cake and I came up with a new recipe and I know you’re just gonna-”

Twilight gave her a very worried and impatient look. “Pinkie! You haven’t happened to see Dawn around here have you?
“Nopey Lopey!” Pinkie answers cheerfully.

“Do your Pinkie Senses sense anything?” Twilight asks hopefully.

Pinkie Pie’s expression became very serious for a moment. “Well there is something....”

Twilight smiled. “Yes?”

“My tail’s itchy...”

“Yes?!!”

“That means that there’s going to be a huge explosion this afternoon!”

Twilight gasped and dashed for the door in a hurry. Pinkie Pie called out for her. “Ummm Twilight?! An explosion doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gonna be bad!!”

But it was too late, the purple Unicorn had already vanished out of earshot......

....and rematerialised right in front of a very surprised Applejack.

“Twi! Ah was Lookin’ fer ya!”

However Twilight Sparkle was in no mood for conversation. “Applejack, I really need your help! Dawn has run loose and I need to find her before anything disastrous occurs!” Pinkie Pie’s revelations continuing to play in her mind...huge explosion.

Applejack simply chuckled. “Oh Twi, yer such a laugh! Dawn’s fine, she’s at mah farm right now, she just needs some time alone to get use ta things and all.”

Twilight relaxed at this, “Oh thank Celestia, so who did you leave her with?”

“Why ma little sister of course!” Applejack answered.

Twilight felt her spirits drop. Applejack gave her a perplexed look. “Umm Twi, ya don’t look so good, is everything-”

“NO, everything is not okay!” Twilight exclaims, giving Applejack a very worried look. “Do you have any idea what this means?!” Twilight asks in panic.

Applejack took a step back in shock. “If Dawn meets your sister, She is probably going to take them to the Cutiemark crusaders!”
Applejack raised an eyebrow. “What’s so bad about that?”

Twilight replied in frustration. “What’s so bad, is that the Cutiemark crusaders now have an alicorn who is as powerful as Celestia and lacks any functional control over her magic!”

“...And?”

Twilight looked at her oblivious friend incredulously. “That means, whatever shenanigans they come up to next could have disastrous results amplified TENFOLD!” She shouts.

It then dawned on Applejack, her eyes widening in understanding. “Yer mean, they could end up destroying half the town?”

“Yes!”

Applejack whinnied. “Come on then Twi, lets find them before they hurt anypony! Follow me, ah think they would’ve gone to their clubhouse.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Alright girls! Today’s the day we get our cutie marks in, animal caring!” Scootaloo announces as we approach a comfortable looking cottage.

“So Fluttershy’s agreed to this?” Sweetie belle asks.

“Yup! She said she would love to have us over!”

“Does she know Dawn’s gonna be here too?” Applebloom asks.

Scootaloo paused. “That..I’m not sure..but what’s the worst that could happen?”

Applebloom shrugs and we walk to the front door.

We knock, and to my surprise, a rabbit opens the door.

A gentle voice calls out “Oh hello girls.. I’ll be with you in a moment, please come in!”
We walk inside, however I notice the Rabbit giving me a very strange look before closing the door behind us.

The interior of the cottage was cozy; made of wood, with ointments in glass bottles along with food placed neatly along shelves and tables. There were all manners of creatures scurrying about, paying us no heed.

Applebloom gestures to me, and I follow her into what appears to be the living room. There, a yellow pegasus was applying a bandage to a green coloured bird’s wing. “Now you be careful next time Mr. Song, try not to use the wing too much for a few days. Give it some time and it will be as good as new!”

“Hey Fluttershy!”

The Pegasus jumped in fright, the bird jumps, startled.. “Oh sorry girls, I didn’t hear you walking in.”

I give her a confused look, “but you told us to come in..”

She looks at me in surprise. “...W-what are you doing here?”
“I wanna get my Cutiemark!” I say smiling to her.

“Umm I know, but, aren’t you supposed to be with Twilight?” She asks me cautiously.

I pout. “No! She’s mean, and I don’t like her! That’s why I ran away.”

She gave me a concerned look. “Does she know you’re here?”

I sigh, “No...”

She crosses her arms. “Now there young filly, It’s not right to run away from some pony just because you don’t like her, she’s probably looking for you right now all over Ponyville worried sick!”

“B-but”

“No ‘buts’ little filly, we don’t want Twilight to be sad now do we?”

I sighed in defeat. “I guess not.”

“Look girls, you are going to have to stay here for now while I look for Twilight, we can’t have her running around just for you.”

“Awwww” We all say together.

“But who says you can’t have some fun while I’m gone?” She adds, we all perch up, interested.

“While I’m gone, why don’t you girls try feeding the animals? I’m sure one of you may even her Cutie Mark that way. Just feed the animals who eat grain and fruit, leave the fish eaters to me!” Fluttershy says with a wink.

She flies to the door, “and if you have any trouble, just wait until I come back!”

With that, she leaves.
Applebloom turns to us, “So which animal should we feed first?”
Scootaloo thinks for a moment, “I know, let’s feed the chickens first, after all, I’m sure Elizabeak remembers us!”

“Who’s Elizabeak?” I ask
“Oh she’s a chicken we saved from the Everfree forest!” Sweetie Belle answers
“You mean that scary looking forest over there?” I point my hoof in the direction of the trees.
“Yep! That’s right!”

I raise my eyebrow, “Feeding chickens will get us Cutie Marks?”

Scootaloo answers “well we gotta try everything before we know, Come on!”

We head out to the Chicken coops.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Iron Hoof watched intently from the trees. The fillies had entered the residence of the element of Kindness, and were discussing something with her. Suddenly, she leaves the room in a hurry, followed by the group of fillies approaching her chicken coop with several floating bags of feed.

What can they possibly be hoping to achieve...” He thought to himself in wonder.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Alright, the note Fluttershy said was to use one third of a bag for the chickens, Dawn, you okay carrying all those bags” Sweetie Belle asks

“Piece of cake!” I say with a smile, whilst levitating the sacks of grain with ease.

We approach a feeding, the chickens look at us in expectancy.

“Alright Dawn, jes one third remember?” Applebloom reminds.

“yeah yeah, anyway here I go!” I saw.

We enter the chicken pens

I close my eyes and focus the threads of magic around the burlap sacks. I tug at the bonds, and to my dismay, every single sack opened at once, and dumped exactly one third of their contents, some landed in the tray.....

Most however buried us.

I shake myself, and look to the group who gives me an annoyed look.
“Oops.” I smile sheepishly.

But the damage was done. The chickens, excited by the sudden excess of food, began to peck everywhere, followed by a multitude of birds.
Including us.

“Argh! Make it stop!” Applebloom cries out between yelps of pain.

“They’re everywhere!” Scootaloo yells

Sweetie Belle runs around blindly squealing.

“Dawn, Do something!”

I look around in panic, there were chickens and birds everywhere pecking wildly. I feel my ribbon tear from my mane.

I stiffen. “Oh no you don’t!” I say through gritted teeth as dozens of beaks continued to pick at me. I focus my mind around all the grain particles, and lift them towards a nearby tree, the birds following suit. the chickens however remained content at picking at the grain on the floor.”

I sigh in relief as the pecking stops.

I open my eyes, all of us looked a total mess, manes dishevelled and covered in small cuts. Also we smelt like chicken feed.

Applebloom looks up hopefully. “Any Cutiemarks yet?” She looks at her flank before giving a sigh of defeat.

“Oh well, looks like we ain’t cut out to be Cutiemark animal feeders.” Applebloom says glumly

“I’m sorry girls, It’s my fault we got into this mess.” I say to the three.
“Aww It’s okay Dawn, you managed to get the chickens and birds away from us, and besides the way you did it was awesome!” Scootaloo says, comforting me.

“Yeah! I’m pretty sure that the only pony who can do that apart from you is Twilight!” Sweetiebelle answers.

“Thinking about it, I think it was kind of rude of me to run away from her like that..” I think glumly to myself. “Mommy did tell me to stay with her and to learn from her...I guess”
“Anyway what should we do next?” Scootaloo asks

“Didn’t Fluttershy tell us to stay here while she goes to find Twilight?” I say.

“Pfft, she’ll find us sooner or later, in that time, we should try find our cutie marks!” Sweetiebelle says.

Applebloom gasps. “I know! Zecora said she needed an extra hoof in making potions, and with the four of us, she gets three extra hooves!”

I paw the ground nervously, “Shouldn’t we leave a note?”

Sweetiebelle looks at me disdainfully. “Fine.” she says rolling her eyes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Iron Hoof gasped in exertion. The damn birds had finally left him alone.
That damn filly nearly inadvertently exposed him. He was chuckling to himself in the tree when suddenly a floating swarm of bird feed fell on him, followed by a swarm of ravenous avians.
He kicked at a red canary which continued to peck his back.

“Damn birds,” he grumbled to himself before pulling himself back up the tree.

“CUTIEMARK CRUSADER POTION MAKERS ARE GO, YAY!!!”

The shout causes him to slip, and land on his head.

He groaned in pain before shaking his head to clear his vision. “Damn Kids..” he mutters before looking up and watching fillies walk into the Everfree.

His eyes widened in horror. “your assignment is to protect the Subject at all costs.” The order repeated itself in his mind.
He sighs, “Celestia Dammit!”
he cursed before reluctantly following their hoofprints as soon as they were out of earshot.

What was supposed to be an easy assignment just became a whole lot harder.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“...and that’s why we decided we wanna help you make your potions!” Sweetiebelle finished explaining.


“A gesture most kind, It would be an honour to let you brew my finds!” The Zebra answers.
“You talk funny!” I say to her.

At first she frowns at me, but smiles back. “Young majesty I am not from this land, we do not have your speech, please understand.”

“Of course, sorry if I offended you.” I answer

“From curiosity my little pony, are you of royalty from the castles grand and stony?” She asks me curiously.

I think for the moment, “I think I am...why do you ask?”

“A simple curiosity that struck me so, for one so young, blessed with great powers. The Daughter of the moon you are, an honour to have you in my hut so far, so rare a flower.”
She bows.

“Please don’t bow to me Ms. Zecora,” I say to her, “It’s already annoying enough to have everypony call me that back at the castle, just call me Dawn.”

“Very well oh daughter of the moon, a brewing we should begin soon.” She says grabbing a few plants and spices before placing them all in the pot carefully and slowly.

“How can we help you today Zecora?” Applebloom asks.

The Zebra looks at us whilst scratching her chin with her hoof. “A special brew I would like to make, for bones and joints that like to ache, but the process is much too complex for ones as young as you.”

“So there’s nothing we can do?” I ask, feeling my spirits drop.

She thinks for a moment. “There is one potion one could brew, but the ingredients one must stew, The brew itself is bright as day, and in the dark, it shows the way, but be warned this brew is not to be drunk, for the making of this, is rather explosive.”

We smile. “No problem Zecora, just show us what to do!”

She looks at us sternly. “To make this brew as good as can be, steady hooves and my instructions one needs to learn and see, I shall perform this task to show you fillies, the right and safe way, not silly.”

With that she beckons to us, and begins mixing the herbs, we crowd around the cauldron, mesmerised.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Iron Hoof cautiously approached the creepy wooden thatched hut, the tracks of the filly ended there. “What in celestia’s name could they be possibly doing here? Finding their cutiemarks?! That’s just ridiculous!” He thought to himself.

The masks at the front seemed to leer at him. He cursed his fate silently and stood watch in
a nearby brush.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Well, she ain’t here either.” Applejack said in a matter of fact as they opened the interior of the clubhouse..

Twilight gave her a tired look. “You don’t say.” She looked around her in despair.
Sweet Apple Acres was huge, and the Filly being a quiet one didn’t make matters any better, and to make matters worse, she is probably off goofing around with the Cutie Mark Crusaders.

“We’ll Ah’m fresh outta ideas,” Applejack says.

Twilight groaned, “Princess Luna is going to be so mad at me, Come on Applejack, let’s check sugarcube corner and the schoolyards, She’s bound to go there sooner or later!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Starry Quills looked over the letter one more time, satisfied, he rolled the scroll and dematerialised it. He watched on as the fine mist travelled from his window, towards Ponyville.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Okay, so all we gotta do is to drop a little of the Poison Joke into these little vials? Easy!” Scootaloo says Zecora continued stirring. “Yes my dear Scootaloo, but take care not to touch them too! Take care not to add too much, for even dried they like to joke, and their laughter we would pay for such.”

Zecora, with a ladle in her mouth, scoops the liquid from the cauldron before pouring them into small and neatly stacked vials. She then quickly uses a spoon and adds a drop of the poison joke into the mix. This causes the vial to glow brightly. “This brew in my tongue is called the evening star, for when times are dark and light is scarce, this will be a source for afar.” The CMC’s and I all stand around the creation mesmerised.

“Ooooh” we say in admiration.

“Now remember to imitate my actions, remember the poison joke must only be used a fraction!”

We all take a small spoon each and scoop the dried herb into the glass vials before us. Like the demonstration Zecora had shown, our vials too began to glow.

“At this rate, we’ll get our Cutiemarks fer Sure!” Applebloom said excitedly

“Alright! Let’s keep this up!” Scootaloo adds.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Iron Hoof peered intently into the Hut’s window. “interesting..” he thought to himself.

Suddenly a letter materialised in his face, knocking his helmet askew.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The presence was there again, behind us and outside the hut, causing me to turn....and accidently bump into sweetiebelle who unloads a whole spoonful of the Poison Joke into her vial. “Hey watch it!” she says annoyed.

Her Vial begins to glow very brightly.

Zecoras eyes widen. She mutters something in another language before picking up the vial running to the door and flinging it into a nearby brush.

We look at her in confusion from her sudden action. Suddenly a huge flash occurs, followed by a loud bang.

She turns and gives us a very stern look. “Looks like my faith today, has been led astray! Though I appreciate your helpful hooves, I believe it is time for you three to move! Go back to Ponyville today, for I must clean the damage done, for such is quite to my dismay.”

Sweetiebelle looks at me annoyed. “Jeez, thanks alot Dawn, we were going good! Why did you bump into me?!”

Panic sets into my chest. “I-I didn’t mean to, please don’t be mad at me!”

“Aww we ain’t mad at you Dawn, we had bigger accidents ourselves!” Applebloom says without any hint of anger.

“Heheh, you should have seen the time we tried to be Cutiemark librarians!” Scootaloo says with a giggle.

“Yeah! I mean Twilight still doesn’t let us touch her books till this day!” Sweetiebelle laughs. “Anyway what should we do next?” she continues.

I scratch my chin. “I feel like chocolate cake..” I think to myself.

“I know! How about we go to sugarcube corner!” I suggest.

The CMC’s look at each other. Suddenly Applebloom perks up. “Actually that’s a great idea! We could all try to be Cutiemark crusader cake bakers!”

Scootaloo raises her eyebrow. “Didn’t we try that last time?”

“Yeah! but last time we didn’t have Dawn, maybe this time we’ll succeed!” Applebloom says excitedly.

Sweetiebelle jumps, “well what are you all waiting for!? Lets go!”

We turn to Zecora.

She looks at us tiredly. “Begone now little foals.”

“See you Zecora!” We say together as we dash off.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Iron Hoof groaned in pain again. His whole body was singed, but thankfully that explosion had knocked his helmet back into position. He grumbled incoherently and looked for the letter, and realised that the message had been vaporized, all that was left of it was the seal of the Canterlot tower.

“Uh oh.” He said to himself. “Looks like Starry is gonna be furious again, he’s gonna have to resend that letter.”

“See you Zecora!” The fillies say together and begin dashing back towards Ponyville.

Iron Hoof felt his left lower eye begin to twitch....

Burned, Battered and bruised, however not defeated, he began to grudgingly trudge after them, to whatever antics the little demons had in store next.

“Hell, I’m not getting paid enough for this” He thought to himself morosely.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~