• Published 14th Jan 2014
  • 6,345 Views, 345 Comments

Tales Of The Cricket-Verse - Bucking Nonsense



A collection of short stories about Mole Cricket, and other changelings, attempting to fit in with pony society.

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House Things

"Wait, they don't come with the house?"

Cricket was surprised to find that his education had been sadly lacking since his being ejected from Canterlot at high speeds. Nothing like suddenly being ejected from the military you've been a part of your whole life, and into the civilian life, to make you realize just how little you really know. His apartment in the Crystal Empire had included a fridge, a bed, and a desk, so he'd not had to worry about stuff like that back then. Prior to that, changeling philosophy was that you slept on what was available. If there wasn't a bed, you found something soft. If there wasn't something soft, you could sleep on a patch of floor that didn't have too many sharp rocks. The changeling life was not for frail flowers.

To be honest, the subject of interior design was a closed book filled with blank pages so far as Cricket was concerned. Even before the hive became a swarm, stuff like chairs, beds, and tables weren't very common. The closest thing that his species had ever produced as an interior decorator was Blattaria, who used love-drained changelings as furniture.

Furniture. That was a word that Cricket had almost never heard in his lifetime. He generally just called it all house things. And it turned out that, contrary to what he had believed, they didn't just sprout into existence like cave mushrooms: you had to buy them separately.

"I'm afraid that's what it looks like, partner," Applejack said with a nod.

"Eeyup," supplied Big Macintosh. Stallion of few words, that one.

They'd gotten the entire house put together, as well as painted (blue, Cricket's favorite color), but it was completely bare. No carpet, no rugs, no tables, no chairs, not even a bed. The windows had no curtains, and there wasn't even a welcome mat. Cricket's new house was nowhere near becoming a home yet.

"Well," Cricket said with a shrug, "I can worry about getting house things tomorrow. It's got a roof, four walls, and a floor. I can sleep in it."

Applejack seemed a little skeptical, and asked, "What, you'll sleep on the floor?"

Cricket looked back at her, and said, rather plainly, "You say that as if I haven't done that before. I've slept on floors more often than I have on beds. Besides, I won't be on the floor: I still have my bug-out bag from the Crystal Empire, and among the other things I keep in it, there is a sleeping bag." Lesson number three, hatchlings: if you want to stay warm, keep a sleeping bag in your quick escape pack. Failing that, a blanket. Failing that, make do.

Applejack rubbed her chin a moment, then said, "Tell you what, partner: I promised I'd help you put this house together, and that ain't done unless there's some, what didja call it, "House Things" inside of it. There's still some time 'til sundown. I can't say I know much about interior decoratin', but I reckon that Rarity should be able to help you out."

Cricket felt himself blushing slightly, and said, "Well, if you think it's that important, I wouldn't turn down the help. I'm sorry to say that this is all unfamiliar territory for me..."

"Well, don't worry, you'll have the hang of it before you know it," Applejack said, full of good cheer.

"Eeyup," Big Macintosh added.

A short walk later, and the two of them (Big Macintosh went on home, his work done for the day) were knocking on the door of Carousel Boutique, Rarity's shop. Rarity opened the door promptly, and while she might have been a little displeased about the changeling entering her shop, she hid it well. While she and Applejack walked off to discuss things in private (Cricket expected that Rarity would need a little convincing before she'd help him out. Couldn't blame her...), Cricket had an opportunity to see the inside of the shop.

If interior design was a closed book with blank pages for Cricket, then fashion in general was a closed book with one of those little locks on it, then buried at an undisclosed location inside of a larger and more impressively locked treasure chest. He'd never even considered clothing before: just his helmet and armor had been enough. A shame he'd lost both during the Canterlot incident. However, he supposed he'd have to get used to being without them. Maybe he ought to get a hat, though. It still felt weird, not having something to cover his head...

He heard a little gasp for air behind him. He turned around, and saw a little filly, white coat and a purple, two-toned mane and tail, staring at him with eyes steadily widening. Oh great, he knew what was coming. Well, there was one thing he could do:

Make a joke of out of it.

The filly screamed out, "Eeeeek! A changeling!"

Cricket screamed out, "Eeeeek! A screaming pony!"

With a move that could very well have been synchronized, they both began cowering. Then, after a moment, the filly stopped, then asked, "Wait, why are you scared of me?"

Cricket, smiling just a little, said, "Well, what's scarier, somebuggy just standing around, minding their own business, or somepony suddenly walking up to you and screaming in your face?"

The filly giggled, then said, "I see your point. Sorry about that. My name's Sweetie Bell. What's yours?"

Cricket, grinning, said, "My name is Mole Cricket. It's nice to meet you, Sweetie Bell. Ah, what are you doing here, if you don't mind my asking?"

"Well," Sweetie Bell answered, "I came here to visit my big sister, Rarity. But what are you doing here?" She began eying the changeling suspiciously.

Cricket blushed a little, then admitted, "I'm new in town, and while I have a house now, I don't have any house things... no, wait, what's that word... Ah, furniture! I don't have any furniture to put in it. Miss Applejack thought that Miss Rarity might be able to help me in finding some, so I won't have to sleep on the floor tonight."

Sweetie Bell nodded, smiling, and said, "I'm sure she'll be able to help you out. My sister's good at that kind of thing. Oh, I almost forgot, I promised I'd meet Applebloom and Scootaloo at the clubhouse! I've got to go. I'll see you later, Mister Cricket!" And with that, she was off like a shot.

Cricket heard what sounded suspiciously like two mares giggling behind him. He turned, and sure enough, Applejack and Rarity were both laughing, having apparently seen the entire scene. "Well," Applejack said with a chuckle, "You seem to have a way with the youngin's."

Cricket blushed brightly, admitting, "Yes, well, one of my jobs in the swarm was taking care of the hatchlings. I guess I do have a knack for it now."

"Well," Rarity said, smiling, "Applejack was just telling me about how you were needing a bit of help getting a few..." and here she chuckled, before going on, "House things. I have a little time to spare, so I suppose I can help you out. After all, you were kind enough to help her out earlier today."

With a nod and a smile, Cricket said, "Well, I promise not to take up too much of your time. Right now I really just need the basics: I can work on the rest as I go. But I'll take any advice you can give me to heart: this is foreign territory to me."

The mare laughed aloud, then said, "Darling, you'd be surprised at how many stallions find style, fashion, and design to be 'foreign territory'." Still smiling, Rarity continued, "I can't say for certain if I'll be able to give you much advice, since I mostly specialize in mare's wear, not stallion's, but I think we can find you something that you can feel comfortable with."