• Published 27th Oct 2011
  • 2,661 Views, 132 Comments

Lunar Apprehension - Vypor



A mysterious pony attempts to show Luna her work is appreciated, but Celestia sees him as a threat.

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Chapter 13: Salons and Fetlocks

Tsyreim arrived back home. “Greetings mother. I have returned.”

“Do I sense glee in your voice?” The ethereal voice returned.

“Perhaps you do.” Tsyreim grinned. “Due to some unusual circumstances, Twilight was able to convince their town leader to allow me freedom to move within the town legally.”

“It must have been an unusual event indeed for that.” Gem replied. “Do tell.”

“In short. A dragon attacked.” Tsyreim shrugged. “One of the ponies had mistakenly stolen a gem that belonged to the dragon. I arrived just in time to stop the dragon.”

“Doilmuib'fa Airv?” Gem spoke.

“Indeed I used it, and was fortunate enough that the dragon in question had been taught tradition. I resolved the situation rather easily, so no harm was done. As a result, they accepted me. Begrudgingly as the decision may have been.”

“Then consider this one hoof closer to finding out the truth.” Gem replied. “And might I say that it seems you've gained a few friends finally. How is that?”

Tsyreim walked back inside. “Needless to say, wonderful. However, I'm afraid it may only amplify my sense of loneliness out here.”

“Well you could stop going out there I suppose.” Gem's ever-present wisecracking side made itself known.

“You know as well as I, that I cannot simply stop seeing them. Besides, I have a patient to attend to.” Tsyreim stepped into the cool cave pool. “The arcane cast won't recharge itself.”

“So you're a doctor now?” Gem asked. “Anything to get the townsfolk to trust you, I'll presume.”

“You presume correctly.” The stallion replied, grunting as he pulled one of his fetlock-guards off. The devices were handy, but claustrophobic. He sighed as the cool water flowed around his sweaty hoof. It was a shame he didn't design them to be more breathable.

Taking a portion of the cloth he had purchased from Rarity, Tsyreim began to polish the guards. He wasn't normally one for fashion, but he took great care of the few items that he actually wore.

Washing his hooves, he rubbed the grime off of them. Tsy frowned as he attempted to keep his rather long fetlocks from obscuring his view.

Gem spoke up. “By the way, son. You might want to trim those.”

Tsyreim shrugged. “Nonsense. It takes years to regrow these, and they keep my hooves warm during the winter. Aside of that, why would I? So I can fit the guards on better?”

Gem paused, then giggled. “If you say so, Tsy.”

Tsyreim paused and rolled his eyes upward. “You are keeping something from me, are you not?”

Gem quickly replied. “Far be it from me to withhold information from my son.”

Tsyreim resumed his washing. “Yes, far be it indeed.”

Once satisfied with his cleanliness, which wasn't saying an incredible deal, Tsyreim drug his soaking frame onto a carved stone rune in the floor and spoke. It soon flashed and the air around him warmed up and spun slightly. Meanwhile, he pulled out another larger bit of the cloth to help dry himself with.

Thanks to his arcane blowdrying floor, Tsyreim was soon dry and most certainly ready for bed. The events of the day only made the next one seem more exciting, mostly thanks to the fact that he was now accepted in Ponyville. More or less anyway.

- - -

As Tsyreim settled into bed however, another was leaping off her balcony, much, much further away. Not but a dark speck soaring across the starry sky, Luna took her time away from the castle.

Night was her time, and metaphorically-speaking, it was when she shone the brightest. The Alicorn left the gleaming lights, and ornate towers of Canterlot behind, as she flew into seclusion. Time to herself wasn't in short supply at all, but this time made her feel free. Whenever she stayed in the castle, it felt claustrophobic. It wasn't fun, it wasn't exciting.

Flapping her large wings back, she set down on a dark grassy knoll in the middle of the forest beyond the royal mountainside city. Luna ignored the towns and cities. She knew what she would find. Or more precisely, what she would not find. Nopony would be out enjoying the night.

She heard a voice and spun around, looking behind her. “Show thyself!” She commanded.

Nothing but the wind blew. She heard it again, a bit clearer this time. And that's when her eyes narrowed, the voice was not behind her. It was within her.

“Silence...” She mumbled.

The voice spoke again. “...Nothing has changed you see...”

Luna stomped her hoof. “I SAID SILENCE!”

She felt the essence waning again, but it would not leave without a last word. “...You cannot keep me away forever...”

Luna shuddered, sitting on the hill. She didn't want this. She vowed it would never happen again, but the Night Princess knew they were right. If this kept up, she would lose control once again.

On a dark, unnamed hill. The Princess began to weep.

- - - - - - -
The next morning, Ponyville Market
- - - - - - -

Applejack was early to her stand as usual, loading another batch of apples. She thought she heard something, and turned around, her eyes looked back and forth, but saw nothing. She returned to arranging the produce, when suddenly Tsyreim's deep voice greeted her from behind.

“Salutations, Honesty.” He stepped back as Applejack's hat flew off when she jumped in the air with a shout.

“HOLY HAYSTACKS! Ya'll shouldn't sneak up on me like that!” The farmpony gasped.

“A thousand pardons.” Tsyreim bowed his head. “I'm afraid I am still rather acquainted with the necessity of stealth.”

He levitated Applejack's hat back up, and swiped it away from her just as she was about to grab it. He looked at it, and grinned, setting it on his head. Applejack stifled a giggle. “Ah think it's a tad small fer you.”

Tsyreim tilted his head from side to side, adjusting it. “A mite diminutive indeed. But I rather like it.”

AJ pulled it off, and fit it back on her head. “Ah may trust ya, but no way I'm lettin' you run off with mah favorite hat.”

Tsyreim chuckled. “And neither would I allow you to meander off with my prized fetlock-guards.” He tapped his right hoof against his left, sounding a metal ding from the two.

“Well ya can keep em. Ah likely wouldn't get used to em anyway.” Applejack shrugged, resuming her apple-arranging.

Tsyreim walked in front of her stand, admiring the fresh fruit. “I will presume Twilight to still reside within the, err... Library, was it?”

“That's the place.” Applejack nodded, continuing her work. “Ain't often that she ever leaves that ol' tree. Poor mare has her head in too many of them books if ya ask me.”

“Knowledge is nothing to be feared unless used unwisely.” Tsyreim replied, trotting toward the Library, looking back, he called out. “Perhaps later, I shall inquire as to your previously noted farmwork.”

“That'd be mighty fine.” AJ tipped her hat.

Tsyreim arrived at the Library, and knocked at the door. Some haphazard thumping came from inside, and the door opened, a rather sleepy Twilight Sparkle answered the door. “Hu-Hello?”

She stood up, realizing it was Tsyreim. “Oh! Uh, well you're early.”

“My regrets, Miss Sparkle.” Tsyreim apologized. “But I suppose it is just as well, as today I was simply going to inform you that I intended to assist the townsfolk in whatever your elder required.”

“A boost on her trust, eh?” Twilight yawned. “Alright, well I'll come look for you about twelve o' clock then.”

Tsyreim just stared blankly at her. “Pardon?”

Twilight blinked, and then raised a her brow. “Wait... Do you know how to tell time?”

Tsyreim nodded and pointed to the sky. “Obviously now, morning. When the sun is halfway, tis midday. When-”

Twilight interrupted him. “No no no... Not like that.” She pointed to the clocktower. “You see that? That is how you tell time. Twelve o' clock is when both the arrows are pointing straight up.”

Tsyreim blinked. “So I see. Very well then. I shall keep an eye on it.”

Bidding her farewell, Tsy trotted off towards the town hall.

- - -

Mayor Mare sat at her desk, yawning as she took another sip of coffee. For the moment, she had completely forgotten about Tsyreim, and was looking down at some papers, when the Town Hall doors swung open.

A series of heavy metal thuds upon the floor coaxed her vision up to see the large black stallion walking towards her. She instinctively flinched, still not used to his presence in town.

“Oh... It's you. What do you want?” She eyed him.

Ignoring her rather unwelcoming greeting, Tsyreim posed his question. “You said before that you expected me to assist in town. Thus, I have arrived for my first task. I would wager there are many things needing to be done?”

The Mayor tapped a pencil to her chin. “Indeed. Well, since you asked, there is a job where you may be able to put your strength to good use.”

“Do tell.” Tsyreim waited patiently.

“We have a construction crew rebuilding a storage barn due North of town. Report there, and they'll put you to good use I'm sure.”

“Consider it done.” Tsyreim bowed, turning and trotting back outside.

The Mayor blinked. “That was... Surprisingly easy.” The thought that maybe he really meant to help floated in her mind, but she still couldn't completely trust him, even if he was a willing worker.

- - -

Tsyreim galloped through town, ignoring the strange stares of the morning-ponies. He was determined to earn their trust. Even if he couldn't find anything on why Celestia was after him, perhaps the fact that an entire town trusted him would lessen her rage enough for him to at least talk to her. At least, that was his strategy.

The build site was easy to find, what with all the stacks of logs and boards. Tsyreim slowed to a trot and looked around. The workers all had strange yellow hats on, not nearly as attractive as Applejack's hat.

To make matters more interesting, they too stared at him. Hearing some shouting, Tsyreim looked upward to see an angry Pegasus waving his hooves. “What are you all ogling? Get back to work! We need to get this job done on time to get paid, remember?”

The Pegasus then saw Tsyreim. “Oh... That's what.” He arced down and landed right in front of Tsyreim. A strange white thing hung from his mouth, oddly enough, it looked as it if were smoldering. “Look, you ain't welcome on this build site, okay? Just run back to where you came from.”

Tsyreim stood his ground, his gaze unwavering. “I was told to come and assist, as instructed by your mayor. Would you be so bold as to disobey their orders?” Then looking at the thing in the Pegasus' mouth, he pointed. “And by my reckoning, I would say that putting burning things in your mouth is not in the best interest of your physical well-being.”

The Pegasus stomped his foot to silence some of the worker's snickering. “Fine.” He grumbled. “You at least look like you can lift some weight, so head over to the East side, the weaklings need some help building the framing.”

Tsyreim nodded and trotted straight over, looking at the ponies there. A brown Unicorn was hammering some nails into a joint while two Earth Ponies held it together. Once finished, they looked up to see Tsyreim standing there. “What you lookin' at?” One of the Earth Ponies said.

“Your sullen taskmaster told me to assist you.” Tsyreim replied

The Unicorn rolled his eyes. “Oh, Randy? Don't mind him, he's always like that. Anyways, it's about time he sent some help over here.”

The second Earth Pony stood up and put out his hoof to Tsyreim. “I for one am glad to have help, even if uhh... I dunno even what Celestia wants you for.”

“Believe me.” Tsyreim shook his hoof firmly. “Nopony wants to know why she does, more than myself.”

The three looked at each other and shrugged. “Alright, well better get to work before Randy starts huffing and puffing again.”

They split into teams of two, Tsyreim with the white Earth Pony, and the other Unicorn with the blue Earth Pony. Tsy watched them work, and assisted when needed. He listened patiently while they explained what they were doing, and how to make sure the frame was held together firmly. Once he figured it out, Tsy picked up his pace.

He looked over their work and held up his hoof. “I have an idea.”

The others looked up. “What's that?”

Tsyreim stood firmly and swung his hoof over the frame. “Bervel Jage...” Each board glowed with his green aura, and he concentrated, they all came together. Then he spoke again. “Bervel Visr...” The boards stopped moving completely. Turning his now pure green eyes towards his fellow workers, Tsyreim nodded. “Bind them.”

They looked at each other, and began to run through, hammering nails into each section and joint. Tsyreim and the Unicorn made short work of it with their magic. And before long, the entire wall sat flat on the ground, ready to be lifted up.

The four ponies grinned at their work as Tsyreim dismissed the binding spell. “That was the fastest wall I've ever made.” The white pony chuckled. “We already have the front done, and now the right side. Let's whip the others out.”

Tsyreim nodded, and they all moved to the back of the barn. Knowing the strategy now, they each simply laid out the boards, cutting and arranging them. Tsyreim repeated the alignment and binding process, and they had the back done in record time.

The four were feeling pretty good about themselves now, and soon began to joke about getting the frames done before Randy could come over, expecting to be able to berate them for being so slow.

Tsyreim assisted them with that as well, until they had finished that wall too. The brown Unicorn turned around just as they finished it and spoke to the others. “Hey! Quick, Randy's comin'! Act like you're asleep.”

All four dropped where they stood, snoring.

The Pegasus, Randy, swooped in and stomped on the ground. “WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?!”

They all got up and stretched slowly. The blue Earth Pony spoke. “Huh? Oh, well we finished, and you still hadn't come over, so we decided to take a nap.”

“Finished?!” Randy was furious. “FINISHED?! You call this FINIS-” He looked over the left side frame, paused, then flew to the next, and the next. After checking them all, he landed in front of them and eyed them all. “How the hell did you finish them all so fast?”

“We're just awesome like that.” The brown Unicorn grinned, laying back.

Randy glared at him. “Then I'll expect them to be up, just as fast.”

The three looked at each other, then at Tsyreim, who yawned nonchalantly. “As good as finished.”

Randy turned around as one of the other ponies yelled. “I'll be right back.”

Tsyreim jumped up as he flew off. “Gentlemen. Show me where these must be fastened.”

The three showed him what needed to be done, and Tsy turned to them. “Stand aside.”

He leapt into the center of where the barn would sit, and reared up, stretching his forelegs to the side. “Nluje Jage!” All four wall frames shuddered, and began to angle upwards.

The three ponies gawked at the sight as the four corners met. Tsyreim froze the frames and spun towards the tools, flinging his hooves up, he directed the nails, which shot into the wood at each corner, setting the braces and fastening the walls together. And just like that, the framework of the barn was set.

He released the spell, and inspected the walls to make sure they were secure, then trotted back to the three, who still stared. “Holy cow... What was that?” The Unicorn muttered. “I've never seen a Unicorn do all that before.”

Tsyreim pointed at the returning Randy. “Then you've also never seen ancient magic in use either. Act natural.”

The four ponies were giddy now. And the expression of shock was clear on Randy's face as he arrived, staring at the framework that only moments before was laying flat on the ground. “How... What...” The smoldering thing in his mouth dropped to the ground.

“Told ya once already.” The brown Unicorn grinned. “We're just awesome like that.”

Randy glared again. “You three have been on my crew for months, and you've never done anything like this before.” Pointing at Tsyreim, he narrowed his eyes. “It was only after you came over here.”

“You are clearly a natural at mystery-solving.” Tsyreim retorted.

Ignoring the comment, Randy was too busy thinking about the bonus they'd get if the project was finished on time. “You, what's your name?”

“Tsyreim.” The black stallion replied.

“You, are coming with me.” Randy waved him back. “We'll see if you're as good with masonry as you are with wood.”

- - -

Mayor Mare returned from her lunch, washing her hooves off. No sooner had she sat down at her desk, than the Town Hall doors opened again, and in strode the contractor, Randy and Tsyreim.

“Is there a problem?” She said, expectantly.

“Only if getting done ahead of time is considered a problem.” Randy grinned from ear to ear.

The Mayor blinked and turned her head. “I must have heard you wrong. Did you say, done early?”

“I don't know who this pony is, but I want him on my team whenever we're doing work here.” Randy looked over at Tsyreim. “I've never seen a Unicorn who could build a barn by himself faster than a whole crew. All we had to do was show him how to do it, and he took it over.”

Mayor Mare asked again. “You still never answered my question, you said done early.”

“That's exactly what I said.” Randy grinned again. “The barn is done, paint needs to dry, but the walls, roof, floor, all of it is done. Should be ready to use by tomorrow.”

“Impossible.” Mayor Mare looked from one to the other. “How can that be possible?”

Tsyreim stepped in. “Magic.”

After a short pause, Mayor Mare waved them out. “I'll inspect it later today, and if you're lying, you can forget about the bonus.”

Randy didn't falter. “You won't be disappointed. I'll expect that bonus. Come on.” He nodded to Tsyreim.

After exiting the building, he looked up at the black Unicorn. “Anytime I do construction here, I want you working for me, you understand?”

Tsyreim faltered. “That would depend, sir. I have many important things to attend to.”

Leaving him with that, Tsyreim trotted back off toward the Library. After he arrived, he found a note on the door. 'Gone to lunch, will be back soon'.

Shrugging, Tsyreim decided to visit the market again. After all the construction work, he was feeling a bit peckish. Halfway there however, he remembered Butter Brickle, he needed to attend to her brace, yet he knew not where she lived.

Thinking for a moment, Tsy decided a good pony to ask would be Pinkie Pie. As random as she may be, he found that she was always keeping up to date with everypony. He headed to Sugarcube corner, and soon arrived.

He looked up at the small bell ringing when he opened the door. And soon the cheery voice greeted him again, he knew it would soon change however.

“Welcome to Sugar... Cube, Corner.” Mrs. Cake looked on from behind the counter at her guest.

Tsyreim bowed. “Greetings, Miss Cake, was it?”

“Missus.” She corrected him.

“My apologies.” Looking around, Tsyreim posed a question. “Is Pinkie Pie present?”

Mrs. Cake looked toward the stairs. “Pinkie! You uhh, have a visitor!”

Tsyreim waited patiently, his ears perking up at the sound of a door, followed by a series of thumps. The source of the thumping soon revealed itself, as Pinkie Pie rolled down the steps.

“Oh dear me! Are you alright?” Mrs. Cake rushed over, stopping just short as Pinkie jumped upright. “Perfectly, Mrs. Cake!”

The shopmare shook her head, returning to her counter. “He's just over there.”

Pinkie turned around, a grin shooting across her face as she saw Tsyreim. “Oh hello!” She trotted over. “What brings you here?”

“I was to inquire as to the residence of Butter Brickle.” The Unicorn replied. “Her cast requires attention, and I know not where she lives.”

“Oh I'll take you right there.” Pinkie headed to the door. “Follow me.”

Tsyreim shrugged and bowed again to Mrs. Cake before walking outside. Pinkie Pie was already on her way, and Tsyreim ran over to her. “If I may be so rude as to inquire, what do you... Do, around town?”

“Me?” Pinkiie giggled. “I arrange and host parties, and am just generally the uhh...” She thought for a moment. “...Happy-bringer!”

“A bringer of happy. That is certainly a, well. I guess fitting job for the Element of Laughter indeed.” Tsyreim stuttered, finding it difficult to think up a response for such a statement.

He soon found she had led him to a quaint little yellow house near the center of town. Knocking on the door, she put her ear up to the door. The door unlatched, and she opened it. Tsyreim stepped inside, and saw his 'patient' standing just in front. “Oh, hello again.” She smiled warmly. “Here for the cast, I guess?”

“You presume correctly.” Tsyreim looked over it. “Still strong I see, I'll just recharge it here.” He whispered a bit, waving his hooves over it, and the cast began to glow brighter, like the night before.

Brickle sighed. “Ahh, that's better. I've hardly had any pain with the leg since you put that... Cast, thing on it.”

“Then it was cast successfully.” Tsyreim nodded. “Tis good to see it helping. Now if you'll excuse me...” He nodded his head and smiled, heading toward the door.

Brickle called out. “Wait. You look hungry. You can stay for lunch if you want, it's the least I can do for what you've done for me.”

Tsyreim, was rather hungry, after going near half a day without a meal and working construction. He walked back in and the orange pony led him to the kitchen. Despite her being a bit lame with the leg issue, she was more than happy to fix a small meal.

Tsyreim sat in the chair and smelled the food cooking. His eyes drifted around the room, ignoring Pinkie Pie's impromptu conversation. He looked down at the table, the stove, cutting boards and cooking utensils. The arrangement of it all, why did it feel so familiar?

His eyes slitted as the memory flashed back. His father's house, the kitchen was arranged similarly. He looked at Butter Brickle, stumbling slightly, but willing to cook and care for her guests. Tsyreim saw his mother there.

Pinkie Pie rambled on about things he wasn't entirely paying attention to. His father used to do that about his studies and the magic Tsyreim had explained to him. And while he didn't ramble nearly as much as Pinkie Pie, the setup seemed uncanny.

He took a deep breath of the food, it smelled so strong. Suddenly he felt a hoof on his shoulder and looked up as Brickle nudged him slightly. “Hey, are you okay?”

Tsyreim shook his head. “Y-Yes, of course, mother.”

Pinkie stopped her rambling, and Butter Brickle stared at him. “I'm sorry?”

Tsyreim rubbed his forehead. “My apologies, I simply had, a flashback of sorts.” He quickly masked his emotions with a smile, and began eating. What a dreadfully awkward lunch that turned out to be.

The food was great though, and Tsyreim savored it. While he wasn't much of a cook, he certainly debated on taking up lessons after this.

After lunch, they made small talk, and then Butter Brickle hobbled over, setting a small brownish-amber colored item on his plate. “What is this?” He asked.

“Well, that's my special talent.” She giggled. “The Butter Brickle bar, I make them myself. Go ahead, try it.”

Tsyreim levitated it up and sniffed it, then took a bite off of it, chewing. It was hard, but crumbled and crunched easily. Tsy tilted his head, licking at the bits of it that easily built up in his teeth. The taste was very unique, and very sweet. He finished the rest rather quickly.

“How do you like it?” Brickle asked.

Giving a few more licks with his tongue, Tsyreim looked up at her. “As much as it seems to like my teeth.”

Pinkie Pie thought this was hilarious, and burst out in laughter. Tsyreim knew she'd had them before, and her personal experience most likely triggered the hilarity.

The three talked and laughed, when there was another knock on the door. “Who could that be?”

Tsyreim stood up. “Allow me.” He walked over to the door and opened it to find Rarity staring blankly at him. “Tsyreim?”

She shook her head and remembered the night before. “Oh yes! Twilight told me about the cast you needed to tend to.” She smiled. “I wasn't aware you were a doctor.”

Tsyreim shrugged as she trotted by him. “Why do ponies keep calling me that?”

“A doctor heals ponies...” Rarity sniffed as she walked by him, scrunching up her nose. “Umm, err... I don't mean to sound rude but... When was the last time you bathed?”

Tsyreim bent his neck over and sniffed, clearly unfazed by the fact he had been sweating most of the day. “Just last night of course, why?”

Rarity grimaced. “Well, you might need another one. You could do with a trip to the salon for sure.”

Tsyreim stood rather confused, and his befuddlement only grew as Pinkie Pie walked over and began whispering to Rarity. They both grinned widely.

“You might as well let me in on what you're whispering about, as it is plain to see it's about myself.” Tsyreim tapped his hooves.

“Oh of course I planned on telling you, darling.” Rarity blinked. “I originally came over here to check on Miss Brickle, but I see she's in good hooves.”

“Then what is this big idea you have?” Tsyreim raised a brow.

“Do you mind if I take your guest to the salon?” Rarity asked Butter Brickle. Who simply replied, “My only regret is that I can't come watch.”

Rarity nodded toward the door. “Come, Tsyreim. I'll introduce you to my favorite place.”

Tsyreim followed her outside, unsure whether he should be concerned or not. “What is the salon?” He whispered to Pinkie, who was hopping along behind them.

“Oh it's a wonderful place.” She answered. “They clean you up, make you smell good, comb your hair, massage your sore legs, and all that fun stuff.”

Tsyreim stared ahead as he followed Rarity, even more unsure now. A whole bunch of ponies touching him? How absurd.

They soon arrived at a rather fancy place, strange smells wafted through the air, forcing Tsyreim to wrinkle his nose. He wasn't sure if they were good smells or not.

The three entered the building, it was white, pristine, ornate pillars and tiled walkways. Had anypony asked him, he would have admitted to be afraid to touch anything. Including the floor.

Two ponies, different colors, but dressed alike looked from behind a counter. “Welcome back, Miss Rarity.” They greeted her, then staring in curiosity at Tsyreim. “May we, help you?”

Rarity looked back at the uncomfortable Unicorn. “Oh yes, I've brought a friend. He's in need of a wash. He's absolutely filthy.”

“Working half the day in the sun is often a good reason for such an occurrence.” Tsyreim retorted.

Ignoring him, Rarity nodded to the twins. “Tsyreim, this is Aloe, and Lotus. Please girls, we three will all take the usual.”

One of the twins scribbled down some information, and then they led the trio into the main room. There was a large pool in the center, where multiple ponies were lying back, talking or just plain relaxing.

Aloe turned around and stopped them, motioning to Tsyreim. “Excuse me sir, but we ask that all ponies remove their hoofwear before proceeding.”

Tsyreim lifted his hoof, looking down at the metal guard. “If it is agreeable by you, I would prefer to keep my guards on.”

Aloe looked back at Rarity, who nodded to him. “Tsyreim, they need to do your hooves as well, they won't be able to with those... Things, on. And besides, it's just common courtesy to obey a businesses rules.”

Tsyreim grumbled and sat down, lifting his right front hoof up, he pulled the metal guard off. His large unshaven fluffy fetlocks hung down as he sat the guard down, moving to the next hoof. He only got one more off before he heard giggling from around the room. Looking around, he saw all the mares pointing with one hoof, and covering their mouths with another. Raising his eyes to his group, he saw them all with some rather flushed faces.

He looked down at his hooves, and back up to them. “Yes, my hooves are sweaty, what of it?”

Rarity stuttered. “Don't you ever... Trim those?”

Tsyreim shrugged, moving to the next hoof. “Preposterous, what is to keep my hooves warm during the winter without these? Sure they make fitting the guards on more difficult, but I can live with it.”

Rarity swallowed, stifling a giggle. This stallion truly WAS socially-inept.

After handing the guards over to another blushing mare, Tsyreim rejoined his group, who continued into the first side-room. He was as confused as ever, looking around everytime he heard a giggle. “What aren't you informing me of?” He asked Rarity as the three of them moved into an overly humid room, steam floating all around as ponies poured water on to hot rocks in various bins.

“And what even is the purpose of this room?” He looked around.

Rarity giggled as Lotus came in with four small towels, tying them around Tsyreim's legs just above his fetlocks.

Tsyreim was utterly confused, and it drove him crazy. “Okay, I think I figured it out. I suppose having dirty hooves isn't acceptable in here. Perhaps that's why Celestia was after me, the crime of dirty-hoof-having.”

Pinkie Pie laughed overly hard. “Are you serious? You can't be serious.”

“I seriously doubt she would hold a grudge for a thousand years over dirty hooves.” Tsyreim rolled his eyes.

After they left that room, the three entered the next, where they were instructed to sit on cushions and wait. “Hopefully this serves more of a purpose than the previous instance.” Tsyreim spoke, looking around. “So much pink...”

The twins returned with several dishes and brushes. Walking up to Rarity, they began to use the brushes to 'paint' her face with a green slimy mud sort of stuff. Tsyreim grimaced, and stared even more in shock as they began to place CUCUMBER slices over her eyes.

“WHAT.” He declared just before they finished Pinkie Pie's face. Approaching him, they lifted the brushes, and he tilted his head out of the way. “I was wrong, THIS room is even more pointless than the previous. What is that stuff anyway?”

He swished his head back to avoid another swipe. The two twins tried to keep from laughing so they wouldn't drop the brushes. “R-Rarity... What is this...?” Tsy demanded.

“Just let them, darling. It cleans out the pores, and softens the skin.” She replied nonchalantly.

He sat still, grimacing as the two began to smear the green stuff all over his face. “...This is absurd in every possible instance I can imagine...”

The twins placed several cucumber slices into the mud over his eyes, and left. Tsyreim sat in befuddlement. “Why. Why are they putting vegetables, on my face? What purpose is this to accomplish? I can't even see now.”

He could hear though, and hear he did, as Rarity and Pinkie were unable to keep from laughing from his reactions to the treatment.

He turned his head around and shuffled as some cushions were shoved under him. “This is incredibly awkward.”

Hearing giggling, he levitated one of the cucumber slices up, eying Lotus, who was holding a file to his hoof. “Is it normal for them to begin sanding my hooves away?”

“Darling, calm down.” Rarity giggled. “They're only smoothing your hooves, making them even and shiny.”

“Quite.” He lay down, Lotus brushing his fetlocks back to get to his hooves. To pass the time, she asked some questions, hoping maybe it would put him at ease, since he obviously wasn't used to this sort of treatment.

“So, your name is Tsyreim?” She asked.

“Correct.” Tsy replied, finally fitting the cucumber slices back on right.

“What do you do? I mean, for a living?”

“I live deep in the forest and survive by my wits, magic, and foraging skills.” He shrugged.

Lotus chuckled, then stopped. “Wait, you're serious?”

Tsyreim flipped a cucumber slice up again. “Surely you jest. I thought my antics here would be rather revealing of my... social-ineptitude.”

She shook her head and continued. “Well... How long have you lived like that?”

“If my memory serves me correctly, one-thousand twelve years approximately.” He replied nonchalantly.

Lotus sighed and moved to the next hoof. “Now I know you're lying to me.”

“If you were to inquire of your Princess Celestia, she could verify it. Though I cannot guarantee her reaction to the mention of my name would not be disturbingly hostile.” Tsyreim told her.

“What did you do to make her so mad? Cause she had posters put up around town saying to report you. To be honest, I would have if Mayor Mare hadn't instructed Ponyville not to.” Lotus eyed him curiously.

“I will tell you what I have told everypony before you who has asked the same thing.” Tsyreim sighed. “I know not why she pursues me. I only want a second chance here, that is why I hid so much before this truce of sorts between the town and I.”

He muttered under his breath. “I want only to clear my name of whatever misunderstanding this is.”

He felt a tap on his horn, and pulled a slice off. “Leave the horn alone.”

Lotus pulled the file back. “We normally do those too but... Yours is, sharp?”

“It's natural, though I do rather like to keep it honed.” Tsyreim replied, looking up. “The horn is fine the way it is.”

After the filing was done, the twins set the gear aside and called in another worker. A rather sturdy stallion trotted in, and the twins instructed him to massage Tsyreim, meanwhile they began to rub Rarity and Pinkie Pie's backs.

Tsyreim lay down like the stallion told him to, and felt him begin thumping his back quickly but rhythmically. “Ordinarily, I would be sending anypony that dares hit me, flying across the room. But this actually feels good.” Tsyreim said, his voice vibrating with the thuds on his back.

Pinkie giggled, and began saying random things just to hear what they sounded like with the shaking massage. Rarity joined in, and the two started laughing, having a nonsensical conversation just for fun. Tsyreim had to chuckle to himself. This place wasn't his style at all, but if they liked it, then that was all that really mattered.

He looked up as the stallion cleared his throat. “A showy guy guy?”

“I beg your pardon?” Tsyreim raised a brow.

The stallion stopped massaging and pointed to Tsy's fetlocks poking out from under the towels.

“Yes, they are fetlocks. What of them?” Tsyreim shrugged as best a pony could who was being massaged.

The stallion raised his head as he realized Tsyreim truly didn't know what he meant. “You, you don't know what showing fetlocks represents do you?”

“It means I have fetlocks. What else could it possibly mean?” Tsyreim stared up at him.

The stallion leaned in close. “If you'll notice, stallions around don't really have poofy fetlocks. That's because showing them around is often considered something of a uhh... Lewd gesture. If you know what I mean.”

Tsyreim quickly covered as much of his fetlocks with the towels. “N-No sir, I'm afraid I was not aware of this... A thousand apologies.”

The stallion chuckled. “Personally, from a guy's standpoint, that's a bragging right, even if it is popularly considered, ehh... Indecent. There's really only one pony around who gets away with it. But he doesn't mean anything by it either, and everypony accepts that just fine.”

“Who might that be?” Tsyreim inquired.

“Ah, big strong fella, part of the Apple Family Farm. Big Macintosh is his name. He usually keeps to himself on the farm, hard worker though.”

“Sounds like a pony I could get used to.” Tsyreim mumbled.

“Sure is.” The stallion switched to a more kneading and rubbing massage. “As long as all you wanna hear is either 'eyup', or 'nope'.”

“You were not lying then when you said he keeps to himself then.” Tsyreim grinned, closing his eyes. The massage was great, he had definitely never had one of these. Though hard to get used to at first, it soon felt very good.

After the massage, Tsyreim and the others were led to another room, where they stood in front of several pools of what could only be explained as, well. Mud. Removing the towels, both Pinkie and Rarity plopped down into the neck-high mud.

Tsyreim blinked, pointed at his pool, then at Rarity. “Excuse me, Miss Rarity. But did you not just inform me that I was filthy, and required bathing. Yet here I am to step into a pool full of, mud?”

“This is special mud.” Rarity smiled as she turned, two cucumber slices staring back at him.

“Mud, is mud. There is no 'special' mud. I will never understand normal-pony society...” Tsyreim muttered, pulling off the towels and stepping into the mud-pool.

After soaking in the seemingly pointless mud-tubs, they washed that off and moved to several tubs of bubbly water that only went hoof high. This was the worst one for Tsyreim, since he now knew what everypony was giggling about when his fetlocks were draping out. All he could do was simply stand there and do nothing in the pool.

Pinkie and Rarity were both seemingly unfazed. They were used to Tsyreim's hooves by this point, and chatted as if nothing was amiss. Once it all was done, the three trotted back to the counter, and a worker returned Tsyreim's hoofguards. They were washed, and shined quite well, so that pleased him.

He donned them as soon as he could, so as to avoid the giggling and pointing. What a day it had been.

After paying the twins, Rarity met Tsy and Pinkie. Tsyreim turned around as Lotus leaned over the counter. “Hey, good luck with that mystery, Tsyreim. I Hope you can figure out what's going on.”

He smiled and nodded back. There was another pony rooting for him. If he could keep this up, hopefully all the townsfolk would welcome him.

After leaving the salon, Tsyreim couldn't help but feel clean, but it was a bizarre experience to say the least. Rarity looked back as she walked. “So, Tsyreim. What did you think? Simply marvelous, I know.”

“Apart from the questionably sane actions and routines of what is supposedly considered, 'beauty'. I found it to be an absurdly embarrassing experience.” He replied.

Rarity laughed nervously. “Well, it grows on you over time I suppose.”

Tsyreim walked by here. “There shall not be a second time.” But turning, he smiled. “However, I recognize your generosity in doing this for me. And I thank you for such.”

Most of the day had been taken up by now, and Tsyreim trotted back to the Library to greet Twilight and essentially, bid his farewell at the same time.

Once all the loose ends had been tied up, he said goodbye and galloped back off into the woods. The longer this went about, the more he felt better about what he was doing.

Before, he was mostly content with simply guarding his home as was his commission. However, now he saw normal society could also benefit from his actions. The only problem, was convincing them that he was trustworthy.

As Tsy traveled through the forest, he began to realize that though he set out to clear his name. Aiming more for clearing up the issue with Celestia, he was beginning to feel more for the common pony as a friend now. He felt obligated to help them, to just be a helpful all around pony.

It felt strangely redeeming, refreshing. And most of all, it made him and the others happy.

Hours later, as he trotted to his cave, there was still some business to attend to.

“Hello again, son.” Gem's voice spoke calmly.

Tsyreim walked inside and glared at the statue of his mother. “So dear mother... About that information that you failed to tell me regarding, FETLOCKS...”