• Published 15th Oct 2014
  • 1,267 Views, 54 Comments

Conflagration: Contagion - GearMane

The once human and now pony mare, tries to find both meaning and trust months after her arrival.

  • ...


Author's Note:

Cannon as it related to 'Conflagration' universe

For those that have been confused before, trying to find out where the cannon MLP story fits in here, let me clarify:
These evens run roughly with the events of MLP up to the pre-season 3 finale. A majority of the groundwork for character building is like the show, however imagine that they happened in a world, though as brightly colored, has a bit more heavier shading.
While there is alot of happy joy, there is also a section of this world that is much like real life. Problems aren't solved with an apology, and take time to work themselves out. It's very much a lighter version of Earth but with ponies.

A shakedown on major events in comparison to MLP:
NightMare Moon did happen. This brought the Mane Six together as friends.
Discord never happened, nopony knows who he is, as it is a different entity all together.
Canterlot Wedding happened. Changelings, the wedding and such, however the changelings are gone completely, merely licking their wounds.
Crystal Empire didn't happen. Sombra is still out there though, the Crystal Empire was linked to Luna, as it was her empire before the NMM incident. It appeared back during her return and the ponies in the area returned living there. After a decade of living back with her sister, she returned to the Crystal Empire and lives there. Cadence and Shining are in Canterlot for the time being.

Instead of the Magical Mystery Cure, this alternate universe got Conflagration.

While the mane six are friends, their jobs and lives take precedence over visiting each other. They do keep up, making rounds to the houses they all live in. They all meet together a few times a month, and see each other on an individual basis from the bond they all share.

There are more than 2 alicorns at any given time, though not that many to begin with. While they are slightly more powerful than a unicorn and pegasus, they are not considered 'Ordained', of royal lineage. They are merely a genetic aberration, from a pure line of unicorns and pegasus who have children. Since all three are rare, alicorns rarely happen.

Lifespan of an average pony is roughly 170+ earth years. Birthrates for new ponies between trying couples are one in ten each yearly season.

During the late spring and early summer the mares are ready, and the stallions comply. For nearly three weeks out of the year, work is put to the side in celebration of these events. Once the season is over, everypony returns to normal and has no care for such things until next year.

School is merely for reading writing and math. It takes only two years and then the ponies are free to pursue thier lives and attend higher education at their discretion.

Money and bits work on an eight point system. Eight copper is one silver, eight silver is one gold and eight gold is one crystal bit respectively. Copper bits are generally cut up into eight slices, as one eight is enough for three days food and one night's rent at a lodge or hotel. Though most of the needs are paid for in a system of labor for food. Currency is merely meant to facilitate easier transport of goods, as it's better to carry about a silver bit instead of a wagon load of apples between places as an individual pony.

Much is forgiven and much is forgotten in the ways of crime. There are 4 basic laws. Don't steal, don't kill, don't interfere with another pony and follow type specific rules. Unicorns are to obey casting laws, Pegasus cannot interfere with the weather cycles and Earth ponies are not to use strength against another. Capitol punishment is rarely used, as are the jails and prisons. Payment or work in return for damage is usually arranged in lieu of a prison sentence.

This is a basic overview of my cannon I'm working from. It can evolve at any time, and more will be added. In time, I will construct a total running of this universe. For now this should quell and questions as to what is going on.

Anya's triumphant smile was met with contempt from Twilight. After all, she had just managed to turn glass into sand, albeit black sand, and wrangle the ball of flames under her control to rid of it. That was something she hadn't done before with any degree of success. Though the mage was far from impressed, her muzzle wrought with anger.

"That was utterly reckless!" The lavender unicorn shouted. "Do you know what could have happened you were unable to control it?"

Anya paused, confused as to why it was reckless. They were in the middle of nowhere. A desert that stretched as far as the eye could see and potentially more past that. There was nopony in a few hundred miles, and no way that either of them would have been injured by it. She shook her head, trying to imagine what Twilight meant.

"I don't... What are you talking about?" Anya stuttered, folding her ears back and lowering her flank towards the ground.

"It could have flown off, out of your control and off into Ponyville! It would have been..." Twilight paused, realizing that they weren't anywhere near the town. She quickly corrected the line of thought, "...you could have sustained numerous injuries."

"It wouldn't have. It was trying to go in the complete opposite direction. It was..."she stopped. Even though this was the first time Anya hadn't managed to scorch the ground with her attempt, the argument wasn't worth straining the already tenuous relationship she had with Twilight. If it could have even been called that. It was better to just go along to get along.

Twilight stomped over from the cactus where she had been watching from and began to trot in slow circles around the mare. "This is why you can't get anywhere. You aren't listening to my instructions. It's not from lack of effort, rather lack of following my orders."

"I HAVE followed everything you have taught me, to the letter. And-"

Twilight stomped a hoof in the sand, which had less of the audible effect she wanted it to. "You are not! I don't think you realize this, but I can feel your effort, feel how you are casting each and every spell, feel everything you are doing, even now. Everything you have done so far has been wrong. The wrong order of casting, wrong in the way you visualize each element. If you are going to get anywhere, you need to LISTEN to me."

"I HAVE listened. It's not me, it's YOU! You keep yelling, telling me when I'm going wrong, but not how to fix it. Your directions may work for you, the way you cast your spells, but obviously that doesn't work for me. I'd be better off left to learn on my own at this po-" Anya was cut off as Twilight lifted a fore hoof and sprung it forward into her nose.

For a split second her vision went black and then seemed to reset, seeing Twilight's hoof come out, then herself sitting on her haunches with the offender back on four legs. From a throbbing pain she felt a warm trickle of blood run down her snout into her open muzzle. Stunned, she sat on the black sand, letting her pride ooze out slowly. It wasn't the first time this had happened, but it had been a while since it did.

"You are NOT going to learn on your own. You NEED my guidance. I made that mistake the first time around, and it's not going to happen again. It's NOT going to happen again."

Anya wiped away the blood with her hoof. That's what she deserved, standing up to her like that. Maybe the reason Ember went so wrong was because she was merely let loose on her own. Maybe there was something horribly wrong inside that made her the way she was and needed to be hounded into doing the right thing.

No. She was her own pony now. She wasn't going to burn anything down to the ground, to hurt anypony like Ember had done before. Though she hadn't yet mastered herself, she wasn't going to let previous owner's action in this body dictate the course of her new life.

Twilight had been more than overbearing. More than a mother concerned with the well being of her child. She was just a warden of a prison, looking for any excuse she could to exert herself over Anya. This had gone on for far to long, being afraid of Twilight and what she would do if her order was followed. It was going to be a dumb thing to do, recall dumb, but Twilight needed to be shoved off her in a verbal manner.

She spoke in a soft voice, to try and calm Twilight down.

"You have guided me this far. You have shown me the basics and the groundwork for spells. But they way you are teaching now isn't helping at all. Everything you try to have me do, your way feels wrong. The instructions you give me don't seem to work with this body. If I am going to learn some of the higher level spells you want me to, I need to understand how this body works. If that means I need to play with fire, to be able to control it when it does happen, that's how it needs to be."

"NO! No fire, no flames, none of that." She growled, visibly crawling under her coat at the mere mention of the word.

"Then how am I supposed to stop it? How am I supposed to control something I am not allowed to learn about fully? How?"

"By doing things EXACTLY how I say!"

"I have been! How many times do I have to say this? For what ever reason, the methods you teach are fine, but in the execution... It just... doesn't work. You need to let me do things like I did with the sand." Anya shot back.

"I said NO!" Twilight stomped a hoof defiantly.

"We are in the middle of NOWHERE! Fireballs, flamethrowers and even if I turn this entire desert into glass a mile deep, it's not going to hurt anypony."

"It's not right here I'm worried about. It's later on. You said yourself that something was wrong with her body, what if that is the reason Ember did what she did in the first place? I can't let you get close to what she was capable of doing. I can't risk everypony like that again."

"Twilight..." Anya sat down on the sand, tears beginning to well up in her eyes. "I'm not that mare, I don't want to hurt anypony...I want to do everything right. I want to be more than just a burden. I'll wear your ring and live with you for as long as it takes. I'm not her..."

Twilight just stared at her with cold eyes. None of the emotional gravity was sinking in, she merely saw a mare begging to do something that she had no rights to do. New mind or not, seeing her perform the same acts... it was still too soon, the wounds still to deep. If she was honest, not even a millennia would be enough time.

"If I can get this under control..." Anya sniffed, blood mixing with mucus dibbling from her nose, "Then I can do it. I can. Let me learn, I'll wear the ring until the day I die, just let me learn."

Twilight furrowed her brow and gritted her teeth. It was done, Anya didn't want to follow directions, do what she said, then all was lost. There was no teaching this mare, no getting her back on track the right way. She plodded over to the saddlebags and picked hers up to affix it to her waist.

"I've been trying to help you. If you want to do things on your own, then fine. Be the King of sand in your blackened empire. I'm done." she growled, using a hoof to kick Anya's satchel away from her. In a split second of light, Twilight was gone, teleported back to Ponyville.

"Well fuck you too." Anya grunted after the unicorn was gone. She would be back, Twilight always stormed off like this. It was better than the alternative of the two verbally circle jerking each other. She sighed, it was a really dumb idea.

With Twilight now gone, Anya turned to the spell book and opened the marked page. From the satchel she brought out a book with color swatches glued into it. Resting on the warm sand she began to page through and look for her new colors.

After some thought she decided on a light brown, bronze yellow and electric blue. Of the colors she had to choose from, they were what jumped out at her.

Anya had calmed down. Maybe going to learn under Twilight wasn't the best of ideas but it sounded good at the time, and she didn't know if she was able to recant the decision. Either of the Princesses would have been a better choice in retrospect. Celestia would have been the best, what other pony would know better about fire than her? As with the decision to come here, it was time to make the best of what she could.

After studying the color samples, feeling how each of them reflected light under a magical aura it was time to test her ability to change. From her rested position on the ground she gathered up a small pile of black sand and began to focus on it. One by one the black granules were changing, lightening to a blue hue, though not completely.

It was another four hours later before the mare was able to satisfy herself that she had grasped changing the sand into the color she wanted. The sun was lower in the sky, but there was still more daylight left. Odd that Twilight wasn't back yet.

Instead of changing herself entirely at once, she began to explore her fore hoof and managed to shift a small portion of the follicles and underlying skin to the brown she had chosen. Things were proceeding suspiciously well, whatever brought about a change in her ability was a good thing. Anya hoped that it lasted.

Without a mirror it was impossible to tell if she had done the spell correctly to change herself into the colors that were chosen. Her tail and what she could see of her body were a match for the color cards, but there was a lingering fear that her head was incomplete. However she did have sand, and when heated that became glass.

Anya stretched out with her horn. This was the first time she was able to make fire without Twilight stopping her. Slowly she excited the molecules in the sand and had a small pool of white hot slag in seconds. Being careful not to pour too much magic into it and vaporize the pool, she began to gently touch it's surface to smooth it out with the pink aura then proceed to reclaim the heat inside of it.

The same tingle of warmth erupted through her body as before, ebbing off the chill that had crept back inside hours ago. Anya let out a soft moan as it's effect crept up into her skull. It was like scratching an itch ignored for too long, and once satiated a calm washed over her. Was this why Ember was doing it? The feeling she got afterwards, addicted to fire and flames? Was that even possible to become hooked on?

Anya stopped. She had never been addicted to much of anything before, ponies aside. She began to feel guilty, enjoying it's feeling as it went through her. Twilight could have been right, a mare driven to the rush of the flame, seeking bigger and bigger infusions of whatever this feeling was as time went by. She rubber her hooves together nervously. She didn't want to be that mare, the one that needed it.

The pool had turned into a perfectly smooth surface with enough reflection to look at herself. Once peering at herself she grinned slightly. The spell had worked completely, changing her outward appearance to what she had envisioned. Instead of the light blue with a gold tinted red mane, she was now a light brown mare with a yellowed mane and lightning blue highlights. It was a change that long needed to be made.

The sun began to creep lower in the sky, just touching a dune near the horizon. Suddenly Anya was hit with a double edge sword, realizing that Twilight may have left her for good, or possibly as part of a test. To make matters worse, she had no idea where she was. The only place she ever remembered having a desert was just north of the Zebra Headlands, and stretching into Las Pegasus. Though these memories weren't from this world, it was from some art that came with the box set of DVD's. Damnit. Did she stay and wait, or head out on her own?

The sun was now casting it's last light across the desert, the sand becoming cooler that it's rays were not keeping it at a constant temperature. Other ponies would have begun to wrap themselves in heavy clothes to get through the chilling night, but Anya had the ability to create all the warmth she needed. She put the sun to her left and began to walk North. Twilight didn't seem to be coming back.

Luckily the pseudo sweet-rolls she had made were inside the satchel and one of them stopped her stomach from churning anymore than it already was. Trudging through the sand in a northern direction, guided by Luna's moon, she was able to cross dune after dune, looking for signs of life.

Anya walked with purpose though, not fearing how far she would need to go. This was all new to her, filling her head with a sense of adventure and block out the fear of death in this arid waste.

Tiny desert animals skittered around on the dunes, leaving highly visible tracks as the landscape changed from sand dunes into flat lands with cacti and other desert fauna. It was closer to the end of the desert at least. Nothing grew where there was no water.

She was half tempted to try the teleportation spell in the book but she feared that she was getting closer to civilization. The last thing she needed was to torch a town. On hoof her journey continued, even after the moon had left it's apex.

With no way of knowing how far she had come already, and the last of the grass bundles eaten, the sense of adventure had been replaced with aching hooves and limbs. As far as the eye could see it was still desert, but the vegetation was becoming more and more plentiful. Anya pushed a bit further until she spotted a small grove of palm trees. It was close to five in the morning when she reached them and collapsed under their low hanging leaves.

"Ma`m." a voice said calmly. Strange that there would be somepony waking her up at this time. Twilight usualy did.

"Ma`m." it repeated. It was a male voice. What was a stallion doing in her room?

"Miss." the voice got rougher, and a hoof placed at her side to gently rock her awake.

"I'm up Twilight." Anya groaned, rolling to her side and sitting up.

"Thank Celestia. I though youse` dead." the male voice breathed a sigh of relief.

Anya quickly took a look at her surroundings. She wasn't in her room at Twilight's, rather sleeping below some small desert trees sitting on the edge of a small pond. Across the water stood a group of ponies behind railing, staring intently at her. Where the hell was she?

"Ya upset our guests. Scared the youngins into thinkin a dinosaur gotcha."

With a quick look around she saw the head of a cartoonishly colored t-rex who's giant maw was in the water to drink. Obviously a prop, but she bolted awake and rose to her hooves immediately.

"Jesus fucking Christ!" She gasped.

"Naw, ah`m Trail Blaze, park ranger." the stallion replied.

"Where am I? I was walking through the desert all night." Anya asked, picking up the satchel and slinging it around her neck. The green pegasus beside her took to the air and motioned her outside the exhibit. He was wearing a light blue shirt with a logo on it but couldn't make out what it was.

The two began to head down the overgrown path, Anya following the pegasus that flew a head higher than her. She maintained focus on the path, as the view upwards was a strait shot right into his hitch and accessories. That may be something she never got used to, ponies wearing shirts and having their parts in plain view.

"Yer in Oasis Park, bout fifty miles outside of Las Pegasus." Trail explained. "Good thing too, that there desert stretches a long ways. Surprised that tha air patrol didin spot you neither."

"Well, I need to get back to-" she stopped. Was it the best choice to head back there? Twilight had left her in the desert after announcing she was done with her. A though ran across her mind, what if Twilight was trying to get rid of her? Say that she had bolted off in the middle of the night, or attacked her in the desert? Damn. There was some angle Twilight was playing at, she always had one.

"I need to get back to Canterlot."

"That's close to seventin` hundred miles away. How ya get yourself all the way here?"

"Teleportation spell gone wrong." Anya blurted out. "I don't want to try it again encase I end up near the Crystal Empire."

Shit, she wasn't wearing the studding ring. It would have been odd to slip it on, as without Twilight's spell to lock it in place it could be easily removed. Still, first chance she got, it would go back on. She still didn't trust herself enough to use magic without it. First bathroom, she would do it.

"Ah. Well theres` a rail line that heads to the city, ya could catch it ta Canterlots from there." the pegasus explained. "Well, heres`a main gate. Have yerself a nice day ma`m."

"Thank you." Anya nodded.

Normally there would be a massive parking lot for a park, but it was just a small area with several chariots occupying half the available spaces. A Polynesian style restaurant that was built of bamboo and leaves was packed to the brim with ponies and a small hut on an elevated platform with two tracks on either side of it.

Once at the station hut, she walked up the the window.

"I need a ride back to Las Pegasus."

The creamy-tan earth pony turned around to face her.

"The train will be here in about..." she looked at the clock on the wall, "...five minutes, and you will need your Oasis Pass to board."

"I... don't have a pass, or the money for it."

The mare behind the window twisted up a small smile. "That's ok. I'm sure I can think of something to let you have a ride back."

The train thundered down the track and squealed to a stop at the station. Anya found herself busied with helping the crew unload boxes of food and containers of water. Being a unicorn, she was able to levitate the heavier objects out of the small cargo car and into the receiving dock several strides away. The other workers were more than happy to sit back and let her do the heavy lifting, being earth ponies and all. She managed to unload most of the cargo by herself.

Once the train pass was secured she made her way to the bathroom on board and slipped the ring on over her horn. It slid down and stayed with friction, but could easily be removed if need be. As the extra sensory was cut off, she felt much better. The threat of bursting everything into flames was now nullified. She made her way back to the seat and decided to take a nap as it would be a few hours before she was in Las Pegasus.

Anya was awoken by the screeching of the brakes, ringing in her ears and rattling her teeth. Heart thumping, she burst awake and stood up on her seat. Her alarmed state lowered as the train let out a low whistle and slowed into the station.

She half expected a swarm of armored guards to descend upon her, but as she exited the train and was met with nothing, breathed a sigh of relief. Through the sea of ponies exchanging positions from train to station, the mare worked her way to a map of the platform.

The station was massive. The engine she arrived on was a smaller transportation train, dwarfed by the stellar beasts of iron and steel beside it. Massive cylinders that made up the fire and steam box laid upon thick wheels that towered above two ponies stacked on top of each other. The station and the volume of travelers dwarfed New York in the late 1800's when rail travel was at it's peak. It made sense, as pegasus flew places, but the rest of the ponies had to travel somehow, and cars didn't exist.

Up on the schedule board were a list of trains and times. With the list of tracks and train times, the station seemed to be winding down for the night. It was close to five in the afternoon and very few trains were headed out of the station, but plenty were arriving. It was going to be late in the evening before the last train headed out.

"Damnit." she muttered under her breath.

Vowed to be undefeated, she traveled the length of the platform to the attendant's station at the very end of the run.

"Excuse me," she said softly, as the attendant was away from the seat, paging through a newspaper back behind another desk. "I'm looking for a train headed to Canterlot, and I can't find one on the board."

The maroon stallion dressed in a dark blue shirt removed himself from back behind the desk and came over to the open window.

"Sorry miss, at this time of day, there are no trains headed to Canterlot. Most of the departures leave early in the morning. I'm sure the one that left today is just arriving there now."

"So... there is nothing until tomorrow?"

"Sadly, no. However there is a private train that is headed to Ponyville. From there you can catch a connecting line to Canterlot. It will be faster than waiting for the morning. She's an old red Trans-Con twenty one out on track fifty five." he pointed a hoof out towards the far side of the station. "You can always ask and see if they will give you a ride."

"Ok! Thanks!" Anya said, and hurried up and over the bridges the trains went under. The bridge over the tracks was covered in a fine layer of soot that brushed off on her legs as she went past. She was almost out of station before the red train engine appeared, nestled between two black beasts pouring smoke out into the air.

Down on the platform she approached the engine, intent on asking the conductor if she could ride. Before she arrived at the lead car a mare dressed to the nines stepped out to intercept her.

She was an odd colored one, a darker hue of something akin to a dirty pumpkin with a fair colored mane and tail that was a bit more white than it was yellow. Her cutie-mark was obscured with a pair of neatly pressed grey and white striped pants. Her mane was tightly coiled into a bun with a large holder sticking out of it. Perched near the end of her muzzle was a pair of spectacles, large enough to see through, but not so big as to overpower her other features as the main attraction.

"What are you doin'? This here is a private train, invite only little miss." she said, speaking loudly over the hiss and whistles of departing trains. Even over the ambient sounds, her voice spoke in a regal way, almost a threatening command.

"Sorry, "Anya backed up a bit, "I'm sorry. I just need to get to Ponyville so I can ride on to Canterlot." She knew that if there was a ride available, she was going to have to work for it. "I'm more than willing to work in exchange for a ride."

The brownish mare smiled. "Now you are talkin` mah language missy. We were supposed to be headed back ta Ponyville earlier today, but the usual package jockey ain't here. Been catching seven shades of Tartarus trying ta this last load delivered. Ah'd greatly appreciate some help."

"Sure, sure. And I'd get a ride to Ponyville in return?" Anya asked, her ears perking up

"Yep." the mare nodded.

Anya followed the mare to a side car after a long length of passenger and kitchen/dining cars. The earth pony used her rear hooves to slide the door open, though it took quite a bit of effort, to reveal a palette of neatly stacked boxes.

"Seein as you ain't got a cart, ya oughta be right good with magic then ta move these."

"I've got it." Anya grinned and with little effort, managed to pick up the palette with her pink magic and pulled it from the train. A broken pallet jack on the wall let her know that it was the reason the supplies weren't unloaded.

Wide eyed, the mare gasped. "Where have ya' been all my life? Ain't never seen a unicorn pick up somethin like that and not break a sweat."

"Just talented I suppose. Where are we headed?"

"To a restaurant just a small trot away. Last one of the day. Just don't drop the load, ah hate damaged goods. Eats inta the bottom line too much."

Anya rolled her eyes, she knew people like this. It was all about the money, short changing everyone else but themselves. Probably never worked a real day in her life, sitting behind a desk and pushed papers. The suit and the glasses should have given it away. But she was the only way back to Ponyville at this time so her attitude would have to be put up with for now.

It was a short trot to the restaurant, the Aces and Eights. A casino. Looking up and down the main thoroughfare, Anya realized that Las Pegasus was in fact the pony version of Las Vegas. Millions of light bulbs rounded the cheerfully lit signs up and down the causeway. Casinos, booze and mares, list like the real Vegas.

However, as she looked upwards, the real Vegas didn't have that. A Massive Colosseum, banners flying in the wind and ponies casting shadows as they trotted past the windows. A waterfall ran from the top of it's blindingly lit white marble columns, falling down the center and off into a pool below. It was even more spectacular from the fact that this entire casino was sitting on a large cloud high above the city. The Mile High Club. Anya had to stop. As gorgeous as the city looked, the floating casino was the icing on the cake and she wanted to eat it.

"Ain't never seen nothin' like that have ya little miss?" The business pony asked, noticing she had stopped to stare at it. "We are here, ya can oogle the place on our way back."

The palette was successfully delivered and the two made their way back to the train at an even slower pace, Anya taking in all the new sites and smells. The city was amazing. Once she was settled in and on her own, it was defiantly a place she wanted to visit again, to see all the sites.

Once back at the station, the water boiling and engine stoked to pour smoke from the stack. The train was ready to go at a moment's notice. The duo climbed aboard into a rather lavish passenger car. The cushions were twice as thick as the smaller train from Oasis Park, she sunk right into it's marshmellowy goodness. Each seat was it's own separated spot, a small table dividing the two. It was luxury at it's best.

"Need something ta eat? The dining car is cooking up a late dinner for the rest of the train." The suited mare asked.

"Yes, please. I haven't had anything to eat since last night. And something to drink as well, please?"

"Then we can head on back to the dining car, don' worry the seat there are just as comfy."

The dining car screamed Earth circa 1950. Black and white tiles, chromed islands and matching thick vinyl seats. Red coffee mugs, filled with tea and other substances were scattered around the booths. Throughout the dining car there were roughly twenty ponies, some at the bar facing the ovens and the rest at tables around the car.

"Who are they?" Anya asked as the two settled into the only empty booth in the car.

"My staff, engineers and guards. I run several large restaurants all over Equestria, and with all the management and bits that change hooves I need a large team to service each of my establishments. Though after t'day ah think ah need a full time delivery crew."

A waitress walked by, levitating a tray of mugs. "Good evening misses," she nodded to Anya then again to the business pony. The orange waitress cleared her tray, setting down two mugs for each of them and retreating back behind the counter.

"Bottoms up!" the suited mare cheered and put a hoof through the massive loop on the mug, downing it in a single gulp. Anya just raised the mug to her lips to sip gently at the hot liquid, coughing as the drink tasted of strong cinnamon.

"That's a bit harsh to the nose." Anya set the cup back onto the table.

"That's why ya gotta take the whole thing at once!" the dining companion said, and slammed the other drink down. She shivered in quite a comical fashion. "That oughta' put some push inta' ya plot."

Not wanting to be one to miss out on the fun, Anya followed suit and downed the mug in front of her, cheeks reddened from the snide sexual comment. The cinnamon was drown out by an overwhelming taste of sweet apples, but then burned of cinnamon shortly there after.

"Jesus Christ..." she muttered. It wasn't horrible, but reminded her of the nasty 'Irish car bomb' drink. Drink it right and it was good, but you had to do it fast. Once that was over the drink hit her just right, warming her stomach and thenit radiated outwards. Once it was down, it was all good.

"So, whacha wanna eat? We got most foods here."

"Anything, I'm hungry." Anya replied, taking small sips at the hot liquid so that she wasn't overcome with the strong taste. Even if a bit stiff, it began to melt her from the inside out.

"Then ah guess we'll both eat some boiled potatoes with carrots an for desert we can have some chocolate pie." The business mare said over the room to the waitress who nodded at her. "And three more mugs as well."

"So little miss," she began speaking to Anya, "Where ya from?"

Good question. Most ponies wouldn't believe she was from a different reality, so it may be best to just fuzz the details. It was taking a long shot in the dark, saying that she was from another continent, but it may just work. It wasn't lying, merely trying to sound less like a complete nut-cake.

"I'm not from Equestria originally. Wasn't born here, rather... came over after ten years. I saw so much that I loved here that I gave up everything I had before."

"Whad ya parents have to say bout that? I guess ya went and told `em?"

Anya folded her ears back, less of a controllable response as they tended to change when faced with an emotional and physical interest. "No, there was an offer that was time sensitive. I didn't even think about them, just left."

"So ya just uprooted ya entire life to be here. Disappeared like a wisp." The dining companion stated, as if trying to understand exactly what happened.

"Yes. I left everything I owned, took nothing with me and left no messages. Just gone."

"And ya did send a letter after ya got here?"

"I can't. There's no way it could reach them at all, it's not physically possible. I would send one if I could, I really want to, but it's impossible. I was lied to when told it was possible. All of that aside, they believe I'm dead. There's extenuating circumstances as to why that is. I'd rather not talk about them, but overall it was a selfish decision."

"That there is a really bad situation ya got there."

"I know," Anya loosed a tear and took another sip from the mug to finish it off, "I should have thought it out, told them. I wish it was something that can be undone. But I'm here now, and trying to make the best of it. Trying to fix things, I have to make my life here work."

"Ta me, it sounds like ya knew about the mistake ya made, and ya trying the best to fix it as best ya can." she nodded.

"Well, it's not as easy as just moving here. I have a... teacher, a mentor that is trying to help me fit in. She's hell bent on making me do things her way, and that's just not working for me. She has taught me alot, and given me great insight as to how things work here and I thank her for that. I try and try to do things her way, honestly try, but she won't let me learn they way I need to." Anya took a bigger gulp from the third mug, it was getting easier to drink as the flavor had already burnt out her palette from it.

"Sounds like ya teacher needs some schoolin' herself. Some ponies jus learn different from the rest, ain't right ta herd em all inta one place and make em jump the same fence."

"Once in Canterlot, hopefully all of this can get sorted out. I have a... friend there who can possibly help me."

"Whacha need help with?"

"I may be in a bit of trouble, have to talk to... somepony there to figure things out."

"What kinda trouble?" The mare raised an eyebrow, "Hopefully no kinda trouble what needs bars."

Anya looked down at the table, her ears folded in regret and took another sip from the half empty third mug. "No, no. I just may have been kicked out by my roomate, she's also the teacher I mentioned. I'll have to see about everything once in Canterlot. My friend there would know how to handle this."

"Hopefully that teacher of yers comes about. Yer a real nice helpful pony, pulling ya own weight and ah'd hate to see you strugglin anymore than ya already are. I'd also slow yer ponies with those drinks." the mare said.

"Why's that?" Anya asked after finishing off her third mug.

"Yer getting a little loose there missy. Ramblin on a bit like a chatty box. Half-a-that there drink is whiskey." business mare informed her.

"Ah fuck..." she muttered.

"Jus don' stand up for a while. Cloppin around with four rubbah hooves ain't easy. Food should help knock some of that outta ya."

As if on que, the waitress showed up with their dinner. The potatoes came with several small bowls filled with sour cream, butter and various herbs for seasoning. Anya didn't put any of them on, as she didn't know what they were. She just drowned the potato in butter and dipped it's golden flesh into the sour cream. The carrots were simply steamed, but delicious when doctored with salt and pepper from the art-deco shakers.

The mare stared at Anya with intrigue. Obviously even unicorns were supposed to use proper cutlery. She was just eating the food out of a small whisp of magic. The whiskey had hit her hard and she wanted to negate the effects beginning to bog her down.

"They have forks and spoon where ya come from?" The mare asked, appalled at the unicorn's table manners.

"Yes, we do. I'm just really hungry, sorry." Anya apologized, sinking into her seat a bit.

"Ah guess ya just hungry."

Anya nodded.

Pie was served next. It looked like a black chocolate fudge, topped with whipped cream. It was incredibly rich, weighing heavily in her stomach. It was extremely satisfying though. She remembered to use a fork this time, carefully moving it to her muzzle for each bite. Twilight never cared for flatware, as she ate with magic as well. Habits.

The food was gone and they two moved into the passenger car. Apparently the mare still wanted to chat. Anya had to lean a hoof over her shoulder, as the equivalent of nice shots of hard alcohol sat in her stomach. She however made a mental note, that it effected the body first rather then the mind, but that would come later. Dumb pony body.

The passenger lounge seats seemed more comfortable than before, perhaps it was her numb body that helped that. Anya felt better than she had in a long while. The business mare took a seat right across from her,

"Maybe ah can help, with advice at least."

Damned alcohol. Her head bobbed up and down, succumbing from the effects of being full on drunk. The food wasn't helping much, usually meats and protein helped to stave off or reduce it's effects much better, but as of yet there were no such places where she was able to get a hold of a steak, or glorious bacon. Much less what her body was going to do when it was ingested.

"Sure." Anya nodded, eyes lazily bating up and down.

"When ah was young, ah had family all over `Questria. Ah didn't know what ta do, jus bounced around from place ta place. Tried near about everythin under the sun. Eventually made it back home an started selling goods an food. Found out it's what ah was good at. Made an empire opening restaurants all over."

"What does this have to do with anything?"

"Everythin. Ah spent so much time tryin ta find someplace ah fit. Though ah could run away from it all. Time showed me ah was wrong. Came back and bit me right in mah soft bits. Caught Tartarus tryin ta make things right, things still ain't all good, but ahm gettin there. Jus don't think ya can run from it all. It eventually catches up ta ya at some point. Just gotta deal with the problem head on."

The train vibrating down the tracks, the warmth she felt inside of her and the booze all sent her into a trance. Barely able to keep her head up anymore, she slowly let it down into the pillow in front of her, falling asleep immediately.

The business mare let out a small chuckle and stood up from her own seat. She placed a hoof on Anya's shoulder.

"Ah hope ya find whacha lookin for little miss."

Over the loud speaker a soft voice called out.

"Destination Ponyville in two hours."

Anya floated in and out of sleep, waiting for the pulsating pain to stop. The train however had stopped, it's rumble stopped vibrating her a long while ago. The sun was already up, and there were no blankets around to cover her head. It was time to get up, hangover or not.

The train was mostly deserted, but her grunting as she stood up brought around the mare from last night. She wore a blue and grey striped pants suit this time, a change from last night. However the small glasses still remained the same, perched at the end of her muzzle.

"Ah though ah'd let ya sleep so ya could have some breakfast before cathin that train ta Canterlot. Got an hour an breakfast is already done."

"Thanks. I need to use the bathroom first though."

"Allright, ya know where the dining car is." the mare nodded.

Bathrooms. An oddity here, as there was no toilet paper at all. The 'toilet' was more of a trough, mounted on the wall and floor just below stomach level. It looked like a porcelean sword fish beak with a half bowl at the rear. You were supposed to back yourself up to it, get done and leave. It was that simple. No need to go into gross detail, but pony anatomy allowed quick restroom stops. Out of habit, she looked around for a sink and towel, but there was none, never was.

There was a mirror though and looking inside she saw a real mess of a mane. Even though it was short, it was all over the place. With no bush in sight, she sighed. At least it was hiding the studding ring. She thought to take it off, but as she wasn't fully under control of her body yet. Best to leave it on.

She returned to the dining car and joined a seat across from the mare. True to her word breakfast was ready. A plate of buttered asparagus, thick toast with jelly spread over it's browned face and a bowl of oatmeal with the brown sugar melting into it. Odd however that there were three spaces set.

"Ah got an old friend of mine stopping by before ah load up an head out. An here she is now!" The mare exclaimed, jumping from the seat and to the side door. Moving at a rather fast pace Anya noticed that she had a limp, something she hadn't noticed before.

Thinking it was impolite to stare, she returned her gaze back to the food and waited for the two to come over to the table. Her heart dropped when she realized that the guest was Twilight Sparkle herself.

Twilight didn't notice her though, she had changed her coat and mane after she had left. There was nothing visible to let her know that Anya was, well Anya. She kept her muzzle shut, hoping that she would be able to eek on by and get to Canterlot.

"Ah'd like ya to meet mah friend, Twilight Sparkle. Also, ah don't remember us exchanging names last night," The mare held out a hoof so they could shake,

"Ah'm Apple Jack, an you?"

"The fuck?!" Anya blurted out in surprise, her hooves shooting to her muzzle as if trying to force the vocalization back in. Bad idea. Twilight snapped her head directly towards the mare, knowing instantly who it was. Nopony except her ever said that word.