• Published 12th Mar 2016
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Divine Entertainment - Orthoros



A human with greek heritage is "lucky" enough to get a wish granted by no other than the Gods of the Olympus. His wish is granted, but the gods put their own little twist on it.

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8. Trade Caravan

Alex awoke to the sounds of ponies trotting past. Even though Vibrant and him could have just slept underneath the starry sky like they had the last few nights, they instead chose to set up a tent for themselves. Occupying a space among a small semi-permanent tent city on the outskirt of town reserved for travelers who couldn’t afford the inn, that and vagrancy was apparently interpreted quite literally here. But most importantly it also gave them some privacy.

The tent was set right next to Vibrant’s cart, that way they’d hopefully hear if someone was trying to steal from it. According to her she didn’t expect anypony to actually grab anything, but figured better safe than sorry.

With the sounds and smells of the town springing to life, Alex rose from his temporary bed. As he rose he rubbed a foreleg across his face to wipe away the night’s sleep from his eyes, only to find Vibrant’s bedroll vacant. She was usually awake before him, so this came as no surprise. He pulled aside one of the flaps that made up the entrance to the tent, and stepped outside.

The sun was already steadily making progress on its ascent, and he had to shield his eyes while they adjusted to the sudden change in brightness. He let his gaze wander around, trying to find his travel companion and benefactor. After a sweep of the immediate vicinity, he couldn’t find her, and decided to start putting away the tent.

He was almost done packing up, when he heard Vibrant call out to him.

“Good Morning Alex! Sleep well?” She asked.

“Like a rock. Those bed rolls you have are pretty comfy, all things considered.”

As he had just put the last rolled up bed on the wagon, he turned around to face her. Vibrant stood there smiling at him, and he noticed that she was carrying a brown bag on her back.

“What’s that?” He asked while pointing a foreleg at the parcel.

“Breakfast!” She replied cheerfully. “Flour Power is the best baker around, and his muffins are to die for!”

Vibrant’s eyes glazed over in anticipation of the savory treat she got for them. Alex waved his hoof in front of her a few times, until he decided she must have gone off to Narnia or something, and just took the bag from her. The rustling of him opening it brought her back to reality.

“Hey! No fair!” She shouted. “You don’t just take stuff from other ponies without asking!”

She snatched the bag from under Alex’s hooves and smacked him lightly on the snout. Alex scrunched up his face before retreating a bit from her.

“Hey, it’s not my fault! You were spaced out for like, a full minute! And I’m hungry.”

“It’s still not right to do.” She responded. “Now, what do nice colts say?”

“...”

“...”

“...Please?”

Vibrant nodded enthusiastically and pulled out a muffin for Alex, who graciously accepted it. He held it up to his nose and took a whiff. Ever since becoming a pony, his sense of smell had been far more sensitive than it had been when he was human. Partially due to his nose being a lot bigger than before. At times like this he was almost grateful to have been turned into a pony. Because the smell of this freshly baked muffin was divine to say the least.

While Alex was still savouring the smell of the muffin, and contemplating whether or not he should actually like his new body, Vibrant was already digging in with gusto. Alex took a bite out of his own muffin, and was pleased that the smell in this case was only beaten out by the flavor.

Maybe his taste buds had been upgraded as well, but this was definitely the best muffin he had ever tasted. Soon enough he imitated Vibrant, and obliterated his muffin with a few huge bites.

There were three muffins for each of them, and while they ate not a single word was spoken. A few passing ponies glanced towards the two ponies brutally disintegrating muffins on the side of the road. Some looked upon them with disgust, and others knew exactly what was going on.

“Those were delicious!” Alex exclaimed. “Thanks for getting them for us.” He patted himself a few times on the belly to signify being full.

“It’s no problem really. Everytime I’m in town I get some anyway, so I thought I’d get you some too.”

Alex offered to pull the cart back to their vending spot from yesterday, which Vibrant gladly accepted. After they found a place to set up, Vibrant started to place down some of her wares. The market would soon be officially opened for the day, and she wanted to be ready for it.

“You need any help with that?” Alex asked.

“That’d be nice. Can you get on top and hoof me down the paintings?” Vibrant said while resting a framed picture of a small meadow on the side of the cart.

Alex complied with her request, and for the next ten minutes they worked in silence. After all of Vibrants merchandise had been neatly arrayed, using the cart as a stand, Alex broke the silence.

“So have you heard anything about when that trade caravan should arrive?” He asked.

“No I haven’t. But usually caravans arrive shortly before, or right after high noon. Why don’t you go explore the city while you wait for them?” Vibrant sat down on a cushion next to a painting. “I’ll be here if you need anything.”

Alex decided he didn’t have anything better to do, so he set off to take a look around. He spent most of the morning wandering up and down the few streets of the town. This was the first time he had a chance to interact really observe pony society, so he took joy in just watching how they interacted with each other.

All in all, there wasn't that much different to how humans did things. Probably the biggest difference was how open and nice they were to each other. Compared to human society, where most people ran on some sort of invisible deadline, and tended to ignore each other as by and large. Ponies however seemed to be a lot more relaxed around each other.

Neighbors greeted each other and engaged in small-talk while they walked. Pedestrians greeted each other in passing, and nobody was distracted by things such as phones or the newest advertisement slapped on every free space available. He pondered to himself whether or not humans might have been the same way when their society was younger, or perhaps it was just the effect of a small town atmosphere that made them all friendly.

In his wanderings he came across a few public buildings. Such as a small school with a playground next to it that was largely similar to those back on Earth minus monkey bars. The Town Hall was obvious but not all impressive, a two story wooden structure that looked comically out of place sitting next to the saloon . More or less all of the necessary facilities were present that were staples of towns.

Before he knew it, noon had come and passed. He could tell that the caravan had arrived, with how many of the ponies had congregated to the market all of a sudden. When he went to check it out, sure enough he spotted several new wagons at the end of road.

When he arrived, they were still setting up. An older stallion with a red coat and a graying mane was coordinating everything from the center of the formation.

“Form two ranks! Align the wagons with the rest of the street!” He shouted. “For the god’s sake! This isn’t the first time we’ve done this so do it right! Carrot Pie! Try to use that head of yours for once, and wait your turn!”

Alex was surprised by how unorganized the whole caravan seemed. He’d have assumed the caravan ponies knew what they were doing. But apparently most of them weren’t the brightest colors in the crayon box. The success of it all seemed to hinge on the ability of their lead pony.

After a good half hour, everything was where it was supposed to be. They unloaded their merchandise, set up shop, and officially declare themselves “open” for business. Not too long after the sounds of heated and excited bargaining filled the air.

Seeing the lead stallion start to relax a bit, Alex decided now was as good a time as any to approach him.

Alex came up to him just as he breathed a huge sigh of apparent relief before sitting down.

“Good day to you sir!” The stallion turned his head to face him. “Might I take a moment of your time?”

Alex wanted to be as polite as possible so he could bolster his chances of getting a spot in the caravan. The graying stallion looked him up and down.

“Sure, how can I help you today?” He must have seen Alex as a potential customer, because his voice had grown soft and friendly. Building a heavy contrast to what Alex observed just before.

“I’m a traveller, and my next destination is the Crystal Kingdom. As it is quite far away, I was wondering if I could maybe join your caravan for as far in the same direction as you're willing to go.” Alex said getting to the point as quickly as possible.

“The crystal kingdom?” The stallion adopted a look of surprise. “You’re right, that’s quite far away. Follow me.”

He got up from the ground, and gestured for Alex to follow after him. He was led to one of the covered wagons away from the crowd. They entered the small interior, and Alex found himself surrounded by a collection of various doodads. In the center was a small table with a map. This one had a few more details drawn on it, as well as a spiderweb of red lines. Most likely trade routes, Alex thought.

“After we’re done here we’ll follow the the crystal snake due west, towards High Rock. The capital, and our next destination.” He put a hoof on the map where Harvest was located. He followed a red line that ran perpendicular to a blue line, labeled crystal snake until it reached a big dot labelled High Rock.

“We’ll head towards pegasus lands when we’re done there, so that’s as far as you’ll be able to come with us.” He said. “But travelling from one capital to another is quite easy, as I’m sure you’re aware, so you’ll have no problems finding another party to get you there.”

He put his hoof back to the ground, and sat down in a rocking chair next to the map.

“If you want to come with us, you’ll either have to pay or work. So what’s it gonna be?” He asked Alex nonchalantly. He must have lead this conversation many times already, as he seemed quite bored.

“I’m afraid I don’t have a lot of money to my name, as I travel lightly. So work it’ll be I guess.”

Truth be told Alex didn’t own a single bit. But the oldtimer didn’t need to know that.

“Very well. You’re a unicorn, so I have no doubt you’ll at least be smarter than the bumbling fools out there.” He sighed. “I swear being that stupid should be illegal.”

“Name’s Winter Banana by the way.” He said while reaching out a hoof.
“Alexander Atlas Riptis. Or Alex for short.” Alex gladly shook Winter’s hoof, completing the greeting.

Winter laughed at his introduction. “You unicorns and your silly names! But anyway welcome to my caravan boy. We’ll depart in two days. Be here at the crack of dawn or we’ll leave you behind.”

“Sir. Yes, Sir!”

Alex gave him a little mock salute and left the wagon. With everything taken care of, he made to return to Vibrant, so he could share the news with her.

Author's Note:

Hope you have a good read, and feel free to comment!

Once again, thanks to my proofreader/editor Ambros for a job well done!

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