• Published 7th Aug 2015
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Civilization: The World on your Hooves - SterlingC



Button Mash starts a new kind of game he never intended to play. One that forces him to start from almost nothing. Thankfully, he's not alone.

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Chapter 4: Dinner Time

It’s funny. In the Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword expansion pack, you’ll often receive a notification that an ambassador of your civilization has committed a faux pas against a nation who you wanted to either be friends with or stay on their good side. You get a -1 hit to diplomatic relations which although temporary, can hinder you from agreeing to open borders and perhaps may even become a prelude to war. If you can’t have open borders with your neighbours, you’ve lost a chance for trade and scouting their lands can be a huge pain. Something as simple as a dinner can become disastrous if you make the wrong first impressions or say something out of place. Thankfully, life isn’t just a game.


Button Mash trotted back to his home at the time his mother allocated to him. He had gotten a new set of batteries and met a filly who had familial ties with one of the mares he admired in Manehattan. While Button Mash trotted back to his home, he daydreamed about his role-model, Flare Volt. The two didn’t say as much to each other as Button would have liked, but she was certainly a gaming pony he wanted to look up to. He reminisced about the few moments they did share together. One particular memory that struck out to him, other than the moment he defeated Flare Volt’s high score and received a congratulatory shake from her, was when she consoled him after he let the winning goal slip by him in the semifinal of the annual Manehattan Hoofball Video Games Tournament 2 years ago…

“Button Mash. There will be moments where our best isn’t enough. Or when things don’t go our way. It’s in those moments that your true form of best will come out… but only if you let it…” Button Mash recalled her soothing whispers to him after he felt tears flow out from his face after losing what was his important sporting game in his life. Despite how nerdy she looked with her square glasses and the braces on her teeth, Flare Volt seemed the type of pony to know what to say whenever he felt sad. He still felt tearful about that loss, but her words helped him push forward. Seeing how kind Diamond Tiara was in giving him free batteries was for him, something that he saw in Flare Volt as well.

Once he arrived home, Button Mash turned the door only to notice that it was opened. He trotted into his new home that was still barren before his mother trotted to the front door. Seeing Button Mash, his mother greeted him with a hug,

“Hello dear! How was your excursion around Ponyville today?” Button Mash hugged his mother back before he happily described his visit to Diamond Tiara’s home. His mother stroke her chin as Button Mash explained his time with Diamond Tiara. The one thing she couldn’t understand was why his friend would tease him about his blank flank before changing her mood so quickly. In any case, she was happy that Button Mash began exploring Ponyville, since he’d normally be stuck in his video games in situations like this.

“I’m glad things went well for you on your first day out at Ponyville!” Button Mash’s mother smiled happily. “But we have to get ready for our dinner tonight! It’s with a close friend of mine who lives here. We go way back to our filly days you know that dear?” Button’s mother patted his forehead before Button Mash nodded. “It’s been a long while since we met. She must be fully grown by now… we used to play all sorts of fashion games together before she left for Ponyville first with her parents. Her sister wasn’t even born yet.” Button’s Mom sighed at those memories while Button Mash looked at her with a blank expression. Button’s mom quickly shook her head, composing herself.

“Well it’s about time we left for the Carousel Boutique! We’ll be meeting our guests there! But before we go, you need to take your beanie off and straighten your mane!” Button’s mom said, wagging her hoof.

“But mom! I love this beanie! Wahhhh!” Button Mash cried out as his mother sighed.

“Fine, you can keep the beanie, but I still expect you to straighten your mane! I hear my friend’s bringing her little sister along too!” Button Mash nodded happily as he quickly trotted to the bathroom, grabbed a brush, and straightened his mane to prepare for the dinner ahead…


Button Mash and his mother arrived at the illustrious Carousel Boutique, the famous workshop and abode of Rarity. Button Mash opened his eyes wide open, clearly stunned at how well decorated the building was. Button’s mom giggled at Button Mash’s facial expressions.

“Mom… why didn’t you tell me your friend had a princess castle as her home?” Button’s mom giggled. This was simply too cute from Button Mash, and she played along.

“Well Mr. Mash. Perhaps this is where you’ll need to save a princess in distress! Like the one you’re playing in ‘Plumber Stallion 3’! After all, there will be two lovely mares past that door!” When Button Mash heard her mention princesses, Button Mash knocked on the door as fast as he could out of excitement of seeing the two mares! Being completely shocked at his behaviour, his mother quickly held onto his hoof as a signal to make him stop knocking on the door so frequently.

Soon after Button Mash stopped knocking on the entrance, the large purple door was opened. Rarity trotted out, but the real attraction was Sweetie Belle wearing the dress Rarity made her just for the occasion.

“Love Tap!!” Rarity stretched out her hooves to hug Button’s mother, Love Tap.

“Rarity!” Love Tap and Rarity exchanged hugs with one another. Meanwhile, Button Mash and Sweetie Belle stared at each other. Sweetie Belle instantly noticed the brown colt with the beanie, staring blankly at the weird pony the other Crusaders were making fun of. Sweetie Belle then noticed how his mane was straightened out, relieved that he too made as many preparations for the dinner as she did. Since Button Mash still wouldn’t say anything to her, Sweetie Belle decided to start the conversation while Rarity and Love Tap caught up with each other.

“So… Ummm… hi.” Sweetie Belle wasn’t sure what to say to begin the conversation.

“Ummm… hi! I’m Button Mash.” Button Mash held out his Gamecolt to Sweetie Belle to signal her what his name meant. “I play video games!” Sweetie Belle was taken aback by the pony’s weird looking gizmo.

“Ummm… do you do anything else?” Sweetie Belle was beginning to wonder whether the crusaders were right to say that Button Mash was a complete weirdo. But given how Rarity and Love Tap were getting along well, Sweetie Belle decided that she would still give it a try. Hopefully her asking him some questions would lead to something.

“Anything else? I live and breathe video games. There’s so many video games to play! I can tell you all about some of the many games I play!” Sweetie Belle gave Button Mash another weird look before she replied,

“Umm… sure! We can do that when we have dinner…” Sweetie Belle gave another confused expression, wondering how many and what types of friends Button Mash had in where he used to live. But before she could start thinking about it, Rarity and Love Tap signaled their respective foals to a trot to the local restaurant, ready for their dinner outing…


“I’m pleasantly surprised that you were able to take the time for me and Button Mash, Rarity!” Love Tap giggled as the four ponies finished taking their orders for the night. Love Tap had ordered a simple hay sandwich, Rarity and Sweetie Belle ordered a Caesar Salad, while Button Mash ordered a vegetable soup after some complaining.

“Oh it was nothing dear! You’ve just moved to Ponyville and I thought you needed help settling down. Plus, it’s a chance for us to catch up since I didn’t get a chance to when I last visited Manehattan!” Rarity and Love Tap chuckled together.

“I remember your last visit to Manehattan! You were going to compete in that fashion competition right? How did that go?” Love Tap asked inquisitively, excited to hear about Rarity’s recent successes in fashion design. Sure she wished to have that same success with her wedding business, but she was just getting things started.

“Oh it was marvelous dear! I managed to win first place while learning a valuable lesson about friendship. My fellow friends helped me a lot with the competition, and I give them full credit for their assistance!” Rarity and Love Tap continued to converse easily with one another, which contributed to the warmth of their friendship and their joy at seeing each other again…


While Rarity and Love Tap were enjoying their wait before their food arrived with conversation, Button Mash was busy playing ‘Plumber Stallion 3’ on his Gamecolt. Sweetie Belle was trying her best to get a word from Button Mash during the dinner, not wanting to wait in silence for her food. But Button Mash was so immersed in the game that he didn’t even take notice that Sweetie Belle was there in the first place. In an attempt to get Button Mash’s attention, Sweetie Belle gently poked on Button Mash’s side, to which he jumped up slightly… only to see his plumber lose a life to a parasprite.

“Awww Sweetie Belle!! You made me lose a life!” Button Mash huffed as Sweetie Belle grimaced on her chair.

“Sorry Button Mash… I just wanted to know what you were doing with your gizmo-thingy.” Sweetie Belle lightly apologized to Button Mash. Button Mash, barely observing the sincerity of Sweetie Belle’s apology, decided to fulfill her curiosity.

“Well, it’s called a GameColt for starters. I’m playing ‘Plumber Stallion 3’ on it.” Button Mash paused briefly before he continued. “I have to be this plumber who stomps on his enemies and makes his way to the evil Changeling Queen!” Button Mash hissed out to Sweetie Belle as to mimic the Changeling Queen. “You see, the Queen has kidnapped a beautiful maiden in hopes of sucking the love out of her, and it’s up to me to save her!” Sweetie Belle giggled lightly when Button Mash hissed out. Although Button Mash was weird, she couldn’t help but admit that his animated expressions were cute.

“What does the princess look like? Does she look like Princess Twilight?” Sweetie Belle asked with a smile on her face. If this was the Button Mash the other crusaders encountered, then he perhaps wasn’t that bad.

“Oh no! This princess is far prettier than Princess Twilight! She’s a graceful pony with wisdom like Twilight yes, but she has a fluffy yet flowing mane. In fact, she looks kinda like you.” Sweetie Belle lightly blushed before she turned her head to stare at the GameColt screen. Now she was wondering whether Button Mash was just joshing with her or whether the princess really did look like her!

“You see, her strength lies in her love towards others. That’s why the Queen keeps kidnapping her! But this plumber won’t have it! He loves and cherishes her each day and will always save the day, even if the odds are stacked against him!” Button Mash continued to press button after button to make the plumber dodge flying parasprites and shoot out ice at the spiky dragons who he couldn’t step on with the A button. Sweetie Belle oohed and aahed, becoming impressed at Button Mash’s reflexes.

“Wow, that looks like a really cool game!” Sweetie Belle genuinely remarked, only to see Button Mash lose his last life…

“AWWWW!!! That was my last life! And now it’s game over for me… WAHHHH!!” Sweetie Belle scooted away from Button Mash to give him enough space to be sad about losing his last life. If there anything that made Button Mash weird, this was it. Oddly, it wasn’t enough for Sweetie Belle to stay away from him for long.

“Don’t worry Button Mash. You can always try again right? You’ll just start from where you left off… right?” Sweetie Belle tried her best to comfort him, but Button Mash still cried. His tears began to lift when Sweetie Belle lightly patted on his back.

“Thanks Sweetie Belle… I guess I’ll get them next time huh?” Button Mash gave out a sniff. “I just hate losing. I hate being a failure that’s all.” Button Mash gave another sniff. Before Sweetie Belle could give her more encouragement, the waitress gave out all four ponies’ food. The ponies then toasted on their food after Love Tap gently took Button Mash’s GameColt away to make him eat his dinner first. All four ponies then enjoyed their dinners...


After the four ponies finished their dinners, Rarity generously offered to pay for everypony’s meal. Love Tap insisted that she pay her share of the meal, but Rarity insisted on paying anyway, at which gesture Love Tap thanked deeply. After Rarity paid for their meal, all four of them quietly trotted out the door. When the four ponies exited Sugarcube Corner, Love Tap thanked Rarity for the meal.

“Thanks so much Rarity for taking us out to dinner and paying for all four of us.” Love Tap gently hugged Rarity.

“You’re very welcome dear. It’s the least I can do for you after all that you’ve gone through over the past few years.” Love Tap gave out a small tear at Rarity’s generosity. She recalled the tough times she had while moving forward from her husband’s death.

“Your husband’s death must be very hard for you isn’t it?” Rarity replied with a side hug for Love Tap. “If you need anything more, be sure to let me know. I’ll help any way I can. We’re friends after all!” Love Tap nodded with a happy tear before she gave another hug to Rarity…


“Well, I guess that was a pretty good dinner…” Sweetie Belle spoked anxiously to Button Mash. He seemed like a nice pony, but she was still unsure of what to say to him. For one, Button Mash wasn’t that bad looking. What confused her was his eccentric behaviour and his tendency to overreact. Furthermore, Button Mash was a blank flank, but not once did he mention anything about his flank. She wanted to start talking about his flank, but she didn’t want to bring the topic up yet because he was the same pony the other crusaders groaned at earlier in the day. Perhaps she needed advice on the topic, so she left it be for now.

“Yeah… it was a good dinner. The soup was especially tasty!” Button Mash happily licked his mouth as a sign of satisfaction. Sweetie Belle smiled at Button Mash before Sweetie Belle replied,

“Well, if you wanna hang out, I guess you’re welcome to come over to Carousel Boutique anytime.” Sweetie Belle giggled with a light blush on her cheeks. She was finding it difficult to composer herself in front of Button Mash, simply because he looked somewhat cute. Add to that her confusion on what to think of the young colt, and you end up with a very confused Sweetie Belle.

“Sure! I’ll come by when I have time!” Button Mash paused briefly before he suddenly blurted out a question,

“Hey Sweetie Belle! Do you mind if I came by this Sunday?! You could try my Gamecolt out if you wanted!” At this point, Sweetie Belle was left in a bind. She remembered that she was going to do some more crusading with Scootaloo and Applebloom, but at the same time, she didn’t want to spur Button Mash from a meet up since he did seem the nice pony despite his wackiness. She also didn’t want to bring him along to the crusaders yet because of what happened earlier that day.

“Well… Umm… Sure! You can come by to my place this Sunday!” Sweetie Belle blurted out an answer without thinking about it.

“Yay!!! I’ll see you this Sunday then!” Button Mash waved as Rarity and Love Tap had just finished exchanging a long embrace to comfort Love Tap. Button Mash and Love Tap slowly trotted away together, leaving Rarity and Sweetie Belle to begin returning to Carousel Boutique. While Rarity managed to comfort Love Tap, Sweetie Belle was now confused, unsure of how to break the bad news to the Crusaders…

Author's Note:

Phew. That was a doozy. I was really excited at finallly getting Button Mash and Sweetie Belle to meet! I hope you all enjoyed it too!

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