• Published 7th Aug 2015
  • 1,226 Views, 67 Comments

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 6: Think Ponies Complexly

Civilizations are complex things. You know, it reminds me of a quote from the novel ‘Paper Towns’. I knew a very close friend who loved John Green, and ‘Paper Towns’ the movie was recently released. I never read the novel, but my friend said a quote that struck me very hard: “Think people complexly.” The same can be applied for ponies and civilizations. Just imagine. None of us can truly know the inner machinations of a person’s mind, let alone a diplomat’s, a leader’s, and a civilization’s mind! So when you’re out there playing a history-based game, be very mindful of what the AI or the other player can do! Tread cautiously and express empathy!

This chapter is dedicated to my once close friend.

Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon were back at Diamond’s mansion for their usual get together to officially start their weekend. The two fillies headed to the entertainment room where the virtual console lay untouched ever since the present was opened. Once the two fillies arrived at the room, they sat down at the large brown couch that faced the television and the console. As soon as the two fillies sat down, Diamond Tiara laughed, excited at how well things were proceeding with their new found ‘friend’.

“Oh Silver Spoon! Things have gone great with that Button Blank Flank so far!” Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiara giggled together, albeit with slight unease for Silver Spoon. “Not only can I tell my cousin that I’ve been using the console, I can also say that I’m friends with her friend! Better yet, this video gamer will be the downfall of the lameos once and for all!” Diamond Tiara laughed again even louder with Silver Spoon laughing along with her.

When Silver Spoon first talked with Button Mash the afternoon before, she saw a genuinely kind pony, albeit quirky. Sure he was friends with Diamond Tiara’s really weird cousin, which was somewhat off-putting. But Button Mash seemed a different sort from her. As much of a good friend Diamond Tiara was with her class and flair, her haughty pride and apparent concern for only herself and ruining the Crusaders left her questioning Diamond Tiara’s character. She just never wanted to mention it to Diamond Tiara out of fear of being reprimanded. Hearing that Button Mash would come by to her mansion every few days was a welcome change for her, especially since she could probably watch Button Mash play on the virtual console. Plus, he seemed eccentric enough, which would hopefully make their conversations more entertaining.

Silver Spoon’s excitement at Button Mash coming over regularly to play with her overtook her, which resulted in her blurting out her desires too easily…

“Yeah! Plus, Button Mash will be coming over to our place more, so perhaps I can start talking with him a bit too! He certainly sounds like an interesting colt!” Silver Spoon giggled dreamily, but Diamond Tiara quickly changed her mood. Did Silver Spoon really state that she was interested in him?! Diamond Tiara shook her head in confusion. If Silver Spoon began to have feelings for Button Mash, then her whole plan would be ruined! She couldn’t possibly allow that to happen! But just to confirm her suspicions, Diamond Tiara decided to tease her a little bit.

“Silver Spoon… are you telling me you have feelings for a blank flank?!” Diamond Tiara giggled. “Don’t tell me you’re becoming interested in a pony without a cutie mark!” Diamond Tiara laughed again, but Silver Spoon pouted.

“No! I don’t have feelings for Button Mash! I’m… just interested in him that’s all!” Silver Spoon giggled sheepishly, struggling not to give out a light blush. Diamond Tiara quickly took notice of Silver Spoon’s gradually redder cheeks and chortled.
“Oh this is just too cute…” Diamond Tiara’s teasing quickly turned sour at the realization that Silver Spoon was already desiring to befriend Button Mash like this. This was going to ruin their plan! They needed to be the best of the bunch, not the lame blank flanks! She just couldn’t allow it! It was her only way to find any sort of peace in a town sorely lacking in class and flair!

“Silver Spoon! I can’t even understand why you’re interested in that blank flank! But that doesn’t matter! You can’t let those feelings get to you! It’ll get in the way of our plan!” Silver Spoon reluctantly nodded, not wanting to make Diamond Tiara cross. But she still wanted to befriend Button Mash whenever she got the chance… For now however, her desire for friendship with Button Mash would have to hold for now.

“Ok fine… Sides, we do need to start getting a hold of the other foals around here.” Silver Spoon sighed as she spoke. Diamond Tiara gave her a pat on the back on the large green couch.

“That’s the spirit! Don’t worry Silver Spoon. Once all this is over, it will all be worth it. Plus, Button Mash will still be with us without the blank flanks bothering us too!” Diamond Tiara grinned evilly. But it was too bad for Silver Spoon... her future group could not welcome blank flanks at all…

It was late morning for Sweetie Belle and the other Crusaders as they winded down on their first activity: animal care. All three fillies had agreed to help Fluttershy care for her pets in the morning, for Fluttershy needed to run some errands to provide for her critters. It was a tough morning to say the least. Angel was constantly complaining about not getting his furs properly brushed, the birds constantly chattered and squawked, which gave the Crusaders an earache, and the Crusaders had to spend the latter half of the morning cleaning up Fluttershy’s chicken pen. Needless to say, all three Crusaders were stinky and dirty by the end of the morning.

“Ugh… I can’t wait to have some lunch and clean ourselves up for the rest of the day.” Applebloom groaned first.

“Yeah… my hooves hurt from all the brushing and mopping I had to do throughout the house.” Scootaloo groaned along with Applebloom.

“Yeah… and I thought taking care of Opal while Rarity was gone was hard enough! The birds were so loud, and Angel kept complaining about our brushing job! It was his fault for not sitting still like we told him!” Sweetie Belle complained, leaving all the Crusaders to groan in unison as they trotted away to Fluttershy’s showers and cleaned themselves up.

The three showers were located to the right of the chicken pens within a small washroom. All three Crusaders took their respective places, closed the curtains, and began their showers. At the start of the shower, Applebloom immediately forgot the all-important question for Sweetie Belle:

“Sweetie Belle! I never asked! How was the dinner yesterday?!” Sweetie Belle jumped slightly in the shower, surprised that it took this long for Applebloom to ask the question. Well… it wasn’t too surprising since the crusaders immediately began their pet work as soon as they met up at Fluttershy’s house. Sweetie Belle replied anyway, but with hesitation, remembering that the foal she met was somepony who the crusaders thought was weird and eccentric at best.

“Ummm… it was a good dinner! Nothing too special happened!” Sweetie Belle replied, trying to hide as much of the details as possible. In her shower, Scootaloo chuckled as she began rubbing her mane with a fragrant head wash.
“Why are you so hesitant Sweetie Belle? What happened at the dinner? Did the foal you meet end up being really disappointing?!” Scootaloo asked, wondering why Sweetie Belle was acting so hesitant about the dinner. It was that moment that Sweetie Belle began to clam up.

“Ummm… not really… I mean, it was nothing special, and the foal was nothing special either!” The other crusaders merely shrugged. But Applebloom started pressing soon after she shrugged. She wanted to know about the foal and why Sweetie Belle was being so secretive!

“Sweetie Belle! Why are you being so secretive about the dinner?! You don’t have to worry about telling us about the dinner! We won’t judge or anythin’! We just wanna know how it went!” Applebloom tried to press Sweetie Belle as gently as she could, but Sweetie Belle refused to budge.

“I already said the foal was fine! He wasn’t anything special ok?!” Sweetie Belle shouted, realizing that the shower was growing louder as she finished her shower and turned the tap off. Sweetie Belle quickly cleaned and dried herself before she opened her curtain and trotted out of the shower all cleaned up. Applebloom was taken aback by Sweetie Belle’s snappy response, forcing her to pull back.

“Okay, okay! Geez, I was just askin’!” Applebloom shrugged as she too finished her shower and dried herself before opening her curtain and trotting out. Scootaloo followed closely behind, keeping quiet and noting Sweetie Belle’s clammy responses. But the matter was not spoken of after that moment, as the three crusaders exited the washroom.

Once the three fillies exited their places, Fluttershy flew back with all the goods for the Crusaders. Seeing that the fillies were all cleaned up just after completing their chores, Fluttershy landed and addressed all three Crusaders.

“Thank you very much for helping me this morning. If you want, I can offer you a lunch as a reward for helping me today! I’m sure the critters are very thankful for your efforts and would love to have you join us!” Fluttershy squeed happily, but the Crusaders quickly shook their heads and trotted away, leaving Fluttershy confused.

“Ummm… guys? Don’t you want a free lunch?” Fluttershy scratched her head before shrugging and trotting to the door. The Crusaders did a good job sure, but let’s just say that the critters really wanted Fluttershy back as soon as possible.

While Applebloom and Scootaloo were feeling relatively energized about the rest of the day, Sweetie Belle felt withdrawn from the rest of the group and tired from all the chores she had to do for the animals. As such, Sweetie Belle briefly asked,

“Hey guys… I kinda wanna go home and take a nap. You guys go on without me ok?” Applebloom and Scootaloo scratched her heads and gave a sigh. They wanted Sweetie Belle to come along for the rest of the day, but they were resigned; after all, she did look pretty grumpy the whole morning.

“Ok. We’ll let you have some rest. Get better soon ok?” Applebloom wrapped her hoof around Sweetie Belle’s back in hopes of comforting her. Sweetie Belle gave a small smile, thanking her friend. But Applebloom had one last question:

“Sweetie Belle… are you coming with us for more crusadin’ tomorrow?” Sweetie Belle looked back up to Applebloom with a shake of the head.

“Sorry Applebloom… I won’t make it tomorrow. I have other plans.” Sweetie Belle replied with a frown before she separated from the other crusaders and slowly trotted back to Carousel Boutique.

As Sweetie Belle trotted away towards Carousel Boutique, Applebloom and Scootaloo were left to scratch their heads. Whatever plans they had to crusade that way were immediately offset by their desire to know what was going on with Sweetie Belle.

“Scootaloo… what just happened there?” Applebloom asked with a very confused look. Scootaloo shrugged.

“I dunno… Sweetie Belle was also acting really strange when we first met up too. I just hope she’s alright.” Scootaloo cautiously replied. Applebloom began scratching her chin trying to come up with an explanation of some kind…

“Y’know… when we asked Sweetie Belle about her dinner last night, she clammed up! Remember how she said she’d tell us every detail about the dinner before it happened?!” Applebloom decisively asked Scootaloo. Now that she recalled what Sweetie Belle said the other day, Scootaloo nodded in affirmation.

“You’re right! Do you think something happened at the dinner then?” Scootaloo asked Applebloom as the two ponies continued trotting towards the Apple Family Farm for some lunch.

“I guess… there’s only one way to find out…” Applebloom shrugged. “We just have to wait ‘til Monday. Maybe by then, things will sort themselves out.” Scootaloo nodded in agreement.

“Yeah. Since she’s not coming along tomorrow, perhaps she just needs some alone time to forget about the dinner.” Scootaloo asserted. Applebloom nodded back again, but Scootaloo continued with a question.

“You know… that leaves me wondering… what’s Sweetie Belle doing tomorrow…?”

“Well we could sneak up on Rarity’s Carousel Boutique, but I doubt she’ll be there. Maybe she’s just busy with Rarity and sad about not hanging out with us tomorrow!” Applebloom and Scootaloo shrugged together.

“Yeah, I guess… still… something still doesn’t feel right about all this.” Scootaloo tried to pinpoint the cause of her doubt, but could only trace it to Sweetie Belle. Whatever was happening with Sweetie Belle would have to be found out later, since neither she nor Applebloom had any idea about Sweetie Belle’s dealings tomorrow.

“I know… but I don’t want to be snooping around Sweetie Belle, especially if she needs alone time. Sides, we already got in way too much trouble for sneaking around a lot. Plus, we’d be showing that we don’t trust Sweetie Belle if we snooped on her.” Applebloom replied and received a nod of agreement from Scootaloo.

“Yeah… I guess we’ll just have to leave it at that then. Hopefully Sweetie Belle will explain things to us sooner or later.” Scootaloo replied as Applebloom nodded.

“Yeah. Anyway, let’s head back to the farm! Applejack’s probably got some nice, ripe apples for lunch today!” Applebloom excitedly declared. Scootaloo licked her lips with her tongue. That, along with her tummy grumbling, signalled lunch time for the two fillies as they both giggled and trotted to the farm…

Sweetie Belle slowly trotted back to the Carousel, worry enveloping her. She made a new friend in Button Mash at the dinner, but the way Applebloom and Scootaloo treated the fellow blank flank made her worried. What if they didn’t approve of her friendship with Button Mash? What if they started making fun of her for liking such a weird pony? What if she was shunned for liking a colt like him? Sweetie Belle sighed, quickly remembering the first half of the dream she had. It scared the dickens out of her when the headless Button Mash became a two headed Crusader monster! What if Applebloom and Scootaloo did the same in reality?!

Sweetie Belle sighed again, slowly opening the door to the Carousel Boutique. Upon entering, Rarity noticed Sweetie Belle in a low mood, despite being hard at work with her latest dress quotas to meet. Rarity quickly tried to cheer her up by trotting to her and giving her a side pat.

“Sweetie Belle, is everything all right?” Rarity asked with a concerned look on her face. Sweetie Belle slowly lifted Rarity’s hoof away from her back, sighed, and trotted upstairs. Rarity scratched her head, wondering if something had happened in the morning which caused her to be so tired and gloomy. Still, Rarity knew that when Sweetie Belle acted gloomy like this, that she needed some time alone. Perhaps a few hours of alone time would do the trick. Rarity then told herself that she would speak to Sweetie Belle immediately after she finished her urgent dress orders from Manehattan…

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