• Published 4th Jun 2012
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Carrot Top of the Line - Fizzy Orange



Lunaverse Carrot Top must speak with shy recluse Fluttershy when Angel steals her carrots.

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Chapter 2

This time won’t be any different.

That was the thought going through Carrot Top’s head as she hid behind a tree near Fluttershy’s cottage. Raindrops’s reproach and Rarity’s counsels had, originally, given her new resolve to come and confront Rainbow Dash, but as she neared the house all of that resolve had faded away. She could feel herself become more nervous with every step. Rainbow Dash was kind of scary, and Carrot Top wasn’t sure exactly how she could get a word in, let alone convince her to open up. She sighed and sat on her haunches in defeat.

A sharp crunching noise broke the silence, causing Carrot Top’s closed eyes to snap open. It wasn’t loud, but to the pony it felt as clear as a peal of thunder. She knew exactly what that noise was: something biting into a carrot. She looked around, then spotted him.

Angel.

He was standing in front of the path leading from the road to the cottage, holding what was left of the carrot he had stolen that morning. He looked at the mare with a derisive smirk and tossed the little orange nub up in the air before catching it in his mouth. He chewed loudly while still staring at the sitting pony, then swallowed and wiggled his eyebrows at her.

Once again, Carrot Top launched herself into a gallop after the little bunny, all the while shouting his name in anger. The little guy zipped toward the modest home of his owner. As he neared the door, it opened; with great agility, he slipped between the hooves of the suddenly dumbstruck Rainbow Dash. Carrot Top saw the pegasus and tried desperately to brake before she could collide with her, eyes bulging. She managed to dig her hooves into the ground and halt her gallop a few inches from Rainbow Dash, then quickly and awkwardly back away a few steps.

“Rainbow Dash!” she said, grinning sheepishly. “Just the pony I wanted to see!”

Rainbow Dash shook her head as if to clear her mind, and her surprised expression turned back into a cold stare. “You again? I told you to go away, ginger-face! Nopony bothers Fluttershy!”

The sudden aggressiveness, coupled with the insulting nickname, made Carrot Top puff her cheeks in anger. She glared back at Rainbow Dash, who didn’t seem to notice. As the pegasus was about to close the door, the earth pony realized she needed to act fast before her window of opportunity closed with it.

“Wait, wait, please,” she said, her expression turning into a pleading look. “Can I speak with you? I really need your help!”

Rainbow Dash’s eyebrow went up as she stared at the farmer with skepticism.

Carrot Top quickly thought of something to say that would help stroke the daredevil’s ego. “Help me, Rainbow Dash! You’re my only hope!”

Rainbow Dash sighed and stepped outside, closing the door behind her with her hindleg. “Fine, no need to be a drama queen. So what is it?”

Carrot Top allowed herself a small smile before putting her business face back on. “Angel’s been stealing my carrots. I don’t know why he would do that; I’m afraid something’s wrong. Can you tell Fluttershy to talk to him? This is my livelihood, you know.”

Rainbow Dash bit her lower lip, her eyes quickly looking everywhere but at Carrot Top. “Yeah, I understand, carrots are important,” said Rainbow, unconsciously rubbing her face like some phantom wound was bothering her, “but … but I don’t think Fluttershy can talk to Angel right now.”

Now it was Carrot Top’s eyebrows that rose in surprise. “Rainbow Dash, is something wrong with Miss Fluttershy?”

Had Rarity’s analysis had been right? Rainbow Dash’s reluctance to talk and her sudden nervous appearance sure seemed to hint at it. Carrot Top could see a bead of sweat roll down the pegasus’ cheek, and her wings where fluttering as if she was getting ready to flee.

“It’s none of your beeswax, okay?” declared Rainbow Dash, her wings flaring.

Carrot Top decided to press on. “I can help, you know!”

“I don’t need your help!”

“I know! I know you don’t need my help, but I want to help Miss Fluttershy,” argued the farmer.

“No!”

Carrot Top gave the other mare the best pleading puppy look she could muster. “Please, Rainbow Dash, why are you acting like a bodyguard?”

“Because I am!” declared Rainbow Dash, flying upward and pressing her face against Carrot Top’s. The reaction took the farmer by surprise, and she stayed silent, staring into the nervous eyes of the pegasus.

Rainbow Dash suddenly realized how aggressive she had become and landed again, looking downward. “Sorta …” she said, kicking a loose pebble with her front hoof.

Carrot Top looked at the usually confident mare with concern. “Sorta? I can lend you an ear if you want to talk about it.”

The weather pony seemed to consider it for a moment. Finally she motioned toward the nearby pond with her head and slowly flew toward it. She landed and sat on her haunches, and Carrot Top soon joined her, sitting as well.

“Do you know how Fluttershy can afford all this?” she asked, waving her front hoof at the cottage and the various animal habitats one could see in the backyard from their vantage point.

“I always assumed she had a government grant for running an animal shelter,” answered the farmer.

Rainbow Dash gave a short, sharp laugh at the statement. “Hah! Nah, it’s those snobs who run the veterinary clinic in town who get one.”

“Then how?”

“Promise not tell anypony in town? Not even your friends? Especially not that Trixie?” asked Rainbow.

Carrot Top nodded. “I swear on my honor as an Element of Harmony! Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a carrot in my eye!”

Carrot Top made a crossing motion over her chest, then wiggled her hooves like wings, and then put her left hoof on her closed eye. The whole ritual made Rainbow Dash snort in amusement, but it seemed to placate her, and she began speaking again.

“Fluttershy isn’t her real given name. She was born Fluttering Posey,” said Rainbow. The name seemed familiar to Carrot Top. Her brow furrowed as she tried to remember where she had heard that family name.

Suddenly she remembered a few newspaper articles, as well as Trixie telling her about families that had representatives at the Night Court. “Posey?” she gasped in sudden realization. “As in … as in ‘wealthy weather industrialist Thunderous Posey’? As in Duchess Fragrant Posey who has a seat at the Night Court?”

Rainbow Dash was smiling just a little. “You sure know stuff, ginger-face. She doesn’t want anypony in town to know, but, yeah, Fluttershy is Thunderous Posey’s daughter. She doesn’t like the whole business thing; she just lets the family handle it, and they send her money in the mail.”

Carrot Top blinked. “How did you ever meet an important pony like that?”

Rainbow Dash looked up into the distance; the haze of nostalgia seemed to fill her eyes as her smile softened. “You know, how I met Fluttershy is also how she got her new name. My mom is staff manager at the Posey mansion back in Cloudsdale. She handles the butlers and maids and cooks and stuff … kind of boring stuff, but it’s hard work. One day, back in my first year of elementary school, I came down with a bad case of the feather flu. I had to stay home, but mom couldn’t stay to watch over me, so she got me a guest room for the day at the mansion …”

A small filly with a multicolored mane was lying on a big comfy bed in a cavernous room made of cloud. In a cloud house, the level of luxury isn’t measured by the amount of space, as space is easy to come by in the air, but rather by how much furniture isn’t made of cloud. Normal material, such as wood or metal, would normally plummet through a cloud construction. It was possible to get anything enchanted to float on clouds; however, the bigger the object, the more expensive the enchantment.

Little Rainbow Dash didn’t know all of that, but she did know she had never lain in a bed that wasn’t made of cloud before. The large mattress was almost as big as her whole room back home, and the dressers and nightstand were made of that weird hard stuff they call wood. The blankets weren’t really different than what she had back in her room, but the pillows and the mattress felt weird to the point where she couldn’t rest. Her mother had warned her not to get out of bed, so now she was bored. Really bored. The only thing she had to amuse herself was her Fireflye plushy, but even the captain of the Wonderbolts couldn’t make this big empty room fun for long. Right now she was reduced to staring at dust bunnies dancing in a ray of light. That and coughing.

The door of the room opened slowly. At first Rainbow Dash thought it had been a stray gust of wind because she couldn’t see anypony. After a moment a small head poked in timidly. It was another filly, about her age or maybe a bit older, with a pale yellow coat and long pink mane. The two fillies spent what felt like an hour just staring at each other.

“Hi!” Rainbow Dash finally said.

“Hello,” replied the other filly in the softest and sweetest voice Rainbow Dash had ever heard. “Are you Mrs. Cloudia’s daughter?”

“Yup! I’m Rainbow Dash; what’s your name?”

“I’m Flutteri …” began the filly, her voice getting progressively quieter and hard to understand.

Little Dash cocked her head to the side like a confused dog. “What?”

The yellow filly hid her face behind her hoof and tried again. “I’m flutt …”

At this point the little pegasus’ voice had turned to squeaks that threatened to go beyond the hearing range of ponies. Rainbow Dash blinked a few time, scrunched her face, coughed, and finally smiled.

“Fluttershy! Your name is Fluttershy, right?”

The newly christened Fluttershy turned to look at the other filly, then nodded, smiling softly.

“I like that name … Fluttershy,” she said, trotting up to the side of the bed.

Rainbow Dash held up her Fireflye plush. “Want to play? I’m bored.”

“Oh! That’s a Wonderbolt, right? I have the whole set, but I don’t know very much about them,” said Fluttershy.

Rainbow Dash sat up in her bed, smiling broadly. “Really? Awesome! I know all about the Wonderbolts! If you go get your toys, I’ll tell you all about them!”

“I’d like that,” replied Fluttershy, heading back to the door.

“We’ve been friends ever since. Fluttershy was home-schooled, but we went to the same flight camps during the summer. That’s where she began using the name I thought of for her as her real name. Fluttershy doesn’t like other ponies to know about her family because it’s just too much pressure for her. She doesn’t do pressure real well, and she’s been bullied enough for how fragile she’s always been. Even her family calls her Fluttershy now,” said Rainbow Dash, finishing her story.

“That’s an …” began Carrot Top, fishing for the right word. “… awesome origin for a name. You’ve been her protector for years now.”

Rainbow Dash looked toward the horizon and frowned. “I don’t think it’s fair for other ponies to be mean to a nice pony like Fluttershy. She’s just so kind; she doesn’t deserve any bad things. It’s just not fair.”

Carrot Top nodded in agreement. “Is that why you followed her to Ponyville?”

Rainbow Dash sighed. At that moment she looked tired, and Carrot Top could see that something was stressing the pegasus.

“Something like that, yeah. It was her father who told me Fluttershy was moving to Ponyville.”

Rainbow Dash sat nervously on the large couch in the richly decorated room. The living room was filled with furniture, and the floor itself was covered with thick carpeting that had tickled Dash’s hooves as she moved across it. On the walls hung portraits of Posey family ancestors set in complex wooden frames.

A vase of flowers sat in the middle of the low table at the center of the room. The flowers looked like exotic delicacies. Rainbow Dash considered eating one to calm her nerves, but that might not be acceptable. She had been called to meet with Mister Thunderous Posey himself, and the leader of the Posey family rarely met ponies for anything that wasn’t important.

Finally a door at the far end of the room opened, and Thunderous Posey flew in at a leisurely pace. By pegasus stallion standards, Mister Posey was big. Really big: at least a head and a half taller than Dash herself. His legs looked powerful, and his large wings, when fully flared, made him look almost as big as Princess Luna herself. His coat was an immaculate bright yellow color, as bold as Fluttershy’s was subdued, and his short mane was a deep sunset red. His cutie mark was a large ominous dark cloud surrounded by six bolts of lightning emanating from the cloud. It was said that, in his youth, his wing beats could resemble the rumbling of thunder.

He looked at Rainbow Dash with deep green eyes and a slight smile that seemed nothing but polite. “Rainbow Dash, thank you for your time. Orchid?” he said, presenting Dash with a flower from the vase.

“Sure, Mister Posey. Thank you, sir,” she replied as politely as possible. The flower was exquisite and seemed to taste of foreign rainforests and terrible tropical storms. It was almost, just almost, enough of a distraction to make Rainbow Dash miss what Thunderous said next.

“My little Flutter is ready to leave the nest. She wants to move down to the ground,” the industrialist said, a certain note of disdain creeping into his voice at the word ‘ground’.

Dash swallowed her flower and looked at her friend’s father in surprise. “I had no idea, sir.”

“I don’t think she wanted you to worry. I don’t blame her wanting to leave; poor Flutter just doesn’t have what it takes for the world of business, and I would be a terrible father if I forced her to act against her nature,” said the stallion, pacing back and forth. “However, I cannot help but worry about my dear daughter. She is moving to a small earth pony town called Ponyville in the hills surrounding Canterlot. It is a calm and harmless little hamlet, but I would feel much more comfortable about it if she had a good friend with her.”

It took a few seconds for Rainbow Dash to understand what the stallion had meant. “You want me to move to Ponyville with her?”

Thunderous Posey nodded in agreement. “Exactly. She is hoping for a fresh start and maybe conquering her crippling shyness, so she refused to let me lend her any staff. You understand that if you are to follow her, you cannot simply move in with her; you’ll need a cover story.”

“A cover story, sir?” asked Rainbow, attacking what was left of the orchid’s stem.

“Unless my sources are wrong, you have a weather management diploma, Miss Dash, yes?” he said, waiting for Rainbow Dash to nod in agreement before continuing. “It just so happens that the Ponyville weather manager has gotten a very sudden and unexpected promotion to a larger posting in Konikticut. Congratulations, Miss Dash, you’ve got the job.”

The only reason Rainbow Dash didn’t fall backward at this declaration is because she was sitting on a couch. She had to fight to not spit the piece of orchid stem she was chewing, swallowing it instead.

“Me? But I barely got my diploma! I don’t have any experience being a weather manager!”

Thunderous dismissed her concern with a wave of his hoof. “Your teachers tell me you are very talented and that the only reason you had low scores was from lack of attendance. It’s a small town in the middle of nowhere, but the pay is still very good. I even secured you a nice cloud house that was on the market there. You can move in on the same day as Flutter. I know I can count on you to protect my daughter.”

Rainbow Dash was still a bit dumbstruck by the proposition when Thunderous walked up to her and put a hoof on her shoulder. The industrialist looked at her with a very serious expression.

“You will take care of her, won’t you? It would be a shame to be forced to give the job to dear Cloudia. The weather manager job doesn’t offer the same perks as staff manager of my estate does,” said Thunderous Posey, the implied threat lingering in the air.

Dash swallowed. “Of course you can count on me. I’m Rainbow Dash; I’ve been taking care of Fluttershy for years now,” she said, puffing her chest out. “I can take care of a few clouds in Hicksville!”

Thunderous Posey flew up and back with a satisfied smile on his face. “Very good! My secretary will bring you all the information you need. I bid you good day, Miss Dash. Thank you for being there for my daughter.”

Rainbow Dash finished her second story and stood silent, looking down at her hooves on the grass. Carrot Top began to understand why the weather pegasus was acting the way she did. She felt bad for the chromatic speedster to have been put into such a position by her friend’s father. She also briefly wondered if the reason Rainbow Dash napped so much was because stress caused her to miss sleep. Stress that she was hiding from everypony, including her best friend. Now she really wanted to help this crazy mare deal with whatever was troubling her.

“Truth is, I don’t deserve my job, but I can’t just ditch it completely,” Dash finally said. “I don’t mind doing weather work, but I’d rather not be the manager. Cloud Kicker is way better at this stuff.”

“You mean when she’s not stressing out over Everfree weather?” joked Carrot Top.

“Yeah … that poor pony is always nervous when things get out of control. But Raindrops is there; she can keep her cool. Mister Posey didn’t have to give me the weather manager spot just to get me to come help Fluttershy,” the pegasus said, stomping her hoof.

“He underestimated your loyalty to your friend,” commented Carrot Top. “You’re a good friend to Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash. And I don’t think you don’t deserve the manager job. Raindrops is always praising you.”

The weather pony looked at the farmer, her eyebrows raised in surprise. “Raindrops? Really? She’s always on my case.”

Carrot Top nodded, a knowing smile on her lips. “She’s always complaining about you, but she’s also the first to defend your position. She says you’re the best flier in Equestria and that you could be the best weather pony if you just clocked in on time every once in a while. She’s really impressed the schedule is never missed,” she explained, “but please don’t tell her I told you so.”

Once again Rainbow Dash seemed to rub a phantom wound as she chuckled. “I won’t. I know how Raindrops can get.”

Carrot Top got up and put on a bright smile. “Well, Miss Dash, you might not need my help, but I really want to give it to you. I’m sure we can solve whatever is bothering you much faster if we work together.”

Rainbow Dash seemed to ponder the proposal. She looked back at the cottage, then back at Carrot Top, absentmindedly scratching her chin with her hoof. Finally she nodded, more to herself than to Carrot Top, and got up as well. She closed her eyes and sighed, as if to steel herself for what she was about to do.

“Do you know any herbal remedies?” she asked.