• Published 7th Jun 2016
  • 5,397 Views, 138 Comments

Breaking Peeved - Bad Horse

After Zephyr finally gets a job, Dash points out that Fluttershy still hasn't got one. So where's her money coming from?

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1. Sugarcube Corner, where the first one's always free

“Five specially scrumptious snozzleberry scones!” Pinkie said, dropping a wicker basket with its contents wrapped in a white cloth napkin onto the lone dining table in Sugarcube Corner.

“It smells heavenly!” Rarity closed her eyes and raised her head to sniff at the waves of fresh-bread scent that the basket gave off. Rainbow Dash pounced for the basket as soon as Rarity left an opening, startling Fluttershy into ducking under the table. But Rainbow’s hooves landed on air.

“Every time, Rainbow Dash,” Twilight said, shaking her head. The basket floated above the table, wrapped in an indigo glow.

“What? I’m just showing my appreciation!”

“Well, I would appreciate getting to at least look at our food before it’s smashed to crumbs,” Rarity said. “Thank you, Twilight.”

The cloth unfolded and one scone floated down to each of the four ponies. “You’re welcome,” Twilight said.

“And here’s a cupcake for Spike!” Pinkie said, dropping a cupcake onto the table in front of Twilight. It landed with a clunk. “Only two days old!”

“Aw, that’s so thoughtful, of you Pinkie! I’d completely forgotten about him again.”

“Don’t mention it!” Pinkie's eyes darted suspiciously around the otherwise empty room, then she leaned closer to Twilight and whispered, “It’s a health code violation.” She trotted back behind the counter and disappeared into the kitchen.

Then there was nothing but the sounds of chewing and smacking of lips for a time.

Twilight licked the crumbs that were all that remained of her scone from her lips. “I don’t know how I got along before Pinkie started baking at Sugarcube Corner,” Twilight said. “I can’t start my day until I have a scone or a cupcake here. Otherwise I just sit around thinking about them!”

“I know, right?” Dash said. “I just gotta have one every day. And I don’t even really like them!”

“Fluttershy, you’re only nibbling at yours,” Rarity said. “Is something wrong?”

“You eat like a bird, Fluttershy,” Dash said.

“Oh, no,” Fluttershy said. “Birds are very aggressive when they eat.”

“Well, then Rainbow Dash would make an excellent bird. But what’s bothering you, Flutter dear?”

Fluttershy set her nearly-untouched scone down. “Nothing. Nothing at all.”

“Is it Zephyr, darling? Are you thinking you were too hard on him? Because you weren’t. That colt needed to get a job.”

Twilight nodded in agreement.

“That was awesome how you rode him about that,” Dash said. “You were peeved.”

“Rainbow!” Rarity said.

“And you don’t even have a job yourself!” Dash said. She began to laugh. Twilight and Rarity froze in shock.

Fluttershy’s ears drooped. “I… I don’t?”

Rarity reached out and put a hoof on her shoulder. “Why, Fluttershy dear. Your job is to look after all the darling little animals of Ponyville, tuck them in bed at night, take care of them when they’re sick, that sort of thing. Everypony knows that.” She glared at Dash.

Twilight quickly nodded in agreement.

“Well, sure,” Dash said, “but they don’t pay you for it.”

“Oh!” Fluttershy said. “Oh. I see what you mean. I suppose you’re wondering where I get my money, then.” She pushed her scone away and frowned. “It is sort of a mystery, isn’t it?”

“No mystery,” Dash said. “Obviously—”

Rarity kicked Dash under the table, without so much as a chip in her own Manehattan smile.

The ponies at the table all looked at each other uneasily for several seconds. Finally Twilight spoke up: “Well, you’ve still got money saved up from when you worked at the weather factory, right?”

“Yes, but—”

“Great! Problem solved. So, what do you think of these snozzleberry scones?”

“There is no such thing as a snozzleberry,” Rarity declared.

“Is too!” Dash said. “We used to have snozzleberry soda in Cloudsdale!”

“—but… I had about a hundred bits when I moved here from Cloudsdale four years ago—”

“It’s a fictitious flavor for foals,” Rarity said to Dash. “Like ‘blue moon’.”

“—and I spend at least thirty bits a month on feed—”

“That’s the miracle of compound interest!” Twilight told Fluttershy, her smile expanding to a width that looked painful.

“Doesn’t the money have to be in a bank for that?” Fluttershy asked.

“Wait a minute,” Rainbow said, with a puzzled look on her face.

“And I paid you seventy bits for my Gala dress,” Fluttershy said to Rarity.

“Oh, dear, would you look at the time?” Rarity said, getting up and horn-grabbing her half-eaten scone. “I’ve so much to do today. Orders coming in, orders going out, you know how it is. Ta-ta!” She hurried towards the front door.

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Rainbow said.

“And I really shouldn’t leave Spike alone for so long; he’ll start trying to play with the neighbors’ children again,” Twilight said, concluding with an embarrassed grin and following Rarity.

The bell on the front door rang as Rarity and Twilight went out. Fluttershy watched them leave, then turned to Rainbow Dash. “It doesn’t make sense, does it?”

“Heck, no!” Rainbow said. “Blue moon isn’t real? What does that even mean?” She rested her chin on her hoof in a pose of profound contemplation.

“Um… I think it means the flavor isn’t extracted from a single naturally-occurring plant. It could be a mix of several natural flavors, or the result of magic, or… you aren’t really listening to me, are you? I mean, not that there’s anything wrong with that. I probably wouldn’t listen to me either. I’ll go see if Pinkie’s busy.” She picked up the remainder of her scone in her mouth and slunk off towards the kitchen.

Rainbow thunked her hoof onto the tabletop and stared down at it. “My life is a lie.”

Fluttershy found Pinkie in the kitchen, watching four sharp-eyed ferrets carry a large, rectangular burlap sack up the back steps.

“Thank you for the scones, Pinkie. They were delicious as always.”

“That’s because they’re made with love! And other things,” Pinkie said. “Over in that corner, guys, next to the flour.”

The ferrets grunted and threw the sack against the wall, where it landed with a heavy thump and then slumped like a tired old mare. Pinkie tore a small opening in one corner of the sack with a knife, then touched the tip of one hoof into the hole. The ferrets watched. Her hoof came out with a thin dusting of white powder. She sniffed it, licked it, and then raised it to her nose and snorted it, eyeing the ferrets all along. Then she smiled and raised one hoof up approvingly, and they grinned.

“That looks just like the bags that my duck feed comes in,” Fluttershy said.

“That’s the idea!” Pinkie said, and winked. She leaned towards Fluttershy with a big grin. “You know what this means I get to do tonight?”

“Um, no.”

“PRODUCT TESTING!” Pinkie shouted, leaping up and spreading her forelegs wide. “Wanna join me?”

“Oh. Um. That sounds like fun, but no."

"What was Dash asking you about that made everypony stop talking?" Pinkie asked.

"She wanted to know where I get my money. I don't really know. I guess that's kind of funny. Do you think it's funny, Pinkie?”

“I don’t know! Let me see.” Pinkie threw her head back and laughed and laughed until tears came from her eyes. The ferrets stared at her, unsmiling. Then she dropped her head forward again, wiped the tears from her eyes, and rolled her eyes from one corner of her face to another like a master chef tasting a new sauce.

“No,” she finally said, “not funny. Comedy isn’t your forte, Fluttershy.”

“But do you think it’s odd?”

“Odd? I don’t see why. Excuse me a second!” She hopped over to the waiting ferrets. Then she reached into her mane and pulled out a pot whose contents clinked and jingled as she set it down in front of them. “See you next week!” she told them. Then the bell rang, telling them all that somepony had just entered the store. “Bye, Fluttershy!” Pinkie said, and hurried back out to the storefront.

“Bye, Pinkie,” Fluttershy said. She walked over to the ferrets and scratched each one under the chin. “Aren’t you adorable? Yes, you are. Such good ferrets. I have something for each of you.” She pulled a hooffull of dog biscuits out of her purse and threw one to each ferret. The ferrets gulped them down, then gathered around Fluttershy, sniffing at her purse.

“Aren’t you forgetting something?” she said. She pointed her nose at the pot they’d left sitting on the floor. They scurried back to it and, between the four of them, hoisted it up. They looked at Fluttershy again.

“No more treats now,” she said. “Go on home.”

The ferrets frowned, then headed down the back stairs with the pot.

Pinkie’s voice could be heard in the front of the store, saying, “Welcome to Sugarcube Corner, where the first one’s always free!”