• Published 10th Jun 2016
  • 294 Views, 2 Comments

Avant Gardener - Muramasa

Whilst tending to her garden, Fluttershy reflects.

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Avant Gardener


There are a lot of good things about Summer. A lot of my favorite animals that like to hide in the winter come out in the summer; bumblebees, for one. Usually, the queen bee of a colony will die, and the new queens will hibernate for the winter. When they come out, they'll start new colonies. Summer has only just begun, but I've already been seeing more of them buzzing around than last year, an occurrence that really makes me happy. Badgers, too; Badgers like to burrow and store food during the winter months, but during the summer they're much more active. Of course, they are nocturnal, but I didn't mind that; I didn't sleep a lot a night anyways.

Summer was also good for gardening. There were things like squash and cucumbers that grew very well this time of year, but more important were the tomatoes. The tomatoes took a great deal to prepare--one must take the seeds from an already ripe tomato and then prepare them indoors through a lengthy process--but once they were ready, all the hard work and effort paid off. I was currently sowing the seeds into the soil of each pot I had prepared, and I couldn't help but smile; in a few weeks, something wonderful would spring from them, I knew.

I never really talked about my gardening--I hardly really talked about anything--but Applejack has a curious outlook on it. She asked me one day while going to the market why I didn't just buy tomatoes from the marketplace; the ones there were grown by Carrot Top, and she was a professional gardener. I quietly turned to her and asked her why she didn't buy apples from the marketplace; she immediately replied that her apples were better than anyone else's. I merely smiled at her and told her that she had the only booth that sold Apples in the marketplace, prompting a slow look of realization to dawn across her face.

As I looked upward from the ground, observing Celestia's awakened sun open its eyes and shine across the town, I couldn't help but give a short little chuckle; I had actually never answered Applejack's question that day, probably because the answer was quite layered in its nature.

For one, I held a belief similar to that of Applejack's; I think my tomatoes are superior to Carrot Top's. I always feel mean for thinking that, because I know Carrot Top is a very nice pony and I considered her a good friend of mine, but I always manage to convince myself that I'm not saying anything bad about her as a person; I just prefer my tomatoes to hers.

It also helps me think. It takes my mind away from the town; the bustling about, the crowd of ponies, and, most importantly, the reputation and acclaim that comes with being an Element of Harmony. When I'm gardening, I'm not fulfilling my destiny by tending to my animals like my cutie mark says I should, and I'm not fighting some scary villain that has the potential to destroy the entire planet like the Elements of Harmony say I should; when I'm gardening, I'm gardening for me. Not to say that I don't love taking care of animals or saving and helping ponies--I very much do--but those things are things that were thrust upon me by the threads of fate, while gardening is something I just like to do. I'm not the best at it, and it isn't my purpose in life, but I like it, and that makes me happy.

It was very hot outside, despite the fact that it was morning. It pushed my mane to the side with my hoof; sweat was already beginning to gather on my forehead. I needed to go inside, but the prospect of doing so worked out well; I needed to move the pots inside until they germinated anyways, and so I picked up one of the pots I had been attending to and began to carry it inside.

As I was doing so, one of my bunnies not named Angel hopped over to me, and began to hop along side me as I made my way to the door. I could feel a large beam spread across my face and I knew then I couldn't help myself; carefully, I set down my pot and kneeled down to his level before running my hoof across his forehead, causing him to wiggle in glee. I chuckled to myself; of all the destinies I could have been branded with, this one had to have been the best, especially in my case.

"Hey, little guy," I said, my voice quickly dying in the soft breeze flowing through the air, an occurrence strange for the summertime. I could have almost sworn he smiled at those words, although I knew I had a habit of looking for things that weren't there.

Animals were far easier to communicate with than ponies, or so I believed. I rarely tell anypony that certain tidbit about myself, but when I told Rainbow Dash, the first thing she did was laugh. I didn't blame her, because I knew Rainbow Dash very, very well, and if anything about that mare was concrete, it was that she loved attention. Rainbow Dash craved attention like a vampire craved blood; she practically drew energy from the public eye. I had to laugh again--I was laughing a lot lately--as the Mare Do Well incident came back to me, and the image of Dash standing amongst a crowd of her fervent supporters as the flashing of cameras reflected across her sunglasses flew through my mind.

My beam settled down to a soft smile. Rainbow Dash was nothing like me in the slightest, craving the social interaction which I so deeply despised, her brashness conflicting widely with my reserved nature, but that didn't particularly matter to me, even though it absolutely would for any other pony. It might have been that fact that she had stood up for me all those years ago--no, it was certainly that--or was it? Was it that I could depend on her to be loyal, as it was her element? In truth, I didn't really know; all I knew was that dash was my first real friend, and I decided right then and there that I probably didn't need to know anything else.

Whilst petting the bunny, I saw my squash plants out of the corner of my eye. I slowly got up, signaling to the creature that I had to go do something else, and with a start, he ran off into the backyard. I gave him one last grin before moving to the site where I had placed the plants and merely observed them when I arrived.

The plants were growing nicely. I had just watered them about an hour ago, so that hadn't really changed much since then, but I never really got a good look at them as I was watering them absentmindedly. They were in good shape, and I was glad to see it; last year, I had to pollinate them by hoof myself when I didn't see any fruit come in during the 45 day time period, so naturally, I was afraid it would happen again this year. With that thought, I could feel myself begin to frown.

"My whole family is always afraid," I muttered as I began to walk down the row of plants, carefully inspecting each one. "I'm always afraid to talk to ponies. My brother is afraid of failure..."

I stopped at one of the plants, as it looked a bit small. I bent down and got close to it for an inspection, and upon looking at it very closely, noticed nothing really all too wrong with it. I might have to pollinate it myself, but really, was that such a hassle? It was an inconvenience and a bit disappointing, sure, but it wasn't the end of days; it was merely a simple task. I gave a long, drawn out sigh before getting back on all four hooves. I looked towards the sun again, which had seemingly risen just a little bit in the sky.

"You worry too much, Fluttershy," I said to myself, feeling the sun's rays hit my face. "You're doing great. Everything is gonna be fine."

Slowly, I bent down to pick up the pot with the tomato seeds--I really should have taken it in by now--and began to carry it into the house. The seeds looked small and feeble now, I knew, but they would eventually grow into a great big vine with all the tasty tomatoes hanging from it. Maybe that was why I liked gardening so much; I felt the same way about myself. At one point in my life, I was nervous and sheltered, afraid to even go outside for the fear of running into others, but now I find it just fine. I was a seed, and now I'm a vine, although it took a little bit. I didn't mind that, either, because if gardening taught me anything, its that patience creates wonderful things.

I felt a blast of cold air as I walked into the house, and nothing could have made me happier; the scorching heat got pretty bad around this time of year. I walked into the kitchen and set the pot on the counter, right next to the sink, and I stared at it. It was hard to say precisely when the seeds would germinate, but when they did, I would move them back out into the sun and begin to mist them. That was my favorite part when it came to gardening; seeing the plant visibly grow before me always fascinated me. I was about to walk back out and grab the next pot when I heard three knocks at the door.

I placed my hoof upon my face, silently chiding myself for forgetting. It was Saturday, and Twilight was going to come over for brunch. We had planned it four days ago, but that was still no excuse; the house was nowhere near ready, nothing looked presentable, I didn't have to food laid out, the table wasn't set--

I stopped myself right there. Twilight was one of, if not the, most forgiving ponies I knew. She would entirely understand, and we could just as easily go out for something to eat; there was nothing to worry about. I found myself smiling again as my head turned to the door.

"Come on in!" I said, as loud as I could project. As soon as the door began to open, I could hear the birds chirping from the forest around the cottage. Their songs were always pleasant, and my smile turned to a wide grin as Twilight came through the door.

She looked elegant as always, being a Princess and all, but I still couldn't bring myself to see it. One of my many ridiculous worries was that, when Twilight became a Princess, she would stop being a friend and instead become a legend amongst the likes of Celestia and Luna. Twilight was a Princess, a Scholar, a Scientist, a Magician, Student, a Mentor, and so, so much more, but underneath all of that, she was my friend, and nothing, not even the flowing of her mane in the soft breeze or the massive wings she now wore resting at her side, could ever change that; my smile grew even wider as I thought about how silly it was to even think something like that could happen. As soon as she saw my face, her smile matched mine, and she cocked her head to the side in curiosity.

"Why the big smile on your face?" she asked me. I turned to the pot I had just placed in the kitchen; it looked as ordinary as ever under the dull lights on the ceiling, but that was only for now, I knew.

"Oh, nothing," I replied. "I just love summer."

Author's Note:

I'm experiencing major writers block when it comes to "Excelsi Regis", so this was just a little thing I did to hopefully make it disappear. I never really paid all that much attention to Fluttershy, but she's a fairly complex character, so I thought I'd try my hand at writing her.

The idea for this story occurred spontaneously whilst listening to Courtney Barnett's Avant Gardener, a song I'd definitely recommend giving a listen to.

The cover art is a vector created by Kooner-cz of DeviantArt; here's the original page.

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Comments ( 2 )

What a nice story. I think you nailed Fluttershy very well. Hopefully this can help you can get over your writers block.

i got excited when i saw the title of this, since i love the song; and it turns out i love the story too!

im always a sucker for slice of life, but i especially enjoyed how you really made it feel like summer. the pacing and fluttershy's way of thinking makes me feel almost a nostalgic for the way ideas can flow together in the summer heat

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