• Published 27th Jun 2012
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Living in Equestria - Blazewing



A young man finds himself in a world beyond his wildest imaginations...

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Morning in Ponyville

Even with my eyes closed, I could still feel the sun shining into the room, and I groaned. I wasn’t a morning person, by any stretch of the imagination. Even when I knew I should probably get up, I didn’t want to just get out of bed. Call it silly, but I just couldn’t tear myself away from the coziness of my sheets so easily when it was too early. Perhaps that was it; maybe it was the familiar feeling of not wanting to get out of bed that made me wonder if I was not, after all, back at home, and that everything that had happened had all been a fantastic dream.

“It was just a dream,” I muttered to myself. “I dreamed that I’d landed in a world called Equestria, and I met a bunch of talking ponies, and walked around with one named Pinkie Pie, and we had a huge party until midnight. When I open my eyes, I’ll be right back in my own bed at home.”

I couldn't hold back a hint of regret as I said it, as it had been a pretty pleasant dream, if dream it was.

Slowly, I pried my eyes open…and found myself gazing into Gummy’s blankly-staring face.

So it wasn’t a dream after all.

“This is real, then?" I asked. "I really am lying on a bed in Pinkie’s room, with a miniature alligator staring me in the face?”

Gummy’s purplish eyes blinked unevenly in response.

“That’s what I thought.”

I shifted to get up, and Gummy scurried off of me and onto the floor. I glanced at my watch. It read 7:00, so it was no wonder why I wasn’t feeling up to getting up. Pinkie was nowhere in sight, and I wondered when she’d left. All I remembered was her snuggled warmly against me, sleeping soundly. Then again, I slept like a rock, so it wouldn’t have been difficult to do something beyond my notice while I was asleep. It had been a weird, yet not wholly unpleasant feeling, Pinkie sleeping beside me. It had been like a very warm teddy bear or a faithful dog resting against me, comforting and reassuring.

I stretched, feeling the old aches from yesterday disappearing, then wondered what I ought to do. Obviously, since Equestrian ponies lived like humans in my world, they’d practice human-like cleanliness, but I wasn’t too jazzed about showering just to put on old clothes again. Still, what else could I do?

“If Pinkie comes back,” I said, looking at Gummy, “can you tell her I’m using the bathroom?”

Gummy gave his tail a small twitch, which I hoped was affirmative.

“Great, thanks.”

I left the room and headed off to the bathroom.

***

Within 10 minutes, I was gratefully washing off the grime and weariness from yesterday, feeling wholly refreshed and renewed. Since I didn’t have my own toiletries, I’d had to make due with the Cakes’ soap and shampoo. The bottle had said it was for manes, but surely it wouldn’t have any adverse side effects on human hair…right?

For a while, I didn’t want to leave, and just stood under the relaxingly warm water, letting it soothe the aches I’d ignored from all the excitement I had experienced. At last, however, I switched the water off, grabbed a towel from nearby, and, after rubbing myself dry and wrapping it around my waist, I stepped out of the shower.

Good thing, too, for, after a preliminary knock, the door opened, and Mrs. Cake peered in. We were both quite startled. I stumbled back against the tub and nearly toppled back in.

“Oh! Goodness! Dave, I am so sorry!” said Mrs. Cake, shielding her face with her hoof. “I must not have heard the water going.”

“Oh, no, no! It’s not your fault, Mrs. Cake,” I managed to say, feeling like I almost had a heart attack. “I should have remembered to lock the door.”

I internally scolded myself for forgetting this most basic rule of privacy. It would have been a lot more awkward if I had not had my towel on, so I also thanked myself for taking precaution.

“I was just coming up to see if you were awake, dear,” said Mrs. Cake. “Breakfast will be ready shortly.”

“Great! Thanks. Again, sorry about-”

“Oh, no trouble at all. My fault for being a nosey Nellie.”

She laughed good-naturedly, then closed the door behind her. I gave myself a slap in the forehead for being such a forgetful dunce, then, making sure I locked the door this time, I went about getting dressed.

***

As I imagined, it didn’t feel too pleasant having to dress back in used clothes, but I would have to make due for the time being, until Rarity could manage to make me new ones. I figured it would be quite a pricey operation to accomplish, and I’d most definitely need to talk to Pinkie about how bits worked. Whatever the case, I came downstairs, re-dressed, to find the Cakes seated at one of the tables in the main area, enjoying breakfast. Pound and Pumpkin were awake and seated in high chairs, sucking on milk bottles. They stopped drinking to gaze at me with big, curiosity-filled eyes, brown for Pound and blue for Pumpkin.

“Hello there!” I cooed, crouching in front of them. “You must be Pound and Pumpkin.”

They just continued to stare at me in interest, so I pulled a silly face in front of them, hoping to make them laugh. Instead, I felt a sharp pain stab the back of my hand, as if someone had slammed a hammer down on my knuckles. I had leaned my left hand on Pound Cake’s high chair, and he had slapped his two little hooves down on it with incredible force. That must be where the little tyke got his name…

The pained grimace I made seemed to be enough to get them laughing, so I forced a smile.

(Lovely. They’re the kind of babies that laugh at other peoples’ pain…)

“Oh! Morning, Davie!”

I breathed a sigh of relief at this timely diversion. I turned to see Pinkie back out of the kitchen, a stack of pancakes balanced on her back. She slid it off onto a nearby table, then trotted over, grinning.

“Sleep well?” she asked.

“Like a log," I said. "How long have you been up?”

“Since dawn. We’ve got to be up super-duper early to get ready for the morning rush!”

I felt a pang of nervousness at the sound of that, and it must have shown on my face, as she added,

“Don’t worry! We’ve still got time. So, you’ve been playing with Pound and Pumpkin?”

“You could say that,” I said, massaging my sore hand. “Listen, Pinkie, we need to talk seriously for a bit.”

“For a bit? Ooh! Like for a contest? Seems like an itty-bitty prize, but sure, I’ll try!”

I had no idea what she was talking about, but then she lowered her eyebrows in a glare and spoke in a hoarse deadpan.

“You gotta ask yourself, ‘do I feel lucky?’ Well? Do ya, punk?”

She said ‘punk’ with especial emphasis, causing her to spit in my glasses. She continued glaring at me, seriously creeping me out, but couldn’t seem to hold it in for much longer, and burst into a bout of giggles.

“That was fun! Where’s my bit?”

“I don’t have any, Pinkie," I said, dryly, "and that was my point. We need to talk about how I’m going to get by money-wise.”

Her eyes widened in comprehension.

“Ohh! Why didn’t you say so in the first place, silly billy? Have a seat, and we’ll talk!”

She hopped over to one side of the table, and I, rolling my eyes at her antics, sat down opposite her. From there, she doled out heaping piles of pancakes, and we dug in, talking in between bites.

“So, as you already know, Pinkie, I’m broke, and I have no idea how the Equestrian economy works, beyond knowing you use ‘bits’. Do you think you can teach me how to use them?”

“Okie-dokie-lokie!”

From seemingly nowhere, she hauled out a burlap sack that made a loud jangling when it hit the table. My eyes widened at the sight. It was about the size of a grocery bag, but full to bursting with little gold coins. Just the allure of such a bounty of gold would have brought a hoard of ‘49-er miners bursting from the ground with a ‘YEE-HAW!’

“Is that your life savings or something?” I asked.

“Nah, it’s just my month’s salary.”

My jaw dropped.

That's a month’s salary?!”

“Lots of hungry ponies in Ponyville!” said Pinkie, happily. "Plus, some of these are from parties I throw, even though I'm more than happy to do them for free!"

“Sounds like you’ve got a neat and tidy profit going, Pinkie,” I said, impressed.

“You bet!”

“Well, I'm going to need some basic essentials to start off," I said, "like toiletries, but I don't want to have to dip into your money.”

“Aw, don’t worry, silly!" said Pinkie. "I’ll come with you to help you shop! You do the picking, and I’ll do the paying!”

“But, what about the morning rush?" I asked. "Won’t the Cakes need you?”

"Oh, we'll be fine, don't you worry," said Mr. Cake. "She's a big help during the rush, but we can hold down the fort until she gets back."

“So, we’ve got the whole morning to get you squared away,” Pinkie said, then became thoughtful again, “but why would anyone want to be ‘squared’ away? What about ‘circled’ away? Or even ‘triangled’ away?”

I sighed and shook my head, returning to my pancakes.

***

True to her word, as soon as breakfast was over, Pinkie led me out of Sugarcube Corner. She went along at her usual bouncing trot, while I strode alongside her, trying to keep up. Somewhere, a bell tower rang loud and clear, and I looked down at my watch. 8:00.

As if on command, by the bell, the ground began rumbling, and what seemed to be a stampede of ponies began dashing its way toward us. I stepped back, plastering my back against the nearest shop to avoid the incoming mass. Pinkie jumped back as well, but with nothing close to surprise or fear on her face. It seemed that these ponies were all part of the early morning rush for Sugarcube Corner. Pinkie made a rapid-fire hello to all the ponies as they went by, in one continuous stream.

“Hi-Lily-Hi-Daisy-Hi-Rose-Hi-Caramel-Hi-June Bug-Hi-Bon Bon-Hi-Lyra-Hi-Golden Harvest-Hi-Berry Punch-Hi-Shoeshine-Hi-Goldengrape-Hi-Cherry Berry-Hi-Lucky-Hi-Noteworthy-and HELLOOOOOO, Derpy!”

The last came to a stop as Pinkie called her name, and I saw it was indeed Derpy, the wonkey-eyed pegasus from yesterday, though she was walking instead of flying. She spotted us and trotted over with a big grin.

“Morning, Pinkie Pie! Hello, Mr. Dave!”

“Hi again, Derpy,” I said. “Part of the early morning rush, huh?”

“Yeah, but even when I get up early, I’m still behind the rest of the pack,” she said, a bit sheepishly.

“Aw, don’t worry, Derpy. We’ll always have a fresh, hot muffin waiting for you!” said Pinkie.

Derpy’s smile broadened.

“Thanks, Pinkie," she said. "That means a lot. It’s not just the breakfast rush, though. I also need to drop off my little muffin for school before collecting the morning mail.”

I raised an eyebrow. Dropping off a ‘muffin’ for school?

Just then, I saw movement by Derpy’s back legs. A tiny face peered from behind them, then ducked away when they noticed I was looking.

“Who’s that?” I asked.

Derpy followed my gaze and gave a slight chuckle.

“My little muffin.”

She leaned down and said, softly, “It’s ok, Dinky. Come on out. He’s a friend.”

Slowly, very slowly, a little filly, slightly smaller than Apple Bloom, shuffled out from behind Derpy. She was a unicorn, purplish in color, but still had Derpy’s messy blond mane and yellow eyes. She swung one of her forelegs, nervously, looking up at me once before looking away again. She was absolutely adorable, in her shy way. I felt like my heart was either going to melt or burst from my rib cage.

“Hi, Dinky!” cooed Pinkie, leaning down to meet her eye-level.

Dinky looked up with a happy gasp.

“Pinkie!” she chirped, running over to hug her.

Derpy smiled warmly, and I stepped over to stand beside her and watch. The little filly began tickling Pinkie, who wriggled on the ground, laughing.

“Your daughter?” I asked.

“Yeah. She’s seen me through my toughest days on the job. Neither storm nor rain nor heat nor gloom will make me let my little muffin down.”

I couldn’t help feeling a bit of mixed emotions at this. One the one hand, I had no idea Derpy was old enough to have a filly Dinky’s age. Then again, animals did age differently from humans. On the other hand, it was extremely endearing and comforting to know that underneath Derpy’s strange appearance and name, she had a very warm, caring heart. As she didn’t mention a father, however, I didn't think it would be right to bring it up, along with asking the obvious ‘if you’re a pegasus, why is she a unicorn’ question.

“You’re a credit to working mothers, Derpy.”

“Heh. Thanks, Mr. Dave.”

She looked up at me with a kind smile. What interested me, though, was that, at that moment, her eyes were correctly aligned. I returned the smile, and she then returned her attention to the playing ponies.

“Come on, Dinky! We don’t want to be late!”

Pinkie let out a disappointed “aww” as Dinky jumped off of her to rejoin her mother. She nuzzled against her side, and Derpy leaned down to lovingly nose her.

“See you guys later!” she said to us.

“Bye, Derpy!” said Pinkie.

“See you!” I said.

Derpy and Dinky hurried off to rejoin the breakfast rush, and Pinkie returned to my side.

“I have to admit,” I said, “she's full of surprises.”

“What do you mean?”

“I never took her to be a mother, but she’s certainly got the heart for it.”

“Yeah, and don't worry about Dinky. She warms up to new ponies really quickly, once she gets to know them. You'll be friends soon enough!"

"Think so?"

"I know so! Well, come on, Davie! We’ve got shopping to do!”

What else could I do but follow her as she bounced along.

***

Just like Pinkie said, all I had to do was browse around to find what I needed, and she supplied the bits for it, without any reluctance or protestations. The prices were unusually reasonable, too: 2 bits for a bar of soap, 4 for shampoo and hair gel each, 1 for a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste each, 3 for a loofah sponge, 5 for a shaving razor, and 4 for a large bath towel. I guess when you buy with gold, it makes everything seem reasonably priced. I didn’t bother with food shopping, as I was willing to go with whatever Pinkie and the Cakes cooked, and they took regular shopping days every week. So, by the end of an hour, I was comfortably squared away, and I still had until 2 to see Rarity.

Pinkie had actually shown me how ponies carried things around with them: in large saddlebags clasped around the waist, the two bags positioned at the hips. like a fanny pack. They must have seemed fashionable for ponies, but to be honest, I didn't think I could wear them like that. Maybe over the shoulder, like a mailbag? Pinkie had put on her own pair, bright blue with a balloon clasp, and had her money in one bag and my purchases in the other. I insisted on carrying them myself, but she told me it was no big deal. In fact, she went along in her usual way as if she weren’t weighed down at all. I couldn’t help but wonder if the laws of physics simply had any effect on her.

We passed by the Ponyville marketplace as we were coming back. This was where fresh food and flowers were sold in their respective carts and stalls. I could see stands for asparagus, carrots, celery, corn, tomatoes, cherries, practically any food found in the produce section of a grocery store. The one that caught my attention, however, was the apple stand. Standing by it, keeping an eye out for customers as well as watching the supplies, was Big Macintosh, Applejack’s older brother.

“Hi, Big Mac!” said Pinkie.

Big Macintosh looked up and spotted us, giving us a polite nod.

“Hey, Big Macintosh. Everything going good?” I asked.

“Eeyup.”

“Anything big planned for today?”

“Nope.”

“Just market work?”

“Eeyup.”

I felt a bit at a loss for what to say, what with his monosyllabic answers. Big Macintosh hadn’t spoken much yesterday, beyond that one word at brunch, and I could sort of guess he was the type that was more action than words. Still, I wasn’t sure whether it was because he was simple or just shy.

“Did Applejack get home all right?”

“Eeyup.”

“That’s good. I was a bit worried about her, what with that apple-scarfing contest last night. She’s told me you two have been regular rivals at the dinner table, though.”

“Eeyup,” said Big Macintosh, with a grin.

“I sometimes have eating contests with Pound and Pumpkin at lunch time, to see who can eat the fastest!” said Pinkie.

“And how do those go?” I ask.

“Hard to tell. They finish faster, but most of it goes on their faces. Silly foals!”

I chuckled at this.

“Guess they don’t know the rules of the game,” I said.

I looked at Big Macintosh, then at the apples.

“Say, Pinkie, you hungry for an apple?”

“Always!”

“We’ll take two, Big Mac,” I said. "Er, you don't mind me calling you that, do you?"

"Nope."

Big Mac doled out two big juicy apples, and Pinkie dumped 2 bits into the box used for a cash register.

“Thanks. Have a good day, Big Mac.”

“You too, Mr. Dave, Pinkie Pie.”

I gave a start, as these words came at me while our backs were turned. So he could say more than just 'Eeyup' and 'Nope'! Pinkie didn’t seem to notice, and she just trotted on, munching her apple. I whirled around to look at the spontaneously verbal stallion, but he only gave me something like a sly smile, as if he knew he'd just pulled a joke on me, so all I could do was keep going, befuddled.

(One thing’s for sure, these ponies never cease to surprise a person.)

***

As we returned homeward, however, Pinkie looked like something was troubling her.

“What’s wrong, Pinkie?”

“Sorry, Davie. With all that’s happened yesterday, I never got to tell you. I’m going to be super busy today, helping Mr. and Mrs. Cake and looking after the babies. Work really picks up after the morning rush.”

“Oh,” I said.

I was faintly disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to spend the day with Pinkie, but mostly because, so far, she had been my guide as well as my friend. I’d have gotten lost if she hadn’t be there by my side. Still, I was no stranger to disappointment and changes in plans, so I would have to make do with it and respect her schedule.

Seeing the worried look on her face, no doubt at the thought of me taking the news badly, I said, patting her mane consolingly,

“Don’t worry about it. You’ve got a job. I’d be the worst friend in the world if I kept you from that.”

She looked up at me with a grateful smile.

“Thanks, Davie. I was worried you wouldn’t understand.”

“As much as I’d love to be able to spend the day with you, I know you’ve got stuff to do. This could be a great opportunity for me to explore, you know?”

“Yeah! Great idea! Well, I’d better skedaddle. I’ll put your stuff in my room for when you get back.”

“Sounds great. Have a good day, Pinkie.”

“You too!”

After giving me a quick hug, she bounced off towards Sugarcube Corner, humming to herself. I watched her go, until her vivid double shades of pink were out of sight, then looked about at the wide, expansive Ponyville that lay before me. Not one minute in, and already I was lost for options.

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