• Published 2nd Mar 2017
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Land of Equines - Daddy Joe

Who would've thought that being at the wrong place at the wrong time would bring something so surreal.

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The Numbers

The Numbers
April 2nd, 2014

"Man, I've never felt this famous before." Rainbow jokingly boasted as the girls, Spike, Bridgette, and I walked the streets of Ponyville en-route to Sugarcube Corner to treat ourselves to some baked goods for breakfast.

"Haven't you always been this famous?" I said, tugging on Bridgette's leash to keep her from being distracted by the crowd.

"Not on this level, Caleb." Rainbow replied, striking some mid-air poses.

But really, the attention was predominately towards Twilight, who is now, in fact, the fourth alicorn princess in Equestria. I couldn't believe it myself when I first laid eyes on Twilight newly gained wings and learned that she has earned the title on being the Princess of Friendship. I honestly thought I was dreaming for a few minutes, but it definitely suits her well for her passion on learning the values of friendship whilst essentially being the embodiment of an ancient artifact. But like I said, everypony is taking Twilight's position with great interest.

After walking further ahead and stopping a few times to talk to some of the neighbors, we came up to the bakery that gave off that familiar, sweet scent.

"Woo-wee! Look at that nose go." Applejack referred to Bridgette's nose going a thousand miles an hour.

"Yeah, she can pick up any kind of scent. I told you about the bag of bits, right?" I said.

"Sure did. Winona's decently fair at sniffing all kinds of treasures out, but she's more of a herding dog than a hunting dog." Applejack replied.

"Perhaps you and Bridgette can assist me in my gem hunting, don't you think?" Rarity said.

"Do gems have a scent to them?" I asked.

"Everything has a scent, though they are most very subtle." Twilight said.

"Buuuut, what you're smelling right now isn't subtle at all." Pinkie said, her tongue lolling out and a strand of drool dripping out while in a dreamy trance in regards to the freshly baked goods.

"So it seems." Twilight agreed.

Leaving Bridgette tied out by the Sugarcube Corner sign, we followed behind Pinkie as she floated up the bakery's front steps, still in her trance induced state. Once inside, Pinkie's gravity came back on, or something, and stood across from the front desk.

"Hiya, Mr. Cake!" Pinkie cheerfully greeted.

"Hello again, Pinkie Pie. Oh, and I see you've brought our new princess in today." Carrot Cake said, taking a short bow.

"Thank you, Mr. Cake." Twilight acknowledged with a smile.

"Are you liking your new position as the Princess of Friendship?" Cup Cake asked Twilight as she walked into the room.

"Indeed I am. However, I will admit that I haven't really done much yet besides gaining in public relations and attending my summit in the Crystal Empire, which is just tomorrow." Twilight replied.

"Oh, how exciting!" Cup Cake said.

"This is only just the beginning so far. But, the only real gripe I have is getting used to my new wings." Twilight said, her left wing instantaneously popping straight outwards that emitted a flapping sound.

Rainbow Dash sniggered. "We really need to get that under control."

"Yeah. Definitely..." Twilight mumbled as she readjusted her wing and ruffled the lavender feathers.

After the conversation, we all sat down at a nearby table and chowed down on some delicious treats. I myself had a couple slices of strawberry swirl cheesecake, which is the best kind of cake, no debate needed. Out of everypony, I was seated by a window that was to my right as I sat on a peculiar small chair. While eating, my attention was initially directed towards Bridgette due to her sudden barking fit.

"What's she barking at?" Spike asked me, chewing on a donut.

Bridgette stood by the sign with her leash unhooked, staring directly at me as she continued to bark with vigor in her tone.

"At me, by the looks of it. And her leash is loose," I said, getting up from the chair and walking outside to Bridgette to coax her. "C'mere, baby girl."

However, Bridgette continuously barked at the window, staring upwards as if she was focusing on something.

"Do you need some help?" Fluttershy offered.

"I'll get her. Bridgette, come. Come here, Bridgey" I commanded while getting closer to her.

When I was just about to hook the leash onto her purple collar, Bridgette turned the opposite direction and sprinted to the other side of the street. She remained staring up, but her head was lowered, her ears flat behind her head, and her tail tucked in between her hind legs.

"Bridgette, no, no, no, no!" I called out, chasing after the speedy dog.

As if this was a game, she quickly sprinted to the end of the street. I may be fast, but Bridgette was faster in terms of agility. I've honestly never seen ten year old dog book it that quick.

"Bridgette, come here. I ain't playin'!" I shouted, getting a little frustrated.

Fluttershy then came to my side to offer her assistance. "Try not to get too mad at Bridgette. Dog's are know to sense negative emotions." Fluttershy informed.

"I've heard about that. See if you can get her over here." I said.

Fluttershy nodded, proceeding forwards for a short distance. "Bridgette, be a good girl and come to Caleb. If you come, we'll be sure to give you a treat."

And just like that, Bridgette started trotting towards us, but in a diagonal form while still staring upwards. She was so close, but Bridgette suddenly made an immediate one-eighty and just ran away as fast as she could down the street and turned left.

"Argh. Looks like I'm gonna have to go after her." I said, beginning the chase.

"Leave that to me, Caleb. This pooch is coming to you wether she likes it or not." Rainbow said as she triumphantly flew upwards to get an aerial view for Bridgette.

It only took a moment, but Rainbow locked onto Bridgette and began to slowly descend to retrieve the dog.

"Would've sent you up there, but, y'know." I teased Twilight as she approached me.

"Oh yeah, sure, sure. I'm taking this as a new punchline?" Twilight vexed.

"Depends on how long it goes on for." I said, smugly smiling and receiving a raised eyebrow from Twilight.

Just then, all of us could hear the faint, ambiguous cry of Rainbow Dash in the distance. We all looked at each other for a few seconds before running off in the direction where Rainbow could be heard. We ended up near the north entrance of the town square, where we discovered Rainbow Dash writhing on her side.

"What happened?" Twilight asked.

"Are you okay? Where did Bridgette go?" I asked, panting.

"She went off that way. Probably in the Everfree by now." Rainbow said, followed by a groan.

"Crap." I grumbled.

Upon closer inspection, Rainbow Dash's back and wing muscles were visibly contracting at a ferocious pace.

"Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch!" Rainbow Dash repeated as she tried to reach for her back.

"Lie still. This'll help soothe the cramps." Fluttershy said, rubbing her hooves along Rainbow's back while Twilight applied a cooling agent with her magic.

A few minutes passed as I wandered around the square before regrouping with the gang.

"I couldn't find Bridgette. Did you just cramp up all of a sudden, or what?" I said.

"I guess so. I was right on top of her, and I would've got her, but my whole back just cramped up and I couldn't fly anymore." Rainbow explained, moving her wings again.

"Crash and burned." Pinkie said.

"Exactly." Rainbow said.

"Can you fly now?" Twilight asked.

"I don't mean to sound like a wussy, but I think I'll stay on the ground for a little bit. They're still cramping, but not as bad as when they started." Rainbow replied.

"Bridgette's a slippery dog. Thanks for the help anyways." I said.

"What shall we do now?" Rarity asked.

"We gotta find Bridgette. Odds are that Rainbow is correct because the Everfree Forest is literally right across from that stone bridge." I said, pointing at the bridge that acts as one of the south entrances for both Ponyville and the forest.

"Perhaps we should split up. Fluttershy and I will act as air coverage while the rest of you head up the path that leads to Sweet Apple Acres. You said Bridgette never goes into the forest alone, right?" Twilight said.

"Oh yeah, she knows that she can't go in without me. She's like a child who can't talk." I replied.

"Good. Then this should be easy." Twilight said.

"You sure you're up for flying?" Applejack asked Twilight.

"It didn't exactly go so well the last time." Spike added.

"Of course. I mean, as long as I don't go extraordinarily fast." Twilight replied.

"If you insist." Spike said.

We've been walking for so long. Despite Twilight and Fluttershy's aerial efforts over the Everfree Forest, they were unable to locate my dog. The forest's foliage was starting to become more denser or thick, so we had to of been in the Batchu territories by now, which is eight miles south of Ponyville, but we didn't care. We all had the will to find Bridgette and bring her safely home. And eventually, we did find Bridgette.

"Hey, I think I see Bridgette, ya'll! Straight ahead" Applejack alerted, perking us all up.

I squinted my eyes and there stood a dark-brown Labrador Retriever, facing the opposite direction. Before I could run up to her, she made a left turn and trotted into the harshly dense and dark forest.

"Bridgette, no! No! No!" I hollered, now sprinting after her and stopping at the edge of the entrance.

"Did she go in?" Twilight asked, worryingly.

"She did. Ugh, that foolish dog." I replied.

"Well maybe she went inside that random, creepy building." Pinkie pointed out.

Out of some fucking coincidence, we all ended up near the house with the symbols from last August, illuminated by the sunlight. Strange that it was still up because Night Hunter said he would have a demolition crew destroy it, but what do I know?

"Oh. That could be a possibility. What do you think, Caleb?" Twilight asked me.

"Man, I really don't want to go inside that house, but we gotta check." I said.

With that, we headed for the house. Although I stressed it earlier, the forest wasn't completely pitch black, but more dimly lit due to the pockets of sunlight beams that would shine through the leaves.

"Weird how the tree's near the house have died off." Twilight noted the bare tree's.

"I find it rather spooky." Fluttershy said.

"So do I. This place looks absolutely horrid! I dread for what it looks like from the inside." Rarity said.

The front door was wide open just for us, so we just simply stepped into the dark living room. Twilight used her horn light the room was a whitish-purple glow.

"Wow. This.... is hideous." Rarity said.

"Could be worse." Pinkie said, optimistically.

It appeared that nature had started claim the house as its own. The exterior was covered with vines and leaves and various debris scattered the living room and kitchen. Water damage was prominent and water flooded the kitchen because of the holes in the roof that offer some sunlight to come in. Overall, it was more decrepit and rundown. The kicker is when Rarity shrieked to the sight of rats and moles scurry across the living room carpet.

"Well that's just nice. They've burrowed into the carpet." Spike noticed.

"Be sure not to step in. They like to nibble." Applejack whispered, causing Rarity to shiver.

"Bridgette!" I called out, but to no avail. "Hmm. Alright let's split up. Twilight and I will head down to the room where all the symbols are, Rarity and Fluttershy will check the kitchen, Pinkie and Applejack will cover the adjacent hallway right over there, and Rainbow, you just guard the door incase Bridgette runs out."

We all agreed with out assigned locations and continued the search for Bridgette.

"So, is this the room you were talking about?" Twilight asked as we walked into the bedroom with all the weird symbols.

"This is the one," I replied, checking the bedroom's bathroom, but found nothing but an empty toilet and shower. "Do you happen to know what these symbols mean by any chance?"

"Uh, I can't really say I do. I've never seen these in all my life," Twilight said, perplexed by the symbols. "Did you check if Bridgette was in the closet?"

"No," I replied, looking at the slightly open sliding closet door.

What I discovered when I slid the closet open truly surprised me. Upon opening, I remained quiet and motionless when I saw sets of small numbers scattered across the white wall of the closet. The most eerie part about this sight is that they appeared to be scratched or etched in because I could see tiny wooden slivers poking out of the numbers.

"Twilight, there's freaking numbers sketched into the wall in here." I said.

Twilight trotted over to the closet and shined her horn's light to get a better look.

"That is weird. Who would put these in here and what do they mean?" I asked.

"Previous owner, maybe." I guessed.

As Twilight and I continued to check out the set of numbers, we both heard Pinkie Pie gagging and coughing from entering the mildew infested bathroom on the other side of the house, so that got me an idea.

"Pinkie Pie, we need your assistance in here." I called out.

Pinkie Pie zipped down the hallway and to the closet in no time.

"What can I help you with, Caleb Barlow?" Pinkie chirped.

"I need you to give me a notepad and a pen. Got any of that in your hair?" I asked.

"Let me check," Pinkie replied, shuffling the inside of her hair. "I defiantly have a notepad, but only a pencil because pen ink gets in my hair. Hope you don't mind."

"I don't really care. Thanks, Pinkie." I said as I began to write down the sets of numbers into the notepad.

"So, what's the deal with these numbers? What do they mean?" Pinkie asked.

"I'm not sure, but I bet Twilight and I will have an answer on that matter later on." I replied, still writing.

About five or so minutes passed before I had all the numbers written down, taking up three pages of the notepad.

"That's all of them. We'll have to look at these later, but first we need to find Bridgette." Twilight said.

"Yep. Has anypony found Bridgette at all?" I called out from the bedroom, only to receive replies of no luck. I let out a sigh of anxiety. "Ugh, I can't believe I lost her.

"Don't feel so hard on yourself, Caleb. We'll find her soon enough." Twilight assured.

As Twilight and I exited the master bedroom, the sound of scraping against a wooden surface randomly came from our right. Turning the corner, the source was coming from behind the basement door.

"You need help getting the door open?" I asked, assuming one of the mare's shut the door on themselves.

Either way, I opened the door and there stood Bridgette, waiting for us at the top step of the broken staircase. Looking terrified, Bridgette hid behind my legs with her back arched up and Twilight let out a gasp. The white walls were spattered with brownish stains that appeared to run down like liquid.

"Caleb, that's dried blood." Twilight said, concerned.

"Blood?!" I exclaimed, checking Bridgette for any injuries.

The single word got the attention of everypony inside the house and we all crowded around the entrance of what was left of the basement that smelled of metal.

"Oh, what the heck!" Rainbow stifled in disgust.

"Good heavens! What has happened here?" Rarity exclaimed.

"I don't know, but I think we'd best be leaving soon." Applejack added with wide eyes.

"Yeah, I think so, too. We found Bridgette, so let's just get out of here!" Spike said as I held Bridgette in my arms.

"Oh, thank goodness! Poor little baby looks scared to death." Fluttershy remarked as she rubbed Bridgette's head while I quietly calmed Bridgette.

"Alright, let's just go. Twilight, you can teleport us back to Ponyville, right?" I asked.

"Y-yeah, just a moment." Twilight stuttered.

Twilight's horn glowed a bright white for a split second before we all instantly ended up back in the town square of Ponyville, now far from the grim house and back with Bridgette.

6:33 PM

Before I head out for my Everfree Forest patrol, I made sure to take the time with Twilight to dechipher what the number meant. Oh, and Bridgette is actually doing much better now, almost as if nothing ever happened earlier, but what I really want to share is our findings. It isn't much, but it's something.

So first of all, the pair of numbers usually came in sets of six or seven. For example, one of the sets was 5191870 and another was 861945. So, Twilight made the conclusion that these pairs of numbers were actually just dates, minus the forwards slashes that would indicate the month, day, and year. So really, 5191970 would be corrected to 5/19/1970. At that point, it all made sense, so Twilight and I grabbed a sheet of paper and restored the dates to hopefully get some answers. Once the dates were completed, we both dug into the history books of Equestria to find the said dates, but none of the dates correlated with the historic texts. So in the end, we have the numbers, but no answers so far and are stumped. If I had a way to look them up, that would probably help us greatly. Anyways, I'll put them down in chronological order:

January 3rd, 1
March 7th, 1662
March 8th, 1662
March 9th, 1662
October 31st, 1869
May 19th, 1870
December 18th, 1878
April 20th, 1889
August 27th, 1906
May 15th, 1926
May 18th, 1927
November 12th, 1934
October 16th, 1936
March 17th, 1942
August 6th, 1945
November 24th, 1946
September 15th, 1959
February 29th, 1960
May 21st, 1960
July 18th, 1984
August 20th, 1994
April 19th, 1995
April 20th, 1999
September 11th, 2001
April 16th, 2007
December 14th, 2012
April 15th, 2013

That is how far the dates went. I'm still very confused about the first date, though, with the year gap and everything.

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