• Published 15th May 2017
  • 7,532 Views, 108 Comments

The Bartender of Canterlot City - Eggtaro

Max works in a bar in Canterlot City. He gets a bunch of different customers visiting the establishment each night.

  • ...

In Which We Are Introduced to Max and Princess Luna and Some Drinks and the Story Begins

Canterlot City! The capital and crown jewel of Equestria. The city where only the highest of the high-society ponies hail from. The city where one could find sophistication, opportunities, and love all in one place! Truly a splendour for each and every visitor, regardless of where you are from!

Are you a pony of noble-birth? Do you see yourself as a pony of refined taste? Or just another lowly plebeian? Don't worry about it, for we at Canterlot City welcome you all!

Are you perhaps a visitor who only wants to enjoy the best of what Canterlot City has to offer? Have no fear! Join the rest of the elites of Canterlot City in the many grand and sociable events held around our magnificent city!

Place a bet on our heart-stopping, adrenaline-pumping races at the Canterlot Racetrack, or entertain yourself with the many shows and plays at our Royal Theater! If you fancy yourself a pony of culture, then head over to the many art galleries scattered about Canterlot City, owned by several highly-regarded ponies of our society!

But that's not all there is to Canterlot City!

Make a royal visit to Canterlot Castle, maybe you might catch a glimpse of the princesses? Educate yourself at Canterlot Library, and read the works of Star Swirl the Bearded himself! If that isn't your thing, why not treat yourself to a luxurious and simply unforgettable meal at Canterlot's Restaurant Row?

There is indeed much to do, and much to see at Canterlot City. But don't take our word for it, experience the city for yourself! Discover the many hidden wonders Canterlot City has to offer. Who knows? You might spot something we haven't.

So what are you waiting for? Book a ticket for Canterlot City and get on that train now!

Max snorted loudly as he threw away the poorly propaganda-hidden brochure into the nearest garbage can, not even bothering to read the rest of the contents.

"Hidden wonders my ass." he said, making his way down a cold, dark alley. "It's a wonder how this city can still stand with so many snooty ponies wandering about."

Canterlot wasn't as extravagant or wonderful as the brochures and flyers had lied. They were right about the elitism though; the streets, shops and even public toilets were packed with the snobbiest and most smack-able ponies ever. They look at Max with a mix of disgust and horror. As if they've just stepped on to a piece of a manure that was spat out on to the side of the road from some dirty animal's poop-chute.

Money, or 'Bits', was the one and only thing that would make one's life here in Canterlot more bearable. If you are drowning in bits, you can expect the dear citizens of Canterlot to treat you like one of them, their peers, their equal. The lesser you have, however. Well, one could say that even a filthy rat has a better chance than you.

Max arrived at his destination, a tiny lot hidden away from the judging eyes of Canterlot surrounded by the backsides of other buildings. The place had been refurbished a week prior, and almost ready for business.

"My very own bar, huh?" he whispered, looking around him. Compared to the bright, vibrant and sophisticating streets of Canterlot City, the alley Max was in had none of those features. All around him, everything: the buildings, the lamp-posts, the street, even the sky above him seemed to be coloured a gloomy shade of grey.

There were other businesses besides his; a shop he passed by on his way down was selling junk of some kind; another just further down the alley had a strange aroma spewing out of the door--- selling food of some sort, perhaps. And just directly in front him, an elderly pony with a walking cane was setting some poorly decorated flowers on a table right in front of her shop.

"Wonders my ass." said Max, before entering the building.

A pleasant ringing sound could be heard as Max entered. "Looks like that shopkeepers bell is finally up there, huh?" he said to himself, looking up at the door. Sure enough, that was a small silver bell hanging right above him, right where the edge of the door would hit it.

"Is that you, Max?" said a voice when Max closed the door behind him. "I'm at the back. Help me out a bit will, you?"

The voice belonged to his partner, Salt Shaker, a young, ambitious mare with icy white fur and a short mane coloured in white and grey. Max passed a wooden bar counter which have exactly three ugly brown stools placed on top of it. The bar was facing the entrance, and further back was the way to their office, which also acts as their storeroom.

"There you are, Max!" Salt Shaker said with a grin, waving him over with her hoof. "Give me a hoof with this will you?"

"Busy already, Salty?" asked Max. "I thought the bar officially starts tomorrow night."

"The contractors left us quite the mess back there." said Salt Shaker, jerking her head at the office. "Figures. Why wouldn't they leave us with their crap to deal with."

"Because we're not rolling in dough?"

"Aye, we poor folk tend to get the worst of it, eh?"

Max entered the office/storeroom with Salt Shaker. "So, what do you need?"

"I need you to put these boxes---" she pointed at a bunch of heavy looking boxes. "--- and place them waaay up there." she then pointed to a wobbly looking shelf stuffed with miscellaneous items.

"Way up there?" Max gulped, staring fearfully at the top most part of the shelf--- which was two heads above him.

"Waaaaay up there." nodded Salt Shaker, smiling. "I'm no pegasus--- so I can't just fly up there. And I don't have access to magical abilities like the unicorns, so no levitating hocus pocus."

"But you are strong." argued Max, giving Salt Shaker his best pleading look. "Don't all earth-ponies have like, monstrous strength?"

"I, am a maiden, Max. A fragile mare." Salt Shaker pouted at him. "You human males really should spoil us with more love and attention." she teased.

"I'll bring you out on a date at Donut Joe's."

"A proper date, Max." Salt Shaker rolled her eyes at him. "Now hurry up! We got a guest coming in like half and hour!"

Max nearly broke his back as he lifted the first of many boxes from the floor. "G-guest?" he puffed. "But aren't we starting tomorrow night?"

"We are. But this is one guest we can't say no to."

"What, is the dude some sort of VIP?"

"You could say that." Salt Shaker nodded, looking at Max placing the box on the shelf. "I was completely taken by surprise when I got the letter."

"Letter?" asked Max, turning around. "What is this, the old days?" he took a deep breath before he hoisted the next box onto his shoulder. "Why not just send an e-mail or fax?"

Salt Shaker gave him a meaningful look. "We're in Equestria, remember?" she said. "We don't have that technological mumbo-jumbo you humans are so proud of. Besides, we get by well enough. There is no need for your smartphones or fancy computers."

"The future, Salty. It's the future."

"Oh, shut up."

Several minutes of huffing and puffing later, the last of the boxes was neatly tucked away on top of the shelf. The shelf wobbled more than ever before, as if it could go at any second. But Salt Shaker reassured Max that he have no need to fear of it collapsing on to the floor and leaving a chasm behind.

"It's sturdy, Max."

"My ass it is." Max disagreed. "My grandmother's hips are way more sturdier than this unstable piece of furniture."

"It's sturdy, Max. Now stop moving and look over here."

"I'm telling you, Salty. If this thing goes, we're gonna need a looooot of cement just to patch up the crater it's gonna leave---w-what, what are you doing?"

"Stop moving!" said Salt Shaker, grabbing Max's face with one hoof and gently dabbing his forehead with a soft pink handkerchief. "You're sweating all over the place."

Max kept quiet as Salt Shaker continued sucking up his sweat with her handkerchief. Max was taller than most of the ponies in Canterlot--- some even called him names like "Monster" or "Alien". His personal favourite was "The Walking Mountain of Terror". But Salt Shaker had hopped onto their office desk without him noticing, so she was easily at eye-level with him.

He couldn't help but blush as he stared into Salt Shaker's misty-blue eyes, which shone like sapphires even underneath the dim lighting of the office. "Um...you know..."

"What?" asked Salt Shaker, stopping to look at him. "Something wrong?"

"N-nothing! Nothing. It just feels nice, is all." said Max, avoiding her curious stares.

"Oh-ho?" Salt Shaker gave Max a mischievous grin. "Have you perhaps, fallen for me? Did this beautiful mare from an unknown world captured your lonely, pitiful heart?"

"S-Shut up." was all Max could say, blushing. "Just hurry it up. We got a guest, remember?"

"Yeah, yeah." said Salt Shaker, softly wiping Max's nose. "There's no need to be shy, Max. It's totally normal for you to fall for me."

Max snorted and booped Salt Shaker on the snout. "You wish."

With ten minutes left before their guest's arrival, Max went over to the bar counter to check on their alcohol and liquor stock. Since the bar was small, the counter from which Max will serve drinks from had to be made almost minuscule in size. The stretch of wood was long enough to only serve three seated customers at a time. There were no other tables or chairs within the building. Except the office.

"When did these come in?" Max asked, pointing at the bottles of neatly placed spirits on several wall shelves behind him.

"The liquor came in yesterday." said Salt Shaker, popping her head out from the office. "Your mixers and ingredients arrived this afternoon and are underneath the counter inside the mini-bar refrigerator thingy, and that ice-maker machine is just right beside it. Your tools and utensils are inside the drawers."

Sure enough, everything Salt Shaker said was exactly where they should be. "What would I ever do without you, Salty." he said gratefully.

"Die, perhaps." said Salt Shaker nonchalantly, before disappearing back into the office. "Good thing you have me as a partner."

"Well, everything seems to be in working order." said Max, pleased with his working space. "You want me to mix you a drink?"

Salt Shaker appeared instantly with a huge grin on her face. "Thought you'll never ask!" she said, setting down the three ugly brown stools on the floor and hopping on to one of them. "Give me something nice, o' bartender!" she said, banging the counter top with her hoof. "But make it a non-alcoholic one. Our special guest will be arriving anytime soon."

"You never did say who was coming." said Max curiously. "Is it someone I know?"

Salt Shaker shook her head. "I doubt it. Not unless you had read that book about Equestrian history that I lent you." she looked at Max with inquisitive eyes. "You do still have the book, don't you?"

Max forced a laugh which died away soon after. "A-anyway." he said quickly, avoiding the subject. "Can I get you anything specific?"

Salt Shaker frowned at him, not happy with how he dodged her question. "You know I'm not yet familiar with your human drinks, Max." she said. "Why don't you surprise me?"

"If the mare insist." said Max, stretching his fingers and body. "Non-alcoholic right?"

"Yes please!" Salt Shaker smiled. "So, what are you gonna make me?"

"I thought you wanted me to surprise you?" Max asked, smiling playfully. "Just sit that beautiful rump of yours down on that stool and be prepared to be amazed!"

Salt Shaker blushed but watched as Max pulled out ingredients and things for which she has never seen before in Equestria from underneath the counter. She recognized some of the things, but the rest were completely alien to her.

"Mint leaves, lime juice, brown sugar..." said Salt Shaker as Max neatly arranged each of the items on the counter top. "Club soda?" she raised her eyebrows. "Rum extract?" she read slowly off a tiny glass bottle's label. "What is this stuff?"

"Club soda is just carbonated water. Stuff that will blow your mind, if use correctly." said Max, picking up the mint leaves. "I'm going to make you a Nojito."

"A no-what?"

"Nojito. It's a non-alcoholic version of the original cocktail, the Mojito."

"A mo-what?"

Max shook his head. "Never mind."

Salt Shaker couldn't help but stare open-mouthed as Max began combining the ingredients together right before her very eyes.

"What are you doing?" she asked, unable to hold her curiosity in any longer.

Max placed a glass in front of him "I'm gonna use this---" he pulled out a wooden stick, shaped like a thin pestle, and less than half a length of a rolling pin, and showed it to her. "--- a muddler. You use this like you would a pestle, but instead of mashing stuff---" he plucked a few pieces of mint before dropping the leaves into the glass. "--- you apply pressure with it which helps releases the flavour from your ingredients."

"Once the mint's been nicely muddled, you add a dash of lime juice." he poured a slightly greenish liquid into the glass. "A teaspoon of rum extract, two teaspoons of brown sugar, ice, and lastly, the club soda."

He added the ingredients as he said all this, and when the glass was nearly filled to the brim with carbonated water, Max took out a straw and gave the concoction a good stir with it. As the ingredients blended and came together, Max garnished the glass with a sprig of mint.

"There you go. One Nojito." he said, pushing the glass towards Salt Shaker, who stared at her drink without a word. "I'd normally prefer mine with actual alcohol in it, but hey, that's just my opinion." he mumbled.

Salt Shaker gave the Nojito a curious look. "Is it good?"

"Darling, I only serve the best." replied Max. "Well, the best from whatever we have here in the bar, that is." he added.

Salt Shaker sniffed at her glass of Nojito before slowly biting on to the straw. She sucked, allowing the mixture to enter her mouth, to flood her tongue with an unknown flavour.

A refreshing, almost soothing sensation rushed down Salt Shaker's throat and spread throughout her body as she swallowed the liquid down. It felt as if she had just hopped into a tub filled with ice, surrounded by mint leaves.

Max wondered if Salt Shaker was having a seizure. For she was twitching with her eyes closed as she sipped away on her Nojito with a silly smile on her face. Too much lime juice, perhaps? Max asked himself.

"What do you think?" he asked after a while.

"This is amazing, Max!" exclaimed Salt Shaker, sucking out every drop from her glass. "My first drink from the human world and it taste so good! The subtle sourness from the lime, and that unmistakable taste of sweetness! All of which is then mixed together with the refreshing freshness of mint leaves? Excellent! Simply wonderful!"

"Glad you like it." Max grinned. "Would still prefer the alcohol one though." he muttered.

"Maybe next time, Max." said Salt Shaker. "But still, that was amazing! I've never tasted anything like it before!"

"I bet this beats drinking apple cider, huh?"

"You wish. Apple cider will always have a place in my heart." said Salt Shaker, touching her chest tenderly. "But, I must say, all those rumours I've heard about how your world's drinks are totally different from ours, seems to be holding true."

"Yeah, but what you've tasted is just the beginning. Wait till I mix you this one drink that will totally blow your mi---"

Three heavy knocks suddenly came pounding down on the door, making them jump. KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!

"Omigosh!" said Salt Shaker, glancing at the nearby clock on the wall and jumping off her stool. "She's here!"


"Our guest! She's really here!"

Salt Shaker nervously patted down her mane as she quickly made her way towards the door. "How do I look?" she asked, turning around to face Max. "Is my mane okay? What about my fur, is it dirty?"

Max shrugged at her. "You look just fine to me." he said.

"Alright, alright, deep breaths, deep breaths." Salt Shaker muttered. She gave Max another glance. "You ready for this?"

Max stepped out from behind the bar. "I guess." He did not understand what the whole fuss was about. Just who could this mysterious guest be? Why was Salt Shaker acting all nervous? "Let's get this over with."

Salt Shaker nodded, and opened the door. "Welcome to---"

She slammed the door shut before their guest could even take one step into the bar. "Crapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrap..." she started muttering under her breath. Max raised a confused eyebrow at her.

"What on earth are you doing?"

"The name!" said Salt Shaker, shaking her head furiously, hooves in her mane. "I've forgotten all about our bar's name!"

"What about it?"

"We don't have one!"


Max made his way towards Salt Shaker, sighing. "We can think about that later, Salty. I think welcoming our guest is more important than that right now."

Salt Shaker smacked Max's hand away before his fingers could even graze the door's handle. He stared at her.

"We can't let her in without a name for our bar, Max!" she whispered, pulling Max down to her level by the ear. "We have to make a first good impression!"

"Yeah, I'm sure slamming the door right in our guest's face is a terrific way to start the night, Salty." said Max sarcastically, wriggling himself free from Salt Shaker's grasp and standing back up. "I bet that door slamming gave us like, what? Fifty points?"


"Crapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrap..." Salt Shaker muttered again, pacing back and forth, scratching her head. "The princess is going to have my head for this!"

"Woah, woah, woah. Did I hear you wrongly?" Max asked, grabbing Salt Shaker by the hoof and stopping her. "Princess? Our guest is a princess?"


Salt Shaker nodded.

"Dude. That's sick." said Max. "A real princess, inside our bar? We'll be the talk of the entire city!"

"Yes, but unless we can come up with a name this instant, being the talk of the city will be the last thing on our minds."

"I thought princesses were all, you know, benevolent and stuff." said Max, gently shoving Salt Shaker aside. "We can just tell her we haven't came up with one yet."

"No, no, no!" Salt Shaker shouted, jumping and putting herself between Max and the door. "We must think of a name now!"


"Now, Salty." said Max, sternly, like he was talking to a little kid. "Quit acting like a big baby and let the princess in this instant!" Max tried to move Salt Shaker by grabbing her by the waist, but she slipped her way out from his fingers like butter.

"Back where I'm from, last thing you wanna do is to keep a member of royalty waiting!" Max panted, as he made another grab at Salt Shaker.

"NO!" she yelled. "And just where are you touching me?"

"Sorry! Sorry! Didn't mean to grab that!"

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! The knocks were getting more heavier now, and impatient.

"OPEN THIS DOOR RIGHT NOW, SALTY!" yelled Max, starting to get frustrated at his partner.

"NOOOO!" Salt Shaker yelled back, pressing her hooves into Max's face, struggling to keep her back towards the door. "I will hold this door even if it kills me! YOU HEAR ME, MAX? I WILL HOLD THIS DOO---"


A loud, thunderous shockwave came blasting through the door, effectively blowing Max, Salt Shaker, and the door away.

"WHAT THE FU---" Max started as he flew back into the wall, but was interrupted by an even louder voice, which almost ruptured his eardrums.

"HOW DARE YOU MAKE ME WAIT, PEASANTS!" rumbled a monstrous voice, causing the whole bar to quaked violently. "I AM THE PRINCESS OF THE NIGHT! AND I DEMAND TO BE SEATED AT ONCE!"

The thundering voice was so loud even the ceiling above them started to shake, covering both Max and Salt Shaker in white dust. Max coughed and wheezed as he squinted through his dust-covered eyes to see who their mysterious screamer was.

There, right at the now doorless entrance, stood a pony Max has never seen before. Her mane was a mix of different shades of blue. But what caught Max's eye about her mane was that it seemed translucent. Her mane was rippling, and sparkling before Max's very eyes. Her magnificent coat was painted a dark, blueish colour. Her very presence strongly reminded Max of the night sky, along with the moon and stars.

Salt Shaker whimpered beside Max, who landed on his lap when she flew backwards from the shockwave. "P-P-P-Princess Luna!" she squeaked, struggling to stand back up as she disentangled herself from Max. She dusted herself off before breaking into a smile that did not match her eyes, which were filled with terror. "W-w-welcome to our bar!"