• Published 11th Aug 2017
  • 2,244 Views, 420 Comments

Princess Cadance's Lonely Hearts Club Land - kudzuhaiku

Look at all of the lonely ponies, where do they all come from? Furious Funnel comes from Appleloosa, and he's looking for somepony to be with him when he's sixty four.

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Chapter 2

There was an advantage to having a whole lot of nothing: one didn’t need very long to pack and be on their way. Everything Furious owned fit into a rucksack that could be hung from his neck. A fancy medal from Princess Luna for bravery. Another medal from Princess Celestia for valour, because he had risked his life to save another. These were things he didn’t know what to do with—it felt wrong to just throw them away—so he was forever burdened with the task of their safekeeping. There was a small framed photo of his mother, Cloud Cusser, a pony he hadn’t seen in quite some time. He missed his mother, and of course he loved her, but she was away, so far away, doing convoy protection work in the E.U.P. Guard.

Furious Funnel came from a long, long line of angry, ornery ponies that took no guff.

The train was packed with ponies, perhaps too many ponies, most of whom were heading north for the very same reason he was. Some were flirting with one another—there were many friendly exchanges—while others huddled in their seats, terrified. Furious kept his oilskin bucket hat, an uncommon and strange choice of headwear for a pony from Appleloosa, pulled down low over his eye and did his best to pay the crowd no attention. Like him, his hat was battered and had seen better days. The sagging brim did a good job of shading his surviving eye and after many years of wear, it fit his head like nothing else.

There were a surprising number of foals on the train and Furious reckoned that quite a few of them would be meeting a new mother or a new father soon. He made no judgments, as he too was desperate, and deep within his heart in a place where only alicorn princesses might see, he felt bad for them. His own father was an unknown pony, his mother had never told him who, only that he was a pegasus in the guard. Growing up without two parents was a troubling, lonesome affair, and Furious’ heart held faint hope that these foals would luck out.

Everybody deserved a break at least once in their lives.

“You’re the Pinto Pummeller,” a shrill, squeaky voice said off to his left.

Turning his head towards the aisle, he reached up and pushed his hat up from his eye. Standing in the aisle was a little pegasus filly who appeared to be about the age of five. By the looks of it, her body hadn’t quite figured out what to grow first, and she was deep into that awkward stage that some ponies had the misfortune of having. In reference to her statement, Furious made no denial.

“I watched a movie about you,” the filly said and it was clear that she was having trouble containing her excitement.

“And how’d you know it was me?” Furious asked.

The filly’s eyes bulged at the sound of his voice. “One brown wing, one white wing, and an almost heart-shaped brown spot on your neck. Also, your brown eyepatch, but I don’t wanna be rude. I’m sorry.”

“Alright, ya got me.” Furious’ mustache bristled, evidence that he was smiling.

“In the movie you fought two owlbears. It was amazing! Mama almost didn’t let me watch because she said it was too scary for foals.”

At this, Furious chuckled and watched as the filly scooted out of the way so somepony else could continue down the aisle. “In real life, it was three, and I had my friend Braeburn there with me, along with Silverstar. It was a real slobberknocker of a fight.”

“Can I get your autograph?” the filly asked, coming right out and saying what it was that she wanted. Her head vanished into her satchel, which hung from her neck, and when she came out again, there was a small journal held in her mouth. In the spine of the journal was a wooden handled ink pen.

“Vireo, don’t be a pest,” a mare across the aisle said in an embarrassed voice.

The filly spit out her journal onto the bench beside Furious and turned to face the mare that had spoken. “I’m being polite, Mama, now don’t ruin this for me and I won’t ruin what you have planned!”

Looking mortified, the mare just sat there, stunned, and Furious began to chuckle while he picked up the filly’s journal. With his wings, he opened it up to the very back and saw a few other names back there, one of them being Rainbow Dash. Another was Princess Twilight Sparkle, written in big, scribbly letters. Plucking out the pen, he pulled off the cap, held the pen in his primaries, and scribbled his name, along with a note so the filly would remember him.

When he was done, he it held up for her to inspect.

“Furious Funnel,” she read, wide-eyed and astonished. “Don’t sass your ma.” Blinking, it took several seconds for the fact that she had another famous pony’s autograph to settle in. “Oh, thank you, I’ll be good, I promise! Mama says I’ll be getting a daddy soon.”

When the filly’s eyes narrowed and a shrewd look appeared on her face, Furious already knew what she was after, and he cut her off. “Nope. Don’t even think about it, ya adorable little button. Now go and sit with yer ma and stay out of the way. The train is busy.”

“Aw…” Sighing in defeat, the filly took back her journal, tucked it away in her satchel, and retreated, smiling and hopeful in a way that only the very young could somehow manage. “Thanks, Mister Funnel!”

Watching the jubilant filly as she returned to her mother, Furious reflected on his problem. He could talk to fillies, well, foals really, but once they got to a certain age, the age where they became distracting to look at, he was all too often tongue tied and nothing worthwhile could be coaxed from his mouth. Like the nice mare that worked in the telegraph office as a clerk. He had gone in there many times on business and everything had been just fine, but the one time he went in there with something else on his mind, he had made a fool of himself.

Now, he wrote his mother letters like a sensible pony, and there was no more of this newfangled telegraph stuff making his life complicated.

Furious had waited for most of the car to clear out before he made his exit. Slipping out of the door, he avoided the over-crowded train station platform by flying away. With a few flaps, he was overhead, stretching his wings, and free of the crowd, at least for a while. Another train could be seen on the horizon, and it too, was loaded down with ponies, no doubt. There were so many bodies packed onto the platform that there was an updraft, and by angling his wings, Furious was able to take advantage of it, slight as it was.

He circled overhead, watching as the sea of equinity below rippled and swelled like ocean waves. There were other pegasus ponies up here with him, though not many. For whatever reason, many were content to walk among the herd. Squinting with his one good eye, he began to look about, trying to figure out where to go next.

A wide, white banner with bright red lettering read, “Registration.”

That seemed like the place to go, but first, Furious hoped for a bite to eat and something cold to drink. Any cafes or shops around here were likely to be packed and his options for a quiet meal seemed non-existent. This was regrettable, but also unavoidable. Such was the nature of his situation.

Off in the distance, away in a vast green field, several pavilions had been erected in preparation for the festivities to come. Scanning his surroundings, he saw a makeshift field kitchen being set up, along with a plentiful number of watering stations. Most curious of all was the sign he saw, which appeared to be magic; it had enormous glowing pink numbers that read, “762.”

After a few moments, the sign changed and now read, “763.”

No doubt that when he registered, that sign would be one number higher.

Much to his surprise and good luck, Furious found a rooftop cafe accessible to pegasus ponies. There were quite a few crystal pegasus ponies wearing armor here, no doubt taking a much-needed break. They didn’t seem too bothered by his presence, but Furious remained, quiet, calm, and polite. One mare in armor was quite a looker and it was a struggle not to stare while thinking terrible, lurid thoughts.

She appeared to be transparent, so would he see himself inside of her?

“What’ll it be, dustpuncher?” the waiter asked in deadpan while he stood near the table, waiting.

Without even looking at his menu, Furious responded, “A half a dozen grilled cheese sandwiches, a chopped salad with vinegar and sweet oil, and the soup of the day.” Furious blinked, squinted at his somewhat snooty waiter, and then smiled his terrific smile. “Also, I’ll take a half a dozen Luna~Colas, one for each sandwich.”

“A light meal for the dustpuncher.” The waiter’s eyebrow arched and he bowed his head somewhat. “The soup du jour comes with roasted garlic breadsticks.”

“I’ll take those too.”

“Fantastic, sir. I’ll inform the kitchen at once. Thank you. So many ponies just don’t know what to order.” The corner of the waiter’s mouth curled into something that was almost, but not quite, a smile. “This has been a trying day, sir.”

“I’d imagine.” Furious liked the waiter, who dared to show a little humour, and planned to make a nice tip. He leaned back in his chair a bit, rested one foreleg against the small bistro table, and took off his hat while the waiter darted away.

Off in the distance, the second train was pulling into the station, and Furious expected that the numbers on the sign would grow by a good bit in the next few hours. He would need lodging of some sort, but if nothing worthwhile and reasonable could be found, he knew that he could sleep out under the stars.

“This’ll be a big one,” one of the guards said to another, “but nothing like the spring.”

“We don’t talk about the spring,” another guard replied.

“What happened during the spring?” the distracting mare in armor asked.

“Over twenty-five hundred ponies, that’s what happened.” One of the crystal pegasus ponies began to tap on his helmet with his iron-shod hoof. “The population is growing out of control, it’s crazy. There are so many ponies now… more than I would have ever imagined in existence. How’s a pony supposed to find a mate in all this noise?”

“I’m not even going to bother,” the mare said. “I joined a breeding program. I got too many memories of what happened back when King Sombra was in charge. I like my freedom too much to give it up.”

“Hey, you need a donor?”

“Don’t make me punch you in the face, Boreal—”

“Woah, woah, woah! I didn’t mean it like that, you know I respect you, Icy.”

Furious found himself laughing and he covered his mouth with his hoof. The waiter was already returning, carrying a tray loaded with Luna~Colas, a glass filled with ice, and some breadsticks. Everything was transferred from the tray to the table, and then the waiter left in silence, doing his job with minimal fuss.

“You’d actually do that for me, Boreal? As friends? No strings attached? No expectations?”

“Icy Even, haven’t we been friends?” the pegasus asked while he leaned over to get a little bit closer. “We both suffered under that monster and I did my best to protect you—”

“And if you think that gives you rights, I’ll punch you in the face.”

“She’s skittish,” another guard said, “and eager to punch somepony in the face.”

“You! Shut your face! She has a right to be skittish after what was done. You stay out of this, Private.” Turning his head, he bared his teeth at the other pegasus who had spoken.

“Sorry, Captain.”

Grabbing a bottle of Luna~Cola, Furious poured it into his glass and thought about the camaraderie of the guard even as he tuned out their conversation. He knew what had happened in this place, even if he only knew a little of the whole story, and he understood the evil that King Sombra had done. Getting worked up over it would do no good. Wrapping his lips around his straw, he took a long, refreshing drink of the dark purple liquid.

A dreadful thought lurked in the back of his mind: what if he was paired with a mare who had been abused? Who had suffered? One who had been hurt or harmed in some way? Would such a mare even come looking for a husband in an event like this? She might, he determined, she might if she felt like damaged goods and was trying to move past that somehow. It was rare for Furious to suffer moments of complex introspection, when he had them…

Hoo-doggy, sometimes his own thoughts could lay him low.

He wasn’t the shiniest peanut to be found in the turd, nor was he the yellowest bit of corn, but his mother and his aunt had raised him with some awareness of others. Being a pegasus, it went along with his need to protect, to defend from all harm, including threats within the herd. Before he could suffer distressing thoughts about his mother, his father, and the nature of his conception, Furious forced himself to think about something else.

Sometimes, it was just better not to think too much.