• Published 26th Oct 2017
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Adventures in The 6ix - Wiz Ahmad



After a malfunction with the Crystal Mirror during a demonstration, the Mane 6, Spike, Tempest, and Skystar get transported to another world - Toronto.

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Chapter 18: A Retrieved Reformation

XAVIER POV

HOME

Morning was considerably slower and quieter than usual – well, quieter at first. The little one-bedroom basement was now full of three people, seven ponies, a little dragon, and an exuberant hippogriff. Always the generous one, I let Zack, Rarity, Pinkie, and Skystar sleep on my bed and my mom sleep on the sofa while I slept on the floor, albeit on a bunch of old pillows – and with Tempest by my side.

Joyce stepped over Tempest and nudged my shoulder hard. “Wake up, son.”

“Unnnnnngggggghhhhhh,” I groaned, rolling over and rubbing my eyes. “M-Mom?”

“Yes, you!” Her tone didn’t sound too nice – it was cold and interrogative. “Get up. You’ve got some explaining to do. Now.”

“As you wish, Mom,” I replied weakly. “Just… let me adjust please.”

I pushed my body upright, trying to carefully slide Tempest’s front legs off my chest and right arm without alerting her. But she was alerted anyways, and sprung to her feet in a defensive pose, her horn buzzing slightly with reactive energy.

“Hey hey,” I barked in a low voice, gently patting her broad neck and shoulders. “Relax. We’re home now, with my mom. I’ll wash up and then we’ll talk together, alright?”

Tempest nodded, but slowly crept up behind me as I walked to the bathroom, like an obsessive bodyguard.

Which in a way, she was.

After I’d splashed my face with cool water and thus relaxed my composure, I was ready to present my mom with all she needed to know, not all she wanted to know.

“Hi Mom, how was your sleep?”

“Fine.”

I swallowed. Still on the edgy offense. Well, have it your way.

“My procedure yesterday morning was the same as before – I left Pinkie and Skystar at home and gave them crystal-clear instructions on what they could and couldn’t do. I had no idea they would be so ambitious to try and sell cupcakes in the heart of the city without my consent. Then Maverick called me to the TV and…”

I trailed off about what the press’s cameras showed, how Rodney and I rushed to the scene, and the whole interrogation situation with the police. For the longest time since I was a naughty little kid fibbing, Joyce fell silent. Her emotional state was hard to pick up on – angry, frustrated, confused – I couldn’t tell. Nor could Tempest.

“Well, it looks you’ve done the best you could do. I guess there’s no hiding from the public eye anymore. We’ll have to just suck it up and persevere. When’s the court date?”

“In three weeks. I have all the paperwork.”

“Alright.” Joyce nodded. “However, you’ll be paying the lawyer fees, not I. And Pinkie and Skystar – ”

“We’re so sorry, Joyce!” Pinkie had her puppy face on with the dial turned up past the limiter, and Skystar’s legs looked like they were about to give out from the pain of guilt.

“I do not care about your boredom,” Joyce snapped, her voice rising. “If Xavier or I tell you to stay here, YOU STAY! IS THAT ONE HUNDRED PERCENT CLEAR!”

“Y-y-yes, Mrs. Joyce,” Pinkie and Skystar replied clearly and respectfully.

“And,” I added, “Please understand you are beyond the term ‘strangers’ here. There is nothing like you in this city, or anywhere in this world. So know and be prepared for when others get overly excited, creeped out, or act hostile. Just practice the Elements of Harmony with all whom you meet, and I can guarantee you’ll have a better chance of faring in this city.”

“When will we get home?” Fluttershy asked, peering around the corner. Soon, Rarity was there, too, along with Zack, who’d just finished in the bathroom.

I sighed – a disappointing, almost self-hating sigh. I suddenly felt like kicking myself harder than Tempest had ever done to any adversary. I’d been so caught up in my own problems and desires I hadn’t taken ample time to resolve my friends’ single monstrous problem.

“Soon,” I spat out. “Soon, I hope. I’m off to the park. Need some time to think this over.”

“What about breakfast?”

“I’ll eat later,” I muttered, already pulling on my shoes. And just like that, I was gone.

I can’t recall how much I ran, but I ran quite a bit. Just to make up time and get my mind moving fast with the current elements around me, and to give a simulation of escaping all the pain and mumble-jumble of what I had built up.

Trudging along in tiredness and hunger, I used the last of my energy to climb up an oak tree – something I did often as a kid – and slumped down in the leaves, gazing longingly out to the lake.

It’d been a long and complicated week – with many challenges that were faced head-on with impressive success. But now with Skystar’s foolish lawbreaking and the aquarium manager’s overreaction combined with practically the entire Toronto police force, it felt like more excessively large cans of worms were being opened up left, right, and center. The biggest one, really, was the fact of how much Pinkie and Skystar’s presence - and mere existence, for that matter – had now blown up all over the TV and Internet and thus beyond my controlling capabilities. As my mom said, I had to suck up the fact that my best friends were the new pretty cute ponies of Toronto’s block, and possibly their newest hit celebs-to-stalk.

Then there was the whole fiasco that brought us all together in the first place – Tempest’s assault on a crooked cop. A cop who shot an innocent hippogriff in the leg. And a princess at that. Like any case, it had to be resolved through a court of law.

Finally, there was my car. My Integra, which had gotten me into a lot of trouble since the day I first bought it and went crazy with my newfound love of cars, loud revving, and speed. I’d enjoyed every single moment of the 180 horsepower its four-cylinder engine had to offer and I craved more – to the point of sacrificing every last dime I had to turbocharge it with still some money needed for extra components. Now it was sitting in Maverick and Rodney’s shop with no proper suspension setup and no proper tires, either. It felt like a complete waste. I’d forgotten my priorities altogether.

As I readjusted my position in the branches, I felt a bulge in my pocket. My phone! In all the hurry to crash in the night, I’d forgotten I still had it on me. I pulled it out and glanced at the screen. Only 10% battery left. But that could be enough for a quick call.

With a more content feeling, I pulled up Maverick’s number and hit the call button.

“Hello?”

“Hey Mav, how’s it going?”

“Quite well. Why so early? I’m only just about to enter my kitchen.”

“I need to ask you something very important and… personal.”

“Of course, Xavier. Anything.”

“Can the remaining components of the Integra be on you? I want to finish it and trade it for a Forester STI.”

“I’d be glad to, but I’m not sure if I can find that car. It’s already rare in the UK, and I’m not sure if they’re even legal in North America, let alone Canada. And they’re all right-hand drive, which is a pain to insure. But I can try to find a well-made replica.”

“Replica?” I was baffled.

“Forester with full STI engine, tranny, axles, brakes, blah blah, and sporty front end conversion too. Trade value should work out well if the Integra is tweaked right… and the owner is willing for such a trade. Really, it’s a hit or miss.”

“So be. Thanks so much for your support, Mav.”

“My pleasure always, son. See you at the shop later.”

My heart stopped. Did he really just say that?

“You too. Bye.”

Before the tears could arrive, I hung up, shrugged, and sighed. At least it was a start.

“So, are you finally hungry?”

I peered over my shoulder to see the solemn, loving, caring faces of Pinkie Pie, Skystar, Tempest, and Zack all smiling at me. Oddly enough, Pinkie had a plate of hot pancakes with butter and maple syrup perfectly balanced on her head. (How did she cook that up so fast?)

“You do realize that we could be swarmed by a million selfie- hungry phone users at any moment out here, right?” I mused, not budging from my position atop the tree branch.

“Seriously?” Tempest rolled her eyes. “It’s not even 9 in the morning. Everyone’s still rushing to work. Come on, lovey. We need to keep persevering.”

“Even if your lives are at risk from creepy busybodies?” I added, a block of stubbornness still in my chest.

“Even so,” Zack replied, stiffening his pose. “Besides, Pinkie’s already done the effort. All those cupcakes are now like little exemplars of generosity from the newly arrived aliens.” He glanced at Tempest. “No offence.”

“None taken,” she replied, shaking her head.

Feeling better, I pushed my phone back into my pocket and leapt down from the branch. It was only an eleven-foot drop but that was a lot for me, considering I hadn’t jumped that hard in years. I landed with a mighty thump, a jolt, and a roll. Sitting upright in the grass, I brushed the pollen off my shirt and shared a group hug with some of my best friends of all shapes, sizes, and colors.

“Thanks for the pancakes, Pinkie,” I said, sitting back on a bench to eat them.

“So, what now?”

“I’ve got a plan – or at least, trying to form one. First off, I’ve decided to get rid of the Integra.”

“What?” Skystar blurted out. “But… that was your first and favorite car!”

I nodded sadly. “I know. But many of my memories with it aren’t good ones anyway. I’ve decided to switch to something moderately fast – and can haul all of you guys at the same time.”

“So, you’re just gonna chuck it?” Pinkie asked.

I smiled and shook my head. “No. I’m going to finish it up, and Maverick said the costs of new tires and suspension parts, along with a paint job will be on him. He’ll also be working hard to find someone who’ll trade their car for it.”

Pinkie opened her mouth, but I stuffed it with a forkful of pancake. “Nunununununu. I’m not going to tell you. You’ll know it when you see it.”

“Aw!”

Tempest smugly shook her head. “I agree. Breezy wants to do this for us, and it only makes sense that it should be a surprise.”

Back at the house, we regrouped to discuss further plans. Mom had already left for work, so I had to manage practically everything. Zack picked up his cruiser board.

“Taken up four wheels, I see?”

“Well, you left yours, so somebody’s gotta fill the gap,” he teased, evidently shooting at my fall as an aspiring professional skater. “Who am I kidding? I still ride my BMX bike literally everywhere. It’s sitting back at home though.”

“I thought you moved away?” I blurted out.

Zack shook his head. “Further west in Canada, away from the crime and low-wage ghettos. But I convinced my mom to reside in Vaughan, and she agreed – more like she had to because a very promising job opportunity sprung up there. I missed you, so I decided to travel further yesterday to visit a service building to resolve an issue after I was recently fired from my job.”

“So will you continue to work while finishing school?”

Zack shook his head. “I have enough spare BMX parts and a room of outgrown stuff I need to dispose of! By the way, why didn’t you return to skating after you got out of jail?”

“I…It didn’t appeal as much anymore since for some weird reason I associated it to how I got into trouble in the first place. Besides, my mom found it abhorrent as soon as she, too made the connection. I end up keeping my stockpile as a personal heirloom of sorts. Displayed but never touched.”

“Well she needs to get through her thick skull that skaters and gangsters aren’t the same!” Pinkie demanded.

“Why didn’t you ask her recently?”

“Never really bothered. Just kept to myself and tried to use my fix-it and engineering skills to support her financially, and landed a job with Mav and Rod, where cars and speed took over, albeit briefly.”

“We should get back to the house now,” Skystar noted, pointing to the sky. “It’s almost nine. Don’t want to be late for work.”

Pinkie took back her now empty plate, and we all walked back home. In the living room, I sat on the couch with Tempest, while Zack, Twilight, and her friends all sat around in a circle to discuss current plans further.

“First line of the plan is to finish work on the Integra so Maverick can put forth a trade offer. For this we’ll need all hands on deck. Zack, do you have time today?”

“No way bro.” My best friend shook his head sadly. “I need to sort out this paperwork and head home to my mom and let things settle down over my job loss. If she allows me, I can probably hitch a ride to come back tomorrow and stay for a week. But whenever the situation permits, I got your back, Breezy. In the meantime, plot that plan and execute your goals! And get back on the board – not for me, but for yourself. Admit it, you miss it.”

I simply shrugged and nodded. Zack picked up his cruiser board and headed for the door.

“Oh, and I found these when I returned to the aquarium to pick up my board.”

He reached into his hoodie pocket and pulled out a tangle of seashell necklaces and bracelets. “You might need these. As a token of friendship, I’ll be taking one necklace and bracelet, alright?”

“Thank you, thank you!” Skystar exclaimed excitedly, catching them in her little hands. “Sure, take one! That’s… exactly what I made them for!”

“I can’t wait to hang out more and get to know you better,” Zack added with his distinctive cheerful smile. With one final goodbye, he walked out the door.

I bit back a snicker as Pinkie completely failed to hide her pout of disappointment. It looked like she was enjoying his company as much as, if not more, than mine. Zack was an entertaining, even flirtatious guy who loved friendly competitions, games, and creative crafting. He wasn’t afraid to go big in his bike tricks or do silly stuff for a friend’s amusement. However, those traits had yet to be fully revealed – and I was positive they would be once the environment was right.

In the meantime, we had a car to finish and a new life to form. It felt like I’d retrieved something great from my past that would help me reform my current life – a retrieved reformation.

Author's Note:

It took just one evening and half an afternoon to write this.
I have some fun ideas for the next one.

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