• Published 13th Nov 2017
  • 879 Views, 22 Comments

I Can Read Names in Clouds - Yuu

In the aftermath of the confusion with replacing the newest princess, a human arrives to learn about pony society.

  • ...

Money for Nothing

We left the library and Gloaming led us through the town. Medley went next to me, telling me about the great parties she could arrange and proposing different celebrations to mark my coming to the town. She described such grand-scale events that I began to suspect she knew I was from another world. Rainbow brought up the rear. When I looked around each time I saw her gaze on me.

I slowed everyone down, but fortunately nobody commented on my vain attempts to walk like a normal pony. I couldn’t even study the buildings and ponies around us because I had to watch my legs as I walked. I only noticed other ponies around from time to time, fortunately they didn’t stare too much. Maybe I really didn’t look so different from griffins, as the doctor told me.

The road surface was slightly springy. It didn’t feel like asphalt, and it also didn’t have a petroleum smell, so I couldn't recognise the material.

As I saw more of the town, it gave me an impression of being part of the forest. At first I couldn't understand this impression, but suddenly it struck me: I could smell the dry warm ground of roads and withered wood from the buildings.

Gloaming entered into a building, which had a signboard with the images of some non-pony figure and a fish skeleton. We followed her and sat on the pillows around one of the tables inside. The establishment actually looked good, it was clean, quiet and without many visitors. A waiter, a brown stallion with a yellow crew cut and a haunch-mark I couldn't recognise, brought us several menus, and after a short discussion with Gloaming and Medley I chose two fish dishes. I noticed that the ponies selected dishes with different fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts; basically a diverse vegetarian menu. I wasn’t sure about all the ingredients, but judging from the names I could probably eat most of the dishes they ordered.

“Thank you,” he said, “I will bring your food soon.”

After about ten minutes the waiter brought me a baked fish fillet. It was very soft and had a nice creamy taste. Rainbow continued to stare at me while I ate. I suspected she was trying to peek inside my mouth, or even farther, as she looked at my beak...

After we had made the last order, the waiter told Gloaming the final price and offered her a small device with a screen. Gloaming touched the device on the screen with her hoof, waited several seconds, and thanked the waiter pony. The waiter nodded and left.

I examined her hoof. “Gloaming, I assume you somehow paid for our meals. How did you do that?”

“You're correct. I used a tiny device inside my hoof, which confirms that I want to pay the bill.” She showed the bottom side of her hoof to me. “Then the owner of this place sends a message to my bank, and the necessary amount is moved.”

I looked at the other ponies around the table. “Does every pony have this kind of device?”

“Not everypony, but many. Some prefer to use actual coins, especially for small purchases. Most of my friends prefer the devices.” She looked at Rainbow, then at Medley. “Does anypony here have any coins to show to Snowy Clothes?”

Rainbow bit from her sandwich, and spoke around the food, “I don't have any.”

“Well, maybe I can find a coin or two.” Medley put one of her hooves into her mane and looked somewhere above our heads. She moved her foreleg a bit and took two round coins out. They were bi-metallic, about two centimetres in diameter, and they had images and inscriptions on either side. The designs were different from each other, though, so maybe they had different face values.

“Oh, thank you, Medley.” I took some Earth coins out of my backpack and laid them on the table. “These are precious metal coins from from my world. I don't think I need any of them here, thanks to your hospitality. Well, I can also hunt in a forest or a river, if I need to.”

Gloaming took a journal from her saddlebags and started writing. Medley smiled and Rainbow watched me with a more-or-less neutral expression.

“Please take them as a souvenirs.” I moved the coins to the centre of the table. “So you can remember me when I return home.”

Medley took two and examined them. “Oh, shiny! You can also take mine, I have lots of them.”

I inspected the coins Medley gave me a little more closely. I noticed long lines of very small symbols on the outer ring of the each coin. The symbols gave me an impression of numbers, not words, and if they really were numbers, pony minting was more advanced than any on Earth, as they had managed to put serials on coins. The two alloys had a gradient between them, about two millimetres in width, not a sharp line. I couldn’t even imagine how these coins could be counterfeited.

“Thank you, Medley. We also have coins from common metals, as well as paper money,” I checked my purse. “I have some of them too, if you are interested. Coins from precious metals are used mostly for investments, and as souvenirs.”

“I would like to see them, please.” Gloaming looked inside my purse, which was left open on the table. “We only have money in coins, though you can also put them on a bank account and make transactions with them. But if you have paper money, how do you justify its value?”

I took some money, both notes and coins, from my purse and put it on the table before Gloaming.

“I'm not sure, I believe the government of a country guarantees it.” I was never good at economics so I only guessed. “And people just agree with each other that it has a certain value.”

“We have similar situation in some other countries around the world.” Gloaming looked at the different coins and currency notes from Earth. “But the value of their money is unstable. Our own coins have a special alloy of rare earth metals, protected by an alloy of noble metals.”

“Yes, the values of our currencies are volatile too,” I said, “but how do you check that coins are genuine?”

“It's easy, they have special electromagnetic properties,” Medley said, “which depends on the amount of rare earth metals in the alloy. And this alloy isn’t cheap.”

This was reminding me of high-school chemistry class. Rare earth metals? Special properties? You don't say....

“What Medley wants to say is this alloy has zero electrical resistance,” Gloaming said, “so it is used in many machines, but its production is limited. That's why these coins have a real value.”

High temperature superconductor in coins? They surely have some mad scientists here.

“By the way, how is your talon feeling?” Gloaming asked me.

I moved it a bit. As far as I could feel, it was mostly normal again.

“It's much better, I can move it without any difficulties,” I said, “but sensations are still muted.”

“Great, we can race now!” Rainbow announced with a smile. It was the happiest I'd ever seen her.

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