• Published 22nd Mar 2018
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Pound and Pumpkin Tales 2 - Never2muchpinkie



The continuing adventures of the now seven years old Pound and Pumpkin

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3-7: A bad start

After some time passed Noble moved his brother so they were eye to eye. “So do you have a plan?” he asked.

“Not exactly,” Drill responded, looking unsure.

“Well, why don’t I get the ball rolling, then?”

“What do you mean?”

“I’ll talk to Mom and Dad first, preparing them to talk to you. I can’t do all the work for you, but I’ll let them know that you want to look into other interests.”

“You’d do that for me?”

“Yes, of course. But… there is a catch.”

“You blackmailing me here?” Drill asked with a touch of amusement.

“It’s the opposite, actually. I’ll help to bridge things so you can have your talk, but that’s all that I can do. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“Not really.”

“If Mom and Dad don’t approve of your choices I can’t come in and rescue you, even if it’s thoroughly miserable for you. As you said yourself my wounds are already healed. If I interfere in your conflict they might push me to leave and get back to the Royal Guard. If that happens I won’t be able to protect you.”

Drill stared into his brothers eyes. “I thought you said you would take me away if it came down to that.”

“I said that, and I meant it, but that is the absolute last resort plan. If things can be worked out over time that would be for the best. I’m sure you don’t want to have to leave home and avoid our parents the rest of your life?” Drill shook his head.

“I don’t expect the first talk to go well, or even the second. I won’t interfere during your conversations, but if things go poorly I’ll be there to comfort you when it’s over. That’s the most I can do for you right now.”

He put a hoof on his brother’s shoulder. “Just know that I’ll never abandon you. Brothers have to stick together, you know?”

Drill gave him a small smile. “Thanks, Noble.”

The two of them went out for a walk. Drill knew he wouldn’t be able to just sit still the rest of the day. The tension already felt unbearable.

“Yknow, the two of us have never trained together,” said Drill Bit.

“That we haven’t,” Noble responded. “Though you had a natural talent for flying to start with, so there wasn’t much for me to do.”

“It feels like that would be fun to do for a day. I wouldn’t mind spending more time with you. Too bad I pushed myself so hard at the end of the race. My wings are sore.”

Noble chuckled. “Wow, I hardly recognize you without that rampant pride of yours. How long has it been since you talked to me like your idol instead of as just a rival?”

“Hmph!” Drill turned his head away. “Don’t kid yourself! I just want to train with you so I can trounce you. The only thing you’ve got on me is your adult body. If the size of our wings was equal I’d have no trouble taking you down.”

Noble good-naturedly shook his head. “Come on, Bro. Can’t you just drop the macho act for a little while?” He put his head under Drill’s stomach, throwing his brother onto his back before taking to the skies.

Drill glanced down at Ponyville passing by beneath him. “Am I supposed to be impressed? I’m not the little brat who was impressed by everything you did back then. I’ve grown up since then and started walking my own path.”

“I know you have. It doesn’t mean we can’t just spend some time together as brothers. I can’t put off going back to the Royal Guard forever, and once I’ve left there’s no telling when I’ll be able to come back again.”

Drill got a melancholy look on his face, protesting no more. “I know.”

They went to grab some ice cream, Noble talking about some of his exploits in the Royal Guard, while Drill talked about his history with Pound.

Noble noticed Drill looked pretty down. “What’s on your mind, Bro? Our parents getting you down?”

Drill shook his head before putting it on his elbows. “It’s been too long since the two of us have been able to just have time together like this. A part of me hated you for leaving, so I stopped thinking of you as a brother and made you only into an opponent.

“I’m starting to remember the good times we shared… which only makes it harder knowing that eventually you’ll be gone again.”

Noble aimlessly stirred his shake. “I know it’s hard for you. It isn’t any easier on me. I’ve missed all of you terribly as I’ve steadily risen through the ranks, but to accomplish one’s dreams requires sacrifice. As unpleasant as it is both of us have to just take the hurt and keep moving.

“I do have to say, though, that I have no intention of leaving until you can resolve things with our parents. I know for now you need me more than Equestria does, and someone who can abandon their family when they’re in need is someone who is unworthy of protecting the world.”

“Mmm… that only makes me want to put things off even more, so that you’ll never leave.”

“Buuuuut I know you won’t do that.” He gave Drill an encouraging smile. “You’re a tough kid, Bro, and you’re not the type to ever back down from a challenge, no matter how difficult. So I know you can handle this.”

Drill gave him a half-smile back. “Personally, I think I’d rather face down a monster than our parents.”

Noble’s head tilted back as he laughed. “I feel you there. No worries though. All you have to do is believe in yourself.”

Drill’s smile became strained. “Except that’s becoming harder to do these days.”

Noble spooned some of his shake and chucked it at Drill.

The colt recoiled as he felt the cold. “Hey!”

“Stop whining, or next time the whole shake goes.”

Drill gave him a dirty look before giving him an evil grin. “Oh, is that how you want to play? Well, ONE OF US has to be the mature one here, so I shan’t retaliate.” He grabbed a napkin, cleaning his snout.

Drill got so wrapped up in his time with his brother that he forgot all about his impending talk with his parents for a while. They just went around town until it started getting dark.

It wasn’t until they came upon their house that it all came running back to him.

His dad was home, but he was surprised to see his mother there too.

“Hey there, Drill… Noble,” said their dad.

“Hi,” Drill responded. Turning to his mother he asked, “What are you doing here, Mom? Aren’t you supposed to be at work?”

His mother looked a little giddy. “Oh, I know I should be, but I made an excuse to come home early.”

“Why?”

“For you, of course! I wanted to hear all about your big race as soon as possible.”

Drill’s face fell a bit. “Oh… right.”

“Your mother told me that you had an alicorn from the Crystal Empire as an opponent,” said Finish. “Sounds pretty exciting.”

“Eh-heh.” Drill’s expression grew strained. He wasn’t ready for this yet. Noble hadn’t even gotten them prepared for what he wanted to say. And yet… they were both here talking to him. If he put it off it would only be more difficult.

“Soooooo?” His mother was moving up and down. “Tell us the good news.”

“Oh, well, uh… I won.”

His father pumped his hoof. “Of course you did!”

They were both looking at him expectantly, but when Drill didn’t keep talking their expressions grew curious.

“Well, come on!” said Sound Barrier. “Details, details! I didn’t get out of work early just to hear the obvious.”

“Your mother’s right,” said Finish Line. “We want to hear all about it.”

Drill gulped. There wasn’t anything he wanted to tell them about the race other than that he won. “I’m sorry, but there really isn’t much to tell. Alicorns are skilled in magic, but her flight abilities weren’t much. The only thing she had going for her were her special wings.”

“Special wings?” Sound asked, an eyebrow going up.

“Seems she was born with gigantic wings. Like, imagine your adult wings on me.”

“That sounds pretty strange, indeed,” said Finish.

“I… I just couldn’t get into the race,” Drill said, being careful about the way he worded things. “I expected so much out of her considering how far she came to challenge me. Even holding back and with her having a whole lap ahead of me I still got my two laps in before she got her one.

“I mean, really, you didn’t miss anything worth seeing.” He smiled awkwardly.

Sound sighed. “That’s a shame. I was really expecting more. I thought I was going to hear a tale of incredible skill and a match too close for comfort.” She shrugged. “I guess alicorns should just stick to magic.”

She sighed again. “What a disappointment. I bailed on work for nothing.

“Oh, well.” She walked over and kissed his forehead. “At least you got your bragging rights. I suppose that’s enough. I knew you could win.”

She looked at the clock. “I suppose I should get back to work, then. I’ll just tell them everything was fine.”

Drill quietly groaned as his mother started preparing to leave. If he didn’t do this now…

“Wait!” he called out, conscious of Noble behind him. He knew his brother couldn’t interfere, but it was still a comfort knowing that he was behind him. “I… I… I need to talk to you two.”

Sound stopped. “Well, sure. I mean, I don’t think they’re expecting me back anyway. What’s a few more minutes?”

“What’s on your mind, squirt?” asked Finish.

Drill gulped, feeling their gazes like they might tear him apart, even though they were both relaxed and curious.

He took in a deep breath, gulped again, and said, “I… I’ve been thinking…”

Sound waited, but he didn’t continue. “Thinking… about what?”

Noble put a hoof on his shoulder. “The two of us were talking today, and Drill expressed a desire to try out other things. He’s starting to lose the spirit of competition.”

Drill’s heartrate went up as he waited for their reactions.

Finish said, “You expressed this sentiment before your competition the other day. I suppose if you’re growing bored it’s only because you don’t have opponents that match up to you. If even an alicorn couldn’t match you I don’t blame you for feeling a little lackluster.”

“Unfortunately there’s not a whole lot we can do there,” said Sound. “I think you might have some fun challenging some foals a few years above you, but unfortunately most competitions have age ranges to keep things ‘fair,’ not realizing that the naturally talented can take down those above their ages.”

“It’s not just that,” said Drill. “I just… I don’t care about that much anymore. I… I want to do something else with my life.”

Their attitudes quickly shifted. “Is that so?” asked Sound, her eyes narrowing. “And just what is it that you want to do?”

Drill remained silent. He thought of the way his mother had interacted with Pound once he had mentioned that he, Drill, had been teaching him, and he knew he couldn’t say what he really wanted to.

“Well?” asked his father. “We’re waiting.”

“Well,” he started quietly. “I… I don’t know yet.”

Both of them rolled their eyes. “You don’t know?” Finish asked with annoyance. “Really? You express the desire to throw away everything you’ve been working toward your whole life, and you have no clue what it even is you’d like to be doing?”

“Honestly!” said Sound. “Is this supposed to be a joke? Because it’s not very funny. In any challenge, you should always play to your strengths, and your strength is in flying. There’s absolutely no question about that. Your trophies and medals are testaments to that.

“As we’ve told you countless times your future starts now. We know you have the skill and talent to be part of the Royal Guard just like your brother, and there’s no higher of a position you can be in than that, protecting the ruler of all of Equestria from harm.

“And yet you want to discard all of that for nothing? You have no plan, no thoughts other than just ‘I don’t want to do this anymore?’ You can’t even come up with an idea?”

Finish shook his head, letting out a sigh. “This is ridiculous. It’s a colossal waste of your skill and capabilities.

“Well, when you find something that you’re just as talented at you be sure to let us know. But, then again, considering how you’re just throwing away everything you’ve strived for now what’s to stop you from doing the same for your new, unspecified hobby? Hmmm? You planning to just ran back and forth your whole life, never committing to anything?”

Sound turned away. “Let us know when you’ve come to your senses. By all means, explore other areas of expertise. I think you’ll quickly find that nothing you aspire to will come out as well.”

She shrugged. “But, hey, maybe you’ll prove us wrong. Maybe you will find something you have even more talent for than flying.

“You do that, and we’ll support you just as vigorously as we did for your flight. But, as your father said, what’s to stop you from just throwing your new hobby away if you get tired of that? Really, I expect so much more out of you.”

She let out a huff, grabbing her bag. “I have to get back to work.” Her steps were heavy as she walked towards the front door, slamming it behind her.

His dad just shook his head, leaving the room without another word.

Drill Bit stood there, quietly crying.

Noble sighed. “Drill Bit…”

He tried to hug his brother but Drill slapped his hoof away. “Don’t touch me!”

“No can do, Bro.” He pulled Drill close as his brother fought the contact. “I told you I was gonna be there for you, and I’m not going to break my word. I know you need me now.”

Drill slowly stopped fighting him.

“I warned you, Drill. I told you if you didn’t have a plan of action that out parents were going to react this way.”

Drill sniffed. “I know.”

“But you had a plan. You told me it yourself earlier. Why didn’t you bring it up?”

He wiped his face. “Because I know they wouldn’t approve.”

“Having a plan they dislike would still be better to them than no plan at all.”

Drill slowly shook his head. “You don’t get it.”

Noble ran a hoof through his brother’s hair. “What don’t I get?”

“I’ve been training Pound. If they told me I wasn’t allowed to do it anymore then what would that fool do? It’s like I told him at the start when he first asked me to train him: he’s such a loser that he’d never accomplish anything without me holding his hoof the whole way.

“He still needs a lot of training to become decent, and no one else is going to push him like I do.” He sniffed again. “He needs me. And if I was going to be yelled at either way at least this way I can keep on helping him make something out of his pathetic life.”

Noble closed his eyes, gently smiling as he hugged his brother. He knew his brother didn’t mean his harsh words. Drill just didn’t know how to turn down his pride enough to say he cared for someone else.

“Y’know, Drill Bit, choosing to suffer for someone else’s sake is the essence of self-sacrifice. It’s an ideal leadership trait. I had to nearly die to learn that lesson from one of my subordinates, but you’ve already begun to grasp the concept in your heart. Looks like you’ve blazed ahead of me in that department.”

Drill glanced up at his brother, unsure what he wanted to feel. He didn’t know if he was ready to be coaxed out of his sad feelings. Hearing Noble admit he had beaten him at something did make him feel better though.

He wasn’t in the mood to brag at the moment. He snuggled in close to his brother, saying, “Well, I guess that’s because I had a good teacher.”

He suppressed a chuckle at hearing his brother actually be humble. He opened his eyes, getting a serious look on his face. “Right there, what you said before that, hold onto that with all of your might.”

Drill got a questioning look on his face. “What are you talking about?”

“This Flurry Heart you told me about. She found something to hold onto that gave her true courage and self-esteem. She’s found pride in who she is, regardless of what anyone else thinks. It seems to me that you’re starting to find your own path. So, like I said, hold onto that thought tightly and don’t let it out of your grasp. I think you’ll find your courage there.”

Drill still wasn’t quite sure what his brother was talking about. So he had taken some heat for concealing he was training his classmate. His mother had already made it clear she didn’t approve of that when she met him. It was just pragmatism that he didn’t speak up about his new ambition.

Everyone else was too easy on Pound. Only he could train the colt properly. It wasn’t anything more than that.

Even so, he couldn’t help but think about Pound training alone when he was in a bad mood. Once more he felt that odd warmth inside. It was an odd sensation, feeling pride for someone else’s accomplishments.

Noble could see a carefree smile on his Drill’s face now, feeling like he knew what was on his brother’s mind.

Now that Noble had brought her up Drill couldn’t help but think of Flurry Heart. He needed to talk to her again. He thought it might help him understand what to do.

Author's Note:

This was originally just going to end with Drill crying, but I decided to make it a little more hopeful.

Oh, no! Drill Bit is turning into a tsundere! :rainbowwild: "B-Baka Pound. It's not like I NEED to train him or anything."

The next chapter has Drill confront Flurry again, but this time it's a clash of ideals. Flurry gets a test of her integrity to see how deeply she values her friend.

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