• Published 26th Jul 2012
  • 744 Views, 21 Comments

Starting Anew - KJOokami



A story of determination, perserverence, and one stubborn pony. Enter: Dawn Gazer.

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Whaddya Mean It's An Innuendo?

Whaddya Mean It’s An Innuendo?

Yes, Ponyville was very different from Manehattan. A single hoofstep out of the train was more than enough to confirm that.

The station that Dawn found herself in—or on, rather—seemed closer to an outdoor stage than an actual train station. Manehattan Railroad Station was far from grand, but in comparison to this, she may as well have grown up in Canterlot Castle.

That’s not to say that it was an ugly place. On the contrary, the simplicity of it all actually brought a small smile to Dawn’s face. No, it wasn’t unpleasant. ‘Modest’ would have been a nice choice of words. ‘Homey’ and ‘inviting’ also sprung to mind.

Immediately in front of her was the ticket booth: a small building about the size of the platform itself which looked to be made of equal parts wood and marble. Jutting out several feet from the roof was a thatched awning supported by finely crafted pillars made of dark chestnut-colored wood. There were two of them; one on either side of the building.

About 90% of the front wall was taken up by a large window, behind which Dawn could see a blue stallion grinning back at her: the ticket man, she presumed. Ambling about behind him was a mare, who appeared to be furiously sifting through papers. Either the stallion simply didn’t notice, or this was a usual exercise that he was well used to by this point.

Not particularly interested in finding out, and with no need for another ticket—yet anyway—Dawn merely smiled back and made her way off towards the right side of the booth, descended the small staircase there, and headed off to the town easily visible down the path.

Ponyville.

[] [] []

Dawn couldn’t help but stare as she entered what appeared to be a marketplace; it was the first location she’d stumbled into upon entering Ponyville, and what she found was not at all what she’d expected. Even in the waning evening light, ponies of all races and colors were out and about. Some were carefully inspecting the shops that littered the area, others casually conversing with friends, and others still sitting alone in one of several seating areas, taking in the sights and sounds of the fast-approaching night.

Dawn now knew the difference between “small-town” and “a small town.” While it certainly had nothing on the sheer size of Manehattan streets, this section of Ponyville could only really be described as ‘vast’.

Stalls and vendors of all shapes and sizes took up either side of the dirt road, and most of them had a full-blown store behind them for those whose interests were sufficiently piqued by the outdoor wares. The majority of stalls in the immediate vicinity appeared to be food-related: apples, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and some less wholesome—but infinitely tastier!—treats. Further down the line, Dawn could just make out signs for more fashionable, and less edible, items. There was a stand for jewelry and other accessories, one for makeup and various perfumes and colognes, and even one devoted solely to selling bow ties.

Trendy, Dawn thought to herself.

As hip and happening as bow ties were, though, they weren’t on the agenda just yet. They would have to wait until later, once Dawn found a place to stay during her job search.

Being new, and therefore unfamiliar with the basic layout of town, Dawn figured it wise to ask someone about any potential locations where she could temporarily settle down. There were ponies all around her. Surely someone would be able to help. Seeming as good a choice as any other, Dawn settled on approaching the mare tending to the apple stand. From the look of things, she was packing up for the night at a rather frantic pace.

She ambled over to the earth pony, intending to make the conversation as quick as possible so that the mare could get to wherever it was she needed to be in such a hurry. She opened her mouth to speak, but instead of Equestrian words, all that escaped her mouth was a squeak of terror and a moan of pain. Apparently, Dawn came a bit too close and managed to get herself steamrolled by the mare, whom at this point was looking down at Dawn in irritation.

Irritation became confusion, and confusion in turn became sympathy. Dawn, who had ended up flat on her back with a slight ache in her chest and a disgruntled farm pony on top of her, merely stared off into space with a glazed look in her eye.

“Aww ponyfeathers,” the mare muttered, carefully stepping off of the dazed Dawn and offering a hoof to help her up, “Ah’ve gone an’ done it again. Sorry there, partner.”

Shaking her head a few times to clear the fuzziness away, Dawn slowly reached a hoof up to accept the aid. She sure as hell wasn’t getting up on her own after a hit like that; this blonde-maned, orange pony could pack quite a wallop, apparently.

Note to self: do not pick a fight with this girl, Dawn thought to herself as she took a moment to let her breathing return to normal.

“Ah’m awful sorry. Ya’ll weren’t lookin’ to buy somethin’, were ya?”

After Dawn was satisfied that her lungs were functioning properly again, she replied, “Actually, I was just looking to ask you a quick question, if I could.”

The mare cast a short glance back to her stall before answering, “Uh, well sure. Shoot.”

“Well, you see, I’m new in town. So I don’t really know my way around very well. I mean, obviously. It’s not like I could know about a place before I go there myself unless I’d gotten a map or something. See, I’m from Manehattan, and I—“

Hey, brainiac. How about you try asking the question already? She mentally chided herself.

“Um, but that’s not really important, I guess. Sorry. Could you point me in the direction of the nearest hotel?” Dawn tried to give a friendly smile, in spite of the knowledge that she’d likely already managed to come across as an idiotic blabbermouth. Then again, if worse came to worse, she could always play the sympathy card and blame the “trauma” she’d received after getting barreled over just seconds before.

“We don’t have one,” was the mare’s immediate response.

It took Dawn a moment to process the answer. “Wait... you don’t... have one? Like, at all?”

“Nope.”

“What about a motel?”

“Nuh uh.”

“Inn?”

“Hm...” the mare scrunched up her face in thought, “Well, we have got a tavern right up the street there. It’s called the Prancin’ Pony. Ya cain’t miss it. Ah believe the owner rents out a coupla’ rooms on the upper floor on occasion.”

“Well, I guess that could work. What kind of occasion are we talking about here?”

The mare was silent for a moment, seeming unsure of whether she should say what she was about to say. “Ah’d really rather not discuss the details. They usually only stay rented fer a night at a time, if’n ya’ll catch mah meanin’.”

Dawn actually had no idea. The “meanin’” was so far above her head that if it went any higher, it’d be cruising through the atmosphere. Regardless, she put on her best ‘I’m not naive and/or uneducated, I swear!’ face.

“Oh, oh yeah. I gotcha. Totally. It shouldn’t be a problem. You can rent it out for longer than a night though, right?”

“Ah don’t see why not.”

“Great! Sounds perfect!” Dawn blurted out a bit too loudly, earning a concerned stare from the mare.

“Yeah... well, ah really gotta get movin’. Ah’ve gotta git all these apples back to the farm, and then Ah should really be turnin’ in fer the night. Ah’ve got a lotta work to do in the mornin’.”

“Oh! Right. You were in a bit of a rush, huh? I’ll just, uh, leave you to it then. Thanks again!” Dawn said, beginning to back away towards her new destination.

“Not a problem, sugarcube,” the mare responded a bit distractedly, having already gone back to packing her stall up for the night.

[] [] []

The Prancing Pony was a rather large building by Ponyville standards, though it wasn’t particularly pretty. Where most of the town’s architecture was composed of various colors, the local tavern looked more like a log cabin. More at home in the middle of a spooky forest than a rural pony town. Still, stylistic preferences aside, it seemed to be a fairly well-maintained establishment.

Dawn could hear a dull roar coming from inside. From what she could tell, the majority of the noise came from simple conversation between the ponies gathered; loud, obnoxious conversation. The sound was mostly consistent, with a particularly boisterous laugh breaking through the rest every now and again.

Through the windows, Dawn could just make out a few key features: a rack of bottles, filled with liquids of various colors, adorned the right-side wall. Just a few feet from the wall was a smooth, wooden countertop running parallel to the back wall, and a row of slightly raised cushions were lined up in front of the counter. She could also see a faint blue light, coming from a sign on the wall next to the bottle rack. It read: “Come, drink, and come again!”

Interesting slogan... Dawn mused to herself as she approached the front doors. She reached out and wrapped a hoof around the door handle, pausing for a moment to brace herself for the inevitable volume change. As predicted, the main room, which was nothing more than a large, rectangular area of wall-to-wall wooden tables, was practically deafening. Ponies with shot glasses, ponies with store-owned mugs, and even some ponies who seemed to have brought their own special mugs.

What Dawn couldn’t have seen from outside was that the upstairs could actually be seen from the lower level. Off to the left was a large staircase leading to a balcony of sorts which overlooked the main floor. She assumed that’s where she’d be staying.

With a glance towards the counter to her right, Dawn quickly picked out the bartender and made her way in that general direction, carefully maneuvering around the tables. The ponies she passed, most of whom she noted were stallions, didn’t hardly seem to notice her walking by; once or twice, she actually had to jump back to avoid being sandwiched by an oblivious male doubling backwards in his seat in a fit of laughter.

Since all of the seats were taken, Dawn settled for standing just off to the side and waiting for the bartender to come her way. Fortunately, the ponies at the bar seemed to have finished their drinks and were mostly just talking amongst themselves. This left the pony behind the counter free to oblige any newcomers, namely Dawn, within the time it took to walk from one end of the bar to the other.

“What can I do for ya, miss?” the somewhat elderly stallion asked with an amiable smile. He had a pale, yellow coat and an orange, slicked-back mane which had likely been quite attractive in his younger years. He was also sporting a rather impressive mustache.

“Yeah, can I talk to the owner, please?”

“That would be me.”

“Oh... um, anyway, I’m kinda looking for a place to stay for a little while. See, I’m from Manehattan, and I’d been running around like crazy trying to get someone to hire me, but nobody there seemed to be willing to give me a job, so I decided to try coming here in hopes that I’d have better luck finding something to do with myself, but I obviously don’t have a hou—Celestia above I need to stop doing that,” she sighed. “Do you have any rooms available?”

The pony looked torn between utter bafflement and silent amusement. “Sure do, missy. Just follow me.”

The owner led Dawn back through the sea of tables, expertly dodging his way through the crowds. Clearly, he’d been working in this business for quite some time. He led her across the room, up the stairs, along the balcony, and into a small hallway that cut down the center of the second floor. There were only two rooms: one on either side.

As the door to the right was already closed with the lights off, Dawn figured that she’d be getting the one to the left. The older stallion moved just past the open door and waved Dawn into the room.

It was a simple room. There was a bed against the center of the back wall, a nightstand with a lamp on it to the left side of the bed, and a wardrobe on the right wall. And no windows. Groovy.

“This’ll be fine,” Dawn said, turning around to face the owner standing in the doorway, “How much?”

“55 bits a night,” he replied without hesitation, then took a moment’s pause to look at Dawn, sizing her up, “Or... for an extra 20, I could hook ya up with a little company.”

Dawn adopted a confused expression and looked back over her shoulder at the bed. “But... there’s only one bed. Where would they sleep?”

The tavern owner opened his mouth to speak, but then seemed to think better of it. Instead he simply chuckled and fished a key out of his bag. Dawn retrieved the necessary payment and the two exchanged items.

After the stallion had left, presumably heading back to the bar, Dawn closed the door and flopped down onto the bed. I wonder what that was all about... I mean, seriously. Why would I want to share a bed with another pony I don’t even know?

Suddenly the farm pony’s words came back to her, “They usually only stay rented fer a night at a time, if’n ya’ll catch mah meanin’.”

“Bah. I may as well get some sleep, I guess.”

Dawn lightly flung her saddlebags off to the side of the bed and reached out to turn off the light on the room’s one night stand.

...

“OHHHHHHH! GROSS!”

[] [] []

Comments ( 11 )

AN: Wow, this took longer to write than it should have. I think I spent the better part of a week just staring at the page hoping words would appear. 90% of what's written here was done in the last few days. Ugh.

Also, to those that I said Vinyl and Octavia would be coming in at the end of this chapter... I lied. :pinkiecrazy:

It's not my fault though! This chapter just ended up going longer than I thought, and I didn't want to rush the next few scenes just to get there. That, and I wanted to get this chapter out ASAP, since it's taken so long already. But don't worry, they WILL be appearing at the end of the next chapter at the very latest. They might come in a little sooner. We'll see.

Anyways, hope ya'll enjoy this!

1038540
No sweat! Allow the story to unfold the way it comes to your mind. Trust your storyteller instincts and keep the readers on the edge of their seats. You've got something awesome brewing here! :raritywink:

1039114

I do my best. *bow*

Thank ya much, sir!

1040702

YOU'LL GET YO OCTASCRATCH! PATIENCE, WOMAN! Haha. :derpytongue2:

Haha! I knew this was worth following! Dawn is a really entertaining character. :pinkiehappy:

Now give me my recommended Scratchtavia intake! I need it or I'll surely perish! :pinkiecrazy:

(joking aside I love this fic so far regardless)

1056742

Oh, don't you worry. There is OctaScratch on the horizon. I hope it's as glorious for you to read as it is for me to write! :yay:

Thanks for the comment! [One step closer to FIMFiction domination! Muahahaha!]

Loving this so far. And your OC is quite lovable:pinkiehappy:

Faved and liked

1178789

Thanks so much! I really appreciate it. :heart:

1266269

I know. Super classy, amirite? dl.dropbox.com/u/31471793/FiMFiction/Scootaloo_lolface.png

Glad you're enjoying it so far! I'm super close to finishing chapter three, so hopefully you'll be seeing that pretty soon.

1266789

Bring forth the sexually-themed references! Give me your worst!

1311456

Wow. Thanks for the critique, man! I really appreciate it! :twilightsmile:

The thing about the narrator randomly hopping into first person is a problem that I have simply because of the way I've always written stories like this. I really love the idea of a narrator who has his/her own personality without actually being a character in the story; someone who can sort of break the fourth wall and make snarky remarks to the characters in the story, even though they can't necessarily hear him/her back.

I actually used to absolutely litter my stories with that sort of stuff, but for whatever reason I didn't really follow up on that first off-hand comment. Now that you mention it, though, I can really see how out of place it seems here. I've never had someone tell me that it was off-putting before, so I've never thought about the possibility it might be distracting or confusing to the reader. Thanks for pointing that out! I believe I do something similar once in chapter two as well, and I'll have to go re-read what I've written of chapter three to see if it happens there too.

Also, you mentioned a couple times that my story-telling isn't quite up to par (which I agree with; about two years out of practice, give or take), but could you be a bit more specific? Was there anything in particular about the flow of the story which seemed off to you? Weak or out of place dialogue? Too much dialogue? Not enough? Overly wordy sentences or descriptions? Was it overly draggy, or did not enough happen?

Also, feel free to answer all this after you've read chapter two, if you wish. I know I kinda went overboard with questions. That's one trait that I did kinda project onto Dawn even though she's not meant to be a representation of me. :twilightblush:

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