• Published 14th Jun 2018
  • 1,144 Views, 102 Comments

Discord vs. Harmony: The Greeting-Card Industry Strikes Back - SoloBrony

Unauthorized sequel to Fire Gazer's Reticence, also sequel to Discord vs. The Greeting-Card Industry. Discord gets up to more romantic meddling, now with Twilight's scholastically-motivated approval!

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Honest Deception

The morning was a little awkward, as Marble and Minuette woke up to a fit of nervous giggles and disentangled. A couple of numb hooves and stiff limbs reflected the truth of Marble's comment about practice, and as they prepared to leave, Minuette found herself snickering.

"Well, I guess we'll have plenty of opportunity to practice in the future."

Minuette glanced over and saw her marefriend blushing, just barely visible behind her mane, as she shook out one of her hooves. Minuette chalked that up as a win for cuteness everywhere and floated her saddlebag onto her back.

"Alright, let's go! Still plenty of time before the next performance, so I should show you around town a little, and pick up some stuff at the market. That sound good?"

Marble took a little while in answering, seeming to turn things over in her mind, but Minuette was used to that by now. She was probably just weighing the social anxiety of going out in public against the chance to do new things with Minuette. Minuette felt a little bad for pushing her to be social, but Ponyville was about as relaxed a place as any – monster attacks aside – so she hoped Marble would warm up to it quickly.

Minuette trotted over to her marefriend and nuzzled her. "It's a quiet, small town. Don't worry; you'll feel at home here in no time."

Marble snuggled back. "Okay..."

Minuette frowned slightly. Marble was still really struggling with these things, she knew, but she needed her to at least give Ponyville a chance.

For both of them.

"Alright, then let's head out!"

And with that, the two of them departed to the market, though Minuette was deeply nervous. What if Marble hated this place? What if even Ponyville was too crowded for her marefriend? Her whole plan revolved around making Marble love this place, but what if that wasn't to be?

Well, Minuette would do whatever Marble needed, in the end. She just hoped her plan worked out.

The two of them passed by a few vendor stalls, Marble pressing close. She seemed comfortable enough, and Minuette was glad for that. It was good to be there for somepony, to know that there was someone out there who liked you for who you were, took strength from your presence.

Unfortunately, Minuette's errand required her to step away for a bit.

"Marble, I need to go talk to somepony here for a few minutes. Do you think you might be okay staying here for just a little bit?"

Marble's eyes widened in fear for a moment, but she took a deep breath and nodded. It was torture for Minuette to watch, but she knew Marble would be okay. Her marefriend was far tougher than she gave herself credit for.

At least, that was how Minuette saw it, and what she told herself to make it feel a little less cruel. It wasn't like she was going to just leave her in the hotel room; she really did want to show Marble around the town. As if sensing her unease, Marble gave her a nuzzle.

"I'll be okay. Y-you do what you need to do, I'll take a look at the, umm... the shops."

Minuette nuzzled back and then nodded. "Alright. Don't go off and get into any wild parties without me!"

She smiled broadly and trotted off. She had a stallion to speak to about a house; she hoped Marble would like it as much as she did, but if the morning thus-far was any indication... well, she'd just have to ask her when the time came.

Marble watched her marefriend depart silently, but her mind was full of noise. Why had Minuette made a point to take her out here only to leave her alone? Were all these strange ponies really as friendly as she said? What if—

"Hey. Miss."

Marble jumped slightly and turned slowly to the source of the sound, only to see a small wooden stall set up. She hadn't seen it before, but she also hadn't been paying close attention to the market. A grey-white unicorn with a bored-looking expression sat behind the desk, next to a stack of fliers. Marble noticed he had a strange-looking horn; it was pale blue and... was it slightly off-center?

"Miss. You want a flier?"

Marble glanced around, but couldn't see any other mare he might be speaking to.

Which meant he was speaking to her.

Oh no.

The unicorn's horn glowed slightly, and held a flier up facing her, though he didn't shove it in her face. She glanced between the unicorn and the flier nervously, before the text caught her eye.

Rock-Carving Workshop And Exhibit
Show off your artistic talent in stonework and earn some bits!
As part of the Equestria Institute of Rockology's 'Sediment to Settlements Mineral Mayhem' tour
To spread appreciation of rockology and mineral-based arts
Can you tell the difference gabbro and granite at a glance?
Or maybe you just know how to work a chisel?
Don't diabase your own skills, it's not too tuff!
Swing on down and strut your stuff!
Ponyville Town Hall, noon!

Marble actually winced at the rock puns, but the general concept intrigued her. Rock carving, here? She could carve pretty well, but they only really used that skill around the farm for things like Hearth's Warming dolls or practical applications.

Could artistic sculpting really be a profitable career?

"Miss? You interested?"

Marble was shocked out of her thoughts by the unicorn's comment, and made a small peeping noise as she retreated back behind her mane.

"Umm... I-I have a d-d-date with my marefriend. I shouldn't... sorry!"

Marble bolted, putting quick distance between her and the no-doubt frustrated unicorn. She thought she heard a frustrated groan come from behind her, and she glanced behind her in a panic to see if he was following her, though the idea seemed absurd.

She paused mid-flight. The unicorn and the stall were... gone? That was strange. Then again, Marble didn't know how things worked in Ponyville. Maybe it was a unicorn quirk? It was all just so strange! Nearly hyperventilating at this point, Marble decided to just find a quiet bench to park on until Minuette returned.

Minuette, for her part, had just finished negotiating. The brown stallion gave her a curt nod.

"Alright. That price is fair, given the condition. When will you be able to sign?"

"I'll need to ask my marefriend first. Nothing's final without her say-so. But, well... I'd appreciate you holding it for me, at least for a few days."

The stallion nodded. "Certainly. Just don't take too long; never know when a better offer will come down the line, after all."

Minuette nodded and trotted out of the house. It had taken a lot longer to negotiate than she had thought; that stallion had been determined to inflate the price for all sorts of ridiculous 'advantages' the property had, even though it was actually a bit run-down and on the outskirts of town.

She didn't mention that it being on the outskirts was one of the reasons she picked it. No need to give him more ammunition. The town records had indicated he had been sitting on that property for almost two years, so she was confident he was glad just to get rid of it, and she had managed to work him down to a very reasonable price. She'd actually saved up even more than she needed for it, over the past six months.

For now, though, she needed to get back to Marble. Hopefully, she had run across someone friendly and had a good time, but Minuette knew better than to count on Marble having a good time in any kind of public place on her own. She trotted with purpose and speed, until she heard someone call out to her.

"Hey! Miss! Blue unicorn! You!"

Minuette stopped and glanced over to see a bored-looking unicorn with a pale blue, slightly off-center horn and a dull grey-white coat waving to her from behind a small wooden stall. She paused a few seconds to wonder what the heck had happened to do that to his horn, but realized it would be rude to stare. She trotted up to the stall.

"Something you need?"

The unicorn rolled his eyes and his horn lit up, floating a small flier over to Minuette. She scanned over it quickly, ready to ignore the whole encounter, but then paused.

"Oh! Thanks! I think my marefriend would be really interested in this!"

The unicorn gave a shrug, and Minuette took the flier into her magic as she trotted off.

This could be exactly what she needed! Minuette held her head high up as she trotted towards where she and Marble had parted ways.

Talk about good luck!

Author's Note:


Anyone remember that disguise Discord used when he confronted Tirek?