• Published 14th Jun 2018
  • 1,145 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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Orchestrated Coincidence

Limestone groaned, swinging her hooves back and forth on the little bench in Ponyville Town Hall.

"Is anypony even going to show up? If I made this delivery for nothing somepony is going to regret it."

Lemon Hearts flinched a little, her ears flattening against her head. "The Pie rock farm is going to be paid either way—"

"I don't care! I mean, I do, but that's not the point! Do I really have to stay here when I could be working? Nopony in this town gives a bit about rocks!"

"We only just opened. Just have patience; ponies will show up. I think."

Limestone just grunted. She didn't want to take out her frustrations on Lemon Hearts; she had just been sent here to act on behalf of the Equestrian Institute of Rockology. The pay had been good, but losing an entire day's labor to just sit around and be reminded of what a fringe market rock-farming was definitely didn't help Limestone's mood at all.

The doors to the town hall opened, and Limestone shot her best glare – until she saw that the two ponies entering were Minuette and Marble. Then she just looked confused.

"What are you two doing here?"

Minuette brightened immediately, smiling that annoyingly broad smile of hers. "Limestone! Lemon Hearts! Hey! It's great to see you!"

Limestone grunted in response, but Lemon Hearts ran up to the two of them and threw a hug around both Minuette and Marble. Limestone tensed; Marble was sure to hate that. Then again, she was... smiling?

Well okay then.

Lemon Hearts laughed. "What are you two doing here?"

"That's what I said," grumbled Limestone.

Minuette nudged Marble meaningfully. "We got one of the fliers in town, and I wanted to see Marble's rock-sculpting skills!"

Marble hid her face a little more. "Mmmmhm."

Lemon Hearts released both of them and shot a hoof at Limestone. "Hah! Someone did show up!"

Limestone rolled her eyes. "She's not even from Ponyville, though. The whole idea was to set up a regular source of revenue between the farm and the town."

Inwardly, Limestone was still glad to see her sister here. It made things a bit more bearable, and maybe she could draw some interest to this place. Not that she'd admit any of that.

At least it's not some annoying townie with no idea how to work stone.

Limestone just watched as Lemon Hearts explained where the rocks had come from and set up Marble on one of the workbenches with a chunk of marble. Marble looked like the weight of the world was one her shoulders. It annoyed Limestone that she was so nervous, but she also wanted to say something encouraging.

Don't go embarrassing us now.

No, that's terrible.

"Show them what the Pie family can do, Marble."

It came out curt, irritable-sounding, and coarse. But Marble smiled, and that meant it worked. Limestone almost smiled. It was nice having a sister that got her.

Marble was swift with her pick and chisel, knocking precise pieces off of the slab with practiced ease. It was less than an hour before she had a small bust carved out, and the result made Limestone plant a hoof on her head. Marble, for her part, just blushed furiously when she realized what she'd done.

Of course it would be a bust of her marefriend. What else would she have on her mind?

Limestone groaned, once again. "Nopony's going to want to buy a bust of some random unicorn, Marble."

Marble flattened her ears. Minuette and Lemon Hearts, who had been busily engaged in conversation, looked over. Both gasped, and Lemon Hearts swept in quickly to lift it in her magic.

"Marble, this is perfect! We'll put this outside with a sign and it'll draw ponies in in no time!"

Marble perked up at that, and Minuette gave her a reassuring nuzzle. Limestone grumbled.

I'm not jealous.

Sure enough, within the hour there were ponies wandering in to check out the workshop. A few tried their hooves at the tools, though none could produce anything as precise as Marble's work. Many more were eager to get carvings of themselves or their loved ones; Marble ended up doing a carving from a photograph of a long-deceased grandparent, and the customers were ecstatic.

Minuette handled the negotiations, and stood by Marble's side as she worked. It reminded Limestone of how Pinkie used to stand in whenever Marble was too nervous to speak; Minuette would just silently pick up on it whenever Marble was getting uncomfortable, and put things right.

The whole thing made Limestone grumble.

"Hey, gloomy guss. You okay?"

Limestone glanced to her side to see Lemon Hearts sitting next down next to her. Lemon had a concerned look, and Limestone reflexively rolled her eyes.

"Sure, why wouldn't I be? You were right, there's stuff going on here."

"Hey... don't be like that. Tell me what's wrong."

Limestone grunted. "Just annoyed. As always."

"Nooo, it's not like always. Something is annoying you. Is it Minuette?"

"Hrnn, you sure are nosy."

"I nose because I care."

Limestone rolled her eyes again, but she smirked at least. "Fine. You know that I worry about Marble taking off already."

Lemon glanced at Marble and Minuette, and comprehension dawned on her face. "Oh..."

"Yeah. Minuette's showing her around a town that Marble might actually be able to live in. And two of our sisters have already moved here. Now she's starting to enjoy this rock-carving thing, and... well, just look at the two of them."

Marble and Minuette were giggling about something while Marble gently chipped away at a stray edge on her latest sculpture, a model of the planets requested by some purple unicorn in sunglasses and a dress.

"They look happy," Lemon commented quietly.

"Yeah. Happier than I've ever seen her. I'm amazed we held onto her this long, but it's a sure thing; Marble's leaving. I'm going to end up being the only sister left in Nickerlite."

Limestone sighed. She tried to find a reason to get mad about it – anger helped keep worse feelings at bay – but there just really wasn't anything. She couldn't get mad at Marble, especially not for doing what her heart said was right.

"Celestia knows she's earned it. She's never really done anything for herself before."

Lemon blinked in surprise, and Limestone initially mirrored her confusion, before she realized she had said that out loud. Ugh, how sappy. Stupid yellow unicorn really knew how to pry her open, and that just pissed Limestone off. A little.

Limestone felt a hoof on her shoulder, and glanced at Lemon in confusion for a second before she saw the sympathetic look on her face.

"Lime, listen. Even if she moves here, she'll still be your sister – and I know you're about to say 'sister you never see', but it doesn't have to be like that. I mean, think about what you were suggesting, right? That she moves here, does this," Lemon gestured at the workshop, "for a living? You'd see her all the time. Stone has to come from someplace, right?"

Limestone resisted the urge to smack the hoof away; it wasn't like Lemon meant any harm. She just looked at the floor and thought it over.

Would it actually be a big problem? She's right; Marble wouldn't abandon us, no matter what.

"Hrn. I guess it could bring some extra revenue in, especially if she can actually make a few bits here."

Lemon suppressed a snicker, earning her a hot glare from Limestone. "I know what you really mean by that."

"Huh? What are you getting at? I mean what I said."

"No, you brought up the money issue because you'd already decided it wouldn't be too bad to see her here, but you weren't comfortable talking about it."

Limestone grumbled again. "If you're going to get into my head, keep it to yourself." Stupid yellow unicorn and her stupid prying. Limestone smirked again.

It's nice having a friend that gets me, too. Stupid, annoying, but nice.

Minuette strode up to the two of them, prompting Lemon to very quickly and discreetly remove her hoof. Limestone actually missed the contact for a second, before she clamped down on that feeling like a rabid timberwolf. She was distracted enough that she didn't notice the sack Minuette was floating until she set it on the bench next to her.

"Marble said she wanted you to bring this back to the farm; it's half of her profits from today."

Limestone incredulously opened the sack. It was full to bursting with bits.

"This is half?!"

Author's Note:

Oh Limestone, you silly pony you

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84PZbL_-jjU

I call this ship Spritepie, and I regret nothing.