• Published 10th Sep 2018
  • 2,792 Views, 51 Comments

Fizzlepop's Number One Assistant - milesprower06

Settling into his new life in Ponyville, Grubber wonders how he can best help out with Fizzlepop's duties around the castle.

  • ...

A Unicorn and a Hedgehog Walk Into A Castle...

"Yes, I do believe I can help you with that, to a degree. Or, at the very least, tell you what's going on." Twilight told her captain of the guard. For the many months that Fizzlepop had been here, she couldn't believe that the issue of somepony barging into the castle with a glowing cutie mark hadn't come up yet. But now was as a good a time as any.

Twilight ushered Fizzlepop towards the table, and pointed at the holographic representation of the castle, with her cutie mark revolving around it.

"You, Major Fizzlepop Berrytwist, have a friendship problem." Princess Twilight said succinctly. The orchid unicorn raised her eyebrow suspiciously.

"So that's what this thing does? A friendship alert system? How... How is it not going off all the time?" Fizzlepop bewilderingly asked.

"You know, I've never thought about it." Twilight answered, walking around to her throne and sat down, shooting a beam of magic at the center of the table, and the holographic projection of the region dissipated from the outer edges and shrunk into a single mote of light in the center, which sunk into the crystal surface.

Fizzlepop noticed that since coming within a close proximity of the table, that her cutie marks had stopped glowing. Still, half of her wanted to wholeheartedly listen to Twilight, and the other half wanted to burst out laughing at the ludicrous fact that Equestrians couldn't spot invading forces disguised as storm clouds, but they could apparently spot arguments from half a continent away.

"So... Now what?"

"Normally, you'd pack a saddlebag and go to wherever the map sends you, but, it's right here, and I've got a pretty good idea of what's going on."

"I'm listening, Princess." Fizzlepop told her, standing at parade rest and looking at her from across the room.

"Spike has told me that he's been showing Grubber around the castle, and that he's interested in trying to find a way to help you with the Ponyville E.U.P. According to him, you're not exactly comfortable with that idea. I'd just like to get an idea as to why. He said 'it's complicated' was the reason you gave him."

"I'll stand by that, yes."

"Complicated how?" Twilight asked, and she immediately saw that her captain of the guard was searching for the right words. "Is it... Is it because you feel that it'd be a little too similar to how it was with the Storm King?" Twilight followed up.

"It's... It's not that it brings me closer to the past, it's... It's just that I'd prefer to not return to the kind of relationship we had before."

"According to him, you were the first meaningful friendship he had in his life. So it's not that farfetched to imagine that he'd want to jump right back in with the pony who first showed him some semblance of respect. Weren't you overjoyed when he found his way to Ponyville on Hearth's Warming Eve?"

"Yes, and that's the point. I want him as a friend, not a subordinate. I know we have one of the loosest outfits in the Equestrian E.U.P., but we're all incredibly self-sufficient when it comes to our daily routines. So now this map is saying that I have to find him a place where I don't think he'd be a good fit?"

"I didn't say that, and neither did the map. It's not even explicitly saying what the problem is."

"It's just that when you first bestowed these duties on me, it was daunting, but overcoming each day's challenges is how I motivated myself to tackle tomorrow. That hasn't changed. I value Grubber's friendship and his input, but I want him to find his own place here."

"I... Think I get where you're coming from. It's your decision, Major. I'm not about to dictate who you can and cannot take into your platoon. But I'm pretty sure that this is what the map wants you to figure out. I'd suggest taking a closer look at your friendship with Grubber. Obviously we've all been beating around the bush and just going to third parties. You need to talk with him and let him know how you feel, and go from there." Twilight told her, getting a sigh in return.

"I have to honestly say, now that I've witnessed how that table works, I'm not sure I like that thing. Have a friendship problem long enough, and before you know it, you have no semblance of privacy. I'm amazed you don't have advocacy groups banging on your door." Fizzlepop said as she turned to leave.

She quickly made the decision to postpone her meeting with the mayor until a later date, and give this friendship problem her full attention. Regardless of her feelings about an omniscient crystal table, she took her feelings about Grubber seriously. He had only been here a couple weeks, and if he was going stir crazy, she wanted to help him fit in, but she wanted it to be in the right way. Grubber deserved to know why she didn't think he would be a good fit being involved in her platoon, so it was just a matter of coming up with the right words.

It had taken the better part of the afternoon for Major Fizzlepop to think up what she wanted to say, and now that evening drill had concluded and her squad was fed and either off duty or beginning their night patrols, now she could get a bite to eat herself, and hopefully run into Grubber soon after.

But 'soon after' turned into 'immediately' as she entered the dining room, and saw that Grubber was sitting at the table, fork in claw, poking at a salad of some kind. He heard the approaching hoofsteps, and smiled meekly at her.

"Hey there, Fizzlepop. Busy day?" He asked, taking a bite of his salad, which appeared to be comprised of mixed greens, almonds, and sliced strawberries, with some type of dressing drizzled atop it all.

"An... Interesting day, to say the least, that's for sure." Fizzlepop said, taking a seat next to him, the aroma of his salad hitting her nostrils and nearly making her salivate. "Listen, Grubber. I know you've been wanting to get involved with my squad, and we've all been dancing around with each other, when we should have been talking directly to each other. If I don't think it's a good idea, then I should come right to you and let you know why."

Grubber swallowed his current bite of salad, and looked her in the eyes.

"Well, I've honestly been afraid of this, but yeah, I should hear you out."

"You told Twilight that you constantly felt inadequate in the Storm Corps because of your size; that the Storm King kept you around as nothing more than an insurance policy against another mutiny?"

Grubber nodded.

"I'm... I'm just afraid that you'd be repeating most of that inadequacy if you tried to force yourself into the Ponyville E.U.P. There's not a lot you can do to help; each and every pony is expected to do their part, from maintaining their armor to keeping their bunk clean. I want you as a friend, Grubber, not a follower. Back when you first showed up on Hearth's Warming Eve, I said I was thrilled to have you here, and that hasn't changed. But I thought of it as a chance for you to discover something new about yourself; a chance at a life that's different from your years with the Storm Corps."

Grubber gave her an understanding, yet questioning look.

"But, what about you? Have you discovered anything new about yourself? Hope you don't mind me saying, but in a way, you've just swapped out Storm Guards for ponies. You went from military leader to... Military leader." He told her, poking at his salad again, but not taking another bite.

"Yes, but a vastly different kind of leader. I don't conquer anymore; I serve Princess Twilight and Ponyville. I don't berate or punish any longer; I encourage and uplift my troops. I can understand how you think it's the same, but it's really not. The friendships I've gained here have given me a new, much more selfless outlook on life, and it's that attitude, and maaaybe a little bit of turning myself into a ship-to-ship projectile, that convinced Queen Novo that I was worthy of her pearl's power. Being able to redeem myself in her eyes, and seeing Hippogriffia rebuilt after what our attack had done to it... That was the best feeling I've had in a long, long time."

Grubber had remembered a distinct look of regret on her face as they had surveyed the destruction of the city after the hippogriffs had vanished underwater.

"Alright, so I guess it is different. I mean, I appreciate you being honest with me, it takes a really good friend, to tell me straight up like that. If you really don't think I'd fit in with your squad, I'm going to have to accept that. I just wish I knew how to fit in around here. I guess if worse comes to worse, I could enroll in Twilight's school in the fall."

He set his fork down on the plate and turned in his chair.

"You want this?" He asked, sliding the plate towards her. "I can hear your stomach growling, and this was my second plate, but I'm stuffed."

"Thanks, Grubber. I'm sorry if things aren't going like you hoped, but I promise I'm going to use as much of my free time as I need to in order to help you fit in."

Grubber smiled, then let out a yawn.

"Thanks. Well, I'm gonna go fall into bed early. Night, Fizzlepop."

With that, he got down from his chair, and made his way out of the dining room, leaving Major Fizzlepop alone with her secondhand dinner. She was wondering if the problem had really been solved; Twilight said that her cutie mark would start glowing again when the map considered everything taken care of. Not willing to think it over any more on an empty stomach, she took the fork in her magic, got it full of greens and strawberries, and took a bite.

"Oh wow, this is really good..."