• Published 26th May 2019
  • 475 Views, 5 Comments

Caramel's Confections - Liquid Savage



A brand new business comes to Ponyville...

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4
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Class Project

The sky over Ponyville was a beautiful violet as the sun rose to declare a new day in Equestria. Shops opened, market stalls were topped with products, and ponies of all types and ages trudged to where they needed to go for the day.

In the case of Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle, it was another day of school.

The earth pony, pegasus and unicorn fillies called themselves the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Once a trio of friends forged through the desire of finding their one true talent, now that they had earned their fittingly matching cutie marks, their group now existed to help other struggling fillies and colts to find their own.

But lately, business had been going slow, and it was difficult to find ways to fill up the extra time. Even part-timing as tutors at Princess Twilight’s School of Friendship wasn’t enough to lift that lingering boredom.

“You think anypony’s gonna need our help today?” asked Sweetie Belle, stifling a yawn.
“Ah’m sure of it,” said Apple Bloom, giving her friends a smile. “Somepony’s bound to be havin’ trouble findin’ their cutie mark, or makin’ friends. Gotta stay positive, y’all!”
Scootaloo let out a loud, intrusive yawn. “Don’t jinx it.”

The three walked through their hometown of Ponyville, joining their classmates as they filed into the Schoolhouse. Everypony else looked as tired and bored as they did, which didn’t bode well. Nonetheless, they took their seats and greeted the teacher as she walked in to start the lesson.

“Good morning, class,” said Ms. Cherilee with her trademark warm smile. “I want you all to be alert, because today I have a special assignment to give you all.”

A few groans rose from the class. Scootaloo’s head slammed her desk.

“And it doesn’t involve an essay.”

Eyes widened with renewed intrigue. Scootaloo’s head shot up.

“I think you’ll all find it quite fun,” she went on, smile unwavering, “and we even have a guest speaker to talk to us about what you’ll be doing.”

Murmurs rose among the classroom. A class project that involved a speaker? That had to mean it was something important. Guesses began spreading as Cheerilee prepared things.

“Maybe Rainbow Dash is gonna talk about the Wonderbolts?” suggested Scootaloo, her tiny wings buzzing with excitement. “Or even better, herself!”
“Maybe my dad wants to promote one of his stores?” muttered Diamond Tiara, tapping a hoof on her chin.
“Bet you Princess Twilight just wants to talk about ‘how great books are’ again,” Silver Spoon groaned next to her.
“Applejack woulda told me if it was about the farm,” Apple Bloom muttered to herself, “so that can’t be it.”
“Rarity would’ve let it slip to me too,” Sweetie Belle agreed. “She’s not the best at keeping secrets either. If it’s about fashion anyway.”

The teacher had at least woken the class up enough to make them listen to the lesson for the day. She hoped they were actually paying attention, but part of her figured they were too intrigued by the assignment. Some students were listening, but most were indeed too excited, thinking about what they’d have to do that didn’t involve parchment or quills.

At least the wait hadn’t been a long one, since before anypony knew it, the lesson had finished early for the day. But it wasn’t to get out of school a half-hour sooner.

“I know you’ve all been waiting for this,” said Ms. Cheerilee. “I figured if I just said we had a fun assignment and not explain it till now, you’d all wake up a little faster. I can see it worked, but not how I wanted it to.” She rolled her eyes. “Anywho, it’s time for our guest speaker.”

The door opened, and a pony strode in that no filly or colt in the room recognised. A plump earth pony mare, tan coated and brunette maned, dressed smartly in a sharp suit jacket and a black saddlebag.

“Good afternoon, everypony,” she began with a bow of her head, “my name is Caramel Crumble. I’m what you might call an entrepreneur. Does anypony know what that is?”
Sweetie Belle’s hoof shot up, recognising the word from when her sister told her about it. “A pony who starts up their own business, right?”
“That’s right,” Caramel said, making the filly beam with pride. “I’m the owner of Caramel’s Confections in Manehattan. It’s still a small candy company right now, but we’re planning to do plenty of expanding in the future.”

The Crusaders exchanged quick looks with each other. They definitely hadn’t heard of her.

Caramel opened her saddlebag, fishing out a sizeable, rectangular cardboard box. It was white, with the company name in thick soft letters on the front. Anypony close to the front could see a neat line of big, chocolate-chip cookies in the plastic window.

“But I digress,” she continued. “I’m sure your teacher mentioned an assignment? I have with me an assortment of cookies, cupcakes, doughnuts, candy bars, and much more. I’m curious to see if Ponyville has any potential salesponies, so I want you to sell as many as you can. Work alone or in teams, whichever you prefer. Whoever sells the most will receive quite a few spending bits.”

The last part got everypony’s attention, just as Caramel expected. She was yet to meet a pony not motivated by money.

“Remember,” she said, raising a hoof, “no eating them. Not even tasting. Only selling. Can’t have a candy salespony who eats all the merchandise, hm?”

A few disappointed moans sounded in the room. She felt almost sorry for them, but if things went her way, things would work out for everypony’s benefit. Especially her own.

Everypony in the class muttered excitedly. Colts and fillies were already choosing partners.

“My daddy owns a chain of stores,” Diamond Tiara said to Silver Spoon, “selling is practically in my blood.”

“I hope we all do really well,” said Class President Pipsqueak, sneaking a dubious look to his partner, Truffle Shuffle.

Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo smirked to one another. No points for guessing who they would be working with.

“I have a wagon full of boxes just outside,” Caramel went on. “Once your class has ended, you can all stock up. Good luck, everypony.”


The Cutie Mark Crusaders wasted little time in getting to work. As soon as school was out, they gathered as many boxes as they could carry and loaded them into Scootaloo’s wagon. Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle kept working to keep the precariously stacked piles of doughnuts, cupcakes and chocolate bars from toppling over while Scootaloo dragged her red cart along with her scooter.

“Where do y’all think we should start?” asked Apple Bloom, constantly darting her eyes at the staggering stack.
“We should start big,” said Scootaloo. “Maybe Princess Twilight’s place? Or Sugarcube Corner?”
“”I dunno,” said Sweetie Belle, using her magic to keep a box of muffins from toppling. “Pinkie Pie might get the wrong idea, think we’re trying to mess with her business. We should just start at a few houses and see what happens.”
Scootaloo shrugged. “If you say so.”
“Rarity says starting small is starting smart,” said the unicorn filly, puffing out her chest. “If she can make it as a big business pony, I’m sure I’ve got it in me to sell some cookies.”

“DID SOMEPONY SAY COOKIES?!” squealed a new voice, causing the Crusaders to halt in their tracks. In front of them stood a familiar earth pony mare in different shades of pink, a wide grin on her muzzle.

“Oh, uh,” Scootaloo murmured, while her friends struggled to keep a tidal wave of cardboard and crumbs from overwhelming them, “hi, Pinkie Pie.”
“That’s a lotta sweets n’ treats you got there,” said Pinkie, bouncing around the wagon. “A lotta sweets n’ treats that don’t really look like they came outta Sugarcube Corner. I’ve never heard of no Caramel’s Confections.”
The Crusaders froze at the accusatory tone in Pinkie’s voice. The stink-eye she was giving them didn’t help.
“You three aren’t plotting anything, are you?” she asked.
“P-plotting?” Sweetie Belle whimpered.
“If I didn’t know you three any better, and I know you three pretty darn well, I’d think you were helping to undermine Sugarcube Corner and put me and the Cakes outta a job.”
“What?!” Apple Bloom gasp. “Naw, Pinkie! We’re just doin’ an assignment fer school, that’s all! We ain’t gonna mess with Sugarcube Corner!”
“Oh, I know you’re not!” Pinkie snorted, grinning ear to ear again. “”I’m just messin’ with ya! You three are far too nice to do that!”

The three fillies were even more terrified than before, by how quickly Pinkie’s demeanour had shifted back and forth like nothing had ever happened. In fact, they weren’t even sure if it actually did happen.

“Well, I gotta get on gettin’ on,” Pinkie said, bouncing past the Crusaders. “Good luck with your school dealie!”
They waved as she left, and looked to one another.
“Keep this stuff away from Sugarcube Corner,” Sweetie Belle whispered.
“Agreed,” Scootaloo said.
“Dang right,” Apple Bloom murmured.

The trio went on their way, keeping the bakery a wide berth, and chose one of the neighbourhoods to begin their little mission. They agreed on a starting house and approached it, recognising it right away but still finding it curious how half of the outside was painted one colour and the other half a different one.

“I’ll do the talking,” said Scootaloo, smirking as she knocked on the door. Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom exchanged sceptical looks behind her back.
A white unicorn mare with a spiky blue mane answered, her tinted sunglasses hiding her eyes. She lowered the headphones from her ears, the dance music loud enough for the three visitors to hear.
“Hiya, Vinyl Scratch,” the pegasus filly began, and gestured to the stack behind her, “got some cookies and cupcakes and stuff here from, uh, Caramel’s Confections. Want some?”
Vinyl Scratch frowned and tilted her head.
“Only three bits a box,” added Apple Bloom.
The local DJ rubbed her hoof on her chin. The three saw an eyebrow raise behind her sunglasses.
Sweetie Belle flipped a box open with her magic, floating a cookie out in front of Vinyl. “Maybe a free sample will help you decide?”
Vinyl took the cookie in her own magic and sniffed at it. Apple Bloom leaned toward her friend. “Ah don’t think we’re supposed to give free samples.”
“Just trust me on this,” whispered Sweetie Belle, not taking her eyes off the potential customer.

Vinyl Scratch took a bite of the cookie, and the Crusaders watched intently.
The DJ froze for a moment and lowered her sunglasses, showing her eyes widened with surprise. She stared at the cookie, then crammed the rest of it into her mouth, grinning and licking her lips. The Crusaders smiled at each other.

“I think we got a sale,” Apple Bloom chirped.

Vinyl held up a hoof and ran back into the house, leaving the door open. The Crusaders exchanged confused frowns.

Scootaloo shrugged. “I think she wants us to wait?”

“Alright, alright,” said a new voice from inside, in a Trottingham accent, “I’m coming. Honestly, what’s got you so worked up, Vinyl?”
The DJ returned, making space for a grey earth pony mare with a neat black mane.
“Oh, hello girls,” she greeted the three with a smile, then looked over at the pile of boxes. “Ah, candy. That explains it. Honestly, Vinyl and her sweet tooth.”
“Yeah, we’re doing a thing for school,” Scootaloo said. “Wanna buy some, Octavia?”
“I’m sure Vinyl will,” Octavia said, “but I shouldn’t. Sugar goes right to my flanks.”
Vinyl rolled her eyes behind her glasses and gestured toward Sweetie Belle. The filly blinked, then got the hint and floated another cookie out toward Octavia.
“Have a taste of it, at least,” she insisted. “Might change your mind.”
“Oh, very well then,” the earth pony sighed, and took the tiniest nibble of the cookie. Like Vinyl, her eyes widened with surprise, and she quickly crunched the rest of the treat. “Goodness, this is good!”
The Crusaders grinned, and Apple Bloom stepped forward. “Wanna buy some then?”
“Oh, definitely!” Octavia licked her lips. “I’ll take a few boxes of those cookies, and some cupcakes. Ooh, is that chocolate there? Some of those too!”

While Apple Bloom grabbed what Octavia asked for, Sweetie Belle floated boxes down from the pile that Vinyl pointed out to her. The two fillies could swear they saw something in the mares’ eyes, like a sort of desperation, but they figured it was just excitement.

Minutes later, the Crusaders trotted away from the house a few boxes lighter and many bits richer.
“Our first sale,” Apple Bloom said, puffing out her chest. “Ah knew payin’ attention to Applejack would pay off too!”
“We’re gonna make the best sales in no time if everypony reacts like Vinyl and Octavia did,” squeaked Sweetle Belle.
“Let’s find out then,” Scootaloo said, smirking as she scooted the wagon toward another house. “The Cutie Mark Crusaders are gonna be the best salesponies in Ponyville!”

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