• Published 4th Oct 2021
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Human's Trial Friendship Trip - Player 4



Equestria's first human wants to go on a vacation with ponies he's never met, as an experiment. I sign up, but it's not like I'm actually going to be picked, right?

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Chapter 1: The Surprise Letter

"Whew! Sure glad it's Friday.", I say. The sweat on my forehead leaves tiny blue puddles on the white pavement below.

"You're telling me, Flash.", one of my coworkers says as he walks along the employee exit area with me. "Those were some big projects we had going on this week."

"Oh boy, were they big.", I say as I rub a hoof across my forehead, flashing back through these last five days and all of the ever-ambitious projects they entailed. We worked with stormcloud size, lightning bolt shapes, and preparation for the next water tornado to Cloudsdale; all among the most strenuous and complicated projects, according to the ranking team.

Yeah, this week easily ranked #1 for the most busy in my career as part of the Ponyville Weather Team.

"This week has gotten me to consider going ahead and using my vacation time now.", my coworker says.

"I'd love a vacation.", I say, smiling.

...

"You know, it has been a while since I've taken one of those.", I continue.

And now that I think about it, my mouth is totally watering at the idea of me doing so. Lounging on a hotel balcony overlooking the yellow sunset, or sipping on a cup of pink lemonade at the pool, or, best of all, doing some bonding; I would love a vacation.

"I mean, I don't feel like I need to take a vacation now, but it is summer, and I'd like to go in summer.", I say.

"Me too.", my coworker says. "When I get home, I'll consider going next week. Enjoy your weekend!" He breaks off to the right, whereas I head left. The sticking-out white cloud with the wooden arrow reading "Ponyville" that points downward showing itself in my field of vision; right there marks the start of my post-work time of day. My wings unravel and fluff up for takeoff. Back to my Ponyville home.

...

Hi there. I'm Sassaflash. Don't know me? Well, I don't blame you. I am only a background pony, after all. But I hope you'll enjoy this instance of background pony spotlight! For as long as this story lasts, you'll primarily be listening to me.

For reference, I'm a mare with a bluish-green, or "aquamarine" coat, pale yellow mane, and two lightning bolts for my cutie mark.

Yes, you read those other parts of the text correctly. I work in Cloudsdale; I'm part of the famous weather team. But I live in Ponyville. That's where my only house is.

You're right; it is quite the commute. I'd say it adds a combined full hour to my work day. But for me, it's worth the joy of residing in that beautiful, sweet town full of love and friendship. The town that I can now see as I fly down, just inviting me to make my routine return.

My hooves land on the soft green grass, and they're going to spend some time walking across it. That's what I like to do on Fridays; rather than heading straight for home, I celebrate the start of my weekend by checking up on what's poppin' in Ponyville, often finding myself at a restaurant for dinner in the process.

On this particular day, while nonchalantly walking around under the yellow glow of the lowering sun, bearing little or no thought to where exactly I'm going, beyond the aisle boundaries of our local (outdoor) grocery store is where I am met with a... a rare sighting, let's put it that way.

There's a closely-bunched-together crowd of ponies leaning in and locking their eyes on a large brown board lined with white papers, and one specific white paper in particular.

"Hi everypony! What's going on?", I chime in with.

A majority of them turn their heads towards me. One mare answers my question: "We're looking at this flyer that's about a human who wants some of us ponies to go on a vacation with him. See for yourself!" The mare takes a few steps backwards, clearing room for me, and I walk up to take a close read at what all the hype is about.


Player 4
presents to you the
Human's Trial Friendship Trip

I, your local human in Equestria, would proudly like to go on a vacation, or roadtrip, whatever you want to call it, with ponies who are currently strangers to me.

Yes, really. I want to do this as a friendship experiment, of sorts. I want to test out how and if a great, heartfelt friendship can come into being through unconventional paths.

The path I have much interest in, is to jump straight into going on a full-fledged vacation with you. Vacation, as in what you think when you hear that word.

Requirements? Well, not much. I mean, you must be somepony whom I've never met before, because, well, that's the purpose of this trip. You can have heard of me or seen me before, I'm sure everypony in town has by now, but simply knowing about me doesn't mean you know me or are acquainted with me, and that's the criteria I'm using. If I am a stranger to you, you can sign up!

Don't worry, when it comes to things like vacation sites, budgets, and such, we will work that out if you are chosen and I invite you to a pre-takeoff in-person meeting with me.

How to sign up: There are lines at the bottom of this page. Sign your name and home address, so that if you are chosen, I can send a letter to you.

By the way, if you would like to bring another pony along with you, or more than one, I'd love that! I'm actually hoping that I get to do this with more than one pony.

Note that if you are bringing others with you, they do not need to sign up themselves as well. All guests are included as part of your package. If two ponies sign up separately, I will assume that they are not going together. Please keep this in mind.

Maximum of 25 sign-ups. When this list is full, I will collect it and make my final decision.

I look forward to having you tag along with me, in meeting me for the first time, on an awesome vacation!

See you then,
Player 4


Hmm!, I think internally. Well, I sure haven't met Player 4 before!

Nor have I even seen him, in fact! All that I know about him comes from what other ponies have gathered. So that means I qualify for this trip. And... I like it! It does sound interesting to me! Meeting someone for the first time through going straight on a full-fledged trip with them; yeah! It sounds fun, a new and unique experience! Plus, it's a vacation!

I look at the bottom of the paper and notice that only four of the 25 slots have black ink lining them. Yes. I'm definitely going to sign up.

I grab hold of the black pen hanging from the board by a chain, and write "Sassaflash" in slot #5. I also write down my address, just as P4 requested.

...And done. Hanging up the pen, I could beam with excitement, scenes of me having fun at a tropical hotel while bonding with Player 4 overtaking my head, but instead... I begin to go about my evening as if it was just any other evening.

And I have a reason for that. My thought process goes "Well, think of how many other ponies are going to sign up here. What are the chances he'll pick you?"

So I don't think much of it. I just head home, make some chili, enjoy it while reading a book, and throughout the weekend, I simply do more ordinary Sassaflash things, like practicing my flying and hanging out with some friends.

The next Monday, I make a scheduled return to work (where that coworker from earlier had also decided to stay for this week), then just go about everything else that I normally do at work (usually preparing thunderstorms), and my life in general, with very little thought about the trial friendship trip. It's near-completely absent from my mind field.


It's a sunny late morning on a Saturday, the landscape chirping with birds. I'm spending my day off just chilling out with a good book. The time had come for me to be by myself, immersed into another world.

I reach the end of a chapter, and it pops into my head that I should probably check my mailbox. I heard the mail pony arrive hours ago, but didn't bother at the time, as I wanted to continue reading my book.

This time, I slide in a bookmark, close the pages, hop off the couch, and open my front door to the heat of this July day. I open my dark-blue mailbox, and inside is a row of white envelopes, as well as... one yellow envelope?

Okay, so that's kind of weird. I have an outlier here. My mail doesn't usually feature that; I'm used to seeing entirely white.

Returning inside and back to my couch, I take a quick look at the front sides of each envelope in the random order I scooped them up in. Not opening any of the white ones yet, I eventually get down the stack and uncover the lone yellow envelope.

Which... there's something else about it. In the center, it's stamped with a bold, yellow number 4 encased in a white circle.

I nearly gasp and my heart picks up speed. Could this be from Player 4? I mean, who else would use a stamp like that?

Wanting to savor the moment, after a few seconds I slowly let my eyes look at the the left corner, and... yep, the sticker says it's from Player 4!

My heartbeat pumps up to max speed and I pant like a dog from the anticipation. Could it be?

Now eager to just get into it, I crack the triangle open, lift it up, pull out the white paper inside, and unfold it. Here come the results!


Dear Sassaflash,

Congratulations! I am very proud to announce that I have selected you as my travel buddy for the Human's Trial Friendship Trip!

Meet me at the lounge chair area of Ponyville Park at 12:00 tomorrow, and we shall make all further discussions!

If you are not available at that time, no worries! Simply let me know through a letter and we will work out a different time!

If you are bringing any friends along, please let them know about this selection as soon as possible! I would also like to have them in the park meeting as well!

Greatly looking forward to spending time with you,
Player 4


That first sentence... I just couldn't. I couldn't believe my eyes. I had real resistance to believing that I was reading it correctly; that I wasn't about to get excited because of a misread. That out of all the ponies who signed up for this trip, he chose me? He actually chose me? I'm the one he wants?

Yep, I double-checked it more than enough times. He did. What were the chances? I just... like, wow!

I do manage to hold my breath and read the rest of the letter before having an... outburst. Park meeting tomorrow at noon; yeah, I'm available for that! Bringing any friends along...

Oh, shoot! I only just realize now that I hadn't thought of that yet! Well, looks like it's time!

Hmm... I'd love to bring Sea Swirl, but she's already going on a trip of her own.

Parasol, then? She is my second-best friend...

Sure. I'll ask her.

I prepare to head straight over to Parasol's house to share the great news and ask her if she wants to come along... well, after the reality truly hits me and I take some time to run and jump around the house squealing.