• Published 4th Oct 2021
  • 338 Views, 3 Comments

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 2: Talking to a Stranger

Okay, maybe I wasn't bouncing off the walls and almost breaking glass with my squeals anymore. (I checked them all.) But I am outwardly ectastic enough to be borderline stared at by the ponies around me as I skip my way over to Parasol's house.

And I don't care about the stares. I get to go on a vacation! Think of the places we'll go! The activities we'll do! The things we'll eat! The bonding we'll do! Ooh, will Player 4 want to stay at a hotel? Does he like going to restaurants? Does he like waterparks? I'll ask him, for sure!

It feels so, so awesome to know that out of all those choices, he went with me! Why did he? Well, there has to be a reason! I may not know it exactly, but it feels good, let me tell you. Not only is it heartwarming to be selected, but the fact that I'm being invited to go on a trip... Eee!

I hop my final skip and reach the front door of the building at which my friend resides in, and give it the knock of truth. The knock that should open my path to asking Parasol if she will go on this trip. Which will then lead to an answer. What will it be? Will she go or will she not? Only one way to find out!

As if my emotional state wasn't enough, I get hit by another burst of happiness from the other side. Parasol peeks through the crack, then flings it open the rest of the way with a loud, high-pitched "Sassaflash, my friend! What brings you here?!" along with a light jump.

"I am here to ask you about something super fun, Parasol!" I say, leaning my head in.

Unfortunately, I can't let the burst come. I must sigh and release the tension. "It's a lot to explain. That's why it will take a sit-down-and-talk."

I know Parasol thought I was about to explode. Hehe. She says with a giggle, "Okay. I can make tea if you want."

"Be my guest." I say.


So here we are, sitting on Parasol's soft plush chairs with hot mugs of fresh tea at our hooves' reach. Perfect moment to relish in, for sure, but I've got something quite a bit more exciting to go on about.

"Alright, I shall explain." I begin, clamping my front hooves together. "So, somewhere in Ponyville about a week ago, there was a flyer posted on a board. A flyer that I took notice to because tons of other ponies were staring at it. I took a look myself, and Parasol, you won't believe how amazing it is."

I must take a deep breath. There's still a lot to explain; can't squeal it out.

"It's an advertisement from the local human, Player 4, for ponies he has never met before, who are strangers to him, to go on a vacation with him. Like, just jumping straight into something like that, as a test to see if a friendship can develop that way."

Parasol doesn't say a word. Looks like I need to clarify some things.

"Ultimately, it's just like any other vacation, though. Like, think of what comes into your head when you hear that word. Player 4 clarifies this in the document; the only thing different is the bond level of the participants, and the fact that they're using that as a test."

"You're not creeped out, are you?"

"No! I'm stunned in silence because of how cool that sounds! How brilliant of an idea it is! And because I wonder why you're here telling me about it!" she says.

Ah-ha! Now I get to give her the same reaction I had!

"That's great to hear you like it, and I am here because... Player 4 said on the paper that any guests are included as part of the package... and that he would like if I brought a friend."

"Oh, shoot! Did I just say 'if I brought a friend?' Well, I guess now's the time! Out of multiple sign-ups for the trip, I am the one whom Player 4 selected."

Parasol sets down her tea mug and leans in with her forelegs out wide.

"Eee! Congratulations, Flash!" she says, hugging me tight.

My heart warms; I even blush a bit. As if it didn't already feel good to be selected, I now was receiving a congratulations from a dear friend for it. I just love everything right now. This might be my best day ever so far.

"So," - Parasol says as she pulls away - "the point that I feel like you're trying to get at is that you want me to come on this trip with you."

Oh! She connected the dots!

"Yep. With Sea Swirl being away on vacation herself, you're my pick, Parasol."

Here comes another hug; Parasol's body is in the same lean-in as before.

"I'd be honored, Sassaflash." she says, rubbing my back lightly.

Yay for friendship! And for her coming with me! This. is. going. to. be. amazing!

Ponyville Park is our current location now, and a certain seating area in the park is the destination in our sights. An off-path arrangement of three white wooden lawn chairs placed in front of a fire pit and another white chair looking towards it; Parasol and I call that spot out as the perfect place to hold this vacation interview with Player 4.

"I wonder what Player 4 will think of us." Parasol says as she takes the chair on the right side of me.

"I mean, that's part of the purpose of this trip, isn't it?" I say.

Parasol lightly shrugs. "Yeah, you're right. I keep forgetting the trial aspect."

I can't blame her. This isn't like most other vacations.

Soon enough, our ears perk at the sound of rhythmic grass-crunching that characteristically signals human feet. Us ponies, with four legs, have a more "numerous" sound when we walk. Stepping that you could align to a metronome comes from a bipedal creature, and in this case, it's far too loud to be Spike.

Yep, this must be him.

A male human sporting a yellow baseball cap on his head, black sunglasses, an identically-yellow T-shirt, and white shorts emerges into our view from the left, and turns his direction to the chair circle, facing right towards the two of us.

"Hey, ponies!" he says with a bright and cheery tone. Oh yes. "I'm Player 4!"

Parasol and I look at each other. There we have it! Let's do this!

Player 4 sits in the chair across. Looks like he recognized our arrangement; good. "So, this might be awkward. I understand." he assures. "We are strangers going on a vacation, after all, so it was likely to be built-in."

Huh. The way he speaks those sentences. Does he like to emphasize details? That's what I hear. Not to mention that metaphor at the end...

Either way, Parasol and I just nod, so P4 continues the speaking. "Well, to start off, how about we introduce ourselves a bit?"

Being the main selection of this trip, I feel it's my duty to go first. "I'm Sassaflash." I say, smiling.

"And I'm Parasol. A friend of hers." Parasol says as she points to me.

"Yeah, I've heard of you two before!" P4 says, smiling and pointing to the both of us. "It turns out, I have always wanted to meet you. And I do remember being told once that you and Parasol were friends, by somepony else."

Not surprising, if I do say so. This is the capital of friendship we're in, after all. Details on who pairs with who do tend to get spread around town.

But in any case, P4's words only give me another burst of heartwarm. And Parasol does the expression of that for me before I can get to it, me being focused on my internal thoughts.

"Well, it's an honor that you wanted to meet us, Player 4." I can see a bit of blush on Parasol's face.

"Happy to be here." Four responds. "I know this is going to be awesome. So, what should this vacation be, exactly? Like, where do we go?"

Hmm. Player 4 seems to swiftly end a topic when he knows he wants to go to another one.

As for what he's asking, well, he's in luck.

"I do happen to have a suggestion." I quickly note. "There's a place in Equestria called 'Sunray Bay', which is a city, ponies do live there, but it is mostly known as a really good vacation site. They're at the coastline, so there's beaches; they have lots of hotels that have really good things to do inside of them; they have amazing shopping malls, restaurants, like, places we could take you. And it is summer right now."

"Sounds good!" Player 4 says, giving a thumbs-up. "I mean, you're the Equestria native; you must know about this stuff."

Aww, shucks.

"And then, with that in mind", P4 continues, "I was thinking that I could also take you to my homeland. As in, we go back to Earth, to the town that I live in, where... what I wanted to do was have the two of you stay with me at my house. I like having guests over there."

"Like, I felt like it would be cool if we did a swap of who is the 'local.' You two take me to a place in Equestria that you know and love, and thus, you get to be my guide. And then later, we do a second part of the trip where I'm the local. Where I'm the one guiding you around the place and such."

Hmm. I see! So, staying in his house; I... would prefer a hotel, but hey, we can do that on the first segment, where we're at Sunray Bay. I guess it's only fair that he gets to pick the vacation site on his side of the trip.

And the "swap of the locals" thing; yeah! I can get behind that!

"Sure! Why not do that?" Parasol says. "I mean, it would mean more vacation!"

"Sure would." I say. "So, yeah P4, we can do the swap."

"Great!" he excitedly says, pumping up a fist. Aww, that makes me happy too.

"So, I think we should start with your side." he continues. "Like you said, you take me to Sunray Bay. I do want to do that first."

"And then when that's done, we take a trip over to Earth and my house, where then, I'll also take you to a vacation site I really like!"

I find myself shaking in my chair, brewing more excitement at that last part, only to then remember--

"B-but you said you wanted us to stay at your house." Parasol says for me.

"Oh. Oh, yeah; I forgot about something." P4 says. "What I want to do on my side of the trip is start with us staying at my house, but then go to one of my favorite vacation sites. Like, splitting up that segment into sub-segments." He clasps his palms together and spaces them apart.

Hmm. Okay then. Sounds good.

"We can use the time staying at my house to explore my hometown and the various things you can do there, and then use the next part to focus on the vacation site, because it's the type of place where, once you're there, the hotel itself has tons of things to do. Like, you don't ever need to leave the building to have a deep, rich vacation."

Don't ever need to leave the building to have a deep, rich vacation; huh! I wonder what kind of place that could be! A hotel with a big waterpark inside of it, might he be talking about?

"Oh, okay." Parasol says. "Yeah, I like the sound of that!"

"Me too!" I nod.

"Awesome! It will be great!" P4 says.

I really love the way we're on the same page about things here, smiling and getting excited at each other, our plans, and all. This trial is going well already!

"So, would you mind telling us what this desired vacation site of yours is, Player 4?" Parasol asks.

"Oh. Yeah, I'll tell you." Four responds. "It's a place called 'Great Wolf Lodge.' Basically, it's a wilderness-themed hotel with its main attraction being a huge waterpark inside of it. It does have a lot of other activities, like, I know there's a spa there, but the waterpark has always taken up the majority of my time whenever I've gone there, because it's huge, and has so many awesome rides. Like, I almost can't wait to take you two to that waterpark. I really want you to experience it."

Him having said that, believe me when I say that I want to experience it too! I'm now really darn curious about that waterpark. What makes it so fun? What does Great Wolf Lodge look like? What are the other various things can you do there? Ooh, I'm getting excited.

As P4 says, though, that comes later.

"But hold on, that's the second part of the trip. First off, Sunray Bay." he says.

"Yeah! And... do you think we're ready to start packing now?" Parasol asks, leaning in from her chair.

Player 4 shrugs. "There's nothing I can think of that still needs to be said beforehand."

"W-wait." I interject. "What about payment? Who pays for the hotels? How much should we pack; how long is this trip?"

"Oh." both P4 and Parasol say in unison, making us laugh a little. "Yeah, I forgot to discuss length." Four says by himself.

"Well, how long do we want it to be?" he asks. "How much time do you think I should spend in Sunray Bay in order for me to do everything you'd like to see me do?"

I tilt my head back and forth. "I-I would say five to six days if you want to do everything I have in mind. But the thing is, you might not want to leave Sunray Bay. Ponies extending their stays there is quite common, like, over 50% of them do it. So if we want a set date for when we begin part 2, I'd say for Sunray Bay, we book seven days."

"Okay." P4 says. "And then for the other side... I'd be good with four days on the part of you two staying at my house and us exploring the area, but for Great Wolf Lodge, I'd like us to be there longer than that. I'd hope for at least a week. I've never been able to stay there longer than a few days, and it never felt like enough."

Uh, that's weird. Why would a vacation be that short? I've always had mine go for at least a week...

"So, we could estimate the total length of the trip to be about 2 weeks and a half? 18 days?" Parasol says.

"I'd bump that up to 21, given the three days of travel." P4 notes. "You know, the day where we go to Sunray Bay, the day where we go to Earth, and the day we all return home."

"We won't need a full day of travel for Great Wolf Lodge, given that I live really close to it, but yeah, I'd say we'll be making this a three-week vacation. I know, it's long. But that's what happens when we include two different segments of it, and when it's also here for us to get to know each other."

Yeah, he has a point with the travel days. Sunray Bay is about 5 hours away from Ponyville by train. I say P4 is also right about the length of the vacation. 21 days might seem excessive on the surface, but given the unique nature of this vacation, with the trial friendship and two-segment aspects, it makes perfect sense to me.

"I just hope that you two can take 21 days of vacation." P4 says, sounding worried.

"I can." I quickly assure. "That's the maximum I'm allotted, but I'll gladly use all of it on this absolutely wonderful-sounding trip of getting to know a stranger, Player 4."

"Same allotment for me." Parasol says. "In fact, she and I work at the same company, so."

"It's true." I say. "We both work for the Cloudsdale Weather Team. We see each other a lot while we're there."

"Cool!" P4 says. "And Parasol, you haven't used up some of that yearly vacation time already, have you?"

"Nope." Parasol says. "Haven't taken a vacation this year yet."

Player 4 sounds so relieved. "Well, good!"

Not that I'm blaming him, though; like, it's a completely legit worry. He was concerned that we might not be able to have that much vacation time. But rest assured, yes, we can do 21 days. That is the yearly amount given to us by the weather team.

"Is... there anything still left to say?" P4 asks.

I search my mind for any possible lingers. "Nothing I can think of!"

"Same here." Parasol says.

"Great! I guess it's time, then!" Player 4 gets up off his chair. "So, I'll go to my house and start packing; you two do the same. Reminder to pack for 21 days. And if you want, I can make a list for you that should help you not forget anything."

"I would appreciate that." Parasol says.

"Me too." I respond.

"Okay." P4 says. "So, I'll go home and write that list, then how about you both go to Sassaflash's house. Since I know the address, I'll be able to come over and bring the lists to you."

"Sounds good!" I say. "I'll be waiting."

"Yep! See you there!" Parasol says.

This wasn't exactly going to be the most convenient path through this step, with all of Parasol's things being at her house and her having to come to my house first just to wait for the list. I also feel kind of bad for P4, having to travel from house to house that much. But hey, he offered, and we definitely would not want to forget something.

Especially not for a vacation this long. I take a deep breath at that as I walk along the path out of the park. "Sheesh. 21 days. I've never had to pack for that long."

"Well, good thing is, we ponies don't have to wear clothes." Parasol says. "Imagine how much Player 4 will have to pack. How big his suitcase must be."

Whoa. Yeah, I can only imagine. I wouldn't be surprised to see a suitcase almost as big as me. Hehe.

Come to think of it, does Four even have a suitcase? I hope he does, because then he'd have to go to the store to get one, thus leaving and going back to his house again.

Also, won't all three of us need to go to the store anyway, as part of this pre-trip preparation anyway? To get travel food and the like?

Shoot. Now I'm really confused about the timeline of this preparation step. I want to ask P4. But he's already gone.

I guess we'll just wait until he gets to my house.

Comments ( 3 )

I quite like where this is going so far and the dynamics between all the characters, yourself included. Quite an interesting idea for a multi-chapter story too. I can’t wait to see where it goes!

Thanks! You having interest to see where it goes next... maybe will help me get motivation to work on this story again? Sigh That might just be wishful thinking, in addition to a way to describe how much writer's block sucks... I feel like I've abandoned all the people who read my work.

While I hope something kicks you in gear and gives you that inspiration, I don’t think you’ve abandoned me or anyone else. Writers block can be a bitch, and nobody can blame you for that.

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