• Published 27th Jul 2021
  • 2,897 Views, 98 Comments

BuggyCYOA - Krivvy

It was just another routine trip deep within the Everfree Forest when you stumbled upon a most unlikely companion...

  • ...

Misty Autumn Morning | Parts 185B - 195

Approximately twenty or so minutes later, you find yourself nearly nodding off a few times from the warmth of your combined bodies and the blanket wrapped around you.

Unfortunately, you force yourself back to attention as you consider one small problem: The fire in the fireplace is nearly burned out.
You really want to keep the fire going this morning, but you know that doing so would require rousing Notaulix from his rest.
Although the more you think about it, the more you realize that since you need to go to Ponyville today, you would have let the fire go out anyway.

Because of that, you decide to let Notaulix enjoy himself in peace and comfort until the fire burns itself out, at which point you will continue on with your day.
And so you wait, holding your sleepy changeling friend close to your body...
Several minutes later, when the fire is gone, you turn your attention back to Notaulix in preparation for waking him up.

"Hey, Notaulix? It's time to wake up." You softly say while giving him a gentle shake.

At first you think your attempt is successful, with Notaulix's ears twitching as he begins to stir. However, you are proven wrong when he simply nuzzles into your chest before resuming his calm, steady breathing.

"Notaulix, wake up." You repeat in an amused tone while gently shaking him once more.

This time Notaulix responds by breathing in deeply and stretching his legs out, followed by loudly exhaling as he opens his eyes, which quickly focus on you.

"What is it, Anon? Is something wrong?" Notaulix asks you.

"No, nothing's wrong." You reassure Notaulix. "I need to make a little trip to Ponyville today. The fire just went out, so I figured this would be a good time for me to get going." You then explain.

"Oh, I see..." Notaulix says as he takes a moment to glance over at the fireplace before looking back at you. "How long did I fall asleep for, Anon? I'm sorry I made you sit here for so long." He then apologizes as his ears droop downward.

"Not that long; don't worry about it." You reassure Notaulix with scritches and scratches behind his ears, causing them to perk back up.

"That feels nice..." Notaulix comments with a smile, clearly enjoying the treatment.

"So how did this little arrangement work out for you? Do you feel any better?" You ask Notaulix after concluding his ear scritches with a firm pat on the withers.

"Yes, I feel much better now. Thank you for letting me be so close to you, Anon." Notaulix answers while moving himself off of your lap, allowing you to stand up.

"Glad to hear it. Anyway..." You pause as you take a moment to lift up your arms and stretch once back on your feet. "...I'm gonna go get ready to leave now, alright?" You continue.

"Okay Anon. I will be fine by myself now." Notaulix says.

With that, you begin to walk across the living room towards the hallway, though you only make it a few steps before you hear Notaulix call out from behind you.

"Anon?" Notaulix says, sounding slightly unsure of himself.

"Yeah? What is it?" You ask as you stop and turn to face Notaulix.

"Could we... do more of this, please? Be close together? It really helped me take in more love." Notaulix asks you. "A-At least until my body has recovered! Please?" He quickly adds, stuttering in the process.

Taking a moment, you weigh your answer in your mind before responding.

"Sure, I'm fine with that." You answer Notaulix.

"R-Really?! Thank you, Anon!" Notaulix cheerfully answers, clearly happy with your response. "You really don't mind?" He then adds.

"Really." You reassure him, giving a light nod and a smile for emphasis.

Upon hearing your words, Notaulix simply stares at you with a happy expression while his insect-like wings quietly buzz away.
After staring at each other for a few seconds, you turn around and depart into the hallway to begin getting ready to leave.
Am I really fine with it? You think to yourself as you do so.

Eventually you move that thought to the back of your mind once you lace your boots, don your coat, throw on your backpack and fill up your bit bag to a good sum of fifty bits.
Before heading outside, you check in with Notaulix once more, asking if there's anything he would like you to pick up in Ponyville for him or for dinner.
Notaulix responds by informing you that he has no requests and is perfectly happy with anything that you get for him.
An expected answer, but you decide not to push the matter, since you know now that Notaulix will most likely ask you if there's something that he really wants.

Sharing your goodbyes, you depart from the comfort of your warm home into the cool, damp autumn air outside. After locking the front door behind you, you turn and see that the light rain has reduced to more of a fine mist.
Feeling pleased with fairer weather to travel by, you step out onto the dirt road to begin the walk to Ponyville, though not before making the customary stop at your mailbox.
Opening the mailbox, you discover a small letter waiting for you. After removing it from the mailbox, you find it to be addressed to you and simply folded with a small wax seal, on which is stamped the emblem of the Equestrian Postal Service.

Curious, you immediately break open the wax and unfold the letter to read what it has to say. After all, it's not everyday that you get mail.
Once open, the letter reads...

Dear Mr. Anonymous

This letter is to inform you that a package addressed to you has arrived from Canterlot

Please consider stopping by at your earliest convenience to receive your package

Have a wonderful day!

- Equestrian Postal Service, Ponyville Office

Folding the letter and tucking it into a pocket, you take off down the road towards Ponyville feeling quite pleased, since you know this can only mean one thing: Your new boots must be here.
In several ways, this news brings a sense of relief to you, as your old boots wearing out has been a long-standing source of stress for you.
You know more than ever that a good, solid pair of footwear is vital for moving around the Everfree. It's arguably your most important piece of equipment; especially now that the cold and rainy season is drawing close.

Thoroughly distracted by thoughts of what your new boots will be like, you soon find yourself entering Ponyville before you even know it.
Looking around, you find the peaceful town to be quite busy today, with ponies going about their regular business on the streets while pegasi fly above.
You also see that the marketplace appears to be very active despite the light rain, with many vendors set up to sell their goods.
Coming to a stop, you take a moment to collect your thoughts and decide what to do first now that you're here in Ponyville.
Weighing your options, you soon formulate a route through town to accomplish everything you want to do, beginning with walking in the direction of the marketplace.

The cheerful sound of ponies conversing and doing business grows louder as you approach, until you find yourself in the middle of all the hustle and bustle.
In the heart of the marketplace, you slowly walk around in a circle to examine what is being sold. While there are many things for sale today, you are specifically interested in what sounds good to stock up on and eat.

Though despite your best efforts, you end up being distracted by the heartwarming scene of a young filly dressed up in little boots, splashing in puddles and giggling and carrying-on while her mother buys goods from a vendor.
Elsewhere, you observe a group of ponies conversing with one another in a circle, a stallion carrying a basket of cabbages on his back, a colt walking by his fathers side, and a mare wearing a newly purchased hat.
Such simple moments fill you with a sense of peace, contentment, and a measure of pride for what you now consider to be your home town.

You're certain that you will always find yourself thankful, for however many years you may have left, for this opportunity to live and have a place in this world. Life here is a far cry from where you came from, after all.
The more you live here, the more you wish you could simply forget about the crowded towns, the towering cities, the famine, the violence, the politics. And yet, you cannot. How could you ever forget?

Before your mind has a chance to become fixated on such negative memories, you happen to notice a familiar face among the vendors. Applejack is here with her cart, loaded with fresh apples and homemade goodies.
Seeing all those apples piled high, you recall how on the day you first discovered Notaulix, apples were the first thing that you offered him to eat, much to his delight.
With a smile on your face and a plan in your mind, you resume your task at hand as you approach the friendly Apple Family mare.

Several minutes of shopping and friendly conversation later, you depart from the marketplace with the weight of your purchases firmly settled at the bottom of your backpack.
Since it is the closest to the marketplace, the next destination that you stop at is the Ponyville Post Office; a quiet little building.
Not long after entering the building, you depart from it with your new pair of boots contained within a fairly lightweight wooden box, the lid of which is sealed with string and a wax seal of the Royal Guard.
You opted to simply carry the box with your hands instead of stuffing it into your backpack, in order to avoid damaging the produce and other goods at the bottom of it.

Nobody wants a squished loaf of bread, do they?

Finally, you arrive at the familiar dwelling of Bubble Shine, the cleaning mare. Once inside, you discover your clothes to be clean, dry and neatly folded in a stack.
After engaging in some small talk, namely over the box you were carrying, you thank the mare, load up your backpack, and exit back out onto the streets of Ponyville.
With your foodstuffs and fresh clothes tucked away in your backpack, along with the box containing your new boots held firmly in your hands, you soon depart from Ponyville onto the dirt road leading home.

Along the way, you begin to think about those boots held within the wooden box that you're carrying. Will they fit you well? Will they be comfortable? How long will they take to break in? Such questions come to mind.
Before you know it, your daydreaming is interrupted as the sight of your humble little home draws into view from behind a stand of trees.
Eager to get back inside, you break into a jog and quickly close the remaining distance. Once on the porch, you set your box down to fish for the key in your pocket to unlock the front door.
Opening the door once unlocked, you shuffle you and your box inside before closing the door behind you.

"I'm home now!" You call out while busying yourself with relocking the door.

"Welcome home, Anon!" The somewhat muffled voice of Notaulix responds from somewhere behind you.

Confused, you turn around to look down the hallway, where you see that the bathroom door is closed.
Assuming that Notaulix is simply in there, you leave your box by the front door as you walk down to the other end of the hallway, where you then enter your bedroom.
In there, you remove your backpack and proceed to unload all of your freshly washed clothes onto your bed. You plan on sorting, folding, and putting everything away later.

Next, you grab hold of your backpack once more and exit your room, taking a moment to glance down the hallway at the still-closed door to the bathroom as you cross into the kitchen.
While unloading the remaining contents of your backpack onto the kitchen counters, you hear the sound of hooves against the wooden floor drawing closer, and sure enough, you see Notaulix round the corner into the kitchen.

"Hey there." You greet Notaulix.

"Hello Anon!" Notaulix returns your greeting with a cheerful voice. "Did your journey to the pony settlement go well?" He then asks you.

"Yep, it did. I was able to hurry right along and do everything that needed to be done. The rain let up a bit too, which was nice." You answer Notaulix.

"That is very good." Notaulix comments as he comes to a stop next to you. "Is there any dessert for us, Anon?" He then asks as he watches you finish unloading your backpack of food items.

You can't help but chuckle at the changelings forwardness as you take a moment to look down at Notaulix with a grin on your face, who in turn looks back up at you with hopeful eyes.

"Not today, but I did get us some apples. How about that?" You say to Notaulix in response while holding up one of the perfectly ripe apples for him to see.

"Oh! Yes, I do love apples!" Notaulix says, his wings buzzing in approval.

"I thought you'd like them." You say while taking the things from the marketplace and putting them where they belong.

"Thank you, Anon." Notaulix says to you.

"Mhm." You hum in acknowledgment. "By the way, my new boots arrived today from Canterlot." You then say after a few minutes of silence.

"Did they? I remember that those are very important to you." Notaulix says.

"They really are... I'm hoping they fit me well, because if they do that'll take a stress that I've been holding on to for a long time off of my mind." You say.

"That would be a very good thing, Anon. Stress is bad." Notaulix agrees.

Not long after that, you finish your task of putting everything away. You then find yourself a glass and fill it with water, which you then begin to drink from while leaning up against the kitchen counter.

"Anon?" Notaulix says to you, looking for your attention.

"Yeah? What is it?" You ask him.

"Could we sit down together when you're not busy, please?" Notaulix asks you. "I have questions about one of the things that you wanted me to study in the compendium; one that you marked with a piece of paper." He explains.

"Of course we can!" You reassure him with a smile. "Which one were you looking at?" You then ask Notaulix, curious about what's on his mind.

"C... Cockatrice." Notaulix answers you with a slight stutter.

"The cockatrice, huh?" You repeat, your smile diminishing as you think about that particular beast.

In response, Notaulix simply nods his head a few times, looking slightly troubled.
From that point, silence falls over the two of you, leaving you to your own respective thoughts for several minutes. Eventually, you finish off your glass of water and lower the now-empty glass to the counter with an audible clunk.

"I'm going to get the fire going again for us. How about you go make yourself comfortable on the couch? We'll talk about what's on your mind." You suggest to Notaulix with a nod of your head in the direction of the piece of furniture.

"Okay! Thank you, Anon." Notaulix responds in a cheery tone before trotting over to the sofa, followed by climbing up onto it.

As Notaulix settles into his favored spot, you walk over to the fireplace and kneel in front of it, where you then grab hold of a metal poker.
Taking the poker, you use it to sift through the ashes and inspect what you have to work with. Thankfully, you find that there is still a nice bed of embers glowing orange and hot.
You take some smaller pieces of wood and set them directly on the embers. The material soon ignites, at which point you coax and build up the fire until it is back to its full size, filling the room with its heat.
Satisfied, you rise back up onto your feet in order to walk over and join Notaulix on the sofa.

"What did you want to talk about?" You ask Notaulix as you sit down.

Before answering, Notaulix scoots up closer to you while levitating over the old Everfree compendium, which he then opens up to the two pages detailing the cockatrice.

"Do these really exist, Anon?" Notaulix asks in response while passing the large book over to you, which you take hold of.

"Yes, of course they do. They wouldn't be in this book otherwise." You respond.

"Can... Can they really turn living things to stone?" Notaulix asks in a slightly quieter, more tense tone.

"Yeah. They can." You answer him with a nod of your head.

"How do you know that?" Notaulix then asks you.

"I've stumbled upon a few petrified forest critters and a couple timberwolves." You respond as you recall the moments when you found such things. "Nothing more than that, thankfully." You add.

"Oh no... I'm glad that you never found a cockatrice, Anon." Notaulix says.

"Well actually, I have. I've had the misfortune of running into one out in the wild twice. Quite a scare when that happens!" You say nonchalantly.

"T-Twice?! Anon!" Notaulix cries out, catching you by surprise as you find him staring up at you with wide eyes and droopy ears.
"What if you were turned to stone when you were all alone, doing these things in the Everfree Forest by yourself? That could have been your end!" Notaulix continues, clearly distressed.

You can't help but stare back into Notaulix's solid blue eyes, searching your mind for a response to his unexpected outburst. Yet, you find nothing.

"How did you do it, Anon? Where did you acquire the bravery to face such dangerous things by yourself?" Notaulix asks you with a quieter voice; one that almost sounds sad.

Several long seconds drag by in silence as you wait to see if Notaulix says anything else, though it quickly becomes apparent that he is, in fact, waiting your answer.
Eventually, you allow the old, heavy compendium to rest on your lap, freeing both of your hands to briefly rub your face after breaking eye contact with your changeling friend.
Lowering your hands, you take a moment to stare ahead and gaze into the dancing flames held within the fireplace.

"Dunno." You blurt out, followed by a heavy sigh.
"I just... choose to not think too much about things like that. If I constantly thought about everything bad that could happen to me, I'd never get anything done, you know?" You finally answer Notaulix.
"I studied these old books for months before I started going deeper into the forest. I decided on a plan of action for whatever I could beforehand." You explain.
"What if I encountered a pack of timberwolves? A manticore? A cockatrice? What if I stepped in a pile of Tanglehoof? What if I twisted an ankle? ...I would ask myself questions like those." You continue.
"That way, I could react quickly and not panic. That's why I'm not a statue now, and that's also why I want you to learn these things, so that you too can be prepared for them." You say.
"Because the reality is, we're going to need to go deeper into the Everfree; at least as deep as where I found you. That's where you have to go to find the best things to harvest in these final weeks before winter arrives." You conclude.

And with that, the silence resumes between you, apart from the occasional snap or crackle of the warm fire.
Looking back down at Notaulix, you find him to be staring down at his forehooves. You don't know if he is deep in thought or not, but the fact that his ears are still pinned to the side speaks to you of his emotions.

"Hey..." You begin while reaching over to rest a hand on Notaulix's withers. "...I know it's scary to think about, but you should realize that now we're going out as a team, we have a major advantage against the cockatrice." You continue.

"We do?" Notaulix questions as he looks back up at you in surprise and confusion. "What do you mean, Anon? What kind of advantage?" He then asks.

"As far as its ability to petrify goes, it can only focus on one thing at a time, as far as I know." You begin to explain.
"Let's consider the worst case scenario: If one of us did happen to become petrified, the other could run back to Ponyville and get help." You continue.
"You should know from the book that this kind of petrification usually isn't a permanent thing; an exceptional magic user can often reverse it, among other ways. So, that isn't so bad, right?" You conclude.

"I don't know, Anon... It would be better if nobody became petrified." Notaulix says, sounding very unconvinced.

"Well, that's the idea." You agree with a chuckle. "If I easily avoided it twice, you can too." You add, hoping to encourage Notaulix.

"What did you do when you encountered a cockatrice, Anon?" Notaulix asks you.

"I looked away." You simply reply.

Upon hearing your response, Notaulix simply stares up at you for several seconds with a blank look on his face, before tilting his head slightly to one side.

"The moment I saw the cockatrice and recognized what it was, I turned my head away from it, and walked away. That's what I mean about having a plan in your mind before it happens. You want it to be a reflex." You elaborate.

"Oh, that's all? Really? Doesn't the cockatrice want to chase you?" Notaulix asks.

"Hasn't happened to me. Don't think it would, either. In my opinion, I think the whole petrification thing is just a defense mechanism for the cockatrice." You respond.

"A defense... mechanism? What do you mean by that, Anon?" Notaulix asks.

"Think about it logically; the petrification doesn't serve the cockatrice any good beyond disabling whatever it perceives as a threat. It can't eat the statues it makes, as far as I know." You explain.
"I've never seen any damage done to the petrified critters that I've found, at least." You then add.

"Hmm." Notaulix hums as he brings a forehoof up to his chin in thought, while his ears slowly begin to relax and raise up once more.

"See? It doesn't seem as bad when you think things through, right?" You say to Notaulix.

"Yes, I guess you're right, Anon." Notaulix agrees.

"There we go. Just continue to study these things and think about how you should react." You recommend to Notaulix.

"And remember, I wouldn't be having you study up to begin with if I didn't think you couldn't handle yourself out there." You conclude with words of encouragement, while also reaching up and scratching behind Notaulix's ears, much to his joy.

In no time at all, your changeling companion is back to his usual self, with perky, upright ears and a more relaxed demeanor.

"Thank you, Anon." Notaulix says once you conclude the ear scritches.

"You're welcome, Notaulix." You say in response.

Following that, you share another moment of silence together, lost in your respective thoughts. Though as much as you find the moment relaxing, you know there are things that you should be doing.

"Well..." You begin while giving both of your legs an audible slap. "...if that covers everything you wanted to talk about for now, I think it's about time I get up and take care of my chores for the day." You continue.

"Okay Anon. Thank you for helping me." Notaulix says as he scoots back, leaving you plenty of room to get up.

"Sure thing." You say as you rise up from the sofa. "Remember, just keep studying, and try to have a plan in mind for everything, one thing at a time." You recommend before walking over to the fireplace.

"Thank you, Anon." Notaulix responds while watching you put another piece of wood on the fire. "Do you need any help with your tasks?" He then asks you.

Pausing for a moment, you consider his offer before responding. "Nah, it's just some laundry folding and other stuff. There's not much to help with, really. Thanks for the offer though." You reply with a smile of appreciation.

"Okay." Notaulix simply says before getting snuggled into place under his blanket.

Leaving Notaulix and the fireplace behind, you make a stop by the front door, in order to free your feet from the confines of their boots.
Once your feet are free and comfortable, you walk down the hallway and enter your bedroom, where your first task in the form of a pile of clothes on your bed awaits.
Folding all of your freshly cleaned clothes is a job that you take your time with, finding it somewhat relaxing on a day like today.
Before too long, the messy pile is transformed into neatly folded stacks of shirts, pants and socks, which you then take the time to put away in a small dresser placed up against the far wall.

Upon putting away the last of the folded clothing, you take a moment to gaze out at nature from one of the windows in your bedroom.
With a sigh, you depart from your bedroom back out into the hallway, ready to tackle the one chore that you're really not looking forward to: Washing your underwear.

Walking the short distance down the hallway, you enter the bathroom, leaving the door partially open behind you as you walk over to a vanity of sorts, which is built around the sink.
Bending down, you open up one of the cabinets underneath. Reaching inside, you pull out a wooden bucket, which contains a small washboard and a bar of soap.
Next, while waiting for the bucket to partially fill up with water, you grab hold of the woven basket that you use for your dirty clothes and deposit it by the shower.
Once the bucket is filled to the appropriate level, you haul it over and place it in the shower. You then take the lid off of the basket and turn it upside down, dumping all the underwear contained within onto the floor.
Finally, with everything in place, you roll up your sleeves, kneel down on the floor, and get to work.

A far cry from the washing machines that you were once familiar with, you diligently go through the motions of soaking, soaping, scrubbing and rinsing, one at a time.
While not an overly difficult job by any means, it's a monotonous one. Still, it needs to be done, even if there were other things you would rather be doing.
Regardless, you carry on scrubbing away as the minutes go by...
At some point after you've lost track of time, you look over your shoulder as you hear the sound of hoofsteps drawing near.

"Anon?" You hear the voice of Notaulix call out from behind the door, shortly followed by the changeling poking his head inside.

"Do you need a moment in here?" You ask Notaulix, pausing your work.

"No, not yet... I was just wondering what you were doing, Anon. You've been in this room for a long time, and the noises being made are strange." Notaulix explains.
"May I come in and watch what you're doing, Anon? I-If you don't mind!" He then adds.

"Well uh- I... I'm just washing some clothes." You blurt out. "Nothing interesting to watch, really." You add.

Notaulix simply stares at you, gears clearly turning in his mind before tilting his head in confusion.

"Didn't you just get your clothes washed in Ponyville, Anon?" Notaulix questions you.

"I..." You pause for several drawn out seconds, suddenly feeling a bit embarrassed and stuck. "Well, yeah. I had everything done except for these." You say while gesturing at the bucket that you're working over.
"Just, these uh... My underwear." You finally spit out.

"What's an underwear, Anon?" Notaulix quickly asks with keen interest.

Scolding yourself inwardly for not just closing the door before you got started, you can't help but let out a heavy sigh, which Notaulix picks up on.

"I'm sorry, Anon! I-I can leave if you don't want me bothering you..." Notaulix meekly says, partially retreating back out of the doorway.

And just like that, you immediately feel bad. Not wanting to put a sour note on the day, you begin to weigh your options.
While you may be bothered by the forwardness and strange questions of the residents of this land, be it pony, changeling or any other race, regarding things that you consider to be private affairs, you know that it isn't their fault.
Because in the end, you know that you are the strange one, not them. You're the exception to the norm, a mystery, an anomaly; one that shouldn't exist.
And yet, here you are...

After weighing your options, you conclude that one way or another, Notaulix was going to end up seeing your underwear, either now or when you would go to put them up to dry.
Prompting the very questions that he is asking you now, no doubt. With that in mind, you decide to swallow your pride and simply get it over with.

"Hey, I didn't mean anything like that. You can come in and watch if you want. I don't mind, really." You reassure Notaulix.

"O-Okay." Notaulix says before pushing the bathroom door open further and taking tentative steps inside.

Returning your attention to your work, you continue scrubbing away. Shortly after that, Notaulix appears at your side before sitting down next to you.

"These are underwear?" Notaulix asks, pointing one of his forehooves at the undergarments in question.

"Yep, they are." You respond.

"What are they used for?" Notaulix then asks.

"I wear them. They're a common, everyday piece of clothing for my kind." You answer.

Upon hearing your answer, Notaulix alternates between looking at the underwear and eyeing you up and down.

"They are? But Anon, where do they go? I have not seen you wear anything like these... Do they go on your head for a special occasion?" Notaulix eventually asks, clearly confused.

You can't help but laugh and smile at Notaulix's silly question, which only furthers the changelings confusion.

"They don't belong on the head!" You respond in an amused tone. "They go underneath the pants, here in this area." You say while vaguely gesturing at your pelvic area.

"Really...?" Notaulix says, sounding somewhat unconvinced.

"Look." You say as you take the current one that you're washing and hold it up. "See? The legs go through here, and this part here holds onto the waist." You explain before putting it back into the bucket.

"Oh! Yes, I get it now!" Notaulix happily announces. However, his expression quickly returns to one of puzzlement.

"But... What purpose do they serve, Anon? Why do you need to wear a piece of clothing under more clothing?" Notaulix questions you.

"Well, they just..." You trail off as you catch yourself. The reality is that they really just keep the goods thoroughly supported and chafe-free, but you really don't feel like outright saying that. After all, things are already awkward enough as-is.
"...help keep me warm and comfortable. Do you remember when you asked me about clothes a few days ago? How we wear more or less depending on the temperature around us?" You continue.

"I do remember! I think I understand now Anon, thank you." Notaulix says, the lightbulb finally going off in his head.
"Even if I do understand, it is still very strange to me, Anon." He adds not long after.

"Yeah... I guess I am kind of strange, huh?" You say to Notaulix with a smile, prompting him to smile in return.

With that, you continue your task of washing for several minutes uninterrupted while Notaulix sits and observes, allowing you to get most of the underwear done before his next question arrives.

"What is that tool you are using to clean the underwear, Anon?" Notaulix asks.

"This is a small washboard." You say as you hold up the object in question. "You rub things made of cloth up against these ridges with soap and water to make them clean." You explain.

"I see. And that basket? You store your clothing in there?" Notaulix asks, pointing a forehoof at the basket in question.

"The ones that I've worn or gotten dirty, yes." You answer him.

"Oh. Now I understand why your scent was so strongly attached to it, Anon." Notaulix comments.

"What? Have you been over there smelling my dirty clothes basket?" You question Notaulix with furrowed brows as you turn your head to look at him, unsure of if you should be offended or weirded out right now.

"I haven't laid a hoof on the basket, Anon! In fact, I have stayed away from it." Notaulix reassures you. "It is easy to smell whenever I walk into this room." He begins to explain.
"Since it was strongly marked with your scent, I knew it belongs to you and is important. It would be very disrespectful to handle something marked without permission!" Notaulix concludes in a very matter-of-fact way.

"Alright then..." You say, expression softening as you return your focus to your work. As you do so, you begin to ponder what Notaulix just told you. More specifically, this thought of something being "marked" by scent.
When you think back on it, you remember Notaulix explaining to you that changelings supposedly have a very sharp sense of smell, but now you wonder just how extensive that sense is.

"Anon? I almost forgot! If you just had the rest of your clothes washed in Ponyville, why did you not have these washed with them?" Notaulix asks you, interrupting your thoughts.

"Uh, about that..." You pause as you consider how to answer your changeling friends question.

After thinking about it for a moment, the answer arrives in your mind, closely followed by a smile creeping onto your face.
You'll tell him. After all, having someone sit next you and ask questions while you wash your underwear is already bizarre for you. Why not add a little more to the mix, just for the fun of it?
You'll tell Notaulix the real reason why you don't bring your underwear to Bubble Shine anymore; about the incident that rocked the little town of Ponyville, and nearly Equestria itself, just over a year ago.

If nothing else, it'll help pass the time, right?

Author's Note:

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Upon hearing your words, Notaulix simply stares at you with a happy expression while his insect-like wings quietly buzz away.
After staring at each other for a few seconds, you turn around and depart into the hallway to begin getting ready to leave.

"The Cuteness... It Burns!"

Dear Readers, while I write out the next chapter, I invite you to share your theories.
What do YOU think The Incident may have been?

So many clothes, this human must be loaded. A veritable baron among the commoners of Ponyville. Everypony knows only the richest can afford so much clothing, right?

The other sorta-common trope is when "depansued", a human just has their junk hanging out for all to see, unlike ponies. This shameful display leads to all sorts of shenanigans. The flipside to it is why everypony questions his sanity at wearing so much clothing when they're all naked; granted, a tail helps to keep stuff covered for the most part but common courtesy dictates you don't point out unintended displays nor display yourself in public-- this also leads to communal or familial bathing/grooming. a logical step for Earth Ponies and Pegasi who physically/magically cannot reach certain places (which ties into the "herd" concept nicely).

Worldbuilding is an interesting rabbit hole to dive into once you start down that path, figuring out what goes on in the everyday life of ponies.

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