• 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...

  • ...

Store Browsing | Parts 78B - 85A

Early in the morning, you are awakened from your slumber by the sound of the bedside clock playing its familiar chime, announcing that sunrise is imminent.
You toss and turn in bed, too comfortable to move until the moon is lowered and the sun raised, filling your room with bright light.
Crawling out of bed, you walk over to your backpack and retrieve your fresh change of clothes before heading to the bathroom.
Once there, you relieve yourself, freshen up, get dressed and comb your hair before stepping back out, where you then put your boots on.

Not long after that, you found yourself back in the dining hall with Twilight and the Alicorn Sisters, enjoying breakfast, or in Luna's case, dinner together.
With all being said and done, you bid each other farewell before departing from the Royal Castle, after retrieving your backpack and Twilight's saddlebags, though not before Twilight returned her books to the library.
You and Twilight find yourselves back on the already somewhat busy streets of Canterlot. It is another beautiful sunny day, if a bit cold.

"Well Anon, we have about an hour before our train departs. Is there anything that you wanted to go do?" Twilight asks you.

"Yes there is, actually. I was thinking about doing a little window shopping, maybe pick up a few things that you don't normally find in Ponyville." You answer her.

"Oh, alright then. I'm not really interested in doing shopping right now myself, so I'll let you go do your thing. Just make sure to be at the train station in an hour, okay Anon?" Twilight says.

"Right. I won't be late." You reassure the purple unicorn with a smile.

"Hehehe... Okay then, have fun!" Twilight says as she begins walking away.

You take off walking in your own direction towards where the majority of shops in Canterlot are located.
Once there, you begin to take some time and browse the storefronts of the more modest shops that may have something of interest to you.
After the lunch that you enjoyed yesterday, you have 78 bits left in your bit bag.

You come to a stop at a particular establishment that catches your eye: The Cheese Shoppe.
Looking in the window display, you happen to notice Pepper Jack being prominently advertised; one of your favorites.
Recalling your conversation with Notaulix about cheese, you decide to make this store your first stop in order to get some for him to try.

Entering the The Cheese Shoppe, you are immediately assaulted by the intense aroma of all the different cheeses available here.

"Welcome to the ch-" You hear the voice of a mare speak before being interrupted by a loud gasp.

Looking behind a glass counter to the source of the voice, you see a very surprised looking unicorn mare. She wears a white apron and a silly little cheese hat.
You wave a hand at the mare and smile, something that seems to bring her back to reality.

"W-Welcome to The Cheese Shoppe! How may I help you?" The mare stutters.

"Well, I'd like some of that Pepper Jack for sure, but do you mind if I look around a bit first?" You ask her. "Sorry for surprising you." You add.

"Not at all! Let me know when you're ready... And it's fine, you're the... Human, right? Anonymous?" She responds.

"Yes I am." You say as you look at a selection of crackers for sale.

The mare leaves you to your browsing as she busies herself by tidying up the store.
As you examine the somewhat small, rustic themed cheese shop, you find that it stocks an impressive variety of cheeses, crackers, some boutique vinegars, along with serving boards and utensils.
The prices are all reasonable, for the most part.
Upon finishing your browsing of the goods available, you walk up to the counter, grabbing the attention of the mare working there.

"What can I get you?" She asks you in a happy tone.

"I'd like two pounds of Pepper Jack, a pound of Mozzarella, and this." You say as you set a small paper bag full of rye crackers on the counter.

"Okay! Just a moment." The mare says as she goes to get your requested cheese.

You watch as she measures each one out, before placing each kind in their own waxed bag, which she then seals with a hot iron.

"Here you go. That will be eight bits, please." She says to you upon returning.

You reach into bit bag and place the appropriate amount on the countertop, which the mare promptly takes.
Following that, you place your goodies into your backpack before departing from the shop. This fresh cheese has given you an idea for dinner tonight.

"Thank you! Have a wonderful day!" You hear the mare call out as you leave.

Back out in the streets of Canterlot, you breathe in the fresh cold air, cleansing your senses of the powerful cheese aroma.
You feel like you probably have enough time left to visit two, possibly three more businesses. You have 70 bits left in your bit bag.

Next, you decide to check out a store by the name of Saddles & More.
Looking through the storefront windows, you see there are indeed plenty of saddles. You still haven't gotten over the fact that the ponies here wear saddles as a fashion item.
However, you also see several different styles of saddlebag being advertised, among other things.
You feel that this may be a good opportunity to get a saddlebag for Notaulix, if an appropriate one is available.

A small bell rings as you open the door and step inside, revealing a relatively simple looking store.
On the center of the floor are two rows of pony mannequins, each displaying a different fashionable saddle.
Meanwhile, different shelves and racks line the walls, where saddlebags, scarves, hats and other associated things are displayed.
At the back of the store, you see a simple wooden counter. To the left of the counter is a doorway covered by a curtain, and to the right is an open door that appears to lead to a back room.

Noting the lack of any other ponies in the room, you wonder where the shopkeeper is for several seconds until you hear the sound of hooves coming from the back room.
A middle aged, well-to-do looking unicorn stallion wearing a pony suit jacket of sorts emerges from the back room.
The stallion comes to a stop when he notices you, looking very surprised as he stares at you.

"Hello... Sir. I, uh... I'm not sure that I carry anything suitable for you, unfortunately..." The stallion says, giving you an apologetic smile.

"I'm not looking for anything for myself, actually. I've been thinking about getting a gift for a friend of mine." You explain.

"Oh, I see!" The stallion exclaims, his expression lighting up as he approaches you. "In that case, what sort of gift did you have in mind? Is this for a mare or a stallion? What size?" He asks you.

"I was thinking about a saddlebag. It's for a, uh..." You briefly pause as you decide on how to answer the question.
"...pegasus stallion. He's a bit larger than average; his withers come up to about here." You answer as you hold out your hand to approximately the level you remember Notaulix's withers to be at while standing.

"A large size saddlebag, then. Very good, please take a look over here." The stallion says as he leads you over to the corner of the room to the left of the counter.

You come to a stop at a wall rack filled with different saddlebags in the corner of the store.

"These should all be suitable for a larger pegasus stallion. Feel free to inspect them as you wish." The stallion says to you.
"Now then. I must admit that I was busy composing a letter that needs to be finished. If you wish to buy something, just ring the bell on the counter." He says as he begins to walk away to the back room.
"Oh! Also..." The stallion pauses. "If you don't find an ideal style for your friend, you may wish to browse Hoofington's down the street." He says.
"Though, I think you'll find my prices to be more appealing." He adds with a wink before disappearing into the back room that he emerged from.

Now alone, you turn your attention to the wall rack filled with saddlebags. There are more types of designs available than you realized even existed.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed at the amount of choice, you allow yourself to become distracted for a moment as you look at the curtain covering the doorway next to you.

You didn't notice it when you walked in, but there is a small sign above the curtain that reads: Mares And Stallions Only
Staring at the curtain, you wonder in the back of your mind what could possibly be in there.
However, you turn to your attention back to the saddlebags when the thought crosses your mind to check for something similar to Notaulix's color first.
There aren't many, but you spot a couple saddlebags in a suitable shade of black, though none of them exactly match his colors.

You pick out a particular saddlebag from the rack; one with top flaps that tie down with buckles, made from a dark grey heavy canvas, with a light amount of built in padding for comfort.
This seems the most ideal choice for starting Notaulix out with something of his own, though the only negative is that it features a bright yellow trim.
You hope to ask the stallion running the store if he happens to have another bag like this one, only with a different colored trim.
With the saddlebag draped over your left arm, you begin to turn towards the wooden counter when you suddenly pause.

You look back towards the curtain with the peculiar sign over it, your curiosity getting the better of you.
After checking around you and listening carefully that nobody is present, you quietly walk over to the curtain and peek inside.
On the other side of the curtain is a smaller room, dimly lit by the glow of an orange colored magic lantern, reminiscent of candlelight.
As for the contents of the room, you see several more pony mannequins that appear to be adorned with... Harnesses?

Intrigued, you decide to step into the room to get a closer look. You've seen the ponies using harnesses for heavy work before, but these seem a bit different.
On closer inspection, you find that everything in here appears to be made from Barkmat and metal, clearly meant for heavy duty work.
The more you look, though... Redundant straps that appear to serve no obvious purpose, buckles in places you don't expect, hearts and other designs carved into the leather-like material... And blinders?!

Your mind reels as you suddenly realize what exactly you're looking at. These harnesses aren't for work, they're for play.
Horrified yet morbidly curious, you glance over at one of the other harnesses to see how it's constructed.
Is... Is that a...?

You quickly make your way out of the room, your cheeks burning red in embarrassment.
Never would you have guessed in a million years that the wholesome ponies of this land would have things like... THAT.
Much to your relief, nobody is on the other side of the curtain. You weren't going to be caught dead in that room; no way.
The gossip would spread through all the land, and you'd never hear the end of it. Every mare in Equestria would giggle at you and whisper to each other as you pass by.

Having avoided crisis, you step up to the wooden counter and ring the bell placed on it, producing a loud chime.
While waiting for the stallion to return, you notice a sign on the desk that reads: For anything, ask about customization!

Soon enough, the stallion returns to the main room of the store. "Did you find something?" He asks you.

"Sort of... I was wondering if you possibly had a saddlebag like this, but with a different colored trim. Like a green or blue or silver, something like that." You explain.

"Hmm..." The stallion muses as he takes the saddlebag from you with his magic to inspect it, raising a forehoof to his chin in thought.

"Possibly. You said you were shopping for a pegasus, correct?" He asks you.

"That's right. Why do you ask?" You ask in return.

"You may have not considered this, since you have those dexterous fingers, but buckle top bags like these are an uncommon choice for a pegasus." The stallion says.
"It's an honest mistake, really. One I've seen made many times by my unicorn customers. Earth ponies and pegasi can have a bit of a hard time of these sort of buckles." He continues.
"Pegasi do sometimes use these anyway. Usually the ones who need to ensure whatever they're carrying stays safe and secure while flying." The stallion explains.

"Wow, you know what? You're absolute right, that didn't even cross my mind... I do think my friend wouldn't mind though, he's pretty nimble." You say in response.

You know buckles shouldn't pose any problem for Notaulix since he can use magic, but that's not exactly something you can mention right now. Your primary thought was just a bag he could fly with if need be.

"That's great! There's a better chance I may have the perfect bag for you. I'll need a few minutes to look through my inventory in the back, though. Do you mind the wait?" The stallion asks you.

"I don't mind. I'm in no particular rush." You answer him

"Good to hear. I'll be back as soon as possible." The stallion says as he returns to the back room, leaving you alone in the main part of the store once more.

With nothing else to do, you return to browsing some of the other things for sale, mainly the selection of scarves.
You find plenty of nice looking ones, some of which would even go well with Notaulix's colors, but a scarf is not something that you think is necessary at the moment.
Several minutes pass until you hear the sound of hoofsteps approaching, prompting you to return to the wooden counter.
The shopkeeper returns with three different saddlebags in the grasp of his magic. You almost immediately notice that a fourth one, quite different from the rest, is draped across his back.

"Here we are! I found three that are close to what you're looking for. Please take a look." The stallion says as he sets three similar looking saddlebags down onto the wooden counter.

All three saddlebags share the same basic design as the one you picked out, though with subtle differences.
The first saddlebag is almost exactly the same dark grey, but with a forest green trim.
The second is more of a medium grey with turquoise trim, in addition to the buckle straps for the top flaps being made from Barkmat instead of heavy canvas.
Finally, the third saddlebag is almost a charcoal grey with midnight blue trim. The top flaps, however, make use of a simpler, less secure hook-and-eye clasp design for closure.

"Hey, these are much closer to what I was originally looking for! But... What's the story with that last one you're carrying?" You ask the shopkeeper stallion.

"Ah, this? Well... I picked it out since it was similar to one of you desired color combinations. There's a bit of a story to this one. Take a look." The stallion answers as he sets the saddlebag in question on the counter.

In the process of moving the saddlebag with his magic, you noticed the stallion struggling quite a bit to do so.
On closer inspection of the strange saddlebag, you find it to be unlike any other that you have seen before.
The saddlebag itself is composed half and half of two materials; dark blue heavy canvas with black trim, and another material that you immediately recognize from your visit to the Royal Armory: Glyph Skin.
The design is different from the normal as well. The main bags are not quite as deep, but in their place built into the bottom of the bags are sturdy tubes fashioned entirely from Glyph Skin. One for each side.
You notice the emblem of the Night Guard is prominently embroidered into the sides of the bags, in addition to appearing as decorative silver buckles for the top flaps.
Finally, you can feel that it's quite luxuriously padded. There is also something hard and articulated embedded within the top padding.

All together, this saddlebag is deeply impressive and incredibly overbuilt, as if it's designed to last a hundred years.
Surprisingly, it doesn't feel that much heavier than a normal saddlebag; a few pounds at most, you would guess.

"What's this all about? This sure uses a lot of Glyph Skin." You ask the stallion.

"Oh? You know about that stuff? I'm impressed! I won't have to explain it for you then." He begins to explain.
"This is an unused courier's saddlebag from the Night Guard. A few years ago there was a mistake in an order, and a few too many of these were made." The stallion continues.
"Instead of having them sit unused and taking up valuable space for who knows how many years, they were instead offered for sale to the public." He concludes.

"Really? That's quite interesting... So why is one here?" You ask.

"Heheh, well... I bought one, thinking it could be an opportunity to make some bits. It's quite rare for Royal Guard equipment like this to be publicly available." The shopkeeper answers with a chuckle.
"Someponies buy things like this as a collectible, or keepsake. Others may have a genuine use for such a special construction." He says.
"Unfortunately for me, it's been years and I still haven't sold it. The average pony just has no need for something as extravagant as this." The stallion says before letting out a big sigh.
"At this point, I just want to get rid of it for what I paid. The magic resistant construction makes it a real chore for me to move around." He admits.
"I know it's probably not something that you want, either. But you're an unusual customer, so I thought it wouldn't hurt to show you it." The stallion says.

"Hmm... It's definitely cool looking. How much did you buy this for?" You ask.

"Ninety three bits." The stallion answers.

Your eyes go wide as you recoil at the price of the saddlebag... Just how much are those Glyph Skin boots you're receiving for free really worth? You can't help but think to yourself.

"Uhh..." You pause as you stare at the saddlebag, creating a silence in the air between you two.

You can't deny the practical value of this unusual saddlebag. Even something lightly armored like this could go a long way towards protecting Notaulix's life out in the Everfree.
Especially valuable is the magical resistance of the Glyph Skin used in its construction. Your thoughts return to your conversation yesterday with Sturdy Stitch about normal materials potentially being a target for magical attacks.
...You also can't deny that it simply looks cool.

The cost, regardless of how high it may be, isn't an issue for you, seeing as you have several hundred bits stored back at home.
Your present issue if that you simply don't have enough on you at the moment.
After giving it some though, you decide to attempt to negotiate the price with the shopkeeper stallion.

"Well, to be honest... I kind of am interested in this one. I think it would be a super cool gift." You say as you point at the Night Guard saddlebag.

"R-Really?! You're actually interested in it?" The shopkeeper exclaims, clearly surprised.

"Yes I am. One problem though." You say as you remove your bit bag and present it to the stallion. "This is all I have on me, about seventy bits I think. Could you possibly do that?" You ask him.

The shopkeeper scrunches his nose and furrows his brow as he ponders your offer.

"I understand if you don't want to sell it that low. Just thought I'd offer, you know?" You add.

The stallion lets out a heavy sigh before looking up at you with a weary smile. "No, no... I'll sell it to you for seventy bits, under one condition." He says.

"What kind of condition?" You ask.

"Promise me that you'll stop by again someday and buy something else, no discounts." He asks you with a light smirk.

"Hah! Alright then, you got a deal. I promise. Save me this one, I'm sure my friend would appreciate something a little more casual too." You say as you point at the charcoal grey saddlebag.

"Very well, I'll reserve that one for you. To be honest with you, I'm more relieved than anything that I don't have to lug that thing around anymore" The stallion chuckles as he empties out your bit bag onto the counter.
"Exactly seventy bits, sure enough." He declares before handing you back your now empty bit bag.
"Oh! You live in Ponyville, right? Do you already have your train figured out? You're not getting far with no bits." The shopkeeper asks.

"Yep, that's already taken care of. I appreciate the concern." You answer as you carefully rearrange your backpacks contents before loading the saddlebag into it.

"Just making sure... Well then! I hope you have a good day and a safe return trip home. Whoever that saddlebag is going to is very fortunate to have a friend like you." The shopkeeper stallion says with a smile.

You smile and nod in response as you lift your backpack onto your shoulders. "Thanks again, I'll be back here the next time I visit Canterlot." You say as you make your way back to the entrance.

"Thank you for your business! Take care!" You hear the shopkeeper call out as you step out onto the streets.

You feel very pleased with yourself as you begin making your way back towards the train station. You weren't expecting to strike a deal like that.
Even though it drained your wallet, if Notaulix is going to be working with you in the Everfree, anything that can help keep him safe is worth every bit in your mind.
Soon enough, you arrive at the train station where you find Twilight laying on a wooden bench, reading a book.

"Oh hi Anon!" Twilight says when she notices you approaching. "Did you have fun? Find anything to buy?" She asks you.

"Yeah, I picked up a few things." You honestly respond, though you have no intention of bringing up the saddlebag...

"Very nice. I'm curious to see what you got while we're on the train." The bookworm says with a smile.

You don't have to wait very long before the time to board the train arrives, which you proceed to do after Twilight presents your tickets home; Another gift of the Princesses.
Departing from Canterlot, you and Twilight sit together in silence for some time as you both stare out a window and watch the scenery roll by.