• Published 26th Sep 2021
  • 3,168 Views, 48 Comments

A New Age - James Pwyll



With her adventure over, Sunny and her friends begin their new lives.

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Critters

Hitch always took pride in his work, waking up early to see his morning routine done and finished so he could set out and perform his duties for as long as possible. Setting hoof outside his door, he took in a lungful of cool and crisp morning air, looking to the side and smiling at the barest glimmer of light on the far horizon, the sun signaling its arrival over the vast sea beside their home. Morning was here, and Maretime Bay once more needed its sheriff. True, the days of living in fear of supposedly evil unicorns and pegasi were long gone now, but there was always a place for law and order, and the young stallion was sure to enforce it. Granted, there were few, if any, other ponies out here right now, but Hitch knew it was best to get out there before the big crowds. So, starting his journey along the walkway beside the beach, he noted a few others here, such as the street cleaners and those just emerging to set up their shops for the day. But, as ever, there was that sound. The sound of tiny feet just behind him, leading to his usual sigh. "Really, guys?"

He turned, looking down to see those who were following him. It was the critters, the tiny animals from in and around the town that always managed to find him. Why they were always drawn to him, he didn't know, only that it was something that had become more and more prominent as the years had gone on. Where once he'd maybe draw in a seagull here and there, these days it was entire squadrons of tiny birds and animals. Presently, there was a squirrel, a mouse, a stray cat, a pigeon and even a little rabbit. He had no issue with animals of course, especially ones as adorable as these, but they certainly threw off the air of authority he usually tried to give off. "Look, I appreciate that you all seem to like me, but my duties don't really involve animals all that much. So could you maybe...I dunno, go to your nests or burrows or whatever until after I've finished my rounds?" Alas, his words only had the effect of causing a few happy-sounding squeaks and chirps from his small following, leading to another sigh on his part. "Well, if it didn't work the last few times, why would it work today?"

"Morning, Sheriff!" a voice called to him from the side.

Turning, Hitch smiled when he saw that it was the local flower vendor, a mare roughly a few years older than him, and he stepped closer to return the greeting. "And to you. With luck we'll have a sunny day today."

The mare nodded. "Hooves crossed. And speaking of sunny things, how's your bestie?"

Hitch chuckled. "Oh, she's fine. She went off to Zephyr Heights yesterday and I think she's enjoying a bit of a sleepover with our new friends. She should be back later today."

Again, the mare nodded, then took on a wider smile as she looked just past the stallion. "Good to know your talents are as undiminished as ever."

Hitch's ears drooped, knowing full well what those words meant. And sure enough, as he looked around, he saw that he'd gathered even more animals by his side, this time with the group including full-grown seagulls and even a dog. "Sunny keeps telling me I should be happy to be this good with animals, but I really wish I could go one day without the crowd."

The flower vendor giggled. "I tell you, my little filly would adore having a talent like yours. All those animals at her beck and call? She'd be the happiest child in Maretime Bay."

Hitch chuckled drily. " Trust me, she'd get tired of it pretty quickly."

Giving a quick bow of her head, the vendor turned to her shop door. "Well then, don't let me keep you."

The town sheriff watched as she retreated back into her home, then turned and frowned at his as-yet unconcerned fluffy fan club. "Alright, fine, you can follow." The result of that was even more happy sounds by the animals, to which even Hitch couldn't resist smiling. "Don't get too excited. I'm only allowing this because I'm in a good mood today." He began to walk off again, with his unofficial deputies loyally following close behind. It was a largely unremarkable early hour for his rounds today. Nothing out of the ordinary, and while he was ashamed to consider it, he did sort of pine for the days when he actually had things to do, like checking the unicorn traps. But, as he constantly reminded himself, that was peacetime. Preparedness for bad times was all well and good, but friendship was more important now, and he was naturally glad of it. But, as always, there was that one thing he spotted that soured his mood, and his eyes narrowed as he galloped onward to the source of it. "Why? Why do I get this every morning?"

The cause of his dismay? A piece of newspaper that had been crumpled up and thrown on the side of the sidewalk, right next to the local bins. It wasn't even a great distance away, it was literally right next to the recycling bin, barely an inch from it. He shook his head, then took on an even more irritated look when he glanced up to see that the general waste bin was overflowing with other crumpled bits of paper, while the neighboring recycling bin was practically empty, leading to a facehoof on his part. "Why, just...just why?!" Then, as he let his dismay set in, he was distracted by the sudden sound of a gull-call. Looking down, he saw his recently-acquired seagull companion hop over to the offending piece of paper, before promptly picking it up with its beak. Tilting his head, Hitch watched it fly up the short distance to the recycling bit, then dropped it in, giving another call. After blinking to this a few times, Hitch eventually gave a genuine smile, then reached out and gave the bird a quick pat on the head. "That'll do, Deputy. That'll do."