• Published 29th Oct 2012
  • 3,596 Views, 83 Comments

Finding Faith - CoolBreeze

Haunted by the past, John finds his place in life, helping an orange pegasus mare...

  • ...

Salesponies and Apples

My Little Pony: Finding Faith
Chapter 6 “Salesponies and Apples

I wave to the tan pony as he trots off, basket levitating at his side filled with various kinds of apples, their skins giving off a healthy shine. Carefully taking the coins, the “bits” which seem to be made of gold, silver and copper, I deposit them into the safe box before closing it under the watchful eye of Applejack. I get this feeling that someone’s tried to rob her before so now she just hawk eyes the thing out of habit and experience.

“Well I have to say John, ya been a real good help today.” she says with a smile to me, lifting her stetson from her head and revealing her tidy, blonde mane beneath.

She places the hat down on a crate and proceeds to gently scratch the top of her head with her hoof while I turn back to watch the stock and tend any customers who might have shown up. Luckily none have and I’m able to organise a few of the apples that had slipped into the wrong portions of the counter.

“So, Applejack. That orchard out past the park and the lake... that’s part of the Apple family farm is it?” I ask conversationally.

“Sure is, sugarcube, been in the family since granny was as young as ah’m. Our family and those who travelled with ‘em founded Ponyville together, without ‘em there wouldn’t have been trade here and no trade meant no need for anypony to stick around.” she says, it’s kind of interesting to hear actually, so her family have deep roots here then. I wonder if me having snuck onto her property the night before is something she might not like... I decide to keep that to myself and also to remember not to any apples that I haven’t paid for.

“So, ya ain’t from round here John, where’d ya come from?” Oh boy... where did I come from? “Don’t seem like a namby pamby Canterlot pony either, so... Manehatten?” The name... it... it rings a bell. It’s so familiar! Yet so darn, foreign. “Nah, I just figured out where ah know the accent from, Oatrstralians all got that accent don’t they?”

Again... the word, Oatstralian, is so darned familiar. Why... why is it like I know the word but don’t? I feel a hoof lightly knock my shoulder and turn my head to see Applejack looking at me directly, “Ya okay, sugarcube?”

“Oh uh, yeah I’m fine thanks Applejack. Just... uhh, well the truth is...” I start and feel a lump in my throat. She’s been pretty good to me, and I feel like even a white lie wouldn’t be a good way to repay her, “Honestly... I don’t remember, I think I had an accident and most of my memory is gone. Weird amnesia.”

“Ah see... is that why ya can’t do magic?” she asks, lifting her stetson back to its original position on her head.

“Yeah, I suppose. I mean I try and remember things and its like they’re there but they just won’t... come out sort of. But when I think about magic it’s like I know nothing about it. Funny, heh, being a unicorn who doesn’t know diddly squat about magic right?” I respond as I stack baskets under the counter for customers.

.”Ain’t no shame in that, sugarcube. Just means things are different for ya, is all.” she says reassuringly. I feel better having told her the truth, and since she doesn’t find it weird enough to bug me about it then it must be fine.

The baskets all neatly stacked, I turn back to Applejack who’s counting the bits in the safe box. I quickly learned that five silver bits are equal to a gold bit and ten copper are worth a silver bit and since she sells apples, regardless of their species at five copper bits apiece. She’s got a fair amount of money coming in. Apples, it turns out, are very popular amongst the Ponyville residents and we’ve served about... thirty or so ponies. It’s still a little hard to assign each visual appearance with an acquaintance in my head, there’s so many different palettes that you’d think it would be easy.

“Ah’m a be right back sugarcube, need to... uh tend to something.” Applejack says bringing me out of my thoughts. I nod and give her a grin before stepping up behind the counter taking her position. I listen to her hooves clopping on stone as she heads off someplace, I assume to relieve herself.

Busying myself with glancing around at the other stalls I see that many of the other ponies are selling various bits and pieces such as a stall selling flowers, the pony behind it has a rose-red mane and tail and cream coat. I can just make out a rose on her flank and it appears the stock she has in abundance is, roses. Thought she sells quite a few other flowers and by the look of it seeds for those species too.

Across from the florist is a stall that sells nothing but wooden figures, the sign set up at the stall claims that they are all one hundred percent hoof made. I’d wager that’s an impressive feat considering how even with our hooves unique ability to magically grip something, and their dexterity that it would be hard to properly angle the blade in order to carve the right amount of timber off.

As I ponder the difficulty of carving something with a knife and two hooves, I lapse into a state of unawareness, which is why when a hoof taps the counter, I jump in fright.

“Yoohoo?” I turn to face the culprit, “I was just asking, are you new?” she’s covered from head to hoof in aquamarine coat, her mane a slightly lighter shade with white streaked through it, the palette reminds me of toothpaste for some reason, the minty kind. I notice her head is tilted slightly to one side in a questioning manner and that her eyes are a brilliant amber, almost gold.

“Uh, yeah... yeah I am! I’m John. Can I help you?” I ask, remembering that I’m meant to be running a stall at a market.

Her head tilts back to its normal angle and she glances around at all the apples, “Yeah, Bon Bon needs a few apples for her new batch of candies... I’m Lyra, Lyra Heartstrings by the way.” she says, inspecting some Granny Smith apples.

“If they make lollies, then you’d be better off going with the Red Delicious, they’re sweeter and less acidic.” I tell the mare, she’s a bit older than me, maybe several years or so.

She stops browsing to look up at me, eyebrows raised, “Lollies?” she inquires.

I feel my cheeks growing hot, I don’t know why I’d be embarrassed by that... but I am, “Uh yeah, it’s what we call candy where I’m from.” I clear my throat nervously before continuing, “Like I was saying, the Red Delicious apples are your best bet for sweet stuff. Unless you’re like me and like things to have that acidic tang to it.”

I can see a small smile showing as she leans towards the red apples. I watch in fascination as her horn glows the same colour as her eyes and one of the apples lifts from the counter the same glow surrounding it. She inspects the apple for a moment before placing it back down onto the counter where she found it. “See, this is why she should give me clear cut instructions, what if I get her the wrong kind?” she says, then looks up at me.

“Well... I don’t want to sound like I’m trying to sell off these apples, it is my job but... well if you’re worried why not take back a few different kinds of apple? I’m sure a mixture wouldn’t hurt, variety is always good, right?” I raise a hoof gesturing at nothing in particular.

She giggles in response before asking for a basket, which I quickly oblige her, grabbing it from under the counter using my foreleg to hook it and lift it up over the counter. She levitates it free of my appendage and gives me a curious look before proceeding to levitate several apples into the basket, I began to make a mental note of how much she owes as she does this.

“You know, somebody might think you’re new to magic, staring at me like that and not using it to get the basket and all.” she says suggestively, though suggesting what I’m not sure. Wait... she said somebody does... does she know me?

My heart begins to race and I feel my chest growing tight, anticipation and nervousness begin to fight for control of my senses while my brain seems to blow a fuse.

“Somebody?” I ask at last, she’s already finished filling the basket but seems to have taken a liking to observing my face.

“Yeah, somebody. Somepony is such a specialised way of saying it, I prefer the generalised term.” I nearly sigh in relief and also a bit of disappointment, so she doesn’t know me.

“Good point, I’m just used to saying it that’s all, somebody that is... a lot of the ponies round here find it weird that I speak like that. But hey? I’ve got an odd accent so I don’t see why that would be such a problem.”

She gives me a smile then lifts the basket, “All done, how much do I owe you?” I quickly inform her of the cost, she fishes around in a bag strapped to her side, a saddlebag I suppose, and procures a bag of bits which she counts out to me before returning the remaining money to the bag.

“You’re cute, John. We should hang out sometime and get to know each other, or you could drop by Bon Bon’s store later today to check in on her lollies that you’ve likely just influenced.” she says with a smile.

“Uh, sure, I guess I can drop by after I finish up here.” I respond thoughtfully, it wouldn’t hurt to explore a bit and meet some of the locals.

“Anyway I better go or Bon Bon might use me as an ingredient, hah. See ya later John!” she says before turning to face the rest of the market.

I lean over the counter and wave to her, “Yeah I’ll drop by afterwards, thanks Lyra!” I call to her as she trots away, it then dawns on me that I have no idea what store she means... though from what I’d seen most of the stores had obvious signs out the front, surely a confectionary store would be easy to locate, it shouldn’t be too far from the market at the very least.

Just as I finish that thought I turn to see Applejack has returned, “Oh hey Applejack, all good now?” I ask the Earth Pony who nods with a grin.

“Sure am, John! Thanks for holdin’ the fort, hope nopony was a bother while ah was gone, I know some of the ponies round here like to poke fun at the new folk.” she says, coming up beside me and opening the safe box.

“Nah, it was pretty lax, nopony gave me a hard time at all. I met a mare, Lyra, though. She seems really nice and she needed a hoof...” I trail off momentarily, realising I’m starting to speak like the others around here, atleast word-wise, my accent hasn’t changed any thankfully. I quickly pick up where I left off so Applejack doesn’t worry, “She needed a hoof picking the right apples for some candy that she was helping to make at Bon Bon’s store.”

“Those two are quirkier than Princess Luna herself, pardon the relation... I don’t mean to sully the princess at all.” she says, looking up at me with an apologetic smile.

“At anyrate, ah’m amazed those two have been friends for so long if only because Bon Bon can be mighty callous and Lyra a touch sensitive, especially about her hobby.”

I raise an eyebrow, which Applejack takes stock of before continuing to fill me in, “See, she’s fascinated with these mythological creatures. Sits like them sometimes, tries to replicate their culture and just fantasizes about them. Only time ah’ve seen that girl not babblin’ about her hobby is when she’s playing that harp of hers, or helping Bon Bon at the store.”

“Don’t let that stop ya from gettin’ to know the mare though! She’s got a sensible head screwed on and a gift for that harp of hers.” She turns and gives me a coy look, “Though, honestly? I think she’s a bit old for ya now John.”

I sputter in alarm and backpedal several steps, “Bah! Wha!? No no no! I’m just interested in making new friends is all! Hahaha, I’m not...” I stop when I realise she’s laughing, “Oh har har, very funny Applejack, really, you should be a comedian not a farmer.”

She’s laughing so hard I can see tears forming in her eyes and I give her a grumpy pout before pushing her with a hoof, I get the feeling she’s tougher than she looks and when she barely budges from the push, I realise just how sturdy she is. Note to self, Earth Ponies are physically stronger than they appear.

After a few minutes of her laughter sputtering on, she manages to wipe her tears away and her muzzle a bit with a foreleg before apologising for her outburst. I smile, “Harmless fun never hurt anypony I guess, just... you’re too good at the stoic thing, okay?”

She chuckles before nodding. “Well, haha, ah guess that’s it for the day, things are quiet from here on out. Big Mac will be by soon to help with the packin’ so if ya’d like ya can call it in, yeah?”

“Oh sure, I guess I can head on over to the store then, thanks Applejack. It was interesting working here to say the least. Will you need a hoof tomorrow?” I ask.

“Ah certainly could do with a helping hoof if ya don’t mind. Same time tomorrow?” she asks, having turned back to the lock box and digging through it with a hoof.

“Sure thing Applejack, it feels good to help others out and the labour really is good excersice. Who knows? Maybe I can learn how to use magic sometime soon and you’ll get to take time off!” She turns and winks at me which makes me grin sheepishly.

“Well it’d be mighty useful. Here, twenty bits for the days work.” she holds a hoof up, a bag sitting atop it. I reach out take the bag, realising that its tied off with a really long string. I stare at it for a moment before carefully looping one side over my neck and back around, where I hold it with a hoof and tie it off with my mouth. As it knots, I look up with a smile of appreciation to the farmer.

“Thanks Applejack, I’ll see you tomorrow then. Enjoy the rest of your day and take it easy if you can.” I say before navigating my way around the boxes and around to the front of the stall.

“No problem John! And take an apple with ya, we forgot lunch what with all the excitement!” she says, tossing a Golden Delicious to me, the yellow apple sails through the air and I instinctively reach up, rearing on my hind legs to capture it between my hooves, forelegs stretched. I let go with one hoof and fall back onto all three before taking a hearty bite out of the pale yellow apple.

I swallow what I have in my mouth and grin, “Thanks, it’s delicious!” I call to her before turning to take my leave of the market.

“Ah should hope so! It is a Golden Delicious, after all!” I hear the orange mare call out from behind her stall with a laugh, having caught onto my subtle joke.

Instead of hanging around the market, as I had originally intended to do, I decide to make my way out of the bustle of the many stalls and find a particular store. Bon Bon’s store to be precise, and rather than dash my pride at being able to navigate the town myself, I take it upon myself to discover the locale all on my own. I peer around at the many buildings and quickly spot the ones I am after, various signs hang from chains on timber poles above the doorsteps, and I spot one that stands out to me. Three sweets wrapped up.

I swallow my indecision before it can get a grip anywhere in my mind and proceed to step right up to the door and push it open with a hoof before passing the threshold. There’s a homely tinkle as a bell chimes overhead and I feel my jaw going slack. The interior is absolutely filled with every kind of lolly imaginable! Lolly pops, boiled sweets, even those little chocolate coated licorice things that I have a gut feeling I dislike. You name it and it’s probably sitting in here somewhere.

And that’s when my eyes meet a familiar set of amber eyes belonging to a certain aquamarine unicorn mare. She grins and trots out from behind the counter.

“Hey John, glad you dropped by after all. Wanna come see what Bonnie is doing?” she asks me, standing a few foreleg lengths away.

“Bonnie?” I ask, inquiring about the pet name as opposed to the fact I might be allowed behind the counter of an actual store.

She giggles and nods, “Yeah, just don’t say it around her, or she might... blow her top. I should probably leave it at that.” she winks then turns face before trotting back to the counter, lifting the divider with her magic before beckoning me to follow along after her.

I catch up and duck under the divider before following Lyra out through a door in the back wall. Well... this will be interesting...

Author's Note:

Aaaaand finally introduced Lyra to John. Been wanting to do this for a while haha.
Lots and lots of dialogue here, probably the most I've written in a 3000 word chapter before. But yeah lots of slice-of-life bits here, day-to-day stuff. I feel it was necessary to continue the story like this and flesh it out a bit in mundane terms before I drop bombs on everyone and everypony.

The calm before the storm, they say.