• Published 22nd Apr 2013
  • 1,660 Views, 210 Comments

Snickersnatch - SpiralWriter

Oddjob awakens to a much different Equestria . . .

  • ...

III - A Schedule to Keep


By: Quisky

Chapter Three:

A Schedule to Keep

"So where are we going?"

"I'm going off on my own. I do have duties to attend to. But you Oddjob, you have a schedule to keep up to."

"Say what now?"

Twilight Sparkle giggled as she reached into the satchel that strapped across her side, telekinetically floating over a scroll to me. I snatched it out of midair and unfurled it, neat cursive written in black ink formed a long list of things to do, all the things that I had to do. Oh man it was like High School all over again.

"I've composed a list of things for you to do. Once you've completed them, just check them off until you're done."

"What is this, an RPG where I go on fetch quests and shit?"

"Say what now?"

"Nevermind . . ." I waved at her, dismissing her confusion and began reading the list. 1. Be freed from stone. I looked up at her with a 'are you actually serious' expression, and was replied with a wide smile. I rolled my eyes and looked down, only to see that the first item had somehow become scratched out with black ink. I looked back up, only for the purple alicorn to give me a sly smile.

"Self-check off list. A spell perfectly made for busybodies such as myself. You don't have to worry about carrying around a quill and a bottle of ink to scratch off your work, the list does it for you."

Nice. I nodded in approval and went onto the second item on my forced to-do list.

"Number Two . . . meet Metal Storm in the Forgery and retrieve packages. . . who's Metal Storm?"

"The Royal Smithy. He makes all of our guard-standard weapons and armor. He also set the standard for forge safety. Haven't had a pony with a hammer-smashed hoof in years!"

" . . . Okay. Well, I'll see to it that I get this list done, Princess Twilight." I chuckled, giving a slight bow with a flourish of my hand. Twilight chuckled and gave a small curtsy back. "Very well Oddjob. Off with you then! We both have a busy day ahead of us!"

She turned around and trotted in the opposite direction, leaving me to fulfill the list she had left. But before she was out of earshot, I called out. "Wait!"

Twilight turned around to look at me quizzically.

"Just . . . two more questions. The tunnels that I collapsed . . . it didn't damage the land too badly? And what about Las Pegasus?"

Another knowing smile from her. She's already become so much like her teacher, it made the fanboy inside me ache to see such character development.

"The trade routes were a bit off-kilter for a while . . . then we found that some undamaged worm tunnels could be used much more efficiently. As for Las Pegasus, under new management, and just as bustling as ever. But it did take a while to find every last cloud piece that made up the city.

I smiled. "Thank you, Princess Twilight Sparkle." Another bow, another nod, and we were off to be left to our own machinations. I had a meeting with a certain 'Metal Storm', and if he was as awesome as his name, then maybe this day wouldn't be so bad after all.

"When will we be seeing Oddjob?"

"Sometime this afternoon. Princess Twilight is very picky about her schedules. Until then, simply relax, you have the best of Canterlotian service offered. Would you like anything while you waited?"

"We would prefer waiting alone without you keeping an eye upon us the entire time. We will not steal anything, at least, roughly 980 of us will. The other twenty really want that vase we passed in the grand hall."

" . . . Anything else?"

"Meat. We want meat."

Getting lost in Canterlot Castle wasn't nearly as bad as it was last time. The guards were very courteous and helpful to direct me in the path that I needed to go, albeit some of them were so stoic in their duty that I had to find another pair of guards to aid me. Bloody blighters were good at what they do, stand around all day and keep other people out of whatever they were standing in front of.

The forge was located in the rear of the castle, leading out into a tunnel carved into the side of the mountain the entirety of Canterlot rested upon. The stone walls were decorated with lanterns, their soft glow guiding me into the depths at which the forge was stationed. My eyes quickly adjusted to the dim lighting, and my flickering tongue with each breath could taste the earthy-richness filling the air. As I went in deeper and deeper, the ding of grunts and banging metal could be heard.

I stepped into a world of sound and a very angry pony. The cavern was large, at least a dozen earth ponies running around in aprons, welding masks, or goggles, some carrying tools in their mouths or hooves, while others hefted up giant chunks of metal to be made into various other items. It was grim, dark, and grimy all around, the air muggy with heat, and my coldblooded body tingled with pleasure. Overhead on a walkway that could oversee the entire operation, a unicorn of a dark brown color shouted out orders.

"Get those hooves moving, we can't keep the smelter off for too long! Hey there apprentice, your hammer blows are at an awkward angle, the blade will come out weak and bent! Oh for Celestia's sake, am I the only pony in this entire forge who knows how to make chainlink armor?!"

I thought of whirling around on my heels and come back another time, but his next shout was directed at me.

"You! The jabberwocky! I got a few things to say to you!" The unicorn bellowed, making his way down the walk and onto the ground floor, stomping his way towards me, and I swore I could hear the ground shake every time his hooves made contact with it. The forge workers were wise to step out of his way. I had only been awake for an hour and I already had somebody mad at me.

The first thing I noticed at how burly he was for a unicorn, almost comparable to a larger earth pony. He was older, not as old as Alamo, but up there enough to start showing some wrinkles. His mane and tail were greasy and flat, and upon his side a hammer striking an anvil appeared as his cutie mark.

"Err . . . hello." I said, his face almost awkwardly pressing into mine as he reached up and yanked my neck down to his level with telekinesis.

"Hello nothing. Do you know how far you've set me behind? 'Cause of you, our shipment of armor that's supposed to go out to Fillydelphia today was delayed, as well as several other big orders."

"Erm . . . I'm sorry?"

"Sorry nothing. You better put what I made you into good use."

" . . . Made me?" I raised a scaly eyebrow. He released his magical grip on me and motioned towards some workers. They dragged a box big enough to fit two ponies over towards me, pushing the top aside to view the contents it held within. Nestled snugly among packaging peanuts, a folded up piece of clothing laid.

"Go on, pick it up." The unicorn commanded with a nod of his head. I promptly did so, pulling it up by the shoulders to reveal it all. It was a trenchcoat of sorts, perfectly fit for a creature of my stature. It was a mako shade of blue, the collar lined with a dark fur. Armor attached within it clanked with movement, dull silver shining against the light. Underneath the coat, still in the box, a set of greaves and gauntlets laid in waiting.

I pulled the armored trenchcoat over myself, thinking it would be complicated to with the armor, but somehow it almost chinked over my body like a glove. It felt comfy, it felt good. I reached down and pulled on the greaves, each one form-fitting over my kangaroo and pony leg. Finally I picked up the gauntlets, pulling them over my bear and eagle claws. The palm and fingertips were open, so I had some wiggling room. I raised my right hand to my face, examining a symbol upon the back of my now armored paw. The symbol of the Equestrian Diarchy greeted me, Celestia and Luna chasing each other around a half sun and moon.

" . . . Go on, say something." The very loud unicorn said, which I took him to be Metal Storm by now. I looked up, smiling slightly. "Thank you . . . but why this?"

"Princess Twilight's orders, and I'm not one to disobey my favorite ruler . . . don't tell Princess Celestia or Luna that I said that." Metal Storm chuckled, patting my arm roughly.

"I used the best materials I had at hoof to make the armored parts. Used a combination of silver, steel, and some runes lying about to give it just that certain durability. Working it into the fabric was the hard part."

"Who made the coat part then?" I asked curiously, rubbing the length of the long and actually very soft fabric of the trenchcoat.

"Some bigshot fashion designer we got here in Canterlot." He shrugged, but I could feel a sly smile coming upon my fanged face.

"Was her name Rarity, by any chance?"

"That's it. Close friend of the Princesses, bearer of one of the elements. Don't know her personally, but I hear she's quite the looker, and knows her way around a needle and thread." Storm chuckled, and several other workers within range nodded in agreement.

"Oh, one more thing. Tug upwards on your collar, the fur-trim bit." The blacksmith pony suggested. I shrugged, deciding to go along with whatever he was suggesting. I reached up and placed a forefinger and thumb of each paw and claw onto the respective sides of my collar, tugging up. At once Something shot up from within the coat, forming a sort of hood that was suitable for my long neck and high-up head. I ran my fingers along it, feeling holes that my spines perfectly fitted through, and some more armor plating around my head.

"Touch-based magic hood that's collapsed flat within the back of your coat. Retracts whenever you want it to, just tug back down pal."

I did so, and the hood automatically retracted downwards just as quickly. Oh holy crap this was sweet. "Thanks Metal Storm, I do appreciate this fine piece of badassery." I nodded in approval.

"Just don't get it scratched up or nothing." He waved at me, turning around to signal that our meeting was over. He returned to shouting at the ponies around him, as if his voice would never go hoarse.

I looked down at the scroll in my hand, the second line already crossed out, the magical flowing ink pressing outwards on the page to scratch out the words. Instead of holding it as I had done, I opted to place it more conveniently in the pockets that I now possessed. Okay, this was pretty sweet, anybody had to admit. Some sweet new duds that was armored for reasons unknown? Fuck yeah I'll wear it.

Onwards to the third item then.

Princess Luna scowled at the sunlight that streamed in through the windows along the grand hallway in which she walked. In her youth, she had loved frolicking about in the day with her older sibling, but in her eternal age she had come to take up a more nocturnal sleeping pattern and she was missing out on some lovely sleeping right about now.

Twilight was very eager to arrange everything, but involving an ancient custom wasn't necessary in the slightest. Unfortunately, an ancient prophecy did delve into ancient things, and the studious, busybodied unicorn always kept to the book, no matter how old it was. The night alicorn paused to hear the slight patter of a soft pawstep and the clop of a hoof, signaling that her designated meeting time was about to happen. She smiled at how on-time he was. Twilight was always good at making things work like clockwork, no matter who was involved.

My next task on the list was to receive something, but the scroll wasn't the most descriptive thing ever. It just said to meet someone in the east wing of the castle, a hallway not too far away from where I had left the forge. With the coat on, I could tell a difference. When I walked, there was almost no weight, as if the fabric and armor were almost feathers upon me, but it gave me warmth, something my draconic body craved. Glad I wouldn't have to worry about being cold again, Lord knows that was a friggin' terrible time.

I made my way down the hall, greeting several more guards, in which only silence or a grunt was replied. Maybe I could get them to laugh one day like Rainbow Dash did. The further I went down, I could make out a figure waiting for me, probably to grant me whatever next I was going to receive. It was like a holiday and a birthday all wrapped up in one, and both had been good to me over the years.

It was then that I stopped dead in my tracks. Just a couple yards away stood Princess Luna, and I could very well feel the adrenaline kicking in and pound against my skull. Why, you ask? The inner fanboy within was screaming right now as my favorite pony was right there in flesh and blue fur. Maybe it would be better if I stayed a statue rather than almost choke to death in front of her. Before I could turn around and go ask Twilight if she could reverse the process, as if on cue Luna turned to face me, her royal gaze staring right through me.

"Ah, the jabberwocky. Oddjob, is it not?"

"Uhh . . ." I almost gagged on the words. If I could sweat, I would be right about now. How the fuck was I supposed to act in front of her? Play it cool? No. She would see right through that. Actually fangasm right there and risk her flaying me with her mind? Nope. Standing there and blabber like an idiot seemed what my brain had decided upon.

"Yeah . . . I'm Jobodd. I mean . . . Oddjob. Yeah. Oddjob is my name."

She raised an eyebrow curiously as she approached me, her hooves silently moving against the floor, making not a sound. Made sense she was night incarnate. The Night Mare stood in front of me, the tip of her horn just reaching underneath my chin, telling me that Celestia was about as tall or a taller than me. Man, we were giants to these regular ponies.

"There was something Princess Twilight requested that we bestow upon thee." She said, her words flowing out in that superfluous dialect of hers.

"Y-yes? I mean . . . yes, your majesty?"

"In ancient times, it was rather . . . difficult for ponies to find their path in life, so my sister and I had to guide them. As with you, I will bestow upon you your destiny, your path."

"Pardon me?"

"Your 'cutie mark', as the modern term would dictate."

". . . You're going to put a tattoo on the side of my butt?" God fucking dammit. Might as well glue my mouth shut.

" . . . Nothing quite like that, we assure you. This one has a less permanent fixture, but just as much meaning." Her horn glowed blue, and seemingly out of thin air came a pure white bandana, a symbol upon it. She hovered it over to my right arm and tied it around the sleeve, the emblem showing proudly.

"What is it?" I asked in an almost whispered, reverent tone.

Luna acknowledged my awe with a nod of her head and a smile. "It is the symbol for amalgamation, commonly used in alchemy and such. It signifies that you are not just composed of many beings, but you will bring those beings together, dearest Oddjob." Another sly smile from her. "Now, if you'll excuse us," She yawned, and it was so adorable. "We have a royal nap to catch upon. Fare thee well, Oddjob. May the night protect you."

With that, she turned around and went her separate way. I looked down at the side of my arm, still in awe. Princess Luna, all-around best pony, had given me a somewhat version of a cutie mark. Nothing else that happens today could top this.