• Published 23rd Dec 2012
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The Time Keeper of Ponyville. - Askre



Time Turner is in love but is hesitant to really act on it. Other things in his life also distract him like the clock tower and a new employee at his shop.

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Chapter 08. Barricade

Chapter 8

Ponies used to gyms wouldn’t find the one Time Turner and Caramel walked into very remarkable. Immediately from the lobby you could see various ponies working out individually or taking part in a gym class. There were all types of ponies around, though several were on par not just with Big Mac back in Ponyville but Bulk Biceps too.

The two Earth Ponies felt scrawny, now they were of regular built for an average stallion and to their fellow Ponyvillians they looked nowhere out of shape. However, compared to the ponies they saw in the gym, even the mares looked like they could use them personally to bench-press.

For a while, they could only stare unsure around, not really knowing where to start. Caramel wasn’t even sure he wanted to be here, some of the ponies, be they mare or stallion looked grim and seemed like the types you just did not mess around with or ask questions too. One dark blue Earth Stallion had a long ugly scar across his face; his cutie-mark was pair of dumbbells.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Caramel whispered.

“Well… it was an idea,” Time Turner muttered, he didn’t like the looks of some of the ponies around either.

The stallions took a step back when a greyish opal Earth Mare suddenly appeared in front of them. She had been by the lobby counter earlier but had been busy talking with another pony. That conversation done, she had spotted the two new ponies and immediately jumped towards them. Her mane and tail were a mix of moderate turquoise and white and an image of a barbell adorned her flank.

“Hey and welcome to The Barricade. Are you here to sign up for a session or want try out a membership?” she asked flashing friendly smile.

“Um actually miss… we are looking for a pony named Barricade,” Turner said and suddenly realized that he didn’t actually know how the pony looked like. He could only hope that the name was enough. The clock smith also hoped he had guessed right that this was the gym he ran. They had gone in simply because of the name.

“Oh you want the boss, he’s probably spotting, come with me.” The mare gestured them to follow her deep into the gym towards all the weight lifting equipment and machines.

Caramel followed hesitantly with Turner in front of him, not really liking the idea to go further in. He also noticed from the corner of his eye that the scarred stallion he had noted earlier had stopped his workout and was watching them like a hawk. The amber pony gulped and wondered what they had walked into.

The mare took them to where an ash-gray Pegasus was busy lifting up a barbell with his mouth. Next to him stood a dark gray Unicorn with dark blonde mane and tail, his cutie mark was a brick wall.

“Yo Barricade, two ponies here to talk with you,” the mare announced.

The Unicorn didn’t turn his head, merely eyed towards them. He then signaled the Pegasus to stop lifting before turning to face them. Time Turner looked at Barricade and saw to his dismay that he was taller than him. Not as big as Big Mac, but he was still bigger and rather obviously used the equipment of his own gym.

Why must I confront stallions obviously bigger and stronger than me? The clock smith thought.

“Thanks Barbell, take over spotting for Tornado,” Barricade told the mare in a neutral tone before approaching the stallions, staring at both of them critically. The mare obliged and Tornado the Pegasus began lifting again this time supervised by her.

“You twigs look familiar, have I seen you before?” he asked them and smirked. “You don’t look like you come from around here.”

“Well no we don’t as a matter of fact,” Time Turner said, not liking the smirk or the smug tone Barricade spoke in. “I am Time Turner and this is my friend, Caramel.”

“And I should care what you are called because?” Barricade didn’t sound overly impressed. Caramel glanced around, the dark blue Earth Pony was approaching from behind and some of the bigger ponies around were all staring at them. The unicorn however just gave those around a look and nobody approached further, not even the scarred one.

“Look we’re not here to cause trouble, but we would like to speak with you… in private,” the clock smith said, it hadn’t escaped his attention either that they were being watched.

Barricade arched his brow, before eyeing around and nodding. Much to Caramel’s relief the other ponies returned to their workout, even the scarred Earth Pony. Barricaded pushed past the two stallions, nearly toppling them over in the process.

“Follow me, let’s talk in my office,” he said without looking back at them.

Time Turner grumbled a little, not impressed by being nearly pushed into a weightlifting machine. He followed and Caramel came behind still feeling small. They were not receiving friendly glances from the other ponies around.

They entered the office after Barricade opened it for them. It had a single desk and few shelves and a filing cabinet. There were trophies on the shelf and on the desk were framed pictures. Time Turner frowned when seeing that one picture was of Dinky, another picture was of another unicorn filly, that one was black furred with a thick gray mane. There was also a picture of Barricade and Barbell at a scenic location somewhere in Equestria, the clock smith couldn’t place it where.

“So what in Tartarus do you two want?” Barricade growled as he slammed the door to his office shut.

The two stallions looked at him. Caramel sunk back a bit, he really didn’t like the look on the Unicorn. Time Turner somehow managed to keep a steady composure but deep down he was as nervous as back when he had been face to face with Silver Axe several weeks back during the foalnapping incident.

“We are here on behalf of Derpy Hooves from Ponyville,” the brown stallion told him. Caramel gulped when Barricade’s eyes twitched and sneered.

“I knew it. I thought I remembered seeing either one of you back when I lived there years ago,” the Unicorn growled and approached, the Earth Ponies braced themselves but Barricade merely walked past them to sit down behind his desk.

“So, come to see the big bad Barricade have you? See the jerk in all his glory? Well here I am, so what do you want?” Barricade snorted with a stinging glare.

“Why are you asking for Dinky’s custody?” Time Turner asked, he failed to make it sound sharp and it came out more nervously than he intended.

“I’m not asking for her custody,” Barricade grunted. “I’m questioning Derpy’s competence as a mother.”

“Alright if you want to be technical, why are you doing that?” Time Turner felt his anger rising and this time his question snapped out.

“Because I’m getting sick and tired of those stupid letters she keeps sending me pretending to be our daughter!” the Unicorn snarled, hammering one hoof on the top of his desk, it formed a crack.

“What? She would never do that,” Time Turner protested.

Barricade eyes narrowed to a slit. His horn began glowing and an indigo magic aura formed around one drawer of the cabinet. It opened and out levitated several letters. Those he threw down on the desk.

“Then explain this,” the Unicorn growled. “Are you honestly telling me Dinky wrote those?”

Time Turner hesitantly approached the desk and even Caramel worked up a nerve to follow. The stallions scanned the top letter and it had Dinky’s signature. The mouth writing looked elementary school level and so did the vocabulary. Turner started to shift through the letters.

“Stop lying… bad excuses… I’m tired of reading your excuses… your letters are unwelcome…” The clock smith frowned thoughtfully as he muttered some of the lines written. No, he was positive Derpy couldn’t have written these, she was not deceitful and would never stoop this low.

“Have you ever considered… that these are written by Dinky?” Time Turner looked at the Unicorn. “From what I have heard you aren’t exactly the father of the year material. You never show up for Dinky and make excuses why you pay foal support late.”

“I pay it late yes, but I pay it!” Barricade snapped. “What, you think I live in a lap of luxury here? Does this look like an office of someone who is rich? You think Dinky is the only foal I am paying foal support for?”

Turner glanced at the pictures on the desk, his eyes going on the black filly. He looked at Barricade again; he had to admit that so far the Unicorn had been almost marginally civil, though the clock smith could live without the attitude.

“You didn’t answer my question, maybe Dinky has a good reason to send you letters like these. You can’t deny that you were rotten towards her mother.” Time Turner pointed out, it sounded so far Barricade felt he was the one wronged not the other way around.

“Yeah I was bad coltfriend, I don’t deny that. I was younger, stupider, full of myself and all that crap. Did I treat Derpy bad? Yeah, I did, I left when she was pregnant all right, what, you want all the sordid details? Hasn’t Derpy given you them all already?” Barricade growled.

“Look Barricade, you have to admit you have brought this on yourself…” Turner fell silent and took a step back when Barricade hammered his hoof again on the desk.

“Are you even listening twig?! I’m not denying ANYTHING!” he snarled. “You just run back to that backwoods town of yours and tell Derpy I’m not dropping the case, unless she stops sending these fake letters!”

“If… I could just ask one question before we leave?” Caramel suddenly peeped. Barricade glared down at him but said nothing.

“For sake of argument, considering that you were once in a relationship with Derpy…uh… did she ever strike you as the deceitful or the vengeful type?” the amber stallion asked hesitantly.

Barricade didn’t respond just continued to glare at Caramel. The Earth Pony felt a little braver now, since nothing really happened, safe for two hoof slams on the desk previously.

“If you think about it, Derpy and liar… does that really sound like two words that belong together?” Caramel glanced at Turner who looked impressed; he hadn’t really considered going this route, remembering Derpy’s words how Barricade was hard to reason with if he felt he was in the right.

“In fact, how do you really think your relationship with your daughters is? I see the pictures but they look old, when is the last time you saw either one of them?” Caramel wondered.

Surprisingly to the two Earth Stallions, Barricade sighed and his angry scowl eased as he glanced at the pictures. He looked away and for a small moment, there was just silence in the office.

“It’s been a while,” he muttered finally. The Unicorn turned away to look out of the window behind him.

Caramel was about to say something more when the door to the office opened suddenly. In walked Barbell along with the dark blue Earth Pony. Both looked unamused and glared at him and Time Turner.

“I think it’s time for you two to leave,” the mare retorted all previous friendliness gone. Time Turner wondered if they had been eavesdropping on the other side of the door.

“Can I take one of these letters and show them to Derpy?” Turner looked at Barricade. “I’m positive it’s Dinky who is really writing them and I think her mother doesn’t know she is writing them like this.”

“Whatever,” was the only response that came from the Unicorn.

Time Turner grabbed one of the letters and with that, he and Caramel quickly left the office, they didn't notice that Barricade was now watching them with a sinister grin on his muzzle. The two ponies hurried out of the gym, all the time watched by unfriendly eyes from the gym ponies. The two stallions walked swiftly away from the building.

“Well Caramel, you seemed to have been asking all the right questions, when did you get this brave?” the clock smith looked at Caramel who kept glancing back as if he worried they were being followed.

“I well… seeing you talking with him really.” Caramel shrugged, Time Turner stare him confused.

“What do you mean?” he asked. “I was shaking like a leaf… well at least on the inside.”

“But you still stood upright and talked, you brought me here with you to help and there I was just covering beside you… I felt guilty… then I considered what I knew of Derpy and decided to try asking him,” the amber pony said.

“Well I’m glad you did, because it didn’t really feel like I was getting anywhere with him and I didn’t even consider asking that.” Time Turner looked at the letter. “I guess we better head back to Ponyville and show this to Derpy.”

Unfortunately, there wasn’t another train heading to Ponyville for another hour. The stallions had been done sooner than expected, it was only about half an hour since they arrived in Manehattan and found by stroke of luck the right gym.

Turner wasn’t in much of a mood to take a look around, besides he wanted to think over what they had learned today and ponder this letter. They went to the train station and found a nearby diner to sit down in, Caramel ordered an oatburger but Turner just settled for some coffee, he felt the need for something a little stronger than tea.

The clock smith read the letter repeatedly, but he could really only conclude that Dinky was not being truthful towards her mother about her feelings for her father. Now the question was why and how would they convince Barricade that it was in fact his daughter writing the letters?

Caramel munched on his burger, not really in as deep thought as Turner. He had never been in Manehattan before, the furthest he had gone was to Canterlot while helping his neighbor Rarity and her friends pull a wagon. The pony wondered if he should buy a souvenir, you never knew when you travelled to somewhere next.

He was about to take another big bite out of his meal when something caught his eye just outside the diner. The pony gasped, dropped the burger and more on reflex than anything ducked out of sight. Turner blinked and rose up to look at the covering pony.

“What got into you?” Time Turner asked confused. Caramel didn’t answer, instead he carefully peeked out of the large diner window with puzzled expression.

“I swear I thought I saw Barricade, but no it’s not the right pony,” the amber stallion said. Turner arched his brow and looked out the window, his brow rose even higher.

Walking away from the train station on the far street from the diner was a unicorn stallion. He was almost a spitting image to Barricade, except his mane didn’t look as well kept and his cutie mark was a some sort of a book. His eyes were blue, Turner recalled Barricade’s eyes being bit more purplish or indigo colored.

“Maybe it’s his… brother?” Turner guessed. The resemblance was just too great to be coincidence. Without a word, he left the diner intending to follow the pony to see where he was going. Caramel scrambled to his feet and went after him

“What are you doing?” Caramel whispered when catching up with Time Turner, they were following the stallion from a discreet distance.

“Just seeing where he’s going,” Time Turner responded quietly, he could however already see that the mystery Unicorn was heading the exact way they had come from when leaving the gym.

Soon enough the two stallions had The Barricade gym in view again. They didn’t cross the street but could see the Unicorn head inside. Time Turner looked around and saw that they could possibly get behind the gym from an alleyway, the pony darted over with Caramel fast on his feels.

“This is crazy, we’ll get caught,” Caramel whispered as they made their way through the alley and came around the back of the gym. They could see the Barricade’s office window and Turner sneaked closer to it, making sure he was out of sight. He and Caramel almost jumped when hearing Barricade shout.

“Oh for crying out loud, for someone named Private, you certainly don’t seem to recognize privacy!”

Time Turner dared himself to peek inside the window carefully, he saw Barricade glare at the other Unicorn just as Barbell let herself out of the office and the door closed behind her. First now did the clock smith see the hard expression on the Unicorn identified as Private, he seemed unfazed by Barricade’s glare. Turner ducked out of sight when the gym owner headed to his desk and sat down behind it.

“So what do you want? I’ve had enough visits today for my taste! Foxy can’t possibly be complaining, I paid this month’s support for Coal and I agreed to have her next weekend, nothing has changed there!” Barricade was clearly irritated, he spoke loud and sharp.

Coal… that must be the other filly on the pictures. So he finally is seeing one of his daughters. Time Turner frowned and wondered brought that on.

“Frankly I’m surprised Foxy is even allowing me to see her considering it’s been two years since I saw her last time!” Barricade snapped. “So what do you want, saying the visit is cancelled? Well you can’t blame me for that one then.”

The two stallions outside could just barely hear someone say something and guessed it was Private, but it was low and hardly audible.

“Oh you got to be fricking kidding me! You’re here because of that!? I just had two idiots thrown out coming here to whine for her too. I’m just going to tell you the same I told them. I’ll drop it if Derpy stops sending me these stupid letters pretending to be our daughter!”

Wait, he’s coming on her behalf? Turner blinked then it hit him why the name was so familiar. This was Private, the roommate Dew and Foxy had mentioned to him. They must have telegraphed him and asked him to go and talk with his brother, there were more trains going between Fillydelphia and Manehattan on a regular schedule than from Ponyville.

“What letters? These letters. Here even take one if you want, I gave one of them to those two before Barbell and Blue evicted them!”

Time Turner would have liked to listen further but he realized that if they didn’t leave now they would miss the next train to Ponyville. Silently as he could, the stallion snuck away with Caramel. They made their way out of the alley and went back to the train station.

They arrived in nick of time, as the Ponyville train arrived just as they came to the platform. The two ponies boarded the train immediately and found suitable seats. Time Turner went back to thinking over today’s event, with the additional information they had learned from eavesdropping on the Unicorn twins. Caramel stretched out on his bench, figuring he might take a nap during the trip.

“The Manehattan Express to Appeloosa, with stops in Canterlot and Ponyville is delayed for ten minutes. I repeat the Manehattan Express to Appeloosa with stops in Canterlot and Ponyville is delayed for ten minutes. We apologize for the inconvenience!” announced the conductor suddenly outside.

Time Turner didn’t even stir from his thoughts, delays happened and it was only ten minutes. Caramel rose to sit and sighed lightly, wondering if he should just get something to read instead since he had apparently time to make a quick trot to the station kiosk. The amber stallion stood up and without a word headed out of the train, quickly heading over to the stand where he could buy some reading material.

Turner meanwhile was not sure what to think right now. He didn’t doubt Derpy and her experience with Barricade, however considering what he had now seen and witnessed, was it possible that he was no longer the pony she once knew? Was there more to this whole matter? The clock smith had expected a smug snake, a pony who trotted down anyone who got in his way, someone full of himself and truly believed in his own greatness or something like that. Barricade had come out as a jerk, rather loud and aggressive, very confrontational but did not deny responsibility or that he had been at fault with the relationship he once had with her.

However, he clearly could think the worst about anyone. He had obviously believed that Derpy could stoop so low to write him scathing letters pretending to be their daughter. But was it possible he was considering they were really from Dinky but was just in denial about it? He considered how Caramel had almost silenced Barricade with his questions, not stumped him, just silenced him.

This is more complicated than I anticipated it would be, Time Turner thought. Though maybe it’s possible to dissolve this drama by getting everypony to just sit down and just talk.

“Hey Turner.” Caramel suddenly stood in front of him, interrupting his thoughts.

“Guess who I just saw enter the train,” the other pony said. “That other Unicorn who looks like Barricade, the one we tailed back to the gym. He’s in the next car.”

“What?” Turner arched his brow. “But that means he must be heading for Ponyville to talk with Miss Dew Doe and Miss Foxy Stripes, this train doesn’t go to Fillydelphia.”

“He knows we were here talking with his brother and will probably tell them when he arrives…” Caramel cringed, thinking they were probably in trouble now.

“Yeah, maybe we should go talk with him and compare notes,” Time Turner rose up. “Which car did you say he was in?”

Caramel pointed to the furthest door leading to the next train car. The two stallions made their way to it and up on entering the other car saw it was bit less crowded than the one they had chosen. Turner spotted immediately where Barricade’s brother was sitting and headed straight for it. As they approached and now saw the Unicorn stallion up close, they saw that he was as tall as Barricade but with a slightly producing potbelly. He was clearly not as fit as his brother was.

“Hey,” Time Turner addressed him. The Unicorn didn’t lift his head, just glanced at him with one eye.

“I understand you are Barricade’s brother,” the clock smith continued, still no answer; Private just continued to glance at him.

“My name is Timer Turner and this is my friend Caramel, we come from Ponyville.” Time Turner tried to smile a bit but the silence coming from Unicorn made things a bit awkward, there was still no sign of response.

“I’ll get right to the point,” the clock smith sat down on the bench in front of Private, the Unicorn relented to look straight at him now. “Caramel and I are the two idiots your brother mentioned, the ones who spoke with him earlier.”

That prompted Private’s brow rise a little, but still no verbal response. Caramel was starting to wonder if the pony was actually mute. Time Turner cleared his throat but figured that since nothing had been said that was his cue to continue.

“You see, Mister Private…” Turner halted for a moment wondering if he had more than one name, but still the stallion didn’t speak. “Right… Mister Private. We saw you arrive shortly after we were done speaking with your brother, we couldn’t resist following you and well… we did eavesdrop for a little while on your conversation with your brother.”

Caramel sat down beside Turner since it seemed they weren’t going anywhere soon. It was rather uncanny now the silence from the Unicorn. He was a stark contrast to his louder more talkative brother.

Jeez, even Big Mac answers in ‘eeyup’ and ‘nope’, the amber pony thought.

“You were asked by Miss Dew Doe and Miss Foxy Stripes to talk with your brother, regarding a competency case against a friend of ours, Derpy Hooves right?” Turner ventured to ask. Finally there came an actual response from the silent pony, he nodded, it wasn’t a verbal response but at least he did something else than just stare and move his brows.

“We were not sent by Derpy, we went without her knowing about it. I… up on learning about the case, wanted to meet Barricade and see if I could figure out why he was doing this,” Time Turner explained, then he told about his and Caramel’s meeting with Barricade.

Private seemed to be listening, he tilted his head occasionally and the two Earth Ponies could have sworn there was mild interest in his eyes at some point. However so far he hadn’t uttered a word to them. Turner had to halt his story for second when the conductor yelled that the train was heading off and those coming aboard should come aboard. The train whistle blew and soon it was off. Once there was silence again, the clock smith finished telling about the meeting with Barricade.

“The nearest I can figure is that Dinky is indeed writing the letters, but hasn’t been honest to her mother about it. I happen to know that Derpy thinks Dinky likes her father. Maybe Barricade is under similar assumption and as such doesn’t want to believe that his daughter is writing them and instead blames them on Derpy,” Time Turner said, half expecting no response to his theory by now.

“That sounds about right,” Private grunted, his voice was low and bit raspy, like someone who isn’t too comfortable speaking in public.

Well he’s not mute, Caramel thought, though he wondered if this was the extend of what they would hear from him.

“I got the impression that Barricade is not very liked, although I can certainly see why, he didn’t quite match up with how I personally thought he would be, not considering how Derpy and the others talked about him,” Turner mentioned. “I am curious, as you are his brother, has he changed? For better or worse?”

Private shrugged making a grunting noise that sounded like ‘eh’. The Unicorn glanced to his side to look out the window and the landscape speeding past due to the motion of the train. Turner wasn’t sure if he would continue.

“Let’s put it like this. He’s less of a colossal jerk and more just a jerk,” Private muttered and looked at Turner again. “I guess you can call it improvement.”

Time Turner nodded, so he hadn’t been far off. Barricade had ‘improved’ if that was the proper term to use. However, considering how little interaction he had with Derpy, it probably didn’t show and the case probably didn’t help matters at all. The clock smith was becoming convinced this could be solved more peacefully than he had initially feared.

First things first though, we must show Derpy the letter and then she must talk with Dinky, he thought.

End Chapter 8

Author's Note:

I realize this chapter is a bit fast paced, however I never intended to linger long in Manehattan. This was mostly intended give some idea what my version of Dinky's father was like and maybe twisting expectations around a little :pinkiehappy:

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