“Humans are so stubborn!” a flustered Twilight Sparkle growled as she strode out of the latest meetings with human media and political leaders into a swirling snow storm in Manhattan.
"We have our moments" intoned a masculine voice just behind her. “Rough night, Ms. Sparkle?”, the man inquired. “You get points for attempting to look composed and not screaming in frustration,'' he added.
"I-I'm fine!", Twilight Sparkle stated, as she recovered from a near tumble. “You just startled me is all, Mr?” "And how do you know who I am?". Truth was, she was fleeing, as gracefully as she was able, from the palpable tension in the skyscraper behind her.
“Campbell, Vincent Campbell. But please, just call me Vince”. “And I know who you are because you’re the only unicorn here in New York City conducting diplomatic relations”.
“Diplomatic relations”, Twilight Sparkle responded. “That’s one way of putting it. Another would be saying it was like trying to herd Breezies while riding a Manticore”. Twilight Sparkle had been so proud that her mentor and teacher, Princess Celestia, had charged her with explaining to humanity why 'submitting to the Magic of Harmony' was the best way forward for their species.
Twilight Sparkle took this moment to look over Mr. Campbell. Dark, shaggy hair, complete with a matching beard. He was moderately tall, at least 6 foot she estimated. He wasn't ripped, but nor was he overweight. He had a large frame. And while Twilight was no expert on fashion, his clothes seemed to fit him well. And the black ensemble looked striking in the snow. She was jostled out of her musings when he began speaking again.
"You showing up and telling us how things 'must be for our own good' must be going about as well as expected, since you're out here, Ms. Sparkle", Vince replied.
"It's been a disaster! We just want to help you, why is that so hard to understand?" Twilight snapped at him.
"Ms. Sparkle, we don't need the type of help your leader is insisting upon. We have survived for thousands of years, spread to every corner of our planet, and there are over 7 billion of us". Mr. Campbell paused for a moment and looked at the obviously stressed out unicorn.
“You look miserable”, he stated.
“Gee thanks!” Twilight replied snarkily. What he said was true, even if she hated to admit it, even to herself.
“Ms. Sparkle, do you like Apple pie?” Mr. Campbell unexpectedly asked. “There is a lovely greasy spoon a block or so east of here”. “They have the best apple pie in all of the five boroughs” Vince said with conviction.
“Can I get an order of hay fries?” Twilight asked.
“No, but the ones using potatoes are greasy, artery hardening goodness” Vince said and smiled. “Come on. You need a break from swimming with the sharks, so to speak. My treat”.
“Lead the way”, Twilight Sparkle responded, blushing slightly.
The unlikely pair strolled slowly toward the diner. No conversation was had and they were content to enjoy the snow swirling around in the wind. After a few minutes, they arrived at the front of a brightly lit eatery festooned with holiday decorations.
“The owners pride themselves on having decorations for everything from Christmas to Saturnalia”, Mr. Campbell stated as he opened the door for Twilight. “Ladies and Mares first”, he added.
The duo quickly found a booth in a quiet corner with a window so they could watch the snowflakes dance in the street lights outside.
“What would you two like this evening?” a waitress prompted. ‘Linnea’ was on her nametag.
“I’ll have a big slice of your apple pie and a side-order of fried mushrooms”, Mr. Campbell responded. “What would you like to order, Ms. Sparkle?”
“Do you have chocolate shakes?” Twilight Sparkle asked excitedly as she looked over the menu.
“Yes miss, we do”. Linnea replied, “Will there be anything else?”
“Oh yes, I was told your apple pie is the best, and may I try some of these” Twilight looked back at the menu, “French Fries?”.
“Sure thing. I’ll have those out to you two quicker than two shakes of a lamb’s tail”, Linnea stated happily.
“So”, “Twilight Sparkle leaned forward once the waitress had left, “Why did you invite me here? I know it isn’t because of the pie”.
“But the pie is damn good”, Vince responded, chuckling. “You are correct though, Ms. Sparkle”. “I do have other reasons for this invitation”.
“Such as?”, Twilight responded.
“Ms. Sparkle, nor you nor your mentor Princess Celestia, really understand us humans”, Vince stated. “You believe you do. Omnivores, warlike, constant infighting, and damaging our planet with greed and avarice. But that is an incomplete picture”.
“You are a painter that is only using oil paints, and just four colors,'' he continued.
“That is a condescending metaphor”, a somewhat irate Twilight Sparkle said as she glared at the human across from her.
Vincent Campbell looked at her flatly for a moment and then a small smile appeared on his face.
“Hope, Ms. Sparkle”. “Determination”. “We put humans on our Moon without the aid of magic”. Mr. Campbell said all this while smiling slightly.
“Hope? Such as the story of Pandora?” Twilight retorted.
“You have been doing some studying up. I’m impressed, Miss Sparkle” Vince volleyed back.
“Ms. Sparkle, I’ll be blunt. I think any plans you and yours think up about what to do about humanity will backfire. Probably in ways neither of us would be able to predict”. Mr. Campbell looked sad for a moment.
“Princess Celestia is wise. Everything can be mutually beneficial” Twilight Sparkle said. She then sighed, “Ok, Mr. Campbell, I have some free time booked into this trip. Let’s see where this goes”.
‘I appreciate your willingness, Ms. Sparkle”.
“Anyway”, Vince continued, “I am friends with a group of film buffs in a nearby neighborhood. They just happen to be having classic film showings every night this week”. “Please consider joining me for some of their showings”.
“Classic human cinema?” Twilight’s inner nerd lit up with glee. “While we have some films in Equestria, our output is nothing remotely like humanity’s”. “I would love to, Mr. Campbell”.
“You two are cuter than a pair of twins in a Twinkies Halloween costume” Linnea said happily, managing to startle both Twilight and Vince. “And you’re blushing too. Be Still my heart” she continued. “Here, have these two leftover grilled cheese sandwiches. On the house”. “I’ll be right back with your orders”.
“So, that happened” Twilight Sparkle said, chuckling awkwardly.
“Yep, Linnea is a character. She once told me she was the Spring Break 1993 Electric Bull-Riding Champion”, Vince remarked.
They sat there quietly for a few moments until Linnea brought up their meals.
“I’d like to propose a toast, Ms. Sparkle” Vince said. “To us getting to know each other and perhaps both learn more about each other’s worlds”. Vincent Campbell then picked up his grilled cheese sandwich. “And to Wisconsin and 100% American Cheese” he said laughing.
“To learning” Twilight Sparkle replied as they tapped sandwiches together.
The two finalized their plans as they finished their meals, and both left to go to their respective beds full, and looking forward to what was to come.