"Fine. Five minutes. Then you and me are going to frolic in the park."
>In response, Tally let out a short huff, and a
>Before retreating completely under her blanket to enjoy the cave of warmth she's created.
>Happily, when you leave the apartment, you and Tally discover a rather nice day outside.
>It's only a short walk to the park, and the two of you quietly cross the threshold into a remnant of the somewhat distant past of the city.
>The park is alive with the chatter of animals, birds tweeting in their trees, frogs croaking in their streams, and squirrels angrily squawking at the passers-by below them.
>There's a sort of warmth to the land about you, and it feels refreshing to take a stroll through the urban forest's canopy, something you'd been deprived of for a good time.
>All the trees around here are old, having sprung up most likely before the city had even been founded.
>Next, you look to the skies and inspect them thoroughly, an overcast day hanging over the likes of Canterlot.
>Tally's trotting to your right and lagging behind you, having been silent for at least the first small leg of your planned walk, a circuit around the park.
>To your slight melancholy, her eyes are bagged as always, and she slumps along with her eyes towards the floor.
>You try to think up some ideas to cheer Tally up, and while she was always one for cheesy jokes, slapstick was a less thought intensive option.
>So, you stop, and Tally ends up unintentionally bumping into your side.
>When she looks up in surprise, you give her a grin and tell het that
"If you don't buck up soon I'm going to start embarrassing myself to cheer you up Tally, and neither of us want that."
>In response, you're able to garner a small giggle, and a
>"Alright Tally, I'll talk... Just feeling a little down, and under the weather. From the sky, I'd say Canterlot feels the same way. Pleasant, but glum."
"So what's new? Anywhere you want to go today, and is there any way I could cheer you up?"
>You ask, giving her a small nudge.
>Tally stops for a second and taps her chin in thought.
>"Eh, you know what's new... And if we're here in the park I say we stop off at the pond, but save that I had nothing in mind for the day. Well, other than lunch with you. I'm looking forward to that actually, it's been a while since we've been out together."
>Feeling a littke awkward, you work up the courage to ask about your new job.
"So, does this sudden change have anything to do with my... Newfound employment?"
>"Yeah, I'd have to say it does, hit me pretty hard... I mean, I'll be over it by tomorrow, I guess it's just a wake-up call more than anything else. Tomorrow, I'll go out job hunting. I know I've told you that a lot, but I mean it this time! For real..."
>Tally gives you a weak smile, and this time, her view stays forward instead of drooping back to the sandy path.
>"Sorry I'm such a party pooper. I'll stop ruining your fun."
>With another smile she starts up walking again, to which you quickly catch up and trot alongside.
>Now, you spend a minute or two trying to judge her mood, which earns you an odd look.
>After feeling satisfied you've cheered her up to at least some extent, you turn back to the path ahead, spying the pond Tally mentioned steadily approaching.
>As you walk, Tally speaks up, voice questioning.
>"So who's that white mare? She seems rather concerned with the privacy of your job..."
You figured out something people found out last time.
>Feeling a little nervous, you casually chat back.
"Ah, that's just Kismet, my boss. She's really concerned with company privacy, and I honestly don't know what I'm allowed to talk about..."
>Tally quickly backpedals from her previous question, looking a little apologetic.
>"O-Oh! If it's like that I won't pry. Which I wasn't intending to do! Don't want to get you fired only a day on the job! That'd be awful..."
>You let out an internal sigh of releif and turn back to the path ahead, the two of you continuing at a steady pace.
>The rest of the walk passes uneventfully, you and Tally falling into conversation about the park.
>Both of you hadn't been out much in the past few weeks, and it felt amazing to be out and stretching your legs again.
>Now, the end of the circut is now steadily approaching, and on the final stretch Tally stops you, grinning.
>"Are you up for a race? I'm game if you are. Been a while since I've been out and galloping."
A race? Definitely.
Also, at some point we might want to mention that Kismet runs more than just that bar and we're a multipurpose assistant. Better she know that now, then we fuck up later by mentioning something we're going to do that has nothing to do with a bar.
I just want to minimize the number of lies we have to tell Tally.
"A race? You bet I am!"
>Tally gives a happy whoop before setting up, but before she can start a countdown you stop her, and motion to her hoof.
"But only on the condition we both start with our left hoof forward..."
>Incredulous, Tally pouts.
>"But you know I'm right-hoofed! That's not fair at all!"
"Well, take it or leave it."
>You say curtly, following up the statement by sticking out your tongue in childish mocking.
>You get one back in response, followed by
>"It's on Sharpie..."
>The two of you line up side by side, Tally making an over-exaggerated effort to place her left hoof forward, then beginning to count down from 3.
>Before she can finish, you stop her and make her restart from 4, much to her annoyance.
>But after that, the two of you are off, and it quickly becomes apparant Tally is the more fleet footed of the two of you.
>While you keep up for the first few strides, Tally pulls ahead with stamina, leaving you in the dust.
>Your stamina however, could be compared to a plate of jello.
>Tally waits, barely out of breath at the exit of the park, giggling as you heave in following her.
>"Well, that was fun!"
After gasping like a dying fish, maybe we could start heading home, then grab our bit bag and go get that lunch we were planning on. The race probably helped us work up an appetite.
Assuming enough time has passed, of course. We can't eat lunch before noon. That way lies madness.
Of course. And when we do get our food, we must completely finish one part of the meal before moving on to the rest.
For example, if we have salad, fries, and a burger, we have to finish the entire salad before moving to the fries, which must be entirely finished before taking a bite of the burger.
But of course! Also, fries must be eaten from shortest to longest. If there is an odd number of them we offer our last fry to Tally. Burger must be eaten in a spiral fashion, eating the edges first and saving the center for last, because the center has the superior bread to ingredient ratio.
I'd agree but I doubt she'd care about the exact order. So the meal could be eaten fries; salad; burger.
>Also, fries must be eaten from shortest to longest.
That's a bit much, but the rest makes sense. I think Sharp's autism should at least have some rationalization behind it.
Wouldn't dream of it! Alphabetical order is one of the most important organizational systems, second only to evenness.
No reason? The long fries are better than the short fries. Everybody knows that. And you save the best for last.
I could attempt to give some rationalization for it.
Sharpie likely has a case of OCD, and it can be connected to her talent of organization+genetics and that's rationalization enough.
But she's learned to keep a hold of it, at least enough to stay functional if she really needs to.
It gets worse when she's under a lot of stress, anxiety, or if she's depressed.
I'd like to think that her special talent makes it way easier for her to be OCD about things and still function normally.
So she isn't carefully combing through the plate like a sperg, she just eating at a normal rate.
It's just that if you watched carefully you'd notice the meal is being eaten in a certain order.
Exactly how I imagined her. Clever and careful enough to appear normal on the outside, but on the inside she is distraught that there are slightly more sesame seeds on one side of the bun.
>Feeling a little lightheaded, you collapse onto the grass nearby and begin wheezing to catch your breath.
>Once you're back in action on your 44th puff, you stand back up and congratulate Tally, which she takes in stride.
>"Well thanks! Seems I've still got some of my grace..."
>Next, the two of you make a quick stop at home to grab some bits before heading out for lunch.
>You've worked up a voracious appatite, and thankfully, noon has passed.
>A dangerous road of overeating lies down the path of 'lunch before noon.'
>It makes you shudder to think about.
>The two of you stop for lunch at the deli you saw in the paper, where you decide on a burger, fries and a salad, and Tally goes for pea soup.
>First up on the chopping block was your salad, which you polished off before moving onto your fries.
>These you picked at and ate roughly by height, dipping them two at a time into your ketchup.
>At the end, you were left with a single remaining fry, and in a bit of a panic, offered it to Tally, who gladly took the fried treat.
>As you start up on your burger, Tally asks, slurping every so often
>"So, you did say your job's going to be a little intermittent in terms of actual work... Any idea when you'll be back on the job? I don't want us to run out of bits again, that was an experience."
We should have something tomorrow, though apparently even Kismet wasn't sure it would pan out.
It might be more involved too. I'm not sure how long it will take...
Other than that, I don't think I can say more.
Or if we have to lie, can it at least just be a lie of omission? And for god's sake, tell Tally that Kis runs more than just a bar, because I swear that lie is going to come back and bite us in the ass.
"Well, I'm working as a bit of a multipurpose assistant now. My next job could be as early as tomorrow, but it might end up with me being out of town for a few days. Paid, of course."
>"Sounds good! Well, I can handle myself, and I'm sure you can too."
>The rest of lunch passes in silence, and the two of you set off home after paying, 33 bits from your bag gone.
>You break out in a cold sweat when you see the bill, considering buying a desert to bring it up to 38, but you laugh it off and leave it, somewhat content with the 66 you have leftover.
>When you arrive home, you discover a note having been slipped under your door, from Kismet.
>"Everything's set, come see me. Kis~"
>It reads, telling you exactly what you need to know.
>Tally snorts when she sees it, but quickly moves on to the couch and collapses upon it, letting out a satisfied sigh.
>"And now for my food coma..."
"Well, I'm off. Enjoy your nap."
>Tally gives a self-satisfied nod and waves goodbye before nodding off.
>The Last Laugh's outside lights are off, and as you enter the bar you find it empty, save a single mare patron, face down on top of one of the tables.
>One of the ponies behind the bar notices you and takes you back into the bar's offices.
>The table where you saw ponies playing cards before is now empty, and of the two offices you saw one of the doors is now closed.
>In the closed office, the light is on, denoting there's most likely somepony inside.
>In the other is Kismet, sitting in her chair and looking very bored.
>On her desk is an ad for a fashion company, Verte, and atop it are scribbled a variety of notes.
>She doesn't appear to have noticed you, and is idly spinning a pen with magic, humming quietly to herself.
>You take a moment to peer over at the notes, but you're not able to spot much.
>You can make out "Pearl Sky" and "Convention" but everything else is a little too small to read.
>You spend a moment debating over two, or four knocks, before deciding to go with two.
>Kismet quickly scrambles to hide the advertisement, then looks to the doorway and spots you, smiling.
>"Oh! Great news! I got you the maid job, which I can now elaborate on for you!"
>After pulling you into the room and sitting you down, making sure to brush off the chair opposite her desk before seating you, gives you a happy smile and takes her own seat.
>"So Sharp, you will be working for a set of rather well off ponies, brought on as an extra maid to deal with an upcoming party in their mansion. You'll be inside four days, throughout which you'll be helping with cleaning, party preparations and whatever else the family has you get up to. The father of the family is Open Front, and he's the stallion we're after. In his study there should be some information about his work, which involves management at a fashion company. I want you to either memorize it or steal it, though the former is much preferred. Anything incriminating is wanted, though you should specifically be looking for any evidence of embezzlement and tax evasion. After your temporary stay is over, I want you to report back with anything you've found, overheard or taken, and that should be good! Again, I don't know much about the layout of the house itself, though it is quite large, but I do know about the rest of his family and your accommodations. I also gave them a cover, in case you're found out. To them, you're Short List, a mare who grew up in Canterlot with a knack for cleaning and more importantly, an immaculate criminal record."
>After a short pause to let that sink in, she leans in and asks expectantly
>"So, any questions?"
Are we financially savvy enough to know what evidence of tax evasion or embezzlement would look like?
If not, why might need to ask her what kind of stuff we're specifically looking for.
"Alright... The rest of the family?"
>"Okie dokie, just give me a second... The mother is Silk Sheets, a middle-aged dressmaker, and they have three children, Hoedown, Cold Spell and Loophole. Hoedown's a stallion, early twenties, and a dick from what I've heard. Cold Spell's a little younger, in her late teens, and distant from the rest of her family. Shut in workaholic type. Loophole's around fifteen, and also just found out that beauty is the most powerful weapon in her arsenal to get what she wants. That's a good way to put it..."
"O-Okay... And just a question... When you mention tax evasion and embezzlement... What do those look like?"
>Kismet starts up, then pauses.
>"That's a hard one to explain... Search for any company reports you can find, and look for strange invoices, checks, discrepancies on reports and the like. Double billing somepony is also something you'd want to look out for, but he's a higher-up in the company and I don't think he'd stoop so petty for so little profit in his eyes. Maybe personal expenditure under a company account? For tax evasion, any dodgy accounts in different countries under Open's name, money donated to a non-profit organization he owns a slice of, or something like that. We don't need much, just suspicion or a lead would be enough. And remember, it's not just those things, any incriminating evidence will do."
"Anything on relationships between the other family members?"
>"Well, Hoedown's kind of the momma's boy type, always keeps himself under her auspices, no matter what antics he gets into. Cold's distant, but likes to spend time with her father. Loophole's the baby sister, who everyone sort of looks down upon, but also coddles and protects. I'd assume Open and Silk are also a little more lenient with her than their other children too, even though Hoedown's gotten himself into some pretty deep shit before and got off scot-free."
"Good to know. And the occaision for the party?"
>"It's to celebrate the launch of a new clothing line."
"And my maid colleges? Do you know them?"
>"Indeed I do, but not well. Green Grapevine, Camraderie and Vernier are their names, but the family refers to them as 1, 2, and 3. For your stay, you will be 4, or Short."
>For a moment you relax, somewhat happy you'd ended up as an even number for your title.
"Wait, I'm being numbered? That seems a little... Demeaning."
>"Ah, yes, I find it to be that as well... Open's ego is quite large, so I wouldn't doubt that may be one of the reasons behind it. It's only temporary, so pay it no matter."
>You scoff a little before continueing on.
"Well, I think I can grin and bear it... We'll see. Any security that you know of?"
>"Maybe some guards outside the house and a couple inside. Not too tight, but most certainly enough to screw you over if you're caught doing anything you shouldn't be."
"Are there any conditions that would prevent me receiving my paycheck like the last job?"
>"Hm... Well, if you get caught you'll be completely out of luck, but if you just don't find anything I'll reimburse you somewhat for your time."
>After a second's pause, Kismet cricks her head and asks.
>"Will that be all? You can head over either tonight or tomorrow, which ever suits you, and I'll give you the address and send you off."
"Early tomorrow would probably be best.
I'll have the whole day to get familiar with the layout of the home and deal with any problems."
>Kismet nods cheerfully.
>"Good to hear. The address is 728 Bronzed Mane, which is decently close to Canterlot Castle itself. Good luck out there Twitch."
>You get a small wink before Kismet turns back to her desk, this time retrieving another marked up piece of paper, this one having to do with the "Laugh's" current inventory.
>You peer back into the common room of the bar's rear and discover a pair of gruff looking stallions waiting outside the other office on a small bench next to the door.
>They give you a polite nod.
I'd like to bring this up now so it doesn't cause a lot of argument when it's relevant.
Is it alright if we have Sharpie view sex in a more traditional sense? As in only for relationships/marriage and only really attracted to stallions.
Basically, I don't want sex to be the go-to answer for our problems.
I agree with most of that. I don't think she would use sex as a tool, anyway. But I don't think she would even view sex as for relationships/marriage. I think it wouldn't even really even be on her radar.
>You give the two a matching nod before heading out under the grey sky once again.
>It's now somewhere around one in the afternoon, and you have absolutely no idea how you'd like to spend the rest of the day.
>You've decided to reserve your night for Tally, where the two of you will cuddle up and listen to the radio.
>But up until then, your day is clear, and one of the first things you consider doing is revisiting the scene of your previous crime.
>It's not a smart idea, but you are somewhat curious to see what happened, or if anypony even noticed your adventure.
>Of course, it's only an idea, you say to yourself as you begin trotting back home.
>Deciding against that silly idea, you continue home, picking up a newspaper on the way for some light reading.
>You flip to the food section, assuming it'd be there that any news of your crime broke, but the only reports on the party seem to be good things, and about the Princess's appearance.
>Maybe nobody noticed, which would be odd, but also wonderful.
>Tally is fast asleep when you enter the house, apparently staying true to her assumption of falling into a food coma.
We should clean a bit.
Is there anything we wanted to buy? I mean we have some bits for the first time in a while.
Maybe we can finally afford that brand of carrots where they're all cut the same length, exactly 4 inches.
>To your mild discomfort, you spot crumbs of cereal spilled about Tally's sleeping figure, and frantically begin trying to brush them off without waking her.
>Carefully, you spend the next fifteen minutes clearing her blanket of any crumb without waking her, a painstaking task indeed.
>But, with effort, it's possible, and soon enough her resting place is sparkling.
>Shortly after your cleaning job however, Tally wakes herself, leaving you with a bit of an empty feeling of accomplishment.
>Were those five minutes of soundless spotlessness worth it?
>Tally's first thought in her waking mind is to focus on you, and she waves a quick hello before asking.
>"So, how'd that job go? Or job you're getting... I don't remember."
"Good. It's a cleaning job that I'm leaving for tomorrow, and I'll be gone a little over four days."
>Tally nods, still bleary-eyed.
>"Oh, great. More bits for expenses I guess. And fun for you, I imagine... Any idea when we'll have enough bits for rent this month? It's 150 bits, and I'm in no condition to pay my half of the bill..."
"Well, I should be able to cover from here on out, I think."
>"With what you made last night, I expect you'd be able to... But I'll still handle my half, don't want to leave the burden entirely on you. That'd be unfair."
>Next, Tally picks herself up from the couch and throws the blanket aside, it landing in a crumpled heap next to her.
>You involuntarily twitch in annoyance, but hold your ground for the moment.
>"So, you're working for the Laugh now, eh? Tell me about it. Is it nice? I think I mentioned that I've heard the name before, but never been there. Maybe a family business or something..."
This. So very this. Now is the time. We need to tell her that Kismet runs more than just the Laugh. Technically speaking she IS a business pony with numerous responsibilities, and technically speaking we ARE her assistant.
"The place is pretty shoddy, but Kis is nice enough. I don't think it's her only business, but it is where she works from."
>"Gotcha, and I'm guessing those other business are a mystery to you?"
>Tally prompts, giving you a smirk, and in response, you dutifully nod.
"For the most part, yes. I know a little, but just enough to do my job. That's about it."
>"Maybe you are some sort of spy, like you mentioned before with the note tucked in your mane. Seems pretty silly. Guess you can't complain about the pay though."
>She spends a moment fussing with her mane, then stops and moves to a window.
>"What time do you think you'll be heading out tomorrow? I'll probably sleep in, but if it is later in the day I'll want to wish you luck and see you off. I'll miss you a little... Been a while since I've been alone here."
"I think it's going to be pretty early, sorry Tally."
>She nods, looking out over Canterlot.
>The sky has gotten a little darker since you were in the Laugh, and you're starting to think it might rain.
>"I understand... Well, again, this is all just a kick in the rump for me to find a job again."
>She straightens up and smiles.
>"At least we'll have the radio tonight. Now I get to think about what I'll do all alone, been a while since I've been out anywhere... Maybe I'll visit somewhere fancy or..."
>She then trails off into her own thoughts, beginning to pace around the room anxiously, eyes flicking back and forth.
>After she finishes her fourth circle around the room, you stop her with a hug just as she's about to start on a fifth one.
"You can worry about all that tomorrow Tally, for now, let's just listen to the radio and do some positive thinking. Alright?"
>She stops, one hoof still raised, then places it back down.
>"Yeah... Positive thinking."
>Next, you grab the blanket off the floor and shake it out, taking a seat on the couch, and inviting Tally inside.
>She takes a seat almost atop you and pulls the blanket close over the two of you, before leaning back on top of you.
>With her eyes closed, she flicks on the radio with her horn, which is currently tuned to a classical music station.
>She sighs, and you can feel tension leaving her body as she sinks down into the couch, breathing heavily.
>"Let's stay here for a while... I know you want to hear the news and whatever tonight's radio play is, but for now I just want to rest. Just for a little while."
>Tally can be a really lazy pony.
Going to pause here for a few hours. Should be back tonight or tomorrow with faster updates.
I hadn't even considered the option of multiple MCs. That would be fucking awesome. We could spend the day trying to find Tally a job, and then rejoin Sharp after she has already had a chance to map out the house and is getting ready to make her move.
Yeah, I know. I just thought it would be funny. We might still brush up against her at some point. Maybe at some point Kismet needs us to set progress on a construction project back a bit?
>Night continues forth, and the two of you sit in silence, flipping from channel to channel to find each of your shows.
>The news is a bit out of ideas at the moment, so the most interesting heard out of them for the night is a list of the top five toothpastes for sale now(!), and only because of blatent product placement.
>The night's radio play is a cheesy love story between some nurse and an office worker, with decent voice acting from the whole cast.
>Tally certainly gets into the story, gasping at many of the incredibly predictable twists and turns, much to your own amusement.
>Tally's favorite of the night turns out to be a gameshow, trivia style, where the contestants compete for a multitude of prizes.
>Soon after this show finishes, and as Tally flips through the channels to find something new, you begin to find it a struggle to keep your eyelids open.
>Being wrapped in a cocoon of warmth and fur is nice, and the aforementioned front is one you eventually fall to, nodding off to annoyed grunts and the soft undertones of white noise.
>It's early morning when you awaken, still pinned inside your soft fortress by Tally.
>The radio is off, and the blanket has now been pulled entirely over your head, blocking off all sources of light.
>With your singular, uncrushed hoof, you remove the covering and get your bearings, rubbing each eye in turn to dispel any last remnants of sleep hanging around your head.
>Tally's snoring a little, smooshing you into the couch cushions with every breath.
>One of your legs has gone numb from her figure as well, and you whine in discomfort as you wriggle to escape.
>You could most likely escape quickly, but wake her in the process, or go for a slower approach, one that'd let you gently slip out from underneath undetected.
If not for the discomfort I'd say take
sixmore minutes of pone warmth.
Slipping out without waking her might be good. That way we can wake her up with breakfast again if we have time for it. Otherwise just wake her.
>You decide on a middle ground, a quick exit to relieve your leg of these pins and needles, but also gentle, as to not intentionally wake her.
>With only a little discomfort and squishing, you're able to extricate yourself from the fuzzy prison, leaving Tally fast asleep.
> To relieve the pain in your leg, you take a few laps around the living room until it fades, on lap six.
>After your excercise, you take a moment to admire Tally's sleeping figure before trotting into the kitchen and preparing your pancakes, in routine.
>You decide on a lighter breakfast than usual, only two pancakes, leaving another four for Tally when she gets up.
>It's an easy feat to scarf down two pancakes, especially when there's no syrup weighing them down.
>So with breakfast polished off, you return to the living room, about to leave for your job when you stop and pause, returning to the lazing Tally's bundle of warmth.
>You're unsure if you should wake her for a quick goodbye, or just head out, leaving her undisturbed.
Yeah, wake her. She can always go back to bed.
>admire Tally's sleeping figure
Are you saying that we like mares? Honestly I would be okay with any sexual orientation as long as we're awkward as hell about it.
Time zones, anon. I'm guessing that you are American east coast?
>Are you saying that we like mares? Honestly I would be okay with any sexual orientation as long as we're awkward as hell about it.
Sharpie being awkward about getting feelings for Tally would be an interesting plot point.
>Time zones, anon. I'm guessing that you are American east coast?
Nope, GMT+3 master race, I just found it sinking in the catalog when I got online.
So that's either Belarus, the middle east, or Madagascar, right? I'm way the hell over in -8, west coast Canada and America.
>Sharpie being awkward about getting feelings for Tally would be an interesting plot point.
Sharpie strikes me as the sort of pony to be deep in denial about her sexuality. And it would be hilarious.
"Sharp, why are you staring at me like that?"
"I LIKE STALLIONS!"
Hey, if obsessing about the sexual proclivities of ponies is wrong, I don't want to be right.
>I'm way the hell over in -8, west coast Canada and America.
Fucking hell, which means it's literally 9 in the morning over there? Timezones are fucking weird.
>Sharpie strikes me as the sort of pony to be deep in denial about her sexuality. And it would be hilarious.
Hell yeah it would. She seems like the type who'd make out with Tally and say 'N-no homo' after.
>With a boop to the nose you wake her, to which you get a very surprised and confused look from Tally.
>After a second, she does a double take, looking behind her and back to you, before whispering a quiet
>You giggle slightly at her antics and shrug, before telling her that
"I woke you to say goodbye! Anyway, breakfast is in the kitchen, and I hope you have good next few days. Good luck with your job hunt."
>"O-Oh! Well thanks Sharp, still a little drowsy... I'll have it when I get up. See you soon."
>As a parting gift, you give Tally a small peck on the cheek, which she takes sleepily, and you're unsure if she even noticed.
>So with that hearty goodbye, you set off to 728 Bronzed Mane, excited, but also anxious.
>At least the address is an even number.
>As you walk through town to reach your destination, the urban streets of Canterlot slowly fade to the richer neighborhood’s gated houses, a small district surrounding Canterlot castle.
>Your employer’s house is on the outskirts of this area, and you reach his gates in a relatively short amount of time.
>The house itself is a white mansion, though on the smaller end of what could be considered one, with a large set of grounds in the front and back.
>A gravel path leads through these front grounds, and a small carriage sits waiting in front of the mansion’s entrance, a pair of stallions tied to the front.
>Another pair of stallions stand guard at the gates, giving you an odd look as you peer into the house’s lawn.
It's not that important overall, and I've made no such orientation up in my mind.
"Hello! I'm Short List and I'm here for the maid job."
>One of the stallions nods and pushes open the gates slightly, allowing you passage.
>You take another moment to inspect the grounds, wonderful grass with occasional patches of flowers, and about halfway down the path, a hedge surrounding the building partly blocking view from outside.
>You trot down the gravel path, it crunching beneath your hooves with each step, until you eventually reach the front of the house.
>You take a moment to admire the entrance, a pair of pillars with an arch between hovering above a set of double doors laid open, revealing a curved double stair case behind them.
>No ponies other than the stallions at the carriage are in sight, so you make your way around the building, searching for a staff entrance.
>You find one around the side, which leads into a laundry room, where two maids are busy at work.
>An open door leads into what appears to be a living quarters, though you can only see one bed inside from your position.
>You introduce yourself, figuring that you may as well get to know your temporary colleagues.
>The first, a pegasus, introduces herself cheerily as Camaraderie, and gives your hoof a hearty shake.
>The second is an earth mare who shyly introduces herself as Green Grapevine, before moving back to folding clothing.
>Camaraderie however, takes you by the hoof and asks if you’re the new maid brought on for the party, to which you give an affirmative.
>”Great! We were wondering when you were going to get in… Anyway, I assume you’re wanting help to get settled and know the lay of the land, so I’l be the one showing you around. The family calls me 1, and I’m the head maid, so if you have any questions, just ask me.”
>Leading you along, out of the washroom, she takes you into the living quarters you’d spotted before, a row of four beds and matching nightstands lie against the far wall, three of the stands occupied with various knickknacks and items you could investigate later, denoting the owner of its neighboring bed.
>Camaraderie leads you to the empty one.
>”For the next few days, this’ll be your room, and sleeping area. It’s not the most comfortable bed, but it’s a bed just the same. Do whatever you like with the nightstand, though you don't seem to have brought much with you."
>Next, she turns to the opposite wall of the quarters, showing off a small radio and a bookshelf.
>”And when you’re on break, these are what we have to keep us company. Normally we chat, but if you're more of a loner I understand.”
>Then, she turns back to the room itself, and points out the room’s exits.
>”The exit on your right leads into the kitchen, which in turn goes to the dining room. The other leads into the entrance hall of the house. I’ve still got clothing to wash and iron, so I’ll be in the washroom if you need me. You're on break until about noon, so have fun exploring the house, reading, or just come talk to me."
"Is there a uniform? And am I supposed to stay out of sight, out of mind?"
>"Well, technically, but we're not required to wear it except for when we're holding an event. It's just a monogrammed blouse and a hat, nothing too fancy. And for your second question, the family doesn't mind if we're about, but don't be the one to initiate conversations. It's frowned upon, but if necessary it won't get you fired or anything."
"Would you have any maps of the house, or be able to just draw one up for me?"
>Camaraderie stops and pauses for a second, then nods.
>"Sure, just give me a second. I guess that'll save you some time fumbling about on jobs."
>In a few minutes she's able to produce a rather cleanly drawn example of the house, minus the basement and attic, according to her.
How are the responsibilities divided up?
Is the coverage zone or man to man?
Thanks for answering our questions and drawing the map by the way, I'm not trying to be bothersome.
"Is there anywhere I should stay out of?"
>She taps her chin.
>"Well, don't be mucking around in the kids's bedrooms unless your cleaning, and the same goes for the master. The maintenance room's also got some pretty dangerous stuff in there, so don't go poking around unless you've got something to do in there."
"Would I ever need to bring something up from the basement or down from the attic? They aren't on the map."
>"We might need to during the party, but other than that no, we should be just fine."
"How are responsibilities be divided up? Is there a coverage zone or is it man to man? And, ah, thanks for answering our questions and drawing the map by the way, I'm not trying to be bothersome."
>"Oh, it's no problem at all! Good to see somepony who's detail oriented. Mostly coverage zone, but instead of actual zones of the house, we zone jobs in rotation. For example, Vernie and you have the job of cleaning the Guest rooms this week, while me and Green are taking the preparations of the ballroom. Of course, there's a rotation of actual chores too, but I'm the one who handles that and actual division of labor."
"Sounds like a piece of cake! Guess I'll go take a look for myself."
>You get a quick nod before Camaraderie skips off back to the washroom, leaving you in solace inside the living quarters.
>You decide to take a cursory tour through the halls, stopping off in the kitchen, dining room, and taking a peek into the study.
>The kitchen is a large one, populated by a cook and an assistant, both of whom seem a little confused at your presence.
>They appear to be preparing some sort of dessert, pouring cake batter into a rather large pan and prepping it for an oven.
>The kitchen is much too large for just these two ponies however, and you expect to see the amount of cooks rise over the next few days, in preparation for the party, whatever it happens to be.
>Next, you stop off in the dining room, large and empty, save a single rectangular table running down the center of the room.
>A large crystal chandelier hangs over the room, currently off, leaving the room lit solely by a set of incandescent lights bored into the ceiling.
>The walls are adorned with a floral wallpaper, their bright blossoms creeping up and all around you.
>Dividing the wall into sections are a number of corinthian columns, each stretching from floor to vaulted ceiling, also sporting the flowering symphony.
>You continue on into one of the halls marked on your map, taking a peek into both the children's rooms and the master bedroom itself.
>Hoedown's room is painted a baby blue, and a tapestry of the sun hangs on one of his walls.
>His bed is raised from the floor a few inches, suspended by a quartet of mahogany logs, the room itself empty of occupants.
>Cold Spell's room is occupied, so you leave her be after a quick look around, spotting drably painted white walls and a simple mattress on the floor, no fancy coverings.
>Loophole's room is that of what you'd think a young filly's would be.
>It's hot pink, with a large and towering four poster bed against one of the far walls.
>The teen sports a large closet, filled with a good deal of clothing you'd define as unsightly.
>The walls are adorned with posters of various teen bands, and a single picture of herself, one that looks to have been recently taken.
>Next, you take a peek into the study, one of Kismet's recommended searching spots.
>Inside are two stallions, both earth ponies, one aged and white coated with a blue mane, the other grey with a longer mane of the same blue.
>Both give you a stage look as you pass by, looking up from something they'd been hard at work discussing over a desk, a large glass window looking over the rear grounds behind them.
>You end your tour for the moment in the unmarked area under the maintenance cabinet and stairwell, where a small wooden table lies, set with the utensils and plates for five ponies' lunch.
>In addition, there's a pair of benches and coffee tables, and the room looks set up for resting in private by a small amount of ponies, perhaps a retreat during parties.
>You decide to stop by the guest rooms, inspecting each of the five individually.
>All seem to be identical in layout, but with small variations in style between each different room.
>A bed, nightstand and armchair all are consistent throughout, but the small differences between each room makes them all feel different from one another.
>In one of them, is a vellow unicorn with a reddish mane, appearing to be making one of the beds.
>Upon your entrance she looks to the door, raises an eyebrow, then continues with her work, paying you no more attention.
>You now move on to the living room, which at the moment lies empty.
>The room is painted a spring green, and a fireplace sits to your left side, currently unlit, surrounded by a semicircle of chairs.
>In the center of the room is a large couch that takes the shape and perimeter of a square.
>The walls are adorned with various pictures of flowers and plants, as well as a few shelves showing off various knicknacks as well as a single, flowing white dress suspended on a hanger.
>Next, you return to the washroom and slide up next to 1, who looks pleased to have your company.
"Guess so! And just to inform me, what exactly is this party, what is it for, and what'll my jobs be throughout it."
>"Organized one, aren't you? You'd like Vernie. Well, the part is to launch a new dress line, a particularly garish one in my opinion. It's just a social gathering of sorts, many ponies from around the neighborhood and Open's company will be visiting. I imagine Open's trying to further his social standing, but I'm not one to share my opinion on the matter. Your job during the party itself is to act as the on call maid, walking around the house and fetching anything needed by, well, anypony. If somepony on the dance floor wants a drink, you're their mare. You'll also be bringing food out with the cooks, and reporting to me whenever you're unoccupied. That sufficient?"
"I guess that's it, but I do have one last question. Does Hoedown or anypony else flirt with the staff, or do they keep it to themselves?"
>1 chuckles to herself.
>"And perceptive too... Well, yes, Hoedown is the type you're thinking he is, and forceful at times too. I think he gets it from his father, but Open's normally able to keep it to himself, bar parties like the upcoming one."
"Well, I guess that's something we'll have to be on our hooftips for... My break ends at noon, correct? What then?"
>"Well, I was going to have you cleaning the guest rooms with Vernie, but the more I think about it, the more I'm thinking she'll have finished it by then. If you want to go lend her a hoof now you can, but I wouldn't fault you for wanting to rest. I guess you'll be with me after noon cleaning the kids's rooms, unless you'd like to help Grape here with ironing."
"I guess I'll be joining you in cleaning the kids rooms, when the time comes. For now, I think I'll do some reading, and come along whenever you're done with your clothes."
>"Sounds good 4! And do you prefer 4, or Short? I know 3 wants me to call her Vernier, but Vernie is just a lot cuter."
"I... I'll have to think that one over..."
>You say, a little surprised with the willingness the mare goes along with this strange numbering system.
>"Oh, alrighty then! See you soon!"
>She says before retreating into the washroom to continue her work.
>After a reading part of "The Handmare's Tail," one of the most worn books on the shelf, Camaraderie eventually returns to find you and pulls you from the cozy spot you'd found in the armchair, dragging you along to the rooms of the children.
>"So, didja think it over at all? Short, or 4? I need to call you something, and 'You there,' isn't very specific."
"4, I guess. I like numbers."
>"You got it 4!"
>1 says with a wink, before plopping you down in Hoedown's room.
>"He's a pretty simple stallion, not much we'll have to do here. Just some organization of his clothes, making his bed, cleaning the bathroom... Simple stuff I'm sure you know how to do already, considering your background."
>1 makes to head to the bathroom, then stops and giggles.
>"And uh, I know where his girlie mags are. He's not very good at hiding them, but I always make sure to keep it a secret. He certainly does have a collection..."
>And with that, Camaraderie is off into the bathroom, appearing to start out with Hoedown's bathtub.
>You however, are left the bedroom to which you begin cleaning with glee.
>His closet is simple, a pair of suits, three sets of day clothes and four sets of shoes, all of which you imagine see fair use considering the sort of stallion he is.
>His drawers are cluttered with crap, most of which are a colt's toys, but with a few items of value tossed on the surface level of the pile like a wallet, a velvet box containing a pair of cufflinks, a small, unmarked wooden box and a framed picture of a unicorn mare in a cheerleading outfit.
>You could probably organize the toys for him if you liked, but are unsure of how you'd go about rearranging somepony's childhood possessions.
Maybe ask 1 if we should.
If she thinks he won't mind go ahead and organize them by color, since that's fairly simple.
If she suggests that we shouldn't than move on.
I know it's hard to leave it messy, but scream silently.
>You decide against straightening up his childhood memories, as much as it pains you to do so.
>To distract yourself from the landfill of a childhood you'd just discovered, you busy yourself fixing up Hoedown's bed, making sure you could bounce a bit on it if you wanted.
>Just as you were finishing up with this small feat, the door to the room slid open, and in walked Hoedown himself, ovbiously in a mood one could describe as sub-par.
>His face is contorted into a scowl, and with every step he stomps a little, pressinng the carpet beneath his hooves into small indentations below him.
>However, as soon as he spots you, he seems to brighten up, face flushing bright red in embarrassment, starting to retreat from the room.
>"O-Oh! M-Maids! I'm sorry, didn't mean to distur-"
>He then does a double take and looks you up and down, swiftly stopping his advance on the rear front.
>"My, is this 4? I have to say, I wasn't expecting some young mare like yourself to be open for our position on such short notice..."
>Stumbling a little, he makes his way over to you and brushes up against you, giving a wink.
>"A-And you know what? I'd bet a pretty mare like yourself's been in a lot of positions..."
>From the bathroom you hear 1 mumble something under her breath, and spot her rolling her eyes in annoyance, staring at the two of you.
I thought we voted to make Sharp sexually oblivious. Shouldn't she assume he's just talking about jobs? I bet we could be obtuse long enough for him to get frustrated and leave us alone.
She can shoot him down if you're really dead set on her not being sexually oblivious, but it should just be a "no".
The level of interpersonal ability and confidence required to say >>26070808 seems inconsistent with how Sharp has acted thus far.
This. Shutting him down while being nervous and defensive fits the personality that has been created for her better than being oblivious, aggressive, or by acting like a smart ass by implying she is lesbian in such a way.
Although I'd get a kick out of the whole "my girlfriend" line.
I vote on combining all suggestions. Why not say we're gay AND that we have a girlfriend AND be all awkward while we do it, all at the same time?
>"I'd bet a pretty mare like yourself's been in a lot of positions..."
"I'M GAY! Uh, by which I mean, I have a girlfriend. And we do lesbian stuff. Yup, lesbian stuff, all the time. You know, because I'm gay and all."
I dunno. This could blow up in our face pretty easily. We should just remain professional.
"I think that's too personal of a question, Mr. (Or Master, not sure how young he is...) Hoedown"
The early vote was to be straight and somewhat sexually oblivious.
That seems to be going out the window, which is a shame IMO, since female protags in these quests are almost never straight.
I know you guys want to go the sexually oblivious way, but that will be following his game and he may consider we are just "teasing".
Mi idea is to play with his age, She is older right?
"Not interested kid, anyway do you want me to organize your toys too or just the clothes?"
Okay. Let me rephrase.
We would say yes to not contradict what we said earlier to keep Hoedown off of our back, and still wouldn't have to decide if this was a lie or not until later.
I support the lesbian line, but for a completely different reason: it gives us the opportunity to be awkward, and that is the whole reason I like Sharp. She's neurotic and awkward, and I would love to hear her try to say that she's in lesbians with someone else.
(The presence of the the prefix "les" signifies only the most superficial statement of Sharp Catalog's apparent sexual preferences as presented to Hoedown, and does not imply any particular sexual alignment in actuality. Sharp is free to be sexually attracted to stallions, mares, non-pony species, or floor tiles, as she sees fit.)