>For a second you freeze up like a deer in a spotlight.
>The sound of your own blood pumping in your ear becomes very apparent, and on instinct you blurt out.
"I-I'm gay! And do all sorts of... Lesbian stuff. W-With my marefriend! Who also, d-does lesbian things. With me!"
>In response, Hoedown backs up, a little flustered.
>"O-Oh, one of... Those? I-uh, apologize, let me excuse myself for a moment so you can... Clean. Things."
>He quickly takes his leave from the room, grumbling as he travels.
>After a few moments, and his hooves are safely down the hall, 1 bursts out in laughter from the bathroom, before quickly silencing herself and resorting to pained giggles.
>After she gets her mirth under control, she chokes through aftershocks of her amusement.
>"I-I... Well, that's certainly one way to get him off your tail!"
>Finally, she takes a second to compose herself, drawing a hoof down the front of her chest and taking a deep breath.
>"Hooh... Well, I'll bet you get your pay docked for that outburst. He'll probably go crying to mommy or something. And you better hope he's not too set on you to overlook that either, or you'll be in a right pickle."
Hey, if you're trying to get people to see your point of view, it's probably not a good idea to start flinging insults. I understand you're upset, but I really don't think it's that big a deal.
I doubt the situation will be unsalvageable after something like that.
"I-I panicked and didn't know what to say."
>You shake your head and begin redoing the bed you just made, trying to calm your nerves.
>After a few seconds, you drop the sheets and rush over to 1 and ask at light speed.
"W-Wait could I get fired for that?"
>1 chuckles and shakes her head.
>"I sincerely doubt it. You'd have to do something really stupid to get fired. And I mean really stupid. You're a complete newbie and don't know the family's preferences. You might get a talking-to from Silk and some of your pay docked, like I said before, but other than that you're fine."
"Alright... S-So, what are we going to be cleaning next?"
>"We'll move on to Loophole's room, then Cold's after that. She doesn't mind if we clean while she's in. And boy, you might be surprised at what you find in little Loopy's room..."
I just think we should try to stay professional.
We really need to have free reign around the house or we're not going to get any money, and we don't need to be in conflict with any of these ponies.
What might that be? What are the families preferences? Anything we could do to make up for that outburst?
Why? What's in Loopy's room?
I doubt we have anything to make up for. I'm sure this isn't the first time Howdown has run to his mother and whined that a girl wasn't nice to him.
Are you actually suggesting we hang around after our mission is complete just so that we collect our fake maid salary? Bad idea. High risk, low reward on that plan.
Plus, I think we'd get in trouble with Kis for that. We're only here for as long as she tells us to be.
"What might that be?"
>1 gives you an eyebrow and snorts.
>"Well, she's the kind that's a little mature for her age despite what you'd assume from her room... And stuck up to boot."
>Not understanding 1's implication, you shrug and move on, now significantly less worried that your job was in jeopardy.
"Family's preference? What might that be? C-Could I make up for what just happened?"
>1 waves you off.
>"Oh, calm down, you're over-reacting. There's no reason to panic over such a small thing... Well, unless you've got some urgent bills to pay, but there's nothing you can do about it now."
>With a final inspection, she appears satisfied with her job on the bathroom, and nods to you, quickly shoving Hoedown's sheet back onto his bed.
>"He won't notice... You can be a little more lax with Hoedown, Cold not so much. Let's move on."
>You wince at her slapdash job, but accept it, not wanting to risk upsetting your boss already.
>"So about the family's preferences? If you were implying Hoedown, he's a messy little colt, and the picky type. Well, less so with mares. The family itself prefers if we maids keep a somewhat professional air about them, though don't mind casual conversation. Just refrain from being the one who starts or ends it."
>1 now leads you into Loophole's room, again empty for the moment.
>The hot pink walls hurt your eyes after a little, and you begin to wonder what sort of pony would enjoy this form of torture.
>1 once again makes for the bathroom, but pauses, then motioning to you.
>"Shall I give you the honors? Or do you just want to go for the closet, nightstand and bed again."
This. We do the deed and then get the fuck out.
And if we find something two days before the party, what then? Do we just hang around the scene of the crime to collect a maid's salary?
>Not staying until the party
They're going to put two and two together right away anon. If a stranger visited you house and the next day you found your phone missing you'd know right away. Know why? It's because your not a fucking toddler and can make bridges using logic.
There is no need to be rude.
They wouldn't find anything missing, because we wouldn't take anything. We'd memorize it. And I wasn't saying we disappear without warning, just that we run it by Kismet for confirmation before leaving OR staying.
If the new maid disappears suddenly and acts weird, then who do you think they'll blame after this blows up?
We should remain professional, and get both sets of pay. No real risk unless we keep peppering the family with autism or steal their documents, like we were told not to.
Again, I agree with you. I was agreeing with you the whole time. All I wanted was to make sure Kismet knew that we were going to stay until the party regardless of what we found, just to make sure she doesn't need us to leave and do anything else. What's the harm in being careful and double checking with our boss?
"Sure, I'll take the bathroom."
>You say cheerily before poking your head to inspect your job.
>The room itself is shaped like a small rectangle, a set of drawers and a cupboard on the right with the toilet heading up the end, against the wall.
>On top of the drawers is a sink, along with numerous hygiene products, shampoo, conditioner, "mane shiner (For Lustrous Glow!)," and toothpaste.
>Not every drawer is pushed in all the way, and from their state you can clearly tell some of the drawers are used much more than others.
>To your left is a bath, with a number of fancy looking knobs leading into a curved spigot.
>At the bottom is a large clump of pink hair, which you shrink back from slightly in disgust.
>On the floor are three towels, each in a clump, and each also sporting a rather large amount of shedded pink hair.
Fine, then it should be a quick conversation. We swing by Kismet's to tell her what we learned and ask "you still want me to stay until the party, right? You don't need me anywhere else?"
If saving the thirty seconds that it would take to ask for confirmation is that important to you, then fine. I withdraw my objection.
Do you also want to wait until after the party to report back to Kis, or can we tell her what we find when we find it?
I meant that adding the question on to talking to Kis would only be thirty seconds more. Not that the whole trip would be thirty seconds.
We can wait until after the party to check in with Kis if you want. I don't know when she needs this information by or if it is time sensitive at all, so I figured we should tell it to her as soon as we learn it, but keeping in character as a maid seems to be really important to you, so I will trust your decision and go along with it. We'll wait.
Let me rephrase it for you. You run a corporation that relies on public opinion. One day you learn that you need a new secretary and hire through a temp. agency. On the second day of the job the new secretary disappears for a few hours. Whatever, that's normal when days are slow. Maybe something came up; you never know. The next day or week or what have you news regarding your affair with your sister-in-law leaks. How long is it going to take before you figure out what happened?
So she's the only one who left over the course of those few weeks? Nobody else went out to lunch or went home or anything? Everyone else lives in the office building?
We're not working every second of every day. I have to imagine the other maids have lives too. There is no reason to accuse that one secretary when it could be anyone.
Did you mean to reply to me? We're both saying the same thing.
The point is nobody has betrayed you thus far and the hiring of the secretary coincides with the leak. If we stay until the party than there are multiple suspects rather than just ourselves.
Look, I already agreed to vote we stay here the whole time because of a different anon's argument, but what you're saying is a tremendous assumption. You can't accuse the newest person on staff of committing the crime just because they're the newest. Anyone could have done it.
For god's sake, I know. I agree with that. I agree with both of you: we shouldn't just disappear, it would be suspicious as hell. I was only suggesting that we say "since my shift is over, I'm going to go see my friend for lunch" so that we could get Kis the information as soon as possible. I'm sure all the other maids leave from time to time.
It's a moot point anyway. You both said we shouldn't leave the house for any reason even for a few minutes, and I said fine.
>Your expression of disgust only growing, you quickly begin whirling through the bathroom, cleaning up a storm.
>The towels are given a hearty shake into the bathtub before being folded neatly on the drawers' counter, in a stack.
>The hygiene products are organized by height, in a neat row against the counter underneath the cupboard.
>While the details from there are all a sort of blur, you end the job with the room sparkling, or at least somewhat better than when you'd first entered.
>Theoretically, you could fish around in the young mare's cabinets if you so wished, but lay off the idea for the moment, considering asking 1.
>On the thought of 1, you spare her a glance and spot her rooting through Loop's nightstand, looking for something fervently.
>You trot over and peer down at what she's doing, before asking.
"Need any help?"
>1 jumps about a foot in the air, fumbling a small tan square of some sort before quickly shoving it into and slamming shut the drawer she'd been previously rooting through.
>Next, she shakes her head and grins at you.
>"N-No! I'm doing fine over here, d-do you need anything to do?"
"Oh, I indeed do! I've finished up with the bathroom, save the drawers, and just wanted to see how you were doing."
>"Well, in that case, maybe you should go over there to the closets and do some organizing! I've got this covered, a-and if you don't want to poke around in the bathroom's cabinets then I can do that for you."
I guess we don't have to sweat it too bad about looking suspicious if this is what the current maids are like.
Whatever she is doing is none of our business. Not our mission. Clean the closet like she suggested.
>You shrug her nervousness off and return to the bathroom, beginning to clear drawer by drawer.
>Makeup, makeup and jewelry, certainly a vain mare you're dealing with here.
>A few knickknacks here and there, but the mare obviously has more drawers than she knows what to do with, and has left a few more towards the bottom empty.
>However, in one of the bottom drawers you discover a number of plastic packages with names like "Glide."
>A little confused, you arrange them by color and stack them in neat piles, contrast to previously where they'd been strewn about the drawer in a random pile.
>After, you turn to 1, who appears to have gotten her excitement back under control, and has just finished up with this little mare's closet.
>"We'll be off to Cold's room in a second. Anything you want to know about Loop before we leave? I mean, I've given you a little, but while we're here it wouldn't hurt to know the girl's quirks. If not, I guess we'll be heading over."
"If you think we should know, tell us."
>1 nods and motions for you to follow, making for Cold's room.
>"You got it missy. In addition to being the stuck up little sibling princess you might imagine her to be, she's just heading into high school right now, where she might finally get some knowledge into that empty head of hers. Right now, she's coasting on fumes of the private tutors Silk and Open hire for her. She's also ah... Very lose with her money. Goes on a spending spree whenever she can. Dresses, shoes, all that jazz. And with her arrival to high school she's also doing some other forms of learning, more in the private sector."
>At that statement she makes a small motion to her rear end, and you realize in surprise what those plastic things probably were.
>You then store the information for later, shivering a little.
>"Now Cold's a bit of a different animal. She normally tidies the room up herself, so there's not much cleaning in all to be done. I like to talk to the mare though, as she's a kind soul and good to be around. Sharp too."
>At the door, 1 pokes her head in and looks around, smiling when she spots Cold on her bed reading.
>"Hi Cold! I'm here with the new maid, she's a nice gal."
>Cold presently has her nose in a textbook, but takes a moment to catch a glance of you before returning to her reading.
>"So you're 4? I assume my brother's been giving you a hard time, or if not you should be expecting it."
"Yes, perhaps I made a less than perfect impression... But anyway, it's nice to meet you too Cold."
>The mare nods and places her book down.
>"Well, you wouldn't be the first... Heck, he's made passes on 1, 2, and 3, and plenty of 4's before you. Less successful than otherwise I might add, at least with our current staffing."
>1 sits down neatly next to the mare, making sure to take as little space from the bed as possible.
>"So, do you need any cleaning today?"
>The mare shakes her head.
>"No, I think I've got it all handled for the moment. I think the family's going out for lunch today though, so if you're able to get me something that would be nice."
>Quickly, 1 hops up and nods.
>"Sure! Just give me a few minutes, and I'll be right back."
>1 jumps up eagerly from the bed and exits, giving you a smile with her exit.
>"Keep her busy, alright? Conversation or the like. She's a bit of a brainiac, in case that helps."
>A little lost on what to talk to the mare about, you bite your lip and go for it.
"S-So, what are you reading miss?"
>"Oh, I was reading The Tempest, school's making us annotate it. I don't mind the book itself, but they speed they're asking us to annotate at is astounding. A scene a night? The text's so dense I could devote a night to just three to four pages at a time, though I guess some of the scenes can be that length..."
>After a second's musing she stops, takes on an empresses look and shys away.
>"But I'm probably boring you with all that... I-If I was to be entirely blunt here, you're making me a little uncomfortable. Just your existence. It's just that I don't do well around..."
"Well, I've got a thing for odd numbers. Specifically a dislike for them, so I understand the feeling. Oh, and, uh you're not boring me at all, I thought I might be the one doing it to you..."
>"Well, you're keeping me interested for the moment..."
>Happy to hear your efforts weren't entirely fruitless, you give a small smile before continuing.
"So, annotating huh? That's not the greatest way to read a book in the world, I think they're meant to be enjoyed. What's it about?"
>Cold lights up a little before responding.
>"I actually sort of like analysis, it's like fitting a puzzle of characters and themes together to find out what the author's conveying. Though I do agree that in some situations it can be a real slog. And the plot? It's about a unicorn and his daughter who live on an island, the unicorn seeking a revenge of sorts against his brother who usurped his throne long ago. That's a short summary. It's a pretty deep play, but on the surface has a good story as well."
Realized this was a pretty bad prompt. Let's fix that.
>After a short pause, the the mare looks over to her copy and gives it a quizzical look.
>"Have you ever read it? If not, you can borrow mine! I'd love to have somepony to talk to about it, and if not talk about, at least I'll have the warm fuzzy feeling of given you the gift of a good read."
"Certainly! I love a good story..."
>Cold gives you a happy grin and hoofs the book over, a shining silver cover with the words "The Tempest" emblazoned in an intimidatingly official font on the front.
>You take it cheerily, turning it over in your hooves and getting a feel for its weight, Cold watching you intently.
>"Oh, and please don't doggy ear the pages... I get shivers down my spine whenever I see somepony do that. Makes everything uneven, and the creases left behind can be incredibly distracting while I read."
>Behind you, 1 returns with what seems to be a cheese and lettuce sandwich and lays it in front of Cold, giving the both of you an expectant look.
>"Getting along well I hope?"
>She then mutters to you in a quieter voice,
>"We've got a break after we're done here, just letting you know."
Pausing here for the night. I suppose I'll request some criticism now too, if anyone wishes to take the time to write something up.
Never would we dog ear pages, and thank her for letting us borrow the book.
If you are looking for criticism:
Honestly there is not much to criticize. Sure, there are things people could nitpick at. Overall though it is good. Your writing is good and you combine multiple combinations of answers when you reply. You also keep things light hearted and add small things to pique the reader's interest such as 1's shuffling through the drawers or Kismet's haste to hide what we saw on her desk when visiting her office. Overall keep it up!
TLDR: It's good family.
Of course we won't dog-ear it. We'll use bookmarks. We're not a monster, Cold.
The writing is enjoyable, which is good, and the main character is fun, which is even better. My only complaint is that pony Shakespeare never occurred to me before.
Oh, wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous ponykind is! Oh brave new world, that has such ponies in it!
>Sputtering, you give Cold a look of revulsion.
"D-Dog earing a page? No, never, I wouldn't dream of it..."
>"Well in that case, I think the two of us will get along just fine. Just make sure to return it when you're finished."
>With that, you and 1 take your leave, a small wave shared between you and the now slightly distressed, bookless bookworm, now scanning her shelf for somthing else of interest.
>In the hall, 1 gives you a nudge.
>"I think she's already got a liking for you, which is pretty rare. Normally takes a few days for her to warm up to other ponies, even though she's the most socially adept. And pretty humble too, unlike the rest of her family..."
"I'm honored, in a way?"
>"It's not a bad response..."
>When you return to the maid's quarters, Vernier and Grape are already inside.
>Vernier is nursing a bottle of some kind at her chest, taking a swig every so often.
>Grape is sitting by the radio, with it on low volume.
>1 gives a small,
>Before collapsing onto her bed and stretching, sending her wings spread eagle and her legs to the sky.
>A state of quiescence falls over the room, broken only by a smooth, deep voice from Vernier.
>"So... What're your thoughts of the place so far Short. Or 4. Whichever."
"Seems nice enough. Family is... Interesting, but I'm sure I'll get used to them eventually. I especially like Cold."
>Vernier gives a silent nod, and Grape a smile.
>"Really? She's all our favorites, if one had to choose between the kids."
>Vern snorts in response to Grape's cheery demeanor.
>"It's not a very hard choice between the three, at least for me. The other two have their heads so far up their own asses they can hardly see the sunlight."
>Grape scrunches a little in annoyance, but sighs and turns back to the radio, leaving the sullen mare to sulk.
>"Just trying to be polite..."
>1 pulls you over, having finished stretching and preening her wings.
>"Don't mind Vernie, she can be a little caustic, but there's a good mare in there, albeit a jaded one. Not one for small talk."
>You nod and take a seat on your own bed, only to be roused by a knock at the door to your temporary abode.
>From outisde a feminine voice asks,
>"Is 4 in there? I need to talk to her about... Something. We're going out for lunch, so it'll have to be quick. If she's out cleaning it can wait."
>1 sits up from her bed and raises an eyebrow, motioning to the door and alternating between nodding or shaking her head.
>You give 1 a nod, but instead of waiting for her to speak, instead trot over to the door your yourself.
>You slide it open, behind it standing a middle-aged, grey pegasus with a white mane.
>She seems a little surprised at your sudden appearance, but quickly pulls herself back into a more solemn look, motioning for you to follow.
>1 snickers a little, but nopony else seems to care about your departure.
>The two of you now in the entrance hall, the mare you assume to be Silk motions for you to follow, eventually sitting you down on a bench beneath a rather large (and to your absolute horror slightly off-kilter) painting.
>She now stands over you, you seated, Silk looking down on you from a standing position.
>Under her gaze you shift uncomfortably, until she finally breaks it in a calm, collected voice.
>"I assume you know why I've brought you out here... Correct?"
"Y-Yes indeed. I reacted poorly to Hoedown. I'm just not used to that sort of attention."
>"At least you recognize your mistake. And of course, I can understand that. I just want you know that I request you refrain from such outbursts, especially during the upcoming party. Keep an air of professionalism around the family, even if my son can be... A bit of a chauvinist on occaision. Just try to brush him off without having to resort to such crude tactics. Let me be the first to tell you you're not the first mare he's set his eyes on. Am I understood?"
"Y-Yes. I'm sorry ma'am. It won't happen again."
>At this, Silk brightens considerably and gives you a smile.
>"Glad to hear it... And I'm sorry that had to be your first impression of me. I'm Silk, as you might already know. It's a pleasure to meet you."
>Still a little nervous, you stammer back.
"A-And the same to you ma'am."
>"Good. Now that introductions are finished, I'll inform you that the family is going out for lunch today. Well, save Cold. She'll be at home in her room, and won't bother any of you busy maids. I'd appreciate if the four of you began bringing up some of the tables from down in storage, but not until your usual duties are complete. Again, it's not a crucial job at the moment, but if you're out of a job at any point in time its something to get a start on."
>With that, Silk leaves you sitting under the skewed painting, trotting off through the open doors of the mansion and shutting them behind her, exiting into what appears to be the same carriage you saw outside the house previously.
>You quickly right the painting, a depiction of Canterlot from the mountain overlooking it, and a feeling of intense relief flows through your body, one almost like getting into a hot bath, or stretching after being cooped up for a long time.
>Then, you trot back to the maids' quarters and sit down next to 1, who appears to be napping at the moment.
>She cracks an eye and laughs.
>"So how'd it go?"
"I-Fine, fine... Silk also told me we might want to start moving tables up from storage, but I'm not exactly sure what that entails... After we're off break, are there any duties that need doing? I mean, I'd leave that sort of work to ponies more experienced than myself."
>"Tables is it? Well, I can handle that with 2... In terms of chores that need doing? Somepony needs to go shopping, there's a list of requested groceries in the kitchen... Emptying trashcans, and maybe checking on how 2 did with cleaning the guest rooms... The ventilation needs an inspection, checking to make sure it isn't leaking or anything like that. And as far as I know, 3's got the rest of the laundry, unless you want to help her out. Why? Were you thinking something, or just wanted something to keep you busy."
"No reason, just wanted to stay busy to make up for earlier."
>"Oh, I get it. Well, incase you were wondering the three of us are probably going to have some lunch in a bit, then head back to work. If you want to keep working and skip eating for the moment go on ahead, I won't stop you by any means... I'll put in a good word for you too. Just get started on one of the things I mentioned and tell me when you're done."
"I'll stick to trash duty then, but grab a quick bite to eat first."
>1 gives you a wink.
>"That's the spirit. Have fun out there 4."
>She smirks playfully, before returning to a lying position to catch some shuteye.
>As you spoke before, you grab a sandwich from the kitchen and quickly wolf it down, simple cheese and bread now occupying your stomach, with a little butter so that the meal wasn't so dry.
>After which, you start on the trash, a lovely endeavor to push through.
>You grab a large plastic bag and begin making your way through the house, emptying garbage into your sack and hefting it around.
>Thankfully, most of the bins you inspect lie unused and empty, lessening the amount of weight you'd be working with.
>Soon enough, the only areas of the house left are the father's study and the master bedroom, and of the two you're not sure which to begin with first.
>You decide on the study, thinking that he'd most likely hide his secrets somewhere his wife wouldn't find them.
>The room itself is a square, with a nice glass window at the back overlooking the mansion's grounds.
>There's a pair of bookshelves against the left and right walls, and in the center of the room a set of armchairs that surround a small table, probably used for business meetings, or just lounging.
>Behind this discussion area is a desk and against the left and right walls to the back of the room are two cabinets, one with a small windowed opening into a picture of his family.
>On the desk itself are a number of papers, one marked an inbox, the other an outbox, the inbox pile holding significantly more papers than its leaving counterpart.
>To the left of the desk from your perspective is a trash can, crumpled papers and tissues ruling its domain.
We should search the trash for our damning documents.
A lot of people just assume anything they throw out disappears, and no one will notice that we stole it.
Glance over the papers but don't linger here.
Check desk draws. Look at the bottoms to see if there's any hidden compartments. Check behind the bookshelves. Look for any books that look like they've seen more use or had something put in them.
>First, you decide to do a cursory look over the desk itself, seeing if you can catch out any suspicious papers on the desk itself.
>Nothing on top of either pile has any bearing on finances, and in fact mostly seem to be concept art for the company, along with one named "Quarterly Plan," including the release date for a clothing line and a perfume yet unannounced if the paper's information was to be trusted.
>Next, you move to the trashcan, feeling a little disgusted as you root through tissues and other crap to find any papers of note.
>One appears to be a message sent directly to Open, now shoved back into the envelope and hastily crumpled, shoved at the bottom of the bin under a banana peel.
>Part of it is shredded beyond readability, but some of the message remains, written in flowery cursive.
>"-pen, you just can't keep leading me on like this in this line of work, it isn't fair. I still haven't gotten paid for the last two 'sessions' you sent me out for, and now am beginning to feel you never will scrounge together the funds for me. Please, j-"
>Next, you find a bank statement, but after reading it over, it's nothing suspicious, just a monthly report of a bank account with a few more digits you'd ever see in your lifetime.
>After reading the small letter, you take the dingy scrap and empty the rest of the trash into your bag before deciding to continue on with your rounds.
>The master bedroom is the last on your list, so you move in and start your inspection.
>Again, a few bookshelves take up the rightmost area of the room, a rather beautiful four poster bed residing to the back and quite close to it.
>There's some more paintings, as well as a couple flowers in a vase on the nightstand next to the bed itself.
>A rather large bathroom takes part of the left side of the room, a modern art piece taking most of the space on the wall enclosing it.
>A radio sits against the left side on the wall closest to you, currently off but tuned to a news station you vaguely know of.
>The trashcan for the room is next to the bed, currently sporting an apple core, a newspaper and some other papers beneath you can't see.
>Following the same procedure, you empty trash into your bag and root around for anything looking official or important.
>You find naught but an business card, white and plain save a single address "124 Whimsey Way, Apt 53"
>Following this, you investigate the nightstand, making sure to not touch anything but the handles of the drawers themselves.
>In the bottom drawer appears to be a photo album, labeled on the front as such, as well as a small, locked journal.
>The middle contains a wallet, six passports and two pairs of glasses.
>The top contains a stack of old magazines and a snowglobe, depicting Canterlot in the winter.
>You then spare a quick look into the bathroom, discovering a bath, shower, a shuttered closet and rather large sink/counter with a set of cupboards beneath them.
>You decide to keep the business card and continue on with your rounds, clearing the bathroom trashcan as well, which contained nothing of interest to your work.
>The fruit of your labor, the now stuffed trashbag, is lugged back into the maids' chambers and dumped through a small tube in the supplies closet, one that smells surprisingly good for a trash chute.
>The actual quarters themselves are empty, but logic tells you the other maids are polishing off their lunch in the kitchen.
>From behind you in the washroom you hear the servant's entrance click open.
>You decide to go greet whoever it is coming through the door, and to your surprise you find a mare standing brightly in the doorway.
>Her body is a light yellow, and mane a bright red.
>"Oh! Hi! I'm one of the temp cooks, Flambe, do you work here by any chance? There, uh, also some mare at he gates the guards won't let in, in case that's your responsibility."
"Oh, I'm a temp maid. You can call me 4, they use numbers in lieu of names here. I suppose it seems easier to remember..."
>The mare takes on a quizzical look, before you give her a snappy,
"I'll be right back."
>In a flash, you've retrieved 1 from the kitchen and brought her to see the new mare, to which 1 gives the same cheerful introduction you got.
>The mare seems rather relieved to have found somepony knowledgeable around, and instantly begins peppering 1 with questions about the kitchen, her duties and the like, all of which 1 deflects with expert social evasion, mentioning she'd have to ask the head cook about that sort of business.
>After a small set of introductions and explaining her accomadations, 1 offers a tour of the house to the new mare, who heartily accepts the offer.
>Before she leaves as a guide, 1 takes you aside and gives you a small hug.
>"Thanks for getting me, we wouldn't want this gal just meandering about with no idea what to do... Anyway, did you get that trash handled?"
"You bet! It's all done. By the way, there's apparently a mare at the front they're not letting in. Want me to check it out?"
>"Go for it, I wouldn't know about that. Tell me who it is, and whatever they want when I'm back. Maybe just some fangirl or model looking for a job."
>1 now leaves, taking the new cook along and leaving you alone in the living quarters, set on seeing whoever's probing the front gates.
>As you approach, you find the pony stuck outside in a very sullen mood, already beginning to walk away whilst shouting various profanities at the guards.
>She's a slim blue earth pony with a light red, almost pink mane.
>The guards at the gates seem a little puzzled at her departure, but shrug, the two then giving you a nonchalant nod.
>The blocked mare herself isn't far off, only a couple seconds trot from the building itself, walking with her head hung.
>Confused, you ask the guards what she was here for.
>"She mentioned something about being here for a cleaning job, and that she hadn't ever gotten a response on her application. I told her that the position had already been filled, and she wasn't exactly pleased. Guess you got the application in before her, eh? Still seems a little rude of the family to leave the mare hanging like that though..."
"Guess I should count myself lucky then. If it's all handled I'll head back inside."
>The guards both nod again and give you a polite smile.
>"Have a good day ma'am."
>Feeling a little embarrassed at his titling, you stammer back a
"Y-You too guys."
>Before making a hasty retreat back to the house.
>You now stand in your bedroom, at the moment empty save yourself.
>The family should probably be home soon, save Cold, who for some reason opted to stay home.
>"Y-You to guys."
Be glad those weren't our last words. We'd have to come back to life if that were the case.
We should see if anyone has done the shopping. If not than I suggest we go to the store.
>You poke your head into the kitchen and discover both Vernier and Grape enjoying lunch, the two of them both giving a polite nod.
>There's a shopping list attached to the fridge, but it appears to now have a checkmark in front of it, implying somepony else had already completed the task.
>From the table behind you, Vernier lets out a yawn and stands up.
>"Well, I'm going to get down to the basement and get started on those tables... 3, you can, uh, stay here. And do laundry or whatever it is you do."
>Her plate still on the table, 2 makes a quick exit, leaving behind a disgruntled looking 3 and half a sandwich.
>Repressing yourself from having a small fit, you scoop up 2's plate and dump the remnants of her meal into the trash, then promptly cleaning it off and leaving it to dry, crisis averted.
>After you've finished with the plate you turn back to 3, now looking noticeably less unhappy.
>"Thanks for that... She normally leaves me all her crap to clean up, and it's nice to have somepony helping out for once."
>After another pause, 3 pats the chair next to her, gesturing for you to sit.
>"So, did you eat? I can whip something up for you if you like and we can talk. You seem like a pretty nice mare, and I'll only have a few days to get to know you, so every second counts doesn't it?"
>Then, clearly thinking she's done something wrong, the mare stops and pulls back a little.
>"B-But if you're busy or something we don't have to. I overhead 1 saying you might go check the vents soon, so if you were planning on doing that I-I won't bother. I'll just get on with my—"
>The mare stops.
"I'd love to talk, but I was planning on getting back to work before our break is over."
>3's eyes widen a little, and she stutters,
>"But you just took our the trash right? On break? Are you sure you can't spare a little time?"
"Well... I guess I could. I really don't feel like you should be cooking food for me either, but I guess if you're offering I won't turn it down."
>"Oh, alright! And after that you'll be back to work on the vents?"
"Nothing's set in stone yet... I might end up joining you in the laundry room, as you do seem like you could use the company."
>Now looking rather pleased, 3 hops up from her meal and begins slapping together a sandwich for you, which she does with stunning efficiency.
>Once finished, she returns to the table with your second lunch of the day and places it before you, then taking the seat next to you and continuing with her own lunch.
>"Sho... Guesh I don't rweally have anyfing to talk about."
>She swallows, then takes a second and taps her chin.
>"I guess I'll start by asking pretty bluntly, how did you end up in a dead end rut of a job like this?"
"Well, I spent most of my money trying to prop a dying grocery store, but in the end it just sort of keeled over. Now I'm just taking anything I can get to stay afloat, and cleaning is right up my alley."
>"At keast you enjoy it somewhat. I'm here because I'm stuck. When I was a little filly I always had dreams of the big city. Used to live out in the country, and one day got the chance to come out here and see the world, a good job offer and a friend who'd show me the ropes. What more could I have? He ah... Didn't turn out to be the greatest of friends. I'll leave it at that."
>3 finishes her sandwich and stands from the table, wiping her mouth and making her way over to the sink.
>"So, when you're done there, do you think you'll be doing laundry with me or vent duty?"
>You decide to take up laundry, and end up doing another sort of vent duty with 3.
>The mare seems to have been very emotionally cooped up and decided to use your advent to the house as a release valve, not that you mind much.
>She first talks of 2's awful attitude towards her, then of 1's near constant passive-aggressiveness.
>How the family expects too much of the three of them, that she misses her baby brother, and that she thinks one of the house guards stares at her butt a little too often while doing his rounds, and how it makes her very uncomfortable.
>And while you couldn't exactly classify it as 'fun,' her commentaty certainly does make time fly.
>In what seems like only a few minutes the laundry is all done, ready to be hung and dried.
>"Well... I feel a lot better now."
>3 says, giving you a smile and heading back into the shared living space.
>"Thanks for taking the time to do that with me. Means a lot."
>You slur back at her, feeling a little tired after all you'd done today.
>1 enters the living space and pokes her head around, as if looking for somepony.
>When she spots you and 3 exiting the washroom, she smiles and trots over to you.
>"Well, the family just got back from their lunch, which apparently turned into more of an outing than originally expected. I also just found out Loophole's having friends from school over tonight, and one of us has to take the job of babysitting the group. Feeling up to the task? If not, you and I can go prance around in the attic and check out the heating, which should be fun in some sense of the word."
Last post for the night.
Not really looking forward to the inevitable game of
>"Hey guys, apparently the new maid is watching us tonight, wanna fuck with her/see how much shit we can get away with?"
>Reminiscing about how your last babysitting adventure went, you shake your head.
"I'm not the best with kids... Let's try the vents instead."
>"If it's anything like what happened with Hoedown, you'll have to tell me about it later."
>The mare now leads you into the maintenance closet and then up into the attic of the house, a dark and dusty storage area, lit only by a single small bulb at the entrance, where you and 1 sit.
>Around you is ventilation ducts and chests and boxes, piled in stacks that seem to lead off in every direction, save directly behind you.
>"We can either split up or stick together, but I imagine if we split this'll get done a lot faster. Just be wary, there's a few places one could... Fall through. Stick by the ducts and you should be fine. And, just look for any tears in the material, or any dripping."
>To your right, you think you see a flash of movement off in the darkness, but when you look over discover nothing.
"I say we stick together. Less of a chance for me to put a hole through the ceiling."
>Within a few seconds, the mare is up and trotting, leaving you barely enough time to catch up before the darkness swallows her.
>As you walk together, you can't help but check behind you, and to the sides, unseen motion in the darkness now begining to unnerve you a little.
>1 sticks with the duct, humming to herself as she taps, sniffs and generally inspects the heating, for the most part seemingly satisfied.
>However, at one point, she stops and raises an eyebrow, gesturing to a small puncture in the duct itself.
>"Does that look torn to you? Seems likes something's been scratching at it, and made a hole through..."
>From behind you, you hear something fall over, a box, and from inside it spew a number of extension cords and lightbulbs, barely visible in the darkness.
"Seems we have a pest up here... Maybe a racoon or something? How does the family normally deal with them?"
>Obviously a little spooked by the crashing box, 1 takes a moment to compose herself before nodding.
>"The only pests I've had to deal with were rats, and that just involved putting out poison for them... Would you have any ideas on how to get rid of it? I don't think the family's going to be too happy with whatever it is having free reign up here."
"We could always try an old box and bait trap. Do you have any peanut butter?"
>"I bet we do in the kitchen! I-I'll be right back, so hold down the for for me."
>1 says, voice shaking a little as she trots off, leaving you in solace in the darkness.
>You now take this alone time to begin the construction of your devious trap, which consists of a box and some discarded wood, probably from some support of the house.
>Upon completion, you take a step back from your masterpiece, then quickly realize that you'd used only one stick.
>An odd number.
>In a frenzied rush, you search the attic for another stick to match the current's position, but to no avail.
>You're left alone and breathless, the single stick almost laughing at your misfortune, standing so smugly underneath the box you'd set him with propping up.
Perception Check: ?
>In an effort to pacify yourself, you assure that the trap itself consists of two parts, and that it is in essence, an even number.
>You whisper to yourself a couple times, just to cement the idea in your head.
>When you'd finished with this small suspension of disbelief, you fall back into the real world and realize that you're being watched, or at least it seems like you are.
>The feeling of a pair of a eyes boring into you is unmistakable, and just as you turn around you find yourself faced with a very large, quite fat rat, giving you the most displeased look you think a rat could ever muster.
>You say, giving the rat a cautious wave.
>It chitters back angrily.
"You've got a... A-A very nice and long tail there!"
>You back up a little by scooting along on your tush, and in response, the rat advances.
>Again, you retreat, and again the rat advances.
>This continues until you find yourself with a back against one of the attics manh boxes, at which point you whip your head around in fright to see the blockage.
>This movement plunges you into darkness, at which point you shriek and curl into a ball, waiting for the swift claws of death to hopefully serve you a quick and painless passage.
>There's a small thump.
>After a second, you realize that you'd fallen prey to your own trap, and that you were currently residing inside a cardboard box.
>You feel very silly, but also protected from the savage beast launching a full frontal assault on your new fort.
>You notice that the stick has also fallen into the box with you, along with a single extension cord, your only company for the moment.
>You debate between waiting for 1 and taking on the demon yourself, then decide upon the latter, sparing a peek outside to spy the insurgent.
>Upon your lifting of the box, the little rascal's nose pokes through, along with one of his fromt claws, reaching around, searching for you.
>Quickly, you let the box fall, and the blight's nose dissappears as quickly as it had arrived, accompanied by annoyed squeals.
>Seizing the oppurtunity, you throw the box off yourself and brandish your wooden sword, flailing wildly in hopes of giving the beast a taste of his own medicine.
>To your surprise, you connect, giving the little guy quite the whack on the head during your spastic onslaught.
>You inspect your now fallen foe, still breathing, but unconscious.
>From the attic's entrance, you hear,
>"I got the peanut butter!"
"Oh, that won't be needed, I stunned the guy. It's a rat."
>You quickly scoop the guy up and into the box you'd planned to trap him in, closing it to prevent his escape.
>Out of the semi darkness, 1 approaches, giving the box a revolting look and still holding a jar of peanut butter.
>"Well... What do we do with him now? Guess our vent duty became pest control. I don't want to just dump him outside, because he'll just come back into the house. Maybe give him to one of the guards?"
"Yeah, let's pass him off to the stallions and let them deal with it."
>It's a short journey down the gravel path to the gates, carrying your prize.
>About halfway through, it starts scrabbling around inside, which is quite distracting, having to balance the box while he throws himself about.
"Well boys, I've got a little present for you..."
>You say, dropping the box in front of you with a small thud.
>One of the pair kneels down to look at it peering through the top.
>A small claw reaches towards him through the opening, sending the stallion flat on his ass and electing some furious giggles from his partner.
>Stammering, the embaressed stallion gives the box a small nudge and in forms you that
>"W-We'll take care of the feisty little guy for you mares, u-unless there's something specific you wanted for him."
>Thinking to yourself that the flustered stallion was a little cute, you decide to give him a little ego boost, and in your best flirty voice stammer out,
"So, i-if you strong pair of stallions could take care of him for us, it'd be wonderful..."
>Both give an amused nod, seeming to have not noticed the implication you tried to make as they take the box, but as you return to the house, it becomes apparent 1 did.
>Out of earshot of the two, she gives you a small nudge and a wink.
>"So you wouldn't go for Hoedown, but you'd go for those two? It's a better judgement than I've seen a lot of temps make. Just be careful sweetie, alright?"
"W-Well, it wasn't in that way..."
"Just being friendly."
>1 gives you a bit of a raised eyebrow before nodding.
>"Alright, I believe you... Though not about your marefriend."
>She snickers before crossing the threshold of the house, then stops inside.
>"Time does tick on... I guess I'll get ready to go watch some rowdy pre-teens, and unless you want something else to do I suggest you get an early night. You'll need it tomorrow if Silk follows her usual party routine..."
"We're not going to fix the hole in the ventilaton?"
>1 gives you an incredulous look.
>"Oh, no way! I don't have the tools to do so, and even if I did, we'd end up doing a shoddy job anyway. I'll go tell the family about it, and from there they can go get a mechanic, or whatever you call somepony who works on ventilation."
"Oh... Well, in that case, do you need help watching the kids?"
>"Well, I guess I'd appriciate the help, but I think I've got it. Of course, I won't force you not to help out, but I do think I can handle it. Feel free to roam around the house and see if the family needs anything, maybe tell Silk about that hole for me. Hm?"
"Walking and talking, sounds like a plan to me."
>"Alright! I'll be in Loophole's room, well, unless the group decides to go out tonight."
>1 says before shoving off, leaving you alone in the entryhall.
>While telling Silk about the hole in the ventilation seems to be your primary objective as a maid for the moment, you'd also like to accomplish your job as an inside agent, though it's proving more difficult than you originally thought.
>You take a route through the halls and stop outside the study, simultaneously looking for Silk and to see if the study happens to be empty.
>For the moment it is, but the inbox has signifigantly less papers then you had seen before, and the outbox more.
>The trash has also been refilled, irking you a little.
>On the opposite of you, the door to the master bedroom is now closed, where previously it had been left open.
>3 is hanging around the guest rooms for some reason, and gives you a small wave as she enters one.
>Again, you empty the trash, looking for anything of note.
>Sadly, there's nothing one could call evidence, so you instead turn your focus to the bedroom door, giving it a polite knock.
>You hear voices from inside, and after a moment the door cracks open.
>Silk now peers through the opening at you, whispering.
>"Oh! Hello 4, Open's in a call right now... Do you need something?"
Hello, we just wanted to tell you that we found a problem with the vents. A rat chewed a hole right through it.
We got the rat out and the guards dealt with it, but we can't fix the vents ourselves.
"I just wanted to inform you that there's a problem with one of your heating vents, specifically a scratch in it. There was a pretty big rat running about in your attic, and I guess he decided to gnaw at the ventilation a little. We got the rat ourselves but the hole remains, and I just wanted to let you know so you could get it fixed."
>Silk gives a rather surprised nod, before responding with a
>"Thank you 4, I'll see to it that the problem is fixed as soon as I can, and as soon as I can get that phone out of my husband's hooves... Now, was there anything else?"
More of a living room, but has a few bookshelves.
>You decide to head out past the guest rooms and into the living room.
>Upon your entrance, you instantly realize you've made a mistake, as you find Hoedown sitting on one of the couches in the center, reading a newspaper.
>He raises an eyebrow at your arrival, but does nothing else for the moment.
>You continue past him, counting each of the bookshelves in the room as you pass.
>Thankfully, you count eight as you pass through the room, and something you're even more thankful for, Hoedown's decision to refrain from conversation.
>Well, maybe the two are on par in terms of how greatful you are.
>You're not entirely sure which would have been worse.
>Now out in the entryhall, you spy 1 having some trouble with Loophole, her along with another filly and three colts.
>At the moment, Loophole's friends appear to have just arrived, as the five are now walking in through the door, accompanied by 1.
>Clearly the kids aren't pleased with 1's watchful eye, but for the moment are humoring her, laughing and chatting.
>After some quick mental gymnastics to justify that adding yourself to the group wouldn't break a perfect even number, you trot over to 1 and whisper to her
"So, having fun?"
>She rolls her eyes and motions to the quintet,
>"A genuine blast... The group you see before you consists of Loopie's best friend Gemini and three colts I've never seen before in my life. Probably school friends."
>With your advent to the group, the five grow considerably more antsy, looking back every so often as they walk, and lowering their conversation to hushed whispering as they travel towards Loophole's room.
>"Don't seem to like us much, do they... How do you say we keep an eye on them without being too intrusive."
Loophole was the one with the condoms, right?
I dunno, just make sure they keep the lights on, I guess? I thought high schoolers were mature enough to not really need much supervision.
>As the group leads you to Loophole's room, you throw out some ideas for 1, such as
"Well, I could whip up some snacks if they need it."
>"Good, good... And in terms of acual supervision?"
"Eh, from what I can tell they're a bunch of horny teenagers, there's not much we can do to stop them from being what they are. And believe me, I have a pretty hard time discerning these sorts of situations, if I can notice it, it's pretty obvious... Best thing we can do is drop hints about 'staying safe,' and hope it's enough to put them off."
>1 chortles a little at the idea
>"Oh that's rich..."
>Now arriving at the door to Loop's room, the small entourage stops, and Loophole herself approaches the two of you.
>"U-Uh, 1? 4? Y-You two don't need to follow us in. We're gonna be working on a school project, and it needs to stay a secret... C-Could you keep it a secret for us?"
>The hot pink unicorn gives the two of you a wide smile, and a pair of puppy dog eyes along with it, to which 1 gives you an amused sideways glance.
"Of course, just make sure to stay safe in there."
>You deadpan with slight emphasis on 'safe,' whilst simultaneously giving the filly a completely serious look.
>Her eyes widen a little, and her cheeks flush a bright red, before she stammers back.
>"D-Don't you worry, we'll be perfectly fine 4. I-I swear."
>After this, she takes a second to inspect your features, searching for any monikers of insincerity you might reveal, none of which you let slip.
>Her cheeks billow along with the redness, and after a short moment of hyperventilating, promptly walks back to her friends, stifling embaressment as best she can.
>As soon as the group enters Loop's room, 1 breaks into a fit of silent laughter, almost on the floor from stifling her giggles.
>Giving 1 a smirk, you chide her with,
"Oh, stop being so immature. You were that age once too..."
>The statement seems to pull 1 back to reality and out of her laughter, at which point she quickly composes herself.
"Now, how long should we let them go on before we bring in snacks?"
>1 taps her chin.
>"Well, if we're being serious about this, either quickly, before anything happens, or after a while, to let them finish up whatever they've been planning. Now, if we were planning something a little more disruptive..."
>She says with a giggle,
>"Well, maybe around fifteen to thirty minutes. What're you thinking?"
Playing IC won't get you punished, unless it's something absolutely, outrageously stupid.
The only thing you missed out on in the living room is getting hit on.
My current idea of Sharp and lewd situations is that she has a hard time deing with ones that have her as a centerpiece, but is a little better at recognizing them when other ponies are the subject. Still not as quick on the draw about it as most would be, but knows enough to keep her afloat.
Her level of actual sexual knowledge is all up to you as a collective.
Of course, if I'm not playing the PC correctly, by all means say so, it's your quest to explore, not mine.
"Eh, I'd rather not interrupt. We can check on them later."
>1 seems slightly disappointed by your decision, but nods in agreement.
>"Alright, you got it. Guess we can rest for the time being, seeing as we won't need to keep too close an eye on them."
>She then heads off down the hall, looking over her shoulder to see if you follow.
>The two of you head back to the maid's quarters, where 2 and 3 appear to already have settled in, either on break or in for the night.
>In 2's case, most likely the night, as her eyes are closed, and her blanket up to her chin.
>3 however remains awake, but appears to have nothing keeping her occupied save her thoughts, her vision staring off far beyond the room itself.
>1 hops straight into bed and snuggles up, though props herself up with a pillow and gives 3 an odd look.
>You decide to check out the book Cold gave you, now seeming better than never.
It's a nice play. Check it out if you like.
>After reading through a few scenes you set the book down, unsure if you want to continue with your read or poke around the house.
>3 has stopped staring into space during the time you read, and 1 seems like she may have accidentally passed out.
The tempest is a really interesting look an colonialism through European eyes. The "master" european is near god like in power and majesty, but you also have the "pretender" European, who is little more than mocked and used by the natives. It's more nuanced than you might think.
Now, it's probably be because I was pretty sheltered and I'm still a kissless virgin but can we just stop to take a moment to consider the absolute orgy that is/was/going to be going on in that room? I mean, two mares and three stallions?
I was not expecting to run for another week, but seeing as the thread's still up I may as well post a bit.
>Feeling you've waited long enough for the kids, you head to the kitchen and whip up a small plate of cheese and crackers.
>Nopony hates cheese and crackers, at least as far as you know.
>You then spend a painstaking amount of time organizing it, making sure there's an even amount of both cheese slices and crakers, matching in number, before arranging them in a spiral pattern towards the center of the plate in alternating fashion.
>Once your masterpiece is complete, you balance the plate on your back and head to Loophole's room, where you gingerly push the door open to discover the two of the boys and Gemini sitting in a half circle, a bottle laid sideways in the middle of their proceedings.
>Loophole and one of the colts are gone, and the three remaining children are for the moment chatting idly, at least until they notice your entrance, where the three then clam up and reach for the bottle, the filly hurriedly hiding it behind her back.
"Oh, don't mind me, just dropping off snacks."
>You say nonchalantly, placing the snacks down in front of them before giving the three a smile.
>You reccomend for a second time, before trotting back out into the house's main hall, at the moment void of any duties and free to roam.
>With your free time you decide to go check out the ballroom.
>You enter through the hallway, looking out through large glass windows that overlook the grounds and the city beyond.
>The ceiling is high and arched, leading into a quartet of chandeliers that sparkle with light from the night sky, at the moment unlit.
>Inside the room is a set of circular tables arranged on the left of the room, the dining area occupying approximately half the room itself.
>Not every table is out yet, evidenced by a good deal of empty space on the eatery half.
>None of these tables have cloths atop them either, leaving their soft, un-etched wood bare to the evening sky.
>The opposite half of the room is taken by a rectangular dance floor, running up and along the wide windows next to them, which you imagine makes for quite the spectacle while in flight.
Yeah, I'm not feeling too hot on trying to search the study while the house is full, even if everyone's awake. Maybe we can take a look in the attic instead. Just a quick look around to see if anything's been moved recently.
>You decide to head back to your own room, a bit lost on what exactly to do at the moment.
>In the maid's quarters everyone seems to have drifted off, or is in the process of doing so.
>You decide to join them in bed for a little, settling in and cozying up, also grabbing your copy of The Tempest for a possible nighttime read.
>You're unsure if you should join the now sleeping mares or stay awake, perhaps doing some reading before heading out for some nighttime snooping.
Pausing here for the week. Cheers.