Let's play a game, /mlp/! Now with 8,000,000% nonexistent horse PMS!
If you don't know what's happening, catch up here: http://anonpone.pineapplecomputing.com/tragic/
When last we left off, Holiday Special had happened across the path of a friendly yet confused bluebird. Through this feathered friend, Holiday Special not only got back a local colt's toy boat-turned-nest, but she also managed to sucker-I mean convince the meek yellow pegasus at the edge of town to order 8 birdhouses from Holiday's workshop: Barely an afternoon's work for a mare as talented with wood as Holiday Special. But on the way home, Holiday Special came across a most unusual sight: a hopo (hobo pone) rooting through her trash. But unlike most of the hobos she's kicked the rumps of in the past, this one was barely a teenager! Holiday Special couldn't simply leave the poor colt to freeze outside - she had to take him in!
And give him a bath.
And fix him a snack.
And give him a job.
What sort of job, he wondered?
Well, in order to answer THAT, Holiday Special would have to show him her workshop downstairs!
Inventory: 1 apple, 1 toy boat
This is where your quest continues.
>"I haven't decided who the toy train is for yet. I just felt like making it."
"Oh... That's cool."
Holiday Special gives the colt a look.
>"You're... not really the assertive type, huh?"
Gutter Pup shakes his head, sending his now-poofy hair shaking from side to side like a giant maraca. "Not... really, no..."
Holiday Special rubs her brow with her hoof.
>"Right... Okay, look, kiddo. If you're going to work for me, we're going to have to work on getting you some backbone."
Gutter Pup tilts his head. "So... Does my job involve graverobbing...?"
>"What? No! Not a LITERAL backbone!"
"O-oh..." He glances down at the floor sadly.
Holiday Special sighs.
>"I mean, you need to be able to say no to ponies. They'll try and give you the wrong things, or try to haggle prices with you. A lot of them might even mess with you just because you're working for ME."
"...Why would they do that...?" Gutter Pup asks, looking back up at his benefactor. "Do ponies not like you?"
>"I... Well... Don't worry about that. It's not important. What IS important is toughening you up."
"Oh, okay. ...Um, how are we going to do that...?" Gutter Pup rubs one hoof against his arm. "I'm... not really the tough type..."
>"That's alright. The first step to being tough is to LOOK tough! So, show me your war face!"
Gutter Pup blinks. "War face...?"
>"Yeah, you know, make yourself look scary! Viscious!! Ready to beat in the face of the next faggot that even LOOKS AT YOU CROSS-EYED!!! That's a war face, now let me see it!!"
Gutter Pup looks up at Holiday Special and gives her his most intimidating stare.
>"...Not bad! You get an A for effort."
>"Maybe a more direct approach will work better. Let's try an exercise."
Holiday Special reaches into her pocket (Don't. Ask.) and pulls out ten bits, then she trots over to Gutter Pup and deposits them in his hoof.
"Oh, I can't take this...!" he begins to protest.
>"Good,'cuz you're not taking them."
He blinks, confused.
>"We're going to have you work on saying "No.," got it?"
Gutter Pup looks at the bits, then up at Holiday. "...N-no...?"
>"I didn't mean to say "No" to that...! Look, those bits are yours for one hour. You hold on to them for an hour, no matter what, understand?"
>"Alright, good. Remember, keep them for an HOUR. Not a minute less, okay?"
Gutter Pup answers a bit more decisively this time: "Yes."
>"Alright. In the meantime, I'm going to get back to work."
Holiday Special starts gluing and sanding more wood together for one of the birdhouses Fritter Pie ordered. Not less than ten minutes later, she stops and turns her attention back to Gutter Pup.
>"You still got those bits?"
He nods excitedly. "Uh-huh."
Holiday Special smiles.
>"Great. Now give 'em back."
Gutter Pup happily trots over and drops them on the workbench. "Here you go."
Gutter Pup freezes up.
>"You were supposed to hold the bits for an HOUR, remember? Why did you give them back?"
Gutter Pup begins to shiver. "B-because you asked me to..."
>"I SAID to hold them for an hour, no matter what."
"But then you asked for them back...! I thought you changed your mind and didn't want me touching your money...!"
>"No, I was trying to convince you to say 'No.'. I gave you the bits, asked you to hold them for an hour, and then asked for them back before the hour passed. So, you were supposed to say 'No.' to me. Understand?"
Gutter Pup looks blankly at Holiday Special.
>'...Did I just blow his mind?'
Holiday Special scoops up the ten bits and levitates them back over to Gutter Pup.
>"Here, try it again."
>"Now give them back."
His muzzle scrunches with an intensity never before seen in scrunch history.
He starts to shake again. Sweat runs down his face.
>"Come on, kiddo, you can do it."
Gutter Pup is now shaking like Michael Hay Fox in a massage chair during an earthquake.
>"Say it with me! Nnnnnooooo. En. Oh. 'No.'"
Gutter Pup's face is pale. His eyes are darting from side to side. He squeezes his eyes shut and musters up all the energy he can manage, inhaling deeply before finally fulfilling Holiday Special's request, in the mightiest and most monstrous voice he can manage:
>"There we go! Good-"
And then, he faints on the spot.
>"Eh, it's a step in the right direction."
Holiday Special trots over to the fallen colt (Are teenagers colts or stallions?) and kneels down beside him.
Then, she takes her bits back.
But THEN, she gathers up some scrap wood and waves it in front of Gutter Pup's muzzle.
>"Come on, champ. Wake up. You can't sleep at the bottom of the stairs - it's a safety hazard."
Gutter Pup's eyelids twitch... "Nnnnh... What happened...? Did I pass out from hypothermia again...? Sorry if I did..."
>"You just strained yourself. Don't worry, you'll be fine. Let's get you upstairs. It's past your bedtime anyway."
"I have a bedtime...?"
>"You do now. Let's go."
"Yay...! ...I mean, aww..."
guys, we may be playing with forces beyond our abilities here
being a worthless pushover is LITERALLY this kid's special talent, the thing that makes him unique and special
can we really change this without fucking him up big time?
remember what happened to pinkie when she doubted her special talent? do we want this kid to lose all his marbles and run out into the everfree to let wolves eat him?
i took the beat up welcome mat to mean that no matter what he goes through he'll always be nice.
we just need to convince him that he's more useful then he thinks he is and that he can do more to help ponies if he took better care of himself.
Maybe he's been viewing his cutie mark incorrectly then.
We should try to convince him that his life purpose isn't being walked all over constantly.
In the morning though, after he's slept in a warm house.
Give him the sofa, he'll be over the moon with gratitude no matter where we put him to bed, so we might as well get a good night's sleep too.
I think holiday is coming on a bit strong here. It feels a little out of character for her , i know she likes kids but maybe make gp approach her for cuddles instead. Could tie in with the whole assertivenes thing
Still carrying the vagrant pony over her shoulder like a sack of presents, Holiday Special makes her way upstairs. She carries Gutter Pup into the living room and, after a moment of debate with herself on where he should sleep, gingerly sets him on the sofa.
>"You'll sleep here. Is that... I mean, that's a good enough place to sleep. ...Right?"
Gutter Pup looks around at the couch before tentatively running his hoof over the cushion. "This is great...! It's so soft, and much less cold than a trash can... I don't know if I can accept this. I'm fine sleeping outside..."
>"No you aren't. You just had a bath. You'd get dirty again sleeping outside. Now stay here; I'll be right back."
"Okay, if you insist..."
Holiday Special trots upstairs in search of some bedding. She doesn't have any spare pillows or blankets, but she does have a plush Hearth's Warming sweater in her dresser. That's like an unfolded pillow, right? She also finds a spare bedsheet in her closet: an unfolded blanket!
Holiday Special heads back downstairs. Gutter Pup hasn't budged from where she set him down. A bit odd, she thinks as she folds the sweater into a plush square, but at least he'll be quiet. She sets the makeshift pillow on the end of the sofa beside Gutter Pup.
>"Now, lay your head on that."
"Alright..." He does as she tells him.
>"Raise your hooves up."
Again, he does so, allowing Holiday to drape her sheet over him.
>"...That's too thin. Hold on."
Holiday Special folds the sheet in half. THEN she drapes it over him, tucking him in nice and snug, like a bug in a rug. A bug-sized rug, even.
>"...You can put your hooves down now.
Once more, Gutter Pup does as he's told, grabbing the ends of the sheet with his hooves (however THAT works...).
>"There! How's that feel?"
Gutter Pup's eyes glance around, and his nervous expression gives way to a grateful smile. "It feels really nice... Thanks a lot for being so hospitable, Miss."
>"Don't worry about it. See you in the morning, kiddo."
"Good night, Miss."
Holiday Special glances up at the clock.
>'It's almost midnight... I should get to bed, too.'
Yawning, Holiday Special trots upstairs.
>'It's going to be a busy day tomorrow.'
Too tired to even frig herself again, Holiday Special simply crawls into bed and pulls the blanket over herself. Before long, her eyelids begin to feel heavy, and what few higher functions of her brain that she uses flick off one by one...
An androgynous voice whispers from the darkness: "I SAID, you can do better than that. You're not hard of hearing, are you? It's rude to ignore ponies when they're talking to you."
>"What the fuck...?!"
Holiday Special snaps awake and jumps out of bed, ready to beat the shit out of any potential home invaders.
...Holiday Special doesn't see anypony. But how can that be?
Still scanning the dim room for movement, Holiday Special backs up, feeling around for the dreamcatcher above her bed.
"You're getting colder."
Holiday Special's hoof brushes against what feels like sticks. She quickly turns and illuminates the woody round thingamajig with her magic.
Her dreamcatcher is intact, and right where she left it.
"You have a bad temper, did you know that?"
Holiday Special whirls back around, glaring daggers in the direction of the voice.
>"Shut up and get out of my house before I hunt your invisible ass down and shove twenty pounds of coal in it!"
"I don't wanna."
Holiday scrunches with the force of a thousand scrunches.
>"Who the fuck are you? A demon?"
"I take offense to that."
"I REALLY take offense to that!"
"That would probably cool your head a few degrees, but I don't want to catch anything, so I'm gonna have to decline. Sorry, Holly."
>"Why are you here?!"
The voice chortles.
"Well, for starters, you invited me in! Is that a good reason?"
Hey screw you spirit, my vag is super clean!
It's that Rarity whore you have to worry about...and maybe fluttershy, it's always the quiet ones.
Now how exactly were you invited into my house again and what do you want?
>"I didn't invite any pony except-..."
>"...Who are you? Are you that kid's douchebag alter ego or something?"
Holiday Special harrumph's.
>"Figures. I do one nice thing and get instantly repaid in faggotry."
"Yeah, ain't that always how it works? The road to Hell is paved with good intentions and all that, right? Maybe you should go back to being a frigid bitch instead. That was working out great for ya, right? Alienating yourself from friends and family, getting threats from Princesses, losing your citizenship... You really know how to get ahead in life, dontcha?"
>"Shut the fuck up. What do you want?"
>"What do you mean you 'don't know?!'"
"I'm taking a break from work. Got bored, so I stopped by to see how you were doing."
...Wait if this was the kid's alter ego how would he know about any of that. It should only know what the kid knows which is none of that shit.
Ok what really are you? Is this discord fuckin with us? It's discord ain't it?
I have no problem with you raising hell. In fact it was pretty cool.
But you leave the kid out of this.
>"I'm trying to fucking SLEEP!! That's how I'm doing!"
"You mean like those poor ponies you woke up with your 'wonderful' singing voice yesterday?"
"You know what you and karma have in common? You're both bitches."
"Aw, come on, that one was clever!"
>"No it wasn't. How do you even know all that shit about me anyway? The kid doesn't know any of that!"
"Oh, yeah, the kid who was rooting through your garbage wouldn't know anything about that letter to Celestia that you left on your front lawn, right?"
Holiday Special inhales deeply, then snorts out a small puff of steam. Her eyes dart about the room, intent on finding the source of the voice, and then mutilating it. That's when she notices a small amount of movement behind the curtains.
Holiday Special stealthily trots over to the window, her hoofsteps slow and deliberate. Her horn glows softly, as do the edges of the curtains, miliseconds before they're flung open.
>"YOU ARE FUCKED NOW!!"
...There's nopony there. The curtains were flapping in the light breeze blowing through the window, which had been left open a few inches.
"Hahaha! Very good guess. You're getting warmer now!"
Holiday Special growls, her already-short patience well and truly at an end.
>"Keep talking fucker..."
Holiday Special canters towards the door, quietly yet swiftly making her way downstairs and to the couch.
Gutter Pup is still bundled up under the spare bedsheet. Considering that his eyes are closed and his chest is slowly rising and falling, it's probably safe to assume that he's asleep.
I'm glad gutter bug is safe.
Ask what this stupid thing's job even is, try looking in the basement to make sure it didn't harm the toys, and ask exactly what it thinks it is that we could do better at again?
I'm rather confused. Dos it think we're trying to repent for our sins or something because it's really mistaken.
Holiday Special takes a deep breath.
About twenty minutes later, she finally feels calm enough to apply rational though once more. She turns and trots back upstairs, closing her door behind her. She closes her window as well, just to be safe.
She climbs back into bed.
She pulls her blanket back over herself and lays her face down on her pillow.
Then, she screams.
She screams into her pillow for a solid thirty seconds, only stopping when she needs to take another breath and is beginning to feel dizzy. That's probably a health hazard, but on the plus side, her lightheadedness should at least help her get back to sleep. As her cognition fades and sleep returns once more, a single thought lingers on her lips.
The following morning, Holiday Special's dreams of... whatever Holiday Specials dream about are interrupted once again, this time not by knocking, but by a more olfactory intruder.
The sleepy unicorn's eyes are barely half-open, but her snuffling snootle is wide awake.
-Burning fat detected.
-Caramelized sugar detected.
-Scorched carbon detected.
-Food probability: 86%
With a groan, Holiday Special pushes herself out of bed, hitting the floor with a thud. Not that she notices - the allure of potential food - with a higher chance of edibility than she usually produces herself, no less! - has blocked her mental faculties, guiding her to the kitchen like a cartoon character... Oh wait.
In the kitchen is Gutter Pup, standing over the stove with a spatula in his mouth.
>"What's going on in here...?"
"Ngh..." Gutter Pup looks over and waves , smiling around the spatula before letting it drop on the counter. "Breakfast...! I wanted to thank you for being so nice to me, so I made you something to eat."
Holiday Special pauses. While even she can appreciate the colt's gesture, she also didn't give Gutter Pup permission to use her stove... Hell, she didn't even know he COULD use a stove.
How should she respond...?
Holiday Special is a grumpy pone when she first wakes up.
But the smell of whatever the kid's cooking is rapidly winning her over.
>"That smells really good. What is it?"
The colt grins widely at Holiday Special's compliment. "I made you some pancakes and coffee."
Holiday Special trots over to the counter. The pancakes are a touch overcooked, but not burnt. And the coffee looks and smells just like when she makes it herself.
>"Huh. How did a kid like you learn to cook?"
"I read the instructions on the coffee and the pancake mix."
Holiday Special just stares at his dopey smiling face in response.
>'Ask a stupid question...'
Gutter Pup pours the coffee into a mug and nudges it across the counter to Holiday. "Here. I don't know how you like it... Why don't you drink that and I'll bring the pancakes over when they're ready?"
Holiday Special sits down at the table with her back to Gutter Pup. When she's positive he can't see around her, Holiday Special takes out a small flask and pours it into the coffee until the cup is full to the brim. Replacing the flask as covertly as she can, Holiday swirls the cup and takes a sip.
>'Oooh, that's good coffee.'
Behind her, Gutter Pup plates up a small stack of pancakes and brings them to the table. "Here you go." he says. "I didn't know how you like those either, so I brought everything." He gestures to the condiments spread out next to her plate: a jar of jelly, a bottle of syrup, a half a stick of butter, and - oddly - the salt and pepper shakers.
>"...What are the salt and pepper for?"
"There was one mare in the orphanage who only put butter and salt and pepper on her pancakes." Gutter Pup answers as he trots around the table. "I don't know how many ponies do that, so I was just being on the safe side."
Gutter Pup trots to the other side of the table and watches Holiday Special intently. He doesn't have a plate or a drink of his own.
Holiday Special cuts out a piece of pancake and sticks it in her mouth.
It's crispy on the edges and light and fluffy inside.
"Do you like it...?" Gutter Pup asks, leaning forward expectantly.
>"Yeah, these are good!"
She grabs the bottle of syrup and pours it on the pancakes before digging in to them. Gutter Pup grins widely and claps his front hooves together twice. "That's great to hear...! I'm so glad."
>"They're really good. Eat some!"
"Noooo, I made them for you..."
Holiday Special glares at him.
"...O-okay, I guess I can have two meals today..." Gutter Pup meekly answers as he fixes himself a plate with the last two pancakes on it. It appears he likes his with jelly. Weird kid.
>"Well, it looks like we found you a job."
Gutter Pup looks up, confused. "Job?"
>"You heard me. You're doing the cooking from now on. You're better at it than I am, anyway."
Gutter Pup blushes and smiles, his left ear flopping over. "I am...? W-well, then, I promise I won't disappoint you, Miss."
>"You better not. By the way, did you hear any weird voices last night?"
Gutter Pup shakes his head. "The only voices I heard were mine and yours."
Gutter Pup's chewing slows down. "Why, did you have a bad dream...?"