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PrinceBlueblood

Berry Punch and the Quest for the Crystal Goblets! (OPEN)

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Hope and optimism spring ever eternal in the minds of ponies.  At least, that was what must have been so for a mare to run, for years, a wine and grape punch shop smack dab in the middle of cider country.  Not that Berry Punch resented the Apple family at all!  It was just that she thought there was room enough for all fruits in this town.  Enough of her fellow citizens seemed to agree to keep her shop afloat, but not quite enough to make it a success.  "Success" being defined as enough to give her little filly the life her mother felt she deserved.

 

Dreams of little Ruby Pinch being Equestria's fifth Princess aside, Berry really did need help to move stock this year.  And wouldn't you know it, but a new mare from the Crystal Empire came to town, one skilled in making crafts from crystals!  Just the sort of thing needed to showcase her wonderful beverages.  It being a slow day at her own shop, Berry felt no shame in shuttering early, and trotting down to the new mare's house, rapping on the door with great expectations...

Edited by PrinceBlueblood
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                      Not too long ago Opal moved to Ponyville and opened her crystal crafts shop, "Transparent Treasures." Moving was definitely a journey in itself. Leaving family and friends was not fun, nor was the fact that she was moving her entire business. There was so much at risk for breakage of her artwork. Thankfully only one item broke, and able to be remade into something else. The first floor of the home she bought she had turned into her shop, and the second she used as her living quarters. She loved to keep things nice and tidy, and something out of place bothered her minor OCD.
                            One thing she was looking forward to was making new friends. Sadly, she hadn't as of yet, but was eager and hopeful to make some. News of the unicorn's shop was spreading and has already had a few sales. Hopefully somepony will come into the shop and become her friend. 
                            Opal was studying her spell book at the counter when someone knocked on the door, reminding her she needs to plan a remodel as to make the first floor not look so home like from the outside. She also needed to create a new "open/closed sign" . "Come in!"  She called to the pony on the other side of the door, putting away her book and trotting to the door. 

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Ponyville was the sort of small town where nopony locked their doors.  Sure, one had to deal with the occasional marauding monster, but that was the sort that broke through your walls rather than picked your locks!  So, Berry was easily able to let herself in, greeting the Crystalline mare with a smile.  "Hey, Neighbor!"  The Burgundy Earth mare extended a forehoof for a greeting hug, a little hooves-on, but normal for the mare herself.  "I'm Berry Punch!  Live and work up the street, little wine-and-juice shop on the lane.  Just wanted to come by and say hello!  Heh, probably didn't beat Pinkie Pie here, though!"

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Oh she remembers that day. Miss. Pie came in the shop with a party hat and noise makers... and confetti... lots of confetti. Opal had been somewhat afraid that she might knock over one of her crystal pieces. Pinkie was very friendly and energetic, a enthusiastic welcome that brightened Opal's day. Not to mention she gifted Opal a fresh baked tray of cupcakes, they were very, very yummy. The bright pink, smiling pony was talking very fast, but wanted to schedule a welcoming party soon enough. We didn't have welcoming parties, at least in our area of the Crystal Empire. It was a welcome change. 
"Haha, yes, she came by with a tray-full of cupcakes the other day. She is a bright pink ray of sunshine. Hahaha. It is nice to meet you, Berry Punch, I'm Opal Frost. Perhaps some time I will stop by your shop. What can I do for you today?"

Opal smiles, but her face quickly notices a figurine out of place. She swiftly uses magic to adjust it, then smiles awkwardly.

 

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Berry Punch giggled.  "Ooh, I can just imagine her enthusiasm!  Of course, being an element of harmony and one of Twilight's Council members must be keeping her busy; nice to know she still takes time to give that personal touch!"  Although, given the nervousness with which Opal greeted one of her crystal pieces being out of place, Berry couldn't help but think that a hyperactive party pony must have caused some anxiety for the newcomer!  Oh dear, that meant she probably wasn't quite ready to deal with the heights of craziness this town could deal out...

 

Well, best she have a friend when the time came.  And a business partner!  "Well, I heard that you were in the business of crystal-crafting, and I was wondering if you would like to display some of your wares in my shop!  Wine tastes best in a proper glass you know, and having some crystal stemware to show besides the bottles would, I think, help both of our sales!"

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"Oh, yes I agree, that is a splendid idea!" Opal motions to Berry and starts to walk through the glistening shop. This is definitely an excellent idea, especially since Opal is very new to the neighborhood.  "I have a multitude of mugs, cups, glasses, and stemware. I also have small pastry displays and bread baskets. If nothing is to your fancy, I can make a custom item, or items, for you, provided a sketch of what you wish for it to look like." 
Opal levitates a notepad and pencil from behind the counter to her so she can write down what Berry would like to have. Boxing items, and the correct items at that, is very important so they have a lesser chance of at least chipping in transit, let alone shattering. 

 

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Berry swished her tail, both in anticipation, and in thought, as she followed the other mare to inspect her stock.  Rubbing her chin, she looked over the cups and mugs.  "My personal preference is for clear stemware, with a smooth rather than a faceted bowl.  Otherwise, it's hard to judge the color and quality of the wine once you pour it in.  We want our products to enhance each other, not cancel each other out!"  She smiled, before sighing a bit.  "But... that may not quite be what our customers want.  If they come to my shop, it's usually because they want to feel fancy without paying Fancy prices!  So, any stemware that looks fancy will probably do.  Any favorite styles of yours I should know about?"

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Opal slowly looked over her current displayed stemware styles. In the Crystal Empire, ponies enjoyed having decorative etching and faceted designs, both frosted and  non-frosted. She knows she has some plain glasses in storage. She had enough stock already made from the move that she did not have to make more yet. 
"Please wait here, Berry, I will go look to see what I can do for you." Opal said to Berry with a small smile.
In her attic now, she had boxes of crystal and glass, not yet made into anything, also personal belongings of course. After several minutes of searching, she finds the small box of nine blank stemware wine glasses. "Ah here we are." Using her magic, she levitates one of them into the light from a nearby window. Thinking of what design could belong in a wine and grape juice shop, Opal sets the glass down on a box and adds some frosted vine designs into the crystal. The vines would be small and spread out enough to still easily see the beverage within. 
Happily, Opal brings the one glass back down to the shop with her and sets in on an empty stand. 
"I found some blank glasses in the attic. If you like the design, I can make them all into the same style and could have them ready for you in one to two days, depending on how many you need."

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"Oh!"  Berry's eyes shone at the final product, getting up from her seat to take a closer look at the crystal glass and it's design.  "May I?"  She asked, before taking the goblet into her own hooves.  Her grip is more gentle and precise than that of an average earth pony, mostly due to her having handled glassware all her professional life.  Holding it up to the light, twirling it between her frogs, she tested the balance and light refraction, before setting it back down with a smile. "It's perfect!  I'll take two dozen of this design, at least to start.  Two to display, and the rest to sell.  I'm not sure how much demand this town will support, but I'm sure I won't have to hold on to them for too long!"

 

Though her business was concluded, the burgundy mare was in no hurry to leave.  After all, neither of them had any customers to deal with, and she wouldn't have to leave until Pinchy came home from school.  Time enough to socialize and chat!  "So, how do you like your new home?  I'll bet seeing Princess Twilight's new castle really brought back memories, huh?  Seems hard to imagine now that she was just Twilight Sparkle, town librarian a few years ago.  Well, that and a national hero!"  She giggled, but could not sustain her laughter for long, deflating into a sigh.  "Changes like that make me feel old, gotta say.  I don't look it, do I?"

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Opal smiled, glad Berry seemed to love the design of the glass. She writes down the order on her notepad.

"I only have that one and eight blanks at the moment, it will take me about five days, give or take a day or two for unforeseen circumstances, to make two dozen total.  Haha I'm so glad you like it. I am not sure what ponys' styles are like in Ponyville, this will definitely be a learning experience. I think Ponyville will be a very nice change of pace. I do like it here, i just have things to unpack still, and actually make it feel like home. Ya know? And yes seeing her tree castle was quite a sight. She and her friends helped to free the Crystal Empire, more than once, for which all Crystal Ponies are very grateful for. Hahaha, of course you don't look old, but yes, it does seem like a while ago now." 
 

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Berry did perk up at the compliment, sharing in the vanities common to all mares.  "Aw, thanks sugar crystal!  Would be depressing to think I was losing it already."  She even ventured a wink that verged on brazen.  Most of the town were used to her ways, and knew not to take them too seriously, though.  She kind of did want to see how the newcomer would react, get a read on her character and all that.

 

"I see you haven't got much in the way of local connections, then.  Sometime I ought to take you around and make a few introductions; it's the ponies here that really make the town worth living in, occasional disaster an all!"

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Opal slightly tilted her head at the wink, not sure what to think about it, then regained her posture.  "No problem," she said in reply. 
"Uh yes, that sounds fun, I would like to meet someponies before Ms. Pie throws me that party she talked about. And yes, that is what I have heard. Its why I choose to move to Ponyville." Opal said the last part cheerfully. She hoped that this was the right decision and that she would enjoy the generally more down-to-earth paced life here. 

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Hm, head tilt in confusion.  That told Berry that Opal had little, if any, experience with flirtation or any other kind of teasing.  And probably wasn't looking for anything of the kind either.  That was fine, the burgundy mare just had to remember to tone it down around her a little, that's all.  "Well!  Did you have any plans today?  Because I didn't, and there's no time like the present, as our resident doctor likes to say!"

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Opal thinks for a moment. "That would be nice! A tour around town would be fun and helpful, please and thank you, Berry."

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"Alright then!"  Berry beamed, standing back up and heading towards the door.  "We'll just take a quick walk back to my shop, just to make sure I haven't left a customer disappointed, then we'll just go out on the town, see who we run into!"  Opening the door for her new friend, the earth pony mare quietly cheered herself on.  Why be satisfied with a slow shop day, when you can make a new friend instead?  The resident Princess was certainly right in her priorities, as far as Berry was concerned.

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Opal gave Berry a small nod as a thank you for opening the door for her. Her wine and juice shop was quite lovely, and the delicious fragrance from the beverages was in the air. She waits on the customer side of the counter for Berry to direct her where she'd like her to sit. Opal is a quiet and simple pony, she's a better listener and thinker, rather than talker.

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There doesn't seem to be anyone in the shop right now; hopefully none were here and left while Berry was gone.  "Well, here's the place."  It was internally furnished with much in the way of stained wood shelves, with grooves to hold wine bottles on their sides.  Little tables were set up, most of them empty, but a few with bottles tastefully arranged.  Closer to the front were the juices made for younger ponies, and those looking for a softer drink.  Many of these were in boxes.  "You wouldn't believe what it took to get the machine to make those, and even then I have to remind the little ones to recycle them.  Still much safer than giving them glass, though.

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"That's good! It teaches them to take care of their world at a young age, and yeah it is safer......... May I order a glass of green grape juice please?" Opal poofs in her small change purse that she left at home to pay for the beverage. She smiles shyly, "I don't like to drink." 

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"That's alright!"  In better and more profitable times, Berry would have been glad to give the drink on the house.  As it was, however... things hadn't been going so well, lately.  There was only so much demand here, hence the mare's collaborative idea to generate some with crystal goblets.  "Two bits, please."  After hoofing over the drink, she leaned on the bar-counter, looking out the window towards the empty square.  "Huh, guess not many are out on this street.  Might be at the park, or something."

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Opal places the bits on the counter and takes her drink, poofing away the pocket book for convince. "Hmmm. Perhaps Ms. Pie is throwing a party of something? Hmmm." She takes a sip of her grape juice. "Oh this is very refreshing! I don't understand why more ponies aren't in here." She takes another sip of the sweet drink. 

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"Usually I'd hear about it if she were..."  Berry mused.  Smiling at the compliment, she brushed back a bit of her mane from her eyes.  "Why, thank you!  And this is a slow part of the day for me, most of my business comes early in the morning, when little colts and fillies pick up their juice for their packed lunch on the way to school, and in the afternoon and evening, when the grown-ups come for a drink."

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"I see," Opal says then finishes her glass. "That hit the spot! Thanks again, Berry! Should we get started on the tour?"

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Toboe had heard good things about this Berry Punch's juice bar... or was it called a watering hole here? So many Equestrian names and terms would surely fly over this tourist's head. If possible maybe she could talk this mare and get a sample of some Uniquely Equestrian beverages. Toboe still was hoping to get her bar back home off the ground after all and a good supplier of exotic (at least to Neighpon's eyes) beverages could probably be a draw.  If Nensho heard that she was trying to get some business done on this vacation he'd probably never let her hear the end of it. This would have to remain her little secret... or at least one between her and the proprietor of this establishment she was quickly approaching. 

 

The wolfish looking pony held up a translation and phrase book in one hoof as she approached Berry Punch's Winery. Her eyes scanned over the characters as she double checked that the sign on the building was indeed what she was looking for. Between the Neighponese and Equestrian characters she eventually settled on the affirmative. 

 

She snapped the book shut and stowed it away. Several knocks came to the door, "Excuse Me. I'm Looking for a miss Berry Punch?" Her equestrian was a tad fragmented, but still understandable.

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Ponyville... it seemed like a boring town so far, but he hadn’t really been here very long, and hey, it looked nice. Tiger Blood trotted his way down the street, wearing his typical pants but leaving his spear behind today. Probably wouldn’t need it anyways, he could just bare-hoof it if anything came up anyways. 

 

The earth pony smirked as he made his way down the street, slowing to a stop in front of some shop with a very interesting mare in front of it. Looking her over, he could tell she was more than just a pretty face. The tattoo and covered eye were pretty big clues, but there was more to it. 

 

No matter though, unless she wanted to fight or became a problem, her prowess didn’t matter too much. He simply gave a whistle of appreciation as he sauntered up next to her and got a better look at the shop. 

 

“Wine, huh? Well, doubt it could be worse than some of the other stuff I’ve drunk.” He chuckled, giving Toboe a slight nudge. “Oi, any idea what we’re in for with this stuff?”

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Berry had been about to nod and pack it up once again, but then she heard the little dingle of the bell over her front door.  Customers!  "Hold that thought for now, I've got ponies to take care of."  Smiling at Opal, she was positively beaming at the shaggy-maned newcomer.  "Yep, that's me!  Come on in, ain't seen you 'round these parts before, I think?"  She tilted her head, trying to place Toboe on the rather vague memories she had of a similar-looking mare.  "Or weren't you here for Nightmare Night?  Yeah, I think I remember seeing you there."

 

Not just that, but another customer was coming in right behind!  Ooh, an exotic-looking earth pony; mama like.  "Well there, handsome, the nice thing about wine is that it comes in so many varieties, you can find one for any taste!  Whether you like them sweet and fruity, bright and zesty, smooth and elegant, or dark and rich, I got one for all, and even more!  And if you don't know what you like yet, I'll give you a sampler tasting for 5 bits!  You won't find a better deal this side of Canterlot."

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