A Night on the Town [Sturmmann and SteelEagle]
Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:56 PM
A few days prior, he'd received the letter from Matchie, and had been thoroughly surprised it'd actually worked. It was a fact that did not fail to amuse old Stout Ale, who found it incredibly amusing that his son, who owned a bar of all things, had to write in to a matchmaker to find a girlfriend. He had a bad feeling he was never going to live it down with his old man.
Nevertheless, Muggo' planned to go through with this. He checked himself one last time before heading downstairs and left the Prancing Pony behind in the care of his second-in-command, Meadow Runner, and his father. He trotted along, rather happy, toward the restaurant that Matchie had made reservations at (he made a mental note to thank Matchie for that, because he would never have thought of it himself), a little early. He'd rather be early than late for the first date.
Muggo' Ale stood outside the restaurant. He figured that Caramel Apple should be along any time now, so he sat on a bench out front and waited, watching the ponies trot past in the street, going about their business.
Posted 08 May 2012 - 06:31 PM
The stereotype was still wrong, however. They worked hard as their work demanded it, not because they were some sort of automaton family. They had desires and dreams like anypony else, but so invested could they become in the bonds of family and the need to produce that they lost track of themselves. Caramel didn't. Maybe she was selifsh, but she felt no compunction about seeking time for romantic pursuits. Issue was her own lack of social talent and, admittedly, the sheer depth of the Apple Family's financial confusion. Added to that was her single-hoofedly running the actual affairs of Tiny Apple Valley, baking, bucking, and selling and she came dangerously close to living the stereotype against her raging will.
But luckily, a matchmaking service made itself known and she pounced on it without giving a second thought. It wasn't long after that she found herself matched with a local and here she was, primed and preened like some haughty-toity pegasus outside of the Sydney Cobhouse. She had thought of wearing something fancy, but common etiquette said that was more than presumptuous. She gave a sigh; less nervous of the date than if she would do something wrong. Flashbacks to a fillyhood fling with her first coltfriend played in her mind, and the horrifying date that followed had stayed with her like so many bad apples. She shook her head and opened the door, smiling as she entered the restaurant with a puffed out chest of pride.
It was extremely busy, but not so much that she felt intimidated. Nor was anypony else, she figured, as they were city folk and such crowds came with the territory. The maitre d' bounced up to her.
"Madame, if you would take a seat- we are overfilled," He asked, his voice having a slight Germaney accent. She stared back at him.
"I have a reservation. Table for two at six, which is in five minutes. Caramel Apple and Muggo' Ale. I am sure that this restaurant would not want to have the reputation for turning away reserved seats," Caramel said with kindness, though a tint of annoyance crept in. The Maitre d' blinked a few times.
"Ah, yes, you will be seated at six, madame. My apologies," He said, bowing and moving away.
She nodded. It was a big city; sometimes, you had to respectfully lay down the law. Now, all she had to do is look for her date.
Posted 08 May 2012 - 08:27 PM
Then again, it wasn't that hard. The cutie mark was a bit of a giveaway at this point.
"Hello there." Muggo' said, trying to not let too much of his slang come out into his speech. For once, he had actually greeted somepony without saying 'Hows ya gettin' on?', figuring it was a bit too casual for someone he hadn't met and was trying to impress. His accent though was still heavily there.
"I'm goin' to go out on a pier here and guess yer Caramel Apple, eh?" he asked, reaching up with his right forehoof and sweeping his hat respectfully from his head. "Muggo' Ale, a pleasure to be meetin' ya." he said with a sincere smile. This was easier than he thought, now that he was actually here and talking to her. She was also quite pretty.
Posted 08 May 2012 - 09:20 PM
Caramel turned around to confront the stallion, and soon saw a green stallion with the cutest cap. was this her date? Could have been worse. She wasn't a fan of the mane, but such things, if a real issue, could be solved. He looked well enough beyond that, strong and strapping.
"I'm goin' to go out on a pier here and guess yer Caramel Apple, eh?" the stallion asked, his voice inflection that of a port-raised pony. She had dealt with enough of them to notice the way the words were fast and clipped, almost like a farm pony but with more blunt force.
"Muggo' Ale, a pleasure to be meetin' ya."
Caramel did a short head bow and extended her hoof for a shake.
"You are quite right, Muggo' Ale. Caramel Apple, here for the date. And the pleasure is all mine, Ale," She said with a smile as the areas around them thinned of crowds who were slowly getting seated. She took a deep breath- meeting new ponies was not her strong suit, especially in a faux romantic setting.
Posted 08 May 2012 - 09:36 PM
"Ah, ya can call me Muggo' if ya want." he said with a smile. He found people using his "last name" was a bit too formal, especially when he was called Mr. Ale. Not only did that make him feel like a drunkard, but it made him feel old(er). He looked around the place, not having been here before. He'd passed it a few times, and it looked nice. He hoped the food was good, too.
Muggo' turned back to look at her and smiled. "Ya look good." he complimented. She did, too. Now he just had to bring up a mental list of things he'd seen happen in the bar that worked to impress women, and which got a stallion a hoof to the face. "So, yer from around here? What is it that ya do for a livin'?" he asked casually. The Maitre D' came by shortly after and escorted them to their seats, and Muggo' motioned for Caramel to lead the way.
Posted 09 May 2012 - 03:46 PM
Muggo' it'd be then. The name was truly secondary to the pony, though Caramel had to say that a name like Muggo' Ale was, if nothing else, very unique. She could only guess at the stallion's profession with a name like that, though those guesses were well-educated.
"Muggo' it is then," She replied with a smile.
"Ya look good."
She looked at herself, somewhat taken aback by the comment. Maybe she did look good or maybe he was just flattering her, but she was still stymied either way by his words. She did not know proper date protocol, but was it right to be just that forward? She didn't know whether she was flattered or offended and settled on a slight manner of confused unease, though being a mare of her business stature she knew well not to let it show.
"Well, thank you for such kind words. You look rather fetching yourself, Muggo'," She settled on that phrasing as being just nice enough to return the praise.
"So, yer from around here? What is it that ya do for a livin'?"
Before she could stammer out some sort of shocked response detailing how she was stunned he did not know of the Apple family, the Maitre D' escorted them to their seats, Caramel leading the way as Muggo' pulled the move of a gentlecolt. This time allowed for her to formulate a more coherent and polite response as they took their seats.
"I run and operate Tiny Apple Valley outside of this fair city with the help of my two sisters. We are part of the larger Apple Family network of farms and orchards that provide Equestria with more than seventy percent of her apples and around ten percent of all other fruits combined. Yourself?" She asked in a friendly manner, sipping the restaurant supplied mug of water as the menus were handed out.
Posted 09 May 2012 - 04:24 PM
"Seventy percent of apples..." Muggo' said, chuckling and letting out a low whistle of admiration. "That's a feat if I've ever heard one. An' I must say I'm sorry, I've met a few of yer relatives an' even been down to Sweet Apple Acres not long ago, but me brain didn't want to put two and two together. Yer farm's actually a regular supplier of mine." he explained. He did buy lots of apples from Tiny Apple Valley for use in creating hard cider and the like.
"Me? I own a bar." Muggo' Ale said with a chuckle. "The Prancin' Pony, near the docks. Been in me family for...Never been good at that generation thing, is it three now? Me grandfather opened it in any case." he explained, taking a sip of his water. "Not as impressive as feedin' all of Equestria, mind ya." he teased with a grin, wondering just how big the Apple family would have to be to supply that much food. "But I like it, just the same."
Posted 10 May 2012 - 11:01 PM
"It sounds fun. Besides, you get to deal with your customers on a more personal level. I'm often sending a hundred bushels to the city and seeing it distributed on paper and little more. Where is the Prancing Pony, to be exact? I've been to the docks a few times and can not recall it," She said, sipping her water and laying down her menu, having mentally checked off her selection.
Posted 10 May 2012 - 11:40 PM
"I can't imagine that. I love workin' the bar floor, talkin' to me customers an' regulars, hearin' an' sharin' the stories." he explained. When he was asked about where the bar was, he chuckled. "Bit hard to find if ya don't know it, not very well marked. It's right on the edge of the dock district, near the business one." Muggo' said. "She's a bit unassumin' of a place. It's the three-storey redbrick buildin' two doors down an' 'cross the street from the post office, dock district branch." he added. It was a rather distinct building, and most ponies knew it by sight alone, even if they hadn't come in. Maybe after their dinner, if they weren't tired of seeing each other, they could go for a walk and he'd show it to her.
"I should drop by one day to get me bushels in person, so ya can say ya got to see a customer for once." he teased, chuckling. The waiter arrived shortly after and asked for their orders. Muggo' ordered a plate of hay and some grilled vegetable skewers, then looked over at Caramel while he waited for her to make her choice.
"So, just three of ya workin' an apple orchard, eh? What's that like? I can imagine it gets a bit on the hectic side at times." he asked after a short silence, trying to make some small talk. He figured it was going well so far but they still had an entire dinner to get through. Figuring he'd taken the chance to get to know her a bit more than just her work, he added, "Ya get a lot of time off to do...well, whatever it is ya do in yer spare time, I guess." he chuckled.
Posted 12 May 2012 - 09:39 PM
"I'll take grilled dandy lions and a side of hay fries, thank you," She told the waiter, handing her menu to him and then eying up her date.
"Yes, you should come by. I've tried to entice customers into visiting the farm by lowering the cost of a bushel by twenty percent if you pick it up yourself. It...well, to be honest, it isn't entirely just to be nice. I save that much plus a little more by not having to ship it! It can get hectic sometimes, especially during shipping, but it is a relatively small farm. Three capable mares are enough. Really, Tiny Apple Valley is more like the shipping and financial nerve center of the family rather than the fully dedicated farms like Sweet Apple Acres," She blathered on, catching herself being boring with a smile. She coughed to clear her throat and laughed.
"Oh, sometimes this mare..." She shook her head and sipped her water, "So, where is your family originally from? I'm having some difficulty placing your accent."
Posted 12 May 2012 - 11:35 PM
"No worries." he said sincerely. "Me accent?" he added at her question. "Well, me grandfather's from Hoofin'ton." he explained. "He had an accent like this, an' so did me father. Guess it just passes down the line, even though I wasn't born in Hoofin'ton." he said, sipping his water with a shrug. "I've never heard anypony else from the area with an accent like mine, but then again, ponies with strange accents pop up everywhere I guess." Muggo' commented. "Luck o' the draw type thing. Like when I was down in Ponyville, not a long bit o' time ago, I was down at that farm there, Sweet Apple Acres. Of all the ponies there, yer one relative, with a bit o' freckles an' three apples as a cutie mark, had an accent thick as me own, an' nopony else I met there did, an' I met a good bit." he explained. Another shrug. "But then again, I'm not exactly the most well educated when it comes to the matters of genetics and linguistics." he said, adding a bit of drawn-out emphasis to the words to make them sound a little fancier. "Keep me behind me bar, where I don't have to do much thinkin'." he said with a chuckle.
"So what about ya? Ya born here in Fillydelphia?" he asked casually, wanting to know a little bit more about his date.
Posted 13 May 2012 - 01:08 AM
She knew all about his experience with Applejack and how out of place she seemed in that emerging town. That was made all the more comical when one understood the Apple Family was responsible for the existence of Ponyville in the first place. While everypony else aside from the Apple family seemingly started to become more cosmopolitan in speech, but Apples were Apples and no amount of influence outside the family would change them. They were stubborn that way, something she admired.
"Born and raised, happy to say. It's been great to me, wouldn't change a single factor in my life because of it. Do you live with any of your family? Any help with the Prancing Pony?"
Posted 13 May 2012 - 02:27 AM
Posted 14 May 2012 - 04:48 AM
"I'd like to hear about some of those places you traveled to, Muggo'. I've always had a sincere desire to travel the breadth of Equestria but have found the constraints of my work too demanding to do so. And I am sorry to hear of your mother's passing. I am lucky enough to still have mine, but it hasn't been the same since they left," Caramel replied, then smiled.
"Old boy, eh? That's a charming nickname."
Posted 14 May 2012 - 05:07 AM
"Unless ya want to hear about it later, of course. It's one of me last adventures, with a couple of old friends. We got bored one summer, decided we'd see how far out to the rarely-seen West coast of Equestria we could get. Didn't make it too far past the griffon territory, mind ya. But still, was fun." he said. Then with a chuckle, Muggo' Ale grinned. "An' then there was a recent one, where I ended up kickin' a manticore in the face...surprisin'ly, it's less interestin' than the trip to the West." he said with a laugh.
Posted 14 May 2012 - 06:14 AM
"Well, I think I'll listen to both stories, starting with your trip out west. Always wanted to go there, so this better be good!" Caramel said half-jokingly, eating the hay fries with abandon.
Posted 14 May 2012 - 03:44 PM
He curled a fetlock around one of the skewers and carefully went to pull a grilled green pepper from the end, until he realized it would be hot. He gently blew on it, then looked up at Caramel when she wanted to hear both stories. He chuckled and nodded with a smile. "It's a good one." he assured her, neatly plucking the green pepper from the tip of the skewer and setting it back down as he chewed. He swallowed it before starting off the story.
"Starts with me an' me buddies Wingtip an' Snowshoe. Wingtip was a mailmare, an' she'd said she'd gone as far as Las Pegasus but never farther out. An' of course, leave it to a group'a young colts, an' well, a filly, to figure we cross the desert an' see what the eye can see. But as me father always says, wait a fair wind, an' you'll get one. So we waited an' we got our fair wind, an' packed up our stuff an' made our way out to Pegasus on the train, not two days after bouncin' the plan around." he began, pausing to take another vegetable off the skewer, this time a mushroom. When he was done with that, he continued. "We set off the day after we got there, trottin' fast to get across the desert. This was before Appleloosa was built down there, so we had no stops. An' of course, like idiots, we went through the desert, not 'round the mountains to the south an' cross the plains. Was a hard run...took us most of the day but we finally reached the mountains just on the other side of Rockwin'ton. We were beat to the Moon an' back, with sunburns an' parched mouths around. Snowshoe had managed to get his hoof caught in a gap in some rocks, so we were slowed down too from him limpin' around." another pause, another vegetable, this time a piece of zucchini. "So we wake late the next day, 'cause we're all exhausted, an' we look up at the mountains. They were a bit shorter than the others so we figure it wouldn't be a problem. By this time Snowshoe's hoof's better, so we start the climb. Celestia t'underin', I wish I was a bit more of a poet, because that view as we came to the top of the mountains..." he trailed off, looking out the window for a moment as if reminiscing.
"Granted, it may be a bit rough..." he looked back at Caramel to continue his story. "When compared to places around pony territory. But by Celestia, it was nice. We saw this rocky valley below us, endin' in this incredibly deep canyon. An' on the other end, these high flyin' mountain's that disappeared into the clouds, an' this quaint little town, just nestled there against one of the mountains. We sat there stunned for a bit, then made our way down to the river an' the canyon. Now that's a sight to behold, I'd never seen a canyon before that. Just this deep gash in the ground, an' a flowin' river runnin' through it." Yet another pause from Muggo', and another vegetable off the skewer. "So we cross this bridge leadin' over the canyon, figurin' that yeah, griffons ain't friends to ponies but at least we might be able to stop for the night. We were tired from the harsh desert an' the steep climb up the mountains. They didn't like it but they let us stay...one day I'd love to go back to Rockwin'ton." he said with a chuckle. "It's gorgeous. Like a griffon version of Hoofin'ton. Little shops dottin' the place, sellin' whatever tickles yer fancy. Sadly, that's where the tale ends." he explained. "When the mornin' came we tried to get up over the mountains. It's no problem for griffons, they just fly, but us, we had to climb. Well, Wingtip could fly, but she kept respectful an' with us. Well, we make it about halfway up this incredibly tall mountain when Snowshoe's leg starts actin' up again, an' bad. We learned later it was worse than a sprain, an' he'd gotten a bit of a fracture that'd gotten worse with all the walkin'. So we mucked him off to the hospital in town, an' stayed for a few days before the griffons helped us back as far as the edge of the mountains on the far side of Las Pegasus. They're not bad folk...a little on the meaner side, but all in all, great people." Muggo' said. He shrugged a shoulder with a bit of a sad sigh. "Never got to even peek at the West coast of Equestria. If it wasn't for the maps, would think it never existed." he finished. "One of these day's I'll try an' go back...or so I keep tellin' meself." he said with a bit of a sad laugh.
Posted 15 May 2012 - 08:00 PM
So, Muggo had the ability to just wander about as a colt? That must have been wonderful to be able to decide on doing something and then do it. She never had that sort of freedom, as her life had been consumed by work of some sort. Even if she hadn't had the excuse of work, she likely wouldn't have- she was far more reserved than that, not desiring such adventure in her youth. She daily cursed those wasted days. But then again, he had been reckless to run out there without much of a solid plan. Any number of things could have happened, each one worse than the last and providing some disquieting thoughts. Still, she felt a sense of admiration for his adventurous spirit.
The view he described sounded absolutely stunning, beautiful, but she was quite sure there were likely better ways to get there. Maybe she would do the research to find out as his story certainly gave her the understanding that it would be worth the trip. Hoofing it across the desert was needlessly reckless, even a little insane! Still, the canyon alone sounded as if it was worthy of the trouble that went into reaching it. His descriptions may not have been poetic, but sometimes obscene poetry masked beauty.
The story ended somewhat anti-climatically, but that oddly fit it. The journey was worth more than the destination, worth more than a line on the map. Experiences were infinite in their power. She smiled.
"If you plan on trying to reach the coast, might I suggest boat or airship? Less chance of fracture there," She said with a coy smile, rather ingloriiously devouring the hay fries.
"That was quite a wonderful story, Muggo'. Do you keep in touch with those friends of yours?"
Posted 15 May 2012 - 08:56 PM
At the question of whether he kept in touch with his old friends, he nodded. "Aye, when I can. Wingtip's still a mailmare, so if she's passin' by the post office an' I happen to be there I'll drop in to say hi. Snowshoe joined up with a loggin' company an' went up north to Stalliongrad, but we send letters back an' forth regularly." he explained. He hadn't seen the latter in a long time, in person at least. He took a few bites from his other skewer, then looked up at her. "What about ya? Any interestin' stories of yer own ya'd want to tell me?" he asked. He figured she'd have to have at least one or two to tell.
Posted 17 May 2012 - 09:53 PM
He kept up with as well as he could those whom he once counted as good friends, but she figured that Wingtip's job and Snowshoe having went to the hard north were unavoidable schisms in communication that even well-intention couldn't overcome. She couldn't say anything against that as even in the close knit Apple Family there were some schisms that prevented communication aside from the reunion, and this was a family so loyal to itself that it may as well have operated as an independent state at times.
"Me? Oh, I'm afraid I lack any sort of great adventure to tell you. To be perfectly blunt, i would call my life boring and stale. I work at the orchard, sell apples, keep track of the family's finances and deliveries across the country. It can get hectic during the winter- many all-nighters strung together whenever the pegasi allow a snowstorm to go on too long and close down some roads- but I'd call my life conservative. Now my extended family- there's a bunch of characters, from Buffalo Run to Sweet Apple Acres. You could call Sweet Apple Acres the soul of the operation, Buffalo Run the heart, and Tiny Apple Valley..." She said, finishing her hay fries and gently clearing her lips of the salt.
"We're the brain."