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When Life Gives You Melons (Ended)


Lux
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"Melon Stand?"

Watermelon Gush looked at the place she built with her own hooves. It was more of a bunch of boards thrown together nailed together and a painted sign which read Watermelons for Sale! but she was proud of her work.

Check! Lots of yummy watermelons to sell?

The filly looked over at the cart filled to the top with the ripe sweet fruit. She couldn't lay claim to this as her parents were the ones who gave her the watermelon to sell. Still he did have a hoof in growing and picking many of them.

"Check! Cuteness Powers?"

The filly jumped up on the table of the stand and struck a pose while giving an adorable smile, hoping that it alone would being in the customers.

"Check! Alrighty, time to sell some watermelons!"

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Garden Gait. Peaceful suburbia or a town with a dark secret? Well, Honeydew wagered it was the latter. She was toying with multiple theories about Garden Gait: town's population entirely replaced by changelings, stalked by rabid vampiric jackalopes, infested with braiiiiiiiin slugs. She couldn't put her hoof on it, but SOMETHING felt off about the town. No doubt, one of the princesses had something to do with it. On a day like this, in the investigative mood she was in, Honeydew wouldn't normally spare a stand a second glance. Had she been terribly busy, she would not have hesitated to barrel it over in a rush to get to... wherever she was going. She wouldn't have even felt a twinge of guilt about it, mainly because intense focus came at the expense of everything else. But this was different. The scent of fresh watermelon was a familiar, comfortable scent. It was a scent that wafted in through her nose and directly to her brain where it brought her attention to delightful, fillyhood memories.

Honeydew halted in her tracks. She turned and stared at the watermelon on the stand. The glorious green rinds, the juicy red insides, fillyhood summers on the farm, spitting seeds at crows with her parents and Uncle Cantaloupe, sticky faces, stories, laughter... Honeydew's eyes started to shine a little bit. She shook her head and tried to get a hold of herself. It had been a pretty good while since she had eaten watermelon. She got to eat watermelon when she went to the farm to visit her parents, but she usually tried to keep visits short and sweet. A pony could only stand so much "Settle down with a nice stallion," "Grandfoals," "You've gotten skinny," "You've gotten fat," and "You should write more" before they went completely out of their mind. She took a confident step towards the stand and looked down at the filly operating it. Honeydew almost recoiled at all the cuteness the filly was exhibiting. Big eyes, bright smile, brightly coloured...

Was that a backwards S on the Watermelons for Sale sign? The horror. All this cuteness in one place was CLEARLY unnatural! She'd need to consult some storybooks regarding unnaturally cute creatures and see what it turned up. Perhaps the town had been... INVADED by these adorable BUT SINISTER creatures. Of course, between adorably sinister possibly pony-gobbling creatures and her parents, Honeydew would rather choose the former. Watermelon was a necessary risk!

Giving the filly a suspicious look, she gestured with a hoof towards the biggest watermelon on the stand. "How much?"

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Watermelon spotted a pony who paused near her stand. The filly couldn't understand why the mare just stared at her and the stand. After all, why would anypony second guess buying a watermelon or anything from an adorable filly? The mare then approached but again seemed surprised, this time at her! It took a while but the filly knew it was useless to resist the power of the Princess of Watermelons as she sometimes thought of herself as.

[colour=#006400]"Hi there! I'm Watermelon Gush! Welcome to my stand!"[/colour]

The filly then realized that she made an error. While she was successful in building her stand, helping transport the melons, and use her powers of cuteness, she forgot to give the melons a price! Although she was comfortable charging one prince, she knew that like other fruit her family sold size mattered. The bigger the cantaloupe or pumpkin, the higher the price. Typically the fruit was classified into three price sizes: Small, Medium and Large. Thankfully the melon that the mare pointed to was a Large and therefore the highest price but that didn't help!

As the filly fretted that her selling would be over before it started, she got an idea.

[colour=#006400]"Wow! You picked a big one! You'll be having melony goodness for several days. Not that anything's wrong with that. For that one it's eight bits."[/colour]

She smiled and waited, hoping that the price was right.

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Honeydew scoffed at having "melony goodness" for several days. "Make it three days. I haven't had a good watermelon in a few months. I'll have it down to the rind in no time, or my name isn't Honeydew, ace reporter for The Daily Turnip."

Honeydew's eyes narrowed even more once she heard the price, focusing in on the little filly like an arrow shot to a bullseye. "Eight bits, huh?" she asked skeptically. She grabbed the giant watermelon between her hooves, held it up to her head and shook it. No swishing noises; that was a good sign. She placed the watermelon back on the stand and looked at it thoughtfully. "Well, it isn't exactly highway robbery, but where I come from a watermelon this size goes for six bits." She tapped the watermelon with her hoof. "Then again..." She licked her lips. "It looks like a pretty high quality melon..."

She shook her head to snap herself out of her watermelon craving haze. "Or so it seems." She slammed both front hooves down on the stand, towering over the filly. "Just one thing I need to know. This watermelon wouldn't happen to have been grown on the southern side of your farm, exposed to the direct light of the full moon, harvested three days after a night of timber wolf howling, and rolled through a tunnel, cave, or other dark place at some point in time... would it?"

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Watermelon Gush smiled at the challenge that Honeydew made to eat a watermelon that size in three days. In the filly's mind maybe if the mare ate the fruit quickly she could come back for another. At first the green earth pony thought that her first sale would be a bust with charging too high of a price, but the yellow mare seemed to actually accept the price due to how good the melon looked.

[colour=#006400]"Oh, well I'm glad you like the melon..."[/colour]

Before she could continue, the mare suddenly slammed her hooves on the table with enough force that Watermelon was afraid her melon Stand would fall apart and then towered over the poor filly. She felt like she was being scolded by a teacher in school as the mare peppered her with strange questions.

[colour=#006400]"N..no. My parents and I just farm watermelons and other fruit n...normally. y...you know, like we plant seeds in the spring and wait for them to grow in the summer. We use sunlight not moonlight although maybe watermelons grow with moonlight too. I'm not awake to see though. B... but we don't do anything with those nasty timber wolves or rolling fruit into a cave. We just harvest them when their ready."[/colour]

The filly paused, waiting to see what the mare would do next.

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Honeydew rolled her eyes a bit. "Of course, watermelons grow with sunlight! That's not what I'm talking about." She pointed a hoof at the giant melon. "Melons this big have the potential to become quite... monstrous." Her voice lowered a bit, as though she was sharing a secret with the filly. "First, they start decaying shortly after becoming ripe, even though, every normal precaution has been taken. Then, they start making strange noises. Slurping sounds, hissing, groaning..." She eyed the watermelon. "The next thing you know it grows glowing red eyes and super sharp teeth, and it's rolling around on its own looking for fillies and colts to gobble up!" Her face was very close to the filly's face at this point. Then, she suddenly lifted her hooves off the stand and moved out of the poor adorable filly's personal space.

"Buuuuut... it doesn't sound like this melon has met any of the required conditions for that to happen. It'd be a shame to have to smash this huge, juicy watermelon because it turned into a monster before I could eat it." She beamed suddenly, then threw seven bits onto the stand. "Like I said, it looks high quality. I'll pay you seven bits for it, not eight, but it's more than six."

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Watermelon began to cower at the tale of watermelons becoming monsters. Part of her knew that it wasn't the truth that melons were melons and could never be monsters. But there was that still small voice that asked her "What if," and that side made her worry. Thankfully the mare ended by saying that the melons were in no danger of becoming monsters next to her.

[colour=#006400]"Um s..sure. Seven bits is fine for the melon. Are you, like a monster hunter or something?" [/colour]

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"Monster hunter?" Honeydew asked, as she started carefully taking the melon off the stand. She put the melon on the ground and put a hoof on it. Her expression became thoughtful. "Hmm. Well, I guess you could say I hunt monsters in a way. But not to fight them or anything. Like I said, I'm The Daily Turnip's top journalist. It's a newspaper in Manehattan. I hunt down the very best stories, no matter what the risk, in order to bring ponies everywhere... THE TRUTH!" She lifted a hoof high into the air. The exclamation she made might have echoed had she been in a cave or other more closed-in area. The watermelon nearly rolled out from under her, so she quickly put her hoof back onto the ground. "There are some ponies out there, powerful ponies, who don't want us normal, everyday hard-working ponies to know the truth behind all the mysterious, unexplained happenings going on in Equestria. Somepony has to stand up and be heard. And that somepony is ME... with the help of my employer and co-workers at The Daily Turnip."

She reached into the satchel and pulled out a copy of yesterday's newspaper, which she then set on the watermelon stand. The top headline read: DOORWAY TO OTHER WORLDS KEPT SECRET! "Here. Read and discover the truth. That copy's free, but if you want to keep up to date, informed, in the know, and stand up to the PONIES keeping us down, you're going to want to order a subscription. Two bits for Manehattan locals, two and a half for a non-local like you." She slapped down a business card. "Here's our base of operations. Just head on over to the post office, and they'll get you all set up."

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Watermelon looked at the mare then back at the newspaper, then back to the mare again. The filly knew about stories of monsters and creepy things in the Everfree Forest, but then again so did many living nearby the place. But there were some strange articles in this paper that even a filly with an active imagination could question.

[colour=#006400]"Sweet Apple Acres grows living fruit? Princess Celestia's power is fueled by cake? [/colour][colour=#006400]Canterlot is controlled by talking trees? Is this for real?" [/colour]

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"Of course, it's for real!" Honeydew said, sounding exasperated. "What, do you think they pay me to make this stuff up? Do you think I am here now for a breath of fresh air and vacation time?! I am on the hunt! Investigating THE TRUTH." She paused a moment, then took back the paper to scan the articles. "Okay, well, maybe we sensationalize things a bit. Canterlot isn't actually controlled by talking trees; it's obviously controlled by Princess Celestia. But if you read here on this page," Honeydew said, turning the page and pointing at the paragraph. "You would see that the talking trees are responsible for the recent increase in the price of lumber and that Princess Celestia is in negotiations with them. Essentially, they're controlling Canterlot at the moment, but not for long. The princess is a ruthless dictator, she won't stand for anypony trying to get a hoof up on her. Those trees are as good as firewood, mark my words. The price of lumber will be going down any moment now."

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At first Watermelon noticed that things in the paper were exaggerated to fit, but there was a quick rebuttal by explaining the lumber prices.

[colour=#006400]"Oh well that makes sense kind of ... what what?"[/colour]

Watermelon paused when she recalled something that Honeydew said, something about Princess Celestia. The mare called her a dictator! Well, Watermelon didn't really know what that meant but she guessed that was a bad thing to call a pony, especially the ruler of Equestria. But maybe she heard it wrong.

[colour=#006400]"Did you call Princess Celestia a dictator? Is that something like another name for a ruler?" [/colour]

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Honeydew stiffened a bit, then stared at Watermelon Gush for a long time. She seemed to be considering her words very carefully, and the suspicious look she possessed, which had softened somewhat as their conversation had continued, was back full-force. She had forgotten that most ponies weren't aware of their own oppression by their "beloved" princesses. She needed to be careful. The filly could have been some kind of undercover spy for the princess, after all. She wouldn't put anything past her.

"Yes. That's exactly what that means," she said slowly. She tilted her head up ever so slightly, indicating a dismissal of the topic and question as being silly and unimportant. "Anyway, I still have some investigating to be doing. I think I'm going to take this big, round, delicious watermelon and head out."

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The filly waited as the mare before her seemed to even question herself what the word dictator meant. After all, she wrote for the newspaper. Surely she knew what she meant, right? Finally she explained that it indeed meant the same as ruler. Watermelon Gush decided that she'd need to ask her parents before going around calling Princess Celestia a dictator.

The conversation changed to that of Honeydew leaving with the melon she brought.

[colour=#006400]"Wait, before you go, do you know of anything strange happening in Solstice Heights? I haven't seen or heard anything myself, but maybe you know."[/colour]

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Honeydew cast another suspicious glance at Watermelon Gush. "Strange? Why, yes, I have. I wouldn't be here if there wasn't anything unusual going on. I mean, look at this place. It's nothing like Manehattan, there's nothing to do here. If I wanted that, I'd go visit my parents." She rolled her eyes. Then, she narrowed them. "Why do you want to know? You don't have anything to hide, do you, Watermelon Gush, IF that's your REAL name." She paused a second before taking in the filly's appearance and giving a huff.

"No, nevermind. That's stupid. That's obviously your real name... unless you're in disguise, in which case, I must say, excellent costume work."

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Watermelon Gush gave the strange mare a sideways glance after what she said about not being who she says she is.

[colour=#006400]"Well of course that's my actual name silly! My parents named me that because I look like a watermelon! As for a disguise, well I'm not wearing one now. This is how I look. Although I do dress up for Nightmare Night. I'm just wondering since well I live here."[/colour]

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"I haven't heard any rumors or anything about this area, if that's what you're wondering," Honeydew said. She took a few quick glances around, then placed her hooves on the stand. This time, she wasn't towering over the filly but leaning close to her as if to tell her a secret. "But between you and me, I think something's up. This town seems a little... TOO peaceful. My reporter instincts are telling me something is wrong. Do you feel it? It's in the air." She paused for dramatic effect and waved a hoof. "Wrongness."

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Watermelon Gush stared at the mare with a look of confusion. How could living in a peaceful town be unsettling? Unless of course the mare was used to the conditions of not being in peace. The fact that she reported on strange sightings and event made the filly realize that it was no wonder that the pony felt an unease.

[colour=#006400]"Well, yeah, Solstice Heights is pretty peaceful. I don't think there are many problems here, and even little issues get fixed easily. Maybe it's because we're close to Canterlot. I don't know. I don't see why being in peace is a problem though." [/colour]

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"Peace isn't a problem unless that peace is happening under shady circumstances, and I fully believe this peace is happening under shady circumstances. ESPECIALLY since this town is so close to Canterlot." Her stomach rumbled a bit. She eyed the watermelon longingly. "Of course, I find it near impossible to think under the condition of being hungry. Something big could be going down right under my nose, and I wouldn't be able to see it coming." Honeydew practically hugged the watermelon. "I think I could eat this whole thing right now."

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Watermelon Gush looked up at the mare than upwards at the towering city of Canterlot in the distance than back at the mare. She didn't know how peace was suspicious or why it related to Canterlot. She thought that somehow this mare talking to her had some strange superstition about perhaps the Princesses. Granted they were mysterious and powerful but a conspiracy? She couldn't say.

At the sound of Honeydew's stomach growling and the way she hugged the melon like she was afraid it would somehow roll away, Watermelon got an idea.

[colour=#006400]"Hey if you're hungry, I have some of my mum's leftover fruit salad at the house. Want me to get some for you?" [/colour]

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Honeydew perked up when she heard Watermelon Gush talk about fruit salad. She stopped hugging the watermelon and turned her gaze onto Watermelon Gush. "Fruit salad? That's what I'm talking about!" Apparently, her suspicion didn't extend much where food was concerned. Then, she narrowed her eyes. "Does it have marshmallows?" ... Or maybe it did.

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Seeing the mare excited, Watermelon was about to head to the farm house when suddenly Honeydew asked if there were any marshmallows in the fruit salad. It was a very odd question as after all fruit typically was sweet as is. To add the fluffy concoction to the mix might make it too sweet even for a filly like Watermelon who loved sweet things. It matched her sweet personality and that she liked to think was why she liked things like fruit or candy.

[colour=#006400]"No, my mum doesn't put marshmallows in our fruit salad. Why, do you like them in there? If so, we may have them in the house." [/colour]

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"I love marshmallows, actually, but I gotta watch my filly figure. I think I've been going a little overboard on the morning bagels and coffee," she said coolly and honestly. It was probably the most normal phrase that had ever come out of Honeydew's mouth. Why she hadn't gone on a rant about mutant marshmallows was anybody's guess. Honeydew's train of logic obviously ran on its very own set of tracks.

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Watermelon Gush braced herself for something strange about marshmallows from the mare's mouth, like how marshmallows planned to enslave ponykind. But to her surprise, and relief, Honeydew merely was watching her weight. Watermelon realized that it was impossible to try to figure this pony out, because every time she did Honeydew would surprise her.

[colour=#006400]"Ok then. I'll be right back with the fruit salad... with no marshmallows." [/colour]

With that Watermelon dashed into the farm house, hoping that the strange pony didn't get into any mischief while she was preparing the fruit salad.

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ooc: Mind if I jump in?

The mare and filly didn't seem to notice the brown pegasus colt, or the oddly coloured cloud he was standing on. He hadn't really noticed them underneath him either, though. His family was visiting some relatives around here, and he had gone out to play for a while. As usual, he was dumping bucketfuls of mud into the cloud he was standing on. He decided that the cloud had enough and set the bucket down, accidentally kicking it off the cloud and onto the mare below. And then he began to mud storm. He jumped on the cloud a few times to get it started, then darted underneath it as a downpour of mud came down.

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The young filly was probably hoping for too much if she expected Honeydew not to get into some sort of trouble. She was peering curiously underneath the porch, but before she could manage to get into trouble, trouble found her first. A bucket landed on her head, blocking out her vision, but to Honeydew it seemed sudden enough for concerns about her vision or the sun to arise. "Who turned out the sun?! GAH! Celestia must be up to something! And I can't see!" She was running around in a panic before she ran into a tree, and the bucket shook loose. She grunted and took the bucket off of her before spotting a pony coated in mud that was raining down on him. Honeydew gasped. "MUD PONIES FROM THE CENTER OF THE WORLD!" She pointed a hoof at the "mud pony." "Stay back, fiend! I know five different kinds of Pony-Fu, and I'm not afraid to kick your flank from here to Stalliongrad if you take one step closer! I refuse to be a mud mare!"

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