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Stop in for a drink? (Ponyville, Open)


Blueblood
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The life of a small-town shopkeeper is full of a very pleasant kind of business; there is always something to be done, but every bit of work you do is for your and your family's own good.  You don't have to sweat for your boss' bottom line, or stretch yourself to afford status symbols to impress your neighbors.  Solid, sensible prosperity, that was the ticket!

 

Berry Punch had to laugh at her own internal monologue, as she arranged all the bottles on the shelves in preparation for opening.  Who'd have thought the hard-partying mare from Canterlot would have come to this?  Still, having a foal can change you, and she wouldn't have traded her life for any without Ruby.  That young filly was at school now, while her mother stayed home, running the wine and juice store that filled the first floor of their house in town.  

 

It was a pretty good business, if she did say so herself.  Good wine at reasonable prices for the adults in this town, who weren't so caught up in snobbery to pay top-bit for a bottle label, regardless of the quality within.  The juice, of course, was for the little colts and fillies who weren't old enough for that yet!  While much of the wine was imported, Berry tried to make the juices herself, or at least to get them as fresh as possible.  Her upbringing as a grocer's gal gave her an eye for good fruit, which she prided her self on putting to good use!

 

Oh my, ten o'clock already?  Well, time to unlock the door!  Trotting over to the entrance, she pushed it open to test the jingle of the little welcome bell, turned the sign to 'open' and sauntered back in, just waiting for the first customer of the day...

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It was a cheerful, sunny day in Ponyville. Fluffy white clouds rolled lazily through the sky, birds were chirping, butterflies were fluttering by...but something was off. An ominous, black cloud was spouting out of the ground and moving through the peaceful town with doom and gloom written all over it. All around it, ponies flinched and scrunched up their faces with fear or distaste, until finally the frightful thing stopped in front of Berry Punch’s shop. The sunlight was blocked out from the windows, and the door to the store slowly creeeeeeeeeaked open, letting the black cloud in to fill the room.

And in the centre of the cloud? A pretty little pastel-coloured mare with sunken, bloodshot lavender eyes. “Need,” she wheezed,  “Juice.”

She collapsed inside, and just like that the black cloud around her disappeared. Crystal Moon, exhausted from too many all-nighters in a row getting the latest chapter of Sailor Mare completed, dragged herself towards the counter with her forelegs. She was a sorry state, with ink staining her mane and hooves - there was even a smudge of it on her nose! And her mane, typically styled in a sweet ponytail, was bundled on top of her head like a bird nest made by a terribly, woefully inept bird.

“Out of…” she gasped, looking very much like one of the youkai from her manga, Sugar. Help...help! Juuuuuuice,

Even though Bunny had been living in Ponyville for some time now, she wasn’t a terribly social creature and typically kept to herself, what with her busy publishing schedule. She occasionally did some shopping in town, but the side of herself she showed ponies in town was more...drab. She was a sleepy, boring conversationalist on a normal day.

Today was not a normal day. It was an “I just met my deadline and I can’t separate reality from dreams and I ran out of sugar and that’s severely problematic because sweets keep me alive” sort of day.

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Ah, first customer of the day!  One who, if Berry's experienced eyes were any judge, was suffering from a severe case of 'the morning after the night before.'  Oh, the earth pony could tell the pastel unicorn a story or two about her sort of nights!  Though, this one looked more like 'student crammed for exam' than 'student partied hard.'

 

Either way, Berry had just the ticket.  "Sure thing, Bunny!"  She smiled, swishing back to the shelf behind the counter, where she kept the bottles of juice ready to pour for desperate customers.  Classic orange seemed to be called for, but Berry had never been one to stick to convention!  No, this juice had a much deeper, redder color from the addition of a portion of 'blood orange' juice, making for a sweeter and less acidic beverage.  Sugar and vitamin C, that was what the juicer ordered!

 

"Another late night at the drawing table?"  She asked, as she poured out the glass and slid it over to the unicorn.  "I know Pinchy's been looking forward to the next chapter; it's been all I can do to keep the secret that the writer of Sailor Mare is right here in Ponyville!"  She chuckled; it was indeed hard to keep such a secret from her daughter, who Berry knew would be elated!  She'd also probably not leave the poor narcoleptic mare alone, which would probably put poor Bunny in trouble with her publisher due to missed deadlines.

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Tehengu was resting on a cloud after a long trip back to Ponyville, sighing to himself. He would have to head home after he was done resting though, that trip seemed harder than he remembered it... well, he wasn't getting any younger, that was for sure. Still, he wouldn't think it'd be like this, not for a while. 

 

After a minute, the griffin stretched a bit, about to head to a bar when he noticed the black cloud moving into a store. His eye narrowed a bit, flying down from his own cloud to investigate, only for the cloud to dissipate as soon as he landed. Well, at least that was taken care of. 

 

"What was that cloud all about?" He asked as he entered the store, looking between the two mares that were inside. "What happened to her?" He asked Berry, gesturing to the other mare. 

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Applejack wasn't much of a drinker. Well, actually, it was just that she rarely saw need to leave Sweet Apple Acres for her fix. Apple juice and milk as far as the eye could see? Check. She produced more of both on her farm than any other farm she knew of with the exception of milk and dairy-only farms, but that was a minor footnote in her claim. Sweet Apple Acres Apple Juice was the most popular brand of Apple juice that came from real working farms, and second most popular in all of Equestria. If she wanted a nice coopl drink at the end of a long day or in case of emergency she could get it herself, and for the most part, looked at other, non-Apple juices like the abominations they were. The idea of putting orange juice in her was...sickening, to say the least!
Unless it was from the Orange family, then she'd stomach it in their presence. Family and all.

 

And when it came to wine- well, she liked some varieties of wine. There were several varieties of Apple-based wines and spirits that Sweet Apple Acres produced, though none of it was produced in large numbers. Apple brandy was also a favorite, and the ruinously named Applejack beverage. It wasn't Sweet Apple Acres biggest claim to fame but they produced it all nonetheless to a nice, if unremarkable considering their size of operation, profit. Certain holidays and times of the year saw that side of the business grow of course but it was never one of the main drivers of Sweet Apple Acres' success. This year had seen that side of the business do pretty dang well, but there was always monumental room for improvement as far as she was concerned. 

 

When it was Cider season, things were different. Both hard and soft ciders were huge, nationwide hits. The hard cider was kept to certain establishments and the orchard itself- bidding wars for contracts for several years and of course annual ones were pretty fierce in the months leading up to it. While day to day Apple sales ended up providing the longest term profit, cider season was the biggest annual infusion of cash into the operation. It was big business, big news, national news, and soon enough, international! It wasn't an exciting time to be sure. And since they had invested a lot in storage this year, chances are fewer barrels than ever would go bad. Awesome time to be in the business.

 

So as she trotted over to Berry's shop, she was here for two reasons. No, not normally a wine mare, but she had a bit of a celebration coming up and she didn't want to dip into the family stocks. And she had business to conduct. Good business, juice, wine, cider- anything and everything that Berry may be interested in. She trotted in mere minutes after the shop opened, a pep in her step as she endeavored to lose the post-pregnancy weight.

 

"Howdy Berry!" she said as she trotted over, her genial tone bouncing with the energy of the fresh morning. She put down an order form about five pages long, with items and descriptions, for Berry. "For yer convenience and such. Ah can fill everythin' in tha first three categories quick-like, rest is seasonal. Speaking of- whatcha got for two mares, no foal, night out in tha clouds?"

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Raff no like wine.

 

Bad taste. Strong taste. And bitter. Much hard to swallow.

 

But juice...juice was good.

 

Because sweet pony friends had given juice to Raff as job well done, punching boulders down into dust...less than dust! No boulders left. Raff been very proud, had stood over cleared land and gotten many pats on head in gratitude. And juice! And also shiny gold pieces ponies tell him can exchange for many things. Bits, they called them, and like gems could be used to get other things.

 

Like juice. Which is what Raff wanted.

 

So Raff go get.

 

"Raff want juice," Raff said immediately after squeezing his way through the door. Best pony shop for juice, he'd been told, and best pony shop meant best juice. "Raff get juice?" he asked, making his way towards the counter - where he promptly tripped.

 

Raff caught himself halfway down, rolled over to land on side instead of on top of pony who was crawling towards the seats. A loud bark escaped him, but fall no hurt. Too tough! Instead Raff righted himself onto all fours, large head shifting down to sniff tired pony - and wrinkle his snout. Pony had acrid smell...like ink. Maybe paint? Not good smell on pony.

 

Juice smell better!

 

"Pony get juice too," the Diamond Dog asserted, picking up tired pony between two hefty paws and forcibly planting her on stool, where nice smelling juice was waiting. More smells followed - bird-folk, and bright orange pony who smelled of apples. Good! Much help needed to get juice. "Give juice for gold?" Raff questioned rhetorically, already digging under scarf for golden pieces. Pony friend had already assured him golden bits could be traded for things, lots of things. Only needed certain number of gold. 

 

Raff hoped he had 'nuff for required juice.

 

"Drink juice, feel better," the large creature tried to reassure the tired pony, carefully pat patting her head the way he liked his head pats. Other paw produced three of the golden pieces from scarf, and these he placed on counter table. Hopefully, three pieces 'nuff to get him juice with a sippy straw.

 

Need sippy straw.

 

 

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Bunny didn’t appear to register anything happening around her. A tiny, ominous cloud still lingered above her head, chasing its tail in endless circles as the lump previously known as Bunny Moon sobbed and groaned. Not sleeping hurt and she was tired but at least her chapter was done! That meant she could shop for more sugar. And she was safe from the fearful hoof of her manager! But she was still so far from-

Oof. Something had collided with her and tripped, falling over to one side. Blearily, the mangaka blinked over at a...puppy? She blinked once, twice, and all of a sudden she was lifted off of the floor in large yet kind paws and placed next to her...juice! Sugar! Desperate, her grabbyhooves grabbed the juice and lifted it close enough for Bunny to drink down. The fresh, bright sweetness rushed through her and brought her back to the land of the living. The more sugar that coursed through her, the more her eyes widened and grew alert. And just like that, she was back!

What a kind puppy! Bunny Moon was so very grateful both to him and to Berry Punch for helping her with her post-chapter blues that she was moved to pay that kindness forward. Her expression back to its flat, boring self, the mangaka hopped out of her seat and placed a gentle hoof on Raff’s paw so he would lower it.

“Thank you Raff. Now let me repay you,” she said quietly, then “A round of juice, Berry, for everypony. On me-zzZZzzzZzzZz,”

Ah yes, a combination of being overtired and afflicted by narcolepsy struck again!

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Well, well!  Business wasn't usually this good so early in the day; usually the first rush was right around lunchtime, with ponies stopping in to get refreshments on their break, or perhaps supply a picnic.  Though Berry rather enjoyed a lengthy chat with her first customer of any day, it looked as if she'd be much busier.

 

"Don't worry about her too much; she just pulled an all-nighter, and stopped in for a little liquid sunshine to recharge."  She said brightly to the griffon.  "How about you, handsome?  Here for a quick drink of something sweet, or are you looking out for a bottle of something special?"  She winked, flicking her tail behind the counter.  Most ponies in town knew of her tendency to flirt with customers from time to time; Celestia knew that the mare herself had been on the receiving end enough times.  Maybe it was the whole 'barmaid' vibe that she seemed to give out sometimes, or maybe it was the fact that she still kept a fine figure after having a foal (though hers was, admittedly, the sort of figure that was built for that.)

 

Speaking of new mothers... In came Applejack with the normal order form!  Berry had to wonder, sometimes, why the mare sold some of her product retail rather than direct.  Sweet Apple Acres wasn't that long a walk from her store.  As far as she understood it, a lot had to do with storage capacity, as Berry had invested in a few magical cooling units imported from Canterlot, letting the product keep longer.  Not that Sweet A.A. Juice kept on the shelves all that long!  "Well thank you, I'll have to do a quick check of the inventory before I get this back to you... oh, and you have a date night coming up, too?"  She gave a knowing smile to the mare.  "Good on you for making the time.  O'course, helps a bunch that you got family nearby to take care of little Zap.  How is the little guy doing, by the way?"

 

All the while, the back of her mind was running through thoughts for a wine recommendation for AJ and Rainbow Dash.  Something special and worth sharing, for sure, but probably not one of drier, beefier ones.  Berry had a weakness for a good cabernet, but that didn't seem like their style.

 

"Raff want juice, Raff get juice?"

 

Whoop, that was going to have to wait, too!  Yet another customer had come in, a diamond dog by the looks of it, fresh off one of the labor jobs that they did so well.  She wasn't sure how old Raff was; he had a foal-like way of talking, but he was so big!  But, it was hard to judge age for non-ponies.  In any case, she was happy to oblige him.  "Sure thing, hon!"  She poured out more of the blood-orange mix, smiling at Bunny as she offered to pay for the round.  "That's kind of you- oh, heh."  She didn't have the heart to poke the narcoleptic, after all, poor Bunny had pulled an all-nighter, and a pony certainly could use some sleep after that!

 

"Alright now, Applejack."  She said, returning to her thoughts on wine selection.  "If you're looking for something that Rainbow would like, well!  Just got a nice batch in this week from the Clopton Coast.  Made from the native zinfandel grape, grown on old vines, so each bunch of grapes has a good deal more sugar in them.  Makes a dark, but semi-sweet wine, goes well with pretty much anything, and is perfect for picnics!  It's not well known as of yet, so it ain't wildly expensive, either.  10 bits a bottle!"

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"I see. Believe me, I know what that's like. I've had more all-nighters than I care to remember." Tehengu replied, chuckling before things got a bit hectic. Where had they even come from? He recognized Applejack from around town, but who was the dog? Thinking back over what was said, his name was probably Raff. And then thinking a bit further back, the griffon froze, blinking his one eye a bit. Did she actually flirt with him? 

 

"Depends on what you've got. I wouldn't turn down something stronger than juice. No offense." He said, sitting at the counter and adding the last part for the other two ordering drinks. "Raff, right? I'm Tehengu. I don't remember seeing you around town before, what do you do?" The griffon was curious about the dog. The mare too, but she was sleeping now. 

 

"You've got a kid, Applejack? Congrats. May have to stop by and see him before I head out next." He said, turning to look at the orange mare briefly with a smile. 

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"No rush right at tha moment, Sugarcube. After Ah'm done here Ah'll be at tha market 'til tha end of tha day. Take yer time, make tha right decisions, see me when yer done," Applejack offered sweetly in return, with full knowledge of how stressful a rush could be. Normally she'd wear a bit more of her salesmare cap but with a rush of customers and some odd ones to boot, she wasn't gonna try and take her attention none. If Applejack had to hazard a guess though, a few barrels of apple juice, some wines, maybe some brandy- and pre-orders for the upcoming cider season! It was a wonderful time of year and Applejack wasn't gonna waste it. It was good to see her business wasn't the only one hopping and bopping. The next chamber of commerce meeting was gonna be pretty exciting for all involved, a bunch of success stories coming  together...she should bring something to drink. It was bound to be a party.

 

At the mention of a date night, she chuckled. "Somethin' like that! Had ta postpone it a few times on account of Zap feelin' a bit under tha weather, but we're ready ta go. Personally Ah'd want ta bring Zap up thar with us but- well, ya know how Dash can be when she wants somethin', or somepony, to herself," she said with a wink. Rainbow was a good mom and all but she was still Rainbow Dash and stuff that cramped her style still cramped her style. She wanted a night alone with Applejack and she figured that maybe she could go one night without needing to be within twenty feet of Zap Apple at all times. She figured it was gonna be harder for her than it would be Rainbow, but once the wine started dropping she reckoned it would be a fun night. They'd spent so much time around foal and family and friends that it'd be nice to just cut loose in private.

 

Speaking of cutting loose- Applejack had to believe the mare who was caught in a cycle of waking up and falling back asleep had either one of the deepest nights of dense partying ever or had pulled an all nighter for work purposes. Judging the lack of slurring to be a notable piece of evidence she would assume it was for work. She was used to that, doubly so now on account of Zap Apple. "Looks like yer workin' yer tail off, Sugarcube. Whatcha do that's gotcha all tuckered out?" She asked, not pegging her at all for a laborer. She knew most of those types in the area and this stranger wasn't one of them. Come to think of, Applejack hadn't seen her around here at all...nah, she had. Rarely though. "Crystal...?" She asked to nopony in particular, noticing then that she was out of it. She wasn't gonna wake her up none. Allow her to rest. 

 

Which allowed her to take a gander at the Diamond Dog that was hanging about. He sounded like a good sort based on what she had been told before. He'd take almost any job and was a gentle sort. Nice and friendly, not at all like some other Diamond Dogs. "Howdy there, Riff Raff! How're you doin' this fine day?" She said as she took note that he wasn't having some fine Sweet Apple Acres apple juice. Well, that certainly wouldn't do. Plus she had a bit of a proposal for him that she was pretty sure he'd be a big fan of.  "Hey Berry, get this fella some apple juice ta go down all nice an' easy like. Speakin' of easy like- Big Mac's gonna be out of town for a week or two soon. Would ya like ta come by and do some work on tha fields? Pay ya a good rate," She said, more than happy to hire good hooves(or in this case, paws) for certain times.

 

Speaking of certain times, Berry had the right idea for a nice wine. Personally Applejack liked something with a bit of a heavy kick but she knew that RD liked her drinks fruity and sugary- unless it was cider, which Applejack was thinking she had a hankering for for reasons other than taste alone. Ten bits a bottle? Not bad. Knowing how much both she and Dash could put down, more than one would be a requirement. "Now that's why Ah come to you, Berry! Nopony knows wine like you do. Ah'll take...hmm...three bottles as well as mah usual," she said with a bit of pep in her step. She pulled out her saddlebag and picked out six bit purses, each one with ten bits, and put it on the table. As she did so, somepony congratulated her on her new foal- something she would never not be happy about!

 

"Thank ya kindly! Little Zap Apple's probably takin' a nap right about now...that or driving Big Mac up tha wall, hehehe. He seems ta think tha moment his mommas leave ta do something that it's tha proper time ta wake up and cry all over Big Mac. Big lug ain't good at changin' a diaper either, which makes all the more fun ta watch," she said with a healthy chuckle. Ahh, the joy of motherhood- watching other ponies suffer alongside you!
 

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From the moment he set his hooves in Ponyville, Silverglade felt that this was a bad idea. He missed the peace and quiet of his home in the Velvet Strand. Back home he felt a sense of purpose, even power. Here in Ponyville he was simply a visitor, a word that made him cringe as he knew that while visitors to the Great Nimbusgait Lakes were needed to sustain his way of life many had little regard for keeping the natural settings pristine. But even the bountiful island he lived on didn't provide everything he needed, so her had to seek out places like Ponyville to gather the necessary supplies.

 

There was another reason for his trip today, not for things but whispers of a wine shop in Ponyville. Was the shop merely a place where it was sold, or did the owner actually make wine? This could mean the difference between partner or competitor. For that reason, Silverglade decided to make his presence and profession known by adorning himself with long coils of grape vines wrapping around his body and legs and a crown made of smaller more bendable grape vines. 

 

"Let's see what you offer," Silver said in his stoic tone as he entered the shop. Already there was a motley assortment of patrons there and... why was there a mare asleep on a cloud? Was that a very large dog that could talk asking for juice? 

 

"Is the pony who is asleep ok?" he said to the nearest guest by the door, "I might have something to revive her." 

 

Spoiler

Time to dust off one of my characters. I left the question open to anyone who wants to meet Silverglade first. 

 

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Yes juice!

 

Raff roared his approval as tired pony pay for juice, and juice pony gave him...well, juice. Done good work, get good juice! Raff vaguely heard snores from left side, but was hard to notice when juice appeared in front. No sippy straw though...

 

...Oh! Raff forget. Raff dug under scarf some more, first pulling out Chunga and carefully placing him on counter next to juice. Then again, searching underneath...there is collar...some bits...good rock debris from earlier...and ah! There! Raff pulled out curly sippy straw from scarf and stuck it in juice, before - careful - picking up juice between both paws. "Thank," Raff said to both tired and juice pony, before carefully getting sippy straw in mouth and carefully taking drink of juice.

 

Success.

 

Juice do good juice. Raff happily sipped juice and, with the force of tail wags against countertop, slowly began to rotate stool, could see other ponies more better now. Tired pony was asleep for some reason, prompt Raff to push her glass closer to snout. Maybe juice smell wake her. Too busy drinking juice to wake her himself, though. Bird-folk also nearby, and Raff ducked head a bit as bird-folk talk, still taking careful sips of juice. "Name Raff," Raff said, ears twitching a bit as bird-folk ask question. Good question. "Raff punch rocks!" Raff informed, happy, because Raff liked punch rocks. Raff liked punch many things!

 

Though some good things to punch, some bad. Raff can't punch everything, ponies get mad.

 

But if Raff only punch good things, ponies give work to do! Apple-smelling pony offering work...and apple juice! Both good times. "Raff do good work on farms! Get good rates!" Raff exclaimed, heading springing up. Tail go crazy. "Raff can do hard work, can punch only good things," Raff said, because some ponies need know he can punch only good things, not bad things. He punch all the good things, no worry.

 

Until strange silver deer enter shop. Maybe worry?

 

"Something revive?" Raff said worriedly, body hunching down. Glass still in paws, no break. But prepare to defend sleeping pony friend! Maybe. Silver deer seem okay, no smell bad. Smell...earthy. Soil and plants. Good smells. But what revive her means? Raff don't know. So Raff prepare. 

 

Show apple pony Raff knows to punch the good things!

 

 

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It had been a very long trek from Neighpon to Equestria. First setting hoof in Equestria, Rua was happy to see it was as peaceful as it was. Besides the occasional disagreement and/or tiff with the natives, the experience was overall pleasant. The deeper one went inland, it seemed as if tales of Ponyville and exploits of it's second newest addition to the royal family were inescapable. At the very least stopping by such a renowned town in the country was something a kirin like Rua could not forgive herself to pass up while she was here. The actual walk here was incredibly exhausting, especially seeing as she couldn't afford a carriage and tended to turn down most who offered. There was no reason she couldn't walk here... none at all... certainly not the lack of funds. In fact coming to this country and doing the occasional odd-job had given her more coin than she had thought for a somewhat problematic reason.

 

Finding anything besides vegetables in Equestria to eat seemed almost impossible! It really shouldn't be as surprising to the Ronin as it was. The population of the country was overwhelmingly Equine and most food sensibilities reflected that. For a kirin of Neighpon though... Fish was somewhat important and she had been building a potent hunger for it since her first step on Equestrian soil. By the ancestors she missed Sushi. The taste, the texture, the effort of cutting it up properly: Just thinking about it made her mouth water. A hunger for the comforts of back home was nothing she couldn't deal with, but an actual physical hunger from an only half fulfilled diet: That was going to be a problem. 

 

This problem had been felt as she finally began her first walk about the town today actually and a while before. She'd felt tired all afternoon, as if she'd been wandering about in a daze. Her eyes felt heavy like she could fall asleep at any moment if she didn't keep moving.  There had to be something that could give her a bit of energy... in this bright yet fish forsaken town there needed to be someplace that could sell her something like that.

 

...

 

Eventually her eyes fell upon a shop, "A... Juice shop?" The wobbling kirin put her hoof to her chin, Juice... probably wasn't going to fill her dietary desires. She was about to walk on along until she realized. "Tea." A look of revelation spread over the foreigner's face, "Tea... is Juice though. Basically boiled leaf juice." Back home she remembered how a well made cup seemed to fill her with vigor, and Rua could definitely use some of that now. A deep breath filled her lungs before she removed the little woolen satchel she carried with her from her wooden sword. A cloven hoof rifled through it's contents, "Seven bits... That should be enough at least for tea." The white and gray Hakama on her form fluttering lightly in wind as she drowsily lurched to the establishment.

 

She made her way in, her tired eyes and slightly unbalanced gait taking her across the floor and past and unconscious unicorn, A diamond dog, a pony with a stetson, a griffin, and with a deer with wings. She'd heard Ponyville was a Diverse community, but that was definitely impressive. Rua stopped in front of the group and exposed an unsteady smile, "Um... Do you Sell... Tea... Also is she alright?" She gestured to the mare on the floor. 

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As quickly as she nodded off, Bunny’s eyes snapped open and she whipped around, uncharacteristically quick, to find the juice shop had gotten rather crowded! Oh dear! The things one missed when one was prone to nodding off so frequently!

She blearily blinked up at Applejack, a flush on her cheeks. Applejack was like a real, live magical girl...like a character from a manga walked right off the page! A local hero and guardian of Equestria! Who wouldn’t blush prettily in the presence of such a mare?

“I’m a mangaka,” the unicorn replied bashfully, “I had a deadline today and was up all night working on my latest chapter…”

A little awkward and flustered, the sugary little mare finished her juice and laid her empty glass on the counter before sliding more bits towards Berry. More bits for more juice! But more importantly…

“Um, Berry,” she ventured in her quiet, flat voice, “You said Pinchy reads Sailor Mare? Do you think she would like a print? I could make one just for her and sign it. If that’s alright…”

Though her typical, dull tone of voice might make it seem as though she wasn’t really interested in busting out her watercolours and inks for any little filly, it’d be impossible to miss the twinkle in Crystal Moon’s soft, lavender gaze. Her heart was absolutely aflutter with joy! She just adored her fans, especially the young ones! Inspiring young ponies was something Bunny always aimed to do, so if she could show a little appreciation to fillies like Pinchy, well, she just had to!

On to the next…

“Raff,” she said quietly, turning to face the diamond dog, blinking tiredly, “You’re very sweet. Could I draw you? A pure heart...you have a pure heart, the kind that the characters in my manga fight to protect. I think I’d like to model a character after you if that’s okay…”

But then…

Well, there was a stunning peryton and a kirin here now too, and a gryphon...and...wow! What an exciting crowd!

“I should draw this,” the mare thought so herself, so she pulled a drawing pen and a roll of paper from out of her braided tail. A voluminous tail - looks good and holds stuff!

“Can I draw you all now?” she asked everypony dully. Such a nice scene...such a lovely memory!
“I think this is nice.”

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Berry smirked at bit at Tehengu's taken abackness, but the griffon seemed to regain his stride relatively quickly.  "Sure thing, hon.  How about a nice little number from the Prench left bank?  Nice and rich, but not a killer on the pocketbook.  Les Chateau Chival, it's called, quite the find.  It's made from a blend of the darker, heavier grapes, cabernet and syrah.  You look to be the sort of fellow who can appreciate his tannins."

 

While she was fetching the bottle for his inspection, she also rounded up Applejack's order, handing it off for the exchanged bits.  She spared a glance over at Raff, and smiled.  "Aw, shoot.  I wish you'd reminded me about that; I'd have had a straw for you ready.  Well, at least you got one of your own!"  The dog really was a sweetheart, rough paws and all.  That's not to say that she wouldn't keep a close eye on him if Pinchy wanted to play together, but that was just a mother's caution.  She was sure he'd understand.

 

There was little time to break for a chat, though, as new customers started to come in!  First off was a deer, not from around these parts, if she was any judge.  Were those grapevines growing in his antlers?  Well, if he was a fan of the vine and it's fruits, he was in the right place!  She gave him her warmest smile, calling out, "Well, hi there!  Must be new here, I'd have certainly remembered someone good-looking as you."  She said with a wink.  "Don't you worry about Bunny Moon here, she's just pulled an all-nighter, is all."  Before she could continue, yet another customer came in, equally exotic looking!  And... in not so good a shape, either, hm.  "Listen, Ah, didn't catch your name."  She spoke to the deer.  "You got anything for her?  I don't see tea, and she might need something more by the looks of it."  She nodded towards the kirin, giving Rua a sympathetic look as she did so.

 

It was right about then that Bunny revived, offering a signed print for Pinchy!  "Why, that's awefully kind of you!  I know she'd be over the moon to have something like that."  She chuckled.  "And go ahead and draw!  I never minded showing off my looks, and from what I can see, nopony here's got anything to be ashamed of."

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"Wine? Not usually my thing, but I'll try it. I'm sure you've got good taste in the stuff." Tehengu said, smiling a bit as Berry went to retrieve the bottle. He turned his attention back to Raff after that, blinking at his response. He punched rocks? Well, there were worse occupations he supposed. 

 

"Well, good luck with that then. I tend to punch bad guys. Or shoot them. Usually I shoot them." Tehengu responded, giving a nod to the dog. Then there were a couple new arrivals, a peryton and a longma, the latter of whom looked like he did after long journeys with limited supplies. The griffon gave a sympathetic look to the mare before speaking. 

 

"Looks like she needs some food. Anyone got any to spare? And I've got nothing against you drawing me, go right ahead." He said, giving a nod to the mare offering the drawing. 

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Riff Raff was a good Diamond Dog, wasn't he? She had worked with a hoofull before, though she would admit to always keeping one eye on them. After you watched some try to ponynap your friend to serve as a Diamond finding slave, you sorta had a dim view of the larger whole. Luckily, most had shown her that the vile ones were the vast minority. Most were dogs- all the good, all the bad, and all the individuality that came with it. Riff Raff was more of a pup, but was another in a line of pleasant types that Applejack dealt with. "Happy ta hear it, Sugarcube. Meet me at Sweet Apple Acres near tha west orchard at tha crack of dawn," she said, thinking for a second before taking a napkin and drawing a map. Best to help him since he wouldn't know the Orchard as well as she. "Here, just follow these directions. We'll have somethin' ta drink before we hit tha fields. Sound like a plan, Raff?" She said, a broad smile playing on her face as another smile making incident took place.

 

The sleeping pony was a mangka, which meant diddly to Applejack. Sounded like an insult from across the seas or something, though ashe listened she figured out that she meant she worked on those comic-things that the fillies liked. Sailor Mare- that's a name Applejack knew! And here the creator was sleeping and such after a long shift near a deadline, something Applejack udnerstood better than most. She couldn't remember how many nights ended with her deciding to lay down in the east orchard to take her nightly siesta from the waking world. While her work was drastically more physically draining, she knew from her close friendship with Rarity that creative types could be drained mentally just as harshly. "Well, here's ta good, hard work no matter what it is!" She said, offering up a toast. "Ya know, mah little sis likes that Sailor Seaddle filly from yer comic. Ah know y'all probably can't choose 'cause it's like pickin' a favorite child, but Ah gotta ask- whose yer favorite?" Applejack asked, fully aware that parents very much picked favorites.


It was then that she noticed that Peryton enter. Well, that was a sight! You didn't see them all that much away from the safety and beauty of the Velvet Strand. She'd only been there once but found them a nice and agreeable sort and it struck her as cosmic balancing that other four-legged creatures also had flighty, winged brothers and sisters. If they found deer with horns then Applejack would start to look for winged cows and surely go mad. He asked if the Mangka was doing fine or needed to be revived, which was a moot point once she sprung briefly back up to full conversational power. Applejack tipped her hat in Silverglade's direction as a thanks for his attention to care. "Howdy there! Ain't seen you 'round these parts. Ah'm Applejack- pull up a seat an' have a drink, fella," She offered a seat close by, always happy to meet somepony, or in this case somedeer, new. 

 

And what a day it was for new ponies or similar creatures as a Kirin approached, looking a bit haggard. Now this may come aross as insensitive if Applejack ever gave voice to it out loud, but she was gonna take a stab in the dark and suggest this one fancied herself some sort of samurai or ninja. Neighpon had those still and she had the look of one. Tired as all heck though as if she had been walking all around this great land of Equestria. Fetching though. "Hey Berry, give this one some extra Sweet Apple Acres Apple Juice, on me. Looks like she's been on a mighty long trek...howdy there, Sugarcube. Ah'm Applejack. Welcome ta Ponyville!" She said, extending her hoof for a friendly shake. Then the topic of drawing everypony came up and Applejack's ears perked up. "Well, Ah don't see why not. Ah think it'll look mighty fine!"

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"Something revive?" the large talking dog was the first to reply to Silverglade. The Peryton was still surprised to see that this creature was able to speak or even be allowed in a store. Maybe ponies in Ponyville were used to accepting more creatures in the world. The winged deer wondered if the dog was asking what he had to revive the sleeping pony or if he was asking what revive meant.

 

"Yes, Revive, as in to return to a waking state?" Silverglade said in a low stoic tone, "And I do believe I can revive her."

 

A newcomer joined the shop guests, this time a Qilin. She seemed to be a combination of pony and dragon, something the Peryton had yet to see from his homeland. 

 

"Also is she alright?"

 

"That is what we are trying to ascertain. Also, I must say I haven't seen one in appearance as you where I am from. May I ask your name and if I be bold to ask what species you are? Also, you do not seem to be in the best of health either if I may say." 

 

Suddenly the sleeping pony in question woke up! And she wanted to draw the ponies, Peryton, griffon, Qilin, etc? 

 

"I never had somepony draw me before, but I suppose you can. Before that, are you alright? You were fast asleep in this shop." 

 

Well, hi there!  Must be new here, I'd have certainly remembered someone good-looking as you."  She said with a wink.  "Don't you worry about Bunny Moon here, she's just pulled an all-nighter, is all."  Before she could continue, yet another customer came in, equally exotic looking!  And... in not so good a shape, either, hm.  "Listen, Ah, didn't catch your name."  

 

Silverglade smiled a little. Ah flattery! It was hard to resist from a pretty store owner and for a Peryton who was skilled in attracting and convincing others. 

 

"I can say the same thing for you. I am glad to hear that Miss Moon is just suffering from lack of sleep. Ah yes, my name is Silverglade from the Velvet Strand. I myself am also an owner of a wine and juice shop as well as a winery. May I ask your name?"

 

"Looks like she needs some food. Anyone got any to spare? And I've got nothing against you drawing me, go right ahead." 

 

"I brought some grapes from my winery for my travel here," the Peryton said looking at the starved Qilin and then back at the griffon, "Although I am not sure if that is of her diet." 

 

"Howdy there! Ain't seen you 'round these parts. Ah'm Applejack- pull up a seat an' have a drink, fella,"

 

"Greetings to you as well, Applejack. Yes, this is my first time in Ponyville. I'd be happy to join you for a drink once I attend to this emaciated... pony." 

 

Spoiler

Alrighty! I think I got everypony! Also, if you want a example of how Silverglade acts, think Thranduil from The Hobbit series. 

 

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Roach left the train with a sigh. That ride couldn't have taken longer if they tied a full grown dragon to the caboose.

 

Glancing at a clock at the station, he just took notice of how late it was. His family likely wouldn't be up for a while and he still had quite the trek on hoof. Perhaps he'd spoil himself and find a motel for the night. Before he takes off he places a cigarette in his mouth and lights it with a match he pulled out from his vest. A short walk was all it took for him to stumble across the small business and even notice some of the ponies inside. His eyes scanned the building and he pondered a thought. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to make one quick stop before finding a place to crash for the night.

 

He wasn't the biggest drinker, in fact he's hardly touched alcohol, period. There were a few things he tried back when he was still in his teen years, but never made a habit out of it. More often than not, he would just drink water. He could kill a barrel in a matter of minutes, which used to stun family after he first returned from the long trip that eventually landed him a new home.

 

Spitting the cigarette from his mouth, he entered the winery, ignoring pretty much everything as he found a seat and waited for somepony to offer him service. It would be rude for him to stroll in and demand a drink right off of the bat.

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Hmm...

 

Raff no understand much, but, shiny deer pony with earthy smell say wake. Wake up tired pony? That okay.

 

"Okay, you go do good revive," Raff say, attention back on juice, because good juice smell make him want more juice, so more juice Raff sip. Juice running low, no good. Raff dig around under scarf again, put more golden pieces on countertop, and carefully place empty glass on countertop. Return things to owners, that good work. "Raff get more juice?" Raff ask, purposefully push glass towards wine and juice pony, ears perk up at words. "More sippy straw? Have purple sippy straw?" Raff only have red sippy straw, very good straw. But Raff has wanted straw match Chunga. Chunga purple, need purple sippy straw. 

 

Speak of. Raff grab Chunga from counter, cuddle in arms as he looks back at others. Bird-folk shoot bad things...shoot bad things? Raff no understand, much easier to punch good things, things that ponies need punch. No understand, but is okay, for bird-folk to shoot not punch. Raff tail wag back and forth, open mouth to say how good thing to shoot -

 

- jumps and yelps a little when tired pony suddenly wake! Deer done good revive, yeah, but Raff almost break stool from force of jump! Raff waited, stiff, listening at tiny creak and groan of wood underneath and hope Apple pony can no hear. Wont give good rates if Raff break bad things! Good luck though - stool no break, stool just creaks once more, then stool goes quiet. 

 

Good stool. Be good quiet stool.

 

Stool do good job, because Apple pony give napkin with directions. Don't make much sense to Raff, but Raff know where Apple trees are - very strong smell, especially in mornings with wind blowing past burrow. Very nice smell. "Sound good plan, yeah," Raff say, tail again go crazy and he squeeze Chunga happy, "be there morning, get good rates!" Good rates for good sippy straws.

 

Two new ponies. One strange looking, not like other ponies but like other ponies, very pale. Pale no good, ponies need have color for health. Other makes Raff snout crinkle - bad smell from pony. Acrid. Smokey. Raff shift closer towards not-so-tired pony, hiding head in Chunga to mask smell. Chunga always smell of rescue pony. 

 

Chunga always smell good.

 

Chunga also like draw - Raff too, have some coloring books found in trash and thrown away. Most already colored, but some have white pages. One pony give him four crayons once - purple crayon almost gone, still have three others! "You do draw," Raff say, holds up Chunga for not-so-tired pony to get good look, "make get Chunga good side! Chunga shy," and Raff promptly buries head in Chunga again. 

 

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Rua's ears fell along with her expression as the information sunk in. There went one of the creature comforts. Ponyville probably somewhere in town that sold tea, but this was slightly disheartening. A quick shot of energy from any source of sustenance would do...but so far prospects were looking dim. "No tea... That truly is a shame. That it is." The kirin's voice was still subdued but there was a noticeable hint of disappointment in her tone, "Do you have anything that may grant a traveler a bit of extra energy?" Not a second after she'd asked that a ... what did you call them? Berry tones? ... a winged deer offered some grapes and Rua spoke up as if on reflex(as well as rather loudly), "Anything will do! That it will!"

 

The ronin cleared her throat and averted her eyes from the group after her outburst and bowed her head politely to Silverglade. "I mean. I would most grateful if you are offering, that I would." Not long after that offer of charity came another. This one came from a blonde pony with a curious hat she'd seen a few Equestrians wearing. An offer of drink to boot! Such kind creatures in this town! "You are both too kind, that you are." Hoof met hoof and was followed by a shake, "It is nice to meet you, Applejack. You as well, winged cervine. My name is Hanari Rua... and I am not emaciated. Just... tired is all. That I am."

 

At the idea of being drawn, Rua shook her head vigorously. She was still rather unkempt! Allowing herself to be seen when she hadn't been able to perfectly trim and style her mane, that would be an insult to the very samurai who it was shaped after! Rather than actively deny the artist that right she instead swiftly positioned herself behind a diamond dog behind a stool while still in conversation distance of Applejack and Silverglade. "Um... please don't move?" She asked the dog with a slightly pleading smile, "By the way your friend is very cute." She said, gesturing to his plush little dragon. Once she'd finally worked up some courage to respond directly to the sleepy pony on the floor, "I-I'm sorry but I cannot allow myself to be seen like this!"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Roach glanced over at the excitement, unsure of what exactly was going on. They all seemed to be preoccupied with their own situations. In his eyes, some of them were acting just plain weird.

 

Turning his attention elsewhere, he decided that he should probably go ahead and order something. As fun as it may be, he didn't come here to gawk at other ponies. He looked over the selection, unsure of what to pick. He was never much of a drinker, but never really got his hooves on wine either, so he was at a double negative here. A hum escaped his throat as he went over the choices, before settling on something, despite not knowing what it would be. "If you have a house special for wine, I would like to try it." Before ending it there, a quick, honorable mention on currency came to mind. "Do you take gems as payment?"

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It was getting crowded now and Bunny realized she had caused quite a stir. “Sorry everypony,” she said loudly enough so they could all hear her, “I nod off a lot thanks to my narcolepsy.”

Bunny smiled up at Berry then with a slight flush on her cheeks, getting back to business, “I’ll have to send Pinchy a surprise in the mail,” she said bashfully, then began rubbing the back of her head while her blush turned a shade deeper at Applejack’s words.

“I’m so glad to hear that. Maybe I can send your sister a print as well, if that’s okay,” she answered sheepishly, then shut her eyes and grew still while she thought of who her own favourite character might be...hmm, well that wasn’t very difficult was it? She opened her eyes and looked dreamily out the window, “Olympos is my favourite...um, or Tuxedo Mustang you might know him as. He was...I wrote him...he’s inspired by somepony I knew years ago.” It’d be impossible to miss the fact that the flush on Bunny’s cheeks intensified so much she was practically glowing, not to mention that romantic gaze...yup! She was a pony in love. In love with what she imagined somepony she knew had grown into, maybe, but in love nonetheless.

The small mare smiled over at the peryton and offered him a little nod and spoke up, her voice back to its usual boring, flat tone, “Thanks for worrying about me and offering to help. That’s a very kind thing to do for a stranger.”

Bunny was almost immediately put off by the smell of cigarette smoke as somepony new stepped into the shop. She narrowed her eyes a little as they watered and was almost about to turn seriously grumpy until Raff spoke up again. Everything he did was...well, it was unreasonably, unspeakably adorable. The mangaka’s heart was just about to burst as he held his Chunga forward for her, it was enough for her to completely forget about the awful smell clinging to the newcomer.

“Raff,” she said flatly, shuffling towards him with wide and shining eyes, “You are a perfectly delightful and wonderful individual. You and Chunga both.” And just like that she shuffled away from him again to get a good vantage point for her drawing!

It looked like everypony was on board, except for the kirin, who seemed a little embarrassed about her hair and...oh wait! A kirin! Bunny had a sneaking suspicion she knew what this stranger needed aside from a good cup of tea. Her parents, after all, had grown up in Neighpon! During her foalhood, she had made many trips there and gotten to know plenty of kirin and ryuma. And one thing she knew for certain: they ate fish, food that is much harder to get one's hooves on in Equestria.

“Ah,” she piped up, tilting her head at Rua, “Hanari Rua-san? Ohayo! I have plenty of ryokucha at home...matcha, sencha, genmaicha, gyukuro...I could package some up for you later if you’d like. For now, Berry has plenty of fantastic juices to revitalize you...trust me. Her juice has me this energized after pulling an all-nighter, it’s really spectacular. And ah, I know a few spots not far from town where you could catch plenty of fish...I can help you with that if you’d like. I just finished my latest chapter, so I have a whole day to myself for once…

And um, ah, about your appearance? I’m not taking a photo, just drawing...I can make sure you look immaculate, if you don’t mind...but I can leave you out too if that’s what you’d prefer.”

So that just left the newcomer, “Um, sir?” she called out, looking in his direction, “Would you like to be in my drawing as well?”

In any case, she could start drawing everypony else! Bunny whipped out her drawing supplies and set to work with her ink brush while she held up her sketchbook. She’d make Silverglade sparkle, and she’d light up Berry like a ray of sunshine. She hoped she could capture Applejack’s charisma, and knew she’d have to have the bad-guy-shooting gryphon look very heroic. Raff she made look as kind as she could manage, and Chunga at his side looked very handsome, if bashful! So all that was left was-

“zzZZzzZZzzZzz”

Bunny had fallen asleep once again, her face falling straight into her drawing.

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And now the morning had officially moved into "busy hour!"  Not that it hadn't been unofficially there since... well, since the minute Berry opened the door for business!  Hopefully this foot traffic translated into good sales, but for now, the mare was more than happy to be a good hangout spot for the town.  After all, happy ponies (and griffons, dogs, and perytons!) made for faithfully returning customers!

 

Speaking of which, a newcomer had just come in the door.  Berry knew she'd have to give him priority.  "Sure thing, stranger!"  She nodded brightly to him, perhaps the one pony there who didn't mind the smell about him.  It reminded her of home, or, at least, certain aspects of her past.  Dim rooms with loud music, thick atmosphere, and heavy dancing to the beat outside and inside your head... she wouldn't trade them for anything, but you couldn't pay her to go back at this point.  Much better to be out in clean and bright air, serving smiles, winks, and very good drinks.  "Our house red today's the fine little number I was just helping Applejack find."  She gave the orange pony the last bottle of her order, before opening another for Rune.  "Haven't seen you around these parts before.  I'm Berry Punch, by the way."  She gave a slight turn to the Peryton to indicate her introduction to him as well.

 

Next priority was her next paying customer, the increasingly-adorable Riff-Raff!  "Not a problem!"  In two shakes of her tail, a freshly-refilled cup of juice with a bright purple straw was ready for the Diamond Dog and his little friend.

 

And, last one for now, an energy pick-me-up for the worn out Kirin!  "Just a moment, got a nice little number in from Mexicolt.  They've got some special berry, Assai-ee?  Something like that.  It's pretty bitter, had to mix it with Sweet Apple Acre's finest to make it taste sweet, with a bit of lime to make it refreshing rather than cloying.  It'll perk you right up!"

 

After pouring out the last glass, she stepped back to take a bit of a break.  Phew, it was too early for her to get tired like that, there was still a whole day in front of her!  Should spend some time chatting with customers, that always picked her up.  Well, that plus her own wares, but she could hardly drink during business hours!  "So, Silverglade, was it?  Can't say I've sampled your wares yet; were ya thinking of branching out in distribution?"

 

Looking over, she saw Bunny Moon slumped over her drawing, and gave a light, friendly tap on her horn.  "Still feeling alright?  Or do you need someone to take you home?"  She looked over at Tehengu.  "I'm sure I can trust you if needed to carry her, right?"  She requested as she poured out the ordered glass from him.

Edited by PrinceBlueblood
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Fresh off a rather difficult dental appointment; Sunrise Wisp definitely needed a recharging drink. "Pegasi... There's always gonna be a crash that'll need my reconstructive touch or convincing replacements...", she muttered to herself as she left her clinic and flipped the sign over. She trotted off towards Berry's shop, she was in dire need of coffee and juice. 

 

After a few minutes of trotting, the sea green coated and greyish blue maned mare stepped into Berry Punch's shop. The shorter mare smiled softly as she saw that although it wasn't quite midday, the place was quite busy. She waved her hoof and was about to speak before her eyes adjusted and she was stricken dumb by the occupants of the shop.

 

"Oh my twinkling stars... A peryton, a griffin, and a Diamond Dog... And Applejack!", she whispered before quickly looking herself over. She was still wearing her dental uniform and there was a flouride toothpaste stain! "I'm not presentable!", she screamed internally before shaking her head and taking a few calming breaths to clear her head. Everything will be just fine!

 

 

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