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Herd 02

By Hawkeye
Created: 18th December 2020 04:15:41 PM

  1. >"This wallpaper is simply dreadful, darling."
  2. "Amen to that." you laugh. "It'll have to go."
  3. >"Noted." Jim Beam nods, making a note on his clipboard.
  4. >Upstairs Rarity fawns over the natural light in you potential office, but refuses to go outside on the balcony.
  5. >"Anonymous, I can see just fine from here, I refuse to place my life in the hands of that deck!"
  6. "Your loss."
  7. >"I have to agree with Miss Rarity, to a degree, boss." Beam chimes in. "While it isn't an immediate danger, it is lacking in structural integrity."
  8. "Very well, I was just going to have it restored and repaired, but I suppose you recommend a complete replacement?"
  9. >"Yup."
  10. "Give me an estimate for repairs and for replacement." you sigh. "We'll see what happens."
  11. >After a tour of the bedrooms (Jim assures you the tile can be salvaged for reuse) your group makes its way down stairs.
  12. >Walnut finds you as Jim inspects the main fireplace.
  13. >"Anon, a word?"
  14. "What's up, Wally?"
  15. >"I've made my assessment." he says, handing you some papers. "The important floors can all be restored. A few rooms on the east end are rotten or water damaged beyond repair."
  16. >You share a look with Rarity.
  17. "Thanks Wally. You sticking around or heading home?"
  18. >"As inclined as I am to vacation on your dime, I really do need to get home." he replies. "Besides, I suspect I'll be spending plenty of time here in the coming weeks."
  19. "Nothing is set in stone."
  20. >"Uh huh, see you in two weeks." he says, waving on his way out.
  21. >Rejoining Jim, the three of you complete your inspection of the house.
  22. >"I'll get in touch with the usual contractors and get a few quotes. Obviously Walnut will send his own. I should have a preliminary total in a few days."
  23. "I have a meeting with Gabe, the realtor, in six. Will you have it to me by then?"
  24. >"Not a problem. Contractors work best on a deadline anyways." Beam nods.
  25. "I appreciate it, Jim. And thanks for coming on such short notice."
  26. >"I overheard the princesses discussing your...situation, while I was dropping some paperwork off at your office in the palace." he shrugs "So this job wasn't that much of a surprise."
  27. >Note to self: tell Twilight that the princesses should be more discreet.
  28. >Also: All of Celestia's and Luna's projects are of lowered priority.
  29. "Yeah, it sure is something." you grimace. "Anyways, thanks again. I'll keep an eye open for those bids."
  30. >Beam leaves, and you and Rarity lock up behind him.
  31. "So Rares, what do you think?"
  32. >"Hmm, well I can see why you like it." she hums. "It certainly has a sort of charm to it, though it will need a lot of work."
  33. >She stops, and you look down at her.
  34. >"Anon, look me in the eye and tell me you are fit to start this project."
  35. >Meeting her gaze, you can sense real concern.
  36. >It surprises you -enough that you pause to truly consider her question.
  37. >Taking a moment, you consider her words for a moment as you walk.
  38. >It was going to be a lot of work.
  39. >You weren't going to get much rest.
  40. >Twilight was going to be on your case constantly.
  41. >...
  42. >No...
  43. >You won't let the negatives stop you.
  44. >You turn back to your friend and meet her gaze once more.
  45. "Yes, Rarity. I can, and will, see this through."
  46. >The mare smiles back as you resume walking.
  47. >"Then I will help you as much as a mare can."
  48.  
  49. >Wearing your favorite jeans and a hoodie, you made your way to the field down by the river.
  50. >You have been aware since the afternoon that Rainbow is following you.
  51. >Rarity spotted her while you were out on the deck with Jim.
  52. >But hey, you figure you can lure her into practice and sick AJ on her.
  53. >So now you walk towards the group of ponies huddled around the Apple siblings.
  54. >"A-anon!?" one of them gasps as he notices you.
  55. "The one and only!"
  56. >"Told ya we got a new secret weapon!" AJ beams.
  57. >"Won't be a secret long, though." Big Mac drawls. "Not after we destroy the Stormers."
  58. "Thunderlane's still using that name?" you ask, joining the group.
  59. >"Some things never change, Sugarcube."
  60. "Say AJ, what would you say if I told you Rainbow is here?" you asked in a hushed tone.
  61. >"Say what now?"
  62. "Look in the trees by the road I came in on." you nod.
  63. >AJ surreptitiously glances that way under guise of grabbing something from her saddle bag.
  64. >"Well I'll be... what's she doin' up there instead of down here?"
  65. "She's been following me. Rares pointed it out."
  66. >AJ chuckles.
  67. >"That sounds like Rainbow alright." she says grabbing a rope from her bag.
  68. >She ties a few knots then eyes the tree again.
  69. >Like lightning, the rope shoots from her grasp, and she bites down hard on the rope, pulling mightily.
  70. >With a yelp, a startled blue pegasus is dragged from her hiding place among the leaves.
  71. >Big Mac grabs the rope and the Apples reel in the struggling Rainbow Dash.
  72. >You simply sit on the ground and watch with your new teammates.
  73. >"Welcome back, Rainbow!" one of them cheerfully greets.
  74. >You look around, appraising the team.
  75. >With you, the Apples, and Rainbow Dash, you'd be unstoppable.
  76. "Hey Rainbow, you up for some pass-plays?"
  77. >"Uh, h-hey Anon." she stumbles. "Y-yeah, let's play some hoofball!"
  78. "You gonna stick with us for the games?"
  79. >"I can't. Work-"
  80. "If your work schedule changes?"
  81. >"Uh, yeah. It's not like I wanted to quit."
  82. "Alright. Where's that pigskin?" you say, getting up and clapping your hands together.
  83.  
  84. >The evening progresses quickly, and you take over the offense.
  85. >Big Mac still calls the defense, and he's got a real knack for it.
  86. >It's simple, clean, and brutally effective.
  87. >Your offense is now a huge threat.
  88. >Well, it will be.
  89. >Needs a lot of practice.
  90. >Rainbow is fast as always, but she's a bit rusty in that whole 'catch the damn ball' department.
  91. >And the old QB, you've sent him back to where he began: Tight End.
  92. >But he's also rusty, and needs more time to get in the game.
  93. >You've got almost two weeks to practice still.
  94. >And, if nothing else, you had a lot of fun and worked up a good sweat.
  95. >Heading back towards town, Dash catches up to you and lands.
  96. >"Hey Anon, that was great! We're gonna smash Thunderlane in the next game!"
  97. "Yeah, I think we have a good chance. The work is really going to be on Mac to stop their run offense, I don't think we'll have any trouble putting points on the board."
  98. >"So AJ told me you know I was following you-"
  99. "Don't worry about it. I'm sure you were just trying to figure out how to help Twilight."
  100. >"Heheh yeah."
  101. "You working tomorrow?"
  102. >"Nah, I took a few days off to follow you." she admits.
  103. "You up for a couple of beers on me?"
  104. >"Dude, are you kiddin' me? When have I ever turned down free beer?"
  105. "When have you ever missed practice?"
  106. >"I know, I know." she sighs. "I still don't know what to do about my schedule...
  107. "Don't worry about it." you smile. "I've got a plan for that."
  108. >"Alright dude, but if it doesn't happen I'm telling AJ it's your fault."
  109. >You laugh, and lead the way into your old favorite bar.
  110. "Hey Dusty, been a long time." you say, sliding into a seat at the bar.
  111. >"Anon, good to see you! Visiting or staying?"
  112. "Staying for a while." you say as Rainbow drops into the seat next to you. "Two of whatever's good."
  113. >The older stallion stops to think and then pours two tall glasses.
  114. >"Cider fer Rainbow, and a Hefe fer you, Anon."
  115. "You remembered!"
  116. >"Never ferget a regular." he nods sagely, then turns to a couple down the mahogany a ways.
  117. >You shoot the shit with Rainbow for most of the evening.
  118. >Her stunts, the latest adventures of the Elements, your projects, everything and anything.
  119. >Eventually the beer starts to do its job, or the cider does at least.
  120. >After an awkward pause, Rainbow gets real.
  121. >"Anon, look. I'm not good at this mushy stuff."
  122. "Hahaha you're telling me. So is this about why you were spying on me?"
  123. >"No! Wait, yeah! C'mon Anon, you know what's goin' on here."
  124. "I do~" you say with a smirk.
  125. >"Anon! Knock it off, man. Like, just tell me what you want in a mare and I'll get right on it!"
  126. "Alright, I think that's enough for tonight." you say as she finishes her cider.
  127. >You pay the tab, and help Rainbow into the night.
  128. >"Anon, come on, throw me a bone here!" she whines, leaning against you. "You tell me you want a shy pegasus, and I'll leave Flutters tied on your doorstep! Just give me a hint!"
  129. "I'll not have you kidnapping ponies for me."
  130. >"So no kidnapping, but the shy pegasus-"
  131. "I'm not interested in Fluttershy, Dash."
  132. >"She's a cute mare!"
  133. "She is cute." you agree "But as you'll recall, Rarity already tried that. We're better as friends."
  134. >"Aw man, but-"
  135. "She had a nervous breakdown when we went on our first date, and I ended up in the hospital after our third. Fluttershy needs someone with a less active lifestyle."
  136. >"Ooooh, I get it! I got it! Don't worry Anon, I know just the mare!" she says taking shakily to the air.
  137. "Rainbow..."
  138. >Before you can object, Rainbow Dash zips off, taking an erratic route towards her cloud home.
  139. >You furrow your brow as she disappears into the night, then turn towards the Crystal Castle.
  140.  
  141. >The next morning you're reading the newspaper while listening to Spike airing his grievances.
  142. >Treated like a child, unpaid, overworked.
  143. >You know, the usual.
  144. >Can't blame the little guy.
  145. >He's been like this for about six months now, after he finally realized that Rarity was just humoring him.
  146. >Rainbow Dash, god bless her, cannot keep a secret when she's drunk.
  147. >She's not even the Element of Honesty.
  148. >And now that he isn't fawning over Rarity, Spike has taken fair appraisal of his life.
  149. >But that's Twilight's problem.
  150. >As you read over an article about the most recent hoofball game, last night comes to mind.
  151. >You decide to pay Fluttershy a visit, then maybe take a walk through Whitetail Woods.
  152. >Folding the paper, you start for the door before remembering something else.
  153. >You go to your room and scribble a brief note to Celestia, and grab a few bits.
  154. >Returning to the kitchen, you spy Spike washing the dishes.
  155. "Hey, Spike?"
  156. >"What's up, Anon?"
  157. "If you could send this message to Celestia I'd appreciate it. Bits are yours." you say, dropping the items on the table.
  158. >"Really? Sure, thanks Anon!"
  159. >Too easy.
  160. >It's amazing how a little show of appreciation can make him happy.
  161. >You hum idly to yourself as you walk out the door.
  162.  
  163. >With a knock, you arrive at Fluttershy's.
  164. >She opens the door with some trepidation, but relaxes when she sees that it's you.
  165. >"Oh, um, hello Anonymous. Come in, please."
  166. >You make your way inside, and she leads you to the kitchen.
  167. >Looks like she just finished breakfast herself.
  168. >"So, um, what can I do for you Anon?"
  169. "I just came by to see how you were doing." you shrug, watching as she puts on a kettle.
  170. >"Oh, well, you know, nothing exciting."
  171. "Naturally" you smile. "How are the animals?"
  172. >"They have their days." she sighs. "Most days they're just a delight to be around, but sometimes..."
  173. "I take it today isn't most days." you frown.
  174. >"It's just that Angel Bunny has been sick, and without him to help, the animals can get a bit rascally."
  175. "What's wrong with him?"
  176. >"Just a nasty little bit of Bunny Pox, he'll be fine in a week or two."
  177. "A week or two? That sounds kind of serious."
  178. >"Well, I never let him get sick like that when he was little, and Bunny Pox gets worse as you get older. But he'll be fine, he just needs to rest."
  179. "There's no medicine for it or anything?"
  180. >"Zecora could probably help..."
  181. "But then you'd have to go into the Everfree." you say, nodding in comprehension. "Not a problem. I was going to go walk in Whitetail Woods, I'll go to Zecora's instead."
  182. >"Oh, Anon! Thank you!" she squees, hugging you tightly.
  183. "Not a problem. Can't have the best vet in town getting all stressed out."
  184. >Tea is served, and you settle into a nice little conversation, admittedly you do have to ask a lot of questions just to keep her talking.
  185. >She's really a nice girl, if a bit socially inept.
  186. >She very animatedly described her visit to the Fillydelphia Botanical Gardens.
  187. >Apparently they have extensive avian and butterfly gardens there.
  188. >She just lit up describing it.
  189. >But soon she had to go take care of some of her animals, so you rose to leave.
  190. >"Anon, um, before you go?" she speaks up at the door. "I'm sorry, about last time..."
  191. "Hey, you and I are different people. That's fine. You're okay with us as friends, right?"
  192. >"Oh thank you, I'm just glad you aren't mad at me." she smiles sweetly.
  193. >You run your hand through her mane, and then you're on your way.
  194.  
  195. >Be Fluttershy
  196. >It was lovely to talk to Anon again.
  197. >He was so patient with you, even Rarity wasn't that patient.
  198. >Anon has always been so good to you, he deserves a special somepony in his life.
  199. >You may not be very good at this kind of thing, but gosh darn it you knew more about Anon than most ponies.
  200. >Maybe as much as Rarity.
  201. "Rarity..." you mumble aloud as you clean the henhouse. "Her and Anon would be so nice together."
  202. >It occurs to you that you have a spa date with her today.
  203. >You'll have to talk with her about some mares for Anon.
  204. >It would be good to be prepared, you just know Rarity already has a long and useless list in mind.
  205. >She'll have arranged every mare in town in order of most to least cultured.
  206. >Anon only ranks halfway up that list himself, probably.
  207. >You giggle to yourself remembering how uncomfortable he was in that suit on your first date.
  208. >Good thing you lightened the mood by accidentally tripping that other tables waiter.
  209. >Filthy Rich is a big jerk anyways.
  210. >What was it Anon said?
  211. >"I don't know why he's complaining, he's usually covered in whine from that brat of his anyways."
  212. >Smiling at the memory, you start considering your friends in town.
  213.  
  214. >Be Anon.
  215. >Already a mile into the woods, and it is dark and verdant.
  216. >You always loved the way the light filtered through a dense forest.
  217. >Especially in the fall.
  218. >The bronze mats of fallen leaves underfoot, the silver trunks of the trees, and most importantly the bonfire pallet of the turning leaves above you, brilliantly illuminated in the mid-morning sun.
  219. >Several times you pass squirrels or deer, and once you spy a coyote.
  220. >It still bothers you a little how... managed... the wildlife is in most Equestrian locales.
  221. >Takes some of the excitement out of running into the odd woodland creature.
  222. >Suddenly the trees open up into a wide field.
  223. >You stop and look around.
  224. >Tall grass covers the meadow, with the forest continuing on the other side.
  225. >You're pretty sure you've never been here before, so that must mean you missed a turn somewhere.
  226. >Well done, Anon. Bravo.
  227. >Henry the Navigator, right here folks.
  228.  
  229. >You spot a pony across the meadow though, so it is unlikely that this is a particularly dangerous area.
  230. >Tan with a dark red mane, maroon maybe? Hard to tell from here.
  231. >You're pretty sure you've seen her around town before.
  232. >Either way, you're lost, and you have no map, so off you go to meet a new pony!
  233. >Wading through the grass, you realize that the pony is gathering some sort of, well, it looks like sumac to be honest.
  234. >Never know in this world though.
  235. >Peach honey, blue strawberries... grocery shopping was a trip when you first landed here.
  236. "Hey, uh, can I ask you a question?" you say as you get close.
  237. >Turning to face you, the pony drops the polesaw she was using and wipes her brow with a hoof.
  238. >"Hi, yeah. Unless it's about the sumac, I've already filed on this field.
  239. "So it is sumac, neat." you reply. "But no, I don't need any of that. I need some directions. I was trying to get to Zecora's but ended up here."
  240. >"Oh, sure!" she chirps brightly. "You must have come from over by Fluttershy's, right?"
  241. "How'd you know?"
  242. >"She's a friend, so I come from that direction a lot. It's easy to end up here instead of on the path south though if you're not paying attention or don't know where you're going."
  243. >Ouch, your pride.
  244. >"I'm probably going to Zecora's after I finish collecting here, I could just show you if you want."
  245. "As long as I'm back in town by three." you say with a shrug.
  246. >"Hot date?" she asks smugly.
  247. >You just laugh as she takes up her polesaw again.
  248. >After watching her for a few minutes, you realize that you can make this go a lot faster by being twice her height and having hands.
  249. >You pick up a pair of clippers she has with her, and get to work gathering.
  250. >It speeds things up a lot, and the bush is soon clear of its deep red berry clusters.
  251. >"Show-off" you hear her mutter under her breath.
  252. "Sorry?"
  253. >"Nothing, nothing." she smiles. "Thanks for the help. Let's get to Zecora's in time to get you back home."
  254. >The two of you proceed into the forest, Roseluck leading the way.
  255. "I don't really have a date, you know."
  256. >"Are you sure? Rarity is clever like that."
  257. "How do you know I'm going to visit Rarity?"
  258. >"Because no one buys more flowers in Ponyville than her." she smiles. "And Rarity loves to talk."
  259. "That she does." you laugh. "But Rarity and I are good friends. Nothing more."
  260. >"I think that's what she thinks, too." she grins slyly. "But some ponies are more observant."
  261. "Some ponies are very nosey." you counter.
  262. >"Pays to know your customers."
  263. "You know, I just realized, you have me at a disadvantage. You are...?"
  264. >"Roseluck, Anon. But you can call me Rose."
  265. "Very well, Miss Rose."
  266. >"Just Rose. I'm no princess."
  267. >You smile at that.
  268. "You know quite a bit, I may have underestimated you, Rose."
  269. >"Now that could be dangerous. Mares are wily." she quips.
  270. "So is it Rarity or Fluttershy that talks about me?"
  271. >"That would be telling. But I'll let you know, just this once, that both do. And a few others from time to time."
  272. "I never knew I was so popular."
  273. >"Many single mares seem to find you quite the catch. I can't wait to see who you pursue." she answers with a twinkle in her eye.
  274. "Do you share the things you hear, Rose?"
  275. >"Sometimes. I always try to help my friends." she looks at you with genuine curiosity. "Why?"
  276. "Do you know why I'm back in town?"
  277. >"I assumed it was the dam. In that interview you mentioned it."
  278. "I did. Good interview. But no, I am, not entirely willingly, on the market."
  279. >A pause.
  280. "For multiple mares."
  281. >"That explains why I've been hearing so much about you all of a sudden."
  282. "I hope Fluttershy is okay with it."
  283. >Rose gives you her most sincere smile yet.
  284. >"Don't worry about 'Shy, Anon. She's grateful that you helped her as much as you did. But she's very happy just being your friend. Like I told Rarity, her social anxieties are something she needs to work through with a professional, not a special somepony."
  285. "I'm becoming suspicious of how much you seem to know, Rose."
  286. >She ignores your statement.
  287. >"I do know a mare who will be keenly interested in this news." she muses quietly. "So tell me hot stuff, why a herd, and why now?"
  288. "The answer to both is 'the princesses'"
  289. >"Your alpha mare is a princess?"
  290. >You have to stop while you laugh, taking a knee while you catch your breath.
  291. "Oh God, ohhhh. Oh man, no. No no no."
  292. >"What's so funny? I know Princess Twilight has eyes for you."
  293. >Note: save that info for later.
  294. >It does explain a lot.
  295. "I am not, and I never have been, dating a princess." you assure her. "I don't really know the first thing about herding, it's something I'll have to ask Rarity about later today."
  296. >"So the princesses are making you form a herd?"
  297. "Yup."
  298. >"I'm gonna guess...you're well off, smart, but a non-pony. I'll go with four."
  299. "I wish."
  300. >"Three?"
  301. "Wrong direction."
  302. >"You're complaining about having a large herd? Also, five."
  303. "Yes, and no."
  304. >"You'll come around to it, Anon. You just need to meet the right mares."
  305. "Well, I'm letting the Elements find them, so hopefully that works out. I get to relax and have fun while they figure this mess out. I should point out that it's all Twilight's fault this happened."
  306. >"Those six are a little...crazy, when they're together at least. Also, you said no to five?"
  307. "Twilight is better with the others to balance her. And that is correct, five it too low. Shall I tell you?"
  308. >"Six. It has to be six."
  309. "Seven."
  310. >"Seven!?"
  311. "Seven." you nod grumpily. "We're here."
  312. >Before Rose can respond, you knock on the door, summoning Zecora.
  313. >"Ah, Anon! My foreign friend, what helping hoof may I lend?
  314. "Zecora, it has been a long time. Next time you're in Ponyville you should look me up so we can catch up. Sadly though, I am here on business today."
  315. >"I'm glad to hear you're back in around, I shall stop by when I'm in town." she smiles warmly. "But you say your visit has a cause, but you did not say what it was."
  316. "Angel Bunny, Fluttershy's rabbit, is sick with Bunny Pox. She said you might have something to help him?"
  317. >She ponders and begins to look over her various remedies and herbs.
  318. >"All poxes are their most severe, in beings getting on in years. But for the rabbit you will find, a helping friend in starfruit rind." she says, handing you a sack of the fruits. "Rub the creature once a day, to help the pox fade away."
  319. "Wow, that's simple. Thanks Zecora!"
  320. >"Zecora? I've got some things from my latest trip..."
  321. "I'll leave you ladies to it, I need to get back." you say, making your way to the door. "And thank you for your help today, Miss Roseluck."
  322. >"Have fun on your date!" she winks.
  323. >You shake your head as you make your way down the path, leaving the giggling mares behind you.
  324. >These ponies.
  325. >Ridiculous.
  326. >Rose in particular.
  327. >Soon you're back in town, and you make your way to Fluttershy's place.
  328. >Seems she's not at home, so you leave a note and the sack of fruits on her doorstep.
  329. >Checking the time, you realize you have exactly three minutes to get halfway across town to the spa.
  330. >Blessed mother of acceleration, don't fail us now!
  331. >You jog through town, making it to the spa ten minutes after the hour.
  332. >Pausing outside, you catch your breath and straighten your clothes.
  333. >Casually dressed, fashionably late.
  334. >Pushing open the door, the twin ponies who run the spa look up and seem surprised to see you.
  335. "I am supposed to meet Rarity here, am I early?"
  336. >"Oh, no, she is here." the blue one answers. "One moment."
  337. >You shrug and take a seat.
  338. >"It is not often we get customers that are not ponies." the pink one says, walking up to you.
  339. "Well I'm used to being gawked at a bit." you chuckle. "I'm Anonymous, by the way."
  340. >"Of course, Mister Anonymous. I am Aloe. My sister is Lotus. Is there something you hope to get out of your visit?"
  341. >Oh hoh!
  342. >Assuredly not what she meant.
  343. >Rarity wouldn't take you to that kind of spa.
  344. >You knew some Canterlot types that probably would.
  345. >"Mister Anonymous?"
  346. "Sorry, lost in thought." you chuckle sheepishly "I don't know what you can really do for me, I'm just here to humor Rarity. I guess I'll put myself in your hooves, ma'am."
  347. >She giggles cutely.
  348. "Let me go see what we can do for you, Mister Anonymous."
  349. >With that she disappears into the back room.
  350. >Moments later her sister, Lotus, appears.
  351. >"Mister Anonymous, Miss Rarity and Miss Fluttershy are finishing their mud baths, if you would follow me, you can meet them in the hot tub."
  352. >You pull yourself to your feet and gesture for her to lead the way.
  353. >Passing through the mud room, you wave to Fluttershy, who returns it with a small smile.
  354. >"Mister Anonymous, Miss Rarity and Miss Fluttershy will join you here." Lotus explains, indicating the large oaken tub.
  355. >You nod, and when she doesn't immediately leave you turn away, drop your towel, and slide in.
  356. >"It is fascinating, Mister Anonymous, to see a being without fur." Lotus says, suddenly beside you, leaning on the edge of the tub. "I think it will be easy to massage somepony when you can see all of their muscles."
  357. >Not sure how to feel about this.
  358. >"I will be back with your friends, there is a bell over there if you need anything." she giggles, picking up on your discomfort. "And do try to relax."
  359. >As she turns to leave you feel her tail run across your shoulders.
  360. >You need an adult.
  361. >On the other hand...twins, Basil.
  362. >If this is anything like Earth, that wouldn't really be an option.
  363. >But this isn't really like Earth.
  364. >Well, sometimes.
  365. >Definitely no herding on Earth.
  366. >Well, not outside of rural Utah.
  367. >On the other hand...
  368. >From a purely selfish standpoint...
  369. >Having a masseuse as a marefriend probably has its benefits.
  370. >You feel kind of like an asshole thinking of it that way though.
  371. >Instead you think about the house you were almost certainly going to buy.
  372. >Leaning back, you sink a bit lower and relax.
  373. >"Anon, nice of you to come, I know this isn't your thing, darling."
  374. "We all know" you say, sitting up "that if I hadn't shown up a very angry marshmallow would have stormed to the castle and given me a piece of her mind."
  375. >A chorus of giggles signals some agreement in the room as Rarity scowls at you.
  376. >"Very well, yes." she sniffs "I suppose that is true."
  377. >"Um, are you having a good time, Anon?"
  378. "I've only been here about ten minutes, but so far so good." you say, flashing her a thumbs up.
  379. >"So we've been discussing your situation, darling. Running through some ideas and such."
  380. "Have you unlocked the secrets to reviving my cold, dead heart?"
  381. >"Oh Anon" Fluttershy titters "You have the softest heart in Ponyville."
  382. >Ack!
  383. >Fluttershy used Kindness!
  384. >It's Super Effective!
  385. >"Fluttershy is right, dear. And you know it."
  386. "I know no such thing." you deny, sliding back into the relaxing depths.
  387. >"Well anyways, we had a little back and forth about it and we have some ideas."
  388. >"I really didn't add that mu-"
  389. >"Nonsense dear! I never would have thought to- oh! I nearly forgot you were here Anon."
  390. >You wave your hand.
  391. "Please, continue."
  392. >Rarity throws you a look as you lean back, just keeping above the water as you close your eyes.
  393. >The two drone on about some plan where they were going to set up some dinner parties or something, you aren't really paying attention.
  394. >Well, really, it's mostly good ol' Squiggletail laying out her plan, while Fluttershy occasionally mumbles something in response.
  395. >"Anon, can you, um, sit up a bit?"
  396. "Sure Flutters."
  397. >Sliding up, you get comfortable again, throwing your arms and head back to rest on the rim.
  398. >After a few moments a pair of hooves land on your shoulders.
  399. >Easy enough to guess who, you've had the pleasure of these buttery hooves once before.
  400. >That second date, man, that went so well.
  401. >You let out a contented hum, and the girls giggle.
  402. >"Oh Anon, you are such a male." Rarity laughs.
  403. "Oh yeah, that really hurts coming from the mare who comes here once a week."
  404. >"It's only proper for a lady to maintain herself!" she scoffs.
  405. "Psh, I've never known someone so naturally good looking to make it look so difficult."
  406. >"Well, I, er-"
  407. >"Oh my~" Fluttershy giggles coyly from across the way.
  408. >Wait a minute...
  409. >You open one eye to see her softly laughing as Aloe adjusts the towel over her mane.
  410. >Opening your other eye you see a rather flustered Rarity.
  411. >Leaning your head back, a pair of sapphire eyes stare back.
  412. "AAAAugh!" you yell, launching yourself halfway across the steaming pool.
  413. >You recover for a moment before heading back to your position.
  414. >"Something wrong, Mister Anonymous?" Lotus looks on half concerned, half laughing.
  415. "I'm not used to... just, you know, warn me next time."
  416. >"You didn't stop me, so I thought it would be okay." she explains, evidently confused.
  417. "I didn't think it was you." you say, sliding back into place as Lotus picks up where she left off.
  418. >"Well who in Equestria did you think in was, darling?"
  419. "I've had the pleasure of knowing some buttery hooves before..." you sigh.
  420. >Now its Fluttershy's turn to be flustered as Rarity smirks at the furious blush on her friends face.
  421. >As those two carry on, you lean back and look up at the suspicious mare behind/above you.
  422. "So, I take it you're responsible for Fluttershy knowing how to do this?"
  423. >"In a way, yes." she answers. "It's a basic technique, but she deserves all the credit for finding just the right way to use it."
  424. "Sharing secrets, are we?"
  425. >"No, but we are moving to the massage rooms."
  426. >You linger after the others, they'd get their go first while you toweled off in privacy.
  427. >Towel firmly wrapped around your waist, you took a seat on a bench in the sauna.
  428. >These two mares are up to no good.
  429. >Both Rares and Fluttershy,
  430. >And the Spa Twins.
  431. >But right now, you felt pretty okay with it all.
  432. >If the perks were going to stay like this, you could deal with it.
  433. >Hell, Rarity really took the whole relaxing while searching thing to heart.
  434. >Eventually you were taken back to a private room, mercifully by Aloe.
  435. >Ah damn.
  436. >Lotus just came in.
  437. >As did Fluttershy?
  438. "Shy?"
  439. >"Well, no one else really knows as much as me, maybe the doctors at Canterlot."
  440. "I see."
  441. >"I can, um, leave, if it's a problem..."
  442. "No, I was just surprised is all." you say, laying down. "Where's Squiggletail?"
  443. >Fluttershy smiles at the joke, then sighs shaking her head.
  444. >"Oh Anon. She's up at the salon. She'll replace me when she's done so I can get my mane touched up."
  445. "Fair enough. So what happens now?"
  446. >Your answer comes as Aloe moves into view and pushes your head down, putting her hooves on your shoulders.
  447. >Four hooves on your back alert you to Lotus's presence.
  448. "So how many mares were on Rarity's list?"
  449. >"Well, um, most of them..."
  450. >You can't help but laugh.
  451. "That's our Rarity."
  452. >"You're lucky its only half." Aloe chimes in.
  453. "See, this mare gets it." you say, pointing at Aloe.
  454. "Perhaps we should leave it to, um, the princesses then?" Fluttershy counters.
  455. "I'm sure Princess Twilight would love to help you." Lotus teases, while coming down hard on a knot in the small of your back.
  456. "Ah-haha-wow!" you cry out. "Yeah, I'll leave it to the four of you. You seem to have the situation in hoof."
  457. >"You're very trusting, Mister Anonymous." Aloe chirps.
  458. >"He just doesn't want to end up like Spike" Lotus quips.
  459. >"Now girls, Princess Twilight is just a little awkward, that's all." Fluttershy chides.
  460. "In all fairness, I do not, in fact, want to end up like Spike." you add.
  461. >"Have you seen him lately, Anon? He never really leaves the castle anymore." Fluttershy asks.
  462. "Yeah, we were just talking this morning." you start.
  463. >You talk about all of his grievances, and you little group brainstorms ways to help him.
  464. >Well, three of you do.
  465. >Lotus's ideas were creative and hilarious, but rarely productive.
  466. >Soon enough, Rarity came in and Fluttershy left.
  467. >"Have you all been getting along?" Rarity asks, taking a seat in the corner.
  468. "Yep, just discussing poor Spikey-wikey."
  469. >"Anon..."
  470. >Might have overdone it there.
  471. >That tone signals dangerous waters captain.
  472. >"Don't worry Miss Rarity, we mostly spoke about his predicament at the castle." Aloe reassures her.
  473. >"Anon promised he wouldn't butt in there."
  474. >Damnit Lotus, you traitor.
  475. >A glance up to see the -yep! Rarity's frown could crack diamonds.
  476. >"Well, thanks Lotus." you say, putting your head back down. "At least I'll look and feel great before I die."
  477. >There's a long period of quiet then, interrupted only to direct Lotus.
  478. >"Well, Anonymous." Rarity finally breaks the silence. "I need to consult your calendar."
  479. "Aloe? Can you grab my things from the locker? 8A, I think."
  480. >"Of course, Anon."
  481. >She's a cute mare. Bubbly.
  482. >Not like the sarcastic seductress on your back.
  483. "My calendar is in my shirt pocket. Planning those get-togethers?"
  484. >"Of course. The sooner we get to work, the better!"
  485. >Good, the distraction is working.
  486. >Soon she mat forget enough that you won't even have to ask forgiveness!
  487. >Of course, if Lotus had kept quiet...
  488. "So where do you plan to have these parties? You know my place won't be ready until Spring at the earliest." you ask.
  489. >"Fluttershy has a lovely yard for the first one. She has it all planned out, and I have to say, I think you'll really love the setting she's envisioned." Rarity sighs. "It isn't how I'd want it, but I have to say, it's a real shame she doesn't host very often."
  490. "You have my attention."
  491. >"I'll host the second one. We're going to see if Twilight will host a third."
  492. "Makes sense to me."
  493. >Before you can continue, Aloe returns.
  494. >"Vera is ready in the salon, if you want, Mister Anonymous."
  495. "No offense, I see a barber in town. It took him a long time to get used to human haircuts."
  496. >"Aw, well alright. We'll see you next time, Anon." Lotus purrs, brushing your leg as she walks out the door.
  497. >You'll have to watch out for that one.
  498. >Handing off your calendar to Rarity, you get dressed while the two girls figure out when they want to have these dinners.
  499. >When you get into the salon, you notice they're still debating dates, so you go out into the lobby to see Lotus at the desk.
  500. "I'll pay for the three of us."
  501. >"Miss Rarity already has, no need to worry."
  502. >Tch.
  503. >Generosity indeed.
  504. "Alright then. I'll pay for their next one."
  505. >Lotus is surprised, but makes the note and takes your bits.
  506. "Gotta take care of your own." you tell her with a wink, then return to the salon.
  507. >You recover your calendar and decide to head over to see your barber for a haircut and a shave.
Herd Herding Hawkeye

Auction Pony Scenes

by Hawkeye

Herd 18

by Hawkeye

Herd 17

by Hawkeye

Herd 16

by Hawkeye

Herd 15

by Hawkeye