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Herd 12

By Hawkeye
Created: 18th December 2020 04:25:19 PM

  1. >You are Lyra Heartstrings.
  2. >And you are bored.
  3. >Bonbon has work, Tavi is in Canterlot still, your only rehearsal this week was yesterday, and you have NOTHING to do!
  4. >It's driving you nuts!
  5. >You haven't even seen Anon this week!
  6. >Anon...
  7. >It's really nice to have somepony to spend time with.
  8. >You should go see what he's up to!
  9. >There's no way he doesn't want to spend time with you, because you're awesome!
  10. >Rolling off the couch, you clean up your snacks and make for the door.
  11. >It's gonna be a good day!
  12.  
  13. >No one answers the door at the castle, but it's always unlocked.
  14. >You're sure that the princess of friendship will understand you coming to visit your coltfriend.
  15. >Roseluck says it was her idea for him to build a herd, after all.
  16. >Humming to yourself, you quickly clip-clop up the stairs and start poking your head into the various rooms.
  17. >You're pretty sure that one of these is his.
  18. >Nope.
  19. >Nope.
  20. >Bingo.
  21. "Anooon?" you call out, closing the door behind you.
  22. >No answer.
  23. >Opening the door to his 'office' you find a lot of paperwork and no human.
  24. >Rats!
  25. >Jumping up onto the bed, you roll onto your back.
  26. >This is a really great bed.
  27. >And even though the sheets are clean, they still smell a little like Anon.
  28. >Laying back, you try to think of where Anon might be.
  29. >Anon is /always/ working!
  30. >How is it that the one time you go to visit him at work, he isn't there?
  31. >If he isn't working...
  32. >...then he must be with one of the other girls!
  33. >That's all he ever does!
  34. >Oh, or the House.
  35. >You can totally see him out there watching the worker ponies.
  36. >And hoofball, for a few more weeks at least.
  37. >Speaking of hoofball, is that his sling lying on the end table?
  38. >Hmmmm... you're not good at lectures, but that colt needs to wear his arm sling!
  39. >You'll just have to guilt him.
  40. >Yes.
  41. >You can see it now.
  42. >You'll give him your best puppy dog eyes, a little lip quiver, fold your ears back...
  43. >He loves your ears, there's no way that won't work!
  44. >Heading out of the castle, you rehearse your guilt trip in your head.
  45. >Anon is going to wear his sling on one arm, and cuddle you with the other!
  46.  
  47. >You are now Lotus, half of Ponyville's premier spa pony partnership.
  48. >Aloe, your other half, is currently off gallivanting around Canterlot with Anonymous.
  49. >It wouldn't be fair to be jealous -Anon has promised to take you to the sea someday, after all- but despite that, you have to admit that you are.
  50. >Just a little.
  51. >If nothing else, life with both Aloe /and/ Anonymous gone is very dull.
  52. >At least they will be back this afternoon.
  53. >So only a few more hours on your own.
  54. >Not that you can't handle the spa.
  55. >Aloe hates it when you make the schedule, but if she had made it she wouldn't have had the free time to go with Anon.
  56. >So it's your fault that she's not here.
  57. >Which is good for her.
  58. >Boring for you.
  59. >You're sending her off with Rose or Lyra next time.
  60. >Then you'll invite Anon over...
  61. >And break all of Aloe's stupid rules.
  62. >Maybe even all at once!
  63. >She would throw a fit, but you know Anon would try to take the blame and Aloe can't stay mad at Anon.
  64. >It's the perfect plan.
  65. >And once you remind Anon a few more times who has the best hips in the Herd...
  66. >You'll be the alpha!
  67. >And that means you're getting foals!
  68. >Probably.
  69. >You know that when you asked Anon about his plans, he mentioned having kids.
  70. >He didn't say with who, though.
  71. >And you certainly aren't going to scare him off by seeming foal-crazy.
  72. >You've seen how quickly colts scatter when a mare brings that up too soon.
  73. >But still...
  74. >The magic exists to help with griffons and minotaurs, so why not a human?
  75. >A small smile creeps across your muzzle as you try to imagine Anon as a father.
  76. >Giggling to yourself, you slip into daydreams as your shift ticks slowly by.
  77.  
  78. >Humming to yourself, minty tail swishing in the Fall breeze, you trot cheerily down the road.
  79. >Anon was not at the house.
  80. >Hadn't been in two days.
  81. >It's good that he's learning to let other ponies do their jobs!
  82. >He's so hands on -which is fine!- but sometimes he does work he doesn't have to do.
  83. >When you finally make it to the market, you hop over to Bonnie's shop.
  84. >Trotting over to the side (Bonnie doesn't like it when you block the counter) you lean in for a boop.
  85. >Which Bonbon grudgingly accepts.
  86. >She's a good pony and a great friend, even if she's a little grumpy these days.
  87. >You just do what you can to be there for her.
  88. "Hi Bonnie! How's the market today?"
  89. >"Slow, but it's Thursday. It's never busy."
  90. "Well, that makes it an easy day at least, right?"
  91. >"I suppose it does." she sighs, smiling just a little.
  92. >But it's still a smile!
  93. >Before you can continue, Fluttershy stops by CarrotTop's out in the square, reminding you of something!
  94. >An opportunity!
  95. >For Bonbon to meet Anon and get to know him!
  96. "What are you doing Sunday?"
  97. >"Hm? Oh, probably enjoying my one day off."
  98. "Fluttershy is having a party over at her place..."
  99. >"You've mentioned it."
  100. "I'd really like you to come alooooong~"
  101. >"Won't you have Anon to keep you company?"
  102. "I have to share him, remember?" you say "Please? For me?"
  103. >Bonbon exhales slowly and nods.
  104. >"Alright. I'll be your wing-mare, even if you don't really need one."
  105. >It's really the other way around, but she doesn't need to know that.
  106. >You just smile and wrap her in a hug.
  107. "Thanks, Bonnie!"
  108.  
  109. "Will you two knock it off?" you snap at your younger sisters, giggling like school fillies in the back of the shop.
  110. >For whatever dumb reason, they have been going on and on about Anonymous all day.
  111. >All day!
  112. >Back and forth, back and forth.
  113. >Daisy clearly isn't sold.
  114. >Lily clearly is.
  115. >And really it's neither of their business.
  116. >Currently Daisy is arguing that if Anon is taking mares on trips, you should be going along as the alpha.
  117. >Lily is arguing that that is stupid and expensive for no reason.
  118. >You aren't even going to open the can of worms that is the fact that Anon has not made any decisions on who will be the alpha.
  119. >Shaking your head, you return your attention to the shop as the bell over the door rings.
  120. >In trots a rather cheerful Lyra.
  121. >"Rose!" she chirps "Have you seen Anon?"
  122. "I believe he's in Canterlot still." you answer "He should be back today."
  123. >"Aww." she whines, sprawling across the counter.
  124. "You seemed awfully chipper...something good happen?"
  125. >"I just had nothing to do today, so I was hoping to spend it hanging out with Anon..."
  126. "Well, he said he was only spending one night there, so he should be back today."
  127. >Something niggles at the back of your brain.
  128. >Ah, yes.
  129. "And he took Aloe, so Lotus might have a better idea when he's getting home."
  130. >Lyra perks up at the suggestion though, so that's a start.
  131. >"Okay! I'll go talk to Lotus, thanks Rose!"
  132. >"Woo! Alpha Rosey taking care of the Herd!"
  133. >You can't help but scrunch up at Lily's proclamation.
  134. >"You would think he'd at least tell his Alpha when he's coming back..."
  135. >Your withers sag and you involuntarily roll your eyes in exasperation.
  136. >These two are driving you insane.
  137. >"Why are they calling you Alpha mare?" Lyra asks obliviously. "Did I miss something?"
  138. "No Lyra, no you didn't." You say, voice starting to rise. "Some gossipy mares with /nothing better to do all day/ just made assumptions about how things are going in the Herd because they have /no love lives of their own/ to discuss and would rather drive their big sister up the wall than go out and meet a nice colt!"
  139. >For a moment, silence reigns.
  140. >Lyra looks awkwardly between you and the mares behind you.
  141. >Then the sound of hooves in full gallop up the stairs and a slamming door.
  142. >Followed by slower hoofsteps as Daisy grumbles her way out the back door.
  143. >You release a breath you didn't even realize you were holding.
  144. >"Rose...please don't be mad. I'm sorrrrrrry." Lyra whines, grabbing your hoof with both of hers as you press your face into the cool wood of the countertop.
  145. >Luna on the moon, this day just can't end soon enough!
  146.  
  147. >After reassuring Lyra that it wasn't her fault, you send her off to the Day Spa to talk to Lotus.
  148. >You still had several hours before you closed up shop.
  149. >Looking around the shop, you take stock of the situation:
  150. >Lily is crying in her room.
  151. >Daisy appears to be tending to the flowers in the hothouse.
  152. >There are two half-finished arrangements that need to be completed by six and seven o'clock, respectively.
  153. >The market outside appears to be fairly busy...for a Thursday.
  154. >And you are the only one left working in the shop.
  155. >With a shake of your mane, you buckle down to work.
  156. >Moving one of the arrangements closer to the counter, you pick up where Lily left off.
  157. >A fairly standard Fall themed centerpiece for Fluttershy.
  158. >Probably for this Sunday.
  159. >Horseapples, you really wish Anon was around right now.
  160. >You don't mind being in charge -with four younger sisters, the role comes naturally to you- but it is nice to know that he has your tail.
  161. >He puts so much faith in you, and you've only known him for a few weeks!
  162. >You just need somepony to vent to right now.
  163. >Maybe you can see if Red or Rarity are free for a drink or two tonight.
  164. >Lyra clearly won't be, and without her it'll be impossible to get Bonbon to come out.
  165. >Settling on heading over to the boutique after you close, you put on a smile as Cloudchaser comes through the door.
  166. >The hits just keep on coming!
  167.  
  168.  
  169. >You hum a gentle tune as you slowly stroll down the country lane leading to Sweet Apple Acres
  170. >There's just a few things left to get ready.
  171. >Hosting a party isn't really your strong suit, but it seems to be coming along just fine.
  172. >Especially after Rarity made Pinkie promise not to interfere.
  173. >You'd hate to have to use The Stare on a friend.
  174. >And Twilight has been too busy lately to check in on you.
  175. >Sometimes you wonder if "check on Fluttershy's checklist" is on Twilight's checklist.
  176. >The gentle flapping of wings alerts you to another pegasus flying in.
  177. >As you emerge from the shade of the orchards, you watch Flitter touch down in front of the farmhouse.
  178. >She seemed like such a good fit with for Anon's herd until he and Cloudchaser started to have problems.
  179. >It's a shame, really.
  180. >She maybe a little socially awkward, but there's nothing wrong with being shy!
  181. >Some colts even find that kind of thing cute!
  182. >Anon probably does too...
  183. >No, he definitely does...
  184. >Pausing on the steps to the porch, you wait as Applejack trots over from the barn.
  185. >"Howdy, 'Shy! Pickin' up, or just coming to visit?"
  186. "Hello, Applejack. I, um, both I guess?"
  187. >"Well come on inside then! I think Flitter is waitin' on me anyways."
  188.  
  189. >Following Applejack inside, you can see Flitter seated at the table.
  190. >Granny Smith is cooking something at the stove.
  191. >A surreptitious sniff offers a blend of spices, caramelized sugar and, of course, apples.
  192. >Applebutter, maybe?
  193. >"Granny? Fluttershy is here to pick up the vittles for Sunday, are those ready?"
  194. >"What?"
  195. >"Fluttershy's pies and all, are they ready?"
  196. >"Oh, um. Hrmmm lemme think a second..."
  197. >Applejack is nonplussed.
  198. >"That's right, I put 'em over here..." the elderly mare mumbles, plodding over into the dining room.
  199. >Applejack rolls her eyes and nods in that direction.
  200. >Luckily, she's standing next to several boxes all neatly wrapped and tied.
  201. >Quickly running over the list with Granny Smith assures you that everything is in here.
  202. >You go to ask Applejack if you can borrow a cart, but she's gone to go get something.
  203. >Instead you and Flitter stand in the kitchen while Granny hums to herself at the stove.
  204. >...
  205. "Um, so there's going to be a little party on Sunday..."
  206. >Flitter looks up.
  207. "You should come by! I mean, if you're not busy, of course."
  208. >"A party?"
  209. "Yes." you nod. "Nothing as loud as the bonfire was, just good food and friends before the weather gets too cold."
  210. >"I could probably come. Will...will Anon be there?"
  211. "That is kind of part of the reason we're having the party."
  212. >Hopefully she doesn't push that issue...
  213. >You're not a very good liar.
  214. >"I'll think about it."
  215. >"You really should stop by, it's going to be so nice!"
  216. >"W-well, I'll think about it, but Cloudy-"
  217. "She ain't your mother, Flitter." Applejack cuts in, returning from another room. "But I understand that blood runs thicker than water."
  218. >"I don't understand-" Flitter mumbles.
  219. >"Means that yer always gonna be close t' yer family!" Granny squawks from stove.
  220. >"But just because you're close, doesn't mean they're always right." Applejack adds, hoofing over an envelope.
  221. >Flitter sighs as she takes it.
  222. >"Cloudy just gets so competitive sometimes..."
  223. "I don't want to cause a fuss..." you offer.
  224. >"Oh, I know! She really reminds me of Rainbow Dash sometimes."
  225. >You can't help but giggle.
  226. "Hehehe they're super alike!"
  227. >"Just don't go sayin' that around Rainbow..."
  228. >You nod in understanding.
  229. >She would probably get upset.
  230. >And then do something rash.
  231. >Which would backfire spectacularly.
  232. >And you and the girls would get pulled into a dangerous adventure to help her.
  233. >A shiver runs down your spine just thinking about it...
  234. >You've had enough adventures already this year.
  235. >You shake those thoughts from your head.
  236. >"-a cute mare, and I'm sure Anon won't be the only colt there."
  237. >"I suppose I can go, at least for a little while."
  238. >"That's the spirit! And then your sister can't give you any grief over never goin' out!"
  239. >"I guess that sounds nice, and I did have fun at the bonfire-"
  240. >You nod encouragingly.
  241. "It's going to be just lovely, Flitter. You'll see."
  242. >"Don't even think of backin' out on us, alright?" Applejack says with a smile, following Flitter to the door.
  243. >"I won't!" she sputters, before offering a wave and taking off for home.
  244. >You and Applejack share a smile.
  245. >"What am I gonna do about that pegasus, 'Shy?"
  246. "What do you mean?"
  247. >"Remember when we were settin' up for that first shindig Pinkie threw?"
  248. >You nod.
  249. >"Well, I said I'd let Anon pick his own mares an' I'd just help to nudge 'em along."
  250. "Yes, I remember something like that."
  251. >"He clearly has an interest in that filly, and she gets all flustered when someone mentions him-"
  252. "Well, she kind of gets flustered talking about most colts doesn't she?"
  253. >"Heheh, I s'pose." your farmer friend smiles. "I just wish Anon 'n' Cloudchaser weren't at odds. It'd make this a sight easier."
  254. "Well, maybe we can get her away from her sister at the party?"
  255. >"Now that's an idea, Fluttershy." the country mare says thoughtfully. "Why don't ya join us for supper, and then I'll help you get all of that home?"
  256. "Oh, well thank you, I'd love to!"
  257.  
  258.  
  259. "Lotus!" you call with a smile, breaking her from her daydream. "How are you?"
  260. >Looking up from the desk, she blinks a few time.
  261. >"Oh, hello Lyra. Sorry, it's just been really slow today."
  262. >Trotting up to the counter you cock your head.
  263. "Is that good or bad? Bonnie would rather be busy, but I know that some ponies like these kinds of days."
  264. >"I like it busy. It makes the day go by much faster. Aloe likes to spread the work out."
  265. "But if you don't spread the work out, doesn't that make more slow days?"
  266. >"I can read, or daydream or sometimes I even stand outside and just chitchat with whoever walks by."
  267. "That sounds nice. I'm always either really busy or have nothing to- oh, right!" you exclaim, suddenly remembering why you're here "Do you know when Anon is getting back?"
  268. >"Aloe told me she planned to be back around dinner time. She has to be at work again tomorrow."
  269. >Around dinner time, huh?
  270. >That probably means that they'll eat on the train.
  271. >Maybe they won't.
  272. >But probably.
  273. >"Why, plans for tonight?" Lotus asks, wiggling her eyebrows at you.
  274. "No, well, not yet-"
  275. >"Oh, hoping to be there waiting for him when he gets home?"
  276. "Yeah...I guess? I don't know for sure."
  277. >Lotus smiles as she leans across the counter.
  278. >"I bet after a long hard work trip he'd love to come home to one of his girls warming his bed up for him."
  279. "W-Well I don't kn-know about that..."
  280. >"Lyra..." Lotus sighs, dropping her playful smirk. "I can tell you miss him, and we both know that Anon is a perfect gentlecolt."
  281. >You nod vigorously.
  282. >"So be there when he gets home, and I bet he'll go as far you want...even if that's just a good cuddling."
  283. >Yes.
  284. >That is what you need.
  285. >But...
  286. >How do you make it happen?
  287. >Looking Lotus in the eyes you inhale.
  288. "Lotus, you've had coltfriends before, right?"
  289. >She nods, looking at you curiously.
  290. "I...I haven't. Well, I almost did that time with Bonnie, but-"
  291. >"I heard about it. I'm sorry."
  292. "Don't-that's not what I'm trying to-ugh." you sputter.
  293. >Deep breaths.
  294. >In..
  295. >...and out.
  296. "I need some advice." you finally say. "About colts."
  297. >Lotus smiles gently and  backs away from the counter.
  298. >"I have an hour before my next appointment." she says, motioning you to follow. "I'll put on some tea."
  299.  
  300. >As Cloudchaser leaves your shop, you can't help but heave a sigh of relief.
  301. >First, because the tension between her and Anon makes talking to her a little uncomfortable.
  302. >Second, because a bouquet of roses tells you that she's found somepony new to woo, instead of chasing Lotus still.
  303. >And if that goes well, hopefully her grudge against Anon will finally fade.
  304. >Shaking your head at the whole situation, you put the finishing touches on Lily's arrangement.
  305. >Perfect.
  306. >Daisy is silently working at the bench in back, and it looks like she's almost done.
  307. >You carry Lily's into the back room.
  308. "I'm going to go out for a bit...I think it's best that we all get some space."
  309. >Daisy sighs and stops what she's doing.
  310. >"Rose, I'm sorry-"
  311. "Daisy it's fine." you say, waving her off. "Let's... tomorrow, the three of us should talk about it."
  312. >"Okay. I'll let Lily know when I see her."
  313. "Thanks, Daisy."
  314. >Throwing a scarf around your neck, you exit out the back of the shop and make a beeline for the Boutique.
  315. >It's breezy, but not unpleasant.
  316. >Just a little chilly.
  317. >The market is almost empty, and the vendors are all closing up shop as you make your way up town.
  318. >Just as you had hoped, you catch Redheart on her way home from the hospital.
  319. >She agrees to meet you at the boutique after a quick shower.
  320. >The ringing of a delicate bell announces your arrival at the boutique.
  321. >You're actually surprised that the door was unlocked, most businesses are closed by now.
  322. >The clock on the wall says it's a quarter after six.
  323.  
  324. >A quick glance at the clock says it's a quarter to six.
  325. >The boutique is technically closed now, but you've been so very busy lately it's hard to keep up!
  326. >This dress repair is a simple enough job, and you'll be finished in no time.
  327. >The quintessential 'little black dress' for a simple yet elegant mare.
  328. >You have to admit, Octavia has a firm grasp of simplicity and understatement.
  329. >Like a classier version of Pinkie Pie's sister.
  330. >Maud is a sweet and innocent thing, but it would not hurt her to go out a bit more often.
  331. >These thoughts combined with the mechanical hum of the sewing machine cause you to completely miss the bell at the door.
  332. >Moments later, the little bell on the counter rings.
  333. "Just a minuuuute~" you call out, finishing the stitching.
  334. >Tying the thread off, you hold up the repaired dress and levitate it to a nearby rack.
  335. >Another fashion crisis solved!
  336. >You hum a little tune as you go to see your visitor.
  337. "Ah, Miss Octavia! I just finished your garment and I must say, you have a knack for subtlety!"
  338. >"It's not a big deal, I just don't want to distract from my music."
  339. "I don't know about that dear, why, with your figure this dress must draw the eye of every colt in Fillydelphia!"
  340. >She paws the floor, embarassed.
  341. >"I don't know much about fashion Miss Rarity, Vinyl just said that I really 'rocked' it so I bought it..."
  342. "Well I daresay your friend knows what she's talking about!" you assure her as you use your magic to bring the dress to the counter.
  343. >She rummages through her saddlebags and produces a checkbook as you write up the bill.
  344. "The orchestra is having a reprise performance this Saturday, isn't it?"
  345. >"Yes, we are." she nods.
  346. "There's a party at my friend Fluttershy's on Sunday, you should come." you suggest, pushing the bill across the counter and laying the dress down. "And I'm sure Lyra will be there, so don't think of telling me you won't know anyone~"
  347. >"We'll see..." she mumbles, scribbling a signature across the check.
  348. "Well I hope *we'll see* you there!" you giggle as you hoof over the dress.
  349. >The grey mare simply nods as she drapes the dress across her saddlebags.
  350. >As she exits, you collect your bits and checks and store them in the safe.
  351. >Cleaning up your work room, you hear the bell at the door chime.
  352. >Of course, you forgot to change the sign to 'closed'!
  353. >Shaking your head at your own foolish mistake, you quickly head to the front of the shop.
  354. "I'm terribly sorry, but we're- oh, Rose! It's been a while darling, how are you?"
  355. >With a smile, Roseluck flips the sign for you.
  356. "Redheart and I are going to The Punchbowl, are you free?"
  357. >"Hmm, I suppose I can leave the cleaning for tomorrow. So yes, lead the way!"
  358.  
  359.  
  360. >A bell out front signals the arrival of today's final appointment.
  361. >An after work usual for Cloudchaser.
  362. >You actually wish Aloe was here.
  363. >Normally you do your best to push these off onto her.
  364. >But it seems your own schedule has failed you today.
  365. >With a sigh, you finish your tea as Lyra gets to her hooves.
  366. >"Thanks for the advice Lotus, I think I know what I'm going to do tonight now."
  367. "Anytime." you smile.
  368. >Making your way into the lobby, Lyra follows a few hooves behind you, nearly bumping into you when you come to a halt in the doorway.
  369. >Cloudchaser is here, as expected.
  370. >She brought you roses.
  371. >Buck.
  372. "Hello, Miss Cloudchaser. Are you ready to begin?"
  373. >She sets the roses on the counter and trots up to you.
  374. >You know you can call me Cloudy, Lotus."
  375. "It would be unprofessional."
  376. >"Aw, come on Lotus. Don't shut me out like that-"
  377. "Miss Cloudchaser, please. Are you ready to begin or not?"
  378. >To your chagrin, Cloudchaser moves in closer while you can hear Lyra uncomfortably shifting on her hooves.
  379. >You don't want to bring her into this, but then again, she might prove useful as an escape...
  380. >The moment of introspection allows for Cloudchaser to sneak in a nuzzle and get nose to nose with you.
  381. >Trying to step back, you bump into your clueless herdmate, leaving you with only inches to lean back.
  382. >Looking around there isn't another escape option...
  383. "Miss Cloudchaser, please control yourself. There is another pony here."
  384. >"I don't mind if Lyra wants to watch~"
  385. "Lyra has been to the spa before, she is familiar with the standard services already."
  386. >"Then let's show her something new." she says leaning in again.
  387. >"I, um, I should go-"
  388. >Damn it!
  389. >Just...damn them both!
  390. >Damn Lyra's timid innocence!
  391. >And double damn this stupid stubborn lesbian pegasus!
  392. "There will be nothing to show her, Miss Cloudchaser." you snort. "I am afraid I am going to have to ask you to leave."
  393. >"What?"
  394. "I am asking you to leave, Miss Cloudchaser."
  395. >"Don't do this, Lotus. Please don't-"
  396. "You gave me no choice. I'm sorry." you say, looking away.
  397. >"No! You do have a choice! Just tell me what I need to do better!" she pleads.
  398. >Closing your eyes, you steel your heart and think of your Herd.
  399. "I am afraid there is nothing you can do, Miss Cloudchaser."
  400. >"Lotus, don't do this!"
  401. "Please leave."
  402. >"I love you!"
  403. "Don't-"
  404. >"I do!"
  405. "Miss Cloud-"
  406. >"Is this because of /him/?" she asks, eyes narrowing as her tone suddenly shifts.
  407. "It is because you cannot take no for an answer."
  408. >"But why is the answer 'no'?"
  409. "It doesn't matter."
  410. >"Well it matters to me!"
  411. "Fine!" you shout as the dam bursts. "It's because I'm not the wild mare I used to be! I just want to settle down, find a home and start a family. And- And I don't think that's too much to ask for!
  412. >"Just give me a chance, Lotus, please!"
  413. "Miss Cloudchaser-"
  414. >She lunges in for a kiss and you nearly knock Lyra over as you jolt backwards.
  415. "Miss Cloudchaser! I am not a single mare anymore, please leave!"
  416. >"So this is because of Anonymous." she growls.
  417. "This is because you are boorish and stubborn and crude! It has nothing to do with him!"
  418. >"And now you're defending him! I knew it, that bucking -ape- shows back up and everypony loves him! All the mares fawn over him!" she shouts, wings flaring. "He's so this, and he's so that, and now he takes the mare I've been chasing for months!"
  419. "How- how dare you!" you stammer, shocked at her language. "Get out! Get out and stay out!"
  420. >"I thought you were a real great mare, Lotus" Cloudchaser says, taking to the air "but you're just another bit-digging whorse!"
  421. >With a spin, she flies out of the spa, door slamming shut behind her.
  422. >Panting and miserable, you turn around to go into the back only to end up face to face with a shell-shocked Lyra.
  423. >Taking a step forward, you wrap a hoof around her neck and pull her close.
  424. "I'm so sorry you had to be here for that."
  425. >She wordlessly hugs you back.
  426. >Pulling away, she looks you in the eyes, then rears up and wraps both hooves around your neck.
  427. >Sitting down, you return the embrace and start to sniffle.
  428. >"Don't listen to her, Lotus! You're an amazing mare, and I know that Anon thinks so too!"
  429. >You feel a little bad leaning on poor Lyra, but you can't help it as the tears roll down your face and you start to cry.
  430.  
  431. >You have never been so uncomfortable in your life!
  432. >When things between Lotus and Cloudchaser got tense, you just froze up.
  433. >It shouldn't have been you there.
  434. >It should have been Aloe.
  435. >It should have been Roseluck.
  436. >It should have been Anon.
  437. >They would have all stood up for Lotus.
  438. >But you...
  439. >...you just stood there.
  440. >Holding the bawling blue mare now that Cloudchaser is gone is the least you could do.
  441. >She gave you so much advice earlier.
  442. >Great advice!
  443. >You had a plan to go and setup a surprise for Anonymous and you weren't even nervous about it!
  444. >It was a foolproof plan!
  445. >You still really want to do it too...but you can't just leave Lotus.
  446. >So you're here with her, next to the desk in the lobby of the spa, holding her while she cries into your mane.
  447. >What do you even say to her?
  448. >She's normally so strong and confident.
  449. >Lotus always has a plan, even if it's a little bit crazy!
  450. >She had told you about the night she had spent with Anon.
  451. >It was a miracle your ears didn't catch on fire!
  452. >You want to be held like that!
  453. >And maybe...maybe some of the other stuff too!
  454. >Yes!
  455. >Sweet Celestia, your face is heating up just thinking about it.
  456. >Calm yourself, Lyra!
  457. >You've got to help Lotus!
  458. >Hnnnngh.
  459. >What would Roseluck do?
  460. >...
  461. >...
  462. >...well, she wouldn't leave her here in the spa.
  463. "Lotus? Lotus, I'm going to go lock up, okay?"
  464. >Slowly the mare lets go of you and nods.
  465. >Leaving her to contemplate the floor, you quickly trot to the door and throw the latch before flipping the "open" sign to "closed".
  466. >"Is there anything else you need to do before we leave?"
  467. >"I-I need to do a few things..."
  468. "Like what?"
  469. >"I need to put away the oils and drain the tubs...and shut down the sauna..."
  470. "Well c'mon! I'll help and then you'll be done twice as fast!"
  471. >She sniffs then offers a small smile and a nod.
  472. >That's a good sign, probably!
  473.  
  474.  
  475.  
  476. >"I simply do not understand how you can stand it, dear!"
  477. >"You get used to the bodily fluids after a while." Redheart shrugs, taking a hearty gulp from her glass. "And I'm helping ponies, which is what matters."
  478. "You're a saint, Red." you say, refilling your own glass from the communal punch bowl in the center of the table.
  479. >Berry makes a mean sangria.
  480. >"Sainted, but single." she sighs dramatically.
  481. >Oh boy, we've hit /this/ part of the evening.
  482. >"It really is a pity about Whooves, darling. I thought you two were lovely together."
  483. >"So did I, but he travels a lot and isn't ready to settle down..." she agrees glumly.
  484. "No hot doctors at the hospital?"
  485. >Redheart snorts into her glass.
  486. >"In this backwater? No, just a couple of old stallions in white coats- not that it stops them from hitting on the nursing staff."
  487. "Ugh, don't remind me. Doctor Suture was hitting on Lily the other day and I had to make up an excuse to call into the back of the store before Daisy kicked him in the teeth."
  488. >"Isn't Doctor Horse fairly young?" Rarity asks.
  489. >"Fairly young and fairly married."
  490. "But he's a doctor...surely he can afford a second wife?"
  491. >"That's true. I hadn't thought about it, but I wouldn't mind herding with him and Milano..."
  492. >"Speaking of herds-"
  493. >Oh for bucks sake.
  494. >Here it comes.
  495. >"-how are things with Anonymous, darling?"
  496. "They're just fine. He's busier than ever, but I get the impression that that is simply how Anon is."
  497. >"Ha, you have no idea darling. He can be the absolutely most focused being I have ever met, and if nopony stops him he will run himself into the ground with one thing or another."
  498. "I'm starting to see that." you grumble "But the house should be done by Hearthswarming and hoofball only has this weekend and next before the playoffs -which his team has no hope of making."
  499. >"Indeed, did you practice that line with him?"
  500. "I know, I know. It's pretty similar to what he usually says..."
  501. >"Rose, dear, it is /exactly/ what he always says."
  502. "But that doesn't make it untrue!" you protest.
  503. >"I suppose you are correct. I am still going to give him an earful for not focusing on building his herd next time I see him."
  504. "Oh, planning to give me a run for my bits, Rarity?"
  505. >Redheart snorts into her cup while Rarity feigns ignorance.
  506. >"What are you suggesting, Roseluck?"
  507. "You seem to like running the Herd, are you interested in a spot?" you tease your friend. "Maybe the /alpha/ spot?"
  508. >"I'm sorry...n-no, I'm afraid I'm more of a... a monogamous mare."
  509. "Your loss." you shrug.
  510. >"I wouldn't blame you for being interested, Rares." Redheart chimes in. "I've had him in when he hurt his arm, and -while he claims he isn't in as good of shape as he used to be- I can tell you that he could sweep you off your hooves and hold you /all night long/."
  511. >"Ha." she scoffs "It sounds like you're the one interested in him. Was it a coincidence that he ended up in your exam room, I wonder?"
  512. >"Anon isn't going to chase an older mare like me, just look at his herd!"
  513. "Filly, you are twenty seven. You are the same age he is."
  514. >"And you're what, twenty two? And Lyra's only been out of the Academy for a year..."
  515. "I don't think Anon actually knows how old any of us are."
  516. >"Hmmm, well, he knows how old the girls and I are..." Rarity muses "But he thought we were all older."
  517. "That must have gone well." you say with a knowing smirk."
  518. >"Yes, well, after a moment of well-earned indignation, Anonymous explained that humans almost /all/ go to Academy, so he was a bit surprised to find out that I opened the boutique as soon as I finished school."
  519. >"So humans just take longer to do everything, huh?" Red asks thoughtfully, sipping on her drink.
  520. >"Yes, just about." Rarity nods.
  521. >You sigh internally.
  522. >Anon is wonderful and clearly wants what's best for his herd...
  523. >...but would it kill him to pick up the pace a little?
  524.  
  525.  
  526. >An hour and a half in and you're feeling a lot better.
  527. >Commiserating with your friends is always a good way relieve the stress of the week!
  528. >Even if the week isn't actually over yet.
  529. >Venting about your sisters got plenty of sympathy from the others.
  530. >Particularly Rarity.
  531. >Sweetie Belle can't be half as bad as Rarity makes her out to be.
  532. >There's no way that a filly as happy and kind as her causes that much trouble!
  533. >"-but I couldn't afford not to finish the job, so I simply worked through the mess and spent half of the next morning cleaning up after her!"
  534. "You're going to make an excellent mother some day, Rarity."
  535. >"My parents would have swatted me if I acted like that!" Redheart adds.
  536. >"Well, I don't know about all of that, but thank you."
  537. >"This has been fun, girls, but I need to go if I'm going to make it to work on time." Redheart announces, getting onto unsteady hooves.
  538. >"Will you be alright getting home, dear?"
  539. >"I'll be fine. We should do this again!"
  540. "Oh Red, before I forget-" you say, hopping to your hooves. "Anon doesn't wear his arm sling all the time."
  541. >"Let me guess: it's uncomfortable."
  542. "Yes, that's what he usually says."
  543. >"Sweaty?"
  544. "Also that."
  545. >"Unfashionable?"
  546. "You know Rarity, he really hasn't brought that up."
  547. >"Colts."
  548. >"Colts."
  549. "Any ideas on how to get him to wear it more?"
  550. >"Well," Red ponders aloud "He could wrap his arm in a towel and change them out when they get sweaty. That would definitely help one of the problems, and help the other a little bit."
  551. "I think the discomfort is just because of the neck strap..."
  552. >"Oh, the hospital probably gave him one of the cheap ones. When he comes in for his follow up I'll get him one with the little pad for his neck."
  553. >"Do give him a little ribbing for me, darling. Such a tough colt whining about his arm sling being uncomfortable, of all the nonsense..."
  554. "I think that would be good for him." you nod.
  555. >Giving Redheart a hug, you watch her weave past the other tables and out of the bar.
  556.  
  557.  
  558. >You managed to get Lotus home.
  559. >Working together seemed to help her clear her head.
  560. >You knew she'd be fine, she's such a strong mare!
  561. >Sure, there was some more crying when she got home.
  562. >But Cloudchaser said some mean things!
  563. >And Lotus told you that Cloudchaser had been hitting on her for months.
  564. >At first she didn't think anything of it.
  565. >But lately it had gotten more... aggressive.
  566. >She also told you about what happened at the last bonfire.
  567. >You assured her that Anon would never have done that if he had known.
  568. >You did /not/ tell her that maybe going to a party /hosted by Cloudchaser/ wasn't the best idea.
  569. >There was a lot the two of you talked about.
  570. >Still, after you left, you had gone to Sugarcube Corner and picked up some cupcakes.
  571. >Okay, /a lot/ of cupcakes.
  572. >But that's part of the plan!
  573. >You had left a box on the counter at Lotus' home, she was already asleep.
  574. >And then you had brought a box with you to the castle.
  575. >But Anon still wasn't back...
  576. >You start to wonder where he could be while you open the cupcakes and set up a few party shots.
  577. >Celestia bless Pinkie Pie, you're gonna need the alcohol to keep from freaking out!
  578. >But where is Anon?
  579. >...it's pretty late.
  580. >What if he's staying in Canterlot another night?
  581. >You light a few candles and open the sheets of the bed.
  582. >Aloe might have only been going for one night, while Anon stays longer for work!
  583. >He /is/ an important pony after all!
  584. >You roll over a few times, practicing your best sexy pose.
  585. >Maybe Rose found him first?
  586. >You catch sight of yourself in Anon's mirror.
  587. >Bed open, candles lit, a little tray of shots and cupcakes on the nightstand...
  588. >Laying on your belly, a sheet laid carefully under your tail to cover just enough...
  589. >What if he brought Aloe home with him tonight!
  590. >Looking around again, you can't help but worry.
  591. >It's a real possibility!
  592. >You never asked Anon what his plans were, so he doesn't know you're planning anything!
  593. >He might bring her over and find you like this!
  594. >What would Anon say?
  595. >What would Aloe say?
  596. >What would you do?
  597. >Die of embarrassment, probably.
  598. >Suddenly this all seems like such a rash idea.
  599. >You're not sure you can do this anymore!
  600. >Your ears twitch as you hear somepony in the hall- oh no, what if it's Anon and Aloe!?
  601. >Tumbling out of the bed, you race to the balcony...
  602. >No way, you'll never make it!
  603. >Pressing your back to the wall, you listen...
  604.  
  605.  
  606. >"You know Roseluck, you may be the best thing that's ever happened to Anon."
  607. "I just want him to heal."
  608. >"Oh, no, not that. Well, not /just/ that." she qualifies. "I know that it is a matter of time before he falls back into his old ways. But with you around, he just might be saved."
  609. "I'm not doing anything special." you sigh "I just try to be there for him and he does the same for me."
  610. >"It must be nice to have backup." Rarity smiles. "Especially since he didn't just go for one, but both of the fillies over at the spa."
  611. >You narrow your eyes and jab an accusatory hoof at her.
  612. "So that was your doing!"
  613. >"I didn't exactly plan it to go that way, but yes, I did know that I was putting two very eligible mares into direct contact with Anonymous."
  614. "The girls are great, but Lotus can be a real hoofful sometimes."
  615. >"Don't underestimate Aloe." Rarity smirks "She's quiet and shy and a very smart mare."
  616. "But she doesn't seem interested in being the alpha..."
  617. >"Heavens no, Aloe would hate that!" Rarity laughs, then looks you in the eyes. "Is that the problem you're having with Lotus?"
  618. "I... I think so."
  619. >"Rose, Anonymous is a dear friend. I also count both you and Lotus as good friends. I cannot, and will not, dictate your relationships."
  620. >You nod.
  621. >"That being said, I am pledged to help Anon build this herd of his, and I am not above giving a friend advice over drinks." she concludes with a wink.
  622. >You slowly lift your cup to your lips and take a deep sip.
  623. >Rarity lifts her own in reply.
  624. >"Now tell me, dear, is there anything in particular that you want to know?"
  625.  
  626.  
  627. >Exhaling in relief, you slump down against the wall.
  628. >It was just Twilight.
  629. >You take a minute to let your heart recover.
  630. >Come on Heartstrings, get it together!
  631. >You can do this!
  632. >Looking at the cupcakes and shots, you decide that, with a little rearrangement, you can probably pilfer a few.
  633. >Moving things around a bit, you're able to steal three cupcakes and two shots.
  634. >You destroy the first cupcake and chase it with a shot.
  635. >Okay, okay, okay... remember what Lotus said.
  636. >Aloe has work tomorrow morning, she won't be coming over to spend the night.
  637. >Slowly you chew on a mouthful of the second cupcake.
  638. >There is no reason for Rose to be with him, and she's probably already asleep.
  639. >You munch on the cupcake while breathing slowly.
  640. >Lotus is obviously not up to stealing him tonight.
  641. >And she knows your plan anyways.
  642. >She wouldn't do that to you.
  643. >It occurs to you, as you finish the second cupcake, that Lotus probably needs Anon right now.
  644. >Unwrapping the last cupcake, you admire the contrast of the chocolate cake and the mint frosting.
  645. >The little pin in it that says 'eat me!' is a nice touch.
  646. >You're glad Pinkie dragged you to that party.
  647. >Rose had told you about it, but you didn't really know Anonymous and didn't want to come off as a weirdo.
  648. >But Pinkie had insisted.
  649. >And now you're here, in his bed, plotting to use him for cuddles.
  650. >Maybe that won't be the only plot used tonight!
  651. >You can feel the heat in your ears.
  652. >Calm yourself, Lyra!
  653. >Taking an oversized bite you check the clock.
  654. >It's a little after midnight.
  655. >As you ask where he could be for the tenth time, you hear a distant train whistle.
  656. >Aha!
  657. >Probably the last train of the night!
  658. >You polish off the last of the cupcake, pound the second shot and toss the evidence in the trash.
  659. >Hopping back onto the bed, you practice your sexy pose again.
  660. >Yes, this is perfect.
  661. >...what if he wasn't on that train though?
  662. >You have to know!
  663. >...!
  664. >You can see halfway to the station from Anon's balcony!
  665. >Rushing outside you watch to see if he's coming towards the castle.
  666.  
  667.  
  668.  
  669. >At home in your room, you stare restlessly out the window and across the market.
  670. >The calming scent of flowers in the shop below is taking extra long lulling you to sleep tonight.
  671. >You've been thinking about Daisy and Lily.
  672. >And what went on earlier.
  673. >Why is Anon taking so long to choose an alpha mare?
  674. >Is he planning to wait until he has found all seven mares?
  675. >That could be a long wait.
  676. >Or maybe...maybe Aloe and Lotus were right?
  677. >You felt like Anon trusted you the way a stallion trusts his alpha, but maybe that's just him being a human?
  678. >It is possible that you misread him.
  679. >After all, Lotus was right, you were the first...but you're not the alpha yet.
  680. >The idea troubles you more than you're comfortable admitting.
  681. >You've always been the leader amongst your sisters.
  682. >Could you be happy following another mare?
  683. >Anon and Rarity are very close, and she's known him for so long...
  684. >...if she joined, it would be natural for her to become the alpha.
  685. >You like Rarity a lot.
  686. >She's a really kind and generous mare.
  687. >She's always been there to listen.
  688. >...
  689. >But you still can't help but feel upset at the idea of being passed over.
  690. >With a sigh, you roll over.
  691. >Hmmm.
  692. >Maybe you could change his mind.
  693. >Yes.
  694. >You'll do a little digging, find out what his thoughts are, and then maybe you'll earn that spot.
  695. >No, not maybe.
  696. >You can and you will.
  697. >Tomorrow you'll write to Cadence for some more advice.
  698. >Your chat with Rarity already gave you a good start.
  699. >You will show Anon how smoothly the Herd will run with you at his side.
  700. >And then maybe you can help nudge him along a little faster.
  701. >As your eyelids begin to droop, you hear a train whistle as it rolls into town.
  702.  
  703.  
  704. >You are Anonymous, and goddamn are you tired.
  705. >It's been a great week.
  706. >You got a lot of work done.
  707. >Landed a big project.
  708. >(Okay, that might not be so great, but the bits sure are!)
  709. >You finally cleared the air with Cadence.
  710. >And you got to take the surprisingly cultured Aloe to Canterlot!
  711. >Speaking of, the train is coming into the station, so it is time to rouse the pink pony from her sleep.
  712. >It doesn't take much for her to open two sleepy sapphire eyes.
  713. "Hey, we're in Ponyville."
  714. >She lets out an adorable yawn before rolling onto her hooves.
  715. >The train comes to a full stop and you follow her into the cold night air.
  716. >Just as the castle comes into full view, you stop.
  717. "Are you coming home with me tonight?"
  718. >"I have work in the morning, sorry."
  719. "I kind of figured. Can't trust that Lotus on her own for too long."
  720. >She giggles sleepily and you take a knee.
  721. >Giving her a hug and a quick kiss, you part ways.
  722. >A few minutes later you're dragging your sorry butt up the stairs.
  723. >Putting your key into the lock, you push the door open.
  724. >Looking up, your eyes go wide.
  725. >"H-hi Anon! Welcome home!"
Herd Herding Hawkeye

Auction Pony Scenes

by Hawkeye

Herd 18

by Hawkeye

Herd 17

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Herd 16

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Herd 15

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