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The Next Doctor.
 Post subject: Friendship is Magic (Bronies)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:15 am GMT 
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Location: Ponyville
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It was a cold rainy night as the unicorn wandered down the road. Lightning shot across the sky and the he sighed contently. Lightning was beautiful to him. Then the rain came, and though he walked faster, he liked the way the rain fell through his mane. At last, he began to see light in the distance. Upon getting closer, he saw it was a rather large farm, with a barnhouse, a chicken coop, and a tiny cottage for the owners. He went to the cottage and knocked three times. He was sure when the male earth pony opened the door that he was unsure to make of the boy. After a few seconds in silence, the unicorn spoke.

"Hello. I'm sorry to bother you, but I'm just looking for shelter from the storm, and was wondering if I might have your permission to sleep in your barnhouse tonight."

The earth pony seemed to study him over once more before moving away from the door and telling him to come inside. So he entered the humble home and admired the fireplace, and the pot above the fire, cooking something that smelled sweet.

"Would you like some? You must be hungry."

"Hm?" The unicorn found his attention drawn back to the farmer, who looked concerned. Was it his look? At the age of seventeen, Talon found himself still shorter than the average pony his age, so ponies often mistook him for a pony of fourteen or fifteen, or on the rare ocassion, thirteen. The pony sat, shaking his dripping black mane, whood stood out against his deep, dark red body. His empty brown-green eyes stared almost coldly back at the farmer. "I would..like to...thank you." he replied after another few seconds of awkward silence.

The farmer called for his wife, who emerged with a rather large smile on her face. She seemed happy that Talon was there. She fetched him some of the soup from the pot and got him a class of water. He thanked her quietly, and bowed his head, staring out at the window as another flash of lightning streaked across the sky like a missile. He began to eat in silence, using his magic to move his spoon for him, his hooves just fine where they were. Soon they began to pester him.

"How old are you?" the farmer asked.

Talon looked up at him, then back to his meal and replied "Seventeen."

"Hmmm..I thought you were younger because yo-"he began.

"Because I'm short, I know." Talon interupted, his voice cold for a second there. Another few awkward seconds of silence passed. Then the wife spoke up.

"Where ya headed?" she spoke in a deep southern accent, the kind that Talon disliked very much.

"No idea."

"Traveling alone?"

"Yes." he said, wondering why she bothered to ask, if there was nobody with him.

"Hm. Well, Ah thought you were goin' to Ponyille, it's not very far from here."

Talon nodded "Then I might head there tomorrow. Which brings me back to my previous question. May I sleep in the farmhouse?" The wife offered a spare room in their home but Talon shook his head. "I'll be just fine. Thank you." he said before placing his empty bowl, and cup into their sink, and walking out.

That night, as he slept in the quiet barn, he heard arguing. Upon further investigation, he found the farmer yelling at his wife, with slurred speech. Talon emerged to stop it. Using his magic, he focused and began to turn the farmer to stone. It was a slow process, but the farmer didnt notice because he was to drunk, and the wife was distracted wiping the tears from her face. By the time either of them noticed, it was too late. The wife looked horrified, as Talon knocked the statue over, and stared into its twisted horrified face. "You have been judged for your actions, and have been punished." He then turned to the wife. "Leave this place. Now." She ran out of the house screaming hysterically. He slowly walked out to the still burning fire, and using his magic, retrieved a burning stick, and set the drapes of the window on fire. He walked out and sat, watching the house burn down. After a while, he grew bored. He looked down the road and thought to himself. "Ponyville, eh?" he said to himself, and began to walk again.

Song that influenced this post: Bad Company-Five Finger Death Punch

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 Post subject: Re: Friendship is Magic (Bronies)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:04 am GMT 
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The weather was nice for a walk. At least for this one little pony. For a pegasus, he was pretty down to earth, and he preferred to walk most of the time. He had found that the rain works as a very effective deterent against other ponies and the thunderstorm added to that effect. The only thing that Smudge Paint had against the rain was that it impolitely obscurred the view from his glasses. But he didn't care all too much. He had intended to restock on ink, but due to his inability to wake up on time, he didn't quite make it in time before closing time. So he took a walk instead.
He felt refreshed. There was nothing like a nice walk in the rain to get the dust off of you (That reminds him, he has yet to clean his home). His favorite pastime as he walks is to daydream, and he is so good at it, that he does it automatically. When he finally snaps back to reality, he finds himself quite out of Ponyville.

"Aw, snap" he said to himself, "I'm in no mood to walk all the way back home"

So he stood there, quite annoyed by the fact he walked in a, somewhat, straight line instead of a circle. As he was standing there, he swore he could smell something burning. He followed the road to see whether this was his imagination or not.

"I'm so not in the mood for this," he mumbled as he went on his way.


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baker's dozen
 Post subject: Re: Friendship is Magic (Bronies)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:08 am GMT 
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Location: small town in Mississippi
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“Are you ready to go, dear? It’s closing time, and everypony else has already left.”

“I’m not quite finished with this article yet. You could go on home if you’d like. I can lock up when I’m finished,” Scribe offered to her boss at The Ponyville Tribune, Ms. Jargon.

“Of course, dumplin’. I’d appreciate that very much.”

Scribe spent over an hour after closing time finishing her article, writing a few more, and most importantly, correcting the grammar mistakes in all the other ponies’ articles. She knew it probably wasn’t right of her to go behind the editor and re-edit everything, but he often missed a few grammar mess-ups. She just couldn’t let the newspaper get published with grammatical errors in it.

When she was finally satisfied with the state of the day’s articles, she locked both windows and slipped out the back door, locking it behind her.

Where had the time gone? It was already dusk, and night was beginning to fall. The ground was covered with a misty fog, and the sky above was full of thick rainclouds that looked as if they would probably begin to pour down on her before she made it home.

Scribe’s horn glowed blue as she extracted her thick brown cloak from the satchel that hung at her side and pulled it over her, carefully tucking the hood down around her ears.

Sure enough, the rain began to fall in mere minutes. Scribe groaned, knowing she would probably still get soaked before she made it to her apartment, which was all the way across town.

She decided she might be better off to stop off at Sugarcube Corner and wait under the awning until the rain slacked off. As she stepped under the awning, there came a flash of lightning that illuminated everything within her line of sight. She knew it had to be awfully close to brighten things up that much. Almost immediately, its thunder roared like an Ursa Major, and she knew she needed to find shelter, and fast. With thunder following that quickly, she knew the lightning was very, very near.

Scribe lit out across town as fast as she could run, trying to concentrate on making a small forcefield around her to hide her conductivity from the lightning, but to no avail. She didn’t have any energy left to put into her magic while running this fast.

Several lightning strikes lit up the area before she made it home, and she saw a tree crash to the ground.

Scribe was quite out of breath when she reached her apartment building and ran up the outside stairs to her door. She thrust her key into the hole and unlocked it, shaking the knob violently and wondering why it still refused to open.

“What’s the magic word?” her sister sang. Scribe groaned, focusing what energy she had left on flinging her dear sister away from the door and opening it. She stepped inside to find her sister Scribble crumpled in a pile beside the bed and rubbing her wing and mumbling profanities to herself.

Scribe said little to nothing to her sister, as usual, the whole evening. After straightening the room up a bit, she made herself a small supper and went to her desk in front of the window to eat and work on her novel. Every once in awhile, she would stop writing and stair out the window to think. Scribble sat on the couch and scratched away in her sketchbook. This was how every evening had been since the two had moved in together. They would both have preferred to live alone, but this was the only way to keep the bills paid.

Once when she was staring out the window, she saw a spark of red in the distance. The apartment was on the outskirts of Ponyville, and the window in Scribe and Scribble’s apartment faced away from the town, so everything was usually pitch black at out there this hour. The only thing she could figure it to be was a fire caused by a lightning strike, but somehow that deduction didn’t feel right. She decided she would get up early in the morning and go check it out.

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certified Ninja Pirate
 Post subject: Re: Friendship is Magic (Bronies)
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:21 pm GMT 
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"WILL YOU SHUT THE BUCK UP!?! YOU JUST GOT TRANSPORTED ACROSS TIME AND SPACE, I THINK YOU CAN WORRY ABOUT SOMETHING OTHER THAN THE FACT THAT YOUR HAIR IS SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT THAN WHAT YOU IMAGINED!"

Cedar Breeze put his ear against the door to hear Blue Overture's response, but all he could hear was muffled muttering and muted malcontent.

"I'll be in The Warehouse if you need me. down the stairs, double doors on the right. I have to do a bit of work, and then I'll have Deep show you around town."

he was almost to the stairs when the blue unicorn poked his head out of the bathroom.
"Will I get to meet the Mane 6?"

Cedar sighed; "Eventually. They're in Canterlot right now dealing with the cleanup of Pinkie's Pudding Party. I hear tell she had all the flavors and then some."

Being a brony in equestria was hard. It was made harder being one of the first few to find themselves walking the pastel plains and cotton candy colored cobblestones. Still, he had been ready for it. So far, only himself and Deep Thought had come to Equestria by choice. all the others had either stepped through a temporal rift, got transported by a time-travelling Trixie, or simply went to sleep on earth and woke up here.

"Can't complain though." Cedar mumbled as he pushed through the doors to The Warehouse.
He never really got over The Warehouse: bigger than the inside, courtesy of The Doctor; unlimited wifi, courtesy of The IPA (Intergalactic Protection Agency); and the majority of it was basically a white void in which anything that could be imagined could be made real, courtesy of Twilight and the royal sisters.
Any and all bronies or humans that ended up in Equestria were sent to Tinychat Hotel. It was a safe house more for the safety of Equestria than for the safety of its occupants. Still, every luxury was provided, and the residents of nearby Ponyville were incredibly receptive to the humans-now-ponies that popped up every so often.

Cedar spun an office chair into existence in the void, plopped down in it, manifested fingers and plugged in a computer. His favorite part about the void area was that it was a place where he could use all the skills he had acquired as a human, simply because he could make himself human.

He pulled up the IPA's database and logged in. Scanning down the page he saw a notification of a farmhouse burning down nearby.

"Geez, the Agency really has eyes everywhere." He started read through the description of the incident;
"Time of incident: 2:30 am, Victims: 2. one female, one male. Casualties: 1. male. earth pony variety; Cause of Death: complete petrification. female earth pony is unaccounted for."

"Well, buck. looks like i won't get to stop by Sugarcube Corner today. 'complete petrification' in a house fire is definitely not something normal."
He sent notifications to Princess Luna, the IPA, and Twilight Sparkle of the situation, then left a note for Deep to handle the newbie and pick up some muffins while he took Blue Overture on the grand tour. Taking a few steps back, he waved away the computer and human form the same way one would swat at a pesky fly. He pulled his saddlebag off the hook by the door then, positioning it on his now orange back, flexed his wings and leapt through the window, whistling the Indiana Jones theme song just because he could.





He immediately regretted not keeping a raincoat in his saddlebag.

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The Next Doctor.
 Post subject: Re: Friendship is Magic (Bronies)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:30 am GMT 
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Talon gazed back in the direction of the fire. Despite this vicious wind and rain, the fire could still clearly be seen raging. Had he perhaps done to much?

"No...everything I've done has been justified." he said to himself as another crack of ligthning went across the sky. Suddenly, he heard a particular noise. The sound of hooves stepping in a puddle. Someone was coming, someone was investigating. Talon wondered if he should hide. He looked to the thick forest to the side of the road and wondered if he should hop into it. He decided agaisnt it, he'd rather run the risk of not being noticed then get some rash or something. He continued to walk, hoping that under the shroud of night that at least the pony would not get a decent look at him. Soon they came upon one another, Talon dared not to look at the pony for more then a second, but he observed it was a white pegasus. As he looked, another streak of lightning flashed, and the two locked eyes. Talon's widened. If this was a resident of Ponyville, they could give the authorities a description. Talon wondered if he should petrify him like he did the farmer. 'No....I can't. This pony is thus far innocent....but...' he thought to himself. He realized that they had both stopped and continued to stare at each other, before Talon shook his head, and galloped off further down the road, then veered off to the side slightly, to where he could see the road, but it was unlikely anypony could see him in the shadows of the trees and bushes. What could he do now? He sighed heavily as he decided he'd still go to ponyville, but he'd have to be quick about it.

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Shmowzow!
 Post subject: Re: Friendship is Magic (Bronies)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:57 pm GMT 
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"Hey, big sis?" whispered a striped greyhound into a pony-sized lump under the covers of the bed "I'm really itchy."

"I noticed." grumbled the lump. Indeed, it was obvious that the dog was scratching himself because all the pony heard for the past twenty minutes was the sound on nails contacting skin and the jingle from the tags on his collar.

"I hope I don't have," he gulped in fear "Fleas!" he was immediatly hushed as the mare under the sheets poked her tired head out and glared at the poor canine. She reached for her glasses on the bedside table and hopped out of bed after turning on the lights.

"You better pray to Celestia that you don't, or you can sleep under the veranda outside," she yawned, exhausted after unpacking all day "I don't want those pests infesting the new house." and began parting his fur like a chimpanzee.

To their releif, she didn't detect any bugs in his soft fur, but she did see a rash "You got lucky, though I think you have some sort of rash... From chasing those poor squirrels, I assume." The greyhound whipped his head toward her with a feirce look in his brown eyes "They deserved it." This prompted an eye roll from the snow colored pony as she turned the lights off and layed back in bed "Whatever, we'll have to go to the vet tomarrow and see what we can do about it." carefully placing her glasses on the table, she layed her head on the soft pillow and slowly closed her eyes...

Only for them to shoot open as the jingling and scratching sounds returned with a vengence.

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 Post subject: Re: Friendship is Magic (Bronies)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:33 pm GMT 
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((Edit. I hope I did it right this time Also, these brackets meant OOC talkey thing, right? When it comes to online roleplaying I am a bit wet behind the ears. Soaking even.))

The white pegasus didn't notice any living creatures because his glasses were covered with little, shiny, watery pearls,
but mainly because he was deep in thought. He suddenly snapped out of it. "Darn it. I have completely forgotten what I was doing here"
he said to himself. He also noticed that he could barely see the glasses from all the rain. He wiped his glasses and with the help of his newly wiped glasses
he saw a burned down farm right in front of him.
"Well... applesauce".

Every bone in his body told him just to leave the place, but that's exactly why he couldn't. No bone will boss him around! He walked to the farm and had a little look around. He was not quite crazy to go inside the house, since it was, well, quite burnt down, until he noticed somepony standing there. He ran to see who it was. When he reached it, he saw it was a stone statue. "Weird" he thought. He came closer to it and saw it was a statue of a farmer he knew, but couldn't quite remember the name of. Remembering names was not his strongest dish, exactly. He looked at it for a little while. It was quite lifelike. It got his drunkenness quite well. And then it dawned on him that perhaps this was not a statue. He had heard some time ago about some birdy-looking creature, cocka-toe or something, that could turn ponies into stone. He started to sweat. Maybe it was nearby. He took a slow step back. And then he ran as frantically and as fast as he could possibly run. Finally, after some running, some sense got into his head. He took off into the air and flew in the direction to Ponyville. He settled a bit down while he was up there, and slowed down. He took a look down and remembered why he didn't fly so often. It was all a blur. He flew down and landed as softly as an airplane with no landing equipment.In the landing he dropped his glasses. The whole world got a bit blurrier. He fumbled around the ground for his glasses and finally found them. He put them on, and although dirty provided him enough clarity to see the world clearly.

Or at least, more clearly. He looked around and he saw a shadow of something in a bush nearby. It seemed to look rather evilly at him (actually, the trees seemed to want his hide as well) and that was the last straw for him. He ran straight back to Ponyville, screaming incoherent nonsense with "FARM!", "BURN!" and "TO STONED TURN!" thrown in-between. Most of what happened next was a blur, but when he got to his senses, somepony was asking him about a burnt down farm and a stone statue. He also noticed he was covered in a blanket and that his glasses were lost. Again.


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certified Ninja Pirate
 Post subject: Re: Friendship is Magic (Bronies)
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:29 pm GMT 
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"This is the last time i take on a fire case in the rain." Cedar Breeze stepped gingerly through the rubble of the burned building, checking for any spots that might be sheltered and still smoldering. not likely though, since it had started raining harder in the last few minutes.

"eeeugcch, that's not coming out easy..." he removed his now blackened hoof from a sooty puddle, and took a look around.

the petrified pony peered pointlessly off into the distance, and the rain made the blackened rubble into blackened soup. Cedar stared around for a moment before adopting an expression of simple dissaproval and exasperation.

"By Celestia's beard i'm a pegasus! what am i doing down here?" and with that, he flew up and kicked a hole in the clouds.

"much better." he hovered a couple dozen feet above the wreckage, but couldn't see anything that might help him figure out who, or what, did this.
"i suppose a cockatrice could've gotten in somehow and petrified the farmer, then scared the wife who knocked over a lantern or something... but that's all extrapolation of not enough evidence. i guess it's time to put out a search for the farmer's wife..." and with that, he closed his hole in the clouds and flew above them all the way back to ponyville.

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baker's dozen
 Post subject: Re: Friendship is Magic (Bronies)
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:25 pm GMT 
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Scribe’s sleepy eyes opened just enough for a sliver of light to peek in, then slid shut again. Half a minute passed, and suddenly they shot wide open as she dove from the bed, tumbled onto the floor, and rammed into her dresser. Groaning, she raised her head to look at the clock.

7:50.

Stupid stupid stupid, she thought as she quickly stuffed her pad and pen and a few other items into her saddlebag, half-tripping several times before making it out the door. She had forgotten to set her clock before, but she usually woke up at least by 6:45. Not even enough time to grab breakfast and take it with her today.

She had to run to make it to the office on time, and she still didn’t quite make it by 8. She was quite out of breath when she stepped inside, expecting to hear a lot of complaints about her being late. But nopony even noticed her when she came in.

Everypony was in an uproar, pacing this way and that, talking amongst themselves, and causing a commotion. “What is it?” she asked nopony in particular, “What’s the matter?”

Still nopony noticed her. Oh, come on.

Scribe made her way through the crowd to Ms. Jargon’s office, but her boss was not there. Just when she was about to kick somepony to get an answer, it suddenly hit her.

Crap. I forgot all about getting up early to investigate the spark I saw in through the rain last night.

She stepped gingerly over to her workstation to check on the morning’s headlines, lecturing herself about how she should have looked there in the first place. She skimmed the list of headlines, some with incomplete articles, some with no articles at all yet. One of these with no details caught her eye.

LOCAL FARMER’S HOUSE BURNS, OWNER TURNED TO STONE

...Is this for real? Turned to stone? No wonder everypony is in an uproar.

Just then, Ms. Jargon startled Scribe with an exclamation, “There you are, darling! I’ve been looking all over for you!” Before Scribe could explain, she continued, “I’d like you to investigate the fire situation.”

“Me? But I’m only a novice reporter...”

“A big story like this one is just what you need to get your name out there, honey,” she answered with a smile and a small wink, “And I need you to get going on the double. No dilly-dallying.”

With a quick nod, Scribe straightened her saddlebag across her back and hurried out the door. She ran as fast as she could back across town, hoping to make it to the scene before too many other reporters arrived.

Too late. She could see the giant huddle of reporters, curious onlookers, busybodies, and who knows who else far before she arrived on the scene. She knew the huddle was probably where the only witnesses could be found. As she ventured closer, however, she noticed a pegasus lying on the ground several yards away from everypony else, looking dazed and confused.

She decided that since she couldn’t get to the middle of the crowd anyway, she might as well take the time to see if the confused pegasus happened to know anything about the case. When she walked up to him, she noticed that he was shivering, and she caught a wiff of alcohol. When she asked him his name, he didn’t seem to understand what she was saying.

Maybe it was just a hunch, but she had a feeling he would be able to give her an important tidbit of information. After the briefest of hesitations, her mind was made up. She pulled a blanket from her saddlebag which she had used to replace her wet cloak and put it around the pegasus.

It took several minutes of utmost concentration, but she finally managed to use a mind-clearing spell on the pegasus to clear the influence of the alcohol and any other distractions from his mind. She gave him a moment to get his bearings, then levitated her pad and pen from her saddlebag, flipping her mane out of her eyes.

“Good morning, sir. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?”

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 Post subject: Re: Friendship is Magic (Bronies)
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 2:22 pm GMT 
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"Uhh... sure, I guess".
He looked like he hadn't slept the whole night, which is precisely what he wished he had done. He sat there, dazed and confused, wondering why his glasses didn't work. He tried to adjust them but then he realized they weren't there.
He shrugged. This is not the worst thing that happened today.
"Ask away"


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baker's dozen
 Post subject: Re: Friendship is Magic (Bronies)
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:03 pm GMT 
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Scribe tried her best not to reveal her glee. She had never done a real live interview before, and even though it felt somewhat childish, she was particularly excited about her first. She tried to look as dignified as possible as she used her magic to hold up her pad and direct her pen across it. After a brief hesitation to get her bearings, she cleared her throat.

"Something tells me you know something imporant about the housefire and petrification that occured last night." She grinned, proud of herself for her choice of words. She gave the gentlepony a second for that to sink in before continuing, "Don't worry, I'm not accusing you of anything. I just need information. Just tell me what you know." She wasn't as proud of that part as she was of her opening, but she decided not to let it get to her.

"Oh! I almost forgot! What's your name?" She mentally kicked herself for forgetting such an important question. Ah well. This was her first interview. She was allowed to make a few mistakes. She assured herself that nopony would have to know how she conducted her interview, so it wouldn't really matter anyway.

It was no use. She was growing more and more distracted as she became more and more angry with herself, first for her forgetfulness and problems with word choices, then for making such a big deal out of what would probably matter very little to anypony. She forced herself back to attention just as her interview-ee began his answer.

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 Post subject: Re: Friendship is Magic (Bronies)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:23 am GMT 
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"Oh, uh... The name's Smudge. Paint. Smudge Paint."
He gave an uncharmingly awkward smile.
"And all I saw was a burnt down pony and a petrified house, I mean a petrified house and a burnt down p- oh, for Pete's sake! A burnt down house and a petrified pony. There!"
He sat there, rather bummed out by his amazing powers of coherent talking. He wasn't certain he could add something, although something at the back of his head kept nagging him about adding something more. This has been a habit of his for quite some time, since almost all of his conversations ended on an awkward silence.

((Sorry about the short post, but I'll be leaving my parents' house way too soon and then it is back to sporadic Internet!))


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baker's dozen
 Post subject: Re: Friendship is Magic (Bronies)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:30 am GMT 
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Scribe thought a moment. Maybe he really didn't know anything else. She had a hard time accepting that, though. Maybe it was just a hunch, but she was sure he knew something important, and until she had proof he didn't, she was going to fight to work it out of him. She suddenly realized he was in no condition to answer questions, even though she had cleared his mind a little. Her unicorn powers weren't that potent, after all. What he could really use was a cup of coffee. He was just about to rise and leave, apparently assuming the interview was over, when she asked, "You look like you might be thirsty. Would you care to join me for coffee at Sugarcube Corner?" She tried to sound natural asking him this, but making friends didn't really come natural to her. She could only hope she didn't sound like an awkward stalker.

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 Post subject: Re: Friendship is Magic (Bronies)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:36 pm GMT 
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((apparadently, the drama about the Internet was resolved when I came here, so apparadentelatily, I could've made the post larger and more substantial but oh, well!

"Well, actually I could use some coffee".
Anything to stay awake. He was not going to turn his sleeping routine upside down once again. He pushed his glasses up, but remembered too late that he did have a pair anymore. He felt empty. He felt naked. And most of all, irritated. He could feel them but they were not there. He did not do a good job at hiding his irritation. He stood up and didn't quite know why he did that so quickly. He quickly realized his irritating face was perhaps not the best indicator that he appreciated the offer. He tried his best to look as not irritated as possible and simply said:
"So, uh... Should we?"


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baker's dozen
 Post subject: Re: Friendship is Magic (Bronies)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:11 pm GMT 
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Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:26 am GMT
Posts: 1410
Location: small town in Mississippi
Custom Title: baker's dozen
Scribe could tell something wasn't quite right about her interview-ee, but she couldn't figure out what was so odd about him. She gestured with her hoof to say "after you." She noticed he kept sliding his hoof along the top of his nose. She wondered if maybe he had an itch or something bothering him, or if it was a side-effect of his tiredness and general confusion. He did it again, and she finally broke down and disobeyed the most important rule of official interviewing - she asked him a personal question. "Are you okay, uh, Mr. Paint?"

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