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    Cloudkicker stopped and doubled over, tears in her eyes as she shrieked from laughter. "And you're telling me he never noticed the switch?"
    Caramel shook his head, taking a bite of his Ursa Claw. "Not once, though I spent the next week worrying that he'd buck down my door and beat the living crap out of me."
    "Oh, Celestia..." she shook her head, still giggling softly as she walked. "And I thought Pinkie and Dash pulled some crazy pranks..."
    "They certainly have," agreed Caramel, "They're just not as gifted storytellers."
    Cloudkicker snorted a laugh. "I guess not."
    They walked in silence for a few minutes, simply enjoying each others' company. Caramel then caught sight of a familiar red stallion.
    "Hey, Big Mac!" he greeted.
    "G'morning, Caramel," he replied, "Out with the ladyfriend?"
    Caramel nodded. "As a matter of fact, I am."
    Big Mac turned to the pegasus. "Cloudkicker, right?"
    "Well, Cloudkicker, ah can't say you made a bad choice with Caramel, here."
    At that comment, Caramel's face lit up with a smug grin.
    "Can't say you made a great choice, neither," added Big Mac, smirking, "But not a bad one."
    Caramel's prideful smile was quickly replaced by embarrassed blushing.
    "I think he'll be fine for me," replied Cloudkicker, giggling.
    "Suit yerself. Enjoy yer morning."
    "You, too," replied Caramel, his face still red.
    Big Mac passed them and continued on his way, hoping he could make it back to Sweet Apple Acres before Applebloom woke up. He felt guilty about not being able to play with her today, but -
    That train of thought derailed as he smacked into a blue mare in the doorway of Sugarcube Corner.
    "Oh, my apol-" Lotus Petal froze. Oh, by Luna's shining stars...
    "It's alright," he said, picking up the bag she dropped and holding it to her. "Ah should've been payin' attention, anyways. Good t'see you again, Petal."
    He remembers my name! Well, of course he does, we spent three and a half hours talking yesterday...wait, what the hay are you doing? Say something, you foal!
    "G-good to see you, too!" she blurted nervously, taking her bag. Something else! "So, what brings you here?" He's getting breakfast, you dumb twit!
    "Ah'm gettin' somethin' for my lil' sis," he said calmly, "You?"
    "G-getting me and sisters some breakfast," she replied, her heart ready to burst from nerves alone. "Say, when do you think you'll come to the spa for another appointment?"
    "Ah hadn't thought about it," he lied, "Probl'y sometime soon. Why?"
    "Just wondering," she lied in response, "I hope you don't mind me asking."
    "No problem at all. Have a good day."
    "You, too."
    Lotus Petal trotted away, her heartbeat still keeping a rather allegro tempo. Calm down, she thought, That could have gone worse. A lot worse.
Walking back to Luxury Lotus Health and Beauty Spa, she passed by a sea-green unicorn trying (and failing) to clear her head with a quiet walk.
    To make the point with a sledgehammer, Lyra had been obsessing about her meeting with Bon-Bon. She'd thought of myriad things to say, had endless scenarios play in her head - and nothing had come out pleasant for her. She had begun to wonder if the best course of action would be to just stay home tonight and work on her compositions.
    That, of course, was not an option. She loved Bon-Bon far too much to just shrug her off like some frivolous appointment. Still, she looked to tonight with a stark sense of terror and dread, and nothing was helping her to forget it.
    "Something wrong, Lyra?"
    Lyra turned, seeing a lavender pegasus pony trotting up to her. She managed a weak smile. "No, it's okay, Cloudkicker. What goes on?"
    "Just finished my breakfast date with Caramel."
    "Since when did you start going out with Caramel?" asked Lyra in disbelief.
    "Since yesterday. He's actually a pretty fun stallion to be around."
    "I personally can't see much past that mullet of his," laughed Lyra.
    Cloudkicker chuckled, giving Lyra a playful nudge. "I admit, his mane is not my favorite thing about him. But it's hard to care about it when he's just so..." Cloudkicker paused, thinking of a word that would do Caramel justice. "...Fun."
    "How so?"
    "Well, for starters, he's got some of the funniest jokes I've ever heard."
    "Yeah, want to hear one?"
    "Okay, so there are these two colts talking at school. The one says to his friend, 'I know this great way to make some bits off of your folks. It'll sound weird, but trust me: all you have to do is go up to one of them and say that you know the whole truth.'
    "Now, the other one's a bit skeptical, but decides to give it a shot. He gets home later that day, seeing his dad relaxing on the couch. Doing what his friend told him, he looks up at his dad and says, 'I know the whole truth.' The dad looks around, gives the colt fifty bits, and says, 'Please don't tell your mother.' Pleasantly surprised, he sees his mother a little while later while she's starting to make dinner. Again, he looks up at her and says, 'I know the whole truth.' She looks around, gives him fifty bits, and says, 'Please don't tell your father.'
    "Pleased at his profit for the day, he's resting out on the front porch when he sees the mailpony coming up to his house. He thinks, 'You know what? Just for fun, I'll try it on the him.' So the mailpony gets up to the house, and the colt looks up at him and says, 'I know the whole truth.'"
    Cloudkicker began to giggle as she neared the punchline.
    "And?" asked Lyra expectantly.
    "Well, the mailpony drops his bag, stretches out his arms, and..." She giggled a little harder.
    "And he says, 'Then come give your dad a big ol' hug!'" Cloudkicker let loose a bout of laughter only matched by the ones she made around Caramel.
    Lyra blinked, a smirk beginning to itch at the side of her mouth. A second later, she joined Cloudkicker, howling and guffawing harder than she had in weeks. Months, even.
    "That's..." she said, breathless and teary-eyed from laughing so hard, "That's just awful!"
    "I know, but..." Cloudkicker chuckled quietly, getting her breath back, "It's hilarious. And that's just one of the jokes he's told me."
    "Oh, Celestia, I'm afraid to hear the others," replied Lyra, wiping her eyes, "I might tear something if I have to laugh that hard again..."
    "That's what I thought, too. I still do, actually" added Cloudkicker, chuckling.
    "Well, it sounds like he's keeping you entertained."
    "Yeah, no problems on that front."
    "Any on the others?"
    "No. Well, except for the mullet, but..."
    Lyra snorted. "If that's the only problem, then I'd say you've got yourself a winner, so far."
    "Yes, I do. Well, I've gotta get going. I'll see you around, Lyra."
    "Seeya, Cloudkicker. Thanks for the joke, I needed it."
    "Anytime. Take care."
    "You, too."
    Cloudkicker trotted away from Lyra, humming happily. Other than when she'd first seen that cloud and sun appear on her flank, she couldn't remember a time in her life where she was happier. And anypony could easily guess who was responsible.
    That pony, currently, was out earning his bits for the day, having an interesting conversation about his second favorite thing in Equestria.
    "What do you mean it's ridiculous?" asked Caramel indignantly as he bucked another basketful of apples.
    "Ah mean that it's ridiculous," replied Big Mac as he did the same, "Face it, Caramel, that style was cheesy since before Granny Smith was called 'Granny.' And she's been goin' by that name for a long time."
    "Cheesy, shmeasy. Until somepony takes direct offense at my manecut, I'm keeping it the way it is."
    "Ah'd be willin' t'bet that Rarity's had nightmares about that thang."
    Caramel smirked. "Touche, Mac...speaking of Rarity, what's with her and your sister?"
    "Don't play dumb. The way they always act around each other, their incessant flirting...and those camping trips haven't exactly gone unnoticed, either."
    "Ignorance is bliss, mah friend."
    "I suppose so." A few minutes passed, the silence only broken by their applebucking. Then Caramel began to chuckle.
    "What's so funny?"
    "Just was looks like you're the only shot at continuing the Ponyville Apple Clan."
    Big Mac gave a quiet laugh. "Yer forgetting about Applebloom."
    "Well, her, too. But she's got a few years before she needs to worry about what happens when a mare and a stallion love each other very much."
    "Good thang, too. Ah ain't lookin' forward to that talk."
    "I don't blame you," replied Caramel, laughing. Another few minutes passed. "Say, out of the mares in Ponyville, who'd be your pick for the future Mrs. Big Macintosh?"
    Big Mac paused in mid-buck. "Ah'm not sure. The only mares ah know on a personal basis are Applejack's friends, an' none of them really catch mah eye."
    Caramel stared at Big Mac skeptically. "Five good-lookin' mares, and none of them interest you?"
    "Not a single one?"
    "You're kidding me."
    "And those are the only five mares you know?"
    "Yeah - wait, no. Ah've gotten to know one of the Lotus sisters a bit."
    "The Lotus mean those spa ponies?"
    "Which one?"
    "Lotus Petal."
    "That's not helpful."
    "Blue one, pink mane."
    "Oh, her. She doesn't strike your fancy?"
    Big Mac hesitated. "Ah didn't say that."
    "Then how come you're not walking up to her with a bundle of flowers and asking her to dinner?"
    Big Mac froze. "Good question." He turned, trotting away.
    "Hey, where are you going?"
    "Taking care a'something."
    "And you expect me to keep bucking while you're gone, don't you?"
    Caramel sighed as Big Mac disappeared through the trees. "Make me do all the friggin' work," he muttered. Looking off as he mumbled angrily to himself, he saw a familiar gray pegasus pony arriving at the Sweet Apples Acres homestead.
    At the house, Ditzy began knocking on the door. "Anypony chrome?"
    There was silence. Then, after a few moments, there was more silence. Ditzy bent down to put the letters under the door just as it opened to show a little pale filly on the other side.
    Applebloom's hopeful smile quickly faded to a disappointed frown. "Oh, hey, Ditzy."
    "Hi, Applebloom!" replied Ditzy exuberantly, "Is Big Mac honed?"
    "Naw, he's been buckin' all day."
    "Tranny Smith?"
    "Nappin'. What've ya got fer us?"
    Ditzy gave Applebloom a hoof-ful of letters, which she placed beside the door. It was at about that point that Ditzy noticed Applebloom's gloomy expression.
    "Why so doubt?"
    "You short?"
    "Yeah, ah'm sure. Seeya, Ditzy." Without waiting for a response, Applebloom walked back inside. Ditzy was left to continue her deliveries, which she did with her usual wall-eyed enthusiasm.
    Mid-flight, she checked her list. Sweet Apple Acres was covered, now it was onto Blues' Music Shoppe.
    "Spinster delivery!" she exclaimed as she walked through the door.
    "Hey, Ditzy!" greeted Blues, leaning over the front counter, "What've ya got for me today?"
    "These," replied Ditzy, dropping a few letters in front of him, "And you've got some new insurgents waiting for you at the post orifice."
    "Thanks," he said as he scooped up the letters, "I'll make sure to pick 'em up later. Maybe one of these days, you can bring Dinky in to try something out."
    Ditzy winced slightly, then nodded. "I just mitt. Out of curtness, what would you recompense?"
    Blues shrugged. "Hard to say. The best thing is to just show her around and see what she likes."
    Ditzy nodded. "I will, then. Bye, Blues."
    "Seeya, Ditzy."
    Ditzy left Blues with his instruments, once again taking a look at her list. Her face lit up as she read what was singularly her favorite stop in Ponyville: Sugarcube Corner.
    "Special distillery!" she exclaimed as she practically galloped  in.
    "Oh, thank you, dearie!" Mrs. Cake took the mail from Ditzy, setting it behind the counter to look through later.
    Ditzy, meanwhile, had begun sniffing at the air, catching a deliciously familiar aroma. "Muuuufiiins..." she said longingly, her mouth already watering.
Mrs. Cake laughed, smiling warmly. "Yes, indeed! Just made a fresh batch. I bet a hard-working mailpony like you would love one."
    Ditzy nodded excitedly.
    "Alright, just one sec!" Mrs. Cake disappeared into the kitchen, returning with a full, steaming tray of muffins. Ditzy was almost drooling.
    "Go ahead! Have one!" urged Mrs. Cake, "And don't worry about the bits - this one's on me!"
    Ditzy hardly needed any persuasion. She snatched up the biggest, most amazing-looking muffin out of the batch and took a huge chomp right out the side. "Thanks!" she said around a mouthful of what tasted like fresh blueberries, processed flour, and a tinge of lemon zest.
    "Don't mention it, dearie! Say hi to that little filly of yours for me!"
    Ditzy was too enamored to wince, instead uttering a muffled farewell before bolting out the door. She gleefully flew from Sugarcube Corner, too focused on the muffin-y deliciousness in her hooves to notice the red earth pony coming up the same path.
    Big Mac took Ditzy's hit full in the chest, bending to it much like a cinderblock wall might bend to a light garden breeze.
    "You alright?"
    Ditzy took a look at her muffin. Slightly mashed, but still edible. She looked back up at Big Mac, nodding.
    "You shore?"
    She double-checked the muffin, and nodded again.
    "Okay, then. Ah'll seeya, Ditzy." He passed by the once again happily wall-eyed mailpony and continued onto Floral Fantasies.
    Getting there, he'd purposely taken the scenic route for two reasons. The first was that the thought of making Caramel do more work made him smile inwardly. The second was he wanted to think through what he'd say to Lotus Petal.
    Say, Petal, ah was wonderin'...Naw. Hey, Petal, what're ya...naw. Say, baby, how would you like to....wait, what?
    Suffice to say, he hadn't thought of anything good. He was still pondering when he walked up to the Roseluck at the front desk.
    "Afternoon," he said simply.
    "Good afternoon, and welcome to Floral Fantasies! How can I help to brighten your day with some botanical masterpieces?"
    Big Mac shifted the wheat in his mouth uncomfortably. She seemed like a particularly wordy pony - a mildly annoying trait.
    "Can ah get a dozen red roses, please?"
    "Ooh, is this for that special somepony?"
    No, it's for a buckin' hobo. Whaddaya think? "Eeyup."
    "Alright then! Don't go anywhere, and I'll be right back with the flowers!" She disappeared out the back door, leaving Big Mac at the front desk.
    Y'know, Petal, ah'd really love to...naw. Hey, if you're not doin' anything later, ah wouldn't mind...naw. If ah said you had beautiful flanks, would you...seriously, the hay are these coming from?
    Roseluck trotted back in moments later, carrying an already-wrapped bundle of twelve divine-looking roses. She set it on the counter, opening up the register.
    "There you are - a bouquet fit for Princess Celestia herself! That'll be forty bits, please!"
    Big Mac nearly inhaled his wheat sprig. Forty buckin' bits?! Resisting the urge to grumble, he lazily counted out the bits and pushed them to Roseluck.
    "Thank you! Come again if you ever have any other botanical needs!"
    Naw, ah'll just set fire to my bits and save some buckin' time. Keeping his rather agreeable thoughts to himself, he nodded, gently taking the flowers in his mouth and trotting outside. One thang left to do.
    He trotted into Luxury Lotus Health and Beauty Spa, expecting to see Lotus Petal at the front desk. Instead was her purple-maned sister, lazily reading a magazine. She hadn't even noticed him walk in. Big Mac nervously trotted up, setting the roses nearby and clearing his throat.
    "'Scuse me."
    Blossom's head flicked up. A small smirk edged at the corner of her mouth when she saw the flowers. "Well, if it isn't our newest client! What are the roses for?" As if I didn't already know.
    "Erm..." Macintosh's cheeks suddenly turned very warm. "They're for yer sister. Lotus Petal, ah mean. Speakin' a' which, where is she?"
    "Hay if I know; today's her day off."
    Big Mac nearly bit his wheat sprig in two. "No idea where she might be?"
    Lotus Blossom shook her head. "Not one."
    "Oh," Big Mac looked down dejectedly.
    "Of course," continued Blossom, "I could just give these to her when she gets back."
    Big Mac looked back up, smiling softly. "Ah'd really appreciate that." He picked up the roses and set them behind the front desk. "Thanks."
    "Don't mention it."
    Blossom was kind enough to wait until Big Macintosh trotted out the door to start giggling uncontrollably.
    Oh, it's just so cute!
    She turned back to her magazine, still giggling. Half an hour and four beauty-related articles later, she heard the bell above the door jingle. She looked up.
    "Special dilapidation!"
    "Hi, Ditzy! Just set it over there, please."
    Ditzy nodded, putting the mail where Blossom requested.
    "How was your morning?" asked the latter.
    "Good. Yours?"
    "Nothing spectacular. How's that adorable filly of yours?"
    Ditzy's eye twitched involuntarily. "Posthumously nebulous!"
    "Fantastic. Well, don't let me keep you! Bye, Ditzy!"
    "Bye. Have a good dane!"
    Ditzy flew out of the spa, looking at her mailbag. She smiled, seeing that she only had a hoof-ful of letters left. The first of her last stops was Twilight's library. After the letters were under the door, she made her way to Berry Punch's house.
    "Afternoon, Ditzy! How's your - excuse me," she turned back to the house and raised her voice, "RUBY! CORONET! Quit banging around! One of you is going to fall and give yourself an aneurysm!"
    "But, mom! We're playing tag!" shouted one of the fillies from the back, "How can you expect us to play without - hey, no fair! I was talking to mom!"
    Berry Punch nickered, facing Ditzy. "I'm sorry, they can be a little difficult sometimes. Anyways, how's your -"
    "Uh-oh..." came two filly voices in unison.
    "Oh, Goddess," sighed Berry Punch, "I'm sorry Ditzy, we'll have to talk some other time."
    "No promenade!" assured Ditzy with her usual derpy exuberance.
    Berry Punch nodded, shutting the door as she trotted back inside. Ditzy flew away, onto her last stop before home.
    She knocked. "Anypony there?" she asked, knocking again. After a few seconds' wait, it opened.
    "Sorry, Ditzy," apologized Cloudkicker, "I was in the kitchen."
    "It's fine," replied Ditzy, giving Cloudkicker her mail, "What were you raking?"
    "Oh, I was thinking of surprising my new coltfriend with some cookies tomorrow. But..." Cloudkicker grimaced slightly, turning to the kitchen. It looked as if an I.E.D. consisting of flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and chocolate had been detonated from the open fridge and oven. Twice.
    "Yeah," replied Cloudkicker, giving a soft laugh, "Turns out I'm not much of a Mrs. Cake."
    Ditzy shrugged. "Oh, who's the lusty stallion?"
    Cloudkicker barely resisted the very strong urge to burst out laughing. "Caramel. You know him, right?"
    Ditzy nodded. "He lurks for the apple famine, right?"
    "Yeah, that's him."
    "Well, good lunch, you two!"
    "Thanks. Bye, Ditzy."
    Cloudkicker set the mail to the side, closing the door behind her. She stared down the kitchen with a furiously determined look on her face, as if she was trying to intimidate it into compliance.
    "Okay, then," she muttered, "Let's try this one more time..."

    Several times later, Cloudkicker trotted out of Sugarcube Corner with a bag of cookies in her mouth, wondering why the hay she hadn't done this in the first place. It was so much more convenient, and what was Caramel going to care if they were homemade or not? Plus, she still hadn't gotten all the flour out of her mane. Trotting along, she passed by a cyan earth pony on her way home for a quick nap.
    Lotus Petal stepped inside the Luxury Lotus Health and Beauty Spa, making her way to the stairs before Lotus Blossom stopped her at the front desk.
    "Hey, sis," said Blossom with a teasing smirk, "Big Macintosh came by earlier..."
    Petal's heartbeat picked up speed. "And?" she asked, trying to keep from blushing.
    Still smiling, Lotus Blossom pulled the roses out and set them in front of her sister. "Courtesy of the stallion of your dreams."
    Her jaw went slack. "Blossom, if you're pulling my leg..."
    "You think I'm that cruel?" she laughed, shaking her head, "I promise, it's the real thi-"
    Blossom suddenly found the life (and air) being squeezed out of her by an absolutely ecstatic Lotus Petal.
    "Uh, Petal?" she gasped, "You'"
    "What? Oh, sorry," Petal sheepishly released her sister, "I'm sorry, I's, buck it, he likes me!"
    "Yep," said Blossom hoarsely. Good Goddess, since when has she been that strong? "So, what now?"
    Petal thought for a moment, which turned out to be a useless endeavor. "I don't know."
    What would she do without me? She'd die alone, that's what. "Well, I'd suggest asking him to dinner."
    "Oh, right," replied Petal, feeling more than a little stupid, "Should I go now?"
    "Hrm...nah, wait until tomorrow. Give yourself some time to think over how you'll ask him."
    "Alright. Now, I'm going to enjoy the rest of the afternoon from the comfort of my bed."
    "And maybe fantasize about your dream stallion?"
    Petal laughed, shaking her head. "Shut up."

    Petal came back down the stairs a few hours later, yawning.
    "Good nap?" asked Blossom, not looking up from her magazine.
    "Good nap. I'm gonna make a dinner run to the deli, you want anything?"
    "Just get me and Flower the usual, thanks."
    "Alright, I'll be back in a bit."
    "Take your time."
    Petal trotted out from the spa and to the Sunflower Sammich Delicatessen. Walking inside, she passed by an all-too-familiar pegasus on her way to the park with a specially-made muffin sandwich.
    Ditzy flew straight to her favorite park bench, setting her food down as she retrieved her notebook and pencil. She continued the drawing from yesterday, occasionally dropping the pencil to steal a bite of her sandwich.
    "Finally," came a thickly-accented voice from nearby, "About bloody time I found you!"
    Ditzy excitedly looked up. "Whooves!" She jumped up, nuzzling the light-brown earth pony's cheek. "W-when did you g-get b-back?"
    "Just earlier today, love," he replied, laughing, "You know how business is." He spotted her notebook. "What were you drawing?"
    She picked it up, showing it to him.
    "Wow," he said, dumbfounded, "That's great. That reminds me, how is Dinky?"
    Ditzy set the notebook back down, her eyes and mouth angling in sorrow. "W-well..."
    "What? What happened?" asked Whooves, with as much concern as if Dinky was his own, "Did something happen? Is she sick? Hurt?"
    "No, n-nothing like that," assured Ditzy, "She's j-just in M-manehattan."
    "Manehattan? Why there?"
    "My s-sister, L-lizzie Doo, in-invited her," explained Ditzy, "And Dinky r-really w-wanted to go."
    "I see. Well, cheer up, love!" said Whooves, putting a comforting hoof to Ditzy's face, "Tell you what: we'll go home, spend some time catching up. I'll tell you all about my trip, maybe over a nice bottle of wine, and some..." He put his mouth to her ear and whispered seductively. "...Muffins?"
    Ditzy's face lit up. "I w-would love that."
    He nuzzled her cheek. "I thought so. Come on, then."
    Together, the two ponies walked to Sugarcube Corner. On their way, they passed by a navy-and-pink maned earth pony with a bag of sandwiches in her mouth and what felt like a rock in her gut.
    Bon-Bon could have compared her meeting with Lyra to a dentist's appointment; it was something she hardly looked forward to, it had a chance of being very painful, and she very well might end up wondering if it was worth the time.
    She'd never been quite sure of her feelings for Lyra. She was a beautiful unicorn, that was about as arguable as the ground beneath her hooves. But the same sort of thing could be said about other ponies, like Cloudkicker, or the Lotus Sisters, or Big Macintosh, or...
    Come to think of it, Ponyville was a town full of good-lookin' ponies, though Lyra was certainly high up in the looks department. But that wasn't the only thing that Bon-Bon had to take into account. She and Lyra had been friends for so long, it was hard to think of them as anything else; but they were so close, moving it up a step shouldn't be that difficult. Then again...
    Bon-Bon whinnied softly to herself. This was only serving to make things even more confusing for her, if that was possible.
    I guess tonight decides it, she thought, Make or break.
    She arrived at her house, opening the door. She looked inside, seeing a mint-green unicorn sitting in a chair on the other side of the living room, looking about as comfortable as a Manehattanite in one of the frontier towns.
    "I see you came early," observed Bon-Bon, setting the sandwiches on the coffee table.
    "Y-yeah," replied Lyra somewhat timidly, "I didn't have anything else to do, so I figured, y'know, 'what the hay?'" She laughed nervously.
    Bon-Bon smiled awkwardly, sitting across from Lyra. "You hungry? I got some sandwiches from the deli, if you want one."
    Lyra shook her head. "Thanks, but I'll be fine."
    "Suit yourself. How was your day?"
    Lyra shrugged. "Not too bad, but not anything unusual. You?"
    "Nothing that special, either."
    They sat in silence for a moment, each one avoiding the other's gaze. Finally, Bon-Bon shattered the silence with the efficiency of a nuclear bomb.
    "Lyra, what exactly happened yesterday morning?"
    The unicorn seemed to shrink back into her chair, looking at her twiddling hooves. "I...I don't really know," she lied. She knew perfectly what happened, and remembered each detail perfectly. From what they'd been discussing to Pinkie Pie's excessively long monologue to the sugary taste on Bon-Bon's lips.
    "Lyra," replied Bon-Bon, leaning forward, "Please just answer me."
    Lyra sighed, gathering a last bit of courage to look Bon-Bon in the face. "Alright, Bon-Bon. I..." Tell her the truth. Tell her you love her. Tell her you can't picture life without her. "I..."
    "I..." Tell her. "...I like you," she confessed quietly. You coward.
    Bon-Bon leaned back again. She'd prepared herself for Lyra's admission, but she might as well have had braced for collision with a cement truck.
    "But if you don't like me," continued Lyra hastily, "I...I guess it's fine. We just go back to being friends, right?" Lyra smiled weakly, pleadingly.
    Bon-Bon had no idea why, but that last part had felt...painful. This next equally so, which made her wonder all the more why she was saying it. "Yeah...yeah, I guess that's it, we're back to friends. Like nothing ever happened, right?" She smiled with Lyra.
    "Yeah...nothing." The word rung in Lyra's mind like a fire alarm. Still, she kept up the charade, even managing a fake laugh.
    "Well, then, I guess we should call it a night?" suggested Bon-Bon, still feeling somewhat pained.
    "I guess," agreed Lyra, still mentally bucking herself.
    "Lunch tomorrow?"
    "Sure, why not? Seeya, Bon-Bon."
    "Take care, Lyra."
    Bon-Bon watched Lyra trot out the door. She waited until it closed, then turned back to where Lyra was sitting. There she sat for a minute, doing nothing but staring, blinking, and breathing.
    Finally, the facade crumbled, and the dam burst. At first, Bon-Bon found herself silently sobbing. Within minutes, she found herself face-first on her coffee table, drenching it in more tears than she'd shed over her whole lifetime.

    Tonight, some inhabitants of Ponyville slept more comfortably than the night previous. One had fallen asleep fantasizing about how she would ask the most handsome stallion in Ponyville to dinner. Two others had comfortably fallen asleep together, the one having helped the other forget her worries almost completely. Another even had fallen asleep with the simple anticipation of surprising her coltfriend tomorrow with something sweet.
    Some ponies, however, slept even less comfortably. One spent much of the night simply staring at the ceiling, his mind swimming in uncertainty. Two had cried themselves to sleep with tears that seemed to glisten with regret. And one filly had gone to bed with a bitter feeling of loneliness, wishing to relive yesterday afternoon.
Part two of The Melting Pot. Debuted on Equestria Daily, figured I'd put it here for you DA-only bronies.
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Blueblurbabe Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Sonicxg Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2012
This fix is excellent ! I must read more
KatalusTalrius Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you!
ThemuffinsII Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2011
I love you in a platonic way. These rank in my top 3, and I would love to see the concept epanded upon.
KatalusTalrius Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Well, thanks! I certainly plan to.
ThemuffinsII Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2011
That'd cool, and I especially liked the way you portrayed each character in different ways.
KatalusTalrius Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you! I certainly tried my best with the characterizations.
Deviatealittle Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2011
Welp, I'm so freaking glad this was archived in EqD. I freaking love it. ANd three more chapters! so excited. Sure I have more homework then ever before. sure I'll lode sleep tonight. But... ponies.

Seriously, I'm loving this. You took a dozen background characters and breathed a kind of life into them that you don't get to see even in fully developed characters sometimes. Ditzy is killing me dude. I hope Big mac gets an episode season 2. We need at least one dude in the cast that isn't spike...

keep writing, you kick ass at it.
KatalusTalrius Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Wow, thanks! And this was archived? I must see this...
cloud006 Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2011
And it just gets batter.
KatalusTalrius Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
cloud006 Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2011
your welcome.
jetpackclam Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I gotta say; so far, I'm really liking this.

There's just so much going on, It's hard not to get completely absorbed into the story, and into the many completely different conflicts revolving around each character.

So many different relationships for you to toy with; I gotta see what happens next. :o
KatalusTalrius Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you, it's what I was going for!
blood99 Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2011
i really lol at tranny smith
KatalusTalrius Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks, I laughed writing it.
Daluzwastaken Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2011
Who had the loneliness? The last one decribed?
KatalusTalrius Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
REDNETTHALL Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2011
So this fic is mostly about the backround ponys..... I lov this
KatalusTalrius Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Yes, and I'm glad you do.
REDNETTHALL Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2011
I found myself laughing at the way BigMac n Caramel communicated with each other like two close brothers.
KatalusTalrius Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I imagine that they'd be pretty close friends, at the least.
pogogo51 Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2011
The Doo's must NEVAR stop talking! This Ditzy is my new favorite character in any series!
KatalusTalrius Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Skellow Featured By Owner May 28, 2011
I'm Completely Addicted to this Story. No Lie. Like, Over 9000 Loved It!!!! :heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart:
KatalusTalrius Featured By Owner May 28, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Glad you like it so much, Pinkie!

And don't worry; if I keep up the way I have been these last few days, Day Three should be done by tomorrow night. Monday night at the very latest.
Skellow Featured By Owner May 28, 2011
*SQUUUUUEEEEE* I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOO Excited, I can't even Sit!!! *Bounce* *Bounce* *Bounce* *Giggles* Oh I just Can't WAIT!!!! :D:D:D:D:D:D
KatalusTalrius Featured By Owner May 29, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Patience, Pinkie, patience. It won't be too long, now.
Skellow Featured By Owner May 30, 2011
CWMckerracher Featured By Owner May 24, 2011
I like it. I like this story alot. The way each scenario seemed to travel with Ditzy (bravo for using that name) I can't wait to read more
KatalusTalrius Featured By Owner May 24, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I'm glad you liked it! Day Three is currently in the works, and I've got some ideas of how to keep it interesting.

On how the story follows Ditzy: when I started, my intention wasn't to make her the carrier of this story. Eventually, though, it dawned on me that, being the mailpony, she was going to be one of the most versatile links in the story. She's far from being the only one, of course, but she's certainly the most important.
CWMckerracher Featured By Owner May 24, 2011
Out of curiosity, did you ship Whooves and Ditzy or is it more of a Doctor/Companion relationship. I loved how you wrote Ditzy btw. Yeah she still has some Word Salad, but she is far more...understandable then other iterations.
KatalusTalrius Featured By Owner May 24, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Shipping. I think it's cute.

And I chose that for a couple reasons, most prominent being that it would be easiest and most interesting to write.
CirrusCloud9 Featured By Owner May 22, 2011   General Artist
Never read day two. Nicely done :clap: Lyrraaaa, you coward....
KatalusTalrius Featured By Owner May 22, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
:iconbigmaceeyupplz: Kinda what I was going for. What'd you think of the Dr. Whooves/Derpy shipping?
CirrusCloud9 Featured By Owner May 22, 2011   General Artist
It was unexpected. Actually, I was unsure if it was shipping or just a pony that calls females "love" all the time. That is until I got to the end. Poor Applebloom... But who were the two crying? *goes back to reread*
KatalusTalrius Featured By Owner May 22, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
It was shipping. And he's a British pony, so...yeah.

And Lyra and Bon-Bon. Who else?
CirrusCloud9 Featured By Owner May 22, 2011   General Artist
Where was Caramel?
KatalusTalrius Featured By Owner May 22, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I felt how he was falling asleep that night was irrelevant. He just kept on applebucking for that afternoon.
CirrusCloud9 Featured By Owner May 22, 2011   General Artist
Well its good to see a story thats not entirely revolving around the main cast. I haven't read many like it
KatalusTalrius Featured By Owner May 22, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Yeah, I don't think I'll be doing a lot with the Mane Six in my fanfics. When I'm done with The Melting Pot, I really want to try something with the Appleloosa ponies...
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