Young in the City

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David
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Young in the City

Postby David » Fri Sep 26, 2014 12:43 pm

This story was brought to you by the generous patrons over at http://www.patreon.com/ponyfinder. Head over there to become one yourself, getting the story before anyone else, getting votes on the story, and helping more get written for as little as $1/month, with higher amounts rewarded with cameos, higher vote power, and drawn pictures of your or my characters.

Enjoy!
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David
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Re: Young in the City

Postby David » Fri Sep 26, 2014 12:44 pm

Chapter 1- Rough Holiday

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   Viljatown was a very large city, just about the largest in the empire. It was a fine place on most days, except this evening. A young colt ran through the back alleys with wide eyes and his neck swinging between keeping an eye on what he was darting around and what was behind him. Why did I do that? he thought to himself as he hopped onto a precariously balanced box.
   The force of his next jump sent the box tumbling as he sailed to the top of the fence that barred his way. An inch too short, he landed with his hindlegs dangling and began to scramble to make the top. From the direction he ran, a disappointed voice spoke calmly.
   "This is not the way my newest, finest, acquisition is supposed to act. Come on down from there and we can put this behind us," it said, female in tone.
   He shuddered violently. He scrambled against the wall desperately as she drew closer. Suddenly his vision sank as her teeth caught hold of one of his hooves and pulled him back. He yelped and kicked back with his free hoof, connecting with her snout and freeing himself. With a surge of frantic energy, he drew himself up and over the fence, falling face first to the street below. The impact was sharp and painful, but he didn't care.
   "Foul little colt," she said, scowling at him through the fence, her face bloodied from the kick. "I'll teach you to pay your betters proper respect." She turned and marched off. He wondered why she didn't hop over the fence as he had, but it was no time to argue with luck. Wobbling from dizziness, he drew back up to his feet and swiftly resumed his flight, emerging only moments later into a wide open square.
   There were many ponies here. Most were dressed festively. It was the last day of summer, celebrated with offerings to the Sun Queen so that she would return the next year. Small fireworks were being lit, sparklers held, and loud cheers rippled through the happy crowd. In this, the colt bobbed and weaved, making his way through.
   "Where are you headed, Pure Water?" came a female voice from his left.
   Recognizing it, he turned in that direction to spot a pony that was larger than he, but about the same maturity. "Big Dreams! Sorry, No time to talk," replied Pure just before he ducked through the legs of a noble-mare, ignoring the indignant squeal, and hopped up onto the rim of a fountain, rushing along its circumference.
   Big was not so easily brushed off, and lumbered in pursuit. Not as fast or dextrous as the smaller pony, she could push through the crowd to follow the darting colt. The crowd became a disjointed series of complaints and surprised noises as the two got through it in their own ways. They ran side by side until they arrived at a small eatery, where Pure darted inside, and Big sauntered in more sedately.
   The shop keep was a brightly colored pegasus with an equally bright smile. She waved at the two of them, "Happy Summer Sundown," she cheerfully exclaimed before moving over to set two mugs of sweet drink before each of them and returning to her station. Free gifts were common for the holiday, and neither argued, returning the greetings.
   "So what's this all about?" demanded the larger filly, "You look like you saw the Unspoken himself."
   "Worse," replied Pure, heaving for breath as he settled beside the table, climbing up onto the short, padded, stool provided. "I can't even believe it." He paused to take a sip from the drink that was placed there, its sweet coolness soothing him as it went down.
   "Can't believe what? Give me some straight answers already. I know you zebras can be obtuse, but I don't like seeing my friends scared out of their manes." She drained her mug half way with barely a notice. Her attention was fixed on her distressed looking friend.
   Pure was a zebra, with bright white and deep black pelt that ran from snout to tail. Much of his snout was dark, along with the ends of his long ears. His mane was an unruly mess of the two colors that hung down to about eye level on all sides. His brand of destiny, like most of the zebra tribe, was an intricate pattern that only other zebras could easily discern the meaning of, unlike the pillow over a moon symbol that Big Dream possessed on her flanks. She had a deep red pelt with yellow splotchy spots. Her mane was a mix of the two colors and ran down in a smooth swirl along her left side, covering that eye on the way. She was about twice as large as he was, but appeared as young. Her build was solid and full of muscle that could even compete with adult stallions of other tribes.
   "I'm not sure," spoke Pure, "I went home to fetch some fireworks and instead of dad, this mare was waiting for me. She told me to go with her and she wouldn't answer any of my questions."
   Seeing his wide eyes and how even repeating the story was working him up again, she reached to gently pat his head, "It's ok. I'm here. No one's bothering my friend while I have a say in it. What happened next?" She dipped her head and sucked up the last of her drink, offering an appreciative nod to the pegasus behind the counter.
   "When I wasn't moving fast enough for her, she tried to grab me. I ran away. She just kept following though. I barely shook her off when I ran into you," replied Pure as he looked towards the glass doors of the small eatery they were hiding in. Outside, the festivities progressed without pause, unaware of his discomfort.
   Big frowned and clopped her forehooves together, "I'll teach her a lesson if I see her. Come on, you're my guest for the evening. We'll figure out what's going on. Does your dad hang out anywhere? He's a smith right?"
   Without further prompting, Pure hopped to his feet, then to the table, and in one more smooth bound he was perched on Big's back. He reared up as his legs slid down along either side of her, mounting her as a knight would a bare backed steed. "You're the best, Big. Yes, he works in the dwarven neighborhood." He directed with a hoof, pointing in a South direction. "If we can find him, everything should be fine. He'll kick out that creepy mare from our house."
   The pegasus frowned a little at the two, "I hope you're going to clean that," she said sternly as she indicated with a wing tip at the remainder of Pure's drink, spilled across the table in his jumping about.
   Pure adopted an embarrassed expression, his nose and ears going red as he dug out a cloth from his saddlebag in his mouth and passed it to Big, who made swift work in mopping up the mess. Placated, the pegasus moved over to collect the mugs, but didn't trouble the two further.
   "I hope he's there," said Big as she trotted back to the front door, "Most people take today off, but the dwarves don't always abide local customs. Still, an excuse to drink? Maybe they're all over there getting drunk. Maybe that's why he isn't home already."
   "Maybe…" said Pure with little conviction. "I never saw dad drink all that much. He says it slows your head and then you make mistakes. He's really smart! He'll fix all of this."
   "'Course he will" agreed Big with a smile before she pushed out into the crowd with her precious cargo and began to muscle through the crowd.
   They left the busy square and her pace picked up, able to take on a trot along the smooth cobblestones and let the city pass by them. Away from the concentrated mass of revelers, the city became still. Only the flickering lights of the street lamps allowed them to see, but it was enough for their sharp pony eyes. It was those eyes that picked out movement. Pure raised a hoof to the left, "Did you see that?"
   "See what?" asked the larger as she squinted into the darkness a moment before continuing her movement, "I don't see anything at all, but I do hear someone coming."
   She resumed her trot as a guardspony came into view. He wore the gleaming armor of an Imperialist, fitting for the central city of that same empire. Mounted at his side was a long and deadly lance, and his hooves glinted with every step, making loud metallic clops as the deadly horseshoes worn on them made their presence known.
   "Filly, Colt. I know this is a night for celebration, being Summer Sundown, but there have been signs of trouble about," he said with a voice of authority, "It would be best if you returned to your parents. I would escort you but I am needed."
   "What kind of trouble?" asked Big Dream. She was as large as the guard, despite their age difference. "We're going towards his father right now, promise."
   "You're a lucky colt," replied the guard, looking at Pure, "To have such a good friend. It shouldn't be anything major, but we would prefer not to take chances. If you see anything unusual, find one of us, or your parents, do not investigate." He sighed then, "Truly, do not." His tail flicked behind him agitatedly, "I was young once myself, I know the urge."
   "Don't worry," said Pure, "I just want to find my dad. Big is here to keep me company," and to protect him, he did not add, though it was not needed, "Thank you. I hope everything is ok."
   "Everything will be fine. It may be a holy day for you, but for the guard, these are days to be vigilant.  Travel swift and safe. Sun watch over you." He bowed his head as he raised a hoof in a salute, and then he trotted past the two of them, heading for the square they emerged from not long before.
   The two resumed their trot, marching along in companionable silence for several minutes before everything upended. "Where are your parents?" asked Pure, "Are they going to be worried about you?" Big had little chance to respond as a shaggy hand with dirty claws burst from the street under Big and grabbed a leg before both were drawn down violently into newly created hole, leaving little behind but a strange patch of gravel in otherwise smooth cobbles. Perhaps the sun was watching over them, but the sun was set.

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David
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Re: Young in the City

Postby David » Fri Sep 26, 2014 12:46 pm

Chapter 2 - Into the Depths

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   "You are wrong ones," said a deep voice. There was a growling hint to it, and a promise of predation. "Why you standing in wrong place?"
      Big and Pure clumsily got to their feet, stumbling in the pure darkness of where they were. "Who's there?" asked Pure.
      "We were walking, not standing," said Big with a loud angry snort, "And who are you to go yanking us down here. You could have hurt something." She didn't sound hurt in her angry fuming.
      "You standing, or I not catch you. No matter, can't put you back. My name is," said the unknown male before he gave two barks and a whine, "But you call me Brightstone."
      "I can't call you anything," said Pure, "Please wait one moment." He had not practiced the spell much, but there was never more urgent need for it. He wove his hooves over the ground as he spoke the arcane words. With a faint sizzle of gathered magic, several motes of light fitfully appeared around him, allowing the two ponies to behold the bipedal canine, or was it a hyena? that stood before them.
   It had shaggy brown fur, and stood about as tall as a human might. Its eyes were a deep blue, matching the glittering gemstones there were woven into its fur and along the dreadlocks that it had fashioned his hair into.
   "That's better," exclaimed Big Dreams as she reached to pat Pure on the head, "Didn't know you knew magic. You little devil, hiding things from me?"
   The shaggy creature tilted its head one way and the other are the two, "How you make light without torch or lantern? Are you wizard, maybe shaman? Is good trick."
   Pure blushed in his nose as the praise, "I'm still learning. Dad says I'll be great at it eventually. Um, you said your name was Brightstone, sir?"
   Brightstone nodded quickly, "Yes, that is my name. What is your names?"
   Despite his poor grammar, he seemed friendly enough, and the Pure was quick to reply, "I'm Pure Water, and she's Big Dreams. Do you know how we got down here?"
   "Big? I can see she big. What is her name?" he asked, sounding confused.
   "Big Dreams," said Big, "That is my name. Nice to meet you, mister Brightstone. Was that your hand I saw just before we ended up down here?"
   He put one of his big furry hands behind his head, rubbing lightly as he made a nervous sound, "Um, yes. I was supposed to get someone else, not you, but you here now. Why you wear metal shoes?"
   Pure looked surprised and examined Big over again as she rolled her eyes, "Yes, I do have striking horsehoes. What of it?" She lifted one of her hooves to expose the device, just as deadly as the guards.
   "How did you not make the noises while walking with those?" asked Pure with wide eyes.
   "Practice. What does it matter? A mare is allowed to defend herself."
   Pure shook his head but didn't argue the matter further.
   Brightstone pointed at her hoof as it settled back on the ground, "Quiet, maybe, still heard it. I supposed to wait for metal shoes, then grab. Expected boy pony, adult, with armor. Not really big girl pony pup."
   Just as suddenly he cocked his head and his ears perked up. The ponies imitated the gesture, trying to hear what he heard. There was a faint shuffling in the distance, sounding like it was echoing down many tunnels. "They're coming. They can't find you. I'll get in trouble, and they may hurt you. You are nice ponies. Follow me."
   Without waiting for response, he turned down one of the many available tunnels and began walking. The two followed after him with a concerned shared glance. The tunnel was rough hewn, comprised of dirt and stone in even amounts. It was clearly made by intelligent hands, far too smooth for nature's touch. They were just wide enough for Big and Brightstone to get through, though that left plenty of room for Pure to trot along beside his bigger friend.
   "Where are we going?" asked Pure, but Brightstone just made a shh noise at him with an upheld finger as he walked along. The light balls that Pure had summoned drifted along beside them as they went, casting its varying colored lights over the three and creating dancing shadows along the nooks and crannies of the tunnel.
   The tunnel suddenly expanded, turning into a cavern large enough that none could see how far it went. Far below, at least fifty feet, faint glowing moss revealed the outline of what appeared to be buildings in disrepair, lost in the darkness. "We safe here," said Brightstone, "This is favorite place. Others do not like, say is haunted. Stupid."
   "Why do you talk so funny," asked Big Dreams suddenly.
   "What?" he replied, "I talk aboveground good. Better than others. I get words wrong? You two talk funny."
   "She didn't mean anything bad," quickly insisted Pure Water, "You just have an accent, that is all, sir. It's a nice one," he fibbed with a smile, "You do talk very well. Did you teach yourself?"
   "Yes," he agreed with a wagging tail, "Watched abovegrounders long time and listened. I learn many words. Better. Do you speak belowground?" he asked, raising a shaggy brow.
   Both shook their heads and he sighed, "Figured. Is ok, I talk your words."
   "What is this place?" asked Pure, gesturing with a hoof down at the dimly visible city below.
   "It looks like an old city," opined Big as she leaned over the edge for a better look. "Very old."
   "Yes, very old. Here before I was. I not know who made it. Mostly safe," said Brightstone as he swung over the edge, hands clenched tightly around a rope as he started bouncing down the side of the cliff and descended swiftly.
   The two looked at one another again before Pure stepped forward, "I'm good at climbing. I'll go first."
   Big looked uncertain at this, "But if something happens, I'd rather be there first."
   "You can't watch me all the time."
   "I can while we're in a dark creepy cave with some weird dog person. Did you see his knife?"
   "Knife?"
   "Yea, under his vest. Saw it clear as day."
   Pure thought back. He was wearing a vest, he hadn't even registered it. It was about the same color as his fur and also had jewels embedded in it, making it easy to lose with how well it blended with his fur. "Well you have striking shoes, and he didn't complain," he counter argued. "He seems nice."
   "He might be," she agreed, "Or he might be leading us into a trap. He's not a pony. He's not even… something we know the name of. Just let me go first, ok?"
   He nodded slowly, and she went to the edge. With a twist of her hooves, the striking horseshoes sprang out, steely tips designed to pierce. She grabbed the rope in her teeth and began descending, using her spiked hooves and careful pressure on the rope to control her rate as she went.

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Bergil
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Re: Young in the City

Postby Bergil » Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:19 pm

It's nice to be able to sit down and enjoy a story featuring intelligent, non sappy equines that isn't mlp based, and so well written too. 8:)

I'll be patreoning you once I've worked out exactly how it works and I've made an account. Thanks Dave.

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David
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Re: Young in the City

Postby David » Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:44 pm

Thanks for the glowing praise! It was fun to write, and I'm looking forward to doing more. I get to expand on the lore of the setting and make interesting characters at the same time.

If you have any questions about Patreon, don't hesitate. Glad you're enjoying the story. :)

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elecwolf1138
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Re: Young in the City

Postby elecwolf1138 » Fri Sep 26, 2014 11:18 pm

The story looks familiar, when does the Pegasus with the tuba show up? :)
I have learned one thing about stories over the years, when you have a story in your head it will keep trying to get out.
Definitely looking forward to more.

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Glyph Reader
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Re: Young in the City

Postby Glyph Reader » Sat Sep 27, 2014 7:40 am

Recently, I decided to take a look back here to see what was going on. I had kind of given up on forum RPing, mostly because of low self esteem regarding the quality of my writing, story telling and organizational skills. Regardless, I was quickly browsing though when I saw that you decided to use your old forum RP as inspiration for this! Quite nice, I must say. In fact, I may just start up a new RP now that I have some inspiration again.
Forum RPs:
Forlorn Vestige
Adventurers' Folly: Ascent Into Madness (AF: AIM)

I have an art request thread here:
Art Request Thread

Feel free to ask!

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David
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Re: Young in the City

Postby David » Sat Sep 27, 2014 7:56 am

We'd love to see you around more, and glad you're enjoying the story. :D I'm really hoping we can hit some of those goals so I can start nudging the artists to do chapter graphics and even comics for things.

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David
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Re: Young in the City

Postby David » Sat Oct 04, 2014 6:18 am

The story continues! This time I appended the next two chapters to the post as a file instead of copy-pasting it in. Like it, want more of it? Support Ponyfinder stories here: http://www.patreon.com/ponyfinder to get chapters early, vote on what goes on, get pictures, and even insert your own characters into the mix!
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David
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Re: Young in the City

Postby David » Sat Oct 11, 2014 9:46 pm

We did it! Story complete! I've gone ahead and posted the completed story in the first post for your reading pleasure.


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