Author Topic: Stormy Night  (Read 19 times)

Offline Haywire

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Stormy Night
« on: October 30, 2014, 09:05:07 pm »
(because funsies)

The rain poured heavily outside, each of the individual rain drops landing with an almost audible thud against the rather leaky roof of the tavern the storm was trying to tear down. Swelled bullets of water composing the ammunition of the angry clouds above pelted the creaky and now soggy wood with plenty managing to find chinks in the shoddy shelter riding off of the spare bits of its irritated patrons, slipping in, down, around and through the planks of its outer layer and past the thin insulation barely keeping out the cold and howling wind. Once inside they collected together and dripped down with zero discrimination as to what may fall victim to them, many pails and mugs having been scattered about the interior in often awkward or inconvenient spots - the most notable, and silly, example being one mug balancing on an older and gruffer stallion who simply refused to abandon his favorite chair in this time of excessive downpour of wetness plaguing the area - to try and contain the slippery threat as well as they could.

Despite best efforts, not much could be done to improve the moods of the melting pot of ponies that was those taking refuge within, many of whom being regulars who were regularly much more cheerful than they were at the moment but having had their moods harshly kidney punched by the current circumstances. Normally chatting up storms and laughing heartily at one another's jokes, most were keeping to themselves that night by skulking in their own corners of the room, those who were common visitors to the establishment flashing brief but frequent glares in the direction of the irregulars who unreasonably felt were intruding on their supposed territory. Meanwhile the opposite side of this silent tension gave unamused and annoyed expressions back each time they felt the daggers as they felt quite out of place, many of whom harboring a strong dislike of the equally strong drink served there which only have made them less popular if they made such information publicly known. To sum it up, nopony was having a good time, and the wait for the rain to ease up was only growing more and more uncomfortable for everypony with each drip dropping second.

However, this didn't necessarily mean that any of them were bad ponies. On the contrary, many were quite friendly and happy when caught in warmer times and dryer coats, but that night just made it hard for anypony to put on a smile and actually mean it. The hour was late, most were tired, cold and soaked, and this storm had come quite literally out of nowhere with no mention of it being made by the town's weather team. The only reason the tavern was even still open was as a friendly gesture made by the owners towards anypony unlucky enough to have been outside when the torrent had begun to nearly flood the streets, and everpony was simply tired, wanted to go home and were beginning to take out their frustration over the whole ordeal on each other.

If only the rain would lighten up just a little bit... just enough so as to allow everypony to get back home without being lost in the thick water laden winds that engulfed anypony who tried... Severe colds were ashooin for those who attempted to head out into such conditions, and it didn't help that this particular tavern was a bit further out from the center of town than the rest - mostly playing host to local farmers and incoming travelers and relying on their business more than the candy flavored drink loving inner town ponies, a few of which still inspecting the bar from a distance and with disapproval as they prayed for a break in the storm to grant them freedom - this making the walk home even less simple as a road needed to be followed wherever you were going. But even the street signs were hard to notice and read right then, as quick glances cast from behind a protective hoof covering ones face from the onslaught outside made what few details they could gather vague and blurry.

One stallion, whom had attempted a daring, and very vocal, escape from the tavern and into the night earlier in the evening, proved how tricky things really were. Around ten minutes after his dramatic departure he came slinking back inside, dripping wet and only giving a quick explanation of having gotten turned around before going back to where he'd been sitting previously, albeit with a much more soaked, shivery and grumpy frown than before. The chuckles were short lived, many wondering if they'd end up actually having to spend the night in the tavern with how relentless the storm was being, this giving way to many a disappointed and sad sighs.

The front door creaked open, earning only a small amount of interest from those so desperately bored as to bother turning their heads enough to see who had entered and been doomed to their fate.

Standing in the entryway, his entire body not surprisingly drenched in rainwater, stood a small green pony, height first suggesting a young mare but further inspection revealing a stallion's features beneath the short brown mane that stuck to his face. However... there was something up with his eyes... and it wasn't clear what until after he'd shaken himself dry like a dog fresh out of a bath, nopony caring about the mess of course since at this point a large puddle had formed in front of the door for everypony to splash through when coming and daring to attempt going anyway.

Goggles, tinged orange and being made with an odd choice of four straps, clung to the little stallion's face and protected his eyes, locks of the pony's wet hair hanging freely over them and bouncing, along with his saddle bags, with his step as he trotted forward and further inside the tavern. He wore something most of the other patrons had forgotten existed at this point, and it made them feel quite surprised to witness it again as he showed it to everypony he saw with no feeling of awkward or shyness.

A grin. Bright, broad and friendly. It was almost enough to make the ponies who witnessed it do a double take. What insane pony could be happy during a time like this? Especially one that had been outside right when the rainfall was at its heaviest and the wind its most chilling? Did the storm get so difficult to navigate that it had somehow managed to turn around a pony from some happier place and bring them here? This was silly and hard to believe, but so was the grin that sure enough existed and remained plastered on the stallion's face as he made his way all the way up to the bar counter where a couple of mares hadn't bothered to move from since happy hour.

Claiming an empty stool for himself, the new pony hopped up with a life that contrasted the depressing mood around him, allowing the stool to spin a couple times with him on it before clopping his front hooves down on the counter top and standing up a bit in his seat and not bothering to remove the saddle bags he carried from his back.

"Hi! I'm Haywire! Whats your name?" said the little stallion, full of energy and with a tone that made him sound as if he was greeting a good friend, the noise jolting the half asleep bartender sitting on the other side of the counter back to his senses before he could begin drooling on himself.

Blinking, the grey coated and heavy set bartender tried to remember where he was, a hoof lifting up his hat - which he'd put on when he was supposed to originally leave and hadn't bothered to put back on the rack since - while the other attempted to straighten out his normally slicked back but currently frazzled black mane with little success before moving on to scratch at his mutton chop beard instead. When he decided to acknowledge the new pony at the bar he literally squinted - nearly flinched in fact -when faced with his oh so very cheery smile, responding with only a grumpy grunt at the hello before remembering that he was still supposed to at least be trying to help out the ponies stuck here, even if that meant just hoofing over the lighter drinks so as to keep them more occupied than buzzed.

"Uh..." he began to reply, taking in the new pony's size and wondering if he should ask for some form of ID before giving him anything, "... Hello, Haywire... Most just call me Taps... What do you w-er-I mean..."

A clearing of his throat after the slip up, Taps trying to straighten himself up despite his lack of an actual buck, "What can I get for you? Apploosa Special? Hoofprint Brandy?" He paused to allow the newcomer time to chime in with any particular preference only to once again catch himself on another mistake.

"Or, sorry, I forgot, we're actually keeping the stronger stuff locke-"

"Do you guys have any apple juice?" chimed Hay before Taps could finish, his rather innocent request being spoken with a tone of excitement despite how tame and simple it was, "Or any kind of juice really? I've been running around all day and night and I'm getting a little tired of rain water. What about... hmm..." a green hoof tapped a grin chin thoughtfully as goggled eyes, blue in actual color as Taps could make out from this distance, surveyed the bottles on display. His apparent craving for fruit juice gave reason to believe that he may have actually been more interested in their shapes and colors than their actual contents though.

"Oh! What about... uh... um... What's it called... That drink mix? I can't remember its name, but back in town everypony seemed to have some of it tucked away in a pocket or saddle bag. Was orange, had a picture of an... archer guy, I think? Yeah! He was shooting a bunch of oranges with his bow on the package. I remember I had a glass and, boy, was i glad I did! Had a little bit of a chalky after taste, but the punch of flavor at the beginning was so strong I nearly got knocked over!"

"It's called Orion's Instant Orange!" One of the mares at the bar half scolded in an attempt to shush the stallion up, his chipper attitude beginning to give her a headache. Taps, while in agreement with the mare over her desire for silence, tried to be more helpful.

"No, we don't serve that here, but we do have apple juice," indeed, they kept it around the tavern as a way to play a prank on any under aged ponies that tried to fool them into letting them have something real. All it took was some added salt, and it was always a fun time to watch them pretend to like it just to look cool in front of their friends.

"I'll get you a glass, just... sit there quietly. Please. Sir. Thank you," Taps almost pleaded, tossing his gaze towards the clock that was far more than half past closing time as he turned around to fetch the little stallion his little drink.

Nodding to show he'd try, Haywire sat back down on his stool. This lasted for approximately five seconds before he started to get squirmy in his seat, this restlessness first manifesting in the form of him leaning from side to side and gradually escalating until he was almost spinning in his seat, the lack of bucks being given by the sole employee on duty equating to a level of slow service that was almost too much for the green pony to tolerate. Thankfully though, for everypony, his expression quickly changed from bored staring at the bottles to forming a small "o" with his mouth and having his eyelids pop open as he remembered something that was evidently important to him, his front hooves abandoning the impromptu tapping session they had been on the verge of taking off into and instead reaching for the saddle bags strapped to his body, them making quick work of its buckle and un-clipping the flap keeping the right most one closed and digging into its contents.

Taps, first deaf to the new sound of the jostling unknown bric-a-brac behind him as he had been more focused on staring at the bottle of apple juice in his hoof with a dead stare born from exhaustion, eventually had his attention torn away and back to Haywire when he heard something heavy be plopped down onto his counter top. It was... uh... blurry. Most things were under the shade of fatigue. He rubbed at his eyes to try and clear things up, but even still he could only make out the vague shape of a... bird... toy? His free hoof reached for a clean mug through absentminded muscle memory as he turned around to better inspect whatever this green fellow had produced from his saddle bags.

"We don't allow toys in here," Taps alerted the smaller pony as he set down the mug, popped open the bottle of apple juice and transferred the drink from one container to the other.

"Oh, don't worry, he's not a toy," Hay assured, using a rag taken from his bags to dry off what now appeared to be a statuette made out of metals.

It did indeed look like a bird though, a small blue jay in fact as the bartender realized, Old Lady Whistle and her love of going on and on about birds evidently having implanted this random tidbit of information firmly into his mind without him realizing. The little statue was holding a pose where its head was shyly tucked under one of its wings as though trying to hide itself from those around it. Or maybe it was supposed to be sleeping, Taps wasn't sure nor did he care at the moment as something was starting to catch his attention about the metal bird.

It was whirring, and possibly clicking as well, the sound of moving parts becoming increasingly audible from within the statuette as Hay continued to dry it off.

'Not a toy my flank!'  was the thought that jumped into Taps' head. What else could it be? Something clicking like that could only be one of those little wind up gizmos that the kids enjoyed whenever they were off playing hookey during school hours! Maybe it was just the night and all of its trials agitating the exhausted bartender, but the fact that he'd flat out informed this Haywire pony of how no children's toys were allowed inside the tavern and had then been lied right to his face was kind of pushing him over the edge.

"Sir," Taps began, an annoyed growl heard just beneath his tone, "This isn't a playground, and I just told you that we don't allow toys in here. Put it away."

"But I don't have any toys," Haywire replied with an innocent blink of his goggled eyes, a small smile seeming permanently glues to his face as he continued to dry the bird toy statuette thing. Either he was a good liar looking to purposefully annoy the bartender or Haywire legitimately wasn't realizing that he was lying as Tap's now knew he was. His response earned a flat look and most generous pause meant to allow him a chance to correct himself, a chance that wasn't taken as the smaller pony just smiled happily the entire time.

"Right, well, I warned you. So I'm just gonna-" a hoof was reached outwards to take the toy, but Taps' second half of his sentence 'hold onto this 'til you leave' came out instead as "Ho-uagh!" as his hoof was quickly retracted in surprise. Haywire must have flipped a switch or pressed a button somewhere as the metal bird went from motionless to retreating from the hoof grabbing for it with a few flaps of it's artificial wings, both how it had responded to him and the fact that the wings had actually worked in lifting the statuette-bird-toy-thing away surprising the bartender. Then again a possum rolling over may have surprised him in his current sleep deprived state.

At first Taps wondered if the thing was alive before he had a paranoid idea of him hallucinating jump into his brain and roll around, though this was quickly put to rest when he noticed others in the tavern also staring at the fake bird that was now hovering about a foot off of his counter as it backed up and stayed close to it's owner.

Was he just drunk...? He didn't remember dipping into the spirits... No. No he hadn't. And of course this thing wasn't alive! It was just a toy, probably enchanted by some unicorn somewhere which only made this even more annoying. Now Taps not only needed to deal with some small stallion playing with toys in his tavern after being told not to, but the toys were magical!

That was somehow worse in his mind. Most would agree that Taps overreacted from this point onwards...
Couldn't fail!!!

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Offline Haywire

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Re: Stormy Night
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2014, 09:05:37 pm »

"Uh- get back here!" Taps swung a hoof to try and snatch the bird out of the air, a defiant tweet being heard as the toy thing swooped underneath the pony's leg and fluttered further away, "I said come here!!" Without really thinking about it, Taps found himself leaning further and further over his counter as his hoof went this way and that in an increasingly angry attempt to capture the toy bird or whatever it was, the bird managing quick and well executed dodges in the air as Taps constantly grabbed hold of nothing, this of course only frustrating him further and further.

"Uh oh, Bubo!" Haywire spoke up with a small giggle as the bird eventually hovered behind his head for some form of cover from the enraged bartender, "Looks like he's it! Code Recess Games! Defence!" The bird, evidently named Bubo, managed a split second salute in mid air with one of his wings as Haywire, oblivious to the ill temper of the bartender, believed this to merely be a game, even Taps' climbing onto the counter and subsequent dive through the air to capture Bubo not doing much to rob him of this idea. Even if the dive was to go straight through him if it hoped to reach the bird beyond.

With a short roar Taps launched himself forward from the counter, Haywire ducking in time to allow the larger stallion to soar over him while Bubo merely increased his altitude to avoid the attempted capture, Taps swinging both of his front hooves outwards then back in to try and tackle grab the toy, his "Aha!" quickly morphing into a concerned cry as he caught nothing and instead went onwards to fall onto the floor, his plan obviously not having been very well though out beyond the "I'll just catch it" stage.

Thankfully he wasn't hurt, his twisting in the air causing his side to come into contact with the ground first, a particularly slippery part of the ground as well as he didn't stop there, a puddle from the storm outside having leaked enough water onto the floor to allow him to hydroplane his way onwards and slide into one of the booths occupied by a pair of mares. Both were given a small start as their seat was shaken from the impact, but their surprise and concern were quickly sugar coated with a small chuckle shared between them once Taps sprung back to his hooves none the worse for wear.

"Get your toy under control!" He demanded, more attempts to snatch at the bird hovering nearby to see if he'd been alright meeting with failure despite how agressive they'd become, his now wet limbs flinging drops of water onto everything nearby.

Haywire giggled again and shook his head, "Thanks for inviting me, but I'm too tired to play," was the infuriating reply, Taps now wondering whether he'd be able to keep himself from throwing the little stallion out of the tavern storm or no after this. Either he honestly believed this was a game, or he was intentionally trying to anger him, which he was doing a gosh darn good job at so far!

As his attempts to capture Bubo became more like a mission to bring order back into the tavern, Taps found himself swinging his hooves out wildly, climbing up and around empty and occupied seats and making little hops and jumps to try and reach the airborne menace. Through all this the other ponies trapped there due to the storm watched, a few with a tired look of indifference while others chuckled at the struggle between pony and machine and more still started placing small bets on what the outcome would be.

The mug balancing and gruff stallion refusing to give up his seat to the storm found himself needing to quickly duck his head to avoid a fleeing Bubo after things had escalated pretty far along, his mug somehow managing to defy gravity and remain in it's place in the air without spilling a drop for the half a second needed to avoid the incoming metal bird, his head returning to wearing it like a hat soon after as Taps climbed up and onto the back rest behind him. By this time the two playing cat and mouse had managed to have the other ponies in the building divide into two sides, one shouting encouragment for Taps to succeed in taming the unruly bird while the other cheered fro Bubo to successfully escape, or at least continue to keep away so that things would remain interesting.

"Come on, Taps, get that can opener!" a stallion shouted, a small pile of bits gleaming in the tavern's lights on the table beside him as the betting had continued, between himself and those still interested nearby.

"Pfft! There's no way that bartender can keep up with you, Bubo! You got speed and agility! You can fly circles around him!" the other side claimed, Bubo's constant avoiding of Taps' grabby hooves being plenty evidence of this as Taps balanced his way around the crescent moon shaped back rest of the seat he'd chased his prey up and over.

All the while during this Haywire hadn't taken a side as he had continued to assume that the two were just having fun. Aside from answering a few questions asked by some of the more curious ponies watching the antics playing out before them, Hay had just watched and felt happier seeing how the ponies around him were being more lively and laughing instead of staying so quiet and looking as down as they were when he'd arrived as the positive mood had been infectious. He had been in the middle of explaining where Bubo had come from to a mare - telling her about how he was an inventor normally stationed in Canterlot and about how he had, in fact, built Bubo himself - and was giggling at how she had told him she liked his goggles when the chase quickly brought itself to a close.

Having chased Bubo around to the edge of the back rest, Taps, left with nowhere else to go, made another rash and not very well thought out decision to attempt to fly through the air himself to try and catch the bird that continued to evade his grasp, his back legs propelling him into a leap forward and off of his ellevated position, his jump being so high as to nearly cause him to touch the cieling as he reached for the bird. This time he'd at least managed to touch Bubo before rapidly beginning his descent, Bubo being knocked for a small tumble in the air he was forced to recover from while Taps was headed right for a table. Shouts were made by ponies to clear the way as Taps was quickly given space to land, and to his credit he did indeed land on his hooves. He had just landed on one of the smaller and less sturdy tables in the tavern, which meant that his landing was a very brief one as the platform toppled over and sent several mugs of leaked water from the cieling splashing every which way. Mostly on him, though. Of course.

Landing with an "Oomph!" having the wind taken out of him, and now finding himself to be even more soaked with water tha before, Taps just lay there on the ground exhausted and feeling a small bruise forming on his shoulder. The other ponies watched for a few moments to see if he was alright to continue, but when it became clear that Taps had no more gas left in the tank to keep going they erupted into cheers. A victor had been decided! And those who had bet on machine would find themselves going home a few bits richer that night. Taps was helped to his hooves by a couple of his supporters, him grumbling as he refused to admit to his defeat while Bubo hovered his way back to his creator and settled down on Hay's head, his new fans crowding around to bombard the two of them with questions, Haywire wearing a large grin and happily answering while Bub looked to shyly nestle into his short brown mane at the continued attention.

"Hey!" a stallion was heard shouting from another part of the tavern, him alternating his attention between a window and the other ponies in the building, "The storm! It's finally let up! Oh thank Celestia, we can finally get out of here!" A very enthusiastic murmer of relieved approval washed over the others, most of whom immediately trotting for the door as they left to go home regardless of their curiosity over the mechanical bird while others only paused long enough to collect their winnings from the betting pool. The tavern was quickly being emptied as ponies were finally able to start making their way home, the storm outside indeed having broken and died down. In fact, from how it was looking, the storm seemed to have ceased its incessent raging against the land some time ago, the distraction provided by the bird and the bartender evidently having done a pretty darn good job at getting their minds off of it, something everypony was happy to realize as they said quick goodbyes and hurried along to find their nice and comfy beds waiting for them back home.

Taps waited until most were gone, him keeping his narrowed eyes on Haywire and Bubo the entire time in a grumpy show of his continued dissaproval while Hay eventually found himself to be the last patron lingering within the tavern, him seeming to be discussing somethign with Bubo as he prepared to head out himself. Taps stood up from the seat he'd taken and slowly, tiredly walked over to the small stallion, Haywire noticing and shining another one of his gosh darn happy grins his way while Bubo appeared to tense up as if expecting another round of tag to start up. Once close enough Taps just sort of stared at the two for a short while, Hay never appearing to have it dampen his smile in the slightest, until finally he reared back onto his back hooves and looked about ready to try and strangle one of them, Bubo stretching out his wings at the same time in preperation for another attempt being made to capture him. Nothing came of it, however, as Taps soon just sighed and lowered himself back down.

"... Your drinks on me..." he said, tilting his head towards the mug of apple juice Haywire had forgotten about earlier that night, "... I'm going to sleep..." and with that Taps turned on his hooves, trotted right up to one of the now wonderfully empty booths and collapsed into the cushioning of the seat, snores almost instantly being heard as he kept his promise.

Haywire gave a small gasp in realization as Bubo relaxed, the small stallion returning his attention to his drink, it now a touch warm after having been ignored but otherwise fine. He snatched it up in his hooves and gulped it down, Hay then wiping his muzzle dry with a hoof and giving a satisfied sigh before looking up towards Bubo.

"Ready to go?" he asked, Bubo giving Taps one last look before chirping a yes, him looking forward to flying about outside a bit now that the rain was gone.
Couldn't fail!!!

 


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