On the Other Hoof

by FeignedSincerity

Chapter 1: Same Town, New Pony

Same Town, New Pony

Ponyville. Quite the little town isn't it? For such a small place, they sure have an awful lot of problems. From an outbreak of all devouring insects to Cerberus himself escaping from Tartarus, they sure have their hooves full of surprises. It seems as though this was all brought upon them by one filly by the name of Twilight Sparkle.

Twilight Sparkle, the promising young protegee of the princess, who presides over all. She was relocated to this little town in order to study friendship, and somehow brings along a box full of crazy. Each day a new adventure, each hour a new danger to overcome.

Thank goodness we have the elements of harmony to protect us! Twilight Sparkle and her five closest friends hold with them the elements of harmony. Imagine that, the six destined warriors of our great nation, all converging in a small nothing town like Ponyville.

But what was this place like before Twilight Sparkle? What was there to threaten the inhabitants of Ponyville before destiny had turned it into the chaos capital of Equestria? This story is about the days before the time of Sparkle. And who better to show us all but the new girl in town? The rich mare from the city, the budding young business pony. Her name is



"You are Shoeshine, right?"

The train platform was quite small. The Friendship Express had just arrived in Ponyville, and Shoeshine now stood idly by a pile of her luggage. Her expertly groomed grey mane hung at one side as she drifted off in thought.

"But of course, and you are?" Shoeshine snapped from her inner monologue to look her greeter in the eyes. This pony was a rather bold pink, and her mane held the color of buttercups. Her cutie mark appeared to be a pair of cherries.

"The name's Cherry Berry, I'm here to help you with your things."

'Ah yes, this must be the young mare of whom father spoke' Shoeshine realized. Her father had arranged for some assistance with unpacking upon arrival, and this must be it. "Very well, lead on Ms. Berry."

"Heh, you're funny, Ms. Berry my flank. I'm cool with Cherry." Cherry Berry approached the imposing pile of bags next to her client, and lifted a couple of them onto her back. "So you're from Canterlot, or what?"

"Yes, quite. Are you sure we're going to be able to carry all of my bags like this?" Shoeshine weighed it all in her head, and it seemed almost impossible to carry all of that in one trip. Most of these bags were full of horseshoes, and the rest were stuffed with her vast wardrobe. "Perhaps we should procure a wagon, or a cart of some sort?"

Cherry Berry hefted another couple of bags onto hooks on her saddle, which earned a grunt of exerted energy. "Nah, we got this. What the hay do you carry in these anyway?"

"Shoes. I am a farrier after all. And what do you mean we?"

"I mean I got half of this easy, and you're gonna have to get the other half." Cherry lifted a final two bags onto the other side of her saddle, putting half of the luggage on her back.

"Preposterous, I can't lift all of that," Shoeshine explained, turning her back. "Surely there is a strapping young stallion to help us in the endeavor."

"Nope, this is all you girl!" Cherry Berry shifted her weight and started for the station's exit. "Besides, how'd you get it all off the train if you can't carry it?"

The blue mare laughed at the idea, stopping Cherry in her tracks. "One at a time of course! Now in all seriousness, where are the carts?"

Cherry Berry rolled her eyes and motioned her head towards the exit.

"You're... You're serious?"

"Pretty much."

"Good then... I'll be... right behind you..."


The building before them was small. It was a two story apartment building, sectioned off into only two apartments. Each one came with everything a pony would need in a small town like this. At the door waited a yellow earth pony with an orange mane, the owner of the first floor.

"Evenin' gals! I s'pose you're Shoeshine!" The friendly mare held out a hoof, which was left unshaken. Below was Shoeshine, crawling along the ground with half her weight in luggage dragging behind her.

"Yes... Wonderful... Little help?"

"Of course!" The orange maned pony lifted four of the bags onto her own back with little effort. "By the by, my name's Golden Harvest, but everypony calls me Carrot Top."

"Carrot here works on one of the farms outside of the town." Cherry mentioned as she made her way through the door. She shifted her weight again and began to ascend the stairs.

"Ah yes, the noble farmers of Ponyville," Shoeshine nearly whispered, beginning to day dream about the country life. In her head, there were fields upon open fields, with not but a bale of hay in sight. "A pleasure to meet you Ms. Harvest! I can not wait to get further acquainted!"

But nopony was there anymore. In her day dreaming, which lasted a bit longer than she had thought, the other two had made their way up the stairs and into the little apartment.

"Oh, right then. Coming!" Shoeshine lifted her body from the ground, making a mental note to take a bath once she was done unpacking. The two bags still on her back proved a bit of a workout, but she was able to stand.

The stairs were uncomfortable to say the least. Each step creaked and felt as though they might give way at any moment. The living room at the top was very plain, decorated with only a short couch, an old chair, and a table with a candle on it.

"Cozy, huh?" Cherry flopped over on the couch and rested her head on her hooves. "Though I bet you got like, a mansion or something back in Canterlot. Hey you got anything to eat?"

"Cozy... Yes, cozy..." Shoeshine scanned the little room with scrutiny, hoping to wake up from another day dream soon. 'Now Shoeshine, just because it's small doesn't mean I won't enjoy it.'

"Well, I'll leave you girls to unpack. Feel free to get me if you need anything!" Golden Harvest flashed a neighborly smile and made her way back down the stairs.

"Yo, Shoe, food? Got any?"

"Oh! Of course!"

"Cool, which bag you keep it in?" Cherry Berry began digging through a couple of bags, finding nothing but piles and piles of iron horseshoes.

"Bag? Oh no, I don't have any." Shoeshine removed the deep purple cloak from her back and hung it up on a hook by the window. "I was hoping maybe you could show me someplace nice to eat. I will have to shop for groceries tomorrow."

"Yeah, I can do that. Hey, maybe I should show you 'round town! Girls day out, sound cool?"

Girls day out? Certainly a new concept to Shoeshine, who's idea of a good time back home was a wine tasting. "I suppose seeing the town a bit would be nice. If I am to embrace the small town life style, then I should know the town. Just let me freshen up a bit."

"Freshen up?" The butter maned mare raised an eye brow in confusion. "Freshen up from what? We walked for like, 3 minutes."

"But I got dirt on my coat. I can't very well go out like that."

It took all that she had to not bash her own face in, but Cherry simply sighed and laid back on the couch. "Fine, whatever, but if you're gonna 'embrace the small town life style', you're gonna get dirty from time to time. I'll be right here, go take a bath."

"Yes, make yourself at home! I shall be right out!"


"You know, most ponies don't take a full hour to bathe." Cherry chuckled over a bowl of daisies.

Shoeshine was clean at least. Her baby blue coat shone like the sky itself, and her mane had been worked over a countless number of times with a brush. Not a single hair was out of place, and her eyes were accented by a darker blue shadowing.

"Well then most ponies have never truly enjoyed the finer things in life! I tell you Cherry Berry, you simply must try it some time!"

"Seriously, call me Cherry. And believe me I know how to chill." Cherry placed a white petal on her tongue and waved a hoof to somepony at another table.

"Somepony you know?"

"Yeah, that's Berry Punch." She motioned a hoof towards the light purple pony, who waved back with a smile. "Cool chick, makes wine for a living."

"Oh! A vintner! You shall have to introduce us." Shoeshine waved slightly, still unsure about how an unformal introduction was supposed to work.

"Yeah, totally! But that'll have to wait." Cherry stuffed an entire daisy into her mouth. "She's working or something right now. Like, selling her stuff to this place or something? I dunno."

"So she supplies this establishment?" Shoeshine was particularly baffled that Cherry Berry could be so uneducated in business practices. "You never told me what you do for a living."

Cherry pushed her bowl away and laughed again. She didn't answer.

"Are you a farmer? Perhaps you're a blacksmith! Oh would't that be wonderful, you could work with me at my new store!"

"Uh, yeah... I don't do any of that." The pink pony gave her new friend a quizzical look. "You don't really know how small towns work, do you?"

"I do so! Now what is it that you do?"

"I sell cherries."

There was a silence between the two as Cherry Berry motioned to her cutie mark.

"You... Sell cherries?"

"I sell cherries."

"Just cherries?"

"And berries."

Another silence befell the two as Cherry took a long sip of her water.

"You sell... Cherries and berries?"


"Do you own a store?"


Shoeshine rested her chin in her hooves on the table. Her daffodil soup wasn't quite what she had expected, and this friend was beginning to shape up about the same.

"So you literally just sell cherries?"

"And berries, yes."

"Good then... Cherry salesman..."

"Hey, you never told me what you were doing here."

"I sell shoes! I'm a farrier, how did you not get that?" Shoeshine motioned to her own cutie mark, mocking her companion.

"Then why'd you move here?"

That was a question that Shoeshine knew the answer to, but wasn't sure how to say it. The reason was clear; she wanted to get away from the big city. She wanted to make a life of her own out in the country instead of living under her father's hooves. She would say that, but she didn't want to be seen as some wishy washy school filly.

"I'm listening."

"My father," she spouted loudly.

"Yeah, sounded like a nice guy. What about him?" Cherry watched as Shoeshine's face contorted in thought. "Look if you don't wanna talk about it, that's cool too."

"No no no, it's not like that. I just don't wish for you to think of me as brash."

"Look, whatever brought you here is fine with me, just let loose and I'll reserve judgement until then."

"Well, in that case, I came here to start my own life." Shoeshine looked down at her own reflection in the now cold soup on the table. "I had a great life back in Canterlot, but I felt as though I was going nowhere. I sat around all day and was waited on by my father, my mother, or sometimes the cleaning lady-"

"PFFT!" Cherry spat a mouth full of water at the monologuing mare. "You had a cleaning lady? You could sit around all day and you chose to come here?"

"Are you about finished?" Shoeshine wiped a hoof across her now soaking face, smudging her eye shadow in the process.

"Sorry, continue."

"As I was saying, I would sit around and do nothing all day. I didn't feel very fulfilled, so I talked to my father about moving out." Dipping her spoon into the bowl in front of her, she gave the soup another try. It was still just as bland, and now it was cold. "So he bought some property here in Ponyville, paid for my accommodations, and voila I had my own store here in town."

"Your dad bought you a store and a house... And you moved away from that?" Cherry scratched a hoof at her head in confusion. "I can tell you're not enjoying your soup, how about I show you someplace else?"

"Yes, let's go. I would very much like to see the rest of town."

The two mares got up from their seats and left a few bits on the table. Cherry led the way towards a large building that stood out like a giant gingerbread house. It looked like one too, and it stood in the middle of town like a landmark.

"That's Sugar Cube Corner. It's run by the Cakes and their tenant Pinkie Pie. Maybe you can find something more to your liking here."

Upon entering the building, a strong breeze of sugary air wafted into Shoeshine's nose. Surely this was a quality establishment, with treats to make even the princess' mouth water.

"This is no good." Shoeshine turned up her nose and showed her back to the portly blue mare behind the counter.

"Shoe! What the hay!" Cherry stomped a hoof in irritation. "Mrs. Cake is a wonderful lady and you shouldn't insult her like that!"

The uppity mare lowered her nose with an expression of sincere worry. "Wait, insult? No! That's not what I meant at all!"

"Then why'd you turn away like you were just led into a pig sty?"

"Because I just ate!" This caused Cherry to recall the meal that they shared. Shoeshine barely even touched hers, and certainly didn't have enough to fill her up.

"You really didn't..."

"And based on the smell, I can tell this is a bakery. It is improper for a lady such as myself to indulge before supper."

Mrs. Cake gave an expression that could be attempting understanding, but was failing miserably. A pink pony poked her head out from the kitchen as a reaction to the awkward silence.

"Oh, I don't know you! I don't know her Mrs. Cake!" The pink pony bounced up and down, causing her large puffy mane to bounce along with her.

"Uh-oh. Come on Shoe, we might wanna get out of here."

"Uh-oh? What's the matter?"

"You in the mood for a party tonight?"

"Not in the slightest."

"Than let's get out of here."

Without skipping a beat, Cherry grabbed a hold of Shoeshine's hoof and pulled her out to the street.

"You're going to have to explain that one to me. And don't call me Shoe, it sounds degrading." Shoeshine rubbed at her shoulder, which had been yanked rather forcefully.

Cherry Berry began laughing and continued walking. "That's Pinkie Pie. Quite the ball of energy. Come on Shoe, the rest of town awaits!"

"Oh you...! Fine, lead on."

The two made their way through a few more streets. Cherry Berry never showed any signs of tiring, but Shoeshine of course was not used to walking such long distance. Her normal regime involved getting out of bed, taking a bath, going to the kitchen for breakfast, bathe again, and so on. Never was it necessary for her to go out of the house, and rarely did she ever leave the property. Cherry stopped, and was caught off guard by a day dreaming farrier ramming directly into her.

"Whoa girl, watch your step!"

"Sorry, I was thinking about something..."

"Yeah?" Cherry gave an inquisitive look, indicating her genuine interest in her friend's thoughts.

"Yeah, so why'd you stop?"

"Mmhmm..." Realizing that getting into her friend's apparently complex mind wouldn't be that easy, Cherry turned back to the colorful building in front of them. "Carousel Boutique. Being such a prissy city girl, I figure you'll get right along with the owner."

Shoeshine's face flushed in frustration at that comment. "I take offense to that! And I'd very much like to go in there."

"Too bad, it's closed."

"Closed? Why did you bring me here if it's closed?"

The more laid back of the two laughed, hoping her friend would get a kick out of her answer. "I'll be honest, I've never been in there and I plan to keep it that way. Not my style. Besides, it's the weekend, nothing's open but places to eat."

The weekend. That was another detail that slipped Shoeshine's mind. She had arrived on the weekend so that she could set up shop without any trouble. Admittedly, the weekend was a pretty bad time to be shown around the town. If nothing was open, this little excursion was beginning to look rather uneventful.

"Fine then, show me what is open."

"You interested in farming?"

"Am I ever!"


"And that concludes the tour a Sweet Apple Acres!" The tour guide, she said her name was Applejack, was an orange coated mare with a wide brimmed hat. Shoeshine seemed to give a particularly large amount of her attention to the Stetson placed on their guide's head. "Any questions?"

"Yes. Who is that?"

Shoeshine had pointed over to a tree in the distance with a far away look in her eyes. Below the tree was a large red stallion wearing a yoke.

"That's mah big brother, Macintosh. Everypony in town calls him Big Mac for short."

Cherry narrowed her eyes as a sly smirk crept onto her face. "You got a thing for big, burly country boys?"

"You misread me again Cherry Berry!" The star struck pony's face was now as red as it used to be blue. "I'm from the city, we don't have stallions like that in Canterlot! Forgive me if I let my... eyes... wander..."

She trailed off as she watched Macintosh haul a large cart full of apples towards the barn on the other side of the farm. Applejack and Cherry Berry gave each other a knowing look.

"Well y'all best keep your saddle on. He ain't lookin', and even if he was you'd have to fight through half the town to get 'im."

"Big Mac is kind of the epitome of eligible bachelor, and all of the mares in town want him. Might want to try taking the path less traveled on this one." Cherry places a hoof under Shoeshine's chin to force her mouth shut. "Jeez, it's like you've never seen a stallion before. Thanks for the tour AJ, I should probably get her back home before she gets too lost in thought."

"Good idea. See ya 'round the market CB."

The road back to town was long, at least for an out of shape spoiled girl, but Shoeshine barely noticed this time. Her head was too far in the clouds, dreaming about galloping through the golden fields with a big, strong stallion by her side. It was just like she imagined before moving. It was like every one of her fantasies was coming true.

"You know, you space out a lot. You ok?"

"Of course I am! I am more than ok!"

"I'm only asking because your house was like, an entire block ago and you didn't even notice."

Without so much as a retort, Shoeshine turned a complete 180 degrees and continued to walk, now in the other direction.

"You're not even gonna say goodbye?" Cherry watched as her companion for the day walked away. "Figures, city folk. See you tomorrow Shine!" Still nothing. "Eh, whatever."


The day drew to a close as the sun began to descend. Shoeshine had returned to her very modest little apartment and prepared another bath. Soaking after a long day was one of her all time favorite things, and today felt especially long.

"Cherry... For a small town girl she sure doesn't act like it." A loud thud drew her attention away from her thoughts, to see that the soap had fallen off the edge of the tub. She slammed her hooves down in anger, only to cause a large splash, which soaked the towel that she planned to dry off with.

"Fantastic... Now the place is going to get all wet..." A relatively pruned hoof stroked the bottom of her muzzle for a solution. 'If I need anything...'

"Ms. Harvest!"

No reply.

"Golden Harvest I need assistance!"

Still nothing.

"Chin up Shoeshine, tomorrow can only be better."

And so the moon rose over the little town of Ponyville. Our heroine was left alone that night, for the first time in her life. Indeed, tomorrow could only be better.

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