He woke to the sound of a constant clouting of hoofsteps.
And then he saw it.
Well, actually, he saw nothing. Sunny Hardwood saw little, because he was covered in the debris of his fallen house. Dreary eyed, he looked side to side, before shedding his coat of wood and shingles, pushing his field-worked frame out of the mess with all four hooves. He was still drowsy from the night's rest, as it had been a good one. With a yawn, he thought about the previous day, how productive it had been. There had been a light storm, enough to volt up a few shocker sugar barrels and reverse the polarity on a bucket of magnet berries.
Clop clop clop clop clop! There was that clouting sound of hooves again... My, everything was much brighter in the room than usual, and breezy. In fact, it was awfully messy as well.
And why did his horn hurt so badly? He need to whip out a Feel-Good Potion for that, daises and calm cherries.
Sunny blinked his eyes a few more times before his blurry vision started to focus on something swaying in the corner of his room. It looked as if it was the thing causing the clopping noise. With a few more blinks, he noticed it looked a lot like his niece, Snippy Heartwood. In fact. It was Snippy!
"Snippy!" Sunny yawned, rubbing a little bit of dust and sleep out of his eyes, "What are you doing up there? That's dangerous, you know."
Snippy swayed side to side, her hooves bouncing off against the wall in her flailing to get her vest unhooked from a broken edge in the way. She looked side to side, rather helplessly. "Umm... Un-Uncle Sunny... I didn't put myself up here..."
"OH AND, I guess you'll want me to believe it was the BOOGIEMARE?"
"N-No! I mean the..." Snippy curled herself up, as if tucking for warmth, "I mean... the house..."
And that's when he really saw it. At first, there was a small, curious look about, as if he really couldn't see what had happened. He looked back at Snippy, who just swayed helplessly still. Sunny yawned a little bit, before noticing that his window hadn't actually got bigger, nor was it just open. It was destroyed. In fact, for that matter. He was on the first floor and not the second, as his bedroom usually was.
"Uhm... U-uncle? Are yo--"
"MY HOUSE! WHAT HAPPENED!? MY HOUSE IS IN MORE PIECES THAN A DANDELION! WHY IS MY HOUSE-- SNIPPY WHY IS OUR HOME DESTROYED."
"C-...c--" Snippy began to mumble, a little dreary from sleep herself.
"C-cannonball..." The little filly pointed her tail towards a large iron ball sitting in the corner of what used to be their living room.
Sunny gave that ball of iron a calm look, before looking at Snippy, who looked at the cannonball and caught her uncle's gaze. She found herself assisted with a bit of levitation magic on to the floor. "SNIPPY, GO CHECK THE MAIL."
"But the mailpony doesn't come until lunch time."
"WE DIDN'T CHECK IT YESTERDAY."
"Oh... Ohkay." Snippy trotted off, and as she exited the house, a cannonball exited the other way, as if fired from a cannon.
As Sunny suddenly began to yell his surprise, the occupants of the Bronze Eagle, despite their current altitude, were quite privy to the noise. Breezy winced, her ears drooping down in embarrassment as she realized that their battle had resulted in the destruction of somepony's house. Only a few moments later, the Eagle touched down, and Breezy hopped off her ship and onto the ground, ready to trot off to make sure everypony was okay. "Anypony coming with me?" she inquired of Thunderclap and Blazing Star. They nodded as they looked over the deck. Blazing Star whistled at the damage now that he had a chance to inspect it a little more closely, and traded a worried glance with Thunderclap and Breezy.
"I don't think we can resolve this overnight," Blazing Star stated, with a rare burst of insight into the situation.
"Well, The least we can do is help, it is kind of our fault that their house is broke" Breezy pointed out, trotting toward the house, and watching as a tiny filly came out of one end of the house, and the cannonball that caused the damage flying out the other side of it.
"Hello, there, Little Filly!" Breezy called, a slightly embarrassed grin on her face. "Is everypony okay in there? we were, uhh, passing through and saw your house get hit..."
Snippy's head snapped over to one side, in Breezy's direction, offering them a brief glimpse of her red, pupil-less eyes. In her mouth, a small stack of mail. Under that small blanket of hair, she stared at the approaching ponies. She turned her head back to the door, and looked toward the grassy ground, rubbing one hoof over the other shyly.
"ARGGGHAGH...!" roared a bellowing stallion, before a bathtub went sailing off into the distance with two hoof prints glowing in its sides.
"Ughm..." Snippy started with a mouthful, before mumbling something unintelligible, apparently failing to notice the flying tub.
Thunderclap was about to jump down when she saw the bathtub go flying by. She froze up and gave a glance to Blazing Star, who simply shrugged and jumped down, wings open to soften the landing. He landed with some dignity and looked at the damage a little closer, "It wasn't our fault, honest." He stated, staying behind Breezy and on the lookout for more flying furniture.
Snippy just rubbed the dirt with her hoof once, before backing away from the group. There was a short moment where she seemed to be weighing her options, before she just turned around and ran back into the house. A dining table traded her pathway as soon as she walked in.
"That one was definitely your-" Breezy cut off mid-sentence as a table suddenly decided to move swiftly in her direction, at which point she simply hopped out of the way, tumbling sideways, her wings pulling her up into the air to increase the distance away from the object, while keeping her from rolling on the ground and getting dirty. Blazing Star wasn't nearly as lucky, instead ducking under the table. When the table sailed past, he could be seen lying on his chest with all of his legs out and his head against the ground, and his wings tucked to his side.
"As I was saying..." Breezy continued, not at all put off by the flying object, " I do believe she ran away because of you, Blazing Star." The stallion simply gave Breezy a glance and a raised eyebrow. "What? She didn't look afraid of me!" the black Pegasus defended herself.
"I'm just going to stay out here..." Blazing Star moaned, "I bet there's a kitchen sink just waiting to meet me."
And out came a kitchen sink, sailing over their heads this time. Blazing Star rolled his eyes as the kitchenware came sailing over his head. Still, the sound of bucking and crashing kept up until one of the walls came apart at the force of two hooves. There stood, before the three of them a tall Unicorn. His mane, his body, even his tail was an earthy red color of clay and ruddy trees. Like the Filly, he had pupil-less eyes, hinting more of a connection beyond the familial resemblance.
The only quality they didn't share was the horns. The little filly's horn was sharp as a nettle, while the stallion's was... broken off half-way.
"YOU DON'T LOOK LIKE ANY MAILMARE I'VE EVER SEEN." boomed the red unicorn. Snippy stuck her head out from behind Sunny's rear most leg, carefully hiding herself.
Breezy's Goggles had somehow made their way onto her face, covering her eyes from the onslaught that was Sunny's yelling. "Well, Umm, you see, I'm not a Mailmare," she explained briefly, regaining her composure and looking over what was left of the house after the cannonball and then Sunny's Rampage. "We were coming to check and make sure Everypony was okay in this house, so, umm... Is Everypony okay?"
Blazing Star got back up on all fours, and dusted himself off, smiling as he tried to put on a brave face, now confident that the flying furniture had ceased.
"OTHER THAN A FEW BRUISES, NO. MY HOUSE IS A WRECK, MY HYDROPONICS ARE CRACKED, AND I'M SURE PART OF MY FORMER DOMICILE HAS LANDED IN THE GARDEN. EVERYPONY IS NOT ALRIGHT." resolved the unicorn, loudly. Snippy looked out from the other side of her uncle, specifically at Blazing Star. "AFTER MOVING THE BATHTUB, I CHECKED MY SEED NURSERY, AND IT TURNS OUT THATS BEEN DESTROYED TOO."
"Oh. Umm. How much will that cost to fix?" Breezy asked, trying to sound calm and casual. apparently the larger unicorn was quite distraught, as he was ceaselessly yelling. This seemed to put off the normally composed Breezy- she was certainly not used to being constantly yelled at, unless you counted Bratty's complaining, although that had nowhere near the volume or force of this unicorn's yelling.
"YOU WANT TO KNOW?"
"Uhh, Yeah. I mean... I'd like to help, If I can." Breezy decided that at this point it might not be the best to explain exactly what happened, though she knew that all it would take was this Unicorn calming down and stopping its yelling, and then she would probably be able to do so. "I mean, Everypony's in this together, right? it's only right that we help each other in need."
"SNIPPY, HOW MUCH IS THE HOUSE WORTH?"
Snippy looked down at the floor, mumbling.
"ACTUAL VALUE, NOT RESALE."
The Filly just mumbled again, rather shyly. They couldn't hear a thing she was saying.
"EXACTLY RIGHT," Sunny turned back on Breezy. "IT'S WORTH, THAT MUCH."
Blazing Star just looked at Breezy and decided to save face by keeping the lower part of it shut as he watched the events unfold. Meanwhile, above, Thunderclap was watching, and then jumped off and flew back towards Ponyville. She couldn't hear the conversation save for Sunny's booming voice, and knew that she had to pull in a little extra help.
Breezy rubbed her hoof against her chin in thought. "Well, I suppose we might just fix it ourselves, and save a few bits..." she pondered, watching Thunderclap fly away. Oh great, she knows we're up a creek without a paddle, and she's ditching us before it gets bad... breezy thought to herself, realizing that nothing seemed to be calming the Unicorn down. Although. He didn't LOOK angry at all, he was just yelling incredibly loudly.
Dasher couldn't believe what had happened, he had negotiated hard with the local merchants and gotten the best possible rates a foreign seller could get if they wanted to use the town square. But, by doing so, he had missed an airship battle. Brassy probably had been able to take care of any mechanical problems that might have arose - but, well, even the dullest pony didn't reject all possible excitement!
Worse yet though, there was a pony talking to Breezy about market rates and sales values. Putting on an extra burst of speed as he flew toward his Captain, Dasher barely noticed as he passed Thunderclap, and then the small Pegasus groaned as he heard an extremely loud, extremely bad sounding crack just between his wings.
The force of the sound burst sent the drab colored pony tumbling through the air and threw him down to the ground in a skid ending right next to Breezy. Groaning once more Dasher didn't even bother getting up and just tucked his wings against his body.
"Quartermaster reporting back in for duty Captain."
Breezy's head turned as she heard a familiar crack, and then watched Thunder Dasher tumble, first to the ground, and then along it, finally coming to rest next to her. "Well, if it isn't captain Droll. What took you so long, Thunder Dasher? We had a battle, and well, there's this now..." She motioned to the destroyed house and its... former... occupants.
"Hmm, nothing quite as exciting as the business you found." Dasher had sprung up to his feet after the crash with a practiced ease. "The pull here will be much better than I had hoped for Captain - if my thoughts are right we should get out of here half-a-hold lighter and silly enough in profit that even Bratty won't be able to complain."
Dasher then looked about at all the wreckage that had been Sunny's house and let out a measly thunder clap with a frustrated twitch of his wings. "Or, that was what I had been hoping to be able to report before I saw all this. You know we aren't the Navy Breezy; we are actually responsible for any damages made in our wake - no matter the reason."
Meanwhile, Blazing Star could see help coming over the horizon, and he gave Breezy a nudge, "I think we're in luck!" He pointed out the other shape coming in the distance. He was able to recognize the flight pattern of the loopy Pegasus, but he was more interested on the Earth Pony up in the distance.
"Yes, yes, I know" Breezy whispered to Thunder Dasher. "I'm doing what I can to help, I don't want to be hated here. Then we would never make any profit, but, well, you know." she pointed a hoof at the house again, before turning back to the owners of what was until recently a house, and striking the conversation back up.
"Well, Mister... Umm.. I never did catch your name..." Breezy realized as she tried to think of what to call the earthen-toned stallion in front of her. "Anyway, it seems like help is coming, or something." The black mare thought for a moment more before finally asking, "What is your name, anyway?"
"SUNNY, MY NAMES," Sunny leaned forward, "SUNNY HARDWOOD." He then stepped to one side, revealing the small filly standing behind him, who took a few seconds to notice she was no longer in cover, "And this is my niece, SNIPPY HEARTWOOD."
Snippy looked up at Breezy with a hurt looking expression, before prancing behind Sunny again to hide herself.
Blazing Star blinked a couple of times, now face to face with the volume of Mr. Hardwood's voice. However, he tried to make a friendly smile, and hoped that Hardwood's sneezes didn't blow buildings down or something. Meanwhile, Thunderclap could be seen moving ahead with the other Pony in tow, she was now visible to the group under the twilight.
As he approached the scene, Steel slowed down to a light trot as he began to catch his breath. After some labored breathing the architect felt capable of talking without wheezing. "My my, this really does look bad," Steel said mostly to himself as he went about analyzing the damaged home. "It would be quite a project to fix."
After some more cursory investigation he turned his attention to the group that was already present. "Hello, all. Pardon my dropping in."
"Hey, it's that Drafter pony." Breezy noticed, waving a hoof at the grey stallion, before getting back to the situation as she heard his initial prognosis. "Well... That doesn't sound good..." She was now getting slightly worried. "Well, Mister Sunny Hardwood, How does a new house sound? You didn't lose anything special inside that one did you?"
"YOU KIDDING!? I HAD A LOT OF STUFF IN THERE." declared the loud stallion, throwing his head up in the air. "DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH IT COST TO MAKE A HOUSE THAT WAS PROPERLY MATERIALED FOR BOTANICAL STUDY!?"
The large unicorn bucked back-and-forth, throwing his front and back up and all over as he hustled towards the house. "HYDROPONICS BAYS, SEED NURSERIES, MAGICAL CONTAINMENT FIELDS, ALCHEMICAL LABORATORIES, AND MY POTATO SACKS! ALL OF MY POTATO SACKS! ARGH!" Sunny rolled around over his hoofs, bucking and agrily scuffing the soil, while Snippy followed him around, trying to keep him between herself and the others.
Thunderclap eventually trotted over to Blazing Star's side, and the two exchanged glances. Blazing Star's glance indicated that things were getting very much out of hoof, Thunderclap gave him a nudge and pointed towards Steel Drafter.
"But he makes things out of metal. Houses aren't made of metal only!" He whispered to her, exasperated.
"Shh! It was the first thing that sprung to mind!" She used her rump and bumped into Blazing Star's side to knock him off balance, causing him to shut up and roll with it, "Better than nothing anyway!"
Nodding to Breezy Thunder Dasher tried to not let his sigh show from to tip to tail of his small frame. "Of course Captain, I'll go find as much information as I can to assist you."
Clopping his way over towards some of the wreckage the quartermaster's drab coat turned an ashy grey as he got a good look at some of the more expensive - and all decidedly squashed - equipment lying among the mundane bits and pieces that made up every home.
Sliding up to the only other pony that seemed actually interested in examining the damages in detail Dasher nodded a greeting towards Steel Drafter. "Drafter was it? Thunder Dasher -" the Pegasus motioned towards the airship in front of both ponies. "- the Bronze Eagle's Quartermaster. You seem to have an eye for all this, and while I got a good bead on material costs while wandering town earlier, I have no idea what labor costs are in this area."
Catching the glint of another piece of wreckage - one of the magical containment fields at that - Dasher decided that there might just be no profit at all for the trip here - Bratty is going to be quite the hassle. "No less what it costs to bring in some of the special stuff in from the cities. We'd appreciate your help where you can."
After he had finished most of his inspection of the exterior of the house, Steel was approached by a rather short Pegasus. "Pleased to meet you, Mr. Dasher," he responded to the others introduction. "And yes, I am Steel Drafter. I am an architect here in Ponyville. Admittedly this is the first time I have seen a house that has been this badly damaged, so the best I could offer is a rough estimate."
With that said, Steel bumped one of the pockets on his vest, knocking out a sketchbook and a pencil. With pencil and book in hoof Steel began to write up the estimated cost of what it would take to repair Sunny's home, and after calculating out several numbers the architect showed the Quartermaster the estimates; which happened to be quite substantial.
"WHAAAAAT. THAT'S MORE THAN WHAT IT TOOK BUILD." replied Sunny as softly as he could.
Breezy was glad her coat was black as she blanched at Sunny's reaction to the quote. if it sounded that bad, she would have to think of something quick- How could she pay back this Unicorn properly? Obviously it was going to be expensive, but she didn't exactly know what to do. Then, had she been a Unicorn, the dark-colored Pegasus would have made a lightbulb appear above her head. Not being such, she instead came up with a plan.
"Mister Drafter, is it true that it would be considerably cheaper to build a new house for Sunny here?" she asked the architect quickly.
"Build a new house?" Steel repeated to himself before scribbling some more numbers into his book. "For the most part I would say just tearing this down and starting over would work best, unless of course there is some emotional value of course."
"Right, so it would be cheaper. How about, Sunny Hardwood, I pay to get you a new house, and while it's being built, perhaps you can travel with us so you can pick out your equipment direct from suppliers, and maybe we can find some more exotic plants?" She shrugged, not knowing if the idea would work or not, but it was the best she could come up with given the situation.
Thunderclap was inspecting the damage to Sunny's horn, and frowned. It looked as though he needed a medic Pony too. She left Blazing Star's side and started looking for the other part of the horn, hoping that it was intact. She knew it was possible to have one re-attached if it was broken. Otherwise, it'd grow back on its own, in months.
"WHY, THAT SOUNDS SWELL. I COULD REALLY DO WITH SOME TRAVELING NOW THAT MY HOUSE IS in PIECES." said Sunny, pressing his words there for a second, before looking around at the half-wrecked home. His worlds also seemed to ring a slight of sarcasm as well, as if he didn't genuinely believe the mare. "AND JUST WHAT DO YOU DO, MISS CROW MCHELPFULHOOVES?"
"!" Thunderclap gasped upon spotting something amongst the wreckage, and picking it up with her mouth. It was the other half of Sunny's horn. She trotted back over to Sunny with concern in her face and put it in front of him, then stepped backwards slowly and steadily. She wasn't used to moving backwards.
Sunny looked at the nettle sharp horn, one just as sharp on the point as Snippy's. He stared at it for a moment, looking Thunderclap in the eyes, and then at the horn again. The shock couldn't show well on his eyes, as he had no pupils, but his lids pulled back in fettering shock.
"SNIPPY! YOUR HORN!" He turned to look at Snippy, about to rant and rave on the Filly's ailment, before realizing that her horn was perfectly fine. She looked down at the ground, and scuffed a little dirt before looking up at her Uncles horn.
There was a short silence between the niece and uncle, an unsaid communication there.
"AAAAAUUUUGGGHHHH! MY HOOOOOOOORN!" howled Sunny, charging off through a pumpkin patch, destroying anything in his way, "MY HORN! MY HORN! MYHORNMYHORNMYHORNMYHORNMYHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORN!" He cut around and blinked out of side in a poof of red sparks, before coming out the other side in a similar fashion, still yelling. "WHATDOIDOWHATDOIDOWHATDOIDO AUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH!"
"CALM DOWN!" Thunderclap commanded, raising a hoof to silence the emotional unicorn, "We can reattach it! I've seen it done!" She looked at Sunny in the eyes and gave him a smile of honesty, "Trust me, this isn't a permanent setback. All we have to do is put it back and bandage it tig--"
"AUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGH!" continued Sunny, who only seemed to get louder as Thunderclap tried to thunder him down. He galloped and galloped, sprinting about as fast as his hooves could carry him until he tripped over a piece of wood and slid across the ground.
"AUUUUUUUUGGGGGGHHHH!" he yelled as he slid to a stop in front of Thunderclap before silencing the screaming all together to look up at the Pegasus, "That actually sounds rather pleasant, do we have anyone who can do that here?"
"Well, Anypony can do the bandaging, but we need somepony with a delicate hoof to do the actual reattaching, I think" Breezy noted. "And you'd have to keep very still, if my first aid training has taught me anything." She thought it over for a moment. "Or somepony could take you into town and have the hospital do it, which might work better."
"Uhm..." Snippy raised her head a little bit, after her uncle had left her to go insane for a few seconds. "I could... hold... the... " The little filly broke off into mumblings.
Steel watched as Sunny ran around, thinking to himself that this was definitely a break in his monotonous routine, but not quite what he was thinking. Then as things began to settle down again he heard young Snippy begin to offer to hold the horn in place.
Stepping forward, Steel calmly offered his own assistance. "If young Snippy would be willing to hold the horn steady, then I could apply the bandages." Reaching back he grabbed a first aide kit that was hooked to his vest and held it expectantly in his mouth.
"Uhm..." The little filly sheepishly tugged the horn from Thunder Dasher's lips, using a little levitation magic to set it down gently where it had broken off from her uncles head. The Stallion-Patient lay perfectly still, staring into space as if he had just been turned to stone. Snippy simply stood, though, her head occasionally swaying side to side, searching for approval.
After digging out the bandages from his kit, Steel approached Sunny and began to inspect the horn to make sure it was in its proper place. "Alright, looks good to me," he said at last as he gave his approval and began to apply the wraps. "This isn't too much different from repairing some axles back in my shop. Well, I suppose it is quite different in theory, but application it is right along the same lines." Once he had rambled about the similarities of horn repair to the tinkering that goes on in his spare time, Steel had applied enough bandages to hold Sunny's horn firmly in place.
"There, that should just about do it."
"HOW DO I LOOK."
Blazing Star took a look, and gave a nod of approval. Thunderclap also nodded. If the horn remained in place and didn't get knocked around too heavily, it would eventually re-attach in a couple of weeks. Unicorns were still resilient things in spite of the perception that magic made their bodies weaker.
"You're looking a lot better than you were a few minutes ago," Thunderclap admitted.
"THAT'S GOOD." Sunny slumped back, resting his head on to the side before rolling over to stand. There was a certain sense of comfort in having one's horn restored to its former glory, especially after having it snapped off completely. He patted his little Filly niece on the head and quietly congratulated her on her good work, before turning to the Earth Pony who had bandaged it up.
"THANKS, STEEL DRAFTER. THINK YOU COULD USE SOME OF THOSE BANDAGES ON MY HOUSE?" He asked, with a mild smile on his face, accompanied by the ever booming voice. Blazing Star snickered quietly to himself.
Steel gave Sunny a smile in return as his ears drooped due to the volume of the Unicorn's words of thanks. "Ha, well, don't mention it Mr. Hardwood. It was my pleasure. And oh, if only home repairs were as simple as slapping on a few bandages."
And everypony shared a laugh. It'd definitely been an eventful day as the Bronze Eagle made its landing, got acquainted with the locals, shared hardship and learned about mutual hospitality. The end!
KAI as Breezy Tradewinds, Brassy Aire, Bratty Brambles, Silver Moonshine, plus NPC's
LUCA as Blazing Star & Thunderclap, Greycloud, plus NPC's
GWATHDRAUG as Thunder Dasher
STRAKEN as Steel Drafter
KOKUTEN as SUNNY HARDWOOD & Snippy Heartwood