So, as you do, I acquired ponies recently. Introducing them to the already sometimes fragile balance of egos and attitudes that make up the shelf was definitely going to take some delicate work, but I felt I was up to the challenge.
So, girls... we've got some new kids coming. Four of them, in fact.
There were various sounds of excitement, dismay, and some rather colorful cursing before I noticed down in front, Twinkleshine appeared to be waving a hoof at me.
"If you don't mind me saying so... WOMAN, HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND? You think you're going to cram four new ponies on this shelf when we barely all fit on here as it is? Look at this! I don't even really fit! I'm always stepping on Honeybuzz's tail and I think Plumsweet and I are legally married in some states due to how close we're standing!"
I sighed patiently while Twinkleshine finished her rant and then looked at her.
No, I'm not going to try and cram four new girls up on the shelf with you guys. I know you can't see it, but there's plenty of room just below you, and I'm sure they don't mind having some company. It's just Sweet Song and Ploomette, and Cadance and Shining, and the CMC.
You guys don't mind, right?
There were assorted murmurings, and the excitement only Sweetie Belle can provide.
A cleared throat turned my attention back up to the top shelf. Applejack was tapping her hoof.
"Y'all don't think you're gonna bring four new ponies in here and shove 'em down on that shelf without introducin' them to us, do you? Who knows, maybe we'll want to replace Rainbow Dash with one of 'em..."
I held out a hand and waited for a willing volunteer. There was some shuffling of hooves and an exasperated voice rang out.
"Do I hafta do everything myself?"
She jumped down onto my hand and I carried her over to the shelf next door. The Fashion Style ponies graciously - though grudgingly at first - allowed me to use their home shelf for the meeting place. Plopping Applejack down, she looked around.
"I don't even see anypony over here. What in the sam hill are you tryin' to do?"
With a roll of my eyes, I turned and brought over the first of the newbies.
"I thought you said there were four."
Would you just calm your tits? Jesus, you nag me more than all the others combined.
Applejack, Sunny Rays. Sunny Rays, Applejack.
I nudged Applejack in the side and she trotted a little closer to Sunny.
"You got any problem followin' rules?"
"That's good. Cause I make the rules 'round these parts and if you don't follow 'em... yer out."
I stared. A lot.
Um, Applejack... hate to tell you, sweetie, but I'm the human around here. I make the rules.
"And look what happens when we let you do that! You bring in new ponies!"
I rolled my eyes.
Anyway, Sunny, we're glad to have you - APPLEJACK, SHUT UP - and let me show you were you're gonna be hanging out. I think you'll like it.
"Oh, anything'll be fine, anything's better than the box I was in."
She let out a shudder and jumped delicately onto my hand.
"I can fly, you know."
I know. Just safer this way until you get the lay of the land.
"Fair enough! Thanks for bringing me home! I'm gonna like it here!"
So, at least I get a good vote from Sunny Rays then! Happy with this turn of events, I turn back to the top shelf and hold my hand out again. Very quickly, I find one of the Clan of the Expats landing on my hand.
"This is so exciting!"
Ah, Minty. At least I can usually count on a much more favorable and positive reaction from her. There was the thing with Luna, but... that's a tale for another time. I carried Minty over to the shelf and set her down to meet...
Minty, Cherry Berry. Cherry Berry, Minty.
"Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! This is so exciting! Hi, I'm Minty! It's so nice to meet you, Cherry Berry! I'm going to have to call you by your full name because we have another pony here named Cherry Pie and I call her Cherry and there's a blind bag over in Outer Shelflandia, on the dresser by the TV, named Cherry Spices too, but I don't really talk with them, even though there's even another me, so there's just Cherry Pie and... *breathe* so she's the only Cherry, so I have to call you Cherry Berry, is that okay?"
Cherry Berry's eyes grew wide and she took a cautious step back.
"That's... um... fine? I... yes? It's my name."
Great! Awesome. Alright, Cherry Berry, this way. Minty, hang tight.
"But there's nothing to hang onto..."
*facepalm* Just stand there.
Cherry Berry turned wide eyes towards me while I lifted her down.
"Is she... always like that?"
Pretty much, yeah.
"Oh my... is Pinkie Pie here?"
Yes, yes she is.
"Oh... are they, y'know. Friends?"
I nodded. Yeah, they are. Sometimes the chatter goes on well into the night. But I have cotton balls, many of the other girls use it for earplugs. I'll get you a couple of tufts next time I go in and get some.
"Thanks cause... I like them, and I like it here, but... I..."
I patted her withers and set her down beside Sunny Rays. I understand, sweetie. Say no more.
Back up on Top Shelf, while I was waiting for another volunteer, there was a loud "AHEM!" I suppressed a groan and turned to the source of the noise.
"Sweetie Swirl, if you don't get your hair out of my face, I swear to all that is holy you won't have it for very much longer."
Ah, Luna. As far as she's concerned, she is the Princess of the Little Ones, and if you do not agree with that, The Door is to Your Left. There's been some battles, pretty epic ones, with Applejack, which is why they're as far away from each other as I can get them.
"Are you going to let her talk to me like that?!"
"I am a Princess! I can talk to you however I please!"
I rubbed my eyes, already feeling the start of a migraine coming on. I was really not in the mood, nor did I have the spoons, to rearrange everypony again and this was not in the plan for today.
Luna, what do you want?
With rather alarming speed, Luna had landed on my hand and had turned her epic side-eye towards me.
"I am a Princess."
"Shouldn't I be the one to greet the newcomers? I am the only royal pony here, after all."
There were several indignant squawks, from Princess Cadance, and from the Fashion Style Princesses as well. I believe I even heard the custom girls pipe up, which is rare because they don't usually bother themselves with it at all.
No, Luna you're not, but that's beside the point.
"I should be meeting one of them, at least!"
I... I wasn't really intending for you to put the fear of Celestia in them this early in the ga--
Jesus! Don't do that! Fine, you can meet the next one.
Without waiting for me to give her a hand up, so to speak, Luna made her way over to the other shelf...
...to find Lyra Heartstrings waiting for her. She wasted no time in standing nearly nose-to-nose with her and staring her down. To her credit, Lyra just stared right back.
"State your name and your purpose in coming here!"
Lyra arched a brow, and rather than bow to the Princess in front of her, she merely looked bemused.
"Seriously? My 'purpose in coming here' is that that one, you know the human who buys us? Wanted me. So she bought me and brought me home."
Luna gave her a side-eye.
"Why don't I believe you?"
"... seriously, Princess, unclench a little."
I decided right then that I like Lyra, a lot.
So, anyway! Lyra, Luna, Luna, Lyra.
Lyra's only response was to roll her eyes and turn to me.
"Can I... go somewhere? Else?"
She hopped up on my hand without a second glance back at Luna, chattering happily at me.
"So... I think I'm going to like it here, but what is her deal?"
Oh... Luna's just. Luna. She's not really that bad...
"I think you need to get a better welcome wagon if you plan on bringing anyone else in."
Believe me, I'm already considering that.
"Probably a good idea!"
I got her down to the lower shelf and she hopped off my hand.
"Thanks! See ya 'round."
So, I was down to the last pony. And because my life is what it is, the one thing I didn't want to have happen happened.
*groan* Yes Twilight?
"I want to meet the last one."
I glance nervously over at where the final newcomer is making conversation with my new Venus McFlytrap doll. I'm a little nervous about the cloud of green stuff that Venus seems to have made appear and that the newcomer is staring rapturously at, but there's nothing that can be done about that right now.
Sweetie, I don't know if that's such a hot idea.
"And why not! I live here too! And, and... because... yes!"
Brilliant thought process there, Twilight Sparkle. Because yes. That's brilliant.
Before I can say anything else, she's jumped onto my hand. I only just had enough time to open my hand and catch her before she dove headfirst to the floor, and if she sensed my displeasure at what she'd just done, she surely didn't indicate it.
"Be quiet, you! Now, take me to her!"
Don't say I didn't try and stop you.
I carry her over to the shelf, where she gets to meet the fourth and final pony.
Have you ever seen a pony's mane visibly bristle in anger? I can now say I have. And... let me tell you, it's scarier than I can really say.
Trixie just smirked.
"Well, well, well. Look who we have here."
"We kicked you out of Ponyville!"
"Newsflash, Smarty Pants, we're not in Ponyville anymore. I got brought here just like the rest of you and here is where I'm going to stay.
Twilight turned to me, and if pony glares could kill, I'd be long dead, my friends.
"How COULD you! I thought you were our friend!"
Hey, all's fair in toy collecting, sweetheart. She's staying.
"Hmph. We'll see about that. Take me home."
Uh... okay. Trixie, I'll be back.
I grabbed Twilight by the bottom of the back of her mane and carried her back over to the shelf, with her kicking and writhing the whole time.
What the hell was that, Twilight Sparkle?
"I cannot believe you brought her here!"
Hey, I just said, all's fair. I collect ponies, so thus, I collect her. She's staying, Twilight, so get used to it.
Angrily, she turned to Applejack.
"You didn't tell me she brought Trixie here."
"Uh... I didn't know she brought Trixie here. I woulda told you if I'd known."
"A likely story, Applejack."
Rarity and Rainbow Dash swiveled their heads around to look at the argument. I thought I saw Rainbow Dash tuck a piece of popcorn into her wing, but I can't really be sure.
"Awesome. I've been wanting some good action to happen around here, it can get so boring!"
I gave her whack upside the back of the head for that.
"Just telling the truth!"
Yeah, well, can it.
"I personally think it's wonderful! I just love her mane, maybe sometime you can let the two of us exchange tips?"
If I ever get it styled in a way that doesn't resemble a rat's nest, sure.
And the Mane Six carried on. Though I can't help but wonder, in the days that have passed since I introduced the newbies, if there's some kind of plot being hatched. There's been far too much whispering.