It Starts With Good Hops
IC date: Spring 75
OOC date: June 9
Location: Harvest Farm
PCs: Rocket Gamble Hayseed Pumpkin

So it was that one bright and sunny day, a pair of figures are ambling down the dirt pathways, towards the ol' chunk of farmland and yon farm-y ponies. With naught but cryptic instructions to go off of, Gamble trots along with a look of mixed bewilderment and determination. His prior…mess-up in the eyes of certain ponies has given him more reason to want to do a 'good job' this time. Unfortunately that's sorta hinging on his fine, half-feathered companion.

"So uh… Feathers? What'cha thinkin'?" he asks of his friend whilst they amble along, the farms very much in view. "I don't know that we really got the bits to outright buy a load of this stuff. If they actually have… Uh… The stuff."

Rocket nods thoughtfully, frowning. "Well… I've still got some of those weird roots from Wintersong. I could trade 'em. Or get some plant clippings or somesuch. More berries." The berries didn't always go over well. /She/ didn't see what the problem was in trading food for food, but apparently that wasn't how pony economy usually worked? "I think the trick is gonna be findin' magic ones. Plants aren't usually magic, are they? But it sounds like one of the farmers out here can make magic plants."

"Lookee here, pa! Ah done told ya ah can pull it!" The second-youngest of the Harvest family, Pumpkin, can been seen out in a fallow field, hitched to the family plow with a ridiculous array of ropes. The plow might've wiggled. Maybe a little.

Pa Harvest, better known as Plowshare, is sitting at a bench with a glass of lemonade. He shares the orange coat and brown mane coloration of his daughter, though he's more powerfully-built and greying a bit at the temples. He gives a taciturn little nod. "Ah reckon you did, you little cornstalk, but all the same ah'd much prefer it if you didn't play with it. It's not much a toy." He looks up from the newspaper and down the road, seeing the two approaching figures and adjusting his hat. "Pumpkin, be a peach and go get some more lemonade. We've got guests a-comin'."

"All right, pa!" With that, Pumpkin wriggles out of her makeshift harness and scampers off towards the farmhouse kitchen.

Gamble offers a non-commital grunt to Rocket as they enter the Harvest territory. "I heard a couple rumors. I don't know 'bout growing magical plants as much as using magic to grow plants, but maybe it's the same thing?"

The 'Guests' amble their way up past the gates, Gamble taking note of Ye Olde Farmscape and the greying, if still powerfully-built stallion taking it easy on a bench. A figure so important-looking in the realm of things farm-y that the rusty pony can't help but approach. When close enough, Gamble offers an amiable grin and a tip of his hat in friendly greeting. "Afternoon." …Well it wasn't /his/ mission to actually acquire the magical plants now, was it? He's just here to make sure it's done..right. Or something. Consarn those riddles!

Rocket follows after Gamble and does her very best not to look intimidating. (It's probably easier than she thinks it is. She /does/ have a bunny on her head.) She gives the stallion a small wave in greeting. "Hello there!"

Plowshare gives another curt if somehow friendly nod. "Howdy. Y'all should take a load off," he says, indicating another bench across from him, still under the shade of the porch, "it's mighty hot even with the cloud cover."

Gamble tips his hat again, easing himself onto the nearest bench. "Don't mind if I do. It's gettin' hot these days, ain't it?" He makes a gesture towards Rocket. "I'm Gamble, this fine feathered lass is Rocket. The fuzzball sitting on her head We uh..heard this farm might be the proper one to go to in regards to gettin' some magical-type crops fer special occasions."

Rocket moves to settle down as well, taking a second to make herself comfortable. "It /does/ get pretty hot around here," she agrees aside to Gamble. Then again, she finds anytime that isn't winter to be 'pretty hot'. She looks about to expound on this, but then is reminded what she's here for! "Oh! Yeah. We need some of those. Magical crops."

Plowshare raises an eyebrow. "Magical crops? You don't say. Mind if ah ask what you had in mind? Ah'm just a simple earth pony mahself and the missus prefers to handle the less hoofs-on aspects of the farm, but mah oldest might be the one you're lookin' to talk to."

In trots Pumpkin with a tray in her teeth, on which are two tall glasses and one smaller glass of lemonade. She mumbles around it for a second but then realizes that she's pretty much unintelligible and instead just holds out the tray invitingly to the pony, the griffon and the bunny. "Pumpkin?" asks Plowshare, "When you're finished with this, go on an' get your sister." The filly manages to somehow give a nod careful enough that she doesn't spill the lemonade.

Oh hey! Lemonade! Gamble offers a polite smile to the little filly, letting his horn lift up the glass for his thirst-quenchy sake. "Thanks fer the drink, lil' filly." he says, then tilts his head towards Plowshare. "It's fer a dash of a magical drink, I'd say. Y'know, a little extra buck to the usual brew and all that." Why else would you even need hops at all? Let alone magical hops. He glances towards Rocket to confirm.

Rocket nods agreeably, reaching for a glass as well and offering up a sip to Fuzzball before taking a swig herself. "Yup. Magical brew." S'what you do with hops, right, brew them? "I guess somecreature's throwing a party and looking for something more interesting to serve."

Pumpkin, her primary duty discharged, trots back inside the house. "HEY SIS! PA SAYS THERE'S GUESTS WHAT WANT TO MEET YOU!" Prance prance prance away goes the little filly with the apparently huge lungs.

"Well now," goes Plowshare, "ah'd say that's the sort of thing that you ought to be careful about. Spirits are mighty feisty on their own without getting magic involved, after all."

"That's true." Gamble agrees, glancing up at Fuzzball atop Rocket's head whilst he takes his own sip of lemonade. *sip* He lowers the glass, gesturing a hoof up at the bunny, whom is in the middle of his own lemonade sip. "But it's… It's fer him. His, uh… Birthday. Blasted critter drinks all our normal booze anyway, figure he deserves a little taste of something extra-special. So, y'know, we thought we'd see about it."

Now was that necessary to say? No, probably not, but it makes a better alibi than 'we just want the hops, pops'. Fuzzball perks one long ear, looking down from his gryphon perch and lemonade to blink at Gamble. His birthday? His birthday! Is it that time already?

Rocket blinks. Birthday? Well she thought that wasn't for… oh. Ooooh. Right. She grins faintly. "Yup. Special occasion and all that. We'll be careul, 'course."

Hayseed blinks, trotting down the stairs at her sister's call. "Coming, coming!" She even gives Pumpkin's mane a little ruffle in passing before heading to peek her head out the door. "Yes, Dad? Oh, hello!" She gives a polite nod to the griffon and the stallion, smiling faintly.

Plowshare gives his daughter a fatherly smile. "These here city folks want to talk about magic hops for a," he pauses, glancing at the bunny rabbit, "drink for a birthday party. Ah figured you'd be the best person to talk to them about it."

Well, truth or not, Fuzzball seems content to believe the beer is for him. Little did he know…

Gamble perks his ears up upon Hayseed's arrival. "Well hello there! Uh. Yeah. Like he said. Magic hops. For the bunny." Nod. He doesn't look nervous, does he? Naw… He's a professional gambler! Surely he's got a good poker face when he needs one.

Anyways it's hidden by a convenient drink from the lemonade glass.

Hayseed blinks and tilts her head. "Hops? Hm. Well, they're not entirely in season yet. I mean, it's still early for the harvest. I could rush some, of course, if you /need/ them fresh, but that tends to alter things… the flavor won't be the same, you know. Magically grown crops never are quite the same. The magic gets all in them and it's just not near as nice as growing them the right way." She seems to have missed the part where 'magic all in them' is exactly what they need!

Plowshare nods. "Ah'd listen to her if'n ah was you. We know plants and mah daughter knows magic." He stands up from the bench and stretches a little bit. "It was mighty nice meeting the both of you, but ah'm afraid ah have chores ah should be doing. Hayseed, you help these city folks, y'hear?"

Gamble offers a tip of his hat, and sets the now-empty lemonade glass settle on the bench nearby. "A'righty then, thanks for the help Mr. Plowshare." He flashes a grin up at Hayseed, too. "I think that's exactly what we'd like, if'n you don't mind. A little magical stuff, as fast as you can grow it. Uh…" He rubs the back of his head with a hoof. "How much does that sorta thing cost anyway?"

Hayseed blinks. "Well, if you're sure. They won't taste quite right, though. But I suppose for brewing some ponies like that better… anyways. If it's something you really need, we can arrange something, I'm sure, I'd hate to ruin a party."

"Somehow I don't think that'll be an issue." Gamble says with an almost serene smile. Yep. That's all they need! "It'll mean a lot to the little fuzzball. So thank ya!" He gives Rocket a nudge. "Say thanks to the pretty filly, Feathers. Oh. Uh." He glances up at Hayseed again. "How fast d'ya think you can do this anyway? His birthday's comin' up awful quicklike."

Rocket blinks and glances up from trying to fish the last couple pieces of ice out of her lemonade glass. "Huh? Oh! Yeah, thanks." CRUNCH. Beaks apparently are quite capable of crunchin' on ice. (And possibly getting stuck in lemonade glasses.)

Hayseed gives a faint giggle. "You're welcome. Well, depending on how much you need, I can probably have some up for you by, say, tomorrow afternoon? We have some planted. It's just too early to harvest them normally."

Gamble blinks at Rocket, rolls his eyes, and pats the griffon on her back, flashing Hayseed a grin. "Yeah… Tomorrow afternoon's perfect, ma'am. Thank you." He gives Rocket a nudge, "C'mon Feathers. We gotta prepare for a party."

Rocket tugs her beak free of the glass, nodding a bit. "Yeah, tomorrow works great. Cool, that was easier to arrange than I thought it'd be!"

Hayseed tilts her head, but doesn't seem to find this terribly suspicious. "Well, I'm glad to be able to help. I hope you have a happy birthday!" she asides to the bunny in question, because such well-wishes are only polite.

Fuzzball waves back in response! Then makes himself comfortable again. One can almost hear him humming the Happy Birthday song.

"Yeah." Gamble agrees as they walk away, back towards town. "Maybe a little too easy. I was totally expectin' to do some sort of crazy swap-and-run thing."

Rocket chuckles. "I wonder what magic hops /do/. Like, are we gonna brew them? Can you make cider out of 'em? Do they make things all magic? What good's it gonna do?" Can she eat one? Yeah, she's gonna want to eat one.

"I dunno, Feathers. I dunno." Gamble admits, shaking his head. "But yer not s'posed to eat'em. Our mysterious employer said so. So don't get any ideas. You wanna eat a magical plant, wait 'til after we're done, and then we can come back and get all the magical veggies you can eat."