Special Delivery
IC date: Summer 62, 1007
OOC date: August 21, 2012
PCs: Amber-Shot, Hayseed, Pumpkin

Thanks to the surprise return of a certain pouch full of stalleons the bartender at the Champagne Bay isn't going to have to ask for a line of credit from his suppliers! And not only that, his mad rush to refill the tavern's coffers over the Midsummer Bash were moderately successful, which means that he's practically rolling in bits now! He's so darn pleased with his situation, in fact, that he completely forgot that one of said suppliers was coming in today. Whoops.

Which would explain the tall, well-built unicorn currently lugging a supply cart towards the bar. A well-loaded cart, full of all manner of vegetables and grains and fruits that are currently in-season — or close enough so to aid along. It's delivery day, and Hayseed's got a list of taverns and bars in her saddlebag, all in need of restocking after the week-long party. Luckily, her farm's more than able to meet these restocking needs!

Trotting alongside the cart, occasionally falling behind or galloping clumsily ahead, is a smaller filly of identical coat colorations but no horn. "Ah still say ah could help you pull this here cart, sis."

This… is not the usual supplier the bartender expects. Especially when he wasn't expecting a shipment at all! "Whatever you're selling, we're not interested, lady," he says from behind the counter as he wipes dry a large mug. The filly next to the large mare is ignored on account of being, well, a little filly.

Hayseed blinks and smiles down at the filly. "I know you could, but the harness is a bit high for you yet, I think. We'll have to start you out on a lower cart 'til I can fix this one up for two." She glances over at the bartender, raising an eyebrow. "Hm? That's odd. You ordered it. Or, well, I suppose your boss did. Is Brandywine in? I've got his order from Autumn Harvest Farms."

Pumpkin nods excitedly up at her big sister and then trots out around back to try and pull some of the goods out of the cart. If the grown-ups are busy talking about boring business stuff she'll handle the delivery part herself. That should be easy, right?

"What?" the bartender says? He gives Hayseed a weird look then trots into the back room momentarily. "Shoot, is it already the sixty-second?" he says as he comes back out. "Brandywine's my dad. He's not in right now. I can sign for whatever it is." The yellow earth pony comes out from behind the bar and looks at the cart of food, holding a hoof out to stop Pumpkin. "Woah there, little filly, you can't take anything in back 'til I see the invoice. Gotta make sure everything we ordered is here."

Hayseed chuckles faintly. "Lose track of the date, huh? Yeah, big long holidays will do that, I suppose." She fished the papers out of her saddlebag, horn and lists glowing green as she flipped through them. "Ah, here we go. Champagne Bay. That's the one." The others were stuffed back in the saddlebag while the appropriate papers were set on the bar.
Pumpkin pouts, then waits as her sister goes through all the dumb paperwork. Can't they see there's important hauling to be done? All that food! Look at it. She trots
eagerly at Hayseed's hooves.

The stallion alternates between looking over the paperwork and glancing at the contents of the cart. "…yeah, that seems like everything. Hold on, my pen's on the other side of the bar." He trots back around to the business side of the counter and picks up a pen between his teeth to sign by the X. "How much do we owe you?" he mumbles around the writing instrument.

"Seventy-eight Stalleons for the whole bunch." Hayseed looks him over, smiling faintly. "Brandywine's son, hm? Strange we haven't met before. I'm Hayseed. That there's Pumpkin, my sister."

Pumpkin gives a friendly nod and a flick of the tail to Amber Shot. "Mighty pleased ta meet you, mister! And glad you an' your pa are using fine Harvest family crops, too!"

"Sounds reasonable," the bartender says. He ducks behind the counter again and the click of a safe dial being spun can be heard. "Yeah, I really wasn't interested in taking over the family business so I wasn't around. Dad's getting up in years, though, so I don't have much of a choice these days." He pops back over the counter and partially empties a stack of Stalleons to count out the right change.

Hayseed tilts an ear. "Yeah? Not fond of the work? I know how that can be," she adds with a nod. "My daddy had some trouble with it too. And me back in Canterlot I guess, before we moved out here again."
Pumpkin looks around. "Does this mean ah can start unloadin' the cart? Does it?" Here is a filly with quite the work ethic, it seems. Or maybe she's just hyper.

"I've got nothing against work," the bartender says as he leans against the counter. "Just not, y'know, this work. I always wanted to move to Manehattan or Los Pegasus and tend the bar in a high end joint." He sighs wistfully. "Yeah, go ahead. The ice box is through the door at the far end of the bar, then on the right side of the room.

Hayseed tilts an ear, nodding. "Well… this place is classier than most of the bars around here. S'gotta count for something, eh?" She looks back at Pumpkin, smiling. "Now remember, don't take more than you can carry at once. Don't wanna bruise up any of the produce! Let me know if you need help on the bigger stuff."
Pumpkin nods enthusiastically, then hops into the back of the cart. She comes back gingerly carrying a bag of fruit a few minutes later, carrying it in the direction of the ice box. She lets the grown-ups do their talking.

The bartender rests his head on his hoof and looks at Hayseed. "That's not saying much. We keep the place clean, but a port town tavern's still a port town tavern. Most of the ponies don't care about the balance of different liquors or subtle notes of fruit and spice in their drink." He reaches back and knocks on one of the mugs against the back wall. "They just want as many of these filled with booze as they can get down before all that alcohol hits their brain."

Hayseed chuckles faintly. "Yes, I suppose that's true. Most don't appreciate true well-grown food either. If it fills the stomach it's good enough. I could probably magic up everything and sell it for the same price and nopony'd notice. …But I don't, because /I'd/ notice, you know?" She shrugged. "Maybe one day you'll be able to move up out of here. But that's no reason not to enjoy your art while you are here, even if it seems like nopony else does quite as much."

Pumpkin trots back and forth from the cart, looking perhaps less energetic and more teeth-grittingly determined with each load. "Wait. Does this place sellthe funny cider?"

"Not to little fillies, it doesn't," the bartender says with a grin. "You've gotta get a bit bigger and stronger before you get any of that— well, maybe just bigger, you're doing a pretty good job with those fruit." He turns his attention back to Hayseed. "I didn't think anyone in this town felt the same way. It's kind of a relief, actually. Brothers in arms in the war against poor taste."

Hayseed chuckles and gives Pumpkin a light nudge. "Stick to the normal stuff for now, hun. You need any help with those boxes, now?" To the bartender, she nods. "Quality's a big thing for us. We pride ourselves in putting out the best… but lots of ponies around here aren't too concerned about /getting/ the best." She shrugs, smiling faintly. "I dunno, though. Some part of me likes thinking that one day they'll go somewhere not supplied by us, and try lower-quality food, and stop and think 'what did I just eat, that's not how a good tomato should taste at /all/!'. And then they'll appreciate our produce a bit more."

Pumpkin says "Oh ah wasn't about to drink any of that stuff after it made our brothers even goofier'n normal." She shudders. That just wasn't right. She eyes the remaining boxes, then titls her head. "Ah think ah could maybe use a little help."

"The green fairy's a bitter mistress," the bartender says with a solemn nod towards the alleged shenanigans of these two fillies' brothers. "If you need help moving some stuff to the back, I can lend a hoof." He comes back out from behind the counter. "What's a magic fruit taste like, anyway? I think I'd notice if I'd had one, I like to think I've had a pretty good palette."

Hayseed nods and smiles, moving to heft a box herself. "No problem. Faster with multiple ponies working, of course!" She glances over her shoulder at Amber. "You might notice if you had one. It's… hm. I mean, it's not /bad/. It's not really /good/ either. Depends on how much magic is used. It just doesn't taste quite… natural. Some things, if grown all by magic, won't have a taste at all… others taste just fine, but you just know something about it is… off. It'll fill you up fine and it's all well and good in a lean season, but if you want the richest, best flavors, you gotta grow it naturally."

Pumpkin hoists another box. "It don't taste like anybody worked to grow it, is how it tastes. Magic's for lots of stuff, but not for food. That's what ah say."

"I bet that'd have its uses, though," the bartender says thoughtfully. "You can put all kinds of weird things into drinks and it can come out for the better. Well, sometimes." He picks up a bag and slings it over his back. "I've gotta admit, you don't have to worry too much about magic futzing around with things when you're an Earth Pony. Makes the shortcuts you take more obvious, too, so I don't even bother trying to shortchange anypony."

Hayseed chuckles. "My Mama says I'm more like an Earth Pony than a Unicorn most days anyways. So I kind of know what you mean." She nods at Pumpkin. "Yep! It's always best when you grow it yourself. Just 'cause I can help it all along doesn't mean I should, hm?" She actively tried to avoid using her magic on the food crops except as the occasional aid if something had a problem. Growing it with magic, not good. But helping get rid of pests or keeping it watered properly, that could be helpful!

In due time the boxes are all added to the ice box and Pumpkin wipes her brow with a giddy grin which might seem out of place for somepony who just unloaded that much fruit. "Ah'm gonna go play with the other fillies now, okay big sis?" She maybe probably should have waited to hear an answer but off she goes at an excited little gallop.

"Energetic little thing, isn't she?" the stallion says as he watches Pumpkin bound out the door. "I've gotta admit, I can see where your mom's coming from. You don't see many unicorn farmers." You also don't usually see unicorn mares taller than an earth pony stallion of average height like the bartender. He glances at Hayseed and sizes the mare up.

Hayseed grins slightly as she watches Pumpkin scamper away. "Yeah, she's a ball of energy, that one." She blinks and chuckles. "Well, I guess I had to get something from Mama's side of the family. Dad's an Earth Pony. When we came back out here to start up a farm, I guess I just kinda… took to it well. I enjoyed it. Still do. The smell of the dirt. The way the seeds sprout up. The feeling of looking over a field or seeing pretty flowers or sitting down for a meal, and thinking 'I did that, I grew that myself'. It's a good feeling."

The bartender smirks. "Can't say I'm much of one for seeing pretty flowers, but I think I know where you're coming from. The bouquet from a fine wine or whiskey always gives me a nice heady feeling. It smells like potential, that you can take all of these great tastes and mix them together in just the right way to make it better than the sum of the parts." He turns to the shelf behind the counter and begins to pull down bottles. "Here, lemme get you a drink. On the house."

Hayseed blinks, considering it for a moment before nodding and moving over to the bar. "Sure, I can try one before finishing the deliveries. Don't know much about alcohol, I'll admit… but I'd like a chance to sample your art." She smiles cheerily. "Suppose if I'm gonna learn about it, it's best to start right with the good stuff."

"I wouldn't want to give you more than one while you're on the clock anyway," the bartender says as he grabs a number of bottles off the shelf. "Here's a great example," he says as he begins pouring splashes of at least five different bottles into a tall glass of ice. He leaves the bottles open on the counter. "Give those a whiff, the spirits are all pretty distinctive. Vodka, gin, rum… the end result's completely different, though. You'd never guess from the taste."

Hayseed nods and smiles. "Mix a couple different tastes together and you create a totally new one. Same idea with cooking, when you get right down to it." She leans forward to sniff at one. "Whoo, yeah, definite differences there, you're right. How do you figure which'll mix well? Or do you just try it 'til you like it?"

"Mostly that! After a while you figure out the flavor profiles that work well together," the stallion says as he finishes his concoction and pushes it across the table to Hayseed. "Go ahead and drink the whole thing if you want. I made that glass mostly ice, there's probably not more than a couple mouthful's worth in there." He begins to reseal his bottles and continues, "It's still experimentation when you hit a certain point, just like cooking. Bit more expensive to waste a shot of whiskey than it is to goof with a tomato, though.

Hayseed grins over at him, reaching for the glass. "Guess that depends on just how many tomatoes you've got to goof with," she points out, sniffing the drink before taking a testing sip. "Mmm. That's pretty nice, actually."

"Told you so," the bartender says cheerfully. "Go ahead and leave the glass on the counter when you're done, I'm gonna go in back and move around where your sister put stuff in the ice box. We've got a system in place to keep it organized and I didn't have the heart to tell her she was mucking it up. Besides, I shouldn't distract you from your route any more than I already have, we've all got responsibilities." He gives the delivery unicorn a nod of his head. "It was a pleasure doing business with you!"

Hayseed nods and smiles. "She gets a little… over-eager, when she gets to help with the business. Takes after Dad and I, I suppose, likes her work. I'm sure I'll run into you again, next shipment at least. Nice meeting you, too, and thanks for the drink… oh, I didn't catch your name."

"Huh?" The bartender gives Hayseed a confused look for several seconds before realization dawns on him. "Oh, shoot, it completely slipped my mind! Nopony ever wants to know the bartender's name, they're usually either too busy celebrating or drowning their sorrows to pay attention. I'm Amber Shot."

Hayseed chuckles and nods, smiling over at him. "Well, it's very nice to meet you, Amber Shot. Thanks again for the drink, and the nice chat."

"It's always a pleasure to have a pretty mare in the Bay," Amber says with a smile as he gives Hayseed a parting wave.