New Life : Arrival
How to begin? Leaving my home in Manehatten was the most difficult thing I've ever done which isn't saying much because of having everything I could've wanted served right in front of me all my life. Still, getting kicked out of the second university my parents sent me to was a bit too much even for me. I couldn't even look into the eyes of ponies who supported garbage like me for far too many years so I just left a note, grabbed the money I managed to save up over time and bought myself the first train ticket I could find to start a new life, well... some kind of life. The ticket was for a morning train to Canterlot.
I'm keeping this diary to look back at my thoughts in case I don't freeze to death during my first few days. With my amount of life-useful skills and training, this might be a really short one.
I step out of the train surrounded by others who either decided to visit this mountain city or are on the way home. Not that I really care, the signs of coming winter are just a bit more important than some ponies I will never see again in my life. I have my saddlebags packed with food which should last few days, nutritional but absolutely disgusting which helps with overconsumption at least, and enough money to rent a small room if I can find some really derelict one. A chilly air flows through the train station and bites me hard. The brown hoodie I'm wearing isn't as helpful as I hoped it to be, mountains really are cold compared to Manehatten flatland. Unless I want to be caught in this cold tonight and hide between dumpsters it would be a good idea to start my new life quickly. Not that I have high hopes after failing basically everything in my life up to this point but despite knowing the world would be a slightly better place without me in it my survival instinct kicks in and overrides everything else. I tap an earthpony who looks local on his back.
"Sorry to bother you, are you from around here?" I ask.
"Born and raised here, kid. Can I help you?" he requites my question with a smile.
He is definitely friendlier than ponies back 'home'. Asking a random stranger in Manehatten would be more likely to get me an answer like 'Go buck yourself!' or 'How much if I tell you?' or possibly being sued for an assault. Well, since things started in this fashion I'm a bit less afraid of showing I'm technically a hobo right now.
"Where could a young unicorn like me look for a job in this city and a cheap place to stay for few days?"
He looks at me for few seconds. It is something I'm used to, looks aren't my strong side but nothing out of ordinary so he is probably trying to think about what would a young stallion like me be able to do.
"You can always go door to door and ask every business owner you see or try your luck at the castle, I hear they are always looking for new recruits since guards keep quitting after patrolling the Everfree forest routes. The best place to start would be the town hall though since whenever ponies look for someone to work for them they eventually send their request there to be available."
"Oh thanks. I'll be off then."
I turn around to leave and feel a hoof on my back, so much for helping somepony for free. Perhaps this place is not as different from Manehatten as I thought. I turn around to find out what the price for help is.
"The town hall is that way, big building with a lot of pillars in front of it," the earthpony points in one direction, smiles at me and continues.
"Can't help you with the accommodation much but if you want cheap, you can't beat prices in the apartment buildings which don't look white and shiny."
So my head just screwed me over once again and completely ignored one part of my inquiry. Thankfully, other ponies aren't as useless as me and can keep a thought for more than two seconds. I thank the guy again and walk in a vague direction he pointed. I hate travelling from the depths of my soul and gawking at architecture really isn't my thing but the sterile cleanliness of Canterlot is noticeable even to somepony consciously trying to ignore it. Grudgingly, I admit defeat and begin looking around to catch some finer details of the buildings around me with the only effect of noticing a line of white pillars down a street crossing the one I'm going, having only one clue to my destination I change my direction.
It turns out that an hour of lazy walking is something which can be rewarded by a success and the town hall is right in front of me. I take a deep breath and hope to all stars and both princesses that there is a place for me. I really don't expect much because I don't have any qualifications for, well, anything but there must be someone who could use a cheap hoof around the place... maybe a glue manufacturer?
I walk inside and just vaguely notice the golden decorations all around me as my efforts are focused on stopping my legs from shaking and keeping my voice steady. Unfortunately there is a point in time when I have to stop staring at my hooves and begin searching for a sign having something to do with jobs. Lo and behold, the 'employment' office isn't far away and the queue is manageable, not that I have a choice anyway.
Finally it's my turn. Resisting the temptation to run away one final time I open the office door and enter. I must admit that the soft carpeting feels pretty good after being outside for so long and the warm office is enough to dispel the chills running up my spine. There is a mare sitting behind a table writing something on a piece of paper, probably finishing off the previous visitor.
Great, I couldn't have sounded dumber even if I tried really hard.
"Sit down, mister... ?" she asks without looking up from the paper.
"Blazing Light. I'm here to ask if you have a job for me."
Wow, my brain really isn't working. What else could I go to the employment office for, to ask for a daisy farming permit?
"Of course you are. What are your qualifications and previous experience?" the question shows the amount of times she had to repeat it.
After a short silence she finally looks up at me questioningly. This is the hard part.
"Eh, none and none?" I ask and look down trying to find solace in the polished wood of the desk.
"You look fairly young, are you a student?"
"Not anymore. I'm just looking for a job which doesn't need much experience. I'll take anything, night shifts, solo work, working in the winter outside, not much pay... anything."
Yeah, that's not going to work. I should have just found a way up the city walls and jumped down the mountain.
"Have you thought of studying a bit more before entering real life?"
I have to work really hard to stop the sarcasm going up my throat.
"I'm not the... smart type of pony. So, you don't have anything." I conclude and begin to get up from the chair.
"Don't be so hasty. There are of course things for you but most of them are dead end jobs with zero future prospects which don't suit somepony as young as you in my opinion."
Well somepony has high opinion of her opinion. Before I can open my mouth to contradict her she speaks again.
"But I have a request from the castle for somepony just like you. Night shifts, working weekends and it basically pays peanuts."
She rummages around in her papers and finally pulls one out and gives it to me. I read it in disbelief.
"Okaaaay now all I need to do is to find a place to live while being paid THIS and some garden to illegaly ravage for food and I'm set."
My tone of voice is easy to read but so is the officemare's expression - 'Do you think you are worth more than this?'. Her next words calm me down a bit though.
"It is a live-in position which means you'd have your quarters in the castle so while the pay is still, forgive my language, crap it fits your description. No offense."
"None taken. I'm well aware of my worth or lack thereof so thanks for your patience. Who should I talk to in the castle about this?"
She frowns at me for some reason but points to the paper in front of me.
"All the details are there, good luck."
"In all honesty, I think I've overtaxed my luck with this enough already. Once again thanks and have a nice day."
My horn glows and I leave the office with the paper levitating in front of me and as soon as I find the contact name I roll it up and put it in my bag. On my way to the castle I eat some dried, pressed flowers and have only one thing on my mind which even the crunching and atrocious taste can't banish - a name.
"Choking Darkness," I mumble to myself.
With full stomach, hood on my head and a direction, I actually believe I have a future.