The Chance

This story is a sequel to The Chase
The city of Vanhoover is having the worst winter storm in generations as Mignon Croix has to make his way home from the grocery store. Along the way home, he finds something that will change his life forever, but only if he will take the chance.
Reading The Chase is helpful but not necessary to enjoy this story.

https://www.fimfiction.net/story/224341/the-chance

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2. Chapter 2

With the foal propped up against the arm of the sofa, Mignon stuffed a cushion down beside her to prop her up so she wouldn’t fall over. She was clean again, dried, and smelled faintly of citrus and sandalwood, because of the soap that Mignon prefered for himself. Magnolia certainly wasn’t a happy foal at the moment, and looked at him angrily, her lower lip protruding in a pout. Sighing, Mignon resigned himself to his fate. The foal had not been happy about iodine being applied to her many wounds.

“Are you warm?” Mignon inquired in a low worried voice, peering at the cranky foal who would not look him in the eye.

Nodding reluctantly, the foal continued to look everywhere but at Mignon.

“Look, I’m sorry, but those wounds had to be looked after… I know iodine stings, but you need to be an adult about this,” Mignon said in a gentle voice, his facial expression one of soft regret.

“Imma foal,” Magnolia retorted, stating the obvious. “It stung. And you didn’t even blow on it!” she accused in a whiny irate foalish voice.

“Blow on it?” Mignon asked, his muzzle wrinkling as confusion took over.

“When something stings you blow on it!” Magnolia snapped, her eyes narrowing in adorable rage.

“I didn’t know there were rules,” Mignon whimpered. “Nopony told me, this is your fault, you should have said something,” he argued. “I’ve never been around foals before. I don’t know these things.”

“I did say something, I told you that it stings,” Magnolia grumbled.

“Look, I’m sorry… I didn’t know. Next time I have to put iodine on all of your… your injuries, I’ll blow on them afterwards,” Mignon muttered.

Hearing Mignon’s words, Magnolia shrieked in fear and attempted to cover her face with her forelegs. The foal sounded very much like a tea kettle, and Mignon feared for his dwindling patience. He was never the most patient of ponies in the best of times. Finally, the foal seemed to have shrieked and squealed herself into exhaustion, and she fell silent, much to Mignon’s relief.

“I’m going to fix us something to eat,” Mignon remarked as he fled from the couch, hoping to recover his patience. The very idea of losing his temper with the foal made him feel kind of sick to his stomach.

“Thank you,” Magnolia said as Mignon walked away towards the small kitchen.

“For what?” Mignon replied as he crossed the threshold into the cramped kitchen.

“For being kind. And not hurting me. And proving you are a good pony,” Magnolia answered, her voice raspy and weak. “I feel achy all over and kinda shivery. Kinda hot and kinda cold.”

“You’ll feel better after you eat,” Mignon said, hoping his words were true.

In the kitchen, he pulled out a large paper packet of instant soup, the good kind, something he had been saving for a special occasion. This certainly seemed special enough. Split pea and lentil. He still had a few loaves of mostly fresh bread. He peered around, trying to dispel his indecision, and then he opened the fridge. He rummaged around until he found a stick of butter, which he pulled out and placed on the counter, and then he kicked the fridge door shut with his hind leg. Using his magic, he softened the butter and left it on the counter. He tore open the soup packet, which claimed to serve six ponies, but was barely enough to feed one hungry bachelour, snorted at the notion that he was eating six ponies servings worth of soup, dumped the soup into a saucepan, added water and then added some olive oil. He turned up the stove and waited for the soup to come to a boil, at which point it would need to be turned down and simmered for a while. He turned on the oven so it could begin to preheat.

While the soup was starting to come to a boil, he sliced a baguette of bread in half, the fragrant crusty loaf filling the kitchen with a pleasant yeasty smell. He cut it lengthwise, his magic pulling the blade smoothly through the bread, and he placed both sides of the sliced loaf upon the counter.

He turned down the dial on the stove, the water now boiling, and then he began to slather butter onto the bread, making sure that every inch was covered, and once it was properly buttered, he fetched some dried powdered garlic from the cupboard, unscrewed the lid, sprinkled it over the bread, screwed the lid back on, and then placed it back into the cupboard, all of it done with his telekinesis in well practiced magically agile movements.

He paused when he heard a wet wheezing cough from the living room. He felt his dock tensing from concern, and wondered if he had any cough medicine somewhere in his apartment. He didn’t like how that cough sounded at all.

When the red light on the stove went off, he stuffed the bread into the oven and stood in front of the stove, watching his soup simmer. With a swish of his tail, he turned around, opened the fridge, and peered inside, wondering what he had to drink. Beer, a bottle of wine, and a half a pint bottle of maple whiskey.

A brilliant idea flooded into his mind and Mignon pranced in place from happiness. He pulled the maple whiskey from the fridge, grabbed a juice glass, and poured an inch into the bottom of the glass, praising himself for his ingenuity. This would fix her cough.

He bounced out of the kitchen, burst into the living room, and made his way to the couch, the glass of maple whiskey held in the olive green glow of his telekinesis. “I have something that will help your cough,” Mignon announced.

“That would be nice,” Magnolia replied, looking up at Mignon with wide trusting eyes. Her mane, now clean, had curled slightly as it dried, it clung to the sides of her face like creeping ivy, and it was even the right colour, dark green, with streaks of much lighter green.

“Just drink all of this. One big gulp,” Mignon instructed, holding the glass up to the foal’s lips and tilting her head back slightly, using his magic oh so carefully. When her lips parted, he poured the drink down her gullet.

The pegasus shuddered, shook, she grimaced, her eyes squeezing shut as she did so, and finally, her orange tongue stuck out of her mouth, her lips pressed tightly around it.

“Good girl,” Mignon praised as he pranced back off to the kitchen, leaving the sputtering raspberry blowing filly on her own.

“Gah it burns!” Magnolia hacked. “That’s the worst cough syrup ever and it takes like maple syrup on fire!”

Standing near the stove again, Mignon stirred the soup with a large wooden spoon, using his telekinesis, and as he was stirring, he pulled open the oven door and peered inside. The garlic bread was toasting nicely, the butter melting and the bread turning golden brown.

“I feel funny.”

“Dinner is almost done,” Mignon replied, feeling concerned. He hoped that she didn’t have some awful incurable disease from the rats. The soup was nearing completion. He liked it when the lentils and the peas were still firm and not mushy.

“My head feels heavy.”

“Hold on Magnolia, dinner is coming,” Mignon announced. He paused, the wooden spoon going still. There was no place to serve dinner. There was no table. He always ate sitting on the sofa, holding up everything in his telekinesis, living some kind of perfect bachelour ideal. Occasionally, he scarfed and gobbled his meals over the sink.

“I feel warm on the inside.”

“Good! I want you to feel warm!” Mignon replied as he peered into the oven again. He pulled out the bread and set it on the plate that was sitting on the counter. He still didn’t have a clue about how to serve dinner, and then the thought percolated into his brain that it didn’t matter. The foal probably couldn’t feed herself anyway.

“I think I’m going blind.”

He facehoofed from the realisation that he would have to feed her somehow, a hollow “clonk!” sound filling the kitchen as he did so. He looked at the wall, his eyes lingered over the clock for a moment for lack of anything better to do, and as he stared off vacantly, he realised that it was almost midnight. He couldn’t believe how late it was or how the time had slipped away.

“I can’th feelth my lipths.”

He turned off the eye of the stove, lifted the saucepan, and poured some soup in a bowl, but not too much soup, leaving some room for bread to be dipped into bowl and not cause the soup to spill over the sides. The little details were important, careful little details that kept neurosis away.

“Lipths gone. Teehee.”

Leaving his own dinner on the kitchen counter, he traipsed off into the living room with a bowl of soup and a plate of garlic bread, the long day finally catching up to him. He saw Magnolia looking up at him with wide shimmering eyes, her head wobbling around slightly, and her mouth was pulled into a peculiar smile.

“Soup and some garlic bread,” Mignon announced, sitting down on the floor in front of the couch. He levitated the plate, the bowl, and a glass of water. A spoon darted around the bowl anxiously, awaiting action.

“You’sh gotsh shoup?” Magnolia asked.

“Sure do,” Mignon replied, furrowing his brow. The poor foal had to be exhausted. She seemed like she could barely speak or keep her eyes open. He felt a nagging sense of worry, fearful that she had some horrible contagion from the rats. He dunked a chunk of bread into the soup, eyed it carefully to see if it wasn’t too hot, and then held it out in front of the foal’s muzzle using his telekinesis.

A second later, the entire chunk of bread was gone, and the little pegasus foal’s cheeks were bulging with food. She chewed, her mouth falling open, and she dribbled soup down her chin. With a loud gulp, the foal swallowed and looked around, her eyes not quite focused.

“Hmph, pegasi,” Mignon muttered as he dipped another chunk of garlic bread and held it out for the starving foal. It was like watching a griffon eat. The little foal made no attempt to keep herself from getting messy, and there was a whole lot of slurping as well as sucking sounds as she gobbled down chunks of bread sopped in soup.

“BRAAAAAAAAP!”

“Oh… well… that was kind of adorable I suppose,” Mignon muttered after the foal belched, which was like a giant foghorn sound escaping from her small body.

Swallowing, the foal raised a front hoof weakly in front of her muzzle. “Where’sh am I shleeping tonight?” Magnolia asked in a slightly slurred voice. One eye blinked, and then the other and both of her ears had fallen down limp, framing her face, and resting upon a bed of green curls. She hiccupped, and then giggled faintly as she reached down to rub her belly.

“Oh, well, I was going to let you sleep on the couch here,” Mignon answered, dipping another piece of bread to have it ready. “It isn’t much, but it is comfortable enough,” he continued as he lifted the slice of garlic bread from the now half gone soup.

“I’sh shcared ofsh the dark,” Magnolia whispered in confession, her eyes widening. She went crosseyed for a moment as she tried to watch the bread being raised to her muzzle, then, her scabbed over nostrils flared slightly as food neared her maw. She scarfed down the bite and began to chew noisily, more soup and bits of bread dribbling from her chin as she smacked her lips together in foalish delight.

“Oh… I never even thought of that. Hrm, I’ve never been afraid of the dark because I can make light any time I have a mind to do so,” Mignon replied. He paused, reflecting on the nature of the problem, and he listened to the sound of the building groaning as the wind blew, and the tapping sounds of the sleet hitting the window. The steam radiator nearby ticked and pinged, the cast iron quite hot to keep the room warm in the bitterly cold temperatures. The whole room was filled with sounds that would probably be terrifying to a small foal that was scared of the dark. The wind moaned and he heard the sounds of the building’s timber frame creaking. He dunked the last slice of bread upon the plate, sopping up as much soup as he could, and then held it out to the foal.

Magnolia wolfed it down like she had done everything else, and then her eyes, still unfocused, peered at the bowl. Saying nothing, Mignon dipped the spoon into the bowl and spooned out the last few bites, feeding the last of the soup to the foal. He then offered her some water, she drank half of the glass, belched again, and then went limp against the back of the couch, her head sinking into the cushioned corner of the arm of the sofa and the rear cushion behind her.

“Shtuffed,” Magnolia announced after a moment of quiet.

“Good,” Mignon responded, rising up on all fours and then heading off into the kitchen to put the dirty dishes in the sink. When he got to the kitchen, he realised his own food had cooled off.

He stood in front of the sink, doing the dishes with his magic as he ate, his horn aching fiercely and fatigue finally setting in. It was now after midnight. He had worked all day today, gone home, gotten restless, had gone to the grocery store, got caught in the storm, found Magnolia Warbler, and it was now after midnight. He had the next three days off and he found himself wondering what to do with the foal. He scowled when he thought about returning her to the orphanage, that thought didn’t appeal to him at all. He chewed angrily, still having trouble believing that foals were being nibbled on by rats. The evidence was there, but the very idea itself was monstrous.

Orphanages were institutions placed by the Crown to make the lives of orphans better. They were supposed to be well funded and the philanthropists of Vanhoover spoke a great deal about the care of orphan foals being one of the cornerstones of their great Vanhooveran society, that a city was only as good as the very least of its residents, and Mignon was always reading about some high society function or soiree taking place that was raising money for the homeless, the refugees, and the orphans. He willingly gave up ten percent of his weekly pay to help all of the unfortunates of the collapse.

He sopped up the last of his soup from the bowl with a now cooled slice of garlic bread, nibbled slowly, and was at a complete loss for what to do with Magnolia. He knew nothing about foals or their care. He had nearly drowned her already. He did keep her tail out of the toilet, which was a small victory in the larger scheme of things. He had somehow fed her without jamming out one of her eyes with a spoon, choking her, or otherwise maiming her.

And now, he was contemplating taking her to bed with him, because she was afraid of the dark. He washed his own dishes absentmindedly, wondering how much time he was going to do in prison for his little good deed. He placed the last washed dish in the dishrack, turned, grabbed a towel, and headed off into the living room to wipe Magnolia’s face.

The foal was asleep, still sitting up, wedged between the arm of the sofa and a cushion, head having lolled off to one side, resting upon the arm. A wet whistling wheeze came from her lungs, a sound that filled him with worry, and he went to work, cleaning her face, wiping away pea soup, bread crumbs, and the occasional bit of whole lentil.

He tossed the towel over the arm of the couch, lifted the foal in his magic, and then he headed off to bed, turning off the lights behind him, flipping the switches with his telekinesis.

 
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