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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5. Chapter 5

Weaving through the crowds, Mignon moved calmly, slowly, cautiously, and not as though he was a pony on the run from the law. According the ornate clock on the street, it was just after two o’clock, leaving him little time to figure out what to do for the night. It would get cold, too cold, when the sun set, far too cold for Magnolia in her condition.

“I still trust you.”

The voice that came occasionally from under his cloak was comforting and soothed his nerves. Mignon was fearful of what would happen when he was caught. Magnolia would be returned to the orphanage, and he would likely go to jail.

“You’re still a good pony.”

Flogging his brain, Mignon tried to come up with ideas. He stuck to the crowded areas as he walked, relying upon anonymity to conceal his passing. There were dozens and dozens of other ponies out and about wearing heavy cloaks just like he was. He felt the sensation of two little legs wrapping around his thick corded neck and clinging tightly to him.

“My throat is starting to tickle again.”

“Okay Magnolia. I’ll stop at a cafe so we can sit down and I will give you some more cough syrup,” Mignon acknowledged in a soft voice. “We’re approaching the griffon quarter, we’re nowhere near home, it should be safe.”

“My coat is very warm. And so are you,” Magnolia said as she buried her face into Mignon’s silver blue mane.

The cafe had mixed clientele, ponies and griffons, sitting around and drinking tea, cocoa, and coffee. Mignon was drinking a frothy cup of coffee and he had ordered a glass of mango juice for Magnolia. The foal leaned up against the table, her front hooves resting upon the edge, and she sucked her juice through a straw.

“Anything else?” a waitress asked, stopping by the table yet again to check upon them. “You had a nice lunch… perhaps a dessert?” she asked.

Thinking of the bowl of corn and potato chowder he had just eaten, Mignon shook his head no. He looked up at the mare from his low chair as she started to walk away. “Actually, if you could, I could use a pen and a piece of paper if you could find them.”

“I can do that,” the waitress replied, turning around to look at Mignon with a smile. “So nice of you to take your daughter out on a lunch date,” she said as she walked away.

“Are you full?” Mignon asked Magnolia.

“Yeah,” Magnolia replied.

“Are those pills still working? Do you need to use the bathroom?” Mignon inquired.

“No, I’m good. Tummy isn’t gurgling,” Magnolia replied. “The grilled cheese sandwich was very good.”

“Did you get enough to eat?” Mignon questioned, looking over at Magnolia in concern. He reached out one foreleg, rested his fetlock over her brow, and tried to get some kind of indication that she was okay to appease his inner sense of terror. The sense of worry that came with fatherhood did not agree with him.

“I’m stuffed,” Magnolia announced and then went back to sucking mango juice through her straw, her cheeks pinched in adorably from suction.

“Okay.”

Peering around him nervously, Mignon tried not to think about everything wrong in his life right now. The door lingered in his thoughts, and so did the fact that he had assaulted two officers using his magic. Princess Twilight Sparkle had a zero tolerance policy about unicorns hurting other ponies with magic, and the rumoured Black Cloaks dealt with violators quite harshly, the worst among them was Buckminster himself, who had a thing about not harming ponies or equines in general, and no mercy for those who did.

And Mignon was counting on it.

Eventually, the waitress returned with a sheet of paper and a pen, which Mignon gratefully accepted with a smile and a nod. He watched her go, noticing that she kept looking back over her shoulder at him, her tail swishing flirtatiously in the hopes that he was looking. He smiled over at Magnolia, smoothed out the paper upon the wooden table, and lifted the pen in his magic.

Dear Prince Buckminster Bitters,

I have heard it said that you are ‘The Reformer.’ I hope this is true. My name is Mignon Croix, and I find myself in some very mixed up circumstances. I recently came upon a foal named Magnolia Warbler. I found her in a box, mostly frozen, after she had escaped from the orphanage. I took her home. I cared for her. I fed her and I did her no harm. She is covered in rat bites and is infected from them.

The orphanage is full of rats. I saw something. I saw something behind a door, but I can’t remember what it was. I cannot explain what happened, but I know I saw something even if I can’t remember it now. The building is full of black mold, reeks of urine, and is no place for foals.

I took Magnolia to the doctor for medical attention, which proved to be my undoing.

After arriving at home, the authorities came to collect Magnolia and return her to the orphanage. I panicked, I will admit that. I couldn’t let them take her. Even the doctor said she would die if she was returned to the orphanage. She is too weak to fight back against the rats. She needs warmth. She needs love and affection. I cannot save every foal in that orphanage, but I am saving this one. She is mine, and I love her as a father might love his foal.

I understand that I am now a wanted criminal most likely, and deservedly so. I admit to what I have done. I committed a good deed and dared to do the right thing. If one good deed is enough to condemn me, then I ask that you come and deliver judgment personally.

I await you sir, and I am not afraid.

Mignon Croix.

Scowling, Mignon folded up the paper, scribbled down a few words for the editor of the newspaper, and cast a minor attraction spell on the letter to make it more noticeable and attractive to the eye.

“Magnolia, we have a lot to do, I need to drop this off at the newspaper office and then we need to find someplace to stay for the night,” Mignon said in a low voice as he looked over at Magnolia, whose mango juice was almost gone.

“Do you know where we will go?” Magnolia asked, looking up at Mignon and blinking curiously, her ears perking forward. She almost looked lost inside of her coat and the hood bunched up around her neck and the back of her head.

“I do actually have an idea, but it will be a long walk. We will need to hurry, the sun might set before we get there, and it will be cold. Hopefully, you will stay warm,” Mignon replied in a soft tone.

“Are you in a lot of trouble?” Magnolia whispered fearfully.

“Yes, I probably am in a lot of trouble and I might have just called down the thunder upon my head. We shall see. Now hurry, we must get moving.”

Fetching a few coins from his saddlebag, Mignon left the cost of their meal upon the table along with a generous tip. It didn’t leave him much to work with and he didn’t know if the hideout he had planned would have any food stockpiled. It might, but it was a gamble.

He rearranged his saddlebags, carefully folding up the blanket with his magic into a tightly folded mass, and he repacked everything, somehow managing to get everything into one bag. The head of the stuffy pony was left poking out, but that was okay. He gulped down his coffee, wiped his mouth, stuffed his letter into a pocket, and then carefully set the pen down upon the coins he had left upon the table.

“I need to pee before we go,” Magnolia announced.

Hearing her words, Mignon’s guts turned to ice as he tried to think of all of the valid reasons a stallion might have for taking a filly into the little fillies room. He nodded, unable to reply, a fearful sensation of dread creeping up his spine.

With the paper safely dropped into the ‘letters to the editor’ box, Mignon thought about the next order of business. Supplies. He had very little coin left, and he and Magnolia would need some things. He sighed, uncomfortable with what he was contemplating.

He needed to hole up for a few days, maybe a week, enough time to hopefully have everything calm down a bit. He hoped that there were bigger criminals to look after. Once some time had passed, Mignon planned to return to the outskirts of Vanhoover, board a train to Ponyville somehow, and then find himself a way to turn himself in to the one figure of authority he respected. He was hoping that his letter would be printed in the paper, letters to royalty frequently were, and he was hoping for mercy. He just needed time for it to be printed and become news.

He did not want mercy for himself, but for Magnolia. He knew from reading that Buckminster had a soft spot for foals, and Mignon was counting on Buckminster keeping Magnolia long enough for her to get well.

Overall, the plan was half baked at best, but Mignon had never been a criminal before, and this was the best plan he could think of under such short notice. He was going to have to make it work somehow.

“Be a father, they said,” Mignon mumbled to himself as he made his way down the street. “Settle down, raise a family, they said,” he grumbled sarcastically.

“When I got lonely, I talked to myself,” Magnolia said from under Mignon’s cloak. “You don’t have to be lonesome anymore, you have me,” she added in a cheerful but scratchy voice.

The hated lump crawled out of Mignon’s guts, plugged up his throat, and gloated about its triumphant return. “Thanks Magnolia,” he said in a strangled whisper.

This was a very wealthy section of Vanhoover, the area around the newspaper office. Lots of banks, lots of apartments, the well to do gathered here and Mignon was not out of place among the high society unicorns who lived in this part of the city and refused to live in other parts of the city. He was well mannered and his flowing cloak fit the part. For once, being charmingly old fashioned worked in his favour, and not fitting in with his peers in his own age group, who tended to favour modern outerwear.

Already feeling regret, Mignon entered into a small market.

The market was shockingly well stocked with a large variety of food. He felt a surge of anger, the general unease he felt when something wasn’t fair, and realised that the wealthy had no such problems with shortages. There were plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, tinned goods, fresh juice, tins of juice, tins of soups, tins of beans, and all of it was eyebrow raisingly expensive. He carried a basket in his telekinesis, prowling the aisles, wondering what would be wise to get. He quickly found the paper packets of the soup he liked, different flavours, and in large supply. The wealthy liked quick comfort foods as well.

He grabbed a small wheel of cheese covered in red wax, several tins of concentrated juice that you had to add water to, a carton of raisins, and several other odds and ends that he figured would fit into his saddlebag.

He waited, biding his time, patiently browsing the aisles until the store was empty, and the only other pony in the store was the checkout girl. He moved towards the checkout, his guts churning with fear, and he licked his lips nervously.

“Um, pardon me miss, but might I borrow a piece of paper and a pen?” Mignon asked.

“Uh, one moment,” the young mare replied, and then went rummaging around under the register. She popped up a moment later with a pen and sheet of paper in her telekinesis.

“Thank you,” Mignon said graciously, bowing his head in reply. He set the paper down, placed pen to the paper, and began writing. After several moments, he paused, lifted the paper, folded it, floated it over to the cashier, and placed her pen down upon the counter.

Lifting the paper in her own magic, the cashier opened it, saw letters, and began to read. “My name is Mignon Croix, and I do apologise. My filly is sick and there are some very trying circumstances for me right now. I can’t pay for what I have in my basket, but this is my real name, and I expect to be held accountable for this one day. Again, I apologise,” the mare read. She lowered the paper and saw Mignon heading for the door.

“Sir, Mignon, please wait!” the mare cried out.

Feeling his hooves betray him, Mignon halted near the door. He gritted his teeth, hating himself, his cheeks burning with shame for what he had just done. The goods were already in his saddlebag. In his mind, the crimson door loomed large and filled his thoughts, making his panic even worse.

“Is she under your cloak? Are you okay little one?” the young mare asked, looking concerned.

“My name is Magnolia Warbler and I’m okay. Mignon really isn’t a bad pony,” Magnolia offered. “He saved me from dying.”

“Did you actually save her?” the young mare asked.

Grunting, Mignon failed to make a sensible reply. His tail swished and he stomped nervously, and finally, he wickered in fear.

“I would have died without Mignon. He got me to the doctor,” Magnolia said from under Mignon’s cloak. “I was chewed on by rats in the orphanage and I’m sick.”

The mare, curious, lifted Mignon’s cloak to have a look at Magnolia, and she smiled when she saw the filly smiling at her. Mignon fidgeted and tried to move away. The mare studied the filly’s face, taking in every detail, noting the chewed nostrils and ears.

“Oh you are as cute as a button… I bet there is a story here… I would like to hear it sometime if it is possible, when I am not working here I’m working as a junior reporter for the Vanhoover View. I know a story when I smell one, and there is a lot going on here,” the mare said.

“Yes there is,” Mignon admitted.

“If this gets cleared up, want to talk to me about it over dinner?” the mare asked.

“Are you asking me on a date after I just got done robbing you?” Mignon asked incredulously, turning around to look the mare in the eye.

“My name is Vino Veritas, and yes, I am dying to know the whole story. I have you covered. I’ll pay for everything. But really, once this blows over, and I hope it will blow over, get in touch with me at the Vanhoover View. You are the story of a lifetime, I can sense it!”

“I owe you my thanks,” Mignon replied, unsure of what else to say. He started to open his mouth to say more when he felt two lips press against his cheek. His words died in his throat, and fell back to wherever it was the lump lurked when it wasn’t strangling him.

“You look after her, and if you get in touch with me later, I’ll kiss your other cheek so you will have a matching set,” Vino promised.

Nodding, Mignon had no words to respond with.

“Now go on, get out of here,” Vino said, shooing Mignon out the door as she lowered his cloak back down over his side. “Magnolia, take good care of him.”

“I will,” Magnolia replied. “I still need a mother!” she cried as Mignon hurried out the door and into the crowded street.

 
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