Conversations in a Canterlot Café

Frothy Brew is the barista in the Canterlot café owned by himself, his wife, and his daughter. Years of hard work had made the café a successful and modestly popular place to stop and get a drink or a snack. Nothing prepared him though for it to become a hub of interaction with the undisguised changelings that were being seen more often in the streets of Canterlot. Can he put aside his feelings for the species though after witnessing the most horrifying aspect of the invasion years ago?
This story runs concurrently with the latter part of my Change of Life story. While reading that and Prelude To Change is not necessary, they do give valuable background that is glossed over in "Conversations". Cover art and story illustrations are all done by Foxenawolf.


13. Epilogue

The day of the grand opening of the café’s extension arrived. Frothy had hired some new staff just to work that section, the majority of which were changelings although a couple of them preferred to use their pony alter egos. He had not planned it that way, but it seemed that the café had become a much desired place of employment for the Harvesters. They did have one earth pony stallion named Tasty Tucker snap up the position as head cook for the range of light meals that the new section would serve, and a teen pegasus was a part-time server.

Frothy and Cherry invited Twilight Sparkle to the opening ceremony, although they did not seriously think that the Princess would have the time to spare for such a trivial event. Both were delighted when she accepted, if not a little surprised. That surprise turned to shock when it turned out that Twilight had in turn invited Princess Celestia and Princess Luna to the event.

Frothy was completely flustered. “I was going to ask you to perform the ribbon-cutting ceremony, but should I ask Princess Celestia or Luna instead?” he asked Twilight.

Twilight smiled. “You wanted me to cut the ribbon? I’d love to! Don’t worry about Celestia or Luna – they wanted to attend after hearing so much about your place from me, but have no intention of butting into the event. Well, not any more than their mere presence might cause, anyway. Celestia is interested in trying out some of Cherry’s cakes while she’s here. As for Luna, she still takes every opportunity to mingle with everypony socially. She’s still trying to make up for a thousand years of isolation and a bad reputation. She’s rather sympathetic to the changeling cause because of the latter especially.”

The surprises did not end there. Fleur De Lis also made an appearance, bringing along Fancy Pants. They had a few other upper class ponies accompany them, apparently just because Fancy Pants and the Princesses were going to be there, and nothing was going to stop them from being part of the latest social scene.

It was not for some weeks later that Frothy and family realized the princesses’ ulterior motive for turning up and attracting the upper class. By popularizing the café for the in-crowd, they legitimized the relationship the changelings had with the establishment. Where laws and public education had failed, snobbery had worked. It became almost expected to have changelings as dedicated waiters and cooks. After all, they sought to please their customers as much as possible in order to reap the reward of positive emotions to harvest. It was not too long before fancier restaurants started taking notice and tried emulating what had been started in one small café.

There was just one thing bothering Frothy about that though, and he took it up with Twilight at one of her visits.

“Aren’t you afraid that you might be establishing changelings as just a servant class for the upper class ponies?”

“Very perceptive of you, Frothy, and yes, there is that possibility. It’s compounded by the fact that many of the harvesters are actually quite content with that because it achieves their aims. Many have higher goals though, especially the changelings that still maintain a secret alter ego. However, we had to make that first step, and getting the general Canterlot population to accept changelings in the community as being a normal thing was the highest priority. We’ll continue to work on elevating their status to absolute equivalence to ponies. It will just take a bit of time.”

“And what about the rest of Equestria?” Cherry asked.

“We have plans to introduce them to all the towns and villages. We think that will be easier than in Canterlot because they never experienced the invasion. We’ll be as careful as possible to assess the reaction of ponies before trying anything too big though. We've learned a lot from how things worked out here, so we have a lot to thank you for.”

* * *

Three and a half months, or more precisely, 104 days was all it took from the time Peach gave Archer that first kiss on the cheek. A very pleasant day out together and a perfect dinner to celebrate Peach’s birthday set the mood, but the extremely thoughtful present that he gave her tilted the balance. Peach fell in love. It hit Archer like a lightning bolt, such was the intensity of the surge in affection. While he had always known what it was supposed to be like, the reality still left Archer overwhelmed. From that moment, he was completely and irrevocably in love with Peach.

The couple started planning a life together. Archer decided to retire from the Royal Guard when his present enlistment expired. He instead signed up with the Royal Reserves which only required him for emergencies, and joined the family business. He trained under Frothy’s critical eye as a barista, taking off some of the growing workload from Frothy. Unspoken but still understood was that the changeling would not hesitate to use his old skills to protect his new family.

While Peach was happy and proud to be the mate of a changeling, nonetheless they both realized that his unicorn form was the more physically compatible for them both. They ended up compromising by having him retain his changeling eyes and fangs, with the addition of his insect-like wings. There was no mistaking him for a real unicorn any longer, but it was more comfortable for everyone that way. Frothy in particular approved because it showed that the changeling was not trying to deceive anypony. It never stopped him from ritually threatening Archer with mayhem if Peach came to harm, and frankly Archer would have been more disturbed if he didn’t!

The only thing that the couple knew that they would have to deal with one day was having foals. Neither was in a hurry for them as yet, but both knew that they would want them eventually. However, when and who would help them with that was a problem for another day.

The new restaurant section proved to be a great success, and Peach eventually became the full-time manager of it, requiring Cherry to take on an apprentice to help her with the baking. The young unicorn mare was named Angel Cake, and not only was she a fast learner, but she also got along very well with Cherry. As Cherry’s pregnancy progressed, Angel was able to relieve her as needed, and when the day of the birth arrived, she took over the kitchen for a few days, with only a little occasional help from Peach.

Cherry gave birth to a chocolate-brown colt with a pale yellow mane and tail, whom they named Mocha. Despite her earlier comments about little brothers, Peach was absolutely thrilled to have another sibling, and was more than happy to give their mother a respite from looking after him whenever it was necessary.

Flapjack quit full-time school at the end of the year in order to concentrate on the family business, although he did take up night courses at Frothy’s insistence. Of course Flapjack’s specialty was in his name, and he served up some of the tastiest pancakes and crepes in Canterlot. Whether you wanted banana and walnut, apple cinnamon, strawberries and cream, or just smothered in maple syrup, they were always perfect.

Flapjack started dating Angel not long after she started working there. Cherry and Frothy not only approved, but also had high hopes for the two.

Flapjack called Frothy ‘Dad’ for the first time at Hearth’s Warming. Frothy would say for many years to come that it was the one of the best presents that he had ever received.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Author's Note:

A number of people wanted an epilogue, and I wanted to tie up a few loose threads, so here's the real final chapter of the story. Perhaps I'll revisit the characters sometime, although I don't have any plans to do so at this time. Then again, I didn't expect to bring in Cogs and his family either after completing the other stories, so you never know.

Sorry that I haven't provided an illustration this time. Between the fact that it's a brief epilogue, and it's been very busy for me this week, and the artist is on a Thanksgiving break, I just haven't been able to get that together. I will be commissioning book cover art for the story though, so watch out for that.

Oh, and in case you were still wondering, the merchant who is actually a changeling is Newsworthy.

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