Main Course is a successful chef and restaurant owner. Or he was, anyway, until a fire tore up his life's work and left him adrift. When he visits his sister in the rural backwater town of Ponyville, he discovers an abandoned building that's perfect for a quick fix-up so he can flip it for a profit. But the building comes with an unforeseen tenant, and when he lets her stick around he discovers that maybe, just maybe, there's something out there more important than wealth and fame.
This story contains examples of:
- The Alcoholic: Ebby, who has been recovering for over a year by the time the story starts. As of a subsequent blog post, she's still on the wagon five years later.
- Babies Ever After: Main and Ebby. A subsequent blog post reveals they had a colt named Ginger
- Badass Boast:Agent Palomino: Mister Course, I do this for a living. I frequently deal with ponies who are just as upset with my actions as you are right now. Oftentimes they are larger and stronger than you are, or armed. I am trained in five different forms of martial arts, and the only reason I haven’t yet dropped you to the ground with several broken ribs is that Lady Ebony’s testimony suggested that you’ve been a positive influence on the filly in question. That courtesy will expire in five seconds. I suggest you put me down before it does.
- Broken Bird: Ebby after losing Snare Drum and Citrine.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Pinkie Pie basically names herself the restaurant manager and proves inexplicably efficient at it.
- Calling the Old Mare Out: Scootaloo to Ebby, on numerous occasions.Ebby: I just want to start by saying that I’m sorry for everything I did to you, back then and now bringing you back here to Canterlot. I made a lot of mistakes.
Scootaloo: No, you didn't. A mistake is something you do because you don't know any better, or you don't understand a situation. That's what Main Course and Rainbow Dash both told me, and they're each ten times the pony you are. When you keep doing the same bad thing over and over again, you don't get to keep calling it a mistake.
- Chekhov's Gun: The CMC attempt to build a trebuchet to get a cutie mark in siege weaponry. Later, Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle use said trebuchet to bust Scootaloo out of a foster home.
- Chocolate Baby: Scootaloo, a Pegasus filly born to a Unicorn Mare with a Unicorn husband. While the show has suggested this may not actually be impossible, it's pretty clear that her real father was Snare Drum, Ebby's pegasus lover.
- City Mouse/Country Mouse: Main Course and Silver Scroll respectively, the former eventually falling in love with Ponyville.
- Contrived Coincidence: In Chapter 5, Scootaloo tells Main and Rarity about the events that led her to run away from home. Later, Ebby shows up at a function of Rarity's being catered by Main, and tells him about her past, including her daughter Citrine who she hasn't seen in some time. She tells him to cherish his relationship with Scootaloo. Some time later, Main and Scootaloo walk into Carousel Boutique to find Ebby getting a dress from Rarity. Ebby and Scootaloo's reactions should be fairly predictable.
- Covered in Scars: Ebby's chest and flank, the result of Obsidian's abuse.
- Department of Child Disservices: Ultimately subverted when Foal Protective Services go along with Main and Ebby's agreement (though Main having Twilight as a friend helped that) It was played with earlier, with Agent Palomino bringing up legitimate concerns about Main's ability to look after Scootaloo, and the department being careful about not traumatising her.
- Despair Event Horizon: Ebby crosses this after the incident at the cliff finally makes her realize how badly she's hurt Scootaloo. It very nearly drives her off the wagon.
- Domestic Abuse: Count Obsidian, Ebby's ex-husband, who took out his hatred of Citrine/Scootaloo on Ebby, at her request, leaving her Covered in Scars.
- Abusive Parents: Ebby herself crossed the line into emotional abuse after losing Snare Drum and descending into full-blown alcoholism, at one point telling Scootaloo that if they hadn't gone on a cruise or if she hadn't been born with wings none of this would have happened.
- Dramatic Shattering: When Ebby smashes the wine glass in her hoof, refusing to throw herself Off the Wagon. She then apologises for the tablecloth, noting that she's usually not such a Drama Queen.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Pinkie Pie takes on this persona towards the other restaurant staff, ignoring Main's efforts to tell her that she doesn't actually outrank anyone, and gives the following Rousing Speech:Pinkie: Alright, listen up maggots and mag-ettes! When you walked through that door twenty minutes ago, you were strangers from different walks of life. All of you have your own reasons for being here, but for the rest of your shift, your plots belong to me! When those doors open, a horde of ravenously hungry ponies is going to come streaming in here, expecting to be seated and served food. It will be up to you, and you alone, to make sure that happens. Nopony is backing you up. Nopony is coming to help you. Unless, you know, if one of you happens to have fewer ponies in your assigned section and want to help the others out that would be the friendly thing to do. But other than that, you. Are. On. Your. Own. And do you know what will happen if you fail? They might only tip twelve percent.
(Most of the staff shudder. One mare chuckles.)
Pinkiem You! Is something about what I just said amusing? Do you think you're here to have fun?
Mare: Ma'am, no ma'am!
Pinkie: Wrong answer! The Grassy Knoll supports a playful and relaxed atmosphere as long as the work gets done efficiently! You will have fun working here and you will like it!
Mare: Ma'am, yes ma'am!
Pinkie: Some of you might want to give up. You might think it's all over when a table of twelve with three coliccy foals gets seated in your section. Or you may think it's over when the customer who ordered the raw tofu chunks complains that they're undercooked. Nothing is over until we decide it is! Or I guess until we close for the night. Or your shift ends. Or you have some sort of family emergency and have to leave after letting your supervisor know. But other than that stuff, it's not over! Was it over when the gryphons bombed Yearling Harbor?
Pinkie: Then let's feed some ponies!
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Main, Ebby, and Scootaloo manage to form a new and happy family together. In addition, Scootaloo gets her cutie mark.
- "Eureka!" Moment: Scoots comments that when she was out on her own she would have tried to sneak into restaurants for scraps. "Heck, I would have eaten the empty bowls if I could have." This gives Main the idea of making edible soup bowls out of bread rolls, and to buy them from Sugarcube Corner so he can smooth over any resentment from the Cakes due to Pinkie taking a job with him and the restaurant creating competition.
- Everybody Knew Already: Main and Ebby's relationship.Sweetie Belle: Do you think this means Scoots' mom and dad will stop pretending they aren't dating now?
Main: Wait, what?
Scootaloo: I'm not stupid, Dad.
- Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: In-Universe, when Pinkie is helping Scootaloo rehearse her one line in a school play:Pinkie: Brace yourself, Scootaloo. We're gonna figure out the subtext.
Scootaloo: What's subtext?
Pinkie: Rarity explained it to me once. It's what the story's really about even though it's about something else. So even though the words in the script might say they're about a vegetable garden and a troublesome bunny rabbit, the story's really about the rise of nihilism within the proletariat. You can tell because of the bit with the watermelon. It's not your fault for not seeing it. I can't believe they'd give something so advanced to your class.
- Fish out of Water: Both Main and Ebby.
- Gilligan Cut:Pinkie had been a mistake, of that he was certain. Every restaurant had stumbles the first week, it was just the nature of putting together so many moving parts for the very first time. As soon as they hit the first snag, he'd call her back here, blame it on her, and fire her. She wouldn’t be here for more than a quarter hour, then the Knoll could finally get serious.
Four hours later, he was still waiting for something to go wrong. This was inconceivable. Even the best restaurants he'd ever worked at had a few plates sent back, or customer complaints about incorrectly prepared food every night. But somehow, against all odds, everything was working perfectly today. On opening day, when the wheels should have come off within the first hour.
- Going Native: Main Course, who at one point notes that he's made more friends in his four months in Ponyville than in three years in Manehattan.
- Happily Adopted: Scootaloo, as of Chapter 9.
- Heel Realisation: Ebby has this after Scootaloo refuses to save her from falling down a cliff (though it's not entirely certain that she could have saved her by herself).Ebby: I was so stupid. Why did I delude myself into believing I deserved a happy ending? It took me until tonight to realize just how awful I really was. What do I have to look forward to now? She doesn't want me in her life, and why should she? I had a chance to show her I was different. I blew it. I'm so tired of fighting, and now I don’t even have anything to fight for.
- At the same time, Scootaloo herself realises she went too far, and subsequently starts to let Ebby back in, one step at a time.
- Hypocrite: When Main tells Ebby that he's not going to let her uproot Scootaloo from the life she's established in Ponyville, she calls him out as a hypocrite because she knows that he planned to sell the Grassy Knoll in a few months and return to Grace in Manehattan. She asks him if his plan was to uproot Scootaloo or leave her with whoever buys the Knoll from him. He concedes the point, realising that he hasn't thought that far ahead yet.
- Insane Troll Logic: Pinkie's surreal table numbering system, which the other staff pick up quite quickly.French Press: Ms. Pinkie? Table Rebel-four needs their water refilled.
Pinkie: French Press, how many ponies are at that table?
French Press: Uh, six, I think.
Pinkie: Right. And is six a prime number?
French Press: No...
Pinkie: And is today Monday or Thursday?
French Press: It's... oh! I meant table Malfunctioning Octagon! Duh.
- Kiss-Kiss-Slap: When Main tries to help Scootaloo escape from the boutique and stop Ebby from following her, Ebby distracts him with a kiss before punching him in the gut, apologizing, and running out the door.
- The Matchmaker/Shipper on Deck: The Cutie Mark Crusaders play this between Main and Rainbow Dash. It doesn't work.
- Moment of Weakness: Scootaloo at the cliff where, desperate to have Ebby out of her life, she refuses to try and help her.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Scootaloo, after she refuses to even try to save Ebby's life. Even though Main saved her, Scoots is plagued by guilt for some time. Ebby herself has been in a similar state for the last two years, but it really hits hard after the above incident just how much damage she's done.
- Nice Guy: Main Course, who is consistently determined to do right by everypony even at the expense of his own desires.
- Not Helping Your Case: After Agent Palomino tells Main that both he and Scootaloo are required to see a local therapist:Palomino: Because my department is not in the habit of releasing orphans into the custody of the psychologically unhinged, royal friends or no. You need evaluation.
Main: (muttering) I'll show you psychologically unhinged.
Silver Scroll: (Dope Slaps him) Main! Not helping! How about setting a good example, hmm?
- Off the Wagon: Ebby comes close after the incident where Scootaloo refused to save her, believing that she'll never be able to regain her daughter's trust again. Main Course stops her by telling her that the only way she'll get any alcohol from him is if she agrees to sign away her claim to Scootaloo, pointing out that if she resumes drinking she'll lose her one way or the other.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: Ebby secured her divorce from Obsidian by threatening to slit his throat otherwise.
- Papa Wolf: Main, after Scootaloo is taken away by Foal Protective Services.
- Refuse to Rescue the Disliked: Scootaloo was put in this position with her mother, Ebby. The latter has caused Scootaloo nothing but problems, most recently getting her removed from her current home by Foal Services. So when Scootaloo has the choice between saving the other pony's life or letting her fall down a cliff, Scootaloo realizes this is the chance to get her out of her life forever. The pony is rescued anyway, and Scootaloo is haunted by what she nearly let happen.
- Sadistic Choice: When Ebby is on the verge of falling Off the Wagon, Main Course gives her one of these. He'll give her a drink, like she's asking, but only if she signs away her claim to Scootaloo. From Main's perspective, either Ebby snaps out of her BSOD, or she's out of Scootaloo's life (which, if she goes back to drinking, would happen eventually anyway).
- Sanity Slippage: Main Course, pretty much any time he has to interact with Pinkie.
- Sarcasm-Blind: Pinkie.Pinkie: Hiya! Can we do my job interview now?
Silver Scroll: Hi, Main. Pinkie Pie came over.
Main Course: Thanks, Silver. I hadn't noticed.
Pinkie: You didn't? I'm right here! Oh no, I didn't turn invisible by accident again, did I?
Silver Scroll: No, Pinkie, we can see you just fine.
- Street Urchin: Scootaloo starts out as this, having lived in the abandoned restaurant since running away from home two years earlier.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Silver Scroll, demonstrated when she switches from coldly offering her brother legal advice about the risk he's taking by looking after Scootaloo without informing Foal Services to glomping him and praising him for taking her in.
- Survival Mantra: "I'm not thirsty."
- Sustained Misunderstanding:Pinkie: I'd be a perfect fit for The Classy Vole.
Main: It's The Grassy Knoll, actually.
Pinkie: What? They're hiring too? Oh no, you gotta interview me before it's too late and they make me a better offer! We'd better get started right away.
- There Are No Therapists: Averted when Main and Scootaloo are assigned to see Dr. Briggs Inkblot as a condition of their custody arrangement.
- Well Done Mom Mare: Ebby
- What Did You Expect When You Named It ____?: Played with in that neither Main Course nor Grace see any problem with naming a new restaurant after one that just burned down.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Ebby almost falls Off the Wagon again at Scootaloo's birthday party, after accidentally tasting some of Applejack's hard cider. Main manages to persuade her that she's strong enough not to let one accidental mouthful push her over the edge.