The creature waddled out of the Everfree, its beady eyes intent on the charming, bucolic cottage it saw before it, and the various things around that cottage that were not nailed down. Flowers! Gardening tools! Bird houses! Wind chimes! A large bright sunhat, currently sitting on a pony's head! It was all so enticing. The creature lowered its neck and snuck forward.
And then was brought up short by a good look at the pony, who had a pink mane and a yellow coat. That was the pony that was off-limits. Disappointed, the creature let out a sad honk.
The pony looked up. "Oh! A goose!" she said, in a much friendlier tone than most ponies said that in. Usually, "Oh, a goose!" sounded from a pony like "Oh no," or "Not this again", or possibly, "The horror! The horror!" However, this pony sounded excited and cheerful. Somewhat confused, the goose waddled forward, toward the pony.
"What a lovely goose you are!" the pony said. "I didn't know there were any geese living in the Everfree. Well, aside from Yakyakistan geese but it's really not their season to migrate right now. But look at you! Such a strong, healthy looking goose! Did you want something to eat? I have some lovely pond weeds in my fish pond here."
The goose honked.
"Oh, I see. Well, I feel like I have to offer you something if you came all this way to visit me," the pony said. "How are those wings? Can you flap them a bit for me?"
Somewhat surprised at itself that it was listening to a pony, the goose obligingly flapped.
"Nice! I can tell you've been getting some exercise," the pony said. "Can you fly?"
The goose honked sadly.
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that, but with all the exercise I can see you've been getting, I'll bet you'll be strong enough to get off the ground in no time. Would you like me to help you with a physical therapy regimen? My chickens learned to fly with my assistance, and if a chicken can fly then surely a lovely goose like you should be able to."
The goose honked twice.
"I see! Well, if you're already working on that I won't try to persuade you to let me help. But you have to accept something from me…" The pony's eyes fell on where the goose's covetous glance had pointed. "Oh! Would you like a flower from my garden?"
The goose honked.
"Go pick one out! I can pin it to your feathers for a decoration if you'd like!"
The goose strutted over to the flowerbed, chose a large and dramatic red tulip, and pulled it out of the ground with its beak. "That's a nice one," the pony said approvingly. "That'll go very well against your feathers. Here, let me—"
Suddenly the pony was entirely too close to the goose, causing it to flap frantically, as it usually did when it got too close to a pony, but its attempt to back away from the pony was stymied by the pony's own wing resting on the goose's back, holding it in place. Hooves touched its chest and did something complicated. By the time the goose was able to flap away, the pony had already fastened the tulip to its breast feathers… somehow. The goose peered at itself in the waters of the pond. That did look very nice indeed.
"There you go! You look so striking now! Well, I won't keep you, I'm sure you had some important goose business you were attending to before you wandered over here, but if you'd ever like a bite to eat or some medical care, feel free to stop back here anytime."
The goose, surprising itself, honked.
"Oh, and thank you for coming to visit!" The pony waved. The goose bowed, and then waddled onward, understanding now why its to-do list told it not to harass or steal anything from the pink-maned pony with the yellow coat.
Flap-pap-pap. Flap-pap-pap. Its webbed feet struck the ground in a rhythm. Occasionally it fluttered its wings, which weren't quite strong enough to get such a large bird as it was off the ground. This seemed hardly fair; the ponies with wings were much bigger, with proportionately smaller wings, and yet they could fly.
Now it was traveling through a forest that was far more open and cultivated than its home in the Everfree, with widely spaced trees that were all, by some coincidence, apple trees. As it traveled, it noted a mare wearing a hat, kicking a tree with her back legs, which caused the apples on the tree to fall neatly into a barrel. It also noted a filly bouncing a ball against a tree by kicking it with her back legs, then smacking it with her front legs as it bounced back, then spinning and repeating her actions. Near her was a checkered blanket, slightly crumpled on the ground, with an empty picnic basket next to it.
It approached the gates of a fancily decorated farmhouse, where gate and house were both festooned with apples. Inside the gates, there was a large red stallion banging a hammer against the roof of a barn, and an elderly green mare in a rocking chair in front of the farmhouse, sitting by a table with a sweet-smelling pie cooling off next to her. The goose stopped for a moment and lifted a single wing. Magically, a scroll appeared in front of it.
- Lock the stallion in the barn
- Take the mare's hat
- Apple avalanche
- Steal a ribbon
- Make a pony miss the tree
- Let the apples hit the ground
- Trip a pony with a lasso
- Ride a cow
- Have a picnic (blanket, apple, basket, pie, daisy sandwich, plate, jug, cup)"
It was a long list, but the goose was prepared. It put away the list by lowering its wing, and strutted through the gate.