The room they were in was bare, save for a few paintings of landscapes hanging on the wall. The landscapes were, like the Dune, barren and flat.
"Why would anyone paint landscapes around here?" Pepper asked Pinkie as they sat down to wait for Vanessa to check Smithhugh in. "They will all end up looking the same."
"Some people paint just for the joy of painting, Pepper," Pinkie said.
They sat some more. Vanessa was having quite a chat with the receptionist. Eventually, she came back to where they were sitting. "It looks like it's going to take longer than I expected, you guys," she said. "The doctor's pretty busy today."
Pepper looked around the empty waiting room, and wondered what the vet could possibly be busy with. They were the only people in the place.
"Hey, why don't you guys go explore?" Vanessa suggested. "There's some pretty cool shops you can discover through the undergrounds, and Pepper, I know Pinkie could show you some of the best places to eat here."
"I'm fine where I am," Pinkie said.
"Well, I want to go!" said Pepper, standing up. "When should I be back here?"
"You may want to give us a couple hours," Vanessa said, and Pepper nodded. He turned to go, when Pinkie leapt up.
"Okay, fine, I'll go," she said. "Don't want you wandering around by yourself, you could get lost." She stood up, grabbed Pepper's arm, and they headed towards the door.
"Have fun, you guys!" Vanessa called after them. "Don't get into any trouble!"
Something clicked in Pepper's brain. The way Vanessa said, "Don't get into any trouble," reminded him of his parents. He felt, all of a sudden, as if he were not free anymore. As if, somehow, in trying to find his freedom, he'd let himself become locked into a new form of servitude he didn't even understand. He and Pinkie boarded the elevator, and as the doors closed, he grabbed her.
She gasped, startled.
"Pinkie," he said, "Let's go on an adventure."
She looked into his eyes, and they were open wide, full of excitement like she had not yet seen.
"What do you mean?"
"You were telling me to enjoy the adventure I was on before, were you not?" he asked her.
"Well, yes, I was, but-"
"Then let's go on an adventure!" he cried.
Pinkie did not seem as enthralled by the idea. "Pepper, you can't just go on an adventure. Adventures more commonly will find you."
"What about The book? Where is it?"
"It's still at Vanessa's, I'm pretty sure," Pinkie said.
"We've never read it together," Pepper said. "Why don't we give it a shot?"
Pinkie seemed frightened somehow. "I don't know if that's a good idea, Pepper. You do have the Ball tonight, after all, shouldn't you see what that's all about before opening The book again?"
"I don't want to wait," Pepper said, wild now. He wanted to make a foolish decision. He wanted to do something ill-advised. Sitting around in a veterinarian's office didn't seem like the way to spend an afternoon. He wanted to learn more about Pinkie, about this place, about himself, and reading The book with her seemed like the best way to do that.
But Pinkie was much less than keen on the idea. "I'd really rather not, Pepper."
"Are you afraid of what it will say?" he asked.
She looked at him, her eyes revealing nothing. "No."
"Then you've got nothing to lose," he said. "Come on."
Except he didn't know the way, so instead, he pushed her in front and said, "Actually, you have to lead."
He worried, momentarily, that she would stand perfectly still as if Och had returned, but she moved forward. She was muttering something he couldn't make out, so he leaned forward and said, "What was that?"
She clammed up, though, and would not repeat herself.
They continued through the undergrounds, Pepper watching the people walking by, still fascinated by the amount of people that actually lived and carried out there lives in this place.
His mind began to wander. He wondered why nobody ever went above ground to get from place to place. There were obvious reasons, like the fact that you can't really see where it is your going since everything looks the same, and if the weather is bad, it would be best to use the undergrounds and stay dry/ warm/ cool/ whatever. But Pepper thought maybe the occasional person would wander around above ground anyway. He hadn't seen a single other soul up there, except for the kids playing Pound.
They arrived back at Vanessa's in what felt like a shorter amount of time than it had taken them to get to the vet from there. Pinkie prodded the button and they got in the elevator. They rose slowly, Pepper nearly bouncing with anticipation. He wondered what he would see, what Pinkie would see. He didn't bother thinking about the fact that so far, everything he had read had been vague and told him nothing. He instead hoped that reading it with her would answer at least some of his endless questions. Thinking about it, he tried to determine which question he'd most like to know the answer to. At the beginning of their journey, it would have been what Pinkie had asked Mr. Morggison, but now, he had no idea, since the past few days had flooded his head with new inquiries. Whatever they saw, he hoped it told him something.
The door opened, and they were back in Vanessa's living room. Through the now familiar clutter, Pepper spied The book, and ran over to grab it.
He held it in his hands, anxious and excited. His cheeks were flushed with anticipation, and he could almost feel The book humming in his hands.
He looked up at Pinkie and smiled. "Ready?"
Chapter 1: Pepper
Chapter 2: Pinkie
Chapter 3: Dune
Chapter 4: Mugget
Chapter 5: Deltiology
Chapter 6: Umbrella
Chapter 7: The
Chapter 8: Exsanguination
Chapter 9: Oubliette
Chapter 10: Ferret
Chapter 11: Defenestrate
Chapter 12: Pound
Chapter 13: Aerodynamics
Chapter 14: Callipygian
Chapter 15: Cosmonaut
Chapter 16: Ensue
Chapter 17: Translucent
Chapter 18: Shindig
Chapter 19: Pseudocyesis
Chapter 20: Plantation
Chapter 21: Filch
Chapter 22: Detumescence
Full Story at pepperadventure