Page break. We rejoin Gareth the next morning. He is wheeling a barrel out into the courtyard for some screwy reason or other.
>Being raised on a farm meant that his fellow knights tended to see him as the person who looked after any animal problem. Feral dogs? Gareth will do it. Sick cat? Gareth can heal it. Head lice? Gareth. Rats...?
Okay, couple of things here. First of all, it looks like the author is seriously planning to take this silly ratcatcher thing and develop it into an actual side-story, and I just want to go on record as saying that I think this is a really dumb idea. It's implausible for multiple reasons.
As I said earlier, the idea that the Black Death spread because of rats is a recent theory that modern archaeologists have used to explain the plague after the fact, it was not a belief that would have necessarily been held by Gareth or his contemporaries. Also, the idea of Gareth taking time away from everything else he's doing to round up rodents just seems silly, particularly with Celestia's assurances that there is no plague in Equestria to begin with. From a narrative standpoint, this doesn't seem to have anything to do with any of the main plots. If the author is indeed planning to take it somewhere, like maybe the rats are foreign spies or they're working for Chucky Larms or some other kind of autism, then it's just a flat out stupid idea that a pre-reader or somebody should have talked the author out of using. I just can't see this rat thing going anywhere worthwhile no matter how I look at it.
Next, just because Gareth worked on a farm, I don't see why he would automatically be the go-to guy for animal problems among knights. Castles would have servants for that sort of thing, and most knights would have experience dealing with animals of their own (horses at the very least). Life in general was pretty rural back then, even for the nobility.
Finally, there's this:
>Head lice? Gareth.
What is Gareth supposed to do about head lice exactly? Lice are a pain in the ass even in modern times, when we have shampoos and showers to get rid of them. In Gareth's world, there wouldn't have been much you could do about lice other than shave your head or just live with them.
Next, there's this autism:
>Hungry nights on the road meant that Gareth had to learn the art of ratcatching. One could make a tidy profit in it actually, with a dead rats weighing in a few pennies a head.
Is this implying what it seems to be implying? That Gareth ate rats while on the road, and also ran a side business selling dead rats to people? This makes no sense whatsoever. For one thing, there are plenty of other things to catch and eat on the road besides rats. Even in the middle ages rats were considered vermin; nobody is going to eat one unless they are literally starving to death. People under siege in castles ate rats when the stores ran out; if you're just traveling from point A to point B on a normal military campaign, there's other shit to eat. Rabbits, wild fowl, deer, you name it. Even if an army ran out of provisions, most didn't think much of raiding some local peasant village and taking their grain and chickens and whatever. Nobody in any era is going to eat rats unless they are really, really fucking desperate; let alone buy them from some weirdo knight walking around with a cart full of them. Moreover: literally two scenes ago Gareth was scared shitless just by the sight of a rat, because "omg the plague." Yet he's also willing to not only eat them but travel all over the countryside carrying hundreds of them in a wagon so he can sell them to people on the road? And this is on top of whatever knight stuff he had to do exactly? My brain is now entirely full of fuck.
Oh yes, there's also this:
>with a dead rats weighing in a few pennies a head.
It's either "with a dead rat" (singular, referring to one rat) or "with dead rats" (plural, referring to multiple rats). Either would work here, but pick one for fuck's sake. The amount of basic grade-school-level proofreading this guy fails to do is seriously beginning to get on my nerves.
And it just keeps going:
>Although not nearly as glamorous, before long, Gareth came to see it as being roughly as dangerous as bounty hunting.
Yeah, from what I understand this was the original premise for Cowboy Bebop.
Anyway, this autism goes on for awhile. Basically, there's some weird rule about animals not being allowed inside the castle, which apparently extends to vermin as well. The groundskeeper is supposed to be on top of it, but nobody seems to know who the groundskeeper is, and also Gareth isn't allowed to have a dog because reasons, so Gareth has to resort to greasing up a barrel and dumping cake crumbs in there in order to make a giant rat trap. Yes, this autism is unfortunately in the text.
There are a few more paragraphs describing the intricacies of how the goofy rat trap works. I'm going to gloss over most of this shit because this is getting pretty damned retarded. The gist of it is, he sets up his stupid rat trap. Then, Butter Pie shows up. She asks what the deal with the trap is, and instead of just saying that he was trying to catch rats, Gareth assumes that Butter Pie (who works in a bakery) has never seen a rat before, and explains it to her with a bunch of childish sounds and hand gestures. Maybe this is supposed to be humor; I literally have no idea anymore.
Mercifully, Styre bursts onto the scene and rescues us from this seemingly bottomless well of autism. He informs Gareth that Celestia is at the library. Then, Butter Pie nuzzles him, and the two of them subtly hint that Gareth needs to piss off, because the two of them are going to have a picnic. The subchapter ends with (another) page break.
If there was a point to this scene, it was completely lost on me. Seriously, this entire subchapter could be scrapped at literally no cost. And for God's sake, soulpeener, please lose the fucking rats.