"Dear, please come to bed," Doctor Cerebellum pleaded her husband, "it's already 3 in the morning. We can work on that tomorrow."
"No, no, no," Doctor Engram responded, "if I stop now, I'll never be able to pick up from where I left off." The sound of pencil scratching followed. Engram held in his hoof a pencil that had been worn down to only about two and a half inches long. Engram wiped the small bit of sweat off his forehead. Line after line, the pencil lost its lead, and his wife stood in the doorway, leaning herself against the door frame in worry. "If I could just figure out what I could do to keep it from overheating," Engram spoke, either to himself or to his wife, he didn't know himself. "I can't let it be too large or else it may affect the memory of the brain. Oh, this is dreadful. If only... - Wait! That's it!" Engram stood onto his two back hooves and grabbed a small, brown, wooden box, dusty from ages of sitting alone on its shelf. He rested the box on his desk and carefully opened it to view its contents.
"Dear, what are you doing? You can't possibly be..."
"Oh, yes, I am, yes I am!" Engram laughed out loud with a strange smirk on his face. "This is what will work. This is it. This." He held up a small piece of a strange, slightly blue-tinted piece of metal. It was no thicker than a paperclip and no longer than the eraser on the end of his pencil. A perfect rectangle. He laughed again, his body shaking.
"Sweetie, you can't use that! We don't know why that thing works the way it does, and we aren't even sure if we've seen its true potential!"
"Shush, shush," Engram gestured her with the wave of his left hoof. His messy, brown mane shook slightly as he whipped his head to and fro, looking at the piece of metal and back to the schematic he had been working on for the past 7 hours. "Yes, yes, this will work perfectly. I've gotten it." His voice lowered down to that of a whisper to himself. "Now, I'll just need something to test it on, first..."
"An' that'll be 4 bits, ma'am!" Applejack stated with her usual, warm smile. A mare, one with the softest shade of blue for a coat and the most baby of pinks for a mane, took out 4 bits from her bag hanging on her blank flank and placed it onto the stand before her, then retrieved her bag of apples. "Thank ya' kindly!" The blue mare continued on her way without saying a word. She continued into a nearby park, somewhere near Fluttershy's house. She chose a bench farthest away from the other ponies in the area whom were doing miscellaneous things. The bag rustled when she reached in to grab one of her red apples. She examined it thoroughly with her faded pink eyes briefly, then exhaled a warm breath onto the red skin and rubbed it against her chest to remove any dirt, then took a small bite. After a few moments, she swallowed, took another bite, then noticed a bright pink figure standing in front of her. The blue mare kept quiet and stared, while the pink mare before her met her gaze. Moments passed, and a few more bites later, the blue mare cleared her throat.
"Hi! I'm Pinkie Pie! You looked a bit lonely all here by yourself, and I don't think I've seen you around Ponyville before, so does that mean you're new? Oh, wait! If that's true, then..." The pink mare gasped and hastily took her lead, zooming off to the blue mare's right. Another bite of the apple.
When the blue mare had finished, she had left the plastic bag sitting on the bench, the cores of her apples inside. She began to pace to the exit of the park, when her ears picked up some kind of strange noise coming from behind. The blue mare quickly turned her head and shifted her eyes to the side to see behind her. A yellow mare with a pink mane was standing in front of the bench the blue mare had just been sitting on.
"Oh, yes, um, I was just wondering, if you don't mind, I mean, if it wouldn't trouble you too much, to, um, throw your trash away?" Fluttershy asked. The blue mare turned herself completely around and took a few steps forward. She glanced to her bag, then back to the yellow mare. "I mean, you shouldn't leave trash around, it's not good, but I mean if it's too troublesome, it's okay..." The yellow mare whispered. The soft blue mare stared at Fluttershy with blank, pink eyes, expressionless. "Oh, um... I mean..." Fluttershy turned her head and ducked down slightly, hiding herself behind her trailing pink mane. She began to shiver and shake, then let out a small squeal. A yell from yonder could be heard in the silence, but wasn't loud enough to clearly make out. The blue mare walked over to the bench and grabbed her bag, and in fear, Fluttershy ducked down even further and covered her head, letting out another yelp. The blue mare took a moment to take in the sight, when another yell, this time louder, caught her ear.
"Fluttershy!" the voice from afar screamed. Twilight Sparkle trotted down a small hill over to their direction. "Fluttershy, what's the matter? Did you do something to her?!" The purple coated mare looked over at the silent blue pony in front of her. In response, the blue mare blinked, then turned to take her leave. "Hey! I'm talking to- Wait, what?" Twilight squinted as she tried to make out the blue mare's flank. "Hey! Hey!!! Where's your cutie mark?" The blue mare ignored the question and continued walking at her slow pace.
"Now, who is this blank flank we're throwing this party for again, Pinkie?" Rainbow Dash inquired.
"I have no clue! She's totally new, and I didn't get to catch her name!" Pinkie responded, bouncing about in excitement.
"Blank flank? So the dear is only but a filly?" Rarity asked, a confused expression on her face. "Why haven't we heard about her? Surely we'd hear of a new filly being born."
"No, no, she's not that young! She's just as old as us!" Pinkie said in her sing-song tone. Rainbow Dash let out a small chuckle and then rolled her eyes.
"Yeah, Pinkie, real funny."
"No, I'm serious! I don't know why, but her flank was blank!"
"She's not joking, Rainbow. I saw a mare with no cutie mark today, too." Twilight added in. "But Pinkie, if you couldn't find out her name, how could you find out where she lives?
"Oh, that's easy! I didn't know who lived here, and I didn't know where she lived, so this MUST be the place!" Twilight shook her head and giggled a tad.
"Hey, y'all, I think this is her comin'!" Applejack alerted her group of friends. Pinkie Pie rushed to the window Applejack was glancing out of and saw a soft blue coated mare with the most baby of pinks mane and tail.
"Oooh, yeah! Here she comes! Everypony hide!" Pinkie Pie ordered. Fluttershy turned off the lights and hid herself just as all the others did. The six friends listened carefully to the jingling of the keys in the front door's lock. When the doorknob clicked, everypony jumped up from their spots and yelled "Surprise!" Streamers and balloons rose up and confetti rained down from the ceiling. The pale blue mare stood in the doorway without showing any signs of joy, shock, or anger. She set down her bags on a nearby table, then continued to take her leave without closing the door behind her. A few speechless moments passed by as the six ponies looked at each other in utter confusion.
"Well, somepony's a bit stuck up, don'tcha think?" Rainbow Dash broke the silence. Another few seconds of silence.
"I'm gonna go talk to her." Twilight proclaimed as she headed towards the door. The others looked at one another with sour faces and small shakes of their head. Twilight was on her own. She stretched her body upwards to get a better scope of the area. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a soft pink tail swaying left and right in the distance. She galloped and called out to her. "Hey! Wait!" The lack of response only made her run faster. The faded blue mare looked forward without the slightest of concern. When Twilight had caught up with her, she turned her head and took a long look at the blue mare's flank. It really was blank. Twilight looked forward again to find the mare gazing at her with that stare as blank as her flank. Twilight gave a nervous smile and an awkward smile in response. The blue mare turned her head to her front again and continued trotting.
"Hey, is something bothering you?" Twilight pried. No response. "Can you hear me?" Nothing. "Hey! I'm talking to you!" More silence. She clenched her teeth and tensed up slightly. "Alright, I don't know who you are, and I don't know who you think you are, but you need to stop acting like you're better than everypony else. We were only trying to be nice by welcoming you to ponyville, and we just get the silent treatment in response? We can't even figure out your name, for Celestia's sake! And-"
"Pale," the blue mare interrupted, turning her head back to the purple mare following her. Twilight's eyes grew wide in disbelief. "My name... is Pale."
"Sweet Celestia," Doctor Engram voice shook, "I think it's finished." On his desk sat a microchip with a miscellaneous tools scattered about around it. "It's taken so many years. The research, the planning, the construction, but now, it's finally done. I still need a subject to try it on, though," his voice wandered off, "but who?"
"Doctor Engram," spoke the intercom, "please report to lab E24 immediately. Doctor Engram, E24." Engram chuckled to himself quietly, then tucked away the microchip into a bag and slipped it into his lab coat pocket, then trotted out of the room and headed across the hall. He opened the door slowly, hoping the inevitable squeak would cease to be.
"How is she?" Engram whispered out. His wife, Doctor Cerebellum, gave him a large smile and nod as she rocked back in forth in a rocking chair, a soft yellow coated newborn pony in her arms, wrapped securely in a fluffy white blanket. Engram smiled at his wife and daughter, then gestured with a sideways nod that he must go. He gently shut the door and walked down a numerous amount of hallways and staircases. He patted his lab coat pocket to make sure his prized possession was still in his grasp. "What if..." his voice trailed, "Nah, that's ridiculous. What am I thinking?" He calmly walks into a room filled with other ponies in lab coats, stationed about the many machines scattered about the area.
"Alright," Engram announced, "let's get to work."
"And that will be 3 bits, Miss," the pony behind the stand chirped. Pale pulled out 3 bits from her bag and set them on the wooden stand. "Thank you very much!" Pale grabbed her bag of celery and walked off without a word. She followed the trail she had been taking the past few days to same park she'd been visiting for lunch. Again, she took her seat on the bench which was the most isolated from all other things and ponies. She rustled through her bag and retrieved some celery, then continued to take a large chomp out of the green vegetable. A breeze swooped in and shook the branches of some nearby trees, which swished and created a peaceful background sound for Pale. The scent of the flowers nearby flew along with the wind, and for just a moment, Pale almost allowed a smile to fall onto her face.
"You know he wants you to come back," said a grey pegasus stallion, "your father. He's asked me to come get you." The stallion had silently made his way onto the same bench Pale was occupying without her noticing. He kept a warm smile upon his lips and he looked off into the distance, as if he were avoiding any eye contact he may have to face. Pale shifted her eyes to the side to catch a glimpse of the stallion, then took another bite of celery.
"Tell him to eff off," she said, bluntly, her words slightly slurred from her celery-filled mouth. The stallion huffed out a small laugh or two, then stood.
"You know he won't be too happy about this." He pulled out an envelope and tossed it onto her lap. "Here," he said as he opened up his wings in preparation, "money for food."
"I don't need his money," Pale frowned. The stallion began to flap his wings as a smirk grew larger and larger on his face.
"You haven't changed one bit, Pale," he said with a melancholy tone. He silently rose to the sky and flew away, leaving it at that. Pale took a violent bite out of another piece of celery. Her mood had been spoiled, and so she headed back for home.
"Pale!" Twilight yelled out, "Pale, wait up!" Pale continued walking at the same pace with Twilight running up from behind her. "Pale, I haven't seen you around at all. I've been needing to ask you: Why is it that you don't have your cutie mark?" Pale shook her head, for she didn't know herself. "Well, do you have any special talents? I'm sure you're good at something!" Again, Pale shook her head, this time, as a lie. "Oh, come on, you've got to have something." Once more, Pale denied. Twilight forced an awkward laugh. "Well... I really need to get going. Have to go meet Pinkie Pie! See ya!" She hastily exited, leaving Pale in the silence that she enjoys so much.
When she had finally reached her destination, she noticed the lights in her home were on. When she had left, it was still noon, and she hadn't turned on any lights yet that day. Something was up. She peered in through the window and found her house being rummaged out thoroughly by a numerous amount of Canterlot Royal Guards. She saw lips moving, so she stood on her hind legs and pressed her ear to the glass to see if she could hear what they were saying. Just then, a unicorn guard pushed her against the side of her house, pinning her down completely.
"Keep still, and no sudden movements. You are hereby being taken into custody as by direct orders from Princess Celestia herself." The guard's horn began to glow a faint blue colour, as a spell he was casting began to restrain Pale's front two hooves together from behind her as if she were hoofcuffed.
"What the hell?! What did I do?!" Pale demanded him. The guard gave no response as he began to walk to a nearby pegasus-drawn chariot on his back two hooves. Pale glanced to her left and right to see if anyone was around and found no one. She waited until the guard seemed a bit more relaxed and then threw herself backwards, knocking her head against his jaw, which dazed the guard and made him lose his focus on the spell, letting her free. She began to ran towards Sugarcube Corner in hopes of losing the guards in the small crowd, but hardly made a few steps away without being caught by a levitation spell the guard casted on her. Pale struggled to break free, even though in her mind, knew it was useless. The guard smirked and pulled her back down towards the ground and began to shove her into the chariot with his two front hooves. Pale struggled and let out a few loud grunts, but it was no use, he was stronger than her, much stronger. The guard casted another spell on her to keep her still as he began to rummage through her bags that she had on her. He threw things onto the ground one by one; An envelope, so bits, a photo of a mare and her daughter.
"Hey! Pick that up right now!" Pale yelled out to him.
"Oh, what, this?" The guard picked up the photo and held it up in the air to show her. A smirked and evil smirk and tossed it onto the ground, then stomped on it with is front right hoof, rubbing it back and forth against the dirt on the ground. Pale's angry expression faded, and was replaced with her blank stare that she holds so easily. "Aw, did I hurt your feelings, Miss? I am so sorry." He and the pegasus guards rigged to the chariot began to laugh at her, throwing out names and slurs left and right. The guard lifted his spell on her after he had gotten in the chariot and began to hold her down by hoof. "You look so very frightening with that dead gaze of yours. Ha! What's the matter? It looks like you've got something to say!" The guard kept his cocky smirk as he gestured the pegasi guards to take off.
"Yes, I do," Pale said with a striking monotonous tone, "Die." The guard laughed at her remark, and the pegasus guards lifted their wings in prepare for take off. Pale touched her hoof to the guard's arm and began to glow a faint blue colour, just like the glow that emitted off a unicorn's horn. The guard's smirk began to disappear and quickly got replaced with a confused expression. "What the h-" the guard's words were replaced with a loud, electrical buzzing sound that sang in harmony with the screams he screamed. Screams of pain and torture. The stallion's head flung back and forth and side to side, out of control, and his eyes grew wider than that of which was thought possible, poking out of his head, slightly. The pegasus guards turned their heads to see the horror before them, and they screamed as well, adding to the horrific melody that played into the night.
The guard's screams ceased when the attack did as well. His body fell out of the chariot and made a loud thud against the ground. Smoke flew out of his nostrils and ears, and saliva flowed out from his opened mouth. He had been electrocuted to death. The pegasus guards unhooked themselves from the chariot and rushed to their comrade, and Pale saw this a perfect time to escape. The pegasus guards had lost their heads and began to panic over his corpse.
"W-we need to report this right away!"
"Y-yeah, we do!" The two pegasus guards flapped their wings and flew away at maximum speed. Pale had made her way to a small batch of trees and had chosen one to lay down next to. She tried to keep her eyes open, but the pain in her head was too much to bare. She let her eyes fall and she drifted off into an unwanted sleep.
The ear-rumbling whirring of the machinery in the room cried out into the ears of the scientist ponies about it. The room was primarily shaded red and green from the glow of buttons on the complex machines. The running of the contraptions let out a warmth that was just a bit too warm to get comfortable in. Engram stood in front of a large sum of monitors; line graphs, numbers, and images flashed about the screens, incomprehensible by the average Donut Joe. He pointed to a few things here and there on the screens, said a bit of this and that, and had his co-workers make alterations on the tasks they were performing. The 20 or so scientist ponies chatted amongst each other and all seemed to be going smoothly.
Through a large window pane that was a few inches thick, a monstrosity of a machine stood, with wires and cords hanging about it at random. Two massive, cylindrical chambers on the machine contained chemicals: In one, a thin, yellow liquid that irradiated a faint glow, and in the other, a softly shaded purple substance that was very thick and gooey, with the same consistency as liquid Mercury. Hollow tubes connected both chambers to another, smaller chamber, in between them, that had many tiny corridors hooked up to the sides of it, which were hooked up to another machine altogether through very thin tubing. Doctor Engram gave a few nods of approval towards the monitors, then cleared his throat rather roughly.
"It is time, everypony! Fire up the main generators!" Engram ordered, and in response, a loud, engine-like sound began to roar, shaking the room and the ponies in it. Lights on the large machine in the other room lit up, and many beeps and dings began to sing their song to the audience in the other room. Engram smiled a smile that was filled with many emotions: Excitement, fear, and happiness. "Status report!" Engram shouted out.
"All generators are all performing at expected capacity, Doctor," somepony yelled out. Engram's grin only grew wider with each passing moment, his heart beginning to flutter.
"Very good. Now, we begin. Release 5 litres of chemical EN-402 into the chamber, along with 2 litres of chemical T-3W9. Also, temperature status on the purifier chamber."
"A steady, 140 Kelvins, sir."
"Excellent," Engram enthusiastically let out. The large machine in the isolated room began to vibrate and rumble, and liquid from both chambers began to flow into the middle container, mixing as they fell inside of each others' puddles. "Excellent, excellent," Engram repeated to himself over and over, hysterical laughter beginning to settle in. "Now, begin heating the centre chamber." As another scientist pony began to press a series of buttons, a monitor from the wall behind Doctor Engram began to flash bright red with white coloured text that read, "WARNING!"
Cinnamon swirls. Icing. A heated oven. The scent of the sugary treat entered Pale's nostrils, and she twitched a few times in response. Her eyes remained shut as she slowly moved her left front hoof, feeling the surface she lay on. It was soft and fuzzy. It smelled like air freshener trying to cover up the smell of body odor. Pale shook her head in disgust and sat up, slowly allowing her eyes to open. She blinked a few times to force her eyes to focus on the sight before her. In front of her was the grey stallion pegasus from the previous day, behind a teeny kitchen counter. Ingredients and miscellaneous cooking tools lay scattered about the counter, and that cinnamon swirl scent only confirmed the goods he was making. Pale kept her steady, straight face as usual, and the grey pegasus before her turned his head and smiled warmly at her.
"Now, what kind of face is that?" the stallion asked jokingly. "That's no way to greet someone who took you in and kept you out of the cold, now is it?" Pale kept her gaze hard and steady, and the grey pegasus simply let out a light-hearted laugh. After a few moments, the grey stallion broke the silence. "They're almost done. Would you like one? Two?" Pale only responded with a blink, then took the time to look around the room. There were no windows and everything was cramped together. There was no television, radio, phone, or anything that could let in information about events that took place outside of this room. The couch she sat on was an ugly tan and brown mix with rips and tears all over, stuffing leaking out from the pillows. There was an open styled kitchen with aged, cracking white countertops, and with filthy, moldy white tile to match. There was a bed with messy tan, stained sheets to her right, sitting openly in the room without any separation from the questionable living area she sat in at the moment. There was only one door, which was to her left and up a small inclined ramp, and she assumed it to lead directly outside.
"What is this place?" Pale inquired, resetting her eyes back onto him. The stallion remained silent and reached into the oven after a few seconds to retrieve the sweet, sugary treats. He drew in a deepened breath and exhaled in preparation, retrieving Pale and himself a cinnamon swirl onto a cheap, small dish. He walked on his two hind hooves and carried the dishes to the couch and made himself comfortable next to Pale, most likely too close for her to feel anything but comfortable.
"A safehouse, Pale," the stallion began, "I've brought you here for a reason. You'd probably like to know what's been going on, am I right?" Pale simply kept her head turned and her eyes focused on his as she leaned her elbows on her knees, her left hoof resting on her cheek, half covering her snout. The grey pegasus brought in that warm smile of his once again. "There's not much I can tell you, but I'm sure you can get some answers from your father."
"What can you tell me?" Pale hastily spoke after him.
"What is it you would like to know?"
"How about a name?"
"And you expect me to believe that?" Pale furrowed her brow. The supposed "Elliot" let his smile fade and his expression was now one of guilt and worry.
"My real name isn't important to you, Pale. Elliot will do." Pale sat up in a more proper manner and reached down for her untouched cinnamon swirl. She blinked at it a few times, unsure of whether or not it was poisoned with something. Just then, Elliot leaned his head forward and dug himself a bite into her cinnamon swirl as a symbol of its safety. Pale turned her head and stared at the stallion chomping away, still a bit uneasy, but despite this, she reached her hoof up to her mouth and took out a monstrosity of a bite.
"Princess Celestia!" Twilight shrieked. She had only just teleported into the grand hall of the Canterlot Castle, the glow of her spell still lingering in a glittery wonder around her purple build. Her majesty stood with her back faced towards her pupil, her eyes squinted tightly in extreme focus.
"Twilight," Celestia began, "There is a very powerful force afoot. It has yet to be determined evil or good, but for the safety of the citizens of Equestria, we must assume this power is that of evil." Twilight Sparkle tensed herself up at the presence of these words, and her heart began to pound a mighty beat. "You must acquire the Elements of Harmony once more and finish off this foe before true danger besets all of Equestria. This being is not one who wields magical powers, but one who, very well, can be something even more incredible. Go, and gather your friends. Prepare yourselves for a battle of immense proportions."
"But Princess," Twilight forced her voice to squeak out, "what does this thing look like?" Celestia turned herself around slowly.
"She is a mare whom wears a coat the palest of blues. A mare whom keeps her mane a dim pink, with a set of eyes to match. She has a mask of which is blank, and a soul that can't be moved the slightest." Twilight shifted her eyes downwards and to the left, picturing the mysterious mare she had hardly gotten to know, Pale. Celestia's brow rose to this. "Is there a mare that you know fits this description?"
"O-oh, no, Princess!" Twilight panicked, "I was just trying to remember what you'd said she looks like!" Celestia squinted her eyes even further in analyzation. After a few moments, Celestia stood herself in greater posture, holding her head up high.
"I see. Very well, Twilight Sparkle. Now, make haste and gather your friends. This task needs to be done as quickly as possible!"
"Yes, Princess!" Twilight responded. She turned herself and began to sprint. Her horn began to glow as a portal appeared right before her, and as she stepped through, it vanished behind her. Celestia looked off into the distance, through a large, circular window pane.
"Be safe, Twilight sparkle."