The room spun around me, as the painful surge began to leave my body, leaving me limp and lifeless on the floor of my kitchen. Panting and cringing, I picked myself up and began to rub the last of the pain out of my head with my foreleg. Finally, when my head felt attached to my body, I opened my eyes. Through one, I could see shattered plates and glasses scattered along my kitchen floor that were once in my hooves and all intact. Through the other, I could see Sparkler and Dinky through the window coming up to the pathway of our home. I shook my head to get into the right mind-set (and so I could see straight) and flew for the broom and dustpan.
The visions over the years had began to progress more painfully over the years, although they did begin to pop up less frequently. The images of them consisted of the the usual: blurry images of ponies trapped in cages, crying for help or beating the bars of the confinement boxes in an attempt to break free. Giant, pastel colored creatures that stood on two legs and wore cloaks of white. The creatures in white control some form of machinery that is being used against my friends and family. One by one ponies are placed one the platform of the machine, and are struck with a colorful beam of electricity followed by a cloud of smoke, then a blank space where the pony was formerly standing. Only a few times has the vision gone far enough to the point of where I am placed upon the machine, and sent away. But, never once have I seen what has come to the other side of the portal. One thing I did know is that most of the ponies seen in the visions are ponies that live here in Ponyville. Once or twice I've seen Applejack or Twilight Sparkle go through the machine. But very rarely have I seen somepony else of that importance go through the horrible machine. Other ponies like the Doctor or Carrot Top are also seen as they try to escape their undeniable fates.
I have told many ponies about the things I see, but they all laugh and think I am crazy. Nopony has ever seen me go into my state of visions, except for my mother, back when I was just a filly. She was concerned that her daughter had visions of strange porportion, but she didn't want anypony to judge her daughter for being "special" not only for her eyes and voice, but for what went on inside of her daughter that was unique. So she kept it to herself. But, alas, that was quite awhile ago, and she has passed on. I didn't take consideration as to what ponies would think of me if I told them about my visions. But, it's too late now for that. They did then what they do now. Laugh. I didn't want anybody, especially my daughters, to see me in such a condition, so I made it important to myself that they never know.
I never can tell when these visions will hit me, but I have been lucky that it has never happened in public. This vision happened to occur while putting dishes back in to the cupboards. I was almost finished sweeping the debris of plates and glass cups when Sparkler and Dinky trotted through the front door. They were shocked to see me sweeping dishes into the pan.
"MOMMY?! What in the hay happened?", Dinky cried in her little squeaky tone.
"Mom? What happened?", Sparkler repeated in a more mature manner than Dinky, rushing over to help me in my cleaning panic.
"Oh, you know me, clumsy Derpy Hooves! It's just a few dishes and glasses. Easily replaceable.", I chuckled with a forced smile as I threw away the pile of glass and porcelain into the trash bin.
"You sure you don't want me to stay home and keep you company?", asked the concerned Sparkler.
"Yeah Mommy! If I we keep you company than I won't have to go to school!", cheered Dinky with a wide smile.
"Dinky Bonnibel Hooves!", Sparkler snapped. "You are not going to stop going to school just because Mom is a little clumsy!"
"Girls, I'm fine. I've just been...", I needed to think of an excuse besides I nearly passed out. "I've been very busy lately with work and chores around the house, and I need some rest.", I paused for a breath and for a way to change the subject. "How was school Dinky?", I said lightening my mood and turing to my youngest daughter with a real smile.
"It was awesome! Granny Smith told us how Equestria was made!" Dinky replied in a happy tone, after changing her expression from a scowl because of Sparkler's reprimand.
Sparkler? Can you manage to make some dinner for you and Dinky? I've already eaten."
"Sure, get some rest. Let us know if you need anything.", Sparklers replied. "C'mon, Dinky." she said nudging her sister. "Let's let Mom have some quiet."
They trotted off towards the pantry as I flew off to my bedroom. As I opened the door to my room, I saw the most comforting sight. A messy, yet comfortable bed with my mail satchel, flowing with letters for our family, tossed atop. I plopped onto my bed as I let my wings spread over my bed and my ears droop as I let out a frustrated sigh. The wind from my breath causes my blond mane to fall in front of my nose, causing me to sneeze. I opened my eyes again to see the door to my left and my satchel behind me at the same time. I shook my head then began to drift into a well deserved and wanted slumber. The last thought before falling to sleep was how it was funny that I called them visions when they were not visions at all. I should have really started calling them memories.
I woke up the next morning with Dinky staring with me muzzle to muzzle. The sudden surprise of those yellow eyes meeting mine made me unleash my wings and fly out of bed, only to back up into my dresser and tumble to the ground. I reopened my eyes again only to see the image of Dinky with a pained expression, through one eye, and a shattered ceramic muffin I received for Mare Mother's Day, out the other.
"Mommy, you okay?!", Dinky asked with great concern. "I didn't mean to scare you! I just wanted to make sure you're okay!", she hung her head. "Some help I was..."
After I was able to readjust my eyes, I flew over to my guilty daughter. "Hey now, don't talk like that! You didn't mean to! Everypony makes mistakes. Especially me!" I didn't deny my clumsiness, especially because everypony already knew. "Hey, whadda you say and we go over to Sugarcube Corner for some breakfast pastries? Just you, Sparkler, and I!"
"Really? That sounds awesome! I'll go let Sparkler know!"
She darted out the door calling for Sparkler. I picked up the pieces of shattered muffin and threw out the shards in the bathroom trash-bin then began my morning routine to get ready for the day.
A few minutes later we were at Sugarcube Corner enjoying our pastries. Dinky got her regular cinnamon swirl coffee cake, Sparkler with her mix-berry scone, and I had my blueberry muffin. I noticed one of the mares outside, I had seen her before but never had the time to find out who she was. She was a normal unicorn, the only thing abnormal about her was the way she, um, sat. Most ponies sat with their flanks and hooves on the seat, but her. She sat with her hind legs dangling off her seat and her back was at a 90 degree angle, making her look like she had a gut. It was hard not to look or snicker, but each pony was special in his or her way. I went back to my muffin when I caught Dinky staring at the slumping unicorn.
"Mommy, why does that unicorn sit like a weirdo?" Dinky said a little too loudly.
I looked back to the green unicorn and noticed she had overheard. She hadn't looked displeased, but more intrigued by my daughter's curiosity.
"I'm so sorry!" I pleaded as I grabbed DInky and covered her mouth to prevent any other tongue-slips. "Dinky! Do not judge other ponies by the way they act! Now, say you're sorry."
"Sorry lady." Dinky said, head down. "I just liked the way you sit."
"Oh, it's okay silly filly! I don't mind! I know I don't sit like other ponies, I like to be different!" said the unicorn.
The last few lines particularly caught my attention, as they applied to me.
"Please, may we join you at your table?" I asked, although I knew it was not polite to invite myself to her table.
"Oh, please do! Im sure there are some other chairs around here you can use. I'm Lyra by the way. Lyra Heartstrings."
"Nice to meet you! These are my daughters, Sparkler and Dinky Hooves. And my name is Derpy Hooves."
After getting more acquainted with the interesting Lyra, a question crossed my mind. "Sparkler, here," I fished out 10 bits out of my saddle bag. "Take Dinky to town and buy whatever you like as long as it stays in budget. I'll be here with Ms. Lyra. Have fun, and don"t talk to strangers!" Sparkler took the bits and Dinky, waved farewell, then headed out.
"You've done a good job raising those two! What's your secret? Bribery? Black mail?" Lyra said with a joking tone.
"Just lots of love and lots of patience! That and the tolerance potion I put in my muffins." I retorted, sarcasm oozing from the second sentence.
"Ah, I see..." Lyra said chuckling.
"Now, Lyra. Forgive me if you take this the wrong way but, is there a reason why you sit like that?"
She chuckled at first, then became more serious. "I know the way I sit isn't, normal, but it's more influence that causes me to sit like this than choice. You see, I have these..." she sighed and looked around". "I have these, visions. Now I know it sounds cra-"
Just then another vision had started, this one was the most painful, most agonizing... and in public. Images of the pale creatures, the crying ponies...the machine, came to view, except the visions were clear. I could clearly see ponies that I've seen and met crying out, begging not to be sent away on the machine. Just then, the strangest of all things I've seen in my visions, came to view. Lyra. One of the creatures was carrying her in it's long cloaked arms. She was kicking and frailing, clinging to the creatures arms and begging; not to be freed, but to join them. Shouting "NO! I WANT TO JOIN YOU! TO BE YOU! PLEASE DON'T SEND ME AWAY! I WORSHIP YOU!" The creature placed her on the machine and like all the others was wisped away. Next, was me. This creature looked as if he had pity for us. He picked me up with the greatest amount of kindness. "W-where are you taking us?" I uttered in complete shock. To my surprise, he actually responded. "Somewhere where we can't find you" he replied with a heart-wrenching sob as a tender tear trickled down his face. "He placed me on the machine and, before pressing the button, mouthed the words 'I'm sorry' The button was pushed, but nothing happened. The creatures were puzzled, shocked, angry at how their machine had failed. They began banging on the machine, frantically pushing buttons, shouting at each other. A particularly big creature picked up a text book, and wham! The glass wall made to keep ponies from escaping shattered, the pipes above collapsed, smoke spread. One particular pipe fell squarely on my head and made the vision blurry. Everything stopped. No more smoke. No more arguments. The button was pushed again. The world around me swirled in a lavender haze. But, instead of finding the other side of the portal, I woke up in the hospital. Dinky and Sparkler were at the foot of my hospital bed, tears dripping down their now happy faces.
"Mom, what happened?!" Sparkler sobbed rushing to my side and hugged me tightly. "We came back to Sugarcube Corner and the donkey-cart was loading you and Ms. Heartstrings into the back!"
Lyra?! I ignored my own daughter and looked to the hospital bed beside me. There was Lyra on the side of her bed, rubbing her head with her hoof, sitting like a weirdo.
After both Lyra and I checked out of the hospital, we all headed back to my home to discuss the previous events between ourselves, including Dinky and Sparkler. We all circled the kitchen table, all with either dead pan glares or confused faces, glares belonging to Lyra and I, and confusion for Sparkler and Dinky.
"Sparkler, Dinky," I sighed. "As you can imagine, there is something I haven't told you two."
"Are you kidding me?!" shouted Sparkler. "First we find you being loaded into a donkey cart, without explanation! Then when you wake up, you don't give us an explanation. Then finally when we get home, you tell us that you've been keeping this 'explanation' from us for years?! It's like you can trust us, but we can't trust you!" she spat bitterly.
"Sparkler, please let me explain!" I tried to calm her down to no avail, but she did stop screaming.
"Ever since I was a little filly, I've had these..." I sighed "visions." Lyra's ears and eyes perked at the word. "They're extremely painful, and until today, I've been able to hide it... Not just from you two, but from the world." I could see the pure shock from Lyra, undeniable disgust from Sparkler, and the utter confusion from Dinky. "Every vision contains the same images, ponies in cages crying, giant creatures, and this, machine that sends ponies away!" I began to sob. I sounded like a mad mare, trying to explain something nopony understood or listened to. I felt like a stranger to my own family and friends. I felt a gentle hoof brush the back of my neck and down my back. I looked up from the tears to see it was Lyra who was comforting me.
"You're not alone Derpy." she chuckled with a somber tone. "Thats why I was in the cart too. I see the same things. It's happened to me too." She paused. "I have the visions too."
"Lyra,*sniffle*, what did you see, at Sugarcube Corner?" I asked.
"Well, it consisted of the same things you said. Ponies in cages, crying out for help. I myself was put on the machine. And of course there was humans. Except instead of blurry it wa-..."
"Wait, wait, wait. What was that word you used? Who-mans?" asked Sparkler. I was equally confused with the word. But back then I didn't know that the word would play a huge role in my life.
Every now and then I think back to these past events. Back to when I thought things were normal, when of course, they weren't. Back when the ponies of Ponyville didn't believe me of my visions. But now, they do.
"Hu-mans." Lyra explained. "They're creatures from a different world. They walk on two legs and have skin instead of fur. They talk like us, have emotions like us, they are like us." She paused to take time to think and catch her breath. "They don't have hooves or tails, no horns or wings like a unicorn or pegasus. What they do have is hands, fingers, and toes." She found a nearby paper and pencil and began to draw by horn. She drew a circle. Then she drew 5 skinny ovals connected to it. Two of the ovals were shorter than the others, while one of the two was fatter that the other. "This is the palm." she said pointing to the circle. "These, are fingers. they help the human grab things, with out magic of course. This one, however, is the most important. The thumb. Without this, they wouldn't be able to grab things."
This was all too much to take in, how did she know all of these facts? What does this have to do with our visions of the past? I felt my eyes going haywire from confusion. "Woah, woah, woah. How does this tie to the visions?" I asked.
"Sorry," said Lyra "I tend to ramble, especially because I haven't told anyone about humans. The creatures in yours and mine visions, are humans. Why they did such a thing in the visions, I'm not sure."
"But Ms. Heartstrings?" said Dinky. "How do you know about the Hyoomans?"
"I remember Dinky." she said as a reply but, she acted like she was talking to someone somewhere else. "I remember."
We were all confused as to what she meant. Then, all of a sudden she seemed to snap out of her self-endussed trance. "Well, sorry about today! I had a fun time with you all! Give me a call if you're looking for some fun! Bye bye!" Then she sped out the door in a hurry.
"Well that was interesting." said Sparkler, who decided to trot off to bed without further discussion. "Dinky, you should go to bed too." I whispered to Dinky. "Okay, mommy." she began to trot off when she asked "Mommy? Will we ever see a hyooman?"
"I don't know Dinky. Get some rest now. You've had a big day. We all have. I love you Dinky."
"Love you too Mommy." she said with the smallest smile, then went to bed.
I myself could not sleep yet for I had one thing left to do before I could rest at ease. I walked over to the phone, because there was only one person who could possibly help m at this point.
"Hello?" said the voice on the other line.
"Yes, can I speak to Twilight Sparkle?" I asked.
"Okay, hold on. TWILIGHT! Phone for you!" said the voice. It sounded young and unlike any voice I've heard before. He sounded cranky, after all it was late.
"Hello?" said a much kinder and recognizable voice.
"Hello, it's Derpy Hooves from down the street."
"Oh, hello Derpy! Are you enjoying '101 Muffin Recipes'?" Twilight asked.
"Fine, thank you. Um, do you have any information on, uh humans?"
The other line went silent, then a huge ruckuss in the background. "UH, what was th-that you asked?!"
"I said, do you have any books on humans?"
"S-sorry the library is shutting down for the night come back tomorrow! BYE!" the other line hung up.
It was now obvious that if I wanted to find this out for myself, I'd have to do it myself.
The next morning, after sending Dinky off to school and finishing my morning mail route, I flew off to the Ponyville library to get more information. Not just out of a book, but out of a pony. Putting a hoof to the candle on the door, the smell of musty old books and sweet smelling potions filled my nose. The library was void of life, except for the cutest lil' pheonix sleeping in a nest of shredded book pages.
"Hello?!" I called out in hopes of customer service.
"Hello there Derp-y..." The voice started friendly but dropped off. "Um, heh, what are you looking for today?" said the voice that had yet to show its face.
"Im looking for Twilight Sparkle, is she here?" I knew that she was the voice. I had the element of fake stupidity on my side, and I knew how to use it.
The voice changed, it became deeper and gruffer. "Uh, no! She's not here! Come back later!"
"Oh, okay!" I trotted over to the door and shut it, but not behind me. After said door was shut, my wings started to pump with stealth, despite my clumsiness.
"Spike, is she gone?" said the original voice.
"Wha-? I don't know, I'm taking a nap." said a voice similar to the one who answered the phone.
"I don't see her. I think we're good." She came out from behind her bed, a few hairs out of place, a wide grin, and dilated eyes.
"AH-HA! I KNEW IT!" I yelled as I shed my element of stealth.
She screamed of shock. Not only was she caught red-hoofed of not once, but lying twice to a customer.
I landed on the upper level of the library where Twilight was hiding behind her bed fort. "Wha-what are you talking about Derpy? We don't have any books on humans, or anything!" Her eyes shifted from side to side as she clenched her mouth.
"Tell me. Where. They are. I might be clumsy, but I'm not stupid." I said as I approached the insane pony.
"B-before, i show you, where they are, who told you about humans?" she asked
"Why do you need to know? Shouldn't I be able to check out a book without being questioned?"
"W-well yeah, but..."
"But nothing. I know you're hiding something Twilight. Now let me see the book!"
"Fine" she said in defeat. She got from behind the bed to a book shelf on the same floor. From looking at the titles, the books were about species other than ponies and local livestock grown in Equestria. Some of which I've never heard.
"Here. Take it. You obviously know what you're doing." she said with utter defeat.
This was very odd. I had seen the kind of fights Twilight would put up just to prove her point. She danger-proofed the entire town just to stop next Tuesday morning, cast a spell on the town just to have something to write about to the princess. But she wasn't going to to do such a thing to prevent me about learning from humans?
"Uh, thanks? And, don't tell anypony about this."
"And don't you go and showing somepony that book! I don't want everypony going human-crazy. I know Celestia will banish me, or put me in the dungeon, or puts me me in a dungeon to the place she banishes me?!"
Her hair began to frizz and her eyes shrank. I backed out of the library as the mental unicorn rambled on to herself. I know that I'm not the brightest beam of Celestia's sun, but I'm smart enough to know that Twilight needed mental help.
When I got home, I went to the table of contents. It seemed pretty basic although it had more than I bargained for.
2: Life Cycle
7: Life-Time of Achievement
9: Famous People
10: The Human Race
Some time passed before I had read every chapter twice, read through the index thoroughly, and studied the entire life of a human. But it took much longer for it to make sense. It was all so confusing, all the different muscles, the way they walked, and of course, how they sat. After I had read it over, I began to slowly piece more of the facts together, those none of those facts pointed to what was going on with my 'visions'. I called Lyra to see what else she knew. She said she'd come over.
"So what are we looking at here?" she asked when she finally arrived.
"Well, I was able to check out this book on humans that Twilight had. Iv'e alre-,"
"Wait, what?! How did you get this book? This is my favorite book on humans! When I went to check it out Twilight wouldn't let me!"
"She let me check it out," I said. "But, if she didn't let you check it out, then how were you able to read it? You know Twilight wont let you read a book in the library unless you check it out."
"Ol' Lyra's got a magic trick or two in her head. I may not be the Great and Powerful Trixie, but I know how to fool an egghead."
"You stole it?!"
"No, I simply borowed it when she wasn't looking."
"So you stole it?"
"Oh lighten up Derpy, besides, how did you convince her to give it up?!
"I didn't convince her, although she was hesitant. She just said that 'I obviously know what I'm doing' then she let me have the book!"
"Hm, thats strange. Anyways what don't you understand? I'm sure I can help. And once we know all we can, we can get to the bottom of this. Together."
Over the next 5 weeks, Lyra came over to help with research. Every once in a while she would come with a scroll of information that she received from Zecora. We were even lucky enough to get two more books on the subject from the Canterlot Archives. And believe me, those books are more trouble than they're worth. But, long story short, we returned our ninja suits to Rarity in bad condition, and she was not happy.
Dinky even wanted to help. Although I was unsure myself, Lyra said that we need all the help we can get, and like that, Dinky was a member of the team. And of course, once Dinky was in on it, Sparkler put up a fuss on how I was an irresponsible mother, blah blah blah, she joined us "for Dink's sake". Now we had a full team, research specialist: Lyra, order of operations: Sparkler, mare on the inside: Dinky, and leader: Me.
Lyra had been the one who had found all this information on the humans, and day by day was finding more. It didn't amaze me on the amount that she found. I was amazed at the fact ponies had so much information on a creature that we weren't sure even existed. She was truly the most social mare of the team, and therefore must of had many sources, that she never shared with anypony.
Sparkler, though was the least enthusiastic of the bunch, she was the most organized daughter, probably because of the her father, him having OCD and all. And she knew her way around town. I honestly couldn't think of a better place to put her.
Dinky was the inside mare because, well, she's a filly! NOPONY would suspect a filly! I know it sounds weird, and unsafe, but Sparkler was right, I am indeed an awful parent. But if I wasn't I wouldn't be where I am today.
I honestly didn't want to be the team leader, yet everyone argued that I was he one who brought everyone together, therefore should be leader. I just was happy that I had ponies that helped.
"Hey Derpy!" Lyra shouted from across the room. "Look at what I found!"
"What is it?"
"It's a portal spell. It doesn't say where it'll take ya, but it ensures safety guarenteed."
"Hm, what else?"
"It can take 4 ponies, and you can only use it 3 times... Whaddaya think?"
"I think, we need to learn that spell. How good is your magic?"
"It's meh-ish. Its good for carrying small things, like uhh... I don't know. Carrots, daisies, asparagus, y'know, groceries n' stuff.
"Well what about spells like this?" I say pointing to the chant.
"Hmmm... Sorry but, probably not. This is for higher level unicorns." A devilish smile crossed Lyra's lips.
"I think I now a pony who just might be able to pull it off..."
"Well? Who is it?!"
The smile remained on Lyra's lips, but no words escaped them. I hit me.
"No. NO. NO NO NO! We are not calling Twilight! Especially after last time!"
"Well what do you suggest we do? Find the GREAT AND POWERFUL TRIXIE?! At least she would do it! If only to prove she's still better than Twilight. And believe me, I don't want to see her either after what happened last week in 'Trixieville'." She shuddered at the thought, as did I. Last week was tough just trying to keep Sparkler and Dinky out of the way of Trixie's beam.
"She's got a point..." said Sparkler, who had been observing from afar.
"Well, what do you think Sparkler? You're Order of Opperations."
Sparkler rubbed at her chin. "Well Twilight is more trustworthy... But she's also more likely to say 'no'... " she began to pace. "Then there's Trixie... She'll probably want something in return... Bits or a chance to prove herself... And the risk of her taking over again..." she stooped pacing, but kept her gaze at the ground. Silence in the room. Lyra was on the tips of her fore-hooves in anticipation, my eyes had gone hay-wire from all the 'back-and-forth' confussion, and Dinky had looked up from Outside Equestria: Other Worlds and Universes for a brief second when she noticed the bickering stopped.
"I think, that..." she paused, as if for dramatic effect, "Twilight's our safest bet."
Lyra got her "creep smile" as I called it, and bounded up and down around the house. This continued for another minute or so before she stopped in front of me, nose against mine, and with so much pleasure said, "Told. You. SO!"
She then began to continue bounding around the house chanting "TOLD YOU SO! TOLD YOU SO! TOLD YOU SO!"
Sparkler stepped in, asked whether or not I was up to the challenge of asking the local librarian and magic whiz to perform a spell that she would probably turn down. I could do that, except that wasn't my charm to convince a fully grown mare, no less a filly, into doing what I wanted them to do. If only then a lightbulb would have appeared over my head!
I left Sparkler without answer, and a very confused face. I walked over to where Dinky was still reading intently. She looked up once I sat down beside her. Ever since Lyra had started coming more often, Dinky began to sit like a human, it was amusing having to humans in the house.
"Think you could do me a favor?" I asked, nudging her side. She knew something was up.
"What is it mommy?"
"We need a unicorn to perform this one spell we found. Lyra's and Sparkler's magic are too weak..."
"HEY!" said two very peeved unicorns. I ignored them.
"Their magic isn't strong enough to perform the spell. Tomorrow, we're going to the library to see Twilight..."
I could see the gears in her smart head turning.
"You wan't me to ask Twilight?"
"Uhh, he-yeah." I said scratching my head. "You got the filly charm that I only wish I had. I need you to use that charm to convince Ms. Sparkle to perform the spell." I said poking her chest. "Use your puppy eyes, your baby voice, whatever it takes to get her on our side." I paused to make sure she understood. "You think you could do that?"
She smiled, then changed to a sad frown with enormous eyes. "Is 'dis gewd enuff mommy?"
I smiled. "Pewfect."
Dinky hugged me tight, and at that moment, I saw Sparkler looking at me with something I hadn't seen in a long time.
I hugged Dinky back and soon I felt another pair of hooves wrap around us. Sparkler had wrapped her hooves around us, and rested her head on my shoulder, a feeling I hadn't expirienced since Dinky's birth. Soon Lyra was in on the group hug, the family hug.
We had just figured out who would be the missing piece to our puzzle, but whether or not that puzzle piece would fit or not, all depended on Dinky.