It was always serene. That's the first thing I'd remember. An idyllic field of grass that seemed to stretch on forever. I'd be running around with my friends. Never stopping, not caring about where we went. I couldn't remember what they looked like, and I'd never get a clear look at any of them. We'd laugh. Chase each other. They'd call my name. I'd never hear it clearly, always muffled by something... the wind in my ears, the sound of my hooves against the ground. I'd never hear my name, but it was okay, because I wasn't alone.
Then I wake up. I wake up and realize that I was dreaming. I'm back in my cell. Lately, that's all I've been dreaming about. Dreaming of somewhere else, friends with faces I just couldn't remember. Sometimes I wonder if they're actually real or if it's just my mind's way of dealing with the isolation.
Yawning, I decide that now is as good a time to get up as any. I sit up, untangle my legs from the sheet and roll off the bed. My hooves hit the floor, and I do my morning stretches to loosen up. I always feel tight when I wake up. My bed is by no means small, but I never sleep soundly. I yawn again, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, and look around. Four walls, a bed, bathroom facilities in the corner tucked away behind a divider, and a box of "objects" near the door. Same as always. The door is made of metal and has a porthole at chest height. There's a sliding flap on the other side that stays closed most of the time, but I can see through it.
Actually, I've been meaning to have a look through it the next time it opens. Maybe if I hunker down and look up I'll see the faces of the guards? I keep forgetting to do it when the time comes, so all I've seen is the floor and legs. Dark brown legs.
I trot into the bathroom to get into "day mode," finishing up by splashing some water on my face. Next, I grab the towel hanging next to the basin to dry my face. It's a fresh one, washed and delivered last night. I had forgotten! New towels always feel nice. They're not damp, and that's when they dry best. New towels are one of the few things I enjoy and look forward to. That and meals, of course. For some reason, I had been allowed a full-length mirror. It's taller than me, and mounted in a shiny aluminum frame. I have it propped against the wall opposite the bathroom, in the corner so I'm not looking at my reflection all the time. I do look at myself sometimes though. Today, I gaze at my reflection for what feels like the thousandth time. A mare looks back at me.
She's a dull grey all over. Grey coat, grey mane, grey tail. It's almost like I have no color. Like I'm lifeless and blank. I know that I'm a pony, and ponies are usually colorful. They have cutie marks too. I know about that stuff, even though I'd never seen it.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm insane. I have no memory of a past, a home, friends, a grassy field, any of that. I don't remember having a name, or a family. Have I forgotten it all somehow, or is it all fake? The only thing I know exists for sure are these four walls. There's stuff beyond the cell, maybe a town. I know because there are two guards, and they must have homes, right? They have to live somewhere. My food has to come from somewhere too. My best guess is that this is a prison, and I live in solitary. If I committed a crime in the past, I don't remember it now. Maybe I had my memory erased because I was dangerous? Beyond help? Maybe I knew something bad? Some attempt at rehabilitation? Can they do that to me? I've asked the guards questions before when they deliver meals or laundry, but they never answer me. They're nice though, not like I'd imagine prison guards to be.
So my morning starts. Or, at least it feels like morning. There's no way to tell. No windows, no measure of time, no schedule. I'm given food three times a day... or is it four times? Two times? How is a day measured? It's impossible to tell. I sleep when I'm tired, and eat when I'm hungry. It's entirely possible that I have two mornings per day. Suddenly, my stomach rumbles, pulling me from my thoughts. As if on cue, I hear the latch on the door open, and light spills in from the porthole.
"Meal time!" The guard announces. Not breakfast, meal time. Sometimes I think they do that on purpose.
A bowl of piping hot food floats into my cell, followed by a glass of juice. There's a straw in the glass; it's much easier than fiddling with the glass itself. The tray is next, and the guard is nice enough to put the bowl and glass on it for me. The last item is a napkin. That goes next to the plate. I walk over to the porthole.
"Thank you." My voice is a little croaky. I don't speak much.
"No problem, Two-four-nine. Enjoy."
Two-four-nine. That's what the guards call me. It's the closest thing I have to a name. I don't know what it means though. Am I the two hundred and forty-ninth convict? Maybe it's a catalog number?
As I lower my head to look through the porthole, it slides shut. Great, nothing but brown legs again. I take a sip of the juice and look at my food. The juice is the apple and orange, I think, and the food needs to cool down. I decide to continue the Daring Do novel I've been reading while my food cools down, so I go pull it out of the box by the door. Flipping to the bookmarked page, I resume the story as I wait. My rumbling stomach protests loudly though, so I just dig in. It's pasta - big spiral shapes in basic tomato napoli sauce with vegetables. It's a good filling meal, and actually pretty tasty. I empty the bowl a few minutes later, and even lick it clean - there's nopony around to judge, so why not? I set the tray down by the door to be collected later, then resume Daring's adventure. A few minutes later and I'm engrossed.
Right in the middle of the best bit there's a bang on the door. The porthole opens, and something that's never happened before happens.
"Two-four-nine! You have a visitor!"
My mind is racing. A visitor? No no no, this can't happen! This doesn't ever happen! I don't get visitors! Who is it? What does he want? What's he going to do? Where-
The door opens, and a purple mare walks in.
I hear one of the guards speak from beyond the room.
"Do you need me to stay on hand ma'am?"
No, that will be all, thank you sir" The mare says, looking behind her. The door shuts, and she turns to look at me.
"STAY BACK!" I scream. "Don't come any closer! I'll tear you to bits!!"
I stare her down, trying to look as angry and intimidating as I can. She looks a little startled, but it's not really working. To my surprise, she walks into the center of the room.
"I mean it! They've got me in isolation for a reason you know! The other prisoners are all scared of me! You don't wanna push me!"
I'm hoping that my screaming will have an effect on her. Make her go away, leave me alone. It doesn't. In fact, it has the exact opposite effect. She sits down.
"Hello." She says. She's calm and friendly, which I find quite disarming. She doesn't seem all that dangerous though, and I feel myself relax a little. Maybe it's alright?
"I'm Twilight Sparkle. I'm not going to hurt you. I'm here to help you, in fact." She says. "Please come sit down."
My body decides to stop panicking, and I take a few cautious steps forward, looking at her. I see a horn - she's a unicorn! I reason that a few extra meters isn't going to protect me from unicorn magic, so I decide to just walk up to her and sit down.
It's only then that I really notice her. She's colorful. Her coat is a delicate shade of purple, light, not deep and saturated. Her mane and tail are a darker purple - no, blue with a lighter stripe in the center. She has a straight-cut fringe through which her horn pokes. The hair falls around it neatly. Her eyes are big, pool-like, and purple. In a world or greys and blacks, she's the most amazing thing I've ever seen. Even better than a bowl of pasta and vegetables!
"You're really beautiful" I tell her, gazing into her eyes. I notice that she has red cheeks-Wait, she's blushing?
I pull my head back when I realize what I'm doing. "Sorry! I didn't-I mean I was-you just... you're really colorful, That's all. It's nice."
"I'm colorful?" she asks, tilting her head quizzically.
"Well yeah, look around. Everything is all blacks and greys. When you've been here for as long as I have it's a little jarring I guess."
"Well, thank you I suppose. Let's get started."
Then a number of things happen at once. Twilight Sparkle's horn glows, her saddlebags fly off her back and land next to her, they open, and several objects fly out. A clipboard lands in front of her, a sheet of parchment flies onto it, and the clamp closes, holding it in place. A well of ink lands next to the clipboard, and the cap spins off, flips over, and drops onto the floor next to it. A quill shoots into the inkwell next, and when everything comes to a stop Twilight looks up at me with a quick smile, as if to say "all ready!"
"Now, what did you say before? You're a convict in solitary confinement?"
"Umm.. yes?" I reply.
"What did you do?" She asks. There's something about her tone of voice that I can't really discern.
"I didn't do anything, I've always been here."
"What did you do to get put in here?"
"Uh... well, I don't actually remember." I admit. I'm not really liking where this is going.
"Okay" She pauses to look down at her clipboard. ... "Two-four-nine. Can I ask you something Two-four-nine? Who told you that you're in a prison?"
"Huh? You mean..." I think about it. I'd never been told expressly that I'm in a prison. What if I'm not a criminal? I had always just assumed the worst, but what if it's something else? Something better?
"Well, nopony said it exactly. I haven't actually spoken to anypony in a long time. I just assumed that I'm a murderer or something. I mean, this is a cell right?"
"Good heavens, no!" Twilight says, sounding quite shocked. "Two-four-nine, this isn't a prison, and you're not a murderer! This is a rehabilitation facility. You're being cared for here because you've lost your memory, which is why I'm here. I've been assigned to help you."
I'm not a criminal. This is the best thing I could have hoped to hear. I'm not imprisoned. I'm not dangerous. Maybe I'm not a bad pony at all? And lost my memory? I might have friends somewhere. A family. A home. I suddenly realize that there's a good chance I might get out of this awful cell sometime soon.
"Hang on, care? Rehabilitation? I've been left alone in here for months, maybe a year! What kind of care??"
Twilight Sparkle just looks at me, her face a mix of confusion and concern.
"Two-four-nine, you've only been in here for three days."
"Huh?" I ask. Funny, it sounded like she said-
"Three days. You've been kept under basic observation to make sure you're not experiencing any symptoms of psychosis for whatever reason, and that you're not a danger to yourself in any way. The "care" is me. I'm going to help you get your memory back." She says, smiling warmly.
My mind feels like a whirlwind. I suddenly have so many answers, but even more questions. How can it have been only three days?! Then again, three days is really good. It's entirely possible that my life isn't the black-and-grey lifeless dead end that I was dreading. I hadn't fully realized until now just how terrified I was of being in jail, living out my life rotting in a cold, dark cell. It's entirely possible that, just one week ago, I had a life! I might have been happy, I might have had a home in some bright city or village, with friends, or family, or maybe a pet. I might have a life out there waiting for me, and all I have to do is remember it! Sure, something bad probably happened to make me forget, but I'm too ecstatic now to care. I practically bounce over to Twilight Sparkle and nuzzle her shoulder.
"Thank you for helping me." I exclaim. I'm grinning like an idiot, but I don't care.
"You're welcome!" she replies. "Would you like to get started?" I nod.
The clipboard floats up in front of her, and she waves it around. "The doctors gave me a sheet with some questions on it, so we'll start by going through them." She pauses. "I can see why you'd be disoriented. There are no windows in here, no source of natural light to indicate the passage of time, and I assume that you don't have a day schedule?" She points to the dimmer dial on the wall. It's a large hole with a rectangular switch mounted inside. Pushing it turns the light on and off, while rotating it controls the brightness. I guess it's supposed to simulate the time of day, but I hadn't really used it.
"No, I don't. I just eat and sleep when I feel like it, and the guards give me my meals... regularly? There's no schedule from what I can tell. Actually, I've asked them, and they won't tell me."
Twilight frowns at this. "I'm not sure why they'd do that. I can speak to somepony about it if you like. I assume you'd prefer to have a schedule?"
"You'd do that? Yeah, that'd be great! Say, what's the time now?"
"Now? It's about 11 AM." She says. So I probably woke up around 9. I think. Good, that's fairly normal.
"Okay, question one. What is your name?"
"..." I sit there for a few seconds. For the last few months-no, days I had led myself to believe that I might not have a name at all.
"I don't know." I answer, feeling less happy than I did before. "Two-four-nine?"
"No no, that's just a catalog number."
"Catalog number. I'm not sure exactly what it represents, but it has some significance to the books here. Each number corresponds to some sort of reference, I think."
"Oh, okay..." I say dejectedly. Just a file number? I had thought it might be a codename or something, but it's just... nothing. How disappointing.
"Say, do you know my name?" I ask Twilight.
"No, I don't. Sorry. Even if I did, I've been warned by the doctors to refrain from divulging information en masse. They told me that there could be negative side effects if I fill in the gaps for you, and you have to remember it all yourself. Anyway, question two. Which country are we in?"
Hey, I know this one! "Equestria."
"Excellent. Question three, which city?"
"I don't know. I can't remember any of the names."
"What about the locations themselves?"
"No, I can't remember any of that. All I know is that we're in Equestria."
Twilight pauses momentarily as she writes something on the parchment. "Question four. What is your race? Please specify either Earth pony, Pegasus, or Unicorn."
I feel a wave of panic wash over me. My race? Why don't I know that? It's definitely something I should know but I hadn't really noticed...
"Uh, Earth pony I think." I answer tentatively. "I don't think I have a horn like you do."
"Earth pony? Are you sure about that?" Twilight says, gesturing at my side. I look back to see if-I have wings?!
"I have wings?! Where... How could I not notice these?! What the hay??"
"Well, it's a rare but documented side effect of dissociation. Extremely rare actually" Twilight explains. "Part of a pony's identity is derived from their race, so it is possible to forget about it. Are you okay?" She asks, sounding a little concerned. I realize that I'm... not calm. It feels as though there's something stuck in my dry throat, and my body feels cold somehow. I'm sweating, and my skin itches all over. I briefly wonder how I got on the floor before the thought is engulfed in a frenzied storm.
"... aaaahhhn." A panicked whimper comes from somewhere. I barely hear it over the booming in my ears. There's a drumming sound too... no, a rapid thwacking. It takes me a few seconds to realize that it's the sound of my quaking hooves rapping against the floor. Another hoof strokes my mane gently, and I hear what I think might be Twilight.
"Shh... you're okay. Take a deep breath for me. Open your eyes, look at me. A deep breath. It's okay, you can relax Two-four-nine."
I'm lying on the floor, on my underbelly. Twilight is standing over me, stroking my mane with a hoof. She looks concerned. I take a deep breath. "...I'm a-I'm a Pegasus??" I ask her. She nods. "Two-four-nine, I need you to do something. You're going to have to concentrate, okay?" Twilight asks.
"... oh kay." I say slowly.
"Open your wings."
"What? But I don't remember how! I've never used them before! I've never noticed them before! I ca-
A small smile appears on Twilight's face. Just a subtle one, but it's safe. Trusting. Reassuring. You can do it. I feel the sides of my torso peel away slowly, leaving exposed skin underneath. Cool air pools around my sides, making me feel naked. I hear joints behind my shoulders pop as bones twist upward. Feeling these new limbs for what feels like the first time, I wave them a little and feel them loosen accordingly.
Then I extend them.
"Ohh wow..." I moan, arching my back. I try to reach as high as I can, feeling the muscles and tendons stretch nicely. There's a band that runs from the base of the wings-no, my wings across my chest, and it flexes every time I raise my wings. It feels amazing. It feels free, like I've had a huge clamp locked around my torso. I decide to test my flying and flap my wings. A surprised cry is yanked from my throat as my body is yanked a foot upwards, pulling me off the floor. My hooves wheel around as I attempt to find my balance. I stand.
"I'm a pegasus!" I cheer happily.
Twilight watches on, awestruck. "That was wonderful" she says. "Now, I think it would be a good idea to wrap up at this juncture. You probably have a lot to think about, and we've put in a solid hour. I'll visit you tomorrow, same time."
"Okay, I'll look forward to it. Hey, do you mind if I..." Twilight lets me hug her.
Twilight begins to leave, but freezes in the doorway.
"Hoof! I forgot something. ... I guess that's what happens when you don't make a checklist!" She chides herself. Turning back to look at me, she asks if she can ask a couple of quick questions before she leaves.
"What do you do to pass the time?"
I gesture to the box. "I was given that box of stuff. Right now I'm reading a book called Daring Do."
Twilight's face lights up like a Hearth's Warming Eve tree. "You like Daring Do?! Oh my gosh, so do I! Which one is it?" She zooms over to the box and fishes the book out with her magic. "Daring Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Stone!" she announces fondly. "I have the entire series in my library. I'll bring you the next book tomorrow."
There are more? I think. Hay yes I'd like the next one! I nod vigorously, grinning my approval.
"Okay, last question before I leave. A lot of ponies want to see how you're doing. Would you be comfortable with me bringing one visitor tomorrow?"
I feel myself swallow nervously. "Yeah, okay."
"Don't worry, she's really friendly. Nothing to be nervous about! I'll be back tomorrow, goodbye!" Twilight walks out, and the door closes behind her.
I have the dream again last night. I'm back in the field, but Twilight is with me this time. We run together, laughing at nothing in particular. When I look over I can see her so clearly, but when I look around I see that we're alone. She's replaced the faceless ponies. We stand facing each other, and I ask her my name. She says that she's going to tell me what it is... but she doesn't. The conversation just plays over and over again. It never reaches the point I need to hear so badly. It's like the answer is there but it's hanging just outside my reach.
Then I see Twilight is sitting on a cloud. She's-
I'm woken up suddenly by a thunk on the door.
"Morning Two-four-nine! Breakfast!"
Food flies in through the porthole, and I leap out of bed. Dodging a glass of juice I run over, leaning down to look through the hole. There's a blue unicorn on the other side, horn aglow. He notices me, and flashes a quick grin.
"Did you say breakfast? Morning time?"
"Yes. I was told that you requested a daily schedule. Right now is 9:30 AM. That there is breakfast" he says, nodding towards it.
I thank him, looking back at my food. As soon as I look away he quickly shuts the porthole. Cheeky mule.
I turn around and yawn at my breakfast, looking at-wow. My huge breakfast. There's a big glass of orange juice, a bowl of oats with raisins and soymilk... maybe dairy milk? I can't tell. There's a thick-cut slice of toast with an egg on top as well. They've really given me the works this morning, the tray is full! I take a sip of juice, then speed through my morning routine as quick as I can. The toast is steaming, so I decide to start with the oats. They're much tastier than they look, and the juicy raisins are delicious. I have some trouble with the toast though. The yolk dribbles down my chin the first few times I bite into the egg, and when I try to be careful I end up dipping my nose into it.
I finish up by placing the tray against the wall. With nothing to do, my mind wanders. There are so many things to think about. Just who is Twilight? Is she some kind of therapist? Is she a friend? Did I dream about her for a reason? Why did I dream about her sitting on a cloud? "The doctors warned me not to tell you too much. You have to remember it yourself." Too much about what? How much does she know about me if she doesn't know my name? And then there's this other visitor she's bringing today. Another therapist? Another friend? I'm nervous about it, even though part of me tells me that there's no need to be. It obviously knows more than I do, but it won't tell me. How the hay am I supposed to remember anything? Where do I start? Twilight is supposed to be helping me, but so far all she's told me is that I have to remember myself. Great help there.
Then there's my wings. How could I fail to notice them? How could I forget that I'm a pegasus? It seems so ludicrous now. Ever since Twilight left yesterday I've been paying attention to them. I notice them while I eat, while I move, even while I read. They're amazingly sensitive, and every time I move them a whirlwind of information floods my brain. Wind speed, pitch, balance, objects around me, I could run with my eyes closed. There's not enough room to fly in here, but I can hover just fine. I tried it yesterday after Twilight left. One strong stroke and I was in the air, and gentle beats kept me aloft easily. I had to balance with my legs though, and I didn't have the guts to go higher for fear of swerving into a wall. I tried hovering from one side of the room to the other, "walking" just above the floor slowly, but I had a lot of trouble with it. Trying to inch forward carefully would result in my face hitting the floor, and using my body didn't work either. Leaning forward made little difference, and though jerking my weight forward did result in a small amount of movement, I'm fairly certain that a lurching, jerky "gait" is not how pegasi are supposed to fly.
This only served to compound my growing worry. What if I'm a bad flyer? What if I forgot how to do that too? Are ponies going to be expecting me to fly well? What if I can't fly at all?? What I really just need to do is get out of this cell, out into an open space so I have plenty of room, somewhere that's not cramped and shut in, not closed off, not-
Stop. Deep breaths, like Twilight said. Close my eyes, relax. I should be happy. I have a day schedule now, I got a great breakfast, I managed to see through the porthole, and I have Twilight. She probably is a friend. I'm not alone anymore, I'm not a criminal. Everything is going well so far, so I just need to stop worrying and trust that things are going to turn out okay.
I'm pulled from my thoughts by a sudden noise. There are voices on the other side of the door. Fumbling, a couple of clanks, and a groan. I walk over to the door to listen, and get cut off by a bright flash right in front of me.
I scramble backwards, looking at... Twilight? Apparently she can teleport.
"Good morning Two-four-nine. I apologize for our tardiness, but it was out of my control. Now, first things first! I spoke to the guards about a schedule. The first one just blew me off, but the second one was much more pleasant. He agreed to accommodate your request."
"Uh, hi..." I start, caught off guard by her entrance. "Thanks, yeah! They did it this morning."
Then the door finally opens. "Remember how I said that I'd bring a visitor?" She asks. "Yeah..." I reply cautiously.
I look towards the door, and... a cardboard box floats in??
"My visitor is a box?!"
"No, no!" Twilight exclaims, setting the box down beside her. "That's your visitor."
I look. There's a mare peeking around the door. Her gaze falls on me, and she walks in slowly. She's carrying a paper bag in her mouth, which she sets down in front of me, then sits down.
"Hello" I say to her. A few seconds pass as she blinks at me, then turns to Twilight.
"She doesn't remember me yet?" Twilight just shakes her head. The mare looks disappointed by this.
"Hi, I'm Pinkie Pie" she says. "Do you remember anything about me at all?"
--"Hi! I'm Pinkie Pie and I threw this surprise party just for you! Were you surprised, were you? Huh? Huh? Huh?"--
"Not really, sorry. Hi though! I'm... well, everypony calls me Two-four-nine" I reply.
"Two-four-nine? What kind of name is that?!"
"Pinkie Pie is friends with every pony in Ponyville." Twilight explains. "She somehow manages to remember everything about all of us, and when she heard what happened to you, she insisted on coming in to see you."
I smile at this new mare. "Thanks Pinkie Pie! What happened to me?" I ask quickly.
"What happened? You were-ampphh!!" Pinkie is cut off mid-sentence by Twilight, who's gagged her with her magic. Wow, thanks Twilight.
"Pinkie no! Remember what I told you? You promised not to tell her anything!" The unicorn then reels Pinkie Pie in and glares at her. Pinkie slumps a little, does a few motions with her hooves, then jabs one into her eye. Looking satisfied, Twilight releases her.
"I don't get it Twilight. How is she supposed to remember if we don't tell her anything?"
"Yeah! I can't remember this stuff on my own!" I add. This "don't tell" routine is getting annoying.
Twilight groans. "Pinkie, don't you have a gift for Two-four-nine?"
"Ooh! Yes, I totally forgot about the gift!" Pinkie squeals, perking up considerably. She noses the paper bag towards me, hopping up and down excitedly. "I baked it especially for you! That's why we were late today, I had to make sure it was absolutely totally perfect and yummy!"
I open the bag and pull out the paper tray inside. There's some kind of cake on it.
"It's a muffin!" She cheers. "I baked it just today, extra carefully just for you! It's my own special recipe: double chocolate fudge with chocolate chips and banana bits! It was going to be a cupcake, but silly Mrs. Cake left all the dishes for me to do this morning and I did lots and lots of baking yesterday so there were no clean cupcake molds left, and it had to be perfect so I used a muffin tin instead. It's almost exactly the same thing except for the different shape, but it's still cake-shaped and I even put icing on top! I hope it's still warm, eat it quickly before it cools down!"
I blink at Pinkie Pie for a few seconds while I try to process all that. "So... it's a chocolate muffin? Specially for me?" I ask her. She nods rapidly.
"Wow, thanks Pinkie Pie! It looks amazing!" A muffin just for me, how sweet of her. It does look pretty good. I pick it up and take a bite.
Oh wow. This is... this is heavenly. The muffin is still warm, and a little bit of steam billows out from where I bit it. The cake is chocolatey, light and airy, and ever so moist. As I chew I find little pockets of gooey, fudgey chocolate, little hidden surprises that I roll over my tongue slowly, savoring the delicious melty chocolateyness. I take another bite, and another. Without realizing it I'm lost in my own little world with this muffin. Eyes closed, moaning my approval occasionally, I finish the amazing treat. When I open my eyes again, Twilight and Pinkie are grinning at me.
"Good?" The unicorn asks.
"Oh my yes! Pinkie Pie, that was the best thing I've ever eaten! Thank you so much!" Pinkie cheers at this, bouncing up and down happily. What a mad mare.
"Now, we have some other things for you as well. Hopefully something will refresh your memory" Twilight says. She pulls the box over with her magic and opens it. "First is the next Daring Do book!" She exclaims, virtually bombarding me with the novel, which hits me squarely in the chest. "I really think you'll like it, it's..." I take a look at it, but she pulls it out of my hooves and puts it in my box. "No, no, read it later, I don't want to get carried away. No distractions!" I thank her, and she pulls out another object. It's a big sheet of paper, which she unrolls and sticks to the wall above my bed.
"A Wonderbolts poster! It'll definitely brighten up your room!" I look at it. It's a bright poster with oranges and blues everywhere, and a team of pegasi in blue uniforms posing heroically.
"Wow, it's great! Thanks Twilight!" I tell her.
"Now I'm not a pegasus, so I don't really understand this stuff, but a friend told me that the Wonderbolts are the best fliers in Equestria, and they can inspire any pegasus" she explains. I do feel kinda inspired actually.
"Next item is a manebrush!" Twilight pauses, then holds out a hoof. "It's from one of my friends. When she thought about how messy your mane must be she nearly fainted, and insisted that I give this to you." A manebrush? Sounds like an alright idea. There are a few knots in my mane, it'll be nice to get rid of them. "Thanks" I say, accepting the floating brush with my hooves. "The last item is an item of news" Twilight continues, sounding quite excited. "I spoke to the doctor, and he said that you can be released on Thursday!"
"Really? How many days is that?" I ask. I've forgotten which day it is.
"Today's Tuesday silly!" Pinkie Pie! I forgot all about her!
"So that's two days! Only two days!" I cheer, jumping for joy. I'm getting out of here in two days! I almost can't believe it, I get to walk out of here. I'll get to see the world outside, go get my life back, go see my friends and family, fly around. I tackle Twilight, giving her a giant hug. "Thank you thank you!"
"Eek! You're welcome -gllk- Two-four-nine." She says. I hear Pinkie Pie whimper, so I turn to look at her.
"Aww, no hug for me?" She whines. Her face wears the most adorable, big-eyed pout I've ever seen. I haven't upset her have I? Oh no... "Of course you get a hug Pinkie Pie!" I exclaim, throwing my forelegs around her and squeezing tightly. She snuggles into me, giggling to herself. "Hee hee hee, you're getting out in two days -gllk- Two-four-nine! This calls for a party!" She starts bouncing up and down with me still hugging her. When I let her go, she just stands there for a few seconds, beaming at me and Twilight.
"A what?? Pinkie, a party? Here? I'm not sure if-" Twilight sounds oddly worried for some reason. She's too late though. Pinkie Pie transforms into a pink blur somehow, then starts flitting around the room at an impossible pace. Streamers appear out of nowhere, confetti flies, party favors sound from every direction, knocks knock, thuds thud, and a table clatters onto the floor, appearing out of nowhere. Pinkie Pie reappears beside me, barely able to contain her excitement. I'm barely able to contain my bottom jaw. How is she doing this?! There are streamers and decorations strung to the walls, balloons of every color flying around, and a table?! Where the hay did that even come from?!
I'm about to ask her all of this when she reaches behind herself and pulls out... a cannon. A real, life-size cannon. "Let's get this party started!" Pinkie Pie screams. Leaping into the air, she fires the cannon at the table. Oh Celestia, she's going to blow a hole in the wall. I wanted a way out of here, but not like this! I'm expecting an explosion, but when the cannon fires, there's... a honking noise. A honking noise. A cannon that... honks. A tablecloth appears in a burst of confetti and streamers, flying onto the table and setting itself perfectly. Then a gramophone lands on top of it, then a bowl of sloshing punch, then a platter of snacks, then a baby alligator. A real one. At least, I think it's alive. Judging by its blank eyes it's about as traumatized as I am right now.
"Look -gllk- Two-four-nine! Gummy came too! He felt really sad when he heard about what happened to you, so I brought him along." She explains, then lowers her voice and leans in close. "I had to sneak him in though, so don't tell anypony, okay?" She winks at me.
"Um, sure, I won't tell. Pinkie Pie, how did you do all that? It's impossible!" Pinkie opens her mouth wide and takes a deep breath like she's going to start talking really fast, but Twilight cuts her off.
"No no! Wait Pinkie, Let me. Listen -gllk- Two-four-nine, it's better if you don't think about it too much. Pinkie does a lot of crazy impossible things that nopony can explain. Believe me, I've tried." I decide to just nod and smile politely, accepting this explanation. "Okay. Can we have a party now please?" I ask, looking at Pinkie Pie.
"We sure can!" Pinkie cheers. She then stops for a second, tapping her chin with her hoof. "Hmm, what should we call this one? ... I know! This is a 'We're celebrating because -gllk- Two-four-nine is getting out of here in two days' party!" She caps this off by blowing a party favor at Twilight, who jumps a good five feet into the air.
"Aah! Pinkie!" Twilight yells, but Pinkie just giggles mischievously.
"Let me show you what we've got Two-four-nine!" She exclaims, starting up the gramophone. A party track plays on it. "This is my famous berry punch! And this is my famous snack platter! And these are my famous cupcakes! And this is Gummy! Say hi, Gummy!"
"Is Gummy famous too?" I ask. Pinkie Pie gives me a confused look.
"Huh? Gummy? Gummy isn't famous, silly! He's my pet alligator! Don't you remember him?"
"Nope. Hi Gummy!" I say, leaning in and smiling at the cute little thing. It stares at me blankly for a second, then lunges forward and bites my muzzle with its "cute little" jaws. Understandably, I panic. My wings flare out, and I backpedal wildly, thrashing and shaking my head. I grab the crazy beast and try to pry its jaws open, but it won't budge. Pinkie Pie is jumping around after me saying something that sounds like "stop" or "wait" but I'm not listening. I run around the table a few times trying to think what I should do when I hear Twilight groan in exasperation. I'm lifted off the floor by something, and Gummy slides off my muzzle with a wet pop. Twilight walks up to me looking very annoyed, puts me back down, and flings Gummy at the table. The thing bounces, then flips onto its feet. I'm still screaming though, freaked out by what just happened. I'm so shocked that I can't feel any pain in my muzzle, which I'm checking with my hooves for puncture wounds.
"Hey, calm down! -gllk- Two-four-nine! Calm down! It's okay! You're fine!" Twilight is trying to get my attention. Then Pinkie Pie tackles me to the floor. She grins at me.
"You're supposed to be enjoying your party silly! I'm sorry that Gummy had to be so rude, but you're fine, so calm down okay?" I'm still confused though, so she explains. She explains coherently, to my surprise.
"Gummy has no teeth! That's why I call him Gummy!" She steps aside and helps me up, then pulls a cloth from behind herself and cleans the drool off my muzzle with it.
"So... I'm not bleeding?" I ask. Pinkie Pie shakes her head.
"You're not mad are you?" She sounds surprisingly concerned.
"Mad?! Are you kidding?! Look at all this stuff! This is the most fun I've had in... forever! How could I be mad?" I exclaim, grinning at Pinkie Pie. I've never seen my room look like this before. Everything is so bright and colorful and... alive.
So I have my first party. Pinkie Pie and I jump right in, and Twilight gives up eventually and joins in too. She even manages to get Pinkie Pie back for the scare with the party favor. I'm having so much fun that I lose track of time. I eat the snacks, try the punch, avoid Gummy, watch Pinkie Pie dance, watch Twilight have some kind of seizure... I'm not sure what she's doing there actually... Pinkie Pie insists that I dance with her, dragging me onto the 'dancefloor' before I can respond. The music is fast-paced and energetic, and I do my best to keep up with her.
"Hey! HEY!" Knock knock. "HEY!"
The music cuts out instantly as we all turn to the door. The guard is leaning in, trying to get our attention.
"I hate to break up the fun ladies, but visiting hours are over. I'll give you another ten minutes to finish up, okay?"
"Alright, thank you" Twilight replies. Pinkie Pie grumbles at this news, seeming put out. I sling a foreleg around her.
"Pinkie Pie, that was the most fun I've ever had. Thank you." I say, smiling warmly. "Listen, I don't know if we're good friends or not, but I'd love to hang out with you once I get out. You're a blast!" Pinkie Pie's face lights up at this, and she starts bouncing happily.
"Oh my gosh, -gllk- Two-four-nine, that'd be great!" She cheers.
I finally reach breaking point. There it is again. I've been trying to ignore it, but it's really starting to get to me now. -gllk- That little sound that catches in the throat whenever Pinkie Pie almost says my name, but stops herself and uses Two-four-nine instead. I'm sick of it. It's not my name, it's a label. Some code you'd use for a blank, lifeless object. The worst part is that Twilight has been doing it too. She lied to me. She's known my name the entire time. I should have guessed when she first denied it.
"Please, stop it. Stop calling me that."
"Huh?" Pinkie Pie asks, confused by my sudden mood swing. "What's wrong Two-four-nine?"
"Two-four-nine, you know that we can't tell you your name, and we have to call you something." Twilight adds.
"Stop calling me that! It's not my name! Just stop it! All I want is my name! Why can't you just tell me!?" I'm trying to keep my voice under control. Pinkie Pie has been nothing but sweet to me, she doesn't deserve me screaming at her. Twilight though... I round on her, glaring.
"You lied to me." She draws back, looking shocked. "You lied to me! You knew my name the entire time when you said that you didn't. You've been keeping it from me and I want you to stop! Why are you keeping it from me? Just tell me! It can't hurt, can it? I just want to know. Y-you're supposed to help me..." I realize that I'm crying. My emotions sneak up on me like a tidal wave. I feel trapped. Hopeless. The answers are right in front of me, and no amount of asking, begging, pleading, or demanding is going to get me them. I want to thrash and kick and scream, break out and fly away...
"Hey, we were having so much fun. Don't cry now..." Pinkie Pie walks over and embraces me, and I accept it gratefully. I let out my tears, sobbing into her mane.
"I just don't know what to do..."
"I'm sorry that it has to be like this." Twilight begins. "I can't imagine how awful it must be for you, but I'm going to help you fix it, okay? Tomorrow is your last day, so I'm going to bring in a few Pegasi. I've got high hopes for those two, and I think you'll definitely get some of your memory back once you meet them." Twilight gives me an encouraging smile.
"Well, I have been getting a few flashes." I say. ""Nothing specific, just little things. I don't think they mean anything though."
"Really?! That's excellent!" Twilight exclaims. "Just give it time, okay? This can't be rushed, and finding your memories is just as important as having them." She nuzzles me gently, then looks at Pinkie Pie.
"We have to go now. I'll be back tomorrow, okay?" I nod, trying to smile at her.
"I hope you enjoyed the party! I'll see you on Thursday, okay? Bye!!" "Pinkie Pie follows Twilight out the door, and it shuts behind them.
Four walls, some gifts, and a blank mare. I sit in the middle of the room, wiping away my tears. Somehow, I feel more lonely than ever.
I had another dream that I can't remember last night. The breakfast call wakes me up again; I think I'm settling into a routine here. I guess it makes me a little more comfortable, but seeing as I'll be getting out this time tomorrow there's not much point getting used to it.
After breakfast I decide to lie on my bed and daydream. Am I angry with Twilight? Well... no. It's not her fault that she can't tell me my name, and it's not her fault that this happened to me. I mean, if she did cause this, and all the efforts to help are just to patch up her guilty conscience, then... I don't really want to think about that. The fact is that Twilight has been coming in every day and doing whatever she can to help me, and before she arrived I was hopeless. I look forward to seeing her now, I get anxious when she's late, and I kinda feel like I rely on her for guidance. Like she knows what to do.
In hindsight, I can see where she was coming from when she lied to me. Once I realized that she knew what my name is I had totally thrown out the idea that I could remember it myself. She was giving me the chance to do so. She had lied to give me some independence.
I'm not nervous about the two pegasi that are coming in to see me today, I'm excited. Pinkie Pie had completely blown my expectations out of the water, and I feel a little happier just thinking about her and her crazy antics. I'm confident that nothing bad will happen today. I know that there's no point guessing who the pegasi could be because I don't know anypony, but that doesn't quell my curiosity one bit. They're probably going to be some friends, but they could also be my parents. It'd be great to know that I have both a mother and father, and that they want to come in and see me.
Twilight arrives on time today. I'm a little surprised when she skulks in apologetically, looking kinda downtrodden.
"Hi. How did you sleep?" she asks, smiling tentatively.
"Hey Twilight! Pretty good. You okay? You look kinda sad."
She sighs, looking down at the floor before speaking. "I'm sorry. I feel just awful about lying to you yesterday. I was-"
"Twilight." I cut her off, and she looks up at me. "I understand. I know why you had to do it, and I'm not mad. I should be thanking you! You've done so much for me, and I'm really grateful."
"So... we're okay?
"Just like that?" I nod, and Twilight smiles.
"So what did you do after I left yesterday?" She asks me.
"Oh, I finished the new Daring Do you gave me. Can you believe that ending? Ar-hwit-zottle turns up outta nowhere to save Daring just so he can take back the Sapphire Stone!"
Twilight chuckles a little. "It's pronounced Ahuitzotl."
"Ahuitzotl." She says, nodding.
"Now, your visitors are going to be wondering what's taking so long. Are you ready?" She sounds nervous. More nervous than I am. The door swings open, and she raises a hoof, gesturing at it.
"Say hello to Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash!"
A pegasus speeds into the room, tackling me so hard that I'm forced back onto my rump. "Is she okay? I hope she's okay! Does she remember anything yet??"
"Oof... you must be Rainbow Dash" I say to her. She blinks at me a few times before replying.
"Oh no, I'm Fluttershy."
--Fluttershy! Fluttershy! Fluttershy can really fly!--
She points behind me. "That's Rainbow Dash." A second pegasus hovers into the room. She has her forelegs crossed, and frowns down at me.
"This is where they're keeping you? This sucks! It's tiny!" She flies over and looks me up and down, then turns to Twilight.
"She looks fine. Why can't she leave?" Rainbow Dash demands.
"Doctor's orders, unfortunately."
"Oh pfft! Who cares what the doctors think? They're probably worrying too much. I say we bust her outta here right now!" She shouts, stabbing the air with a hoof.
"You do know she's getting out tomorrow, right?" Twilight asks.
"Oh. Well that's cool I guess." Rainbow turns to me. "How much do you remember?"
"Uh, not much." I reply.
"Not even your name?" I shake my head. "This is dumb, I'm telling you. It-shmpph!"
Rainbow Dash, no! I told you that we can't!" Twilight shouts. Rainbow keeps making noises through her magical gag, but I can't make out anything coherent. Twilight levitates the pegasus over to her and yells at her, clearly getting annoyed now.
"Stop it!! We can't tell her, alright, so just stop!" She releases the gag.
"GET OFFA ME!" Rainbow yells. She swings her hoof at Twilight suddenly, hitting her squarely in the horn. Twilight's head jerks sideways and her magic is interrupted, letting Rainbow Dash drop to the floor.
Everypony freezes. Twilight looks shocked, I hear Fluttershy gasp, and before I know what I'm doing, I put myself between Twilight and her attacker. Who the hay is this pony?!
"Leave her alone!" I yell, staring Rainbow Dash down. I expect her to keep going, but she looks shocked too.
"I uh... sorry Twilight..." She offers. Twilight scowls.
"That's enough! You! Out! Now!" She picks up Rainbow Dash, opens the door, and throws her out. I hear Rainbow "eep" as she flies through the doorway. Before the door can close, a grey pegasus with a blonde mane sticks her head in.
"What is going on in here?? Why are you throwing Rainbow Dash out the door?" She looks around the room, then gives me a quick salute.
"Just... wait outside please." Twilight asks her. Her voice is flat. I look over and she's sitting faced away from us, head hung low.
"Uh, sure thing" The mare replies, shutting the door after herself. After a few seconds, Twilight speaks.
"Do you remember anything?"
"Me? No, nothing. Sorry." I notice that Twilight is shaking.
"That didn't go like I thought it would at all!" Twilight's voice takes on a manic edge. She teleports suddenly, reappearing right in front of me.
"You should have remembered something! Why can't you remember something?! You were supposed to remember something!!" Stopping to take a deep breath, she continues. "That was Rainbow Dash! Fastest flier in all of Equestria! Surely you remember something about her!" Teleporting again, she reappears by Fluttershy, grabbing the poor girl and shaking her at me.
"Or Fluttershy! Look at Fluttershy! Do you remember anything about her?! Anything??"
"Umm..." I suppose I could say it. It might be something important.
"Fluttershy can really fly."
Twilight's eyes widen, and Fluttershy's mouth curves into a huge smile.
"Oh, you remember that!" The pegasus exclaims.
"How much do you remember?" Twilight asks, her voice brimming with hope. "Think back to that day. You were there, try to remember what happened!"
"Every pegasus in Ponyville was there Twilight." Fluttershy points out. I think about that day. Fluttershy being carried, the cheering... a dark area, pegasi flying everywhere... a lake below us! With a big machine!
"That was tornado day!" I yell triumphantly. Twilight practically bounds through the roof, then teleports over to me.
"You remember it?! Tell us tell us!"
"Well, there was a lake, lots of pegasi, and a tornado. Uh... I think we were trying to stop it? That's all I remember." Upon hearing this the hope in Twilight's eyes disappears. Her entire body seems to slump, overcome with disappointment. She teleports back, leaning against a wall.
"Aw it's okay Twilight." I reassure her.
"No! It's not okay! ... I've ruined everything. I thought... I thought I could help you, but I can't..."
"But you are helping me! Why don't you just move on to the next step in the plan?" I suggest. Twilight teleports over to me again.
"Plan? There is no plan! I've been making this up as I go along!! I don't know what I'm doing at all!" She yells, stamping her hooves frantically.
"Twilight..." Fluttershy says.
"No! I'm sick of this! I'm sick of keeping you in the dark. I'm sick of lying, and I'm sick of ruining everything for you! You were having such a good time at the party yesterday. You looked so happy, and then I had to ruin it. We walked out on you when you were feeling sad." Twilight looks up at me with misty eyes. "I hate this. I hate that you're stuck in here, I hate that I can't do anything." Walking over to nuzzle me tentatively, she continues, mumbling into my neck.
"I want you back. We all want you back, and it's up to me to do it, and I'm failing. The princess tasked me with this personally, she's requested daily reports, I..."
Twilight doesn't have a plan. I really don't know what to think. ... No, this isn't right. Twilight knows what to do. She always has a plan, always knows what's going on. ... Right?
I'm worried about Twilight. It doesn't seem like her to freak out like this at all. I figure that something must be wrong, and I want to comfort her somehow but I'm not sure what to do. Fortunately, Fluttershy steps in. She pulls the unicorn into a hug, holding her tightly. I can hear her whisper comforting words into Twilight's ear while rubbing her back gently. It takes a minute for her to calm down. Instead of looking at me or saying something, Twilight sits there and looks at the floor, tracing little circles with her hoof. It's Fluttershy who speaks.
"You don't need to worry." She reassures, looking at both of us. "I've spoken to the girls, and we all understand. This is going to take as long as it needs to, and nopony is going to get angry for any reason, okay?" We both look up at her and nod. Fluttershy smiles.
"Now, if it's okay with you Twilight, I have a few things I'd like to try with uh... Two-four-nine?" Twilight sighs and waves a hoof.
"Of course Fluttershy, go ahead."
"Thank you. I suppose we can... Oh! Oh I nearly forgot!" She cries, reaching into her saddlebags. She noses around for something, and pulls out a letter. Stretching a wing forward, she places the letter on it.
"Here. I asked to have your mail sent to my house while you're in here. I thought that it'd pile up, but there's just this one letter."
"Wait, a letter?" Twilight asks. "Does it have her name on it?"
"Oh my, you're right!" Fluttershy gasps, looking at me sheepishly. "I'm sorry, I didn't think of that."
"I'd really like to see it." I say. "Could you please read it and see if it's okay?" Twilight seems surprised at this.
"Read your letter? Are you sure?" I nod, and she levitates it over to herself, examining the envelope. With one deft rip, the letter is freed and unfolded. Twilight takes one look at it and gasps, covering her mouth with a hoof. She shows it to Fluttershy next. The pegasus skims over the words and blushes, looking somewhat uncomfortable.
"Fluttershy, what do you think?" Twilight asks.
"Um, it's nice..." She murmurs.
"Not that! I mean should we show her?"
"Right. I think so, yes." She affirms, nodding at Twilight.
"Are you sure? I don't know if we should..."
"It's okay, just let her see it." Fluttershy tells her. The lavender mare glances at me hesitantly before levitating the letter over for me to read.
I was thinking about you, so I thought I'd write a love letter. You'll probably laugh, but I don't care! Last night was amazing. I was so nervous when I told you how I felt, and you don't know how happy I was when you kissed me back.
I was a little surprised when you suggested that we move in together the next day. I'm really happy, you already know that, but I'm a little scared too. I don't want to take things too quickly. I love that we're spending so much time together though! Maybe we should go shopping for a new bed!
... Of course, if we have a big bed, that means we can do naughty stuff whenever we want...
Bring this letter when you come over tonight. It's an all-access pass. And I mean all-access. It'll let you see and do anything.
Don't be late.
Your Secret Admirer
By the time I finish the letter I'm blushing so hard that I feel dizzy. I look over at Twilight and Fluttershy. They're both looking at the floor.
"Are... are you sure this is for me??" Twilight looks up at me, shifting her hooves uncomfortably.
"Yes, I'm positive."
I'm not sure what I was expecting the letter to be, but I never would have guessed this. I have a coltfriend? Or maybe a marefriend? Do I swing that way? I'd never considered any of this stuff. I've been so focused on everything else that it never crossed my mind. Whoever it is, they seem pretty wild. I'm a little surprised that I'd suggest moving in together on the second day. It must be somepony I'm really close to. Somepony I trust. Although, living together doesn't sound too bad. I wouldn't be alone that way.
There's a knock on the door suddenly, and I groan at it. I've lost track of the time. Visiting hours are over already?? The door swings open, and the same grey and blonde mare sticks her head in.
"Hey, I'm not sure what I'm waiting for, but I'd like to say hi before I leave." I don't wait for Twilight to say anything. Walking over to the door, I offer the mare a hoofpump. She grins at me.
"Hi... what was your name?" I ask her.
"Cloud Kicker. How's the therapy going? Do you remember anything important yet?" I sigh.
"No, not yet. Hopefully I will soon though."
"Ah well. Maybe I'll see you tomorrow! Bye guys." Cloud Kicker waves to Twilight and Fluttershy, then leaves. Twilight clears her throat.
"You can keep the letter if you want. Fluttershy? Do you want to take over from here?" Twilight offers. She still sounds a little sad.
"Thank you Twilight. Could we sit down please? I'd like to tell you about Ponyville." Fluttershy sits down, and Twilight sits opposite her.
"About Ponyville?! Hay yeah!" I exclaim. I'd love to hear about Ponyville! Twilight catches my attention though. She looks really sad—no, crushed. Utterly defeated, and I've got no idea why. I can tell that she's under a lot of pressure, but she's taken this really badly for some reason. I walk over and sit next to her. Catching her attention with a nuzzle, I smile at her, trying to be supportive. She smiles back wistfully, then drops her gaze again as Fluttershy starts speaking. Oh Twilight...
We both sit and listen quietly as Fluttershy takes us on a journey through Ponyville. She tells us about her cottage, where she lives with all of her animals, including Angel Bunny. She takes care of sick and injured animals too, giving them a place to stay while she nurses them back to health. She tell us about the Everfree Forest beyond, then Sweet Apple Acres, where our friend Applejack lives and works with her family. The town square, the library where Twilight lives, Carousel Boutique, Rarity's home and self-owned business. She tells us about Rainbow Dash, Captain of the weather team, who lives in a beautiful cloud home decorated with rainbow waterfalls. Cloud Kicker, she explains, is a friend and work colleague; one of her weather lieutenants. Ponyville also has a fresh food market, where ponies such as Carrot Top, Crafty Crate, and Applejack sell their wares.
It sounds like a wonderful place. Fluttershy describes everything in so much detail. The colors, the life, the ponies of every shape and size. I get to see it all tomorrow! Hay, I live there! I can't wait. I have so many questions to ask the pegasus, but the guard knocks on the door. We have to wrap up in five minutes.
"Thanks for telling me about Ponyville Fluttershy. I can hardly wait to see it!" I exclaim, beaming at her.
"Oh, it really is a wonderful place." She pulls me into a hug. "I think I'll give you two some time alone. See you tomorrow!"
"Bye Fluttershy!" I wave as she walks out. Twilight stands up, making an effort to avoid my gaze.
"Twilight, I'm not blaming you for anything. I'll get my memory back eventually, so stop worrying, okay?" Twilight smiles at this.
"You're right. Everything will work out eventually. We're friends, and friends always stand by each other ... right?" Her ears droop as she looks at me uncertainly.
"Right." I hug her, rubbing her back gently just like Fluttershy did.
"I'll be back tomorrow morning to check you out, okay?"
"You bet. I'll see you then!" Twilight walks out, then freezes and spins around.
"Oh! I forgot all about this!" The next Daring Do book flies out of her saddlebags, dropping onto my bed. I grin at her.
"See? You're doing a good job!" I exclaim. To my surprise, she chuckles.
"See you tomorrow!" The door closes, and my last night in here begins.
The day has finally arrived. I'm getting out this morning, and I'm expecting Twilight any moment now ... I'm nervous though. I've built a little comfort zone for myself in here, and I feel oddly apprehensive about leaving it. There's a big world on the other side of that door. Anything could happen.
Punctual as always, Twilight arrives. "Good morning." She says, smiling at me. "Are you ready?"
"Yes ... I'm nervous though." I admit.
"There's nothing to worry about." She says, horn aglow. All of my stuff flies into the box in the corner, all ready to go. The door swings open.
Okay, this is it. I think to myself. I take a deep breath, and walk out the door.
I'm standing in a corridor. My body trembles lightly, and my mind races.
"Come on, there's no need to be nervous." Twilight says, comforting me. I feel myself swallow reflexively.
"I guess so. It's just that I don't remember any of it, I'm just feeling a little jittery, that's all." I say, trying to rally myself. I lift a hoof and step forward, easing into a trot. Don't get nervous now, you've been looking forward to this for days. It's time to get out of here and get your life back! I glance over my rump at the doorway that leads to my cell. It looks tiny from here, so small and confining. The corridor is huge in comparison, and I already feel strange for having lived in such a small space for so long.
"Besides, I'm here for you." She reaches over to nuzzle me mid-trot. "There's never any need to be scared when you're with me. We'll get through this together."
Okay, that was a little melodramatic. I appreciate the sentiment, and I'm definitely relieved to see Twilight in good spirits, but I've just got a few minor nerves. It's not like I'm scared for dear life.
"It's a shame that you haven't remembered anything important yet though." She continues. "This would be much easier if you had."
Okay, so she's still hung up on that. Darn. ... oh, what the hay. I nuzzle her back.
"Twilight, you did everything right. With what's happened to me you're the most helpful, caring friend I could have asked for. If we weren't best friends before all this I'd be really surprised, and-"
She cuts me off with a gentle hoof to my lips. "Let's go."
The corridor leads into a reception area. Sure, it's a boring reception area, but for me it's something new. Something I've never seen before. A wide corridor that I can only assume is the exit stands opposite a huge barricade-like desk, and there are seats in front of us arranged around a table that holds a pile of greyed, coffee-stained magazines. I stand there looking at the three ponies sitting in this waiting area, thinking that one of them might be waiting for me, but I spot Twilight walking towards the desk out of the corner of my eye. Chuckling sheepishly, I canter after her.
"Patient Two-four-nine checking out!" Twilight chirps happily. The receptionist stares at her for a few seconds, jaw swinging laboriously as she gnashes her chewing gum with loud, open-mouthed smacks. She groans something incomprehensible as her head swings downwards to consult her mound of files. Her horn glows, and a file floats up. She looks at it, then looks at it some more...
Twilight and I glance at each other as the seconds pass.
"Huh. Nope." The receptionist drones in a lifeless nasally drawl.
"I'm sorry?" Twilight asks, completely baffled.
"Said nope. 'ccording to the file, brighteyes here isn't getting out fer anuther month." Her eyes scan the file. "Aaaaaaaaaand that's on account of if she gets over that temper of hers, it says here." She pulls her head back up and looks at us emptily.
"What? No, that's not correct! I was told explicitly by the doctor that she gets out today!" Twilight cries, clutching me possessively. This doesn't sound good at all. I am NOT going back to that cell. Not now, not when I'm so close to freedom... I glare at the receptionist.
Suddenly her head rolls back, and her mouth flaps open.
"SUH-CURITY!!!" She hollers. Heads turn, and a few seconds later there's a tall, intimidating security guard standing behind us. I don't need to turn around; I know he's there, I can feel him.
"Is there a problem here ladies?" He rumbles in a deep baritone. Twilight whirls around, grinning awkwardly.
"Nono! No trouble at all! I was just checking out my friend here. ... I mean, checking her out. No! I mean checking her out of here. We're not causing any trouble! I was told by the doctor that she could be released today. By one of the doctors from here. The one monitoring my friend, I mean, not some other doctor from somewhere else. We're not crazy or trying to break out sir! There's just-"
"Huh. How about that, it was marked wrong." The receptionist drones. I think the pitch of her voice might have risen ever so slightly, but it's probably just my ears.
"What number?" She asks again. Twilight just stares at her.
"...Two. Four. Nine."
"Uhhhhhhh here. Two-four-nine, here it is." She looks over the file. "Uh huh. Uh huh. ... Uh huh. Hmm. Uh huh." Eventually, the file flies over to Twilight, and a quill follows.
"Name, date, and signature." Twilight grabs the quill and scribbles the information as fast as she can. She passes the file back, eliciting an approving grunt from the receptionist. Twilight doesn't give her another chance to speak. She whirls around and bolts out the door with me in magical tow. My body is yanked backwards and pulled through the entrance doors, then gently set down on the other side of them.
When I regain my balance I'm standing in front of the doors, looking at my reflection in the glass. I stare at myself, surprised. I hadn't been using my mirror lately, and I'd almost forgotten what I look like. I'm kinda cute... Yeah, I feel a little silly thinking like that, but it's true! Big, deep eyes, a spiky-cut mane that falls over one side of my face (brushed thoroughly just this morning), a sleek, athletic body, and a pair of shiny wings. For a pony who's been locked in a dark cell for about a week, I look surprisingly healthy. I notice Twilight looking at my reflection too, and I turn to smile at her. She smiles back, and we both burst out laughing.
"Freedom at last!" I cry.
"At long last!" She hollers back in agreement. "We barely survived the treacherous front desk, and narrowly escaped the snapping jaws of the deadly receptionist!"
"Hahaha, I thought we'd never get out of there!" I add, chuckling. "Did you see how long it took her to read the file?!" Twilight scoffed, waving a hoof.
"Oh please, that's nothing. I spent the entire week dealing with her! Checking in and checking out again and again and again..."
"Oh you poor thing!" I cry in mock sympathy, grinning at her. She grins back, but then her expression softens.
"But it was worth it if it meant that I got to see you." She murmurs, giving me one of her warm smiles. A second later she pulls back, whirling around to look over our surroundings. Huh?
"Welcome to Ponyville." She announces. I turn around and look.
Oh wow. We're in the middle of a village. The first thing that catches my eye is all of the ponies. There are mares and stallions of every color and shape walking around, talking to each other, and shopping. The ground is made of cobblestone, and the streets are really wide. Every building is colorful and decorated, and the sky is blue. Oh, the sky is so blue! It's like nothing I've ever seen!
I can't help myself. My smile widens as I take it all in, and I let out an ecstatic squeal as I hop up and down excitedly.
"Twilight! This is amazing! Look at everything! Look at the colors! Look at the ponies! Look how big the sky is!" Twilight just chuckles.
"I'm glad you like it." She says, nodding.
"Now, let's go. I've got a minor itinerary planned out..." As she says this, her saddlebags open and a thick scroll flies out. It hits the ground and starts rolling away as Twilight unfurls it. "...for the day. There are a few places I want to show you."
"A few?" I ask skeptically, eyeing the giant scroll that has now rolled a good few meters behind us. Twilight chuckles sheepishly, shrugging at me.
"Well, maybe more than a few. There's lots to see! Now let's go!" She picks up the scroll and trots into the main street, and I follow her, looking around. We turn a corner, and standing not ten meters away is Pinkie Pie. She grins as soon as our eyes meet, then rushes over and wraps her forelegs around me. She's got a really strong grip, actually. It's a pretty tight hug. I'm not sure if she's hugging me or trying to suffocate me.
"You're out! Yay! It's so good to see you back in Ponyville! It must be so exciting! I'll have to throw you a welcome back party! Maybe I'll even get my welcome wagon! I wonder if I can use it as a welcome back wagon for a day? Maybe if I added a second trumpet to the song?"
"Pinkie!" I gasp desperately.
"... can't... breathe!"
"Oops! Sorry!" She giggles, releasing me. "It's just that it's so exciting! There's so much to show you, and so much more to do!"
"Pinkie!" Twilight cuts her off sharply. "You don't need to worry about that. I've already planned out an itinerary." She pulls the giant scroll out of her saddlebags and waves it around. Pinkie stops hopping and frowns at her. She takes the scroll and unfurls it, reading carefully. She then places it on the ground and begins walking backward, unrolling the scroll and reading as she goes. When she's done she looks at Twilight grumpily.
"This is what you were going to do with her all day?"
"Of course! It's written right there Pinkie."
"Twilight, you've allocated five minutes here for staring at a statue!"
"Oh don't be silly Pinkie. We wouldn't be standing there staring at it continuously for five minutes. There are a lot of other things to look at around it! It's a perfect sightseeing spot. And besides, it's a statue of Princess Celestia!"
Pinkie sighs and turns to me. "It's a good thing I came when I did. I'll show you around, don't worry."
"But I've got an itinerary planned!" Twilight shouts desperately.
"Well, we might be able to do a few things on it. Say Twilight, can I see it again please?" Pinkie asks, hoof outstretched. Twilight levitates the giant scroll into her awaiting grasp.
"Thanks." Then, without another word, Pinkie trots over to a nearby fountain and throws the scroll into the water.
Pinkie!! What in Equestria are you doing!? The unicorn screams, galloping over and fishing out the soggy scroll. She unfurls it desperately, skimming over the contents.
"It's illegible." She mutters.
"It was boring, Twilight. Don't worry, I've got a few ideas of my own! Follow me!" She exclaims brightly, trotting away. Twilight lets out an angry groan, and we both run after her.
"The fresh food market is right here, so I thought we'd go have a look. It's really interesting, and there are always lots of friendly ponies around at this time of day!" Pinkie explains.
I can see the market up ahead. There are countless stalls selling all kinds of fruit and vegetables, and shopping ponies bustling around everywhere. Most of the stalls are wooden, and the various colors of the wares really grabs my attention. It's fairly noisy too. I notice that there are a lot of eateries at this end of the market. There's a cafe off to my left with tables and chairs out the front, where a pair of mares catch my eye. One is a minty unicorn with white streaks in her mane and tail, and the other is a beige earth pony with a two-tone pink and blue mane. They're both fairly young-looking. The unicorn looks kinda nervous, rubbing her hooves together and staring at the table. The earth pony listens intently, smiling at her, then throws a foreleg around her shoulders. She lifts the unicorn's head up with a gentle hoof to her chin, and their eyes meet. The earth pony tells her something. They gaze at each other for a few seconds, then share a kiss.
Twilight notices me watching. "It's rude to stare like that." She prods. "Stop staring, they'll see you!" I glance over at her.
"Who are they?"
"Lyra and Bon-Bon."
"Sweetest couple in Ponyville!" Pinkie adds.
"They own and run a confectionery together. It's a completely self-run business, really popular with the colts and fillies. Lyra makes the most amazing chocolate..." Twilight explains dreamily.
"Yep! Lyra's chocolate is the only chocolate I use for my baking. It makes chocolate cake totally scrumptious!" Pinkie adds, licking her lips.
I look over at the minty one. She's staring right at me. She blinks at me for a second, then smiles meekly. She doesn't seem to know me, and I'm surprisingly disappointed. Looking at her marefriend again, her face suddenly lights up with recognition, and she jumps out of her seat, thrusting her hooves skyward and swinging them around to attract our attention.
"Hey, they saw us! Let's go over and say hi!" Pinkie suggests. Beige throws an annoyed expression our way as we approach their table, and Minty quickly says something to her before getting up and walking over to me.
"I didn't recognize you at first! Hi! It's great to see you finally get out of that place. How are you?" She exclaims, throwing her forelegs around me. I return the hug.
"Hi! Are you Lyra, or Bon-Bon? I ask sheepishly. I can't tell.
"I'm Lyra! This is Bo-" She looks to her right, noticing the empty space. Grumbling, she turns around and beckons over Bon-Bon, who's still sitting at the table.
"Bon-Bon! Stop being such a grump and come say hi!" Bon-Bon mutters something as she gets up and walks over. My gaze drifts to Lyra's flank, and I notice her cutie mark.
"Oh!" I exclaim. "I get it, Lyra because of the lyre." Lyra looks back at me, notices where I'm looking, and gasps. She turns sharply, covering her flank with her tail.
"H-hey! Don't stare at my cutie mark!" She stammers, blushing. Bon-Bon rolls her eyes.
"Uh, sorry Lyra." I offer. I had no idea that that would embarrass her so much. Is staring at cutie marks bad somehow? "I was just curious. I didn't mean to leer or anything. Besides, I think it looks pretty awesome." I grin at her cheekily, and she smiles back.
"Don't worry about it." She assures, shifting her hooves. "It's so nice to see you two walking around together again. How is the memory loss going?"
"She doesn't remember anything about herself yet unfortunately." Twilight says glumly.
Lyra's ears droop. "What?!" She gasps. "But it's been a week! You've gotta know your name by now at least...?"
I shake my head. "No. Still don't know it." I tell her. My voice sounds a little more agitated than I'd intended.
Lyra's gaze drops to the ground, and she covers her mouth with a hoof, mumbling something to herself. "That's... that's awful. You've been sitting in that place all week not knowing who you are?" She looks up at me with misty eyes.
"Sounds bad." Bon-Bon adds.
"Bon-Bon and I heard about what happened, but we had no idea it was that bad." Lyra's voice begins to waver. "I can't begin to imagine how awful it must be for you. Getting your memory back would be so much easier if we could just tell you your name. Believe me, if we could, we wouldn't hesitate."
"There was a town meeting." Bon-Bon interjects. "Twilight told us how important it was that we keep your name a secret until you-"
She's cut off by a sob. Lyra's crying into her hoof quietly.
"Lyra!" Bon-Bon gasps. She throws a furious glare at us as she comforts her marefriend. Lyra lets her tears out on Bon-Bon's mane, trembling a little as Bon-Bon holds her.
They stand there for a few seconds, and nopony says anything. I glance over at Twilight and Pinkie uncertainly, wondering what to do.
"Now look what you've done!" Bon-Bon hisses. "Why are you bugging us while we have lunch anyway? Go away!"
Twilight draws back, shocked. "We didn't... sorry." She mumbles, glancing over to me perplexedly.
"Are you okay Lyra?" Pinkie asks gently. Lyra mumbles something and pulls herself out of Bon-Bon's embrace.
"Don't be rude Bon-Bon." She mutters quietly. Wiping away her tears, she walks over to Twilight and puts a hoof on her shoulder.
"You take good care of her, okay?" Twilight smiles down at her.
"Of course. Thanks Lyra." Lyra nods, then turns to me. She opens her mouth to say something, but pauses to think and turns back to Twilight.
"Twilight, could you uh... could you please let us know when she remembers?" Lyra asks, shifting her hooves tentatively.
"Sure. I can write a quick letter and get Spike to run it up the street if I'm at home." Lyra smiles at her sweetly, thanking her. She walks over to me next and nuzzles me gently.
"Good luck." She says softly, her voice endearingly sincere. She then turns and walks back over to Bon-Bon, curling her tail around herself as she does so.
"Our food's here." Bon-Bon says. Judging by her tone, what she really means is go away. We all wave and say our goodbyes as we head for the market square.
"I hope that didn't upset her too much." I say. Pinkie smiles at me reassuringly.
"Don't worry about it too much." Twilight tells me "Lyra's fragile, but she's not naive. I'm fairly certain that she'd prefer to know what's happened."
"Okay, good. Hey, are we friends with them?" I ask hopefully. Lyra's really made a good first impression. I definitely wouldn't mind getting to know her. Bon-Bon seems a little grouchy though.
"No, actually. I really don't know why, I buy chocolate from her all the time." Twilight wonders as she walks ahead of us, forming a lead as we enter the hustle of the market square.
It's really busy, and we have to line up single file to get anywhere. Twilight uses her magic to nudge others ponies out of the way. Pinkie follows her, and I take up the rear. Pinkie disappears into the crowd for a few seconds, then reappears with a bunch of carrots slung over her back. She grins back at me, winking. I didn't see where she went. It's far too busy to get a clear view of anything in here. Once we get out of the main square it's a lot easier to walk around. I let out the breath I'd been holding, and stretch my wings out horizontally, finding comfort in the empty space around me. There are more cafes on this end, and a few food stalls.
I look over to my right at a juice bar. A blue unicorn spots me, meeting my gaze. She trots over, holding a juice with her magic.
"So they released you today? How are you feeling?" she asks curtly.
"Hi! I'm okay, I guess." I reply.
"Ah, this is-"
"Colgate." The unicorn cuts twilight off. "My real name is Minuette, but nopony calls me that. Show me your teeth."
"Huh?" I ask confusedly. Show her my teeth? Why?
"You've been living in a rehabilitation facility for the past week, and were not provided with a toothbrush, correct? You should be concerned about your dental health. Show me your teeth."
I open my mouth, letting her see. Twilight and Pinkie are standing off to the side staring at Colgate with twin annoyed expressions on their faces. She ums and ahhs a few times as she peers at my teeth.
"Hmm, better than I thought. You should still come to my clinic for a checkup and cleaning though. I'll make an appointment for nine o'clock tomorrow okay? Good. See you there." She turns and walks away without another word.
"Why do I get the feeling that everypony in this town has really healthy teeth?" I ask, staring after her. Twilight chuckles.
"Yes, she does have quite the method of caring for her patients."
We enter what looks like a business district. There are lots of shops here, mostly selling furniture and supplies. I notice one place that, oddly, sells both.
"Quills and Sofas?" I ask.
"Yes!" Twilight exclaims. "I'm one of their best customers. I seem to go through quills really quickly for some reason." She muses thoughtfully. "I've never bought a sofa there before though. The quality of their quills is exceptional, so if I ever need a sofa I think I'd buy it there."
Suddenly, Pinkie thrusts her rump into the air and gasps.
"My tail my tail! Twitch-a-twitch! Twitch-a-twitch!" Pinkie shouts, wiggling her tail. She looks around wildly, then grabs me and pulls backward.
"Whoooaah!" Something yells from above. It divebombs me, clumsily landing in the space I had occupied moments ago.
"Saved you!" Pinkie singsongs, poking my rump with a hoof. She walks up and stands next to me, looking at whatever just tried to attack me.
"Hehe, sorry about that. I have some trouble with distance sometimes." It's a pegasus. She's grey with a short blonde mane, and one of her eyes is wonky, like it's looking in the wrong direction. Her face flushes bright red as she smiles at me apologetically, and I notice her wings fluttering nervously. She's kinda cute in this dorky, clumsy way.
"Uh, hi. Trouble with distance? What were you trying to do?" I ask her.
"Fly over and say hi." She chuckles sheepishly. "The name's Derpy, by the way. Hi!" She turns sideways. "Say hi, muffin." There's a unicorn filly slumped on her back. She looks up at me, smiling weakly.
"Hi miss... uh, mommy? What do I call her?" The filly asks.
"Hmm, well miss Twilight told us that we can't use her real name, so I guess we should call her... umm..." Derpy trails off and looks over at Twilight expectantly.
"Don't call her anything. Just "miss" if you want to. She'll remember her name eventually, and then we can all go back to using that."
"Why is she grey? What happened to her colors?" The filly asks. Colors?
"We don't know exactly." Twilight says. "Hopefully she'll get them back when she gets her memories back."
"Wait, I have colors?" I ask Twilight.
"Don't worry, I'll explain later." She tells me. I guess I can wait.
"So who's this?" I ask, smiling at the filly perched on Derpy's back.
"This is my daughter, Dinky." Derpy says, nuzzling her lovingly. Her daughter?? Wow, I thought she'd be her little sister. Derpy looks so young. The pegasus pouts, sighing. "My little muffin is sick though. I thought I'd take her out for some fresh air while I go do my Thursday morning grocery shop." Her voice wavers with concern. I can tell that she's really worried.
"Aww, she'll be okay!" Pinkie says, bouncing up to the duo. "Say, I think a few muffins might fix her up!" Derpy's head snaps upright, and her eyes widen.
"Muffins? Ooh yes, what a good idea!!" She gushes, licking her lips. Dinky giggles. "Yes please miss Pinkie! Me and mommy both love your muffins!" She chirps excitedly. Derpy nods vigorously, smiling broadly. "I have to do my shopping, then I'll drop everything and Dinky off at home. Should I meet you there in say... fifteen minutes?"
"Sure! We'll be there!" Pinkie confirms.
"Okay. It was nice to see you again! Bye!" Derpy and Dinky wave at me as they leave. I turn to Pinkie.
"Are we going to Sugarcube Corner?" I ask excitedly. From what Fluttershy told me, it sounds like an amazing place. I feel hungry too, wouldn't mind something to eat. Pinkie gasps, jumping a good foot into the air.
"You remember Sugarcube Corner? You remember you remember!" She chants happily, bouncing up and down.
"Well, not really. Fluttershy told me all about it yesterday."
"You know how Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash came to see me yesterday? She told me all about Ponyville." I explain. I expect her to say something, but she just looks at me. I look back, confused, and she turns to Twilight. Pinkie stares at her for a long time.
"Don't ask. I'll tell you later." Twilight grumbles.
"What?" I ask, looking back and forth at the two ponies. "What are you talking about? Don't ask about what?"
"I'll... I'll tell you later." She mumbles, looking at the ground.
"Oh well, must be nothing!" Pinkie decides. "Come on, let's go!"
We continue walking through Ponyville. I'm walking fairly slowly, head swinging around in all directions. I just don't have enough sets of eyes to take in everything. It's all so beautiful. Everypony walks around with a content smile on their face, going about their business, and it really seems like a happy place. All of the ponies seem to know each other really well. A lot of them probably know me too. I'm one of these ponies. The thought still feels foreign, like I'm an outsider, or a visitor passing through the town. I can't wait to get some of my memories of this place back and piece it all together. I'll find my place in this town, go see my house... I live in one of these wonderful homes! It all makes me smile inside.
I'm jolted from my thoughts by frantic shouting.
"Twilight! Twilight! You have to help me!" A pale yellow mare with a curly orange mane runs up to Twilight, panting. "Town hall is going to collapse! We can't hold it! You have to come steady it with your magic so we can fix it! Hurry!" She shouts, waving her hooves frantically. Twilight's eyes bug out.
"What?! Town hall is collapsing?!" She looks back at me and Pinkie, faltering.
"Don't worry about us Twilight. I'll take her to Sugarcube Corner! You can meet us there." Pinkie says to her. The unicorn eyes Pinkie suspiciously.
"Pinkie, can I trust you with her?" Twilight is dead serious. Pinkie just smiles at her and nods.
"Uh huh! Responsibility is my middle name!"
"Twilight, come on!" The orange-maned mare urges. Twilight groans, looks at me, and runs off with her. Pinkie smiles as she watches them leave.
"Good ol' Carrot Top!" She muses.
"Oh!" I exclaim, remembering what Fluttershy told me. "That was Carrot Top! She grows carrots and sells them at the market, right?" Pinkie smiles at me.
"Yeah, best carrots in Ponyville. I only use Harvest carrots in my carrot cakes." She explains. "Now let's go to Sugarcube Corner!
We only have to walk one more block to reach it. My first impression is that it's a gingerbread house. I know that sounds ridiculous, but if I didn't know better I'd think it actually is a real one. The entire thing looks delicious!
"Come on!" Pinkie exclaims, running for the entrance. She pops inside and holds it open for me, beckoning excitedly with a pink hoof. I trot in, looking around. I can't help but gasp when I see the inside. The first thing that hits me is the aroma. The bakery smells of warm cakes and coffees... it's wonderful. There's a counter on the left, and a glass display filled to the brim with all kinds of colorful delicious-looking cakes. The menu fills up the entire back wall, and it's got all kinds of things on it - milkshakes, coffee, sandwiches... my stomach rumbles.
The rumbling noise attracts Pinkie's attention. Her ears prick up, and she pokes her nose into my belly.
"Ooh... you sound hungry! Lucky you're in Sugarcube Corner! I've got just the thing for that rumbly tumbly!" She exclaims. Before I can say anything she zips out back, disappearing through a pair of double doors. A few seconds pass, so I have a look around. There's a seating section off to the right, which is surprisingly empty. The cake display though, wow. Chocolate mudcake, multicolored cupcakes, fruity muffins, marble cake, black forest, carrot cake (made with Carrot Top's carrots, I'd say), and a whole bunch more.
I jump when the front door swings open abruptly, and Derpy skips in. She looks so eager, I can't help but chuckle.
"Hey Derpy!" I call, waving to her.
"Oh good, you're here!" She exclaims, running over and hugging me. "Where's Pinkie Pie?"
"Out back. I think she's making me something to eat, she's been out there a whi-"
"Oh, you're here!" Pinkie squeaks, poking her head out. She disappears again, and reappears a second later holding a box, which she puts down on the counter.
"Ooh..." Derpy walks toward the box as if in a trance. I swear she's drooling. "Are those for me Pinkie?"
Pinkie doesn't respond. Instead, she zooms out from behind the counter, stopping Derpy in her tracks with a hoof to the chest. She frowns at the pegasus, and her voice takes on an aloof tone.
"So Derpy, I hear you like cakes?" Derpy nods vigorously, licking her lips.
"Word on the street is that you have a taste for... muffins." She looks at her outstretched hoof disinterestedly, turning it back and forth slightly. Derpy tilts her head confusedly.
"Well... yeah Pinkie, everypony knows that."
"Uh huh." Pinkie mutters, slinking around behind her. She leans in close, her lips inches away from Derpy's ear. "But." she whispers. What the hay is Pinkie doing?? I wonder. Derpy is shuddering now. She bites her lip as Pinkie utters her next words in a low, seductive tone.
"I heard that you're after my muffins, Derpy." She teases, tracing a hoof down the mare's side. Derpy closes her eyes and pants lightly.
"Mmhmm..." The pegasus mumbles, nodding slowly. Pinkie frowns.
"What was that Derpy? You're going to have to speak a little louder if you want some of my muffins."
"Oh yes please, Pinkie..." Derpy whimpers. The pink mare wraps her front hooves around Derpy's torso, hugging her from behind.
"Mmm, yeah?" Pinkie coos, tracing her hooves up and down Derpy's chest tantalizingly. Derpy is shivering and panting into her hoof now.
"Ohh yes, Pinkie! Your muffins are the best!" She moans. "Oh please, I want them so bad..."
At this point I realize that I'm staring at them with my mouth hanging open. I blink a few times as I come to my senses, snap my mouth shut, and walk over to them.
"What the hay are you doing Pinkie?!" I yell. I'm not sure whether I'm confused, annoyed, excited, or what. "Are you giving her some muffins or what?!"
They both turn and look at me for a few seconds before bursting into fits of laughter, even collapsing against each other. They're having a really good laugh. So good in fact, that I laugh a little too. It's infectious. When we're done Pinkie skips over to the box and picks it up while Derpy watches. The pegasus glances over at me, blushing, and flashes me a silly grin.
"Hee hee hee! Of course I'm giving her some muffins silly! Here, have a look Derpy!" She grabs the box and opens it. Derpy walks over and peers into the box, and her entire body droops contentedly.
"Ooh..." Pinkie giggles, walking over to stand next to her. She leans over and plants a quick kiss on Derpy's cheek.
"I put in all of your favorites, and the ones Dinky likes too." She explains, gesturing around inside the box. "And this is a new recipe! It's the same one I gave you." She says, looking over at me. Derpy gasps, and her ears droop. She looks over at me with a pout, then turns back to Pinkie Pie.
"You gave her a new-recipe muffin before me?" She whispers sadly. The pink pony just smiles at her.
"Yep! This is my best recipe yet! I had to make sure it was perfect. Besides, she is my best friend, and she was stuck in that awful little room all week. I had to test it on somepony, and you two get a sneak taste before I add it to the menu!"
Pinkie smiles at us for a few seconds, than gasps. "Hey! Why don't you tell Derpy what it was like?" She suggests, winking at me.
"Well... it was hot. When I took a bite it was still steamy." I begin. "It was sooo delicious. The cake was moist and chocolatey, and it tasted really amazing. The icing was crumbly, but not hard. Oh wow, and when I bit into it..." I have to stop talking, otherwise I'll start giggling uncontrollably. Derpy's reaction is priceless! She's shivering and panting, fiddling with her hooves... She's getting so adorably hot and flustered over muffins, of all things. A grin forms on my face. I think I can have some fun with this. I walk over to her slowly with an enticing smile. I make my voice as deep and seductive as I can, circling around behind her slowly.
"Inside the cake there were all of these little gooey... hot... pockets of chocolate fudge. Oh my gosh it was amazing, Derpy." I whisper, drawing out my description and making it sound much naughtier than it actually is. Her response is a grumble.
"You guys are mean." Derpy says, frowning at us. Pinkie giggles, throwing a foreleg around her. "Hey, I can't help that I'm a super duper baker!"
Derpy chuckles at this. "That's true. I think I finished my shopping twice as quick just to get over here." She admits, rubbing her foreleg sheepishly.
"So is Dinky feeling better?" Pinkie asks.
"Not really. I'm going to see if she sleeps it off, but I might have to take her to see Doctor Stable." She says worriedly.
"Aww, don't worry." Pinkie soothes, rubbing the pegasus's back comfortingly. "She'll be alright."
"Hopefully. Thanks Pinkie." Derpy says, smiling at the pink pony. "I wish she'd have some of my herbal tea, it'd clear her right up. She refuses to go anywhere near it though, says it's stinky." Derpy says, chuckling. "Anyway, I'd better get back home. Thanks so much for the muffins Pinkie, and it was good to see you!" She says, waving to me. Pinkie puts the box on her back and gives her another peck on the cheek.
"See you later!"
"Hey Pinkie." I begin, turning to her. "What were you doing before Derpy came in?"
"Oh right!" She exclaims, zooming out back, then over to a nearby table. "A sandwich!"
I walk over to the table, looking at the plate. "Cheese, tomato, avocado and pepper on wholegrain bread." She explains. "Would you like some juice too?"
"Some juice? Sure, but I uh..."
"Don't worry, it's on the house."
"Thanks Pinkie. Sure, I'll take a juice."
"Go sit down, I'll bring it out!" She says, disappearing again. I take a seat at the table and look down at my sandwich. I had forgotten how hungry I am. Encouraged by the rumbles of my tummy, I pick it up and take a bite. Unsurprisingly, it's delicious. The bread is thick and crusty, the tomatoes are fresh and crisp, the cheese has a distinct tang, but it's also really smooth. The avocado is kinda smooshy, and fills out the sandwich nicely. The pepper adds a nice kick as well.
I look up to see pinkie smiling at me, and a glass of juice on the table.
"Fnksh Punkeeth!" I say, thanking her through my mouthful of sandwich. She sits down opposite me, watching contentedly.
"It's good to have you back. We all missed you."
"Thanks! Coming back has been much easier with friends like you and Twilight around." This scores a warm smile from my pink friend.
"Hey, have you remembered anything new? Walking through Ponyville probably reminded you of a whole bunch of things."
I nod, swallowing my sandwich. "Well, I've been getting little flashes all day. Just minor stuff, nothing big. The sandwich is great, by the way." I say, taking another chomp. She chuckles appreciatively, gazing out a window thoughtfully. I take a sip of juice, slurping quietly.
Pinkie frowns. Her gaze drops to the table, and she sighs tiredly. "Listen, can you promise me something?"
"I guess. What is it?"
"Well..." Pinkie rubs her foreleg, thinking. "Twilight's done something. I don't know what or why exactly, but I'm sure that she had a good reason, and she was doing it to help you."
"What did she do?"
"I think it'd be better coming from her. Promise that you won't get angry with her? For me?" I look at her confusedly.
"How am I supposed to promise not to get angry when I don't know what's going on?" I protest. Pinkie pouts at me. This isn't one of her playful pouts, she looks genuinely scared and concerned.
"Okay, I'll do my best. No getting angry."
"Thanks." She stands up and walks over to me, looking at me with this edgy, scared expression on her face. "Listen... A lot of ponies don't agree with Twilight. They think that we should just tell you what your name is."
"They do?! Who?" I ask excitedly.
"Well... me. I don't... I'm just going to tell you, okay?" She says, rubbing the back of her neck. I smile at her, and she hugs me. Aw yeah! Finally! I wrap my forelegs around her and rest my head on top of hers, hugging back. I wish she wasn't so upset about this. Something really bad must have happened to me to make everypony so apprehensive about one little name. Are they concerned about my safety? Or maybe scared of something else? Something connected to me? I shudder at the thought.
"Oh *.....*, I hope I'm doing the right thing..." Pinkie mumbles into my chest.
"Hey! Was that it?! Did you say it??" I exclaim, brimming with anticipation. Pinkie steps back and looks at me. Oh my gosh oh my gosh, this is it! She takes a deep breath, swallows nervously, and...
The front door slams open, startling us.
"PINKIE!" Twilight roars. She's standing in the doorway glaring daggers at the pink mare, absolutely seething with anger. "I should have known that that ridiculous town hall story was a diversion! What are you doing!?"
Pinkie Pie doesn't answer Twilight. Instead, she turns back to me.
"Rainbow Dash. Your name is Rainbow Dash."
The waiting area was typical and boring. It was small, with a few seats against a wall and not much else. The unnatural silence was enough to make somepony's ears ring, and it smelled of musty carpet and disinfectant. Visiting hours weren't for another four hours, so it was empty.
Save for Twilight Sparkle.
She stood in the middle of the room, staring at the carpet. To an outside observer, she was still. Her body was motionless, and her eyes remained fixated on the same patch of carpet in front of her hooves.
Twilight Sparkle was far from still. Her heart was pounding so hard that she could feel her chest throb. Her stomach churned with anxiety, and her mind raced. She stood there retracing her thoughts, going over events in her mind again and again, willing her desires to become reality.
If only I had seen it sooner. If only I had done something. If only...
She swallowed. Her throat was so dry, it felt clogged. She didn't deserve the love she had been shown. She didn't deserve to have these feelings for Rainbow Dash. What kind of mare has a marefriend for only one day?
It was one day, Twilight. It was. Not zero, one. She told herself.
It was all so clear in her mind. Everything made so much sense now. The right course of action was glaringly obvious.
So why hadn't she taken it?
Twilight sat outside Rainbow's room, waiting. The pegasus had finally woken up, and Twilight had raced to the rehabilitation center as soon as she got the news. She felt nervous. Terrified. Sick. If Applejack wasn't here for her... well, Twilight was just glad that she was.
The doctor came out.
"Hello." He said, smiling warmly. "I'm the doctor who's handling the case. Twilight Sparkle, is it?"
"Yes, and this is Applejack. Can we see her?" Twilight asked hopefully.
"At the moment, no. We're don't know how extensive her amnesia is at this point, so we'll need to keep her overnight for observation." He said, placing a comforting hood on Twilight's shoulder. "I'm truly sorry, but you'll have to come back tomorrow. I'd suggest staying with loved ones. Is there a friend's house you can stay at for the night?"
"Yes." Applejack said. "She'll be staying with me." Twilight gave her a brief grateful smile.
"Good. Twilight, you can come in tomorrow morning to see me first-thing. We should have the results by then."
Twilight took a deep breath. "Thank you doctor." She didn't care about hiding the devastation in her voice right then. The doctor gave them one last nod before leaving. Twilight buried her face in Applejack's mane.
Applejack could feel her quivering gently. "You alright darlin'?"
"I don't know if I can do this, Applejack..." Twilight whimpered, barely audible. Applejack wrapped her forelegs around the unicorn and held her tightly.
"You can do this Twi. Just remember, you don't have to do it alone. We're all here for you. Now listen, there's nothing we can do here. I'm insisting that you stay with me tonigh-"
"No, no. I can't leave her here. I have to stay!"
"Twilight, sitting here ain't going to do anything useful. We're going home now, and you can get up bright and early tomorrow to go see her. Besides, we've got the varmints tied up in my barn, and I want some answers. Fluttershy was downright murderous when we left her and Rarity with them, and I don't wanna be gone for too long, just in case." She paused, thinking. "Then again..."
"Twilight Sparkle? Thuh doctor'll see ya now."
Twilight jumped. Her head snapped up, and she swallowed reflexively. Steeling herself, she followed the receptionist down the corridor to the doctor's office. The receptionist grunted something at her when she reached the appropriate door, then left. The door was ajar, and she took a moment to calm herself before she went in.
He didn't look up when Twilight entered. He just sat at his desk reading a file.
"Hello doctor. H-how is she?" Twilight asked, terrified of the answer. The doctor muttered something inaudible, indicating for her to wait.
Twilight couldn't bear to wait. She had been waiting for four days now. Her hooves shifted anxiously as she looked around the room, hoping to find some kind of distraction. The office was fairly orderly, everything was clean and organized save for the enormous stack of papers on the desk that seemed to loom over her imposingly. She noticed that he hadn't unpacked his bags yet, which made sense, as she was the first pony there.
"So um... how are you doctor?" Twilight attempted to fill the silence. Anything would do; it was unbearable.
"Eh, good." He replied dismissively.
"I uh... I notice you're not wearing your bowtie today. It's a shame, I thought it looked good on you."
The doctor's head shot up. "What?!" He shouted, shocked. Twilight shrunk back, lowering her gaze meekly.
"I-I'm, I'm sorry." She whispered.
"I spilled coffee on it." The doctor snapped, glaring at Twilight. A second later, he switched to a genial smile.
"So what can I do for you?" He asked her cheerfully. Twilight's ears drooped. The doctor had forgotten her. Twilight had seen him only yesterday! How could he have just forgotten so easily?!
Twilight began to feel anger stab at her heart. She took umbrage at the doctor's carelessness, and it was slowly overtaking her dread. She scowled at him.
"I'm Twilight Sparkle. I need to know how Rainbow Dash is." She growled, unable to keep a lid on her emotions. The doctor frowned at her, then walked over to a filing cabinet.
"Do you remember her number?"
"Rainbow Dash! Why have you put away the file?!"
"What number, miss?"
"I don't... I don't know."
"Ah, here it is on my desk. Patient Two-four-nine."
"Rainbow Dash." Twilight pressed.
"Patient Two-four-nine." The doctor repeated, skimming over the file. "Admitted in critical condition, stabilized in comatose state, observed over three day period, emerged with symptoms of amnesia, observed overnight. Patient shows extreme symptoms of complete retrograde amnesia plus minor anterograde with expected transience."
Twilight's anger left her instantly. Her hope had been shattered. She had assured herself that the amnesia was just a side effect of the coma. Rainbow would surely remember everything once she woke up and got back on her hooves. Twilight had waited four days to see her. She wanted nothing more than to see her smile, feel her touch...
"Did you say extreme amnesia?"
"Yes. We ran tests, and the patient has lost her memory entirely."
"No, that's... Are you sure?"
"It says so right here on the file." The doctor repeated, levitating the file over for her to read. she glared at it petulantly. She didn't want to read the words on it. She didn't want to read that Rainbow didn't remember her. The doctor simply had the wrong version of the file. Twilight wanted to read the one that said that Rainbow was fine. The one that said that Rainbow would be happy and healthy when Twilight walked in, and she'd smile when their eyes locked. They'd finally hug each other, and...
The sheet hadn't been filled out entirely. There were fields down the bottom that had been left blank. There was room for error here. Twilight could fix this.
"Hey, what about these questions? Have you asked her these yet?"
"No? What questions?"
"These questions right here at the bottom of the file! 'Question number one, what is your name?' Those questions!"
"Those questions are for staff only." He replied curtly, taking back the file.
"Well then can I please see her? I understand that visiting hours haven't begun yet, but I could help her with her memory loss, she'll recognize me!"
"No, I can't allow that. It's not visiting hours, you said so yourself. Also, based on her symptoms, it would be unwise to reveal her identity to her."
"You can't tell her who she is. Her mind is... fragile, and filling in the gaps for her could be dangerous."
"Dangerous? What? How? I've read books on the subject, and they never mentioned anything about that."
"Well, this is an extreme case. Your books don't cover this."
"But how is it dangerous? What could happen?"
"Well, any number of things. Brain damage, another coma... she might not remember at all. You can't tell her. Now, I have paperwork to attend to. I'd like you to leave, please." The doctor casually returned to his paperwork.
Today was going to be the day. The last four days had left Twilight a quivering wreck, but she had held out for today. She and Rainbow were going to be reunited.
... But it wasn't going to happen. Twilight had felt the fear, the horror, the anger, the regret; now there was nothing left. She stood there staring at the table blankly. Her facial expression remained unchanged as tears streamed down her cheeks. When she spoke, her voice was flat and lifeless.
"I've been waiting four days. Four days to see her again. When I saw her three days ago, she was in a coma. It felt like I was standing over her dead body. I need to see her. I need to see her... move, look around, speak. I can't do it. I can't leave. Please doctor..." She looked up at him, tears blurring her vision. The doctor averted his gaze, shifting uncomfortably. A few seconds later, he relented.
"Fine. I'll let you see her. Go wait in the waiting area while I notify the guard. And take these questions too."
A wistful smile was all she could manage.
She returned to the waiting area reluctantly, trying not to think about anything. For the next five minutes, she waited. Then, a dark brown unicorn rounded the corner, his gaze settling on her.
"Twilight Sparkle? This way."
He led her down a long corridor lined with doors. Rainbow's room was right down the end. She stood there as he unlocked it, taking deep breaths.
Twilight knew that she wasn't going to be able to tell Rainbow that they knew each other. She'd ask too many questions. Rainbow might not even trust her.
"Two-four-nine! You have a visitor!" The guard hollered through the doorway.
Once she was sure that she felt relatively calm, she took a deep breath and walked in.
"Do you need me to stay on hoof, ma'am?" The guard asked her.
"No, that will be all, thank you sir." She replied.
Rainbow stood in the opposite corner of the room. Her stance was low and defensive, and she glared at Twilight with a mix of rage and fear.
"STAY BACK!" She screamed. "Don't come any closer! I'll tear you to bits!!"
Twilight hadn't quite been expecting this. She ignored her feelings, walked over to the middle of the room, and sat down.
"I mean it! They've got me in isolation for a reason you know! The other prisoners are all scared of me! You don't wanna push me!"
Rainbow, please don't be scared. It's me, Twilight. You're safe. I promise you I'm going to help you through this. Whatever it takes. I love you...
"Hello. I'm Twilight Sparkle."