“You know what am I going to do tonight? The same thing I'm going to do every night since today, Whooves: trying to stay sane in this crazy town.”
Engineer Whooves was talking to himself to keep his mind occupied in the dark interior of his new flat in Ponyville. He moved there literally one day earlier and now he strongly regretted his decision. He never liked Ponyville – when he was visiting a month or two ago, he noticed it was impossible to get any soyburgers. He was Amareican, he won't switch to apples.
But he had no other choice. The only free post for a municipal hourglass operator was here and he could not dream about getting job in any other town. Crisis, the government said. Whooves sometimes wondered if the Occupy Canterlot movement was right. Could ponies, whose main slogan ‘We're the 99.99%!’ was all about racial prejudice against alicorn minority, be right in their economic postulates?
‘It's not time for that, Whooves,’ he decided and slapped himself in the face. ‘I need to stay focused.’
There was a reason he was staying inside his flat, with curtains pulled and door barricaded. The reason was chasing him for hours and Whooves was relieved he managed to escape his foe and hide in the only safe place he could think of.
But let's start the story from the very beginning.
A small, dirty flat on the 13th floor of a skyscraper in the middle of Amareica City. Several empty bottles of sake lay on the floor. A lone drunken stallion was snoring on a couch. Since he lost his last job, he chose to spend his all life savings on booze. While he sent applications for hourglass operator position to many towns and villages in Equestria, none has responded. Initially, he hoped to get job in Fillydelphia or Manehattan, but after they didn't respond for weeks, he desperately decided to try other places. Still, no response. He even went so far as going to some towns and personally handing his application to mayors, hoping it would improve his chances. All of them declined.
The stallion groaned. Sunlight shone through the window directly onto his face. He couldn't stand the light, so he got up to pull the blinds. He looked around, only to see he was out of drink. He rolled his bloodshot eyes, grabbed a bag and went outside, down the staircase to the shop.
On his way back, he instinctively checked his mailbox. There was a pink envelope inside. ‘Cool, more bills,’ he thought to himself and got back to his flat.
The first thing he did after locking the door was opening the letter. His eyes hurt; he wished he had an assistant to read letters aloud. To his surprise, this one wasn't a bill:
Dear Engineer Whooves,
I'd like to inform you that our previous hourglass operator quit her job to pursue a carrier in dentistry. We would be very thankful if you decided to take her post. I took a liberty of arranging everything. As for your accommodation, ask Miss Carrot Top at the Sweet Carrot Acres. I expect you soon.
— Ivory Scroll, Mayor of Ponyville
Whooves scratched his head. If he was to get out of his misery, he should try every opportunity that presented itself before him. This was one of them. He smiled. ‘It's time to celebrate,’ he thought and opened one of the freshly bought bottles.
The train trip was uneventful and Engineer Whooves managed to get to Ponyville and later the Sweet Carrot Acres without any unnecessary adventures. The owner of the farm turned out to be a rather pretty orange mare. Unfortunately, she said that something came up and offered Whooves another place to stay: just above her friend's flower shop. The flower shop owner's name was Roseluck. She was pretty, too, with her scarlet mane, but it turned out she was engaged.
Whooves spent his first afternoon on unpacking. When he was done, he went downstairs to visit her landmare. It turned out that she was being visited by her two friends and suppliers, so his time went pretty quick in a pleasant atmosphere.
The next day started beautifully. Engineer Whooves woke up without hangover. It was a weird feeling: not drinking for over 24 hours. For breakfast, he ate leftovers from his trip to Ponyville. He'd buy some fresh stuff later. He went downstairs, greeted Roseluck, trotted to the streets towards the main square... and didn't know which way to go next.
“So, where's the damn town hall in this town?” he asked himself. His memories from his last visit in Ponyville were fuzzy, he visited too many other towns in the meantime to remember them all. “I know, I'll ask some locals,” he decided.
Whooves trotted to a green unicorn mare, who had just passed him.
The mare turned around, saw Whooves and galloped away after releasing a loud shocked gasp.
“Well, that was one accurate answer.”
Anypony could hit the town's weirdo on the first try, couldn't they?
He tried again, this time it was a grey pegasus mare who was leaving her house.
“Good afternoon,” he greeted her, “I'm Engineer Whooves and–”
“Hi, it's a pleasure to meet you,” the mare interrupted him immediately. “My name is Derpy Hooves, and we from the Hooves family should keep together!”
Whooves tried to fix the misunderstanding: “Family? Actually, my name is spelled–”
“So what can I do for my long lost cousin?”
“Ekhm... Well, my name is spelled with W-H, not H, so I doubt we're family. It's a given name, not a family name. What I wanted to ask–”
The expression of Derpy's face changed.
“Oh, I'm so sorry, Mister Whooves. Please, please accept my apology muffin!” A muffin appeared from nowhere in her hooves.
“Muffin? Sorry, but I have no time–” Whooves tried to avoid this, but he couldn't resist the cute mare's stare. “Fine.”
The mare led him inside and showed a tray with many different kinds of muffins.
“So this here's an apple muffin, chocolate muffin, cherry muffin, carrot muffin, almond muffin, blueberry muffin, and–” she pointed at the cyan-colored pastries, “these are my favorites: rainbowy muffins!”
Before he could react, a cyan muffin landed in his muzzle, inserted by the talkative mare's hoof.
“Bon-Bon, we have a problem!” Lyra shouted as soon as she entered the house.
“What is it this time?” Bon-Bon's voice came from the basement.
Lyra trotted downstairs and said with muffled voice:
“It's the robot police.”
“So cops are robots too?” asked the white mare.
“No!” shouted her boss. “I saw him! It was the same stallion I saw in Cloudsdale. He was a pegasus then, he's an earth pony now, but it's him! He's tailing me!”
“Wait, you were in Cloudsdale? But you're not a pegasus.”
“So, where was I?” Lyra tried to get back on track. “We need to hide evidence. Now. I've already sent an order for robotic Sweetie Belle to come here, we'll hide her in the lair with everything else. Now get moving!”
Bon-Bon put down a yaoi anthology she was reading and reluctantly got up from the coach. Lyra entered a secret passcode to the secret door to the secret lair into a secret panel. The door opened, revealing an ominously looking conference room. The white mare started moving the equipment to the room. A minute later, a knock could be heard upstairs. Lyra trotted there, looked through the peephole and let the white robot in. She immediately locked the door afterwards.
Mares moved all illegal items in over an hour. Robotic Sweetie Belle didn't help them, preferring to argue with the biological one about which one was real.
When all the stuff was moved, Lyra locked the door between basement and ground level and opened the cage.
“We need to take you downstairs for a moment,” the green robot explained.
“And what if I don't want to?” the filly rebelled, but Lyra only sighed.
“It's three against one. Are you sure?”
Sweetie Belle looked at her opponents.
“Two robots and a pony. I give up.”
“Hey!” the doppelganger shouted. “Now you're calling not only me a robot, but also Bon-Bon?”
“I'm a robot?” asked surprised Bon-Bon.
Nopony dared to disagree with angry Lyra, so the three white ponies walked downstairs. The green unicorn followed them and ordered:
“Bon-Bon, strap the one I've released to the chair.”
Bon-Bon looked around in confusion.
“Sweet robot tits, not this again,” Lyra facehoofed. “Both!”
It took a while, but after a fight both fillies were strapped to chairs in Lyra's secret lair. Bon-Bon was covered in bruises and earned a black eye. Lyra was in better shape, mainly due to her robotic body, but she still lost lot of hair.
“So what now?” asked the white mare.
“System suspend,” said Lyra. One of the fillies froze motionless. “I'm going to synchronize their memories.”
“Cool. I'm hungry. I think I'm gonna grab something.”
Bon-Bon trotted upstairs. Lyra put a brain scanning helmet onto the real Sweetie Belle and connected it with a cable with the socket on the back of the fake one's head.
The robotic filly asked: “Synchronizing memories will overwrite data in the target brain device and alter data on this brain device. Do you wish to continue?”
“No!” shouted Sweetie Belle.
Lyra smiled: “Foolish filly. The robot is programmed to recognize the voice of the pony who configured the operating system. Yes.”
“Work in progress: 0%.”
Sweetie Belle started screaming in pain. Her body twitched spasmodically, but she was firmly secured. Lyra sat down and observed the process.
“Work in progress: 20%.”
Equine neural tissue was an adequate medium for reading data, but it was awfully slow to write. The process was taking a long time. And all the screaming was certainly stressful for filly's lungs.
“Work in progress: 40%.”
Lyra smiled. Everything was going according to her backup plan. She would release the biological filly with altered memories, hide in her lair under the basement and pretend nothing happened. In the worst case scenario, the robot police would capture Bon-Bon, deem her mentally unstable and lock her somewhere where she wouldn't be able to mess with Lyra's pla–
“Error while writing to the device: connection lost.” Biological Sweetie Belle yelled louder than earlier and jerked in the chair, breaking her restraints.
“What?” shouted Lyra in surprise. She turned around, only to see Bon-Bon chewing the connection cable?
“What are you doing?”
“I was hungry (Rebooting system...) and the door upstairs was closed, (Huh? What happened? What's that helmet? My head hurts...) so I came back (Uhm.. hey, why am I strapped to a chair? Anypony?) and tried to find something to eat here. (Here, I'll untie you. What's that black string in your mane?) I really, really looked, but I couldn't find anything in the basement, (Thanks. Let's run away, before the robots come back.) so I came here to ask you for the key, (Good idea. Hey, Bon-Bon, Lyra, we're running away! Come with us.) but I saw you're busy and didn't want to interrupt you... (Let's not wait for them. They're adults, they'll manage to fend those robots off by themselves. Look, a key!) And as I said, I was really hungry... I'm sorry.”
Lyra sighed: “The key was on the table the whole time. See?” She turned around and pointed at the table, only to see that the key was gone. She turned around again and noticed that the fillies were gone, too. She galloped upstairs, noticing all the doors wide open, and went outside. Both Sweetie Belles were gone.
The table inside Derpy's house was covered with crumbles. Engineer Whooves sat in the chair, his stomach full of delicious baking goods.
“But I still have muffins...” the host insisted, carrying a tray with more muffins.
“No, thanks. Instead of muffins, could you tell me where the town hall is?”
Derpy smiled, turned her head, and looked in the correct direction: “Sure! It's that way.” She obviously couldn't use her hooves, because she was holding the tray.
But which direction was it, when her eyes both pointed in different directions? Whooves didn't know how to solve this problem in a polite and politically correct way, so he just pretended to be content with the answer.
“...Thanks,” he said and left the building.
Rarity was swinging her saber in the middle of the Carousel Boutique, practicing her fencing skills.
“I told her many times: no reproduction before middle school. She didn't listen. Now her coltfriend's gonna pay. It will be a lesson for her.”
Suddenly, the door to the Boutique swung open. Rarity recognized her sister's voice.
“–and after that we should–”
“Hello, Sweetie Belle!” Rarity said.
Two identical fillies, who just entered the building, froze in shock. So did the mare.
“Wait, who is she?” whispered one filly to the other.
“I don't know.” the other answered.
“I– I can hear you. It's me, your sister Rarity. And I'm definitely sober today, aren't I?”
The fillies were unconvinced.
“She says she's my sister, but I have only one sister, and that's you.”
“I think she might be a robotic doppelganger designed to swap places with one of us.”
“She's not even similar. She's a unicorn and she's white, but she's too big, her mane has weird color, and her voice is annoying.”
“I really like her mane, but agreed, something fishy's going on here. Do you remember the robot that kidnapped us?”
“Now I remember! It looked like a unicorn, I can't recall the coat color though.”
“Girl...s? You're not alone,” Rarity interjected, “would you please explain to me... everything?”
“She's gonna attack us.”
“Let's flee. Now!”
The fillies ran outside and split ways just behind the doorstep.
For the next few minutes, Rarity stared blankly at the door. After she regained her composure, she said to herself: “When I said ‘no reproduction’, I meant ‘no reproduction’. And mitosis is a reproduction...”
Engineer Whooves induced vomiting in a back alley. As soon as he emptied his stomach from excess muffins and trotted back to the main street, some small white unicorn filly crashed into him and pushed him into a muddy puddle.
“Ouch! Hey, kid, watch out!”
“I'm sorry, sir!” she apologized.
Whooves looked down at his dirty hind legs. “Sorry won't cut it. Why are you running so fast, it's dangerous!”
“Please, sir, you have to help me!”
“Let me guess. You're running away from your robot captors.”
“Yes! How did you know that?” the filly exclaimed enthusiastically.
“I heard that story from so many fillies before. I'm Engineer Whooves and I'm to smart to fall for that. All you want is to use your fake kidnapping story to extort money from me.”
“Hey, I really was kidnapped by robots!”
Whooves smiled: “Prove it.”
“I... I can't,” she hung her head down and turned around to walk away.
“Get lost, kid!” he yelled after her.
Deep in his heart, Whooves felt a little satisfaction from getting rid of yet another scam artist in ten seconds flat.
Rarity trotted through Ponyville to the only pony who could possibly know an answer to her difficult question. She walked past the library, because the perverted geek was not the right pony. She walked past Applejack's market stand, because the barbaric farmer was also not the right pony. She walked past the Sugarcube Corner, because the gypsy witch was also not the right pony. She walked past Rainbow Dash's napping cloud, because the shortsighted simpleton was definitely not the right pony. She walked past Fluttershy's hut, because even the Great Leader was not the right pony for this kind of question.
Her question required a deep knowledge. A deep knowledge that only the most experienced witch doctors could possess.
She arrived at a tiny hut in the middle of the forest and knocked few times to the door. The door opened, revealing Zecora. Well, somepony would say that Zecora wasn't the right pony either, because she was a zebra, but hey, that'd be racist.
“Hello, worshiper of Smooze.
Can I be to some use?”
– the zebra asked.
“I have a question,” Rarity went straight to the topic. “What do you know about pony mitosis?”
Engineer Whooves trotted from Derpy's house in a random direction. The buildings looked familiar, as if he had seen them earlier, but he still couldn't remember where Ponyville's town hall was.
During his stroll, he saw a large tree adapted into a building. It piqued his interest, so he decided to enter. He knocked to the door, waited few seconds and when he didn't receive an answer, he peeked inside.
“Library. Quite nice. Hello?”
He saw a purple unicorn mare standing at the desk and writing something with a quill held by her magic.
“Just a moment, please! I'm in the zone!” she said, without turning around. “Oh, yes! Hinting homosexual feelings always does the trick, doesn't it? Why Twilight, you are a talent.” She put a full stop on the sheet and finally looked at her visitor, who in the meantime decided to enter the library and currently stood in the middle. “Now, how can I help– Omigosh, a Timelord! And I thought it was just a TV series! Where did you park your Tardis? Hey, wait...”
The stallion was gone. Twilight shook her head and sighed.
“Did he thought I was serious?”
She always did the same practical joke on everypony with hourglass cutie mark. Last time, it was Minuette, the hourglass operator. She took it much better though, probably because she also had a foalish crush on that young actor playing the Doctor. The stallion looked almost exactly like the actor. He and Twilight could role-play in bed...
Twilight shook her head again to cast off these thoughts. She had a chapter to write and she knew exactly what new character she could add to the story.
“So you say your sister split in two?
My sister did it one time, too!”
Zecora prepared some herbal tea with rum and served it to Rarity. They both were sitting at a wooden table next to hut's wall. Rarity sighed and answered:
“Yes. I'm not sure when she did it, but now I have two of them. Wait, you sister did mitosis, too?”
The zebra nodded:
“There's an old zebra saying:
You should kill her without saying.”
“But she's my sister!” the unicorn protested.
The zebra retorted:
“How many sisters do you have? One or two.”
“One. At least I should have one.”
“So get rid of the excess one. This is what zebras and ponies always do when a foal divides. Oh, I forgot to rhyme.”
“Please don't bother.”
Rarity took another sip from her cup. Zecora continued:
“You've been cursed by gods, still
you much choose one foal to kill.
Both alive will cause more chaos,
so... chaos... chaos... damn! Kill one! Everyzebra who left both foals alive didn't end up well.”
“What do you mean?” asked Rarity. Zecora leaned forward and explained.
“Bon-Bon, we have two problems.”
Lyra was walking in circles in her underground lair. She was accompanied by Bon-Bon, who was currently playing with the equipment they had stored there.
“Wow, we always had only one,” she say, without averting her gaze from the electronic device she fiddled with.
“Put it away and focus! We've got a robot police officer in town and our robot decoy is running wild in the streets!”
“So what are we gonna do?”
Lyra sighed and explained:
“We? What we? I'm not leaving this room until he's gone. It's you who needs to go out to fulfill the mission.”
“What mission?” Bon-Bon got excited. “I love missions! I'm gonna be a secret agent! My name is Bon. Bon-Bon.”
Bon-Bon stopped talking.
“Listen, moron, all you need to do is to find out where he lives, hide there, wait for him and then kill him.”
“Easy-peasy!” Bon-Bon laughed. “Give me a blaster and I'll finish him in not time.”
“I have no blasters.”
“Oh come on, what next? A moon sized battle station? Be serious.” Lyra walked to the pile of equipment and started rummaging. After a moment she pulled out her weapon of choice.
“A machete?” Bon-Bon was disappointed.
“Yes. Take it and go.”
The white mare grabbed the weapon with her teeth and took a full swing to test it out. If Lyra hadn't jumped away, she'd have lost her head already.
“Hey, watch where you're swinging!”
“Thorry. Ah'll ve kirrhull.”
With the weapon in her muzzle, Bon-Bon left the house. Lyra watched her leave and locked all the doors afterwards.
Engineer Whooves was trotting in his search for Ponyville town hall, when a small white unicorn filly bumped into him.
“Hey, it's you again!”
The filly asked: “Who? Me?”
“Yes, you. Don't pretend you don't remember.”
“Um, sir, you might have seen my sister.”
“A sister?” Whooves smirked. “That's new one. Let me guess: you also were kidnapped by robots?”
“How did you know?” the unicorn was surprised.
“I know you're trying to trick people, that's how,” he said angrily. “Unless you can prove it, which I doubt.”
“Yeah, there's the robot!”
Whooves turned in the direction the filly was pointing in. He saw a stunningly beautiful unicorn mare. She was carrying a sword of some sorts in a sheath studded with gems. She looked worried and deep in thoughts. The stallion smiled: “Thanks kid, I forgive you that you wanted to trick me.”
He cantered towards the mare. When he caught up to her, he greeted her: “Hello.”
The mare yelped, jumped around and grabbed the handle of her saber with her magic, preparing to unsheathe it if required.
“Oh my, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you. I'm just here to clarify something.” He paused for a moment. “I'm Engineer Whooves.” The mare didn't react immediately, so he continued: “What's your name?”
The mare said something quietly. Whooves shook his head and walked one step closer: “Didn't quite catch that.”
“I'm Rarity,” the mare said, this time audibly. Anguish and despair could be heard in her voice. Whooves could swore he saw a tear forming in the corner of her eye.
“Well, um, it looks like I shouldn't take more of your time. See you later!”
He turned around and trotted back to the filly: “Well, that was easy. She's doesn't look like a robot.”
He couldn't see that, but Rarity's face expression instantly turned into that of anger: “Sweetie Belle!”
The mare jolted to them in a second.
“Sweetie Belle, who is he?” she yelled. ‘It must have been some older stallion, an adult.’ Twilight's words resonated in her head.
“I don't know, I've never seen him before.”
“Actually,” he corrected, “I've met her earlier today.”
“Aha! So you lied to me!” the mare pointed her hoof at Sweetie Belle. “I said to you: no reproduction before middle school!”
“Wait, is it going where I think it is going?” Whooves asked, but nopony listened to him. Rarity pulled out her sword.
Whooves whole life flashed before his eyes. Before his instincts took over, in the last conscious decision he decided to run. Run as fast as he could.
The furious mare followed him.
After a fairly long chase, Engineer Whooves found the street leading to Roseluck's flower shop. He galloped upstairs without paying any attention to the shocked flower mare. He locked the door, moved a wardrobe to support the door, pulled the curtains and started walking in circles.
“You know what am I going to do tonight? The same thing I'm going to do every night since today, Whooves: trying to stay sane in this crazy town.”
He knew he'd go crazy if he'd not occupy his mind with something, so he chose the safest and cheapest thing: talking to himself. He'd been doing it for few minutes, when he heard a loud thud. The wardrobe wobbled.
“Come out, you pedophile!” loud scream came from the other side of the door.
“I'm not a pedophile, I've never seen that filly before!”
Some powerful force was ramming at the door. The boards started cracking. The wardrobe moved.
“Sorry, Whooves,” he whispered to himself, “but you have to convince her that you didn't touch that filly, and you're running out of time! I just need this to end so I can assume the position of local hourglass operator without a bunch of crazy ponies trying to kill me all the time. Now, where's the light?”
The stallion looked around to locate a light switch, but before he managed to do that, bathroom door swung open, the light was turned on and he saw a white earth mare wielding a machete.
“Thurfrahse!” she shouted.
Whooves tried to back up from the new attacker, when the wardrobe toppled over and the main door burst into pieces. On the doorstep there was the unicorn mare, her horn was glowing brightly.
“Kill!” the unicorn breathed heavily.
“Crush!” the earth mare said through her teeth, clenched on the handle.
“Destroy!” the unicorn took a step forward.
Whooves yelled and started to panic. He frantically looked around, but there was no way to escape. The windows were locked and it would take forever to open them. If only he had some device that could take him away from here...
Suddenly, the air in the middle of the room started bending light in a weird way, releasing a wibbly-wobbly sound. All three ponies froze in bewilderment. The unicorn immediately recognized the sound of interdimensional portal.
Suddenly, with a flash of bright light, a large, tall blue box appeared in the middle of the room. A song, sung by a male voice, was coming from inside:
I'll fix up a solution with a box that I have done
They say a workshop time saves nine, but I'm just saving one
I'll gather me machine parts to make my time device
I'm fed up with those people, there's no chance I'm playing nice
The door to the box opened, revealing a brown earth stallion. He looked around, smiled to the mares, grabbed Whooves and towed him inside, singing all the time:
Watch as I work up my gypsy science
Titanium screws and copper wires
Watch how I make a time paradox
Open the box door, jump in!
He closed the door and the box disappeared with the same kind of bright light. The mares dropped their weapons in shock. After a moment, one of them broke the silence:
“Wasn't that song in that My Little Human fanfiction, where Weird Al built a time machine in his hardware store?” Bon-Bon asked.
Rarity looked at her with disgust:
“You watch a show for little fillies?”
Bon-Bon quickly covered her mouth with her hooves: “Oops, I said it! Please don't tell anypony!”
“Don't worry,” Rarity giggled. “I watch it, too. When my sister is watching it, I pretend I'm doing something different behind her back, but in fact I keep staring at the screen. I also watch reruns.”
Bon-Bon's face brightened:
The mares bumped their hooves.
“But still please don't tell anypony,” the earth mare asked again.
“Okay, but neither should you,” agreed the unicorn.
Bon-Bon moved closer to Rarity and whispered:
“Schumacher×de Grasse Tyson?”
Rarity shook her head:
“What? But Attenborough is straight!” protested Bon-Bon.
“So are Schumacher and Tyson,” answered Rarity. “Do you think that because Tyson is a bookworm, he's so desperate he'll develop romantic feelings to any of his friend, regardless of their gender? Or Schumacher: if somehuman wears tight red bodysuits and drives red vehicles, it doesn't make him gay, does it?”
“Yeah, you're probably right,” nodded Bon-Bon. After a while, she added: “Don't you sometimes think that we take a foal cartoon way too seriously?”
Rarity stopped for a moment to think.
“Nah,” she finally answered.
The interior of the box was unexpectedly larger that the outside. Engineer Whooves look around and finally rested his gaze at his savior. The other stallion looked almost identical to him, but a little older, he even had the same cutie mark.
“Who are you?”
“The stallion answered: “I'm the Doctor.”
“Just the Doctor.”
After a moment of silence, the owner of the box laughed: “I've always wanted to do this. Now seriously: I'm you. From the future.”
The younger stallion said, as if asking for confirmation: “You're Engineer Whooves from the future.”
“Yes. And actually, I'm a real doctor now. I went to college again to get my PhD.”
“A PhD? How? I can't do it, I'm too stupid.”
Doctor Whooves smiled: “When I was your age, I was saying the same thing. I'm sure of it, I've just heard myself.” He giggled. “Now, I must show you something.”
The stallions trotted to a coffer standing opposite to the door. The elder one opened it and took out a large notebook.
“Here. All questions from all exams you're gonna have during the grad studies.”
Two unicorn fillies trotted towards the Carousel Boutique from different directions. They went inside and hugged:
“I'm so glad you're okay, sister. Did you get any help?”
“No, I've met one stallion who looked strong, but he didn't want to help me.”
“Yeah, me too. I only hope Lyra and Bon-Bon are okay.”
“I hope they escaped before the robot came back. But we must fight without them.”
“Yeah!” one of the fillies released the other from her forelegs. “Sweetie & Belle!”
“Flesh & Blood!”
“Gifted by Mother Nature!”
The fillies jumped and clapped each other forehooves together. They were shouting loud enough to not notice the first knock to the door.
In front of the Carousel Boutique, two other fillies waited for the door to open.
“How do ya think, Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle's home?” asked Apple Bloom.
“I don't know,” Scootaloo replied. “I don't know why she left in the middle of the class in the first place.”
Apple Bloom knocked again. After a moment, which Scootaloo spent on flexing her tiny wing muscles, a door opened, revealing Sweetie Belle.
Or actually Sweetie Belles. Both of them.
“Haha! Sweetie Belle has been doubled!” exclaimed the pegasus.
“Sweetie Belle! What happened to ya...all?” the farm filly asked.
“We were kidnapped by a robot! Right, Sweetie?”
“Yeah, Belle! But the robot acquired another target, so now were safe.”
Scootaloo and Apple Bloom looked at each other with confused look on their faces. The pegasus whispered: “It looks like there are two of them now. We must deal with it.” Apple Bloom nodded, although the shocked expression didn't wear off.
One of the white fillies continued: “So what are we doing today? Sweetie wanted to try swimming again.”
“And Belle wanted to help Twilight writing her next novel.”
“Hey, I didn't!”
“Yes, you did! Who stole a copy of Scoota-Lewd's Diary from Twilight's saddlebag?”
Belle didn't respond to this accusation, turning her head away instead. Sweetie displayed a triumphant smile.
“Ah'm confused, Scoots,” Apple Bloom said. “They look the same. How will Ah know which is Sweetie and which is Belle?”
“It's simple,” explained Scootaloo. “Belle doesn't have a wi-fi.”