A My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanfiction by Lord Xaos
Chapter 16: part 1
In the darkest region of the Everfree forest, a lot of ponies were following a lot of different-but-related agendas. One who wasn’t actively keeping track might possibly be lost:
-Outside of a certain grove she could not herself enter, the astral projection of a zebra marshaled the spirits of four ponies to save the other two that were trapped in the grove. Three of those ponies had given her troubling accounts, indeed.
-Somewhere, inside that grove, slumbered the darkened form of a pale earth pony.
- A cyan pegasus had just passed out from screaming nonstop ever since she felt a horrible hollow feeling in chest after apparently waking up only thinking she was safe from the butcher pony. She feared that any number of organs had been removed from her and that she had only been left with a false sense of freedom when she was, in fact, going to die.
-In a certain rented tea house, said butcher pony was happily plotting the final moves of the game.
-Unbeknowst to all, another agent was using the soulless reflections of ponies that populated the village for its own purposes. To locate its prey…and destroy her.
-And finally, a creation which should normally have been impossible to make given the conditions of the grove at present, meandered towards a destination without even really thinking. Deep in what passed for its subconscious, strange orders were written. Orders that would be obeyed, without it even being aware of them. As for its conscious mind… it wanted nothing more than to make friends. Friends like the ones it had fuzzy memories of possessing. Friends from that city. A city called….called….it couldn’t remember.
And yet, for all this activity, soon enough, there would be one, and only one, major conflict, one major question that will determine the relevant outcome to all of these disperse stories…
In the bedroom in a house made of clouds, lay a cyan pegasus mare whose head spun as she regained consciousness for the second time in a row.
Okay…lesson learned. Never expend your entire air supply by screaming for five or so consecutive minutes without taking a breath.
Rainbow caught her reflection in the mirror she had recently put up in her bedroom. Rarity had bought it for her, undoubtedly so she might spend more time grooming herself in the morning.
Rainbow Dash was starting to calm down, starting to believe that whatever was removed when the surgical scar on the side of her belly was made, she was going to live without it. She had thought that maybe one of her lungs was taken, but the labored breathing seemed to have just been from her panic.
At least, she thought it was that. She was breathing normally now that she calmed down. This WAS normal breathing, right? She cursed herself for not paying attention to such little things before now.
Four stitches closed the tiny incision…that was too small to remove any organ, right? It was all that evil version of Pinkie Pie had done to her. She had brutally murdered the other Rainbow Dash, but she had been content with just leaving this tiny little mark on her. She had been returned to her cloud house, not even tied up or anything.
After all the things she had done to the other Rainbow… Why had she spared her?
She didn’t just lack mercy, but her…vileness would forever change what Rainbow Dash defined as mercilessness.
“And that, Dashie-Washie, is how you slice off a cutie mark!”
“Then I got out the power drill and went in all the way up to here! Oh my, she made so much noise during that. Why, I was worried she would disturb your nappy time! But, you slept right through it! Did anypony ever tell you you’re a heavy sleeper? Why, I could probably sing the Loud Song while sneaking up on you! Hey, maybe I’ll try that sometime!”
“Oh yeah. I don’t think anypony really knows this about Parasprites, but when they feel threatened, like say, when they are imprisoned in a griffon’s stomach, they go into full on attack mode and start trying to eat their way out! And that in turn produces more parasprites, although…strangely enough, they don’t really take to meat very well. The new ones come out…strange. Malformed and not long for this world. Still, they survived long enough to put on quite a show! There’s a reason I only really saved Gilda’s skull, you know. Aside from the whole burning her meat thing…”
Oh G…other me…everypony. ...If any of you were even real. I’m so sorry. I’ll get her back.
But the question remained. Why was she here?
Okay. Maybe I didn’t put up such a great showing there. But…to just let me go? I mean, if I go and do what crazy Dash did with the knife, this time I know to stab her in the face were she’s not armored.
…in the face that she shares with my best friend.
Rainbow Dash sighed, her head drooping down to the ground dejected. Then she shot back up, realizing something horrible.
“Pinkie Pie! She’s still out there somewhere, facing who knows what!” Rainbow Dash trotted out of her bedroom, ran down the hallway and failed to catch herself in time before she tripped over a small box that blocked her way to the door outside.
“Huh? What’s this?” Rainbow stared at the box….and noticed the note attached to it. When she unfolded it, she immediately screamed and threw it away when she realized that the gigantic and bulky letters of the letter’s salutation –“Hi, Cupcake!”- were written in dried blood, unlike the rest of the message’s black ink.
The letter floated gently down and landed back on top of the box.
She stared at the note, not really wanting to read what it said, or examine the contents of the box. The box particularly send chills through her body, as she was trapped between her imagination conjuring all sorts of horrific images that she knew she didn’t want to see, and her curiosity threatening to eat her alive if she just threw the box away. Cursing her cowardice, Rainbow Dash fetched the note once more. She at least wanted answers for why she was alive and not a pastry.
Well, okay, I know that’s Mrs. Cake’s name, but you know what I mean. Actually, she was my inspiration. It’s such a shame we lost her and the babies she was carrying. So very, very sad…
Rainbow Dash had to stop reading for a moment. Still, she returned to the message and continued to read, all the same.
But, that’s not what I came to write to you about.
Oh, Dashie, how could you? She was just trying to offer you cupcakes! She always tried to cheer you up after you had been so grumpy and sad. And then you went and did THAT to her. You’re the worst friend ever!
Just kidding! Anyway, I hope you like the little surprise I left you. In fact, I KNOW you will. Just remember, the box has been cloud proofed, but the contents haven’t been. Be gentle with this part, its seen some misuse. I’m afraid I botched up trying to sew it back on, but then I thought about you!
Your bestest best pal,
The ONE and ONLY Pinkie Pie
PostScript- I REALLY like her mane! It’s so straight and silky and pretty!
Rainbow looked at the small, square box. It looked heavy to lift, by it could be holding anything. She reread the confusing note.
Rainbow’s face was expressionless for a moment, and then her eyes grew wide.
No… Please no.
She began to tear the lid off the nails of the box, desperately hoping it that the note didn’t mean what she thought it meant.
No. Zecora said something about you shadow needing to break all of your spirit to hurt you! That’s right. No matter what happens here, you have to remember that its just a trick! It all has to be a trick! It can’t be what you think it is, Rainbow! It just-!
Remembering who the note came from, she realized that the box could be filled with angry cobras or something. …But before she could stop herself, she had gone and opened the box anyway.
Rainbow froze, staring at the box’s contents. It took her a moment to recognize what it was. It wasn’t its usual shape. Then, the rainbow-maned pegasus started to come out of her momentary paralysis. Raising a hoof over her mouth, she let out a choking sob.
She screamed and wrapped her forelegs around the blood-stained severed pony’s tail, crying into it.
And by now, she should have found the package. Shadamena smirked as she stared out the window of the little cottage on the outskirts of town where she had rent –or rather, created- as her secondary base. She giggled at could only imagine the terrible shock she had just given Rainbow Dash.
Of course, whenever she does go back to Sugarcube Corner, she won’t have to go to basement. I’ve already emptied it out, anyway, along with all other evidence.
She turned to face …Rainbow Dash.
Who was alongside Rarity.
They were just…standing there.
Neither did Shadamena seemed shocked by their presence as she immediately launched into giving her guests orders. “Oh good, you’re here. Alright, here’s the scene: Dashie, you and Rarity found out where my other hideout was, due to Rarity knowing that I had rented this old house from the elderly earth mare Morning Glory, who mentioned it to Rarity when she bought a dress from her shop recently, and then Rarity told Dashie when she stopped by her place an hour ago. They came here, they didn’t find me but did find…oh, you know what? I better go get her!”
And with that, Shadamena walked upstairs, the other two ponies following her.
Darkness. She stared endlessly into darkness. If she had the capacity for boredom, she would’ve been driving insane by now. But no. She was perfectly and unironically okay with the total sensory deprivation.
Suddenly, the door opened, and light flooded in. Behind the mare that had opened the closet door, she saw a brightly-lit room with a fancy table draped with a bloodstained white cloth and porcelain tea set that had been knocked over. Also, there was an older unicorn, and a cyan pegasus with a rainbow mane and tail in the room, just staring into space. Being a bit like a mindless automaton herself, the little unicorn completely failed to be disturbed in the slightest by the pair’s zombie like expressions and behavior.
‘Sweetie Belle’ looked up at the pink earth pony …and smiled.
“Oh, hi Pinkie! Is it time for me to come out of this closet, yet?”
“Yes, Sweetie. I need you to play a very fun game.”
“A game?” ‘Sweetie’ squeaked. “What kind of game?”
“I’ll explain in just a moment, Sweetie. First, I need you to come over to this chair and sit down.” Shadamena waved her hoof at one of the chairs, which had a seat covered in blood.
“Okay.” The unicorn filly went and did so. “So, now what? What’s the game?”
“Mind rape.” Shadamena said with a much-too-merry grin for the grim tone in her voice as she drew a knife from her dress.
‘Sweetie Belle’ cheered. “YAAAAAAY!”
Shadamena joined in “YAAAAAAAYY!” and in mid-cheer, she slit the little unicorn’s throat with a flick of her fetlock. “Ahhhh…I really love my job.” She smiled gleefully. She rose the knife and stabbed “Sweetie Belle” over and over. “I love it! I love it! Love it! Love it! LOVE IT! AAHHAHAHAHA!”
She finished, and turned to ‘Rarity’, who had not reacted to ‘Sweetie Belle’ being murdered right in front of her. She looked about to say something, but suddenly looked at ‘Rainbow Dash’, and said “Oh! Before I forget!”
She stamped her hoof three times and out of the wooden floor rose a tower of mist, which quickly exploded with color before her eyes and became the taxidermy she had used in place of Shadash when she was tormenting the real Rainbow Dash.
Shadamena walked over to ‘Doll Dash’ and bit on her blue-green-violet forelocks that draped around her neck. Neither of the living ‘Rainbow Dash’ nor ‘Rarity’ batted an eye as this was happening. Shadamena pulled and pulled until a lock of multicolored hair came out in her mouth. “Thank you! I’ll need this for something.”
Shadamena stamped her hoof again, and ‘Doll Dash’ was gone, but the hair remained.
“You found her here. In…let’s say, thirty seconds. Oh, and then you two gather up ponies to look for Pinkie Pie, blaming her for this. You don’t really see me anymore. Now if you’re excuse me, I gotta deal with Dashie.” Shadamena said
“Yes, Mistress!” ‘Rarity’ and ‘Rainbow Dash’ said in unison.
Shadamena trotted out the door.
“Rarity” stared stupidly at the table for a few seconds, a stupid smile on her face as she stared right at the murdered Sweetie Belle.
And then, as if a switch went on in her head, ‘Rarity’ started to shake all over her body….and then she let out an ear-splitting scream and break down crying. It was as if she just now registered, or was allowed to register, that Sweetie Belle was dead and this was supposed to mean something to her.
“I smell an Oscaaaar…” Shadamena sang as she trotted out of the house. She looked over her shoulder at the body bag she was carrying out of the room on her back.
Stepping outside, she came face to face with ‘Twilight Sparkle’ and ‘Fluttershy’, who, like the ones before, were also just staring into space. “Take this to Sugarcube Corner…and unload its contents the floor of the kitchen. Fluttershy, You were just checking up on Pinkie Pie, she was supposed to pick up Gummy from your cottage but was late, when you found her like this just inside the kitchen, very close to the doorway. Twilight, you will also be in the area and discover Fluttershy screaming. Or fainting. Or both. You investigate, find something is inside Pinkie’s mouth, and discover…”
Shadamena pulled something out of her saddlebag, and gave it to ‘Twilight’. Something…colorful.
‘Twilight’ and ‘Fluttershy’ teleported away in a flash of purple.
A Jackanapes wondered the streets, grumbling to itself. It had been annoyed with the plan the Stripey Ghost had laid out, seen it as just an excuse to do nothing for a few more minutes. Then it found itself in this Ponyville that wasn’t Ponyville where all the streets had been rearranged like some sort of rubix cube.
Also, rather disturbingly, where none of the ponies had faces.
It wasn’t looking for any particular building, oh no, buildings had a tendency to stay in one place and be actually locatable. The Jackanapes was looking for friends that couldn’t be helped as it was now, and hoping that they would stay in one place in the time it would take for to the Jackanapes to return to its body, and as a flesh-and-blood earth pony, return to the Grove to do anything. The Ghost had insisted that this was the best way to handle things, given reasons for the caution, but it all went over the Jackanapes head, and the Jackanapes was only getting more and more frustrated as time went on.
The Jackanapes was getting more than just frustrated. The anxiety was really getting to it. An Anxious Jackanapes.
“This just ain’t workin’! Now how in thunderation am Ah supposed to find Pinkie or Rainbow in this mess? Even with all of these creepy faceless ponies, they would just blend into the crowd. Am Ah supposed t’ keep searching for all the rest of the day until Ah just happen to bump into them?”
Just then, a multi-colored and chromatic blur darted across the sky, screaming something about Sugarcube Corner in what sounded like Rainbow Dash’s voice.
“…or maybe Ah could follow the screaming rainbow trail. Yeah, that works.”
Pinkie Pie stumbled through the dark place she found herself. The ground was squishy, and it rose and heaved and threw her off balance even more. The walls were also squishy, and they stank. Oh heavens, the smell!
With a disturbingly melted-looking hoof, she pounded on the squishy wall crying “HELP! Let me out of here!”
No matter how hard she pounded, she couldn’t escape.
Suddenly, Pinkie was outside the wall…or rather she was the wall.
Pinkie was in a much larger room, but she herself was much larger. This room was also dark and squishy, but she was submerged in a very large pool, all the way up past her waistline, which was itself different than before. Her bloated stomach ached. It was as if she was inflated like a balloon…and all the helium was crushing her other organs. She could barely breath, and then there was the nauseating smell of her prison. Her body was almost immobile with pain and impossible weight, and her throat burned with reflux. To make matters worse, she felt something pounding on the inside of her stomach, and it made her aching tummy feel even worse.
Rolling back, Pinkie’s head touched the wall of her new prison and she felt her mane become covered in slime from the wall. Still, Pinkie was desperate to escape this loathsome place and banged her head against that wall.
She tried to call for help, but only bile escaped from her mouth as she vomited.
And again, the world changed.
It was another Pinkie, but the consciousness that was Pinkie Pie was disoriented and not certain if she was the pony she was aware of or simply watching it. The consciousness did not even think to find that question odd. This Pinkie Pie was large, but her body was more like the Party Pony’s giant weight. Still, she was obviously a giant.
Lying on her back, Giant Pie sighed contentedly, and rubbed her own stomach with a hoof.
As she did so, there was a terrible cacophony of shrieks that sounded exactly like the scream of Sweetie Bell that Pinkie had heard when she was being stabbed before.
Only this time, the scream did not remain faint and ethereal, but rather grew in intensity as Giant Pie rubbed herself, volume raising slowly until all of a sudden the noise spiked And It Rose AND ROSE AND ROSE UNTIL-
Pinkie opened her eyes. Her head pounded. Her stomach felt like it was twisted in knots, as if her body was going through the motions to vomit, but had nothing to give. She also felt terribly thirsty, as if dehydrated.
She found herself in the shade of a tree in middle of Ponyville’s picnic park. There were the sounds of other ponies nearby, but Pinkie ignored them, knowing that they couldn’t see or hear her, and the closest pony was some distance away anyway. She looked up at the partly cloudy sky, staring blankly. The mist and overcast from earlier had been cleared up, and the sun shone down through the clouds with an almost cruel happiness.
She heard foals giggling and shrieking in the distance. She didn’t feel her usual impulse to run and play with the kids, and in fact found them annoying. Then….it all suddenly came back to her.
“Please think, Pinkie! If you can remember anything…anything at all! Please tell me!”
“Hee heee heee eeeeeaa AHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA HA HA HA HA-OH WOW, YOUR SCREAMS ARE TOTALLY HARMONIZED! YOU REALLY COULD BE THE SAME PONY! HAHAAHAHAHHAAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAH!”
Remembering where she was before “falling asleep”, Pinkie took a sharp, shuddering intact of breath….and let out an anguished sob. Pain wracked her voice as she spoke “Sweetie Belle! I failed to save Sweetie Belle! She’s…she’s!”
Pinkie fell to the ground, crying. “She’s gone!”
The pink earth pony gave into her sorrow. She felt a terrible weight over her entire body and she could hardly even form coherent thoughts for a while.
She knew Meanie Pie was full of nothing but lies about her situation. The two lines of thought (A: That Pinkie could only escape if she killed Rainbow Dash and B: That she only existed in Meanie’s head as a kind of pseudo-coping mechanism because that is SUCH A LOAD OF HORSESPRINKLES) were contradictory. Pinkie vaguely remembered something about Meanie Pie bringing up them not contradicting while she was ‘dying’, but she wasn’t going to believe that.
But, she wasn’t sad about that. Sweetie Belle was most likely dead. If she wasn’t dead before Pinkie had even got there, then Meanie Pie would probably have killed her afterwards because she knew that Pinkie and Rainbow Dash knew. Which meant, not matter how many things Meanie said which were lies…
…My fault. All my fault. I’M SO STUPID! Pinkie trembled even more violently. “Stupid. Stupid. AHAHAHAHA DUMB! DUMB! DUMB DUMB DUMB! AHAHAhahahha. Ah….ha. ha. Haa~”
She also knew this wasn’t *her* Sweetie Belle, but she couldn’t help but remember all the times she and the other Cutie Mark Crusaders visited her. Her sweet little voice rang in her ears. She loved those kids, and would never want this to happen to anyone of them, but felt that Sweetie Belle was always the most shy and gentlest one. It was a terrible, terrible tragedy for any world to lose her. And even worse was the fact that she had allowed it to happen. She felt both relief and subsequent guilt that she didn’t actually have the ability to break the bad news to Rarity, because of the strange rules of this world…
“I’m so sorry, Sweetie. I’m so, so, sorry….”
After an unknown amount of time passed, she was abruptly alerted to a strange twitching sensation. A very familiar one. In her tail.
…Wait. My tail!? Pinkie craned her head back and saw that she did, in fact, have her tail back. As if kicking into overdrive, her mind swam with revelations in the space of a few seconds:
-If I have my tail back, what does that mean?
-Meanie Pie had her tail.
-No…don’t jump to conclusions. I don’t have my hoof bandaged up from where she was bitten. And besides, Dashie hasn’t actually found Meanie Pie all on her own.
-But then again, why would she have her hoof bandaged? I bit her, which couldn’t be done unless I was real.
-So what does that mean?
-I don’t know, what did it mean for me to be tailless in that fight? I had to…to…use the tail against Dashie to escape.
-Its not right…more of us are missing…and in their place, there are two different forces. Something has broken free…something that never should’ve returned…its not right…
-Hey guys? Doesn’t a Twitchy Tail mean something is about to fall?
“GERONIMOOOO!” came a hyper, feminine voice from above. Pinkie craned her head just in time to see the vague frame of a yellow pony falling down on top of her before she could react aside from a quick “Eeeek!”
“Oof!” the strange pony grunted as she landed on top of Pinkie Pie. “Oh…whoops. Heh heh. Thanks for breaking my fall there.”
Pinkie leapt off the ground, hoisting her assailant off of her without even looking at her. “GET AWAY!” She cried as she ran out of the tree’s shade, running around in circles blindly. She heard high pitched shrieking sounds all around her, but ignored them, continuing to run until she stumbled over her own hooves. In response to this, she simply curled into a ball and continued crying.
After a few moments of silence, Pinkie Pie felt the sensation of being prodded by something.
“No…No, leave me alone…” the earth pony kept her eyes shut, as if afraid of what she might see. Maybe its Meanie Pie about to harvest me for more cupcakes and tell me more horrible things! Or Dashie, come to try to kill me again, blaming me for murdering Sweetie Belle! Make it stop! Please Celestia! Make it stop!
Pinkie couldn’t She heard mumbling off in the distance. Parents called for their children to rejoin them.
“H-hey. Come on. I’m sorry I jumped on you, I didn’t see you there. You kind of are hard to see in the Shade there.” Pinkie recognized the speaker as the voice of the pony who had ‘attacked’ her.
She was a unicorn. She had orange eyes, a yellow coat, blond mane and tail both cut short for a tomboyish look, and a gold-colored flame for a cutie mark.
Also, she had a big dumb grin on her face that for some reason Pinkie couldn’t put her hoof on, made her dislike this newcomer a little bit more.
“W-what are you doing!? Who are you? Wait, you can see me? You can touch me?” Question after question spilled out of Pinkie’s lips as they entered her mind.
“HUUUUUUAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!” the unicorn gasped dramatically, causing Pinkie to wince and her ears to flatten.
Oh my gosh, what’s wrong now? Maybe she still can’t hear me? Has she mistaken me for Meanie Pie and is about to have a heart attack? Is it something even worse? I can’t take anymore of this!
“What? W-what’s wrong now?” Pinkie stammered, shrinking away a little further from the obviously mentally unstable pony that she was afraid she had somehow broken in some way.
The unicorn blinked. “Oh. Nevermind.” She said with a blank expression. She returned to her pleasant, dopy smile. “I’m Sunny Gold.”
Pinkie, unable to keep up with all of this whiplash, simply said “….lolwut.”
“I’m Sunny Gold?” the unicorn tilted her head to the side, her smile faltering just a little bit.
“No! Not that! I mean…ugh. Why did you answer my last question with a scream? Who does that?”
Outside the boundaries of the Darkest Grove, the Twilit Specter had the strangest urge to start banging her head against the nearest tree. Instead, she let out a frustrated groan.
The other spirits stared at her. The Fluttering Shade had hidden behind the Wrathful Wraith. The Striped Ghost, who had been discussing a plan of action, seemed particularly annoyed at Twilight.
“Sorry.” Said Twilight. “I just felt like doing that for some unexplainable reason.”
The Striped Ghost spoke. “We are all at our wits’ ends, but I would hope that you would pay attention if only for the sake of our friends.”
Sunny stared at Pinkie with a blank expression for a moment and she said “Oh! Right! Because you looked like that purple pony that I wanted to make friends with! But you’re kind of pinker…like. Pinkish-purple. I don’t know. My Mom-Dad is pink, and you kind of remind me of her, but she’s much brighter colored than you. I also thought you had her hairstyle, but she had a pink streak through her hair. She might’ve also been a unicorn. I tried to be friends with her, but she ran away screaming. So, I was saying you reminded me of her. Oh, and then, I introduced myself.”
Pinkie looked at herself. Purple? What is she…oh. Right. This again. The doctors never found out what makes my coat change this color…probably because I’ve never had it long enough for them to even see it. Annoyed and feeling a headache coming on, Pinkie just stared at the unicorn.
The blond unicorn grinned. “Hi! I’m Sunny Gold!”
Pinkie held her head in her hooves. “Ugh. Look, I really, really need you-”
“I’m Sunnyyyy~” Sunny sang.
Pinkie stared at the unicorn mare for a moment. “My name’s Pinkie Pie. Nice to meet you.”
Sunny’s grin went even wider. “Oh hi, Pinkie Pie! I’m Miss Winky Mcjickers!”
Pinkie’s subsequent death glare failed to poke any holes in the impregnable armor of Sunny Gold’s/Ms. Mcjickers’ dopey grin.
“WHOEVER YOU ARE, I need you to talk like a normal pony.” Pinkie growled. “Just…don’t scream at me anymore, okay?”
Pinkie suddenly felt a spasm. Her world was green fog and purple dots for a fraction of a second. Why not? She sounds just like you. Stupid and Insane… Spoke a voice in Pinkie’s head. The spasm and the voice in Pinkie’s head went away as quickly as they had appeared.
Sunny looked surprised. “Whoa. Hey, what was that? Oh! Oh! I can make funny faces too!” Sunny screwed up her face and obviously attempting –and apparently failing- to do something with her tongue that seemed to require it stretch further than it actually was able to go….but Pinkie cut her off, raising a hoof to stop her acquaintance.
“That was nothing important.” Pinkie was getting too many stimuli at once; she couldn’t focus on them all. “I’ve just had…” her voice broke into a choking sound; she started again “had a rough day.”
Sunny gasped, less dramatically this time “Hey, were you about to cry?” A concerned look crossed the unicorn mare’s face.
Pinkie took a deep breath, covering her face. Alright, Pinkie, a lot of crazy stuff happened in the events leading up to your ‘death’, but this pony is the first one who can see you who doesn’t want to cut something off of you. Maybe you can get her to help you. You need some other pony to help you catch Meanie Pie so you can prove to Dashie –and possibly YOURSELF- that you aren’t the same. And to do that, you need to buck up and get her on your side.
“No! I mean…no. I’m fine, really.” Pinkie forced a smile, her voice a little raspy from dehydration. “I…really thought I knew everypony in Ponyville, but I don’t recognize you. Did you move in recently?”
“Um…I guess so. I came with my Dad after he took me from my mom’s place and planted her here, and then they had me!” Sunny said.
“Uh….huh.” Pinkie said. Wait. That would mean she was born here, but she said she moved in her recently. That makes no sense. Okay, you know what? I’m starting to see a pattern. I can only interact with the crazy ponies. That’s…wonderful. Oh Celestia, just promise me she’ll be useful enough to help me get in touch with my friends.
“I haven’t met many ponies who aren’t weirdoes, however. There was a very shy one who ran away that I wanted to get to know, but it’s okay because I made another friend! She’s a very silly pegasus.”
“Huh? Oh, you must be talking about Fluttershy and Ditzy Doo! I know those two!” Pinkie said, registering Sunny was still speaking. “Actually, um…I might need your help getting in contact with them, I…” Pinkie trailed off. “I don’t know if I can talk to some of my friends. Well, I don’t think I can talk to them..”
Sunny seemed to notice her trailing off. “Why? Did you have a fight of some sort? Are they mad at you?”
They will be, when they discover Sweetie Belle. You really should run away from town and never look back. The cruel voice in Pinkie’s brain spoke again as she twitched once more.
Pinkie shook it off. “No, no! It’s nothing like that.”
“…Um, you should know that you’ve kind of got a gigantic tell, so you shouldn’t ever play poker.” Sunny said, looking at Pinkie skeptically. When Pinkie just stared at her in response, Sunny leaned closer to her and whispered. “It’s a twitch.”
Pinkie felt like she should be annoyed at that, but if anything, she just felt drained. She felt her smile fall, and knew that Sunny had seen it.
She had been handling this conversation so awkwardly –random twitches aside- because she couldn’t deal with recounting the whole mess with Sweetie Belle. Well, that and the random twitches and the kooky unicorn she was speaking too made things hard to focus. But now that the subject of her friends had actually come up, she couldn’t pretend anymore. She only hoped she could hold off crying long enough to get Sunny to help her if indeed, Sunny was the only one available for her…
A loud “GUUUUuuuuurrgggllleeee” came from Pinkie’s stomach all of a sudden. It was so noisy, it was a wonder it didn’t shake the earth.
Pinkie, finding herself blushing at this sudden turn of events tried to continue speaking “Ah, anyway….” Another groan from her stomach sounded again.
Sunny Gold’s eyes went wide. “Oh my gosh, you poor pony! That’s why you’re about to cry, you’re starving! Here, come with me!” Sunny walked around Pinkie Pie and pushed her forward.
“H-hey! Wait! Where are we going?” Pinkie asked, trying to plant her hooves in the ground to resist being pushed.
“It’s okay, it’s okay!” Sunny chirped. “You’ll see when we get there!”
Pinkie grumbled, but was soon distracted by the other ponies that were staring at Sunny as she pushed Pinkie forward. Pinkie vaguely remembered there was something that had caused a commotion among the park goers a few moments ago. She had been too focused on talking to Sunny to notice if the commotion had ever been about her.
Can they see me? Or are they staring at Sunny Gold because she’s walking like some kind of Mime, pushing a very stubborn air current like a bolder up a mountain…
From one of the spread out quilts, Roseluck asked out loud “Who IS that?” at the same time that Lily exclaimed “What happened to her coat? Was it another one of Sunny’s misfired spells? The horror, the horror!” Taking a moment to look at the situation. Daisy gasped and whispered something in her friends’ ears which Pinkie couldn’t make out and then Lily and Rose screamed before fainting. Daisy blinked twice, apparently not having expected THAT reaction from those two, and sighed with an annoyed expression on her face.
Oh. That solves that question. Maybe I don’t actually need Sunny… But where did she come from? I know she doesn't live in Ponyville...
“Hey Sunny, who’s your friend?” asked Bon Bon as they passed by her quilt. Strangely, Sunny didn't seem to hear her, and continued to push her forward. “Wait...is that Pinkie Pie? But what’s wrong with her coat? She’s all Puce!” Bon Bon noted Pinkie’s colors.
“You’re right, hon-hon.” Gasped Lyra “I’ve never seen a puce colored pony before…. I’ve seen red-violet manes before, however. It is like Pinkie Pie just got…darker…somehow. Look at the Cutie Mark.”
Sunny kept pushing her, but Pinkie decided not to be rude. “Hi girls…”
“It is you! But how did you…”
“Who knows? She’s probably just being Pinkie Pie.” Lyra shrugged.
Lyra and Bon Bon kept talking, but there voices fell out of earshot. I can be seen by ponies other than Dashie and Meanie now…what does that mean? Do I have my tail back because I ‘died’ again?
“H-hey, Sunny? Are we there yet? You’re horn is kind of jabbing me.”
“Oh. Sorry.” Sunny had been trying to angle her horn off to the side and not poke into Pinkie Pie, but its spiral design had been pressed into Pinkie’s furred skin. “Oops. My bad.”
Pinkie was a little confused by the abrupt halt in momentum. “You can still take me wherever it was you were taking me. I just want to…”
“Oh, we’re here. Here’s where I left my basket.” Sunny said, pointing a hoof at a very untidy, wrinkled blanket that had a picnic basket perched precariously on a particularly unstable portion of the blanket.
“That….seems an awful long way from the tree you were jumping out of randomly…”
“I…was waiting for somepony else and I…got a little lost.”
Pinkie’s stomach growled once more. She had to admit that all this vomiting/dying she had done today had left her pretty hungry…
“Uh oh. Sounds like somepony’s really hungry.” Sunny giggled. “Here, lets see if I have something you like. Oh! How about some of these! These Ribs are the best, they even taste good cold! But I can use my magic to heat them up for you!”
Sunny pulled out something wrapped in white paper that was stained with some strange red substance that looked horribly like blood.
Pinkie didn’t say anything for a while, just staring at the stained package, her eyes shrinking into pinpoints. When she found her voice again she squeaked out a question. “Wh-what did you call this food again?”
“Ribs! You know, like the bones!” Sunny closed her eyes as she smiled cheerfully.
“Oh!” Pinkie spoke in a strained voice. “Is that all? And here I thought you just said something horrific.”
A cyan pegasus with a rainbow mane and tail, and a bloody pink tail tied around her fetlock, gazed at her target from where she hovered.
She had flown there with rage and misery etched onto her face, but now that she was staring upon the lair of the enemy who had captured her so easily last time, she felt an inkling of hesitation.
She breathed heavily, glaring at pastry-themed building as if she was having a staring contest with it.
What if this is a trap? What if she’s down there, waiting for me to come back?
However, she only had found Pinkie’s tail in that box. There still a chance that Evil Pinkie had just cut off her tail and used some other pony’s blood to write that letter and dip the severed tail in. In fact, Pinkie could’ve escaped with just her tail gone… It was a faint, overly-optimistic hope, but one her fevered mind was clinging to like grim death.
That, and it also opened up the possibility that Pinkie Pie had escaped. Or maybe she WAS still in there, and any moment her evil twin could start torturing her to death….
Hesitation vanishing, Rainbow Dash dove down, heading through the open door at the front of the shop. Not even asking why it was open or checking to see if the rule that should couldn’t open doors was still in effect. Rainbow charged blindly into the bakery, screaming a battle cry and ready to tear the entire place apart….
…and then she saw it.
Unbeknown to her, and invisible farmer pony followed her by passing through the walls. The Anxious Jackanapes ran up behind her.
“Landsakes! Slow down, would’cha, RD? Ah’m not used to just running through buildin’s. Even if they are just faceless zombies, it feels too much like trespassin’…” The Jackanapes noticed that Rainbow Dash hadn’t said anything. “Oh right. Ah guess ya can’t hear me. Ah seem to remember Zecora sayin’ something about that. Well, Ah hope you don’t mind if Ah stick around to see what kind of tricks this nasty ole Grove is playin’ on ya before I go back and…demand...that… we….” The Jackanapes trailed off as Rainbow Dash lay down to the ground and put her hoof on something on the floor…something…pink and red. It walked closer to Rainbow Dash and got a good look at what she was looking at.
On the ground, covered in blood and with a shiny, silvery knife thrust into her heart, was a faceless, tailless Pinkie Pie. Or, at least, she looked faceless to the Jackanapes.
Rainbow Dash, who had placed her hoof on the pony’s throat, started to shake. The Jackanapes looked up, and examined her face to gauge her reaction and to make sure she had one.
Tears leaked out of Rainbow Dash’s eyes as she slowly started to shake her head from side to side, gritting her teeth. And then her entire face contorted as she screamed in grief.
This can’t be happening! THIS JUST CAN’T! Rainbow's mind reeled in despair as she continued to scream.
“I…I’M THE ONE WHO FAILED! I MESSED UP! I GOT CAUGHT! ME! Why would you let me go and take Pinkie instead?”
“Sugar cube …” the Jackanapes extended her hoof to place on Rainbow Dash’s shoulder, only for it to pass through her unnoticed. “Aw, ponyfeathers.”
Rainbow Dash sobbed. “I should’ve fought harder. I…I should’ve been there for you. I’m sorry Pinkie Pie.”
“That ain’t her!” the Jackanapes yelled. “Look, Ah know you can’t hear me, but just…just…Ah don’t know.”
“Oh…oh, Pinkie.” Rainbow Dash lay down next to her friend, letting out gentle sobs.
For a while, Rainbow didn’t say anything, and neither did the Jackanapes. As Rainbow’s sobbing died down, she stared intently at the knife stuck in Pinkie’s body.
With a shaky hoof, she gently reached out for the knife, and pulled it out. “Well…she’s not going to get me. I will find her ….and make her pay.”
“Sugar cube, no! That’s just what they want! You’ll either get yerself killed or….” the Jackanapes gasped with a sudden, horrifying flash of insight. “…or kill the real Pinkie Pie.”
The Anxious Jackanapes looked at Rainbow Dash, who was now holding the knife by its hilt in her mouth. Ah have to get back to Zecora and the others. Ah have to stop Rainbow before she goes and does something stupid! Ah only hope that Twi was successful in finding the exit to this place…
Suddenly, a blood curtling scream rang out from the entrance to Sugarcube, causing Rainbow to jump out of her skin and turn around to face whatever threat was assaulting her now.
Fluttershy stood there, looking completely horrified at the scene of Rainbow Dash standing over Pinkie Pie’s blood soaked body, carrying a bloody knife in her mouth and a bloody tail wrapped around her hoof.
“Okay…So, what was in the box?” Shadash asked.
“It was Pinkie Pie’s tail that she left behind somewhere.” ‘Ditzy Doo’ said. “She said that all the rest of us are going to steal it back from Rainbow Dash after she goes to Sugarcube Corner.”
“And…why are you going to steal the tail back? Wouldn’t that be the perfect prop to convince Pinkie Pie that the character I’ve presented to her and Rainbow Dash are one and the same? To get her and Rainbow Dash to cross-banish each other?”
“Nope. The mistress doesn’t want her container to attack Rainbow Dash. She wants Rainbow Dash to banish Pinkie Pie, but not the other way around. She also is deploying measures to force Pinkie Pie to self-banish or even self-encroach herself.”
Shadash’s eyes widened. And then narrowed. So…that what’s she’s really after. She’s trying to leave me alone in the Grove with Rainbow Dash, and giving her a head start to do whatever evil she is planning. Probably play the innocent helpless victim and ask the other ponies to save her from Rainbow Dash whose gone “crazy.”
“Alright. Last question, reflection number 478: where is Shadamena right now?”
“Town Hall. Also, I believe its time for me to get back to….”
“Yes, that will be all. You are free to go.” Shadash said as she exited through the window of the Post office and traveled, on hoof, towards Town Hall.
Time for some payback, Shadamena.
A/N: And now, I’m going to cut it. Who or what is Sunny Gold? What ARE those wacky shadows up to? Will Rainbow Dash realize Pinkie is still alive? Will Pinkie Pie ever catch a break? And most importantly of all…
…what IS the story on ponies eating meat products, anyway?