A my Little Pony fanfic
Deep in the Everfree Forest, Zecora had taken Rainbow Dash back to her hut, to fetch a reference book and some notes, and began her explanation of the nature of "the Darkest Grove", where Pinkie Pie's track had to lead to. The Sky-blue Pegasus looked around the Zebra's hut. The masks still creeped her out. They were all so menacing, even though Zecora had said they all were supposed to mean peaceful greetings. Rainbow could understand cultural differences and misunderstandings, after all, she nearly saw a war break out in Appleloosa between the earth ponies and the buffalo, and she gotten to sympathize the Buffalo's side of the conflict. But she still couldn't help but notice how much it seemed the masks were scowling- wait, was this one actually smiling at her?
"Awww… This one is actually kind of happy-looking." Rainbow said, holding the mask she just found. Zecora frowned. "You should put that one back on the wall before it breaks. It's the oldest, and when a Zebra's nightmares began in the Darkest Grove, it would make violent shakes." Rainbow returned the mask, looking at the Medicine Zebra with a skeptical expression.
"Long ago, my ancestor came to Equestria as a stranger, to save the life of a sickened friend whose life was in danger. The cure used to grow near an accursed grove that she herself burned down, and legend spoke of another one, right outside your Pony town. These groves enchant your shade, so that you may face your demons and your heart may be weighed. To Own Your Shadow would grant you great spiritual power as well as the redemption any sin. But not even a tenth as many come out as the number that goes in. And among many of those that returned, friends and loved ones cheer, ignorant that the hero actually lost until their homes have burned."
Rainbow Dash couldn't quite take all that in. "Could you, um,…fast forward to the part that tells me about Pinkie Pie?"
"…..your friend has entered a magical grove where she can't leave. This Grove, like the one that used be in Zebrica, shall call forth a creature's own weaknesses and failings, or so they used to believe. But the heart is treacherous above all things, and the purest soul finds themselves tormented by the worst demons, so those seeking an absolution find only destruction instead." Zecora said. Rainbow gaped at Zecora's seriousness….also something else was bothering her.
"Aren't you going to rhyme that?"
"The fact that you worry over something so trivial in this dire situation, fills me with terrible dread." Zecora concluded
Rainbow blinked, not really sure that was actually on purpose or not. "Right! Pinkie Pie is in trouble! Point me in the direction of that grove, Zecora!" Rainbow flapped her wings and started to lift off the ground. "I'm going in-whoa!" Zecora bit Rainbow's tail and pulled her back down to earth, and gave her a look that seemed to say 'Didn't you hear anything I just said?'
Which Rainbow Dash noted ALSO rhymed.
"Lost Time is important, yes, but not quite the most dangerous thing!
To save Pinkie Pie and yourself, there are secrets you must learn first!
To go there knowing nothing the Challenge, or Darkness' Bane
You will only serve to make things worse."
There, in the middle of the misty forest was Sugarcube Corner, illuminated by what must've been the only shaft of light that pierced the thick canopy of the forest.
Pinkie sat there, her mouth gaping open. It couldn't be. Still, curiosity overtook her. She walked up to the shop. And then remembered.
Sweets. If this was in fact the Sugarcube Corner, then one step inside the door would assault her nostrils with the smell of sweets. Once so heavenly, they now called back memories of Pinkie's hoof guiding a scalpel to chop off a bit of Dash's flank to 'sample' her meat with the intention of later adding it to cupcakes, like so many other ponies before her. And then Dash regained consciousness from the electrocution she had received earlier and Pinkie had tried to feed Dashie a bit of her own stop. Stop. STOP!STOP!STOPTHINKINGABOUTIT! GET IT OUT OF MY HEAD! STOP REMEMBERING THESE HORRIBLE THINGS!
It took all of 30 seconds for the images to subside, and although Pinkie Pie managed not to cry, she was still shaking and breathing heavily. She looked for the window she had exited out of. The window was closed. There was no ladder. And no rope. Indeed, the only entrance into the shop was through the front door.
And then Pinkie Pie made an intelligent decision.
Pinkie turned right around and spoke aloud "Well, as much fun as it would be to explore this creepy copy version of Sugarcube Corner and puke my guts out at whatever horrors await inside –nightmarish or just sugary-" Pinkie's eye twitched nervously, "I think I'll just go try to find my way out of this forest. I trust Nopony will object. Wait." Pinkie stopped. Something was bothering her knee.
"Hmm…Pinchy-pincha-pincha-pinch." Pinkie Sense. Normally a Pinchy knee meant something scary was about to happen, but just then she felt a combo coming on.
Pinkie's ears flopped.
Then her eyes fluttered
Then her knees were twitchy…no they were pinchy….no twitchy….this was confus-
The Door flung open behind Pinkie Pie "SURPRISE!" the resident of the bakery bounded out the door, as well as an explosion of confetti. Pinkie was caught completely off guard and helpless as the door hit her right on the nose, disorienting her long enough for a filly her exact age and height to drag her inside.
Pinkie's Knee kept pinching….so violently they were starting to hurt.
Rainbow Dash sighed in frustration. This whole memorization thing Zecora was having her do was getting monotonous. "Zecora, why can't you just come with me? You obviously know everything about this place"
"I already told you once before. The blessing my village's Shaman gave to me at birth to protect me from the nightmares of the destroyed Grove, also prevent me from stepping into yours. The disaster becomes more terrible as the more ponies follow after her, so to send one instead of many is what I would much prefer. If anyone is going to save your Pinkie Pie, there must be one chosen rescuer, and it cannot be I."
"Fine! I get it! I'm the only one who can save Pinkie Pie from a horrible nightmare place! ….You want me to begin again, don't you?." Zecora nodded. Rainbow sighed.
and seek its Ultimate Nemesis
Light may witness secrets unknown,
and challenge like Shaharone,
The darkness that within the heart has grown,
to save a mortal's heart from its lethal Kiss."
Rainbow meant to ask Zecora what this strange poem meant, but she was so anxious right now, that even thinking about this stupid thing only served to annoy her more.
Zecora looked straight into Rainbow Dash's eyes. "I am satisfied. Beware when you invoking the challenge of Shaharone! There will be a contest of vindication, and to lose is for the darkness to win control of your very bones." Rainbow's eyes widened "WHAT? Then why'd you make me memorize such a dangerous thing?" Zecora looked sad. "Escaping depends on seeing through the illusions the Grove begets….and also on leaving while not having any regrets. Winning the Challenge will allow you the certainty of escape. It allows you to pick a contest, but one where both contestants can reasonably expect to achieve not just victory, but vindication. However, you should only try to use it when you are truly in poor shape."
Rainbow tried to take all this in. "Why would I ever regret leaving a death trap? Ugh, never mind. So…how do I escape the normal way?" Zecora just looked at Rainbow. "Don't regret leaving. Otherwise, it's a matter of not trusting everything you believe you are perceiving."
Rainbow Dash scratched her mane with her fore hoof. She was about to ask Zecora to explain when suddenly a noise startled her!
RAP-TAP-TAP-TAP-TAP! …TAP TAP TAP TAP! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
Rainbow and Zecora looked around the hut, confused about the noise, when a mighty CRASH came from the wall!
The Smiling Mask had fallen. And it was still jumping around. Rainbow gaped at it…and then her eyes grew in realization. Zecora held up a hoof.
"WAIT! THERE IS MORE-"
But it was too late.
Rainbow was already out the door, flying straight for the Darkest Grove.
Back at the "Mysterycube Corner", The strange pony spun Pinkie around in a frenzied dance and sang a very familiar song:
The cutest, pinkest, all around best pony! Pony!
I bet if I throw her a super-duper fun party! Party!
She'll introduce her wonderful-tasting friends to meeeee!"
Pinkie Pie missed that last lyric, as she was too disoriented with the visuals. Specifically, the identity of the singer caught her off guard.
"Y-you're me!" Pinkie exclaimed! Indeed, it was true. Another Pinkie Pie was dancing around the interior of the bakery, which had been drawn up in steamers and all the usual party favors, although there didn't seem to be any other ponies around except them. "Shh…I'm about to start the remixed portion." The other Pinkie said.
Pinkie is my bestest friend! Whoopie Whoopie! My bestest friend! Whoopie! Whoopie Whoopie!"
The other Pinkie did not so much dance as pounce at Pinkie from a new direction for each stanza. Except for each time she said "Whoopie", which was punctuated by a hop. There was a lot of hopping.
Some part of Pinkie's force of habit kind of wanted to join in the song. She never thought about singing it that way…NO! Focus Pinkie Pie! The others are always telling you to take things more seriously, and something is very wrong with this picture. (Although it did help that she was tired from running, and had eaten absolutely nothing sugary that morning, so she wasn't bustling with energy right at the moment. Also her knee was still Pinchy, meaning something scary was still about to happen.) Come on, Pinkie…how would a smart, serious pony like Twilight handle this situation?
"Pinkie…." The confused Pinkie said, trying to get the singing Pinkie's attention.
The other Pinkie bounced on top of a giant circus ball, which she made roll backwards by walking on it, and continued her singing
The coolest, fastest, all around prettiest pony! Pony!"
Although don't anypony tell Rarity! Rarity!"
"PINKIIIIIEEE!" Pinkie Pie cried out in frustration, causing the Other Pinkie to fall off her ball in surprise with a "Whoa!"
She literally bounced back, however. "Aw…but she is the prettiest. Everywhere she goes she makes a rainbow happen! She's even how we got our cutie mark. And even when she's a mess, her mane is still colorful!" the other Pinkie said happily, leaning on Pinkie Pie.
The Disgruntled Pinkie slinked under the Jovial one's hooves and backed away. "How are there two of me? And…" Pinkie gulped. "Are you a good Pinkie or a bad Pinkie? I'm sorry, but the smell of the cupcakes is really getting to me and I kind of need to know now that they don't have dead pony organs in them."
The Jovial Pinkie convulsed. "What? Ew! Why would you even think that?"
Take THAT, rambunctious mystery clone who can still enjoy the taste of sugar without vomiting! Pinkie thought to herself with some strange sense of satisfaction that she at least threw this mystery Pinkie off balance, even if her stomach was still slowly churning.
"It's a nightmare I had last night…it was terrible, and I'm kind of afraid of sweets now. And ever since I got up, I've been chasing my runaway shadow and meeting other me's and all kinds of weird stuff has been happening. So, you promise these are perfectly fine?"
The convulsing Pinkie stopped for a moment and looked at her with a worried face. "Oh wow, I had no idea. But, it was just a dream. You can't let something as silly as a dream ruin something as wonderful as cupcakes for you!"
"I still need to hear it…and where you came from."
"Uh, DUH! Mom, plus Dad. And also Mr. Stork!" The Jovial Pinkie noticed the Disgruntled one was still staring at her. "Oh, and um…there are absolutely no pony organs of any sort in there. Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye."
Pinkie started to say something, but with much exuberance, the other Pinkie reared up and put her hooves on of Pinkie's rump, and in a move similar to a Pony Conga dance, she pushed Pinkie forward, steering her into the Kitchen. "Come on, you silly filly! I'll show you there's nothing to worry about at all! I already have cupcakes made and everything!"
The Jovial Pinkie bounced on her hooves over to the tray of cupcakes, and grabbed one for the Nervous Pinkie to try. "Here! You'll feel so much better after you have one!" Pinkie had to think fast. "You know, I'm not really that hun-" Pinkie's stomach growled, apparently not satisfied with the grass and dew. SHUT UP, YOU TRAITOR! Nothing good could possibly be here! Weren't you twisting yourself in knots just a second ago? The other Pinkie giggled. "What was that you were saying?" Pinkie, finally face to face with a cupcake, began to think maybe it was just a stupid dream. Okay, something very weird is happened with the other me and the other Sugarcube corner, but maybe if I could just eat one, I can start to get over her dream. The other Pinkie did Pinkie Pie promise, after all…
Wait…her dream! In the dream, she had tricked Rainbow Dash into eating a cupcake, which was drugged…and that's how she was able to strap down Dashie while she was unconscious. The less detail said about what came next the better… But more importantly, Pinkie had something to do.
"If there's nothing wrong with these cupcakes…why don't you, say, try one?" Pinkie tossed the cupcake back to the other Pinkie. "Don't might if I do!" And the other Pinkie ate it noisily. Both Pinkies waited a few seconds in silence, and the one who at the cupcake completely failed to faint. "Satisfied? Go on…try one yourself. Its awfully rude to ask all these things of a hostess, you know. But I'm trying to be sympathetic because you had a nightmare that really scared you."
Pinkie thought for a moment…"I…." she smacked her lips, unable to finish that sentence. Actually, her mouth had gotten dry over the past few moments. "Oh, thirsty? Hear, drink this!" And Pinkie was handed a cup of punch. Pinkie drank the punch absent mindedly, starting to wonder if she wasn't being unfair to the other Pinkie.
No…she had one last test to do before she could let her guar- "WAAAAHH!" Pinkie was startled at what she saw, and reared back so far she tripped backwards, dropping her cup as she went. She had seen the most frightening, predatory grin on the other Pinkie's face. Pinkie was pretty sure she didn't need to test the other Pinkie anymore. Why wasn't she hiding her intentions anymore?
She had to get away! But she couldn't move her body very fast, and she felt so sleepy... Pinkie fell back to the floor and looked at her dropped Punch cup. She felt she should curse, or berate, or click her hooves saying "there's no place like home, there's no place like home…" But as she used the last of her strength to look up, all she could manage was a small, helpless whimper and shed a single tear at the sight she saw.
The last thing Pinkie saw before fading into oblivion was the other Pinkie stepping towards her, grinning with an awful expression of playful malice. And she salivated, like a cat that just cornered a legless mouse.
A Rainbow blur shot through the Everfree forest, heading into its darkest section. "Hold on, Pinkie! I'm coming for you! Just hold on, help is on the-AUGH!" Rainbow Dash yelled as something grabbed her tail.
Honestly, this was it! As if Applejack doing it all the time wasn't annoying enough, the first thing, the VERY FIRST THING she was doing when she got back to Ponyville was cutting her tail short. "Zecora, not now! We are out of time for details! We need…" Rainbow turned her head around and noticed her assailant was NOT Zecora. Her ears flattened, and all bravado melted off her face. "Ac…tion?"
"Grrr…." It was the manticore from before, he was here to be rescued from the Scrappy heap.
Rainbow's tail was trapped under his claw…but not her back hooves. So she rolled on her side and KICKED on the manticore's toes with both of her back legs and the manticore roared in pain as he removed his claw, presenting Rainbow with a chance to escape! Rainbow just barely got into the air before the manticore's other front claw stabbed the ground where was just a second ago.
"HA! See you later, sucker!" Rainbow gloated, hoving high above the manticore. The manticore crouched and started to flap his own dragon-like wings. "Oh. Right." Rainbow grinned. She dodged in mid-air as an orange blur shot past her from the ground. The manticore had joined her in the sky.
When Pinkie Pie regained consciousness, she couldn't quite figure out where she was. She couldn't see anything, although she was sure her eyes where open. She tried to move her hooves, but noticed they were shackled. Judging from the position of her body, she had to be bound to some kind of flat surface. "Is this a bed? It's awfully uncomfortable…" Pinkie blurted out before she could stop herself.
Far too late, she realized where she was, and why she probably shouldn't have spoken yet, if only so it would've given her more time to think. But she was greeted by a flash of blinding light.
Under the light a single lamp that was shining directly into her face, Pinkie saw a pony gleaming at her, the pony's face (and all of the room behind her) covered in shadows from the contrast of the light. "Oh, goodie! You're awake! That means we can start now!"
And the world exploded in light. The lamp was no longer shining in her face, but Pinkie took a moment blinking to get all the spots out of her eyes. The other Pinkie had gone to fetch something, so she had time to adjust her vision.
It was like a scene from a nightmare. Probably because it WAS. Ripped straight from the dream where she tortured Dash was:
The Balloons made from Organs. The table and chairs made from bones. The heads of dead fillies sitting around the table, wearing party hats made from their own skin. The banner with the words "Life is a Party!" written in blood.
And of course, she, Pinkie, was strapped to a plank, clearly the 'guest of honor.'
The other Pinkie came back with a cart covered with a white cloth.
Pinkie had a pretty good guess what was under that cloth. "Oh no...Please no."
The evil Pinkie winked at her and tore the sheet off the cart to reveal a tray full of sharpened surgery tools and knives, as well as a large medical bag.
Oh no. This is the part where she kills me!
"Good afternoon, Pinkie! This is the part where I kill you!"