Chapter 2: Origin of the Hero
"Pinkie Pie, can you go and see if the walnut crisp cookies are done? I bet they're all ready to be cooled down." Mr. Cake asks as he helps his wife display their latest batch of fresh cornbread on a table.
The pink pony smiles and gives him a one-hoof salute with a sweet smile. "Okey dokey lokey, Mr. Cake! I'm right on it!" With those words, she hops away towards the kitchen in the back.
She then grabs a flame-retardant cloth with her mouth, nudges open the oven door with a hoof, and sticks her head in, clamping down on the hot cooking tray with the cloth over her teeth. The rich heavenly smell of the cookies makes Pinkie Pie sigh dreamily. However, she had to maintain what little focus she usually has to prevent herself from eating every last cookie in that tray and decides to place it on the table to cool.
She starts to hum a tune when suddenly she feels a powerful electric jolt running down her spine, followed by her pupils shrinking to near invisibility and a loud gasp. The force of the gasp made her drop the entire tray of cookies on the floor with a loud bang. At that, both Mr. and Mrs. Cake come running into the kitchen.
"Good heavens, Pinkie dear! What happened?" Mrs. Cake asks with worry as they are more interested in their
apprentice's well-being than the ruined cookies on the floor.
Pinkie shakes her head a few times. That spine tingle could only mean one thing. She looks up at the Cakes with a sincere smile. "Um, I'm not feeling very well right now. I'm going to go lie down now, if that's ok?" she says softly.
Mr. Cake shows her a warm smile in return. "Sure thing, Pinkie. Just come on back down once you're feeling better, you hear?"
"Thank you so much!" the pink pony responds as she slowly walks away with a worried smile and beads of sweat running down her brow. As soon as she's out of their sight, she shoots up the stairs to her room.
Closing the door, she bolts it right behind her. Normally she would never do that since there was nothing to fear in Ponyville, but things change and it's the only way to protect her secret that not even the Cakes have to know.
Humming once more, she hops her way to a bookcase filled with all sorts of books of jokes, silly stories and
party catalogs. Her eyes dart across the books in front of her until she finds the one she's looking for. The book itself was unassuming with a crisp binder with letters in simple ink reading The Equestrian Gourmand's Guide to Candies and Confectionaries . Grabbing the edge of the book, she pulls it out only to show it was actually a cleverly-disguised latch that clicks against the book case. Just like that, the bookcase slowly and silently slides to the side to reveal a hidden room.
Pinkie originally had this room nopony else knew about built as a secret hideaway where she could sneak off to snack on some leftovers that the Cakes later wondered about their disapperance. However, her new "part-time job" gives it a whole different purpose. Turning on a well hidden lantern at the base of the hidden chamber, she reveals what is her newest and most secret possession. A ponyquin given by Rarity which holds the bodysuit, cape, mask and hat of the Mysterious Mare-Do-Well. It's time for her to act once more. Pinkie hums as she hopped into the hidden chamber as the bookcase slid back into place. She then starts to recall that day when she declared her new lease on life.
"I already made up my mind. I'm going to stay as her! It was so much fun and I want to do it again!" Pinkie Pie proclaimed as she and her friends had a secret meeting in the dark basement of the Library. She called them all together to make an important announcement. Naturally, the Five were shocked at this turn of events.
"Now, now, sugar cube. Don'cha think yer going way over yer li'l pink head over thehs?" Applejack mused as she looked at the center of the room just behind Pinkie where the Mare-Do-Well costume was placed on one of Rarity's spare ponyquins.
"Applejack's right, Pinkie. What we did could only be accomplished by all of us working together," Twilight Sparkle explained, "Her strength, your Pinkie Sense, my magic, Fluttershy's wings. We couldn't have helped Rainbow see the error of her ways if we weren't united. There is just no way 'Mare-Do-Well' could work with just you."
Pinkie shook her head in shock as her eyes opened wide. "But Twilight, what will the ponies say when they find out Mare-Do-Well isn't even real? That she was just something we baked in our noodles to show Rainbow to not be just a big, inflated, super-ego, grumpy-pants, extra-topping, spoilered, rott-"
"PINKIE PIE! " Rainbow Dash snapped before she could continue as she remained hovering above them. "We all get the point about me. That I'd end up with a bigger swelled head than that showmare Trixie if Mare-Do-Well didn't show up. I. Get. It."
Rarity nodded in agreement with Twilight. "She is absolutely correct, Darling. Have you not given thought to how your life will change? It would positively be a disaster! Being the number-one party planner of Ponyville, helping the Cakes run Sugar Cube Corner, and you still want to push yourself further by going out as our sham of a supermare? Oh, the horrid reminder of biting off more than I can chew!"
Rainbow Dash grumbled and crossed her front hooves. "Saddle up, girls. It'll be a long one..."
The fashionista looked up at the ceiling as though she was staring at the sky and wrung her hooves in despair. "That awful, dreadful week where not only did I have to design the original outfits we had for the Grand Galloping Gala only to create an additional set by your specifications! And to top that unspeakable moment in my life, I had to make a DOZEN of each of our dresses for Hoity-Toity! That is over seventy dresses! And to gather all the extra bolts of fabric, the accessories, the yards of fabric! It was only unrivaled by the time that uncouth ruffian Discord enchanted me to cherish... A ROCK! A dumb giant rock! Oh, the HUMILIATION! It was THE! WORST! POSSIBLE! THING!!!" With those words, she fell back on her couch she just slid into place with her magic and went into a sobbing fit.
"Where in tarnation does she even get those dang couches anyway?" Applejack whispered into Twilight's ear to which the purple unicorn replied with a shrug of her shoulders.
"Um, Pinkie?" Fluttershy piped up as she dragged one of her front hooves in circles as she looked up with shame and concern. "I, well, I don't want to offend, but... um... You really shouldn't overwork yourself just because we don't want to be Mare-Do-Well anymore. I-I-I mean... I-i-it's just that..." She then crouched down with a whimper unsure of what else to say.
Rainbow Dash placed a hoof over her face and sighed annoyingly, finally speaking, "What she WANTS to say is that the joke is over, ok? You all had a good laugh at me and helped plant my hooves firmly on the ground."
"But aren't you still hovering in the air?" Pinkie wondered as she leaned her head to the side.
The multicolor-maned pegasus stopped for a second and groaned again. "You know what I'm talking about! Why are you so interested in keeping this stupid charade-"
"Oooh! Charades! I love Charades!" Pinkie intrrupted with a happy hop. "I've been the Ponyville Charades Champ for a while too! Ok, here's the first one!" She then stood on her hind legs as she did a few motions with her front hooves.
"Pinkie..." Twilight groused.
The pink pony remained silent as she shook her head and did the motions again with more feeling.
"Pinkie," the unicorn said with increasing annoyance.
Pinkie shook her head again and made the motions once more with more urgency as she grit her teeth.
"PINKIE!" Twilight finally snapped at her.
The earth pony sighed as she got back on four legs and shook her head, "You're such a lousy charades player. I've got to teach you how to play."
"And YOU have got to realize you can't be Mare-Do-Well! She won't be able to work unless we all are in together and we can't! Just get it over your head already. Please..." Twilight pleaded.
To their collective concern, Pinkie's smile faded as she got down on her haunches and looked at the ponyquin with the costume. "You know, I never told you girls what I did when you were all over at Sugar Cube Corner with Rainbow Dash as you were praising Mare-Do-Well," she said in a half-stern tone as her frizzy mane and hair went limp. Her color remained though, meaning she was still of sound mind but being very serious. Everyone stopped what they were doing to listen at this sudden change in tone. This was no mere event she was about to say.
"I was out as Mare-Do-Well just jumping from rooftop to rooftop when I got a pinchy knee," she began.
"Something scary. I remember you told me that when I was in the tub and first met Gummy," Twilight responded.
"I could feel the pinching getting stronger as I approached an alley and saw some strange stallion I never met before walk right in. He was scary, wearing some ugly saddlebags, and being angry-looking. At first I thought about later inviting this newcomer for a party like I always do with new arrivals but then I saw a colt walk in after him. It was a young colt I often saw entering Sugar Cube Corner to do some errands. I never saw him with a smile on his face and that made me feel sad. I also didn't know where he lived so it was hard for me to actually plan a party for him to make him feel really welcome and..."
She then cleared her throat. "Sorry, everypony. I got carried away." Now they were all very worried for her. To actually excuse herself for doing one of her regular thought derailments, this was far more serious than they all thought.
"I then heard them talk. I...I... I can't go on. Please it's too horrible to remember." With those words, she hung her head down and could see a single tear fall down on the ground.
"Oh my gosh, Pinkie, Ah'm just, well, we're sorry we didn' know what happened wit' ya." Applejack said as her ears fell as well as everypony else's.
"Please tell us, dear. What was that riffraff doing to that sweet colt?" Rarity asked with a hint of concern but looking more as if she wanted new gossip scoops.
Pinkie turned aside still with a sad frown. "I don't want to say anything. Please. I just don't want to remember..."
"Aw, come on, Pinkie. How can we help you if you don't tell us? We're all your friends. We've beaten Nightmare Moon and Discord! Nothing would ever come between us, so why don't you just-"
"Rainbow Dash, hush!" an uncharacteristically cross Fluttershy silenced her on the spot. Now the others were concerned to see two of their friends so out of their Elements.
The yellow pegasus walked to the still-solemn Pinkie and looked at her with her sweet motherly gaze "It's all right, Pinkie Pie. If you don't want to tell us, you don't need to. You'll can do it when you're finally ready. Please, continue and tell us what happened after that."
The straight-haired Pinkie just gave her a weak smile and giggled a bit. "You're really a year older than me."
"After I managed to get rid of that horrible stallion, I went back to the colt and I was glad he wasn't hurt. He then apologized to 'Mare-Do-Well' and was scared to go home. 'Mare-Do-Well' decided to take the little guy home. I didn't know he lived in the opposite side of the town in a small hut near the dam. When I went in, I saw he lived alone with only his 'Aunty'. She was very old, older than Granny Smith and most of the Retirement Village's mares, but also blind. The little nephew was basically the dear old mare's source of life as he fed her, cleaned her and took care of her. I wanted so hard to ask them why didn't they live closer to town but I made a Pinkie Swear to you all that I would never speak while I was Mare-Do-Well. So I stayed silent.
The colt told his Aunty what I did for him and at first she was very upset that he got mixed up with that nasty stallion but was glad to know 'Mare-Do-Well' set him on the right path again. She then asked her nephew to take my hoof and had me stand before her. I was curious what she wanted and told me to raise my hoof. I did and she took it after finding it and... she gave a small kiss on it. Told me it was a gift for good luck. I knew when my back started to itch that it was true. Luckily her little nephew scratched it away from me and then he told me he wanted to show me something.
I walked to the bedroom both share and I actually had my heart stop for a few seconds. On top of his bed was a poster of Mare-Do-Well. It was one of those posters the Mayor made for the celebration which the colt found earlier. He then picked up a piece of paper on a table and showed it to me. I tried hard to hold back my tears as I saw a drawing he did of Mare-Do-Well along with the words #1 Ponyvill Hero! He then apologized for lying to me by saying he was scared. He was really wanting Mare-Do-Well to come to his little house and see the picture and asked me if I like it. He said he...he..."
Her tears began to fall even more as she looked up at them.
"He wanted to be a powerful hero when he grew up. He said a lot of fillies, colts and ponies all saw Mare-Do-Well as the most wonderful supermare in the entire world that only the Princesses themselves were greater. Then...he hugged my front hoof. I didn't know what to say or do. I tried to move but I was frozen in shock. I could not believe I...we managed to do all this. This had gone beyond a simple prank. This was far more important than anypony could imagine.
I finally managed to regain control of my body and I knew I had to leave before I broke down from all the combos I felt, even more than my Pinkie Sense could handle. It was that which made me decide that I want to be Mare-Do-Well. For. Ever." She then dragged a hoof slowly only to stomp it in place as she looked at them sternly.
Everypony in the room was silent. Nobody dared speak on account of what they could tell her after everything she explained to them. However, the same thing went through all their minds: She was really bent on really taking the mantle of Mare-Do-Well and it looked like she was very driven towards that goal with the spirit and willingness the pink pony was famous for. They could never say no.
"Pinkie Pie," Twilight Sparkle finally spoke as she broke the silence. "When I first arrived in Ponyville, all I could think of you was a smiling embodiment of positive energy and joy without a care in the world except seeing others smile. What you just showed me here, right now, to us all, was a spark unlike the one I felt back when I first encountered Nightmare Moon and realized the magic of friendship. You quite possibly have the most unique gift of any earth pony I have ever met in my life outside of their strength and connection to the land. Rest assured that my Magic will always help you whenever you need it." She then placed her hoof over Pinkie's on the floor.
Applejack then said, "Well now, sugar cube. This here's a side of you Ah never thought ya had. Even after all the time we shared, you keep pullin' surprises on me left an' right. Ah can tell a gosh-darn honest action when Ah see them, an' ye managed to impress even me! As long as Ah have a breath of lahfe in this here heart o' mine, Ah shall always have mah Honesty ready to help ya." Her own hoof joined Twilight's soon after.
It was Rarity's turn next. "Really, my dear, you seem to always surpass my expectations every time we talk. My mother once told me a pony is tied down to their special talent dictated by his or her cutie mark. Despite the balloons on your flank which cements your every waking moment towards your joyful soirees and songs, I now realize there is much more. I am shamed to admit you have shown far more Generosity than I could ever hope to attain, however my fabulosity is always at your beck and call, dear lady." She placed her hoof down as well.
Rainbow Dash chuckled once before finally landing on the ground. "Well, what do you know? You really got some awesomeness, radicalness and spectacularness in you, Pinkie! I'll admit you were really a huge help when I got so stuffy during the whole construction site thing. If you weren't there to help me out, I guess some ponies would have ended up badly hurt or worse. Really, you are quite the pal. Besides, how could I not stick with you if I wasn't Loyalty? It would be so not cool of me if I didn't. If you need speed, I'm the pegasus for the job!" With flourish, she placed her hoof alongside the rest.
"Pinkie," Fluttershy finally said, "I'm not, you know, good at confidence speeches but here goes..." She then took a deep breath and finally blurted out. "I've never met a much nicer and wonderful pony in all my life. You always look out for me and cheer me up whenever I feel down and I am very grateful for that. You're always considerate and never do anything to make me feel awful which helps boost my confidence only a tad. You like to make other ponies smile and be happy. You put everypony else above yourself all the time and for that I consider you as brave and honorable as any Royal Guard can be. I don't know how much my Kindness will help you, but I will try my very best to support you at all times."
She finally let out a tiny gasp and placed the final hoof in the small pile. Rainbow Dash couldn't suppress a snicker while Twilight, Applejack and Rarity rolled their eyes but maintained a warm smile. Pinkie just looked at the pile of hooves over her own offering her their support.
"You have shown us the true spirit of heroism whereas we only used it as a tool to teach lessons. We are unable to be in the same level as you are, Pinkie Pie," Twilight spoke as she and the rest blushed in agreement. "That is why we officially dub you the one and only true Mare-Do-Well. You have our confidence that you will do just fine."
At this, Pinkie lowered her head again and tears ran down her cheek. At first, everypony thought they hurt her further. To their immediate shock, her mane and tail immediately frizzled and she gave them all an ear-to-ear smile as she grabbed them all in a group hug and openly wept tears of joy.
"Ohthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!!!! I will promise to be the very best Mare-Do-Well there ever was in the entire world!" Her tears stopped briefly as she gave a puzzled look. "No wait! We all created her and there's just me now!" At that, everypony broke out in laughter and huddled closer in the hug.
When they broke the hug, Twilight began to pace around. "Ok, Pinkie. If you're going take up this job, you must be prepared for everything. You don't have the magic Rarity and myself wield, the physical strength Applejack holds and the wings for flight Rainbow and Fluttershy were born with. You therefore must be-"
"Twilight, don't worry your silly little head off," the pink pony interrupted. "I got everything under control!" She suddenly bent her head behind her bare back and somehow pulled a scroll out from somewhere and held it in her mouth. Everything was dumbstruck but realized Pinkie was just being Pinkie.
"I have here a list of several things that will help me out and prepare myself for my supermare days! Isn't it exciting? I know it's exciting and I've never been so excited, but I mean really, how can I not be excited and..."
"Yeah yeah, we heard you already! Sheesh!" Rainbow groaned rolling her eyes while she and the other Elements read the scroll. Some were furrowing their brows, others had them raised in surprise, and a few tapped their hooves against the floor in thought.
"Well, I guess I could dig up all the books I can find on Neighponese and other Far Eastern martial arts. If it will help you use your natural speed to become a better offensive tactician, I got no argument from that!" Twilight nodded.
"Ya want mah ol' training steel shoes Ah used to strengthen Bucky an' Kicks? If'n gonna help ya have more bang for yer buckin', then Ah'll give 'em to ya," Applejack replied.
"Hmm. You wish to keep this particular ponyquin, now? Oh, darling, you don't need to request it. It's officially yours as it holds your uniform. Just be sure to keep it clean and free of damage, yes? But who am I to complain? Should it need a bit of repairs, especially in your line of work, my boutique is always open for you, my dear."
"Heh. So you want the ol' Master to teach you all about her slick fighting moves those boring old books don't teach, huh? No prob! If there's something I'm good at aside from speed and agility and guts and coolness, it's beating the odds!" Rainbow Dash said proudly.
"Oh my. You want to borrow my aromatherapy candles and incense? I guess that's all right with me... They are good for centering the mind and meditation. I'm sure you can put them to good use." Fluttershy whispered.
"So, sugarcube, have ya given thought on how exactly ya will act?" the farm pony thought aloud.
"Well, duh! I can even recite them right now while I get ready!", Pinkie said peppily.
"What? You are going out already? But you are just not ready, darling. At least wait a few days," pleaded Rarity.
"Aw, don't worry about me. I just want to let Ponyville know that Mare-Do-Well is still around and if there are any disasters to help prevent, I'll do just fine and dandy like sugar candy! Mmm, so delish!" Pinkie said as she giggled with a snort. She grabbed the ponyquin with her costume by its stand and went to a hidden corner of the basement.
"All righty! Here's my creed. Rule number one..."
...never speak while on the job. My voice is wonderful but so easy to tell it's me. So total hush-hush!
The bodysuit is finally fully on, hiding her coat color and her tail. Rarity is a genius to have made a special compartment to hide it. Originally to make sure Rainbow never knew who was in the costume by looking at the tail, it now serves the purpose of preventing her tail to be snagged or grabbed by anything.
Rule number two. If I ever have to fight, I will never ever never take anypony's life. Only attack to leave them sleeping. The Big Sleep itself is a huge no-no!
With that, the hoof wraps are finally in place.
Rule number three. My Pinkie Sense is my bestest best friend only after the girls. Listening to it is the difference between a lot of ouchies and being Pinkie keen!
The cape is now flowing behind her back and latched on with the monogrammed brooch.
Rule number four. When I finally wear the mask, I'm no longer Pinkie Pie. She is a friend inside my mind. I will only be the Mysterious Mare-Do-Well, the champion of Ponyville.
She grabs her mask firmly connected to the cape and sighs as she recalls the simple design. It is very lightweight, allowing her to breathe through and hide the color of her eyes behind special fabric lenses that allow her to view everything but doesn't allow a single bit of her eyes to be seen. A perfect way to hide her face. Its sole drawback was that its mouth was also covered which meant she was unable to grab anything. But it is of little consequence as she is very resourceful.
Closing her eyes, she grabs the back of the mask with what little traction she can get with her hooves and pulls it over her frizzled pink mane, over her eyes, down her snout until her neck is now covered. Once again, her face is featureless. Only the outline of a female snout can be seen and her eyes are once again the large blue discs that can channel each eye expression flawlessly.
The last rule which I never told the girls. I fight for the hope in ponies' hearts. Hope gives them reason to smile and laugh, both crucial to why I was chosen to be the Element of Laughter and find my true purpose.
I am Hope.
I am Faith.
I am Mare-Do-Well!
She then picks up the hat resting on the head of the ponyquin and fits it snugly over her head. Pinkie Pie is no more. Now, only the Mysterious Mare-Do-Well stands in her place. Softly removing all of her former thoughts, Mare-Do-Well was ready to find the cause of her new electric jolt and solve it. The ponies will be happy. They will have faith. They depend on her and she will never fail them. It was time for action.
Opening the secret compartment again, she softly peeks out and finds nothing amiss. She sees her secret identity's faithful pet alligator looking up at her as he gives her a content growl. Mare-Do-Well softly pets him on the head as she prepares to go out the window like always. Making sure the street below Sugar Cube Corner is clear, she scrambles on top and starts her routine of jumping across rooftop to rooftop.
As expected, several ponies below manage to see her and they point up in wonder as they try to figure out where she will be next. Mare-Do-Well merely looks at them as she continues to gallop and jump across roofs towards the area her Pinkie Sense dictates her where the disturbance is. A hero's work is never done.
The Legend of Mare-Do-Well trots along.