Standard – Just Be Yourself
When Twilight and Pinkamena arrived in Standard, they both noticed the odd air around. Everything looked the same, and based on how many students were around, the day either had just started or it had just ended. But something just felt… off about everything.
“Something's wrong,” Pinkamena said looking around, “Your world doesn't feel right.”
“No, it doesn't,” Twilight said rubbing her arm, “I don't know why, but my heart is racing a bit.”
Pinkamena looked up at the sky, which was oddly red, “Hey, check the time on your phone.”
Twilight looked at Pinkamena, shrugged, and then opened her phone to check the time.
“It's almost three,” Twilight said frowning, “The sun shouldn't be setting this early.”
“Twilight, we need to get Celestia here as soon as possible,” Pinkamena said, “My Pinkie Sense is going off like crazy, and it's telling me that something really bad is about to happen.”
“Pinkie… Sense…?” Twilight asked looking back at Pinkamena, “What is…”
“Something that tells me when bad stuff's about to happen,” Pinkamena said walking forward, “Come on, let's go find Celestia before she leaves.”
“She'll know that we're searching for her, right?” Twilight asked following Pinkamena to the school, “She heard from the other Celestias, so she should wait for us.”
“She should, but that doesn't mean she'll be able to,” Pinkamena said, “We need to get to her before you-know-who comes after her.”
“Yeah, I'd like to avoid having to save Celestia a fourth time,” Twilight said with a sigh. When they reached the school, they saw a lot of the students preparing to leave, but none of them seemed aware of the sky, or how strange the air felt.
“No one is paying attention,” Twilight said frowning.
“They can't feel the shift in the world,” Pinkamena said, “You and I can feel it because we've been through so many worlds, but these kids know only this world.”
“So… they can't tell that the world is wrong?” Twilight asked. Pinkamena shook her head gravely.
“It was the same in my world. Right before Lavos came and destroyed it, the world became just like this,” Pinkamena explained.
“I thought you'd be showing up, Four-Eyes.”
Twilight and Pinkamena turned to see Fluttershy walking up to them.
“Hi Fluttershy,” Twilight said, already used to Fluttershy's bad attitude, “You were expecting me.”
Fluttershy nodded looking at Pinkamena, “So even Pinkie Pie has a freaky alternate, huh? What world is she supposed to be from?”
“One that's already been destroyed,” Pinkamena said, “I'm here to protect Twilight.”
“Not gonna lie, I like the get-up,” Fluttershy said, “Sort of fits, you know?”
“Fluttershy, how did you know we were coming here?” Twilight asked Fluttershy, who turned away a bit.
“Follow me to the alleyway. I need a cigarette before I head home,” Fluttershy said walking off. Twilight and Pinkamena shrugged to each other and followed her out through the side door into the alleyway. Once there, Fluttershy set her schoolbag down and pulled out a cigarette, lighting it. She then handed the box to Twilight and Pinkamena.
“Either of you guys want one?” Fluttershy asked with a sigh.
“Er, thanks, but I have really bad asthma,” Twilight said, “Hence why I'm staying upwind, you know?”
“I'm good, but that was sweet of you to think of us,” Pinkamena said jovially.
“Whatever,” Fluttershy said with a shrug, “Just trying the whole "not being a bitch all the time" thing, you know?” she leaned against the wall, “So, you guys feel it, right?”
“You mean the world?” Twilight asked, “Y-yeah, we can feel it. I'm surprised that you can feel it, though.”
“What's that supposed to mean?” Fluttershy asked taking a puff from her cigarette, “Because I'm not some super powerful fighter or a genius I'm supposed to be dumb?”
“N-no, that's not what I meant!” Twilight covered, “I was just shocked because well, the only reason Pinkamena and I can feel it is because we're world jumpers.”
“Yeah, well tell that to Applejewel, Pinkie Pie, Dashie, and myself,” Fluttershy said, “We've been feeling things like this for a while now actually. Ever since you left to save Rarity.”
“Seriously…?” Pinkamena asked frowning to herself.
“How close are you two to getting Rarity back, anyway?” Fluttershy asked, “Not trying to rush you or anything, but…”
“That's fine,” Twilight said, “We're almost at the place that we need to get to in order to save her. All we need is Principal Celestia to come with us and then take care of something in another world, and we'll be set.”
“You came here for the Principal?” Fluttershy asked a little incredulous, “Well, she should be in the school still. I think she's in her office.”
“Thanks,” Twilight said, “We'll check there.”
“Oh, Pinkie Pie wanted you to meet her in the computer lab if our hunch was right about you coming to this world,” Fluttershy said.
“We might be able to do both if we hurry,” Twilight said smiling, “Fluttershy, thanks.”
“Just get my best friend back,” Fluttershy said throwing her spent cigarette aside, “I miss her.”
With that, Fluttershy left them alone in the alleyway. Pinkamena looked down and folded her arms.
“Hey, where's the computer lab?” Pinkamena asked.
“I believe it's in room 2-K,” Twilight explained, “Why? Did you want to talk to her?”
“It might be better this way,” Pinkamena said, “That way, you can talk to Celestia, while I get to know the me from this world.”
“Well… alright then,” Twilight said nodding, “You've pretty much proved to me that you're trust worthy.”
“Thanks bestie!” Pinkamena said hugging Twilight suddenly. She then skipped off leaving Twilight alone.
“Now to go meet Celestia,” Twilight said before running back into the school.
“2-K… 2-K…” Pinkamena said skipping around the school building. It took a bit of time to figure out that the “2” meant the second floor. Once she realized that though, she was able to figure out the rest pretty easy.
She was pretty sure that she was getting a lot of odd looks, what with her walking around with her weapon out in the open like this, but there wasn't much she could do about it. Besides, it wasn't like anyone could do anything.
She stopped and looked down at her bladed hoop, biting her lip a bit thinking about the day she took it up. That was truly a sad day for her, as a part of her died that day.
“It's a shame what losing your world will do to you, isn't it?” Pinkamena said somberly. Before, she was a happier person who supported life. Now though…
She shook it off and continued her way to the computer room, which she found immediately. Entering the room, Pinkamena saw a girl wearing a fancy yet gothic black and white dress sitting in front of the computer. Based on the length of her long pink hair, Pinkamena assumed that this was the Pinkie Pie of this world.
“Huh… so that's the me that I was supposed to be, huh?” Pinkamena said. She walked toward her standard counterpart and tapped her on the shoulder. When she turned around, it was almost shocking how not surprised the gothic girl was.
“Oh, you're my alternate, right?” Pinkie Pie asked Pinkamena.
“You don't seem too surprised,” Pinkamena said with a raised eyebrow.
“I figured it was only a matter of time,” Pinkie Pie said turning back to the computer, “Dashie, Fluttershy, and even Applejewel got to meet alternates of themselves. I figured I'd meet my alternate at some point.”
“I see. Well that makes things less complicated,” Pinkamena said with a shrug, “I'm here on Twilight's behalf. She's talking to Celestia right now.”
Pinkie Pie sighed a bit, “I was hoping I could see her, but I understand. What she's doing is really important. Way more important than me.”
Pinkamena frowned hearing that, but then shrugged, “So, what did you want to tell her? I can pass the message onto her.”
“Well, I'm sure that you guys could feel it,” Pinkie Pie said, “The second you came here, something was off.”
“Yeah, we feel it,” Pinkamena said.
“I think time itself is standing still,” Pinkie Pie said, “I mean, day and night still happen, but it's almost like it's always the same day, you know?”
Pinkamena pinched the bridge of her nose, “Yep, I understand exactly what you mean. It was the same in my world right before…”
“So… it is the Time Devourer?” Pinkie Pie asked looking up at her chaotic alternate.
“I think so,” Pinkamena said with a sigh, “He's targeting this world, thus the world is literally standing still.”
“I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out how to destroy the Time Devourer. The problem is based on the stories about the creature, when he's destroyed, he can come back as long as there's the possibility of his victory.”
“He doesn't exist within time, so he's exempt from the rules,” Pinkamena said sitting in the chair right next to Pinkie Pie, “If you can ask the question “what if he won”, then he'll always come back.”
“You'd need to create a paradox of some sort,” Pinkie Pie stated, “A means of taking all of his alternates and combining them into one existence. If you could do that, it would probably create a closed event where he either wins or loses.”
Pinkamena's eyes went wide, “You figured all of that out on your own?”
“I have a lot of time on my hands,” Pinkie Pie said, “I have to do something. I never go out, and no one likes me enough to invite me to go anywhere, so-”
“Alright, alright, I can't take it anymore,” Pinkamena said holding her hands up, “Hearing myself sound so depressing is too much.”
Pinkie Pie turned to Pinkamena, and for the first time actually looked surprised.
“Kid, why do you do that to yourself?” Pinkamena asked, “You're like, way too awesome for that.”
“Me? Awesome?” Pinkie Pie shook her head, “You have me confused for my cousin Applejewel. She's the one who's surrounded by people all the time.”
“Why can't that be you?” Pinkamena asked leaning forward.
“Because, people wouldn't like me,” she sighed.
“And why not?” Pinkamena asked, “You sat here and explained how to defeat the Time Devourer, something that no one had been able to do yet! You should be the most popular kid around!”
“I don't…” it looked like the teen couldn't figure out the words to describe what she was feeling. Something about her resonated with Pinkamena. She looked… afraid…
“What are you afraid of?” Pinkamena asked folding her arms, “Why can't you see yourself shine?”
Pinkie Pie looked away a bit thinking, “It's… I'm scared of what people will think of me. I like really weird things, you know? I have a weird fashion sense, my voice is silly…”
“Hey! I resemble that remark!” Pinkamena exclaimed. It took a second, but Pinkie Pie laughed a bit before continuing.
“I was laughed at so much when I was little. Why wouldn't kids laugh at me now?” Pinkie Pie asked looking sad. Pinkamena closed her eyes and sighed.
“You know, kids probably will laugh at you,” Pinkamena admitted.
“Thanks,” Pinkie Pie said sarcastically.
“So why does it matter?” Pinkamena asked, “If they're laughing, they're feeling better, right?”
“Yeah, at my expense,” Pinkie Pie said glaring at Pinkamena a bit.
“Not if you remove their power by laughing with them,” Pinkamena said, “Look, I was the same way when I was your age. I worried about what pon- I mean, people would think all the time. But then I realized something,” Pinkamena looked at Pinkie Pie and smiled brightly, “I like the things that I like! It doesn't matter what other people think! If I like something, then I'm going to like it, and I'm going to be up front about it! You gotta be the same way, kid.”
Pinkie Pie looked down thinking, “Just like what I like, huh?”
“Yep yep. And if other people have an issue with that, know that your real friends will always support you. You're important to them, Standard me. As long as you have that, you have nothing to worry about.”
“Applejewel doesn't have to sit with me…” Pinkie Pie said softly, “She could sit with her other friends, but she sits with me. Fluttershy always looks out for me nowadays, even though she's still a bitch sometimes. Even Dashie stays with me, even though she's starting to become the most popular girl in school. And, Twilight-” she was cut off by her phone chiming. She looked and saw a text message from Twilight ironically.
Sorry I can't be there in person. I'll make it up to you. Best friends for life.
“Twilight…” Pinkie Pie said tearing up. Pinkamena smiled to herself and then stood up.
“I think my work here is done,” Pinkamena said, “You'll be just fine, Standard me.”
“Pinkie Pie. My name… is Pinkie Pie. That's what my friends call me,” Pinkie Pie said. Hearing that name made Pinkamena stop.
“You're Pinkie Pie, huh…?” Pinkamena said, a sad smiling forming on her face, “I haven't heard that name in a while…”
“When you save Rarity, could you bring her back here? I wanted to, well…”
“Throw her a party?” Pinkamena asked, turning back to her alternate and smiling at her, “Remember, I'm you. I know how we think.”
Pinkie Pie nodded smiling, hugging Pinkamena from behind.
“Thanks for reminding me of what really matters, Pinkie Pie.”
Pinkamena, looking down and trembling, touched her standard counterpart's hand and held it, “Just glad… I could make you smile… Pinkie Pie…” with that, she pulled away from Pinkie Pie's embrace and sauntered out of the room, not once looking back. Once she got outside, she leaned against a wall, trying her hardest to hold in her tears.
“She… called me Pinkie Pie…” Pinkamena said, “I wish I could be her again… but I…” she wiped her eyes and composed herself, “I need to go wait for Twilight.”
As she walked out of the school, she felt a fragment of her old self return. Something in the form of a new power calling back to the person she used to be.
Twilight stopped in front of the principal's office, thinking about everything that happened thus far. Here she was, about to ask her principal to come with her into another realm for safety. There was a time when she would dream of going on an adventure like this, but this was actually really terrifying.
“Rarity…” Twilight said, “Ever since you entered my life, it's been one crazy thing after another. I don't regret any of it, though. I feel almost like… you saved me. So, I'm going to save you in return,” she took a deep breath and then knocked on the door.
“It's open,” Celestia's voice answered immediately. Twilight opened the door, seeing Principal Celestia standing in front of her window, looking out at the sky.
“Celestia…” Twilight said.
“This world… is dying,” Celestia said somberly. Twilight's heart leaped out of her chest.
“Dying…? What do you mean…?” Twilight asked.
“Time has stopped moving forward,” Celestia said, “It will not move forward from today. The people have no idea, so they keep going like time is still going. If nothing is done, the world will simply run out of energy, and then cease to be.”
“It's because of Nightmare Moon, isn't it?” Twilight asked stepping into the office, “She's done something to this world.”
“I have no idea what she's thinking,” Celestia said, “She has to know what this would mean for the whole universe.”
“Celestia, we have to go now,” Twilight said, “Before Luna finds you, we have to take you to the Warp Gate. She can't reach us there.”
“How far are you willing to go for this world, Twilight?” Celestia asked. Twilight was taken aback by that question.
“How far would I go…?” Twilight asked.
“If you knew that saving the world would mean losing something, or someone of great value to you, would you do it?” Celestia asked turning to Twilight finally. Twilight didn't know how to answer that question, honestly. She didn't know what she'd have to sacrifice, so she couldn't really make that claim. Still though, something inside of her was thinking…
“For now, don't worry about it,” Celestia said with a sigh, “In the end, it might not be your decision to make. Let's go.”
“R-right,” Twilight said. As she and Celestia walked out of the office, they bumped into Pinkie Pie.
“Oh, Twilight!” Pinkie Pie said, looking a little brighter than usual actually.
“Hey, sorry I couldn't come see you directly,” Twilight said looking down.
“It's fine, Twilight. Really. I met my alternate, and we had a nice talk,” Pinkie Pie said. Twilight was a little surprised by how… happy she seemed.
“Oh, so you're okay then?” Twilight asked.
“Yeah, I'm fine. I'm glad I ran into you though. I wanted to ask you something,” Pinkie Pie said.
“Okay, what's up?” Twilight asked.
“What world did she come from?” Pinkie Pie asked, “She feels almost like Rarity a bit.”
“I… don't know what world Pinkamena comes from,” Twilight admitted, “Huh, that's odd. Celestia, do you know where she comes from?”
Celestia closed her eyes pained, “Sadly, it's a world that wasn't meant to exist to begin with. Twilight, we can't tarry.”
“Right,” Twilight said turning to her friend, “I'm sorry, but I have to go now. Next time I come back, I'll have Rarity with me.”
“I know you will,” Pinkie Pie said hugging Twilight, “Good luck, Twilight.”
“Thanks,” Twilight said returning the hug. She parted from Pinkie Pie and lead Celestia outside. There she saw Pinkamea, but that wasn't all, for she also saw someone that neither of them wanted to see right now.
“Hello Twilight,” Vice-Principal Luna said with a soft and dangerous smile. Twilight ran to Pinkamena's side and pulled out her bow, as Pinkamena already had her weapon out.
“Nightmare Moon!” Twilight cried. Celestia stepped forward and stood in front of them, getting right in front of Luna.
“You know the rules we set out, right?” Principal Celestia said seriously, “This world is a neutral ground. You know what that means, don't you?”
“I do,” Vice-Principal Luna said, “That means neither one of us is to attack the other here.”
“So I'd advice getting out of our way,” Principal Celestia stated. Vice-Principal Luna laughed.
“Oh, you misunderstand me, sister. I had no intention of stopping you. Actually, I'm here to see you all off,” Luna said.
“What?! Why?!” Twilight asked.
“What are you planning, Nightmare Moon?!” Pinkamena asked.
“You will see soon enough,” Vice-Principal Luna said stepping aside, “Go on. I won't stop you.”
Twilight was so terrified right now. The only thing scarier than Nightmare Moon trying to stop them was her not stopping them. If they got to the Land of the Gods, her plans would be ruined…
Twilight shook it off and then stepped toward the statue. She pulled out the Gate Key and held it up, activating the portal. She then turned to Luna, who never once took her eyes off her.
“I'll be seeing you, Twilight,” Vice-Principal Luna said with a soft smile. Pinkamena walked over to Twilight's side and escorted her through the portal, and then moved to the side for Celesta to walk through.
Right when Celestia was about to cross through the portal, Luna grabbed her arm stopping her. Pinkamena was about to attack, but then Luna held her hand out letting an orb of darkness build up. She then leaned in close to Celestia's ear.
“I hope you enjoy the show, dear sister,” Luna said. She then released Celestia and stepped back. Celestia looked at Luna in confusion, but then went through the portal, Pinkamena following suit. Once alone, Vice-Principal Luna chuckled to herself.
“It'll be time soon, Crystal. Destroying that world will be all we need.”