Sour Sweetness

by RisuUmbra

Chapter 9

What Celestia was feeling felt more akin to disappointment then anger as she stared down at the continually wilting form of Pinkamena Diane Pie or Pinkie Pie as she is known to her friends, currently her prized pupil Twilight was explaining what had happened before she had arrived while going over the notes on her creation. Twilight had finally reached the point where Pinkie had begun her rant against Anon’s existence which only deepened Celestia’s disappointed leer until a small mumble from Pinkie interrupted the story and made Celestia question if she heard correctly or her age was finally catching up to her.

“I’m sorry,What did you just say?” The quiet emphasis on the “what” in Celestia’s sentence made everyone flinch as they all turned to look at Pinkie who started to school her features into a neutral look as she gazed up to one of her matriarchs and spoke.

“He deserved it” Pinkie’s neutral expression didn’t last long as a sharp *Slap* rang out and Pinkie’s head swung to the right, still in shock at the sudden slap Pinkie brought a hoof up to her cheek and could feel a small line of warmth start its way down. Turning to look down at her offender she met the angry tear filled gaze of Spike the dragon who had jumped up onto the couch to confront her shocking everypony in the room.

“I’ll say it again… Just what is wrong with you” Spike’s voice had lowered to quiet shaking tone that told of a dragon on the edge of losing what self-control he had left, curling his claws into fists Spike glared into the stunned blue eyes of Pinkie Pie and spoke as calmly as possible.

“Ever since Anon met you… all he wanted to do was to get to know you… to get closer to you, and whenever someone mentioned the name Pinkie Pie he would light up brighter than any star. He loved you and you hated him simply for the reason that he got more business than you in some aspects and made the same friends as you… what happened to the Pinkie Pie that was nice and was everyone’s friend I want that Pinkie back not this bitter and jealous copy!” Spike was huffing for breath after his impromptu speech and looked into the now tear filled eyes of his so called friend, turning away first Spike hopped back off the couch back back over to the notes next to his sister who simply patted his back comfortingly as Spike wiped the tears from his eyes.

I-I’m Sorry” From behind her tears a quiet whimper sounded from Pinkie as she openly sobbed while she held her injured cheek, her slightly curly mane finally going completely straight. Sighing to herself Celestia rose and sat back down next to Pinkie draping a wing over her for comfort as she cried remorseful tears. Seeing their friend in pain Fluttershy and Applejack joined their princess in helping to calm down Pinkie, Fluttershy grabbing a napkin from the table and gently wiping the blood from Pinkie’s face and hoof much to Pinkie’s confusion.

“W-why are you still nice to me?” The desperate question seemed to make the whole room stopped as they thought of the answer to that question,  the quiet was stifling to Pinkie and slowly she started to droop at the lack of response until the most unlikely pony or dragon spoke up much to everyponies surprise.

“Just because you did one awful thing doesn’t change the fact that you have done countless kind and thoughtful things in the past for each and every single one of us, one bad deed no matter how bad can’t get rid of your best friends that easily… Do you really think so little of us” Pinkie could still see the flickering embers of anger in Spike’s eyes but the emotion was being smothered out but a steely determination that stemmed purely from his concern for his missing friend. Feeling moved by Spike’s words Pinkie quickly wiped the tears from her eyes and shook her head hard at his question, taking a deep breath to calm herself Pinkie extracted herself from the wing of her princess who was preoccupied with gazing at the small dragon with pride.

“Where do you think he went?” Now all business Pinkie approached the table that was flanked by Twilight and Spike looking over the various readings and equations taken from the teleporter. Everyone perked up at Pinkie’s sudden change in demeanor and go right back to work in figuring out where Anon was sent, Twilight read over a few documents before answering in a slightly confused tone.

“I can’t accurately answer that question due to Anon’s inherent magical nullification field disrupting the teleporter like that, the most I can narrow it down to is somewhere in the eastern part of Equestria which doesn’t really help us but it's the best I can do on such short notice” unrolling a map of Equestria Twilight started to draw marks where Anon would have most likely have landed. “Since there aren’t any waystones activated anywhere yet it might have gone off of the largest concentration of magic in the desired area of choice, but where would Anon go?” The room went quiet as everyone stopped to think of possible places Anon would go that is until Spike remembered something and went to retrieve the piece of paper Anon left behind when he teleported, returning with the paper and reading it over Spike looked back up at his friends and family with a bit more hope in his eyes.

“I think I know where he is” In his claws was a slightly singed brochure for small village that goes by the name Hallow Shades.

Anon’s consciousness slowly returned after its sudden but brief vacation from reality and the first thing he felt was the feeling of warmth and comfort engulfing him from neck to toe and in the back of his mind he wondered if he should just go back to sleep, but after a moment he started to consider it until what happened an hour ago came blasting back to the forefront of his mind and a wave of cold, painful sadness seemed to slowly seep into him. Anon’s wallowing was interrupted by the sound of a door opening and the now familiar sound of hooves trotting on the hard ground, though there was something strange about the sound that he couldn’t place.

“I can tell you’re awake, you’re frowning pretty hard there” Pushing his sadness down Anon opened his eyes finally and looked up to see a warmly lit bedroom and there standing in the doorway was much to Anon’s surprise a grey maned Thestral carrying what looked to be a platter with a bowl on her back.

“Before you start talking eat this, you took a nasty spill earlier so you might be a bit dizzy” Trotting over to Anon’s bedside she waited for him to pull himself up to a sitting position and took the bowl and platter from her back, looking down into the bowl Anon was again surprised to see freshly made chicken noodle soup in the bowl and recalled that thestrals were slightly carnivorous so without hesitation Anon started to sip at the broth

“You were out cold and in a sorry state when I found you… who are you and what happened to you, I know there’s a human staying in our world but that's about all I know about that” Anon vaguely remembers the princesses giving a press conference about his appearance but excluded anything about him personally. Anon swallowed the last of the soup in what felt like a trance not even remembering what it tasted like and cleared his throat.

“My name is Anon and it looks much worse than it is, what’s your name?” Now that his throat was feeling a bit better Anon tried to pass off a convincing smile at his concerned host who, judging by the raising of her brow did not believe him for even a second. Taking back the bowl and placing it on her back she turned back towards the door and replied as she left.

“If your well enough to lie then come and help me with the dishes and if your going to call me anything then call me Ivy like everyone else” Rising to his feet with a groan Anon went to follow after Ivy, the coldness is his chest had started to fade with this distraction and busied himself with his new surroundings. Ivy’s home was similar to Fluttershy’s in size and shape but it’s decor seemed more focused on practicality and functionality then comfort, the living area had a smallish couch that didn’t look like it got much use outside of a single well worn cushion on the right side and the coffee table in front of it. 

“Well?... are you going to help me or not” Snapping back to attention Anon followed Ivy’s voice to a small kitchenette nestled into the corner of the house where she was lathering soap onto the bowl he just ate out of, wordlessly Anon approached the sink and picked up a smudged plate and looked at Ivy in silent inquiry until she pointed to a wooden drawer to his right which he opened and retrieved a sponge and a bottle of dish soap. In silence to two cleaned and for a moment Anon could almost pretend he felt okay, like everything was right with the world and he could look forward to going to work. Then that moment was gone and he was back in a stranger’s house with a coldness slowly spreading in him and a numbness in his heart, setting another clean plate to the side Anon grabbed a red sauce covered wooden ladle and started to scrub at it.

“So… are you ready to tell me what’s hurting you so much?” Anon’s scrubbing stopped for a second before resuming with a bit more intensity than before not even looking at the thestral that was eyeing him with a flat look that had the barest hints of concern

“Nothing is hurting me, just got a bit of a headache” Anon let out a grunt of annoyance at the sauce stains persistence and strengthened his scrubbing once again, Ivy let out a small laugh at his response and actions then turned away from the sink to fetch a drying towel”

“Looks more like heartache then a headache” The comment made Anon tense up for a moment before releasing a deep sigh that seemed to run through his whole body, resuming his cleaning Anon started to describe the events leading up to his accident starting with how he met the target of his affection and ending with how in the end he was scorned and hated by her.

“ And after over a year of politeness, of compliments and my friendship all I got in return was hatred and scorn! What did I do to DESERVE-” before Anon could finish his sentence a loud snap resounded interrupting him, looking down at his hands Anon saw the two broken halves of the stained wooden ladle he had been gripping while telling his story. Ivy didn’t even flinch at the sound of her ladle snapping and simply trotted away to one of the drawers and pulled it open revealing a drawer full of replacement wooden utensils just like the one Anon had just broken, retrieving a new ladle and placing it by the sink with the rest of now clean dishes to the still slightly hurt Anon’s confusion. Ivy let out a sigh then gestured to follow her to the couch then trotting off leaving Anon to quickly dry his hands and follow.

“Alright… here’s the honest truth about what I think you should do, give up on her” The flat toned sentence caught Anon off guard just as he was reaching the couch and while he was distracted his foot caught the edge of the coffee table making him trip and fall onto the couch. The two open cushions that Anon landed on felt as if they were slightly soft bricks instead of couch cushions, after a moment to collect himself after his pratfall Anon remembered what Ivy had said and quickly picked himself up to confront her about it.

“You really think I should give up?” Again not even batting an eye at his apparent clumsiness, Ivy took a seat on the last open cushion and actually seemed to sink into the fabric unlike the brick imitations Anon was lying on. Turning to look at Anon fully and like she was speaking to a foal slowed her tone.

“She… Doesn’t… Like… You. I’m surprised she didn’t let you down earlier the heartless clod” The fact that Ivy actually insulted Pinkie actually caught Anon off guard more so then the actual disdain behind it, you would be hard pressed to find any ponies that would willingly insult someone outside of tense situations. Anon was about to speak up and say calling Pinkie heartless is the furthest from the truth but was cut off by Ivy continuing to speak.

“I mean what kind of self-centered, cold, and mean spirited mare would willingly let somepony pine after them for so long and do nothing about it… though from what I hear about the element of laughter she might have been too dim-witted and scatterbrained to even have noticed haha-” During Ivy’s spiel Anon had slowly begun to bring himself up to his full height and was trying to suppress the boiling outrage that was bubbling to the surface and just when Anon thought he had a handle on his emotions Ivy’s insult about Pinkie’s intelligence broke the dam, Anon heard what he did before he felt it. The loud SLAP that echoed through the now dead silent house could have woken an Ursa major and the following scolding was filled with so much heat it could have thawed the frozen north itself. Anon wasn’t completely sure what he was yelling about other than it was in the defense of the pony of his affections, he yelled about her kindness and her heart, her smile and how its very presence fills the room with warmth and happiness, how she wouldn’t stop for anything in order to make someone smile in the hopes that it would brighten their day. Anon would have continued but was rendered silent by the sight of Ivy holding her cheek and smiling happily at him, showing the most emotion he’s seen out of her since meeting her and when she spoke… it was like she was on the verge of yelling through sheer excitement

“That feeling, that righteous anger and drive to assert your reality. If you really want to be with the element of laughter then don’t just roll over at the first sign of confrontation, Fight for what you want! Give your all, 100% and nothing less! I have seen too many things fail due to lack of courage so if you really want a chance to change everything then make one, grab opportunity by both hooves and say it belongs to you!” Now both of them were standing yelling at each other on a couch that didn’t seem the most stable and Anon couldn’t care in the least he was feeling too driven no… Determined to notice. Anon was about to ask… no demand for the fastest way back to his home but it seemed that once again Ivy was way ahead of him and with a quick flap of her wings she was up off the couch and over by the front door.

“Don’t worry about waiting long, your friends should be here soon” Anon’s confusion must have been visible on his face but this was soon changed as the front door opened to show the almost pitch black surroundings of Hollow Shades “After all, you were planning on coming here beforehoof”