What is a Name?

by Key Tapper

What is a Name?

I had been walking for hours, trying to put a good amount of distance between myself and Ponyville. Nothing was left for me there anymore, except a reminder of who I wasn’t. I winced at the thought, and clenched my chest to help alleviate the ache.

I trudged through the familiar landscape, unsure of whether it had become deserted, or merely remained the same as it had always been. Dirt coated my hooves as I slowly approached the only establishment for miles around.

I came upon a humble abode, which lacked the eye-popping structure and color of nearly every house in Ponyville. I cautiously knocked on the wooden door. Moments passed, and I couldn't shake the nagging fear that nopony resided here anymore.

Much to my relief, however, I heard the lock being fumbled with, and eventually the door opened to reveal a stallion whose face I'd not recalled seeing in a month. However, time had left its mark over the many years that had passed in reality.

He stared blankly at me, seemingly unsure of what to say. However, his neutral expression became one of understanding as he let his mouth slip into a gentle smile.

"Welcome home, dear," he spoke. "It's been too long."

"Yes, it has," I agreed.

"Please, come inside. Your mother just made a fresh kettle of tea."

I smiled. "Thank you... Dad."


“This is bad,” exclaimed Twilight. “Really bad!”

Twilight Sparkle scrambled around the library, scattering the books she had organized in a desperate search for an alternative solution. Meanwhile, her friends stood there, watching helplessly.

Fluttershy spoke up. “M-maybe we could—”

“No!” shouted Twilight, startling the four of them. “You would just be wasting time. Only Spike and I know this library inside and out.”

“Well isn’t there somethin’ we can do ta help?” pleaded Applejack. “Ah feel just as awful about this as you do.”

“I’m inclined to agree with Applejack on this one,” added Rarity. “Rainbow Dash is out searching for her, so surely there is something we can do to assist you, as well.”

Twilight stopped for a moment. “This isn’t your responsibility,” she said coldly.

“Of course it is!” exclaimed Rarity, taken aback. “Pinkie Pie is just as much our friend as she is yours! You may have been the one who told us to deceive her, but we’re equally guilty for agreeing to it in the first place.”

What else was I supposed to do?” Twilight yelled, on the verge of tears.

“That’s not what I was saying, dear. I just meant—”

“I know what you meant, but that doesn't change the fact that none of this would be happening if it weren't for me! I've been a terrible friend in every respect.”

“Nonsense! You did the best you could with the circumstances you were given.”

Twilight sighed in exasperation. “My inability to handle this has not only cost us two friends, but it’s also put all of Equestria in danger. With the Element of Laughter gone, we won’t be able to defend Equestria from a new, untold force that’s sure to appear at some point.”

“If it came down ta that, why couldn't we just convince this current Pinkie ta help us?” suggested Applejack. “Ah’m sure she would put aside her differences for the good of Equestria.”

Twilight shook her head. “That wouldn't work. Her very nature wouldn't allow her to serve as the Element of Laughter. Despite how much she changed over the weeks, the element she’s supposed to represent just isn't strong enough in her. Not to mention, her newfound resentment towards us would render the Elements of Harmony useless, even if she were to willingly offer help. Remember what happened with Discord? This is the same thing.”

Silence followed, as nopony had any rebuttal to offer.

After a short while, Fluttershy chimed in. “So... there are really two Pinkies?”

“In theory, yes,” Twilight responded, “Though it’s not quite as simple as that. While it is true that they’re basically two separate beings, the one currently in control of her motor functions is, in simple terms, what she would have been, were it not for that Sonic Rainboom years ago. The one hidden away in her mind is the Pinkie Pie we’re all the most familiar with.”

“If that’s the case, why did she think she was a filly when she first woke up in that hospital bed?” asked Applejack.

Twilight sighed, remembering Zecora’s words. “I’m not really sure. There are so many things about magic that nopony truly understands. Plus, when wild, untamed magic like this is involved, such anomalies are even more likely to occur.”

“So... wait, if there are two Pinkies,” Fluttershy began, “Why can’t you just pull one of them out and put her in something else?”

“Fluttershy, that’s absurd,” Twilight responded.

“Well how come?” asked Applejack. “You were just plannin’ on switchin’ the two of them, right? Who’s ta say ya can’t pull one of them out completely?”

“If I were to do that, we would need a suitable vessel for her to stay in. One that could sustain a life. Since I cannot, in good conscious, rob a living creature of its mind and body, the only possible solution would be...” Twilight trailed off.

“Would be what?” asked Rarity.

“Oh my gosh!” exclaimed Twilight, her face beaming with some realization. “I can’t believe I forgot about that!”

Applejack looked bewildered. “Did Ah miss somethin’?”

“There’s no time to explain,” insisted Twilight. “I might have an idea, but I need to contact Princess Celestia, first.”

“Well then, what’re you waitin’ for?” exclaimed Applejack. “Do it!”

“You heard her, Spike. Take a letter!”


I told my parents everything. Everything I could recall, from the moment I woke up in the hospital, to the fateful events of earlier today. I hid nothing, being sure to include every detail of my situation and my lack of a cutie mark. To my surprise, they kept a straight face for nearly the entire time, only changing when my mother wanted to refill her tea.

In the end, I doubt it would have mattered what I told them, because when I finally finished my story, they simply nodded and reassured me that they would support me in whatever decision I made.

We talked for a good while afterwards, during which time my mother got up to make a hot meal for all of us.

By the time we were through with that, evening had rolled in and I was ready for a good night’s sleep. The events of today had exhausted me to no end, both physically and mentally.

I opened the door and peered inside the room that I once called my own. At first glance, I was taken aback by the unfamiliar atmosphere. Though not quite as flashy as Sugarcube Corner, it was nothing like I remembered.

The first thing to catch my attention were the walls, which had been adorned with painted-on balloons and a few posters. Next, I quickly noticed that a large, decorative pink rug covered almost the entire floor.

Finally, the once-plain bed cover had been replaced by garish, pink sheets, which clashed with the wooden bed frame.

I walked over to the bed and pulled back the sheets, which were neatly made. A small layer of dust drifted up from the exposed mattress, indicating that nopony had slept here for quite awhile.

I sat down on the mattress and let out a heavy sigh.

“I don’t know what to do,” I thought.

“Forgive them. Go back,” answered Pinkie.

“I want to, but you know I can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

I sighed. “Pinkie, they... they don’t care about me. They only want you.”

“That’s not true. They want both of us.”

I grimaced. “They want you more. Enough so that they’d get gladly get rid of me.”

“No... they're not glad about it. You gotta believe me!"

I didn't say anything else on the matter. For some reason, I wanted to continue believing that my friends had done everything with the worst intentions in mind, and yet... I was unable to convince myself fully. I wondered if my actions hurt them, as well.

I rolled onto my side, sobbing quietly until sleep finally overtook me.


My parents assured me that I could stay here with no strings attached, but I felt that it was only right for me to do some work around the farm. So here I was, loading up a cartful of rocks so that I could rotate them to the East field.

Despite noticing that I could lift immensely heavier objects than I remembered, the fact remained that I had been away from rock farming for quite awhile, and the strenuous effort left me heaving for breath. Even so, I did not falter in my work, and after a matter of hours I had managed to get a considerable amount done before my father rang the bell for lunch.

I let out a sigh of relief, thankful for the interruption. I hopped out of my harness and looked to the farmhouse, more than ready for a break and a meal. As I headed back, something caught my attention.

A small, blue object slowly made its way to the ground in front of me. I reached out, allowing it to gently land in my hoof.

It was a sky blue feather.

I gasped, immediately looking up to where the feather had fallen from.

Sure enough, I saw her. The rainbow mane and tail were unmistakable. She remained in place, gently flapping her wings to stay elevated above me.

She did nothing, and said nothing. She merely looked down on me with sad eyes. Even the flapping of her wings was utterly silent, which I found odd.

I looked to the ground, tightening my eyes shut. This isn't real. There's no way she could have known where to find me. It has to be a figment of my imagination.

I looked back up and, as I expected, the phantasm had vanished. Even the blue feather resting in my hoof was gone.

Deciding not to dwell on it any further, I simply sighed and continued my walk back to the house.


“Are you sure you haven’t seen her?” Rainbow pleaded. “Not even a glance?”

“I’m afraid not, Rainbow Dash,” repeated Mrs. Cake.

“W-what if she’s in her room right now? Maybe she came home while nopony was looking.” Rainbow rushed towards the stairs, futilely hoping that Pinkie would be there.

“Pinkie!” she called out. “You up there?”

Rainbow felt a gentle hoof on her shoulder, and she turned around in surprise.

“I’m sorry, Dearie,” said Mrs. Cake comfortingly, trying to force a smile. "I miss her, too. I keep hoping she'll just walk through those doors, smiling and laughing like she used to."

As the co-owner of Sugarcube Corner stared at the door wistfully, her fake smile slowly melted away.

"Don't worry, Mrs. Cake. We'll find her, and we'll bring her home," Rainbow assured, trying to remain as positive as she could.

Rainbow Dash left the bakery without another word. She was confident that the next place she had in mind could yield some results. She flew there with conviction.

As she traveled through the sky above Ponyville, thoughts of yesterday's events plagued her mind.

Of every single pony here, I would have never expected something like this from you, Rainbow Dash.

Rainbow grimaced. The words had stung not for their meaning, but for their truthful implications.

Why didn't I say something? Rainbow thought with disgust. Why did I ever agree to lie to her?

The pegasus grunted in frustration. "What kind of friend am I?" she shouted to the lonely skies. "So much for loyalty. I'm nothing but a traitor!"

Rainbow came to a screeching halt, hovering in midair. She let out a heavy sigh. How the hay am I supposed to choose between two friends?


My mother insisted on making a cake for me. For whatever reason, she thought a pink cake would cheer me up somehow. As much as I appreciated the gesture, it didn't do much to ease my turmoil. Even so, I offered to help.

At first I just assisted in menial tasks, such as fetching ingredients. However, to my mother's surprise, I ended up doing the lion's share of the work. Because of the ease and speed at which I worked, my mother could only stand back and watch.

When at last the cake had cooled and we added frosting, all of us sat down to enjoy the treat.

As they each took their first bite, my parents' eyes widened. They stared at the cake in disbelief, and then at me.

"Goodness, Pinkie Pie. You've really become quite the extraordinary baker, haven't you?" my mother commented. Meanwhile, my father had gotten past his initial shock and started to dig into his slice with enthusiasm.

I shrugged. "Lots of practice, I guess."

I resisted the urge to chuckle. "I suppose I have you to thank for that," I thought, addressing Pinkie.

I received no response. Confused, I tried to get her attention. "Pinkie? Hey, Pinkie!"

"...Uh, what?" she finally replied weakly.

"Are you alright?"

Pinkie was silent for a moment before answering. "Oh! Um, yeah. Sorry, I'm just tired, that's all."

“Tired? But... that’s not possible," I exclaimed. “You've never needed sleep, or food and water, for that matter!”

“Oh, yeah...”

I waited for an explanation from her, but it never came. “Pinkie?” 

“Huh?” she replied weakly.

“Are you going to tell me what’s really going on?”

A moment of hesitation followed. “Whoa,” she finally said.


“I can’t see my hooves.”

“You... I... wait, what?” 

No response came.

“Pinkie, I’m serious. Tell me what’s going on!” I pressed.

She voiced a fake, exaggerated yawn. “I think I’m gonna take a nap... recharge my Pinkie Power.”

“That’s not fair! You’re hiding something from me. Pinkie? Pinkie!”

Despite my pleading, she didn't answer me after that. I finally decided to take what she said at face value and leave her be, but that didn't detract from the growing worry in the back of my mind.


As the evening began to wind down, the three of us decided to relax for a bit in the living room. It wasn't long until my mother decided to retire early for the night, leaving me and my father to our thoughts.

I was sprawled out in front of the fireplace, enjoying the cozy heat radiating from the open flames. My father’s eyes were buried in a book of some sort, and had been for the last half hour.

Suddenly, he spoke up. “What’s the matter, Pinkie Pie?”

I looked up. “Huh?”

“I’d like to think I know you very well, and you don’t seem like yourself lately.”

My eyes wandered back to the flames, and I stared at them with intent. They seemed so... alive.

After some time, I heard my father again. “Well, Pinkie?”

Realizing I had gotten distracted and completely disregarded his question, I looked back to him. “Why do you all keep calling me that?” I asked.

“I’m sorry?”

“Why do you all keep calling me ‘Pinkie Pie?'” I repeated. “In the past, I only ever remember you, Mom and my sisters calling me by my full name.”

My father chuckled. “It’s been a long time, dear. I guess you wouldn't remember this, but it was actually one of your sisters who gave you that nickname in the first place.”

My eyes widened. “Really?”

“Yes,” he confirmed. “I’ll never forget that day we stepped into that silo and saw what you had laid out for us.”

I quickly grew curious. “I don’t remember that. What happened?”

“One night, when you were just a filly, you decided you wanted to camp out in the silo. Your mother and I thought nothing of it, and merely shrugged our shoulders.

“The next morning, you poked your little head out, and the first thing I noticed was your great, big mess of a mane.” He chuckled. “You called out to us, asking us to get in there, all quick-like. I thought for sure you were just wasting our time, but we came in and looked, anyway.”

He paused, smiling as he fondly recalled the scene in his head.

“I’d never seen so much color in one spot!” he continued. “None of us even knew what to do, until you explained the whole thing to us. After that, we just danced, ate cake, and danced some more! At least for one day, we didn't even care about all those rocks in the field.

“Sometime after that, one of your sisters started calling you ‘Pinkie Pie’, and it must’ve stuck because that’s who you've been, ever since.”

“Even you and Mom?” I asked, disbelieving. “That seems so unlike you two.”

“How could we not?” he asked. “You were just so... happy.”

“But what does that have to do with everyone calling me ‘Pinkie Pie’?”

“A pony’s name can mean a great deal to others. When I think of your birth name, ‘Pinkamena,’ I imagine the little filly who’s afraid to come out of her shell.

“Now, when I think of ‘Pinkie Pie,’ I picture the crazy, bouncing filly who goes out of her way to make everypony smile and laugh.”

My father reached over and tousled my hair, which had stayed straight since the party yesterday. “Besides, I think curls suit you better,” he chuckled.

I smiled softly at this.

As I continued to stare at the roaring flames, my thoughts wandered back to Ponyville. As scarce as the time had been, my days there had proved to be the happiest of my life.

I allowed these memories to fill my mind, giving me a sense of peace as I drifted off to sleep.


The sun shined gently, partially obscured by a few clouds. We bathed in its soothing rays as we made our way up the grassy hill.

“I think I've said this before, but I love a sunny spring day!” said Spike, who carried a woven basket atop his head. “It feels awesome! Not too bright, and not too cloudy. I could just lay out here all day!”

Everyone giggled at this, myself included.

This was a day of leisure. Nopony had any work to do, and we had decided a few days ago that this would be the perfect day to have a picnic. The wonderful weather had been a pleasant coincidence, as even Rainbow Dash seemed genuinely surprised that it was so nice outside.

When we finally reached the top of the hill, the expanse of the field came into view around us. Aside from a few trees, the grassy field went flat and uninterrupted for at least a quarter of a mile.

“Okay, before everypony starts digging into the grub, you all gotta see this new trick I've been working on!” insisted Rainbow Dash.

“Aw, do we have to?” asked Spike, who had already begun to unfurl a blanket for us to eat on top of. “I’m starving!”

“Man up, Spike. This’ll only take a second!” said Rainbow.

At that, the pegasus shot into the air. Taking no time with her routine, she went straight into a frenzy of stunning acrobatics and feats of agility unmatched by almost any pegasus in Equestria.

None of us were particularly surprised by the impressive display. Still, we offered our support and cheered for her.

Amidst the cheering and whooping of my friends, I heard a strange noise that seemed to stand out from the rest. It didn't sound like anything positive. In fact, it sounded like somepony was wailing. Looking around, I tried to isolate the distinct sound until I managed to determine the direction it came from.

In curiosity, I headed in that direction, noticing at this time that nopony else seemed to pay me or the unusual noise any heed. Regardless, I made my way towards the noise, which, I soon realized, came from behind one of the nearby trees.

At this point, I was sure somepony was crying. Determined to cheer up this mysterious pony, I only increased my pace until I arrived at the tree she was behind.

I took a deep breath, planning the conversation in my head. First, I’d ask her why she’s crying. Second, I would try to talk her through it, and offer my advice wherever I could. Third, I’d invite her to join me and my friends in this wonderful picnic. An infallible plan!

I rounded the edge of the tree, prepared to initiate the conversation. However, what I saw made me gasp, and left me utterly speechless.

There, isolated from everypony else in the shade of a lone tree, sat Pinkie Pie. Myself.

She continued her wailing, seemingly unaware of my presence. I hesitated, but eventually decided to stay true to my original plan.

“W-what’s wrong?” I asked.

The pink mare looked up from the ground. She seemed unsurprised to see me, but the despair in her eyes did not waver.

“I... I just want to have fun with them all!” she cried. “I want to watch Rainbow Dash do tricks, and I want to eat AJ’s yummy apple fritters, and I... I miss my friends so much!”

“Don’t cry...” I said gently. “Just come enjoy the picnic with us. Nopony is stopping you.”

“But... you’re stopping me.” Her crying suddenly stopped.

I froze in place. “What are you talking about?”

“Well, if you’re there, then I can’t be there,” she explained. “Only one of us gets to be with them. The other has to stay here behind the tree, where nopony will even look.”

I stood there, speechless.

“Don’t worry, it’s your choice, so you get to stay!” she said joyfully, but immediately looked back down in sadness.

“But... what if I don’t want to?”

“Why in Equestria wouldn't you want to?” she asked in disbelief. “Don’t you love it here?”

“Of course I do,” I responded. “I’m happier now than I've ever been in my entire life, but...”

“But what?” she pressed.

“Sometimes... I just don’t feel like I deserve it, especially over you.”

“Everypony deserves happiness!” she insisted.

“But why does it have to be at the expense of others? Why do they have to suffer for me to achieve happiness?” I asked while pointing to my friends, who seemed blissfully unaware of the conversation happening between ourselves.

I closed my eyes, holding back a fresh stream of tears. “Why do you have to suffer? It’s not fair. I just want you all to be happy.”

I stopped as the sudden realization hit me like a brick.

Pinkie looked at me with sad, gentle eyes. “It’s not too late, you know.”

Before I had time to respond, I felt reality’s inescapable pull.


When I woke up, the first thing I noticed was the coldness of the wooden floor. My father slept soundly in the chair beside me.

My recollection of the dream being surprisingly vivid, I attempted to contact Pinkie.

“Pinkie? Are you there?” I asked.

There was no response.

“Pinkie! I need you to answer. Please answer!” I begged.

After a slight hesitation, I felt her subtly stirring within me. “W-what?” she asked.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“I... I don’t know. I have... this weird feeling... like I’m...” she trailed off.


“I feel so weak...” she said. “I thought... that nap would help, but... guess not.”

Applejack’s words came back to me.

Pinkie’s life is on the line!

Able to connect the dots, I realized there was no more time to think. I had to make a decision, and fast.

I attempted to connect with Pinkie once more, but at this point I could only feel her as a fading consciousness.

No, I thought. If she disappears, everyone will be devastated. Not to mention, Equestria will have lost one of its most important means of defense.

I heard a slight crackle, so I glanced at the fireplace in front of me. The flames had all but died away, leaving only a soft glow. I shuddered at the metaphor.

Pinkie Pie, I thought. Such a beautiful, joyful soul. To think that she might be gone forever... It’s just... I trailed off, the idea becoming too much for me to handle.

No! This can’t happen. I won’t let it happen! Twilight had a plan, right? It can’t be too late. I... I need to get to Ponyville, right now!

I stood up from my spot on the wooden floor with renewed vigor. I had a plan and a purpose, and for once I was completely sure of myself.

The sudden movement woke my dad from his slumber. He yawned widely, looking around the room in a disoriented manner. His eyes came upon the clock, which read as a bit past five in the morning.

“Wow, it’s been a long time since I fell asleep out here,” he said, looking over to me. “What are you doing up so early, Pinkie?”

I stumbled for the right words. “I... need to go, Dad.”

He appeared confused at first, but upon getting a closer look at my expression, the seriousness of the situation seemed to register.

“Your mother and I said we’d support you in whatever decision you made,” he replied calmly. “All I ask is that you take care of yourself, ya hear?”

I nodded.

As I turned around to make my way to the door, my father spoke once more. “Pinkie?”

I stopped in my tracks.

All of yourself,” he said firmly.

I hesitated. “I love you, Dad. Can you tell Mom when she gets up this morning? Also... say hi to my sisters for me next time they visit.”

Without a single other word, I bolted out the door and made my journey back to Ponyville with the gentle warmth of the rising sun on my back.