Twilight was sitting on her bed, reading one of her favorite books. She had barely stopped reading since she came home. Losing herself in the world of the book she had slowly calmed down.
“Spike,” said Twilight, looking up.
“Yeah, Twilight?” he responded.
“I’m sorry I was a little short with you earlier. I was just frustrated.”
“That’s okay, Twilight. We all get like that sometimes."
She rested her head on a hoof. “I just don’t know what to do about those two.”
“You mean Pound and Pumpkin?”
“Yeah.” She looked at the wall, not really seeing it. “I just don’t get them. They live with PINKIE PIE! I mean, what else do they need to understand what they’re doing is wrong?”
Spike let out a little humph, making her turn toward him. “What?” she said, a little defensively.
“Excuse me, miss princess of friendship, but no pony is perfect. Just because you and your brother never fought doesn’t mean they won’t attack each other. And speaking of, didn’t you go crazy when Shining Armor was going to be married? You only found out she was a fake because you were spying on her, and then flat out called her evil in front of him without thinking about his feelings.”
Twilight averted her eyes as she remembered her behavior back then. She HAD gone a bit overboard, even if in the end she had turned out to be right.
“The two of them are still young, Twilight. You can’t understand them because you never went through what they went through. You didn’t have any friends or family TO defend in class.”
Twilight sighed. “You may be right. It’s not so much about the fact that they got into a fight. I can understand that small children have poor impulse control and make foolish decisions. And from observing others and my own life experiences I can understand the strain of peer pressure and the difficulty of making a niche for yourself.”
She raised her head, looking around at the mountain of bookshelves covering the room. “I was most hurt because they’re wasting their potential. When I first came in to talk to the principal she was initially adamant that she didn’t want them to return, describing several incidents the pair got into, rousing the other children who were being well-behaved before. It took a lot of effort on my part to convince her otherwise. Just think of all the months of valuable life lessons they would have missed had I not been able to persuade her to lower their punishment to a week’s suspension.
“I had such high hopes for them. Some fillies and colts only care about fun, fun, fun, all the time, considering any work or learning boring or a waste of time, or as just a distraction from the REAL important stuff. When I asked the two of them if they were interested in going to school I saw a bit of myself in them. Their eyes lit up, and they hopped up and down in delight, happily and proudly declaring that they were going to school. It made me so happy.” She got a whimsical look on her face as she recalled it, before it soured. “But then I got the letter. It was heartbreaking.
“I really wasn’t all that mad at them. I was more… disappointed. I sure hope they take this time to think more deeply about their actions and the way they affect others.”
BANG BANG BANG!
Twilight and Spike both jumped at the hard, rapid pounding on the door. “Hold your horses,” Twilight muttered to herself at the quick, continuous pounding, standing up and opening the door.
She backed up a step as something was shoved in her face. Moving her head a little she saw behind the piece of paper was Pinkie Pie. “What’s wrong, Pinkie?” she asked, seeing her mane pretty deflated and a look of panic on her face. Pinkie’s response was to shove the paper in her face again.
“Okay, okay! I’m looking.” She took the paper from Pinkie, and read the six words. It was obvious from the misspelled words, the backwards letters, and the messiness of the writing that it had been done by a child. “Running away? Did Pound and Pumpkin write this?”
Pinkie nodded hard. “We need to find them, Twilight. I have no idea how long they’ve been gone.”
Twilight sighed. “I’ll use the summoning function of the Cutie Map.“ The three of them went into the throne room. Twilight sat down on her throne, seeing the cutie mark icon lighting up above her. Pinkie and Spike likewise sat down on theirs. Her horn glowing, she concentrated. A beam of energy shot out of the throne in the shape of her cutie mark, shooting out lights to the other four marks, which began to hum and flicker on and off.
Twilight sighed, her head resting on her hoof. She knew she should be worried, but Ponyville was one of the safest places in Equestria, so they weren’t likely to meet any trouble from other ponies. For the most part she was just annoyed.
Spike noticed Twilight’s impatient, restless gestures, kicking her leg and swaying back and forth ever so slightly. “What’s wrong, Twilight?” he asked.
“Yeah!” Pinkie said, an unnatural edge in her voice. “Are your stupid books more important than the lives of the babies?”
Twilight met Pinkie’s eyes without flinching. “The two of them both chose to run away from their problems instead of dealing with it. If they didn’t want to be scolded and punished then they shouldn’t have engaged in such behavior. Not only did they get kicked out of school they won’t even accept responsibility for their actions.”
Pinkie’s pink face went red. “Well, if it’s such an inconvenience then maybe I should just go if you don’t want to help!“
Spike could see Pinkie looked at her boiling point. “Hold it, hold it, hold it!” Spike yelled, getting in between the two. He turned to Twilight, an odd look on his face. “Twilight, don’t you get how they feel?”
Twilight’s face softened a little bit. “Spike, are you crying?”
He sniffed, wiping his face. “I understand perfectly why they did it. Do you remember when you first got Owlicious?”
“Of course. He showed up one night and grabbed a piece of paper that had flown out my window in a breeze. But what does that have to do with anything?”
“And… do you remember what happened with me?”
Twilight looked at him questioningly for a few seconds before her eyes widened as the realization hit her. “Oh…” She drifted off in a small voice, her anger gone.
“I… I ran away because you scolded me for being jealous and trying to frame Owlicious.” His throat felt tight as he tried to swallow. “I thought you didn’t love me anymore and were replacing me, so I left just like they did.”
Twilight let out another sigh, heavy with a tinge of guilt. “Was I too hard on them?” she said to herself, a tear coming down her eye.
Pinkie walked up to her, putting a hoof on her shoulder. “No, Twilight,” she responded, a few tears in her own eyes. “The two of them got hit on all sides with disapproval and disappointment. We were all so mixed up that not a one of us tried to be understanding. Not having any source of comfort from the adults in their lives its no surprise they felt they weren’t wanted anymore.”
Twilight hugged her. “I’m sorry, Pinkie Pie. I was being pretty cold. I guess I still have a lot to learn about little kids.”
Pinkie hugged her back. “Well, I do too. I should have come to them earlier, then they wouldn’t have thought their only choice was to leave.”
They heard the sound of running, and a few seconds later Rainbow Dash rushed in. “I came as quick as I could. What’s wrong?”
Twilight explained the situation to her. To their surprise Rainbow Dash started laughing. Aware that she hadn’t been taking the situation seriously herself just a short while ago she said shortly, “Is there something you find amusing about this, Rainbow?”
Rainbow saw the hurt look on Pinkie’s face, and quickly straightened up. “No, no. It’s just that they won’t be gone long.”
‘Why do you say that?” asked Pinkie.
“Captain of the weather patrol, remember? There’s a thunderstorm scheduled for tonight. Trust me, once they start getting soaked and hearing the sound of thunder they’ll be begging to come home.”
Twilight and Pinkie looked at each other unsurely. “I sure hope so…” Pinkie looked at the ground, wanting to just melt into a puddle of tears right there. Pound and Pumpkin adored her, and she adored them. Even though they called her Auntie, to her they were like her very own children. She would die to defend them, would do anything it took to keep them safe and protect their innocence.
This was the second time the two had run away from home. Luckily they had only gone to Fluttershy’s the first time, but this habit of theirs of running away from home whenever they felt scared they weren’t going to be wanted anymore was troubling. She didn’t know if her heart could take it. She had realized later on that they needed a little bit of positive affirmation, and that was why she had come to their room. If anything had happened to them, and she could have prevented it…
Rainbow noticed Pinkie’s mane steadily deflating, and dropped her jokey demeanor entirely. Grabbing her friend she gave her a quick shake and said sternly, “Pinkie Pie! This is not the time for despair and giving up! This is a time for action! We’re going to need you in the search, and if they’re in trouble you need to be in the right state to defend them. Do you understand me? Save the tears and anguish for if they’re seriously hurt.”
It took a little while for Rainbow’s words to sink in. She felt so heavy with guilt for driving them away. In her heart, though, she knew Rainbow Dash was correct. Taking a heavy breath she lifted her head, her mane snapping back as she looked back determinedly at her friend. “You’re right, Rainbow. I can’t afford to fall to pieces. They may need me.”
Rainbow turned to Twilight. “I’m gonna fly around and see if I can spot them. If I find them I’ll summon you guys with the Cutie Map.”
Twilight nodded. “Spike, you stay here until our other friends get here and tell them what’s going on.” Getting up she said to Pinkie, “Rainbow got here quickly, of course. Rarity is the next closest, so she should be here soon. If we’re lucky one of them will spot the twins on their walk here. It would be best if we could find them before the storm starts.”
Pinkie nodded, directing all her energy into her desire to find the lights of her life. “Let’s go!”
“Good luck, you guys!” Spike called out after them as the three left.
As Twilight said they ran into Rarity as they were all going their separate ways. Her mane was done up in curlers and she complained about the map being so inconsiderate to her need for beauty sleep. Once she saw the note and heard the story her attitude quickly shifted into action mode.
The four of them each picked a direction and fanned out, hoping that it wasn’t too late.