Somepony to Lean On

by Cupcakes

Chapter 1

Not yet. Soon. Very soon.

Twilight Sparkle glanced between the head-sized gray gem resting upside-down on her library desk and the musty tome lying open beside it. Then she did so again. And once more, just in case.

"All right." Twilight licked her lips. "Here goes nothing..." The unicorn's horn lit up and a cloud of magenta magic swirled around the gemstone, growing denser by the moment. Twilight's eyes clenched tight and individual strands of her mane and tail started to waft lazily into the air, gravity temporarily having no power over them. The jewel vibrated, bouncing from edge to edge of the flat facet it rested on with soft but rapid taps. The lone candle lighting the library's main room flickered erratically but didn't go out, its light eclipsed by the arcane power flowing through the room.

Twilight groaned, her horn glowing brighter, small sparks of magic sizzling through the air as she pressed harder. The gem disappeared behind the opaque violet nimbus of power, but the pony could still feel it inside and she pushed as hard as she could, the gray stone rising into the air pointy tip first...

The spell ended and the gem fell back to the table. Twilight dropped to her haunches and let her chin fall to rest on the desk, not bothering to open her eyes. "Ugh," was all she bothered to mutter.

"Oogh?" asked a voice from much too close.

Twilight gasped and opened her eyes, pulling her head back to stare at the jewel. Nothing had changed. It was the same slightly translucent gray gemstone as before, with the same...

"Oh," the purple unicorn said, looking up right into Pinkie Pie's smiling face.

"Hi!" Despite being close enough to reach out and touch each other, Pinkie still waved vigorously.

"Hello, Pinkie," Twilight said around a yawn stifled behind a hoof. She stood up and blinked, rubbing at her eyes with the back of her hoof. "Isn't it a little early for a visit to the library?"

Pinkie giggled and shook her head. "Nuh uh, you're just a little late for a librarian!" The earth pony hopped away and tossed open the curtains, revealing the Sun in all its shining glory.

"Awgh! Okay!" Twilight covered her eyes and waved her free hoof wildly at the window. "I get it, it's morning!"

"Afternoon!" Pinkie chirped.

"Afternoon, fine! Wait, really?" Twilight peeked from around her hoof and blinked into the light. "Wow. I guess my all-nighter became an all-dayer."

Pinkie giggled and bounced back across the room past Twilight, right to the desk. She leaned forward, nose nearly touching the gem. "Oooh, is this what you've been doing for days? What is it? Is it a gift for Rarity?"

The purple unicorn looked between her friend and the stone several times. "Pinkie?"


"Doesn't it bother you that there's a giant eye floating inside the gem, staring right at you?" It was true: a bright yellow circular eye with an almost serpentine iris peered motionlessly from the center of the gray jewel.

Pinkie shrugged, still looking at the gem. "Most ponies stare at me a lot until they get to know me. I'm kinda used to it."

Twilight shook her head. "Nothing fazes you, does it?"

"Just the Moon!"

Twilight tilted her head slightly to the side. "The Moon?"

Pinkie looked over her shoulder at Twilight, grinning. "Yeah, the phases of the Moon! Get it?"

The studious unicorn blinked, then shut her eyes and let out a combination of a sigh and a quiet groan.

"Soooo, what is it?" Pinkie insisted, snuffling at the stone with rapid-fire puffs of air.

"I don't know, Pinkie," Twilight stepped away, beginning to pace. "Rarity found it on one of her gem-hunting trips into the hills. But it wasn't under the ground, it was just lying in some bushes. And no matter who is looking at it, from every perspective it seems like the eye is staring at you."

"At me?" The pink pony asked, before licking the gem experimentally.

Twilight stopped pacing. "No, I mean, when I look at it, I think it's looking at me. And if you look at it, even at the same time, you think it's looking at you."

"Ohhhhhhh." Pinkie stuck her tongue out and made a face. "It's not rock candy."

Twilight returned to pacing, seeming to ignore Pinkie's advances in the field of scientific experimentation. "I've tried every spell I can find to figure out what it is, or where it came from, or even if it's magical in nature, but... My spells just seem to dissipate around it."

Pinkie scooped the gem off the desk and held it up to the sunlight. "Maybe it doesn't want to be found out!" She stared at it through one eye, closing the other and sticking the tip of her tongue out of the side of her mouth.

The unicorn stopped pacing again and sighed. "I can't even tell if it 'wants' anything! For all I know I'm dealing with first contact with an alien species of non-biological life forms and... and..." Twilight dropped her head.

Pinkie put the gem back on the table and hopped over to stand side to side with her friend, giving her a gentle bump with her shoulder. "Aaaand?"

Twilight looked at Pinkie with a small, weak smile and leaned just a little against her. "And I'm really tired and haven't had a good meal all night and I'm making ludicrous assumptions and I should probably just sleep on it."

Pinkie raised one eyebrow. "That sounds really, really uncomfy."

Twilight's brows furrowed. "Huh?"

The earth pony turned to point at the gem. "Sleeping on it. I mean, it's all pointy and stuff. Or do you think maybe it's an egg?"

Twilight opened her mouth, then closed it and peered at her friend. "You knew what I meant and you're just playing with my mind, aren't you?"

Pinkie giggled and batted her eyelashes. "Mmmaaaaaayy-be."

The unicorn snorted, then pointed at the front door of the library. "Shoo. I'm going to sleep. Spike should be back this evening with the books I requested from the Canterlot Library. I think." Twilight glanced at the library clock. "I really, really lost track of time."

Pinkie bounced her way toward the door. "Lost track of time? Well, you bett--"

"No more bad puns!" Twilight cut in, stomping a hoof. "I don't think I can take any more without a good night's rest."

The earth pony bounced through the door. "G'ni' Twi!"

Twilight closed the door with a touch of magic and looked at her mess of books, scrolls, notes, ink, and quills. "Eh. I'll need all this later, anyway," she decided, trotting for the stairs to her bedroom. Halfway up she paused, glanced back at the gem, and chuckled under her breath. "Pfff. 'Sleep on it,'" she murmured.

"Gotcha!" Pinkie said, her beaming face popping up into the open window.

Twilight used magic to close the curtains on the pink pony's triumphant grin without a word and trotted up to bed, but the small smile on her face lasted until she was fast asleep.

Yes, very soon. Tonight.

Pinkie peeked just one eye over the windowsill into the library's silent, moonlit kitchen. "Hmmm," she hummed, her glance flicking all across the room, from stovetop to breadbox to counters. She pulled back, then double-flipped through the open window and into the kitchen, posing triumphantly with a filled muffin tray in her mouth. She set the tray down on the counter, then dropped low to the floor.

"Another late night baked good delivery mission successful," Pinkie whispered. She circled the kitchen floor several times, so low that her belly nearly touched the tile. "And that's why they call me Stealthie Pie!" Pinkie stopped moving about and shrugged. "Or, well, they would if they knew I was a late night baked good delivery secret agent pony."

The earth pony suddenly sat up straight. "But wait! My secret identity is at stake! Twilight might recognize the tray, and, well, Mrs. Cake iiiiiiis a little upset that her baking accessories are disappearing into the night." Pinkie giggled sheepishly, then pulled a serving plate out of Twilight's kitchen cabinet. She clamped her teeth onto the rim of the muffin tray and tilted her head, just about to shake the muffins out, when a flash of yellow from the main hall turned her head the other way. "Huh?" she said with a mouthful of kitchenware, trotting into the library proper.

The gray gemstone was hovering at eye level, rotating with the tip pointed down, but even as it spun the eye inside stayed trained right on Pinkie. The eye blinked, emitting an unwavering cone of yellow light trained on the approaching pony.

"Ooh, creepthy!" Pinkie garbled around the tray, her voice as chipper as ever. She stepped closer, her eyes flicking between the gem and the delicious treats just inches from her nose. She held up a hoof and dropped the tray onto it, offering it forward. "Muffin?"


Twilight attacked her mane with a brush, watching the progress in her bedroom mirror. "Eleven hours. I can't believe I slept eleven hours." She winced as a particularly stubborn knot of hair resisted the brushing. "My sleep schedule is totally messed up now," she lamented.

Twilight opened the door to her quarters and trotted down the stairs. Her horn glowed as she threw open all the curtains in the room, letting in the moonlight. "But I suppose it's a good thing Pinkie came by, or I might have passed out in the middle... of..." The purple mare stopped four steps from floor level, staring.

The gem was gone, an ovular patch of the library's flooring was stained a dull yellow, and a half-dozen muffins were scattered around the room with the rest pinned underneath the upside-down tray.

"Oh no," Twilight whispered.