• Published 29th Jun 2013
  • 2,937 Views, 113 Comments

The Pinkie Paradox - SpaceCommie



When one of the duplicates, not Pinkie Pie, passes the test and remains in Ponyville, she's forced to lie to everyone. Well, almost everyone.

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Chapter 3

Sorry about the condition of that last page—well, or lack thereof. I wasn’t exactly in the right frame of mind to produce anything worth reading at the time.

Let’s try this again.

Derpy, I hope you read this, but I can’t convince myself that you ever will. I left Ponyville... I guess it would be two days ago by now. I’m writing this from a cheap motel room in Manehatten.

I should start from the beginning of this mess. I had kept to myself as much as possible after having helped Twilight block off the Pool. I’d wake up early in the morning, clean the kitchen, bake the orders for the day, and then retreat up to my room. Well, “my” room. It never failed to seem like an unforgivable incursion whenever I stepped inside. In any case, I spent a day tearing the room apart looking for anything Pinkie had left behind that might give me some insight into her friends or anything about Ponyville and its inhabitants.

Nothing. I found a notebook- this notebook, in fact—but it contained nothing but a crude sketch of a smiley face surrounded by balloons. Judging from the fact that it was buried in a closet, Pinkie didn’t seem like the writing sort. I gave up at that point.

The Cakes were probably pretty confused by my behavior, but they couldn’t really complain—I was working and wasn’t doing anything obviously deviant up in my room. Pinkie’s friends stopped by on occasion, but I was always able to defuse the possibility of anypony getting too close by carefully avoiding talking about anything interesting. And of course, there was always the unspoken attitude of ‘Of course there’s nothing wrong! Why would there be?’ delivered by a wide Pinkie smile.

---

“I shoulda guessed somethin’ earlier,” Applejack said morosely. “Whenever I’d go talk to her, she’d start talkin’ about the weather and then smile real widely. It was just weird.

---

After a cursory examination of the contents of Pinkie’s party closet, I realized that I had absolutely no idea how to throw a party. If I wanted to pass off as Pinkie, I needed to do that. So I reluctantly decided to venture out to the library to retrieve some books about hosting. That particular decision was a tough one. Twilight Sparkle might be there, and that unicorn scares the hell out of me for obvious reasons. I remembered the look that had flickered over her face after I passed the test. She might suspect something.

Then again, it would be a dead giveaway if I couldn’t manage to throw a decent party.

So I walked uncertainly to the library. Twilight, per my fears, was there, poring over an old dusty book. I hesitated to get her attention, but it would be uncharacteristic not to. So I steeled myself and said—a bit too loudly—“Hi, Twilight!” She didn’t look up or respond, other than to mumble a “Hi, Pinkie.”

So far, so good. I started scanning the shelves for anything that had to do with partying. I didn’t get far before Twilight suddenly snapped away from her book.

"Pinkie, what are you doing here?" she asked, surprised. I was too startled to respond with anything but the truth. "I'm looking for books."

Slipping hurriedly into character, I said “What else would I do in a library, silly?”

Twilight looked confused, but I could already sense the explanation forming in her mind: ‘It’s Pinkie.’

"Alright, Pinkie. What kind of books are you looking for?"

"Party books!" I said with doltish enthusiasm.

Bah. I had spent enough time impersonating Pinkie that I had a pretty good read on what sounded like her and what didn’t. That didn’t sound much like Pinkie Pie. Maybe more like a small foal, or perhaps Pinkie with some sort of head injury. Derpy, I thought uncomfortably. The smile slid off my face. Still, Twilight had apparently shifted far enough into librarian mode that it didn’t register.

“Okay, Pinkie. Are you looking for novels, or nonfiction? Because-”

I cut her off: "Nonfiction." It was instinctively appealing to me, with so much of my life being fiction. Then again...

I thought better of it, and told Twilight I’d take the fiction as well. A little more of it won’t kill me.

---

I slammed my face a bit melodramatically into the book. Boredom didn’t really cover the scope of how entirely unenthused I was about this subject. Ennui would work, maybe. After two hours I was feeling ready to eat the book instead of reading it, library fines be damned. It was made worse by the utter necessity of learning this crap. Social miscues could be explained away with “It’s Pinkie” for a while, but if I didn’t manage to throw adequate parties, things could get bad quickly.

Sighing, I turned the page to another of the seemingly endless “fun party ideas,” then thought better of it and closed it with an unnecessary level of force. 1001 Fun Party Ideas was absolutely not fun, and to give the vast majority of the 1001 items the name of “ideas” was to badly abuse the meaning of the word. It looked like the author had abandoned the notion of original items somewhere in the mid-hundreds in favor of smashing their head into the typewriter until it made something vaguely resembling a sentence. I put it aside. Next up: Hosting for Dummies. I reluctantly opened it and started reading.

It didn’t get better. If my predilections mirrored that of the real Pinkie’s, I think it would have been the fact that I was reading about throwing parties that made it so painfully dull. I’m not sure if it wasn’t the other way around.

Still, I managed to figure out a way to limit the damage I could do with a party. Well, to my reputation. Not necessarily physical damage. I wondered if Applejack could help me out with it. I’d heard things.

---

“It’s not an issue at all. Any time for you, Twilight.” A bit cautiously, Rarity continued. “So I assume this has to do with...”

“Pinkie Pie, yes,” Twilight Sparkle said dispiritedly. “I’ve hit a wall in terms of my research into the whole...” She gestured around vaguely. “...situation. I revisited that book Spike found that had the spell to send duplicates back into the Mirror Pool.”

“Oh?”

“It’s basically worthless. The vast majority of it is nothing but ancient doggerel, and there’s certainly nothing in there about the mechanics of the Mirror Pool itself. I sent in inquiries to all of the major Equestrian libraries about the author. Apparently, he doesn’t exist. So then I thought, 'Why not start focusing on the duplicate?'"

Rarity could see where this was going, and she didn’t like it. “Twilight Sparkle! You can’t honestly expect me to—”

“I need to know what the duplicate was like, Rarity. Because of your ‘fashion soiree,’ you’ve seen more of the duplicate than the rest of us have. What happened?”

“It was a traumatic event for me! It’s hardly reasonable for you to expect me to revisit such an embarrassing—”

“Cut the drama,” Twilight said. “I need you to do this. Pinkie needs you to do this.”

The 'woe is me' expression disappeared from Rarity’s face in a heartbeat. “Of course,” she said quietly.

“I noticed that there was something off about her from the beginning, although I didn’t think anything of it at the time. Still, it was strange. Instead of greeting me with that usual Pinkie exuberance when I walked into the Corner, she just... stared at me for a bit, like she was trying to figure out what I was there for. I mean, of course she responded like she usually does, eventually, but it was forced, and it didn’t seem like her. In any case, I asked her if she would be interested in assisting me in entertaining a group of buyers from a number of very high-class boutiques in Canterlot. She just sort of looked at me before reluctantly agreeing. I got the impression that her heart wasn’t in it, but- you know how good Pinkie’s parties are.”

Twilight nodded. Rarity looked expectantly at her friend, who returned the expression. “And?”

“Oh, it was dreadful!”

Twilight gave Rarity a glare.

“Alright, alright. I had been in the back getting the clothes prepared for the buyers while Pinkie—well, ‘Pinkie’—was setting up. I, ahem, lost track of time while I was making sure that one of the dresses was hanging just right, so a few of the buyers had already arrived when I got out into the workroom. It was awful, just awful. Twilight, you would not believe it. There were balloons and bunting and, and, ‘Pin the tail on the pony’ posters and—oh, Celestia, what are those called? Apple bobbing buckets! Just everywhere! No seeming rhyme or reason—”

“I get the idea,” Twilight said. Rarity looked a bit offended, but continued.

“And of course I couldn’t change anything with the buyers there. Just grin and pretend that it made sense.”

Twilight nodded.

“I forgot to mention that the punch seemed to be just Applejack’s cider with food coloring and sugar.”

"Oh," Twilight said uninterestedly, then realized what had just been said. "Oh! Well, uh... how'd it go?"

“I suppose it could have been worse,” Rarity grudgingly admitted. “After a few cups of the punch they started burbling about how adorably rustic it all was. And ‘authentic’. Still, I was furious with Pinkie. I may, ah, have told her that she had ruined me and that I never wanted to see anything of her again.”

“How’d she take that?”

“Standard operating procedure for that Pinkie. She looked at me uncomprehendingly and then left.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it. She might have toyed with the idea of apologizing, but she didn’t. Just left.”

Twilight mentally took note of that, but was evidently distracted by something else. “So did they buy anything?

“Does it really matter, Twilight?"

"I'm curious."

“They were all too sloshed to even take a look at the clothes. Well, that’s not entirely true. Celestia knows how I’m going to get those stains out.”

---

I’ll be honest with you, Derpy. I’m not entirely sure what I’m writing here.

To be clear, I know why I’m writing it. You deserve the truth, and an apology. But at the same time, I’m increasingly aware that I have my own reasons for this letter. It's my only real connection to anypony or anything.

Oh Celestia, that sounded less pathetic in my head than it looks on paper. Point is, this is becoming less of a letter to you and more my way of making sense of my existence.

So I’m hoping, without much in the way of a reason to believe it, that you’d want to know who I am.

That you’d want to know who did this to you.