• 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 5

Dear Derpy,

I guess I could frame this as a “good news, bad news” sort of thing. So here goes.

Good news! I’m going back to Ponyville. The bad news is that it’s in a Royal Guard chariot. I’m currently in the process of “inadvertently” digging my elbow into the bruiser sitting next to me, reading this.

Yeah, you. Buck off.

Anyways, Derpy, they caught me. It was embarrassingly easy in the end. I was thrown off writing that last section in a very strange way. An ear twitched, my eyes closed convulsively, and my knee spasmed. Moments later, the door behind me opened into the alley, leaving me sprawling. That was game over, I guess. So here I am, flying back to Ponyville.

It’s unexpected, but somehow it makes sense. It’s consistent with the logic of my existence, I suppose. Diane was never anything more than a fragile hope, an impossible dream. I could never be her. No, I am what I’ve always been: nothing but a pale imitation of the genuine article, with the temerity to take its place and the foolishness to think it would never catch up with me. So back I go. Assuming Sparkle doesn’t zap me on sight, I’ll let you know what happens.

---

“Twilight Sparkle, I do hope there was a point to enlisting me into dragging equipment into this...” Rarity looked around distastefully and continued. “...dank and, might I add, exceedingly muddy cave. I’m not cut out for this sort of work!”

“Mmm.” Twilight fiddled distractedly with a bundle of wires.

Rarity set down a tripod with a theatrical sigh. “Twilight, darling, what are we down here for?”

“Oh, sorry, Rarity,” Twilight said, and gestured around vaguely. “This is all basically a scaled-up version of the apparatus I used to test Pinkie’s magical ability when I was trying to figure out Pinkie Sense.” At this, she managed a weak smile. “Pinkie Sense. Anyways, the data’s going to be printed out there. I’ll compare it to the readout I got from Pinkie back then, and... then I guess I’ll just write Celestia and let her do her thing.”

“Why can’t she just do it?”

Twilight shrugged. “I’m not completely sure. Still, it can’t be easy or safe to poke around this kind of magical artifact. It’s not surprising that the Princess wants to be sure before she takes that kind of risk.”

“But Twilight- where else could Pinkie be?”

---

I had the opportunity to ask about you. That may have been the highlight of the day, maybe even the week. Have I been here a week yet? The days blur together.

Yes, yes I have. Nine days, actually. Anyways, today Sparkle came into my cell with breakfast. Usually it’s the dragon. I try to be nice to him. I feel sorry for anyone who has to live with Twilight, including myself.

“Is Derpy awake?” I asked.

She reacted to the sound of my voice like she had been slapped. Too much like Pinkie, probably.

“Why would you care?” she asked, roughly dropping the plate and cup.

I shrugged. “Not all of us can be sociopathic robots in pony suits like you,” I said sweetly. “I care about her—um, what happened to her. I’m sorry about it.”

She was, unsurprisingly, not convinced. Eh, screw her. I poked the food experimentally. “Also, as long as she’s not up yet, I’ll take that order of muffins. Really, Sparkle? Bread and water?”

“Yes,” she snapped.

“Oh well. At least I haven’t been zapped yet. Why is that, anyways?”

Twilight menaced. “I need you for testing. Once that’s done...”

I did my best to look unimpressed and pretended to stifle a yawn. “So does that mean no muffins?”

All I got from Twilight was a glare. “Follow me. And don’t try anything.” I obeyed, because as much as I’d hate to admit it, that unicorn scares the hell out of me. We came down into the library. I caught a glimpse of sunlight through a window, but she shoved me down another staircase and into an enormous underground room.

“Ever thought about getting this finished?” I joked, then noticed what Twilight was pushing me towards. “Okay, what the hell is that?” I asked, pointing at a bare wooden chair with straps to the armrests and what could only be described as an electronic salad bowl in position to be lowered over the head of its occupant.

“An electric chair? It’s a little messy compared to your usual MO, but if that’s what you’re into-”

“It’s not an electric chair!” Twilight said tersely. “It won’t hurt a bit,” she said. She seemed disappointed.

“If you say so, Doctor Flankenstein. I’m guessing you want me in that thing?”

She nodded, so I sat down. I may be a smartflank on occasion, but I’m not suicidal.

---

Day 16 of my absurd imprisonment. Not much to report other than I’m bored stiff.

---

Twilight Sparkle was done. To limit the scope of that statement, it might be noted that she was done checking for the duplicates in the Mirror Pool. She was practiced at the process after spending so many days doing it, although without much in the way of results. She would scan a section, looking for the tell-tale ups and downs of the pattern, then sigh dispiritedly and move on to the next one. She’d checked every inch of the print-outs no fewer than three times without finding anything. There was a pile of paper as tall as she was on one side of the desk, and only a single piece left on the other.

Oh. It’s Pinkie’s paper. The only thing she’d seen of Pinkie for months, excepting the duplicate. And the duplicate didn’t count, obviously. It was nothing like the real Pinkie. It (she?) was bitterly sarcastic where Pinkie was sincerely happy, and dull where Pinkie was vivacious. To Twilight’s knowledge, the duplicate just... sat there most of the time. Granted, there wasn’t a lot of entertainment in the spare bedroom the Royal Guards had converted into a cell. But still, it creeped Twilight out to see the duplicate just sitting there, staring at the wall. Or even more unnerving, writing in that little notebook she kept on herself at all times. Whatever the duplicate was writing in there would probably be a fascinating psychological study, but the duplicate would be even more refractory if Twilight took it.

Twilight wasn’t really sure why she hadn’t sent the duplicate back to the Mirror Pool yet. She was done with testing, after all. Maybe she was more bothered by the duplicate’s constant snarky reminders of when she had sent back the rest of the Pinkies than Twilight was willing to admit to herself. The fake wasn’t exactly subtle about implying that Twilight was a murderer. And after spending as much time with the duplicate as Twilight had, it was getting harder to deny it. Of course the duplicates were a menace, and the survivor was at the very least a bitchy misanthrope, but...

No. She pushed the thought out of her mind. They weren’t dead. They were just gone. Like Pinkie. She’d put them all in there together, hadn’t she? All except one.

Pinkie, you have to be in there. You have to be. She just hoped that Pinkie wouldn’t know what had happened to her, how long she’d been imprisoned. Twilight would have a lot to apologize for. Not that she didn’t already. She absentmindedly laid the duplicate’s imprint on the table, smoothing it out.

There was something strange there, but she couldn’t place it. The patterns on the two papers seemed almost—no, that wasn’t possible. They couldn’t be. Twilight overlaid them and held them up to a light.

It was inconceivable, insane. “Oh, Celestia,” Twilight breathed. This changed everything. And not in a good way, either, but in the worst way possible.