• Published 10th May 2014
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Pound and Pumpkin Tales 1 - Never2muchpinkie

Set a few years into the future, six year old Pound and Pumpkin have a lot of growing up to do. They fight and make up, make mistakes and learn lessons, and love and protect each other as much as they get on each other's nerves.

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11-A: Magic Kindergarten-Pumpkin Cake

Pound and Pumpkin were jumping up and down on their hooves. Each of them was wearing a saddle bag with a packed lunch and supplies. It was the day they had been impatiently waiting for all month: their very first day of school.

The two of them were eager to learn more about their own unique skills. Pound wanted to learn how to start using his wings, and Pumpkin wanted to learn better control of her magic.

Ever since her lesson with Twilight Pumpkin had been levitating things to get a better feeling of what focused magic felt like. She still had a lot of nerves over the process doing it alone, as without a unicorn there she was afraid of going out of control again, but she kept revisiting what she had been taught. It felt like every time she wanted to use her power she had to do her breathing exercises. It took a lot of concentration to lift even small things when she actually began using magic of her own volition. She was slowly working her way up to larger things, though. She started off with a bit, then a pencil, then an apple, and finally her stuffed animals. She tried lifting a chair in the kitchen, but that proved too much for her no matter how much she concentrated. It was hard keeping them airborne for any length of time, but she was gradually improving. Along the way her parents and brother gave her lots of encouragement.

Seeing his sister’s improvement made Pound want to do better. He tried very hard to at least get off the ground before school began but was unsuccessful. Unlike Pumpkin he hadn’t had a teacher who already knew the ropes, and didn’t think of asking for one.

Pinkie Pie was crying a river of tears, coming out of her eyes like twin waterfalls, as they dropped the twins off at Magic Kindergarten. She was so proud of them for growing up. She was going to miss them.

Pound and Pumpkin were directed to an office, where they saw a kind-looking unicorn sitting behind a desk. As they walked in she came out behind the desk and knelt down to their level. “Hello there, new students! What’re your names?”

“I’m Pound Cake!”

“I’m Pumpkin Cake!”

“We’re siblings!” the two of them said in unison, hugging each other.

“I see,” she replied. “My name is Principal Loudspeaker. As you may have guessed I run this school.

“Are you two eager to learn?”

The two of them both nodded vigorously.

“I wanna fly!” Pound said, fluttering his wings speedily.

“And I want to learn better control of my magic!” said Pumpkin, her horn glowing.

“Wonderful! Come with me. I’ll take you to your classrooms.”

“Classrooms?” Pound said, confused.

Principal Loudspeaker seemed perplexed as well. “You don’t know what a classroom is?”

Pound shook his head. “I know what a classroom is. I just don’t understand why you’re talking like we’re going to be separated. I know when you put an “s” at the end of a word it means more than one.”

Pumpkins face fell. “We’re not gonna be learning together?” she said disappointedly. “We’re twins. I don’t want to be separated from my brother.”

Principal saw all the enthusiasm going out of the pair. “Hey, hey, hey, now,” she said comfortingly. “There’s no need to get upset. There are both specialized teachings for pegasi and unicorns, and then there’s general teachings for all the pony races. There wouldn’t be much of a point in putting Pound Cake into a lesson for unicorns when he really wants to learn to fly, right?”

Reluctantly Pound said, “I guess that makes sense.” A tear came to his eye as he looked at the ground. “I just feel worried that someone is gonna pick on her if I’m not there to protect her.”

Pumpkin looked warmly over at her brother, before looking up at the principal. “I accidentally hurt Pound because I couldn’t control my magic. I tried to erase my magic and pretend it didn’t exist, until Princess Twilight told me that if I really wanted to defend my brother I needed to learn to use it properly. I wanna protect him too.”

Principal Loudspeaker put a hoof on his shoulder. “That is very admirable, Pound, that you want to protect your sister from bullies. But as your sister just said about her own talents you might need yours to protect her. I could put you in the specialized classes with your sister, but then you wouldn’t learn about how to control your wings to help get you off the ground. What if Pumpkin needs your help, and you can’t help her because you never studied how to fly?”

Pound let out a big sigh, before his head popped up, a cocky expression on his face. “Yep. You’re right.” Giving Pumpkin a slight push he said in a dismissive tone, “Let’s go, ugly.”

Pumpkin just rolled her eyes, stifling a giggle. Her brother was so stupid sometimes, but she knew he was acting like he didn’t care because of his pride. She’d seen it before when he pretended not to be scared of thunderstorms because he knew she was.

When they reached one of the rooms Principal Loudspeaker stopped. “This is your class, Pound Cake. Your pegasus training will take place in here, and Pumpkin will get her unicorn training in another room. Once that is done for the day you will be directed to a third room, where the students of all the races are brought together to discuss things like current events, what’s going on in Ponyville, things like spelling and math, and reading stories.

“Mid-day we have lunch hour. Once you are done with your meal you may spend the rest of that time outside on the playground, doing whatever you wish. So, really, you’ll spending more time WITH your sister than you will without her.

“And it’s always good to make some new friends your own age. Believe me, I understand the twin connection, and I would never seek to break that between you, but there are over fifty students here. Take some time to get to know the other students. You likely spend a lot of time together at home after school, and I’m sure there are times the two of you get sick of each other.”

Both Pound and Pumpkin let out knowing laughs and smirked at each other. “Oh, yeah!” said Pound.

“Definitely!” Pumpkin agreed.

Pound threw a hoof around his sister. “But we always come back together, because we love each other.”

“Bleh!” Pumpkin replied in disgust, before getting a naughty grin on her face and giving him a kiss on the cheek. Pumpkin waited for him to recoil and snap at her not to do that like he usually did, but to her surprise he was crying again.

He threw his hooves around her, giving her a kiss back. “Oh, Pumpkin! I’m gonna miss you.”

Pumpkin felt a fleeting desire to mock him for being so childish, but she couldn’t deny she was going to miss him too.

Before she could say anything he pulled away from her, saying dismissively. “Whatever! You’re probably gonna forget all about me and find someone else to protect you. Thanks a lot!”

Pumpkin raised an eyebrow, confused by his sudden change in attitude, before it suddenly clicked in her mind: he was jealous. He thought he was going to be replaced.

She had to fight hard not to laugh because she knew it would make him angrier. Taking a deep breath she elected to appeal to his pride. Giving him a hug she said sweetly, “Nobody can replace you, Pound. You’re my one and only hero, okay?”

For a few seconds Pound’s face remained stony, but Pumpkin’s words slowly got to him, and his expression cracked. “Y-yeah?” he said.

Pumpkin nodded. She gave him a small push. “Get in there and get a whole lot stronger, so you can protect me even better. Otherwise, well… someone might become better at it than you are.”

“No way!” he replied sternly. “I’m not letting that happen.” He quickly went inside the classroom, closing the door behind him.

Once he was out of sight Pumpkin ran about fifty feet before falling to the ground, laughing her head off. She put a hoof to her mouth to stifle it a bit.

Principal Loudspeaker followed her, asking, “What’s so funny?”

When Pumpkin got her laughter under control she stood up, wiping a few tears from her eyes. “My brother is such a dork!” She sighed, smiling widely as she thought of what he had said. “Ah, but that’s why I love him. Nobody CAN replace him.” She looked up at the principal. “I mean, what other colt that age would threaten to beat up some older colts and even a princess because he thought they were picking on me? And…” Her face became somber, tears building up in her eyes. “When that accident happened where I hurt him because I couldn’t control my magic he almost died. He told us later on that Princess Luna had come into his dreams and showed him what I was dreaming. When he saw how upset I was he found the strength to get up.”

“Awww. The joys and privileges of having a twin. Don’t ever lose that.”

Sniffling, she wiped her eyes. “T-that’s why I love my brother so much. He always does so much for me… when he’s not driving me crazy and fighting with me, that is.” She giggled.

“I won’t.”

“Come on, then. We need to get you to your class too, so that kind of accident doesn’t happen again.”

Pumpkin nodded. “I know.” She followed the principal until they reached her own classroom. “Thank you for taking me. I’ll work hard. I promise!”

Principal Loudspeaker smiled. “I hope you keep that attitude.”

Pumpkin went inside, seeing an adult pony at the front, along with about 15 fillies and colts. “Hello!” she said as she walked toward the only empty desk.

The unicorn teacher looked down her spectacled nose at her. “Greetings.” Taking a quick look at the class list she said, “You must be Pumpkin Cake.”

“Yep!” she said with a nod as she sat down, placing her saddle bag in the desk.

“Great. You may call me Ms. Sparkler. Now that all our students are here we can begin your lessons.

“Let’s try a quick question: what is the basic magical skill inherent in all unicorns?”

Pumpkin immediately raised her hoof, shaking it hard.

“Yes, Pumpkin?” she responded.

“Levitation,” she stated, feeling proud of herself. “Princess Twilight told me that when she taught me the basics of magic.”

Whispers and murmurs went through the classroom before one colt asked in wonder, “You’re friends with a princess?”

Pumpkin blushed, grinning widely at the attention. “She’s one of my Auntie Pinkie’s closest friends, and that’s why she recommended me for this school, so I can learn better control of my magic.”

Their teacher called them to order. “Very impressive, Pumpkin, but I hope you understand that being friends with Princess Twilight doesn’t mean I’m going to give you special treatment.”

Pumpkin nodded. “Uh-huh. I understand.” She giggled, unable to stop herself feeling a bit cocky as she looked at some of the other students, gazing at her in reverential wonder.

Their teacher went up to the chalkboard. “As Pumpkin said levitation is a skill that all unicorns have. There are some unicorns, such as the princesses, who specialize in magic, and thus have no limit to the amount of variety they can use in their spellcasting. For a majority of unicorns they only have one specific unique magical talent.”

Raising her hoof, Pumpkin said, “Auntie Pinkie has a friend who’s a seamstress, and her special magical talent is gem-finding.”

“Very good. That is just one of the many skills one may have.

“Now, this year is going to be devoted to making you better at magic. Perhaps along the way you will discover your special magical talent, or maybe it will come later. Becoming more competent at magic requires both study and practice.”

“Teacher?” Pumpkin said, raising her hoof again.

Her teacher giggled a little. “I wonder if I’ll be able to get off more than one sentence today before you have something to say, Pumpkin.”

Pumpkin flushed, lowering her hoof. “N-never mind,” she said in a small voice.

“Now, now, Pumpkin. I was just messing with you. What’s your question?”

“Well… how come we get worse with magic as we get older?”

Her head tilted. “What do you mean, Pumpkin?”

“My Auntie Pinkie told me about the first time she babysat me and my brother. She told me that I was levitating myself, walking through the walls of my playpen, and lots of other stuff. How could I do that stuff as a BABY but I can’t do it as a kid?”

The classroom muttered in assent. “Pumpkin’s right,” said a filly. “My parents told me about doing crazy stuff with magic when I was younger too.”

“Me too!”

“So did mine!”

“That’s a very good question, Pumpkin," said Sparkler. "I think the easiest way to explain it is with a simple experiment. Stand up please, Pumpkin, and walk to me, and then back to your desk.”

Pumpkin complied, unsure what this had to do with her question.

“So that was pretty simple, right?” She nodded. “Now let’s try it again. Now, Pumpkin, which legs do you usually start walking with? Your front right and back left or your front left and back right?”

“Ummm… I don’t know,” she replied. “I never really thought about it.”

“Well, don’t stand around. Walk over to me.”

Pumpkin looked down at her legs, starting to lift her left leg, before appearing stumped and starting to lift her right ones. Now that she had asked it was really bothering her. She kept lifting first one set, then the other. Was there a “right” choice of legs to use? Was one better than the other? Did it really matter?

Her voice interrupted her thought patterns. “Thank you, Pumpkin. You can sit down again.”

Pumpkin was red in the face again. “No! I’m… I’m coming.”

“There’s no need. You already accomplished what I was trying to demonstrate.”

Pumpkin sat down, asking, “I did? How? I don’t get it.”

“I want you to apply using magic to what just happened with Pumpkin, everyone. Walking is something that comes naturally to all of us. It’s such a normal thing that we don’t think anything of it. It’s just something that happens, because you want it to happen. That’s how it works with magic when you’re a baby. You want something to happen, and so it does.

“Now think about what happened with part two of the test. When I pushed you to actually THINK about walking it stopped being automatic. Your head got caught up in thoughts of wondering and questioning a process you’ve used your whole life, and thus you stopped being able to walk at all, because you were so preoccupied with it. And that is why, once you’re more grown up, you have to actually work at your magic.

“As a baby you’re too unintelligent and inexperienced to worry about stuff like that. All you want is what you want, and if that includes using magic then you just do it. As your minds grow you begin to wonder and question everything around you, and that includes your magic. Once you start wondering how it works and how you’re doing what you’re doing you stop being able to do it spontaneously because your thoughts aren’t about USING magic, but HOW you’re doing it. Hence why you then have to study: to have your questions answered. Once the distractions are out of the way then you can once again use magic as you will.

“Did that make sense to you, Pumpkin?”

She nodded. “Yes. I understand… but I don’t know if I’m ever gonna walk again.”

The class laughed.

“Oh, I’m sure in a few days you’ll go back to doing it automatically.”

Pumpkin paid close attention as she continued his lesson, Pound in the back of her mind. ‘That’s never gonna happen again!’ she thought strongly as she recalled how she had hurt him. ‘Never!’

When the bell rang for their lunch hour Pumpkin’s head was considerably fuller. She had learned more about herself as a pony, and especially as her specific race of pony. Her parents were earth ponies, and her brother was a pegasus. That had never bothered her before. Ponyville was a place where all three races of ponies belonged and were friends with one another. However, not being unicorns themselves her parents had never really been able to… teach her what being a unicorn meant.

Her parents had at least gotten Twilight to begin instructing her on keeping calm and using magic, because they knew Twilight would understand her. She thought of how Twilight told her about that time in her past when she lost control and was afraid of her magic for a while, but she overcame it with a good teacher.

She didn’t want to push her magic away. She wanted to use it, and use it a whole bunch. Her magic and horn were as much a part of her as her tail and legs, and she was starting to appreciate that she loved what she was.

A part of her got scared at that thought. Did that mean she thought she was BETTER than the rest of her family, because she was different from the rest of them? Was she looking down on her brother for not having a horn like her? She didn’t like the sound of that.

‘Well, Pound has his own unique talent too,’ she reminded herself. ‘He has wings and can fly. Well… WILL fly eventually.’

As they reached the lunchroom she had a strong ache inside her, her worries that she was becoming arrogant wiping away her joy of self-discovery. All she knew was that she wanted to see her brother. They could talk about it, and then maybe she’d feel better.

Author's Note:

Since the twins are split up in this chapter, I decided to split the chapter into two parts as well, each half focusing on one of the pair.

Now that I'm coming back to this story I'm trying to give Pumpkin a little bit more character. She seems kind of bland at the moment. Pound has stubborn pride, has a strong protective instinct for his sister and won't hesitate to fight older ponies for her sake. But Pumpkin doesn't have much, so I think I'm gonna have her go more the Twilight route and be studious, because she's curious about who she is.

Maybe I'm not paying enough attention. Have YOU noticed any specific quirks/attributes of Pumpkin that I'm forgetting?

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