• Published 1st Oct 2014
  • 3,594 Views, 435 Comments

Story Shuffle - FanOfMostEverything

Thirty-one one-shots inspired by thirty-one random Magic cards.

  • ...

No and Yes

Pumpkin Cake looked upon Sugarcube Corner and sighed as only the adolescent can sigh. Ponyville had changed.

Oh, she admitted that many of the changes were for the better. As the Bearers of Harmony had saved the world again and again, Ponyville had gone from an obscure backwater to the unofficial second capital of Equestria. Ponies flocked to the town, and with those ponies came new businesses, including all sorts of interesting things for a growing foal to do.

But now, in her pubescent wisdom, Pumpkin could see the downside of all that growth. Her parents had moved to a newer, bigger bakery, and now the old one sat cordoned off by velvet ropes and armored guards. They said they were turning it into a historical landmark. What they meant was that they'd bleed all the life out of it, then charge tourists a nominal fee to walk around the corpse. Pumpkin had seen it happen to the Carousel Boutique, Rainbow Dash's first cloud mansion, and even the charred stump of the Golden Oak Library. But she'd never imagined it could happen to her home.

Mom and Dad had insisted that they needed the space. Pound just didn't care. But she wasn't going to take that lying down. Pumpkin watched as the last of the so-called renovators left the Corner for the day, then waited another few minutes just to be sure. Once she was, she double-checked the contents of her saddlebags, centered herself, and called on her magic. Her horn glowed a silvery blue, and soon, so did the world.

Pumpkin walked out of the alley and towards her home. The guards didn't notice her, because there was nothing to notice. The velvet ropes and door didn't block her, because there was nothing to block.

This was her personal trick, her special talent. Twilight Sparkle had called it ontolomancy, the magical manipulation of the very nature of existence. As far as the rest of the world was concerned, Pumpkin wasn't there. She actually had to add a little extra to the spell to make sure the ground still supported her. That had been an unpleasant surprise...

Pumpkin shook herself. No time for nostalgia now, even if that was why she was doing this. She made her way to the kitchen, and her heart sank. Only a few weeks ago, this had been a place where ponies had taken flour, sugar, and love and made wonderful treats for the town. Now the oven was gone, the cupboards were bare, and the room was cold.

Blinking back tears, Pumpkin dropped the spell and returned to the world's notice. She then pulled a can of spray paint out of her saddlebags. Pink, of course. If anypony would've supported her, it would be Pinkie Pie. That Mom and Dad had chosen to move now, when Pinkie was in Canterlot on official world-saving awesome sister/aunt business, couldn't have been a coincidence. Pumpkin removed the cap, shook the can, and aimed towards the ceiling. She knew exactly what she'd write.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you."

"Ah!" Pumpkin jumped, her shock releasing the can from her magical grasp. She spun to face the other pony, and recognized her in a moment. She was a pillar of Pumpkin's foalhood, an exemplar of unicorn awesomeness... and somepony who'd never let her get away with anything. "Dinky?"

Dinky Doo smiled. It was a familiar smile, a patient and patronizing one she often wore when putting an end to Pumpkin's plans. "Hello, Pumpkin."

"How did... Why are..." Pumpkin sputtered, trying to pick one question out of the many flooding her mind. Finally, she settled on "What are you doing here? I thought you had a job or something."

"I do. One of my first assignments was tracking you down."

Pumpkin considered this for a moment. "Huh?"

Dinky chuckled. "Well, I'm one of the few who can find you when you don't want to be found. Mom probably could, but my employers try not to call on her too often." She laughed again. "Guess I'm following the family business after all, huh?"

Pumpkin gaped, her mind well boggled. "You... have a letter for me?"

"Two, actually." Dinky's horn lit. A matching circle of light formed in front of her, and she dug a hoof into it. "Let me see..."

"Is that—"

"Yup. Pocket storage dimension. Not as efficient as Pinkie Pie's, but it gets the job done. Ah!" Dinky pulled a pink envelope out of the space. "Well, there's one. Give it a read while I find the other one."

Pumpkin did so.

Dear Pumpkin,

I really, really appreciate the thought, but Mr. and Mrs. Cake cleared the move with me before they did it. I think Mr. Cake said something about being worried about seas of blood and legions of unspeakable horrors if I didn't, but I'm pretty sure he was joking. I know Mrs. Cake laughed.

Anyway, don't graffitize graffiterate spray-paint Sugarcube Corner. Do you really want your last memory of the place to be vandalizing it? I didn't think so.

See you soon,
Pinkie Pie, Lots of Titles

Pumpkin looked up. Dinky was still struggling with the hyperspace pocket, looking on the verge of saying words that Pumpkin wasn't supposed to say in front of her parents. She bit her lip, then lit up her horn to fade out of notice.

"Nope." A spark from Dinky's horn, and Pumpkin felt the spell slip away from her. She looked up to see the older unicorn smirking at her. "Remember, Pumpkin. It's not just my PHENOMENAL ARCANE INSIGHT that lets me track you down. That's a side benefit."

Pumpkin pouted. "Like the glowing eyes and echoing speech?"

"Exactly," Dinky said shamelessly. "I break spells. You know that. There is nothing you can do that I can't undo."

This started an awkward silence. Awkward for Pumpkin, at least. Dinky kept rooting through hyperspace. After some time, Pumpkin cried, "BLARGH!" and charged at the older unicorn.

Telekinesis lifted her, leaving her legs flailing a few inches off the ground. "See what I mean?" said Dinky. "Aha! Finally." She produced a scroll and magicked it to Pumpkin. "Here's the other one."

Pumpkin took it in her own magic. "I don't recognize the seal." It was a dark green wax stamped with what looked like the number four.

Dinky nodded. "Yeah, it's not exactly a well-known one."

Pumpkin broke the strange seal, unrolled the scroll, and read. Once she reached the signature, the paper turned into a thin sheet of greenish clay and crumbled to dust. She blinked at this, then turned to Dinky. "Why can't I remember what I just read?"

"Ultra-tippy-top secret reasons," answered Dinky. "Do you at least remember the gist?"

"Some kind of... job offer?" Pumpkin frowned. "At least, I think that was it."

"If you accept, your abilities will be put to use for the good of all of Equestria."

Pumpkin squirmed. "I don't know. This seems kind of... off."

"Also, I'm pretty sure you'll be sent to the past rather often. Back to before Ponyville became a world-renowned name."

Pumpkin thought about this for a good minute. "I'm in." The full text of the letter filled her mind.

Dinky set her back on the floor and beamed. "Pumpkin Spice Cake, welcome to the Equestrian Time-Space Administration Bureau."

Author's Note:

A bit of future backstory. Forwardstory?

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