• Published 17th Dec 2014
  • 7,461 Views, 490 Comments

3:14 PM - SugarPesticide

What if Pinkie used to be normal? What if being stuck in a time loop has driven her mad?

  • ...

Leave Your Oxymorons at the Door

So it was with cautious optimism that Pinkie would face the loops to come. Though her friends would become familiar strangers with each death, she knew that they were still good ponies, and it would be easy enough to draw them close time and again.

Everything happens for a reason. That was what Celestia had said. What that reason was, Pinkie didn’t know, and part of her didn’t want to know. But she believed there was a reason, all the same. It was, in a strange way, better than the alternative. In the meantime, she would do her best to make ponies happy, as was befitting of the Bearer of Laughter.

That was the thought on Pinkie’s mind as she stood watch at the counter of Sugarcube Corner. Having survived a full three days this loop, she was beginning to get the hang of not dying. Being able to actually sleep probably helped, though she wondered whether a gas leak would suddenly spring in the middle of the night. Still, she had made sure to throw another party, and she felt satisfied that she had helped to improve the morale of the town.

“Didn’t we just have the Summer Sun Celebration?” Twilight had asked, munching on a slice of cake. “These parties are pretty close together.”

“It’s a Post-Summer-Sun Celebration.” Pinkie had felt a hint of pride at having made up that excuse on the fly. “That’s a good reason to have a party, right?”

As good a reason as any.

Pinkie’s mouth pulled to the side as she turned a page in her book. She had borrowed it with the intention of searching for answers, but her thoughts kept drifting to her situation. Parties weren’t bad, she knew, but there was such a thing as too much of a good thing. Maybe she should introduce them more gradually, waiting a few weeks until—

A bell jingled, and Twilight skulked through the door, followed closely by Spike. Pinkie straightened and set the book aside, ears perked at the welcome intrusion.

“Oh.” Twilight paused upon noticing that it was Pinkie, not the Cakes, who stood there. There was a flash of gold as she hid something behind her back. “Uh, hi. Didn’t expect to see you here, Pinkie.”

“Where else would I be?”

“Throwing a party, I don’t know. You seem to like those.”

Pinkie frowned.

“Come on, Twilight.” Spike poked his surrogate sister. “You’ve already run into the other four. This was bound to happen.”

“No it wasn’t! Narrative causality doesn’t happen in real life.”

“What does that even mean?”

“What was bound to happen?” Pinkie trotted over.

Twilight grumbled, pulling out a pair of tickets. “I got these from Princess Celestia. They’re for the Grand Galloping Gala this fall.”

Pinkie rubbed her chin in thought. The Gala was a tradition reaching back to the Time of the Three Tribes, created in celebration of ponykind’s unity. It wasn’t precisely a party, but it was close enough to catch Pinkie’s interest. “Have you—?”

“No, I don’t know who to give the other one to!” Steam practically rose from Twilight’s ears. “That’s all I’ve been hearing about all day. Suddenly everypony wants to be my best friend. I’ve been here for three days, and already ponies want to be around me just because of what I have. It makes me wonder …”

Pinkie patted her shoulder. “I was going to ask if you’d been there before.”

“Well … no.” Some of the anger drained from Twilight’s voice. “I’ve always thought it would be interesting to experience something dating back to the beginning of the first real cultural exchange, but Princess Celestia always said she’d prefer that I just go to a school dance instead. Though she stopped making me do that after the trombone incident. Apparently you’re not supposed to do homework at those kinds of events.”

“Hmm.” Pinkie’s eyes wandered over the treats on display. “Could this possibly tie in to the friendships we’ve made over the Elements? It’s symbolic of that first Gala, or maybe it’s the other way around. I could figure out how not to die that way, maybe.” She remembered that she wasn’t alone. “Oh, uh, I mean … I didn’t say anything?”

Twilight’s eyes had taken on a faraway quality. “I never did ask whether that one colt got the toothpicks out of his ears …”

“Twilight, you’re doing that thing again.” Spike snapped his fingers in her face a few times, making her blink and look around. “Get some food, why don’t you?”

She nodded. “That’s right, I haven’t eaten anything since this morning. What with Applejack and Rainbow Dash and Rarity trying to bribe me.” There was a moment of suspicious silence. “You’re not going to bribe me, are you, Pinkie?”

“Hey, they’re your tickets. I’ll respect your decision.” Pinkie exchanged a cupcake for two bits. “I’ll admit it’d be interesting to go to such a huge party, but I won’t start dogging you if you don’t pick me.”

Twilight’s smile looked a little fragile. “Thanks.”

They stood there for a few seconds. Spike coughed awkwardly.

Pinkie, glancing at the clock, bit the bullet. “So what’ll you do?”

“I’m not sure. Each of the other four has a reason to go, and while some of those reasons are … more plausible than others, I’ll still feel bad for choosing one pony above the others.” Twilight took a bite of her cupcake. “Don’t worry, I’ll figure something out.”

After they had gone, though, Pinkie wondered if she shouldn’t have tried to persuade Twilight for that ticket. The Gala sounded like a great event for spreading happiness, and that might be just what Pinkie needed to break out of the loops. Half-heartedly, she returned to her book, skimming over pages in a feeble attempt to distract herself.

In the end, she needn’t have worried. As evening drew on, she made her way to the library to return her book. She had moved on to the H section, with no success on finding useful information. Part of her suggested she simply jump ahead to the T section, but she knew better. Who knew what scrap of knowledge might turn out to be useful?

Inside, she was met with an unexpected scene. Four ponies chattered excitedly amongst themselves, while Twilight and Spike huddled gleefully over something unseen.

Not one to be left out, Pinkie trotted over. “What’s going on?”

“Pinkie! Great news. I told Princess Celestia that if all of my friends couldn’t go, I’d rather have none of them go.”

Pinkie’s heart sank. “I … guess that’s one thing to do.”

“But then she sent back enough tickets for all of us! Even Spike. So I guess I was worried for nothing.” Twilight beamed. “I even thought of a friendship report to send her about it.”

Pinkie nodded, vaguely remembering something about the six of them sending letters of discovering the magic of friendship. “That’s great! Could I see mine?”

Twilight floated it over. It was a simple thing, aside from the brilliant golden color, and for a brief moment Pinkie found it hard to believe that this was the thing that would bring her into the Gala. She gazed at it in appreciation, imagining parting a crowd of well-dressed ponies in a ballroom, leaving smiles in her wake.

So lost in thought was she that, as she was making her way back to Sugarcube Corner in the fading light, she almost missed the rush of air nearing her head. It was only as passersby gasped in horror that she thought to look up.

An anvil was descending from above. That wasn’t the interesting part, though. What really got her attention was the thin blue glow surrounding the anvil, making it decelerate until it was floating, stationary, inches above Pinkie’s head. The displaced wind made her mane flutter gently.

Pinkie stared at it. With a trembling hoof, she tapped the anvil, feeling cold metal that refused to yield. Suddenly skittish, she slipped out from underneath it, not taking her eyes off of it all the while.

The part of her mind that wasn’t gibbering in panic seized the detail of the blue glow and studied it intensely. The hair on the back of her neck prickled as she looked around, searching for the magic’s origin, but none of the unicorns in sight were using magic. They all looked too stunned to do so, in any case. Around the anvil, the glow flickered and died, sending it crashing to the earth with a disquieting amount of noise.

“Sorry!” called a cheerful voice. A gray pegasus dipped into view, looking sheepish. “Not sure what happened there. I guess you can’t take your eye off the cargo for a minute, or else—”

“Ditzy! The cart!”

That last speaker would remain forever a mystery. Pinkie was in no mood to investigate, having been crushed by a thousand pounds of coarse wood.

“Longest time so far!” Pinkie grinned. “Things are going great, don’t you think?”

The cupcakes had no response.

“What stopped the anvil, though?” She rubbed her chin, narrowing her eyes. “That was an awfully fast reaction time for whoever it was. It’s too bad I don’t know who they are, or I’d go thank them. Even though they wouldn’t remember it. Unless ...”

“Remember what—?”

“It doesn’t matter, Mrs. Cake! I’m going to keep moving forward and try not to die. Whether or not I have somepony to watch over me, I can still do this!” And she hoped that, by some miracle, she hadn’t just told herself a lie.

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