• Published 17th Dec 2014
  • 7,489 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?

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Dear Pinkie,

I hope your search is going well! I still can’t figure out what’s so interesting as to pull you away so suddenly, but it must be important. Rainbow Dash has been pretending not to be interested in the whole thing, but I think she misses you. Don’t tell her I said that, though.

We had quite a surprise today! Princess Celestia sent me a pair of tickets for the Grand Galloping Gala. Have you heard of it? It’s a big deal, and I was a little upset for a while because no matter what I did, I wouldn’t be able to have all my friends go. It sounds like something you’d find interesting; I know it makes me want to crack open my copy of Tribes and Tribulations. Remind me to tell you about my list of historical fiction of the Time of the Three Tribes. That’s a real cause for celebration.

But about the tickets: the others ended up finding out, one way or another, before I could figure out how to fix this. It didn’t take long before all of Ponyville caught wind of it! Everywhere I looked, ponies would be trying to get my attention, wanting to be a guest at the Gala. The only one who wasn’t trying to bribe me or otherwise convince me to take him was Spike. Only Spike! Every single other pony was …

I wonder just how deep these friendships run. They were enough to beat Nightmare Moon, but now, with everypony out for herself, it’s like they’re already forgotten. Heck, Applejack was the first to ask if I’d take her, and she has the Element of Generosity! I’d hoped there was more to the Elements than just nominal ownership. What does it mean when just a couple golden scraps of paper are enough to make friends turn on each other?

You wouldn’t do that, right, Pinkie? You’re the Bearer of Laughter. The one who helped me figure out who was best suited to what Element. I’m inclined to believe you made the right choices, but nevertheless, none of these four have been generous or honest today, and their kindness and friendship seem hollow. Don’t get me wrong: I’m still glad I’ve gotten to know all of you. I just can’t help but feel like that isn’t reciprocated.

Anyway, I’m rambling. This afternoon, I was so fed up with everypony trying to win me over that I came up with an idea to discourage them: a race from here to the top of Smoky Mountain and back, bringing a token to prove they’d made the climb. Surely, I thought, nopony would want to risk their safety for something as silly as a ticket to a dance. It wouldn’t have made sense!

… But I am beginning to realize that, for all its virtues, Ponyville as a whole does not make sense. I was reading in peace, glad not to be disturbed for once, when Spike interrupted, looking panicked. He told me of how the streets were deserted, and of the fading rumble of a stampede. I thought he was imagining things at first, but when I went outside to assure him, everything was quiet. There isn’t a single pony left in Ponyville, besides me.

And now, here I am, waiting. I don’t know what to do. Logically, I should go after them all and call it off, but I don’t think they’d listen to me at this point. And even if they did, how would they see it? Twilight Sparkle, who taunted them with a once-in-a-lifetime event without intending on rewarding the victor? Some Bearer of Loyalty I am. I can’t even keep a promise.

What should I do?

Best wishes, Twilight Sparkle


Much is speculated about time, the book read, but little is proven. Ancient chronomancers were less practitioners of its manipulation than philosophers of its nature—though admittedly the case is very similar today, even in this most enlightened of ages.

The book had been written hundreds of years ago, but Pinkie, thirsty for knowledge, kept reading.

With dozens of competing philosophies, there is little room for agreement or cooperation, and so no room for progress. The animosity between the Paradox Faction and the Yggdrasil Theorists is particularly unpleasant. The former insists that events could be changed freely across time, while the latter is certain that every tiny change would splinter the timeline to an unimaginable degree. This is, of course, disregarding the Nihilists, who believe that the entirety of reality would be wiped out if we even begin to comprehend the nature of time. These groups as well as others, however, are assuming that time is even malleable to begin with ...


Pinkie Pie,

Your letter was kinda weird, but Twilight took it pretty seriously. I gotta admit, I didn’t believe it at first. A giant star bear? Fluttershy’s jerk cousin? Seriously, kinda hard to swallow there. But you were right all along!

Oh, right, the race. I technically won, fair and square. So what if I forgot to find a rock or whatever and bring it back? I didn’t hear that part. Twilight didn’t make that clear, at least while I was listening. It’s like she didn’t want me to win or something. How lame is that? At least Cloudchaser and Blossomforth can tell me how the Gala goes. Not that I’m jealous or anything.

Twilight seems a bit off. Maybe we stressed her out too much with the tickets, but she hadn’t come out of the library in days. Spike would make us leave if we tried to go talk to her. I guess she was cooped up there like a hermit. Did she really change at all? I snuck a peek at her through the window, and she seemed kinda twitchy. Maybe ponies who get Loyalty are just crazy like that.

Then Trixie came, and Twilight showed her up. Sort of. See, Trixie bullied Fluttershy, and after Twilight stood up for her (Fluttershy), she (Twilight) started going through the library for something. Then these dumb kids brought in a star bear, and Trixie fought it. For a few seconds it actually looked like she might win, but then, WHAM! Punted across the horizon. It was awesome.

That’s when the bear disappeared in this burst of magic — I’m thinking that was Twilight, though nopony’s told me if that’s true. But most of Ponyville got wrecked before it left, so most of the ponies are homeless now. Not me, though, I’ve still got my sweet cloud house. A bunch of other pegasi are crashing here for the time being, so there isn’t much room to even think. I had to close off the upper floors and pretend they were for storing stuff to keep too many of them from just hanging around.

I feel like somepony could’ve done something to stop this. Isn’t Twilight super-magical? She could’ve kicked that bear’s rump after Trixie. It might be she’s sulking about those tickets, I dunno. Or hey, maybe Fluttershy! She’s good with animals. She could’ve told it to chill out or something. I think she’s hiding in her cottage, probably because of Trixie being majorly uncool. Probably just stayed there when she heard the roars. That’s ‘Shy for you.

There’s something missing, Pinkie, and it’s not just you. No offense.

Rainbow Dash


The first Chronomancy Council took place in the youth of the third year during the Long Winter. (“This refers to the Second Long Winter, at the tail end of the Time of the Three Tribes,” an overzealous editor had written in helpfully.) Naturally, representatives of all three tribes were present, though not lacking in distrust as was common to the time. While little was accomplished as a result, the chronomancers did agree that, whatever time really was, it was not to be trifled with. All parties agreed not to meddle with its workings, even as tensions between the tribes came to a head. Better to let their comrades come to blows, they reasoned, than risk the world’s very existence.

“Earth ponies and pegasi, too?” Pinkie rubbed her chin as she looked up at the window, processing the information. Then her gaze caught the smoking ruin of Ponyville, and she bit her lip, seeking to distract herself once more.


Pinkie,

Rainbow Dash is gone.

I hate to open this letter so dramatically, but the occasion demands it. I shan’t hide the details further, though I fear that, what with the tumultuous events of these weeks, you may wish I’d kept up pretenses of the ordinary.

We had a visitor two days ago, one of the griffon variety. Rainbow Dash was apparently well acquainted with her, as they spent hours swooping among the clouds and smoke, performing aerial tricks while the rest of us worked to rebuild Ponyville. I don’t wish to sound like some sort of grouch, begrudging others for having fun in this troubling time; it simply seemed less a matter of making the best of a bad situation, and more a matter of outright ignoring the plights of others.

I endeavoured to live up to my Element and kindly requested them to assist us, as it rankled me to have so many ponies go without roofs over their heads. To my dismay, the griffon proceeded to barrage me with a variety of boorish insults, not unlike the sort Sweetie Belle overhears across the school playground. I was irked, but not overwhelmed, having indulged in mentally applying these terms to myself during particularly difficult projects. This was not, in itself, troubling.

No, the troubling thing was Rainbow Dash’s silence. Where I had expected a defense of my good character and the town’s entitled reparation, there was only a thoughtful look … a look, dare I say, that almost agreed with the griffon’s tirade. Did she resent us for the ticket disaster? Perhaps, though I find this beyond even her. Surely she has realized that some aspirations are simply not on the level with other, more deserving ones. But I, being something of a fool, did not request that she be open about it, and so continued the parade of all work and no play.

That was my mistake, I fear. The next morning, Rainbow Dash and the griffon were nowhere to be found, though Scootaloo reported seeing them flying east. They were laden with supplies, she told us, and seemed intent on a steady course, allowing nothing to dissuade them.

You can imagine our shock at this news! How could Rainbow Dash, chosen for her very honesty, prove to be so hollow? Applejack and I can scarcely contain our disbelief. As for Twilight and Fluttershy, I have seen neither hide nor hair of them, and so cannot tell whether they have even heard the news. Spike, unfortunately, can tell me little of his friend’s disposition, as he spends more time outside of the library than in it … whether this is of Twilight’s volition or his own, I can’t say. I count myself lucky in this regard; how else could I send you this letter?

I do hope you’re finding what you’re looking for, Pinkie. I think I speak for all of us when I say we truly need the laughter back in our lives.

Love, Rarity


Star Swirl the Bearded, long aided by his magic to live far beyond the span of all other mortal ponies, is sometimes rumored to have pondered on the nature of time for decades. Reports from early Equestria tell of how he sequestered himself in his quarters, devoting research untold to all magic; while this, of course, would have precluded a total dedication to chronomancy, there is little doubt that he studied the matter to some degree.

The most prominent of his discoveries in this field was the stable time loop, a phenomenon in which a pony, in traveling to the past, could affect or even set in motion the events that would lead her past self to traveling in the past. While chronomancers were initially skeptical of this due to its paradoxical nature, one of their number soon supported his theory, claiming to have been visited by his own future self. Naturally, Star Swirl was convinced to weave safeguards into this time-traveling spell, such that any given pony could cast it only once. The potential consequences of looping back repeatedly were too dangerous to consider ...


Pinkie,

Things ain’t goin' so well over here. Princess Celestia’s started helpin’ send in some of the National Emergency Relief Fund, and a few volunteers have come in to help rebuild things — but apparently they can’t help us as much as they’d like. Something about an infestation in Fillydelphia not leavin’ behind a scrap of food. The entire area was left empty in just a couple days, or so word tells. It’s rotten of me to say this, but there’s somethin’ a little comfortin’ in knowin’ there are ponies worse off than we are. Kinda tells us we can get through this, somehow.

‘Course, some of those ponies are part of the Apple Family, so we’ve been makin’ sure to help ‘em out. Sweet Apple Acres got hit hard by the Ursa, but we have some stores squirreled away for just this sort of thing. I sent Big Mac and Caramel off two days ago to lug a cart of food over there. Fillydelphia ain’t exactly over the next hill, so I appreciate ‘em headin’ off to help.

Thing is, I walked into town yesterday and got a heap of dirty looks. Rarity in particular seemed snippy, asking me why I’d ship off goods somewhere else when we were in plenty of trouble as it was. I was put off some, realizin’ she was right, but I told her I wasn’t about to ignore Apples who needed help. And I told her, frankly, she needed to stop hintin’ that ponies weren’t doin’ things right. I ain’t gonna repeat what we said after that, but I think you can guess.

By then, I figured there was no point in telling her I had plenty more stuff stocked up. She wouldn’ understand that if these kinds of disasters could happen so quick one after the other, what’s to say Appleloosa ain’t next? Or Manehattan, or Seaddle? I ain’t about to give up everythin’ we’ve got to Ponyville when the fund can cover ‘em. These ponies here just gotta be patient. And if she’s so concerned, why ain’t she sendin’ a search party for the little filly that ran off the other day? Is she that obsessed over fixin’ her boutique?

Things are fallin’ apart, Pinkie. With RD and Twilight outta the picture, ain’t no tellin’ how we can fix things now. Least we can rest easy knowin’ things have to get better eventually. Gotta keep our heads up.

Regards, Applejack


About three centuries past Nightmare Moon’s defeat, the Chronomancy Council vanished without explanation. No trained chronomancer has been seen since.

That was the end of the book. Pinkie frowned, just a little, and set it aside. She looked back at the trail of books scattered along the floor; while she had at first been putting them back, the creeping urgency of whatever was happening in Ponyville pushed her forward. It wasn’t as if anypony would care, anyway, what with the unrest going on lately.

Nearly a month had passed since the start of the loop. It was the longest she’d survived yet, less because of her own diligence and more because of a simple lack of accidents. Logically, she knew she should relax at this, but there was something about the situation that made her skin prickle.

It can’t be that bad. Isn’t it better than dying all the time?

And yet ...

“I have to find something,” she told herself, turning to the huge section on theory last of all. She’d been putting it off, knowing she wouldn’t be able to make heads or tails of unicorn magic, but she’d run out of options. “I gotta break out. They’re counting on me, even if they don’t know it.” But even as she said it, she wondered if breaking the loop at this point would help anypony at all.


Dragon Twilight crazy help

Fl


Pinkie stared, transfixed, at the distant winged shape over Ponyville. Smoke billowed from half-constructed houses, lit with flashes of purple light as bolts of magic sizzled in every direction. From a tall Canterlot tower, a white-feathered figure winged its way south, unperturbed by the roars that made the air shiver even at this distance.

“What have I done?” Pinkie’s question was more mouthed than spoken, but the words hung heavy in her throat. “Is this what happens when … when I don’t …”

A blast of fire swept down on Ponyville. Unable to watch, she turned away from the window, shaking. Books and scrolls littered the floor before her, but she ignored them, instead sinking to the floor and covering her ears. Maybe the screaming really was in her imagination, but it still made her feel better.

Something smacked against her nose. She inhaled sharply, skittering back before realizing it was just a book. Ha, “just” a book. Twilight would take it so seriously. Then again, Twilight was—

Another book thudded to the floor, followed by a third. Pinkie, watching warily, thought she could catch a faint blue glow nudging every volume out from its place, sending them tumbling oddly close together. The scraping of parchment against stone was almost enough to distract her entirely from the arcane flashes behind her.

“This isn’t random,” she realized suddenly. “It’s way too orderly. Almost like they’re …”

She stood on tiptoes, leaning forward in hopes of getting a better view of the fallen books. After eyeing them for a moment, she scrambled on top of a bookcase, heart fluttering in her chest, and looked down at the books again. Staring, she mouthed the words to herself, then sprang to the floor and dashed out of the wing, leaving a trail in the useless information.

Behind, the books’ message lay sloppy in the light of the fiery dawn.

FIND DW

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