• Published 17th Dec 2014
  • 7,490 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?

  • ...

Who Wouldn't Want to Kill You, Pinkie?

The streets of Canterlot were quiet at this hour. Their train had gotten in late, so Pinkie and Trixie made their way along softly lit sidewalks, the latter looking upon her surroundings with a passing familiarity, the former biting her lip every so often at the thought of being apart from her friends.

“It’s two days at most!” she’d assured them, and she’d repeated it to make sure they’d gotten the message. They’d nodded and continued on with cleaning up Ponyville after the Ursa attack — while the damage wasn’t anywhere near as serious as that of the previous loop, there were still a few buildings that had been banged up here and there. Pinkie had promised a party for when they’d finished, so they’d found it in themselves to whistle while they worked.

Fluttershy had politely declined the invitation to go with the two ponies to Canterlot, quietly but firmly making it clear that she would rather not rebuild that particular bridge just yet. Though Pinkie had thought about pressing the matter harder, she’d backed down upon remembering that stuffed bear head. If Granny Pie were still alive and invited her over, she wouldn’t have been pleased if there’d been balloons made of gross stuff floating around in the kitchen.

“I’m curious.” Trixie cast Pinkie a glance as they approached Double Whammy’s dilapidated house. “What inspired you to accompany me on this trip?”

“It’s because I’m curious too.”

“And why’s that?”

“Because your grandpa might not be your grandpa.”

Trixie stared.

“Ahem.” Pinkie knocked on the door. “Just something I have to look into.”

“But why you? I didn’t even see you at the show.”

“Why me, indeed.” Pinkie’s ear twitched, and she scratched it absentmindedly. “That sure is the relevant question here …”

From inside, uneven hoofsteps approached the door. There was a creak, and then Double Whammy peered at them. “Eh? Trixie! Good mornin’ t’ ya!”

“It’s evening, actually.” Trixie coughed. “But it’s certainly nice to see you.”

“Eh, it’s always one ‘r the other.” Double Whammy patted her on the head, then looked to Pinkie, who held her breath. Watery yellow eyes regarded her. “Whoozis? Friend from magic kindergart’n?”

“This is Pinkie Pie, Grandpa. She … tagged along.”

“‘S long ‘s yer not draggin’ her ‘round after pigeons!” He cackled as his granddaughter blushed. “Ya love them birds, don’tcha?”


Pinkie’s eyes darted from side to side. “Okay. I’d better go. I have a party to plan … and attend … and crash ... so I’ll leave you two to it, then.” And she started to leave.

“Pinkie!” Trixie called. Her hoof was on her grandpa’s shoulder, and her gaze looked a tad softer. “... Thank you.”

They smiled. Then, after raising a hoof in a knowing salute, Pinkie bounced off, nimbly avoiding the obstacles in her way.

A long walk later, she’d boarded the next train south, considering recent events as she curled up in a ball on her seat. She was glad to help Trixie, even if she’d accidentally killed her in a time that could have been. It hadn’t technically happened, and even when it did happen, it was probably an accident and Trixie seemed to have regretted it. It was all water under the temporal bridge.

More pressing, at least for now, was the issue of Double Whammy … or rather, the entity who claimed not to be him. There was no sign of the entity in the old unicorn’s face. Last loop, the entity had shown up immediately upon Double Whammy catching sight of her. This time, the old unicorn had only acted like himself.

Is it a one-time thing? No, that seemed unlikely. The entity had mentioned telling her more of its message later, so it probably foresaw a later meeting. But if that was the case, why didn’t it show up again? Was it simply unable to use Double Whammy a second time? If so, where was it now?

Trying to factor the loops themselves into the equation, with all its questions of whether the entity could use Double Whammy up to a certain loop, only served to make her head hurt more. No wonder chronomancy wasn’t widely practiced anymore, if time magic dragged along such a trail of could’ves and should’ves and meanwhiles and never-weres.

The moon was high by the time the train pulled into the station. Groggily, she disembarked, then dragged her hooves along the streets toward Sugarcube Corner, stifling a yawn as a departing whistle trilled behind her. Quiet settled over Ponyville like a blanket, quiet save for Pinkie herself, who was looking forward to meeting up with her friends … though not before getting a good night’s sleep, she determined. A trip to Canterlot and back in one day would tire anypony, even if it wasn’t that far off.

The hair on the back of her neck prickled. She looked around, seeing no sign of equine movement. At most, a candle might flicker in a solitary window, or an owl might swoop softly across the stars …

And then, turning a corner, she caught sight of a faint ray of lamplight leaning across the ground. Following it toward a lone cottage, she peeked in the half-open door to catch a glimpse of a stallion moving briskly from contraption to strange contraption, taking copious notes. He seemed vaguely familiar, and she watched for a moment as he muttered to himself, before losing interest and resuming the walk to Sugarcube Corner.

Her room welcomed her, soft and pink. Gummy, curled up in his basket, watched unblinkingly as she beelined for her bed, sinking instantly into sweet slumber.

In the light of day, it was much easier to see the improvements that had been made. Between earth pony ingenuity, unicorn tricks, and copious weather rescheduling by the pegasi, the damaged buildings were almost as good as new. It was as if the giant bear baby from outer space had never come to town at all.

Pinkie took comfort in knowing that everything was going much better than in the previous loop, but she still watched her own steps carefully, and only rarely stayed in one place for more than a few minutes for fear of falling anvils. She was careful to throw parties over the next couple days, careful to keep her friends bonded and happy. With every amiable word from Twilight, every neighborly gesture from Applejack, she found her fear waning (though not her caution). Everything was going fine.

Then the griffon showed up.

It was a bright and sunny day, the kind that practically begged things to go wrong, and Pinkie was skipping across town in search of Thunderlane (whose party advice, while a little lacking, was appreciated nonetheless), when she was brought to a sudden halt at the sound of somepony sniffling. She looked around, slowly realizing that it was coming from above. The long pink tail hanging from the cloud just overhead was a big giveaway.

“Fluttershy?” she called, standing on tiptoes. “What are you doing up there?”

The sniffling stopped. A yellow muzzle poked down through the fluff to meet Pinkie’s gaze. “I’m, um, just … having a moment. Sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry for crying! That’s dumb.” Pinkie winced and looked around, but if anypony had heard, they didn’t show it. “Well, you know what I mean. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.”

“But … isn’t that what they say when—”

“Why don’t I take you to Sugarcube Corner and get you a milkshake? My treat.”

Fluttershy’s ears perked, and she gracefully descended from her perch. “I’d like that.”

Luckily, Sugarcube Corner wasn’t particularly crowded at this time of day. They found a table by a window, where they could watch passersby go about their day. Fluttershy was looking out with a distracted look on her face, sipping at sweet vanilla. Pinkie, on the other hoof, was taking a moment to enjoy the taste of something — on a whim, she’d asked Mrs. Cake to “surprise her.” The sunset-orange mixture made her tongue tingle with a sugary buzz.

“I just want to be nice,” Fluttershy said suddenly. She blinked, and her eyes shone. “Why won’t she let me?”

Pinkie smiled sweetly. “What do you mean?”

“Rainbow Dash’s old friend from Junior Speedsters came to Ponyville. I met her — Gilda — in flight camp.” Fluttershy glanced around, as if this friend might be hiding within earshot. “I don’t think we hit it off all that well.”

“So she’s mad at you for living where your friend lives.”

“She might be. I’ve just kind of been staying out of her way as much as I can, and she hasn’t gone out of her way to pick on me.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“Um, that’s the thing.” Fluttershy’s hooves tentatively clicked together. “Rainbow Dash told me to stay out of their way—”

Pinkie’s eyes and cheeks bulged.

“—please-don’t-be-mad-at-her.” There was a dainty sound that might have been mistaken for a laugh. “She says I ‘bring up bad memories’ for Gilda. It’s not a big deal.”

“That’s no reason for her to be rude!”

“She wasn’t actually rude; she just wanted to avoid any fighting. I think she wants Gilda to be comfortable. It’s very sweet of her, really.”

Pinkie tried to wrap her mind around the concept of somepony finding it sweet that she was brushed off for another friend, and failed. “But it bothered you, didn’t it? You were crying earlier.”

“Oh, that.” Fluttershy stirred her milkshake awkwardly. “I was, um, just letting out some stress. Angel has been a little temperamental lately.”

“Have you brought this up with—”

“With Rainbow? Oh, I couldn’t. She can get just a teensy bit defensive at times. I don’t want to bother her.” Big eyes persuaded for a favor. “Um … could you, maybe, promise not to mention this around her?”

Pinkie saluted. “Not a word to Dash. Cross my heart and hope to die.”

“Eep!” Fluttershy tried to hide behind her milkshake. Then she caught herself. “Um, that’s just a little morbid, but thank you.”

They talked of smaller things then, leaving the matter of Dash and Gilda behind them. But when Fluttershy took her leave, obliviously returning Pinkie’s wave, Pinkie’s train of thought turned right around and picked the matter up again.

“It’s a good thing Fluttershy is so sweet and innocent,” Pinkie said happily. “Because I’ve got a bone to pick with a certain griffon. She isn’t luring Dash away from Ponyville on my watch!”

It wasn’t so hard to find them. Pinkie hummed a little ditty, letting her tingling hooves carry her wherever they would, never minding the curious stares of the Ponyville residents as they paused in their daily duties to watch her trot along. If only they knew about the griffon. She flashed a smile at every familiar face, though her mind was intent on getting to the bottom of this. Where are they, anyway? You’d think Dash’s friend’d be someone who likes attention.

Some ways past the outskirts of Ponyville, she caught sight of several tiny puddles scattered in the grass. Her first thought was to tell Applejack that her dog was out of control, but only a moment passed before she’d determined that this water was clean, even fresh. It took another moment before she realized that she’d found this out by sniffing the puddles, to which she hastily backtracked before getting a hold of herself, wondering if this was how Rarity felt all the time.

Not like it matters. The water’s clean, right? No harm done.

Still, it was a confused Pinkie who climbed to the top of a gentle hill, only to dive into a bush upon seeing that she wasn’t alone. Before her stood the edge of Whitetail Wood, where a green field had settled long ago; before her flew a pair of swift shapes, the leader a familiar blue, the trailing figure a less familiar brown and white. As she watched, the fliers raced each other across the sky, bobbing and weaving around the clouds floating lazily in the summer blue. One bumped the other with her shoulder, sending her reeling momentarily before she righted herself and caught up again. Their laughter echoed against the wall of watchful trees.

Pinkie bit her lip. It didn’t look like Gilda was plotting anything, but undoubtedly, with this lighthearted fun clouding her judgment, Dash could be easily persuaded to leave Ponyville. Pinkie needed to do something, and sooner rather than later, before the bond between bearers could crack.

Dash sped toward a cloud, never slowing, and kicked it hard enough to propel herself in a new direction, while the cloud itself burst into air and water. Gilda, unprepared for the sudden change in flight, flapped her wings furiously in hopes of accelerating elsewhere. From a cloud not far away, Dash snickered to herself, and the griffon, though grumbling a little, perched at her side for a rest.

“She is so devious,” Pinkie muttered to herself. “Very sneaky. I do declare, that is the sneakiest griffon I ever laid eyes on! I wonder what her excuse is.” Then she refocused, seeing that something was happening.

Dash’s ears were perked, and Gilda’s claws clenched. Both stared in her direction, and Pinkie shrank a little further into the bush. Soon, though, a flutter of wings assured her that the center of attention was on some other arrival. Swooping forward, Gilda approached the gray newcomer with raised hackles, while Dash darted in as an intercessor, hooves outstretched to keep them separate. At this, Gilda drew back a little, still angry but also — could it be? — a little afraid.

All this Pinkie saw in the space of a second. Then, with characteristic suddenness, something heavy bashed her in the head, hard enough that her ringing ears caught a sound like a crack. Her eyes spun, failing to find focus as blood dribbled into her vision, though she did notice that she was surrounded by flower petals and dish shards. She stared at these stupidly, hardly registering the cries of distress above.

“Oh no,” she tried to say, but the numbness in her face spread to the rest of her body and overwhelmed her brain before she could even think to finish with “not again.”

Pinkie chewed a cupcake thoughtfully. Around her, old new friends enjoyed themselves as Twilight Sparkle grumbled upstairs, while the Mare in the Moon glared through an open window.

It occurred to her that, for all she was learning about pony nature, she didn’t know the first thing about how griffons worked. Gilda sure seemed scary, with her sharp beak and savage claws, but her predatory nature seemed at odds with the ease she showed around Dash. Not to mention the look she’d shown when that other pony had come along. From what Pinkie could tell, Gilda had every reason to be perfectly confident — and yet, she wasn’t.

If she was going to keep her friends together, she’d have to deal with the problem at its source.

Swallowing the mouthful of cupcake, Pinkie made her decision.

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