• Published 27th Mar 2015
  • 8,278 Views, 1,350 Comments

The Poisoned Barb's Tale - ManlyDerp

[Sequel Story] A mother, reborn into the mirrored world of her daughter's bygone years, desperately tries to find purpose in her second childhood. This is Barbara's diary.

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Entry 1, Part 6 (And Magic...)

“... and that’s the story of my whole entire life!” I finish triumphantly. Phew! That took awhile, and unlike last time I told this story I didn’t shed a single tear! Yay baby dragon steps! Granted, I might have slightly altered it a tiny bit… and abridged it… and erased every mention of humans and reincarnation... and reduced the angst by 50% for good measure…

… Well Butterscotch enjoyed it either way. That’s all that matters. That and it most likely annoyed cranky-pants Dusk Shine too. Any opportunity to pick on my favorite Equestrian nerd is a bonus in my book~

I think back to my last spoken words as I regain my thoughts. Seeing an opportunity, I quickly add “Well… up until today at least. Do you wanna hear about today?”

Butterscotch’s smile grows larger at the suggestion. He’s been such a good audience so far; never interrupting, never judging, and no questions asked which I especially like. I thought there would have been one or two with my purposely vague mentioning of being ‘trained’ by the Bluebelles… but on second thought maybe he’s more entranced by the sheer novelty of a dragon talking to him then the actual story itself...? Well, whatever the case, he’s not hurting anyone so I really shouldn’t complain. He didn’t even step on anypony!

I’m especially impressed by this fact.

Despite his largeness, Butterscotch has really good control over his giant gait. He's been able to fluidly move through the crowds of Ponyville as if he were half his size. It also helped that most of the townsponies gave the burly pegasus a wide berth as he strutted along. Nopony was particularly rude, thank goodness, but they certainly weren’t as friendly to him as they were when it was just Dusk and I. If this bothers Butterscotch at all I can’t tell. His muzzle is really the only thing about his face that’s expressive. I wonder if Elusive will try to fix those bangs of his when they start doing those spa days like in the show…

… Wait. As guys, would they even still go to those? What would be the guy equivalent? A bar? It’s probably a bar… which I will not allow Dusk to set hoof in yet thank-you-very-much. He’s much too young!

… Says the kindergarten aged dragoness... *Cough*

“Oh, yes, please!”

I blink a few times at Butterscotch’s energized reply before remembering what I was doing. I was about to tell him about my day, right? Right… well, let’s go! I take a deep breath and then, Huh wha-

“Gyah!” I gag on my air in surprise as I'm myself forcefully turned away from my audience. Dusk Shine had about faced so he could face Butterscotch himself.

“I am so sorry,” Dusk says a tad louder than need be, taking over the conversation so I can’t purposely extend it. “How did we get here so fast? This is where I’m staying while in Ponyville!”

Unintentionally having been brought to look at what's being referred to, I draw my attention away from the two young stallions and am quickly greeted by the sight of a familiar looking treehouse.

Golden Oaks Library; one of Ponyville’s few famous landmarks, according to Dusk Shine. Grown and Owned by an eccentric unicorn who was cast out of Canterlot around the time of the village's founding, it was only made open to the public a number of years back when the last of said unicorn’s surviving family left the place abandoned. This relinquished all claim to the books that remained behind. It was because of this sudden boon, and because the town lacked a proper one before this, that the whole place was quickly converted into a library for the local ponies. Rumors circulated as a result though; rumors that secret tomes lie hidden inside behind forgotten doors and secretive compartments...

… Yes, Dusk told me all of this prior to us coming here. No, he had not studied about it in the incredibly small window of time granted to us between the Princes’ rejection letter and our departure. Instead, I am actually recalling this information from a time when I had suggested for Dusk to go on a vacation. In the face of such a audacious suggestion, my charge instead spent his limited free-time researching possible libraries to visit instead of actually visiting them himself.

Boy I sure do love him with all my heart, but good gosh is he such a freaking los-

“... And my poor baby dragon needs her sleep!”

Wait what

“No I don’t,” I start to say, being brought back to the present. Before I can get the words out though I’m unceremoniously tossed off by my ‘trusty’ steed. “Eep!” I squeak as I hit the hard ground.

Making a large show out of it, obviously hoping to chase away the only other stallion in our small group, Dusk leans in close to me and starts baby talking loudly. “Aww! Wook at that! She’s so sweepy she can’t even keep her wittle bawance!

“And neither will you after I burn off your stallionhood, Dusty Wusty~

Okay okay okay... That’s what I really really wanted to say in response to… whatever the hell that just was... but I only manage to give my so called friend a stern look of disappointment before I’m gently scooped off the ground by a pair of surprisingly gentle (though very very very hairy) forelegs. “Oh the poor thing,” offers Butterscotch with a voice full of concern, though his face remains neutral. His wings flap cautiously as he cradles me softly as if I were his own.

My cheeks begin to burn as it quickly dawns on me that, due to my age and size, the baby comments and teasing suddenly feel well justified.

Heedless of my embarrassment, the kind hearted pegasus carefully maneuvers his massive frame through the library's main entrance and carries me with him into the pitch black darkness within. “You really gotta get her to bed,” he calls out to Dusk through the door in what I can only assume was his loudest voice.

With a small gasp and a quick gallop I watch as my unicorn friend pushes his way into the library as well, and carefully around Butterscotch, in order to reclaim me from the infantile hold I find myself trapped in. Once I’m levitated back down onto my feet, Dusk proceeds to use the larger stallion’s confusion against him to trick him into backing up and out of our sleeping quarters for the night.

“Y-yes yes!” my ‘rescuer’ retorts, distracting the pony now outside the front door. “We’ll get right on that… Well, good night!”


Completing his goal of both disrespecting Butterscotch’s feelings by slamming a door in his face, and disrespecting the fact that anypony can see that it’s not night yet, Dusk breathes a sigh of relief before trotting over to me. Though I can tell from his body language that he regrets what he’s just done, I refuse to give him an inch as I cross my arms and try to look as disappointed as I can in the dark.

“Rude much?” I ask plainly, allowing my companion to come to a conclusion himself over what I’m particularly mad about.

It’s the part with Butterscotch in case you’re wondering, though the baby-talk is a close second.

“Sorry Barb,” he replies remorsefully, his honesty evident in his tone. “But I have to convince the Prince that The Nightterror is coming, and we’re running out of time!” A sliver of panic leaks out of the spooked pony’s mouth as he admits this last part. At hearing this I uncross my arms and start to feel guilty all over again. I’m hiding so much from him...

“I… I-I just need to be alone so I can study,” he practically begs me, hoping beyond hope that theirs a way I can grant this to him. “Alone so I can study without a bunch of crazy ponies trying to make friends all the time to distract me!”

I cringe as Dusk practically spits out these last few words, and I can feel my heart tightening as he does. His rant causes a miniature civil war to spark within me; one side wishes to tell him that everything is going to be alright and to take him far away from this chaos, so I can grant him the quiet that he so desperately seeks. I can’t stand to see him so distraught like this… but here is where the other participants in this inner battle come into play.

They represent the side that remembers what Dusk stands to gain by enduring these ‘hardships’.

They remember the Magic of Friendship.

They remember Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Butterscotch, Pinky-Guy-Pie… Elusive…

… and they remember a happy, better pony; a better Dusk Shine.

“Now... where’s the light?”

I wish for all of this and more for him, no matter the struggles. I can’t baby him through this; he needs to face these challenges bravely!



He also needs to not scream like a little filly when he gets spooked.

That’s my bit.

And scream we did as the room dramatically bursts into life; as an explosion of lights, confetti, and party ponies consume our vision. Though I’m mostly prepared for it mentally due to my fading knowledge from the show, I imagine that the combination of a surprise brightened room plus the cries of a plethora of different ponies would be enough to rock anyone off their feet.

I also imagine that a firepony would take one look at this party and swiftly have it canceled due to it blatantly ignoring the maximum occupancy fire code.

Like, seriously! There’s barely enough room left for anypony or dragon to move! What little space is left for traversing is covered in streamers and string and all sorts of other colorful party paraphernalia. Not many ponies seem to care though, from what little I can see from my nonexistent vantage point. Everyone’s either stuffing their face with food, talking amongst themselves about tonight’s festivities, or trying to approach the two of us to say hi.

Dusk’s clear frustration shifts into a look of pure fear as the latter group of ponies draw ever closer to him.

None make it a step further as their fastest, loudest, and pinkest member of all zooms on past them and just as quickly introduces himself to my little shaking horse.

“Hi I’m Bubble Berry!” the fluffy pink stallion welcomes Dusk the statue with all the enthusiasm of a child being told that their birthday now fell on Christmas… and that Christmas will henceforth be celebrated every flipping day. “And I threw this party just for you you you!!

Recognition dawns on Dusk’s face as the hyperactive earth pony continues his vicious assault against his personal bubble. He must be remembering back from when we ‘met’ him this morning; back when Dusk had way more patience for strangers then he does right now…. Granted I don’t think even I would have much patience if a random pony started jumping all around; hounding me with questions on whether or not I was surprised.

Very surprised,” answers Dusk to this query through gritted teeth. “Last I checked, libraries are supposed to be quiet.”

“That’s silly!” Bubble retorts plainly with a chuckle as his new ‘friend’s’ words either flew right over his head or simply got caught in his massive puffy mane. “What kind of welcome party would it be if it were quiet?!” He shakes his head, grinning all the while. “I mean, duh! Bor-ing!”

Having clearly had enough, Dusk attempts to walk away from the pink colt’s apparent insanity to no avail.

Bubble Berry is nothing if not insistent though, and trots alongside him in perpetual good cheer. No breaths were taken or bucks given as he continues running his mouth. “You see, I saw you when you first got here, remember? You were all, “Hello.” And I was all gasp! Remember?”

Dusk marches on, refusing to acknowledge his traveling companion with every fiber of his being. As I watch from the back, quietly following them to the refreshment table, I appear to be the only one noticing Dusk’s eye beginning to twitch ever so slightly.

After a second look around at our surroundings, I quickly redact my last statement; I appear to be one of the few here noticing Dusk’s spazzing eye and still remaining close to him. The patrons of the party are keeping their distance from the guest of honor, most likely for their own safety. A potent killing intention is radiating off of Dusk’s being, signaling not only that he has finally hit his breaking point but also that an explosion of pure anger and malice was about to detonate on the next poor unfortunate soul foolish enough to push him any further.

“You see, I never saw you before,” continues Bubble, the designated poor unfortunate soul for the evening. “And if I never say you before, that means you’re new! ‘Cause I know everypony, and I mean everypony, in Ponyville!”

Groans emanate from Dusk’s throat as he finally makes it to the concessions table. Too tired to bother with his magic, and too tired to read what it was he was picking up, Dusk grips the first bottle on the table in his muzzle and pours it sloppily into an awaiting glass. You can’t drink your problems away, Dusk; pretty sure Prince Solaris taught you this lesson already after the Finals Week Dr. Peppercorn Incident…

“And if you’re new,” Bubble Berry resumes, though in all honesty he never really stopped. Breaking up his constantly charging Welcome Train with bits and pieces of what’s going on around it is about the only thing I can do to stay just a tiny bit saner then Dusk Shine at the moment. Being a narrator is hard… “You hadn’t met anyone yet. And if you haven’t met anyone yet, you must not have any friends!”

Pony you have no earthly idea.

“And if you don’t have any friends then you must be lonely. And that made me so sad. And I had an idea! And that’s why I went gasp!!”

He breathes, fillies and gentlecolts! By the powers that be he breathes! It’s a miracle!

In response Dusk takes a sip of his drink through a convenient straw.

“I should throw a great, big ginormous, super-duper, spectacular welcome party and invite everyone in Ponyville! See? And now you have lots and lots of friends!!” finally finishes the great party planner Bubble Berry. Unbeknownst to him, or perhaps instead perfectly timed, the four other stallions Dusk and I had met today stand and float beside Berry, nicely illustrating his point.

Having just spent all of this exchange in silence, racking my brain to remember how this part of the show originally went, everything clicks together in my mind as Dusk chokes on his drink. I’m left unsurprised as he turns around to face the group with a quickly reddening face. As sweat starts to drip from his face, Applejack, who lacks the same benefit of ‘seerer’ powers as I do, asks “Are you all right, haystack?”

A high pitched whistling sound is the country stallion’s only response as Dusk’s mane and tail bursts into a raging inferno. A few of the party-goers spare the odd scene a glance before discreetly taking a few steps back. After a few seconds of panicked prancing and gasping, the flames adorning his body revert to mere strands of hair as he gallops angrily out of the room for what I can only hazard a guess to say is for water.

For a time the room is silent, save for the record player in the back.

“... Aww! He’s so happy he’s crying!”

With that baseless claim from the pink host, the party around us smoothly returns to normal. This really wasn’t an odd sight to see, all things considered. Embarrassing, yes; but not all that out of the ordinary. It’s well documented in Equestria that pony manes and tails are directly linked to their owner’s source of magic. They’re an extension of this source and are the reason why they can come in all variety of colors and designs and why magic itself can’t be used to regrow them. Temporary conjurations of mismatched beards and mustaches? Hard, but not impossible. Anything involving the area directly in contact with the brain, hooves, or the excess magic dispersing tails? Not going to happen. Dusk and I learned that the hard way during a rather infamous dinner with his family that involved sticky cheese...

… I got a little off topic. As I was saying; the fire thing we just witnessed? Totally normal. It happens with unicorns every now and then in response to high emotional stress. This is like the third time I’ve seen it happen with Dusk in my life so the surprise of it has really warn off now. You should see the ice version of the phenomenon; it's pretty.

Enough about that though. With Dusk now gone, I take the opportunity to sneak a quick peek at the bottle my friend had grabbed earlier. Yep, it's just as I remember it. “Hot sauce,” I finish for myself aloud, taking note that it was listed as the mild version of this particular brand.

Heh, what a drama queen.

A sudden hoof pressed against the bottle in my claw ejects me from my pondering. I unthinkingly release my grip, allowing the bottle to be tipped completely and pour out it's contents on a previously unmolested cupcake. Said cupcakes finds its way into Bubble Berry’s maw and soon it’s thankfully short existence is brought to an end.

“What?” he asks the staring ponies with mouth full, spewing crumbs everywhere. “This is good!”

The other stallions present shake their heads, but still smile at the pony’s good cheer.

I find myself smiling too… and then my mind goes blank.

What… what happens now?

I think the show next goes on to follow Twilight in her room when it’s at night, and when it’s only a few minutes away from the scheduled sunrise.

But, the sun has only just set. That’s hours away!

So… what should I do now?

… Well… Maybe a nap? It would be hard with this party raging on, but I want to be nice and awake for the sun rising later. It’s important that I stay awake; I made a promise to myself long ago.

I promised myself that I’m going into that forest with the others tonight, no matter what.

From what I can still recall, Spike falls asleep in the show and can’t lend a claw to help out. He’s a secondary character in a show about ponies so I understand it from a narrative standpoint. He’s also a child who stayed up too late so it makes logical sense too. I’m a kid as well, yes… but I’m also not Spike. Thusly I will aim to stay awake. It’s true that Twilight Sparkle and her friends were able to beat Nightmare Moon on their own but, not unlike me… Dusk isn’t her. Dusk is his own pony… he’s my pony… S-sure I have every faith in him that he could accomplish the same feat! And I promised not to baby him… but what if I did the wrong thing when it came to being his assistant? What if I failed to schedule him in for an important lesson that resulted in him not being as trusting of others? Or what if I handed him a book Twilight didn’t read before, filling his head with new ideas which he implements tonight causing a domino effect that ruins the whole expedition?!

… Or what if I sneeze and cause him to say 'gazuntite' which makes him lose his place in a book that was about surviving in the wilderness?!?!

Nope, that’s it; my mind is settled. My mere existence screwed up the natural order of things. In penance I will journey with him and set right that which I set wrong.

And it's plain to see that I am not overreacting about this in the slightest.

Yup. Not one tiny, little, bit.

… I wonder if Bubble Berry was right about this?

One hot sauce drenched cupcake later, I discover that he… was actually spot on, holy crap.

“Wow,” I remark after swallowing my shockingly good treat.

“I know, right?” chimes in Bubble Berry as he slides up next to me. “I wanted to serve them this way by default but Applejack told me no.”

“And ah will again,” adds in Applejack as he steps up to the table. “No...” The farmer then turns to look at me, beaming nicely as he does. “Pleasure to see you again, little lady. I don’t think I got the opportunity to say hello to you too this morning...” Placing his stetson over his chest, he tips his head towards me lightly. “Mighty sorry about that.”

I offer the stallion a content expression before explaining that “It’s fine Applejack. Your sister and brother gave me a proper Apple Family welcome of their own…” A thought occurs to me as I mention this. “Are Red Gala and Apple Buck here too?”

Applejack makes the attempt to answer, only for Berry to cut him off. “No, but I invited them! Guess they just wanted to be party poopers like the rest who didn’t come,” he finishes with a pout.

The other stallion grunts at this. “BB,” he scowls, looking directly at Bubble Berry. Maybe a nickname? “Ah told you already that they’re back helpin' the rest of the family get situated, just so ah could even come to this party at all!”

Like a spoiled child, BB crosses his forelegs and keeps pouting.

“But I invited everypony Applejack! Doesn’t mean they couldn’t stop by to say hi… party poopers.”

“Now quit calling them that!”



“... Poopers of parties. Their undies are filled with shattered dreams and confetti....”

Applejack growls. “Why you little…”

As this argument starts to ramp up and kills my appetite, I stealthily back up away from the snack table.

Well… colts will be colts I gues- "Umph!"


Soon it becomes apparent that my boy troubles weren’t quite done yet as my silent retreat results in me backing up into another pony.

The blue, rainbow mane colored pegasus turns to face me as I do the same for her.

... er, him, I mean. As I do the same for… him...

... I have to heavily remind myself that, despite him clearly looking like a mare who cares about her appearance, Rainbow Dash here is a stallion according to Dusk. I should remember to treat him as such… unless he tells me otherwise.

Not given the opportunity to contemplate on it further, Rainbow snorts lightly as she exclaims “Opps! Sorry for being in your way here, filly.”

“N-no no, Rainbow Dash!” I hurriedly reassure, trying not to embarrass myself any further. “It was my fault, I wasn’t looking where I was going h-hehe…”

“Heh,” he laughs back. “No biggie… Hey,” he then says as he leans in and observes me closer. “You’re Dusk’s friend, right?”

“Um, well…” I softly hum, trying to formulate my next words carefully. “Dusk doesn’t really like that word. I think of him as my friend, but I play more of an assistant role for him.”

“Assistant, huh…” he mulls this over for a bit. “So… do you think he’s going to come back downstairs later tonight?”

“Knowing him, probably not.”

Rainbow sighs at this.

“Well that’s too bad,” he goes on. “Kinda wanted to see about getting him to come out of that shell a bit before you two head back to Canterlot.”

My mind goes blank at this.

“... How-”

“Did I know that he’s a shut-in nerd with a stick up his plank who rarely sees sunlight on any given day?” Dash interrupts, smirking brightly at me as my eyes grow as large as saucers.

Unaware, or perhaps totally aware, of my confusion, Rainbow Dash stretches his wings and lazily floats in the space in front of us. “I see a lot of stuff while I’m flying,” he elaborates in a proud tone. “And I figured out a long time ago that my brain records everything when I do. It’s honestly the only reason I passed flight school, hehe...”

He... passed flight school? Wasn't mare Rainbow a dropout? I vaguely remember that being brought up when my little Ashley tried to skip school one day...

“So,” Rainbow goes on, his voice still full of pride. “Because of my awesome powers, I can remember his poor attitude and pasty skin vividly, filly!” Another laugh. “Classic nerd traits! I see it all the time when I fly by Canterlot’s Art District.”

My brain feels like it's running a marathon just trying to catch every morsel of information being offered right now. “You’ve been to Canterlot?” I inquire, deciding on this being the part I want to focus on right now.

Phsh~” Dash whinnies before pointing a hoof at his backside. “I got wings, remember? Sure it takes a little while to get there, but Canterlot is the only place I can pick up new copies of Dashing Dare early! It takes forever to show up on Ponyville’s shelves…”


Rainbow Dash cocks an eyebrow as I slam a pair of claws over my mouth, having enough presence of mind to not finish the ‘already’ part of my statement. An eye twitches as I do.

H-holy crap this Rainbow Dash reads this world's Daring Do books already.

H-h-holy crap that’s already one of the few episodes I remember that’s probably not going to happen anymore.

H-h-h-h-holy crap that changes this character drastically.

H-h-h-h-holy, momentous, crap

This, to my great surprise, is the straw that breaks my camel's back; it's in this moment that the weight of the entire day comes crashing down all around me. Solaris knows I have 'visions' of the future, Elusive knows my native language, and now Rainbow Dash is on a whole different reading level from his show counterpart?! And nothing he's doing is lining up with what little I can recall about the original pony! How is this going to change tonight's events? How is all of these factors going to change the show's events?! I just wanted to follow the trail laid out for us as closely as possible so we could survive the three world ending events I know are coming up, and so we can survive whatever else happens after that!

I don’t know how to deal with this anymore!!!

“... Er… yeeeesss?” Dash follows up in confusion to the question I guess he interpreted my outburst into being. “I do read Dashing Dare. Well… I only really got into it after flight school when I didn’t have those boring textbooks to read anymore.” A feminine giggle slips. “I actually used to not read at all, but when I was younger… well it’s a long story, hehe.”

“That's nice,” I reply numbly as my brain slowly turns to oatmeal at the revelation. “... I like your flowers.”

Now it was Rainbow’s turn to stare blankly at my sanity saving attempt to change the subject, though it only lasts for a moment before he realizes that I was referring to the ones braided into his multicolored mane. The one from this morning was still in there, but a few different colors and varieties now joined it as well. “Oh! Thank you! I picked them out myself.”

Hovering slowly in the air, the stallion shares with me how the earthly accessories were spread out throughout his long mane and even on his tail.

“I found daisies, petunias, and lilies in a bunch of different colors throughout the town today while I was flying. I have a different shade for each part of my mane. See, I have this orange petunia on the blue patch, and this red one is on the green; opposites on the color wheel!” he giggles again. “Well, as close as I could get. It’s sort of supposed to be a rainbow on top of a rainbow… on top of me, Rainbow!”

Landing back to the ground, Rainbow Dash rubs one of his hooves against his foreleg as a slight red tint glows on his cheeks.

“D-do you think it works?” he asks me sweetly, his early confidence fading slightly.


… Rainbow Dash… I have no idea what in this crazy world your existence is going to amount to. I don't know if it will enrich Dusk's life or hinder his growth. I don't know if you're going to be the pony up to the task of being the Element of Loyalty or not. And I don't know if you're hiding anything that could prove dangerous to my charge or anypony else...

“I think it makes you look beautiful.”

But, like I promised myself with Elusive earlier, everything will come together with time.

I just need to be... patient with my answers, and have faith that these ponies will offer them when they're ready.

The girly stallion hoof pumps to himself in response, absolutely ecstatic with my answer.

“Thanks…” he starts to say. “... Oh, wow! I never got your name, filly!”

“It’s Barbara,” I answer for him warmly. “Friends call me Barb.”

“Will do, Barb,” he chirps just as enthusiastically. “You’re pretty cool, and not just because you’re a dragon… though that’s pretty cool too.”

“Naturally,” I comment humbly.

With a quick chuckle and a wave of his hoof, Rainbow Dash draws my attention to the once again gathering group of Applejack, Butterscotch… Elusive… and Bubble Berry and proudly proclaims “You can totally join our colts club anytime, dude! Don’t worry, we don’t believe in cooties here!”

Save for Butterscotch who remains as quiet as when Dusk and I first met him, the gathered stallions chortle at this joke… though Applejack’s laughter lasts a tad bit longer. Long enough, in fact, for all of our attention to be drawn to him.

“Now there’s a laugh,” he barks before taking a long sip from his drink. As he finishes, he shoots Rainbow Dash a look that was just a few hairs short of being what I would call dirty. Not full on maleficent, but close. However you would describe it, it succeeds splendidly at shutting us all up.

“... You still pretendin' to be a colt then, Dashie?

The heat leaves the room as Applejack finishes verbally throwing down the dueling glove. A few small gasps can be heard from the crowd as all eyes turn to watch Dash...

Rainbow, for his part, easily manages to one-up her opponent in this surprise competition by smoothly keeping his lips curled in amusement; unflinching in the face to what was just uttered.

“Yup!” Dash replies sharply with such good cheer that it threatens to usurp BB’S own. “Thanks for noticing... Do you need any tips, Applejack? It looks like you could really use them~

A pin drops.

A fly buzzes its wings.

A tick coughs.

A molecule farts.

The silence in this room is now so palpable that the expression ‘quiet as the dead’ would be an insult to it’s true nature. This isn’t your everyday silence. This is,

Advanced Silence.

The fact that even Dusk pokes his head out from his sulking room is testament enough to the severity of this direly sick burn, and the consequences it would summon forth.

Consequences that Dash is (yet again) either unaware of or fully aware of, as evidenced by the happy expression still etched to his face.

Applejack’s face, meanwhile, was…

… well let’s just say that he looks a heck of a lot redder like his namesake now then he did ten seconds ago.

“... Rain…” He finally manages to choke out through his seething, biblical rage. “... bow… DASH…”

“Yes sweetie?~” the pegasus replies with a bat of his long eyelashes.

He is then promptly bucked in the face.

With a loud squeak I frantically dash backwards as the two stallions violently interlock in a brawl which causes hats to go flying alongside feathers and flowers. Heavy strikes and painful snaps can be heard as the two combatants wail on each other; as Applejack’s face remains tightened into a look of pure fury and Rainbow Dash’s…

… is still smiling brightly.

Party music and conversations soon resumes as the battle being waged goes on ignored. A slam of a door signifies that Dusk has left our presence as well, and I was once again left alone to simply gawk over the absurdity of it all.

Thank the stars I never had two sons.

“Let’s leave them be for now, dear,” chimes a smooth yet refined voice, as a hoof gently turns me away from the carnage and towards hopefully more sane souls… and Bubble Berry.

I glance up briefly to see my savior, wanting it not to be who I think it is, though I just as quickly turn away as my fears are swiftly confirmed.

Elusive presents me to the now reduced group of Butterscotch and Bubble Berry with an exasperated sigh. “Will those two never get along?” he asks in an exasperated tone, sparing all three of us a glance.

Butterscotch grunts but otherwise says nothing.

I’ve only known these ponies for a day so all I can do is shrug.

BB helpfully suggests, “They just need to work out aaaaaaaaalllll of their pent up frustrations by going behind Applejack’s barn and Fuc-”

A small “Eek!” escapes my lips as Butterscotch covers my ear-fins with his massive hooves, deafening me fully from the conversation.

Elusive glares angrily at Berry at this time, and I can tell that words are being said, but it’s not until Butterscotch releases his hold on me that I’m able to hear anything again.

“... besides he doesn't swing that way,” the tailor finishes ranting with a huff and a flustered flick of his stylized mane.

For his part, BB did at least look a tad embarrassed for his slight social faux pas. Perhaps in an attempt to correct this mistake, the party stallion next directs his attention towards me. “W-well then,” he continues, tittering. “Don't you pay those two silly billies any mind now, Little Miss Dragon!”

“My name’s Barb.”

“Little Miss Dragon Barb!”


“Here,” he then offers, gripping a cup in his curled foreleg. “It’s a party! We can all still have just as much fun with ourselv-”

“BB, which drink is that?” Elusive suddenly interrupts, staring at the cup in hoof.

Berry blinks, looks at it himself, and then slowly turns back to me.

“... Quick super short and totally unrelated question. You’re, like, one of those really really really really old, like thousands of years old, dragons that makes princesses and offers sage advice from your totally actually-an-adult experiences, right?”

“She’s seven and a half,” Butterscotch offers quietly.

Berry’s lips make an O shape in reply.

At first I’m confused by this display, but then the gears in my head turn for a moment and grant me a... strange answer.

“... Is that alcoholic?”

BB’s only response was to give me the biggest, most disturbing grin I had ever seen.

“If you’re old enough to know what that means..." he starts, manic look in his eyes. "... then you’re old enough to drink it!

“Berry no!”

“Berry yes!

With his words having zero effect on the crazed party pony, Elusive takes the initiative by levitating me up onto his back and trotting away. “We’ll be talking about this later, BB!” He calls back angrily. “Mark my words!”

“Bye!” BB cries back undeterred, waving his arm frantically as if we were departing on a grand expedition. Butterscotch offers a small one for us as well, though I’m willing to bet he’s just as confused as I am right now.

And oh lord am I confused.

With the group now reduced down to only Elusive and myself, my guest sees it fit for us to gratefully retire ourselves to a remote corner of the library where it is quieter. Here we can catch our breaths, relax…

… and totally not grill one another on whether or not we’re long lost, reborn lovers!


“I swear,” Elusive begins, once he’s confirmed we’re as alone as we can be. “That pony is going to end up in jail someday… Are you alright, Barbara?”

I can feel my cheeks burning as the handsome pony directs his gaze at me. D-damn it, I promised myself I would, move, forward. Lingering on the past isn’t going to do me any good… but saying one thing and actually following through on it are two completely different things.

“Y-yes,” I answer after a time, once I’m able to wrangle my emotions down to a more manageable level. “Thank you J-, Elusive…”

His teeth shown brightly at this. “Oh it’s my pleasure. Somepony needed to play the role of gentlecolt in this situation, and it just so happens that I’m usually typecast as such.” He finishes his statement with a small bow and a flourish of his hoof. I can’t help but chuckle at the display, but a question about what just happened bubbles to the forefront of my mind.

“Is Berry really serving alcohol at this party, Elusive?”

Elusive’s smile fades at this.

“I’m afraid so, Barbara,” he tells me truthfully. “You see Bubble Berry, or BB as he likes to be called, grew up on a rock farm. From what I understand a big component of his cutie mark story, in which he discovered his special talent for throwing parties, involved a copious amount of the stuff despite his age at the time.” Elusive shakes his head. “How that was the case is anypony's guess; the story changes all the time."

Elusive looks past the crowd of ponies and back towards where we had just left. Whether he is gazing at the pony our conversation is about or not I can't tell; I'm too short to see over anypony's heads.

"... Over time," he goes on, returning his gaze to me. "ponies have thankfully encouraged him to downgrade his festivities to only the weakest stuff on the market, but still he adamantly refuses to host even a single foal’s Cute-ceañera without the stuff. He's one of the kindest, if not also one of the most overly excitable, ponies around but like the rest of us he has his quirks and his hangups. One of these hangups is, as plainly as I can explain it, that a Bubble Berry party will always be served…

“... on the rocks…”

“I… see…” I nod my head slowly, getting it.

Spoiler alert; I don’t.

I really really don’t.

... But in this world the Element of Kindness has a beard, the Element of Honesty starts fights, the Element of Loyalty is a fabulously self confident femboy, and the Element of Generosity speaks English so sure. Whatever. WHY NOT?

I'm so tired.

“Do you five know each other well then?” I ask, both to change the subject and because I’m actually curious. I remember the rainboom story from the show, but I don’t recall if it was ever brought up whether the original group from Ponyville were close.

Elusive graciously complies to my request. “You could certainly say that, from a certain point of view. I’ve personally known Applejack for most of my life here in Ponyville. Our interests are different so we really don’t see each other often. Bubble Berry came to town when I was a young colt and I see him often when I visit the bakery he works at. Hehe, he’s being quite truthful when he states that he knows everypony in this town. As for Rainbow Dash and Butterscotch, well they both came a bit later after BB as a kind of two-for-one deal. Dash and I talk fashion every now and then, though mostly when he wants an opinion on whatever form of expression he’s currently into at the time. And Butterscotch… well he likes animals. He mostly keeps to himself, but he seems like a nice pony." Looking forlorn, he adds to his description that "I just wish he would talk more often.”

I snicker briefly at this.

“You just need to be a small cute animal,” I add helpfully. “Then he’ll open up to you like he did for me.”

Clearly in good humor, Elusive rubs his chin in 'deep' contemplation.

“Ahhh… so that’s the trick. I’ll have to remember that on my next go around.”

I begin to laugh...

... but then I pause as I run what he just said through my mind again.

“On your next… go around?”

“Hmm,” Elusive chimes. “Yes… on my next go around…”

He turns to look at me,

... and then smirks.

“At visiting his house!”




“... You really shouldn’t be so on guard, Barbara.” Elusive continues to beam, unfazed by my reaction. “You’re going to develop wrinkles well before your time at this rate... unless that's a thing dragons don't get. In which case, jealous~


I take a step back from the once friendly pony and position myself to face him head on.

“... Barbara?”


… This conversation has just taken a dramatic turn.

Now I’m debating where I should take it.

We have a lot to discuss, after all.

Do I... ask him my questions now?

Do I wait until later?

… Do I just live a life of blissful ignorance and forget this ever happened?

That… we ever happened?

… If he’s not Jason, but instead another like myself, does he know what’s to come?

Is he a ‘seerer’ like me?

If he has knowledge of the show, is he going to follow the script?

Is he going to go off the rails?

Is… is he going to become real friends with my Dusk Shine, or will he just use him…

So many questions. Too many questions…


… After a long moment, I finally make up my mind.

I take a deep breath...

… and then Elusive makes my ultimate decision irrelevant by again taking the initiative.

“Now is not the time or place for your answers, Barbara.”

The sudden shift to a serious tone leaves me frozen in place as I stare at him. All I can manage to wrangle out of my quickly tightening throat is a strained


With a hardened gaze, Elusive looks past me yet again towards the crowd around us. He simpers a moment later as he turns back towards me.

“This… really isn’t the best place for one to air out their dirty laundry,” he elaborates for me as his moment of severity passes. “Wouldn’t you agree? Rumors spread like wildfire in a tiny town such as this… best we let sleeping dogs lie for now, so to speak.”




… Though he smirks, I can feel a nervous kind of energy now flowing around him. As I stare up at him, I can see beads of sweat beginning to drip off Elusive as I unintentionally grill him with my eyes.

If I ever needed more proof that he’s hiding something, this would be it.


... But… what do I do with this information? He has a point; now probably isn’t the best time to be doing this. Even with Dusk upstairs, there’s no way of knowing what would happen if the fact that reincarnation is a thing suddenly becomes well known. In a land of magic, such audacious claims tend to hold a bit more water and will usually be taken seriously. It could really spell the end of both of our lives if it gets out. I don’t want Dusk to look at me differently, to see me as a liar, and I’m sure the same is true for Elusive and his family.

So, I now know that he is hiding details from me and everyone else. What exactly that is I don’t know. I'm confident I'll get the answers I seek in the future, however. With the amount of screen time Rarity and Spike share alone, I’m sure it will happen sooner rather than later. Still… that doesn't change the fact that there are a lot of questions I want answered. 'Is he Jason?' is a big one. 'Is he my Jason?' is also important.

'Does… does he still love me?'

... Frankly I don’t know where to start; I don’t know which one is eating at me more! And each is so loaded; I’m pretty sure whatever he's hiding isn't going to be as easy to explain with a simple 'Hey are you Jason yes or no?'. And even if I tried that right now, I think either of these answers would be enough drive me up the wall and back until it could be elaborated on further!

“Well,” Elusive interrupts my jumbled thoughts as he stands back up. “The night is still young! What say we gather ourselves some more age appropriate beverages and enjoy the festivities, Barbara?”

Hey! You can’t change the subject on me that easily, boy! I raised two kids! I know a getting-out-of-telling-the-truth distraction when I see one! But… Ooooooh! What to do what to do what to do?! Ugh this is driving me crazy! Maybe…


… Maybe I should admit that I’ve made myself miserable a little too much today… Maybe I should admit that I’ve mentally beaten myself to a emotional pulp more than enough already in this long, looooooooonnnngggg, day. Maybe I should realize that I’m too drained to keep hating myself for what I do, don’t do, or should be doing.

Maybe… Maybe I should admit that a party is in order right now…

… Yeah, I think it finally is.

“Okay… Okay you win, Elusive,” I finally admit in defeat. Surprising myself, I find the strength to grin through the disappointment. “Let’s just have some fun tonight and pretend that everything is a,o,k.”

Elusive grins as well, and lets out a small “Ha! There’s no need to pretend, my little friend. Everything is a,o,k.”

“Say’s you,” I retort, though my good joy never leaves. “Can… can you at least tell me when I can get answers though, Elusive? Pretty please?”

Elusive’s face droops slightly as he again draws a hoof to his chin.

“Hard to say…” he speaks as he contemplates. “I imagine that our dear new friend Dusk Shine will be heading back to Canterlot in the morning once the celebrations are complete. I would think that you’ll most likely have to go back with him too, correct?”

“Yea-” I start to say, but then I stop walking and stare at empty space.

“... Am I wrong?” Elusive follows up, confused by my response.

Ignoring the question, I let the last exchange stew about in my mind for a moment, digesting what little information that it just proved to me. Whoever this pony is or was, he doesn’t have show knowledge like me. That means…

… that means that his friendship with Dusk will be genuine.

“... No,” I answer after a time, my good vibes returning as I say “No that’s correct, but I think we can figure that stuff out later.

“For now... “

A hot sauce covered cupcake materializes in my claw before I can finish my sentence, and an upturned lampshade finds itself placed on my head. Tilting it slightly upwards to clear my vision, I'm just in time to see the wink aimed towards me by the passing by Bubble Berry, who bounces further into the crowd with drinks (both adult and non) balanced carefully on the tray set across his back.

I pay this event little mind as a split second later, with my claw now devoid of treats and my mouth pleasantly full of vinegary/sugary goodness, I happily give the ponies around us a hardy and crumb-filled battle cry of

Let’s party!

And there was much rejoicing.

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