• Published 3rd May 2016
  • 759 Views, 72 Comments

Woebegone - Lost_Marbles



The embodiment of bad luck comes to Ponyville, and anypony foolish enough to cross his path meets disaster. And he's very sorry.

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Chapter 5 - An Overwhelming Force Meets an Underwhelming Object

Applejack didn’t have to open the door to let herself in the kitchen entrance to Sugarcube Corner, since it was lying on the ground in front of her. Pinkie wasn’t home, and Woebegone wasn’t there either. The place looked like a shook-up flimsy dollhouse with the bathroom in the kitchen and the kitchen in the bathroom, and both leaked milk and bathwater into the dining area.

There was a mustachioed pony in overalls in the middle of the mess standing next to an exposed pipe sticking out of the wall that spouted water everywhere.

“Who are you?” said Applejack.

“Scruffy, the plumber.” He pulled out a wrench and gave a nut on the pipe a few turns, stopping the water. “My work here’s done.” He plopped himself down on a chair and pulled out a magazine.

“What in tarnations happened here?”

“Leak,” said Scruffy without looking up from his questionable magazine. “Came to fix it.”

“Well, I can see that. Where’s Pinkie Pie?”

“Dunno.” Scruffy held up the magazine and gazed at the fold-out.

Applejack rolled her eyes and left. If Woebegone’s curse was real, and it wasn’t, then this was a sign of his presence. He had been here, and perhaps if she hadn’t taken so long hosing herself down and letting Granny chew her ear off about the cart and produce, she might have caught him before whatever had happened here had happened. And even on the off-chance this catastrophe was the work of a curse and not some Pinkie Pie cooking accident, there was no clue where they went off to other than a “Sorry, we’re closed” sign and a gurgling gator at the register.

She needed to take Woebegone to Twilight to prove that there were no such things as curses before his non-existent curse struck again.

But she’d get nowhere by standing around like an apple tree in a parade, so off she went out into the street to rustle up a lead before that horrific stench spreading about town made her hurl. The stink reminded her of the time Winona fell into a barrel of the “adult” apple cider, but stronger. Not as strong as Applebloom’s spaghetti farts, but darn near it. She asked the first pony she met, “Have you seen a little green fella, and why are you naked?”

---

“Why am I naked?” said the naked pony sitting on the lopsided floor in front of a lopsided Twilight in the lopsided room in the lopsided castle.

Twilight sighed as she rubbed her temples. The air-bubble spell she had cast around her head might have kept out the fumes, but it wasn’t keeping out the headaches. “Yes, that’s what I asked you.” Twilight’s patience was at an end. Pony after hairless pony had been brought before her for questioning. Each one of them reeked of alcohol and peppers and was only lucid enough to ramble a bit before throwing up or falling asleep; each one of them left a cloud of alcohol vapors wherever they went. Even worse still, her helpers weren’t being helpful. Starlight was getting woozier with each pony she brought, to the point that she had become relaxed. Too relaxed. She kept leaning on Twilight, hugging her, and whispering words like “Adorkable” and “Special In-Depth Friendship Lessons.” Darn it, Twilight was absolutely flattered that Starlight was beginning to look up to her just as much as she once looked up to Celestia and was developing a fiery passion for learning, but there was always a time and a place for showing appreciation or tutoring, and in a lopsided castle while interrogating lopsided naked stallions wasn’t one of them.

“Come on, Twily… you need to relax.”

“No, Starlight. And don’t call me Twily in front of… of.. What’s your name again?”

“Naked,” said the stallion.

“No, your name.”

“I’m Naked,” said the stallion with a lopsided smirk and a snicker.

“Yes, you are, but who are you?”

“You said it yourself, ‘Naked.’ I am Naked.”

“No, that’s what you are. I’m asking who are you?”

“I thought what I was was a pony.”

“Wai-- wha-- no! You are a pony. You’re just a pony in a state of undress.”

Starlight chortled at Twilight’s exasperation, and the stallion smiled even wider than before. “No, I’m not,” said the drunk pony with a bottom-lip-biting smile.

“Yes. You are.”

“I think you’re quite mistaken. We’re in Equestria.”

“You’re drunk.”

“Nope,” the stallion said and winked over at Starlight. “I’m Naked.”

Starlight giggled. “He’s funny.” She gave Twilight a little squeeze. “He could use a good friendship lesson, too.” The stallion’s brows popped up, and his mouth hung open.

Twilight groaned and facehoofed. “No. Get out of here.” She lifted up the whining stallion with her magic and rushed him out the lopsided room through the lopsided door.

“Oh, come on! Can’t I at least watch!? I’ll take good notes!”

The door slammed shut behind him, only to be opened again by Spike. Unlike the other ponies around her, he seemed to be unnaffected by the alcohol fog, but it wasn’t a good trade- off. His charred little head left a trail of smoke wherever he went. Maybe dragons had a natural resistance to the effects of alcohol. It was something Twilight now wanted to test out, but there were the ethical issues of giving liquor to a minor. At least, a minor by pony standards. She had no idea when dragons allowed their young to drink, or if they even had set age restrictions on drinking. Cultural and biological curiosities aside, she had more important matters at hoof.

“So… no luck with Thunderlane?” The air caught by his dragon breath erupted into a fireball and enveloped his head. Unhurt but covered in a new layer of soot, Spike slapped his claws over his mouth. “Oops, sorry.” Another fireball fwooshed.

She shook her head. “No. Please send in the next one.”

At these words, Spike smiled and open his mouth to speak, but caught his tongue. He grabbed a paper and quill off of Twilight’s lopsided desk and scribbled a few words on it before sliding it back to her.

This one’s not drunk.

Finally, some good news. “Great, send them in.”

Spike saluted. “Aye-aye!” and the flames of his response licked the air bubble around Twilight’s head and lit up like the sun. Her mane was on fire. Twilight stopped, dropped, and screamed while Spike tried desperately to smother the flames with whatever he could get his claws on.

“No! Not the books!” cried Twilight.

“See, I told you you were hot,” said Starlight before she passed out with a stupid lopsided grin.

---

“I know I’m hot,” boasted Rainbow Dash as she and her new admirer-to-be took the out-of-town path toward Sweet Apple Acres. However, this guy was somewhat hard to impress because he was so self-absorbed with his “oh, woe is me” attitude. It made her sick. He claimed to be a nothing and a nobody, but the few stories about himself he shared said otherwise. He acted like the whole of Equestria was influenced by his overwhelmingly underwhelming presence. But whatever he said was soaked with his self-defeating attitude that irritated her to no end. Every little sigh and passive statement made Rainbow grind her teeth into calcium dust; however, that was going to change. She would project her abundant awesomeness onto him, and thus he would see that he himself had something to be proud of. She’d make him awesome by association. “And it’s true because I know it.”

“So how do you know it’s true?”

“Because I know it is. I work at being awesome every day!”

“So, it’s true because you know it is?”

“That’s right.”

Woebegone looked at his long toes on his green, bandaged feet. “Sort of like how I’m bad luck.”

“What--? No, that isn’t--”

He submissively shook his head. “No, it’s true. I’m bad luck, and it’s true because I know it.”

“Hey, come on, now. Just because you think something is true doesn’t mean it is.”

“But you just said that because you know something is true, it is. And I know that I’m bad luck, and therefore it is true. Everywhere I go, there is always--”

Rainbow covered her ears. “I know I’m awesome because it’s true. Just because you think you’re unlucky doesn’t mean it’s true.”

“But I know--”

She threw her head back and groaned. Never before had she had such a Negative Nellie shoot down every bit of advice she was trying to cram into his thick skull. Nothing a little awesomeness couldn’t solve.

“--I’m just bad luck. Maybe I shouldn’t stay here at all. I really don’t want to trouble anyone anymore.”

That was it. Rainbow threw her hooves out and got right in his face. “Oh, come on! You know what your problem is?!” Woebegone fell back on his rump, but she still stayed in his face and hammered it in. “It’s your attitude! You think everything about you is bad, so you look for examples. ‘Oh, I’m bad luck,’ ‘Oh, I tripped and fell. I’m just so unlucky,’ ‘Oh, I forgot to set my alarm and I slept in and missed Pinkie’s birthday party and then she was upset with me for a month and left confetti bombs all over my house and even left one in the toilet that didn’t go off for weeks until Soarin’ came over for a visit and just happened to weigh enough to set it off, causing him to fall over in fright and injure his wing, again; and then I get the blame for it and have to clean the Wonderbolts’ locker room for a week because of it. I’m just a no-good pony who isn’t good to her friends or colleagues that needs to pretend like nothing happened because I’m afraid of not being awesome.’”

“That last one was oddly specific.”

“You are unlucky to yourself because you think you’re unlucky and therefore blame everything bad that happens on yourself. And the sooner you realize that and stop being so self-defeating all the time, the better off you’ll be.” Her chest flared with a passionate hatred for his shriveled spirit. After a few deep breaths, though, she saw that her outburst had startled him enough to hide under his oversized hat.

No. This won’t do. If she was going to beat the defeated psyche out of him, it would have to be with epic displays of how her attitude made her awesome.“Hey,” she said softly. “Look, I’m sorry I exploded in your face like that. It’s just that--”

A tiny boom of thunder knocked her off course; she turned her focus on a black, bucket-ball sized cumulus cloud rolling down the path. It rumbled with angry glee when it found them and rushed over until it was perched just above Woebegone’s head, then dumped rain on him.

“What in the hay is that?”

“Oh, that? That’s my curse.”

Rainbow poked the cloud, and it rumbled angrily back at her. “You mean, you're bad luck?”

“Mm hmm.” Woebegone got up and pointed at the cloud. “It’s been following me ever since the witch cursed me.”

There’s a witch now? Oh, buck me. Rainbow sighed. “Witches? That’s stupid. Let me take care of that.” She decked the cloud in the face, and it fell apart into water molecules. She crossed her forelegs and smiled. “See? Bad-luck, shmad-luck. You just gotta take life in your own hooves and take action. Just like I--” The cloud reformed over Woebegone’s head and continued raining on his parade. “What the hay?” She decked it again, only for it to reappear seconds later.

“It’s hopeless,” woed Woebegone. “No matter what I do, I’m stuck with this curse for the rest of my life. I’ve got the worst luck.”

The cloud above his head swelled and boasted at Rainbow with smug little thunderclaps, just begging to be decked again.

Well, she wasn’t a one trick pony! If she couldn’t kick this cloud in the face, she would kick it in the spirit. Then the face. “You know what you need? A demonstration! I’ve been talking the talk, but I haven’t been flying the fly. You’re going to see what a good attitude will get you. Now watch!”

With a powerful flap, she surged straight into the sky. Inside loops and outside loops turned into a series of Cuban eights and a Hammerhead stall, then she rolled out into Aileron, Barrel, Rudder, and Slow Rolls before taking it to the max with a Tailslide. Bell variation, of course. She rushed up and up and up into the heavens and snapped her wings shut and let gravity grind her momentum to a halt. As she tilted back with her belly towards the sun, her nose dropped through the horizon, and she could see all of Ponyville and most of Equestria basking in her glow before plummeting to the ground at a breakneck speed in a controlled dive. Even from the clouds, the sheer effect her awesomeness had was clearly visible on her audience. Those wide eyes jumping out from under that large hat of his had never seen anything like this once-in-a-lifetime performance she was giving him. Even the cloud wet itself from the sheer awesomeness.

She continued to watch them out of the corner of her eye as she plummeted to the ground. The wind whistled in her ear alongside the distant cries of the audience below. She was no longer above the clouds. She was no longer above the mountains. She dove below the tops of the trees until she could make out each and every blade of grass in her shadow, then she popped her wings open and whipped up into a magnificent Zoom Climb that blew down Woebegone and sent his cloud halfway to Saddle Arabia. Her point thoroughly proven, she landed beside Woebegone and helped him up.

“See? What’d I tell you? Attitude is everything. Maintaining a great attitude keeps you from dropping until you crash in a horrific bloody mess.”

He looked at her like he was going to die. “What was that!?” He grasped her with shaky hands. “I thought you were done for! Why did you fall like that? I thought something bad happened!”

“Pffft. That? That was nothing. It’s called a dive. I do it all the time. Wasn’t it amazing?”

“But-but--” He stopped shaking and let go of Rainbow. “It was! I mean, I thought you were a goner, but you… wow. It was... amazing!”

Rainbow smirked. “Thrilling?”

“Oh yes, thrilling!”

“How about awesome?”

“Oh yes, awesome!”

“See? That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. I’m awesome because I know I’m awesome. I know I’m awesome because I do things an awesome me would do. Therefore, I know I’m awesome because I am awesome.”

Woebegone scratched his head, and a little twinkle of awesomeness sparkled in his such an infuriated cloud staring eyelessly back at her. Woebegone’s woefulness, just like the eyes. “I think I’m beginning to get it now.”

“Heh, now you’ve got it.”

“Oh, but I can’t ever be as awesome as that. You’re lucky to be so awesome.”

Rainbow was having none of this. “No!” She bucked the cloud off him. “I’m not lucky! I’ve had to work hard to be this awesome. I’ll show you that you can beat your unluckiness with dedication and keeping yourself in the zone by performing what took me years of practice to perfect. I broke my bones, I plucked my feathers, and I sweated blood every day for years just to get it right. Luck has nothing to do it.”

She launched into the air and shouted, “Get ready for the greatest aerial trick of all time: The Sonic Rainboom!” Accelerating as hard as she could, she gave herself enough distance to perform the trick just right so that it would happen at the right spot so that not only Woebegone, but the whole town of Ponyville could bask in its awesomeness. Besides, she hadn’t performed a Rainboom for the town in a long time. She zipped away from town towards the mountains in the distance, flew up the cragged cliffs, and then turned about and saw the world beneath her. The sensitive feathers in her wings and years of experience gauged the conditions around her. Everything was perfect.

She visualized herself rushing down the mountainside and through the air over Ponyville, and at the right moment, she’d crash through the rainboom barrier, and the air around her would implode from her speed. She’d light up the sky like a million and two firecrackers. Everything was going to be perfect.

She dove. Leaves ripped from trees as she zoomed by, branches snapped, grass tore out from the ground. Only a bit more and she’d reach the speed needed to pull off the trick. She just needed to wait until she passed her mark: Woebegone’s purple hat.

It flashed before her, and she gave the extra push.

Colors boomed across the sky.

Everything was perfect.

Yeaaaah! Good morning, Ponyville!” Rainbow screamed on the top of her lungs.

Then everything went dark, and she felt herself plummeting to the ground.

Everything wasn’t perfect.

---

This was one unlucky morning for Derpy. Not only once, but twice was her breakfast ruined. Her first bag of muffins had split open over a mud puddle, and the second one had actually been a bag of soiled diapers. And now she was delivering mail on an empty stomach.

Still, even as hungry as she was, she wasn’t mad. There were things in this world she couldn’t control, and she’d come to accept that long ago. Just roll with the bucks. If you tried to remained rigid and stiff with everything, the stress would break you. That was why she considered herself a soft, spongy muffin. She didn’t let anything make her mad. She wasn’t some oatmeal cookie that would crumble under the least bit of pressure.

Okay, muffins crumbled too. Maybe the analogy would work better if she compared herself to licorice, but she didn’t want to do so because of three things: One - she wasn’t about to let some unspoken universal standard of what made a passive analogy or not dictate what she thought. Two - the analogy still stood because muffins were typically more resilient to abuse than cookies were. And three - she didn’t like licorice.

Her tummy growled. Boy, thinking makes me hungry. And so does not eating breakfast.

She knew Pinkie and that green fellow didn’t give her the diapers on purpose. They deserved one more chance. With her first round finished, she lifted up above the rooftops and turned toward Pinkie’s neighborhood. This time she wouldn’t leave until she had at least a muffin or six in her gut and a few more to take home.

The taste was already on her tongue teasing her rumbly tummy. Seeing Sugarcube Corner made the ghostly sensations more vivid. Derpy drooled in anticipation.

A loud bang and prisma-colored blast of light filled the sky.

“Good morning, Ponyville!” screamed a voice behind her.

“Huh, wha--”

Something rammed her from behind and knocked her out of the sky.

---

The pretty, sleek mare with long, luscious eyebrows stared up from the page of the Cosmarepolitin magazine and at Nurse Tenderheart. Her eyes said, “I’m so beautiful that the world revolves around me. Everypony holds their breath when I talk and drink in everything I say. I cannot be ignored. You cannot look away!”

Tenderheart looked up at the clock on the wall and turned the page.

It had been a rather slow morning for the Ponyville Hospital, and thankfully so. Most of the doctors were away for a medical conference in Manehatten, leaving only one doctor and a bunch of nurses in the skeleton crew to tend to a disaster-prone town full of easily-worked-up ponies. Tenderheart couldn’t exaggerate the point enough that she was thankful that this was a slow morning and nothing bad would happen.

This morning had been so slow, in fact, that Dr. Stable had offered to go out and get donuts and coffee for the bare-bone staff.

Tenderheart only could hear the waiting room clock tick-tocking and the flipping of magazine pages on this slow, quiet, uneventful morning. The front door opened with the chiming of a little bell. Fluttershy walked in. She looked around from under her sun hat and was visibly relieved to see that no other ponies were there before coming up to the desk.

“Hello, Fluttershy, how can I help you?” said Tenderheart.

“Um, yes, I was wondering if I could see a doctor.”

“Okay, what is the nature of this visit? Checkup? Shots?”

“Oh.. um… I just have a few questions for the doctor, that’s all.”

“I’m sorry, Fluttershy, but all of the doctors except for Dr. Stable are out of town today on a meeting, and Dr. Stable isn’t back from his errand into Ponyville yet. He should be back any moment.”

Fluttershy slumped her shoulders. “Oh.”

“If you’d like, I can help you.”

Fluttershy looked around once more and sighed. ‘Okay, there was an accident, and…”

The bell jingled again, and another pony plopped onto the floor. Pinkie Pie had a long, large bump protruding from her head. She peeled her face up off the linoleum floor, picked herself up, stumbled over to the reception desk, and leaned against Fluttershy. “Hellooooo, nurse! I’ve got a booboo, and I think’ll take more than a kiss to make this one go away.”

Tenderheart’s stomach turned to ice. “Pinkie, that bump! What happened to you?”

“I had an accident.” She turned to Fluttershy. “Here’s a tip for you, Flutters. Never bathe and bake babies at the same time.” Pinkie went cross-eyed, then shook it off. “I mean bake and bathe babies.”

“Fluttershy, put Pinkie in a chair. I’ll get some ice.”

Tenderheart rushed off, brought back a pack of ice, and held it to Pinkie’s head. “Now girls, please tell me what happened.”

Pinkie giggled. “Well, Fluttershy has a bonehead problem.”

“I’m being serious, Pinkie.”

“So am I.” She snickered. “Bone.”

“Listen, Dr. Stable will be in momentarily. Until then, I need your full cooperation and…” The door jingled open. “Oh that must be him!”

It was Derpy.

Oh, what now? “Miss Derpy?”

Derpy was on the brink of sobbing. “I just wanted a muffin,” she said. “Is that too much to ask?”

Tenderheart rubbed her temples. “Sweetie, please. I’m busy with other patients; unless you have a medical emergency, we can talk later.”

Without saying a word, Derpy waddled uncomfortably into the waiting room. Once she was completely inside, Pinkie started laughing hysterically, and Fluttershy fainted. Tenderheart could only stare.

Rainbow Dash had her head firmly stuck up Derpy’s butt.

Author's Note:

Thanks for your patience! I hope you enjoyed this new, dumb chapter of Woebegone.

Hey, I also got a comic coming out soon! Stick around my blog to see the finished thing in about a week!