• Published 28th Nov 2011
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Trails and Trials - Mazzyrazzy



Ditzy's journey to make, and keep, the friends she's made.

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The Mystery Prize

A/N: The genre tags on this site do not really suit this piece, so I'm going to take a moment to clarify: this story is a friendshipping dramedy. For those who might be unfamiliar with what a dramedy is, simply put it is a comedy with dramatic parts, or vice versa. You'll see a bit of both.


Trails and Trials

By Mazzyrazzy
Proofread by Apottzy, Nicksp146, and Mystic

Most ponies simply could not understand how difficult the mail service industry can be. With its complex infrastructure and endless hoards of parcels flowing through its highly organized chain routes, the system indeed was something to be admired. Of course, most ponies didn't even spare a cursory glance, being far too absorbed with what they were receiving and not how it got there. It was all part of the job for Ditzy Doo, one of the most diligent workers in the Ponyville Postal Office. To her, the act of delivering mail was a challenge—NAY, an art form; one Ditzy completed with great pride and humility.

The job required split-second decision making and ample patience. At any one time a package could require an overnight, speedy delivery to the far reaches of Equestria. Ditzy lived under constant stress that a parcel might need to get to Trottingham by the next morning, or Manehattan by the following afternoon. Many of her co-workers were less than enthused to receive such assignments, usually making irrational excuses so they could clock out, and go home.

This method of thinking flew over Ditzy's head… there was so much to enjoy in the night that she eagerly accepted these nocturnal tasks. She had all the reasons to; the night sky itself entertained her with its hypnotic magnetism, pulling her gaze upwards. The spectacle was not merely captivating, but it served higher functions as well. The silver pegasus could always look up at the stars, and no matter how lost she was, could always find her way to where ever she was going. It was this level of reassurance that kept her optimistic.

Sadly, these jobs didn't come very often. Usually the parcels that required immediate overnight shipping were also important enough to benefit from the magic delivery service. The postal service had recently taken on a platoon of unicorn ponies who could now deliver important packages quick and efficiently, in nearly a quarter the time it would take a pegasus. These unicorns could teleport the objects to a short distance, where it would be teleported by another unicorn, and so on until it reached its destination. It required a complex network of outposts that, at the current time, wasn't too widespread. It left some night jobs open that required pegasi finesse.

Another normal day in Ponyville, it seemed. The sun had just begun its ascent to replace the moon, the time of day when the only hint of light came from the sparkles through the trees in the distance, or atop the gentle crest of a hill. It was always a pleasant experience to take in a muggy breath full of summer air. The wet season had been particularly generous this year. Ditzy found it distracting to her work—she loved playing in the rain, and often time got sidetracked when she was supposed to be working. She had been late with deliveries more times than she cared to mention because of it.

In fact, Ditzy was a mare that knew trouble all too well. She tried not to, but accidents seemed to follow wherever she went. Being cross-eyed didn't help… growing up it was a source of ridicule, and now only impeded her job performance. With her depth perception shot, it was hard to manage even the most menial tasks. She soon got used to it, and she accepted herself for who she was. She was determined to stay optimistic despite her disability and make the best of it. Unfortunately all the failures didn't go unnoticed by her co-workers.

It started with them. They decided on a nickname for the misbegotten mare: Derpy. She didn't know exactly who started it, but soon everypony in the Post Office of Ponyville started calling her by that name. Luckily, if there was one thing Ditzy was good at, it was bottling emotions. So she put on a smile, giggled to show that she was willing to laugh at herself, and the others soon began to back off.

Ponies still called her Derpy, which she had grown to accept as a second identity. She didn't mind it anymore. Well… almost. Every now and then, a pony would use that name with a mocking tone; a sort of sarcastic edge that brought out the darker implications of the nickname. Fortunately, it usually only happened when she messed up on something. She was getting a lot better at avoiding trouble; nothing had gone wrong for at least two days, if not two days and one hour.

Ditzy shook her head, remembering her last mishap. It still boggled her mind how midnight operation 'Get-A-Glass-Of-Water' managed to turn into three separate lawsuits from her respective neighbors. The action would take most of Ditzy's bits, but she didn't mind. The delivery pegasus was a mare of simple tastes, and what she wanted in life, she already owned. The dividend would have to come from her food budget… Looked like Baahmen noodles and Cheerilio's cereal for the foreseeable future.

Lying in bed, she felt a yawn coming on and decided to indulge in it. Putting forth special effort, she puffed up her chest while inhaling, allowing the arch of her back to curve to the threshold of breaking in half, and her flank to rise in the air from her back hooves pushing down. Then, with a content sigh, she collapsed once again as every muscle relaxed. Eventually she rolled over lazily away from the bright light of her open window. The fresh air outside tantalized her to the point where her wings started twitching.

Okay, time to get up.

Gotta get ready.

Ditzy sprung out of bed and landed near her mirror. She shook her head, and her daisy-yellow hair instantly fell into its natural place.

Ready!

The grey mailmare giggled as her own eyes spun in her head from the aggressive shaking.

Through her mirror, she eyed her window open to the elements. A gentle draft flowed through her mane and tickled the back of her ears, making them flick. She narrowed her eyes when the realization hit that it was a tad too bright outside, and that could only mean one thing…

"I'm going to be late!" Ditzy gasped, knowing very well that it could mean the end of the world.

Bolting out of her room in a state of abject panic, the grey mare mindlessly ran through her L-shaped hallway and into the foyer. Gaining momentum, Ditzy was able to use her wings to run faster; her poor front door never stood a chance.

Crash!

The door splintered at the hinges and Ditzy half-fell, half-surfed out of her house and down her cobblestone pathway. With a seasoned leap she landed flawlessly near her mailbox, blocking from her mind the destruction in her wake. She took a moment to salute her mailbox; a daily ritual to reflect upon the finer aspects of being a mailmare. Finished with her customary procedure, she eagerly reached up and pulled down the flap of her mailbox, pulling a muffin out of it with her teeth.

Such an event would give pause to many apony. Ditzy learned long ago that there were much better uses for her mailbox. Not even subscribed to the Equestria Daily, the pegasus never received any mail. Forever adaptable, she quickly found a more efficient use of the storage space—a home for her muffins.

With a crack of her tail Ditzy closed her mailbox, happily indulging in her treat while she took off into the sky. She balanced the muffin carefully between her two forelegs, taking ravenous bite after bite of the quickly-vanishing muffin. It was so intense that she was forced to shut hers eyes for fear that a ricochet crumb would bounce off into her eye.

A sad thought crept into her mind: the poor muffin would never see his muffin family again. Visions of baby muffins growing up without a muffin father momentarily horrified Ditzy, knowing it was too late to save him from the horrible hunger monster.

After taking a moment of silence for the befallen muffin and those affected, she quickly regained her course towards the Ponyville Post Office. Tardiness was not in Ditzy's dictionary (along with several other big words), and her perfect attendance record simply could not be spoiled. A warm current of air buffeted against her face forcing her to squint. She relied on her keen navigating skills to keep her on course to her destination.

Passing over the town square of Ponyville was always a pleasant experience. Not too many ponies were out at the crack of dawn, but the few who were there were busy setting up stalls, or opening shops. The slow-paced work ethic could be admired from the clouds; the only sounds that came from the town were the occasional good morning greetings the fleeting ponies graced each other with as they passed by.

Tick…Tock…Tick…Tock…

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

TICKTOCKTICKTOCK

Ditzy frantically glanced around as her internal clock was going haywire. Finally she spotted the post office on the horizon, to the east near the rising sun. With eyes narrowed, she watched Celestia's great stopwatch mockingly rise higher in the sky, as if to say… Ditzy, don't even bother trying to get to work on time. It's not going to happen. Also you smell.

Her nostrils flared competitively. "I'll show you, sun!" In a cloud of smoke, she was off.

1000 meters and closing…

With her eyes on the prize, Ditzy poured on the speed. As one hoof thrust forward, she utilized the natural wind current to help push her towards the Post Office. Air flowed fluidly through her feathers, and with surprising coordination, she accelerated until her wing muscles started to burn. There was a constant mental battle taking place; a war between the doubtful trepidation of failing and the utter assurance of victory. Only one could happen, and she knew that the very foundations of the Ponyville postal service would probably collapse should she be late. Probably.

500 meters and closing…

A bead of sweat worked its way down Ditzy's temple, hanging loosely to the side of her face. The wind current rushing passed her eventually blew her face clean, though the fact that it happened left her morale lower. She began to get nervous; could she get there in time? Would this be the day she got fired? Perhaps most importantly, would she be marked tardy on her time card!? Implications have now reached nightmarish proportions.

100 meters and closing…

She was almost there, she could see the very entrance; wide open and beckoning! Ditzy's wings vibrated from the intense wind currents that warped past her slim frame. Unstably, her body shook as the increasing speed buffeted her around, but she somehow managed to stay true on her target. The sun once against proved to be too much of a bother, and she risked a glance over to see its position in the sky. Oh no… she wished she hadn't looked. She shook her head and focused on the post office in front of her.

In moments she'd taste sweet justice! She ushered herself to go faster, faster, FASTER! Speed tears flew out of her eyes from the sheer glory of what was happening. The clock was winding down, her squinted eyes snapped to the sun, then back to the post office, sun, post office, sun, post office, sun, post office aannnndddd…

Pomf

Through the window she raced, and hit a specially-designed padded wall that caught her like a glove. With comical agility, she unstuck herself from the wall and landed on the floor of the post office, recovering from the collision unnaturally quick. Her eyes narrowed as she spied the clock-in counter. Like a hunter finally stalking her prey, Ditzy carefully took a few tentative steps towards it, like it could hear her. Then, in a flash, she pounced.

She grabbed her card and pulled down the lever. It silently left its mark.

"Did I make it!?" The grey mailmare yelled to the pony she knew was there.

Behind her, deskbound in his office was her boss. The door was wide open like it usually was, and granted the perfect view of the entire spectacle. A brown-coated, even darker brown-manned pegasus stallion sat with coffee in hoof; his expression deadpanned.

"Derpy, must we go through this every morning? You know very well that you're thirty minutes early."

"But did I make it!?" She asked passionately, on the verge of tears.

Facehoof. Sigh. "Yes Derpy, you made it."

"Awwww yeah!" She did a victory pump in the air. "Who's the mare? I'm the mare!"

Her boss shook his head while the dynamic mare did her daily victory dance in midair.

~*~*~

A few hours later and Ditzy was ready to head out on her routes. The early morning hours were always filled with preparing for the day ahead: helping sort the outgoing and incoming mail, planning future routes for the day to maximize efficiency (which Ditzy had a problem with understanding, electing to travel a more scenic itinerary), and helping the clerks deal with early morning customers.

Slinging the mailbag across her back, it fell snuggly onto her side. The grey mare had fit the straps just right so the bag wouldn't chafe while she walked or flew. She rested a forehoof on her chin and rubbed, the gears in her mind spinning at optimal capacity.

Should I fly or walk?

Flying was always more practical; it was so much faster than walking and always more efficient. Ditzy enjoyed walking—it provided a unique opportunity that she didn't receive very often: being around other ponies. So, on days when she was on schedule and didn't have to rush, the pegasus selected to walk. She looked at the clock to be sure of the time. It was only a bit after ten in the morning.

Walking it is!

Bursting through the front door of the post office and taking her first steps outside, Ditzy inhaled a long, overly dramatic breath of fresh summer air.

She heard faint giggling. Ditzy opened her eyes and looked towards the main road, which was just a dirt path. Three mares were walking by and staring at her, whispering to each other.

"Good morning!" Ditzy cheerfully called out.

The mares only giggled again, shaking their heads before continuing on.

The grey mailmare arched an eyebrow, before giving a shrug. They must not have heard her. Already forgotten, Ditzy hummed a lively tune as she made her way down the steps of the post office and towards the road.

The first few deliveries were easy peasy. Her bag mostly contained letters and small parcels, so nothing too heavy today. They were organized in her bag from top to bottom depending on how soon the house or place of business would come up on her route. She was making great time too; it was only about one in the afternoon when she was about two thirds done with her deliveries. Another hour or two and she'd be done for the day.

Hmm, what's next? She shuffled through her bag and found a medium sized parcel that was directed to Sugarcube Corner. Excellent! That meant she could cut through Ponyville Park, one of her favorite places to walk. She resumed humming, half conscious of her surroundings and more focused on thoughts of the park. The lush trees and natural ambiance did wonders to clear her mind as well as tranquil her step.

Loud murmuring finally caught her attention as Ditzy returned from the cavernous seclusion of her own mind. She glanced around her to see several other ponies heading to the park in pairs and small groups. Everyone was talking with hushed excitement. The grey pegasus inclined her head slightly, confused at the sudden growing population of ponies. They all seemed to be headed to the park like Ditzy was, and she wanted to know what was going on, but the few ponies she tried to inquire about it shrugged her off.

More confused than ever, Ditzy followed the crowd into the park where several others ponies already was located. Tens of them were running around, setting up blankets, and generally having a good time. Ditzy's heart lightened as an educated guess provided the best reason.

Oh boy oh boy! A picnic! Yes yes yes—I wonder if they have sandwiches! Or pudding! Or muffins!

Ditzy watched eagerly from the park entrance while several ponies began setting up small booths and simple games. Content to just sit and observe, she sat on a soft patch of grass and rested the half full mailbag next to her. She could afford to take a short break; even if she couldn't stay, it was interesting to watch everypony have a good time setting up.

Lunch break! Ditzy unzipped a pouch on the side of her pack. Sticking her snout in and rummaging for a few moments, she finally latched onto her prize: a fluffy, decadent muffin sprinkled with cinnamon.

Taking a conservative bite, she watched as two unicorns flew up a banner across the front and back of the stone park entrance. Her eyebrow inclined as she read it.

"Ponyville…Friendship…Picnic?" She read it slowly, though more out of curiosity than incompetence.

"Oh, hey Derpy." And there it was—the mocking inflection that always made Ditzy recoil. She slightly flinched, thought in an instant she was back to her silly self. She turned to the familiar voice.

Walking over with two of her friends was Destiny Dawn, a relatively new addition to Ponyville who recently began working at the post office with Ditzy. She was a slender pink pegasus with a shortly trimmed teal mane and tail. Ditzy and she have a very… interesting relationship. Destiny enjoyed pulling pranks on the grey mailmare mostly to and from work. Ditzy has grown almost fond of the contact; she didn't have much interaction with ponies outside her job, and it felt nice that somepony thought about her, even if it was to plan laughs at her expense. Ditzy was sure it was all in good fun.

"Oh, Hey Destiny!" Ditzy waved, taking another bite out of her muffin. "I thought you called in sick today. You look better! I'm glad to see that."

Destiny knocked the muffin out of her hand and it plopped to the ground. Ditzy tightened up, but she relaxed when she realized there were plenty more where that came from. "Yah, I was 'sick', miraculously on the same day as this picnic. What are the odds, huh?" Destiny sneered.

"Yah I know! Looks like it wasn't anything too aggressive though, so I wouldn't worry about it," Ditzy smiled.

Destiny and her friends burst into fits of giggles. "What are you doing here anyway, Derpy?"

"Oh, I'm just enjoying the nice day. The picnic over there looks like it's going to be a lot of fun!"

"Yah, it is. Too bad you can't go," Destiny said.

"Well of course not!" Ditzy mumbled through her pack, trying to find her backup muffin, "I have work. Gotta get these deliveries done; you know how much ponies count on us!"

"That's not what I meant," The pink pegasus scoffed.

Ditzy inclined her head. "I'm confused."

"Shocking." Once again, Destiny's friends let out condescending snickers. "You don't get it do you? This is a friendship picnic." When Ditzy gave a blank stare, Destiny sighed and continued. "As in, you need to actually have a friend."

That hit Ditzy like a wall. "W-what do you mean? I have friends!"

"Oh really? Name them."

"Well, um. Mr. Forthright," Ditzy said.

That earned a scoff from Destiny and her gang. "He's our boss, not your friend. You know he doesn't count."

The grey pegasus had to think, with growing worry. "Well, what about all our customers? They're always so happy to see me. And they're nice. Sometimes Mrs. Cake even gives me free cupcakes!"

"That's sad Derpy; can't even think of one real friend in the whole world." Destiny said, shaking her head in mock sympathy.

Ditzy frowned, her brow furrowed in thought. Of course she had friends… right? Sure, she worked a lot and spent a lot of her off time at home, but that doesn't mean nopony liked her. Everywhere she went, she was greeted with bright, smiling faces full of gratitude—it's why she became a mailmare in the first place. She knew in her heart that whether or not people understood how hard her job was, they were grateful. It was that appreciation that kept her going, and she assured herself it was all she needed.

Does that make them friends? What does it even mean to be a friend? What are the circumstances? At what point can she define a pony as a friend?

"Come on girls," Destiny said, "it looks like we've given Derpy plenty to think about."

Ditzy wanted to say something back, but she was in too deep a thought. She just sat and watched Destiny and her friends casually trot off towards the picnic.

Too bad I can't go…

Ditzy shook her head. "…Because I have a job to do!" She sprung up onto her hooves. She wasn't going to let Destiny ruin the good day she'd been having. Why would she need other ponies to help her be happy? She was already doing a great job by herself! With her healthy work ethic and booming home life, she could hardly ask for any more. Destiny was just being a silly pony—obviously talking about stuff she didn't know much about. Ditzy didn't need another pony's presence to be exultant. She was happy! Happy, happy, happy.

"Happy," She said aloud. Her flat tone did not inspire confidence.

Ditzy shook her head. "Phooey, what am I doing? I gotta get this package to Sugarcube Corner!"

Gripping the leather strap in her teeth, she swung the mailbag up over her head and it landed with a thud on her side, the strap pulling against her chest and shoulder. After a slight adjustment to ensure a more comfortable walk, she began making her way through the park and towards the waning sun. Ditzy tried to walk past the group of picnickers without stealing a look, but she jerked her eyes side wards subconsciously.

A few ponies were playing her favorite games: pin the tail on the manticore, beanbag tic-tac-toe, ring toss, horseshoes, and she even saw a coloring table for the younger fillies. She recognized the lady running the table as Cheerilee, the town teacher. Ditzy stopped walking to watch the little fillies laugh and have fun coloring vibrant pictures and dashing them with glitter until they sparkled with perfection. A pang of unintended sorrow clutched her heart. She couldn't stop watching the group of young fillies.

…Did I ever have any moments like that? Ditzy scrutinized her own memory to come up with some form of assurance. Each passing second left her more and more troubled as she realized that her childhood was far different than what she was witnessing. She unfortunately remembered a certain instance when she was just a tad older than the group of fillies before her, when a classmate of her's didn't invite the grey filly to her birthday party because of her eyes. Ditzy knew what it felt like to feel self-conscious before she even knew what the word meant.

From that moment on Ditzy became a master of saving face—she discovered if she laughed at herself, others wouldn't laugh as long. This way, she could keep some of her dignity.

Ditzy frowned as her vision blurred. What was going on? She reached up with her left hoof to rub her eyes to fix the problem, and it came back wet. Her frown deepened. She couldn't possibly be crying; she hadn't cried in years. It was laughable to think something so trivial could stir her emotions. In fact, that's what she did; she laughed.

…Heh, look at me! Getting worked up over nothing. This summer air must be getting to me. Better finish up these last few deliveries… you know how awesome you feel after a good day's work! You're just being a silly willy filly.

Convinced, and with her back turned to the festivities, she made her way out the western park entrance and towards the center of town, where Sugarcube Corner was located.

Usually when she was on this street, it was filled with tens of ponies walking out of stores, and buying from stalls. Ditzy was surprised to find a lack of ponies; only a few dotted the road.

Must all be heading to the park… hope they have a good time!

She meant it.

It took only a few minutes before the storefront of Sugarcube Corner came into view. With its superficially edible structure and compelling bakery aroma, the confectionery shop was a hard landmark to miss. Nudging the front door open with a hoof, Ditzy strode in, preparing to get the package out of her bag. She gripped a small, brown parcel lightly in her teeth and placed in on the counter in front of her. Looking around, she didn't see anypony, so she gave the customer bell a ring.

"Hi! How can I help ya?" A pink Earth pony popped out from the other side of the counter, as if she was hiding behind there the whole time. It made Ditzy giggle.

"Hi Pinkie Pie! I was wondering if Mr. or Mrs. Cake were here?" Ditzy asked.

"OoOoOo, hey Derpy! Wasn't expecting to see you here, but that's the cool thing about surprises right? You never know what's going to happen! No, Mr. and Mrs. Cake are gone for the next two days; off on some super-duper awesome vacation that I wish I could've gone on. But somepony had to look after the shop, and I decided it might be just as neato being able to bake cupcakes and stuff all day! Heeyyy speaking of cupcakes do you want one? Or two? Or fifty-seven?"

Ditzy decided a long time ago that she enjoyed Pinkie's spirit. It was funny, spontaneous, and eccentric… kind of like her personality. Kind of.

"Pssh, I wish I could take fifty-seven!" Ditzy giggled. "Anyways, I have this package for the Cakes'; I guess you can sign for them." The mailmare extended a clipboard and pen.

"Okie dokie lokie!" Pinkie said. The pink pony took the pen in her mouth and haphazardly scribbled her name on the dotted line. After she was done, Ditzy took the pen and clipboard back and put them back on the side of her bag.

"Thanks Pinkie! Have a good day, okay?"

"Will do! Keep up the good work!"

Ditzy's heart smiled, and she paused halfway pushing the front door open. An idea was forming that Ditzy admitted even she wasn't fully aware of. It had something to do with Pinkie Pie maybe being able to relate to her life and growing up. A question bubbled to her lips, and before she could speculate if it was prying too deep, it came out.

"Hey Pinkie…"

Pinkie leaned across the counter, curiously. "Hmm?"

"Umm. Did you ever… I mean, when you were little… were you ever like, um… teased? A little bit? Just a little?" She asked softly.

Pinkie's face lightened, and her eyebrows inclined. "Well no silly filly; I grew up on a rock farm until I was older. My parents were like my school, and my brother and sister were always so nice to me! Why do you ask?"

Before Ditzy could even think to answer, Pinkie gasped quietly, covering her mouth. "You weren't teased, were you? I mean, that would be just terrible! Were you…?"

Ditzy shook her head. She should've known better than to think anypony could relate to her. "What? N-no of course not! Look, I got a lot of work to do and I gotta get back to the post office fast. You know how they need me with… letters…and…stuff. Okay bye!" Ditzy rushed out the door and immediately took off into the sky.

"Derpy, wait!" She heard Pinkie call out from the doorstep of Sugarcube Corner.

Ditzy didn't wait.

~*~*~

Whew, another long day over with! Ditzy mentally patted herself on the back. She punched out her time card and placed it in her special name holder. She was one of the last ponies to leave work that day; as usual. The only ponies left were her boss, a single clerk, and herself.

Ditzy was eager to get home for once. She wanted nothing more than to walk in, take a warm bubble bath, and collapse in her bed. She smiled tiredly as she felt a yawn coming on. She took a peak outside a window; the setting sun had just fallen over the buildings in the distance and the orange hue chased the edge of the night sky. The stars wouldn't share the stage indefinitely, and they'd soon overtake the canvas completely.

Leaving her mailbag hung up on a brass hook, Ditzy walked out of the mailroom and into the storefront. This is the part where the tired pegasus would walk out quietly and fly home, as per the tradition. She was astonished to find that it didn't happen tonight.

"Oh, Derpy?" Ditzy's co-worker, the clerk, called out just before Ditzy was exiting.

Ditzy hesitated before answering. "…Yes?"

The clerk bent down over her desk and disappeared for a moment, before returning with a small package. "This came in for you today. I thought I'd set it aside to give it to you." She pushed the parcel closer across the counter.

A half second of confusion was then met with an explosion of glee.

"No way! It's finally here!?" Ditzy gasped, reaching out for the package with her forearms and examining it with skepticism. It had been at least two weeks since Ditzy ordered it, and she had feared that it was lost in some shipping accident. But there it was—in her hooves; separated from her by a mere inch or so of cardboard and wrappings. The excited pegasus was now more eager than ever to get home. After rushing a thank you to the clerk, she burst out the front door.

Ditzy chose to walk home rather than have to fly with the precious package in her teeth, for fear that she might hit a random rough patch of wind, causing her to bite down and somehow damage the prize within. With the small, flat package balancing on her head, she began the journey home.

It was already getting quite dark outside with the sun completely out of sight. Ditzy didn't mind; the stars were all she needed. They sparkled with their usual playfulness and intensity, guiding her home. Even though Ditzy didn't need help—by now, she could traverse all of Ponyville's streets with her eyes closed—but she couldn't help but let her gaze slowly ascend. It was difficult to do while keeping her head as flat as possible, but she managed.

She found her favorite star. It had an unusual faint-blue hue to it, unlike the others around it which gave off a glossy white shade. Ever since she'd found the star a few weeks ago, Ditzy was convinced that it should have a name, but a good one escaped her. She spent a few moments trying to come up with the best name ever.

Blue-y? Had a ring to it.

The Bluminator? Probably already had a copyright.

…Gary The Blue Star? Epic.

If Ditzy had been more focused on her surroundings, she would've heard the sound of a pony swooping down from overhead. She felt a weight lifted from her head, and alarm bells immediately started ringing in her mind.

With a gasp, she looked around frantically; eventually her eyes followed a pink pegasus as she gracefully descended from a few feet off the ground onto her hooves. In her mouth was Ditzy's package. "What do we got here, Derpy?" Destiny smiled deviously, the package now balancing on her left forehoof.

Ditzy tightened. "It's n-nothing Destiny, can I please have it back?"

"Nothing, eh?" Destiny eyeballed the parcel, giving it a once over. "I dunno… you seem pretty jumpy over there." She pretended to let it fall, making Ditzy flinch to catch it. Her smile flashed as her point was proven.

Ditzy gulped slowly then tried to put on a smile, though it still came off as nervous. "Heh, you know I like games as much as the next pony, but today's been one of those days and I'd really like to get home now, please." She was surprised at herself that she was able to spit it out without stuttering.

"Is Derpy still thinking about our little conversation in the park?" Destiny asked with fake curiosity.

Ditzy paused. "No… well, um… maybe."

"Ha; knew it," Destiny jeered, "but it's okay, Derpy. I understand. Not everypony can be as awesome as I am when it comes to making friends. Isn't that right, Trina?"

At the mention of another name, Destiny quickly tossed Ditzy's parcel high over the grey mailmare's head. For a few tense seconds, Ditzy thought she simply threw it away to let it smash to the ground. Luckily—and unluckily—it was caught, but by the pegasus mare known as Trina, who was hovering slightly overhead.

"You got it, Des." Trina smirked.

Ditzy threw her gaze between Trina and Destiny nervously, wanting nothing more than to back up and leave them be… but they had her package. "Can I p-please have it back now?" Ditzy asked quietly.

"Hmm," Destiny pondered," okay you can have it back." Ditzy's face was visibly relieved.

"…after we're done with our game of catch." Destiny smiled sweetly, betraying her darker attitude.

"Wah…? No, please, don't!" Ditzy voice cracked halfway through. She watched in horror as the two friends began throwing her parcel between them. Several times Ditzy attempted to get it, but at the last second one would throw it to the other, most of the time narrowly catching it. It was a cruel game of keep away that Ditzy soon had enough of. So she decided to sit down, and wait them out. If they wanted to play their game, she was going to let them.

Destiny finally raised an eyebrow when she noticed that she wasn't going to get anything else out of Ditzy. "Oh Derpy; you're no fun. Fine, here: take the package."

Ditzy's eyes flashed towards Destiny just in time to see the pink pegasus throw it in her direction. Ditzy's eyes bolted open as she scrambled to get up to her hooves in time to catch it. She could see it coming directly at her, and she knew she had the perfect chance to make sure it stayed safe. Only about a foot way, Ditzy grasped her forehooves together, and in almost slow motion, Ditzy watched as the package slide right through her hooves, missing by millimeters.

A sharp pain shot from Ditzy's snout as the package hit her face with full force. She momentarily saw stars as her face numbed. Involuntarily, she let out a cry of distress and covered her snout with her two front hooves, resting on her elbows. Her eyes were shut tight to hold back the painful tears that were trying so hard to leak out. She felt a dull throb and a slight trickle of liquid as she realized her nose was bleeding.

Destiny and her friend burst out laughing behind her. "Butterhooves much? See ya around, Derpy." Both mares went into another fit of laughs as they left Ditzy on the ground, cradling her wound; eyes shut to the conscious world.

As soon as they were gone, Ditzy slowly opened her eyes and before her was the package. All else became second to it. She even forgot about her snout as she reached out and cradled the hard won package like it was a baby. She inspected the box and was worried to find some tears in the cardboard. Her mind raced and morale dropped as she thought about the possible damage inside. However, only time would tell, and with a slow trudge, Ditzy walked home.

The small trickle of blood had ceased by the time Ditzy stepped through her front door, which was still splintered from the morning's escapade. Without even the slightest bother, she continued through her home and into her bedroom. She set the package carefully down on her dresser. Using her teeth to undo the tape, she slowly opened the top flap.

Inside, covered in protective foam, was a simple picture frame… simple yet beautiful. Its mahogany stock was varnished with a decent coat of lacquer that gave it a lustrous shine. Although it wasn't a large frame, it was enough to suit Ditzy's purposes.

She inspected it then held it to her chest when she found it undamaged; a sigh of relief inexplicably let itself out. She placed the picture frame upright on her dresser, and then crouched down on the floor.

Giving her customary cautious glance around the room, she picked up and moved aside a small portion of her floorboard exposing a small storage space below. From its depth she brought out a ruby red box that at one time might've carried slippers or some other article of clothing. She placed it on her bed and, opening it with her teeth, she began rummaging through it. Within seconds she found what she wanted.

A picture. Her heart fluttered because she knew what was on it, but she didn't want to look at it fully until it was inside its new home.

Unlatching the back of the frame, Ditzy slowly and carefully slide the photo into the designed resting place.

With a breath, Ditzy flipped the frame around and studied the photo with it. A smile forced its way onto Ditzy's lips, however slight it was. She placed the frame on the corner of her dresser and spent several seconds angling it just right, so she could admire it from her bed if she so chose. After she was satisfied that the positioning was perfect, she hopped into bed to confirm, never taking her eyes off the treasured picture.

She looked at it until her eyes grew heavy, and Ponyville's mailmare was soon fast asleep.

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