• Published 17th Oct 2016
  • 1,155 Views, 28 Comments

Old Fences - Purple Patch

Derpy Doo, now a mother, must struggle to come to terms with her past beside her friends and protectors in Ponyville

  • ...

Chapter 4

The photography set was bright and spacious yet it somehow seemed crowded.

Fleur gazed around as she walked in, Fancy Pants graciously holding the door for her. There were ponies of all sorts rushing to and fro, carrying equipment and costumes.

“Well...this looks nice” she said brightly “So your photographer friend works here?”

“She works wherever she pleases” Fancy Pants said, grimacing “I should warn you though, my dear, she’s really rather...severe”

“Oh trust me, Fancy, I’ve met fashion icons you wouldn’t want to share a moment with, I’m sure she’s nothing...”

Fleur’s optimism was cut short by the sound of a bizarrely accented mare bellowing at the top of her voice, causing all present in the room to jump in the air with shock.


There was a smash and a screaming pony in a trench coat and hat flew across the room at out the door like a bullet, scattering pilfered photos and a few teeth.

Fleur turned to her companion with a look of uncertainty. Fancy Pants shrugged guiltily.

“And perhaps a little...high-strung”

“Maybe we should...”

“VAIT! WHO HAS ENTERED?!” The crowd parted to reveal an eccentric-looking sky-blue earth pony mare with a prominent snow-white fringe and bright pink goggles stepped forward. At the sight of the newcomers, her tight expression brightened somewhat but did nothing to level her imperiousness.

‘Do I hear music’ Fleur thought ‘Where’s that coming from? And who keeps cracking that whip?’

“Ah...Meister Fancy Pants” The Photographer boomed “Your coming here is a blessing in disguise, yes! For you see I...Photo Finish...am starved of intelligent company unt completely surrounded by high maintenance ponies”

Behind her, her crew muttered among themselves incredulously.

“It’s very nice to see you...Photo Finish” The gentlecolt forced himself to smile “Should...Should we come back later?”

“No. Foolish question. It is a trying time but...” She took a deep breath “Pressure makes diamonds, as zey say” She sniffed loudly and looked to Fleur “And...Who is zis?”

“This, Photo Finish, is Fleur de Lis, a dear friend of mine from Ponyville who is interested in the modelling circle. We wondered if you could help us?”

“I see” She gestured with her hoof “Come here” Her tone was brusque and humourless but Fleur nonetheless walked forward and presented herself. The photographer looked her up and down and hummed aloud, clearly intrigued by her build.

“Um...so could I...”

“Shh” The photographer hushed her as one would a dog and slowly paced round her in a circle. The slim unicorn felt somewhat uncomfortable as Photo Finish stared at her, or perhaps into her, for prolonged periods of time.

At last she took a deep inhale through her nostrils and spoke.

“Ze set...Now”

Fleur took long, careful steps to the set, turning to Fancy who gave her a small smile of encouragement.

“Alright” Fleur said as she stood in the centre of the set “Do you want me to...”

“Shh” Photo Finish stood behind a camera and adjusted her goggles “Do not speak. Feel


“Pose, foolish mare! Now!” She squawked.

With a jump, Fleur instinctively flew to the first pose that came to her, holding one foreleg and looking over her shoulder in a thoughtful, almost plaintive image.

There was a pause.

“Interesting....” Photo Finish mused aloud, taking several photos “More!”

She followed up with the classic

Fleur slipped her hoof behind her head and brushed at her mane while raising one of her back hooves to signify a casual expression.

“Ha!” Photo Finish exclaimed “One more, somezing special!”

Quick-thinking and rather getting into the flow of things, Fleur flew onto her front and placed her hooves above her neck while raising both her back-hooves in a show of winsome pondering. She turned her flank slightly up and curled her tail over her thigh.

Photo Finish took several photos, the flash cracking and snapping like fireworks, and then the set was silent.

Fancy Pants couldn’t help but feel flustered throughout the entire event. Steadily, he approached the set and addressed Photo Finish who was already sending the film to a nearby attendant.

“So...ah...how is she?”

“How is she vhat, Meister Fancy Pants?” Photo Finish asked curtly.

“Well, ah...” He cleared his throat “Will you take her on...as a model...so to speak?”

There was a pause. Photo Finish took another deep inhale through her nostrils.

“She...” she declared “Vill...Do” She spun round and addressed a wide-eyed Fleur.

“From now on, you, madam, vill be vorking as a fashion star for I...Photo Finish!


“Yes, really” she huffed as if the answer was obvious “I believe you are...most adequate, madam. You have...ze magicks!”

Fleur got to her hooves “Well I...thank you so much, Miss Photo Finish. I’m glad I met your expectations”

“Yes, yes, very good, I congratulate you on your good fortunate, happy-happy joy-joy viz ze tvinkly-lights, yes” She held her hoof in the air and paused for a moment before continuing “Vhat...is your name?”

“Fleur, Miss Finish, Fleur de Lis”

“Ach yes!” That brought a smile to the photographer’s face “A most acceptable name for an icon. You vill go far, Miss Fleur” She gestured to an attendant who handed her a couple of forms.

“Answer any and all necessary details, send them to us within the week and we shall give you a full working schedule” She bowed and moved back into the crowd as Photo Finish turned to the exit.

“Ve are done here! Move!”

She and her crew positively marched out the building but not before she’d caught a word with the gentlecolt, who was mopping his brow with a handkerchief.

“I zank you for sending zis mare to me, Meister Fancy Pants”

“Oh ah...no trouble at all, I am tremendously grateful to you for accepting her”

“Rest assured, I...Photo Finish...vill help her shine across all of Eqvestria” She turned away and entered a pre-racing stance.

“I go!”

And the photographer and everypony with her were gone.

“Well...” Fancy Pants took a long exhale “That went...better than I expected. Are you alright, my dear?”

“Yes...Yes!” The gentlecolt stumbled back in surprise as the newly-accepted model wrapped her hooves around his shoulders and hugged him tight “Thank you! Thank you so much!”

“You’re not...put off?”

“Of course not!” Fleur nuzzled his snout with hers tenderly “I mean she’s a pain in the flank, that’s plain to see, but if she’s willing to give me a chance and put me out there on the covers, I can take it!”

Fancy took a moment to gaze at Fleur with admiration. She truly was a determined mare.

“That’s very good to hear” he said proudly.

Fleur brushed her mane in thought.

“So...where to now?” she asked.

“Well...I’m afraid I don’t have any reservations for today and...” Fancy’s face and tone curdled “Sir Cumbersome is planning another rally in the street this afternoon and I’d rather avoid that”

“If he’s that awful stallion who’s friends with the Magistrate, so would I”

There was another awkward pause which was becoming quite common between the two.

“Well, it’s a rather silly thought but...” Fancy said, trailing off.


“I just, ah...” He took a shot at it “If you’d like to have lunch at my estate...perhaps...I like to feel I keep a good dwelling, as it were, and I’m sure my household would be very welcoming toward you”

Of all the things about Fleur, Fancy Pants was certain that her smile was the most beautiful.

“I would like that very much” she said at last, taking one of his hooves in hers.

“What was that?”

Fleur gave Fancy a quizzical look.


“I just noticed...back before you asked where we were going, I do believe you were...posing”

“Oh, was I?” Fleur glanced around, embarrassed “Well I...I practice a lot in the mirror” She sighed “Fancy...I’m not going to lie...I have always been a bit...vain...most of the time...I just thought you should know”

“Fleur, don’t be like that” He gently tilted her chin up “We all have our flaws, even the best of us. And besides, if you are, as you claim, a vain mare, I’d say such feelings aren’t unreasonable”

Fleur stifled a giggle, blushing furiously.

“Stop it, Fancy, you’re such a flatterer”

“There you go, that’s my flaw, hardly my worst either” he chuckled “And besides, when we were at that garden party yesterday, I didn’t hear you once complain about ruining your hooficure on the grass or insects flying near your mane and that puts you very high on the ‘Most Modest And Considerate Models I’ve Met Thus Far’ list”

This time, Fleur could not help but giggle. Another thing Fancy loved about her. It was so light and lilting, like an early morning birdcall or a gentle wind-chime. He could listen to it all day.

'I might get the chance if she’s ticklish...Good Gracious! Fancy, you boob! You can’t just go around exercising such indecent thoughts! You’ve a position and image to maintain! Haul your mind out of the gutter at once, you ruddy twit!'

Both mare and stallion collected themselves, Fleur of her bout of giggles and Fancy of his flustered cluelessness.

“Sorry, we got rather carried away there” Fancy adjusted his monocle and smartened his mane “What were we saying?”

“I said I’d like to see your home”

“Ah yes. Come my dear, it’s not too far away”


The door to Invitro Manor was decorated with a mighty stained-glass mural depicting the Birth of Celestia and Luna.

Unknown to most however, on the other side of the door was a mural depicting the Banishment of Rememberly the Bonnycorn.

Commonly and, to many, rightfully depicted as an act of heinous betrayal, the banishment took place over ten thousand years ago, when a sect of paranoid, megalomaniacal aristocrats calling themselves the High Hooves, attacked Rememberly and her household, tortured her, drained her of her magic, murdered many of her friends and exiled her to the Wastelands far from Equestria and proceeded to rule with total cruelty and irresponsibility. Their regime lasted exactly a season before the three races of ponies, for perhaps the first time in history, put aside their differences and chased them off the seat of power before leaving the ruined former capital and beginning the foundations of the earth pony, pegasus and unicorn kingdoms.

But what was seen as treachery and tyranny by most was seen as a selfless act of honour and duty by ponies like Countess Magnifying Glass, privately sympathising the High Hooves and seeing them as rightful and conventional rulers of Equestria rising up against a freakish, delusional tyrant. The Countess, of course, would never voice such opinions to Celestia and her closest circle but then she never invited them over to Invitro Hall.

Irregular took note of both sides of the door as she entered the hall, the belongings she couldn’t bear to be without slung over her in her satchel. The butler, not the one knew when she was young, opened the door and presented her.

“Miss Irregular has arrived”

Eurgh! The freak’s come back!”

“I knew she would, she’s like a disease!”

Two mares made their way down the stairway to meet Derpy, or Irregular, as she entered.

Her cousins, Monocular and Binocular, the daughters of Countess Magnifying Glass and Lord Nitpick.

Monocular was sea-green-coated, black-maned and painfully thin whilst Binocular was eggplant-purple, ginger-maned and morbidly obese, or the other way round, Irregular often got confused. But the two sisters wore dresses of similar fashion but different colour and, of course, shape. Both of them possessed famously plain, fish-like visages which their excessive makeup only made look frightening.

Spoilt, stupid and spiteful, they had taken great joy in making their cousin's life miserable in her youth. It was not a habit they had grown out of.

They crowded round her and took part in their favourite activity, sneering.

“You thought you’d run away on your own did you?” Monocular sneered.

“You can’t take care of yourself! That was very stupid!” Binocular sneered.

“Almost as stupid as yoooouuuu!” They both sneered at once before cackling like a pair of hyenas.

Irregular kept her head down and tried her best to let their poor but never-ending and nonetheless hurtful insults wash over her as she adjusted herself to the memories of Invitro Hall.

She hated Invitro Manor. It brought back so many awful memories.

The manor was a grand sight, boasting the largest and most decorative windows in Canterlot, appropriately as Stained Glass had made his copious fortune in glasswork. Distinguished guests could always be guaranteed a warm welcome from Invitro Manor's residents and access to the finest luxuries available to the Glass household.

But when you were the one slaving over food, fabrics and furniture and being punished severely for failing so badly at it, things in Invitro Manor didn't seem so pretty.

“Where’s my aunt?” she asked quietly.

“Why do you think she wants to see your ugly face again?” Monocular sniggered.

“You should know she was very cross when you ran off” Binocular snorted.

“I know...but she wanted me back anyway”

“We don’t believe you”

“We’re not telling you”

“So...” A dry, humourless voice silenced all three young mares as Countess Magnifying Glass arrived in the main hall, her crop tucked underneath her foreleg.

“You received my little message?”

Irregular stared at the floor, tears squeezing out of her eyes as she admitted defeat.

“I’m here...my lady” she said in a monotone “I’ll do as you say...just...no more...don't hurt my friends...please...”

“That was the agreement” the Countess gave one of her hateful smirks, chilling her niece to the bone “You do as you’re told and keep out of sight and I will put aside all problems I have with Ponyville and anypony in it. For the benefit of our family, Irregular. You understand that, don’t you?”


“Excellent. And what did you do with your little...mishap?

Irregular paused and raised her head to face her aunt and cousins.

“You said I needed to keep it out of sight”

“Yes?” There was some amount of suspicion in her voice.

“Then I’m keeping it with me”

The Countess gave a start, wide-eyed, as Irregular removed her heavy satchel and turned it round. Safely tucked between her wings had been a bundle which she showed to them. A snoozing unicorn foal slowly opened its eyes and gazed round.

Yeeurgh!” Monocular spluttered, sticking out her tongue “The freak’s had a stupid little foal!”

“Oh it’s disgusting!” Binocular cried “You actually slept with somepony?! How dare you!”

“Irregular!” Once again, Magnifying Glass’s voice cut through the others “I thought I made abundantly clear that this thing was not to be paraded around with you!”

“I know” Irregular’s voice was devoid of emotion and peculiarly calm “I’ll do as you said and anything else you’re going to say. All of it. I won’t complain. And I won’t tell anypony...but I’m keeping my foal”

“Now you...you listen to me, you worthless creature!” The Countess brandished her crop, her face twitching with indignation “You are treading on very thin ice! I watched for four years as you turned our family into a laughing stock and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you do it all over again! I do not want anypony whatsoever to associate your foal with the Glass family”

“They won’t” Irregular interjected “I’ll keep her by my side, always, and I’ll keep out of sight as you asked”

The Countess started breathing heavily.

“You really are completely insane! I will burn your fetid little town if I have to, Irregular!”

“Then I’ll tell everypony” Irregular gave her aunt a glare that somehow seemed threatening even through her condition “I came here to protect the ponies I care about back in Ponyville but if my daughter gets hurt...or worse...then nothing will matter to me anymore. I’ll fly away where you can’t catch me but I’ll keep my name. I’ll say ‘I am Irregular of the Glass family. I am a clueless, clumsy mare and the rest of us Glasses are worse!’ I’ll have everypony in the world laughing at you for what I’ve done or hating you for what you’ve done. Because if I lose my foal...I really won’t care about what you can do to me”

The Countess’s nostrils flared and her crop shook in her magic grasp.

Monocular and Binocular both stared with shock at their cousin.

Irregular looked on, cradling little Dinky who was just becoming aware that they were far from home and was beginning to whine a little.

“You...” Magnifying Glass hissed “are a useless...selfish...manipulative...freak!”

“Then I guess we really are related” Irregular retorted.


Irregular’s head was thrown to one side as the crop lashed at her cheek. The mark felt wet and she could taste salt in her mouth.

But she would not cry.

She turned back to the Countess with loathing in her eyes.


The crop hit her again on the other side of the face.

She would not cry.

Magnifying Glass was staring before her, red in the face, shaking with rage and huffing and puffing like a worn-out buffalo.

“Fine!” she shrieked “Keep the little blasphemy! Do what you like with it! Put a crown on it for all I care! But never again show it or yourself to anypony! Do you hear me?!”

Irregular nodded blankly.

“Now get out my sight!” The Countess stormed off in the direction of the living room, followed by her daughters, but not before screaming out one last insult.

“You’re a disgrace! Just like your mother!”

Keeping her head down and her hooves wrapped around her precious filly, Irregular made her way to the room she’d stayed in before. Little more than a servant’s room, dusty, drab and unwelcome. Her maid’s uniform was laid out on the bed before her from where she’d left it three years ago. The place brought back every bad memory she had of the ten years she’d spent alone, afraid and unloved.

This was it. Defeat.

Irregular slowly trudged over to the bed, sat down and wept. She cried freely, eventually curling up in a foetus-like ball and quivered with sobs, turning her back to the room and staring at the wall.

Her life had been stolen from her. Just when she’d found its most precious gift.

Her foal.

Her little...


Irregular turned her head round with a gasp.

Behind her, Dinky was trying to climb over her, pawing at her shoulder.

Her eyes were wide and her lips were wobbling.

She looked so sad.

Slowly, Irregular turned over and took her foal in her forelegs.

She was the one thing she still had.

The one thing they would never take from her.

“Don’t worry, my little muffin” she said between her sobs as she held Dinky close.

“I won’t let anything go wrong”


Briefly Manor was a vast example of a house, more befitting of a castle with enormous wide wings and staggeringly-tall towers. The manor shone in the afternoon sun as it sat resplendent on the hillside, overlooking Canterlot’s bustling square. A pony could feel like a king looking out from Briefly Manor.

Every step Fleur took towards the manor, she reminded herself she was going to be let inside it by the stallion who lived there.

It was all she could do not to swoon.

A burly dark-blue stallion with a great blaze of ginger hair and beard nodded to the manor owner and his guest as he looked up from the lawn and rested a rake over his shoulder, a tartan beret on his head positively spinning with merriment.

“A guid noon to ye’ mae’ lord!” he chortled in a Trottish accent so thick you could cut it with a butter knife.

“Good afternoon, MacTrowel” Fancy Pants hailed with equal merriment “The garden is looking marvellous as usual”

“Thankee’ kindly mae’ lord!”

“I’ve told you not to call me that, old chap” the gentlecolt tutted.

“Ah cannae’ ‘elp it, mae lord! Like the auld ma’ter ‘afore ye, yer’ right lordly material. An’ ‘twere ye’ not, ye ruddy well should be, if fer’ nay better cause than tae make every high-nosed thief and liar in Canterlot grind their teeth an’ know the fear o’ Celestia, ye ken!”

Fancy Pants brayed with laughter at the Trotsteed’s drollness.

“Fleur, this is MacTrowel” He introduced his guest “My gardener, formerly employed by Stained Glass. He’s a hard-working soul and ever brimming with the good old Trottish charm. MacTrowel, my good stallion, this is Fleur de Lis, a budding model and a dear friend”

MacTrowel’s cheeks grew rosy as he smiled, bowed and respectfully topped his beret to the mare before him.

“Aye, a braw welcome tae’ Briefly Manor, mae lass! Ye’ll find it more than a wee gracious tae’ a bonny flower like yerself!”

“Thank you, sir. I look forward to it” Fleur said politely, not quite knowing what he’d said but certain it had been kind. As they continued up the path to the Manor’s entrance, Fleur wracked her memory.

“Stained Glass?” she asked Fancy “You mean he used to work at Invitro Hall?”

“Oh yes” Fancy Pants said, fondly remembering “Why I remember watching him march up and down the vegetable patches on Stained’s orders, never letting a single leaf on his lord’s precious cabbages get ruffled. He and many others resigned after Stained’s...departure” He spoke the word with unease “Whereupon my parents took them in. And Briefly Manor has been made all the more pleasant for it”

The great door was opened as a smiling brass-coloured stallion in a blue suit gave a small bow as they entered.

“Welcome home, sir...my lady” He gave the mare with his master a curious glance.

“Thank you, Ramekin” Fancy gave Fleur his hoof as she took in the sight.

Briefly Manor was as grand inside as it was out and near as fancy and friendly as its owner. A gilded masterpiece of an entrance hall greeted her eyes with a vibrant candelabra hanging from the ceiling and portraits of all sorts adorning the walls, though not of all them looked similar to the family that had overseen it. It was more of an art collection than anything else but an impressive one.

A statue of Laurelore standing before a kneeling stallion, a sword resting on his shoulders, stood in the middle of the hall, surrounded by the twin staircases from which an immaculately presentable butler was descending.

The butler was tall, silver-coated and possessed of a plum-purple mane partially hidden under a hat which was decorated with a blue, red and yellow striped ribbon. His suit was spotless and without a crease. The hat was removed politely as he revealed himself to be a unicorn, eggplant-purple magic levitating the hat above him with grace.

“How are we this afternoon, sir?”

“Heartily well, Tom. Me and my companion here were rather hoping lunch was in order”

“Indeed, sir. I shall go and inform the catering staff. Will milady be dining with Mister Fancy Pants this afternoon?”

“I’d like that very much, Mister...” Fleur waved a hoof meaningfully.

“Fleur, this is Tombola, my trusted butler and dear family friend. He’s served me well since my first days” He nodded to his steedservant admiringly “Tom, this is Fleur de Lis. We have recently begun a wonderful friendship and I was interested in showing her around”

“The household will be exceedingly glad to hear it, sir. I hope milady will enjoy her stay” he bowed “Lunch will be ready in around half an hour. Will sir or madam start with rolls or cheese?”

Fancy turned to his guest who was still taking in the sights of Briefly Manor.

“Oh um...” she thought a moment “Actually, if there’s time, I’d quite like a look around...if that’s not too much trouble”

“Not at all, my dear. Come, it’ll be my pleasure” He turned to his butler “Thank you, Tom. Let me know if anything crops up”

“Very good, sir”

Taking her through the manor would take half an hour at least as Fleur proved to be quite an inquisitive mare, wishing to know more and more about noble life and how Fancy Pants himself chose to live. From asking him how many ponies it could hold to why anypony would need a smoking room if Fancy Pants didn’t smoke, to which he realised he had no answer.

“I would find a use for this room if I ever did use it” he sighed “I’m afraid inheriting this castle wasn’t entirely of my own choosing, nor was it any of my family’s to be perfectly honest”

“I’d love to know what happened” Fleur said, admiring the decor.

“Well, if you really wish to know, my dear” Fancy began, taking a moment to polish his monocle “This castle was given to my family during the reign of Laurelore. My great ancestor was a second lieutenant in the Royal Guard called Knickerbocker”

Fleur gave a small chuckle before checking herself.

“Sorry” she mumbled “It’s a very nice name”

“I suppose it is a little silly” Fancy said, smiling “Still, it was a name he made famous. During the War For The Equis Blade, he was part of a regiment called the Gallivanters who led the charge into a dragon’s nest, slaying a thousand cave drakes tamed and used for warfare by the Princess’s enemies in the court” He sighed “Knickerbocker was the only survivor. The cave drakes killed every one of his comrades, including his elder brother, First Lieutenant Boxer Brief. For his valour and sacrifice, Laurelore knighted him, as that statue depicted, and gave him this castle after taking it from the treacherous Archduke Natrix. Knickerbocker named the castle Briefly Hall in memory of his brother and hung portraits of every one of his fallen comrades on the walls here”

He gestured to three portraits to the side of him, each one portraying a heroic-looking pony in a white and red guard’s uniform. Their names were inscribed in gold below their portraits.

Sergeant-Major Mulled Wine, a brawny, dark brown stallion with a bushy silver mane and moustache.

Private First-Class Blue Mink, a powder-blue blonde mare who couldn’t have been more than sixteen years old.

Corporal ‘Toasty’ Walnut Mjozi, an elegant-looking male zebra with a reddish-brown mane tied up in a ponytail.

All of them looked bright, ready and full of life. Fleur struggled to imagine how heartbreaking it must have been for Knickerbocker to lose so many treasured friends in the span of a single day.

Fancy Pants continued in a solemn tone.

“The horrors of war behind him, Knickerbocker married a dancer named Farthingale and after him came...more than several ponies right up until the century we find ourselves in now” They approached the entrance to the main bedchamber. Overlooking the door was a great portrait nearly the span of the wall.

A young couple looked down at them through painted eyes. A jet-black-coated, blue-maned stallion and a pearl-white-coated, fuchsia-maned mare, smiling as they held hooves, the mare’s belly full with child behind her dress.

Fancy Pants took a moment to stare up at it, his face filled with sobriety.

“My mother and father” he said as Fleur stared at them while walking over to Fancy’s shoulder “Petticoat and Pantaloon. A pony couldn’t ask for finer parents. They taught me everything there was to know in being a gentlecolt, a great deal about leadership and the responsibilities of nobility and quite a bit about magic”

“Well they were brilliant teachers” Fleur put a hoof on his shoulder “They must have been such good ponies to know”

“Indeed” The gentlecolt closed his eyes “Things were...quite wonderful...and then...” He sniffed suddenly and grimaced.

Fleur’s face fell with concern as she realised her beloved companion was relieving a terrible experience.

“You lost them?”

“No...” He paused “They were taken...”

The slim mare gave a small gasp.

“They were...”

“I was sixteen” Fancy Pants bowed his head, his voice starting to crack “I had an accident with my magic. I was sent to hospital. My parents and Tom were there for me until they got a message. Urgent council business apparently, couldn’t wait” He shut his eyes tight “They said they would be right back...but Tom and I waited for them long into the night...until we got the news...”

“Oh Fancy...”

“My parents...had been murdered..." he spoke as if he were in a trance "...on their way home...no-one found out who had done it or why...”

"Fancy I am so sorry” Fleur turned his head to face hers and gaze into his eyes “I...I see what you mean now. I’m very sorry, I must have seemed so insensitive when I said that noble life was fun”

“No, Fleur, it’s fine. Truly” Fancy managed a faint smile and held her hooves “I’m so sorry to get so forlorn” He shook his head “It just piles on you eventually. Old Tom’s always been there for me and Ramekin, MacTrowel and all the rest...but...”

“You’re lonely aren’t you” Fleur’s muzzle was inches from his.

He didn't need to answer as Fleur put her hoof to his lips.

“Don’t worry. I’m here for you whenever you need me” She beamed.

“I promise”

"Lunch is served, sir" Tom appeared in the doorway. Foregoing their potential embrace but still holding hooves, Fancy and Fleur made their way downstairs.


Derpy’s flat felt so empty, so devoid of charm and wonder and happiness, without the muddle-headed mare to look after it.

The Doctor sat staring into the dregs of his Celestial Coronation tea-mug as, for him, time passed slower than ever.

Mayor Mare, Lady Justice, Mrs Cake, Cheerilee and Colgate sat at the table, contemplating the loss of their local mailmare.

“There’s gotta’ be something we can do” Colgate said for the eighth time that night.

There was a pause.

The door opened as Nurse Redheart entered. It was rainy night and she came in soaking. Mayor Mare offered to hang up her coat but the Nurse was an independent mare and did so herself.

“You could pour me a drink though” she said in a jaded fashion “It’s been a hay of a day”

“How’s Carrot Top?” Cheerilee asked.

“She’s going to be fine. Her injuries were substantial but we’ve tended to them as much as possible. We give it a week at the most before she’s fully healed. Berry Punch is watching the garden until then”

“Berry Punch might be busy with her foal most of the time” Cheerilee thought aloud “I’ll help her out. I’m pretty good at gardening”

“Well, I got news from Tall Order and you’re not gonna’ like this” Redheart sat down with a cup of cider “The attacker? The Royal Guard arrived late afternoon at Ponyville Holding Station and found him dead in his cell”

“You’re not serious!” Mayor Mare stood up, wide-eyed.

“I checked on him just now” Redheart explained “Nopony saw or heard anything even though we definitely should have seeing as the mode of death was...pretty gruesome, I won’t give you the details. We’re going to have to examine the body”

“Are you absolutely certain the Glass family had something to do with this?” Colgate asked the Mayor “I mean the Countess is a complete nag by all accounts but assassination?”

“It wouldn’t be below her, let’s just say that” the Mayor said firmly “She doesn’t respond well to criticism” She turned to the Doctor “You said the attacker had a paymaster?”

“Yeah, a sort of job agent for mercenaries and assassins and a client service for those who need wet work done while keeping their hooves clean” the Doctor explained “Extra secrecy policy. You have a talk with the paymaster, the paymaster has a talk with the killer, leaving your name conveniently out of the details. They’re virtually untraceable unfortunately”

“I could’ve sworn you looked like you knew what he was talking about when he pointed to the barrel and the first aid kit”

“Look, I know you’re probably tired of hearing this...” the Doctor matched Redheart’s earlier jaded tone “But you’re better off not knowing”

Mayor Mare sighed. She was indeed tired of being kept out of the loop.

“All the while, Derpy was being forced to leave her home and family” Mrs Cake put down her teacup “You’re sure she’s headed back to Invitro Hall?”

“Positive” Lady Justice insisted “I received a letter from my friend Raven Inkwell, the council secretary. Derpy, or Irregular as they’re fond of calling her, was seen yesterday at Invitro Hall, unwillingly talking with Countess Magnifying Glass”

The Doctor put a hoof to his forehead.

So that was where she was the other day.

That was why she’d cried.

“Oh, I’m such a clod!” Mayor Mare groaned “That commitment she had. If I hadn’t destroyed it I could’ve used it as proof of the Countess’s abuse! I wasn’t thinking!”

“It’s not your fault, Merry” Mrs Cake interjected, laying a hoof on her shoulder “You wanted to protect Derpy. But...you can’t protect somepony who doesn’t want to be protected...”

“I just don’t understand why she’d want to go back!” Cheerilee said anxiously.

“She’s not in her right mind” Lady Justice assured herself, before gripping her temples “Darn it, Doctor, why didn’t you ever tell Derpy that you were Dinky’s father?!”

“I seem to recall you saying you wanted to keep Derpy’s time in maternity leave calm and relaxed” the Doctor said in an annoyed tone “And hey, I stayed to look after the foal just as she did. I practically was her father I just...” he grimaced “I just...I didn’t know how she’d react. Months of worry, of guilt, of regret and...quite a bit of pain, thanks to me...I...I didn’t want to lose her. I was frightened, alright?” He looked down at his mug again.

“I’m sorry...I just didn’t want to hurt her”

“It’s alright Doctor. I’m sorry I snapped. None of us were really thinking” Lady Justice said, sighing “How can we get ponies to know what’s really happened? The Countess wants her hidden away. She could even send her to the asylum again”

“If we had the power of custody of Derpy or Dinky, we would be able to at least contest for their care” Cheerilee pointed out.

“But Princess Celestia is the only pony in Canterlot who knows that the Doctor is Dinky’s father”

“Isn’t that a good thing?” Colgate asked.

“Not in this case” Mayor Mare said, shaking her head “I’m sure that the Princess would put a stop to the Glass family’s crimes but the Countess would enact a terrible retribution upon Derpy and her foal”

“Or the rest of us” the Doctor added “If the paymaster gets involved, things will get nasty. What happened to Carrot Top could happen to everypony in Ponyville”

“And nopony wants that” Mayor Mare finished.

“So what do we do?” Colgate asked again, exasperated.

“We need to plan this out carefully” Lady Justice explained “They’re watching Derpy like hawks and they could be spying on us too. If we’re going to get Derpy back home, we’ll have to wait for the right opportunity”

They hung their heads in unison.

Lady Justice took a sip of tea.

Mrs Cake sniffed forlornly.

Cheerilee sighed.

“I’ve got an idea!” Colgate jerked upwards. On cue, the ponies around her were all ears.

“What? What? Quickly! Let’s hear it!” They all cried.

“Alright, calm down” The azure dentist put her hooves together in thought “It’s a long-shot, I’m just gonna’ say it now, and it could go horribly wrong”

“Anything’s better than nothing” Mayor Mare insisted, leaning over to Colgate, her spectacles teetering on the edge of her nose.

“Well, I go to the School For Gifted Unicorns and so does Lyra Heartstrings. And I know several ponies around town who are Preparatory College Students. There’s an event in Canterlot that academics like us can attend at our leisure. We can find Derpy in Canterlot and once we’re certain she wants to come back, we can put in a good word to Celestia and bring her and the Doctor to meet with her face to face and get her to sort it out”

There was yet another pause.

“It’s just a thought” Colgate shrugged.

“I say let’s do it” Mrs Cake said firmly.

“Likewise” Cheerilee added.

Mayor Mare, Lady Justice, Nurse Redheart and the Doctor looked to each other with measured glances.

“It could end badly if the Countess gets wind of it” Redheart pointed out.

“We don’t need to tell Celestia anything that’ll get the law involved, a shame but for the best right now” Colgate summarised, putting her hooves on the table “We just tell her that Derpy’s able to take care of herself and her foal in Ponyville and that the Glass family’s guardianship is no longer required”

The Doctor puffed out his cheeks and stood up.

“I’m up for it. Celestia listens to me...we have a history” He eyed Colgate “But what event is this exactly?”

Colgate tilted her head in a gesture of calculation.

“An event not many of us look forward to, at least not after the last time we were there. And an event which Derpy might make very memorable”

She smiled.

“The Grand Galloping Gala”

Author's Note:

Thanks to everyone who's read, liked and commented on this story.
Sorry if it feels a little rushed. Any friendly advice is appreciated.
There's more to come, don't you worry.
Apologies if anyone found Fancy Pants's history a little excessive. I like Fancy Pants and I like history.
And I couldn't pass off the opportunity to name his ancestor 'Knickerbocker' :twilightsheepish:(I love punny names!)
Stay tuned for the events at the Grand Galloping Gala coming up.
The Doctor, the Mayor and friends are going to get even!

Comments ( 7 )

Stay tuned for the events at the Grand Galloping Gala coming up.
The Doctor, the Mayor and friends are going to get even!

And I cannot wait til they do!

That bitch won't know what hit her!

*rubs hooves together in sadistic glee*

7757308 I just thought it would appeal to the fanbase but it was a good opportunity to give him a bit more character.
Understand that he's not the actual Doctor Who turned into a pony, he's the Equestrian Equivalent of Doctor Who, he's been an equine all his life and shaped Equestrian history since the beginning.
Now he finds out he's a father. No running or forgetting. He's going to take responsibility and protect her from his past with the help of new friends and old.

The Doctor is dinky's father? Better and better!

7757353 Derpy's going to find that out in the sequel.
And the Doctor's going to tell the Countess exactly what he thinks of her.

7757353 Also, thanks for the watch, hope you like the sequel. :raritywink::raritywink::raritywink:

8173195 Yeah, I'm trying to characterise him quite a bit.
I've got him down as a 'Jokester' (Not Joker that's something...quite different) character who tries and fails to be the coolest colt around but it still, at the end of the day, a good friend and ally.
Shining similarly, for any shortcomings, does his platoon proud.
And what were you expecting? It's the Doctor. I'm not pulling any punches!

Don't forget childcare allowance!

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