• Published 9th Nov 2017
  • 1,787 Views, 62 Comments

Tracks in the Sand - DwarvishPony



Pinkie Pie discovers friendship amidst the ruins of Canterlot.

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Chapter 4

Staying a night in the train station bled into two, then a week. By the third week, the two of them had fallen into a pleasant routine.

“I’m back!” Pinkie called out, plopping her backpack down on the floor of the train car that had somehow become hers, stripping off her jacket and scarf and dumping them next to the backpack. “Sunset?”

Footsteps echoed off of metal as Pinkie made the short journey to Sunset’s car. “Sunset?” She caught a glimpse of red and gold through a gap in the cushion mound on the other girl’s bed. “Are you in a pillow fort again?”

“It helps me focus.”

“But how can you read in there?”

“Sunlight.” A hand poked out and pointed out a shaft of light illuminating the inside of Sunset’s fortress

“Why not flashlight?”

“I don’t like it as much.”

Laughter penetrated the fluffy walls of Sunset’s fort. “You’re funny, you know that?”

“Right, funny. How was I being funny?” The sound of a book closing heralded Sunset’s emergence from her haven.

“I dunno. You’re just always super serious and stuff, and it’s fun.” Pink hair bounced as Pinkie shrugged.

Sunset’s brow furrowed. “Me being serious is fun?”

“It’s just you being you. I like it when you’re you.”

“I’ll… take your word for it.” A sigh escaped Sunset. “When did you get back, anyway?”

“Just now. I found a lot of that stuff you asked for.” Pinkie jogged away, returning with her backpack. She started pulling out a bunch of medical equipment and piling it on Sunset’s dresser. “What do you need this for?”

“I’m trying something new.”

“With the portal thing? Are you gonna try and make it better? Is it sick? Can portals get sick?” Pinkie rubbed her chin in thought. “Maybe it’s the horse part that’s sick?”

“No, it’s— nevermind.” Sunset frowned. “I’m gonna set things up. Can you make dinner tonight?”

“Sure! What’ll it be? I have soup or noodles.”

“Whatever’s fine.”

“Okie Dokie!” Pinkie twirled once, picking up her backpack in one fluid motion and half-skipped to the makeshift kitchen she’d set up.

Jubilant humming filled the air as Pinkie set about the arduous task of boiling water for the instant noodles. Sunset liked the noodles more than she did, so Pinkie was fine with letting her have them. Besides, Gummy liked soup. Maybe this time he’d smell the soup and come home.

A frown snuck up on Pinkie and made itself at home on her face as she remembered her friend. Gummy had been showing up less and less over the last few weeks, and Pinkie had started to worry that each time she saw him would be the last time. Gummy wouldn’t just leave without saying goodbye, though.

Would he?

Pinkie shook the thought from her head, focusing all her attention on the task at hand. Sunset joined her as she finished cooking.

“Dinner is served, madame.” Pinkie bowed her head cordially, adopting as fancy an accent as she could manage.

“Why thank you, Pinkamena. What a lovely meal you’ve prepared tonight.” Sunset replied without missing a beat.

“It was my pleasure.” Pinkie bit back a laugh, but it wasn’t enough. Soon enough, both girls were giggling madly.

“Thanks for cooking, though.” Sunset chuckled, wiping her eye with a bandaged hand.

“What happened to you?” Pinkie asked around a mouthful of food.

“Nothing. Trying something new for opening the portal and I cut myself.”

“Trying to use rocks again?”

“No, I mean I cut myself to try something new.” Sunset shifted uncomfortably.

“You did it on purpose?” Pinkie’s brow furrowed. “What kind of magic makes you hurt yourself?”

“Erm… blood magic.” Sunset mumbled.

“Oh. Okay, then. Just try not to hurt yourself too much. Sand in a cut hurts super bad.”

“Wait, that’s it?”

“Yeah?” Pinkie swallowed another mouthful of food. “Why wouldn’t it be it?”

“Well, in Equestria, there’s some magics that aren’t looked at very kindly. They’re considered evil since, well, since evil people use them. Blood magic is pretty high up on that list of bad magic.”

“So why are you doing it?” Pinkie asked as she started cleaning up after the meal. “Are you gonna be all evil? Ooh, maybe you’ll turn into a sexy demon lady! That’d be neat.”

“Yeah… no. There’s actually a lot of different cultures in this world that believe that there’s a special sort of magic in blood. As it so happens, I come from a world of magic, so I literally have it in my blood.”

“Because you’re actually a unicorn?” Pinkie pointed out.

“Yeah— wait, I didn’t tell you that.” A look of confusion passed over Sunset’s face.

“Yeah-huh. You said your mask was you, and it’s a unicorn. So I figured you were one, too.” Pinkie shrugged like it was the most sensible thing in the world.

“Oh.” Sunset lowered her wide-eyed stare to the floor. Pinkie could hear the gears turning in the woman’s head from her seat. “Anyway,” She said slowly, “I cut my hand to see if it would have any effect on the portal and, well, it did! It wasn’t much, just a few sparks, but it was something. I think with more blood, I might be able to force the portal to open.”

Sunset was adamant now. She was on her feet, gesticulating wildly as she explained the details of the ritual and the reaction of the portal. Pinkie merely smiled and nodded as she listened.

It was nice seeing Sunset so animated. Usually she was the one taking the lead in the conversation. It was a good change of pace.

“... I shouldn’t be doing it, but I’ve tried almost everything— What?” Sunset stopped, peering down at Pinkie.

“What, what?”

“You’re smiling.” Sunset folded her arms in front of her and raised an eyebrow at Pinkie. “I’m explaining the intricacies of a forbidden magic that would, at the very least, get me thrown in jail back in Equestria, and you’re smiling about it.”

“It’s just really nice to see you excited about something.” Pinkie smiled up at Sunset and yawned. “It’s cute to see you like this.” She stood and started shuffling over to her train car. “I’m going to bed, Sunny. G’night.”

“Oh, okay.” A red-faced Sunset waved a hand goodnight. “‘Night, Pinkie.”

***

Pinkie couldn’t sleep. Every time she tried, she felt like she needed to move. She was restless, like every nerve of her body were all tingly. Grudgingly, she hauled herself out of bed and over to the bathroom, where Sunset had jury-rigged a shower by attaching one of those shower heads with one of those hoses to a sink with copious amounts of duct tape.

She stripped out of her PJ’s and started rinsing off. The cold water bit at her skin, washing the last vestiges of sleep down the drain. A wordless song filled the air as Pinkie relished the cold against the dull heat of the night.

The shower ended too soon, but Pinkie stepped out and quickly dressed, wrapping her soggy hair in her shirt to dry. Footsteps echoed through the station as Pinkie quickly ducked into her room to avoid embarrassment. Once she’d retrieved a fresh shirt, she wandered, finding sleep to be an elusive companion tonight.

A strange calm had settled over the night. The usual sounds of wind and the occasional animal baying had been replaced with a stillness that made Pinkie’s skin crawl. “It’s just in your head, Pinkie,” she chastised herself, “nothing to be afraid of. Just gotta giggle, remember?”

Pinkie didn’t giggle or chuckle or even smile. Instead she hugged herself, trying to stave off the chills that ran down her spine. Up ahead, a faint glow caught her eye.

The light had come from the station’s atrium. Brief flashes of light that faded quickly. Somebody’s frustrated groan broke the quiet of the night.

“Sunset?” Pinkie stepped around the horse statue to find Sunset panting heavily on her hands and knees. “Are you—” A gasp escaped the girl as she clapped a hand of her mouth in horror.

Blood.

There was blood everywhere, coating the ground and the base of the statue in front of Sunset. The pale girl looked up at Pinkie through teary eyes. “It won’t work...”

Sunset crawled forward and grabbed at Pinkie’s shirt. Crimson blossomed through the fabric, making it cling uncomfortably to Pinkie’s skin.

“Sunny, what are you doing?!” Pinkie hoisted Sunset up onto shaky feet. “We gotta get you fixed up!” She threw Sunset’s arm over her shoulder, half-carrying, half-dragging the injured girl towards the bathroom.

“Didn’t work,” came the weak reply. “not enough blood.”

“Stay here!” Pinkie lowered Sunset onto the tiled floor and ran off, returning with an armful of medical supplies. “Okay, I’m gonna get you patched up. I’m really sorry about this, Sunny.”

Pinkie set about removing Sunset’s shirt with a pair of scissors, revealing a number of cuts along the length of her arms. “Oh, this isn’t good.” Pinkie chewed her lip, doing her best to staunch the bleeding with bandages and medical tape. Too soon, the first bandages were ruined, rendered useless by the weight of the blood staining them.

They were discarded and replaced as quickly as Pinkie’s shaky hands could manage.

Dawn came and Pinkie slumped against the wall. Sunset was still breathing, and the bleeding had miraculously stopped, for the most part. Even so, Pinkie didn’t dare move her from where she lay.

“I’ll take care of you Sunny, just hang in there.” Pinkie sniffled and blinked away tears. “Don’t die, pretty please?”