• Published 8th Mar 2018
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Pound and Pumpkin Tales: The finale - Never2muchpinkie

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4. Aftermath

Pumpkin opened her eyes, blinking in the light. She let out a groan. She jumped a little as a hoof touched her shoulder.

“Hello, Pumpkin,” said the voice of Fluttershy.

Pumpkin turned her head to look into her eyes. “H-hey, Fluttershy,” she muttered, straining to get into a sitting position.

“How are you feeling?” she asked with concern.

She shook her head, rubbing her eyes. “Tired. I can barely keep my eyes open.”

“That’s not surprising, considering what you did.”

“What did I do?” she asked as she put her hooves down, then gasped as she remembered, suddenly feeling wide awake.

She jumped up. “Hold up! What’s going on? Why are we just sitting here? There’s a -”

“Calm down!” Fluttershy said sternly, to get her attention. In a softer voice she said, “Everything is fine.”

“FINE?” she yelled. “No, it’s not. There’s creatures everywhere, my parents might have been crushed, Pound was petrified-”

“PUMPKIN!” Fluttershy lifted her up, pulling her close. “It’s all over. Twilight took care of the bugs.”

“S-she did?” Vaguely she remembered seeing Twilight right before she passed out. “So… so Ponyville is safe?”

Fluttershy nodded. “Yes.”

Pumpkin let out a sigh of relief. She had made a difference, after all. That relief was immediately snuffed out. “But what about Pound? What about my parents and Auntie Pinkie?”

Fluttershy didn’t answer at first. She set the filly down, kneeling a bit. Pumpkin got the idea and hopped on her back.

As they left the room and went into the hallway she realized they were in the hospital.

“Those strange bugs had a venom in their tails that render a pony comatose. I know it’s horrible to think about, but according to Twilight they’re meat eaters, and that's how they get an easy meal.”

Pumpkin put a hoof to her mouth, gagging at the thought. “So they were gonna EAT my brother?” She felt like she might vomit.

“I don’t blame you for that reaction. I felt the same way.

“At first Twilight couldn’t find a way to undo the effects of the poison, but by studying the venom they used, along with Zecora’s help, they were able to find a cure. All the ponies that were petrified are being healed right now.”

Pumpkin let out a huge sigh of relief. “So then Pound is alive and okay?”

“Yes, though even with the cure it’s going to take a few hours before he has complete functionality back.”

“I can take that if it means I have him back."

"There were some friends of yours that were also keeping watch over you for a time, but when they heard that Twilight had developed a cure for their loved ones they decided to check up on their family, making me promise to keep you safe."

Pumpkin felt a heavy sensation. "Was it Blue Diamond and Storm Walker?"

"Yes, those were their names."

“So what about you? Did they come after you too, Fluttershy?”

“Oddly, no. I don’t know if they specifically wanted only ponies, as there were plenty of animals around my cottage they could have chosen to snack on, but my guess is they simply headed for a place where the ‘food’ concentration was greatest, and that would be the main part of town.

“When I heard all the commotion I gathered as many of my animals as I could inside my house, simply hoping I was far enough out of the way I wouldn’t be bothered.”

“Yeah, I thought you would be protecting your animals.”

“Applejack’s barn is also out of the way. Even so, Big Mac stayed behind to protect Granny Smith and Apple Bloom just in case they went over there.

“Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity were all part of the battle, but along the way all three of them were overwhelmed and petrified as well. Once everything was over I was asked to keep an eye on you until you awoke. From what I heard, a lot of ponies owe you their gratitude.”

Pumpkin blushed slightly. “I just… I wanted to be like Pound had always been for me.”

“That’s understandable.

“Ah, here we are.” She came to a stop by a door. As she put her hoof on the handle she said cautiously, “You might not like what you’re about to see.”

Pumpkin felt her heartrate increasing, but there was one thing she knew for sure: none of the three were dead. They couldn’t do medical treatment on a dead pony, so they wouldn’t be in a hospital bed if they had died.

She bit her hoof. She didn’t know if all three of them were in the room. Maybe only her mother had survived. Maybe only Auntie Pinkie had survived. She had to know. “O-okay. Open it up.”

Fluttershy opened the door, and Pumpkin shut her eyes tight, letting out a shuddering breath. “Hello, everyone,” said Fluttershy, trying to be cheerful.

Pumpkin twitched. Did everyone mean EVERY ONE? She opened her eyes, and she saw the three of them laid out side-by-side in evenly spaced intervals.

Her heart hurt, seeing the state they were in. All three of them were covered in casts. Of the three of them Pinkie looked the least injured. But as much as she hurt from seeing their injuries at least she knew they were all alive.

Pumpkin hopped off Fluttershy’s back, not knowing who she wanted to run to first. “Mom! Dad! Auntie Pinkie! I’m… I’m here!”

Carrot stirred, glancing down at her. He was wearing a breathing tube, so his words were a little muffled. “Hey there, Pumpkin,” he said slowly. “I’m glad to see you’re alright.”

Cup tried to move her head to look down at her daughter, but it only made her gasp in pain.

Pumpkin jerked at her mother’s cry, climbing up onto the bed. “Don’t strain yourself, Mom!” she said tearfully. “You’re hurt bad enough.”

Despite her injuries Cup still managed a tender smile. “I’m… so glad that you weren’t hurt.”

Pumpkin wanted so badly to hug her mother, but there didn’t seem to be a safe spot to do so. She didn’t want to cause her further injury.

She went to Pinkie next. “Pumpkin, it’s so good to see you,” she said, laughing a little before wincing.

“H-how?” Pumpkin asked, tears streaming down her eyes. “How can you be laughing, Auntie Pinkie? J-Just look at you. And Mom and Dad are even worse.”

Pinkie just continued smiling. “We’re all alive. You’re perfectly healthy, your brother is being unpetrified, and our broken bones will mend soon enough. That’s enough to put a smile on my face.”

Pumpkin sniffed, unsure of how to respond. Pinkie was right, but she still felt miserable. She still hurt deeply, unable to smile back.

Fluttershy walked up to her, putting a comforting hoof around her. “It’s during the hardest of times where we all have to put on our biggest smiles. Nobody died in this attack. Injuries will mend, and Ponyville can be rebuilt. Those creatures didn’t take away anything important, and all of us will grow stronger from this. Just like you did, Pumpkin.”

She hugged Fluttershy, quietly crying. “I… I know all that,” she said weakly, “but I still just feel like crying my heart out.”

“And that’s okay, Pumpkin,” said Pinkie. “Cry as much as you want. You had to be far more adult than any kid should have to be over the course of this invasion. Now… now it’s time to be a kid again, and let the adults take over.”

Her vision grew blurry. “I… I miss Pound. I wish he was here with us.” She felt so weak again.

Fluttershy picked her up and took her over to a chair by Cup’s bed. “Soon, Pumpkin. Until then just stay here with us and relax.”

She gulped. “O-okay,” she said, nuzzling up against Fluttershy as she let her emotions run free. At times she felt like she fell asleep, but she wasn’t sure if she actually did. She always found herself in the same place. She felt so drained.

She finally felt some energy when Twilight came to visit, bringing a now mobile Pound with her. “POU-” she started screaming, but bit her tongue to shut herself up. The last thing she wanted to do was cause her loved ones more aches by making them jump.

Pound still looked out of it as he sat on Twilight’s back, though he too got a little energy when he saw his sister hop out of the chair towards him.

Pumpkin’s horn shone as she lifted Pound off Twilight’s back and onto the ground, hugging him like her life depended on it. “I’m so… so glad you’re alive, Pound!”

Although he could move again his limbs still felt stiff, and it was hard to muster up the energy to return her hug. “I’m glad you’re alright, Pumpkin.”

Pound strained to crane his neck, looking at the hospital bed of his mother. “Is everyone okay?”

Pumpkin nodded. “Yeah. They’re pretty beat up, but they’re all gonna live.”

Twilight lifted Pound up in the air. “Your mother can’t move her neck right now, but I know she wants to see you.” She moved him so he was floating over Cup.

Pound gave her a kiss. “Hi, Mom.” Like Pumpkin, he felt some distress that he couldn’t seem to find a safe space to hug.

Cup kissed him back. “Come on, Pound. No tears now. Neither of you were badly hurt in this attack. That’s all I really care about.”

That didn’t stop his tears. “But you were, and that’s what I care about!”

“These bones will heal, but I don’t know if my heart ever would if you got taken out in this battle.”

His eyes clenched shut. He wanted to hug her so badly he couldn’t stand it.

After giving kisses to his father and Pinkie he was let down onto the floor. “So what happened?” he asked. “We thought you were dead.”

“That’s right,” said Pumpkin. “It looked like Town Hall fell right on you.”

“Sheer luck,” Pinkie said weakly. “The open part of the bottom is what landed over us, so the ground absorbed most of the impact.”

“What do you mean?”

Twilight said, “Think about turning a cup upside down and placing it over a plastic ball. If the cup was upright and you slammed it down you’d crack the ball. However, if you turn it upside down the rim of the cup hits everything around the ball instead.”

“Oooooh,” said Pound, understanding. “But if that’s what happened then why are all of them injured?”

“Because,” Twilight continued, trying to save the others from needlessly expending energy, “the higher something drops from the harder the impact when it finally hits the ground. When the top of Town Hall landed on the ground most of the impact went into the ground, but that wasn’t enough to completely stop it. It was so heavy that its own weight caused it to shatter when it hit the ground.

“The three of them were buried in the rubble when I got to them, along with a couple of other ponies. All of them were badly hurt, but thankfully no one died. It’s truly a miracle.”

Twilight’s eyes faded out as she sighed. “Why did it have to be today of all days that Princess Celestia had to call me to Canterlot? When Ponyville needed me most I wasn’t around. Some princess I was.”

“Hey!” Pumpkin said sharply. “Don’t blame yourself for what happened. You had another princess duty you were taking care of. It wasn’t like you were napping in the castle.”

She ran a hoof through her mane. “A part of me understands that, but the other half makes me feel like I didn’t care about Ponyville’s safety.”

“How can you say that, Twilight?” asked Fluttershy.“Of course you do.”

“Cadance has the Crystal Heart to act as a defense when she leaves town. Celestia and Luna have hundreds of Royal Guards. I’m the only alicorn that didn’t have countermeasures set up in case of an invasion.”

“So what?” asked Pound. “Now you know better for next time.”

Twilight looked between the twins, a tear running down her eye. “Why are you talking like this? Just look at your parents. Look at how bad their injuries are. Why aren’t you furious with me?”

Pound walked over to Twilight and hugged her. “Because we love you, Twilight!”

Pumpkin did the same. “You might have been late, but you saved all of us. It would have taken forever for a regular pony to lift up the rubble and get our family to safety.

“Just like you said to us a while ago, every pony makes big mistakes. Even alicorns and princesses.”

“And you remember our entry in the friendship journal? You feel bad about what happened, so you’re still a good pony.”

Twilight sighed, holding the twins to her. She still felt guilty, but the twins supported her. And she knew her friends did too.

It was a learning experience. Even though no one had died the cost was still too high. She wouldn’t make the same mistake again.

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