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

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5. Twilight's offer

Discord poofed inside Fluttershy’s house, calling out the mare’s name. He didn’t get an answer.

“That’s odd. She’s usually home at this time.” He shrugged. “Sorry, Mayhem. She seems to be out right now.” He felt discontent emanating from the baby draconequus. He let out a small sigh. “Oh, fine. I’ll go looking for her.”

He searched around the second floor and the property outside, but all he saw were frightened looking animals. He put a claw to his chin.“Well, if she’s not at home then she’s either with her friends or doing some business with the Cutie Map.”

He teleported over the top of Ponyville to see if he could spot her outside, and his eyes bugged out. Countless buildings were damaged and there was bug carcasses and slime everywhere.

Terror came from Mayhem, but while Discord felt fear as well it was mixed with anger. Things were quiet, so whatever had happened was already over, but if anyone had hurt Fluttershy he would hunt down those creatures to the last one.

He split himself into a hundred mini-Discords, each about half the size of Mayhem, and all of them scattered around Ponyville looking for any sign of his dearest friend.

One of the Discords decided that the most obvious place to look was the hospital. If an invasion happened then surely some ponies were injured. Fluttershy’s cottage hadn’t been damaged like some of the others, but even so Fluttershy was the type of pony that would want to check up on the wounded.

It didn’t take long racing around the halls until he heard her sweet voice. He summoned his other selves and reformed into one draconequus again before racing into the room.

“Fluttershy!” he called out, making all of them look at him.

“Oh, Discord!” she responded.

He poofed in front of her, staring at her. He moved to her side, lifting her wing, then moved down and examined her legs.

“Don’t worry,” she said quickly. “I wasn’t hurt. Some of the others weren’t so lucky.”

Discord quickly looked over at the hospital beds carrying Cup, Carrot, and Pinkie. “I’m not worried about them!” he said, barely giving them a glance as he snapped his claw, then pulled her eye open wider. “How are you? Are you thirsty? Hungry? Talk to me.”

“I’m fine!” she insisted.

Cup felt all the pain in her neck vanish. She moved her head all around. Her whole body felt better, and she had free reign of her limbs again. As she sat up she looked at Discord fretting over Fluttershy.

“Mom!” said Pound with concern. “What are you doing? You’re hurt!”

“Not anymore,” she responded, hopping off the bed and putting her hooves out. “Now I want that hug.”

The twins made the connection of Discord’s finger snap and their families healed injuries, and started bawling as they ran to their mother, hugging her tight.

It didn’t take long for Carrot and Pinkie to do the same.

“Thank you, Discord,” Twilight said sincerely.

Discord finally accepted Fluttershy’s twentieth declaration of being fine. He let out Mayhem, who clung to her in relief as he finally looked at Twilight. “Sheesh, what happened? How long does it take to wipe out an infestation of bugs?”

Twilight got a sheepish look on her face. “I wasn’t here when it happened.”

“At one of your precious princess meetings, huh?” He rolled his eyes. “Alright, I’m feeling generous. I’ll clean up your mess, Twilight.” He lifted up his arm and snapped. “Honestly, I don’t know what you ponies would do without me.”

“What did you do?” she asked, not seeing any immediate result.

“What do you think I did? I fixed Ponyville for you.” He got in her face, smirking widely. “Does it bother you, Twilight, that I render you obsolete?”

Twilight looked away, shaking her head. “Hardly. You have ability, but not the right attitude.” Turning back to him she gave him a respectful bow. “I truly thank you for your help, though.”

As Twilight stood up Discord said, “I could easily do your job if I wanted to.” He started filing his claws. “I just like to leave something for you lesser beings to do.”

“Doubtful,” she replied, “but I’m not here to argue this point with you.”

“Hey, everyone!” Pumpkin said as she broke away from the group hug. “I have cool powers like Discord too now.”

Twilight looked over at her. “That’s not possible. What with taking care of the invasion, pulling ponies out of the rubble, and finding a cure, I've been running myself ragged for the past few hours. But I do vaguely recall the stallion that was with you asking me to take care of your safety for saving him and a few others. I also remember that you were right in front of those things before you passed out. I have to admit I'm curious to see what you discovered during this invasion."

“Well… it’s nowhere near Discord’s level, but it is true.”

Everyone was looking at Pumpkin now. “What do you mean, Pumpkin?” asked Pound.

Pumpkin moved to the middle of everyone. “Check this out!” With fear, adrenaline, and instinct driving her, accessing her magic had been easy. Now it felt like she really had to concentrate. She closed her eyes, focusing on her magic.

Twilight watched Pumpkin carefully. Saying she had magic comparable to Discord’s was a bold claim, especially since the filly actually once had Discord’s power over the course of an afternoon.

Out of her horn came three spheres of magic about the size of her head, surrounding her in a circle.

“Is that it?” asked Pound. “You can make magic balls? Boring.”

“No, you dolt!” she said, annoyed. Turning to the draconequus she said, “Discord, can you create a wooden box, a cake, and a target?”

Discord was intrigued. “Why not?”

He created a table, then put the three items she asked for on it.

The three spheres moved in front of her side by side, then changed into a knife, a mallet, and a bow and arrow. The knife cut the cake, the mallet smashed the box, and the bow and arrow hit the target.

“Oooh…” Twilight was genuinely impressed. If Pumpkin could change her magic to whatever she desired then her potential was almost unlimited. She could be wrong, but at first glance it seemed like Pumpkin’s magic was only restrained by her imagination, or lack thereof.

Carrot blinked. “So, wait… you can make literally anything with your magic?”

Pumpkin shrugged. “I don’t know. The only thing I do know is that so far anything I’ve wanted it to change to it has. I’m sure there has to be some limit, though.”

“Mmm,” Discord said, crossing his arms with a smirk. “Well, well, that is quite an impressive bit of talent. And to think it came from someone with such a… mundane family line.”

“Discord!” Fluttershy spat out angrily, giving him a gentle slap in the back of the head. “That’s extremely rude.”

“What?” he said innocently, though he didn’t lose the amusement in his eyes. “I’m just saying that, for only having one other unicorn in their gene pool, it’s interesting that Pumpkin’s got such strong magic, is all.”

He turned away with a note of discontent. “Why, it’s almost like you think I’m looking down on earth ponies or something. Accusing me of such baseless racism makes you rather rude yourself, hmm?”

He looked at her out of the corner of his eye, the smirk back on his face.

Fluttershy rolled her eyes. “I can never tell with you.”

“Oh, come on now. I helped your friends and your town. With nothing left to fret over why waste time being all serious?”

Cup sat on her hospital bed. “As annoying as you can be I can’t exactly disagree. I thought for sure it’d be months before I could move around and embrace my children.” She stretched her legs out, moving her body left, then right. “I’m alive and well and so are my children.” She smiled as she looked out the window. “That’s enough for me.

“And I’m very proud of you, Pumpkin. Your unique magical gift is very amazing indeed. Discord’s assertion isn’t exactly wrong. Both Carrot and I only have one relative apiece with pegasi and unicorn blood. I’ve always considered it a happy miracle that both of those traits came out in our first children. For Pumpkin to have such strong magic on top of that is very impressive.”

“See?” said Discord. “She gets it.”

Fluttershy let out a gentle sigh. “Okay, okay.”

Cup beckoned her children over, and they both climbed up onto the bed with her. “So now, I think it’s time for the two of you to tell us your story. What happened after Town Hall dropped on us?”

Pound blushed slightly. “I was useless,” he said in a small voice. “I couldn’t keep my promise. One of those bugs attacked me and froze me. I barely protected Pumpkin at all.”

Cup smiled at him. “I know you,” she said. “They didn’t get you. You let yourself be attacked to keep Pumpkin safe, didn’t you?”

A hint of a smile crossed Pound’s lip before he frowned again. “Yeah, but after that Pumpkin was all on her own.” A tear came down his cheek. “Now Pumpkin has some magic that lets her do anything. She’s never gonna need me again.”

“You’re wrong, Pound,” said Pumpkin. “You’re the only reason I got through all of this.”

“I know,” he said sarcastically. “I helped you one time. Big whoop. After that you did just fine on your own.”

“You’re wrong,” she said again, slowly shaking her head. She grabbed one of his hooves, setting it on top of her own. “You were with me throughout all of this. Right from the start until the very end.”

Pound just stared at her, and she could tell he was fighting the urge to roll his eyes.

She turned to Discord. “Discord, could you help me again? I want to show you all a memory.”

“Why not?” he said, He floated on top of her, drawing a box with a finger that hovered on top of her head.

They saw things from Pumpkin’s perspective, of Pound going down after being attacked and becoming petrified.

“After you went down I was terrified,” said Pumpkin. “But then…”

As the bug creatures came for her next they could hear her still calling out for his protection.

Pound’s stomach burned.

Her memory had gone dark when she closed her eyes in fright, but when it opened again all of them gaped.

A pure blue Pound was standing in front of her, the electricity passing harmlessly around him. Then he lifted his hoof, a magic sphere turning into a sword that cut up the rest of the bugs.

As the memory faded Cup asked in a flabbergasted tone, “What happened to Pound? Twilight told us he was petrified by those things. How did he get up? And why was he blue? And how did he use magic?”

“That wasn’t Pound,” said Twilight. “That was his ‘shadow.’ ”

“His shadow?” asked Pinkie.

Twilight nodded. “The coloration matching Pumpkin’s magical aura, the orb that turned into a weapon… it’s obvious that that Pound was simply a construct of Pumpkin’s magic.”

“But why?” asked Pumpkin. “I don’t get it. I didn’t make it take that form or attack the bugs. It just did that on its own."

Twilight grinned. “I think it’s quite simple. Your magical talent awoke in a high stress situation. All alone, Pumpkin thought of the pony that embodies strength and courage for her. So Pound was on your mind when you first cast the spell, and it automatically protected you.”

“I get what you’re going for, but it still doesn’t make sense,” said Carrot.

“Oh? Why not?”

“Because Pumpkin’s magic takes on the characteristics of the things she creates. And as great as Pound is he’s certainly not lightning proof.”

“Quite right,” Twilight replied, nodding. “However, what she created wasn’t literally Pound. She created the image of Pound she has in her heart. For Pumpkin, Pound represents protection from bad things, so when she called forth his image she also imbued it with a shield spell.”

Pound felt a little awkward as Pumpkin hugged him.

“You see?” she asked. “You protected me. I was still kinda scared after that, but then I saw a little filly being attacked by one of them, and I knew I wanted to protect her the same way you always did for me.

“And that’s not all. Maybe it was just in my mind, but I heard your voice too.”

“My voice?” he asked.

“Yeah. Whenever I started to feel overwhelmed it was like I could hear your voice talking to me and encouraging me. Your body might have gone down, but your heart and your soul was with me. We protected those ponies together. It was our victory.”

Pinkie beamed. “Twins until the very end.”

Pound hugged her back. “I guess I sure saved your butt, huh?”

Pumpkin rolled her eyes. “Yep.”

“Twilight said something like that once. She told me that I could help you by setting a good example.”

“Well, you sure did. I went around and got as many ponies to the castle as I could. At the end, though, they were just too many to fight. If Twilight hadn't shown up when she did..." She didn't need to finish.

Pound nodded. "I know. All of you would have been bug food."

Twilight had a thoughtful look on her face. “Hey, Pumpkin?”

The twins broke apart. “Yeah, Twilight?”

“That magical ability of yours is incredible. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before.”

Pumpkin grinned proudly. “Thank you! And?”

“Well…” She hesitated, looking uncertain. “That power of yours, once you properly master it, can easily be used to change the world.”

Pumpkin blushed. “I wouldn’t go that far.”

“I would. What would you say if I told you… that I wanted to recommend you a spot in Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns?”

Everyone stared at Twilight in amazement. Pumpkin’s eyes were bugging out of her head. “WHAT?” she cried out in disbelief. “Are you kidding me?”

Twilight shook her head. “Not at all. I meant what I said. The adaptability and usefulness of your magic is a sight to behold even right now, with what you’ve already accomplished with it. With a few years of hard study in learning to master that power I can easily see you becoming one of the most powerful unicorns of your generation.”

Pumpkin just stared at Twilight, lost for words. She was honored beyond measure that Twilight thought that she deserved to go to the same school she learned to master her magic.

“Hold on a second!” said Pound. “You’re saying you want Pumpkin to move to Canterlot?”

Twilight shook her head. “Oh, not at all. I can enchant an object with a teleportation spell to get Pumpkin back and forth from home to school. Worst comes to worst a teacher has to do the spell for her.”

“B-but... but what about me?”

“I’m sorry, Pound, but unlike Magic Kindergarten, Celestia’s school is exclusively for unicorns.”

“That’s not what I meant! Who’s going to protect Pumpkin? She’s going to be around a bunch of extremely skilled unicorns that are probably going to look down on her for being from Ponyville. Or jealous that a ‘common’ pony has so much talent.”

“Pumpkin can always say ‘no’ if she’s afraid. I just think that her magical potential is so great that it would be a waste to learn magic in a regular school.”

Pumpkin was in two minds. “Do you actually think I could fit in at the same school you went to, Twilight? It’s really a great honor that you think I’m that talented, but I don’t think Pound’s wrong.”

“I can’t promise that everyone will like you, but you have a love of learning. I think you’d fit in just fine.

“I do have to mention, though, that I can’t enroll you in the school myself. You’d have to pass an entrance exam and be judged by four or five examiners.”

Pumpkin felt a little dizzy. She put a hoof to her forehead, “This is all too much to take in at once.”

“I understand. Take your time and let me know when you’ve made a decision.”

Author's Note:

Well, here's another reason I put this off for so long. The twins going to different schools largely takes the 'and' out of Pound AND Pumpkin tales. Of course there's still after school time for adventures, but like most twins i feel they work best together. The change in dynamic is just too great.

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