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

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7. True strength

Pumpkin was sitting on her bed. Twilight, someone who had once been the student of Celestia herself, thought her talents were worthy of being tested by some of the most powerful unicorns in the world.

It was the greatest honor Twilight had ever bestowed on her, but she didn’t know if she was worthy of such prestige.

Pound was sitting on his bed as well. Pumpkin hadn't said anything when he came in, which he took as a good sign. He knew he had to give her a little space, so he went to his bed to leave her be for a while. Unfortunately, that only got his own mind going as he also remembered Twilight's offer.

He and Pumpkin had never been too far apart. Sure, they could fight with the best of them, or go visit their friends, but it was always temporary. What Twilight was proposing would mean they’d never be able to see each other in school again. If Pumpkin passed her entrance exam then she’d be leaving them all behind.

Deep inside he knew that wasn’t the case. They’d only be apart during school hours. They already didn’t share half the school day together, but once their unicorn and pegasi classes were over they’d meet up for lunch and be together the rest of the day.

Even though he’d have Pumpkin after school he was still worried about being apart from her for so long. If she was having a bad day then who would comfort her? She’d either have to bear it alone or find someone new to share her heart with. Neither prospect filled him with joy.

A part of him knew he was being selfish. Pumpkin had helped to rescue a number of ponies from the bug creatures. Her magic would only get stronger as she trained and grew up. Twilight thought her power could help save the world. Who was he to stand in the way of her potential and put lives at risk? The question hurt, but he still didn’t want to give her up.

Another part of him knew that he had been a little jealous of Pumpkin since they had started school. She seemed more talented than him in everything, and it hurt to see her becoming better than him. That part wanted Pumpkin to fail her exam. That part wanted her to always rely on him.

He glanced over at Pumpkin, who looked uncertain and deep in thought. Pumpkin had said that it had been his influence that had allowed her to overcome her fears. Pumpkin looked to him for strength when she was afraid. Now, at this crucial point in her life, he needed to be stronger than he’d ever been before. If he wanted to be worthy of the faith she put in him and continue to be an inspiration to her he had to put his own feelings aside to do what was best for her.

He scooted to the end of his bed, every instinct telling him to turn back, but he pressed on regardless. He climbed up onto her bed and sat next to her.

Pumpkin didn’t even notice him until he put a hoof around her. She jerked, taking a few moments to realize what had happened. “Pound,” she said quietly.

“Pumpkin…” His mind was yelling at him to keep his mouth closed, but again he ignored it. “Pumpkin, I think you should take Twilight’s offer.”

Pumpkin’s eyes widened, and then she looked away. “You don’t mean that,” she said quietly.

“Yes… I do.”

“No, you don’t! I know you, Pound. How many times have you said that you’re afraid that I’ll stop looking up to you as my hero? Not a lot is gonna happen at home that you’d have to be heroic for. I know you feel like you’re gonna be replaced if we’re going to different schools.”

Pound nuzzled her cheek with his. “Other ponies might be able to help you, but after what you said today I know I’ll never be replaced by them. I don’t want us to be apart, but-”

“And you think I want to be?” she asked roughly, pulling away from him. “Twilight is crazy!” She hopped off her bed, starting to pace around. “I’m just some bumpkin unicorn from some low-class town who just so happened to discover a useful spell.

“I’m pathetic! I’d never pass the exam. They’d just laugh me right out of the testing room.” She looked on the verge of tears.

Pound hopped off the bed as well, hugging her around the neck. “Twilight doesn’t think so. If she didn’t think you could take it she never would have made the offer.”

“SO WHAT? Twilight hasn’t been to that school since she moved to Ponyville. She has no idea if they’ve changed the rules.

“I’m not strong enough for this! I’m just a loser! I’m nothing special!” She quietly sobbed, tears falling to the floor.

Pound grabbed her head, looking her in the eyes. “I think you certainly are! And there are plenty of ponies that you saved that would agree with me.

“You’re stronger than you think you are, Pumpkin.”

Her eyes clenched shut. “No, I’m not. I’m a total weakling that can’t do anything without you!”

A flush of guilt ran through Pound at his joy of hearing that, which only made him more determined. “Pumpkin, I’m only an inspiration for you. I was petrified when you fought so hard. The one who saved those ponies, who kept going back out to save more, and fought to the end was you. You, and only you.” Releasing her, he turned around.

“Pumpkin… I used to think that we made each other stronger. We were twins, and we always fought together. When we ran away from home you were right by my side.

"Now, though… I feel like we’re making each other weaker.”

That got Pumpkin’s attention. “What do you mean, Pound?” she asked, wiping her eyes.

“Just now, when you said that you felt like you couldn’t do anything without me, it made me feel so happy. A part of me…" He took a deep breath. "A part of me wants you to always fail. A part of me wants you to be a pathetic loser.”

Her eyebrow went up. “Why? How could you say that?”

“I want you to fall so that I can catch you. I want you to be a weakling that has to rely on me so I can feel special. And that’s because I feel like a weakling myself. That’s why… that’s why I want you to leave. I don’t think that I’m ever going to be truly strong until I take the training wheels off and go it alone.

“Twilight said I set a good example for you to follow, but it’s still not enough. If you’re going to look up to me then I want to be the strongest me I can be, so that way I can inspire you to be the strongest you that you can be.”

“Pound…” Pumpkin couldn’t deny that they were very invested in one another. They had been born just a few minutes apart, and had been near inseparable since then. When they weren’t angry at each other they were an unstoppable team.

A part of her knew that what he was saying was true. She just didn’t want to accept it. If, by chance, she actually did get accepted, it would mean a large change in her life. It would mean sky-high expectations, being unable to see her brother most of the day, and having to start over in making friends.

She feared that the Canterlot kids would be smug and arrogant, especially once they learned where she came from. Worse, she feared letting it infect her. She feared becoming snooty and looking down on her family for being “normies.”

There was also the question of what would happen if she lost the enchanted object Twilight gave her. Did every teacher have the ability to teleport someone several towns over? She felt a burst of dread at the thought of having to ask Princess Celestia herself to send her home.

Right after that, though, she couldn’t help letting out a laugh that only got bigger and bigger.

That made Pound turn around, curious. “What’s so funny?” he asked over her giggles.

When she got herself under control she wiped the tears from her eyes. “It’s just that I feel so silly. I was out there in a war zone. I was fighting gigantic bug monsters and I could have been petrified or died. And yet, somehow, it still scares me just thinking of asking Princess Celestia for a small favor.”

Pound chuckled too. “That does seem silly.”

The two of them smiled at each other, but it slowly faded. “I guess… I guess this is just what I have to do, huh?”

“Yeah,” he replied with a nod.

“There’s always the chance I won’t get in, right?”

Pound heard the hopeful tone in her voice, and his eyes narrowed. “Pumpkin!” he said angrily. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity you’re being offered. Don’t deliberately ruin it by not giving it your all.”

Pumpkin flushed. He has seen right through her. “I-I-I wasn’t going to, uh, do that.”

“Pinkie Promise me you’ll do your hardest to succeed right now!”

Pumpkin avoided his gaze for a few moments before turning back to him. “I... I promise.”

Pound growled. “Pinkie Promise!”

“I, um, I-I promise I’ll-”

“PINKIE! PROMISE!” he roared.

She hesitated. Once she made a Pinkie Promise she would be bound by it. There would be no turning back. She gazed deep into his eyes, seeing the burning passion within them. It was the blazing inner strength that always inspired her, just like it had earlier that day. He didn’t want to part from her any more than she did from him, but he was ready for it, and encouraging her to be ready for it too. He was pushing her to face her fears and accept her worth.

She shut her eyes, taking in deep breaths through her nose. Was she actually ready for such a commitment? Was she strong enough for this?

She thought again of the lives she had helped during the war. She had risked her life out there. All she was risking at the testing room was failure and disappointment.

She felt a measure of strength inside of her, and she met Pound’s eyes. She moved her hoof in the usual motion. “Pinkie Promise,” she said, sealing her fate.

Author's Note:

Pound understands the necessary drift that has to occur for them to be more than twins and become their own individual ponies. Working as a team is fine, but the two of them are too reliant on each other, stifling their own growth.

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