• Published 22nd Mar 2018
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Pound and Pumpkin Tales 2 - Never2muchpinkie



The continuing adventures of the now seven years old Pound and Pumpkin

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6-11: Eternity of play

Mayhem had a tight grab on Masky, seemingly pondering how he was going to destroy the colt.

“We… we had a deal!” said Tree Leaf. "Y-you said if we knocked you off your throne you'd let us leave!"

Mayhem began laughing. “And what makes you think I care about that? Now watch as I make him disappear right in front of you!

“Goodbye!”

“NO!” screamed Pumpkin.

Mayhem put his hand on top of Masky’s head and pushed downward, sending him through another portal. “Well, that’s one down. Now to take care of the rest of you.”

Flurry felt a sense of numb disbelief. Right before her eyes Mayhem had sent Masky to another dimension. “W-what… what did you do to him?”

“Who knows? That portal… maybe it goes to the world of spikes, or the lake of acid. Perhaps directly into the sun. Maybe, if you look out that window, you might see him falling from ten thousand feet in the sky.”

Flurry’s whole body clenched up as pained tears came down her eyes, and she felt the desire to mindlessly attack no matter how low the chances of success were.

The other children felt much the same.

But just as they were about to launch their assault Mayhem lifted his claw and snapped. A portal opened right in front of them, and Masky came out of it, unharmed.

“M-Masky!” said Peppermint, running over to him and hugging him as she quietly sobbed. “Y-you’re alive!”

Flurry was panting for breath, unable to hide her relief.

Pumpkin quickly joined in on the hug, wailing.

Mayhem began chuckling again, which got all of their attention on him.

He had his smarmy attitude back. “Did you actually think I was mad? It seems you just don’t get it, do you? This has all been for my amusement.

“Did you really think I was going to kill you? You are part of my precious toy box collection. Your lives have never been in danger.”

That statement, plus Masky’s freedom, allowed Flurry’s anger to come out. “What are you talking about? We nearly died so many times out there!”

Mayhem’s head went back as he laughed harder. When he got himself under control he said, “But did you really?”

Pound’s eyes narrowed. “I could barely stand after Starlight attacked me. I was in so much pain.”

Mayhem had a carefree expression on his face. “And what’s your point?”

“If it hadn’t been for my shield spell absorbing some of her spell we would have been finished,” said Pumpkin.

“Really?" he said, sounding fascinated. "Is that what you really think?”

Masky’s eyebrow rose. “What are you getting at?”

Mayhem floated in front of them. “All of you… have just been part of my own little comic book adventure.

“Waking up in a strange location, six strangers with special abilities and costumes have to work together to protect one another from danger. Now doesn’t that sound like the perfect premise for a good story?

“And all of you played your parts to perfection. Especially you, Flurry. You’re most fitting for a main character. When this adventure started you were little more than a coward putting on a brave face when you challenged me the first time. But as you’ve gone through these trials and gathered the rest of your team you’ve grown exponentially, to the point that you’re barely recognizable as the pony you started out as.

“And every story needs drama to be interesting. The seeming betrayal by a family member is just ripe with dramatic tension. The heroic sacrifice of the others to protect a teammate, inspiring you to newfound heights of power and courage. Oh, it all just worked out so perfectly.”

All of them were just staring at him wordlessly.

Mayhem clapped. “This has all been just oh so much fun!”

“Are you saying,” said Flurry, “that this has all been deliberate? That you planned out our every action from the start?”

“Oh, no.” He shook his head. “I could predict what you would do, but I couldn’t know for sure. If I knew everything that would happen that would be boring, and I hate boredom.”

With a snap the room filled with countless copies of all the enemies they had fought earlier.

Peppermint felt like she couldn’t breathe for a few moments, but almost as soon as they appeared they were gone.

“So many,” said Pound.

“Exactly,” said Mayhem. “I just had to make them like they were in real life, but in the end they were all fake. Just puppets of my will.

“Of course, I’ve been watching your little adventures from the start. I’ve been keeping a close eye on your battles, ensuring that my little drones didn’t go too far. After all, even with my great power I can’t revive a pony from the dead. So long as they’re alive I can fully heal someone, so injuries aren’t an issue.

“So, as I said before, your lives were never in danger. I just needed you to believe they were so we could move the story along to this point.”

Mayhem had a giddy look about him, the condescension dropping completely from his voice. “And this is just the beginning of the fun we can have.

“Pound and Pumpkin. You once put on a play where you were the children of Daring Do and explored a temple.” The scenery around them vanished, and they were suddenly in the living room of Sugarcube Corner where the twins had put on their play with their own amateur backdrops.

With a swirl of his finger the scene spun around, and now they were in a lush jungle in front of a temple with a three headed animal hybrid. “I can make that scene real.”

“Whoa,” said Pound, looking around. “It does look like our play come to life.”

“Doesn’t it, though?” said Mayhem.

“Of course, every once in a while you have to take a break from adventure.”

He lifted his arms, and the jungle disappeared, replaced with a field of flowers, a picnic set up on the ground nearby. “Or maybe we can do something else.” With a snap the field vanished, replaced with a beach.

He began hopping in mid-air. “There are endless opportunities for adventure, only limited by our imaginations.

“There’s no need to fight anymore. All you have to do is give up.”

The change in his personality threw them all off. He looked like a kid the night before Hearthswarming.

“Give up?” said Peppermint.

“We can stop fighting?” said Masky.

“Sure!” Mayhem replied. “We went through the whole story arc, but it’s about time we wrapped things up and moved on to the next adventure.”

It sounded pretty good to them.

Flurry still had some reservations. “And… what happens if we give up?”

They all glanced over at Flurry, before looking back at Mayhem.

“What are you expecting to happen?” asked the draconequus. “That I’m gonna kill you?

“Nothing happens, of course. You’re just admitting that I won the game, that’s all. Every game needs a winner and a loser, so once you acknowledge your defeat we can end this game and play another one.”

“Wasn’t this one enough?” said Pumpkin, groaning. “This was exhausting and painful.”

"Hmm?" Mayhem’s head tilted a bit. He got a bashful look on his face, rubbing the back of his neck. “Oh, right. I’m sorry. I was a little rough on you back there with my puppets, but if you didn’t believe that what you were going through was real you wouldn’t have given it your all. And just look what came out of it. All of you have grown magnificently.

“However, now that you know it’s all fake it’s not as fun to play so hard anymore. So just bow down in defeat and declare me the winner, and we can hang out on this beach for a while. Then… hmm…” He sucked on his cheek as he looked toward the sky. “I don't know. Maybe I’ll let you decide what we play next.”

Tree Leaf felt odd. Was all of Mayhem’s previous evil behavior just an act?

“I think we’ve all had enough of this game,” said Masky. “So I don’t care who wins, as long as it ends.”

Flurry felt much the same, nodding in agreement. If Mayhem was really being genuine here then she was all for it.

Mayhem put on his evil voice again, but it sounded more melodramatic now. “Foolish mortals. You have given it your all, but it wasn’t enough.” A gentle pressure forced the six children to their stomachs. “You lie before me beaten and broken, now surrender to me… or be destroyed.”

“We surrender,” said Pound.

“Excellent!” He clapped. “Game over, then.”

The pressure vanished, and they all stood up.

Mayhem giggled cheerfully. "That was a lot of fun."

Pumpkin sighed. “I just want to go home.”

“Home?” asked Mayhem, looking a little annoyed. “And what could you possibly want there? I have everything you could ever want!

“Adventure!” Paragliding equipment appeared. “Food! Weather!” A mountain of desserts appeared on a table as the beach was covered with snow.

“Anything you could possibly want I can make real in this world. I control everything in it, and things only happen when I want them to.

“Oh!” Mayhem lifted a finger, his face becoming calm again. “I got it. You’re worried about your families, right?”

Peppermint nodded. “You threatened to bring them into this.”

“I just said that to get you to hurry up. I don’t have any interest in them. I just want to play with you.”

“Why?” asked Pound. “Why us?”

“Especially me,” said Flurry. “I could understand if you just grabbed some random kids from Ponyville for your game, but I’m from the Crystal Empire. I’ve never set hoof in Ponyville.”

“I have my reasons for why I picked each of you for my game, but I don’t feel like explaining.”

At first Flurry wanted to push the issue, but she decided to drop it. He looked to be in a good mood now, so she didn’t want to push his buttons.

“Isn’t it great?” said Mayhem, chuckling with glee. “This is the ultimate world. We can all just stay here forever.”

That made all of them tense. “Forever?” said Pumpkin.

“I thought we were going to go home,” said Pound.

Mayhem pouted. “What’s wrong now? What does the REAL world have that I can’t give you?

“Just think about it. A world with no school. No responsibilities. You never have to wash the dishes or worry about spoiling your appetite. You can eat dessert for every meal and never have to worry about tummy aches or cavities.”

There was a bit of desperation in his voice now. "I can give you everything you've ever dreamed of, so stay here with me."

Masky was starting to think that Mayhem was somewhat like him. His game was over the top, for sure, but he seemed so lonely. He wondered if the draconequus had ever made a friend in his life.

“What about you, Flurry?” Mayhem pointed at her. “You understand me, don’t you?”

Her eyebrow went up. “Me?”

“I’ve seen what lies in your heart. I know your greatest fears of feeling the pressure of everyone’s expectations to excel and take your mother’s place. So long as you’re within my dimension I can create a future where that fear never comes to pass.”

Flurry clenched, and she took in a sharp breath.

With a wave of his paw they were surrounded by every game and toy imaginable. “An eternity full of nothing but fun and endless playtime… now wouldn’t that be the best thing ever? It’s a child’s paradise.”

Tree Leaf was astounded as he looked around. “This is pretty awesome!”

Pound nodded in agreement. “It sure is.”

“And we can just goof around all day?” said Pumpkin.

Mayhem shivered in excitement. He was winning them over. Who wouldn’t love a world without any rules?

Peppermint was starting to feel like Mayhem wasn’t evil. He just didn’t understand restraint because he felt he could just undo any damage afterward. He had been pretty cruel, but she thought that he just didn't understand friendship.

Flurry heard his offer, and it was oh so tempting. She could see the blissful expression on his face, and hear the others being swayed towards his way of thought.

“And what about our families?” she asked.

“I already told you I don’t care about them.”

“That’s not what I was asking. If we stay here then we’ll vanish from their lives, and they’ll be miserable.”

Pound bit his lip. He hadn’t thought about that. He could only imagine how Auntie Pinkie would react, let alone his mother and father.

“Oh, there’s plenty I can do about that,” said Mayhem, dismissively shaking his claw. “I can mess with their memories, or create fake kids in your place.”

“Why… don’t you just let us go home?” asked Masky. “We could always play again another day.”

“But if you leave now you might not want to come back again.” He put a claw to his mouth, looking put out.

“But we want to see our families again,” said Pumpkin. “Our lives won’t be the same without them."

With a huff he said, “I guess I could also bring them here, but that just ruins the whole point. We want to get away from having rules hold us down, and they’re going to want to be in charge.”

He sighed. “Oh, well. The one who has the most power is always the one in charge, so things will still go my way. I just want to have fun with you guys, so if that's what it takes to get you to stay then I'll do it.”

They all looked around at each other.

“I’m game,” said Tree Leaf. “If we have our families with us then what would we be missing by staying?”

“Yeah,” said Peppermint. “We can have our loved ones AND endless playtime and games.”

“If we stay here then I wouldn’t have to worry about losing my friends anymore,” said Masky.

“This is pretty cool,” said Pound.

“You said it,” said Pumpkin.

Mayhem was feeling giddy. Everything was working out just fine.

“We can’t trust him!” said Flurry strongly. “He referred to us as just mere toys for him to play with. He doesn’t care about the hurt we feel as long as he gets what he wants.”

“That was part of the act,” said Mayhem quickly. “I didn’t really mean that.”

Flurry shook her head. “I don’t want to stay here any longer.”

“Flurry,” said Tree Leaf, “what’s your problem?”

“The problem is that he DID mean it. He kidnapped us and brought us here, treating us like characters in his fantasy story. He hurt all of us. Even if our lives weren’t actually in danger he made all of us suffer.

“We’re supposed to entrust HIM with our happiness? Make HIM the ultimate leader of the world? He claimed that he put us through this just because he was bored. What happens the next time he gets bored? I don’t trust him, and I’m not planning to stay here.”

“Then it’s your loss,” said Masky dismissively.

Mayhem crossed his arms. “Everyone else understands. Why don’t you?”

“Because," said Flurry, "like I said several times before, I’m tired of running from who I am. With just a few of us in this world it might ensure that no mystery villains can hurt my family, but that means bringing them here in the first place.”

“And I can do that easily.”

“That’s not the point. If you bring them here then they’ll also vanish from the real world. They’ll no longer be able to protect the Crystal Empire. It will put all those ponies at risk. They wouldn’t be happy with that. And I don't know what their parents or loved ones do for a living, but I'm sure they each have a role to play in Equestria, and people will miss them too.

“Maybe before you put us through this I would have been delighted not to have to worry about stepping up, but I’ve been through too much to turn my back on them now. I'm not going to be so selfish as to put my own happiness above everyone else's.”

Mayhem stomped his hoof several times. “Flurry, you’re being very ungrateful to my hospitality. It’s starting to annoy me.”

“Well, that’s too bad, because the thought of letting an immature brat like you rule the world isn’t any more reassuring than living in the real world.”

Mayhem’s claw clenched into a fist, his eyes getting fiery.

“Flurry!” said Peppermint. “Stop.”

“Fine!” said Mayhem. “It’s obvious you’re gonna be against me no matter what, so who needs you?

“I offered you everything, and you spat it back in my face. If that’s the way you’re gonna be then I’ll just destroy you.”

Flurry smirked. “It sure didn’t take long for you to reveal your true colors, did it? At the first sign of defiance you already want to kill me?

"This is what I was talking about, everyone. That’s why I said we can’t trust him.”

“Sorry, Flurry,” said Masky contritely. “I didn’t think he would be like that.”

“I’m not on board anymore,” said Tree Leaf. "Not if you're gonna threaten her."

"Right!" said Pound.

"You said it!" said Pumpkin.

"Same here!" said Peppermint.

Mayhem looked between the others, all of them siding with Flurry now. He began panting in his fury. “You! You ruined everything, Flurry!”

“No!” Flurry retorted. “YOU did when you decided to force this on all of us instead of just asking.”

“Fine, then." His glare slowly turned into a smirk. "But I think you should remember that I’m still the one in control here. You can’t leave until I say so, and I DON'T say so. So there.”

“We beat your stupid game.”

Mayhem chuckled. “Perhaps you forgot that I don’t care about the rules. That game was just to raise the stakes. You won that challenge, and then surrendered to me. So we’re tied. Let’s make the next one the last one.

“Of course, this game is going to need a good twist to make things fun. How about I limit my powers to match yours?”

“Why should we believe you this time?” said Peppermint. “You just said you don’t care about the rules.”

“Oh, rules are meant to be broken, for sure, buuuuuuut I can follow the rules if it means it’s more fun than not breaking them.”

“Not everything is about fun!” said Pound.

“It is for me. I’m going to drag this out as long as I can, until I make you surrender for real.

“Flurry, since you ruined my fun I’m going to make you pay for it. I’m going to break your spirit and get that defiant look off your face."

He lifted his arms. "You're going to regret turning me down, Flurry. Now let the final battle begin!"

Author's Note:

Did you think that things would be settled so easily? :trollestia:

The battle must continue.

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