• 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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6-24: Back to Mayhem's world

Flurry took a few deep breaths before she focused. She knew the spell that Starlight used to visit memories like they were real life, but she wasn’t as proficient at the spell as her.

She knew that seeing the memories rather than just thinking about them was going to make them so much worse, but she really wanted to know what Starlight had spoken about. Who was this “real” Flurry? What “answer” had she forgotten because of her experiences in Mayhem’s world? She felt like the only way to get those answers was to see it for herself.

She closed her eyes as her horn began to glow with a bright light. When she opened her eyes she saw her and her friends in Mayhem’s world. Unlike when Starlight cast the spell things didn’t look nearly as real. Everything had a bit of a translucent aspect to it, all of them slightly see-through.

She watched as they all sank into despair because of Mayhem’s terms, until Masky had the idea to just give him what he wanted and play it like any other game.

She skipped ahead a bit to the battle with Tirek. With a cunning plan by Pound they managed to take Tirek down, at which point Mayhem appeared.

The draconequus’ voice reeked with condescension and malice as he stated his intentions to wipe their memories. Watching herself from the outside she couldn’t stop a few tears coming down her eyes as she saw the sheer terror on her past self.

And yet Mayhem just didn’t care at that point. He wasn’t swayed by their emotions, and erased their memories as their faces all went blank.

It was an odd experience. She could see things from both sides of the spectrum. She could remember things from the perspective of having her memories intact, but she could also remember things from the perspective of being without them. She really felt like two different people at the same time.

Her five friends all took off to the cries of family members, leaving her alone.

Flurry paused the memory, once again feeling the sadness of her past self. She had “woken up” in a strange and unfamiliar place with no memory of how she got there, then insulted by her friends in the heat of anger.

It had hurt to hear yet another person making fun of her wings. It wasn’t helped when right after that Mayhem toyed with her.

He gave her false hope that she had hurt him several times, only to be fine every time. When he tired of playing around with her he took off, telling her to grab the other ponies that had run off and come to his castle.

She had to stop again as her past self fell and began sobbing, once more feeling those feelings like they had just happened. She could remember how scared and upset she had been at that moment. Everything felt so hopeless. She had felt so alone, and there was no one to help her. And yet…

She continued on, knowing what her past self was thinking as she slowly grew quiet and stood up. At that time she hadn’t known what was going on. She felt something pulling her to them, though she couldn’t understand why.

Now that she had her memories back she understood what it was that drew her. Mayhem could mess with her mind, but not her heart. Somewhere inside she remembered the way they made her feel.

She grabbed Pound and Pumpkin, saving them from the Changelings, then saved Peppermint from the timberwolves. It had been a simple matter both times, but their next opponent was no pushover.

While the feelings she had weren’t as intense as they were for her earlier memories she could still remember the fear she had felt when she beheld Nightmare Moon.

It was here that her friends began to make a strong impression on her. She insisted she go in alone, feeling like only an alicorn could fight another alicorn. She was terrified at the time, not wanting to go in, but knowing she had to all the same. She had told the others to stay behind, and just as she went to protect Masky a single clear word rang out.

“NO!”

It had taken her by surprise. Pound had refused to stay behind, even though it would have been the safest option. She had thought them foolish at first, doubting her own chances of victory, and that was why they wanted to come along with her.

Pumpkin and Peppermint both added in their own support, telling her it shouldn’t be up to a kid like her to fight battles like this, and if she was going to fight they were coming along too.

She smiled as her past self began to cry. Her greatest fear had been being forced into battles she wasn’t prepared for, and they helped to stave off that fear by pledging their support to her. Just knowing that she wouldn’t be fighting alone made her feel so much better inside.

The battle fared poorly. Pound and Pumpkin both took hard hits. Even though she told them to just stay down they told her they were fighting for something more than a princess or an alicorn. They were fighting for a friend.

With a combination of teamwork her four friends had managed to deal Nightmare Moon a hard hit, and she grew vengeful.

Seeing the danger, she threw herself between them and Nightmare’s blast. She hadn’t had the strength to completely block her spell, only surviving because Masky distracted her long enough to reflect her own spell back at her, giving them the opportunity to seal her into the shadows.

With that they added Masky to their group, leaving only Tree Leaf.

Flurry bit her lip, her heart starting to race as anxiety went through her. She knew what was coming next, but she didn’t want to face it. What had happened there had caused all of them so much pain. Her friends got hurt, her heart got hurt, and it hurt Starlight as well.

For the next few minutes she struggled with herself. Did she have the courage to face this again? Did she have a choice if she wanted to know what Starlight was talking about?

She found herself wanting to grab one of her family members to be on this journey with her, or to just skip the fake Starlight altogether, but again she found herself being overwhelmed with curiosity. In order to truly understand she had to see everything, no matter how unpleasant it was.

Reluctantly, she allowed the memory to keep playing.

Tree Leaf was sent flying over their heads, and she stopped him with her magic. She had been ready to attack, but then Starlight came into the picture, crippling her ability to fight.

Her friends had been ready to fight. She was the only one holding back. In fact, she protected Starlight from her friends, refusing to believe that the Starlight she knew and loved was doing such awful things.

Starlight deceived her, waiting until her guard was down before socking her in the face and knocking her to the ground.

Flurry winced as she heard the impact.

Her friends set up an attack again, and once more she protected Starlight from them before sealing them in a shield so they couldn’t interfere.

She could feel her past self’s guilt. She still believed in Starlight, the only familiar face since she began her journey. She desperately wanted Starlight to come to her senses so she didn’t have to be in charge anymore.

She found herself in two minds as she listened to Starlight showing her “true self.” She could remember the anxiety and fear overtaking her as she recalled the feelings from the past, but a pit of disgust from her present self for even listening to such words.

Her trust in Starlight had faltered, and with every sentence out of Starlight’s mouth she could feel herself growing worse and worse as she watched past Flurry’s mind slowly cracking.

Even though she had forgiven Mayhem for what he had done she thought it was a good thing she wasn’t going to see him for a while. Despite what she said to Starlight earlier she was feeling some resentment now over the fact that he had brought a fake Starlight into the battle.

It was bad enough he had taken away her memories of her friends, but then he tried to taint the memory of one of her most trusted authority figures. Everyone else just had to fight for survival. For her, this final challenge before getting to the castle just felt so personally tailored to her and her alone. Later on, he did say he made her the main character in his comic book story and did it simply for dramatic tension, but he had gone way too far.

She was so caught up in thoughts of Mayhem that she missed out on the rest of Starlight’s words until a bright flash of light caught her attention.

Her heart began to race as all her friends threw themselves in front of Starlight’s attack. She instinctively tried to protect them by creating a shield spell despite knowing it was only a memory, only for it to do absolutely nothing as Peppermint threw her past self out of the way right before all of them were sent flying by the attack.

Her breath caught, horror going through her, for a few moments forgetting it was the past as she began shaking. Her mouth went dry and her head and stomach began to hurt, chills going down her spine.

She was practically gasping for breath, muttering “No no no no…” over and over.

Around this time her past self was rising, pulled out of her stupor by the physical pain of colliding with the ground.

As her past self let out a wail of agony her mind began to catch up to what she was seeing. She broke the spell, quietly sobbing.

It wasn’t real. It wasn’t real! Well, it was, but it wasn’t. It was all in the past. The problem was that it had happened at all.

“STUPID FLURRY!” she cried out, feeling self-loathing going through her. “Way to let all your friends down, jerk! Because of you your friends got hurt! It’s all your fault for being such a coward!

“They were counting on you! They were counting on you to protect them, but you just sat there and cried because you didn’t want to deal with it you big dumb idiot! Some friend you were, you disgusting piece of garbage!!”

As Flurry continued her verbal tirade against herself Starlight moved away from where she had been peeking through the gap in the almost closed door.

She slumped against the wall, her heart aching at the pain Flurry was going through. She let out a deep sigh. “Flurry,” she said quietly, “this is something you’re going to have to bear alone. I can’t save you this time.”

Her vision grew blurry with tears. “You have so much untapped potential, and unless you can overcome this trial you’ll never be able to start accessing it. You have to conquer these fears and doubts, or you’ll never become the pony you’re meant to be.

“As you said yourself, you have to make this choice on your own. If I save you now I’ll only hamper this opportunity for growth.”

Even though she said that she found her hooves moving automatically towards the door, wanting to disregard Flurry’s future to help her in the present.

She bit her lip, her body going stiff. She hardened her heart and forced herself to walk away. Flurry had so much confidence in her. The filly might be young, but she had to believe in Flurry too. She had to believe that Flurry would pass this test. If the filly couldn’t do it now then she would definitely encourage her later on, but for now the only thing she could do is have faith.

Knowing that didn’t make it any easier, even when Flurry’s words grew quieter and quieter with distance, making her feel like she was betraying her niece.

“I’m sorry,” she said quietly, wiping away a tear.

Author's Note:

Flurry's journey into the past has hit a rocky point. Will she be able to hold up under the pressure to find the answer she's searching for?

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