• 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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7-1: Consequences

Pound and Pumpkin were eagerly awaiting Flurry’s arrival. All their friends, except Mayhem, were already there.

Twilight was there too, just as impatient. She wanted the answer to the mystery as much as the others. What was it that Flurry had to tell them that could only be in person?

It was a little after ten. Flurry’s train was due to arrive soon.

“A big party today!” Pinkie said with a hop. “I’ve been thinking all week about the theme Flurry wants. Maybe it’s a superhero party!”

“Who knows?” asked Pound. “It doesn’t really matter to me. As long as it’s with our friends any party is going to be special.”

“I agree with that,” said Pumpkin. “Our bond is unbreakable, so we’ll have fun no matter what the decorations are.”

Their other friends nodded in agreement.

There was a knock on the door about ten minutes later, and when they opened it Flurry was standing there along with Cadance and Shining.

“Hey there!” Flurry said with a cheery wave.

Before the kids could swarm around her Twilight teleported over and picked her up in a loving hug. “Hello, Flurry, my wonderful little niece!”

“H-hey, Aunt Twilight,” Flurry said.

“I know Pound and Pumpkin told you what I said, but it’s something that I want to say in person too.” She kissed Flurry’s cheek. “Thank you so much for your letter. I was feeling a little guilty for going home last week. You helped me feel so much better.”

Flurry chuckled, feeling warm. “You’re welcome, Aunt Twilight!”

“Hey, hey!” said Peppermint. “Stop hugging all the Flurry to yourself.”

Twilight snickered, setting Flurry down. “I guess that’s all I get.” Looking up she greeted her brother and sister-in-law, and they returned her greeting in kind.

“So we’ve been waiting long enough!” said Tree Leaf. “What’s this big personal thing you wanted to tell us in person?”

“Yeah, yeah!” said Masky. “No stalling.”

“It won’t take long,” Shining said, his voice full of pride.

“It’s something very special,” said Cadance with the same prideful tone.

“So out with it!” said Pound.

Flurry looked at all of them warmly. “The five of you… you’ve done so much for me over the few months we’ve been friends. After my talk with Starlight I got to view the truth of our bond, and my true strength.

“When I came to understand that I received an eternal symbol of that bond.”

“What do you mean?” asked Pumpkin.

“Everyone… this is for you.” With that she turned to the side, showing them all her cutie mark.

They all gaped at her, needing a little time to process the mark on her flank.

“Flurry... you-” Twilight started, blinking to be sure she wasn’t seeing things.

As the shock passed they all began to grow excited.

“Oh my gosh!” Peppermint cried out. “You got your cutie mark!”

“That’s awesome!” said Tree Leaf.

“Super cool!” said Pound.

Twilight hugged her again. “That is amazing, Flurry! I’m so proud of you!”

When Flurry finally got a moment of quiet to speak she said, “Thank you, everyone. I couldn’t have done this without you.”

“No wonder your letter was so full of hope and love. You must have felt so overjoyed to get your cutie mark.”

Flurry and her parents all got strained smiles on their faces.

“What’s wrong?” asked Pumpkin. “We all read it, and you sounded eager to tell us about it.”

“Well,” said Shining, “there were some… complications.”

“Complications?” asked Twilight. “What do you mean, Bro?”

“Look, I don’t want to bring the mood down.”

Cadance let out a little sigh, putting a hoof around him. “And you know saying that is just going to make them want to know even more.”

Shining rolled his eyes. “Right.” He let out a huff. “Well, Flurry wasn’t happy with her mark at first. We didn’t even find out she had it until after Starlight helped her come to grips with it.”

“And?” asked Pumpkin.

“Flurry told us about her conversation with Starlight and how she got her mark. We were all feeling happy, but then…” He got a grumpy look on his face. “… but then Starlight told us something that kinda soured the mood.”

“Which was?” asked Twilight.

Cadance spoke up now. “She didn’t even realize she had her cutie mark at the time. She came to her realizations and was ready to go to magic practice so she could get stronger, but as soon as she saw her cutie mark she freaked out and lost all her enthusiasm.

“Flurry was unhappy with her cutie mark because it began to make her think of the past, before she met all of you kids. She thought that she was going to be loaded with pressure from ponies again.

“And so Starlight decided to put pressure on her to show her the value of her cutie mark.”

Shining sucked on his cheek. “And she thought the best way to do that was by equalizing her.”

Twilight flinched. “She WHAT?” she screeched. “Are you serious?”

“Dead serious.”

“It worked,” Flurry said in a small voice.

“That’s not the point, Flurry,” said Cadance.

“I wish that she had never used that spell again,” said Shining, “but if she was going to do it she could have at least asked Flurry first instead of blindsiding her. It would have come out to the same result, anyway.”

“Why do you say that?” asked Twilight, trying to remain calm in front of the children.

“Because it only took a few minutes before Flurry was begging for her cutie mark back.”

Flurry let out a little sigh. “Starlight’s spell did something to me that even Mayhem couldn’t do.”

“What’s that?” asked Masky.

“What my cutie mark symbolizes is like Aunt Twilight’s role in Equestria. It’s all about bringing others together and showing them light to help them do better.

“So… you can probably guess what happened when that ability was actively prevented. It was like being cut off from love.”

Cadance gently shook her head. “Well, I can’t deny that she had good intentions, and I certainly appreciate her being honest and upfront about her actions, but she still shouldn’t have done what she did.

“We expressed our disapproval of her actions, and banished her from seeing Flurry for a month.”

“A month?” Twilight said quietly. “That’s quite a while.”

Pound knew how much Flurry looked up to Starlight. In a hesitant voice he asked, “Do… do you hate Starlight now?”

Both Cadance and Shining looked at him curiously. “No,” said Shining. “As Cadance said we know she had good intentions. She didn’t even fight us when we told her. She just accepted our judgment.”

“So that’s why she’s not here for the party?” asked Pumpkin.

“Somewhat. You kids may have heard some of Starlight’s past because of the fake Starlight, and that’s reason enough for this punishment.”

“I don’t get it,” said Masky. “You both said you believe Starlight didn’t do what she did for bad reasons.”

“Do you think Starlight is becoming bad again?” asked Peppermint.

“Or maybe it’s just revenge,” said Tree Leaf.

“No, no, no!” said Cadance. “Please. We don’t want you to misunderstand. When we set that punishment down we were both still sad and angry about what happened to Flurry because of Mayhem. Hearing about that didn’t help our moods any. We were a bit short with her, but it had nothing to do with vengeance.”

“Just as Starlight felt she was acting in Flurry’s best interests, we felt we were doing the same for Starlight,” said Shining. “We had to send a clear message that we weren’t going to tolerate things like that. Our children are our greatest treasures, and if we’re to leave them in the hooves of another we have to be sure they’re going to be safe.

“Starlight has come a long way, and we can’t risk her starting to get a taste for manipulation and becoming power hungry again. We don’t want her to start relying on spells to force others to change the way they act.

“I wish she had just tried to talk to Flurry more, or called for us, or just about anything else but that horrible spell. Maybe it was the most expedient option, but just because it was the quickest way doesn’t make it moral. ”

Twilight gently tapped her hoof on the floor, unsure of what to feel. She felt disappointment as well, but she couldn’t quite get mad. She couldn’t disagree with what Flurry’s parents had decided.

She looked down at her niece, concerned. “What do you feel about this, Flurry?”

All eyes moved to the little alicorn. “I don’t like it, but I’m not fighting it either. It’s not like she’s missing out completely. We already had a party in the castle to celebrate. Having had a chance to cool off they allowed Aunt Starlight to at least be there for that before starting her separation.

“And it’s like they said. They were more trying to send a message than punish her. Today she’s Skyla’s foalsitter, so they’re starting to bring her back. I still can’t see her, though.

“I still have Crystal and Uncle Sunny, but it’s just not the same.” She shrugged. “With my parents busy during the day with their jobs and Uncle Sunny only book smart I haven’t had a proper magic lesson all week.

“I understand the importance of Aunt Starlight not going back to her old self, but all the same I feel like I’m being punished as much as her, and I didn’t even do anything wrong. I already can’t see Mayhem, and now I lost Aunt Starlight too.“

Cadance and Shining both got guilty looks on their faces. “Come on, Flurry,” Shining said weakly. “We can’t just let these things go.”

“Did I say I was mad at you? I know you’re doing this because you love me. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt a little. Of course, today I have all my special friends with me.”

“But what about Crystal?” asked Pumpkin. “Only me and my brother have met her. I thought we could introduce her to the rest of our group.”

“Well, she was, of course, at the party in the Crystal Empire. I wanted her to come here too, but her parents are going to visit relatives over the weekend and she wanted to go too.”

“Is that… okay?” asked Twilight.

“It’s not like she completely missed out. I already told you she was at my other party. We spend plenty of time together as it is, so I’m not upset about having more time to focus on my Ponyville friends.”

Twilight looked up. “So… are you planning to adhere to a full month?”

“We just wanted time for things to sink in,” said Cadance. “We both know that Flurry holds Starlight up as a role model, and is one of her biggest sources of support. In a few more days we’ll sit her down and talk to her again.”

“It’s extremely important that Starlight understands,” said Shining. “Starlight lost our approval for that stunt, but that’s easy enough to remedy. As we’ve said several times we don’t believe Starlight acted with malicious intent.

“However, things change completely if Starlight loses our trust. Flurry might not like being forced to stay away from Starlight for just this short amount of time, but if not doing this leads to Starlight starting to go back to her old self that separation might need to become permanent, and none of us want that.

“After all, we put a lot on Starlight. She acts as an aunt and a foalsitter. She teaches Flurry magic, is skilled enough to handle Flurry’s magic when she gets out of control, we’ve made her Flurry’s caretaker if we both were to die, and we put her in charge of protecting Flurry and Skyla in case of an invasion.

“With so much riding on her we can’t afford to let her regress. While she may have done things with good intentions this time, it can be all too easy to start pushing more and more until it’s starting to be done with selfish motives.”

“Well,” said Cadance, “it’s not as though good intentions alone make an action good. Starlight’s village was created with good intentions as much as for her own benefit.”

“True enough.

“Flurry isn’t the only one that sees her like family, you know. In the end, we’re doing this as much for Starlight’s benefit as ours and Flurry’s. We don’t want to see her descend into darkness like Mayhem did.”

“And I thank you for caring so much for Aunt Starlight too, but I think we’ve lingered enough on bad feelings.” She looked up at Pinkie Pie. “Pinkie, I don’t have to spell out what kind of party theme I want, do I?”

The shift in topic took the mare a moment to adjust to, but once she processed Flurry’s question her eyes lit up. “A cutecenera!” She slapped her hooves together before hopping up and down. “That sounds super fun.”

“I just have one request, and it’s something I know you can accommodate.”

“Sure. What is it?”

“I want you to gather together as many ponies as possible that would want to join us. If my cutie mark symbolizes friendship and caring for one another then I want everyone to share in my joy. I only got my cutie mark because of all of you. It’s certainly not something I could have ever obtained alone.”

Pinkie gave her a warm smile before saluting. “Okie-dokie-lokie! I can certainly manage that. Give me two hours and I’ll be ready for you.”

“That’s all? I thought it would take longer.”

“Then you don’t know Auntie Pinkie Pie,” said Pound. “You’re not the only one that lives your cutie mark, you know.”

“I guess not.”

“Now then!” said Pinkie. “Shoo! I must work.”

Flurry nodded. “Let’s go upstairs and play.”

“Sounds good to me,” said Pumpkin.

They lost track of time as they played with one another. Eventually they noticed the noise downstairs and Pinkie came upstairs to call them to come down.

Flurry was pleasantly surprised. Besides all the decorations she could see all the ponies waiting for her.

Pinkie called for quiet, and once she had everyone’s attention she gestured to Flurry to speak up.

Flurry hopped up onto a chair so she’d be higher up and more ponies would be able to see her.

She unfurled her wings as far as they would go, ignoring the expected gasps and staring. “Hello, everybody!” she said cheerfully. “My name is Flurry Heart of the Crystal Empire. You’ve all been gathered here today for my cutecenera, and I’m so glad you all could make it.

“I know I may look a little weird with these wings, but they’re what I was born with and a part of me. I wouldn’t trade them away for anything. There’s a lot more to me than that, so I hope you can look past that as well.

“I had a big lesson in friendship recently, and that’s how I got my mark. I already partied in the Crystal Empire with my parents, but I also wanted to party here with my Aunt Twilight and my best friends.

“I may be an alicorn princess, but I don’t need any special treatment. Today is just about sharing our love and friendship with each other, so let’s all have a great time everyone!”

Twilight clapped. “Well said, Flurry. Same with me. I’m not here today as a princess, but just as Flurry’s aunt.”

Despite their words she could still feel some tension in the air at having three alicorns at the party, but she was sure once the party started properly they would settle down and lose themselves in the fun.

Pinkie chuckled. “Well, then!” she said cheerfully, setting the needle on her record player. “Let’s party!”

Flurry challenged her friends to a game of pin the tail on the pony. It was a close match, but in the end Peppermint won.

Over the course of the next few games Flurry began to get the sensation that she was being watched. With so many ponies crowded around the area it was hard to tell if her suspicions were correct.

After a few more minutes she got confirmation about things when she suddenly felt a tap on the shoulder.

She turned around, and was mildly surprised to see it was Drill Bit.

He didn’t speak right away. He just stared at her with an inscrutable expression, like he had something to say and wasn’t sure where to start.

Author's Note:

Credit for this chapter goes to Delta Xeno. He got pretty upset at Starlight's actions, feeling she was too close to canon Starlight in that chapter. And so I decided to hold Starlight accountable for what she did in the previous chapter.

So did you guess correctly on who the mystery guest was? There was only one real candidate based on what I wrote, though I wonder if anyone had a different pony in mind.

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