• Published 25th Jul 2012
  • 7,160 Views, 275 Comments

Random Elements - Stryke



An alternate Mane Cast cross over into the normal Equestia, things go down hill from there.

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Chapter 2

Inky Pie woke up to the sounds of hectic activity coming from outside. She’d had the rock farm to herself for the first time in a good long while, which was all thanks to her sister Blinkie and their parents visiting relatives in Baltimare. She had planned to lie in for once after a solid night on her own private stash of Wild Pegasus whiskey. So she definitely wasn’t best pleased to find herself awake well before the afternoon. Especially given she’d been having her favourite dream; the one where she throttled her annoying cousin to death with her own bow tie before making passionate love to her cousin’s now unattached DJ marefriend in the pouring rain. She always kept getting distracted though by the sight of a unicorn on a unicycle chasing a dragon waving a banner going past... Inky was never quite sure what that bit was about.

She didn’t hate her cousin honestly. Inky just really, really, really disliked her. Not that Inky would actually do or say anything about it and as far as she knew the feeling wasn’t mutual. Inky knew it truly was an irrational dislike, so it just stayed all in her head. It would just be nice if ponies would stop confusing the two of them... It was bad enough being stuck on a rock farm in the middle of absolutely no where, but constantly being compared to her far more successful cousin who lived a life Inky could only dream about was like they were delighting in rubbing her situation in. Inky did wonder sometimes if Fiddlesticks—their second cousin once removed—over in the Apple clan ever felt the same way.

Inky lay in bed trying to ignore the sounds laying siege to her consciousness. She was so very comfortable in her nice warm bed and snuggled up under the heavy covers. Even if her mouth did feel drier than a wasteland dust storm after her drinking last night. The noise outside didn’t seem to be stopping any time soon though, so with a few choice muttered oaths she resigned herself to the sad fact that she would indeed have to get up today. Inky hauled herself out of bed with a groan before looking out the window.

Pink.

Inky was fairly certain that should mean something, but went downstairs to make a cup of tea to try to process this thought through her sleep-fogged head. As the kettle boiled she blearily glanced out the window again.

“Pink,” she muttered to herself before having a go at rubbing some of the gunk out of her eyes from the night before with her hooves. There certainly was a lot of that pinkness out there. It probably meant something important and it certainly seemed familiar, but it could probably wait for now.

One reinvigorating cuppa later she looked out the window again.

Thirty hectic seconds later Inky was out the house and staring at the scene before her in utter horror. There were Pinkie Pies, many, many Pinkie Pies, whole multitudes of them in fact. Pinkie Pie’s moving rocks about the farm, Pinkie Pie’s hauling on pulleys lifting boulders into strange lattice-like structures made of wood that seemed to defy the laws of physics and even more Pinkie Pie’s were constructing a whole new building that was taking shape on the other side of the farm.

One of the Pinkie’s noticed her sister and waved. Moments later there was just the one and she was trotting over to Inky, whose eye was twitching rapidly as she struggled to deal with this. As she approached Inky just about noticed—as her mind was shutting down in self-preservation at the sheer impossibility of what she had just witnessed—that she hadn’t seen her sister with straight hair like this since Pinkie had been a little filly without a cutie mark.

“Hello, Inky," said the straight-haired Pinkie. "I’m not sure how it happened, but based on the sun being up, my merchant guild offices in Canterlot not being there and the lack of a visitor’s centre here on the farm; I’m not the Pinkamena that you know. But as I’m here anyway I thought I’d do some work on the farm to help out. Your rock spacing was very inefficient, so I’m correcting it for optimal mineral growth and gem harvesting. I hope you don’t mind?” Pinkamena looked with some concern at her sister, who had now started shaking. “Inky, are you feeling okay? I know this must be a bit of a shock.”

“W-what?” Inky just about managed to blurt out. Her eyes were twitching so badly now that she was worried one of them might pop out entirely.

“Probably some kind of magical phenomenon. Still that’s no excuse not to get on with some work.”

“You’re not my sister?” Inky grasped at the one part she’d understood so far. She was also wondering if she had any whiskey left and whether that would help her to be able to process this.

“I am your sister, just not the sister you know I’d assume. I can tell you’re not the one I know from your geode cutie mark.” Inky looked at this strange other Pinkie’s flank and instead of three balloons there was a lidless staring eye in the middle of a star. She also finally noticed this Pinkie was wearing a black tie, which if anything, disturbed her even more.

“But, but how do you know any of this?!” Inky asked desperately, rubbing at her head which was beginning to pound. The hungover had been bad enough, but this was just ridiculous!

“I popped over to Canterlot to have a look around when I woke up and I saw the sun up in the sky for the first time in a year after the beginning of the long night. Observed Nightmare Moon enough that I’m certain she’s not a Nightmare anymore. Though if anything she’s got even louder. So then I checked out my office there and given it’s still a...” Pinkamena paused. Velvet was a valued member of the merchants guild and she seemed very much the same here, so how to describe it politely? “Ahem, ‘speciality’ goods shop, so given all that this must be some kind of alternate Equestria. I’m sure somepony will be along to sort it all out shortly. My knees are twitching once every couple of seconds so I’d say two hours? Possibly three, I’m not exactly certain,” Pinkamena explained with growing concerns that Inky didn’t seem to be handling this too well. She was pleased though to see her sister on the rock farm though, as her Inky had fled to Canterlot to play the tuba in a band with their cousin years ago.

Inky stared at this other version of her sister and decided she could continue to try to understand this, but seeing as she wasn’t even going to start trying to work out the multiple Pinkie workforce thing, or how this Pinkamena had got to Canterlot and back this morning—which would take at least a couple of days by hoof for any normal earth pony—so she mentally waved the little white flag, surrendered to the insanity and decided to just go with it. “Thanks for the help on the farm. You’ll have to show me how those structures work. Don't suppose you'd like a cuppa?”

~~~

Seeing that Trixie’s eyes were finally open, the rainbow-haired thug decided to add yelling to the shaking. Trixie really did think this was most unreasonable, especially as it didn’t seem to have the courtesy to make any sense whatsoever.

“Where’s the caravan?! Trixie, have you been drinking, why haven’t I been drinking? Did you go out last night without me? I’ve been looking all over for you, the caravan is gone, my cape is gone and you’re in a ditch! What's going on, Trixie? What's going on?!

Quickly getting tired of being shaken and shouted at, Trixie enveloped the other mare in a telekinetic field and placed her back down firmly on her haunches. “Can you calm down? Trixie doesn’t know what you’re talking about.” Her voice was still weak after not speaking to another pony in months, but irritation was quickly giving her strength.

“Trixie?” the other mare asked, clearly upset as Trixie’s magic kept her pinned in place for now.

“Trixie thanks you for bringing back her hat though,” she said, letting the other mare go. She attempted to lift the hat back into it’s rightful place on her head, but was stopped as the pegasus held on hard to it with her hooves.

“It’s my hat, we agreed remember? You’re the talent, but I’m the star!” The pegasus lifted herself gently into the air with a beat of her wings and thrust her forehooves out wide with her head swept back in a super dramatic pose. “I am the Awesome and Stupendous Rainbow Dash!” She held the position for a moment, before glancing at Trixie with surprise as she’d missed her cue.

“No fireworks?”

“All out,” Trixie said, with a shrug. “What do you want anyway? Trixie has not seen you since Ponyville.”

“But... I’ve never been to Ponyville,” the Awesome and Stupendous, but somewhat Puzzled Rainbow Dash replied with an impressively confused expression on her face. “That’s on the border to Everfree forest, why would any sensible pony want to go there?”

Trixie laughed ruefully. “Yeah, why would any sensible pony want to go to Ponyville... So, Trixie didn’t once get heckled by you and your friends, before being humiliated at the hooves of that purple unicorn?”

“I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about, Trixie. Now why don’t you stop being such a silly pony, give me a kiss and I’ll forgive you. Then you can tell me where the caravan is.”

Trixie’s eyes widened; this was quickly getting utterly weird. Looking at this Rainbow Dash she was getting more and more convinced that this was not the pony she had met before. The hairstyle was completely different and she couldn’t be sure, but hadn’t she had a lightning bolt cutie mark or something like that? As this pony had a laughing mask for her mark instead, something very odd was going on here. Otherwise she was the same from what Trixie could recall and somehow she knew Trixie. Even more than that they seemed to be involved, which was completely ridiculous anyway as she really wasn’t Trixie’s type.

“Rainbow Dash, right? We should head to Ponyville. It's only a day’s travel from here.” Trixie sighed—she really didn’t feel ready for that particular reunion yet—but she had to admit she was intrigued by what was going on here and couldn’t think of anything else to do. Assuming of course she was right that this was a different pegasus from the one that she had met. If not, that purple unicorn who had beaten the Ursa so easily would probably be the best pony to work this out, as loathe Trixie was to admit it. “Trixie thinks there’s somepony you should meet there. The caravan is there too.” Which wasn’t technically a lie, well as far as Trixie knew anyway, given that was where she’d left it after that damn Ursa had stomped on her home.

“Okay, if you say so, Trixie! So, c’mon is this pony cute then?”

~~~

Spike walked through the door of the library just like he did every day. He’d been out to pick up some food for him and Twilight, so he was certainly not expecting to be seized about the neck, skilfully flipped into the air, before being caught and pinned by a very strong hoof against the nearest bookcase. Two cold eyes that filled his entire world stared into his, as if attempting to discern his purpose.

“You even think about flaming, I’ll break every single bone in your body, vermin.”

The young dragon shook his head, as if that was the absolute last thing he was going to do. His tough scales were doing a good job at protecting him for now, but he could feel the bookcase behind him beginning to crack. So he didn’t think for one moment that his assailant couldn’t carry out their promise with ease.

“You’re a long way from home, little dragon. Still shouldn’t take me to long to fly you back out to the wastes. Course what height I drop you from all depends on how well you behave yourself.”

“Um... would you mind putting him down please?” Spike turned to look to see who had come to his rescue. It was a mare that looked eerily like his adopted big sister. The other Twilight was peeking down from the top of the stairs and shaking like a leaf. She didn’t smell right though, so it couldn’t actually be Twilight, and that was really confusing.

“You dare to actually speak to me?” Spike was let go and dropped to the floor. Picking himself up he was stunned to see a pegasus who looked exactly like Fluttershy—well aside from the dark flight suit and goggles she was wearing—advancing menacingly on the not-Twilight. The not-Twilight screamed and fled. The door to the kitchen burst open revealing the real Twilight Sparkle, her horn already glowing with purple magic. The not-Fluttershy disappeared in a flash, before reappearing instantaneously upended.

“Anyone want to tell me what’s going on?” asked Spike, looking from his Twilight, to the not-Fluttershy—who was attempting to recover her poise after being dumped on her head—to the stairs where the other Twilight had disappeared and back again.

“Spike, meet Captain Fluttershy of the Shadowbolts, herald of Nightmare Moon. Yes, really. Fluttershy, this is Spike, he’s my number one assistant. You so much as even look at him in a way that I don’t like and it’s going to be round two and I promise you, this time I won’t hold back. Spike, I swear I’ll give you the full explanation later. Now I’m going to have try to calm down another me, who is probably hiding under my bed. Again.” Twilight disappeared in a flash of magic to tend to her double. Leaving the pegasus and dragonling alone once more.

“She’s got a dragon for an ‘assistant’...” Fluttershy said to herself, with no small amount of awe, before turning to Spike. “Sorry about that. Still count yourself lucky. Normally I wouldn’t have bothered with the warning and you’d be falling right now from about a mile or so up. Heh, though not for long.” She grudgingly apologised while musing to herself that she’d have to reign her normal behaviour in even further to avoid any more trouble. Fluttershy wasn’t too sure she’d be able to handle Twilight if it came to it. This was turning into a deeply aggravating day and when she got back, somepony was going to pay for this.

“Err, yeah no hard feelings here," said Spike as he brushed himself down. "Want a cupcake?” he asked, as he retrieved the now slightly squashed sugary treats from where they’d been dropped during the assault.

Fluttershy accepted one with a mumbled thanks. Which turned into a real smile as they really were genuinely good. Better than anything she’d had at the palace, if she was being honest. “A dragon assistant, what must be near Alicorn levels of magic, and she lives in a library?!” she muttered to herself. “Just what is that unicorn anyway?”

“She’s Twilight Sparkle,” replied Spike, with a toothy grin full of brotherly pride.

~~~

The visit to Fluttershy’s house had gone a lot better as far as Rarity was concerned. Rock had been too gob-smacked by the cutesy-wootsy cottage and it’s animal inhabitants to say anything that might upset her. Especially as she knew the owner as one of the most villainous ponies to hit Equestria since the legendary unicorn necromancer, Dread Mare herself, from the Discordian age. She’d commented afterwards that it had been like catching Nightmare Moon unawares in a fluffy pink bathrobe.

Fluttershy herself had coped as well as could be expected to find out that there was an evil double of her flying about. Rarity had admittedly sugar-coated matters a bit. She'd left it simply by saying her double wasn’t a very nice pony who worked for Nightmare Moon. Leaving out the part where the other Fluttershy had brutalised Sparks of course, as she didn’t want to upset her gentle friend. Rarity was actually kind of hoping that the two Fluttershy’s wouldn’t even have to meet at all, before the other six ponies could be sent back to where they came from.

She had raised the point eventually after many ‘oh mys' that this was something that Discord might have put in motion. Which might mean he was free from his stone prison. Rarity managed to convince Fluttershy, and herself for that matter, that while he might well do something like this, he wouldn’t be happy just leaving it at that without throwing in some chocolate rain or some other randomness as well.

After they’d finally left Fluttershy’s house, Rock and Rarity had found themselves at a bit of a loose end. It was too late in the day for Rock to start work at Sweet Apple Acres, while Rarity knew she wasn’t going to manage to be creative after the day she’d had. So they’d agreed to have a very late lunch. Which they managed to get through—with a certain amount of awkwardness—as they tried to avoid criticising what the other mare had chosen to eat. Then they headed back to Carousel Boutique, as Sweetie Belle would be back from school now, and Rock had asked if it would be alright to meet her.

They’d agreed that Rock would be a cousin Belle from out-of-town, as Rarity reckoned that the less ponies that knew about this, the smoother it would be to gather the six to send them back home.

Sweetie Belle had been attempting to play with Opal when they'd arrived. The cat had taken the opportunity to flee upon their entrance into the shop rather than having to wear the outfit that the young filly had in mind.

“Sweetie, this is Rock. She’s a cousin of ours, who is taking a holiday from the... um,” Rarity trailed off as her mind went blank, realising she didn’t actually know where any mines were.

“Puddinghead’s Folly. We’ve got a silver mine up there,” filled in Rock promptly.

Rarity smiled at Rock, mentally thanking her for the save. “That’s right, Rock’s going to be staying at Sweet Apple Acres while she’s visiting.”

“Cool!" The little filly jumped around, excited to be meeting such a cool new relative. "Ooh sis, do you think I could get a mining cutie mark? We’ve never tried that before and there’s no chance that could possibly end up with us getting covered in tree sap!”

“Tree sap?” asked Rock quizzically. She’d felt that she’d coped reasonably well so far. She was even beginning to get used to the sunlight. But seeing her little sister with an elaborately styled mane, instead of wrapped in her old mining bandanna that she’d given Sweetie last Hearth’s Warming Eve, and without an axe cutie mark was really getting to her.

“Believe me, I’ve asked and she’s never given me a decent explanation. Sweetie, you’re not going mining, it’s dangerous,” Rarity said, and Rock nodded in agreement.

“Tell you what, Sweetie Belle. How about I tell you the story about the time we tunnelled into a Quarray Eel nest?”

“Yay!” Sweetie Belle shouted, both happily and with impressive volume, before showing Rock to her room.

Maybe this will all be all right after all, Rarity thought to herself, She was happy that at least, for all Rock’s faults, she could be nice to her little sister.

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