• Published 2nd Dec 2018
  • 4,241 Views, 1,438 Comments

The Multiverse in a Nutshell - Pennington Inkwell



What do you do when you accidentally break the multiverse and scatter your friends to the cosmic winds? Go on a ROAD TRIP, of course!

  • ...
12
 1,438
 4,241

PreviousChapters Next
So Delicious and Moist

"Sunset!"

Sunset started from her slouched position, unconsciously grabbing at the door handle with one hand and the center console with the other.

"Uwha- I'm awake!"

Penn only chuckled in response, equally slouched back into the driver's seat.

"I think it might be time to set up camp for the night."

"What? But it's only..." Sunset glanced down at the car radio. "Woah. Eight-thirty already? How long was I out?"

"Just an hour. I figured I'd let you rest until the sun was almost gone. Not like there's been much to see..." Penn sighed, craning his neck from side to side.

"What are you looking for?"

"Well, you haven't exactly found the richest driver in the world, so we're not going to be staying in five-star hotels while we look for your friends... or any hotels, for that matter." He jabbed his thumb towards the back of the car. "I tried being a boy scout for a while. Didn't like it, but I learned how to set up a decent campsite! So I brought along a tent and some supplies. Does that sound okay to you?"

Sunset nodded. "Sounds great! It'll be just like being back at Camp Everfree!" She glanced around them, taking in the numerous, numerous shades of brown being so vividly lit but the setting sun. "Just with... fewer trees... and more sand..."

"Perfect! Now we just need to find a spot with some halfway decent protection from the elements... There!" He pointed over the steering wheel to a place where the landscape dipped. "The wind won't blow us away down there!"

The car carefully edged off of the highway, finally coming to a stop in the sandy dirt. Penn gave a satisfied sigh and shifted the car into park.

"Well... shall we?"

Sunset smiled and nodded, cracking open the door and stepping out. She spent nearly a full minute stretching while Penn popped open the trunk and fetched a small bag.

"Man, it feels good to stretch my legs! I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the tour bus... I could get up, stretch my legs once every couple hours!"

"Shhh!" Penn clasped his hands over one of the rearview mirrors as if he were covering the ears of a child. "Syl might hear you!"

Sunset raised an eyebrow. "Syl?"

"Yeah! Good old Sylvia, here!" He affectionately moved one of his hands to the roof of the car and gave it a gentle rub. "And she's got twice the fuel economy and three times the maneuverability of a big old tour bus!"

"Penn, that car is old enough to legally drink. And I'll have you know, the Rainbooms' tour bus used to get thirty miles to the gallon! We put that engine together pretty well, if I say so myself!"

Penn was taken aback for a moment, then his expression changed to a sour pout. He gave the car one last pat and slung the tent bag over his shoulder.

"Only in a world of magic and rainbows could a tour bus that size get thirty miles to the gallon..." he muttered as he sulked past her. "S'not fair... Probably a hybrid, too..."

Sunset raised a hand to hide her snicker. She considered telling him that the bus wasn't a hybrid, but it COULD run on recycled fry oil. Of course, Twilight had planed on adding an electric system, but it was going to require much more thorough changes and expensive parts. But he seemed put-out enough at the fact that she had one-upped him on fuel economy, so she'd save that bombshell for another time.

She hurried over to the spot Penn had picked for assembling the tent. As the two of them began the process of setting up their shelter for the night, she tried to find a topic to fill the silence.

"So... why Sylvia?" Sunset asked, driving one of the stakes into the dusty ground with the heel of her foot.

"Well, it's kind of silly... It's from this kids' show." Penn dusted off his hands as he finished with his second stake.

Sunset picked up two corners of the tent while Penn took the two opposite. The two of them spread the tent to its full size, which was admittedly smaller than she expected. The two of them paused to stare at one another as silence fell, and Sunset made a small motion with her hand for him to continue.

"It's this show called 'Wander Over Yonder.' These two characters, Wander and his buddy Sylvia, are travelling the universe together. Wander's like a little kid, full of shock and awe for the beauty of the universe, and Sylvia's his no-nonsense, tough-as-nails travelling companion that keeps him in line. Wander will get into some kind of well-meaning trouble by wanting to help every person in the galaxy, and Sylvia will get him out of it, usually learning some kind of moral about appreciating life's little joys along the way..."

Sunset grabbed the end of the pole he had threaded through the upper part of the tent.

"Sounds like a cool show!"

"It is! They keep running into this villain called 'Lord Hater' and Wander's silliness and optimism drive him NUTS!" Penn seemed to be loosening up the more he talked. "But he's kinda incompetent, and it all just turns into this hilarious chase from one side of the galaxy to the other and back again!"

"So... why use that name for your car?"

"Well, when I bought it from a friend from church, I had been waking up at four-fifteen every morning to make it to my lousy retail job, then walking back at the hottest part of the day after a nine-hour shift! I was getting five miles of walking in a day, and I'd already spent an entire winter walking to work in a year of record-breaking snowfall! It felt like a miracle from heaven to have that car show up in my life- second pole!"

"I've got it." Sunset and Penn both fixed the ends of the poles onto the stakes, causing the whole tent to spring up as the cheap plastic poles bent upwards in a pair of perpendicular arcs.

"Anyway, from the moment I got it, it felt like this car was taking care of me, you know? But it had a few quirks of its own that needed attention, so I took care of her in return! When I was thinking of what name I'd want to give her, our relationship reminded me of that show because I was watching it at the time! So, I went with Sylvia, and that was that!" Penn dusted off his hands and admired their work.

"Even when I lost that old job and started delivering pizzas, she always got up and running when I needed her, you know? Whenever I'd start to sink into bad habits, she'd break down and I'd have to drop everything I was doing, good or bad, and fix her up! She kept me in line and always made sure I had food on the table, and in return I kept her spirits high and her engine running as smooth as I could!"

Wow. I never really thought I'd get such an emotional story out of asking about the name of his car...

Penn snapped out of his self-satisfied reverie, rushing back to the car and coming back with a sleeping bag under his arm.

"He-heh, sorry. I know I tend to ramble..." He offered her the sleeping bag with both hands. "Thanks for putting up with me."

"Putting up with you?" Sunset shook her head. "That was great! I like hearing my friends talk about the things they love!" She leaned in close, as if sharing some kind of secret as she plucked the offered bedroll from his hands. "It's kind of a prerequisite to being friends with Pinkie Pie!"

This got a chuckle out of Penn, who reached down and opened up the front of the tent, motioning for her to enter. Sunset paused, taking a peek at the tiny space inside. The tent was even more cramped on the inside than it looked from the outside.

"Not a lot of space, is there? It's gonna be pretty snug..."

"Wha- No no no!" Penn held his hands up defensively. "I'm going to sleep in the car! Girls should have their own space! I'd be more comfortable sleeping across the backseat than anywhere else!"

"What?" Sunset's eyes widened. "You're kidding, right? I've got a tent and a sleeping bag to myself and you're just going to curl up in the backseat and call it good?"

"Nope!" Penn chuckled and shook his head. "Besides, SOMEONE's gotta be there to stop us from being towed if a cop comes to check on it!"

Sunset tried to think of a better reasoning for them to SHARE the tent, but she couldn't come up with logic that trumped his.

"Well, if you're REALLY sure it's okay..."

"It's FINE! It's fine." Penn waved away her concerns. Sunset set down her sleeping bag and sent it unfurling to the other end of the tent. "Besides, I'm an AWFUL tent-mate! Toss and turn like crazy, can't sleep on my back, I snore like somebody's sawing logs! It's for the best!"

Sunset rolled her eyes. At this point he was just overcompensating to make her feel better.

"Well, it looks like we've got a little daylight left! Got any ideas for dinner? Maybe we could make a campfire?"

Penn cringed and sucked in air through his teeth.

"You know we're in the middle of the most arid part of Texas, right? There's a burn ban almost year-round to make sure out-of-control brush fires don't wind up destroying entire cotton fields."

"Seriously? What's camping without cooking over a campfire?" Sunset sighed, sinking to the ground. "I'm starting to REALLY miss home..."

Penn gave her a pat on the shoulder. "Come on, Sunny. I've got an idea."

Sunset followed him as he made his way back to the car, plucking a branch from a nearby dead bush. He practically dove headfirst into the trunk, shuffling though until he found what he had been searching for with a gleeful cry of "Ah-HA!" Moments later, he emerged holding a package of graham crackers, a pair of chocolate bars, and a bag of marshmallows.

"I WAS going to save these for when we found the first one of your friends, buuuuut... I'd say stopping a Dalek invasion is pretty worth celebrating too, right?"

"But I thought you said-"

"Hup-up-up! No talking yet! I said I had an idea, didn't I?" Penn handed her the graham crackers and chocolate before vigorously tearing open the bag of marshmallows and skewering a particularly puffy one on the end of the branch. Without so much as a word, he then dropped to the ground and laid himself out on the asphalt behind the car, shuffling until almost his entire torso was out of sight under the Oldsmobile. "Okay! How do you like your marshmallows? Well-done? Golden brown? Barely toasty?"

Sunset bent down, peering underneath to try and understand what he was talking about. To her complete surprise, Penn was happily humming to himself as he held the marshmallow mere millimeters away from the pipe leading to the muffler, where it was quickly becoming a delicious-looking caramel color.

She couldn't tell if he was crazy or genius.

"Um- well, I like them really gooey and..."

Penn chuckled, beginning to give the marshmallow a steady turn. "Ah, slow-cooked right to the center! You're a woman of good tastes!"

"Are you sure that's safe?"

"I don't see why not, long as you don't touch the pipe! It's not like I'm hanging it in front of the end the fumes come out of, or anything... The car isn't even running, the engine just hasn't cooled off, yet! OH HEY! Can you do me a favor? There should be some canned soup in the trunk, run up and toss those under the hood! They should be perfect by the time we finish up these s'mores!"

Sunset pondered the question for a moment, then ran over to grab a branch and marshmallow of her own before carefully laying herself down on the ground and beginning to nudge her way up beside him.

"Move over, bud!"

"Hey! This is cramped enough as it is!" Penn joked as he did his best to make room for her without touching the car's hot underbelly. "You really want to get in on me and Slyvia having a little private time?"

Sunset chuckled, bringing her own marshmallow up to begin cooking.

"From what you said, I figured maybe she might welcome some fresh company by now!"

"Hey!" Penn gave her a firm nudge with his shoulder and they both began to laugh, the sound filling up the tiny space in an instant before slowly fading away to a comfortable silence. A few seconds later, Penn brought down his marshmallow, eating it right off the stick with a hum of pleasure.

"Hmmmm... see what I mean? We take care of Sylvia, and Sylvia takes care of us..."

Sunset chuckled, giving her marshmallow another turn. The old car still felt strange and unfamiliar to her, but... this moment made it less so. It felt like she was finally getting the warm welcome she had been cheated of by the crazy circumstances of her arrival.

"You know what? I think I'm starting to..."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sunset Shimmer was sound asleep in her tent, halfway to a sugar coma after finishing half the bag of marshmallows in one night. Penn was equally deep in his dreams curled up across the entirety of the backseat. Neither of them noticed the third entity enter their camp. Neither of them were woken by the unblinking single pink eye that scanned over both of them with unnatural light, assessing that each of them were undeniably perfectly healthy human specimens, perfect for its master's purposes. Metal hands reached out to grasp at their sleeping forms.

Thank you for assuming the party escort submission position...

Author's Note:

Sorry for the long break, everyone! Been spending the holidays with family!

Edit: Guess who just figured out how to do THIS with the text editor??

PreviousChapters Next