• Published 15th Dec 2018
  • 3,557 Views, 91 Comments

Tales of the Ponyville Blacksmith - Parodyman64



Well, I can't exactly say things have ever been 'normal' here in Ponyville, but it got just a little bit weirder after he showed up.

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Wake Up Call Part 2

Sunlight streamed into the room through the window, lighting up the lonely kitchen. A soft crunching sound from a carnation filly filled the otherwise empty room. Her horn alight as she lifted her spoon to take another bite of her breakfast. It was the same as yesterday, her favorite cereal, ‘Sugar Cubez’. It was sugarier than the name suggested, and her mom never let her eat it two days in a row.

It wasn’t like she was here to stop her, though.

Ruby Pinch sighed as she looked down at her bowl, watching the overly sweet marshmallow cubes swirl lazily in their pool of milk. Her eyes gazed blankly as her mind drifted along, wondering what she was going to do today. Probably go over to Dinky’s. She had been busy with homework all week, and they hadn’t played together since Sunday.

Aside from recess that is, but recess is part of school, so that doesn’t count.

Ruby let out another sigh. That would be for later; she didn’t feel like doing anything right now. Maybe she’d go lay on the couch. Maybe even doodle for a bit. It didn’t really matter, she didn’t have anywhere else to be since it looked like the trip to the park was cancelled.

Again.

Ruby grumbled to herself as she lifted up her spoon to take another bite.

The front door slammed open, causing Ruby to fumble and drop her spoon onto the table. Frantic hoofsteps ran across the floor until Berry Punch staggered into view of the kitchen, breathing haggardly.

“Mom?”

Berry didn’t respond. She just looked at Ruby with worry as she gasped for breath.

Before Ruby could ask her mom what happened, Parody slid into view behind her. He reached out with an arm, and in an exaggerated voice shouted, “Come with me if you want to eat!”

Ruby blinked and looked down at her cereal. “But I’m already-”

Parody lunged forward and slapped the bowl, sending it clattering to the ground, spilling cereal everywhere.

Ruby looked down at the mess on the floor before looking up at Parody, “… why?”

Parody gestured to the door. “Come on, we’re gonna go get food.” He turned and pushed past Berry, knocking her to the floor. She laid there and wheezed, unable to get up.

Ruby looked at her mom in concern. As she got out of her chair to go help her, Parody walked back into view. He rolled his eyes and shook his head as he picked Berry up by the barrel and tucked her under his arm. Once she was secure, he walked back out the front door.

Ruby gave the bowl on the floor one final look before taking off after Parody.


Ruby Pinch trailed behind Parody as he strolled down the street, still carrying a panting Berry Punch. She wasn’t sure what to think of him.

Some of the adults she had listened to had some mean things to say about him, but she couldn’t see it. He seemed nice enough. Sure he was weird, and he did just knock her cereal onto the floor, but he was funny. And just two months ago he came to the school and fixed up the playground for Miss Cheerilee. He even made them a new swing set, which was great because she never got a turn on the old one; Archer and Truffle always hogged it.

He even gave her a free toy when she asked for one. That was pretty nice.

Okay, so she only got it because she had pestered him for days until he finally caved and handed her what looked like a human covered in futuristic, glowy armor complete with “authentic battle damage” in the form of a large gash across the chest, obscuring whatever writing had been there.

She couldn’t tell if that was on purpose or not.

It was a nice toy. It didn’t really fit in with the rest of her toys, but she still had fun with it.

She liked to pretend it was an alien robot built to protect her pony princess dolls.

Ruby looked up at Parody. Speaking of aliens, maybe Parody-

Her internal musings were cut off as her mom started coughing. Worried, she darted over to her side.

“Mom, are you alright?”

Berry let out a couple more coughs before looking to Ruby with a weak smile. “Yes, Ruby, I’m fine. Just clearing my throat.” She coughed a couple more times before quieting down, her breathing back to normal. She looked up at Parody. “Can you put me down? I’ve caught my breath.”

Parody smirked as he shifted to set Berry on the ground. “Man, you should get out more if you’re this out of shape.”

A look of indignation flashed across Berry’s face as she turned to glare at him, but he had already continued walking. She huffed to herself before following after him with Ruby in tow.

They walked in silence for a couple minutes, quietly weaving around the other ponies out on the street.

“So, your name’s Ruby, right?”

Ruby looked up at Parody and nodded. “Ruby Pinch. How’d you know?”

Parody looked down at her with a quirked eyebrow. “Well, aside from you reminding me of your existence every day for two weeks?” Ruby let out a giggle. “‘Ruby’ was what your mom shouted when I reminded her you existed, so I kind of assumed that was your name.”

Berry Punch scowled at that and started to turn and chastise Parody for being insensitive, but before she could open her mouth, Ruby let out a little hum of agreement.

Berry flinched at her daughter’s indifference to the idea that her mom forgot about her. She wasn’t that bad…

Was she?

“Anyway, I’ve already talked to your mom about the wine business, so, uh… How’s school?”

Ruby giggled, “It’s alright. Recess is a lot more fun now that the playground is fixed. Ooh! And it’s even better now that we’ve got another swing set! I can actually go on it now!”

“You couldn’t before?”

Ruby pouted, “No, Archer and Truffle always hogged them!”

“That’s rude. Didn’t they ever learn to share?”

She stomped her hoof on the ground, “Ugh! I know! Let somepony else have a turn! I wanna swing too!”

Berry groaned, “Please don’t encourage this.”

Parody smirked, “What are you talking about? These are some very legitimate concerns. I thought you ponies were all about sharing.”

His flippancy was met with a tired glare.

He rolled his eyes. “Fine, fine,” With a dismissive wave he turned back to look at Ruby. “So, recess is fine. What about everything else?”

“It’s alright, I guess.”

“You guess?”

Ruby lowered her head and grumbled to herself.

Parody gave Berry Punch a quizzical glance.

Berry chuckled at her daughter’s frustration. “They’re starting pre-algebra.”

“Ah,” He turned back to Ruby with a smirk, “the letters getting to ya?”

Ruby stomped her hoof, “Math should be just numbers! Not letters!”

Parody laughed, “Well, if you think letters are bad, just wait until they start throwing in imaginary numbers.”

What?!” Ruby stopped, giving Parody a look that was somewhere between fearful and frustrated. “Imaginary numbers?!”

“Yep!”

“That- Why?!”

He shrugged, “Sometimes you need to use fake to figure out the real.”

“… That doesn’t make sense! Why does math get stupider and stupider! Who needs-?”

As Ruby went on to rant about the stupidity of math, with little hoof stomps here and there for emphasis, Parody began to laugh in earnest. Berry shook her head at her daughter’s tantrum. Seeing that she wasn’t going to stop anytime soon, Berry shot Parody a glare before picking up Ruby and setting her on her back. As Ruby continued her rant uninterrupted, Berry gestured for Parody to take the lead.

As he walked by, Berry leaned over to him. “Look at what you’ve done. She isn’t going to stop anytime soon, and she’s going to exhaust herself over nothing.”

“Oh yeah? Watch this.” Parody leaned in close to Ruby. He put his hand to his mouth and stage whispered, “Hey, wanna know a secret?”

Immediately her rant stopped.

“Secret?”

“Yeah,” he beckoned her closer, “Don’t tell anyone, but you might be getting a guest lecturer sometime in the future.”

She gasped loudly. “You’re gonna be teaching us?!”

“Yep!”

Ruby began bouncing on Berry’s back. “What about? What about?” She stopped and narrowed her eyes. “It better not be about fake numbers.”

He laughed, “No, no. Just simple stuff. Mostly stories from home.”

Ruby went back to bouncing excitedly on Berry’s back.

Parody turned back to Berry. “And like that, it’s like it never happened.”

“Are you really going to be teaching at the school?”

“For a given definition of teaching. I’ve got a few stories I can tell that I’m sure they’ll find interesting.” He snorted in amusement. “You know, I actually offered to guest lecture at Princess Twilight’s School of Friendship.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. She turned me down. Said I wasn’t ‘friendly enough’”

“I can’t imagine why.”

He shrugged and gave a playful smirk. “Beats me; I’m plenty friendly.”

Berry scoffed and rolled her eyes, causing Parody to crack up.

After a minute of silence, Parody glanced over at Ruby, who was still bouncing in place on Berry’s back.

“Wow, you’re really excited about that, aren’t you?”

“Mhmm,” She nodded, “It’s gonna be so much better than some boring old lesson.”

“You sure? It’s just gonna be a history lesson.”

“An alien history lesson.”

“… Well, you got me there. I think aliens could make even calculus interesting.”

As they continued along in silence, Berry looked around at the busy street, trying to look past the crowds of ponies at the occasional shop lining the street. She didn’t think she needed anything, but it never hurt to keep an eye out for anything interesting.

Ruby broke the silence. “Hey, mister Parody?”

“What’s up?”

“Did you ever go to school?”

“Oh yeah. Lots of ‘em.”

Ruby made a face. “You went to more than one school? Why?”

Parody gestured outward with his arms. “Well, you know, to learn new things. Broaden my horizons. Meet new people.”

“Oh! Did you make any friends?”

“Hmm?”

“Did you make any friends? I’ve made lots of friends in school!”

Parody laughed and opened his mouth to respond, before freezing. His face slowly changed from one of playful mirth to deep contemplation. “Actually, I think I’ve made more enemies than friends.”

Berry snorted, “‘She turned me down. Said I wasn’t friendly enough.’”

Parody burst into laughter.

Ruby frowned, “… enemies?”

Parody shrugged, “Well, ‘enemies’ might be too strong of a word. I mean, looking back at college alone, I occasionally hung out with Corus, and Cinder was pretty chill, but Mr. Vires barely tolerated me, Lily and Nera outright hated me, and everyone else was mostly indifferent, but I don’t think they were all too fond of me.” Parody noticed Berry and Ruby staring at him. “What? It’s not my fault no one likes me.”

Berry gave him a flat look. “Are you sure about that?”

Parody responded by sticking his tongue out at her.

Ruby looked up at him. “I like you, Mister Parody.”

Parody smiled. “Yeah, but you’re a kid, and I give you free stuff.”

“I’m eleven!”

“… You’re a kid, and I give you free stuff.”

Berry flinched as Ruby stomped a hoof on her back and shouted, “You’re nice!”

“… Because I give you-”

Ruby hopped off Berry’s back and stomped over to Parody’s feet, pouting up at him angrily.

Parody met her glare with a neutral expression before shrugging. “Well, I guess I have no choice but to bow to your superior logic.”

Ruby nodded sharply, huffing as she turned around to walk down the street with her nose up snootily.

Berry smiled at her daughter as she followed after her. Parody trailed behind for a bit before speeding up to match pace beside Ruby.

“Alright, since you’re the expert here: How many friends have you made in school?”

“More than you, probably.” Berry shot at Parody, earning a playful glare.

“Oh! I’ve made lots of friends! There’s Aura, Pipsqueak, Featherweight, Twist. I sometimes play with Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo, but they’re usually busy with other things. Oh! And there’s my best friend, Dinky!”

Parody tilted his head slightly. “Dinky? That’s Derpy’s daughter, right?” Berry nodded. “Good kid.”

Ruby bounced in place and nodded rapidly. “Yeah! Dinky’s the bestest friend ever! We always hang out at recess, and we play together all the time!”

Parody smiled softly. “Ah, the classic best friend. Someone you can laugh and have fun with.” Ruby nodded. “Someone you can always trust and rely on.” Ruby nodded. Parody’s smile shifted to a wide smirk. “Someone you can talk about all the cute colts with.”

Ruby nodded before realizing what Parody had said. Her face burst into red and she darted over to Parody’s legs. “Shh! Shh!” She looked around conspiratorially, “They’ll hear you.”

Parody exploded into laughter.

Ruby puffed out her cheeks and glared at him with the force of a plush bomb. “I’m serious! You don’t talk about these things!”

It was no use, however, as Parody’s laughter didn’t cease in any way. Ruby huffed and turned around to stomp down the street.

Eventually, Parody’s laughter died down. He looked up at Ruby. “C’mon, lighten up!” She huffed and ignored him. “Look, I promise none of them heard me.”

She didn’t turn around. “And how do you know that?”

Parody scoffed, “Oh, please, there aren’t any other kids around here. It’s a beautiful Saturday morning! If I were your age, I’d be at the park or something.”

Ruby’s posture suddenly slumped, and her ears folded back. “… Yeah.”

Confused at her sudden change in behavior, Parody and Berry Punch both looked at each other and shrugged, though Berry couldn’t help but feel as if it were her fault in some way.

After a moment of walking in silence, Parody turned to Berry. “So, Dinky’s her best friend?”

Berry nodded. “Mhmm. They met each other when they started school, and have been close friends ever since.” She smiled softly. “It was actually because they were such close friends that I got to meet Derpy for the first time outside of work.”

“Fast friends?”

Berry nodded. “Yes. She’s actually one of my closest friends now. She’s kind and reliable, and while she might not always get it right, you can always count on her to give it her best.”

Parody laughed, “Oh, I know. Derpy’s like one of two ponies that I’m legitimately friends with.”

Berry looked to Parody in surprise. “Really?”

“Yeah. Though I guess familiarity probably played a part in that.”

“Familiarity?”

Parody nodded with a surprisingly moderate smile. “Yep. Derpy was the first pony I recognized when I got here.”

Berry tilted her head quizzically. “You met her in Canterlot?”

Parody shook his head. “No, I met her back home.”

Ruby’s ears perked up as she turned around. “Really?!”

“Yeah.”

Berry gave him an odd look. “Huh.”

Parody blinked, before turning to Berry. “You don’t sound all that impressed.” He furrowed his brow slightly. “Do you not know where I’m from?”

Berry shook her head. “It was never in the papers.”

“No… but we did bring it up at my Welcome to Po- right, you were completely wasted; of course you don’t remember.”

Berry shot him a fierce glare.

Parody shook his head. “That’s still no excuse! Ruby brought it up like three conversations ago!”

Berry looked to Ruby.

“He’s an alien, Mom.”

Berry snapped to look at Parody. “You’re an alien?!”

“Yeah. I’m from a completely different reality. If you hadn’t been plastered, you’d’ve been there when we told everyone I was brought here by some magical cosmic coincidence that yoinked me out of my reality and into yours.”

Berry just stared blankly at him. He was an alien from another reality?

… That explained a lot, actually.

Ruby tilted her head. “How did Derpy end up in your home?”

“Pff, don’t ask me, I don’t know. No one ever admitted to it, so I assume it was just some genuine cosmic shenanigans. All I know is that I was at work and she just rounded the corner in front of me. Handed me a letter and a muffin.” Parody laughed. “I’d say you ponies get into some weird situations, but honestly? I’m in no position to judge.”

Berry blinked a few times. “So you and Derpy already knew each other?”

“Eh, not really. She didn’t recognize me when I got here, so that was probably another Derpy. Y’know, infinite realities and all that.”

Berry nodded slowly. “… Right.”

She had no idea what he was talking about.

Ruby Pinch bounced in place, excitement back in her eyes. “Ooh! What’s your home like? Where do you work? What do you do?”

Parody smiled. “You know, I would love to answer your questions.” He gestured at the building in front of them. “But we're here, so I won’t” He started walking towards the door.

“Oh come on!”

Parody laughed. “Looks like you’ll just have to wait until I visit the school.”

Ruby pouted as she followed him inside, Berry absent mindedly trailing behind her. Once inside, Berry began to take in the surroundings.

“Sorry that it’s not the café from before, but this is a bit cheaper, and about as goo-”

“Hayburger? Really?” Berry said flatly.

“What’s wrong with Hayburger? Princess Twilight likes it, see?”

Berry looked over to where Parody was pointing and saw Starlight Glimmer, Spike, and Princess Twilight Sparkle sitting at a table in the corner of the room. Starlight and Spike were quietly nursing drinks with heavy bags under their eyes as Princess Twilight scarfed down food like a slob while rifling through some papers.

Parody waved, “Hi, Princess Twilight!”

The three froze before looking over at Parody. Starlight and Spike just shook their heads and returned to their drinks while Princess Twilight narrowed eyes as she stared at Parody. She slowly wiped her mouth with a burger before taking a bite out of it. After a few more seconds she broke eye contact and turned back to her papers, occasionally glancing back over at him.

Ruby looked up at Berry. “Can we eat here, Mom, please? We never come here.”

Berry opened her mouth to say no, that it was unhealthy and that they should either go somewhere else or go back home, but she caught sight of her daughter’s pleading gaze. She sighed, “Fine,” she turned to Parody, “but you’re paying.”

“I was actually gonna make Ruby pay for it.”

What?!” Ruby frantically looked up at Parody. “But I don’t have any-!” Parody set a small bag of bits on her snout, cutting her off and making her go cross-eyed to look at it.

“There. Now go pay for our food.” He began to walk off. “I’m gonna go grab a table.”

“Wait!” Ruby called out, almost panicked. She turned her head to follow Parody, causing the bag of bits to fall off onto the floor. “I don’t know what you want!”

“Anything that doesn’t have hay in it!”

“Came to the wrong place for that.” Berry muttered as she picked up the bit bag. “Come on, Ruby. Let’s go order our food.”

“But what if I get him something he doesn’t like?”

“If he’s not going to be a grown up and order his own food, then he’ll just have to be a big-colt and deal with what he’s given.”


They ate their food in silence; Berry eating a simple hayburger, Ruby munching on some cheesy hay fries, while Parody slowly ate his salad, almost mechanically. Berry’s ear flicked as she felt a twinge of annoyance. She had specifically ordered the most basic salad for Parody as a way to get back at him for not ordering his own food, but he hadn’t reacted to it at all. He just stared forward unblinkingly. She glanced up at him. He was still staring forward at some distant object, paying no attention to his table mates, or even the salad on his plate. He hadn’t even put dressing on it, he was so focused on whatever he was looking at. Berry glanced over in the direction he was looking. She did a brief double-take at the object of his unwavering attention.

“Why are you staring at the Princess?”

He didn’t spare her a glance. “I’m trying to make her uncomfortable.”

Berry looked back at Princess Twilight, whose eyes flashed over to glance at Parody before flicking back forward, her ears lowering a notch. Her eating was much slower than it had been when they entered.

Berry glared at Parody. “Why?”

He gave a light shrug, but otherwise didn’t change his focus. “Feel like it.”

She looked back at the Princess, who quickly glanced at their table before lowering her head, ears almost folded against her skull as her measured expression began to break. She turned back to Parody. “That’s not a good enough reason.”

“Well get used to it, ‘cause that’s the reason for most of the things I do.”

Berry shook her head before turning back to face the poor pony who had begun to quiver under Parody’s gaze. The princess’s eyes flashed over to them. Her whole body gave a twitch before her horn lit up and with a BAMF she disappeared.

Parody clapped and threw his hands in the air. “Yes! Five minutes and fifty-seven seconds! New record!”

Berry just watched as Starlight and Spike slowly shook their heads before grabbing their drinks and walking towards the door.

“Gotta say, thanks for the help, Berry. With both of us staring at her, she cracked much faster.”

Confused, Berry turned to Parody. “What are you talking about? I wasn’t staring at her, I was-”

“Looking at her every time she looked over, so you might as well have been.”

Berry winced. She’d have to apologize for that later.

Ruby swallowed her mouthful of cheese-fries. “So, Mister Parody, what do you think of Equestria?”

Parody quirked an eyebrow. “What brought this on?”

“Well, you won’t talk about your world, so I wanted to know what you thought of ours.”

“Ah, well for starters, it’s not nearly as peaceful and relaxing as I thought it would be.”

Berry furrowed her brow. “What are you talking about? Equestria is a peaceful nation, and-”

“Are you kidding me?” He gave her a playful smirk, “It’s been almost non-stop shenanigans since I got here.”

“And how much of that is your fault?” Berry shot at him.

Parody’s expression didn’t change as he silently reached over and flicked her ear, causing her to flinch back and glare at him, before continuing. “Monsters, crazy ponies, angry ponies, ponies throwing me through walls-”

“What?!”

“Ask Luna. But yeah, it’s been crazy, and I didn’t come here for crazy.” He huffed and folded his arms. “Some vacation this turned out to be.”

Berry gave a slightly sheepish smile. “Well, I suppose Ponyville has always been a strange place…”

Parody rolled his eyes and smirked. “Oh, don’t even get me started on Ponyville. I don’t think I could have picked a worse spot to relax if I tried! Canterlot was a three on the weird-o-meter, Trottingham’s a five, and Ponyville is easily a twelve.” Berry opened her mouth. “Before factoring Pinkie.” Berry closed her mouth.

Ruby looked up sadly. “You don’t like it here?”

Parody laughed. “Don’t worry. This place is fun. And honestly? That’s good enough for me. I enjoy fun. I’m just whining that it isn’t as relaxing as I was initially hoping. I mean, look at today: I was expecting a lazy Saturday; Instead, I woke up to a rodeo!”

Ruby tilted her head. “Was Applejack there?”

Parody shook his head. “Nope. Just your mom. Thankfully.” Berry went into a coughing fit as she choked on her drink.

Ruby furrowed her brow. “I didn’t know my mom did rodeos.”

Parody laughed, “Oh, trust me, she wasn’t that good. All she did was smash my ribs.”

Berry coughed, trying to clear her throat. “I said I was sorry!”

“Sorry doesn’t fix bones.”

“You said you were fine!”

“Not the point.”

“Mom? Why’d you hurt Mister Parody?”

Berry winced, her mouth open as she struggled to find an answer. “I- he- uh…” Her head dropped as she slumped in her seat. “He startled me.”

“Startled you?! I said ‘hi’ and you gave me the standard greeting!”

Berry looked up, brow furrowed. “Standard greeting?”

“Gratuitous violence.”

“That’s not the standard greeting!”

“Then why was my welcome to Equestria being thrown through a wall?! Did I startle her too?!”

Berry struggled to find a response.

Ruby sniffled, eyes starting to water. “Please don’t leave, Mister Parody.”

“Why not? Don’t want to lose your source of free stuff?”

Ruby pouted up at him.

Parody leaned in, a smile on his face. “Don’t worry. I don’t think I’m going anywhere anytime soon.”

Berry raised a brow. “‘You don’t think?’”

Parody glanced at her. “Well, it’s not exactly up to me.” He turned back to Ruby. “Hey, you wanna go to the park? Will that make you feel better?”

She nodded, starting to smile.

“Okay,” Parody suddenly leaned in close, “Race you there!” He bolted away from the table, sliding over another as he stumbled his way out the door.

Ruby scampered off after him.

Berry jolted upright. “Wait! Don’t-!” The door closed.

They were gone.

Berry scowled at the door, growling to herself as she looked down at the mess on the table. She didn’t want to be ‘that pony’ who left their mess for somepony else, so she would have to clean this up before she left. She quickly started throwing everything onto the trays. The quicker she got this done, the quicker she could give Parody a piece of her mind.


The late morning sun shone brightly on the park, unblocked by any lingering clouds. A gentle breeze carried the screams and laughter of foals playing in the lush green fields. The shade casting branches of trees rustled, the sweet smelling flowers swayed, and the soft grass shifted under the rolling breeze. It was, without doubt, a beautiful day at the Ponyville Park.

It’s a pity that Berry Punch was in no mood to appreciate any of it.

Berry’s hooves stomped with each step as she stormed down the trail, eyes glaring at the focus of her ire. There, standing at the top of a hill watching a group of foals run around, was a tall figure dressed in black, his brown hair and blue cape flitting in the wind.

Hearing her approach, Parody turned away from the foals to look at Berry, a smirk growing on his face. “Hey! ‘Bout time you-”

“Who the buck do you think you are?!”

He didn’t flinch. “That’s a pretty hostile way to say ‘thank you.’”

Thank you?!”

“You’re welcome.”

Berry’s eyes narrowed, her brow furrowing as her muzzle scrunched up, glaring death at Parody.

He rolled his eyes. “Oh relax will you?”

Relax?! You ran off with my daughter!”

“What’s your point? Most kids do that on their own anyway.” He folded his arms. “Despite all my complaining earlier, this isn’t exactly a dangerous place.”

“I’m trying to be a good mother!”

He quirked an eyebrow. “By getting drunk and waking up in someone else’s house? Interesting strategy.”

That took the wind out of her sails.

Berry slumped, the heat of her anger replaced by the hollow, icy feeling of shame.

“Then again, I guess I’m no better. My lifestyle isn’t exactly conducive to raising kids, and I’m pretty sure I’m in the red on that anyway. I mean, I don’t even have kids, and I still-”

Berry’s head hung low, her thoughts turning inward.

He was right. What kind of parent isn’t even there for her own daughter? For Celestia’s sake, she had completely forgotten about Ruby for most of the morning. She didn’t deserve-

“Hey.”

Berry snapped out of her thoughts as something shook her. She looked up at Parody’s neutral expression.

He tilted his head toward a bench under a nearby tree. “C’mon.” He started walking over to it. After a brief pause, Berry trailed behind him.

He plopped down, one leg crossed over the other, hands behind his head as he looked out into the crowd of foals. “Ruby’s having fun.” He said as Berry climbed onto the bench, resting her head on her hooves. “I get the feeling she’s been wanting to come out here all day. Anyway, we were playing hide and seek earlier. I lost pretty badly. Turns out those kids are way sneakier than I thought. Who knew?” He sighed, “They’ve moved on to tag now. Decided to sit out of that.”

Berry shifted in her seat, uncomfortable as she searched for something to say. After a minute she sighed. “… I’m sorry for yelling at you.”

Parody dropped his hands. “Look, I get it: You don’t like me. Most people don’t. That’s fine.”

Berry looked out at the foals running around, chasing each other. She spotted Ruby, squealing as she galloped away from a lavender filly. “I just worry…”

“Come on, I can be responsible.”

Berry cracked a weak smile. “You’ll have to forgive me if you don’t exactly give that impression.” Parody started laughing as Berry shook her head. “It’s not that, it’s just…” She stopped, searching for the right words. She looked up at Parody. “Parody, am I a bad mother?”

“Well, you’re certainly not the best.”

Berry flinched back, ears folded against her head as an expression of hurt crossed her face.

Parody started laughing. “Look, if you came looking for comfort and reassurance, you came to the wrong person.” His expression dropped to a soft smile. “That being said, you’re far from the worst. For all your flaws, Ruby doesn’t seem to hate you, so you’ve got that going for ya.” He shrugged, “’course I could be dead wrong; I don’t exactly know you two. Fact of the matter is,” he leaned in close, staring directly into her eyes, “I’m not the one you should be having this conversation with.”

Berry looked back at Ruby, who was now chasing a gray colt. “… What if she hates me?”

“Then she hates you and that’ll be your problem to deal with.”

Berry tried to glare at Parody, but it didn’t have much heat to it.

“What? Do you really want advice from me?”

She slumped into the bench, head buried in her hooves.

He was right.

But how could she talk to her? After all she had done? After all she hadn’t done? All the little mistakes she had swept under the rug… were they really so little? Or was she lying to herself, too? What did Ruby think? Were they little to her? Or was each mistake another wedge that would drive them apart?

Berry’s eyes began to water. Why did she think she could do this? What made her think she had what it takes to be a mother? Ruby would be better off with somepony else, somepony who would actually be there for her. She sniffled, the soft rain further dampening her spiraling mood.

Rain?

Berry lifted her head from her hooves and looked out at the park. The sun shone brightly, the trees rustled in the wind, and the foals laughed and played. There was no rain in sight, yet she still heard the soft pitter-patter of rain and felt little splashes of water. In fact, it seemed to be growing heavier. Confused, Berry looked at Parody. He sat on the bench, arms crossed, with a smile on his face…

All while sitting underneath what was rapidly becoming a localized torrential downpour.

His hair was plastered to his face, trails of water streaming down to his chin. His soaked clothes clung to his body, and his feet idly tapped in the puddle forming underneath him.

Berry’s mind completely blanked. “… What?”

Parody’s smile tightened into a smirk. “The trick is to not give her the satisfaction.”

Unable to speak, Berry looked up.

Floating far above Parody was a dark storm cloud, with a rainbow-maned pegasus aboard glaring death down at him. The rain pouring out of the dark cloud grew heavier and heavier as Rainbow Dash’s furious expression hardened.

“She’ll give up eventually.”

Berry looked back down at Parody. She opened her mouth to ask if he was sure when thunder rumbled from the storm cloud. Berry drew back in alarm. “Is she going to shoot lightning at you?”

Parody leaned back, draping an arm along the back of the bench behind Berry. “Nah, she’s not pissed enough to try that with other ponies nearby.” He flashed her a wicked smirk, “Yet. That can easily be changed.”

Berry rapidly shook her head, causing Parody to break into wild laughter.

Thunder rumbled, causing Berry to look back up at the cloud. Rainbow’s face was further contorting in fury, and the rumbling and flashes of light from within the dark cloud made Berry think that Rainbow was quickly approaching the point where she would be willing to take pot-shots at Parody, regardless of any bystanders such as herself.

Fortunately, before Berry started running, a couple weather ponies flew up to talk to Rainbow Dash. She couldn’t hear what they said, but she heard Rainbow’s growl of frustration. She took to the air and kicked the storm cloud, breaking it and causing it to dump the remaining water on Parody, before flying off.

Berry coughed and spluttered, having gotten caught up in the splash of water dumped from the sky, while Parody just sat and chuckled as he watched Dash’s retreat.

Berry coughed and shook her head, trying to dislodge the water in her everything. She looked up at Parody, “Why do you antagonize her? You could get seriously hurt… Maybe even die if something goes wrong.”

Parody shook his head as he leaned back and clasped his hands behind his neck. “Nah, she won’t kill me.”

“How can you be so sure?”

Parody shot her a smirk. “Because then I win.”

Berry wasn’t sure what face she made, but judging by Parody’s laugh, it must have been pretty silly looking. “… What? What do you mean you win?”

“Pretty sure I count as ‘someone, anyone.’ So if Dash kills me, the means I get what I want, and she knows that.”

“… But you’d be dead.”

He shrugged, “Still win, though.”

Unable to form words, Berry just rested her face on her hoof.

After a few minutes of silently watching the foals chase each other around, Parody sat up. “Well, I should get going. I’ve got some work to do.”

Berry gave a soft hum of acknowledgement.

Parody pat her on the head as he stood up. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell the guard that you got drunk and assaulted me in my own home.”

Berry’s head snapped up, eyes wide as she looked at Parody in alarm. With everything that had happened, she hadn’t even thought of that. Seeing her expression, Parody began cackling madly as he walked away. Berry drew in on herself, watching him leave warily.

He stopped, “Oh, Berry?” He turned around and gave her a soft smirk as he pointed to her hooves. “Seriously though, chrome shoes. Think about it.” With that he turned and continued down the path, Berry eyeing him the whole way.

“Did mister Parody have to leave?”

Berry jolted in shock and whirled around to face Ruby. She had been so focused on making sure Parody was actually leaving that she had missed her daughter’s approach. She opened her mouth to answer, but a tightness in her chest took her voice, so instead she just nodded.

“Oh, okay.” Ruby looked at her hooves for a moment, before looking up. “Hey, Mom? Do you want to play with us? We’re still deciding on what to play next, but…”

Berry opened her mouth to say no. To say that she was too tired, that it was getting too late, to say that she needed to get back home, or any other excuse.

Excuse.

She closed her mouth and looked at her daughter, at the soft glimmer of hope in her eyes. She closed her eyes and sighed, a soft smile forming. “Sure, Ruby. I’ll play with you.”

Ruby began to bounce in place as Berry got to her hooves. “Really?!” At Berry’s nod she turned and scampered off towards the other foals.

As Berry watched Ruby gallop off, she felt the tightness in her chest return. She struggled to keep her desperation from showing as tried to fight through it.

Say it.

Say it!

Say it!

SAY IT!

“Ruby!”

Ruby stopped and turned around, confused.

“… I love you.”

Ruby blinked, before giving a soft smile.

“I love you too, Mom.”

Berry sighed in relief, all the tension in her body melting away. She didn’t hate her. She still had a chance.

“Now come on, Mom! The others are waiting for us!”

And she could start here.

Author's Note:

Took me a while, but I finally got through the intro segment. Now that that's out of the way, I can start on some of the more fun chapters.

Stay tuned for the next chapter: Brown

Also, finally figured out the whole image thing, so here you go

A more realistic looking Parody:

And his original cartoon self:

Anyways, feedback is appreciated.

(As for the Derpy in Parody's world bit: That's a reference to an old story I wrote in a notepad that I never did anything with. It's mostly just brought up to explain why Parody has a fondness for Derpy.)