• 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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The Catapult Fiasco

The open window was a beacon, a gateway with which one could get a glimpse of the outside world. A majestic painting on a living canvas. The vast sky was colored a brilliant blue, contrasting the white clouds that lazily drifted, forever wandering with no goal in mind. Vivid birds flitted about in the field of apple trees, chirping songs to each other as if they had nothing better to do. A gentle breeze blew by, carrying the sounds of rustling leaves and birdsong, blowing the curtains open wide in an inviting gesture, sunlight cascading through to brighten the room, revealing the three fillies within. A white unicorn sat with a yellow earth pony looking over a small list while an orange pegasus lay splayed out on the floor. It was a beautiful day that possessed but a single flaw.

Scootaloo huffed, “I’m boooooooooored!”

Apple Bloom sighed, “We know, Scootaloo.”

Scootaloo rolled over to look at her friends, “Are you sure we don’t have anything to do today?”

Sweetie Belle gave her a look, “Yes, Scootaloo, we’re sure. It’s a Saturday, so we don’t have school, no pony needs our help with their cutie marks, and we have no other plans for the day.”

Scootaloo just leaned back and groaned.

With a shake of her head, Apple Bloom turned to the prone pony, “Well, since we got nothin’ better to do, ya’ll got any ideas?”

Scootaloo was silent for a moment before releasing a wistful sigh. “You know, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I miss when we were blank flanks.”

That drew some surprised looks.

Apple Bloom arched her brow, “Alright, ya’ll are gonna hafta explain that, ‘cause we spent ages tryin’ to get our cutie marks.”

Scootaloo smiled and turned to face her, “I know. All those crazy adventures we went on, all those dangerous stunts we pulled to try and get our cutie marks,” looks back up at the ceiling, “I didn’t think about it then, but, it was fun. There was always something new to try, and we were never bored.”

“‘Cept when we were grounded on account of one a them stunts of yers.”

Scootaloo laughed, “Yeah.” She went silent for a moment before letting out a soft sigh. “I’m just realizing how much I miss that.”

Sweetie Belle smiled, “It’s like adults always say, ‘you never know what you have until it’s gone.’”

“Yeah.”

Apple Bloom scoffed, “Who said anythin’ ‘bout it bein’ gone? We can jus’ go an’ do some crazy thing for fun, we don’ have ta be lookin’ for our cutie marks.”

There was silence for a moment before Scootaloo scrambled upright. She turned to Apple Bloom, a smile plastered on her face, “You know what? You’re right! We don’t have to be looking for our cutie marks to have fun!” She turned to Sweetie Belle, “Do we still have the old list of crusading ideas?”

Sweetie Belle shook her head, “No. We threw that out once we got our cutie marks. We didn’t think we’d need it anymore.”

Scootaloo was undeterred. “Then we’ll just have to make a new one!”

Apple Bloom hummed in thought. “How ‘bout we focus on today first. We can worry ‘bout a list another time.”

“Okay.” Scootaloo shrugged, before turning her thoughts inward. Her brow furrowed as she concentrated, contemplating deeply what she wanted to do. Her mind lost in an endless sea of ideas, each one more extravagant, more outlandish, more dangerous than the last.

No.

As much as it pained her, she had to start smaller. But starting small didn’t mean it had to be any less awesome. Small and awesome, like herself. That was what she was looking for. Drifting along in her ocean of thought, Scootaloo kept her mind’s eye open for any possible ideas that matched what she was looking for. Suddenly-

Scootaloo clopped her hooves together. “I got it!”

Knowing how her friend’s mind worked, Apple Bloom shot her a questioning look. “Is it something dangerous that’ll definitely get us into trouble?”

“We’re gonna need a catapult.”

“Yep.”

Sweetie Belle furrowed her brow, “What are we going to do with a catapult?”

“Throw stuff around,” Scootaloo shrugged, “What else do you do with a catapult?”

Apple Bloom grinned at Sweetie Belle. “She’s got ya there.”

Sweetie Belle giggled, “Alright. Silly question.”

Scootaloo laughed, “Yeah, I figure we’ll just throw some rocks across one of the empty fields on the farm.”

Apple Bloom turned back to Scootaloo. “Hmm. Sounds a little dangerous.”

Scootaloo rolled her eyes. “We’ll make sure nopony’s in the way first!”

A thoughtful look crossed Sweetie Belle’s face. “Hey, Sooctaloo? Where are we even going to get a catapult in the first place?”

Silence.

“Uh,” Scootaloo shot an unsure glance at Apple Bloom who shrugged.

“Ah guess we could ask around. See if we can’t borrow one from somepony else.”

Scootaloo nodded, “Works for me. We’ll start with your sister.”

“Fine.”

As they began to leave the clubhouse, Scootaloo paused. “Hey, girls?”

The other two Crusaders turned around. “Yeah?”

Scootaloo smiled and held out her hoof. “For old time’s sake?”

Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle smiled.

The three fillies formed a circle and placed their hooves in the center, before throwing them in the air.

“CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS CATAPULT USERS, YAY!”


“No.”

Apple Bloom gave her sister the best pout she could. “Come on, please?”

Applejack shook her head. “There ain’t no way Ah’m lettin’ you girls run around playin’ with a catapult.”

“Aw, why not?”

Applejack turned away from the cart she was loading to give her a look. “’Cause it’s dangerous, Apple Bloom. Ah don’ wanna see ya get hurt.”

Apple Bloom frowned, “Ah’m not a foal!”

“An’ yer not a mare, either.” Applejack gave her a stern glare before sighing, “Look, Apple Bloom, Ah’m sorry, but Ah can’t let ya go playing with dangerous weapons. What would Granny say if I let ya get hurt?”

Apple Bloom said nothing, instead just looking to the side.

Applejack placed a hoof on her withers. “Ah’m only lookin’ out for ya. Ya understand that, right?”

Apple Bloom sighed, “Yeah.” Shaking free of her sister’s hoof, she trotted away.

Applejack gave her a worried glance before returning to work.

Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo turned to face Apple Bloom as she approached. “How’d it go?” Sweetie Belle asked.

Apple Bloom shook her head as she kept walking down the path. “Nothin’.”

Scootaloo trotted after her. “What now?”

Sweetie Belle followed behind. “Well, we could always ask Rarity.”


“Absolutely not!”

“Oh, come on!”

Rarity gave her sister a stern glare. “Sweetie Belle, you are far too young to be playing with dangerous weapons like that.”

Sweetie Belle stomped her hoof. “I’m not a foal!”

“But you aren’t an adult.” Rarity shook her head, “Honestly, where did such a ridiculous idea even come from?”

“… it was Scootaloo’s idea.”

Rarity glanced out the window at the orange pegasus. “Well, that would explain that. That filly takes after Dash far too much.” She turned back to Sweetie Belle. “You girls have done a lot of crazy things, but I’m putting my hoof down on this. No weapons.”

“Ugh. Fine.” Sweetie Belle dragged her hooves as she left her sister’s boutique.

Scootaloo caught a glimpse of Sweetie Belle’s expression as she approached. “No luck?”

“No luck.”

Apple Bloom hmmed. “Is there anypony else we could ask? Maybe somepony that don’t mind a bit of danger?”


“Hmm. Sounds like fun.” Rainbow Dash glanced over the Crusaders. “But, I’m afraid I don’t actually have one.”

The three fillies groaned.

“Aw, really?” Scootaloo looked up at Rainbow Dash.

Dash shrugged. “Yeah, sorry about that.” She gave them a smirk. “Hey, try asking Pinkie. She built a Party-Pult a couple weeks ago; see if you can borrow that.”

The Crusaders shared an excited look before bolting down the street towards Sugarcube Corner.

“Thanks, Rainbow Dash!” Scootaloo called over her shoulder, “You’re the best!”

Rainbow Dash smiled, “I know.”


“Sorry, girls,” Pinkie gave the gathered fillies a rueful smile. “I had to dismantle it.”

“Oh, come on!”

“Really?”

“Why?”

Pinkie shrugged. “Court orders. Turns out ponies can only legally possess two siege weapons.”

Scootaloo groaned in disappointment, “That’s lame.”

“Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.” Pinkie reached under the counter and pulled out three chocolate chip cookies. “Would cookies make you feel better?”

Apple Bloom looked at the proffered cookies. “Well, Ah’d be a fool to turn down free cookies.” She, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo accepted the cookies and sat down at a booth. As they ate their snack, their minds wandered, seeking a solution to the continued absence of a catapult to play with.

Apple Bloom looked across the table. “If we can’t find anypony to give us one, maybe we can just build one ourselves.”

Scootaloo quirked her brow. “Do you know how to build a catapult? ‘Cause I don’t.”

Apple Bloom shook her head. “Can’t say that Ah do.”

Sweetie Belle looked up, “Maybe we could go to the castle library. Twilight’s bound to have something in there that could help us.”

Apple Bloom nodded, “That could work.”


The castle doors slammed shut behind them.

Sweetie Belle turned to face her friends. “In retrospect, we probably shouldn’t have mentioned why we wanted to know.”

Scootaloo glanced back at the towering castle doors. “I don’t know whether I should be frustrated, disappointed, or proud that she’s learning to not trust us.”

Apple Bloom shook her head. “Come on, we got a couple more options.”


Sunlight beamed across the crowded market square, lighting up the cheery faces of haggling ponies. Open market was in full swing. The dull roar of background chatter filled the air as ponies milled about the various vending stalls. Sweet smells swirled about the air, bringing hints of flowers, fruit, and baked goods. There was a whisper of laughter carried in the breeze as foals scampered about, laughing and playing as they dodged around the legs of the adults.

“I can’t believe nopony’s willing to trust us with a catapult!”

Apple Bloom turned away from watching the crowd to give an arched brow to the pouting pegasus sitting on the bench beside her. “Really? ‘Cause Ah can. We ain’t exactly got a responsible reputation goin’ for us, even with our cutie marks.”

Scootaloo’s scowl deepened as she gave a frustrated huff. “But it’s not even that!” She threw her hooves in the air. “It’s not ‘Oh, you girls get into trouble all the time!’ It’s all ‘Oh, that’s too dangerous,’ or ‘You’re just foals!’” She slouched back into the bench. “We got our cutie marks! We’re growing up! Why won’t anypony take us seriously?!”

Sweetie Belle turned away from the market, grinning. “Girls, I think we’ve been going about this the wrong way. What we need is somepony with the craftsmareship skills and know-how to build a catapult, and enough moral grayness to have no problems giving siege weaponry to a foal.” She turned back to the crowd, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo following her gaze.

The Crusader’s eyes followed the blacksmith as he stepped away from a stall and began walking across the market. They turned to each other and shared a grin.


“No.”

“OH COME ON!”

Parody gave them an incredulous look as he leaned on the entrance to his forge, “I’m not building you a catapult.”

Scootaloo stomped her hoof, “Why not?!”

He shook his head, “What makes you think I’d build you a catapult?”

“You’re you.”

Amused, Parody put his hands on his hips and smirked, “Well, good to know you think so highly of me. What do you even want, anyway?”

“We want a catapult,” Scootaloo stared up at Parody, “and we want ponies to stop treating us like foals.”

He quirked a brow, “You want to be treated like adults?” When they nodded, he shrugged and crossed his arms, “Fine. Just don’t come whining to me if you don’t like it.” He smirked, “Still not gonna make you a catapult.”

“But-!”

“Up bup bup!” Parody waggled his finger. “I’m not gonna build one for you.” He smiled, “But I’m willing to help you build one for yourselves. Sound fair?”

They nodded excitedly.

He waved them in, “Alright, come on in.” Once they were past him, he reached up to pull the roller door down. “Let me just close up shop real quick.”

As Parody closed the door, the Crusaders looked around the workshop. It was something of an organized mess. There were a bunch of tools and scraps scattered across the tabletops, and there were several stacks of metals up against the walls, but the floor was kept relatively clear. The Crusaders spotted a couple containers they didn’t know the purpose of, as well as a tall metal bucket filled with water that stood next to several furnaces of varying sizes, one of which was on and had two metal rods inside. Speaking of furnaces…

“It’s hot in here!” Scootaloo panted. The other two fillies nodded in agreement.

“Of course it’s hot in here,” Parody walked past her, pulling a thick leather glove over his hand as he approached the furnace. “I’m melting metal, what did you expect? Unlike mercury and cesium, steel doesn’t melt at room temperature.” He reached out and pulled one of the rods out of the furnace. “On that note, don’t touch anything.” He turned to dunk the rod in the water bucket.

Scootaloo looked around the rest of the workshop, distracted. “Why not?”

Parody paused for a moment. He gave Scootaloo a level look before reaching over and briefly tapping the hot metal against her back.

“GAUGH!” Scootaloo dropped to the floor, back arched, muscles tensed.

“That’s why.” He turned and dunked the rod into the bucket.

Tsssssssssssssssssssssssssss

Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom rushed to Scootaloo’s side as she writhed on the floor. Sweetie Belle turned to glare at Parody. “Why’d you do that?!”

A wry smile crossed his face. “I find experience to be the best teacher.”

Scootaloo held back tears as she turned to glower at him. “What the buck?! That bucking hurt!”

“Yeah, that was kinda the point.”

“Why?!”

“So you’d know not to touch anything.”

“You could have just told me!”

Parody shrugged, “Wouldn’t have really gotten the same point across.”

Scootaloo’s lips quivered as her scowl deepened. “Well it wouldn’t have hurt as bad!”

Parody rolled his eyes, “Fine,” he rolled up his sleeve as he approached the furnace. “If you’re gonna be a baby about it.” Reaching out, he pulled the last metal rod out of the furnace and turned around. The Crusaders flinched, but instead of approaching them, he lifted his arm and-

SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

The Crusaders cringed back as Parody pressed the metal to his forearm. Their ears folded back as they tried to block out the sound of sizzling flesh, their noses twitching as the smell of burnt skin drifted over. Parody’s expression stayed neutral, but they could see his fingers tense and twitch.

After about fifteen seconds, Parody pulled the metal away and held his arm out, showing the Crusaders the blackened burn on his arm. “There. Happy?”

Scootaloo slowly shook her head, and in a weak voice muttered, “…no.”

“Good.” He dropped the metal into the bucket before looking at his arm. “Now, uh, I’m gonna,” he worked his mouth, searching for words, “run this under some cold water. Maybe get some aloe vera.” He shook his head, “Come on,” and began walking towards the door separating the workshop from the rest of his house, pausing only to pull something out of a container and toss it at the Crusaders. “Here.”

Sweetie Belle caught it in her magic, and looked down at it as they walked through the door. It was an ice pack, presumably for Scootaloo.

Parody gestured to the cluttered living room, “Alright, just hang here. I’ll be right back.” He walked through the kitchen and began to ascend the stairs.

Ignoring him, Sweetie Belle gave Scootaloo a concerned look as she placed the ice pack on her back. “Are you alright?”

Scootaloo sniffed and wiped her eyes. “Yeah. I’ll be fine.”

“Is the ice pack helping?”

Scootaloo nodded as she felt the stinging start to numb.

Apple Bloom glanced unsurely at the staircase. “Well, Ah can see why mah sister don’ like ‘im.”

Sweetie Belle sighed, “Come on, girls. Forget about the catapult; let’s just go home.”

Scootaloo shook her head violently, “No way!”

Sweetie Belle’s mouth gaped as she stared disbelievingly at her friend. “Are you serious?!”

Apple Bloom shook her head. “Ah gotta agree with Scootaloo. This is prob’ly our only chance to get a catapult.” A humorless smile pulled its way across her lips. “’Sides, we did go lookin’ for somepony irresponsible.”

“Yeah,” Scootaloo did her best to smile, but it remained unconvincing. “I just have to not touch his stuff, right? Easy.”

Sweetie Belle furrowed her brow, “Scootaloo! You can’t just let him bully you like that!”

Scootaloo winced, “I’m not! I just,” she looked down, “wanted to do something fun and awesome with you girls. It feels wrong to back out now.”

Any response the Sweetie Belle might have made was interrupted by the sound of footsteps on the staircase. The Crusaders turned to face the stairs as Parody walked into view. Their eyes bounced to look at his arm, but he had already pulled the sleeve back down.

Parody smirked when noticed their gaze. “Hey, Scootaloo, how’s your back?”

She gave him a light glare. “How’s your arm?”

He shrugged, “Meh, I’ve had worse. You?”

Scootaloo’s expression turned thoughtful as she remembered all the crashes and accidents she’d been in crusading with her friends. “… I guess.”

Parody nodded, “Good.”

“Good?!” Sweetie Belle stomped over to Parody, dropping the ice pack. “You need to apologize!”

Parody raised a brow, “Why?”

“You burned Scootaloo!”

“I was proving a point.”

“And that makes it okay?!”

Parody shrugged, “What, you want me to apologize for trying to keep you safe? That seems backwards.”

Sweetie Belle scowled, “How is that keeping us safe?!”

Parody rolled his eyes as he turned to look at Scootaloo, who now had Apple Bloom pressing the ice pack against her back. “Hey, Scootaloo, that hurt, right?”

Scootaloo shot him a nasty glare. “You pressed hot metal to my back!”

“For an instant,” Parody held his arms out in an open gesture, “Wasn’t nearly long enough to give you anything worse than a first degree burn.” His mouth pulled into a smirk. “Now, with that pain in mind, imagine what would have happened if you had absentmindedly picked that up with your mouth.”

All three fillies winced, Scootaloo especially, her mouth tensing as she imagined the searing pain of holding hot steel in her mouth.

Parody shook his head, a wry smile on his face. “I couldn’t tell you the number of times I’ve injured myself by not paying attention.” He turned back to Sweetie Belle, his wry smile melting into a light smirk. “Look, I get that you’re looking out for your friend, but I gotta be kinda firm with my rules.” He crouched down, “My workshop is full of a lotta dangerous tools, including a furnace that reaches temperatures in the thousands. There’s a reason why I don’t let kids in my workshop.”

Apple Bloom shot Parody a curious glance. “Then why’d ya let us in?”

Parody returned fire with a smirk. “You wanted me to treat you like adults.”

Sweetie Belle’s mouth pulled into a light frown. “Well, if that’s how you treat adults, it’s no wonder you don’t have many friends.”

Apple Bloom and Scootaloo gaped at her in shock.

Parody laughed.

“It’s definitely a contributing factor.” Shifting, he stood up, gesturing to the workshop door. “Alright, I’m gonna go finish cleaning up shop. You guys just stay here and-”

“Don’t touch anything?” Scootaloo interrupted, looking at the mess that was Parody’s living room.

Parody waved her off, “Nah, feel free. Just a bunch of scrap and unfinished projects. Nothing immediately dangerous. Just, y’know, try not to cut yourselves on anything.”

The Crusaders were silent as they watched Parody walk into his workshop.

The door clicked shut.

Apple Bloom turned to Sweetie Belle, “That was kinda mean.”

Sweetie Belle wilted, ears folding back. “I know, I just… I just don’t like seeing you girls get hurt.”

“Still…”

“Come on, Sweetie Belle,” Scootaloo trotted over and pulled her into a hug. “You’re a nice pony. I don’t like seeing you be mean to anypony.”

“Yeah,” Apple Bloom joined the hug with a teasing grin, “’sides, when did Sweetie Belle start throwing out insults?”

Sweetie Belle giggled before leaning into the hug with a sigh. “I’m sorry girls, I just… to be honest, I was never really on board with the whole catapult thing, but seeing Scootaloo get so excited made me excited too, but then you got… it just,” she looked up at Scootaloo, “Are you sure you’re alright?”

“Yeah,” Scootaloo drew back, a cocky grin on her face. “Hardly feel it. Besides, we’ve all had worse.”

Sweetie Belle shook her head, “That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.”

Scootaloo shifted, “It still stings, but I’ll be fine.”

Sweetie Belle relaxed, “Okay.”

They sat in silence, looking around the room as they waited for Parody to return. Apple Bloom’s eye was drawn to what looked like a complicated metal box with cylinders sticking out of the top.

The workshop door opened and Parody strolled through holding a large, rolled-up piece of paper. “Alright, let’s build a catapult.”

Sweetie Belle looked up at him as he approached, “Parody? I’m sorry-”

“Don’t be.” Parody waved her off as he walked past her. He stopped at the kitchen table and unrolled the graph paper onto it. Looking up from the table, he shot the Crusaders a smirk. “Now, you guys are in luck; I’ve already got a bunch of spare lumber out back. Had to do some repairs when I blew out one of my walls last week.”

Apple Bloom furrowed her brow in concern, “What happened?”

Parody gave a half shrug as he started to retrieve different measuring tools from around the room. “Was trying to cook some eggs.”

Apple Bloom blinked, “That explained nothin’.”

“Really? I thought that explained everything perfectly.”

The Crusaders sat in confused silence for a moment before Scootaloo burst into laughter. “You hear that, Sweetie Belle? He’s just as bad at cooking as you!”

Sweetie Belle snorted, “I’m not that bad! I might burn my food, but I don’t blow it up.”

“Hey, that only happens half the time!” Parody playfully defended as he walked back to the table. “Besides, it was the stove that exploded, not the eggs.” He placed his hands on the table, “Now, I think I’ve got everything we need, so we won’t need to run to the store.” He gestured for the Crusaders to join him at the table.

Apple Bloom and Scootaloo trotted over and hopped up onto the chairs to get a better look at the graph paper.

Sweetie Belle trotted up to her seat, but stopped before hopping up, a thought crossing her mind. Sighing, she looked up, “Parody? Can I ask a favor?”

“What’s up?”

“I know you have your rules and all, but… can you please give us verbal warnings? Before physical ones?”

“I dunno,” Parody’s mouth twisted in thought, “‘don’t do that, it’ll hurt,’ doesn’t quite have the same impact as ‘don’t do that, it’ll feel like that but worse.’”

“Please?”

Parody rolled his eyes, “Fine, fine, whatever. But if you get hurt ‘cause you didn’t listen to my warnings, that’s on you.” He patted the empty seat, “Now come on.”

Though a little wary, Sweetie Belle hopped up onto the chair.

Ignoring her trepidation, Parody picked up a pencil and a measuring tool and began sketching. “Alright, now the first thing you wanna do is…”


“Ah honestly thought that’d take longer,” Apple Bloom admitted as she gazed upon what they had created.

It was a large wooden catapult. A masterpiece of siege weaponry. Constructed out of the finest lumber, freshly made bolts, and some old rope Parody had lying around. It stood proudly under the sun, supported by the soft grass of Parody’s backyard. The arm slowly coiling back, like a viper preparing to strike, as Scootaloo happily cranked the wheel.

Parody smirked down at Apple Bloom, unaware of what was happening behind him. “Why? It’s just a catapult.”

Apple Bloom shrugged, “Ah’ve never built one. Ah just thought it’d take longer.”

Parody nodded to the side, “Well, I guess, to be fair, it isn’t entirely done.”

“How so?”

Parody gestured at the catapult, “I haven’t actually fastened all the bolts down yet. I wanna give it a weak test fire before tightening them all down.”

Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom briefly shared an unsure look. “Why?” Sweetie Belle asked.

Parody gave a short laugh, “Well, last time I built a catapult I somehow… inverted the firing mechanism?” He shrugged and began gesturing, “Instead of flinging the arm forward, it just flipped the whole thing over.”

Sweetie Belle furrowed her brow, “How’d you manage that?!”

He threw his hands in the air, “I don’t know!”

Apple Bloom looked up at him, “Didja jus’ put it together backwards?”

Parody dropped his arms to his sides, “Look, I don’t understand what I did wrong, but whatever it was, it’s why we’re doing a test fire before moving forward.”

Sweetie Belle leaned over to look past Parody, watching as Scootaloo continued to crank the catapult. “So, Scootaloo probably shouldn’t be cranking it that much?” She asked, eyeing the fraying rope.

Parody blinked, as if only now noticing that Scootaloo was not standing beside her friends. He whirled around and spotted her cranking the wheel of the catapult, blissfully unaware of the fraying rope about to give way beside her. He lunged forward, “Scootaloo! Stop-!”

Snap.

The catapult flipped over, catching Parody in the underside of his jaw, sending him flying backwards as the momentum of the flip sent Scootaloo screaming forward through the sheet metal wall of Parody’s shed. After completing its sick front flip, the catapult slammed into the ground and shattered, sending splinters and shards of wood flying every which way.

Parody lay flat on his back, hands clamped over his mouth as gargled laughter escaped his lips. He rolled over and shifted until he was on his knees. “Baghk!” He spat out a mouthful of blood. “Augh, I bit my tongue! Ow!” He slowly worked his way to his feet, rubbing his mouth and wincing as he worked his jaw. Noticing the sound of crying all around him, he began to survey the situation.

The catapult was in pieces. Shards of wood were scattered everywhere. He could even feel some of them embedded in his body. He glanced at his shed and saw the hole that Scootaloo had torn through, noticing the bit of blood along its jagged edge. He turned and saw Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle doing a pretty good impression of porcupines as they lay sniffling, covered in splinters.

Parody gave a soft chuckle, shaking his head as he pulled a large shard of wood out of his shoulder.

“Should’ve built a trebuchet.”


There was naught but misery within Parody’s bathroom. Quiet sniffles and muffled sobs echoed within the dimly lit walls as Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle pulled splinters out of each other. Parody sat cross-legged on the floor with Scootaloo pulled up onto his lap as he used a towel to try and stem her bleeding.

“Okay, I think I’ve slowed the bleeding,” Parody pulled the towel back and glanced over the cuts along Scootaloo’s body. “You shouldn’t need any stitches, but it’s probably for that best I just drop you off at the hospital anyway. Get an actual doctor to look at you.” He gently shook his head as he reached up and pulled a bottle off the sink, “Alright, let’s clean those out before bandaging you up.” He poured some hydrogen peroxide onto a rag and moved to start cleaning Scootaloo’s wounds. Just before he started cleaning, he paused and, after a moment of thought, rolled up his sleeve and offered his arm to Scootaloo.

She looked down at it in confusion. “What are you doing?”

He shrugged with a smirk. “I don’t know about here, but back home doctors often give patients something to either squeeze really hard or bite really hard to help deal with pain.”

Scootaloo’s ears folded back, “Is this gonna hurt?”

Parody laughed as he leaned over and began cleaning her cuts, “Oh it’s gonna sting like a bi-”

“AAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!”

Scootaloo screamed at the stinging sensation of disinfectant entering her cuts. She gritted her teeth as she tried to push through what felt like acid burning away her flesh. As she took in a deep shuddering breath, she looked down at Parody’s arm. Remembering what he said, she opened her mouth wide…

And clamped down as hard as she could.

“GAAAAH!”

It was Parody’s turn to scream as Scootaloo dug her teeth into his flesh as far as she could, the vise-grip growing tighter and tighter as he continue to clean out her wounds, his hand spasming as she ground on his nerve ends. The shared agony went on for what felt like an eternity until Parody finally pulled the rag off of Scootaloo’s body.

As her mouth loosened its grip, Parody yanked his arm back, sending both of them tumbling backwards. Scootaloo lay sprawled over Parody’s stomach, breathing heavily to try and recover from the ordeal, as he writhed underneath her, clutching his forearm.

Eventually, Parody propped himself up to glare down at Scootaloo. “Augh! Why did you bite me?!”

Scootaloo turned to Parody, still blinking tears out of her eyes. “That’s what you said!”

Parody opened his mouth to argue, but paused, looking up as if to review his words. “Ah, okay. I see where you got that from. Please, just,” he flopped backwards, “No more biting.”


Parody frowned as he held his arm up, inspecting the three bite marks on it.

“I think you guys cracked the bone.”

The Crusader’s winced as they trailed behind Parody on the way to the hospital. “… Sorry.”

Ignoring the gasps and looks of shock and horror from passing ponies, Parody sighed and shook his head as he worked his wrist. “That’s what I need: A broken arm to go with my broken jaw.”

Sweetie Belle looked up at him, “Is your jaw alright?”

He shrugged as the hospital came into view, “Eh, it’s not broken, but I can feel it clicking.” He opened the door and walked inside.

Wincing, the Crusaders followed.

Nurse Redheart shuffled a few papers before looking up from her desk to greet them. “Hello, how can I help yo- What happened?!” She couldn’t help but stare in horror. Parody’s clothes were tattered and stained with blood, and the fillies were wrapped in bandages, clearly injured.

Parody smirked and gave a half-shrug. “Eh, bit of a catapult fiasco.” He patted Scootaloo on the head. “Patched ‘em up as best I could, but, y’know, not a doctor. Figured it’d be best to have a professional look them over.”

Nurse Redheart shook her head to compose herself before stepping out from behind the desk. “Right, come with me.” She turned and led them down the hall to an empty room on the second floor. After motioning for them to enter, she left to fetch a doctor.

Parody looked down at the Crusaders as they hopped up onto the beds and got comfortable. “You guys alright?” All he got in response was some light grumbles. He started chuckling, “Don’t worry, I’m sure one day you’ll look back on all this and laugh,” He smirked, “I know I will.”

The Crusaders gave him an unamused look.

Voices from the hallway drew their attention to the door as Dr. Horse and Nurse Sweetheart walked in. Nurse Sweetheart’s hooves flew to her mouth. “Oh you poor dears.”

Dr. Horse put on a mask of professionalism as he levitated a clipboard in front of him. “What happened?”

“Catapult misfire. Scootaloo got it the worst,” Parody gestured at the orange filly, “She was flung through the wall of my shed. The rest of us just got blasted by wooden shrapnel.”

Dr. Horse started jotting down notes as Nurse Sweetheart moved to comfort the fillies. “What is your shed made of?”

“Sheet metal.”

Dr. Horse sucked in a breath through his teeth. “Any lacerations?”

Parody shrugged, “A few. Surprisingly shallow, though. Could’ve been worse, all things considered. Should check her for a concussion, though,” he smirked, “Being flung through walls tends to do that.”

Dr. Horse nodded as he jotted a few notes down. “And the other two?”

“Some light shrapnel damage and a bunch of splinters, but otherwise fine.”

Dr. Horse nodded and moved farther down the file. “And you?”

Parody waved him off, “I’ll be fine.”

Dr. Horse’s expression was level as he eyed the blood-stained human. “You’re covered in blood.”

Parody looked down and started picking at his shirt. “It’ll wash out. Maybe.”

Dr. Horse shook his head, “If you’re sure.”

“I’m not, actually. Bloodstains are pretty hard to get out of clothes.” At Dr. Horse unamused glance, Parody laughed, “I’m alright. Need to go let their sisters know what happened, anyway.” Parody glanced back down at his bloody shirt. “Hey, gotta restroom I can clean up in?”

Nurse Sweetheart looked over at Parody. “Down the hall next to the stairs.”

“Got it,” Parody moved to exit the room. He paused in the doorway and turned to gesture at the Crusaders, “Hey,” He smirked, “I had fun today. You three feel like making something else, hit me up.”

With that, he walked out of the room.


There was a soft shuffling sound as Nurse Redheart filed papers at the front desk. Her ear twitched at the sound of footsteps as a voice drifted down the hall.

“-ven supposed to tell them?”

Nurse Redheart leaned towards the hallway, trying to pick up more of the conversation.

There was laughter, “They’re gonna kill me! Not that that’s that big of a problem; I’d just rather put that inevitability off as long as possible.”

She blinked, putting a name to the voice. It was Parody talking.

“Alright. Any bright ideas?”

But who was he talking to?

Parody laughed, “That’s a terrible idea! Have you even met me?”

Nurse Redheart leaned farther, straining her hearing to try and catch more of the conversation.

“Then you should know how poorly that’s gonna go.”

There was a moment of silence before he spoke again, his voice just inside the entrance to the hallway.

“Fair enough. I’m just gonna wing it.”

Nurse Redheart watched as Parody walked out of the hallway. He was cleaner than he was earlier, but his clothes were still tattered and stained. She glanced back at the empty hallway before looking back to Parody as he walked to the front door.

“Oh, Parody.” She called out as she sorted through the paperwork on her desk.

He stopped, hand on the door, and turned around. “What’s up?”

“Do you have any preference for floral arrangements?”

Parody furrowed his brow, “… What?”

Nurse Redheart looked up from her desk, a smirk on her face. “For your funeral.”

Parody blinked, before bursting into wild laughter. As he laughed, Redheart couldn’t help but giggle with him.

As their laughter died down, Parody gave her a dismissive wave, “Nah, I’m not picky. Go with whatever looks best.” He pushed open the door and walked through. “Best make it a memorial service, though,” He called out over his shoulder, “Funerals require bodies.”

The door swung closed.

Nurse Redheart gave a confused blink at Parody’s words, before shrugging and returning to her paperwork.


“And so I told them I was putting my hoof down on weapons,” Rarity shook her head. “Honestly, the things those girls come up with.”

“Ah said the same thing.” Applejack let out snort, “Ah guess Ah was a fool to think they’d calm down now that they got their cutie marks.”

Applejack gazed out into the crowd of ponies. For saying it was Saturday market, things were rather slow. Of course, it could’ve just been her; the rest of the market looked busy enough.

“I thought the same.” Rarity gave Applejack a light smirk, “I guess with them, ‘once a Crusader, always a Crusader.’”

Applejack stared laughing as an image pooped into her head. “Great, now ya got me thinkin’,” She turned to Rarity, “Do ya think they’ll still be doin’ this when they’re as old as Granny Smith?”

“Oh, absolutely,” Rarity laughed, “If they haven’t stopped yet, they probably never will.”

“Wouldn’t that be a sight?”

They devolved into soft giggles as they imagined the Crusaders at eighty trying to pull the same shenanigans they did now.

As Applejack gave another cursory glance over the crowd of shoppers, she spotted Twilight and Rainbow Dash at the next stall over, talking with its owner. She couldn’t tell what they were talking about, but it seemed to be brief as it wasn’t long before they headed her way.

Applejack smiled gave them a quick nod as they approached her stall, “Howdy, Twi. Dash.”

“Hello.”

“Sup?”

“What brings ya over to mah corner of the market?”

Twilight smiled and gestured at the rest of the market, “We’re checking in with everypony to see how they’re holding up after last month’s weather issues.”

Rainbow Dash nodded, “Yeah. The weather’s fine now, but there’s been a few market ponies that needed a bit more attention to get back to normal.”

Twilight’s smiled faded into a look of light concern, “Have there been any issues at Sweet Apple Acres?”

Applejack shook her head, “Nope, farm’s jus’ fine. Didn’t even know somethin’ was wrong ‘til Ah read the paper.”

Rainbow Dash nudged Twilight, “I toldja, Twilight: The Apple Family is priority one for the weather team; they’re fine.”

Twilight shook her head and shot the pegasus a look, “We have to be thorough, Dash, you know that.” She turned back to Applejack, “I hope you don’t mind if we drop by later today, just to double check.”

Applejack shrugged, “Sure, can’t hurt. How’s everypony else?”

“So far, there hasn’t been any permanent damage to anypony’s farms or gardens. The flower ponies have already fully recovered.” Twilight smiled, “My daisy sandwiches are saved.”

They all laughed.

“Alright, alright, enough about us,” Rainbow Dash waved off Twilight before turning to Applejack and Rarity, “What’s up with you two?”

Applejack shrugged, “Not much. Market’s a bit slow right now, so Ah’ve jus’ been chatting with Rarity. Turns out most everypony already bought their apples for the week.”

“Whatcha talking ‘bout?”

Applejack sighed and shook her head, “Our sisters and their crazy antics.”

Rarity tittered, “You wouldn’t believe the things they’re trying to get into.”

Twilight smirked, “Does it involve a catapult?”

Rarity blinked, “How-?”

“They swung by the castle library to research how to build one.”

Applejack and Rarity shared a worried look.

“You didn’t let them, did you?” Rarity asked.

Twilight rolled her eyes and huffed, “Of course I didn’t; siege weaponry is far too dangerous for fillies their age.”

Rainbow Dash looked pensive. “Huh, I just sent them to Pinkie.”

Applejack shot Dash a glance, “They asked ya too, huh?”

“Yeah,” Dash shrugged, “Didn’t have one myself, but I know Pinkie has her Party-Pult-”

Twilight shook her head, “She had to dismantle that.”

Rainbow Dash pouted, “Aw, that’s lame.”

Rarity furrowed her brow, “Have they just been running around Ponyville asking ponies for a catapult?”

Dash shrugged, “Knowing Scootaloo? Prob’ly. Prob’ly won’t give up ‘til she’s asked everypony in town.”

Rarity frowned in worry, “They were far more serious about that catapult than I thought.”

Rainbow Dash waved dismissively, “Oh relax. Is there anyone in town that would actually give them a catapult?”

“Hey guys!”

All four mares froze, looks of alarm on their faces.

Oh no…

As one, they turned to watch Parody as he approached, arm waving wildly above his head, immediately noticing his tattered and blood-stained clothing.

… He didn’t.

Parody came to a halt in front of the stand, smiling widely. “Glad I could getcha all in one place.”

Twilight took a step forward pleadingly, “Tell me you didn’t.”

“I didn’t.” Parody looked past her at the others, “What are we talking about?”

Rarity eyed him in concern, “You look dreadful. What happened?”

Parody held up his hands in a placating gesture, “Alright, look, the important thing is: No one got hurt.” He snerked, “Okay, that’s an absolute lie; your sisters are in the hospital.”

WHAT?!

Applejack leaned over her stand, worry in her eyes. “What happened?”

Parody’s smile pulled into a smirk. “See, that’s a funny story. Definitely doesn’t involve a catapult.”

“What?!”

“Seriously?”

“You did…”

Applejack glared at him, a fierce scowl forming on her muzzle. When she spoke, her words came out slowly, “Are you telling me you gave mah sister an’ her friends a catapult?”

Parody scoffed playfully, “No, I didn’t give them a catapult. I helped them build one.”

Twilight shook her head, “That’s not any better!”

“Au contraire,” Parody held up a finger, “It’s a learning experience. Now they know how to build a catapult themselves.”

The four mares stared at Parody in open disbelief.

There was silence as Parody met their stares with a smile. Then it clicked. “Ah. I see why that would concern you. Rest assured,” he smirked, “I don’t they’re all that interested in siege weaponry anymore. Being flung through a wall has a tendency to make you lose interest in things.”

Rarity’s eyes widened, “Flung through a wall?!”

Parody shrugged, “Admittedly, that was just Scootaloo. She kinda got it the worst.”

Rainbow Dash flew into Parody’s face, causing him to take a step back and raise his hands in a half-hearted surrender, the smirk never leaving his face. “I swear, if she got hurt, I’m gonna pou-”

“She’s in the hospital. Of course she’s hurt. Also, that was her fault, not mine.”

“You gave her a catapult!”

“I didn’t give her anything.”

“Parody,” Applejack walked around her stand, looking up at him with worry, “Please. Mah sister. Apple Bloom. Is she okay?”

Parody shrugged, “Eh, pretty sure. Doctor’s checking her over now, but she seemed fine. Really, all she and Sweetie Belle got were a bunch of splinters.” He looked down at his arm, “Didn’t stop ‘em from biting me, though.”

Rarity furrowed her brow, “Biting you?”

Rainbow Dash huffed, “Probably deserved it.”

Parody looked up at Dash and, noticing she was hovering in his face, reached out and pushed her arm’s length away. He sighed and glanced at the others, “Alright, look, I don’t have time to play twenty questions. I told you where they are, go check on them yourselves.”

“Right,” Applejack nodded. She tossed an ‘out to lunch’ sign on her stand, “C’mon girls, let’s go,” and trotted off, Rarity and Twilight following behind her. Rainbow Dash started to fly after them, but was yanked back by her tail.

“Hold on.”

“Ow!” Rainbow Dash whirled around to glare at Parody, “What?!”

Parody crossed his arms, a neutral expression on his face, “I’m letting families know what happened. Scootaloo. Where do I go for her?”

Rainbow Dash kept her gaze level, “She lives at the orphanage.”

“Oh, that sucks.”

Her glare hardened, “Her mom runs the orphanage.”

“Oh. That sucks.”

“Parody!”

He threw his arms in the air, “What? I’m just calling it how I see it.”

It took all of Dash’s power to bite back her retort. Instead, she took a deep breath, “Do you know where it is?”

Parody rolled his eyes and waved her off as he turned and walked away, “I’ll find it. Just go.”

Rainbow Dash frowned as she watched as Parody made his way through the crowd of ponies until he was out of sight. She let out a huff before turning and flying after her friends.


At the sound of the door opening, Nurse Redheart looked up from the paperwork on her desk at the ponies entering the hospital. It was Princess Twilight and three of her friends. A light smile crossed her face. They must’ve just ran into Parody. “Should I contact the morgue?”

The four mares’ hearts sank, looks of horror pulling their way across their faces. What happened? Parody said they were fine. Did he lie?

“… no,” Rarity whispered, tears beginning to form in her eyes.

In an instant, all amusement drained from Readheart’s face. “W-wa-wa-wait! It’s not that!” Eyes wide, she threw her hooves out in frantic gestures. “It’s just- When he left, Parody joked that you were going to kill him, and I was- I thought-” She cringed back into her seat, ears flat against her head. “… I’m sorry. You’re here to see your sisters, right?”

Unable to form words, Applejack and Rarity just nodded.

“Room 207,” Nurse Redheart gave a weak gesture at the hallway before returning to her paperwork in a desperate bid to avoid eye contact, her ears still pinned to her head.

Silently, they entered the hallway, Twilight glancing at Redheart as they walked past, catching a glimpse of the remorse on her face as they made their way to room 207.

Opening the door, the four mares walked into the room, noticing that Nurse Sweetheart sat talking with Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle, while Doctor Horse stood in the corner with Scootaloo.

As Applejack and Rarity made their way over to their sisters, Rainbow Dash walked over to Scootaloo, “Hey, squirt, how ya feelin’?”

Scootaloo smiled, “Hi, Rainbow Dash,” She shifted in place, “I’m alright.”

Rainbow Dash hid her relief behind a laugh. “I knew it. Didn’t doubt you for a second.” She leaned in with a mock stern look, “You didn’t cry, did you?”

“N-no! Of course not!” Scootaloo straightened, puffing out her chest, “I’m strong!”

Rainbow Dash grinned, “Of course,” She held out her hoof, “You’re tough.”

Doctor Horse shook his head as the pegasi hoof-bumped. “She certainly is. Aside from some shallow lacerations and light bruises, she shows no signs of having been launched through a wall.”

Dash turned to face him, “So she’ll be fine?”

Doctor Horse nodded, “All three of them will be.” He cleared his throat and turned to address the room, “While I hate to separate you, there are a few more check-ups that we need to run. If you wouldn’t mind waiting in the lobby, we’ll have them out shortly.”

Applejack and Rarity nodded and said a few quick words before turning and leaving the room, Rainbow Dash trailing behind as they walked past Twilight, who had remained in the doorway. They walked down the hall in silence. As they reached the staircase, that silence was broken by the sound of panicked hoofsteps clambering up the stairs, preceding a pegasus mare frantically pushing past them. They watched as she turned and darted into room 207.

Rarity blinked, “Was that Scootaloo’s mom?”

“Yeah,” Rainbow Dash nodded as they began to trot down the stairs, “Parody said he was gonna tell her what happened.”

Rarity glanced over her shoulder, “I can’t imagine she was very happy to hear about what happened.”

“Oh, she wasn’t,” A muffled voice called up from the bottom of the stairs, “She was very, uh, ‘vocal’ about her displeasure with me.”

Rarity tilted her head, “Whatever do you meaaaaaauuugh.”

Parody and Nurse Redheart stood at the foot of the stairs. Redheart shifted, an unsure expression on her face while Parody stood upright, arms folded, smirking despite the pencil stabbed through his cheek, trailing blood down his face.

“You know, there’s something backwards about a nun stabbing me in the face with a number two pencil.”

Rarity gaped, “Are you alright?”

Parody smiled a wide-open smile, showing that he couldn’t close his teeth around the pencil. “Oh, this?” He flicked the pencil, causing the watching mares to flinch as it jiggled. “This is nothing. I just need some bandages to patch myself up. Kinda used up all o’ mine on them,” he gestured up the stairs.

The mares just cringed, watching the pencil bob up and down as Parody talked.

Rarity gave a light cough, “Well, we’ll just, erm, let you get on with that.” She trotted past him, using all her willpower to look forward. The others quickly followed after her as Parody laughed and walked farther down the hall with Redheart.

In the lobby, the four mares grouped up and glanced at each other.

“Well, that happened,” Applejack noted.

They all shuddered.

Rarity shook her head, “I cannot fathom how he was able to keep his composure after something like that.”

Twilight glanced back down the hall, “I can’t believe somepony would do that to him.”

“I can.”

They all stared at Rainbow Dash in disbelief.

Noticing their stares, Dash frowned, “What? He’s frustrating.”

Rarity shook her head, “Rainbow Dash, Darling, we know he can be frustrating, but that’s no excuse to hurt him.”

Rainbow Dash looked away, “You wouldn’t know. He’s frustrating in a way that makes you want to hurt him.”

Twilight shook her head before trotting over and placing a hoof on the pegasus mare’s withers, “Rainbow Dash, please. We need to talk.”

“About what?” Came her terse reply.

“About you and Parody.”

Dash scowled, but before she could reply, Nurse Redheart walked into the lobby. Noticing the lobby occupants, Redheart gave them a sheepish smile as she climbed into her desk. “I’m really sorry about earlier. It was supposed to be a joke, and I just…”

“Well, ya gave us a right scare,” Applejack’s words caused Redheart to wilt, “but Ah reckon ya didn’t mean anythin’ by it. Jus’ don’t do it again.”

Redheart nodded, “I won’t.”

Rarity glanced down the hall, “How’s Parody?”

“He’s in the bathroom cleaning up.” Redheart smirked, “Have to say, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen that particular injury.”

Rainbow Dash let out a snort, “Yeah. I bet you see weird injuries from him all the time.”

“No, actually,” Redheart shook her head, “Parody has never been admitted as a patient.”

Rainbow Dash whirled around to stare at Nurse Redheart in disbelief, “Wait, he hasn’t?”

Redheart nodded, “Parody has never been a patient of this hospital.”

Rainbow Dash furrowed her brow, “How?! I broke his arm!”

WHAT?!

Rainbow Dash cringed back, looking anywhere but at her friends.

“Why would you do that?!”

“Land sakes, Dash.”

Twilight shook her head, expression firm, “Okay, now we really need to talk about it.” She walked back up to Dash, who lowered her head. “Rainbow Dash. If you’re going to be causing grievous bodily harm to others, we have to talk about this. Now.”

She didn’t look up. “I… I didn’t mean to. It just…”

Twilight placed her hoof on Rainbow Dash’s withers, “When did this happen?”

“… A couple days after I got the armor.”

Everypony winced.

That explained it. For about a week after the incident, things between Parody and Rainbow Dash were…

Bad.

Hostile.

The guards had to be called several times to break up fights between the two, both verbal and physical.

Twilight sighed, “So it happened during one of your fights.”

“We were at his workshop. It…” Rainbow Dash shook her head, “It got bad. There wasn’t a lot of space to move, and I ended up picking up his hammer and clobbering him with it.”

“And that’s what broke his arm.”

Rainbow Dash winced, “It wasn’t what I wanted, I just-”

Laughter rang out from the hallway, drawing everypony’s attention as Parody walked into the lobby, holding a towel to his cheek, “Nah, she was just pissed she wasn’t hurting me as much as she wanted.” His mouth curled into an insufferable smirk as he walked past them, flicking Dash on the nose as he made his way to the front door.

Scrunching her nose, Rainbow Dash scowled and moved to step forward, only to be held back by Applejack.

Parody stopped at the door, “Oh, real quick,” he reached into his pocket and pulled out a pencil, “Anybody want a free pencil?”

The mares all stared at the chewed up pencil in disgust, eyes drawn to the blood and saliva that covered it. Rarity shook her head, “No thanks.”

Parody shrugged, tucking the pencil back into his pocket as he opened the door. “Your loss.”

Twilight stepped forward, “Parody, wait, we need to-”

“Sorry, Princess, but I’ve already used up my allotted free time today. I gotta get back to work.”

Twilight watched the door close with a huff, “Fine. I’ll worry about you later.”

Noticing Dash’s scowl, Applejack shook her head and placed her hoof on the cyan mare’s withers. “Dash, because Ah’m yer friend, Ah’m gonna say it to ya straight. This ‘thing’ goin’ on between you and Parody? Ya’ll need to let it go. Yer constant bickerin’ n’ fightin’ is destroyin’ both o’ yer reputations.”

Rainbow Dash blinked as she turned to Applejack, “What?”

Rarity gave a light frown and sighed, “Ponies talk, Darling…”

“And nopony wants to be around ponies who constantly get into fights with each other,” Twilight finished.

Rainbow Dash frowned, “So? Why are you telling me? Tell him! It’s his fault, not mine.”

Rarity softly shook her head, “I wouldn’t be so quick to say that, Darling. You are not as blameless as you think you are.”

Rainbow Dash’s heart sank. She took a few steps back, eyes darting between her friends, looking for a hint of support in their carefully neutral expressions. She found none. The sick feeling of betrayal churned in her stomach. “So that’s it?” Her voice quivered slightly, “You’re taking his side over mine?”

Rarity shook her head, “I’m not taking anyone’s side.”

“Horseapples!” Was punctuated by a fierce hoof stomp. “You just said it was my fault!”

Applejack stepped forward, “Calm down, Dash, that ain’t-”

“Why are you taking his side?!” Rainbow Dash whirled around, “You hate him!”

Applejack shot her a withering glare, “Dang it, Dash! No Ah don’t, and that ain’t what she meant!”

“Well what did she mean?!” Dash could feel her chest tighten, her eyes beginning to sting, “How am I supposed to take that?!”

A white foreleg looped around Rainbow Dash’s neck and pulled her into a gentle hug. She squirmed until she was able to turn and glare at Rarity. Rarity met her glare with a considerate expression.

“Rainbow Dash? May I tell you a story?”

Rainbow Dash was silent, but her expression softened as she turned away.

Rarity sighed, “Ever since I was a filly, I wanted to be a fashonista. When I got my cutie mark, I felt as if it were a sign of destiny. That I was on the path of a rising star in the fashion world.” A rueful smile crossed her lips, “It was then that I hit my first stumbling block: Nopony wanted to buy a dress from a filly, certainly not one who had just gotten her cutie mark. I was the designated designer for the school theater, but I wanted to design haute couture, not simple costumes.” She sighed dramatically, “But alas, it just wasn’t meant to be. A few years later I had all but resigned myself to a lifetime of designing costumes for fillies when I got my first true client.

“Now, Ponyville doesn’t have much of a high life, so imagine my surprise when Mrs. Rich herself asked me for a dress.”

Rainbow Dash turned back to stare at Rarity in disbelief, “Mrs. Rich asked you for a dress?”

Rarity tittered, “Filthy Rich’s mother, Darling, not his wife.” A gentle shake of her head, “Either way, it came as quite the shock. Mrs. Rich, one of the wealthiest ponies in Ponyville had come to me for a dress.” A fond smile, “She explained that she had seen my work at the school theater and decided to offer me a chance to prove to myself as a true designer. I had one week to design a dress for a small garden party she was hosting at the Rich family manor.”

An almost fierce look crossed Rarity’s face.

“I used every second.

“I poured my heart and soul into that dress. No fabric creased. No stitch out of place. I tore that dress apart and put it back together more times than I could ever hope of counting. I would not stop until it was perfect. My career in the world of fashion rode on that dress, and I was not going to get it wrong.

“Finally, the day had arrived, and the dress was finished. It was my masterpiece,” A warm smile pulled its way across her face, “And Mrs. Rich agreed. She loved it, even going so far as to invite me to the party as her guest to give me a chance to see the dress in action; to give me a taste of high society; to see and hear others compliment my work. It was the night of my dreams. When she invited me to the next one, I accepted in a heartbeat. Watching her wear my work filled me with such pride, and I wanted to see it again.” Her smile faded, “Only, she didn’t wear it at the next party. Or the next one. Or the next one. Or the next one.” She shook her head, “Finally, I asked her where the dress I made her was.” Rarity looked Dash in the eyes, “Do you know where it was?”

Despite the creeping feeling that she knew where this was going, Dash shook her head.

“In a closet, gathering dust,” Rarity sighed. “I. Was. Devastated. I locked myself in my room and cried and cried until I could cry no more.” She shook her head, “I almost gave up fashion that night, lying in bed. My foray into the world of fashion had failed. Was this my destiny? To have to go back to making mere costumes?”

Rarity went silent for a moment.

“And then a thought drifted through my mind: Had I ever stopped? What was fashion but fancy costumes, designed to draw out one’s beauty, to be swapped out regularly so as to not lose their impact?” A rueful grin crossed her muzzle, “For what high society pony would be caught dead wearing the same dress two events in a row?” She sighed, “It’s something that I’ve had to come to terms with. I don’t get to decide how my clients use the dresses I make them. A dress I make may only ever be worn once, though that’s no reason to give it anything less than my all. I’ve had to accept that, on some level, I am in the business of making costumes.” She turned give Dash a serious look, “But Parody isn’t.

“I understand that it’s what you wanted, but… You didn’t ask Parody for a costume. You, a known hero of Equestria, asked him for a suit of armor, and that’s what he made for you: A suit of armor designed specifically for you, to keep you safe from harm, even going so far as to pay out of his own pocket to have it enchanted.” Rarity gently shook her head, “To watch you treat it like a toy must have been beyond frustrating.”

Guilt pricked at Rainbow Dash’s heart. She hadn’t put any thought into what it must have took to build the armor. She asked for a suit of armor, and she got a suit of armor. That was how she saw it, but, was that wrong? Was she wrong? Was it really her fault?

No…

She scowled, “What, so that justifies everything? Am I supposed to just crawl to him and beg for forgiveness?”

Rarity pulled back from Dash, gently patting her on the withers as she withdrew from their hug, shaking her head, “No, Dash, I’m trying to help you understand that you both were hurt by what happened. Parody was understandably upset with you, but that didn’t give him the right to lash out the way he did. And the situation was made worse by you lashing back.”

“I lashed back because-”

“Because you didn’t understand why he was upset. Because you didn’t think you did anything wrong, and things only got worse from there. Rainbow Dash, I’m telling you this in hopes that if you truly understand what happened between you two that maybe things can get better.”

Rainbow Dash frowned and looked away, nose twitching, “… I doubt it.”

Silence.

Twilight shifted, deep in thought. “Hey, Rainbow Dash? What made you so sure Parody went to the hospital, anyway?”

Rainbow Dash shrugged, “’Cause he was fine the next day.”

Twilight furrowed her brow, “What-?”

Any further conversation was cut off by the sound of hoofsteps scampering down the hall. The mares waiting in the lobby all turned to watch as Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle scarpered out of the hallway, while Scootaloo was carried out on her mom’s back.

Twilight watched as the two free-roaming fillies darted to their respective sisters to be drawn into hugs as Applejack and Rarity whispered gentle reassurances, asking if they were okay. Twilight turned to continue talking with Rainbow Dash, only to catch her walking out the hospital door with Scootaloo and her mom.

Twilight sighed and shook her head.

Hopefully she’d have better luck talking with Parody.

Author's Note:

Gah! What a monster of a chapter this turned out to be.

I write out all my stuff in a sort of notes/rough draft form in a notebook before typing them up. The previous longest chapter, Wake-Up Call Part 2, took up 14 pages of notes. Catapult Fiasco took up 21. I got through the first page of notes and the Word document was 1,300 words long and I just went, "oh boy."

Couple bits of cut dialogue:

Parody: "Why'd you come to me anyway? Pinkie's got a catapult."
"No, she had to dismantle that."
Parody: "Aw, really? That's lame.
Scootaloo: "That's what I said!"


He started chuckling, “Don’t worry, I’m sure one day you’ll look back on all this and laugh,” He smirked, “I know I will.”
"You're laughing now."
He shrugged, "Hey, just getting a head start. If I'm gonna be laughing later, I might as well be laughing now."

Man, this story kinda keeps writing itself. How much longer until I have to add the "drama" tag?

Anyway, I hope I'm still managing to weave an entertaining story. This is all learning and practicing for me,so let me know what you think.

Some bonus cartoons featuring Parody and Irish.


Funny note, in the first hospital scene, I call him "Dr. Horse," but in the second, I call him "Doctor Horse." I have no idea why that happened, but I left it in anyway.