• Published 16th Apr 2019
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Taking Back Canterlot - Coyote de La Mancha

Three years after the Sirens' gang war, Twilight wakes from her coma and begins retaking her city from the new gangs infesting Canterlot.

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Intermission 2. Pinkie Pie: Civil War.

There was a gentle knock on the hardwood door. When there was no answer, it repeated. Just as gentle. Just as reluctant.

Still in bed, Pinkie Pie closed her eyes. “Come in,” she said.

She’d said it in English, she realized, not in the out-of-date form of German that the villagers preferred. She winced. Old habits died hard. Some, harder than others. If she couldn’t even control how she spoke, how was she supposed to change how she acted? To stop hurting people, like she’d hurt so many people before?

And besides, she felt so sick. And over the last few days since her arrival, she’d just been getting sicker. It was like having every bad flu she’d ever caught, all at once. Shaking, fevers, aches… a nausea so powerful it was crippling. Half the time she was freezing, the other half she lay on her bed wearing only her nightgown, gasping and overheated. Plus being so dizzy she could barely stand, and so muzzy that, half the time, she couldn’t tell if she was even awake or not. And then she’d lie awake for hours, unable to move, somehow too exhausted to sleep.

And she couldn’t face anyone. Even her family. Somehow she just… couldn’t.

She knew at least some of it had to be withdrawal from whatever the hospital had been giving her. She knew she should be taking the pills Twilight had had Rainbow Dash get for her, to ease the detox process. The villagers didn’t have any problem with medications. They wouldn’t mind.

But dammit, she minded. She couldn’t put into words just why, she just did.

She heard the door open and close, almost silently. Heard the hard, heavy boots slowly approach. Heard the chair lift up from the floor so as to disturb the silence as little as possible, then rest carefully on the floor near her head. Heard the rustle of black-dyed cotton clothes as the old man who had entered moved. Heard the wood creak slightly as he slowly sat beside her.

For a moment, neither of them spoke.

“Hello, Papa,” she said in the German dialect of the village.

“Hello, Pinkamena,” Igneous Stone Pie said in the same tongue. She could hear the smile in his voice.

Silence. Then, he coughed. Looked at the walls around her.

“Thy sisters are concerned for thee,” he said. “They say thou wilt not speak to them. Maude is beside herself. She returned when we sent word of thy arrival, and has been awaiting any news of thy improvement.”

Pinkie Pie seemed to shrink into herself a little. “I’m sorry,” she managed.

Unseen by her, her father shook his head. “They are not angry. No one is. Thy mother is also greatly concerned, however. Thou hast not eaten almost since thy arrival. She asked me to speak to thee.”

Pinkie Pie sighed, squeezing her eyes more tightly shut, wishing everything didn’t hurt so much. She was making her family worry, the very last thing she’d ever wanted to do. Her sisters, her mom… and now, she was making her papa worry. She could hear it in his voice. And somehow, that was even worse.

Her father had married late, vary late, and was technically old enough to be her grandfather. He had been a man in his late forties; his wife, a woman of twenty-five, only recently baptized into the Mennonite community.

Pinkie still remembered years ago, at dinner, a much younger Maude asking their father why he had married so late. He had replied, I was waiting for thy mother. The smile her parents had shared then was one of the memories of her childhood that Pinkie Pie cherished.

Of course, having a parent with that level of patience wasn’t always a blessing. While he’d been far less involved in their day-to-day upbringing than their mother, the sisters sometimes had found drawbacks to having a parent who could, literally, outwait anyone. And possibly anything.

There was the first time that she’d gone to visit the city, for example. She’d snuck out at thirteen, and stayed out through the night. After a while, she’d decided that if she could just stay out late enough, she could fake having gotten up early, and start in on her chores without anyone noticing.

But her father had been there, sitting in the chair he’d moved onto the porch sometime during the night. Waiting in the darkness. Contemplating. Solemn and unmoving as the mountains.

Good morning, Pinkamena, he’d said with a nod. Didst thou have a pleasant walk?

Pinkie had just stared at her shoes. Yes, Papa.

Good, he’d replied as he rose. The cows want for milking.

For the rest of the day, every time she thought she’d created a small gap of time to rest, maybe even nap, Igneous had just happened to be there with another chore that needed doing immediately. By the time the sun had set, Pinkie had been practically falling asleep standing up, literally tripping over her own feet. But somehow, the old man had been as unfazed by his own lack of sleep as ever. Pinkie had only been allowed to sleep after dinner was over… and the seemingly endless sermon that Igneous had led through and after the meal had finally concluded.

It had only been years later that Pinkie had realized he’d already known she and Maude would one day leave the village. The sermon, after all, had been on the parable of the prodigal son. And throughout her and Maude’s absence, he had never judged them. Not once.

But then, there was also the bright winter afternoon when she had found him outdoors, standing, smoking his pipe and seemingly studying their barn with great and careful deliberation.

Hey, whathee doin’, Papa, she’d quipped. Watching the paint dry?

Without missing a beat, her father had removed his stone pipe and blown a long, mellow stream of smoke into the crisp air.

Be not so impatient, Pinkamena, he’d said. I wait for it to peel.

Pinkie suspected that Maude had inherited her deadpan sense of humor from their father.

And now, he sat by her bedside. Waiting.

Her eyes shifted to the ceiling. There was a kind of comfort in the familiar patterns in the stained wood planks she had known since her childhood.

Beside her, the old Mennonite sighed.

“Well, I said I would speak,” he said. “And so I have. Badly, I have no doubt. But words were ever the gift of thy mother, not I. Still… it remains that we love thee.”

He paused.

“I love thee,” he said.

Sighing again, he went on, “And I am not content to be idle and see whether thou canst heal thyself or not. The world has bitten thee, I think. Like a serpent. And I would be a poor father if I did not seek to draw out its poison.”

Pinkie Pie felt herself curling inward under her blankets.

“I’m sorry, Papa,” she said at last, closing her eyes again. “I can’t. There’s… there’s too much.”

“There is no haste,” her father assured her with a loving smile. “I have nowhere else more pressing to be. I have told thy mother to bring us our meals here until thou art well enough to join us in the dining room.”

“I… don’t think I can,” she said miserably, her eyes still closed. “I know it’s not fair. I’m sorry.”

But he only nodded with a satisfied frown.

“Fasting is good for the soul,” he said. “Thou’rt wise beyond thy years. I shall join thee in thy fast. We shall purify our souls together. For I think thy struggles today speak of some failing of mine, years agone. And what greater sin, than to fail a child?”

Reaching out to stroke her cheek, he continued, “While thou remains in silence, then we shall remain together in silence before God. And when thou art ready to speak of thy pain, be it a day or a hundred years from now, then and only then shall we lance the wound in thy heart and let speech drain out its venom. And none shall ever hear of thy words outside of this room.”

Author's Note:

Ending credits: Civil War, by Guns’N’Roses.