• Published 9th Aug 2012
  • 6,196 Views, 184 Comments

The Discordian's Daughter - Pumpkin Patch

A long-lost pony returns, but why was she lost?

  • ...

Part 1, Chapter 7

I don’t understand it! I spent months and months developing Ataxium, accounting for every potentially negative side effect it could possibly have on its user. I thought I was wasting my time when I decided to create that counteragent for it. Ataxium was going to work so what was the point?

However, just moments ago, that counteragent saved my life.

Initially, the subject showed positive results once injected with the formula. The Ataxium strengthened the pony’s body exponentially. I placed various objects in front of the subject one at a time and asked the subject to break them. Each object was made out of stronger material than the last one, but it didn’t matter. None of them were even a contest. The subject’s hooves broke through metal just as easily as they broke through wood. Even the diamond I presented was pulverized into dust right before my eyes. The teeth were just as powerful. I have seen dragons in my day that had a more difficult time devouring gems than this enhanced pony did.

I didn’t have anything magical at the ready for testing the subject’s resistance to spells and such. I am an Earth Pony, after all. However, fire has similar properties to magic so for a preliminary test I decided to try igniting the subject’s hair with a torch. It didn't even singe. I was truly excited at that point. The subject’s body was transformed in the exact way I had predicted. I thought my project was a complete success. My brothers and I were only days away from going to war against the alicorns.

But just a few moments ago, the subject attacked me.

It all happened so quickly that my recollection is still foggy, but even now as I look around at the devastation in this room, I can see how terrible the attack was. Two of my shelves are now in splinters. My alchemy equipment is scattered all over the floor and most of it is broken as well. I can even see cracks in the walls, and these walls are made of stone.

My memory is gradually starting to return to me now, but the more it does the more I wish it wouldn’t. I keep seeing flashes of that creature, that monster the subject became. Its eyes were white and empty, its teeth were sharper than knives, and that voice...that voice was like a banshee’s.

It lunged at me and only narrowly missed. I ran for the door but the creature got ahead of me and blocked the way. I ran in the other direction and it stopped me that way too. I kept running around, practically doing laps around the room as the monster gave chase. Once or twice I tripped and it almost got me. It even got close enough once to tear my vest. And all the while it was taunting me, telling me how miserable I was and calling me every name in the book in that terrible screeching voice.

What I realize now that I have time to think is that the creature’s insults were very specific to me. For example, it mockingly repeated some of the things I had said to the subject earlier today. This must mean that the subject’s memory was retained during the transformation. Sill, the pony’s disposition certainly wasn’t. The monster had the exact opposite personality of the subject. The pony I chose for testing was a very passive and friendly individual. The thing that attacked me on the other hand, was aggressive and — to say the least — abusive. This was far from the spirit of all-accepting chaos our master would have us have. This was hate, pure unbridled hate.

And it almost took me. It was fortunate that right when it had me cornered, I happened to be near where the counteragent had fallen from its shelf. The creature pounced, I pointed the syringe outward at the last possible second and it sank into its chest. The creature fell on top of me, unconscious.

It’s still lying on the floor right now as I’m writing this. I’m not sure when it will get back up, but I have to stay here in case it does. I can’t let that thing leave this room! Of course, if the counteragent does what it’s supposed to do, the subject should return to normal upon awakening.

Even if that’s the case though, I'm not sure if the counteragent’s effects are permanent. The subject may eventually transform again and I will once again have to subdue the creature. I may have to make more of this concoction — a lot more — to keep that thing from resurfacing until I can find a more permanent solution. And to think, before this incident I didn’t even care enough about the counteragent to give it a name. It’s the antidote to Ataxium, so...Antaxium, I guess.

Still, I can’t believe I need such a thing. I’m certain all of my calculations were correct for the Ataxium formula. I thoroughly researched everything. I just don’t know what went wrong!

That was the last entry in Professor Voidsdale’s journal Twilight read before she decided to head out to Willow’s welcoming party at Sugarcube Corner. Her mind was still mulling over the details, and not just of the chilling account of the creature’s first attack. Twilight's mind kept going back to the way the Professor kept referring to Willow as “the subject” or “the pony”. It was the same in every previous entry as well. This was his own daughter he was experimenting on, and yet he refused to even mention her name.

It also didn’t help her mood that it had been another long frustrating day of getting nowhere in her search for a cure to her new friend’s condition. Just like the day before, her attempts to interpret the Discordian alchemy in the journal were fruitless. She also combed the vast library of Golden Oaks looking for anything that would at least give her a starting point. Nothing. Discordian alchemy had been lost to the ages and very few books even mentioned its existence.

At least there existed a way to keep Willow from fully transforming in the first place. Spike's report on the incident at Rarity's place made Twilight confident enough to let Willow go with Spike ahead of her to the party.

And now that Twilight was approaching Sugarcube Corner herself, she could see that the party was quite lively. She could hear upbeat music mixed in the voices of many ponies in conversation with one another and the bright lights coming from inside almost made the night sky look like mid-day.

One curious thing Twilight noticed though was that Mrs. Cake and Pinkie Pie were standing outside to the left of the entrance behind what looked like a hastily-constructed concessions stand. There was a big wooden sign suspended by poles over it that read “Discordian Pies”.

“Oh! Hi Twilight!” Pinkie shouted while waving to the Unicorn approaching the stand.

“Hi Pinkie!” said Twilight returning the greeting with a smile. “So how are the, uh, Discordian Pies doing?”

“They’re an amazing success!” said Mrs. Cake excitedly. “Pinkie and I baked a few the day after we got back from Canterlot. I put a few slices on the sample tray for ponies to try and they just couldn’t stay away from them!”

“Wow. That’s great!” said Twilight. “I’m glad everypony likes them.”

“Yes. I was worried when the recipe said each bite would be a different flavor,” said Mrs. Cake, “but no matter what flavor you get it’s delicious! And besides, sharing what flavor you get with the ponies you’re with is a great way to break the ice!”

“Hmm, I never thought of that.” Twilight said.

“The whole thing almost didn’t happen, though. Some of the symbols and ingredients in that recipe we found in Professor Voidale’s lab were...strange. I had never seen anything like them before, but Pinkie Pie figured them out.”

Twilight’s jaw dropped. “Uh, Pinkie, you understood the Professor’s directions!?”

“Yup.” said Pinkie nonchalantly.

Twilight sighed, remembering who she was talking to. “Well, after this party is over I have a job for you.”

“There you are, Twilight!” said a voice coming from just out of Twilight’s view, a voice with a familiar southern accent.

“Oh hi there, Applejack!” said Twilight as she turned to greet her friend.

“What took ya so long?” asked Applejack. “I thought you’d be the first pony here since the guest of honor is a friend of your family an’ all.”

“She is? Er, I mean yes, she is!” said Twilight trying to play along with the lie that Willow had evidently told her friend. “Well, I had just a little bit of, um, studying I wanted to finish up before I got here. So where’s Willow now?”

“Over at that table in the corner,” said Applejack, pointing at a table in the far back and barely visible from the outside of the building. “She’s been there talkin’ to Fluttershy for a while now. I think those two are really gettin’ along.”

“Really?” said Twilight.

“Yeah. Well, you got yourself two hardcore nature lovers there so I think they got a lot to talk about,” said Applejack.

“Did you get to talk to her yourself at all?” Twilight asked.

“Of course!” said Applejack smiling. “She’s a friendly gal, if a bit weird.”

“Yeah that about sums her up,” laughed Twilight. Then she changed the subject. “Is Spike still with her?”

“Yup. He’s been stickin’ to her like glue the whole time we’ve been here. I think Rarity may finally have some competition,” joked Applejack.

“Oh I’m sure Rarity has nothing to worry about,” said Twilight giggling. “Well, I better see what he’s up to.”

“Have at it. I’m gonna pick me up another one of these pies!” said Applejack as she walked to the front of the concession stand.

Twilight entered Sugarcube Corner and quickly discovered that the party was just as lively as it looked from outside. She had expected to see some of her closer friends in attendance like Rarity and Rainbow Dash and while she did see them among the crowd it looked like half of Ponyville was there too.

It was obvious, however, that most hadn’t come to see Willow specifically. There was at least one slice of a certain newly-discovered dessert on everypony’s plate.

Willow herself had a half-eaten Discordian Pie on her dish, as did her current conversation partner, Fluttershy. They were sitting across from each other at the same table, their eyes fixed on an open napkin with some crude drawings on it as they talked to each other excitedly.

“Ooo! And maybe we could have a tropical exhibit over here with some pretty fishies or maybe some toucans!” said Fluttershy ecstatically as she pointed to a corner of the napkin art.

“Hmmm, that’d be pretty groovy!” Willow agreed. “I dig palm trees!”

“Hey there! What’re you two doing?” asked Twilight.

“Oh, um, hi Twilight,” said Fluttershy. “We’re thinking about maybe building an indoor Rainforest together!”

“Oh really?” said Twilight.

“Yup. She’s got the critters and I’ve got the green! Well, the green plants anyway,” explained Willow.

“Wow! That’s a great way to put your passions together!” Twilight said happily.

Suddenly, a yawn came out from somewhere between the two ponies at the table, followed by a half-hearted “Yeah...it’s great.”

Spike had been sitting at the table on a stool too short for him. He had to pull himself up onto the tabletop before Twilight could see he was there. He was still carrying the new satchel Twilight gave him to tote the syringes less conspicuously, but he was rubbing his eyes as if he had just woken up.

“Hey there, little guy,” said Willow. “Get your nap in?”

“Spike!” said Twilight indignantly. “You were napping?”

Willow chuckled a little. “Not everypony digs the whole flora-fauna scene. I think me an’ critter mare here put ‘em out. It's all good.”

“No, it isn’t ‘all good’!” said Twilight angrily.

“Oh, um, I’m sorry,” said Fluttershy in her usual timid voice. “Were we supposed to keep him awake?”

“No! It’s just that—” Twilight stopped herself before she said anything further. Her eyes lined up with Spike’s. “Spike, we need to talk.”

Spike instantly looked guilty. He sighed as he conceded “Okay.”

He hopped down from the table and followed Twilight to an empty corner in the room. Once they were isolated, Twilight closed her eyes and took a deep breath, then she said very sternly “You realize how bad that could have been, right?”

“I do!” exclaimed Spike. “I-I’m so sorry! I was trying to stay awake! Really! I don’t know what happened!”

“Well, we’re lucky nothing did happen,” declared Twilight.

Spike hung his head and stared at the ground to avoid her gaze. But then he felt a hoof rest gently on his shoulder. He turned his eyes back up to Twilight’s face. Her expression hadn’t changed, but yet it now looked somehow more forgiving. “I know you’re trying, but you just need to try a little harder, okay?” she said softly. “All these ponies here may not realize it, but they’re counting on you. I am too.”

Twilight gave her closest friend a hug. Spike then turned and walked back to the table where Willow and Fluttershy were sitting and returned to his own diminutive seat.

“Are-are you in trouble, Spike?” asked Fluttershy, concerned.

“No, It’s okay,” Spike assured her, “It’s just that Twilight really needs me to keep an eye on Willow.”

“Oh,” said Fluttershy, not expecting that answer, “Um, I’m not sure if it’s my business, but why do you need to watch her?”

“Uh...well..” Spike began as his eyes shifted a few times, “because...she has fainting spells.”

“Oh my!” said Fluttershy in the world’s most timid alarm. She turned to look at Willow, whose hair had now draped over her face. “Is that true?”

There was no answer.

After going a few seconds without a response, Fluttershy tried to get her attention again. “Um, Willow?”

There was still no answer. Spike quickly reached into his satchel for a syringe. But as soon he got the bag open, a hoof kicked his stool out from under him and he fell to the floor face first.

Then he heard that voice again, a voice that roared like a lion and screeched like a bat at the same time.

It said “I’ll show you a fainting spell!”