• Published 5th Nov 2020
  • 594 Views, 52 Comments

Scenes From a Life in Equestria - Bicyclette



Ellie finds herself in a world of magical talking ponies. Surely, this is just some weird dream. Or is it??!?

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Part 2: Ponyville

“This really takes me back!” Twilight shouted into the whistling high-altitude wind. She turned to look down at the human lying down on the floor of the basket of her hot air balloon.

“After I got really good at flying and teleporting, I’ve never really had an excuse to use this thing again! I used to love hot air ballooning before I moved to Ponyville! It’s crazy to think that was years ago now!”

“Yeah, crazy…” Ellie responded in a weak whisper. She was curled up in what Twilight would have recognized as the fetal position had she known more about human anatomy.

“It’s sort of nice things worked out this way! It feels like everything coming full circle. One last mission from Princess Celestia. Well, technically it was just a suggestion from a colleague Alicorn Princess, but we can just call it a mission.”

“Yeah, we can…” Ellie wheezed. “Missions from Princess Celestia… are just… social constructs, after all…”

“It really is just like old times!” The nostalgia was evident in her voice. “Teaching a new creature about the magic of friendship. Then when you go back home, you can teach everycreature there about friendship too, and fix your world! From how you describe the place, your species really needs it.”

Ellie seemed to mutter something in response, judging by the movement of her lips, but Twilight could not hear it. She looked down at her with concern.

"Are you sure you don't want me to just teleport you the rest of the way?"

“No!” came the forceful reply, Ellie suddenly finding her strength. Her voice returned to the weak whisper. “Like I said, not until I thoroughly understand how that works…”

“Well, all right,” Twilight said skeptically. “But starting from your level of zero knowledge of magic, it’ll take you years of study to learn the theoretical underpinnings of teleportation.”

“That’s fine, really. Just, please, don’t ever teleport me.” She thought for a second. “Or teleport in front of me… Or tell me that you’ve ever teleported.” The color began to return to Ellie’s voice as it returned to her cheeks.

“Ooookay…” Twilight was nonplussed, in the way nonplussed is defined in a dictionary and not how everybody actually uses it. “And you still don’t want to tell me what your hang-up is?”

“I mean… you said that you use teleportation ‘all the time’, right?” she said, looking up at Twilight now.

“Well, yeah!” she said in a way she didn’t have to say duh out loud. “It’s the most convenient way to get around. I use it pretty much every day!”

“Then yeah, I don’t think I want to tell you.” Ellie’s voice was almost back to normal now. “It’s probably nothing, anyway. Don’t worry about it. But don’t ever teleport me, either.”

“Well, all right then.” Twilight frowned. She tried to think of a way to change the subject.

“You know, it’s really too bad it didn’t turn out you were from that world on the other side of the Magic Mirror. Then at least we would know how to get you home.“

Ellie suddenly became upset. “Oh yeah, what gave that away? That my skin isn’t pastel-colored? That my legs don’t take up two thirds of my body?” Ellie turned pale again and held back a mouthful of vomit.

Twilight frowned harder. “You know, those girls on the other side are my friends, and they’re very nice creatures.“

It took a bit for Ellie to be able to respond, back to her weak whisper. “Yeah… sorry about that… I’m sure they’re… very nice… I just…” She sighed. “Sorry for my… reaction…”

Twilight didn’t have anything to say to that. There wasn’t really a friendship lesson about not being grossed out by other creatures’ very existence. Maybe she would need to write one.

The balloon finally began its descent. When it landed, Ellie embraced the stable floor of the basket thankfully, finally recovering from her last bout of nausea.

“C’mon, get up,” Twilight said impatiently. “We have a long walk ahead of us.”

“Walk?” Ellie whined, not moving from her prone position.

“Well, you’re the one who insists on not using teleportation, so…”

“I’ll walk! I’ll walk!”

Ellie stood up unsteadily, slowly reaching her full height. When she did, she looked down at Twilight looking up at her.

“Ha!” she said triumphantly. “Tables turned!”

Twilight rolled her eyes. She flapped her wings to hover in the air, deliberately choosing a height to be just above eye level with the human.

“All right, all right, I get it.” She threw up her arms in defeat. “Don’t even know why you’re bothering to flap those things anyway. I doubt the physical wings are providing a force within even three orders of magnitude of what you need to be doing what you’re doing right now.”

“Like I said the first time you brought this up: it’s how prioception is integrated into the thaumamotor system. It might be theoretically possible to get around the link but then you lose the tactile feedback needed to-”

“Yeah, you don’t need to give me the whole spiel again, Princess.” Ellie waved dismissively. “I mean, slapping enough thauma-s in front of a bunch of neurology words is enough to fool me.”

Twilight did not respond negatively to the dismissal. Instead, she just mentally reorganized her calendar of planned friendship lessons to put the ones about politeness first. Ellie was stretching her arms, looking up at the buildings around them as she did so.

“Thatched roofs! Just like I thought. And those wooden grid things in the front of the houses. This place looks just like the cover of a pretzel tin.”

Her gaze drifted downward, taking in the scattering of ponies going about their business in the square, not paying any mind to her or Twilight. Well, except that mint-coated unicorn sitting at a café table staring at her with her jaw hung open. Instinctively, Ellie glanced behind herself and saw nothing of note besides Twilight Sparkle’s balloon. When she looked back, the unicorn was running off in some direction in a panic. Her cream-coated companion shot Ellie a dirty look before trotting off in pursuit.

“Huh…” Ellie was perplexed. “I thought you said that Ponyville residents were used to seeing all sorts of weird, annoying creatures like me, so I would fit right in without causing a fuss.”

“Yeah, I don’t know what that was about.” Twilight sounded just as perplexed. “I know her, actually. That’s Lyra. She doesn’t normally react to new creatures like this…” Twilight gave a pegasus shrug.

“This way.” Twilight flapped her wings and started floating in the direction of her castle. She turned to look at Ellie.

“Also, I didn’t say ‘weird, annoying creatures like you’, I just said ‘weird creatures’!”

“I know what you meant!” Ellie teased as she started following Twilight. “Oh, yeah, Lyra.” Ellie chuckled. “I get it. Because of the lyre on her butt.”

“You mean the cutie mark on her flank?”

“Yeah, that.” Ellie smiled smugly. Then, her smile faded away.

“I’m sorry, Twilight. I don’t know why I’m being such a jerk today.” She sighed, turning her gaze down the road. “I think that it’s because it’s starting to sink in that all this might be… real, you know? Like, I’ve been here for days now, and I’ve had a hundred full conversations, more than I do even in my normal life. I’ve slept and woken up and had dreams. I’ve eaten more than a dozen meals. Mostly carrot cake, but still.” She sighed again. “And now it feels like I’m moving, to actually live in a new place. It’s just… a lot.”

Twilight was sympathetic. “Yeah, it must be hard. I remember how out of place I felt in my first days here, and home was just a hot air balloon ride away! I can’t imagine what it must be like for you, to have to get used to a whole new world while not knowing when you can go back to yours.”

“Yeah…” Ellie turned her gaze to Twilight. “I really am grateful, you know. You ponies really have been nothing but kind and generous to me, even accommodating the whole no teleportation thing.” Twilight smiled. “Sure, some things about your world seem really weird and even silly to me.“ Like the whole cutie mark thing, she didn’t say. “But it seems to work for you guys, so I should really keep an open mind about it. It’s the least I could do.”

“Aww, that’s a great example of understanding your own negative emotions!” Twilight smiled. In her head, she was checking off two of the friendship lessons she had planned. They hadn’t even started yet! “I can tell you’re going to be a great friendship student.”

“Thanks.” Ellie smiled as well. “Actually, I had some questions about that whole thing. Is it—“

There was a thwacking sound as Ellie was suddenly smacked down to the ground. She caught herself on her hands with her reflexes and was able to get back up quick, rubbing the spot on her head where the pegasus had hit her.

“Sorry, I just didn’t see you there! Are you okay?” asked a concerned voice.

“Yeah, I’m fine, don’t worry about it,” Ellie responded reflexively. She opened her eyes, and her disorientated perspective resolved to a gray-coated, blonde-maned pegasus. It was Ellie’s turn to be concerned.

“Wait, are you okay? Quick, follow my finger with your eyes.”

Instead of doing so, the cross-eyed pegasus blinked twice, confused. Ellie covered her mouth with her hand when she realized her mistake.

“Oh, I’m so sorry!” she cried, cringing. “I just assumed— I didn’t realize that— “

The pegasus interrupted her. “I’m sorry, but I have to get going. I’m late!” Slinging her mailbag over her shoulder, she was back off on her way before Ellie could blink. She spotted and picked up a pink envelope from the ground.

“Wait, you dropped—!“ Ellie began futilely. The mailmare was long gone. She looked down at the envelope.

“From: Ahiya, To: Rarity the Unicorn? That’s it? Is that how addresses work here?”

“Oh, I can take that! I know her.” Ellie felt a tingle as the envelope was enveloped by a magical aura and floated away from her fingers. “Once we get you settled in the Castle, I’ll just tele—” she paused. “I’ll just get it to her by an unspecified form of travel.“

Ellie smiled in appreciation. “Thanks for that, Twilight. Wait.” She paused to listen. “Do you hear something? Is that… circus music?”

“Oh no…” Twilight groaned. “I told her not to…”

The music steadily grew louder, and it did not take long for Ellie to figure out that it was coming from a colorful pink wagon coming down the same path they were going, pulled by a smiling pink Earth pony with a frizzy mess of a mane. Despite its distance, the music was already very loud, and if the inverse square law also held true in this reality… Around them, passerby ponies were fleeing in all directions, trying to square blocking their ears with having to use at least three out of their four legs to run away. Ellie was thankful for her bipedalism then, as was Twilight for her wings.

The music, well past a tolerable volume, thankfully stopped when the pink pony and her wagon halted just a few paces in front of them. Ellie relaxed.

“Heeeeeeeey Twiliiiiiiight!” greeted the Earth pony. “I modified the Welcome Wagon to play music as the wheels turn! Isn’t that neat!? Watch! Forward music!”

She took a few steps forward. The music started again. Ellie covered her ears again.

“Backward music!”

She took a few steps back. A distorted and equally loud sound played.

“Forward music!”

She took a few steps forward again. The music started again.

“Pinkie!” Twilight shouted over the din. “I think you set the music too loud!”

“What!?” Pinkie shouted. “Hold on!” She took out an earplug, and spoke at a normal volume. “Sorry, I had to put these in because the music was too loud. Isn’t it neat, though?”

“Pinkie…” Twilight sounded frustrated. “I—“

“I know, I know, you said there wasn’t a need for the Welcome Wagon because you’d be teleporting right to the Castle as always. But I woke up this morning with this crick in my neck that won’t go away!“ She turned her head to show a very concerning-looking right angle protruding from the back of her neck. “And that told me that you would be coming here by balloon, instead! Which meant that you’d be coming down this road, so I’m here to welcome my new friend!” She beamed. “Hi, my name is Pinkie Pie!”

It took Ellie a second to realize that was meant for her. “Oh, um, hi. My name’s Ellie.”

“Oh, Ellie! I bet that’s short for something! What is it?” All of a sudden, Pinkie was unhooked from her wagon and bouncing around Ellie, who was struggling to keep up. “Elizabeth?” Bounce. “Eleanor?” Bounce. “Ellen?” Bounce. “Elisa?” Bounce. “Elaine?” Bounce. “Elena?” Bounce. “Elspeth?” Bounce. “Elise?” Bounce. “Elsa?” Bounce. “Elvira?”

“No, just Ellie…” she insisted. “Wait, there are ponies named Elizabeth?”

“No, of course not! That’s not a pony name! Nopony has a name anything like that!” Pinkie laughed dismissively.

“Then how did you—”

“Hold that thought!” Pinkie pulled out a roll of paper, a pen, and was suddenly wearing a pair of glasses. Ellie could not tell at all just where she had been keeping those things. “Being in charge for welcoming newcomers to Ponyville, I have some questions for you!“

Twilight looked like she was about to say something but stopped. Pinkie looked up to to fix Ellie with a beaming smile. “Do you want to have a super special awesome fun giant welcoming party bash with alllllllll of the ponies of Ponyville right now!?” She bounced over to and poised herself excitedly over the ominous red button on the front of her wagon. “See, Twilight? I’m asking first this time!”

Twilight facehoofed while Ellie uhhhed. Wasn’t she just telling Twilight that she should be more open-minded to pony ways? But she could not think of anything she would want less right now than a surprise welcome party. Especially one planned by this particular peculiar pink party pony.

“Well, it was a long trip from Canterlot, so I think that I just want to—“ she began. Then she thought that it would be better to just be honest and straightforward without excuses. “Sorry, Pinkie Pie. I just don’t want a party right now.”

Pinkie insisted. “Are you saying that you don’t want a party because you don’t want a party? Or are you saying that you don’t want a party because you don’t want a party, but if a party happened you’ll end up liking it despite at first not thinking you would?”

Ellie was confused. “Uh, the first one? How would I even be able to choose the second op—“

“Okelie dokelie!” Pinkie interrupted cheerily. She made a mark on her paper. Then her face fell. “Wait, no welcome party, huh?” She let the roll of paper in front of her unspool down to the ground, bouncing all the way towards Ellie and past her feet. “Well, that takes care of all these questions.”

Pinkie began re-spooling the roll as she meticulously read down the list. Ellie was very thankful that she had decided to be honest. Twilight groaned.

“Pinkie, we don’t have time for this.”

“I’m almost done with the questions, Twilight!” Pinkie insisted. Just as she said that, she got to the end. “Ah, here we go!” She looked up to face Ellie. “When’s your birthday?”

“My birthday?” Ellie stopped to think. “I… I don’t know.”

“You don’t know your own birthday!?” Pinkie responded, her puffy hair standing on end in shock. “Are you… an orphan?”

“What? No. I—” Ellie paused. “I don’t quite know how timekeeping really works here yet? Like, how the calendar would even work. Your rulers create the solar cycle themselves, and you ponies change the seasons manually. Wait.“ She looked down at her hands. “Do you ponies use the word ‘manually’, or—“

“B-but if you don’t know your birthday, what if…“ Pinkie put her hooves up to her face in despair. “What if you let your birthday go by without a party!?” She said that as if she were describing a potential war crime.

“Well, my last birthday party wasn’t that long ago, so we still have some time before the next one,” she reassured. It was true, though she imagined that Pinkie Pie would faint if she told her that it had consisted of an evening spent alone in her apartment with a box of takeout cake and her friends appearing only as tiny rectangles on her laptop screen.

“When I figure it out, I’ll tell you,” she promised, and that seemed to satisfy the Earth pony. Though the human secretly hoped that it would never come to that. The thought of spending nearly a year in this strange place… She admitted that it had been a nice vacation from reality so far, but she could foresee herself very soon dreading opening her eyes to anything other than the wall of Indigo Girls album covers opposite her bed in the morning.

“Okay!” Pinkie said cheerily. “Well, I guess I should just take the ol’ wagon home now.” Ellie caught a slight tinge of disappointment in her voice. “Have to make some adjustments anyway. I think I set the music too loud!” Pinkie gave a pony shrug and began harnessing herself back up to her wagon.

“Wait, Pinkie!” Twilight said. “Before you go… here.” Her horn glowed, and a pinkish purple bubble of magical energy shimmered into being centered on the wagon, just large enough to include Pinkie. She was excitedly gesticulating and saying something to Twilight, but not a sound could be heard. She then said another thing and waved to Ellie, who awkwardly waved back. Pinkie, seemingly not noticing anything was different, cheerily turned her wagon around and began back down the way she came, the bubble of silence following her wagon as it went.

“I think I made that spell a bit stronger than I intended to,” admitted Twilight.

“I… think it’s for the best.” Ellie felt the tension in her shoulders release as she watched the wagon shrink away into the distance. She sighed. “Twilight?” she began hesitantly.

“Yeah?”

She asked in a low, worried tone. “Are all the ponies in this town… crazy?”

Ellie did not understand what Twilight found so funny.

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