• Published 2nd Jan 2021
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Retcon - Beige Monkfish



A pony with no memory awakens in a strange facility.

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Epilogue Two - Acclimate

It was a bright and shining day, almost all sign of the recent rainstorm had gone, and the town was buzzing with activity. Every single one of Retcon’s senses were being overloaded with novel stimulus as she walked through town, being surrounded by more ponies than she had ever experienced since Canterlot.

Last time, she had a goal to focus on, and she had somepony to follow. This time, she was exploring Ponyville for the sake of it. No task to complete, nothing to distract her. She was truly free.

All the same, it took a lot of self-control not to jump every time another pony greeted her as they passed. It appeared to be a friendly social thing to do, even though the greetings don’t result in a conversation when the instigator doesn’t stop. Retcon wondered if she should start dealing out similar hit-and-run good mornings, but felt it might be an idea worth building up to first.

The most peculiar thing she had noticed during her first walk through town was that, once or twice, she had briefly felt the familiar sensation of warmth in her chest following the exchange of greetings. With strangers, no less. She had almost tripped over her hooves as it had happened, but the pony had moved on and the warmth was gone. It had sent her mind spinning as she had walked away.

Ponies appeared to be brimming with emotion, and for some even a smile and a bid for the morning to be good was enough to eke out enough for her to take. She couldn’t even bring herself to feel guilty about it, it was such a small drip of energy that it wouldn’t be missed. Moreover, it was offered to her. Perhaps it was still wrong in some sense, but if food would be so easy for her to gather, then at least she had little chance of going hungry without having to drain one individual to exhaustion.

Following Bon Bon’s directions, she had dropped by a sparse street on the edge of town, by a stream which flowed through the town. There she had seen what was to be her house. Her house. It was presently lacking glass in the windows, but her breath had caught in her throat as she looked at it. It was built in the same rustic style as the surrounding houses with brightly painted wooden beams and a thatched roof. But crucially, it was her’s.

She didn’t stay long. Starting to feel choked up on her emotions, she instead left to explore the town, taking random turns to see what she could find.

After passing a building that appeared to be made out of food, she came across a particularly wide street with small wooden stands spread throughout. There were more ponies in this street than any she had seen yet, trotting from stand to stand and carrying food and all sorts of other things as they went, many bearing overstuffed saddlebags.

An honest-to-goodness marketplace.

Despite her usual aversion to social contact, a market was one of the pony things she had been looking forward to engaging with. Unfortunately, she didn’t yet have any money, which took the form of small discs of metal. Bon Bon had said she would take Retcon to the Ponyville bank, though everything she’d said following that had gone completely over her head. It sounded like it was something to do with how she would access the ‘stipend’ as promised by Sky. However it worked, hopefully it would allow her to get some of the delicious-smelling food from the market.

“Hi!”

Retcon’s wings twitched. Realising the surprise greeting appeared to be aimed at her, she turned around to see a bright pink earth pony approaching. Her blue eyes appeared to sparkle, and she walked in an oddly controlled sort of way.

Retcon almost did a double-take. The pink mare’s effervescing emotions tasted like the canned drinks from the Institute.

“You’re new in town, aren’t you,” the mare stated with an undercurrent of delight.

“Oh, yeah. Good morning.” Retcon ventured a small, friendly smile. “I only got here yesterday.”

“Ooh, welcome to Ponyville! My name’s Pinkie Pie, what yours?”

“Retcon. Hi.”

“Hiya Retcon! Nice to meet you!” Pinkie Pie leaned closer conspiratorially. “Now, a little Bonnie told me about a new pony in town called Retcon, and she said they would be,” Pinkie glanced to her left, then to her right, then leaned even closer and stage-whispered, “a little bit shy!

I’m not-! I mean, I just don’t like… I just don’t do talking well. I’m… Retcon blinked. Wait, I guess I am shy. Huh.

Pinkie nodded sagely. “So I thought that since you might be,” she glanced left and right again, “a little bit shy, maybe a biiig party with all of Ponyville invited wouldn’t be your thing, right?” She appeared to take Retcon’s look of panic as a response. “Yeah! So maybe insteeeaaad…” With a pink forelimb, she reached into her poofy mane and pulled out a large white box wrapped in red ribbons, holding it out toward an astonished Retcon. “How about a make-your-own party in a box! That way you can have a ‘Welcome to Ponyville’ party that’s more you!”

“Uhh…” Retcon stared.

“Take it! It’s yours!”

She did, holding the box gingerly in her hooves. “Oh, thank you,” she said distantly.

“You’re welcome!” Pinkie shut her eyes and tilted her head in a look of delight. A shade of concern momentarily crossed her expression, and she held a forehoof to her chin. “Wait, was it ‘a little birdie’?” She shook her head. “No no, right first time. Anyway, you let me know if you ever want a Super Regular Pinkie Party™, okie?”

Retcon nodded absently. “Okie…”

The pink mare giggled. “You are shy! See you around!” With a wave, she turned and started trotting away in the direction of the building made of food, the motion of her limbs strangely stiff and measured. After about ten paces she stopped walking and started bouncing instead.

Realising her mouth was hanging open, Retcon shook herself from her thoughts. Ponies can be strange. Deciding not to question the mare’s odd behaviour, as it appeared none of the passers-by she had pronked past had so much as looked at her twice, Retcon hefted the box onto her back, holding it in place with her wings. It had a surprising degree of weight to it.

As she made her way back to the house, it started to dawn on her how… full she felt. Maybe she should stay home for a few days.

Heh. ‘Home’.

A strange building caught her attention. Strange in the sense that it wasn’t exactly a building. It was a large tree with a door and windows. A tree, seemingly, with a building in it. She slowed her walk to get a better look.

There was a mare standing just outside the open doorway sweeping the front step with a broom held in a bright magic aura. The mare in question had a lavender coat with a deep blue mane and tail, and possessed both wings and a horn.

Retcon almost tripped over her hooves. Is that the Princess!?

She didn’t realise she had come to a complete stop until the alicorn glanced up and saw her, the broom hanging in place in the air as their eyes met. Retcon felt a jolt in her heart. The other mare didn’t just see her, she looked at her.

The spell was broken after a second as the lavender mare smiled lightly and, lifting a forelimb, waved at her. Reforming her expression into as friendly a face as she could manage, Retcon waved back.

She let out the heavy breath she hadn’t noticed she was holding in when the other mare returned to her sweeping.


“Hey, what’ve you got?” asked Lyra as she stepped into the room.

Retcon set the box down on the coffee table in the living room. “I dunno. This mare gave it to me just now.”

“Ah. Was it Pinkie?”

“Um, yeah.”

Lyra smirked, hopping up onto the sofa next to Retcon. “Well what’s inside?”

Using what Retcon could only describe as spatial trickery, the box appeared to contain more matter on the inside than the external dimensions should’ve allowed. Separated into tiers by thin bits of card were all sorts of baked goods and snacks, starting with dozens of miniature cakes, or aptly-named ‘cupcakes’ according to the unicorn, each with colourful designs on the top made with some form of apparently edible paste. The next layer down was an actual full-size cake, a word Retcon recognised despite the fact it was the first cake she could remember having seen. Unlike the cupcakes, it was a deep rich brown with small red fruit on the top. On the level below was a large glass jug of a fruit drink, which Lyra identified as ‘punch’, which confused Retcon as she hadn’t thought the word could be a noun. The jug thankfully had a lid, though how it hadn’t come loose in transit she had no idea. It was somehow heavier than the box had been.

At the bottom of the box was a collection of colourful inedible things. Lyra demonstrated the party blower, which initially shocked Retcon, but she couldn’t help but laugh at the sound, and how silly Lyra had looked. Lyra did however prevent her from opening a small glass tube of sparkling powder, saying, “Bon Bon would kill me if I got glitter in the living room again.” She smirked. “So who’re you inviting?”

“Inviting?”

“Yeah. Normally Pinkie invites the whole town, but, well…” She rubbed the back of her neck. “Bonnie says you’re… Do you wanna keep it just the three of us?”

That’d be nice, she thought. I’ve never had a party, so it would be a good way to learn about them in a controlled environment. Better than having to deal with loads of ponies I don’t know. Although… I guess there are some ponies I know who live here. Three of them. Would be nice to see Sparkler again.

“Actually… I have a few ponies in mind.”