• Published 9th Jun 2021
  • 406 Views, 45 Comments

Seconds to spare - Hope

Princess Luna sends her student, Eris, to make friends in Ponyville.

  • ...

Ch.5 As the Past Becomes Memory

"Thank you for sticking with me, and putting that right," Eris told Fluttershy as they made their way down the road.

"It's... It's the right thing to do," Fluttershy said with a nervous smile. "And now he can meet his siblings! It's a really good outcome."

"Like the time you figured out that one of my clients had misinterpreted my little soirée for her as being sarcastic, in the end everything was perfect," Rarity said fondly.

Fluttershy blushed but nodded, as they came over a small hill and looked down on the ruins of a small village. The stone foundations and empty doorways stood between thorny bushes and bent trees, old rotted wood beams holding up the vague shapes of rooftops, covered in rot.

They all hesitated, but as they descended into the ruins, magic flickered over the old stones. Time was turned back, and reality warped to reveal six scenes from the histories of those six creatures.

One building became a two story round shop, boarded up and grey. In front of it, a shimmering copy of Rarity sat, staring up at the imposing facade, her expression hopeless and full of pain.

Another was a quaint farmhouse, beautiful and quiet, with a younger AJ sitting next to a smaller filly that could only be her sister.

A clearing between buildings looked like it was covered in clouds, as a younger Rainbow sat, holding a piece of paper, tears on her cheeks.

Some old trees blossomed, green and rich, with a young Fluttershy laying in between them all, even from a distance her wing clearly broken.

Eris immediately spotted the scene meant for her. An older Eris, more mature and powerful from so long ago that it was barely even her, cowering in a cottage that was burning, a white Alicorn with blazing white eyes standing over her, cruelty etched on her face.

But directly ahead in the road, the sunset sky had been turned into grey clouds scattered high above a dusty farm, a single gravestone standing just beyond a grey mare, two grey fillies, and a very young Pinkie Pie.

Everyone froze, their hearts in their throats, old pains brought back to overwhelm them with grief.

But Pinkie Pie slowly stepped ahead, looking around at them all before focusing on herself, mane and tail straight and flat.

"Oh momma," she sighed.

Then she looked back at everyone else, and turned to face them.

"It's going to be okay," she insisted softly.

Fluttershy looked away, as AJ bit her lip and scowled at the ground, and instead of getting frustrated or angry, Pinkie looked at them all with sympathy, before turning back to her scene with a sigh.

"Ooh... My momma once told me..."

"N... Now is not a time for a song, Pinkie," Rarity snapped, but Pinkie ignored her.

"Pinkie, you've got to stand up strong.
Your sisters and the farm need your help,
We couldn't do this without you for long.
Dreams are well and good, but sometimes you need more."

A tear fell from her cheek as she stepped into her younger self, magic shimmering around her as she took her place in her own history.

"But momma, I said, I've gotta have my dreams!
Even with daddy gone, There's more to me than this farm."

Her mother turned to her with that same sympathetic look Pinkie had given her friends, and put a hoof on her back.

"Dreams are good, and dreams are fine,
Don't take my caution as cause for alarm.
Pinkie dear, the more I speak of is kindness,
Not giving up or losing your precious charm."

Pinkie, young and full of sorrow, looked up at her with wide eyes, not understanding.

"When we lose something precious," her mother said, voice cracking as she looked to the gravestone. "A part of our heart turns a little vicious."

She gestured to a broken toy that shimmered into appearance, and the other two fillies, who weren't looking at Pinkie at all.

"How easy it would be, don't you see, to go cold.
But Pinkie, you were always meant to be bold!"

Pinkie stepped away from her mom, looking up into the sky as she sang her reply.

"But momma, I didn't do it right. Pappa told me, on the fading of the light... Don't ever leave a hole, always fill what you had stole... If I'd done my job, our Pappa'd still be alright!"

She turned back to her family, cheeks wet with tears, and separate from them as though she didn't belong.

Her mother smiled sadly and held out a hoof.

"There are a thousand little mistakes,
That anyone could make.
Leaving open the wrong gates,
Or falling in a lake.
But your heart, Pinkie Pie, may be dark, but it lies.
Forgive yourself first of all, my dear,
Or the pain will come back every year,
Multiplied by the pain you hold near.
Lean instead upon your family ties."

Pinkie rushed back to them and into her mom's arms, holding them as they all dissolved into magic, leaving Pinkie with a sad smile, arms held out.

"Without family, you can make one!" She declared, turning to her friends with determination.
"I'll be your sister, you'll be mine, it'll be tons of fun!"

She ran over to them and took Rarity by the shoulders.

"I... I didn't have anyone to help me..." She whimpered.

"But you made it through, don't you see?" Pinkie urged. "Family of blood turned it's back, but you survived and changed your tack!"

"And now the family that I chose is there for meeeee..." Rarity sang as she stepped into the place of her past self, took a deep breath, and ripped the first board off the window, the memory dissipating in a flash of brilliant blue.

"But what if you had it all... A family close and taaaall, but lost them way too soon..." AJ crooned, eyes glassy but unable to shed a tear as she looked back on the first talk she had with her young sister about the parents she couldn't even remember.

"What a beauty then, that you gave that love to her," Pinkie said gesturing to that young sister. "It may hurt, but you were there for Applebloooom!"

And AJ did go into that memory, and held her sister close, and golden light showered down around her as the past drifted away.

"Family is well and good, but doing what I know I should, just hasn't come as easy as they say," Rainbow said, grimacing as she looked at her younger self. "Flying high I knew that I, was the best of every beeest! But... I failed time again, learning where I couldn't win, when I failed every... Single... Test..."

Pinkie danced over to her, blocking her view of her past for a moment.

"And what a great thing, I can't remember a thing, Ponyville needed more! Than a brave weather captain, who knows every pattern, regardless of the score."

Rainbow smiled a little as Pinkie stepped aside, and she too banished her past, taking comfort in the present.

Fluttershy was quiet as Pinkie approached, sitting next to her past self, broken on the forest floor far below her home.

"Sometimes there's no good, even if we think that there should... There are pain we have endured that aren't right, they aren't fair!" Pinkie insisted.

"But to become who I am today, I had to fall down right there," Fluttershy said, timidly taking a step closer. "And I love who I am today, so who cares, really, what is fair..."

She jumped and landed in that spot, and a distant scream of pain echoed through the forest, before a deer and then a chipmunk, and then an army of animals emerged from the trees to help their fallen friend, and the memory found it's end.

So then Eris was left, looking at her past, tears in her eyes.

"I was a trickster, a god among the petty," Eris sang with a voice older and deeper than her appearance. "I would mock her, a cruel joke always at the ready..."

She walked towards her past, and stopped with a hand raised to the white Alicorn's cheek.

"Her pains were so much greater, than ever I could have known. Sitting on the throne she would say Later, just go!"

She looked away and bit her lip, holding back more tears.

"But never could I listen, not a single thought or care, I broke her heart, her mind, her soul! With a single childish dare."

Her younger self moved of its own Accord, speaking.

"It was just a joke, Celestia! Just a silly thing!"

The Alicorn laughed, it's smile not showing any joy.

"You dare me to not be so grim, so I'll follow your discordant hymn, of nonsense and trickery, I'll be the queen."

And Eris turned her back on the scene, sitting on the ground with her tail curled around her, hugging her knees to her chest.

"Pinkie, I can't do it. This one, it's just too much. I've done bad things I can't even fix, just leave me behind and take the bad one out from your mix..."

Pinkie trotted up to her and sat in front of her.

"There's nothing I can do, to heal how mean you are to you. But I can tell you, that we get better because we try! Not a second of a day goes by, where I am fully perfect!
But I could never say my flaws will last forever.
You have to tell yourself the truth!
The painful complex aching truth!
Lift your voice up above the throng!
Whether with a dance, or a speech, or a song!
Tell the darkest part of your heart that it is wrong!"

And Eris looked back, and she didn't know if she could do it, but she crawled on hands and claws and knees to take her place as the world around her burst into fire, and she looked up at the being that had once been her closest friend.

"I don't deserve this," she whispered.

And the memory fell apart into dust.

When Eris opened her eyes, everypony was holding her, all together, making their way through their grief and pain while Pinkie led the way.