• Published 15th Oct 2012
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The Masterpiece - McPoodle

Twilight must step in to prevent Pinkie Pie's mental disintegration

  • ...

Chapter 11: Final Nightmare

The Masterpiece

Chapter 11: Final Nightmare

Twilight found herself on a rocky plain that stretched to the horizon in all directions under a steel-gray sky. Running wildly among the stones was the straight-haired magenta pony Twilight had seen three times before in her life. As she ran, every rock seemed to reach out to trip her.

Actually, Twilight reflected, every rock is reaching out to trip her. This is a dream after all.

Twilight carefully considered the rules for safely navigating another pony’s dreams taught to her by Princess Luna. Considered them, and tossed them aside, for she needed to dive right into the center of this dream and join it if she had any hope of rescuing this poor pony, this...Pinkamena, before her. Only one rule remained to her, keeping her thoughts clear, and so she strove to rigorously follow that one rule above all else.

“Where is she?” cried out Pinkamena again and again. “Where is she?”

With an audible “pop!”, Twilight Sparkle appeared beside her. “Have you looked everywhere?” she asked. “Perhaps we can make a list.”

“Miss Sparkle!” cried Pinkamena, startled. “Wait...you’re one of Pinkie’s friends! I know why you’re here!”

“Yes,” said Twilight, “I’ve come to help...”

Pinkamena suddenly found herself in a courtroom, wearing a prisoner’s striped pajamas and sitting in the witness box. A crowd of every pony in Ponyville was booing her. Rainbow Dash was the prosecuting attorney, and the jury was twelve identical Applejacks. The judge was a surprised Twilight Sparkle. Above her, instead of the traditional abstract silhouettes of the Princesses, was a framed photograph of a scowling Papa Pie. As for the defense attorney in this case, Pinkamena was defending herself, as that was the surest way to lose.

“This mare is a murderer!” declared Rainbow, pointing dramatically at the defendant.

“It’s true!” wailed Pinkamena.

“Has the jury reached its verdict?” asked Judge Sparkle.

Twilight was terrified to discover that she could no longer control her body.

“Guilty!” declared twelve Applejack clones.

“Pinkamena, you are guilty of murder!” declared the judge in the most disapproving tones imaginable. “And the penalty is—”

“I DEMAND that you stop this miscarriage of justice immediately!” declared Princess Celestia, bursting into the courtroom through the ceiling.

In the judge’s seat, Judge Sparkle had become a pure puppet character, just like the prosecutor and the jury. Twilight was now disguised as the Princess.

“Princess!” squeaked Pinkamena, falling out of the witness stand and pressing her forehead to the floor.

“Rise, my little pony,” said Celestia.

Twilight squeed internally. She had always wanted to say that.

“You have rushed to punishment much too quickly,” the Princess said to Pinkamena as the earth pony looked up with uncertain eyes. “Pinkie is still alive, I am sure of it.”

“Sh...she is?” Pinkamena asked. “Do you know where?”

“No,” said the Princess with a reassuring smile, “but I’m sure with a little help you can find her.”

Twilight rushed out of the Princess’ body, leaving her a cardboard cutout, and animated her own body once more. “I can help you,” she started to say, but before she had gotten even a single syllable out, Pinkamena made her decision.

“Winona!” Pinkamena declared. “She’ll be sure to find Pinkie Pie for me!”

“Seriously?” Twilight said, breaking the fourth wall.

Now as a general rule, Twilight thoroughly disapproved of Pinkie Pie’s antics regarding the fourth wall of their day-to-day lives. It showed a less than stable grasp of one’s sanity. It was perfectly alright to speak to the “author/audience” in a dream, because that individual actually existed. Although on second thought...

...on second thought, it made perfect sense for Pinkie Pie and Pinkamena to believe in the Fourth Wall. They had grown up in an awful world of injustice and fear, the very opposite of the world of classic stories. By pretending that their lives were written by somepony else, they were assured that their every adventure would have a happy ending, and that life would actually be fair.

Twilight was satisfied that she had reached such a good conclusion...but that still didn’t change the fact that she was now stuck in Winona’s body.

“Row row!” said Winona. “Row row row row row row row!”

“You’re doing this on purpose, aren’t you?” commented Twilight from the sidelines.

Winona started sniffing around. When she had found her scent, she raised her head and howled loudly.

Twilight had never owned a dog, and had never bothered to learn much about them. As a result, she wasn’t very clear on what particular breed Winona was, and whether all dogs following scents did so in the same way as a stereotypical frostinghound or not.

The dog nosed a hole in the fabric of reality, and dove through. With a shrug, Pinkamena followed.

~ ~ ~

They found themselves in a memory of the family rock farm, a location not that different from the place where Twilight had materialized. Pinkamena watched as a tiny filly version of herself pushed some rocks around.

Suddenly, there was the sound of an enormous explosion, and a rainbow wave rapidly spread across the sky. The little filly screamed, as she was blasted by a tremendous wave of magical energy. As the magic continued to pour through her, she gradually faded from existence, until in the end nothing was left at all.

Twilight looked on, shocked. She had sought out the memory of Pinkie Pie’s “birth”, but it appears that she was missing even from that.

Winona turned around in a circle, sniffing and snuffling. Then she suddenly froze and pointed at a seemingly random direction.

Pinkamena looked at her suspiciously.

“Row row!” insisted Winona. “Row row, row row row!”

The magenta mare shrugged, and walked in the direction indicated through another tear in space.

Twilight-Winona led Pinkamena through dozens of other memories detailing the transition between her persona and that of Pinkie Pie’s. Pinkie Pie was absent from all of them.

What became clear to Twilight was that Pinkamena led a dreary and miserable life. It seemed hopelessly unfair, especially in contrast to Twilight’s own life.

Unlike the heroines of all of the classic stories that Twilight had ever read, she had not lost a parent at a young age, had not been raised by cruel aunts, had not had to fight against a pitiless world. Everything in Twilight’s life was handed to her on a silver plate, up to and including having the Sun Princess of Equestria as her own personal magic teacher. It was not the life story of a heroine. In fact, it rather closely resembled the life history of your typical storybook villainess.

This was one of the chief reasons why Twilight Sparkle refused to believe she lived in a story. Because if she was in a fairy tale story, with a fairy tale plot, then at this point in the story she was the character due to give in to her monomania to control the world, and then she would become the villainess who would have to be put down by the actual heroine of the story. In that world, the “Lesson Zero” incident would be a horrible premonition of Twilight’s inevitable mental disintegration, instead of just a really, really, really bad day.

Twilight had questioned, again and again, why she deserved to live such a carefree life while so many other ponies suffered. She tried to help the less fortunate when she could, but she had always been held back by her poor skills interacting with other ponies, so her efforts always turned out to be half-hearted at best.

In the end, she concluded that her experiences did have a purpose. A happy childhood and finally making friends had made her an emotionally strong pony.

It was that strength that allowed her to press through disappointment after disappointment in Pinkamena’s dream. A lesser pony might have been dragged down by the prevalent current of hopelessness, but that would have been fatal. Only optimism could serve to revive Pinkie Pie, and save Pinkamena.

After all, you needed a lot of optimism to put up with being Winona.

This time, they emerged into a memory of Applejack’s barn. An older Pinkamena was staring down Pinkie’s other friends, convinced she was about to be kicked out of their friendships.

“If this is a farewell party,” a visible Twilight Sparkle said, deploying her formidable power of logic, “why does the cake I picked up from Sugarcube Corner say, ‘Happy Birthday, Pinkie Pie’?”

The other Pinkamena looked around her, at the balloons, the decorations and finally the cake, which did indeed say ‘Happy Birthday, Pinkie Pie!’”

And then she exploded, and the other ponies started having a party with nopony.

“You’re not helping,” the surviving Pinkamena growled.

Twilight sighed. She needed to approach this from a different angle.

Pinkamena was convinced that Pinkie was dead, thought Twilight, and that without Pinkie, she had no reason to live. But this was ridiculous, because Pinkamena created Pinkie, so that meant that Pinkie could never die. She was just stubbornly hiding that side from herself, in her relentless need for self-punishment.

Twilight decided that she needed to trick Pinkamana into bringing back Pinkie. But first, she had to clean up a misconception.

Winona jumped up in the air in front of Pinkamena, and grabbed onto a bead that was hanging in mid-air. Using her weight, she pulled the string that was attached to the bead, and this unrolled a projector screen. A traditional school room materialized around them—just as with the courtroom, the portrait of Equestria’s rulers that usually appeared in such a room was replaced by the visage of Pinkamena’s disapproving father. A projector operated by an A/V pony that rather closely resembled Twilight flickered to life behind them.

On the screen, the smoke cleared from the wreckage of Pinkamena’s revenge cannon. Pinkamena’s sisters helped the cannon’s victim to rise, revealing her as Rainbow Dash.

“What?!” exclaimed Pinkamena.

A flashback showed a group of shadowy ponies with torches and pitchforks descending on the Pie family farm, opening a door to see a pile of bones which faded into Clyde Pie’s gravestone.

Twilight guessed that there was a 65% chance that the scene went as she showed it, and a 35% chance that instead Rainbow Dash had crashed through the ceiling yelling “For Pinkie Pie!” at the top of her lungs.

“Is it true?” Pinkamena asked incredulously. “Am I finally free?” As if in confirmation, the portrait of Clyde Pie fell off the wall and into a conveniently placed trashcan.

An extremely brief moment of genuine happiness was immediately soured by more thinking. “I...wait...” the magenta mare fumbled, backing away from the screen. “You mean I killed Pinkie...FOR NOTHING?!”

Winona’s eyes went wide. “Row row!!” she shouted, jumping up and down. “Row row-row row row row!”

“Stop telling me what to do!” retorted Pinkamena.

“Row, row row-row row-row-row row row row row row-row row row row row row!”

“I do not turn everything you say or do into the end of the world!”

“Row row!”

“Do not!”

“Row row!”

“Do not!”

Twilight face-hooved.

“Stop that!” declared Pinkamena. “Dogs do not face-paw!”

“Row row roow row?” asked Winona.

“I do know, that’s why!” replied the earth pony.

“Row row rooooow?”

“Oh don’t cop that attitude with me, Missy!”

The dog stuck her nose up in the air. “Row row row row row row-row!” she declared defiantly.

“Oh yeah?” retorted Pinkamena. From her mane she pulled a metal mesh cube the size of her hoof, then pulled it from opposite corners, expanding it into a cage big enough for—

“Row!” exclaimed Winona, as she was stuffed into her new carrier.

Bad great dane/frostinghound/pointer/collie!” scolded Pinkamena. “I’m sending you back to doggie kindergarten!”

“Row-row row-row-row-row? Roooooooooooooooooow!” the dog wailed.

Pinkamena raced away until the annoying sound had faded away entirely, putting her back in the endless rock field again.

Well, that was another dead end, thought Twilight. How about...reverse psychology?

~ ~ ~

Pinkamena walked on, mile after mile, uncertain where exactly she was going. Perhaps the heat from the pitiless sun would shrivel her internal organs, and end her torment that way. It sounded appropriate to her.

In the distance she made out a shimmer a bit taller than the other shimmers. Having nothing better to do, she approached it.

The shimmer turned out to be a Sparkle. Twilight was leaned over a slightly bigger version of Pinkamena’s doggie box. As Pinkamena watched, the unicorn put one ear up to the box and listened for a few seconds, and then fell on her back, laughing uproariously.

Pinkamena approached cautiously. “What’s in the box?” she asked cautiously.

“It’s Pinkie Pie,” said Twilight. “I found her, and now she’s mine.”

“You can’t do that!” protested Pinkamena. “She’s my imaginary friend, so I get to keep her!”

Twilight clutched the box close to her chest. “Mine!” she exclaimed.

Pinkamina grabbed a handle of the box and started tugging. “Gimme!” she cried.

“Nu-uh!” retorted Twilight.


“Make me!”

“Give...me...my...SISTER!” Pinkamena screamed with all her might, and tugged mightily on the handle. This caused it to fly out of Twilight’s clutches and into Pinkamena’s chest. She tumbled end over end several times, finally ending up landing hard on the box. This in turn caused the box to partially collapse with the sound of breaking glass.

Twilight winced.

“What’s going on here?” the magenta pony demanded, opening the box. Inside was a broken hoof mirror.

“Well you see,” Twilight explained awkwardly, “You were supposed to see yourself smiling in the mirror, and think—”

“You tricked me!” screamed Pinkamena, finally finding an exterior focus for all of her frustration. “You’re just like all of the others!”

Out of nowhere, she pulled her revenge cannon. “Taste crunchy vengeance!”

Twilight raced into a convenient bush, and soared out with her horn swapped for a pegasus’ wings. This allowed her to easily avoid the missile.

Pinkamena upgraded the cannon for rapid fire, and sent a dozen bombs screaming Twilight’s way. They simultaneously detonated in the same spot, creating a slowly dissipating cloud of smoke. Pinkamena raised a hoof to her eyes to get a better look.

“Did you get her?” asked a tiny voice. Pinkamena looked up to see an Appletini-sized Twilight Sparkle pegasus standing on her head. Upon being spotted, she suddenly danced a Zebrican hat dance, singing “Rata-ta-tata-ta-tata-ta-ta!” at the top of her lungs, before disappearing in a “poof!” of purple smoke.

You know, Twilight thought to herself, I’m beginning to see why Pinkie Pie liked Discord so much...

Can’t catch me!” pegasus Twilight cried, flying by high above.

“Oh yeah?” replied Pinkamena, seeing that she was now in a junkyard. Cobbling together parts seemingly at random, she soon had created some sort of undefinable masterpiece of invention. She stepped into an applecart seat and pulled a pair of goggles over her eyes. With the yank of a lever, a powerful spring launched her into the air. A crossbow-like contraption on the front of the cart sent a lasso flying across until it caught Twilight around the stomach. “Now I have you!” Pinkamena cried.

Twilight looked over her shoulder with a crafty smile. “Do you have me, or do I have you?” And with this she kicked her flying into overdrive.

“What are you doing?” Pinkamena cried in alarm, as both she and Twilight began to be battered on all sides by powerful winds. A sort of wall of air started converging into a cone in front of them.

“If I can’t find a Pinkie Pie,” Twilight shouted wildly, “I’ll just make a Pinkie Pie!”

This was followed by an explosion, an utter and complete fracturing of absolutely everything, as the world was shaken utterly apart.

The two ponies plummeted through the skies, holding each other and screaming in terror. There was nothing they could do to save themselves, because Twilight’s Sonic Bookboom (hey, Twilight made it, she can name it whatever she wants!) had stripped her of her wings and made her into an earth pony.

They screamed and screamed and screamed, and screamed some more.

And then Twilight got tired of screaming, and looked behind herself.

Pinkamena continued screaming, until she was tapped on her withers by Twilight and made to look where she was looking. What she saw caused her to stop tumbling end over end, although she was still floating.

The landscape was in the form of a sky scene painted on a long canvas stretched between two vertical rollers. Turning a crank on one of the rollers to wind the canvas upwards as fast as possible...was Pinkie Pie.

“Well go on,” Pinkie prompted. “I’ve seen better ‘falling to their death’ takes from rabbits and dogs than I have from the likes of you!”

Pinkamena reached forward, very deliberately, and bonked Pinkie Pie on the end of her muzzle, creating a squeaking sound. “Found you,” she said, very quietly and very happily.