• Published 15th Oct 2012
  • 2,480 Views, 93 Comments

The Masterpiece - McPoodle

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

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Chapter 12: Cave #1, or Cave #2? (and Credits)

The Masterpiece

Chapter 12: Cave #1, or Cave #2?

“Go on and wake up,” Pinkie Pie instructed Pinkamena. “I’ll clean up around here. This place looks way too gray.”

From her mane, Pinkie Pie pulled out a can of spray paint and started using it to saturate the air with a faint mist the color of her coat. There was a hastily applied label on the can which said “PINK”, but it was peeling off, revealing the original name of the product to be “UBIK”.

“OK, Princess Luna,” Twilight said to the sky, “we’re ready to come out!”

“Everypony follow me to the shelter!”

Twilight Sparkle opened her eyes and looked around. For a moment, she wasn’t sure if she wasn’t still in a nightmare.

The buildings all around her had toppled, and on both sides of her were frenzied ponies fleeing for their lives.

Just then the ground started rocking, and earth ponies and unicorns were knocked over like tenpins by an invisible bowling ball. The pegasi who had been flying overhead watched helplessly. Something slammed into the purple pony’s flank.

Twilight realized that all the shaking at the end of Pinkamena’s dream had actually come from the real world—Ponyville had just been struck by its first big earthquake in a generation. And the object that had struck her was Spike.

“Sorry,” he apologized.

Beside them, Pinkamena was scanning the area around her with eagle eyes.

Twilight realized that the three of them were riding in Applejack’s cart, and that it was being levitated by Princess Luna’s magic to protect them from most of the shaking.

After only a couple seconds, the shaking from the aftershock had stopped, and Princess Luna and the pegasi helped the others to get to their hooves. “Let’s keep going!” shouted the Mayor from the head of their small group. “We’re nearly there!”

Seeing that things had settled down for the moment, Twilight turned to Spike. “I hope you weren’t too worried about me,” she said.

“Naw!” exclaimed Spike, trying to cover up his former fear. “The Princess kept me up to date on everything you did in Pinkamena’s head.”

Everything?” Twilight asked nervously. “You mean even—”

“Hey, Applejack!” Spike exclaimed. “Wanna hear Twilight’s impression of Winona?”

Twilight muzzled Spike with a spell. “Not another word!” she warned, before releasing him. She then turned to Pinkamena. “And are you going to be alright?” she asked.

Pinkamena looked around at the boxed pies that shared the cart with them. “Just let me eat a couple of these, Miss Sparkle,” she said, “and you’ll have Pinkie back. Everything can go back to normal.”

“Please, call me Twilight,” the unicorn said as she put a hoof on Pinkamena’s shoulder. “I don’t want everything to go ‘back to normal’,” she said, “because that would mean you going back to hiding from us in the world at the back of your own head. I’d like to be your friend, if you’d let me.”

“And so would I!” chimed in Spike.

“My...my friend?” Pinkamena asked Twilight, bewildered. “I tried to kill you, and Dashie before that!”

It did not escape Twilight’s attention that Pinkamena, who called everypony else “Miss”, used the same nickname for Rainbow Dash that Pinkie did.

“I forgive you,” said Twilight. “After all, dreams don’t count. And what happened to Rainbow was a misunderstanding. I’m more worried about what you wanted to do to the pony you thought was Clyde Pie. I know he did horrible things to you, Pinkamena, and that he should have been made to answer for what he did, but you didn’t need to be the one to carry out his sentence. Justice is blind for a reason.”

Pinkamena struggled to keep her outrage in check for the pony who had reunited her with Pinkie. “But he got away with it, every single time,” she finally said in a tired voice. “I was the only one who knew the right thing to do—the only one willing to do the right thing. Why shouldn’t I do what’s right?”

“Because of what it does to you,” said Twilight, fixing Pinkamena with a worried look. “You start out fixing other ponies’ problems without asking their permission. Then you take the law into your own hooves when nopony else will listen. And it just starts to run out of control from there.” The strands of the unicorn’s mane started to unravel as she became more and more unhinged by her own words. “After all, you know what’s right for everypony else, don’t you? Everypony would be so much happier if they just listened to reason! And if a pony disagrees, then it’s your duty to correct them, right? If they’re not with you, they surely must be against you! Until, until, until”—she wound herself back down to sanity with these words—“you find yourself living in a castle in the sky, the absolute mistress of Equestria, but also the absolute mistress whose subjects are all terrified of you. You’ve given up your soul, piece by piece, as you did all the horrible things you thought you had to do to achieve your dream, and now you finally realize that you’re the villainess, and you sit down and wait for the heroine to show up to save the world...from you. And by that point, that’s exactly what you want, because you no longer have a reason to live.”

“That timeline has only a 0.065% chance of occurring,” commented Princess Luna acidly to herself, “and Tia promised me that she’d never tell Twilight about it.”

Twilight sighed deeply, and then looked back at Pinkamena. “I see a lot of you in me, Pinkamena,” she said, “and I’d like to be your friend. I’d like to teach you some of the things that Princess Celestia taught me, about seeing the best in my fellow pony, about how to at least try to control my temper. What do you think?”

“I...um...wow,” said Pinkamena after closing her gaping jaw. “You’re even crazier than me, and trust me, that’s saying something! But I still don’t understand. What could you possibly see in me to think that I would be any good as your friend?”

Twilight sat back and started to count the reasons off on an imaginary list. “One: you value reason and logical argument, and so do I. Two: you’ve always been there for Pinkie. And three—”

“You made Pinkie!” interrupted Spike. “Nopony who did something as amazing as that can be that bad.”

Twilight nodded in satisfaction. “What he said,” she added.

Pinkamena smiled sheepishly.

This slightly awkward moment was interrupted when Rainbow Dash dropped out of the sky to stare down Pinkamena.

“So,” she said in a confrontational tone, “who won your little battle to the death?”

Twilight rolled her eyes. “We saved Pinkie, Rainbow Dash. Both of us.”

“Well actually—” began Pinkamena.

Both of us,” insisted Twilight.

“I’m sorry for the way I treated you,” said Pinkamena, her head bowed. “Both today—“

“You thought I was your father,” Rainbow interrupted. “In my opinion, you should have hit me much harder.”

“—and at the birthday party,” Pinkamena continued. “Please forgive me.”

“Well I dunno,” Rainbow said with a sigh. “I don’t even know you.”

Pinkamena looked away awkwardly.

“Did I ever tell you the story,” Princess Luna suddenly interrupted, “of the unicorn who did nothing while the gentle and beloved alicorn princess had to levitate a heavy cart containing her, a dragon and two other ponies?!

“Oops!” exclaimed Twilight, activating her levitation to help the Princess.

Pinkamena smiled. “Pinkie says to remind you that you’re also hauling a batch of the finest pecan pies ever tasted in Ponyville.”

“Of course,” Luna said dryly, “how could I forget the most important part of the story?”

Rainbow leaned forward into Pinkamena’s face, peering intently into her eyes. “So...Pinkie can see everything that’s going on while you’re out here?” she asked.

“Yes,” said Pinkamena, “and I can see everything Pinkie sees when she’s out here.”

Great!” Rainbow exclaimed sarcastically, stepping back. “So now I have that piece of awkwardness to deal with every time I talk to Pinkie until the end of time!”

Smooth...” muttered Spike with a roll of the eyes.

Pinkamena stared at Rainbow for a beat, then rolled her eyes at an internal instruction. “Hi, I’m Pinkamena,” she said, sticking out a hoof. “Let’s start over.”

This forced Rainbow Dash to face how incredibly rude some of her last couple of statements were, and she winced. “Yeah, alright. Hi, Pinkamena, I’m Rainbow Dash. Put ‘er there!” After the requisite hoofshake she added, “Tell Pinkie that her introductions are still as corny as ever.” She then used her wings to hover in place over the floating cart, lessening the load being supported by Luna and Twilight’s magic.

“Um, would you mind terribly much if I called you ‘Dashie’?” Pinkamena said, blushing. “After all, you’re practically family.”

Rainbow Dash nodded mutely. She didn’t even want to think about what her metaphorical relationship with Pinkamena would be if she was Pinkie’s “mother”.

Just then, Applejack ran up beside the cart. “Well if we’re introducing ourselves to the semi-new pony, then hi, Pinkamena.”

“Hi, Miss Applejack,” said Pinkamena shyly.

“It’s just Applejack now, Sugarcube. I always knew it was you whenever you called me ‘Miss’. That’s to say that I knew you were different from Pinkie, but I was never quite sure, only mostly sure. So, do you have some kind of degree in geology?”

“No,” said Pinkamena, “but it was the family business, and I read through all of my papa’s books on the subject.”

“I suppose that means I should get a right proper expert when it comes to that water problem in the south east field.”

“I understand,” Pinkamena said, bowing her head.

“Now hold it right there! Just because I should get the college graduate, don’t mean that I will. Besides, fixin’ a phosphorus problem’s not all that hard—you just have to fix the pH, right?”

The magenta pony looked up in shock. “Yes, that’s right!”

Rainbow Dash looked back and forth between Pinkamena and Applejack in amazement. “Since when did you become some sort of freaky geology genius?” she asked the apple farmer.

“Hey, there’s all sorts of things you don’t know about me. I’m allowed to be mysterious and all complicated-like if I want!”

“Oh, sure you’re complicated, Miss ‘Don’t Muddy the Issue with Your Fancy Mathematics’!” Rainbow replied with an eye roll.

“Where’d you hear I said that?!” demanded Applejack. “MacIntosh!”

~ ~ ~

After a few more minutes, the group passed the Ponyville city limits and reached a tall hill just outside town. There, they converged with the much larger group that had been following the marching band when the earthquakes had started, a group that had been led by Doctor Whooves. (“Oh now, I’m no hero,” the Doctor said later. “It was just a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Of course, that clock of mine did make it a lot easier for everypony to gather together for the parade on time, thereby saving all of their lives...”)

Now reunited, the population of Ponyville began to enter a large limestone cave with a sign that designated it as the town’s official disaster recovery center. It had been set up as a last resort in case of rogue weather escaping from the Everfree Forest, but it worked just as well as an earthquake shelter. Or so everypony thought.

“Everypony out of the cave!” Pinkamena suddenly demanded.

The ponies around her started to look around themselves in fright.

“What’s wrong, Pinkamena?” asked Twilight.

Pinkamena lifted a wet hoof and shook it. “This cave still has standing water from all the rain last week!” she exclaimed. “Somepony could get a cold. Besides, I saw a much drier cave on the other side of Snowy Rock.”

The other ponies, hearing that the reason was not life-threatening but merely a matter of comfort, talked amongst themselves for a few moments, and eventually decided to take her advice.

Pinkamena led the group out of the limestone cave and around the hill to the other side, where they found a smaller cave made of granite. Under the direction of Twilight and the Mayor, the cave was soon cleared of debris and the ponies could move in. It was a tighter fit than before, but definitely more comfortable.

Twilight took Pinkamena, Princess Luna, Rainbow Dash, Applejack and the Mayor aside (Fluttershy and Rarity were tending to the wounded, and Spike was with the foals). “Nice job handling the crowd back there,” she told Pinkamena in a quiet voice. “Now what was the real reason why we had to move?”

Pinkamena shook her head in disbelief. “A limestone cave as a disaster relief center, especially one prone to waterlogging? That place was a deathtrap, and trust me, I know deathtraps!”

“B...but that location was specifically scouted for the town by a professional geologist!” protested the Mayor.

“That ‘professional geologist’ wouldn’t have happened to have been Clyde Pie, would it?” asked Princess Luna.

“As a matter of fact—” the Mayor began.

“That’s just great!” Rainbow exclaimed. “Even from beyond the grave, that stallion’s trying to kill everypony!”

~ ~ ~

The ponies were doing an inventory of their supplies when another aftershock hit.

“This one seems the strongest yet!” exclaimed the earth pony named Rose.

There was a vast rumble, and for a moment the cave shook so fast that everypony’s vision blurred.

Well, there goes Papa’s disaster recovery center,” Pinkamena muttered under her breath.

“Did you hear that?” asked Carrot Top. “The cave we were just in collapsed. This one’s next!”

“The horror! The horror!” exclaimed Rose’s friend Daisy.

“OK, this looks bad,” said Luna, backing up from the crowd as they began to transition into stampeding behavior.

Pinkamena looked around herself, and spotted Rainbow Dash as the closest of her new friends to the dessert boxes. “You gals need really Pinkie right now,” she told them. “Dashie, pie me!”

“—and the orange was falling further and further behind!” said Pinkie Pie, reared up on her hind legs and gesturing wildly. “So the apple leapt up onto Chester’s back and screamed, ‘Chester, you have to eat the pear! It’s the only way we can win the race!’ and Chester said—”

The entire crowd echoed the punchline: “But I hate pears!” and fell down laughing, none more so than the Doctor.

Pinkie settled back down on all fours, and surveyed the cave proudly. Dozens of panicking ponies had been turned back into friendly ponies by one of her best comedy sets, and it was clear now that the part of Ponyville that really counted, the ponies, was going to survive this crisis, like so many others in the past.

It’s too bad, though, about the big party, commented Pinkamena from inside her head. You might never get a chance at creating your masterpiece.

“Are you kidding?” Pinkie said out loud. “This is my masterpiece!” She strode out into the cheering crowd.

Princess Luna walked back to Twilight and her friends from the cave entrance. “Well, the sun’s risen, so the Summer Sun Celebration has officially begun,” she informed them. “I really didn’t want to spoil Tia’s day, but it is remarkably difficult to hide an earthquake from her attention. She’ll be here in a few minutes.” She took a quick mental survey of the scene in the cave. “There were no casualties, which is certainly good news. And the town will be rebuilt. It’s just a pity...I nearly had the budget balanced this year!”

“There, there,” Twilight comforted her. “I can’t ever balance my budget, either.”

“So what’s going to happen to Pinkie...err, Pinkamena...I mean, both of them?” asked Rainbow Dash. “Will she ever be cured?”

“‘Cured’ is not the word I’d prefer to use,” said Luna. “If all of you continue to try to be the best friends to both Pinkie and Pinkamena that you can be, then, over a period of years, they will gradually grow closer together. Pinkie will become more mature, and Pinkamena will become more fun-loving. Eventually you won’t be able to tell the two apart, and then, neither will she. But there’s a lot of damage to be undone before that day.”

“Boring!” exclaimed Pinkie, bouncing into the scene. “Look, are we done? Can I end this story?”

Twilight sighed. “Alright, Pinkie,” she said, giving in to the pink pony’s delusion. “End this story.”

“Ponyville was rebuilt, good as ever,” said Pinkie. “And all the alicorns, and ponies, and dragons, and zebra, and griffons, and Diamond Dogs, and donkeys, and cowsies, and buffalo, and phoenixeses, and bunny rabbits, and doggies, and gators, and cats, and turtles, and sea serpents, and animals and cryptids”—she finally gasped for air—“lived happily ever after!

“T H E _ E N D!”

~ ~ ~

“...and all the lambs, and sloths, and carp, and anchovies, and orangutans, and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats, and large—”


Credits and Acknowledgements

First and foremost, big kudos to Burraku_Pansa for editing on this story—it would have looked a lot sloppier without you.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is copyright Hasbro, with extra credit given to Lauren Faust for the specifics of the series. The characters of Pinkie/Pinkamena Diane Pie, Princesses Luna and Celestia, Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Spike, Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, Nightmare Moon (or at least the concept of the Nightmare), DJ Pon-3/Vinyl Scratch, Octavia (and her ensemble), Mr. and Mrs. Cake, Discord, Zecora, Big MacIntosh, The Great and Incognito Trixie, Tank, Angel, Winona (who will surely be suing Twilight in the near future for defamation of character), the ponies fans have named Doctor Whooves (and Hasbro sometimes calls “Time Turner”), Carrot Top (aka “Golden Harvest”), Crafty Crate, Clyde, Sue, Inkie and Blinkie Pie, the locations of Equestria, Canterlot and its castle, Cloudsdale, Appleoosa, Fillydelphia, Trottingham, Hoofington, the Everfree Forest, Ponyville, Sugarcube Corner, Sweet Apple Acres, Carousel Boutique, Princess Celestia’s Academy for Gifted Unicorns, and the concepts of the Summer Sun Celebration, the Winter Wrap Up, the Grand Galloping Gala, the Best Young Fliers competition, the Classical Era, baked bads, Friendship Reports, the Daring Do series, the Elements of Harmony, the Sonic Rainboom, Diamond Dogs, Parasprites, Bloomberg (and Tom), Pinkie Pie Promises and the Pinkie Sense, and Black Snootie (whoever she is) are taken from that source, with any visible alterations my own fault. Hoofington is not on Hasbro’s official map of Equestria, but fans generally agree that it’s on the other side of the Everfree (and that Trixie is currently staying there while she recovers from her run-in with “The Sparkle”). Characters original to me include Cousin Nutsy, Doctor Simmer (based on the Doctor from Star Trek: Voyager, who you’ll note was based on the personality of a Doctor Lewis Zimmerman), and the librarian Canna Table (Vinyl Scratch’s mother, her name a weak pun on the musical term “cantabile”). The Equestrian Seaquarium is my creation, I think. The Inn of the Prancing Pony takes its name from The Lord of the Rings, but you'll have to wait for my future fanfic of the same name to learn precisely how different it is from its namesake. The idea that Pinkie’s depressed state during the “Party of One” episode was an actual case of “split personality disorder” is a theory of the fans—I suspect that writer Megan McCarthy and director James Wootton merely meant this to be a “really, really, really bad day” for the pink pony, not a sign of genuine mental illness, but where’s the fun in that for us writers? The Griffon Aerie and Zebrican Alliance are ideas floating around the fandom that I picked up.

The idea of a Nightmare Moon cult is certainly not unique to me, although I think the use of the word “Noctiferian” to describe it is mine. I’m also not the first to name the legendary Sonic Bookboom, alas.

A large part of this episode derives from “Party of One”. Explicit reference is also made to “Applebuck Season” and “Lesson Zero”.

“Maretoven” is Equestria’s answer to Beethoven. “Mouze” is DJ MOUZ. “Taupe” is Twilight’s misremembering of “tropes”, as in TV. “Melodiya” is the name of a Russian record label, and the “Dragon Army Chorus” is of course based on the Russian Army Choir. The “Trottman” and the “Etheric” both come from my Betwixt Silver and Gold series of fanfics; the former is a reference to the Sony Walkman. Prince Constant is also from that series. “Mage Heckel and Miss Hide” is the Equestrian version of “The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson. The “Zebrican Hat Dance” is the Equestrian version of the “Mexican Hat Dance” (and you thought I could go an entire story without embedding a YouTube link!). A “frostinghound” is Equestria’s answer to a bloodhound, because nopony would put the word “blood” in a dog’s name, and those ponies are so sweet some of them are probably filled with frosting anyway.

The “narratively convenient” line for Spike is a reference to my fanfic “The Perfect Little Village of Ponyville.”

Pinkie Pie’s reference to rabbits and dogs falling to their deaths comes from the ending to the 1941 Warner Bros. cartoon “Heckling Hare”.

“UBIK” is from the 1969 Philip K. Dick novel of the same name.

Pinkie Pie’s last words are an obscure reference from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but surely nobody remembers a line that minor, right?

“Crunchy vengeance”...is from another fandom entirely. (Hi, Mr. Nowak!)

The calendar I’m using here, where the Summer Sun Celebration is on the 45th of Summer, is the invention of Loyal2Luna.

If there’s one plot device I was uncertain about (aside from using DID in the first place), it’s the earthquake. I set up for it with the following clues: the books shifting at the start of Chapter 6, the news of the animals fleeing at the start of Chapter 7, Pinkie’s doozies, the new crack that Applejack trips over in Chapter 8, the air pressure changes that Spike, Princess Luna and Rainbow Dash (with her difficulty breathing) notice in Chapter 10, along with Fluttershy’s birds fleeing and finally the general feeling of doom in the ponies.

Yes, this is my second pony fanfic where a purple octopus has shown up. And Twilight Sparkle in the show is voiced by Tara Strong. Coincidence? I think not!

Comments ( 25 )


Really? I kinda figured that the last nightmare was the climax, and I always like to wrap things up quickly once that's done.

1477642 I was kinda hoping for more, but hey, you're the author so...

Huh... It's odd; usually forced trivial events like the books, the crack, the air, and all that would leave me wondering for longer. Like, I found them odd at the time, and wondered about them as per usual, but I forgot them again so quickly, so that earthquake came as a complete surprise. It did make everything seem sort of sudden to me, but after being reminded about those little events, I'm feeling that you justified it just fine, and I'm just being dumber than usual.

Anyway, good work. I'm really looking forward to Pinkie's dream now.

This was an excellent piece of fiction.:pinkiesmile:
Excellent work.

I actually do remember that line from the Holy Grail (when reading about the Holy Hand Grenade if I recall correctly).

Well,That Ended Quickly!

Ack, I missed the "The Inn of the Prancing Pony" reference. Oh well.

Anyway, that was a very interesting look into Pinkie's backstory. And I do believe that I am now caught up to Masquerade.

I really like this Pinkamena, and I would love some stories about her hanging out with Twilight.

I really enjoyed this, but may I ask, why the earthquake? It seemed completely out of the blue, and essentially happened "off-screen" while twi was in Pinkie's head. It sounded like the whole town was destroyed, and nopony was too broken up about it.


Well in terms of narrative, I wanted to set up a scenario where Pinkamena was the better pony for the situation than Pinkie Pie, a crisis so severe that it would force the withdrawn pony personality out of her shell. As such, the earthquake itself was far less important than the aftermath.

Also, the ponies are supposed to be in shock. (And, I figure this has got to be the seventh or eighth complete leveling of the town since Twilight's arrival, given the sort of things that happen on the show.)

From her mane, Pinkie Pie pulled out a can of spray paint and started using it to saturate the air with a faint mist the color of her coat. There was a hastily applied label on the can which said “PINK”, but it was peeling off, revealing the original name of the product to be “UBIK”.

A very nice detail. I love little things like that.

I....absolutely LOVED THIS! It was amazingly well written, and I swear this is the first time I was worried about a story going in a certain direction, but it actually went in the best direction possible to me!
Plus, the way you made Pinkie and Pinkamena together is my favourite depiction of the situation. Just a personal bonus there ^_^

It's good to get back to this series. This was refreshingly deep-yet-not-dark (the most sinister interpretation of Pinkie's father I've seen notwithstanding), even if the pacing of the end was a little jerky.

Second time reading this and this chapter made me laugh so hard I bet everyone in my house heard it!
this story is amazing, and I'm soooo tempted to give it my platinum rating...except for that minor problem in my previous comment....iI really wish I understood how things worked between the 2 of them X_X


Pinkamena is being coy--Pinkie is very much a separate entity, as I finally get around to revealing in "The Mistress of Dreams".

In short, Pinkie would be in a mess of trouble if it got out exactly who and what she really is.

7795643 Ooooh yeah okay that makes sense, good move.

Ubik: "a deeply unsettling existential horror story, a nightmare you'll never be sure you've woken up from."


and breakfast cereals

Shouldn't that mean you're crediting Monty Python?

Pinkie Pie’s last words are an obscure reference from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but surely nobody remembers a line that minor, right?

Oh, you did, just not with "cereal" in the credit.

It did not escape Twilight’s attention that Pinkamena, who called everypony else “Miss”, used the same nickname for Rainbow Dash that Pinkie did.


Ship! Ship! Ship! Ship! Ship! Ship! Ship!

After a few more minutes, the group passed the Ponyville city limits and reached a tall hill just outside town. There, they converged with the much larger group that had been following the marching band when the earthquakes had started, a group that had been led by Doctor Whooves. (“Oh now, I’m no hero,” the Doctor said later. “It was just a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Of course, that clock of mine did make it a lot easier for everypony to gather together for the parade on time, thereby saving all of their lives...”)

Oh, so he's the time pony. Bummer.

Hoofington is not on Hasbro’s official map of Equestria, but fans generally agree that it’s on the other side of the Everfree (and that Trixie is currently staying there while she recovers from her run-in with “The Sparkle”).

So that was Trixie... and not Clyde?

Coincidence? I think not!

I meant Vinyl Scratch's blindness.

Oh. No in canon Vinyl is mute, not blind.

Oh, okay. WHAT?! SHE'S MUTE?!?!

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