• Published 15th Oct 2012
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The Masterpiece - McPoodle



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

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Chapter 6: Pinkie Pie Forgets Her Age Again

The Masterpiece

Chapter 6: Pinkie Pie Forgets Her Age Again


Twilight Sparkle was running late.

She had woken up to find all the books mysteriously misaligned on the shelves, as if the tree had been tilted at a slight angle long enough for things to slide around ever so slightly. She was unable to determine the cause of this.

Once that was cleaned up it was time for the daily list, and today’s was a doozy.

There were multiple ponies to try to trick into revealing their inner “Miss Hide” and there was the matter of inquiring into Pinkie Pie’s obsession with the upcoming celebration, including helping her to find a replacement for Octavia’s Ensemble, and then there was the extremely ominous note from Princess Luna about why she couldn’t return tonight and—

“Actually, that note didn’t sound ominous at all,” said Spike, interrupting her thoughts.

“Of course it was ominous, Spike!” Twilight insisted. “It was ominous precisely because the tone was so calm!”

It was at moments like these that Spike wished that Twilight had gone through with her Psychology minor. After all, that minor came with a free psychoanalysis on the very first day of class.

Just then there was a knock on the door.

“Maybe it’s the mystery pony!” exclaimed Spike.

“Or maybe it’s Princess Luna in disguise!” exclaimed Twilight.

“Or maybe it’s Pinkie Pie here to explain everything!” exclaimed Spike.

“Or maybe it’s none of the above!” exclaimed the voice of the pony on the other side of the door.

Twilight and Spike looked at each other. “Vinyl Scratch,” they said in unison.

Twilight opened the door and sure enough, the pony on the other side was Vinyl Scratch, the DJ. There was no other pony it could have been, after all. Only Vinyl was able to hear through a full hoofswidth of solid door, a partial compensation for her blindness. Of course, this fact was something she desperately did not want other ponies knowing about, but Twilight and her friends were on the small list of exceptions.

“Well this is a surprise,” said Twilight. “What brings you to Ponyville?”

“Oh, a few pieces of business,” said Vinyl. She pulled out a large cardboard square. “Like giving the only other dragon music aficionado I know the latest recording by Melodiya.”

Spike accepted the record and cradled it lovingly. “Neat, a whole collection of marching songs, sung by the Dragon Army Chorus! Can we listen to this tonight, Twilight?”

“Tonight’s the party in Town Hall,” answered Twilight.

Oh yeah...how about tomorrow night?”

The purple unicorn groaned. “Great, that’s another night without any sleep.”

“Eh, what are you going to do?” replied Vinyl somewhat sheepishly.

“How’s your Trottman factory coming along?” Twilight asked.

“That’s our Trottman factory, partner. And the answer is: not so good. Prince Constant’s funding has dried up, and I can’t get him to return my letters. I wonder if you’d have any better luck.”

Twilight looked at Vinyl in silence. “What makes you think that I’d have any better luck than you?” she asked finally.

“Well, I mean you’re from Canterlot, so that means surely you hob-nob with the princes on a regular basis and...I have to go there myself, don’t I?”

“That’s what I’d recommend, yes. And don’t worry—the nobles tend to have their money in multiple banks at once, and they never notice when one of them runs out. You just need to go over there and remind the Prince that you’re one of the commoners he likes, and then he’ll point you at his back-up bank.”

“Why do they need multiple banks, anyway?” Vinyl asked.

“I dunno,” Twilight replied. “Probably some silly paranoia that Princess Celestia will take their money away if they annoy her. She hasn’t done that for seven...eight centuries, at least! While you’re here, Vinyl,” she continued, “have you heard about Octavia pulling out of Ponyville’s Summer Sun Celebration?”

“Err, yeah, I heard, Twilight, and I’m really sorry.”

“So is there any chance...?”

“I’m already committed to play for the Princess herself in Fillydelphia, Twilight. I can’t very well pull out of that, can I?”

“No, I suppose you can’t. I do have another question, though.”

Vinyl smirked. “If you’re going to give me the whole Twenty Questions treatment, could you at least invite me inside to take a load off of my hooves?”

~ ~ ~

Vinyl Scratch lay back on her cushion, using her magic to raise up her glass of ginger ale so she could get a sip of it. “Ah, that hits the spot!” she exclaimed. “So what else do you want to know?”

“Octavia said that she was backing out because she didn’t want to meet Clyde Pie, Pinkie Pie’s father. Do you know anything about him, or why Octavia doesn’t like him?”

Vinyl put down the drink with a bad taste in her mouth. “Ah, you might not know this, Twilight, but I don’t really like talking about my family. And do you know the sure-fire way to get somepony to ask you about your family? By asking them about theirs. So that means I don’t tend to learn much about other pony’s families.

“But Octavia likes to talk when she’s too tired to play, so I know a little. Just bits and pieces, mind you.”

“That’s fine,” said Twilight. “I’ll take any information I can get.”

“Well first off, you know that Octavia and Pinkie Pie are cousins, right?”

Twilight thought for a bit. “Well, I didn’t know,” she said, “but I suspected there was some sort of family connection ever since I saw them together at the Grand Galloping Gala.”

“Well from Octavia’s mutterings, I get the feeling that the Pie family goes way, way back, and they hold certain...less than popular opinions.”

Twilight was immediately reminded of Princess Luna’s remarks about Pinkie’s family. “I’ll agree with at least part of that as well,” she said.

“Well, that’s all that I really know for sure. The other stuff runs in the realm of some really hateful gossip. I really shouldn’t tell you...I don’t want you to get the wrong opinion of Pinkie’s family based on the second-hoof remark of a pony who—well, you saw how Pinkie ruined her performance at the Gala...”

“I don’t think Octavia has any personal animosity towards Pinkie Pie,” said Twilight. “In fact, I distinctly recall her wishing that she’d ‘break free’ from her father’s spell over her. That sounds to me like she pitied her, rather than hated her.”

Vinyl Scratch frowned. “‘Break free of his spell’, eh? That sounds way too close to what she told me. I mean, almost literally.”

“What are you saying?” asked Twilight.

“I’m saying, and let me emphasize again that I have absolutely zero proof of this, that Octavia thought that Clyde Pie...was a Noctiferian.”

Twilight sat up in shock. “The Nightmare Moon Cult? But I thought it was stamped out a quarter-millennium ago!”

“I’m sure it probably was,” Vinyl said with a grin. “The Noctiferians are a prime villain for the conspiracy nuts. Trust me—I meet a whole lot of strange ponies at the end of my DJ sets. And normally, I wouldn’t consider Octavia one of those nuts. But her parents sure are. Maybe this one belief settled in even when the light of reason uprooted the rest? Maybe Papa Pie is so creepy the idea of him being a cultist actually starts to sound like a reasonable explanation? I dunno for sure. Now promise me you’re not going to jump to conclusions on this. If you have the Royal Guard pounce on some innocent farmer in the middle of nowhere because you think he’s practicing the Dark Arts on the dirt with his rake, you just know that it will come back to bite me on the flank.”

“I promise, Vinyl. No wild accusations without proof.”

“No wild accusations, period! If you had proof, it wouldn’t be wild anymore.”

“Alright, I’ll promise to be cautious,” Twilight said with a smile. “Thanks for the visit.”

“And thanks for the ginger ale,” said Vinyl, getting up.

“Do you need any help getting out?” Twilight asked.

“I spent the first nine years of my life in this very tree, Twilight, remember?” asked Vinyl in a very cold voice. After all, the reason she hid her blindness from others was to prevent just this sort of patronizing. “I think I remember how to get out.”

Twilight felt absolutely mortified. “Um...”

*SLAM!*

“...goodbye,” she concluded.

“So, should I add ‘cult chasing’ to today’s list?” asked Spike.

Twilight sighed. “No, but you can add drawing up a research request for the Royal Archives—I already know that there’s nothing in Ponyville’s collection that would help. I suspect that Vinyl’s completely right about that story being a crazy prejudice of the Harmony family, and nothing more. After all, Pinkie Pie’s about as un-culty a pony as you can ever meet, and she didn’t even know who Nightmare Moon was when she showed up!”

“Is ‘un-culty’ a real word?”

“Shut up, Spike.”


Rainbow Dash was lazing around her cloud house, drawing doodles around her weather reports, when she was interrupted by the buzz of her doorbell.

“Coming!” she said brightly. A cloud-bound Ponyville pegasus didn’t get very many visitors, after all.

She opened the door to find Twilight Sparkle in full-on dork mode, complete with a pair of “old mare glasses”.

“Nice weather we’ve been having, don’t you think?” Twilight asked the gaping mare before her.

Rainbow Dash shook her head incredulously. “You mean the straight week of rain we needed to break the drought?” she replied.

“Oh, it was a nice change of pace, that’s all!” exclaimed Twilight.

“Twilight, what are you doing here?”

“Can’t a friend come up to visit?” Twilight tried to ask with an innocent tone. “I just whipped up a cloudwalking spell—just for fun, mind you—and thought you might enjoy my company.”

To say that Twilight was “up to something” would count as the understatement of the year, so Rainbow said nothing as she let Twilight in.

The unicorn cast an eagle eye on every feature of the cloud home, like she was the detective on a crime scene. “It’s a nice home you have here,” she commented. “I really should visit more often.”

“Yeah...” said Rainbow behind her with a suspicious expression, “you really should.”

“And how’s Tank?” asked Twilight, referring to Rainbow’s recently acquired pet tortoise. “I wouldn’t want to wake him up or anything.”

“You don’t need to worry about that,” said the pegasus with a laugh. “That guy slept through one of my Rainbooms once.”

“Ooo, what’s this?” Twilight suddenly exclaimed, levitating something up from an end table so she could get a better look at it. It turned out to be a little sculpture of the cloud house made of cotton balls and toothpicks. “It doesn’t look like a pegasus made it,” she concluded.

Rainbow Dash sighed, knowing exactly the reaction she was going to get after answering that question. “It’s a Mother’s Day gift from Pinkie Pie.”

What?!

Yup, called it, thought Rainbow. “Let’s see if I can remember her cockamamie explanation...” she said, rubbing the back of her neck with some wingfeathers, “I think it was something like ‘This is for the care you have put into Ponyville’s weather all these years, which makes you a teeny-tiny bit like a mother to all of Ponyville.’ It was from her and a bunch of orphans she convinced to help her. I think she was doing it for them as much as for me.”

“That, uh, explanation doesn’t make a bit of sense,” Twilight said dryly.

“It’s a Pinkie Pie explanation,” Rainbow Dash said. “What are you going to do?” She looked around her nervously before adding, “So I’m not very good at this hospitality thing...”

“Oh, I’m alright,” said Twilight, settling into a cloud couch. Rainbow picked a recliner to sit in, and leaned herself back with her hooves behind her head. “So I was reviewing my Friendship Reports,” Twilight continued, in a tone rather like the couch she was sitting on was made of flint instead of cumulous, “and it raised some questions about the Best Young Fliers competition.”

“Which part?” Rainbow asked cautiously. “The part where I was being awesome or...”

“The other part.”

Rainbow sighed. “Yeah, I figured as much.”

“Rainbow, you got really nervous when Rarity started getting more attention than you at the Rainbow Factory. It was a side of you that I’ve never seen before. Like...like a whole other pony.”

The blue mare sat up abruptly. “And what is that supposed to mean?” she asked indignantly.

“Well I was just wondering,” said Twilight, taken back by Rainbow’s reaction, “if there’s some side of you the rest of us don’t know about. A side that you feel you need to keep secret from us. Because you should know, if you do have any secrets, you can trust me with them.”

For the second time that day, Rainbow Dash looked at Twilight Sparkle like the unicorn had gone insane. “What are you talking about?” she finally sputtered. “Look, what you see is what you get with me. I’ve got no secrets. You saw me scared? Well, alright, I’m not very happy admitting it, but yes, I do get scared sometimes. Makes the thrill of victory all the sweeter afterwards, as a matter of fact. Maybe sometimes I pay too much attention to what everypony else says and not enough to what I have to tell myself.” She pointed proudly to herself with one hoof. “But this side, what you see every single day, is the only side I have. Why are you asking anyway? Is somepony spreading nasty rumors about me? Because if so, I think you ought to tell me who it is!”

“Nopony’s been spreading rumors about you, Rainbow, honest!” protested Twilight. “...Not you specifically.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I...well, I can’t tell you who I heard it from, but I heard that somepony was hurting because there was this other side to her that she had to keep secret.”

Rainbow Dash froze. “And you’re sure that this pony is one of your friends?” she asked.

“...No. I’m not even sure that this pony is a ‘she’.”

Rainbow Dash sighed. Twilight thought it was in disgust, but actually it was in relief. “Twilight, how many ponies do you know?” she asked.

“Um, well, that’s quite a large number, if you include casual acquaintances.”

“Gimmie a round number.”

“Alright...a hundred, maybe two?”

“And were you planning on accusing every single one of them of being crazy?”

Twilight looked sheepish.

“Because I don’t think they’d be as understanding as I am being right now,” Rainbow said with a victorious smile. It wasn’t that often that she could out-argue Twilight Sparkle.

“Yeah...I suppose you’re right,” Twilight said, looking really guilty.

Rainbow Dash couldn’t stand to see one of her friends looking like that. “But, uh, you might want to ask Rarity about how such a marshmallow could bend the Diamond Dogs around her hoof so easily...”

“That’s right!” exclaimed Twilight. “Oh, thank you, Rainbow! Don’t worry, I’ll let myself out.” And she practically flew out of the front door.

Rainbow Dash got up, walked up to the open door, and sighed as she closed it. “I am so going to get it for that from Rarity,” she said to herself. But she knew it was worth it, to distract attention away from Pinkie Pie. She may not have made a “Pinkie Pie Promise” to the pink pony on the day of her disastrous birthday party...or to the other pink pony in her head, but she certainly had made one to herself. Nopony was going to make fun of her friend for being different. Of course, that didn’t change the fact that her friend was...random.

After a moment, she chuckled. “Yeah, that explanation of Pinkie Pie’s for my present was pretty lame...” She thought back to the precise words of their conversation...

“Happy Mother’s Day!” exclaimed Pinkie Pie from her gyrocopter as she tossed the present to Rainbow Dash.

The pegasus opened the box, and just stared inside in disbelief. “Did you make this?” she asked. Despite the childish materials, it was an exact match for the form of her house.

“Well, I had a little help. But the idea was all mine!”

“Pinkie Pie, how old are you, anyway?”

“Eight.”

Rainbow Dash stared at her.

“Did I say eight?” Pinkie Pie panicked. “I meant eighteen.”

Eight! Rainbow Dash laughed to herself. Well, why can’t one Pinkie be younger than the other? Although, if she was eight, then that would mean...

Rainbow Dash’s pupils suddenly became as big as saucers.

Then that would mean maybe I really am her mother.