• 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 8: Enter Pinkamena

The Masterpiece

Chapter 8: Enter Pinkamena


Twilight Sparkle stumbled out of Carousel Boutique, pursued by an angry Rarity.

“Twilight, you ought to be ashamed of yourself!” she exclaimed. “Have you no sense of personal boundaries?”

“I didn’t mean any harm by it,” Twilight protested. “I was merely curious—”

“One day that curiosity of yours is going to get you into more trouble than even we can get you out of! I mean, imagine what would have happened if your wild suspicion had focused on poor Fluttershy?”

“Fluttershy!” cried Twilight, suddenly springing to her hooves. “Of course, why didn’t I see it before! She never did adequately explain her behavior at the Grand Galloping Gala...”

Rarity appealed to the pony who was just walking past the Boutique at that moment: “Oh, Applejack! Be a dear and talk some sense into our resident magician! It appears that she just won’t listen to reason, so perhaps a dose of your horse sense will do better!”

“‘Horse sense’?” Applejack asked with a raised brow as she approached. So intent was she on confronting Rarity, that she nearly tripped over a crack in the sidewalk. After giving the offending crack a dirty look, she proceeded to answer Rarity: “Well if’n that’s what you want to call it this week...what seems to be the trouble?”

“Twilight here was confidentially informed by a friend that somepony she knows has an...eccentric personality, and she’s been trying to worm out of each of us which one it is!”

“Are you sure it ain’t you?” the earth pony asked laconically.

“Applejack! I am not eccentric, and besides, I was using that term as a euphemism for a more humiliating condition, and besides...she was considering interviewing you next!”

“What!” Applejack repositioned herself to stop Twilight from sneaking off down the road to Fluttershy’s cottage. “Sugarcube, what have I always told you about betraying a pony’s trust?”

Twilight tried to maneuver around Applejack, but she was dealing with the Mistress of Herding, and soon was forced to give up. “Um...that it’s the fastest way to lose their friendship...”

“...FOREVER!” echoed the voice of Pinkie Pie from several blocks away.

Twilight smiled. She never bothered to finish that particular sentence anymore.

Applejack facehoofed. “No, that’s what Pinkie Pie says. What do I say about betraying a pony’s trust?”

Twilight put a hoof to her chin to think for a few seconds. “...Don’t do it?” she finally guessed.

“Exactly!” exclaimed Applejack. “Now somepony entrusted you with this unsavory bit of news about how there’s a crazypony. Did this somepony tell you who it was?”

“...No,” answered Twilight reluctantly.

“Did this somepony tell you that you could bug every one of us like a parasprite at a ladybug’s picnic to find out who it is?”

“...No.”

“So why are you doing it?” Applejack demanded.

Twilight cartwheeled her forelegs around trying to come up with an answer that wouldn’t make the mare before her any madder. “Well I, I just...I just had to know! If one of my friends is hurt, then I want to know, so I can help!”

“Uh-huh,” replied Applejack, eyeing Twilight carefully. “And can you help?”

“W...well of course I can help!”

“Really, Sug? I don’t never remember you castin’ no spell to fix a pony’s head!”

“But I’ve been doing a lot of studying about pony psychology. I’m sure if I just—”

Applejack silenced the purple pony with a hoof on her lips. “But you’re not sure, are you?” she asked.

Twilight, her mouth still held closed by Applejack’s hoof, silently shook her head in a “no”.

“And I bet this friend of yours does know.”

Twilight slowly nodded her head up and down.

“Well there you go, then. Twi, you need to recognize that sometimes, you’re not the expert. You don’t know more about apples than I do, and you don’t know more about all things frou-frou than Rarity here.”

Behind her, Rarity rolled her eyes at her least-liked term for what she did for a living.

“Mm-mm,” said Twilight.

Applejack glanced down at the hoof still in position, and then removed it.

“Perhaps I should do some more research,” said Twilight. “The Celebration doesn’t start for a few hours, so I should have plenty of time to look up more about this...condition that we’re worried about. After all, how can I be a good teacher if I don’t understand the needs of my student?”

“That’s the spirit!” said Applejack. She watched as Twilight turned and walked back towards her treehouse.

“Well!” exclaimed Rarity. “Now that that is out of the way, what are you doing in town, Applejack? I thought you were still recovering from the lamentable loss of your crop.”

Applejack eyed her levelly. “They’re only trees, Rarity.”

Rarity was about to counter this claim by bringing up Bloomberg, but she had the distinct feeling that there was an aspect of her recent past that made snarking about inappropriate affection less than wise, and so she elected to remain silent.

“As a matter of fact,” Applejack continued, “I came into town to ask about Rainbow Dash.”

“Rainbow Dash!” exclaimed Rarity. With a quick intake of breath, she managed to calm herself...mostly. “Yes, well I would like to have a word with the little prankster myself. What did she do to you?”

Applejack took off her hat and scratched her head with the edge of a hoof. “She didn’t do anything, really,” she said. “She just acted funny—dropped down on a conversation between me and Pinkie Pie, and right afterwards zoomed off towards Hoofington.” She put her hat back on so that she could use the holding hoof to point westwards.

“Hoofington?” Rarity asked herself. “I do not recall any word of a competition or weather business over there. Why would she wish to visit Hoofington?”

“That’s what I’m wondering,” replied Applejack. “I’ll tell you one thing, though: whatever her reason, from the look on her face, she considered it really important.”

“Huh,” said Rarity, that being the sound she tended to make when she no longer had anything useful to contribute to a conversation. “Well if you do manage to bump into her before I do, be sure to send her my way whenever you get your particular mystery settled to your satisfaction.”

“I’ll do that,” Applejack said with a nod. “Well good day to you, Rarity.” She stared to walk away, and ended up tripping over the same sidewalk crack she had hit before. “Don’t say nothin’!” she warned the unicorn over her shoulder. “I swear that this here crack wasn’t here yesterday!”

“I’m sure it wasn’t,” said Rarity with a verbal smirk. “Good day, Applejack.”


Pinkie Pie was taking her cart back from Town Hall to Sugarcube Corner after dropping off the first dozen pecan pies. Having run through the last of her sugar reserve, she was fighting to keep her eyelids open. She stopped and turned around to check the time.

TICK-TOCK, TICK-TOCK, went the giant clock.

In Pinkie’s mind, this was transformed into : PAPA is COMING, PAPA is COMING, PAPA is COMING! She could just feel the gray-robed stallion, pulling his boxed machine of doom and leading her zomponified sisters into town right behind her.

She turned around.

They weren’t there, but it didn’t matter, because they were coming! They were coming!

With the sound of a deflating balloon, the pony’s fluffy mane suddenly fell flat.

It’s not too bad, Pinkamena told herself. I just have to start screaming now, that’s all.

So she did.


“PINKIE PIE!”

With a gasp on hearing Applejack’s cry, Twilight turned away from the front door of the library and raced back to Town Hall.

She arrived to see Rarity and Applejack comforting the party pony, who she recognized was suffering from a panic attack.

Twilight started to approach, but then suddenly stopped herself. Surrounding a panicking pony with too many others trying to help actually stood a good chance of making the attack worse, Twilight knew. She had also established a bad track record for psychological interventions today. So she elected to just observe for now.

The first thing that the other two ponies were doing right (that Twilight suspected she probably would have failed at) was not talking. They were holding the pony in a relaxed embrace and waiting for her to stop shaking.

As she was watching this, Twilight reflected that a panic attack actually made perfect sense for Pinkie Pie. Well, it would make perfect sense if she actually was the traumatized daughter of a cult leader. After all, Clyde Pie was scheduled to reunite with his daughter any time today.

Twilight walked over to the hall and peeked inside. The furnishings were finished (including a podium for the mayor), and except for most of the pies, the food and drinks were all in place. Twilight spotted a set of bird perches, which told her how the entertainment problem had been solved. As near as she could tell, everything was ahead of schedule.

She turned around to see Applejack address the pink pony. “What say you let me help you with those pies?” she asked in as gentle as voice as possible.

“You can’t, Miss Applejack, you can’t!” the pony replied in a familiar little voice. “It won’t count for her if anypony helps!”

Her’? thought Twilight.

“Well how about this,” Applejack replied, “you make up another batch of pies, and I’ll tell you if’n you’re following my cousin’s recipe correctly. Is that within the rules?”

The other pony nodded. “Oh, while I have the chance, I have to ask you something about the apple trees you lost.”

“What do you want to ask?” the farmer pony asked.

“They were in the southeast corner of Sweet Apple Acres, right?” the pink pony asked. “The part that gets drainage from Rambling Rock Ridge?”

“Yeah, that’s right.”

“Did you know that the soil under the Ridge acts like a magnet for phosphorus? Is it possible that phosphorus deficiency might have contributed to your trees’ reduced disease resistance?”

Applejack paused, an eyebrow lifted high. “Could be,” she finally concluded. “Could be. Now why don’t you clean up, and then I’ll join you at the Corner to watch you bake.”

“Alright, Miss Applejack,” the straight-haired pony said shyly before turning and pulling Applejack’s cart back to Sugarcube Corner.

“She’s worse than I thought,” commented Rarity.

“She’s just fine,” retorted Applejack.

“What just happened?” asked Twilight. “And when did she become a geologist?”

Applejack rolled her eyes. “She’s always been a geologist. Can’t farm rocks if you don’t know nothin’ about them, after all. She just don’t like to use that know-how much, since it reminds her of home.”

“Well, alright,” said Twilight, “but what about that look in her eyes? I’ve never seen her like that. It’s like...”

“...like a fox in a dog convention?” finished Applejack. “She just gets like that sometimes. Like at the end of a long day when nothing’s been going right. I saw her have a lot of those when she first moved to Ponyville. She got a lot better afterwards when she gained her confidence, but at the time, it was like she...”

“...was a whole other pony,” finished Twilight. The sound of her mental gears clicking into place was actually audible. “I met her last night.”