• 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 9: Ill-Met in Hoofington

The Masterpiece

Chapter 9: Ill-Met in Hoofington

Rainbow Dash flew over the Everfree Forest, adjusting her course on a near-constant basis to deal with unpredictable updrafts from the uncontrolled microclimate below.

As she flew, she turned over in her head everything she knew about Pinkie Pie’s other self, especially in light of the knowledge that this other self was the true Pinkie, while Pinkie herself was somehow born from Rainbow’s first Sonic Rainboom.

Yeah, as if I don’t have enough responsibilities to worry about, she joked to herself to try to break the tension.

She decided to call this original Pinkie personality “Pinkamena”, after her birth name.

A few minutes later, she landed in the main street of Hoofington, right in front of the office of Crafty Crate’s Delivery Service. Without a second’s hesitation, she strode right in.

“Oh hey, Rainbow,” said the burly tan pegasus. “What brings you so far out of Ponyville?” He was sitting in the settee usually reserved for customers. Two grayish fillies standing behind the desk quickly ducked out of sight.

“I understand you do some of Pinkie Pie’s ingredient shipments?” Rainbow asked.

“Yeah,” said Crafty, nodding. “Has she run out of something?”

“Yup, she changed her plans at the last minute, and now she needs some more sugar,” Rainbow replied. Phrased exactly like that, it wasn’t a lie at all! she thought.

“OK,” Crafty said, reaching across the desk to pick up a thick clipboard and page through its contents. “How much did she say she needed?”

“Oh, uh...how much sugar does she order in a normal week?”

“Four ponyweight of brown, and eight ponyweight of white.”

That much?!” exclaimed Rainbow Dash. She made a rough mental calculation, and came up with far less sugar than that needed to make Sugarcube Corner’s confections. Apparently, it took an awful lot of sugar to keep Pinkamena at bay.

“Yeah, that much. So, should I put it on Sugarcube Corner’s tab?”

“No, I think we’ll put it on my tab this time,” Rainbow said. “After everything she’s doing for the Celebration, I think she deserves it.”

“Alright...your bankruptcy,” Crafty muttered under his breath as he reached across the desk once more to fish a ledger out from under a pile of paperwork. “Now before you ask: no, it won’t be ready for three hours. Why? Because that’s a lot of sugar to gather together, and because you didn’t order in advance. Let that be a lesson for you. And finally: you can get a good lunch at the Inn of the Prancing Pony if you haven’t eaten yet. You’ll have to be back here in the afternoon, though, if you want to take your shipment to Ponyville in time for the Celebration—our next scheduled run is not for another couple of days.” Crafty had obviously worked with the impatient mare before.

Rainbow thought for a bit. “I think I’ll stay in town,” she decided. “This will be a good chance to learn more about Pinkie Pie. She did come from here, didn’t she?”

The eyes of the two hiding fillies cautiously peeked at Rainbow over the edge of the desk. The older one had a pure gray coat with straight mane of a darker gray, while the younger one had a more purplish gray coat and her straight mane was pure gray.

Seeing them, Crafty smiled. “Pinkie used to live on a homestead a thousand strides northwest of here. I never saw her before the day she left, but her father would sometimes come into town to buy supplies.”

At the mention of the word “father”, the two fillies quickly popped back down. The desk began to shake from their combined shivering.

“It’s alright, dears, it’s alright,” said Crafty soothingly, as he rubbed the top of the table with his hoof like a father would gently pet the mane of his daughter after she had awoken from a nightmare. “He hasn’t been in town in five years, and that time he bought enough food and supplies to last him a decade.” Crafty had to laugh to himself at this point. “The dern fool was convinced the royal government was going to fall, and it would be every pony for herself. Told us all we’d be sorry we hadn’t stocked up like he did. Well I don’t see Princess Celestia turning in her crown anytime soon, do you?”

“Nope,” Rainbow said, shaking her head with a smile. “So I think...Pinkie Pie had a couple of sisters...Inkie and Blinkie?”

“Yeah, that’s right,” Crafty said with a knowing smile as the silent fillies once again showed themselves. Technically, they were mares due to their age, but they certainly were acting like fillies.

“Whatever happened to them?” Rainbow Dash asked with a matching smile, knowing full well what the answer would be.

“Well they left their father after their mother passed on...eight years ago, wasn’t it?”

The fillies nodded.

“The ponies of Hoofington stood up to Clyde Pie when he came to town,” Crafty said, getting serious. The fillies looked at him in admiration. “Told him that it was time that those two got to make up their own minds. If they didn’t want to live out there with all that mining equipment and weird inventions, then they had every right to leave. We all took care of the pair of them in turns, but eventually they decided they liked my wife and I best.”

The fillies reached out with their forehooves, and their foster father indulgently bent down to receive their hug.

Rainbow watched with a warm smile. “Would you like to hear about your sister?” she asked them.

The fillies looked up at Rainbow and visibly shrank, causing her to pout.

Crafty Crate sighed, and walked Rainbow to the door. “I’m sorry, Rainbow, but you have to understand: those two are very skittish. The fact that they were willing to be in the same room as a stranger is a great deal of progress for them. Maybe later if I have time I can head over to the Inn—you can tell me some stories about Pinkie, and I’ll relay those stories to them. Not as colorfully as you can tell them...”

“Ah, that’s alright,” said Rainbow, looking back from the doorway. “Feel free to tone them down if you’d like. Pinkie stories do tend to be pretty unbelievable, after all.”

“I’ll see you then.”

~ ~ ~

Rainbow Dash walked down the main street of Hoofington, a warm feeling in her heart after meeting the Pie Sisters.

As she looked around her, she was struck by the extremely ancient feeling of the town. All the buildings were made of wattle and daub with straw roofs, as all commoner homes were back in the Pre-Classical Era. The clothing (what little was used) looked modern, but in many other respects, it was like Rainbow Dash had stumbled into the days before Luna had become Nightmare Moon.

It was therefore all the more disconcerting to discover a shingle hanging over such an ancient door advertising that the practitioner within was specialized in psychology. On a whim, Rainbow flew over and rapped on the door. “Hey, Doc,” she cried out. “Is there any chance I can get some free advice?”

After a hushed conversation inside, the door was opened by a grumpy unicorn. He had a pale orange—nearly white—coat and a jet black mane, and he was wearing a cardigan checkered in forest green and black. “Please state the nature of the mental emergency,” he said acidly. It was precisely what he was required to say under the circumstances, but he clearly expected to regret it.

The pegasus was momentarily intimidated, but she quickly recovered her nerve. “Hey, if you’re busy then I’ll come back later,” she said casually, walking away. “I just wanted to know if you knew anything about split personalities. Maybe I’ll ask the doctor doctor instead.”

“Come back here, young filly!” the psychologist ordered.

Rainbow stopped and smiled to herself before wiping the grin off of her face and turning back around. This trick worked all the time when she wanted to find out something from her optometrist aunt.

“You probably read that ‘Mage Heckle and Miss Hide’ story, didn’t you?” he accused her. “Or worse, had some fool Canterlot unicorn repeat the plot to you from some inane Etheric melodrama. If there’s one thing worse than the garbage writers put into vulnerable minds about amnesia, it’s Dissociative Identity Disorder. Now sit down, while I give you some useful knowledge about my field of study for once!”

Rainbow Dash did as she was told, working hard to keep the grin off her face over the antics of her sudden instructor.

“I’m Doctor Simmer, by the way,” he said.

“Rainbow Dash,” the pegasus said, presenting a hoof to shake. As she did this, she leaned over to see Dr. Simmer’s cutie mark: it was a pony brain, bobbing around in a clear pot being heated to boiling by a Honeydew burner.

“Very appropriate,” the unicorn noted about her name, nodding in approval. “Now the first thing to know is the name of the ailment: Dissociative Identity Disorder, or ‘DID’ for short. It’s not called ‘split personality’, and it is most certainly not schizophrenia, which is a different mental disorder all together.

“Second, you don’t just get DID from a potion or a spell, no matter how convenient it is for the plot of your silly little story. DID is a defense mechanism, the last possible defense mechanism for some ponies before giving up on living altogether.”

This suddenly had Rainbow Dash’s full attention.

“A pony only develops DID at a very young age,” Dr. Simmer continued, “and only in response to stresses they cannot handle any other way.”

“Can you get it from being teased?” Rainbow asked.

“No,” the psychologist replied in a dismissive tone, “not unless every pony in the whole of Equestria was mocking you, and although you might think your foalhood was that bad, it wasn’t, because ponies like to exaggerate how awful they had it in the past to make them feel better about their dreary lives in the present. No, in most cases, DID has one, very specific cause: foal abuse.

That is the reason I do not like to see this very serious ailment being made light of. Do I make myself...hello? Rainbow Dash? Are you still in there?” He waved a hoof in front of the frozen pegasus before him.

Rainbow Dash’s veins had turned to ice on hearing the two fatal words. At that moment, a hundred off-the-hoof comments about Clyde Pie that she had brushed off before all coalesced into a sickening whole.

Her eyes suddenly focused on Dr. Simmer with an intense glare, and he stepped back in shock.

“Thanks, Doc,” she said gruffly. “Thanks a whole lot. Now if you don’t mind, I have some business to take care of.”

A second later she launched herself into the sky, flying north as fast as her wings could take her.

“What do I care?” Doctor Simmer said to himself. “It’s not like anypony ever tells me what’s going on around here!” With a snort of annoyance, he turned on his hooves and stalked back into his office, slamming the door behind him. “Now then,” he said to the patient who was strangely hiding from the window, “why don’t you tell me more about this imaginary persecutor of yours...I believe you called her ‘The Sparkle’...?”