• Published 29th Oct 2012
  • 3,596 Views, 83 Comments

Finding Faith - CoolBreeze

Haunted by the past, John finds his place in life, helping an orange pegasus mare...

  • ...

Like a Jigsaw

My Little Pony: Finding Faith
Chapter 5 “Like a Jigsaw

I blink several times to clear my eyes of sleep, a rugged mug of water sits before me on the table which looks like it was made for someone challenged by size. Breakfast, courtesy of chef Scootaloo, is sliced apples and dandelions on the side. For the past three minutes I’ve been eyeing off the weeds while trying to overcome my body's cries for more sleep.

Honestly I’m not sure what to make of the dandelions, ponies eat them, heck I watched Scootaloo eat them barely minutes before, but something in my head groans in protest at the thought of the plant matter even going near my mouth.

I subconsciously brush my fringe from my eyes with a foreleg before reaching out with the same leg to grab the mug with the magical magnetic grip my hoof seems to have. Lifting the mug to my muzzle, I drink quietly as I stare down the plant on the table.

“Aren’t you going to eat it?” Scootaloo asks at last, probably bored of watching me by now.

I shrug and look up at her, raising an eyebrow suggestively. She takes the hint and decides to eat the dandelions herself, right in front of me. Indifferent to the act, I just finish my water and put the mug back down on the surface of the table once more.

When Scootaloo woke up, she got a bit of a shock, having yelped in surprise at being tangled up in not only the capes but my legs as well. Thus I roused from my peaceful sleep to find a panicked mare trying to remove herself from the mess, finally falling backward unceremoniously into the pillows.

When I tried to ask what was wrong, she muttered something incoherent and then dashed from the clubhouse in a hurry. I didn’t bother asking anything when she’d returned with the basket from yesterday and our breakfast.

That was when I decided to keep what I’d been thinking about earlier in the morning to myself and not to worry her or make her feel uncomfortable.

“So what’s the plan for today, Scootaloo?” I ask, trying to start some conversation despite the earlier disapproval of eating the dandelions.

She scratches her chin with the tip of a hoof, swallowing the dandelions she’d served me for breakfast “I’m not sure...”

“Well, I was thinking of helping... uh what was her name again...” I trail off in thought and then clap my hooves together as it comes back to me, “Ah! Applejack and her brother Big Mac. They sure do seem to do a lot of hard work and maybe they need a hand to-” I stop when I realise Scootaloo has fixed me with a stare.

“A hand?” She asks, putting the hoof she used to scratch her chin down onto the table, the resounding clop seems to add emphasis to her question.

“Uh, err I mean a hoof-” I try to correct myself but get cut off again.

“I know what you meant, John... are you remembering stuff?” She asks, leaning closer to me over the small table, her eyes accusing like I’ve committed some terrible crime.

I look down at my tail which twitches, giving away my nerves. “No...” I state blandly to her. Which is true, I don’t remember anything important, just these silly little things that seem to be sillier by the hour. Hands, what in the world has those? I can’t even remember what species the hands belong to.

“John, if you can remember anything about before we met, you need to acknowledge it. Were you even a pony before this?” She gets up and moves around the table, her wings are clamped tightly to her sides, she’s agitated, I know enough about her already to pick up on these little cues... “Just who are you, John?” she asks.

I whip my head up and look her in the eyes now, “I don’t know! Don’t you think this is driving me mad? Who am I? What am I? Where did I come from? Who did I leave behind? What did I leave behind? Was I a pony? Why can’t I do magic? Why do I feel like I should be walking on two legs not four? Why do I refer to ponies as people? Everyone instead of everypony? Am I a monster? An alien?” I prattle on, the confusion and unknown eating me up.

My chest feels tight from the anxiety and yet I find more to say, “Why can’t I remember my own mother’s face? Did I do something to her? Am I dead and is this some afterlife? Why do I feel the urge to put clothes on when all the ponies I’ve seen wear minimal to none?” my voice is rising but I don’t care, I’m too distraught to do anything about it.

Scootaloo takes a step back as I get up on all fours, “Why is it when I look at you I feel like I owe you something? That it’s my duty to help you get better and to believe in yourself? Why do I feel like I love you!?” I stop, I hadn’t meant to let that one slip. Oh... crap.

I watch as Scootaloo’s face contorts from the accusing glare into a mask of confusion and then the uncomfortable blush behind her orange coat barely shows through and she averts her eyes.

Too late, the damage is done. I feel terrible for getting so upset and part of me wants to apologise for the outburst... instead I listen to the other part of me, it wants to be alone. I walk over to the door, glancing at the photographs of the three fillies as the heavy clopping of my hooffalls echo around us followed by a creak as the door opens at my touch.

I stomp down to the ground and off into the trees, not really caring where I’m going. The soft grass crumples under my hooves and I reach the edge of the orchard which is fenced off by a low timber fence, the fence itself, as I had observed the day before, seems more to mark the edge of the property rather than to keep things out.

As I duck through a gap in the fence and continue on - towards Ponyville - I mull over the fact that I hadn’t seen many wild critters about causing mayhem, it strikes me as odd but it seems like the ponies have absolutely everything under control. After a brief explanation on how the weather works here in Equestria and how the two Princesses, Celestia and Luna control the sun and moon, it should have been more obvious that here, nature isn’t something that occurs naturally rather that it is cultivated into a prime state.

Farmer’s crops grow so well due to the controlled rain and sun thanks to the Pegasi, the princesses modulate when the sun and moon rise, affecting the growth of plants and the tide of the oceans, and what the princesses and the Pegasi don’t control, the Unicorns are capable of adapting with magic. The four species, Alicorn, Unicorn, Pegasi and Earth pony all work together in harmony to create a wonderful place to live.

So where do I fit into this picture? I look up past my fringe at the partially obscured unicorn horn that adorns my forehead, the partially obscured and useless horn. It’s not like it’s small or anything, in comparison to some of the locals in Ponyville I’d seen, my horn seems the average size.

The sudden transition from grass to stone brings me out of my thoughts. I’ve arrived at Ponyville for the second time in my Equestrian life and already even though it’s early, there are residents trotting down the streets that criss-cross the area. I take a breath and ready myself to join the others, maybe I’ll find some answers, or at the very least some paying work... I can’t live off apples.

Just as I take a step forward, I let out a shame inducing shriek and backpedal several paces when a pink pony drops out of the tree beside me and lands on all fours like an expert acrobat. Her mane and tail reminds me of fairy floss, her coat is a lighter shade of pink but her eyes are a sky blue and she wears a happy-go-lucky expression.

“Hiya! Oooh! You’re a new pony in town aren’t you? I know everypony and I mean everypony in Ponyville! Ohmygosh! That means I have to throw a ‘Welcome to Ponyville’ party for you! Ooh this is going to be soooooo fun!” she gushes with barely a breath. I can feel that my ears have gone flat and my heart is hammering in my chest.

“Oh! Sorry did I startle you? Oh well! I guess you want to know what an Earth Pony like me was doing in the tree!? Yes? Oki Doki Loki! I was scouting for an-” she stops, leaning toward me with a hoof to one side of her muzzle as if to muffle what she’s going to say next, “-alien!” She leans back once more, evacuating my personal space bubble which has since been completely and utterly burst.

“So I was up there, and spotted little old you! And you looked just so upset, I can’t possibly tell why, the weather is absolutely perfect today! So I decided you needed somepony to cheer you up! I’m Pinkie Pie!” She finishes, a hoof liberally extended to me.

I reach out slowly and take it, “John” she shakes my hoof quickly then relinquishes her grip before batting her eyelids at me, “Sooooo, why are you so upset?”

My slack jawed expression quickly changes to that of a frown as Pinkie Pie prys. “I don’t mean to be rude Pinkie Pie, but I’d rather not say, it’s not any of your business.”

She frowns as I get up and start to move past her, “But I can’t let a pony go around being all glum!”

I snort but continue onward, following the street to the center of town, maybe I can find Applejack in the market setting up? “Well no need to worry then Pinkie Pie, you won’t be letting a pony go around being all glum.” I retort, perhaps being a smartass isn’t exactly necessary, but I’m not in the best of moods if you can’t already tell.

I glance over at her and stop, she’s deadpanning me. The expression is just completely off after all this bubbly excitement and cheer.

“What?” I ask, feeling uncomfortable at her scrutiny.

She seems to size me up, like I’m a contestant in some sports event before she opens her mouth, “You-” but she never gets to finish what she was going to say, another voice calls out from behind us, “-Pinkie Pie! There you are! I’ve been looking all over Ponyville for you, sheesh you’re hard to find when you’re needed.”

I turn my head and peer behind me as a purple unicorn trots down the street towards us, her mane and tail streaked with a light shade of purple, almost violet going on red. Her fringe is cut flat so that it just sits above her brow and doesn’t get in the way of her eyes.

“Oh hey Twilight! I was just-” Pinkie Pie begins but is interrupted again, “-not now Pinkie, this is urgent! I need to-” the purple pony is cut off by the pink one, “-of course! I’ll lend a hoof!” She turns around and I let out a sigh of relief until I realise she’s looking at me, “Don’t think I haven’t forgotten about your Welcome to Ponyville party, mister!” She says before blowing a raspberry at me and cheekily bouncing up to meet Twilight.

I roll my eyes, perhaps she’s dense but at least she isn’t pestering me about what I meant when I snapped back at her. As the voices of the two ponies fade off into the distance, one trotting the other bouncing, I return to my trek into town and make my way towards the market.

The rest of my ‘voyage’ is rather peaceful and allows me to mull some more things over, just before I yelled at Scootaloo about how I felt about her... I’d mentioned my mother and how I can’t bring up her face. Why do I get this bad feeling when I try to remember her? It’s like there are stones in my belly and the more I try to remember the heavier they become, weighing me down. Just as I begin to circle around in my head going back to the question, who am I? I realise I’ve arrived at my destination. Ponyville Market.

I quickly shake my head to rid it of the gloomy thoughts and begin to glance around, looking for the orange pony in her brown stetson. It’s still fairly early in the day so I’m not surprised to still find ponies organising their stalls for the duration of the day ahead. I trot around, barely paying attention to any of the goods available until I find whom I’m looking for.

“Howdy there John, what brings ya here so early in the mornin’?” the familiar accent brings a small smile to my face.

I approach the stall to find Big Mac already moving their goods about, pushing the boxed apples off of their timber wagon with a dull thud as each box hits the stone ground. “I was wondering if either of you would mind me helping out today? Give me something to do, y’know.” I turn back to look the mare in face, her green eyes beaming down at me from the stall.

“Well ain’t that just sweet! But we don’t take no free labour in the Apple family, do we Big Mac?” she turns to the red stallion who shakes his head before shuffling behind another box. “We insist you get proper payment if you’re gonna help us out.”

Well that was easy, paid work at the drop of a hat? A brown stetson I should say, at any rate I feel a bit better despite the mornings events thus far and rear up to put my hooves on the stall counter. “Awesome! What can I do to start things off, Applejack?”

She grins at me before motioning with an orange hoof to make my way around the stall, which I do. I meet her around the back and find her opening one the boxes with a crowbar. There’s a popping sound as the lid of the crate unjams and slides off to the slide with a thunk.

“Let’s get started by sortin’ these apples here onto the counter, this here crate is full of Red Delicious apples, and that one-” she points to the crate sitting beside the already opened one, “-full of Granny Smith apples, once we do that, ya could help me with the customers while Big Mac goes back to the farm to sort some personal stuff out.”

I give her a confident nod, “Alrighty, let’s get to it then!” she returns my nod with a pleased smile before we dig right in hoof first. It’s slow going, I can see why she wants me to help with it in particular. We can only grapple one apple per hoof so at most we could place two at a time and there’s maybe a hundred or more!

Most of the morning whiles away fast as the apples pile up neatly on the open spaces of the counter, we run out of space on the first so Applejack clears the second for some more while I crack open a third crate to compliment the leftovers of the first two.

“Say, John. I don’t mean to pry an all as it’s not any of my business as such, but... why don’t ya use magic to do any of this? Just cause Ponyville was founded by Earth Ponies and we do our Winter Wrap Up different, don’t mean ya have to do everything the same way.” Applejack speaks up as she finishes placing the last of her equipment below the counter before turning to the crate I’ve just opened.

She’s right of course, it’s none of her business so long as I can do the job at hand... ugh, at hoof. But I like her, she seems dependable and trustworthy and I get this feeling she won’t laugh at me unless it’s something utterly ridiculous.

“Well... you see Applejack.” I begin slowly, helping her organise the last of the Granny Smith’s on the new counter space. “I actually... don’t know how to do magic.”

We continue to place the remaining apples on the counter as she mulls this over for a while. “Ya don’t know how? Or ya can’t do it?” she finally asks, stopping her work to rub her chin with a hoof in thought.

“Well I just... don’t know how, never done it before.” I say, I could have gone on about not doing it ever in my life... but life here has been short thus far.

The last apples fall into place and I step back with a smile. We’ve done it and none too soon either, our first customer is already inspecting the Red Delicious apples on the first counter.

“Well, I have a good unicorn friend who might be able to help with that if ya’d like.” She turns to the pony inspecting the apples and we wait quietly until she finally asks, “Could I possibly get a dozen of the red ones please?” Applejack looks over to me but I’ve already retrieved the basket and toss it to her from over the crates. While Applejack tends to the customer, I put the lids back on the crates and shunt them out of the way, pleased to find the empty ones are relatively easy to move aside.

I turn back to find Applejack depositing some gold coins into a tin box which she closes before turning back to me and raising an eyebrow. Oh right, her friend the unicorn. “Uh, sure if you don’t mind asking on my behalf next time you see them?” It couldn’t hurt, could it? Besides... if this becomes permanent, maybe there’s some sort of magic that would really help out and improve productivity? I’m sure Applejack would like that.

“Right, I’ll put in a good word for ya then, John. Anyway... I thought I should explain to you the pricing of the apples and our deals so that ya can serve customers too...” she trails off. I sit down on my haunches and prepare myself to start taking mental notes.

Author's Note:

So... stuff is happening.

Also to borrow a phrase from someplace I can;t remember: "Shit's about to go down!" Drama drama and more drama, don't you love drama? Poor John... his mental and emotional state is starting to visibly crack and he's doing what he can to survive.

Pinkie... stop breaking the fourth wall... stahp! STAHP NOW!

Chapter 6 is already underway ;)