• Published 22nd Nov 2012
  • 6,592 Views, 278 Comments

=BIG= =DUMB= =OBJECT= - shortskirtsandexplosions

It's a bright, sunny day in Ponyville. Ponies talk, ponies laugh, and then there's the death spher

  • ...

It Begins

The morning sunlight glinted off Derpy's gray feathers as she trotted gaily across downtown Ponyville with a bright, bouncing canter. She hummed to herself, her lids clenched shut as she frolicked along. At the sound of hoofsteps, she opened her eyes in both directions and waved to the side. "Good eveniiiiiing, Miss Zecora!"

The passing zebra chuckled and called back, "And good morning to you, fine mail mare. Are you enjoying the crisp April air?"

"Oh, absolutely!" Derpy grinned in a crooked fashion while her mailbag flounced along her flanks. "Autumn is my favorite time of year!" She slammed straight into a wooden pole. "Ooof! Mmm... Ahem... Hee hee hee!" She strafed aside and continued her trot, unwrinkling her fuzzy nose. "And good evening to you too, Miss Lamppost!"

Butterflies swam trails overhead. Cicadas buzzed in the nearby trees. Ponies pranced in the background, sharing jokes, laughing, rearing their tiny little hooves. Lovers nuzzled and farmers carried their wares to and from the marketplace.

"Mmmmm..." Derpy's ears twitched as she grinned towards her destination, a two-story cottage on the corner of the nearby street. "I really do love this town! Without the ponies, it'd be boring! I mean, who'd wanna live in 'Villeville?' Certainly not me! Heehee! Ahem. One one thousand... three one thousand... four one thousand... box."

She stopped on the last utterance and blindly reached a hoof out. After a second or two, she swung her forelimb to the right, and finally made contact with a metal green mailbox.

"Ah! There we are! Thought you could run away from me, did you?" She tongued her lips, and her eyes swam towards opposite ends of the blue sky while she reached deep into her gray saddlebag. "Mmmmm... Found you!" She pulled out three envelopes, each tied with ribbons of various pastel colors. Her nostrils flared, once, twice. "Hmm... Funny. Thunderlane's letters are always perfumed. Ah well." She opened the mailbox, slid the envelopes in, and slammed it shut. "You've got lavender—er, I mean mail!" she shouted over the picket fence.

There was the awkward sound of crashing from inside the cottage. As a sing-songy Derpy trotted away, the door flew open and Thunderlane bolted out with a wide-toothed grimace. He yanked the mailbox open, pulled the three envelopes out, and buried them deep beside a rose garden with his bare hooves.

"Thunder?" A drowsy Blossomforth peered her blinking head out the bedroom window. "What are you doing—?"

"N-nothing, sweetie! Go b-back to bed!" Thunderlane exclaimed, covering the dirt up while hyperventilating. He looked every which way, as if afraid of ponies watching from the shadows.

In the meantime, Derpy pranced around the corner and reached another mailbox. She pulled out a brown package and slipped it into the container just as a cream-colored mare walked by.

"Hard at work, or hardly working, Miss Hooves?" Bon Bon asked with a wink.

"Can I take the physical challenge?" Derpy replied, leaning into the mailbox casually, only for her elbow to fall through open air. "Whoah!" she fell backwards on her saddlebag with a wheezing breath. "Bon Bon! Look out! I think Discord's back! Ponyville's upside down!"

"Hehehe... There's a reason for that," Bon Bon said before trotting into a nearby outhouse and quietly closing the door.

"Hmmph!" Derpy stood up, brushing herself off. "Silly gravity, such a meanie head." She picked up several envelopes in her mouth before dumping them into her bag. One package, however, she paused to squint at. "'To the Gates of Tartarus...'" One eye wandered up to the return address. "'G.P.T. Lula... Lula... Lulamoose?'"

Both orbs in Derpy's skull blinked, and she shrugged.

"Works for me!" She slid the package away, slung her saddlebag over her shoulder, and strapped a pair of flame-retardant goggles over her skull. "It's a good day for brimstone!" With a brisk trot, she headed west towards a distant column of smoke. "Neither rain nor sleet nor hail nor—"

THUD! A huge black shape landed directly in front of her.

"Ackies!" she fell back on her haunches, panting for breath. A resounding roll of thunder swept through Ponyville, lifting several objects off the ground before dropping them back down all over the village like neglected toys. Windows rattled. Dogs barked. Wagon alarms went off. One block down, an outhouse tipped over, followed by a sickening sloshing sound as a high pitched voice emitted several muffled shrieks within.

Gulping, Derpy's left eye rotated towards the shadow directly in front of her. Her brow furrowed, and she sat up straight. Squinting through her left eye, she planted a hoof straight over her right. A gasp escaped her lips.

Before her was a sphere, fifteen feet in diameter and geometrically perfect. The surface of the fallen onyx pearl was devoid of any spot or mar or scratch. The air about it fogged with a cloud of unearthly frost. Blades of grass below crystallized and snapped into white ash as murky bands of black smoke danced around the non reflective body.

"Wowwwww..." Derpy exhaled. She stood up, gawking at the clear patch of soil lingering beneath the unannounced ball of mystery. Though it resonated with an ethereal darkness, it itself casted no shadow. The blonde pegasus felt her heart racing, and she stammered the first word that came to mind. "Kittens..."

The inky skin of the sphere lingered before her, its rippling surface softly distilling silence into the air. The distant sounds of the village drowned out in immediate proximity to the structure. Derpy felt as though the thing was beckoning her, urging her forward.

Wordlessly, she stripped of her saddlebag and trotted towards the object. As she did so—coming within a nose's nuzzle—she saw no reflection, not even a sheen of light from the sunlight above. The surface was the purest of black colors, and there was no room for stray pieces of the spectrum to hide. Derpy breathed against the gigantic ball, as if expecting it to fog up. It didn't, but she gasped nonetheless, for she could have sworn that she heard a crackling sound, like a hatched egg sealing itself back up inside.

"Does..." she droned aloud. She reached a hoof out to the liquid black mass. "Does it taste?"

She asked no more questions; she simply trotted forward. Derpy came into contact with the sphere, and became it. There was a flicker of gray, like a lonesome pegasus was slowly drifting upstream across its jet black face, and then the image twirled into oblivion. The swirling bands of murk spiraled once around the sphere, reducing more of the nearby grass into shattering shards of ice.

Then, with the ambiant sound of rattling gravel, the sphere rolled towards the far end of Ponyville, nimble as a cat.


"And I'm telling you guys, we can't get our cutie marks in hoofball!" Scootaloo exclaimed, buzzing across town on her scooter.

"Yeah huh!" Apple Bloom replied from the wagon where she and Sweetie Belle were seated with their helmets. "Just because we're not as athletic as you doesn't mean—"

"No, I'm trying to say that nopony in Ponyville allows fillies to play tackle hoofball!" Scootaloo said as she sped the three of them through the market bazaar of Ponyville. "It's a colt-only sport!"

"Since when?!" Apple Bloom frowned.

"Since ever! Look, it's a lost cause, okay?!"

"But it looks like such an easy sport!" Apple Bloom exclaimed, having to shout over the windy ride through the heart of town. "My big brother played tackle hoofball all the time when he was just a lil' pony! And he turned out alright!"

"I don't get it," Sweetie Belle squeaked, scrunching her face. "Since when did hooves have balls?"

"Unless we can somehow turn into colts overnight, we're not gonna be picked for any stupid hoofball team!" Scootaloo growled.

"Hey!" Sweetie Belle brightened. "What if we got hammers and flattened our faces until we became colts?"

Apple Bloom turned and glared at Sweetie Belle.

Sweetie Belle smiled, blinking. "Cuz that's the difference, right? The faces?"

"Hey, let's go to the soda fountain and think about it over some sarasparilla!" Scootaloo exclaimed, smiling devilishly over her shoulder. "I do my best thinking with suds spilling out of me."

"I'm game!" Apple Bloom cheered.

"Can I still do the hammer thing, though?" Sweetie Belle asked, eyes wide.

"Shucks," Apple Bloom said with a dull grin. "Reckon I'd be a terrible friend to stop ya."

"Hooooraaaay!" Sweetie Belle pumped her forelimb, nearly falling out of the rattling wagon as Apple Bloom caught her. "I'm gonna be a colt!"

"Nnnngh..." Scootaloo sped the two along. They zoomed into the distance, turning into three colorful spots on the edge of town.

Then, with the sound of gravel, a spotless sphere of inky darkness rolled through Ponyville. It slithered straight through an intersection, coming to a stop beside a street corner. A tree bordering the sidewalk started shaking. One by one, the leaves were plucked off its branches and fed into the rippling body of the object. Then, with a nasty tearing sound, the whole tree itself tore off its roots, sailing like a javelin towards the sphere and disappearing somewhere within its murky center. Gravel rattled, and the object icily spun towards the east district just as Pinkie Pie bounced into the middle of the street.

"Yippee!" Her bright hooves kicked against each other before landing. "I'm so glad to be helping you this morning, Applejack!" Pinkie grinned and skipped her way towards the Ponyville Marketplace. "I've always wanted to peddle fruit! Y'know, like they do in downtown Detrot!"

"Ahem. I'm mighty proud to have you lendin' me a hoof, Pinkie," Applejack said as she trucked two bulging baskets of apples down the road and towards the Apple Family Vendor Stand. "But I dun take kindly to that word."

"What? 'Detrot?' Heehee—Who does?!"

"No. 'Peddle.'" She spat out the stalk of hay she had been chewing on for the entire trip there. "T'ain't nice soundin' at all. We're here to sell quality apples to ponies who only want to spend their bits on the best. The likes of Flim and Flam might fancy themselves bein' peddlers, but that ain't somethin' I'm fixin' to subscribe to."

"Eww..." Pinkie made a face. "Flim and Flam have a magazine?"

"No, I—" Applejack paused at the roadside to face-hoof. "Nnngh..."

"Must be really, really annoying to only have two different types of covers to choose from!"

"Look, Pinkie, would you..." Applejack took a deep breath, tilted her hat back, and gave Pinkie a practiced grin. "Wouldja start by helpin' me spread these here apples across the stand?"

"Abso-diddle-lutely! With extra diddles!" Pinkie Pie sped around the scene like a fuschia blur, happily snatching apples from the baskets as Applejack set them down. Together, the two mares arranged the fruit neatly for all passing ponies to see in the noonday sun. "Mmmmm! You smell that, Applejack? Of all the vendors in Equestria, yours is definitely the fruitiest."

"Uhhh... I'll try and take that as a compliment, Pinkie."

"Well of course, silly! Cuz if you took it as condiment, then we'd be selling tomatoes!" She stopped and shrieked straight at the skin of one apple. "Aaack! A worm! A green leecher of farm-growned sweetnesss!" She paused, her blue eyes pulsating, then sighed. "Oh, it's just a reflection..." She turned around and grinned at the source of the lime green shape. "Hiya, Lyra."

"Yeah, uh, keep up the good work there, sport." Lyra cleared her throat, shifted the bulging saddlebags on her back, and pivoted towards the farm mare. "Hey, Applejack. Have you seen Twilight?"

"If I haven't, then it's a very skinny mare that done ate her," Applejack said. She snorted, guffawed, and slapped her knee before producing a long sigh. "Ahem, pardon. There's somethin' in the air."

"Yeah, I can tell," Lyra droned with a raised eyebrow. "Anyways, she wanted my help in an experiment of sorts, and I can't flippin' find her."

"What, did Spike finally grow some wings already?"

"Tartarus if I know. You've any idea where she is nowabouts?"

"In her treehouse, makin' all sorts of sweet love to her books, I reckon."

"I was just there; the place is closed. Nothing but squirrels and dust bunnies."

"Then go take a gander around Sugarcube Corner," Applejack said while setting out more glistening fruit. "The other gals like to have tea this time of day. Golly, I'd be there with them, but these here apples won't sell themselves. But at least I've got help; ain't that right, Pinkie?"

"Is 'nowabouts' really a word?" Pinkie Pie stammered, blinking into negative space.

Applejack grind her teeth, then threw Lyra a plastic smile. "So yeah. That place. Go there."

"I think I shall," Lyra remarked with a crooked grin as she trotted away. "Good luck with your fruity juggling act and jazz."

"Come one, come all!" Pinkie Pie shouted from where she was inexplicably straddling a nearby flagpole overhead. Ponies from all edges of the district trotted up to gawk at her. "You've tasted her melons, you've bit into her peaches"—she pointed a pink hoof down at the golden-maned farm mare who was shuddering below—"now take a bite into Applejack's golden delicious mounds of soft mush! No worm's been near it! Trust me, I know! Who will be the first to take a shot at this delectable opportunity?!"

Applejack winced as if she was giving birth. She hid her brow beneath the rim of her hat and groaned. "Just two bushels. Just two bushels and we're done for the day..."