• Published 18th Feb 2013
  • 10,081 Views, 586 Comments

I Am Not the Actor - cleverpun

After one of Pinkie's clones wins the paint-watching test, she slowly finds that "being yourself" is never as simple as it sounds. Especially when everypony has a different idea about who you are, and who you should be.

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15. Is It Me, for a Moment?

15. Is It Me, for a Moment?

Celestia took another look at the letter. She took a sip of her tea, her eyes never leaving the paper. She was quite accustomed to reading while eating or drinking, and neither the cup nor the letter wavered.

She set the cup down, and finally looked at the pony across from her.

She certainly looked like the Element of Laughter. Her appearance, however, was the only similarity. There were so many obvious differences. The way her mane bounced around less. The way she moved, nervous and blunt instead of lively and confident. The way her magic felt, less complex and less sharp than a normal pony.

Even her voice was a little different. It had the same tone and timbre, but her sentences were shorter, her diction simpler, with less music and variation than Pinkie Pie’s voice.

Celestia sighed. She had gotten very observant in her old age. She could not fault her student for not noticing things which were so obvious to her. She set the paper down.

“That is quite a story. You told it very thoroughly. You must have a good memory.” Celestia smiled.

The pony had been fidgeting the entire time she told it. Even now, she did not sit entirely still on her cushion, and kept glancing around the room. Celestia had intentionally chosen one of the simplest chambers in the castle. It was barely adorned, with soft blue walls and almost no furniture. It had not been enough, clearly. Perhaps they should have talked in Ponyville.

“Do you know why you are here?” Celestia asked.

Pinkie shook her head.

“I have already heard quite a few versions of your story from the other ponies in Ponyville, and quite a few opinions about you and Twilight and everyone else involved. But I wanted to see what you thought of everything.” Celestia turned her head to the window. All the windows in the castle were quite large. Even as one of the smaller ones, it still let a flood of sunlight into the room. “I see now that I probably should have asked you somewhere else. I did not want to make you uncomfortable.”

“No, it’s not that. It’s just…” Pinkie finally rested her hooves on her seat. “Do you ever tell a story, but it…it doesn’t feel the same way as when it actually happened?”

Celestia smiled. “Yes, I have. Memories often feel that way. They don’t change, but what surrounds them does.” She turned away from the window. “And it is even worse for ponies like you, because your memory doesn’t work quite the same as everypony else’s.”

“You’ve met ponies like me before?”

“A few times. Pinkie Pie is hardly the first pony to abuse the magic of the mirror pool.”

“And…what happened to them?” Pinkie asked.

“It depended on the pony. Some of them eventually chose to go back to the other side of the mirror, some stayed and made lives here. Which one you pick is up to you, however, not them,” Celestia said. Some of them had slightly different fates, but she chose not to mention those.

“I don’t want to go back.”

“Your friends told me as much. They asked me to help you.”

“Twilight tried that already.”

Celestia glanced at the letter. “So I have heard.” She let out a long sigh. She still had not figured out what to say to Twilight Sparkle. Punishing ponies had never been a favorite activity of hers, and she had always had a weakness when it came to her star student. “I’m sorry to say that Twilight Sparkle handled that situation very badly. She tried to force a destiny on you, even though she should have known better. Charts and grief can’t replace serendipity and…” She paused. Even out of the corner of her eye, she could tell that Pinkie didn’t understand her. Flowery oratory was the last thing she needed.

Celestia coughed a little. Any noble or diplomat would have recognized how fake it was, but Pinkie did not. “Excuse me. What I mean to say is, destiny is something you have to discover for yourself. Twilight Sparkle sadly forgot that. I still have to speak with her about it.”

“Pinkie Pie said the same thing.”

Celestia chuckled. “I am not surprised. It is a lesson that most ponies learn, in one way or another.”

“Except, I’m not sure I believe her. I mean, I’m a copy of Pinkie Pie, aren’t I? I have her mane and her cutie mark and her face. How am I supposed to discover things, or…or be myself?”

“My little pony, everyone is a product of their experiences. You may have Pinkie Pie’s appearance, but you will never be the same pony. She has her memories, and you have yours.”

“I guess.” Pinkie shuffled on her seat again. “It’s just, every time I’ve had a problem, Pinkie Pie solved it for me. And now that I think about it, all the times without her just made more problems. So…can I really be myself without her?”

“It sounds like you are worried about your individuality.” Celestia smiled, both to calm Pinkie and herself. Finally, something she had an easy answer to. “Allow me to show you that you are not her. Why don’t I give you a tour of the city? Even Pinkie Pie has never gotten a full tour from a Princess before.”

“She hasn’t?”

“No, she hasn’t.”

“Oh, well, I guess that sounds like fun!” Pinkie sprung up. “Are there bakeries?”

Celestia chuckled. Despite her crisis of identity, she was just like all the previous ones: charmingly curious. “Canterlot has quite a few bakeries. There is actually one near the castle entrance. We can start our tour there.”

Celestia stood up, and the two of them walked out of the room and into the hallway. As they progressed towards the front gates, Celestia could not help but notice how carefully Pinkie studied everything. Her gaze lingered on the tile pattern, the staff’s clothing, the window curtains, and countless other details.

Celestia sighed, but only on the inside. She had never been good with the clones. Their photographic memory and attention to detail was so unsettling. It reminded Celestia of a younger version of herself. Pinkie also had more doubts than the last one, and perhaps they were not unfounded.

Still, the tour was a good start. One new experience in a long list. After all, Pinkie had a lot to learn.