• Published 17th Jan 2012
  • 1,853 Views, 106 Comments

The Donors - GoesKaboom

The truth about Pumpkin and Pound Cake's parentage.

  • ...

No Matter What You Do, You're Gonna Learn The Truth

Chapter Fourteen: No Matter What You Do, You're Gonna Learn The Truth

Note: Please do be aware that this chapter contains themes of violence, especially domestic violence culminating in a murder. I do not think it is particularly graphic, but readers with a sensitivity to this content might want to tread a bit carefully.

On the morning of the third day since she abruptly ran out of the shop, a bleary-eyed, sickly-looking Pinkie Pie barged back into Sugar Cube Corner, startling her employers. The bakers' first reaction was one of relief, but that quickly died when they noticed her unkempt appearance and erratic behavior.

“Pinkie Pie... are you drunk?” Cup demanded. The pink mare shrugged.

“Mebbe a little,” she slurred. “Been at 'luttershy's. Sh' keeps th' good stuff around. I've... I've gotta tell th' truth, gotta tell th' truth. Granny Pie always told me th' truth would out. I waited long enough, I gotta tell you. I just gotta.”

Cup and Carrot exchanged glances. Pinkie Pie never drank alcohol, not even when she put on a party that included the libations. She'd always said it interrupted the “party flow” or something like that. A drunk Pinkie was alarming enough on her own, but a drunk Pinkie spouting cryptic messages about needing to tell the truth? Something serious had obviously happened, and both ponies were very sure that they weren't going to like it.

“Pinkie, dear, why don't you lie down for a while and then we can talk about whatever it is you'd like to tell us,” Cup suggested gently. “Maybe when you've gotten some rest, you'll be in a better frame of mind. Whatever you want to talk about sounds important, we should all have clear heads to hear this.”

The other mare shook her head. “No. I gotta tell you now. I've been a bad pony. With all the lyin' and keeping secrets. Y'know how I told you I was from a rock farm outside 'a Trottingham?” It was clear that the pink pony was rapidly sobering up, the gravity of the situation clearing her mind from the alcohol's affects.

“Yes?” Cup asked.

“Well, I'm not from Trottingham. I did actually grow up on a rock farm though.”

“I'd always wondered about that,” Carrot mused. Cup shot him a reproachful glare. “What? She never had the accent! But I always figured she'd had elocution lessons or something to get rid of it.”

“You give me a lot of credit, Mr. Cake,” Pinkie replied. “But you would have been right about that. I've never been to Trottingham in my life. The truth is, I was born on a rock farm outside of Hoofington.”

Hoofington... now why did that sound so familiar to Cup? She felt like there was something she should know, something that she needed to remember, but for the life of her, she couldn't think of what it was. She had a vague sense that it was something bad, however. Maybe a terrorist attack? For some reason she was connecting Hoofington to activity by insurgent deer groups. Hoofington was a fairly big city, although Cup would have thought that a terrorist group would prefer to go after one of the main centers of government or commerce, like Canterlot or Manehattan.

Pinkie continued on. “I always thought we had a pretty good life. We were a happy family, my parents, my sisters, and me. My dad would sometimes get angry, though, and it was really scary. My sisters and I used to hide in the barn when it would happen. He would shout and scream and break things, and sometimes he would hit our mom. He never laid a hoof on us, though.”

Carrot sucked in a breath. This was worse than anything he could have thought up on his own. Pinkie Pie's father had been abusive? Out of everything he'd come up with, that could have been in the pink mare's past, he wouldn't have suspected that. Out of the corner of his eye, he could tell that his wife's reaction was much the same.

“One day, though, I was about twelve or so at the time,” the pink mare continued, “we found out my mom was pregnant. My sisters and I were really excited- there was going to be a new foal to play with! We talked for hors about whether or not it would be a filly or a colt, what its name would be, what its personality would be like. We didn't pay any attention to the fact that our mom was even more scared of our dad than usual, or that our dad seemed to be even angrier than normal. He didn't hit our mom during her pregnancy, though, so we thought it was a good thing-” here, Pinkie broke off, clearing her throat to compose herself.

“Do... do you need some water?” Cup asked, hesitating. Pinkie shook her head.

“No, no,” she replied, voice cracking. “It's just... wait here. I don't know if I can do this. You'd better read it yourselves.” She dashed up the stairs, returning shortly with a pile of what Cup belatedly realized were newspapers.

“Start... start with this one,” Pinkie suggested softly, laying the paper down on the table in front of her employers. It was the gossip section of The Hoofington Post, dated some seven years previously. A few months before Pinkie turned up in Ponyville, to be exact. The headline read “Local Builder In Affair?”

Hoofington, Equestria- On a recent Saturday evening, this reporter spotted Palladian Window, the builder responsible for the city's state-of-the-art new courthouse, out enjoying a bite to eat at a cafe with an unknown mare. This reporter did not approach the couple for questioning, but one wonders what Mr. Window's wife has to say about all this!

“Oh, Pinkie...” Carrot breathed. “That mare... was she...?”

“My mother?” Pinkie finished. “Yeah. And just for reference, Mr. Window was a unicorn. The Pie family has been nothing but Earth ponies all the way back to before Equestria was even founded. This is the nexgt one,” she said with forced cheerfulness. The next piece of newspaper was not the gossip column. Instead, it was the front page, and the headline screamed- “BUILDER AND ROCK FARMER CAUGHT IN EXTRAMARITAL AFFAIR! BUSINESS TO BE SOLD!”

Hoofington, Equestria- Local construction magnate Palladian Window, 43, and rock farmer Silky Pie, 39, were recently revealed to be involved in an extramarital affair. Window, the owner and CEO of Palladian Window's Construction Corp, and Pie, wife of Big Boulder Farm's owner Shoofly Pie, were arrested last Tuesday on charges of public lewdness, after an area business owner called police, reporting that the two ponies were engaged in an indecent act outside of her shop. Upon arrest, it was revealed that Ms. Pie was pregnant. Pie maintains that the foal is her husband's, but both Window and Mr. Pie are demanding a DNA test to determine which stallion is the father. In the meantime, however, Mr. Window's wife, Moonlight Glow, has released a statement saying that she will be filing for divorce.

“It turned out that they couldn't get a definitive reading on the paternity test,” Pinkie said flatly. “We later found out that my little brother's magic was blocking everything the doctors tried. It was almost like he knew what was going to happen and tried to protect himself.”

“Oh dear Discord!” Carrot swore loudly, causing both of the mares to flinch at the oath. “Pinkie Pie, don't tell me...”

The pink mare's eyes filled with tears. “Ah... well...” she choked. “Maybe... maybe you should just read it.”

The final newspaper that Pinkie had brought down was dated some eight months after the first gossip column had appeared. According to the dates, Pinkie would have been thirteen years old at the time, assuming the mare had been truthful about her birth-date and age. Afraid of what they were going to read, the two older ponies looked at the headline. All of a sudden, Cup realized why Hoofington had sounded so familiar. Six years previously, it had been all over the news. A stallion just outside of that city had gone berserk after learning his wife had cheated on him and murdered his entire family, committing suicide when the authorities arrived to arrest him. At the time it had been believed that there were no survivors, although Cup remembered with growing horror that the body of the mad stallion's eldest daughter had never been recovered. As was the legal custom in Equestria, the names of the deceased foals were not released to the press, although the more graphic details of the case had not been spared. The part of the story that had haunted Cup when she first heard about it was the fact that EBI investigators had recovered the body of a newborn unicorn colt, not more than a few hours old.

The realization of the matter hit Cup like a freight train, and it was obvious from the horrified squeak that Carrot made that he'd realized as well.

“That was... that was your family?”

Pinkie laughed bitterly, a hard edge coming into her voice. “When my half-brother was born, my dad realized that my mother had, in fact, had an affair. It was like- like a switch flipped. When he rushed out at us, I dropped to the floor and played dead; he was too far gone to tell I was faking it. Mom, Inky, and Blinky didn't think of that, and it wasn't like my half-brother would have been able to defend himself. I guess my dad thought I was already dead and didn't need to double-check. I watched him kill them,” Pinkie stated. “I saw them all die right in front of me. And then I watched my father kill himself. Do you know what his last words were?” she asked suddenly, sharply.

Still shell-shocked from the horror of what they were hearing, both of the bakers shook their heads. Pinkie laughed a mirthless laugh.

“He said he was sorry for killing us. He apologized to us foals. And then he told my mother he'd see her in hell.”

There was complete silence for several horrible minutes, all three ponies just staring at each other. Pinkie no longer held any malice towards her employers, but the act of finally telling the truth to somepony, the truth that she'd kept hidden for six years, left her with a slightly manic expression across her face. The Cakes, for their part, were horrified and daunted. How does one even react to somepony telling them about a horrific even they'd been involved in?

Finally, Carrot found the courage to speak. “How... how did you end up in Ponyville?”

“I knew they'd put me in an asylum if they found me,” Pinkie replied. “I couldn't let that happen, so once I was sure that my father was dead, I ran. I didn't care what direction I went, I knew I just had to get away from Hoofington. But I knew once I got to wherever it was I was going, I would have to have a cover story. So I came up with the lie that I was a party planner's apprentice from Trottingham. I made it to Ponyville, and you took me in. That was all. But sometimes it was hard,” she continued. “You both have such a loving marriage, it makes me wonder what it would have been like if my parents had been more like you. And you know, I still hear them sometimes. Sometimes I think my family is trying to contact me from the beyond, to tell me how to live. That's why I reacted so badly when I thought Mrs. Cake had cheated on you. I could hear my dad.”

Cup and Carrot exchanged worried glances. This was a disturbing revelation that merited further consultation. While they didn't want to believe that the pony that had been a part of their family for the past six years was dangerous, it was also unlikely that she would have walked away from her family's murder without some mental scars. Carrot's own grandfather had fought in the Great War, and he'd returned with post-traumatic stress disorder. While Pan Cake hadn't been violent, exactly, Carrot had vivid memories of his grandfather waking up screaming in the middle of the night, desperately trying to get phantom ponies from the past to dodge grenades or magic blasts, or fighting nonexistent camels and griffons. The orange stallion could only imagine what it must be like for Pinkie. But her comment about being able to hear her family unnerved him. While he was sure that Pinkie was safe most of the time, it would be years before he forgot the rage in her eyes that he'd seen when she thought Cup was cheating on him.

“I won't hurt them, you know,” Pinkie said quietly, as though she could read his thoughts. “I meant what I said about protecting your foals. I couldn't save my sisters or my half-brother. Discord himself could show up here and I wouldn't let him get one mean old lion paw on you or the foals!”

“Pinkie Pie,” Cup said gently, “I'm sure you would. But I think you need to talk to somepony about this. Somepony who might be able to help you. You've lived with this as your own personal hell for too long. Nopony should have to go through what you did, but it's time that you sought help. It's not that we're afraid of you,” she said quickly, recognizing the dark, despondent expression coming over the other mare's face. “It's just that almost everypony thinks you're dead. In the eyes of the Equestrian government, Pinkamena Diane Pie died six years ago, at the age of thirteen. I always thought it was weird that you never got any tax notices. I would have thought Princess Celestia would have realized it, considering she's met you several times. I guess she didn't figure it out.”

“So, what, you're saying I should just go tell the Princess that I'm technically dead?” Pinkie asked sarcastically. Cup looked thoughtful.

“Well, you are friends with her personal student,” she mused. “Twilight would probably be able to get you an audience with her.”

Pinkie Pie opened her mouth to protest, and then conceded that the older mare had a point. She'd been carrying around the anguish of that day for far too long, and if anypony would be able to help her, it would be Princess Celestia. As it was, just telling the Cakes about her past made it feel like a great weight had been lifted from her shoulders. Still, though, telling the story once in a day was enough. Pinkie felt emotionally wrung out,l like she'd just run straight from Canterlot to Ponyville. All she wanted to do at the moment was to sleep.

“Tomorrow, then,” she said. “Tomorrow I'll talk to Twilight, after I get some rest.”

Carrot and Cup couldn't argue with that in the slightest, not with the way Pinkie seemed so shaken up (justifiably so, in the older ponies' opinions). Bot Cup and Carrot watched as their employee trudged up the stairs to her room, and then sat in an uncomfortable silence for quite some time.

Finally, Cup spoke. “Did you know?” Carrot shook his head.

“I knew that Pinkie Pie wasn't being entirely truthful, but I had no idea that she was connected to the Hoofington incident. Everypony thought that there were no survivors, it never occurred to me to doubt it. I know Pinkie said she grew up on a rock farm, but she said it was outside Trottingham. Apart from the accent, I never had any reason to doubt her.”

“But why didn't it occur to anypony that the name- Pie- would be connected?” Cup continued. “A filly with that name, suddenly appearing in town without her parents saying she'd grown up on a rock farm? Somepony should have recognized the red flags!”

Carrot shrugged. “Really, Cup, it's not as though 'Pie' is an uncommon name- think of everypony in Ponyville named Pie. I doubt that Sugar Pie the unicorn is related to Peachy Pie the Earth pony filly, or to Mud Pie. He's a donkey, for Celestia's sake! There is no reason to suspect everypony with a similar name is related!”

“I guess you're right,” the mare agreed. “I just wish there was something we could have done to help her! If she'd told us earlier we could have gotten her help.”

“What would we have been able to do?” Carrot sighed. “After tonight, nopony could deny that Pinkie needs psychological help. But you and I are not psychologists. The poor mare has had to live with this for six years, and you know as well as I do that it has probably caused her a lot of pain, and definitely damaged her on some level. I'm not saying she needs to be in an asylum, but you can't deny that Pinkie has problems.” Cup opened her mouth to argue against that seemingly callous statement, but Carrot continued. “And she is entirely justified in that. But do you honestly think that she would be able to live on her own?”

Cup had no way to refute that, and the couple fell into an uneasy silence once again, until Cup suddenly doubled over, breathing heavily and whimpering.

“Cup!? What!? What's wrong?!” the stallion exclaimed, frightened by the sudden onset of these symptoms.

Then, he realized that the area Cup was sitting on was damp. While he was still trying to reorganize his thoughts, Cup whispered:

“Carrot... my water broke. The foals... I'm going to have the foals!”

To Be Continued

Author's Comments:

Yow. This chapter was very difficult to write, and it's definitely a lot darker than the rest of the story, but it was necessary for some later set-up. And yes, Cup is in labor, but there's no need to worry about a graphic birth scene next chapter. I know almost nothing about how baby horses are born, and I don't think it works the same way for humans. I also do not care to Google it, either, so while the next chapter is the birth chapter, it will mostly focus on Carrot's anxiety about his wife's delivery, and Pinkie's reactions to the whole thing.

Hopefully this chapter didn't turn you off too much to continue reading...

BTW, chapter title comes from a line in the song “Bartholomew” by The Silent Comedy. I had it on repeat while I was writing.

EDIT: Oops, borked my code. Sorry about that. Hopefully the chapter should be readable now.