• Published 17th Jan 2012
  • 1,890 Views, 106 Comments

The Donors - GoesKaboom

The truth about Pumpkin and Pound Cake's parentage.

  • ...

Mistakes Were Made

Chapter Nineteen: Mistakes Were Made

Cup and Carrot just watched helplessly as Pinkie stormed upstairs, not looking back at either one of them. Pinkie's words had an affect on them both, but they were still too angry at each other to do anything more than exchange glances and go silently back to work.

Pinkie Pie kept up her facade of rage until she got into the bathroom. Once she'd turned on the shower and stepped inside, she finally let her guard down and began to cry silently, tears mixing with the warm water streaming from the shower-head. How had everything gone downhill so quickly? All she'd been trying to do was tell the Cakes about Pumpkin's apparent abilities and everything had suddenly blown up in her face. She was suddenly very glad she hadn't mentioned Pound's strength to them. Who knew how much worse the incident would have been if she had

You know what everypony says, a horrible little voice in the back of her head whispered. History always repeats itself. You couldn't save anypony then, Pinkamena, what makes you think this time is any different? You're pahetic, weak, useless! You couldn't even save one foal, what makes you think you could save two?

“Shut up!” Pinkie cried aloud, clutching at her head. “Shut up! Shutupshutupshutup!”

Well, maybe it's not your fault, Pinkamena, the voice continued. How could you have stopped anything? You were a filly. Just a helpless little filly. It's not like you couldn't have grabbed your brother and made a run for it, right? It's not like you had any other options than taking the coward's way out and pretending to be dead. Oh, wait, that's right- you DID. What do you have to say for yourself, coward?

“No,” Pinkie gargled, sinking to her haunches, the shower's water running cold. She didn't notice. “No- what could I have done?”

You failed, Pinkamena, the voice continued. You failed, and now Inkanetta, Blinkinea, your mother, and your brother are all dead. But you don't have to fail this time. You can make it right.

“But how?” Pinkie asked aloud. This time, however, the voice stayed silent. Coming out of her trance, the pink mare realized that the hot water had run out, and she was sitting in the middle of what was essentially an icy-cold waterfall. She shivered, getting to her feet and shutting the water off as quickly as she could. Without any real understanding of what she was doing, she dried herself off, tried to style her flattened mane and tail somewhat, gave it up as a lost cause, then crept out of Sugar Cube Corner without actually attracting the attention of her employers.

Aimlessly, Pinkie began wandering around Ponyville, ignoring the usual evening hustle and bustle. Several ponies stopped and stared, not used to seeing the usually bubbly mare shambling around town like an extra in a zombie movie. But again, she paid them no mind. It wasn't until she literally ran into Applejack that she started to pay attention to her surroundings.

“Ouch! What the hay- Pinkie Pie?! Are y'all alright, sugarcube?” the other Earth pony mare asked. Pinkie blinked.

“Oh. Hi Applejack,” she replied tonelessly. “Yes. I'm fine. Sorry I ran into you. Like, literally. He heh,” she chuckled, trying to lighten the mood. Applejack took one look at the stat her friend was in and frowned.

“Now you know Ah know when yer lyin',” the farmer pony said sternly. “What's wrong, sugarcube?”

“Seriously, Applejack, I'm fine. I'm finer than a couple of fine things at a fineness convention!” Pinkie cried, giving the other mare a half-hearted grin. “I'll just be on my way then.”

“Pinkie, you know if'n something's bothering you, you can talk to me,” Applejack said, alarm bells going off inside her head. Something was clearly seriously wrong- Pinkie hadn't been that out of it since the day of her birthday party. In fact, Pinkie had a look on her face much like she was trying to outrun something horrible.

Applejack's insides froze. “Are the babies alright?”

“The babies?” Pinkie asked, taking a few seconds to realize what Applejack was on about. Then, she connected the dots. “Oh, the babies. Yeah, they're fine. I was actually just with them. Yeah, they're fine.” Before Applejack could ask for clarification, however, Pinkie took off like a gunshot, galloping off in the opposite direction. Applejack narrowed her eyes.

“That mare ain't right,” she muttered to herself, before unhitching herself from the apple wagon and turning to shout at her brother. “Big Macintosh! You mind getting' these apples home? There's something Ah need to do!”

Applejack eventually found her hyperactive pink friend at the edge of the Everfree Forest, a bottle of Trottingham whiskey next to her as she stared listlessly out into space. Only upon moving in closer could the orange mare tell that Pinkie was muttering to herself under her breath.

“Pinkie Pie?” Applejack asked gently. “Are you alright, sugarcube?”

Pinkie immediately leaped up into a defensive posture, then relaxes slightly once she realized it was only Applejack. Still, her eyes were alert, as though she was getting ready to rocket off again at the first sign of trouble. Eventually, she realized that Applejack would not go away until she answered her questions, and also understanding that it was essentially futile to try to lie to the Element of Honesty, Pinkie Pie just sighed.

“Not really,” she said quietly. Then- “Applejack? Can you keep a secret? Not just any secret, either- a really, really, really big secret?”

“You know Ah can,” Applejack replied, a little insulted that Pinkie felt the need to ask the question in the first place.

So, Pinkie told the whole sordid story from the beginning, all the way up until the birth of the Cakes' foals. All told, it took an hour and a half, including the fifteen minutes Applejack had taken to violently expel the contents of her stomach at the part about the birth of the other mare's doomed half-brother.

“So yeah, I don't really know what to do,” Pinkie finally concluded, pretending not to realize that the other Earth pony was gaping at her with bald-faced horror. “Mr. and Mrs. Cake keep fighting about stupid things- it's like they don't care about what happens to the foals at all! I would think they would get over it, right? I mean, they really wanted to have these foals! Why is everything falling apart?”

Applejack, however, didn't particularly care about Pumpkin and Pound Cake at the moment. She was still hung up on what Pinkie Pie had told her about the time before she arrived in Ponyville. “Why in tarnation haven't you told us about this before?! Ya can trust us- you know that!” she exclaimed, almost accusingly.

“The same reason you haven't told us about why you and your siblings were raised by Granny Smith instead of your parents,” Pinkie countered. Applejack reared back as though she'd been slapped.

“Ah wasn't... Ah never... it wasn't anything like that!” she shouted. “Mah parents are gone, but it wasn't nothin' like what you just told me!” She steped forward again, holding her ground, as though she half expect Pinkie Pie to charge her. The pink mare saw her friend's fear, masked by aggression, and just shrugged.

“It's alright, Applejack, I wasn't going to ask you about it. It wasn't any of my business. Besides, I already knew. I'm sorry.”

“How did you-” Applejack trailed off, eyes wide.

“Granny Smith,” Pinkie Pie replied simply. “She commissioned a cake for Apple Bloom's birthday last year, and you know she would tell her life story to a brick wall. Or a stone or a cement wall. Anyway, she told me about why Apple Bloom's birthday is a sad day for your family. Apple Noodle died in foaling, but Apple Bloom survived. And everypony already knows about how your father died- it's practically common knowledge. 'Nopony should mess with machinery if they don't know what they're doing- you don't want to end up like Tinned Apple, do you?'” the pink mare put on a highly affected, falsetto voice to state that last part, as though she was role-playing a mother warning her foal. Applejack stared at her, completely and utterly dumbfounded/ She had always gone out of her way to never mention her mother, Apple Noodle, because she didn't want anypony to get the wrong idea. If Apple Bloom knew that she was the reason her mother was dead, it would break the filly. It didn't help that despite her best efforts, Applejack couldn't help but resent her younger sister a bit, even if it was completely irrational and not her fault in the first place.

As for her father, Tinned Apple, it wasn't exactly a secret that he'd died in an accident while tinkering with a tractor engine, which exploded when he tried to start the ignition. But to hear somepony state it so abruptly like that, was a shock for her. As it was, Applejack avoided talking about it for two reasons- one, she missed her father dearly, but his death had been entirely preventable and she couldn't help but be kind of angry about how he'd left the mortal coil. Secondly, talking about her father tended to bring up awkward questions from other ponies about where her mother was, which was a subject to be avoided at all costs.

It had worked well for nine years, and now, it was all gone, thanks to her grandmother's motor-mouth.

“I never told anypony else,” Pinkie Pie said quietly, very uncharacteristically for her. “But I have to ask that you do the same in return.”

“Of course Ah will,” Applejack replied. “But you're tellin' me that the dang government thinks you're dead? Since they never found yer body?”

“Yeah,” Pinkie said. “And that's why it's super-duper important that you don' t tell anypony else about it! I mean, can you imagine the panic there would be if everypony knew there was, like, a technical zombie hanging out in Ponyville? It's also really super-duper important that you don't tell anypony else about the Cakes' foals. I already broke a Pinkie Promise by telling you abou-” here, she cut herself off, a horrifying realization occurring to her. “Oh my Celestia, I just bucking broke a Pinkie Promise!”

“Calm down, sugarcube,” Applejack soothed, before the pink mare could do anything rash. “Nopony's going to think any less of you b'cause of it. Ah'm not gonna tell nopony about what you just told me, even though Ah think you should. Ah can't see how keepin' it all inside like that could be good for you.”

“I'd ask you to Pinkie Promise but it's meaningless now,” Pinkie Pie said morosely. Applejack sighed.

“Ah want you t'tell me something, and Ah want the honest truth,” the orange mare said sternly. When her pink friend nodded, she continued. “Did you think that th' foals were in danger, or at risk of harm in any way?”

“Not immediate danger... but I didn't know what the Cakes might do,” Pinkie muttered.

“But you thought that it could be the case?”

“Yeah, I guess...”

“Then you did the right thing,” Applejack said firmly. “And Ah don't think that's a bad thing. Now, you'd better go on and git back to work. If'n what you told me is true, the Cakes are probably panicking right about now. And Ah'm sure they do mean well, too. They're just.. tryin' to figure it all out.”

“You promise me you won't say anything to anypony else?” Pinkie asked.

“Ah promise.” The two mares parted, each going their separate ways. Applejack began the long walk back to the farm, her mind reeling.

If she was being completely and truly honest with herself, she had to admit that on more than one occasion she had regarded Pinkie Pie as a hyperactive nuisance. Even the times when the mare had shown she had a more mature side were easily forgotten, especially when she was busy tying balloons to the tails of random passing ponies five minutes later.

It had also been clear, if she was honest with herself, that Pinkie Pie had a darker side. Anypony could have known that. But the idea of a completely twisted, maybe even downright evil hyperactive sugar-addicted pink party pony was too terrifying to even think about.

Yet Pinkie Pie had just admitted as much to Applejack. She had also dropped some privileged information not only about the Cakes, but about Applejack herself as well. That would be disturbing enough on its own, but Pinkie had also had insider knowledge of a horrific atrocity that had occurred nearly a decade earlier. Pinkie Pie was the missing victim of the Hoofington attack, and legally dead in the eyes of the Equestrian government? How had nopony noticed this, especially after it had been revealed that Pinkie Pie was the bearer of the Element of Laughter? Surely somepony would have realized that a bucking dead mare was wielding one of the most powerful forces known to ponykind.

Then, there was the fact that Pinkie had also known about Applejack's family situation. How she'd discovered that was a mystery- sure, the other mare had explained that Granny Smith had told her, which admittedly might be true- the Apple family matriarch was a bit notorious for lacking a brain-to-mouth filter, but Applejack found it hard to believe that she would just shoot her mouth off about hre daughter-in-law's death. Granny Smith was, if nothing else, aware of how Apple Bloom might take the realization that she was the cause of her mother's death. So why would she just yak on about it to a relative stranger (well, to Granny Smith herself, at least) like Pinkie Pie?

The more Applejack thought about it, the more concerned she became. Was Pinkie telling the truth? A pony would have to be the most evil, manipulative pony ever or completely deranged to lie about something like that. And while Applejack didn't think her friend was a bad pony, a case could certainly be made for her being a mad pony. Clearly she wasn't at the point of Screwball or Barking Mad, but it was still disturbing to think that Pinkie Pie could be... well, to put it in a politically correct manner... unwell.

And even if Pinkie Pie was telling the truth, there was still a high possibility she'd be insane anyway. Applejack didn't know how anypony could survive witnessing something like that and still have their mind intact. Nopony would have made it out unscathed.

This put Applejack in an incredibly uncomfortable situation. She told Pinkie Pie that she would keep her secret, but could she really hold herself to it? Applejack didn't want to break a promise, and she didn't want to think of her friend as dangerous- but who knew? Pinkie had always been a bit... off. And if she was lying? That would, in a way, be worse than if she was telling the truth.

With that, Applejack made up her mind. “Ah'm sorry, Pinkie,” she whispered, before cantering off in the direction of the library. Hopefully Twilight, or at least Spike, would be at home. She had some mail to send.

To Be Continued

Author's Comments:

Happy Season Three! I wanted to get this out yesterday to celebrate but I've been sick and forced myself to go to my six-hour weekend class yesterday afternoon. By the time I got back home I just wanted to take some NyQuil and sleep. Oh well.

Also, Applejack's accent is ridiculously hard to write. Hopefully it came across alright this time... I'm pretty sure the other customers at the coffee shop I wrote the draft at think I'm kind of crazy now, muttering under my breath in a pseudo-Southern accent.

Thanks for reading!