• Published 18th Jan 2013
  • 3,720 Views, 146 Comments

Dysphoria, Arc 1: Introductions - thedarkprep

Applejack finds a pony at death's door during one of the worst storms of the year. He is bleeding, his wings are broken, and he's unconscious. This new pony has secrets he wants to hide, but as the saying goes, all things must come to light

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3. Party of None

3. Party of None

Script sat at a desk with a wide variety of papers in front of him. These papers had information regarding the day-to-day handling of business at Sweet Apple Acres. Everything from the everyday chores that kept the farm running to the seasonal events, such as the Zap Apple Jam sales or the Cider Sales, were clearly detailed in print. Each page contained dates, expected costs, yields, profits, and risks (environmental or otherwise) associated with every aspect of working in and for the farm. Script’s job was to take all this information and make it more efficient.

It had been a couple of weeks since his unexpected arrival at Sweet Apple Acres. He was bedridden for the first few days, but he soon recovered and found himself anxious to start earning his keep. His first attempt at doing so was the day after his cast came off his leg. That day he went out to the farm to help Applejack buck apples off of the trees. After she explained the technique associated with bucking apples and the process with which they worked the field, he attempted to do so. Attempted because it soon proved to be a futile pursuit. He copied the technique perfectly, landing a buck slightly higher than center to maximize the shaking of the tree. However, the tree barely moved and not a single apple fell. Applejack gave him some pointers, though there was very little she could say to improve his technique other than “kick harder.” Still, with the new advice, he tried again, and again the tree stood still. He tried a couple of more times, breaking a heavy sweat at the sheer effort he put forth, but at the end of his attempts he walked away from the tree; the baskets at the bottom of the tree remained empty. He tried his hand at a couple of other tasks after that, but he found that he was not strong enough for most of them.

He had been depressed for the rest of the day, and angry at being unable to help out the way it was expected. In his gloom he had only been half paying attention to the conversation in which Applejack had been complaining about working on the furthest field, and how she was going to have to start working that field first since it always got too dark by the time she got to it (which was going to throw off her normal field rotation). Script stared down at his food and suggested she keep her route the same and only reversed the direction when she got to that last field, since the hill it sat on was cutting off light before the sun had actually set.

He had given this suggestion as an offhand thought, but the next day Applejack tried it with great results. From then on, Script had been hired as a business consultant, tasked with going around the farm looking for ways in which to make the farm more efficient and increase profits without sacrificing quality. He had been hesitant to take the job at first, feeling awkward being paid for his suggestions, but it seemed that he had a knack for it, his suggestions and planning having had increased the Apple’s storage capacity, streamlined their irrigation system, and helped make their process for making cider more efficient, without really changing the way the Apple family ran things. Each suggestion was small, but meaningful, and they each stacked up to make significant improvements to the working of the farm.

He was also not just making suggestions and planning changes. He made it a point to tell Applejack everything he knew and how he arrived to each decision, helping her to be able to pick out problems and find fixes by herself in the future. The job would not last forever, since eventually he would run out of things to fix, but until he did he was happy to be employed by the Apples. The only thing that bothered him is that they were not only paying him for his work, but also providing him with free room and board. This didn’t sit well with him because he had come to think of Applejack as a friend and he didn’t want to take advantage of that friendship. Instead, he decided to find a small apartment or house he could afford with the wages earned at the farm. The one he found was a small but cozy house, made for a single pony. The only drawback was that it was in the middle of Ponyville.

True to her word, Applejack had not told anypony about Script’s existence. Whenever her friends would come over or somepony would come to talk business with the mare, Script had gone to hide in his room until it was safe to come out again. Moving to Ponyville meant risking being found, but he found himself less nervous about that now. This move would be a good thing.

Today was his first day moving into his new place, having had the furniture he bought moved in for him yesterday. It was with that thought that he finalized his report on suggestions and fixes, which he put on the desk for Big Mac to look over later. With that he walked to the barn to inform Applejack that he was done for the day, only to find the place empty. He turned to leave, thinking of where else she could be when he found himself face-to-face with a mare he had never seen before.

“YOU!!!” said the mare.

Script stared at her, worry trumped out by sheer surprise.

“Me?” he responded.

He studied her for a second. She was a pink mare with a bouncy mane, huge eyes, and the biggest smile he had ever seen. He did not know why, but she made him nervous. Something about the way she had sneaked up on him, the way she appeared out of nowhere, and the alligator on her back raised red flags in his mind. She could be dangerous.

“You must be the new pony in Ponyville! I am soo excited to meet you. I know everypony in town, and I do mean everypony, so I found it really weird when I saw somepony moving to the abandoned house by the square, I mean, they don’t call it ‘the abandoned house’ for nothing, which means that I have to come up with a new name for it now that somepony lives there; but anyway, I saw them moving furniture there yesterday meaning somepony was moving in, and if somepony is moving in then it had to be somepony new because all the ponies I know already had houses which aren’t the abandoned one, so I got really excited that I was going to meet a new pony and I wanted to introduce myself but I didn’t know who you were or where you were so after they were done moving in the stuff I broke into the place to wait for you to come back so I could say hi, but you never stopped by so then I went to the pony that leases houses and asked her what she knew about you and she said that she couldn’t give me any information because of ‘privacy laws’ no matter how much I wanted to meet them, and she was completely serious too because when I bribed her with cupcakes all she told me is that you worked at the farm, so I came to the farm and saw a pony I’d never seen before walking around, so I got my detective hat, put 4 and 12 together and figured out you were the new pony! So then I stalked you and waited for you to turn around and here we are!”

Script stared for a second. “You broke into my house?”

“Yea, sorry about that. It was important.”

“And the alligator?”

“Oh, he’s my pet alligator Gummy. He loves meeting new ponies so I brought him along. Hi Applejack!” Script looked around seeing no one.


“Hey Script, you might want to hide, word around town is that one of my friends is trying to find you and she’s... oh, hi Pinkie.” Applejack said.

Pinkie just giggled. Script looked between the two trying to make sense of things.

“So, Pinkie right?”

“Yep, Pinkie’s my name, or Pinkamena Diane Pie for long. What’s your name?”

Script was in too much shock to be suspicious at the moment. “Script.”

“Well, Script, I have just one question for you.” Pinkie said before taking a deep breath, “CAN I PLEASE BE INVITED TO YOUR HOUSE WARMING PARTY PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE MEGA SUPER QUANTOM PLEASE!!?”

Yelling aside, the words did manage to be deciphered by Script’s brain, snapping him from the surreal daze he had found himself in.

“No” Script said. Immediately Pinkie’s smile was replaced by a frown and watery eyes. Script recovered quickly from the shock of her reaction, speaking as apologetically as possible.

“No No No, it’s not because I don’t want to invite you, it’s nothing personal. I’m sure you’re a great mare, I’m just not having a house warming party is all.”

Pinkie stared at him with confusion. “No party?”

“No no party, sorry. Now, It’s been a pleasure meeting you, it’s been… interesting. However, I do have a couple things I need to do if I want to have everything ready to move into my place tonight,” Script said. Turning then to Applejack, “I’m done with going over the paperwork, I’m not sure there’s anything I can do for the Zap Apple Jam harvest or sales, it seems like you’re doing everything perfectly already; however, I did find suggestions for the regular harvest and Cider production that will boost profits by 20%. You’ll have to hire 3 to 4 pegasi for it, but the amount you will have to pay them will be nothing compared to the boost in income you will get. The report is on the desk if you and Mac want to take a look at it.”

“Thank you kindly, I’ll make sure to take a look at it. Now go get yourself ready to move into your own place. I have to say I’ll miss you being around though,” Applejack said.

“Don’t worry; you’ll still see me every day until I run out of things to fix up around here. In any case, thank you for having me here for as long as you did. It’s been a pleasure to get to know you and your family. See you tomorrow, ok?” And with that, Script left the barn.

Applejack watched him leave, waving goodbye before turning to look at her pink friend. Pinkie looked as most ponies do when trying to solve a hard math problem.

“Why no party? How no party?” Pinkie was moving her hooves, the look of concentration on her face showcasing the amount of energy it was taking her to comprehend this foreign concept. Applejack was amused.

“Look Pinkie not everypony is social and likes having parties. Some ponies just want to be left alone.”

Applejack realized she made a mistake as soon as those words left her lips. Pinkie’s eyes were starting to part as the strain of integrating this new concept into her schema threatened to break her. It was time to backpedal.

“Pinkie, Pinkie, pay attention, look at me, look, it’s just that he doesn’t really have any friends here, he’s new and all and doesn’t want to invite strangers into his home just yet. He wants to get to know them before he does. He’s very shy, like Fluttershy, so it’s going to take some time, once he’s comfortable with ponies, then there will be a party.”

Applejack stared at Pinkie the way most would stare at a ticking time bomb, waiting to see if it had been disarmed or if it would explode. To Applejack’s relief, it seemed she would not have rebuild the barn.

“So he’s shy, and wants to meet ponies and make friends, before the party can take place,” Pinkie worked through the explanation.

“Yes Pinkie, he’s shy” Applejack repeated.

“Is that why he goes out at night and stares at the Royal Castle for hours on end?”

“He does what now?”

“Well it’s been nice talking to you but I have preparations to make,” Pinkie said as she left the barn.

“Now hold on just one minute...” Applejack followed after her but when she stepped out of the barn she saw no trace of her. Pinkie and Gummy were gone.

An hour later Pinkie was walking through the market square of Ponyville after dropping off Gummy in her room. She was lost in thought, trying to figure out a solution to this new predicament.

“Ok what do we know? We know that there is a new pony in town, Script. He has no friends aside from Applejack and me. He is shy. He wants to meet ponies. He doesn’t want to throw a party until he meets the ponies at the party. He is lefthooved.” Pinkie stopped to make sure that’s all the relevant information she knew before continuing, “What else do we know? Parties are awesome in and of themselves. Parties are also awesome places to meet ponies. The same type of ponies Script wants to meet, but he wants to meet them before he invites them. So there’s the problem. How does he throw a party to meet ponies he hasn’t met yet so he can invite them to that party he wants to throw?”

Pinkie sat at a table, enjoying a milkshake as she thought.

“Mmm, brain food…”

Then suddenly a thought struck her. She had been soo preoccupied with the concept of the possibility that somepony in the world might not want a party that she completely missed the problem in semantics.

“He wants to meet ponies, ponies are met at parties, and he doesn’t want to throw a party until he’s met the ponies he wants to invite. Pause for dramatic effect…” Pinkie took a deep breath and then smiled.

“Somepony else will have to throw a party for him.”

Script had finished his preparations and was ready to head out to his new place, but was invited to stay for one last dinner at the Apple’s place. The food was delicious as always, which was the reason why he reminded himself to make good on their offer that ‘he was welcome for dinner anytime’ every once a while. Big Mac thanked Script for his work on the plans from earlier, having had a chance to look them over, commenting that what they were paying him was a steal compared to the bits he was making them. Script waved off the compliment by saying that it was nothing special; he just had the free time to look for the fixes since he was too weak to be out bucking trees with the rest of them. The conversation shifted through a lot of topics, including harvesting talk, Applebloom’s day at school, and a half-hour conversation in which the Apple family tried to explain who exactly Script had met that day.

“The best guess we have is that she was a unicorn that got her horn removed but somehow kept her magic, in which case, it’d be a teleportation spell without the light and sound that usually accompany it, but we checked her birth certificate and she was born an earth pony. Still, even with that information it’s still the most...” Applejack was interrupted by a carefully thrown rock that went through the open window, bounced off of her hat, and into her pie. The rock had writing on it. Come outside, alone.

Applejack sighed. “Speaking of, hold on a moment, I’ll be right back.”

Script and Mac struck up a conversation on the Zap Apple jam process and any way they could improve it without disrupting it while Applejack walked outside.

Once outside, Applejack saw only darkness. Then she heard Pinkie’s voice.

“Are you alone?”

“Um... yes?”

Pinkie jumped out of the bush in her spy suit. She handed Applejack an envelope.

“Shhhhhh,” was all that Pinkie said before she jumped back into the bush and ran away, bush and all.

Applejack stared for a second before turning her attention to the envelope. It said, For Applejack’s, Pinkie’s, and Gummy’s eyes only! She took a deep breath and opened it, reading the letter inside.

“Oh no.”

The Apple family gathered around Script as he read the letter Applejack had received.

You are cordially invited to a surprise party for Ponyville’s newest resident, Script, at the house near the market square formally known as ‘abandoned’ (the house not the square). We will go inside the house at around 9; he should be there at around 10, at which point the party will start.

Please help me welcome Ponyville’s new shy resident.

-Pinkie Pie

P.S. It’s not breaking and entering if you yell “Surprise” when they show up.

Script re-read the letter (or, rather, the invitation) before addressing Applejack.

“So… what happened?”

“I may have told Pinkie that you didn’t want to throw a party until you met ponies first because you were shy and didn’t want to invite anypony you didn’t know. I figure she took that to mean that it’d be ok if somepony else, namely her, threw the party for you since it wouldn’t be you inviting the ponies.”

“I take it I can’t really escape this, can I?”

“Honestly? No. I’m sorry, sugarcube, but at this point she’ll have invited the entire town to come out. You could not go home tonight and skip the party, but that will mean that all the ponies in town will be curious about you and will probably seek you out of their own accord.”

“Perfect. Well, I guess it’s unavoidable.”

Applejack noticed the tension in his voice. He tried to stay calm and not show how much this bothered him, but he was either really bad at it, or it bothered him so much that as good as he was, some was bound to show.

“Well, I have all my stuff. I’ll go for a walk and then head there. Thank you for the dinner.” He grabbed his purple bag and left the kitchen.

Script walked out by the northern field to clear his head. He was sure that he came off as angry, but that wasn’t the case at all. Applejack did the best she could with the situation and Pinkie did not know any better and had the best of intentions. No, it wasn’t anger; it was more like panic, and despair.

“I was really looking forward to staying here in Ponyville…” he said to no one in particular. He looked up towards the mountain on the horizon.

“This is a small town, maybe they haven’t heard. Maybe no one will recognize me. Maybe it’ll be safe.” He gave a mirthless laugh, “Yeah, maybe.”

He sat down; suddenly feeling exhausted, and placed his bag next to him. He stared at it for a long while in silence.

“Somepony’s bound to have heard by now. I could run… I could run away. Find a new town, a new life,” tears rolled down his cheek, illuminated by the moon, “now that I have experience.”

He looked at the Apple house, what had become his home. He couldn’t leave them. Applejack, Big Mac, even Pinkie. They were friends. He’d have to take the chance and hope for the best. He flexed his wings.

“Good, I’m recovered enough that I could fly away if needed. Everything of value is in this bag already,” he thought to himself. He knew he had half an hour to go before he was expected back home. He decided he would take the scenic route to kill time and, with dread in his heart and panic in his mind, he set off towards his new home.

Pinkie’s head slowly rose from some nearby bushes. Her usual smile was gone and replaced with a frown. She had intended to rope Script into both a conversation and shenanigans, and then walk him home to ensure he would arrive at the proper time. Now she simply watched and stared as the purple-maned pegasus walked away.

“This is all wrong. Script isn’t just shy around new ponies. He’s scared. I still don’t know why, but he’s scared of something. Of meeting these new ponies I guess… And now I’ve gone and upset him.” Pinkie let her gaze droop before inspiration struck. “Pinkamena, you have work to do.”

Script arrived at his place and stood in front of the door. Everything was dark and quiet. He had not run into anypony yet, but he assumed that was because he was about to run into every one of them. With fearful resignation he put the key in the door, opened it, and waited.

Seconds ticked by without anything happening.

He walked into the house but still nothing happened. The dark room remained dark, the silence undisturbed. He closed the door behind him and turned on the light. There was no one in there but himself. Despite the shock and confusion his heartbeat steadied. He put his bag down on a cushion and inspected the room, looking at the full-length mirror by the stairs, the furniture, and the kitchen. His eyes focused in on his dinner table. On it, there was a stack of envelopes and a tray of cupcakes with unlit candles on them. He started opening the envelopes, skimming the letters within. He’d need to take the time to actually read them to be sure, but it seemed like they were letters from the residents of Ponyville, each of them listing things about themselves and welcoming him into town. He was about to read one when he was distracted by a knock at the door.

Slowly he approached the door. After a second of hesitation he opened it to find a very sad-looking pink pony standing at his doorstep.

“Hey Script, do you have a second to talk?” Script looked around, seeing she was alone, and looked back at her. Her eyes were downcast. It struck him that, despite only having had known her for a day, it seemed unnatural for her to be sad.

“Yeah Pinkie, what’s up?”

“I want to apologize for what I did today. I messed up and I’m sorry.”

“It’s ok Pinkie, you didn’t mean to,” he assured her.

“It was still wrong and I want to talk about it, if it’s ok with you…”

Script studied her for a second.

“Yea yea, that’s fine. Let’s talk,” Script stepped aside to allow Pinkie in but she did not move, instead she just stared at him with a confused look on her face.

“Why are you not coming in Pinkie?” he asked.

“Because you only invite in ponies you’re friends with already.”

He stared in disbelief. Somehow she knew how upset he had been, and she felt this bad about it despite only knowing him for less than twenty-four hours.

“Pinkie, would you please come inside?” he said “Please?” She took a few tentative steps inside, allowing Script to close the door behind her.

“Ok Pinkie, what’s wrong?” Pinkie took a second to gather her thoughts before launching into her explanation.

“You told me you didn’t want a party, and I thought you misspoke because I thought I knew you. In my mind everypony loves parties, and friends, and being surrounded by ponies. I thought for sure that you had meant that you wanted somepony else to invite them or maybe you were nervous about meeting new ponies. But you weren’t: you were afraid.” Script was nervous about how she could possibly know that, but decided against asking. Instead he let her continue.

“I assumed I knew best, I disregarded your feelings, and I hurt you. I don’t know why you are afraid of ponies, and it doesn’t really matter. All that matters is that I did the exact opposite of what you wanted; I made you feel fear, and you almost left. I think you are a good pony, and I want to be your friend. But if you don’t want to, then at least don’t leave. Give other ponies a chance and don’t let me be the reason you leave Ponyville.”

She sat there in silence waiting for his response while Script took all that in. He smiled.

“Pinkie, we are friends. I’m not going anywhere.”

The pink pony brightened up at that and returned to her cheery self. This put Script at ease. It seemed more natural. Then the table he spotted out of the corner of his eye caught his attention.

“I do have one question: what’s all this?” he asked.

“Oh, that. Well, when I found out… what happened when you found out, I rushed back here to cancel the party. I told everypony that you were actually shyer than I anticipated and that I was sorry I had to cancel the party but that I felt it was for the best. I also asked them to please not bother you at home or if they saw you out and about. That it was fine to be friendly and that you were a really friendly pony, but that it was best if they waited for you to come to them. Since they were all here, though, I had the idea of having them write letters to you introducing themselves and welcoming you to Ponyville, you know, instead of a party. That way you still get to meet all the ponies, kind of, and they still get to greet you. I hope that was okay...” Pinkie looked at Script with worry in her eyes.

Script looked in amazement at the letters on the table, and then back to the pony.

“It’s more than okay, it’s wonderful.” Script gave Pinkie a hug which she cheerily returned.

“Thank you Pinkie.”

Maybe everything would turn out ok.