~*~You Must Get Together With Mama and Create The Universe's Last Hope! Me!~*~
Day : 1
Balance : 0 bits
Property Damage : 0 bits
Body Count : 0
Snuggle Count : 0 hit combos
It was a bleak day for Butter Island. The temperatures of the surrounding Pancake Ocean had risen exponentially. The flash flood of hot maple syrup did not help either. But the resourceful Captain would not go quietly. Oh no, he would fight to the last buttery man standing.
"Shore up the flood with the marmite bags!" I ordered, blocking the advance of the maple syrup flood with a solid block of cool dark marmite. "Seal the breaches with jam and lemon sorbet mortar!" I threw out a commanding hand to the jam and lemon sorbet flight crews. "ZooooOOOOoooooom...BOOOM!" The jam and lemon sorbet bombers swooped in out of the sky and unloaded their gelatinous payload upon Butter Island's final defense line. They stayed the advance of the maple syrup apocalypse, but only a while longer.
"Don't forget the peanut butter canon, captain!" A voice helpfully reminded me.
"Of course! Load up the peanut butter canons, lads! Tonight, we dine in HELL!" I barked, watching as the peanut butter railgun was loaded with its thick, golden ammuni....
Did a voice just...?
Nah, must be my imagination.
"Sir, yes, sir!" My imagination answered, crisply.
You know, I have always wondered; If I talk to my best friend, Thin Air, for long enough, would Thin Air eventually talk back?
It would appear I have finally found the answer. I congratulated my crazy on finally evolving a voice of its own. Well, at least I finally have someone to have intelligent conversations with.
"Judgement shall be swift!" My crazy declared, "Judgement shall be epic! Judgement shall be DELICIOUS!"
Except my crazy could apparently also lob peanut butter into my pancake sandwich.
SPLAT went the little slab of peanut butter as it smashed into Butter Island's Marmite-and-Jelly coastal defenses. The remains of the besieged island tragically collapsed under the nutty friendly fire. Rest in peace, Butter Island.
Now, in my vast experience of crazy, crazy shouldn't be able to sling peanut butter around, at least not without my help. And yet the slab of peanut butter sat there upon my pancake sandwich, as if taunting my feeble grasp of sanity.
"So, are you gonna eat that?" My crazy asked me, sounding exceedingly hopeful. And hungry too.
"It's a maple syrup, butter, marmite, jam, lemon sorbet, nutella and peanut butter pancake sandwich." I pointed out slowly, not daring to look up from my supper. It says a lot when your last anchor to sanity is a pancake sandwich. "The only other living being able to stomach this died seven years ago, god rest his badass soul."
"Grandpa was awesome, Celestia rest his badass soul." My crazy agreed, solemnly. "Nothing fries an A.I. motherboard faster than the very thought of his awesome pancake sandwich recipe. Well, at least until the bots got that stupid anti-pancake patch thing."
"Amen to that." I nodded, before doing a mental double-take. "Wait, 'grandpa'?" I blinked, morbid curiosity quickly overwhelming me. Oh, screw it, sanity is overrated. I looked up from my pancake to gaze into the face of insanity.
Nietzsche would probably have died. Of diabetes.
Insanity peered right back at me from across the empty family-sized dining table with its big, cute violet eyes. Its fluffy little ears perked to attention from beneath the silky peach and snow white tresses of its...hair? A bright grin slowly spread across what looked like a round, adorable little muzzle poking out beneath its big sparkly eyes. It seemed to be standing in its seat, leaning forwards on the table, holding itself upright by a pair of, uh, fluffy paws? Hooves, rather? And that thick, bushy pink and white thing wagging excitedly behind it is, uh, its tail?
Sanity is totally overrated. My crazy is adorable.
It was also the size, shape and colour of a peach-white party balloon.
And about as squeaky.
"Hi there!" My crazy raised a...hoof in greeting. "I come in peace. And from the future too! And I can tell you now that the very immediate future reaaaaally depends on me eating that pancake sandwich." She (cause I decided nothing with balls could possibly sound this cute) told me, looking as dead serious as a squeaky party balloon could manage.
"I don't think I should be speaking with my crazy." I carefully whispered to her. "I might give it ideas." I absentmindedly considered just what facet of my psyche could manifest in so adorable a manner. Probably my sugar addiction. Yeah, that's it.
Whatever sanity I had left reminded me that hallucinations don't have reflections. The human brain's good but just not that good. I slowly flicked an eye towards a mirror overlooking the dining table.
Soaring sackfuls of peanuts! It has a reflection! My brain is that good! Either that or this is some form of super crazy!
"I'm not your crazy, pops. I'm your daughter!" My crazy replied, excitedly. "Though, sure, you've gotta be kinda crazy to get together with mom to, well, make me." She gave a little giggle, ears twitching in what seemed to be joyful mirth. "I could just imagine how long the checklist was."
"Oh twist my nuts sideways. My crazy is breeding like, well, crazy." I sighed, burying my face in my palm. "The world is all fifty two flavours of doomed."
"So, you're not gonna eat that, right?" She asked, pointing what I decided was a front hoof at the pancake sandwich. Without waiting for my reply she pressed her front hoof down against the table's edge. There was an ominous creak of tortured wood as the table slowly but surely tilted towards her. The old adage was right; Size means nothing, not in the face of crazy. I could only watch helplessly as my precious secret-recipe quadruple-decker pancake sandwich slid down the tilting table towards the eager little creature's paws. "My germs!" She patted the pancake with a hoof, declaring her conquest over my supper. "Now you're not!" She trilled, tail wagging in obvious excitement.
I would have at least met that with a retort, if my mind wasn't busy doing a mental backtrack. Did she say 'peanut butter canon'?
Only one person should know of the peanut butter canon and the old man has gone off to kick butt somewhere beyond the mortal plane, god rest his badass soul. I have long planned to share his wisdom with his grandchildren as he did with me. For this little creature to know of it, either she really is my crazy, or she really is my...
Well, there's one way to make sure, I guess. "Hey, don't forget the Nutella." I said, carefully pushing the bottle of hazelnut goodness towards her.
"Oh yeah!" She rubbed her little front hooves together excitedly. "We're not going down alone! We'll take the apocalypse down with us! Take this, Nuke-tellaaaaa!" She grabbed the bottle with both front hooves and gave it a good shake, splatting a generous helping of nuclear chocolate on the pancake.
She had the old-man's words down perfectly, albeit squeakily. Plus she got the old man's appetite and attitude to boot. There was no doubt; I have a, uh, little baby horse for a daughter. Well, something in the general shape of a baby horse, considering horses don't have big heads in proportion to their bodies, big front-facing sparkly eyes or talk for that matter.
And they can certainly never hope to be this adorable.
"Great Scott..." I whispered, breathlessly, allowing the revelation to slowly sink like the carcass of the Titanic. "You really are my daughter."
"Here I was thinking I'd have to sit in a cardboard box somewhere to convince you." The little baby horse giggled in amusement in between mouthfuls. "I even have the number for tonight's lottery just in case." She said with a little smirk, licking a smidgeon of chocolate off her own nose.
"If you're my daughter, why are you a little hor-..." I paused as two very important pieces of information competed for dominance in my head. One won resoundingly. "Uh, what's that about a lottery number?"
"3141592." She recited in between bites.
"You sure that's not the number for the crazy helpline?" I asked, still somehow managing some scepticism.
"I got that too if you want it." She grinned, cheekily.
"Huh. Well, why not?" I reached behind me to the telly sitting atop the kitchen counter and flicked it on. It was, quite concidentally, left on the lottery channel. Now what were the odds of that?
Nowhere near the odds of what came next.
"And the winning number for tonight's lottery is....3...1...4...1...5...9...2!" The TV announcer declared. "Check your tickets, folks! It might just be your lucky night!" The rest of what he said was drowned out by the buzz that took over my mind.
I consider myself pretty good with numbers. Never have I been stunned numb by a mere series of numerals. "Pi." I mumbled, numbly.
"Mmmhmm." The little creature agreed through a mouthful of pancake. "Lucky night." She agreed with the announcer.
You know what, I'm over-thinking things. If a baby horse can waltz into my house, eat my pancakes and talk, why can't it tell me the lottery number? "Knowing how these stories go, you probably didn't buy me a ticke-..." I began, turning back to face my little visitor. I was met with a triumphant smirk and a little hoof waving what looked like a lottery ticket in the air. "Welcome home, uh, daughter-whose-name-I-don't-know." I was quick to say. What little skepticism I had left collapsed like the pile of bills upstairs. Hey, my integrity isn't cheap. It costs about 6 million dollars, okay?
So she's definitely from the future. And she's apparently my daughter. She's also a baby horse. The fact that I'm not as bothered about this as I should be tells you everything you need to know about my mental health. The fact that she is incredibly adorable kinda helps. And, okay, I'll admit, the 6 million dollars is also pretty snazzy.
"Twilight." Her smirk turned into a soft, fond smile. "Twilight Vigil. That's your kid girl's name, Pops." There was just a hint of helpless sadness in the look she gave me. "But most ponies don't like biting their tongues so they call me 'Vivi' instead." She quickly added, quickly brightening up. "That's your nickname for me, Pops."
"Twilight...Vigil." I repeated, getting a feel for the name. "I named you that?" I asked, raising an eyebrow. I mean, what happened to perfectly normal names like 'Susan' or 'Maleficent'?
"You wanted to name me 'Heart Monitor' or 'Hot Nurse'. Or will want to name me? Or would? Jeez, this whole future thing makes my head hurt." Vivi clutched her head with her puffy little hooves.
"Hey, you're the one with time-travelling experience." I pointed out. "And what's wrong with 'Heart Monitor'?" I added, a tad defensively.
"Let's just say it's a good thing mama wasn't under that an-ass-tea-sha thing when she had me." Vivi said.
"Anaesthesia." I corrected for her automatically. "And...Mama?" I cocked an inquisitive eyebrow. Right, of course, it takes a daddy and a...something...to produce a baby pony. What are baby ponies called again? Foals? And that something is presumably a pony of the female persuasion. Mares, I think?
I have a feeling I'm not going to like where this rabbit hole is going....
"Yeah, mama." Vivi nodded, her fond smile returning. "The most powerful sorceress to ever kick plot. Oh, and my mama, which makes her doubly awesome! Her awesome is about from here..." She raised a front hoof, probably as a starting point for her measure of just how awesome her mama is. She then frowned as she tried to stretch her other front hoof as far as possible, leaning to the point of teetering on the edge of her seat. "Silly shorty hooves..." She muttered under her breath as she climbed up onto the table and trotted across the table towards me. "...to right over..." She peered off into the distance behind me, little pink tongue poking out of her mouth as she tried to gauge the distance in Awesomes. "...there. Like, where the next galaxy is." She pointed a little hoof in the general direction of the nearest galaxy.
Seeing the bemused expression on my face, she gave a cute little pout as she trotted up in front of me and sat her rump down on the table. "Hmm, sorry, Pops, that was probably too com-pee-key-ted for you." She frowned up at me, tilting her head to one side in obvious frustration as her thick, silky tail thumped the table impatiently.
"Complicated." My smile only grew wider as my correction intensified her pout.
"Okies. I'm going to make it reaaaaaal simple, so you'd better listen." She said, clearing her throat quite elegantly, raising her two front hooves as if readying a lecture.
I had a funny feeling I was about to witness the bits my daughter inherited from her mother.
"You see..." She began, in a formal lecturing tone, "...if you were to take the awesome of this pancake sandwich..." She gestured at exhibit A. "...and multiply it by a Twilimillion, you'd only have a hoofful of her awesome. Many ponies have tried to measure her exact awesome and the only one to come close enough was somepony called Tirek who summer-rise-d it in his last, famous formula, 'NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO', before being blown straight to Tartarus."
While the pancake standard for Awesome met with my approval, this description of my daughter's mother sent a silent chill down my back for some reason.
The little pony tapped a front hoof on her chin thoughtfully before concluding her lecture with, "Oh, but you're awesome too, Pops." She gave me a broad smile before trotting back to exhibit A and resuming her hungry assault upon the pancake sandwich.
The child gave a long, sweet moan of delight into her mouthful of pancake, ears twitching and tail wagging in obvious enjoyment. I suddenly realized this was the first time in years my dining table was this animated. It was almost as if...
...as if the old man were here.
'Except it's a little talking pony', what little sanity I had left reminded me. An adorable one, but a pony nonetheless.
So, ponies. Magical talking ponies. Right. "You mentioned ponies." I sat back. "So...your mom is a magical pony?" A magical pony whose Awesome alone can summarily send people to hell, apparently, if even half my daughter's words were to be believed.
Vivi paused halfway through another pancake nibble. She seemed to give my question some thought before answering. "Trust me, it'll be a lot less weird once I get you to Equestria." The little pony said, perhaps a little evasively.
"Wait, what's an Eee-testi-thingy?" I asked. "And more importantly, why do you have to get me there? You're not supposed to be born yet. I'd remember, uh, dating a pony." Though I can definitely see the rationale in forgetting everything that came after that. "Besides, isn't it kinda the worst time-travelling taboo to reveal yourself to your parents? What if I don't get together with your mom and you end up not being born?" I fired off yet another volley of questions.
"Jeez, Pops, and you say I'm too curious for my own good." Vivi chuckled, licking the last of the sugar off her lips. "Well, to answer the really big question; Well, yes, I might change history and you might not get together with mama and I might get born a dragon or a hydra or something awesome instead. But you definitely won't get together with mom if you kick the bucket before you even get to Equestria."
"Kick the bucket?" I blinked. "Wait, why would I die?"
"You won't." Vivi grinned, "Cause I'm here. Sissy things like death happens to other ponies."
This is coming from a squeaky little party balloon on legs. You'll have to forgive the overwhelming confidence I feel here.
I slowly put two and two together. "Something else came from the future, didn't it? Something else that will change history....by killing me. That's why you're here."
"Yeppers." Vivi nodded, albeit a tad grimly.
"Is an explanation a little too much exposition to ask for?" I hazarded, the dread building.
"Nah, being all vague and mysterious was auntie Luna's schtick. We all know where that landed her. Well, I do anyway." She waved a dismissive front hoof. "Sometime in the future a powerful meanie-mean-pants named Chronos tried...I mean, will try to take over the universe with his army of killer pony-bots."
"I like where this is going already." I sighed. Pony-bots. Probably complete with Ter-mane-nators. And in place of Arnold Schwarzenegger I get the little ball of sugar and rainbows. There is no way this can go wrong. "Let me guess, I'm going to be the leader of the resistance?"
"Whenever mama lets you, yes. And even then it's only with one of her really long checklists." Vivi nodded. "But more importantly, you and mama will give birth to me, the one and only chosen one, as pro-pha-si-si-si-thingy, destined to destroy Chronos down to every last plot-particle. In short, the entire universe has been waiting thousands of years for me to go give Chronos an awesome plot whoopin'." She allowed herself a self-important nod of her head.
"Let me guess, the only reason Chronos is still around is because 'mama' and 'papa' won't let you go out to play with him." I chuckled. No sane parent would let their child go risk their lives, fate of the universe or no.
"Well, you see...." Her fluffy little ears drooped a little as that sad longing from before returned to her cute little face. "In my timeline, Chronos already sent his killer pony-bots back in time to, um, well..." Her voice grew soft and sullen as she looked away. "...kill you..." She said in a hoarse little whisper.
"Already?" I blinked. I'm pretty sure I'm still alive. I check, like, daily. "You mean, subjectively?"
She gave a dismissive nod. The haunted look in her eyes told me everything else I needed to know. She had watched me die already. The look on her face dashed any doubts I had left. That was the face only a child who had lost her parent could have. I knew it all too well. It was the face I saw in a mirror for far too many years.
Well, except I'm not a she. Or a pony.
Deep down I know what I needed back then, even if I was too much like my old man to admit it. The mournful look on her face told me she probably needed one as much as I did back then. Call it paternal instinct, call it me being a sap, my daughter or not, this pony shall be hugged.
I stepped over to her and wordlessly scooped her up into a tight hug. She gave a little squeak but made no effort to resist the surprise snuggle. If anything she slowly but surely drew into my embrace, nuzzling her way into my chest.
Her little hooves clutched the front of my shirt tightly, almost desperately. Her hooves were surprisingly soft, almost like a pair of fluffy marshmallows.
I could have sworn I heard a muffled little hiccup. "I miss you, Pops." She whispered into my chest. "I miss you so much. I miss you and mama both." Her voice grew strained. "I'm sorry, I should've said it, should've said it a Twilimillion times when I had the chance. I love you. I love you so much, Pops."
Something tugged at my heart. I realized then, those were the very words I had longed to say to the old man. I was lucky the old man held out so long for me. But this little pony seemed so young, far too young to have lost her father.
No child deserves that.
Stupid-ass father, going and leaving your super-adorable daughter all alone like that. What kind of father are-...oh, right, yeah.
Well, not everyone's lucky enough to have that second chance. Who am I to waste it? And even if she weren't my daughter, I wouldn't allow her to be alone. I resolved then and there, come killer-robo-ponies or the apocalypse itself, I shall not die for as long as she needs me by her side.
"Hey, I'm not going anywhere." I said, placing a reassuring hand on her mane. "Didn't you say silly things like death happen to other, er, ponies?" I reminded her with a grin.
"Yeah." She gave a muffled little giggle, giving my chest one quick nuzzle. She quickly looked up, giving me a determined if slightly watery-eyed smile. My shirt felt a little wet, but I decided not to mention it, seeing as she seemed to be doing her best to look all stoic and strong. "I'm not letting you go anywhere either, Pops. Not this time." She said, resolutely.
Hold the pony. Something's not right. "Wait a sec." I frowned, "If this Chronic fellow went back in time to kill me, then how is it you still exist?" I'm pretty sure some semblance of causality still applied to adorably cute little ponies.
"You, er, future you, gave me this." She said, gesturing at her neck with a forehoof. Hanging by a chain from it was what looked like a very familiar pocket watch.
How'd I miss that? It was the old man's pocket watch. I reached into my own pocket. Sure enough, the very same watch was still safe in my pocket. And yet the watch she wore was the very splitting image, down to the deep scratches on the hunter and the haphazardly repaired mismatched dial.
Well, not like I needed any more proof.
The little pony gave the hunter on the watch a tap, snapping it open. The inside was just as I remembered it, everything from the cracked ivory clock face to the missing number twelve. The photograph on the inside of the hunter, however, was different. Mine has a picture of myself, the old man and my mother. This one, however, had a picture of what must be a baby Vivi, judging by the white coat and peach and white mane. From what all of those time-travelling movies have taught me, the fact that Vivi hasn't faded from the picture is a good sign. The two big ponies giving her the snuggle to end all snuggles must be her parents. Aww, the three of them together look absolute adorab-...
Wait, aren't I her parent? Where am I in this picture?
A small, rather volatile part of my mind jokingly chimed in, 'We're so getting turned into a pony when we get to this Ee-testy-place'. The absurdity was summarily dismissed with a mental slap to its mental face.
But what bothered me more than that was the time on the clock. "The time's wrong. And you haven't been winding it." I observed before I could stop myself. I'm a little particular about that watch. The hands were stuck at eleven o'clock.
"Oh, it's working. It's working very well." Vivi said. "You see, it contains the magic that keeps me alive. I think the closer it gets to midnight, the closer the watch is to running out of magic. I guess when that happens I'll just, well, disappear. Oh, and the universe will be doomed cause I won't be born to save it from Mr. Meanie Pants. Well, doomed-er, I guess."
"So you have one hour left?" I frowned, noting how the watch was one hour away from the missing number twelve.
"No, you see, it just shows me how much magic I have left. The magic lets me ignore the time pair-of-ducks thing." She explained.
"Paradox, you mean." I corrected automatically. "Wait, so you're gaining magic right now." I said, watching the seconds hand slowly but surely wind backwards.
"Yep." The little pony nodded with a rather sudden smile of glee. "I'm powered by love and snuggles. Specifically yours and mom's. I call it snuggle power!"
"Snuggle...power...?" I wish I had a mirror then. My incredulous expression must have been quite a sight to behold. Still, the clock's winding backwards, so it's obviously working. Somehow.
Yeah, don't question the crazy.
Vivi gave the watch a fond little nuzzle. "Yeah, when you gave this watch to me...err...will give it to me, you said 'My love gave birth to you, my little pony. So as long as you have my love, you will live on. And kick awesome amounts of plot'." She said, nodding sagely.
"I have a feeling those last few words aren't mine." I said.
"Any time pair-of-duckses will drain magic from the watch and bring me closer to midnight. Had to learn that the hard way." She said, leaping out of my arms and onto the table. She trotted over to the plate she just thoroughly emptied and gave its edge a little stomp, flipping it into the air and onto her back.
I didn't like the sound of that. "What....happened?" I asked, carefully.
"Oh, in one of my first few runs you accidentally got cat-stray-ted by a flaming cactus while we were on the run from the killer pony-bots." She said, with all the airiness of commenting on the weather. "It pushed my clock forwards by an entire hour." She nimbly leapt off the table and onto the counter beside the kitchen sink. The dirty dish somehow remained steady upon her back throughout her flight. In a surprising show of conscientiousness, she ran the tap and began to wash the dirty dish in the sink.
"Uh, you mean, c-c-castrated." I corrected my own epitaph, wincing considerably. My experience with cacti was limited, moreso with those of the flaming variety, but it required little imagination to know that would be an incredibly painful way to go. "When you say 'first few runs', you mean you've already attempted to save me a few times already? How does that even work?"
"Yeah, here's where it gets really weird. You see, each time I go back in time, I land in a fresh new timeline." She explained, putting the dish out to dry. "The universe can be saved as long as I can keep you alive in at least one timeline."
Interesting. So she gets to restart her mission from a checkpoint each time. But that begs the question, why was she so sentimental just now, as if she had only just met me for the first time? I pondered this as I watched the little pony nimbly wash the rest of the dishes in the sink with her front hooves and arrange them in the drying rack with...her tail? Are tails allowed to do that?
Hey, this talking baby pony just punched the time barrier and ate my pancake sandwich. Her tail can do whatever the heck it wants.
"So, stay alive. Universe survives. All good." I summarized.
"Oh, and as long as you get together with mom make sure I'm born, of course." The little pony added, giving me a winning grin. "So, no pressure, Pops." Her fluffy little ears perked up as a soap sud from the sink floated up in the air and popped against her mane. She gave a little squee of a gasp as she leapt around, eyes wide. She eyed a few more bubbles floating above her head. She tilted her head to one side as she followed one through its descent, her tail slowly thumping the kitchen counter. She raised a hoof to try and catch one, then another. They somehow eluded her, causing her to flail helplessly at the air as she plopped back onto her rump on the kitchen counter.
Right, no pressure. So, the fate of the universe relies upon me not catching flaming cacti with my nuts and wooing a magical pony girl.
'Hey, Baby, wanna save the world tonight?'
Yeaaaaah, it's a good thing I have such an excellent track record at universe-saving.
"Well, gotta start somewhere, I guess." I shrugged. I did a bit of a double-take as I noticed my plates, my crockery, and even my silverware in the drying rack had been ordered by not only size but also colour shades. I gave the little pony a curious look. She was busy going cross-eyed on a bubble that had landed on her muzzle. Some stroke of wisdom (or is it sheer D'Awwww?) compelled me to keep my mouth shut.
Don't question the crazy. Especially when it's this adorable.
A somewhat more self-preserving part of my brain reminded me that this was no time to get distracted by diabetes. Where was I? Right, getting started. I turned to lead the way out of the kitchen. The little pony's ears perked up at my departure. She turned to follow, leaping off the kitchen counter and landed surprisingly silently on the kitchen linoleum. She proceeded to trot after me, her gait more a cute little waddle on her tiny hooves as she struggled to keep up with my pace. She tilted her head to one side, watching me as I pulled out my overnight bag from the cupboard under the stairs.
"So, how many restarts have you done?" I asked as a I checked the medikit and torch inside the bag. Surely the ability to restart your mission should only belong in video games.
"Uh....um..." She murmured, moving her lips wordlessly. "I kinda lost count at four." She traced a circle on the ground with a hoof sheepishly. "I only have four hooves, okay?" She huffed, a little defensively.
"But if you save me today, won't Chronos be able to, say, send killer bots to kill me last week?" I asked. It would be nice, in a morbid sort of way, to have what happened last Monday with my ex-girlfriend wiped from history.
"He can't. There isn't enough magic in this world to open up a time gate." She said, "Well, up until last night, that is. A large amount of magic was released into your world in a place called Canterlot High last night. It takes a lot of magic to open a gate for their bots so they would have opened up their gate close to that place where the magic's all nice and thick. I was able to zap much closer to here with much less magic as I'm all fun-sized." She gave a little twirl to emphasize just how fun-sized she is.
It's great to know that the universe's last hope is also compact and fun-sized.
"So we just travel as far as we can from that place and all the dangerous killer pony-bots." I concluded, whipping out my smart phone and looking up the location on the internet. Aha, Canterlot High, right, here it is. "Oh, good, it's a 7 hour drive away from here." I said
"Weeeell...." Vivi gave me a rather sheepish smile, "That's also where the gate to Equestria is."
"Oh, nuts, it's a 7 hour drive away from here." I muttered. Off course it had to be. It simply couldn't be in the convenience store down the road cause fate just doesn't put universe-saving plot devices in convenient places. "We don't have to go to E-testi-thingy, do we?" I asked, putting on my best whiny voice. "I mean, we can stay here. We've got pancakes."
"Well, mom is kinda there. And Equestria is the only place you'll be safe." She said. "They can't time-travel into Equestria without the princesses noticing, you see. Chronos won't risk a pair-of-ducks that would erase himself. Or at least I think he won't."
Princesses. Magical pony princesses. They'll keep me safe. Right. Sounds legit.
"Presumably your time travel thing can get us there?" I asked, hopefully.
"My Harmony Core can maaaaaybe get us there, though I'll have to chew up exactly 1.21 GigaSnuggles of Snuggle Power." She said, pointing a forehoof at her pocket watch. "But I never tried taking somepony else with me. And...I have very little Snuggle Power left." She bit her lip, leaving the obvious unsaid. She probably had very few tries left, if any. She obviously didn't want to put any more pressure on me than she had to, the poor thing.
If the situation were any less grim I probably would have quipped, 'What the heck is a GigaSnuggle?'. Instead I gave a resigned sigh, "Right, scenic route it is then." I turned to walk over to my bedroom to pick out a few more things. "So, what clothes am I packing? Hot or cold?"
"Clothes?" The little pony gave a little giggle as she trotted to keep up with me. "Where we're going, we don't need clothes."
I paused in my tracks as a sudden realization struck me. I gave the little pony prancing playful circles around my legs another thoughtful look. Oh, right, she's not wearing anything but her adorable grin.
Okay, so it might be a pony thing, but I, for one, am bringing clothes to Rome. I walked around the room as I picked out a collection of both summer and winter stitches, taking care to pack my Aloha shirt, sunglasses and my swanky 'OUTTATIME' T-shirt. Somehow, I felt it was appropriate.
The little pony gave a thoughtful hum as she hopped onto my bed and gave it a few experimental bounces. "I know you've always been pretty cool, Pops, but every time I see you, you've always been really cool about leaving home for another world. And you always taught me never to follow strangers." Vivi said, bouncing higher and higher while I made my way to the old man's memory cabinet. "I've always meant to ask you; Why?"
I paused midway through opening the memory cabinet. She raised a good point, I suppose. Not only am I not overly bothered by my daughter being a pony, I have very few misgivings about leaving my world with her. I guess the old man took my one last attachment to home with him when he moved on. But then Vivi suddenly arrived, and in the 10 minutes she had spent with me it felt like she had brought me back a living breathing piece of the old man.
How can I not go with her?
But don't tell her that.
"I guess I kinda know how these things go. In movies, the naysayers and unbelievers are often the first to kick the can." I said, airily, pulling out the old man's prized toy chest and stuffing it into the overnight bag. With it went his old handwritten book of bedtime stories. "I'll spare myself the trouble and just roll with it." To emphasize my words I pulled out the old man's ancient Stetson hat and allowed it to perch atop my unruly hair.
"Mama's gonna like that." Vivi giggled into a forehoof as I tipped the hat rackishly to one side.
"She's got good taste then." I grinned as I turned to my desk and pulled out my tablet PC and my trusty solar charger. I had a feeling this Ee-testy-tree place might not quite have 120 volt DC sockets.
There was a sudden series of sharp knocks on the front door. I froze, eyes slowly turning to meet Vivi's. She returned my look with one of mild irritation rather than apprehension. "That's not who I think it is, is it?" I asked Vivi softly as I zipped up the bag and hefted it over one shoulder.
"No, Pops, it's not Santa Hooves. Close, though." Vivi said. "I might have left the dee-ton-neigh-tore in the mail slot so we might have to leave out the back door."
"I honestly hope you didn't mean 'detonator'." For once, I hoped my correction was, well, incorrect. My brain struggled to reconcile adorably cute baby pony with big violent explosions. "You can't honestly be telling me you rigged my front door with bombs, did you?"
"Oh, c'mon, Pops, that would be silly." Vivi giggled mirthfully, skipping off ahead of me. "I planted all ten of the bombs around the gas feed in the basement." She said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"Oh, of course, how silly of me. Where else would you put ten bombs?" I nodded sagely in mock-agreement. "VIVI! Where did you even get ten bombs in the first place?!"
"Come on, Pops. We're going on a walk through the back door." Vivi very subtly ignored my bout of disbelief, quickly leaping up the coat stand in one corner of the room and launching herself off the top, snagging my jacket in her teeth as she sailed up towards me.
"Ooof!" I gave a little gasp as I caught a handful of pony in my arms. "But we don't have a back door." I tried to point out as she mouthed my jacket over to me before leaping back onto the floor.
"Setting power-hooves from 'HUG' to 'CRUSH'." I just about heard the little pony intone as she trotted up towards a wall. There was a hum strangely reminiscent of machinery revving up, even a soft pneumatic hiss, but I couldn't quite make out where it came from.
"Let me tell you a story, Pops." The little pony said as she pawed the carpet, as if readying herself for something. "Once upon a future time, Twilight Sparkle, the most powerful-est-est sorceress in history, will have a super cute earth pony filly for a daughter." She broke into a canter, then a full gallop. "And when you put the jelly-ticks for the most powerful-est-est magic in an earth pony..." She launched herself at the wall, turning around in midair to aim her hooves at it.
"You mean 'genetics'." I just about managed to correct, before her little hooves made contact with the wall.
And then there was no wall.
Instead, there was a shower of bricks and mortar flying out into the dark, autumn air beyond. Amidst it, trailing dust and debris was a little white pony, soaring out into the dark. She righted herself in midair before landing and skidding to a stop, kicking up dirt in a tidal wave around her.
I eyed the hole, reaching a hand through it experimentally. "Wow, it really is a hole." I mumbled, intelligently.
And now we have a back door.
Screw 'size'. This little pony ignores physics itself.
"C'mon, Pops, gramps himself probably heard that. Let's go!" The little pony waved a front hoof at me, gesturing urgently for me to follow. Sure enough, the knocks on the front door grew desperate. You'd think they were trying to batter it down.
Y'know what, they probably were.
Where was the detonator again? Oh, right, on that very door they're trying to batter down.
It's scary when the little party balloon on legs is the voice of wisdom. I nodded numbly at her as I quickly followed after her into the cool, autumn night. My sneakers crunched against the dry leaves that littered the backyard, a testament to my godlike powers of procrastination.
The little pony entirely ignored the tall wooden fence encircling our backyard. She simply galloped through it, flattening one section of fence into the ground in a shower of splinters. I ran to keep up, struggling not to think about the bomb(s) threatening to go off behind me.
She led me across my rear neighbour's much bigger and tidier back yard (not that I'm jealous or anything). Just as we ran out into the street I was very rudely swept off my feet by a sudden blast of very hot air from behind. A thunderous boom filled the air, tapering off into a rather comical high-pitched squeak, sounding something like 'Kabloooooeeeeeeeeeeyyy'. The ground I rolled onto shook violently. I flattened myself against the rocking earth, looking up to see Vivi had done the same, securing her fluffy ears against her head with her front hooves. At least two blocks worth of car alarms began blaring at the same time.
I slowly, carefully turned my head around to peer behind me, just in time to see a massive column of smoke mushroom up into the air, glowing every colour of the rainbow. It was showering sparkles of every hue. I would have been a tad impressed by the light show if I wasn't painfully aware of how it occupied exactly where my house was.
The mortgage company can feel free to repossess it now, crater and all.
"Vivi, you okay?!" I shouted, realizing how my voice sounded a little muffled in my own ears, obviously deafened by the blast.
"Yeah!" Vivi shouted back, obviously similarly deafened.
"Good!" I shouted, "Cause you're about to be the first baby pony to ever be grounded before you were even born!" Ground rules need to be set. Killer pony-bots or no, I can't have my daughter setting bombs everywhere. She might poke somebody in the eye with it. It's just not something good little girls should be doing.
"Awesome! I haven't been grounded in, like, forever!" Vivi's eyes gleamed with earnest happiness, reflecting the rainbow-hued sparkles floating down all around us. I've never seen anyone be this happy at the prospect of being grounded. Something told me it used to be a very regular occurrence for this little pony, once upon a time. "Oh, watch out, Pops!" She leapt at my chest, pushing me into a roll across the cold hard ground.
"Ooof, wha...?!" I gasped, winded by the little pony missile to the chest. I reoriented myself just in time to see a flaming cactus sail through the air and hit the ground right where my crotch was just a moment ago.
That would have been one painful pair-of-ducks.
"Thanks, Vivi." I whispered, breathlessly.
"Don't mention it, Pops." Vivi giggled. "Am I still grounded?"
"Maybe." I answered, numbly.
"Awww..." She pouted.
"AAWWW, C'MOOON!" A loud, albeit rather whiny, voice boomed through the air, reverberating with unnaturally electronic overtones. What bit of my mind wasn't numbed by the blast registered, albeit in morbid horror, that the cry came from somewhere within the column of smoke and fire. Oh twist my sack every which way, whatever it is, it's still alive!
"What was that?" I asked, in what I realized was a rather high-pitched squeak.
"That..." Vivi's expression grew a few shades darker, "...is Sweetie Bot."