A young man named Floyd is trapped inside of Pinkie Pie, and goes on a quest to find himself.
Well, hello there! The name's Floyd, Pink Floyd. You know, like the band? Anyway, I used to be just a guy named Floyd but now I'm stuck inside of Pinkie Pie. How you ask? Discord. It's always that jerk's fault. Anyway, better get on with this before I go on a tangent. So, I'm a film student, trapped in Pinkie's body. You all got that? Good. Now why don't you pull up a chair and listen to how my life got flipped-turned upside down. I promise, you're gonna like it!
Inspired by Fluttershy, Flutterguy, A Dash Of Humanity and is edited by m2pt5. Sex tag is just for innuendo, no actual clop. Made popular list on 3/29/15. Featured 9/29/2015
I groan as sunlight hits my face, making me hiss in protest. I hate mornings. Well no, that’s not quite right– I hate the act of waking up. I let myself lie there for a few more moments before sitting up and letting out a yawn. I blink away the sleep, looking around my room... or a room. This sure as hell ain’t my room. For one, it’s too bare. I mean, there’s just a table with a lamp on the other side of the room, a cabinet, the bed and another table and lamp next to that. My room’s normally a mess, with costume pieces, half-written scripts, and various other assorted things found in a film student’s room.
“Okay guys, nice prank, the hell am I?” I ask before frowning. That voice isn’t mine, not even on helium did I sound like that. “Seriously, the fuck did you guys do to my voice?” I move to get out of the bed, only to faceplant rather hard. Okay, ow. Seriously, that hurt like a bitch. I sit back up, rubbing my head... that’s not a hand. I moved the appendage in front of my face, just staring at it. My hand was gone, replaced by a pink hoof.
“Why the hell is there no mirror in this room?” I ask, not looking away from the hoof. Well... might as well get this over with and get the panic out of the way. Okay... one... two... three... Yup. Thats really all I can say. I’m naked, covered in pink fur and lacking anything male between my legs. What really got me was the three balloons on both of my hips, a dead giveaway of what I had become.
“So, what? I’m Pinkie Pie now?” I ask, poking my snout with a hoof, having just noticed it in the bottom edge of my vision. Okay... I’m not panicking, at least not for the moment, that’s good. I get to my feet... hooves I suppose now. After several more instances of falling flat on my face, I’ve come up with a few theories on what might be going on. First theory, I really am Pinkie and I’ve had a psychotic break and everything I remember about being human is all made up. Second, I’m having a lucid dream. Lastly, this is all real and I’ve been put into Pinkie’s body.
“Well, I don’t dream, I think therefore I am so... option three it is.” I tap my chin, various ideas going through my head, “I think that this calls for some experimentation!” I don’t know why but just the tone of my voice sends me into a laughing fit. I recover quickly, shaking my head, “Ok, let’s try not do that again, now how does Pinkie do this?” I reach up into the mess that was my mane and fish around for a little. I frowned, pulling out a notebook. “Really? I was going for a notePAD. Ok... can I get a pen?” I ask, reaching up again, pulling out a pencil, “Eh... that works.” I move over to the bed, jumping back up on it.
I spend the next few minutes doing various experiments with what I could now do as Pinkie. As it turns out, I can only ‘conjure’ up things close to what I want. For example, I wanted a sandwich and it gave me a hoagie. Not that I’m complaining, it made for one hell of a breakfast. I found out I can do that weird finger inflation thing Pinkie did that one time... never again. Ugh... so creepy.
“Wait... doesn’t Pinkie have a job?” I ask myself, finding it odd that neither of her or I should say my bosses had come come to get me yet. “Fuck... I don’t know how to bake...” I sigh, moving up to the door, only to stare at the knob. “Fuck, I don’t know how to open doors with hooves!” I glare at it more, reaching up to touch the knob when... the fuck just happened? The door was there a second ago and now I’m looking at a wall. I look over my shoulder to see the door was now behind me. “Ok... think I just discovered Pinkie’s teleport...” I shake my head, trying to get my bearings. I cautiously trot downstairs, keeping my ears open for anyone else in the shop... house... whatever. I don’t find anyone, but there is a note on the counter. I ‘pick it up’, as in I somehow lift it up with my hoof, not sure how that works besides a wizard did it. “Dear Pinkie.... gone to Trottingham... took twins... day off.” Well that’s a load off my mind. So... what do I do now? A smirk grows across my face as a very... strange idea came to mind. “Dis gon b gud!”
So after about... an hour, I guess? I collected everything I needed. I got the high heels, I have no idea why ponies would have those, the fishnet stockings, the wig, lipstick, and all the other trappings of Tim Curry’s classic look. “Let’s do this,” I say, taking a breath before throwing open the front door of the shop, stepping out into town just as the music started to play... huh I wonder if I can do that on command... Anyway, I gotta town to mess with. So here I am, as Pinkie Pie, dressed up as Dr. Frank-N-Furter from Rocky Horror Picture Show, dancing around like an idiot as various ponies stare on. I gotta say, this is really really fun!
“Um... Pinkie dear,” a voice cut in over the music. I stop and look back, the music pausing. How even...? Nevermind. At the moment, Rarity is staring at me, a confused look on her face.
“Yes?” I ask, drawing the word out, striking a bit of a pose. Am I hamming this up? Yes, yes I am. But can you really blame me? I’m a director, and this is one of my projects. Gotta give my audience a quality experience.
“What are you, um... doing?”
“Did you just say ‘doing?’” I ask, rhyming the word with ‘boing’ as I smirk at her.
“What? No, I said doing. Doo-ing,” she clarified, looking my attire over. “Now, really, what in Equestria are you doing in that... outfit?”
“Well, you spelled it the same. Anyway, in all honesty? I dunno,” I tell her, shrugging. It’s not a lie, I really have no idea why I did this. Is this... is this what Pinkie’s life is like? Just having these urges to do strange things? Not a bad existence if you ask me. It could be worse... I could have become Rarity.
“Why don’t we go to my shop, hm? Maybe get you out of that... thing?” she offered, giving me a smile.
“Eh... I have the day off so lead the way!” I declare, pulling off the wig and wiping away the lipstick.
Rarity just rolled her eyes, muttering something under her breath, probably something about Pinkie being Pinkie. Note to self, tell them real name as soon as possible. If I’m going to be stuck here, I’m at least going by my real name damnit! ...Seriously, why the hell am I not freaking out about this? Eh... it doesn't matter really, at least I’m not running around like an... idiot... which I just did...
“Son of a...” I mutter, hanging my head, suddenly feeling like the village idiot. ‘Oh hey Floyd, what’d you do after you woke up as Pinkie Pie?’ ‘I dressed up and danced like an idiot instead of trying to get home.’ In the back of my mind, I hear the faintest of giggling. ‘Well fuck off Pinkie, it’s not fucking funny.’ That shut whatever it was up, though I feel kinda bad, what if it was Pinkie?
“Pinkie, are you feeling alright?” Rarity asked, looking over her shoulder at me.
“Yeah, I’m fine, just got a lot to think about at the moment,” I assure her, giving a smile. “I’m not exactly sure if you’d understand, really.”
“Why don’t you tell me about it over tea?” she asks as we reach her shop. I’ve got to say, it’s an interesting design. I’ve always wondered if she had it built, or was it already here? If it was already here what was it used for? It is shaped like a carousel, maybe some kind of carnival leftover? But it’s not an actual carousel... okay, not sure why I started going on a tangent, that must be a Pinkie thing, or is that a Floyd thing now? “Are you coming in?” Rarity asks, giving me a questioning look from the doorway.
“Yeah, sorry,” I give her a sheepish smile before trotting inside. Well, the place was cleaner than I expected. I mean, as an artist myself my place is always a mess as ideas come and go and I never really bother to clean it up. Then again, this is a business so it would make sense for it to be kept clean... or she just makes Sweetie Belle clean it. I could totally see Rarity doing that.
“Make yourself comfortable, I’ll be back in a moment,” she says, walking out into what I assume is the kitchen.
“Will do!” I call after her before stripping out of the costume. Ok, the mane can giveth but can it taketh? I reach up, pushing the high heels in first, blinking in surprise when they disappear from my grasp. “Answers that question.” Wait... I wonder. So remember how Mane-iac had a prehensile mane? Well in BATS! Pinkie did something similar: holding her flashlight with her mane. Let’s see if I can do that... I stare at the rest of the discarded clothing. After a few moments, my forelock, you know that piece of Pinkie’s mane thats always hanging in front of her face? Yeah that, it moved down, coiled around the clothing and pulled it back into my mane. “Yes! I am the greatest!” I shout before flopping down on Rarity’s couch, arms behind my head, a smirk on my face.
“Please don’t jump on the furniture darling,” Rarity comments as she walks out, carrying a tray with the kettle and tea cups in her magic. You know I’d be jealous about the magic but screw that noise, I can teleport! And I have the ‘giving tree’ mane. Who needs magic when you have those?
“Sorry Rares,” I say, looking at her, giving her another smile. Said smile turns devious as another prank forms in my mind. I shift a little, taking on the most sultry pose I can.
“Pinkie, what are you doing?” Rarity asked, watching me rather critically.
“Do I make you... horny... baby?” I ask with the best Austin Powers impression I can manage. “Do I?” Rarity just sputters, nearly spilling her tea, her eyes wide as saucers and her mouth was just flapping up and down. I burst out laughing, tumbling off the couch, snorting a few times. Oh god that’s funny! I can hear that faint laughter in the back of my head so obviously she finds this just as funny.
“That’s not funny!” Rarity hisses, a bright blush on her face.
“Oh but it is! You looked like a fish!” I snort, holding my sides. “Oh man... you have no idea how much I needed that.” I sit up, still fighting off the laughter. “Okay... okay, I’m good.” I snicker a little more, getting back onto the couch. I drop a few sugar cubes into my tea cup, lifting it up with my forelock, sipping at it, “Hm... pretty good but I prefer jasmine over earl grey.”
“Yes, well,” Rarity starts, primping her mane as she composes herself, “I’ll keep that in mind. Now,” she clears her throat, probably in the hopes of taking control of the conversation, “Why don’t you tell me what’s on your mind?”
“Well... theres the skull, then some soft tissue, muscle, the epidermis, fur, my mane.” I pause, seeing the frustrated look she’s giving me. “Oh you meant thought-wise, my bad.” So... moment of truth time. I’m not chickening out of this, I have to explain myself now, before I get outed later and look evil or something. “Alright Rarity. Um... I’m not... actually... Pinkie.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, when I went to bed last night I was a human male and not a pink mare,” I explain, looking into her eyes with as much seriousness as I could manage.
She stared at me for a few moments before taking one last sip of her tea. “You stay here er... Pinkie, I’m going to get Twilight.”
“You got it!” I reply, sipping my tea again, giving her a smile.
“Please try not to make a mess, I’ll be right back.” I watch as she puts a sun hat on and leaves the building.
“Well, I’m rather surprised, I thought a human in Pinkie’s head would have gone insane by now,” a rather familiar voice says from above.
“Oh, I’m a bit of an actor myself, not that hard to fill a role,” I comment, putting my tea down and looking up. Just as I suspected, Discord is above me, floating on a leaf.
“Well I’m glad to hear that.” He clears his throat, twiddling his thumbs a little. “So... you're probably wondering why you're here?”
“Gee, what gave it away?” I ask, giving him a flat look.
“Well, uh, funny story..,” he chuckles nervously, rubbing his neck, “Well... it’s my fault. I was trying to help a friend out a while ago and uh... your mind sorta fell through the cracks… later, somehow...”
“I can see helping a friend out. So just send me back.” Well it was fun Pinks, but I got a life to get back-
“I um... can’t.”
The room is dead silent for a while as I stare at him before a sound not unlike a deflating balloon breaks it and my mane collapses upon itself, falling straight down over my right eye. “What was that?”
“I can’t send you back,” he says with a gulp, backing away slowly.
My eye twitches and I get up, slowly moving over to him. “Oh it’s alright Discord, I’m not mad at you.”
“Y-you’re not?” he asks, sounding rather surprised, stopping in his tracks.
“Oh no, why would I be mad at you? You’re just the guy who tore me away from my life, my budding career, my family, my friends. I mean really, it’s no big deal.”
He just gulps, backing away a little faster than before.
“Hows about we take a walk over to the bakery, hmmm?” I suggest, tilting my head to the side as I widen my eyelids, my irises nearly pinpricks at this point.
“I-I don’t know about that...” he said, his back against the wall.
“Oh come on... we can make some... cupcaaaakes~” I singsong, an inequinely (and inhumanly) wide grin growing across my face. “Besides, I’ve never tried draconequus flavor before.” I lift a hoof up, somehow suddenly brandishing a large kitchen knife. “And I bet you taste delicious...” I drive the point home, running my tongue across the flat of the blade. And Discord was gone. He looked absolutely terrified before he burst into confetti and disappeared. I stare at the spot he had been for a moment before bursting into laughter, my mane popping back to its usual fluffiness. Yes, the joke was cruel but you know, I feel a lot better. As I lay there laughing like a mad man, a few tears streak down my face. I really am stuck here...
You know what I just realized? This place doesn’t have a clock in easy view. That’s kind of annoying. It’s been... half an hour I guess since I scared Discord off and I hadn’t seen hide nor hair of him... or anyone else.
“Actually, come to think of it... that may not have been my best plan...” I say to myself, sprawled out across Rarity’s couch, staring up at the ceiling. I had just scared the shit out of the god of chaos... not the smartest move. He’s probably off telling them how crazy I am or something...
“Kinda shot myself in the foot there... heh...” I sigh, letting one of my hind legs dangle off the couch. “The hell is taking them so long? I’ve never been more bored in my life.” I guess that’s the drawback of being Pinkie, you can do all this cool stuff but your attention span is fucked.
“You know... I never promised to stay here...” I get off the couch, stretching out like a cat, a few of my joints popping loudly. I let out a content sigh, cracking my neck. “I should probably leave a note though...” I reach into my mane, pulling out a sticky note pad and a pen.
“The hell was that?” I ask, looking around. I know that was Pinkie’s voice... She’s probably stuck in the back of my mind or something. “Look, I know I may have gone too far with that joke but you know, I needed to get that out of my system, okay? I’m not going to do that again, alright?” I feel a sudden release of annoyance, shaking my head.
“Weird... okay, back to the note...” I quickly scribble out a note with my forelock. Yeah, not using my mouth, I’d rather not find out what erasers taste like. Or pretty much anything else that’s not food, for that matter.
With that out of the way, I move toward the door, only for the universe to hit me with the weird hammer. My ears flop against my face, I blink involuntarily a few times, and my knees twitch.
“The hell man? Am I having a stroke or something?”
‘watch out for doors!’
“What does that even-” The door bursts open, whacking me in the face . “Son of a-” I roll around on my back, holding my nose, hoping it wasn’t broken.
“Oh, Pinkie!” a rather high pitched voice squeaks, moving over to me. Through the pain, I can see Sweetie Belle looking down at me, a horrified look on her face.
“Hey, I’b ok, doh worries,” I say with a wince and a sniffle, drawing my arms away and scrunching my nose a bit. A quick glance at my hooves shows that, thankfully, I do not have a nosebleed. Okay Pinks, I think karma just got back at me for that prank. I get to my hooves, shaking myself off like a cat. I turn to Sweetie Belle, seeing a worried Apple Bloom next to her.
“Ya sure yer ok Pinkie? That sounded like it hurt,” the little farm pony says, a pout on her face. Oh lord that face, it’s like... giving me this overwhelming urge to crack a joke.
“Hey now, I’m fine. I’m like a cartoon character, see? Watch this,” I reach into my mane and pull out a frying pan. Wait, what? I’m too late and the sound of ringing metal fills the air as I slam the thing into my face. I sit through the pain, swaying a little as chickens dance around my head. So can they see those as well or is it just me?
‘I’ve wondered that too’
I shake my head, following that with a rub, in hopes of stopping the ringing. “Okay... I just did that.” I turn to the crusaders, who looked rather confused and horrified. “So um... sup girls? Where’s Scootaloo?”
“Um Pinkie, ya sure yer ok? Scootaloo’s at remedial flight camp, she won’t be back for another two months.” Apple Bloom looks me over quizzically.
“I suppose she would need to go to a remedial camp, she is as flightless as a chicken.” I tap my chin, giving a nod.
‘That’s pretty mean you know.’
Okay, that may have been a little harsh.
“Let me give it to you straight girls, my name is Floyd. I’m trapped in Pinkie due to Discord fu–”
‘Oi! Don’t swear in front of foals!’
Right sorry, I don’t really have a filter on this stuff. “Like I was saying, Discord messed up and now I’m here instead of Pinkie.”
“Wait, are you a human? Like Lyra talks about all the time?” Sweetie Belle asks, gasping a little.
“Um...” I pause, looking at them hesitantly, “Yes...”
“That’s so cool!” she exclaims, her awe being replaced by a smile.
“What about Pinkie?” Apple Bloom asks, looking at my, what do you call that on a horse? Abdomen? Stomach?
‘Hey! We’re a pony, not a horse!’
Ugh, I don’t need a back seat narrator Pinkie.
“Is she gonna be yer foal?”
What!? Oh hell no! Pinkie pleasse for the love of all that is good and pure, please tell me that’s not where you are!
‘No way! I’m in our head not... there!’
“Oh, thank the maker,” I sigh with relief, confusing the fillies. “Thankfully no, Pinkie’s in my head so yeah... no foals.”
“Aw... but I wanted to see foal Pinkie.” Sweetie laments, pouting a little.
“Sorry kid, but that’s just how the cookie crumbles,” I say, shrugging a little.
“Well um... we were going into the Everfree but we need an adult so... would ya come with us, Pinkie?” Apple Bloom asks before she and Sweetie Belle press themselves together and give me a double dose of puppy dog eyes.
‘Don’t worry, we’re immune to their tricks.’
“First off, my name is Floyd, please call me that, and secondly, I’m not taking you into that forest. I’ve barely been here for more than a few hours, I’d rather not be eaten by a manticore or something.”
Both fillies let out an ‘aw’, looking at the ground with slumped shoulders.
‘We could take them to Sugarcube Corner for a treat.’
I don’t know how to bake Pinkie.
‘It’s easy! I’ll help Pinkie!’
First off, don’t call me by your name. We may be stuck in the same body but we are two separate people. My name is Floyd.
“How’s this sound, I’ll take you two to the bakery and we’ll get something to eat.”
“Yay!” the two cheer, high-fiving (high-hoofing?) happily.
“Now come on before I change my mind,” I say, opening up the door with my hair, heading out into town. The fillies follow after me, bringing a smile to my face. I let Pinkie give me the directions, having no idea where to go on my own.
“Hey Pinkie,” someone calls out, making me pause. I turn to the left, spotting Applejack waving at me.
“Oh uh, hi Applejack,” I say, walking over to her apple stand.
“You feeling alright?” she asks, looking me over. “Ya’ll just seem less... bouncy...” she makes an up-and-down gesture with her hoof, trying to get her point across.
“That’s not Pinkie sis, says her name is Floyd an’ she used ta be human!” Apple Bloom answered for me.
“Took the words right out of my mouth, kid,” I say, nodding to Applejack, “That explains it.”
“Really.” Applejack gives me a skeptical look. “Do the others know about this?”
“Well, Rarity knows. She went to get Twilight some time ago. And Discord knows, it’s apparently his fault I’m here,” I say, narrowing my eyes a little.
“Uh huh... so where ya’ll headed?” Applejack asks, seemingly put off by seeing her normally happy friend scowling in disdain.
“Sugarcube Corner. We’re getting something to eat.”
“How’s about I come with ya?” Applejack offers, though I get the feeling it’s not so much an offer as a statement of intent. I get where she’s coming from though, I’m a stranger, even if I look familiar.
“Sounds good to me, I dunno how to bake anyway,” I reply before starting to walk off, the bakery in sight. This is going to be fun... I think.
“How in the hay did you manage to burn three batches of cupcakes?” Applejack asks with a shocked look on her face.
‘It’s the baked bads all over again!’
Don’t make fun of me, I told you I can’t bake. I ordered out as much as possible.
“I suck at baking,” I say simply as I move behind the counter, a scowl on my face.
“Alright, how’s about ah just buy some cupcakes outta the case?” Applejack asks, moving out in front of said counter. Behind her, the CMC were waiting, rather boredly, at a table.
“Alright,” I say, pulling out some cupcakes from the display. “Uh... I’m not sure how much to charge you here...”
‘A plate of cupcakes is three bits!’
That was very helpful Pinkie, thank you.
I ring them up, taking the bits from Applejack and depositing them in the cash register.
“Huh my first sale, whoopie,” I comment, waving my hoof in a circular motion.
“Yer not very cheery are ya?” Applejack asks, placing the tray on her back with a frown.
“I get that a lot. Look, I’m trying, or rather I was trying, to become a horror movie director, it’s not my job to make people smile. It’s my job to scare the ever living hell out of them.”
‘Wait, was that a swear?
Quiet you, I’m talking about my passions here.
“You wanted to make movies to scare ponies?” Sweetie Belle asks, grabbing a cupcake off the tray.
“Why would ya do that?” Applejack asked, putting the tray on the table and taking a seat.
“Horror is just something I love. Life’s no fun without a good scare you know? Have you ever read, or been told, a scary story? Same concept, some people like it. It’s not for everyone but, you’d be surprised how much horror influenced cinema. Movies like Halloween, Psycho, Alien, and the granddaddy of them all Dracula all shaped movie history.”
They all just stare at me, having no idea what I was talking about.
I facehoof momentarily. “Okay. Think about Nightmare Night. It’s fun to get scared then, isn’t it?”
“Ah suppose it is,” Applejack says, taking a bite out of her cupcake. “Ah just can’t imagine Pinkie scarin’ ponies.”
“I already told you, I’m not Pinkie,” I tell her, pouting a little.
‘You should just go by my name.’
Well you know what? I’m not you.
“My name is Floyd and I’m a different person, even if I look like someone you know,” I say with a sigh, putting my head in my hooves. “Look just... don’t expect me to be her, okay? That’s not something I can do.”
“Ah sorry Pink– uh, Floyd,” Applejack caught herself before tapping her chin, “Ah think ah just thought up yer new name!”
I blink, processing that. “Wait, wait, wait, you want me to go around with the name of one of the most famous bands of all time?” I pause, thinking it over. “I can do that. Just don’t expect me to dress up like a Nazi and sing about putting people up against the wall.”
“What?” was all she asked, looking confused.
“It’s from a movie, I don’t think it’s suitable for ponies in general.” Well now I’m Pink Floyd, heh. I should totally get a prism. Maybe a necklace or something. Though this doesn’t solve the problem of people calling me Pinkie...
‘Ooh, we should make business cards!’
“Huh... that’s a pretty good idea,” I nod, before realizing I said that out loud.
“What’s a good idea?” Apple Bloom asked, looking up from her cupcake.
“Well uh... Pinkie suggested we make business cards with my new name on it,” I admit with a gulp.
“Ya mean, ya can hear Pinkie?” Applejack asks, a pleading look in her eyes.
“Yeah, yeah I can. I’m pretty sure I could have a conversation with her in my head at the moment.”
“So she’s okay?” Applejack let out a sigh of relief.
“She says ‘Yepperoonie,’” I say, relaying her message.
“Heh. That’s our Pinkie, alright.” Applejack nods, and the fillies nod along with her.
“You know, I should probably get back to Rarity’s place, she did kinda tell me to wait there for her and Twilight...”
“Come on, ah’ll take ya back,” Applejack says, getting to her hooves. I follow her out, making sure the fillies got out before I lock it up.
So here I am again... laying on Rarity’s couch, bored out of my mind. Again. Applejack had to go back to her stall and the girls went off to crusade or something. So... that just left me and Pinkie, staring at the ceiling... bored. Bored bored bored.
‘Well, I could teach you how to juggle’
Why in the world would I need to juggle?
‘Hey, juggling could save your life one day’
I open my mouth to argue but that one episode of Regular Show comes to mind... alright Pinks, let’s juggle!
‘Woot! Okay, first we need stuff to juggle, umm... oh! Use Rarity’s gems!’
As long as you know what you’re doing. I get up, moving over to Rarity’s gem chest. I take at least a dozen, moving back over to the couch. So... how do I do this?
‘Ok first, get up on your hind legs’
This is going to end in tears, I just know it... I get up on my hind legs, wobbling a little. God I miss being naturally bipedal. Okay, now what?
‘Now just throw them up in the air and keep them there!’
You have no idea how unhelpful that is. Fuck it. I toss the gems up into the air... and they just float there. Not falling, not going up, just floating there. I know time isn’t paused, as I can still hear birds and people outside.
‘I think you broke something’
Ya think? Alright I can fix this. I jump up, grabbing a gem, hoping my weight will pull it down. Except... it doesn’t. Goddamnit! I broke reality. “Come on you stupid thing! Get out of the air!”
“Um... Pinkie?” Rarity’s voice asks, cutting into my struggles. I turn my head to see her and Twilight standing in the doorway, looking both amused and confused at my antics.
“Oh uh... hi guys...” I say with a chuckle. “Not Pinkie, Floyd, remember? And I think I broke something. Pinkie was trying to teach me how to juggle.”
“You broke... gravity?” Twilight asks, raising her eyebrow.
“Maybe?” I ask, suddenly thinking of that one Ed, Edd n Eddy episode where they broke reality and Eddy ate the moon. That was a weird episode. A moment later, gravity has had enough with my shenanigans and reasserts its dominance, sending my chubby ass to the floor along with the gems.
‘Hey! We are not fat!’
I said chubby, not fat. I’m not even sure what’s overweight for a pony anyway. I manage to, somehow, twist in mid-air, landing on all fours like a cat. “Alright, that’s over with, let’s do this talking thing shall we?”
Twilight just stares at me for a while, obviously not happy about my affront to the laws of nature. “So... you claim that you're not Pinkie Pie?” she asks, moving closer to me, narrowing her eyes in scrutiny.
“Yup, name’s Floyd, nice to uh, meet you Twilight,” I say with a sheepish laugh as the alicorn walks around me. She stops, lights her horn up, and casts some weird spell on me. “The hell was that?!” I demand, feeling my skin crawl.
‘Hehe! That tickled!’
Ugh! I feel like I just got slimed...
“That was a changeling detection spell,” Twilight explains, looking me over once more. “You passed but I’m still not convinced you are who you say you are.”
Why did I think this was going to be easy?
“I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have revealed myself to you if I was a changeling, and that spell would have blown whatever cover I had.”
“Still, I’m going to run a blood test on you,” she continues, conjuring up some supplies. Oh for the love of god I’ve never wanted to facepalm harder in my life.
“I need a smoke...” I mutter before my eyes widen. If I am in Equestria, which most likely is a happy, peaceful world, then I highly doubt drugs exist, even the legal ones. Oh that’s just lovely: New body, species and gender topped off with withdrawal! I certainly hit the big times here. At least I just have the mental addiction... though I’m not sure if that’s worse than the physical symptoms. “Ow!” I glare at Twilight, who is holding a vial of what I assume is my blood, adding a little heat to it, and jiggling it around to... mix it? When nothing happens, she lets out a sigh of relief.
“Looks like you’re clear.” She gives me a smile, which I returned. This is why Twilight isn’t Best Pony.
‘Who is? Is it me? Wait no it's Luna!’
I dunno who best pony is Pinks, but it sure as hell ain’t Purple Smart over here.
“Ok now that you're sure I’m not a bug, can we please talk?” I ask, sitting on the couch, rubbing my arm where she drew the blood.
She nods, taking her own seat next to Rarity, “Of course. Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?” She pulls out a scroll and a quill, making me laugh. “What?” she asks, frowning.
“It’s just, you guys still use quills. Geez Twilight, I’d have thought you’d have invented the ballpoint pen by now.”
“The... what now?” she asks, even more confused now.
“Hold on,” I say reaching into my mane, fishing around. I pull something out, smirking as I spot a ballpoint pen at the end of my hoof. “Catch,” I say, tossing it to Twilight. She catches it in her magic, looking it over. “Click the top.”
“That’s amazing!” she gasps, watching as the tip comes out.
“Heh, that’s rather adorable,” I comment, getting comfy.
“Twilight dear, I think we’re getting off topic,” Rarity clears her throat, getting the alicorn’s attention.
“Oh, right,” Twilight says with a blush. “So... tell us about yourself.”
“Well, I’m twenty-four, I’m a full time film student, I got a few films under my belt. I don’t have any siblings, my parents are... let’s just say they didn’t approve of my choices. I love horror movies and literature in general and I used to be a male human,” I ramble off, waving a hoof around aimlessly.
“You mentioned being male before,” Twilight looks up from her scroll, “Aren’t you upset about losing your gender?”
“Eh... not really,” I admit, looking back at her. “I’m asexual so... yeah, I wasn’t using it for anything anyway.”
“I know one meaning of asexual, but I suspect you're not using it in the same context, would you mind explaining?” Twilight inquires, being rather respectful.
“Since you asked so nicely,” I give her a smile. “Asexual, at least in this context, means that I have no sexual attraction to either gender. Basically, I have little to no drive to reproduce.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever met anypony like that,” Rarity says, looking me over.
“Oh, you have no idea how diverse human sexuality is, but,” I shake my head, “I’d rather not have a talk about the birds and bees to two talking ponies.”
“Okay...” Twilight frowns, probably having wanted to inquire further on that topic. “Let me ask you a few more questions...”
So, apparently to Twilight, ‘a few more questions’ translates into several hours worth of interrogation. The sun’s already setting and I’ve done nothing but talk all day... which is the opposite of what I normally do, that being sit around and listen to some old fart go on about how “Citizen Kane” is the best movie of all time.
‘That sounds boring’
Oh it is, trust me.
“Are you sure you're going to be okay tonight?” Twilight asks as she walks me... home? I guess it is for the moment anyway.
“Yeah, I’ll be okay Twilight, no worries,” I assure her as we come up to the bakery. The lights are on inside and I pause. I locked the doors so either someone broke in or the Cakes are back. Oh shit, the Cakes are back! What the hell am I going to tell them!?
‘Just tell them the truth. They’ll probably understand and if not they’ll just think we’re being our usual self...’
You okay? You seem a little... down.
‘Well... it’s just that, I realize that some ponies don’t think I’m all there...’
Don’t worry about it, everyone is a little insane Pinkie, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. “Hey um, Twilight... could you stick around for a bit? To help explain things to the Cakes?”
“Sure, Floyd,” she says with a smile, leading us to the door. I take a deep breath, letting it out before pushing the door open. Sure enough, Mr. and Mrs. Cake are inside, busy in the kitchen. I assume they’ve already put the twins to bed.
“Oh there you are, Pinkie,” Mrs. Cake says with a smile, though it fades a little when she sees me look away. “Is everything alright?” she asks, concern evident on her face.
“Well you see... I’m not Pinkie Pie,” I start, looking down at my hooves. “My name is Floyd and I’m stuck in Pinkie’s body due to Discord’s fu– screw up. I swear I’m not some kind of monster, I’m just a guy who wanted to make movies...”
Silence fills the room and I just know the Cakes are exchanging looks with Twilight.
Pinkie... did you do something to make me not swear?
‘I just gave it a little poke. Please, please, please don’t swear around my friends and family. I don’t mind if you swear in here but foals could be listening outside’
Alright Pinkie, I’ll try, it’s the least I could do, just... no promises, okay?
“So... Floyd... is Pinkie okay?” Mrs. Cake asks, trying to fill the silence.
“She’s in here,” I tap my head a few times, “I can hear her thoughts and she can see, hear and feel everything I do... probably taste and smell, too... I think, we’ll need to test that out later.”
“Thats a relief,” Mr. Cake said, though I can see him exchanging looks with Twilight. Yeah, they think I’m crazy, great.
“If its okay with all of you, I’m going to head up to bed,” I move toward the stairs, looking back at Twilight, “I’ll see you tomorrow, Purple Smart,” I say before trotting upstairs. So far so good, they haven’t kicked me out of anything yet so that’s always good. I move over to Pinkie’s room, my room now I suppose, and step inside. I know they’re talking about me downstairs but I just... don’t really care at the moment. As I move over to the bed, I feel something grab onto my tail, squeezing gently. I look over my shoulder to see Gummy hanging there.
‘We forgot about Gummy!’
“Huh, I guess we did,” I agree, looking at the little gator. “Hey Gummy, um... hows it goin’?” I ask, giving him a small smile. He just blinks, one of his eyes locking onto me.
‘Aw, he missed us!’
How can you tell? He’s just staring at us.
‘You’ll get the hang of it, don’t worry’
If you say so. So... is he hungry or something? What does he eat?
‘Oh, yeah. Just give him some of the crickets in the container on the top shelf in the cabinet’
Huh, so he’s like a big gecko. Makes sense, he has no teeth. I walk over to the cabinet, stand up on my hind legs, and gingerly remove the container. Hey Pinkie, does he have like a tank or something? I don’t think any of us want crickets running around freely.
‘It’s under my bed. Our bed? I only ever put him in there to eat. He likes to cuddle in bed at night, it’s great on hot summer nights’
Heh an exothermic teddy bear, thats something only you could come up with. I pull the tank out, dangling Gummy over it. He releases my tail and drops into the tank, looking up at me expectantly.
‘Don’t give him too much or he’ll get a belly ache. I usually just give him a hoofful’
I reach into the container with a grimace, grabbing some crickets and dropping them to their doom. I watch Gummy devour a few of them before putting the container back. So, should we get ready for bed while he eats?
‘Well we didn’t really do much today so I think we can skip a shower’
Good, washing a coat of fur sounds like a pain in the ass. I trot into the bathroom, going about the motions: teeth brushing and all that. By the time I walk back into the bedroom, Gummy has finished his meal, sitting on his rock.
“Well come on, let’s get to bed, I just wanna catch some zzzs.” I lift him up before climbing into the bed, which is surprisingly easy with four legs and a gator in your arm. The little guy curls up to me, greedily taking in my body heat. So, yeah I’m now stuck in a world of talking ponies, I’ve become a pony and I’m sharing a bed with a toothless baby alligator that eats crickets. Yeah, life is strange.
‘Night Floyd, sleep tight’
You too Pinkie, you too.
Princess Celestia looked up as a swirl of green smoke flew in the window and gathered in front of her face, coalescing back into a scroll. She sighed a little, catching it in her magic before it fell into her soup.
“Another letter from Twilight?” Luna asked, looking up from her breakfast. It was their daily ritual to share the last meal of the day together, when Luna was rising and Celestia was winding down.
“It seems so,” Celestia said with a nod. Unfurling the parchment, her eyes scanned over the letter.
Celestia read over the letter again, a frown forming on her face. Twilight had written to her before about Pinkie’s fragile mental state but she never thought the mare would have such a serious breakdown. She set the letter down, quickly writing her response before sending it on its way.
“Is something wrong ‘Tia?” Luna asked, watching with interest.
“There may be something very wrong with Pinkie Pie, and that bodes ill for us all,” Celestia said, passing the scroll to Luna before standing up. “I shall sleep on this, good night sister.” She moved out of the dining hall, heading toward her room. Hopefully she could get to the bottom of this in the next few days, all of Equestria could very well depend on it.
Did I mention I hate waking up? I really, really fucking hate waking up. I was enjoying a nice restful sleep, in a nice warm bed, and then Twilight had to march her smart purple ass in and ruin it. I spent a good five minutes ranting at her, with Pinkie censoring my swears, which made it sound rather hilarious.
At least I don’t dream. I don’t want to see what Pinkie dreams about.
‘Baking mostly. Oh, and sometimes Cheese Sandwich’
Now I’m really glad I don’t dream. I don’t want to know how messed up your wet dreams are.
‘How can a dream be wet? Is it about swimming?’
OK, not touching that one with a ten foot pole.
“You’re going to love them Floyd,” Twilight cuts in, sounding infuriatingly chipper this early in the morning. I fucking hate morning people. Anyone this happy in the morning is evil and should be shot so the rest of us can sleep in.
‘Shot with what? A party cannon?’
Yeah, lets go with that. “Twilight, if Rainbow Dash gets in my face, I reserve the right to deck her.”
“Deck her?” Twilight asks, tilting her head to the side.
“Yeah, hit her in the face, hard.”
“You want to hit her!?” Twilight looks back at me with this wide eyed, horrified look.
“Only if she gets all up in my face.” I pause, looking up at the ugly ass crystal castle.
‘Hey, it’s not too bad’
Yeah, it wouldn’t be in a place of crystal, like say, The Crystal Empire, not in the middle of a rustic town like this. I’m not too into fashion but this clashes more than plaid and tye-dye.
“Well, come on then,” Twilight says, composing herself. “And please, don’t hit anypony.” She pushes open the doors, trotting inside.
“I make no promises Twilight,” I tell her, walking in after her. God, despite not really fitting the town, the castle itself is rather amazing. I can see my reflection in everything, it’s kinda trippy, like a funhouse.
We continue into the... throne room? Foyer of Friendship? Let’s go with council room. I see the others sitting in their respective thrones, though I don’t see Spike anywhere.
“Girls,” Twilight speaks up, getting their attention, “This is Floyd, though most of us have already met... her?” She gives me a questioning look, and I respond with a noncommittal shrug.
“Sup?” I ask, giving a bit of a wave. Dash was the first to react, zipping up to me and getting in my face.
“You're the alien that jacked Pinkie huh?” she asked, glaring into my eyes.
“First off, my name is Floyd, and secondly, I didn’t choose this, it’s Discord’s fault. Now get out of my face before I move you myself.”
Dash just glares harder and we stare at each other, neither of us backing down.
“Oh my, I don’t think Discord would do something like that on purpose,” Fluttershy spoke up, probably trying to keep two of her best friends from getting into a fist fight.
“He straight up told me he did,” I counter, looking away from Dash, “I kind of want to hit him, a lot.”
“Are all humans so violent?” Applejack asks, looking at me with a pout.
“No, I’m mostly just frustrated, I’m not going to hit him, even if it would feel good.”
“You take joy in hitting ponies?” Fluttershy gasps, covering her mouth.
“No, I said it would feel good to hit him. I didn’t say that I enjoy hitting people,” I say, rolling my eyes.
“Good job there Floyd, alienating ponies already,” Discord comments, appearing in the center of the room.
“Oh be quiet, ya Q rip off,” I hiss at him, narrowing my eyes, “Don’ make me get scary again.”
Discord’s eyes go a little wide and I swear he just gulped. “Now, now Floyd, you're just being a little... what's the expression? Pissy, thats it.”
“I think I have a right to be when you stole me away from my life!” I shout, glaring hard up at him. I want to strangle this asshole, why didn’t you leave my hands, you traitorous bastards!
“And I told you it was an accident! I didn’t do it on purpose!” he argues, crossing his arms. “Lyra wanted to see a human and I opened a little window for her and you happened to fall through the cracks.”
“That doesn’t let you off the hook!” I scream, moving to pounce on him, only to be held in place by Twilight’s magic. I thrash around pitifully, letting out a scream of rage. I keep going for a few moments before giving up and just floating there, panting a little. I blink, feeling a sudden warmth spread throughout my body. Pinkie is that you?
‘Yeah, I thought you could use a hug’
Heh, only you could come up with a brain hug. I look around, seeing that the ponies were all wearing slightly horrified looks. I’d probably be wearing a similar look if my normally cheery friend just tried to maul someone.
“Ok... I’m good, you can put me down now Twilight,” I look at her, feeling rather exhausted from my outburst, both mentally and physically. She studies me for a moment before releasing me, though I can tell she’s ready to grab me again if I try anything.
“You should really be thanking me Floyd,” Discord looks down at me, having covered himself in body armor. “Who knows where you’d be right now?”
“I’d be home, you jackass,” I say with a weak glare, most of my anger having been vented.
“No, you’d be dead.”
I stop, blinking up at him in confusion, “The hell are you talking about?”
“Floyd, I told a half-truth before. It was an accident, and I was helping a friend, but the reason you can’t go home is because well... you bit the bullet, as it were.”
“W-what....?” I ask dumbly, staring up at him. He’s just fucking with me, theres no way I died, I would have remembered that.
“See, that little window I opened up was right at your theater set. You were up on the catwalk and while Lyra and I were watching, the supports gave out and you fell. Head first. I was going to lend a claw but the window limited my influence in your world, so... all I could manage to do was snag your soul. I was going to put you in one of the Cake twins but... I missed. Obviously.”
I just stare at him, my mind racing. I was dead? That was... I c-can’t...
‘Floyd? Are you OK? Floyd? Floyd!’
The world starts to spin and the sensation of falling takes over. After a soft thud, I lay there, hearing the muffled shouting of the girls as I stare up at the ceiling. The world fades out, giving into the darkness...
“Floyd!” Pinkie’s voice shouts, as someone shakes me rather vigorously. I groan as I open my eyes, seeing a relieved looking Pinkie looking down at me through tear-stained eyes.
“What?” I ask with a groan, sitting up. I run a hand over my– wait, hand? I look down, relief filling me as I see that I’m me again, wearing the exact clothes I wore before... I take a look around, noting that we’re on my last theater set. The catwalk is hanging from the ceiling, some of its supports broken.
“Floyd, you’re awake!” Pinkie shouts happily, wrapping her arms around me in a tight hug.
“Pinkie? So... I guess... I guess I really am dead...” I whimper, hugging her tightly. “W-what am I gonna do, Pinkie?” I feel tears sliding down my face as I hug her tighter. “When Discord told me he couldn’t send me back it hurt but... why does it hurt more knowing it’s because I’m dead?”
“Just let it all out,” Pinkie coos softly, stroking my head as I cry into her mane. We sit there crying for who knows how long before another voice cuts in.
“Greetings Pinkie Pie and Floyd,” Princess Luna’s voice calls as she trots over to us, her hooves loudly clomping across the stage. I ignore her, choosing instead to hug Pinkie even closer to me.
“Hello Luna,” Pinkie says, still stroking my head, “I don’t think Floyd can talk right now, he’s really sad.”
“I can see that,” Luna replies, sighing a little. “I am sorry this happened to you, Floyd, and I promise we will do everything we can for you.”
“What am I going to do?” I snap, turning to glare at her, “My life is gone. I’ll never have a career, I’ll never patch things up with my folks and worst of all, I’m stealing Pinkie’s life.”
“You’re not stealing my life,” Pinkie tries to soothe, though I know she’s just trying to make me feel better.
“Yes I am Pinkie, you’ve become just an observer to your own life now because I took the steering wheel from you,” I argue. She opens her mouth to counter before Luna speaks up.
“You should not burden yourself with something you cannot control, Floyd,” the princess says, trotting over to us. “Even now my sister and young Twilight are working to give you your own body. It will be pony in nature, of course,” she looks me over with a sad look, “as we have no idea how to make a human body.”
“So that’s it? I’m just supposed to be a pony and be happy?” I snark, looking away from her. Figures, I’m screwed no matter what. Fuck my life.
“No Floyd, you are to keep being yourself. Which is why I am here,” Luna starts, looking between us, “The longer the two of you share a body the more your minds will merge until there is nothing left of your individual personalities. You may have noticed changes already, but it is still not too late.”
“How are you going to keep that from happening Princess Moonbutt?” I ask, cuddling Pinkie close to me. God she’s like a big teddy bear... it’s rather comforting, I gotta admit.
“A simple spell that will keep your memories and thoughts separate from one another,” Luna says, charging up her horn. She cast the spell a moment later, making me shudder a bit at the feeling. Damn does magic feel weird as hell. I wonder what it feels like to cast spells? “There,” Luna says with a smile, “Your minds should be sufficiently protected from each other now.”
“Wait,” I speak up, looking at the two, “If you're here Luna that means... I’m dreaming.” I look up at her with a glare. “I. Do not. Dream.”
“I had to force your mind into a dreaming state,” Luna says with a sheepish smile, “I apologize for the intrusion but the spell would not have worked in the waking world.” Great, just great. I have the horse version of Freddy Krueger forcing me to have dreams. At least she’s not homicidal. Yet.
“Just stay out from now on, I like my sleep dreamless thank you very much,” I retort, crossing my arms. Stupid dream horse, needs to stop sticking her nose into my head.
Pinkie pokes me in the chest. “Pony.”
“Gah! Stop reading my thoughts she-demon!” I hiss, glaring at her while she just smirks at me.
“I am afraid I cannot do that. I must monitor the spell to make sure it stays up. Besides, you two are my subjects and it is my duty to make sure your dreams are pleasant.”
“I’m not your subject,” I point out, giving her a flat stare.
“Not yet you're not Floyd,” Luna said with a smirk, “My sister is already working on making you an official citizen of Equestria.”
“God you people work fast.” I just stare at her for a few seconds. “Why aren’t you guys ever this effective when shit goes down and things like Tirek happen?”
Luna snorts, not exactly happy at me pointing out the obvious. “We cannot always be ready for everything.” She looks like she’s going to say more but the world is starting to turn white. “Hmm... it looks like our time is up. Farewell Pinkie Pie, Floyd, until next time.”
Ugh my head, it feels like I got hit with a brick. Dreaming sucks, never wanna do it again.
“Hey, Floyd’s wakin’ up,” Applejack’s voice calls out, followed by the sounds of her moving closer. “Just you take it slow sugarcube, ya had quite the shock.”
“I’m fine,” I tell her. I sit up, causing the damp rag they had placed on my forehead to fall into my lap.
‘You’re not fine and you know it’
Ugh, I thought you had your thoughts separated from mine.
“Just lay back now,” Applejack insists, gently pushing me back down. She replaces the rag, and I will admit, the rag feels kinda good.
‘We are still kinda sharing a brain here, if you hadn’t noticed’
Yeah, yeah, whatever.
“Floyd, somepony has something to say to you,” Fluttershy says, trotting over. Discord floats up next to her, clearing his throat.
“I’m sorry for not telling you you were dead before this... along with trying to put you in one of the Cake twins... I mean really, do I have to apologize for that last bit?” he asks the girls with a pout.
“You tried to overwrite one of the Cake twins with his soul!” Twilight snaps at him, to which he rolls his eyes.
“Oh please, they’re too young to even have their own personalities yet,” he counters.
“Actually Discord... they kinda do,” Dash speaks up, “I’ve foalsat a few times when Pinkie couldn’t, those two definitely have their own personalities already.” I can’t argue with her, those two were their own ponies even as far back as the first episode they showed up in.
“Well... what else was I supposed to do with him?!” Discord asks, throwing his arms out, “Souls can only survive for so long outside of a body before they start to fade.” Well shit, I’m kinda glad I got put in here then.
‘I’m glad to help you out, Floyd. You’re one of the most interesting friends I have!’
Aw, thanks Pinkie.
“I think we should let Floyd rest, everypony,” Rarity pipes up, much to my relief, “She’s been through a lot and we can work it all out when she’s had time to process it all herself.” Leave it to Rarity to have the most common sense... which is ironic considering how easily she overreacts to everything.
I thank them all, watching as they file out of the room. I close my eyes, letting out a long sigh and taking in the silence of the room. This is my life now, for better or worse.
‘You’ll always have me Floyd, no matter what okay? We’re like twins now!’
Heh, I dunno about that. I smile just a tiny bit, letting sleep take me once more.
The trains here are very relaxing. They’re not like the ones back on Earth. Less utilitarian than modern trains, I can only imagine this is what trains of the late 1800’s - early 1900’s were like. The girls are sitting a bit away from me, leaving me to my thoughts. It’s nice of them, to let me work out what’s going on in my head.
‘They’ll help, you know. You can talk to them, Floyd. Letting bad feelings rattle around your head isn’t good, take my word for it’
I shudder, the image of crazed Pinkie from Party of One flashes into my head. Yeah I hear ya Pinkie, but I just need to figure some things on my own. I do wish however, that our mane hadn’t deflated. It gives people the wrong impression. I’m not going ‘Cupcakes’ I’m just... I dunno depressed maybe?
‘Some things in life are bad~’
Are you... singing?
‘They can really make you mad~’
Why does that sound so familiar?
‘Other things just make you swear and curse. When you're chewing on life’s gristle, Don't grumble, give a whistle! And this’ll help things turn out for the best... And...’
‘Always look on the bright side of life~!’
God damnit Pinkie! You watched Life of Brian in my memories didn’t you!? Ugh... and now she’s still singing... well, she does pull it off pretty well, all things considered.
‘So always look on the bright side of death~’
The sound of a record scratch fills my head and Pinkie just stops singing. Uh... you OK, Pinks?
‘Why is there death in this song!? This is supposed to a happy song!’
I actually laugh out loud, causing the girls to give me some odd looks, not that I care, Pinkie’s freak out is hysterical.
‘It’s not funny! What kind of horrible pony writes a song like that?! It sounds like a happy song!!’
Actually, it’s called lyrical dissonance. Some songs sound happy but their lyrics are rather dark, like Semi-Charmed Life, which is about cocaine and sex. It’s a fairly common trope in human music. I’m not surprised ponies don’t have it.
‘That’s a horrible thing! Whoever came up with it is a meanie pants!
Nah, just means humans are more emotionally developed than ponies... for the most part, anyway. We don’t just celebrate the good times, ya know.
“So uh, Floyd... what’s so funny?” Dash gets my attention, asking the question that’s on all their minds.
“Well, Pinkie found a song in my head and...” I pause, a devious smirk crossing my face, “And she took issue with the lyrics.”
“Um... what kind of issues?” Fluttershy asks, a frown forming on her face.
“Oh see, it was this song these two Russians made about lesbianism. Pinkie was telling me that the song was inadequate to describe the feelings she has for Twilight.”
‘What!? No I didn’t!
“S-she what?” Twilight asked with wide eyes, a blush forming on her cheeks.
“Yup, she even went into detail about just what exactly she’d like to do to you,” I say, getting into the best provocative pose I can, batting my eyelashes at Twilight, “You know... I know I’m ace but I’d totally be up for trying anything once, Twilight.”
Twilight just stares at me like a deer in headlights, her eyes wide and her mouth flapping open soundlessly. The others share similar looks, all staring at me before I bust out laughing, falling off my seat and rolling around on the floor.
‘Floyd! I do not like Twilight like that!’
Aw, but you’re so cute together, though I suppose you have the hots for Cheese, right?
‘Are all humans so mean?’
Alright, alright sorry, just chill out Pinkie. You’re lucky, normally my pranks involve scary props and fake blood and body parts... wait is this what Luna meant when she said we had already merged a bit?
‘I dunno, do you feel like baking?
Thankfully, no I don’t. Hey... you feeling lightheaded?
‘OHMYGOSH Floyd, you forgot to breathe!
I take in a big gasp of sweet, sweet air, much to my lungs’ eternal gratitude. My sudden gasp got the girls out of their funk and made them run over to me.
“Floyd you alright?” Applejack asks, helping me sit up.
“Yeah I’m okay... I just kinda... forgot to breathe...” I admit sheepishly, taking another deep breath, letting it out slowly to savor the precious air.
“How the hay did you forget to breathe?” Dash questions, looking at me with a raised eyebrow.
“Well you see uh... Pinkie was scolding me over the joke and well, I kinda just stopped paying attention to everything else...” I tap my hooves together, letting out a sheepish laugh.
“Heh, it was a pretty funny joke,” Dash says, giving me a grin.
“No it wasn’t, it was horrible! It's unladylike to talk so openly about such things,” Rarity tells us, primping up her mane.
“Yup, had you dead on for a prude,” I mutter, causing her to gasp.
“I am not a prude!” she argues, glaring at me.
“Eh... ya kinda are Rarity,” Applejack agrees, looking at me with a wink.
“You’re one to talk Applejack! What about that time I caught you and Big Mac in the barn?”
“I already told you we was just wrasslin’! It’s not my fault ya’ll read those smutty books!”
“My romance novels are not smutty!”
I just sit back with Rainbow Dash, watching the two argue back and forth as Twilight tries to get them to calm down, while Fluttershy just sits there, a deep blush gracing her cheeks.
‘You know, Flutters has the biggest collection of fetish porn in town. It’s all hidden under her bed. I think she wants to try some of it out on Discord.’
I bust out laughing, falling backwards. It’s always the quiet ones I tell ya.
You know, this place kinda reminds me of film school. Lots of jerks walking past you sticking their noses up in the air, thinking they're better than you. Don’t get me started on the indie film scene, it’s a headache I don’t want.
‘Well aren’t you an indie filmmaker?’
No, I’m a film student. I’ve worked on a few indie films. It sucked hard, at least in my experience. Anyway, Canterlot is full of snobbish unicorns, that should have been obvious. Twilight seems at home though, currently she’s listing off various landmarks and I feel kinda bad that I’m not really paying attention.
“Are you paying attention?” Twilight questions, making me wince.
“Umm... no,” I admit with a cough, cringing under her annoyed look. “I kinda zoned out after you started to talk about your favorite quill shop, my bad.”
“Well, at least she’s honest,” Applejack says with a chuckle. We make our way up to the castle, which is rather impressive by the way, stopping so Twilight can talk to the guards at the gate. I look to the closest guard, just standing there, staring straight ahead. I can’t help but think of the stereotypical British guards. Great, now I just want to dance around and make funny faces and see if I can get a rise out of him.
‘Oooh! That sounds fun! Can we do that?’
As tempting as that is, lets not, best get that kinda thing on film. It’d make for one hell of a Youtube video, that's for sure. I am so gonna miss Youtube the most. Twilight just sighs and shakes her head as the guards open the gate up, allowing us inside.
We chat as we walk, as Twilight babbles on about the castle. Not that I’m not interested... okay I’m not, but I feel like I’ve stepped onto the set of The Lord Of The Rings. Everything just looks amazing and I swear the gold colored bits all around the castle are gold. You could probably pay off the U.S. national debt with this place alone.
‘How does a country get into debt? That doesn’t make any sense!’
It happens when you book two wars on a credit card, or spend all your money on your military... HOLY CRAP the stained glass windows! Out of all the things I’ve been wanting to see here, those windows were one of the highest on the list. I stop and gaze up at them in wonder, starting at the beginning with the window depicting Luna being restored to ending with a window depicting Tirek getting his ass kicked. You know... I wonder how they fixed them after Discord changed them and Tirek melted the one of Twilicorn.
‘They probably just had Discord fix it, I mean he is on probation’
Wait, you’re telling me that he nearly helps the bastard son of Shang Tsung and Motaro take over the world and he gets off with probation!? Sombra must have done something really fucking bad if his punishment was straight up death.
‘That was an accident... none of us knew that the Heart would do that to him...’
Hey... don't cry! Uh.... uh...
“They are pretty, no?” a voice cut in, distracting me and Pinkie from our troubles. I cast a glance to my left to find Blueblood of all ponies sitting next to me. He’s looking up at the Twilicorn window with a forlorn look on his face. “You know... I always thought it would be me up there but... some things are just not meant to be.”
“Eh, don’t feel too bad, not a lot of us could grow wings,” I state simply, giving him a wary look.
“You’re one of those mares that ruined the last gala, right?” he asked, turning to look at me. I’m actually surprised he remembers that, Id have figured he would have just forgotten. “Yes... I believe your name is... Pinkie Pie.”
“...Yes and no... Just call me Pink,” I tell him, not really wanting to explain this whole mess to him.
“Hmm, alright Pink,” he says, a small smile playing on his muzzle, “I imagine your friend didn’t have very nice things to say about me?”
“Who, Rarity?” I ask, to which he nods. “Yeah, she doesn’t like you at all. I’m actually surprised you're even talking to me.” I really am, I half expect him to call me a filthy commoner and walk away with his nose in the air.
His smile falters, “I didn’t think so. I’ve tried to apologize but alas, she has ignored every attempt...” He sighs, shaking his head.
“Wait, you tried to apologize?” I ask, getting really confused. “If you’re sorry, why’d ya act like such a dick in the first place?” My elegant choice of words catch him off guard for a moment before he starts to speak.
“Well... a lot of mares have this expectation of me, that I’m some kind of white knight and a dream come true. As soon as I saw her I knew she didn’t want me, she wanted her version of me. So... I ruined her image of me. Probably not the best plan but... I didn’t know what else to do...”
“Yeah, that was a rather stupid move, but I get where you're coming from.” I nod my head, “Must be hard to keep up with all those expectations.”
“I make do,” he says, “I imagine you’re here to see my aunt?”
“Yeah, personal reasons and all that.”
“Are you... free afterwards?” he asks, catching me off guard. Is he asking me out?
‘Well technically he’s asking us out, we’re a two-fer’
Ugh. I’m really not sure what to do here. I mean on the one hand, I should have seen this sort of thing coming, being a mare now. On the other hand, I have utterly no idea what to do in this situation.
‘Just tell him we’re not interested. You don’t have to be mean about it, but let him know that he’s not our type’
Well no duh he’s not my type but let me guess, your type is Cheese Sandwich, right?
‘I-I have no idea what you’re talking about’
If you say so Pinks.
“Sorry but after this meeting we’re heading straight back to Ponyville,” I let him know, feeling a bit bad as his smile falters.
“Oh, too bad...” he says with a sigh. Damn it! Now I’m feeling bad for Blueblood!
“Floyd,” Twilight calls, causing us both to look back at her. She’s standing at the doorway on the other side of the hall, looking impatient.
“That’s my cue Bluey, seeya around!” I call before trotting off toward Twilight. I give her a sheepish look as I walk past, entering into the throne room. Celestia is sitting on her throne, looking at me with a raised eyebrow.
“I take it you are Floyd?” she asks, a hint of amusement in her voice. She looks me over, making me gulp a little.
“That’s correct ma’am.” I nod. “Pink Floyd, at your service,” I state with a quick bow.
“Please, there is no need to bow,” she says with a dismissive wave of her hoof, giving me a disarming smile. I return it with a sigh of relief, straightening up. “I requested your presence here so I may meet you in person. Both Twilight and Luna have assured me that you are quite harmless but I would like to find out for myself.”
“Of course, your highness,” I say with a nod, feeling my heart start to hammer in my chest.
‘Just relax Floyd, Princess Celestia is one of the kindest ponies ever, she won’t hurt you. Just relax and everything's gonna be alright’
Stop quoting songs damnit.
‘Hey I don’t know much about this Marly, but he had the right idea!’
I sigh, shaking my head, looking up at Celestia,”What is it you wish of me, your highness?”
“Just a few questions.” She gives me that disarming smile again. “Why don’t you tell me about your life before you...arrived here?” she asks, dancing around the whole death thing.
“Well, I was going to film school and I would have graduated next year, whatever that’s really worth,” I say with a shrug, looking down at my hooves. “I got really good grades... except for that one project that bitch Jessica ruined!” I sneer, snorting in anger.
“All she had to do was edit! But no! She had to replace the footage with her own crappy movie!” I seethe, shaking in barely contained rage. I take a few deep breaths, looking up at the princess. “Sorry about that... I haven’t had a smoke in a while and I’m jonesing hard...”
She starts to speak but I can’t really hear her, all I can think about is the strange pressure building up in my head. I shake my head, pawing at it in futility. After a few moments, there’s a loud pop and something slides out of my ear. “The fuck was that!?!”
“Yay! It worked!” Pinkie shouts from next to me. Wait, what!? I look to my left to see Pinkie, as a damn ghost, smiling and waving at me.
“Pinkie!?” I ask, my eye twitching.
“Yuppers!” she says, jumping up and down with an insane grin on her face.
“Uh, Floyd?” Dash asks, looking at me like I was insane, “Who the hay are you talking to?”
“Pinkie Pie!” I shout, pointing at her, “She popped out of my head!!” I wave my hoof at her as she giggles to herself, her hoof phasing in and out of Twilight.
“Uh...” Twilight stares at me, oblivious to Pinkie’s antics. “I don’t see anything Floyd... you sure you’re ok?”
“I am not insane!” I shout, causing them all to flinch back. We stand there in silence for a moment before the doors open and Luna pokes her head in.
“I’m not interrupting am I?” she asks, her eyes moving around the room until they lock onto Pinkie. “Ah,” she starts with a smile, “Seems the spell is working properly.”
“Oh, thank god.” I let out a sigh of relief, glad I’m not losing my mind. “Wait... you knew about this!?”
“Of course I did, Floyd,” Luna said with a laugh. “Astral projection is a common side effect of the separation spell.” She smirks, watching Pinkie make faces at Celestia. “Well, I must get back to sleep, I just want to make sure everything was alright, good day everypony.” She gave one last smile before ducking out of the room.
I sigh, hanging by head a little, Pinkie’s little escape having given me a migraine, “Can we just... go home? My head hurts...” This place is seriously going to be the death of me.
“Yes of course,” Celestia says with a nod and a motherly smile, “I don’t want to keep you if you’re no longer feeling up to it. We can talk later.”
“Thank you, princess,” I say, giving her a tired bow before turning and heading out of the room. God... I need a smoke...
Celestia raised her eyebrow as Blueblood trotted into the throne room, a dreamy look on his face. “Something wrong, nephew?”
“She called me Bluey....” he mumbled out, sitting down, letting out a forlorn sigh.
“Who did?” Celestia asked, a smirk already forming on her face.
“That nice pink mare...”
Celestia’s grin got even bigger, a twinkle of mischief in her eyes. “Oh really?”
I sigh as we trot into the castle, following after the girls, Pinkie at my side. God my head hurts...
“Hey, cheer up Floyd,” Pinkie tries to console me as we enter the throne room.
I’m really not in the mood for this Pinkie, my head hurts and I just want to take a nap... I move over to the throne with Pinkie’s cutie mark on it. I climb onto it, curling up, resting my head on my arms. This is actually kinda comfy...
“Well, it is magic, silly.” Pinkie giggles at me.
“Stop reading my mind...” I grumble, putting my hooves over my head.
“That's still weird as hay you know,” Dash comments, causing me to groan more. Before I can reply, the ground starts to shake. What the fuck is that?! I open my eyes to watch in horror as the map, the fucking cutie map rises out of the ground. Oh fuck no! No! No! No! No! No!!
“Is that new?” Spike asks, sitting up on his throne. He looks at the map and smiles. “I like it!”
“Oooh! It’s all shiny!” Pinkie bounces over to it, waving her hoof in it, somehow making the image flicker.
“No!” I shout at the top of my lungs, finding the energy to get to my hooves. “I ain’t fucking going to that creepy fucking place! I’m not getting turned into a fucking mindless drone communist!” I roar, wishing the throne wasn’t attached to the floor so I could smash the fuck out of the stupid map.
“And to use such language in front of poor Spikey Wikey!” Rarity wails, covering the annoyed dragon's ears.
“Shove it, drama queen!” I snap back, “I ain’t going to that fucking town and none of you can fucking make me! Destiny can go screw itself! I ain’t fucking Pinkie Pie!”
“Whoa there! Whats got all you riled up? It’s just a map,” Applejack says, trying to calm me down.
“No it's fucking not! You all may be fine with being destiny's bitch but I’m not! I make my own fate, damnit!” I seethe, breathing rather heavily.
“Floyd... do you... do you know what this map is?” Twilight probes gently, raising a hoof up to her chin.
“Oh, yes I do. That stupid map sends you all to do its bidding to solve ‘friendship problems,’” I air quote, feeling the rage slowly flow out of my body. “And the first place it sends you to is a fucked up sameness cult where you get your cutie marks stolen.”
“What? You can’t steal cutie marks!” Dash scoffs with a dismissive wave of her hoof.
“If that is true then... we should do something about it...” Twilight gazes at the map rather intently, “Stolen cutie marks isn’t something we should leave alone...”
“Ah’d like to know how Floyd knows,” Applejack speaks up, causing all eyes to fall on me. Wonderful just wonderful, I had to open my big fucking mouth.
“Like I said, in my world you and your world are fictional. I know a fair bit of what's going to happen, and no I’m not going to tell any of you so don’t fucking ask...” I sit back on the throne, sagging a little, my headache having tripled in severity due to my freak out.
“I think we should go, girls,” Twilight says, looking at the map one last time. “The map obviously wants us to go and we could do those ponies a lot of good.”
“Yeah have fun with that, I ain’t going,” I inform them, curling up again. “Have fun in cult town.”
“Floyd,” Pinkie chastises, “We can’t just let our friends go by themselves, they need us.’
“They’re your friends, not mine.”
I let out a deep sigh, once again getting to my hooves. “Fine, I’ll go, but I reserve the right to bitch and moan and curse them out.” I don’t wait for their reply, simply trotting out of the room.
I sulk on the train ride, curled up away from the others, ignoring all their attempts to get me out of my funk.
“Floyd, I thought we talked about this,” Pinkie frowns, looking at me in concern. “It’s not good to let bad things rattle around your head.
I swear to all that is holy, you better not start fucking singing.
“Do you really have to use words like that? Kids could be reading this, you know...”
Story's mature. If they ignored the rating then fuck them. Wait... what the hell did I just say?
“Don’t worry about it,” Pinkie says, her frown deepening. “You promised you wouldn’t swear at my friends...”
I said I’d try, I didn’t promise anything. I sigh, rubbing my head. I’m sorry Pinkie, it's just... this is all so much all at once... I just want to sleep...
“Then sleep, silly! We can hang out in your dreams!” she said, flashing me a bright smile that didn’t help my mood at all.
That actually sounds really nice. I close my eyes and despite the pounding headache, manage to fall asleep.
I’m suddenly in my old tree house, with Pinkie rummaging through my stuff.
“What, ah... whatcha doing there Pinkie?” I ask, looking over her shoulder as she digs around in a box of my old junk.
“Just exploring~!” she singsongs, humming softly, “Human stuff is ssoo interesting! Like this thing!” She pulled out my old Game Boy, waving it around, “What's it do?”
I chuckle, taking it from her. “So you raided my memories for a Monty Python song but you didn’t take what a Game Boy was?” I roll my eyes, turning it on. “It’s a Game Boy, Pinkie, a portable game system, kinda like those arcade games you have but smaller.”
“Ooh, sounds fun!” She props herself up using my leg, watching as I play Super Mario Land. “Can I try?” she asks, reaching to take it from me.
“Sure, go ahead.” I pass it to her, taking a seat. She sits on her haunches, somehow playing with her hooves. “How are you doing that?”
“Oh silly, you already know, there's just no way to express it in words for the readers to understand!”
“Huh, guess that makes sense...” I say, rubbing the back of my head.
“So... you know the future, huh?” Pinkie asks, pouting as a Goomba gets her.
“Yup... and I’m not happy we’re going on this stupid mission,” I reply, closing my eyes, “We should have just stayed home and slept in...”
“We can’t do that! We’re Laughter itself! You need the whole set or it just doesn’t work!” she argues, not looking away from the screen.
“No, you’re Laughter, I’m just an asshole you took the driver’s seat.”
She sighs, shaking her head. “You heard Luna, Floyd. I got a little of you and you got a little of me, we’re like uh... what’s the word when you’re twins but not really twins? Paternal?”
“Fraternal,” I correct.
“Yeah! That! Besides, with the two of us, I’m sure there isn’t anything we can’t overcome!” She puts the game down, pulling me into a tight hug. I can’t help but smile, returning her hug.
“You’re like a big teddy bear...” I mumble, petting her back.
“Hehe, stop that! I’m not a dog!” she giggles, trying to pull away.
“No, but you are close to one,” I joke, scratching her ears.
“Ohhh... that feels good...” she moans, thumping her leg happily.
“You sure you’re not part dog?” I ask, laughing a little. I sigh, laying down on the floor, looking up at the ceiling. “I miss this place...”
“Well, if I was in a world full of humans, I know I’d be homesick too.” Pinkie lays across me, with her head on my chest.
“Yeah...” I say softly, gently petting her head, just staring at the ceiling.
“Hmm?” I ask, looking at her.
“When we get back, how about we go see my family?” Pinkie suggests, giving me a smile. “I bet they're gonna love you!”
“I dunno, Pinkie...” I rub my chin in thought, “It’ll probably be way too awkward...”
“Hey, come on! They're your family now, too!” she argues, placing her hooves on my chest and pushing herself up.
I sigh, knowing that there isn’t any way out of this. “Okay... okay, I’ll go see your family.”
“Our family!” she pokes my chest, pressing her muzzle against my nose.
“Fine, fine, our family,” I concede, rolling my eyes. Whatever you say, Pinkie. We relax like that for a while, passing the time with stories of my childhood.
“Welcome to die...” I mumble, looking down at Our Town with a hateful glare. I have half a mind to try and pull a Fat Man out of my mane and just nuke the town from here, but I doubt Pinkie would let me. I ignore the others as they chatter, making my way down to the village. “How much trouble do you think I’d be in if I just stabbed Starlight Glimmer?”
“Floyd!” she chastises, “Where are all these meanie thoughts coming from?”
“Gee, I dunno, probably from all the shit I’ve been through the past two days,” I answer, taking cover behind a rock.
“Still! You’re thinking about hurting somepony! That's not good!”
“I’m fine Pinkie, I just...” I sigh, not even sure how I was feeling anymore. I look up, seeing Pinkie was hugging me, or at least trying to.
“I know, Floyd, I know. I know you’re not as okay as you say you are and that's OK, but violence isn’t the answer.”
I take a deep breath, letting out a long sigh. “Yeah... you're right... sorry Pinkie.”
“Floyd?” Twilight asks as the others join us, all looking at me in worry.
“I was just working some things out with Pinkie, Twilight. I’m fine.” I smile before looking at the town. “God, it’s even creepier in person...”
“Yeah, those smiles are just bad news.” Pinkie gets this serious look on her face, narrowing her eyes. “I don’t like it at all.”
We head into town and things play out much like they did in the episode, with Pinkie helping to keep me from beating Starlight into a bloody mess, because let’s be honest here, there’s no one better to take out one’s ‘meanie thoughts’ on than fucking Starlight Glimmer.
Okay they're doing that song. Thankfully, Pinkie Pie and myself counteract that shit by jamming ‘Dare To Be Stupid’ in our head. Bitch can’t touch Weird Al!
“Floyd? Why does Weird Al sound like Cheese Sandwich?” Pinkie asks, tilting her head to the side in confusion.
“Same reason why Discord has the voice of John de Lancie,” I respond, rolling my eyes. “Also you have very poorly thought out this entire idea,” I say to Starlight, who gives me this really condescending look.
“Oh, really?” she smiles, “What makes you say that?”
I open my mouth to speak before I decide to just dick with her. “I know what I know boy,” I start, speaking with my best old man impression, “But I’m not telling it!” Her smile melts into a look of utter confusion.
I just smile at her, not saying a word.
“Are you just gonna steal other ponies’ gags now?” Pinkie asks, giving me a bemused look.
Hey shut up! Not like you haven’t done it before!
“At least I do gags that ponies understand! You're stealing gags from old movies nopony watched!”
We go back and forth for a while, with me starting to speak out loud, getting looks from the girls, though the cult ponies don’t really seem bothered by it at all. We take a seat at a table, with the girls getting snippy at each other.
“You know, arguing with each other is only proving their point...” I say, giving them all a flat look. Sugar Belle trots over, wearing what was thankfully not a creepy-ass smile.
“Is your friendship ending?” she asks, looking at Rarity.
“Small arguments are actually a good sign that a relationship of any kind is healthy,” I speak, looking at her. “Now, a sign of an unhealthy relationship is constantly agreeing on everything. That's when you get problems.”
“Ok, well... my name is Sugar Belle.” She levitates up a notepad, “What can I get you? We have muffins.”
“That's quite the selection you got there,” I snark, leaning back in my chair. “I guess we’ll just have the muffins, six of them.”
“Oooh! make it twelve!” Pinkie pipes up with a grin.
No. Just trust me, you don’t want more than one of these muffins, seriously.
“Ah... ok...” Pinkie pouts, hanging her head a little.
I give the girls a stern look. “Now, I know what’s going to happen. You ain’t pushing all those muffins on me. We’re all going to eat one or we’ll just sit here like a bunch of doofuses all day.”
“Whatever you say, Floyd,” Dash rolls her eyes, not really taking me seriously.
“Come on girls,” Twilight whispers, leaning in close. “We’ve got to stick together. It doesn’t matter what happened before, we’re here now.”
The girls soften, with Applejack giving a small smile. “I guess you're right. And the sooner we figure out why, the sooner we can go home.”
A moment later, Sugar Belle slides a plate of really nasty ass looking muffins on the table. Both Pinkie and I recoil at the sight in horror.
“Forgive me for overhearing, but just a moment ago you were disagreeing, and now it sounds like you're... agreeing,” Sugar Belle points out, seemingly confused by this.
“Like I said, small disagreements are a good thing,” I repeat, silently gulping as I grab a muffin and pop it into my mouth. Oh GOD! This is worse than pecan swirls! “Poison!” I hiss, flailing around. “Poison for the lose!” I fall out of my chair, making gagging sounds.
“I don’t even have taste buds and that's the worst thing I’ve ever tasted!” Pinkie agrees, gagging as well. “Worse than the baked bads!”
“Floyd!” Rarity scolds, frowning at my dramatics.
“It's all right. I know I'm not a very good baker. At least, I know I'm not any better than anypony else in the village.” She looks down before glancing fearfully at Double Diamond. “Well, I... hope you enjoy our little village!” She trots to the door before whispering. “Come inside before you go! Meet me downstairs!” She gives Double the creepy smile before dashing inside.
“See?” I ask as I recover, pulling myself back into my seat, “I’m not eating anymore of those muffins.” I cross my arms, glaring at them all. “Not a single one. So either eat up or we’re just gonna sit here.”
“Well uh... you got the strongest stomach, Floyd...” Applejack says with a sheepish smile, trying to weasel her way out of it. I just narrow my eyes, not budging from my position. They all look from me to the muffins before giving in and eating them. I just smirk, humming a little tune to myself.
If there ever were a truly appropriate moment for ‘dead man walking’, it’d be right now. Here we are... walking up to the cutie mark vault, and my legs just won’t stop trembling. Pinkie, we only have one shot at this. If things go tits up, we take out Starlight ASAP. I’m thinking either a good buck to the face or a frying pan to the back of the head.
“Why would a teat go up? They’re supposed to hang down for foals, silly.” Pinkie says, smiling innocently.
It’s an expression Pinkie. I sigh out loud, shaking my head.
“And here is the Staff of Sameness,” Starlight says, trotting up to a wooden tuning fork. “It was one of the great mage Meadowbrook's nine enchanted items.” She takes it in her magic. “We are incredibly fortunate to have it here. This is the tool that allows us to free ourselves from our marks! I’m curious – how did the subject of the vault come up?”
“We asked,” I say, shrugging a little.
“You... asked?” She raises her eyebrow, looking a bit skeptical.
“We were talking to Sugar Belle while she was making us some more muffins, I asked if the marks were removed or overwritten, she told us that they were kept in a vault, and out of curiosity we asked you if we could see them,” I lie, putting on my best poker face as she looks me over.
“Did she now... well, excuse me if I don’t believe you.” She gives us a look of contempt. “It seems you inspire all sorts of free thinking, don't you?
Rarity lets out a nervous laugh. “Well, w-we certainly didn't intend to cause any disruptions to your charming little—”
I stop paying attention as the townsponies spring their trap. I reach into my mane, pulling out a frying pan. She gets Twilight with her spell, giving me the chance to lunge at her, catching her in the side of the head with a loud thunk. Instead of dropping like I wanted, she recovers and hits me with the spell.
“Bitch!’ I hiss as I squirm, feeling something leave my body. I fall to the ground with a groan, blinking a few times, She gets the rest of the girls, placing their marks in the vault.
“Floyd...” Pinkie whines, her color fading, the mark missing from her ghostly form as well, “I don’t feel so good...”
I know Pinkie... I know...
“Aw,” Starlight taunts, looking at us, “I don't blame you for what you tried to do here today. You've spent your whole lives thinking those marks are a good thing.”
“Give them back!” Twilight demands, only for Starlight to get in her face.
“Well, now you can spend the rest of your lives here with us!” Starlight rants as she places the staff back on its pedestal, “And we'll teach you just how much better life can be without your cutie marks!”
In sameness, there is peace. Exceptionalism is a lie.
Rainbow Dash grunted as she slammed into the door, groaning in frustration as it refused to budge. She slid down to the floor, her back against it. The others were all spread out across the room, with an eerily quiet Floyd sitting in the corner, staring at the ground.
Difference is frustration. To excel is to fail.
Be your best by never being your best.
“Ugh,” Twilight groaned, turning to glare at the loudspeaker, which was constantly blurting out propaganda. “We've got to find a way out of here! I can't take much more of that voice!”
“Oh, this is horrible!” Rarity wailed, her makeup starting to run.
Fluttershy frowned, moving over to her ailing friend, placing a hoof on her back. “There, there, Rarity... It’s not so bad...”
“Yes it is!” Rarity snapped, causing Fluttershy to flinch. “Look at those drapes!” she commanded, pointing with a hoof. “I have no idea if they’re tacky or not!”
“Well, I think they’re nice.”
Rarity’s new equal mark pulsed. “So do I!” Rarity shrieked, starting to cry harder. It went like this for a while, with each realizing that they had lost what made them special.
...Choose equality as your special talent. Difference is frustration. To excel is to fail. Be your best by never being your best. Conformity will set you- A scream of rage cut off Starlight’s recorded voice. The girls all spun around to catch Floyd leaping through the air and grabbing onto the loudspeaker. Shouting out various obscenities, she managed to rip it out from the ceiling, landing on three hooves. She continued to go beserk, repeatedly smashing it against the ground, screaming at the top of his lungs. He finally stopped when it was mangled beyond repair, taking a moment to breathe. A split second later, he turned on Twilight, her eyes burning with a look of fury.
“You!” she growled, stepping forward, causing Twilight to quickly backpedal. “THIS. IS. ALL. YOUR. FAULT!” he punctuated every word with a forceful poke at Twilight’s chest. “I fucking told you what would happen if we came here but nooooo! Twilight and her idiot friends had to play the heroes!”
“N-now Floyd,” Rarity stuttered, holding her hooves up, “J-just calm dow-” She was cut off as Floyd whipped toward her, growling.
“Don’t tell me to be fucking calm!” he hissed, “I fucking knew this was going to happen! Shut up Pinkie! We’d be out of this mess if you had just let me stab her but no! You had to be my conscience!”
The girls just watched in horror as Floyd screamed at the air, jabbing her hoof around frantically.
“I don’t care if that makes me a murderer...” As soon as that last word left his mouth, Floyd froze, staring off into space. A tense moment passed before Floyd collapsed into a heap, crying his eyes out. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” she cried, covering her head, sobbing loudly.
“What... just happened...?” Rainbow asked carefully, staying in the air in case Floyd went nuts again.
“That was mighty scary...” Applejack commented, taking a tentative step toward Floyd, “I ain’t never seen Pinkie like that before...”
Fluttershy didn’t say anything, simply moving over to the sobbing mare and pulling her into a hug. Floyd latched onto Fluttershy, crying into her shoulder.
“I... I think I know what’s going on...” Twilight said finally, having been quiet since Floyd blew his top. She studied Floyd for a moment, a frown on her face.
“Well?” Rainbow asked, “What’s wrong with her?”
“I noticed it rather early,” Twilight started, sitting down, “Floyd hasn’t been acting like someone in her situation should.”
“She’s had a lot of...” Rarity gestured with her hoof, trying to find the right words. “Freakouts.”
“Yes, but that just hints at the problem,” Twilight countered. “I think her more... dark emotions have been suppressed by Pinkie.”
“Isn’t that a good thing?” Applejack asked, scratching her head.
“I know it sounds cruel but it’s really not.” Twilight shook her head, giving Floyd a sad look. “No pony wants to hurt but, the only way we can grow is to face our problems and come to terms with them. Pinkie has been keeping Floyd from doing that, though I don’t think she was doing it consciously. Part of her probably just wanted to protect Floyd...”
“And the freakouts?” Rarity asked, rubbing at her own eyes.
“Those must have been Floyd venting those emotions before they became too much.”
“So... what do we do?” Dash asked, landing. She shot Floyd, whose mane had deflated, an unsure look.
“Do our best to help her past it.” Twilight moved over, joining in the hug. Rarity, Dash and Applejack all shared a look before moving over, each of them hugging Floyd as tightly as they could, hoping to impress upon him the fact that they were there for her.
Despite everything, despite the horrible emotions that whirled around in his head, Floyd couldn’t help but give a teeny, weeny little smile.
“I trust you had a pleasant night?” Starlight asks with that happy little smile of hers. I want to punch that happy little smile right off her face, I want to make her suffer the way she’s making us suffer... but at the same time, all those violent thoughts... they scare the shit out of me. This isn’t me, at least I don’t think it is. Have I always been like this and just never noticed?
“This way, please. There are some friends who'd like to see you.” Starlight gives us her smile again before walking out of the house. The girls share a look but I just follow Starlight. After my... episode last night, I feel... better? Maybe better isn’t the best word but I don’t think I’m going to flip out again anytime soon. To be honest, I want to curl in a corner and cry my eyes out, and just... I dunno... die?
“Don’t think like that Floyd, we can get past this... we just have to hold on...” Pinkie gives me a smile but I know she’s in as bad of shape as me. I feel horrible just looking at her. While the unmarking hasn’t seemed to affect me, besides turning me into an emotional wreck, each time her new mark pulses, she loses a bit more of herself, and it makes me angry. So very, very angry...
I take a deep breath, slowly letting it out. I won’t lose control again, I can’t. The whole plan will come apart if I do. I just have to tough it out, she won't break me, I have to do this, for the girls. For Pinkie.
“Gather round, friends, gather round!” Starlight calls, drawing the smiling cultists close. “We’ve come to ask if any of you are ready to join us! There are so many friends to be made once you realize you don’t need your cutie marks or the talents that come with them!” She smirked, getting into Twilight’s face.
Double Diamond goes on about a welcoming ceremony, which Rainbow Dash and Applejack reject. Good, there’s still some fight left in them.
The crowd shouts encouragements, practically begging us to join them in their sameness. As I stand there and look into their roller-blind eyes and empty smiles, a horrible, insidious idea sprang out of the maelstrom of emotions that was filling my mind: What if this was one of those universes where they DON’T turn on Glimmer, even after she gets exposed?
“That sounds like a terrible future!” Pinkie gasps, before her expression drops. “Eh... it’d be okay...”
No, it wouldn’t be okay. Fuck the plan, we need to do something. Put as much doubt in them as possible. Do you trust me, Pinkie?
“Of course I trust you, Floyd,” Pinkie smiles, sitting down next to me. “Just tell me what you need.”
I need you to be strong Pinkie. I’m going to speak my mind and I need you on my shoulder, in case I start to lose it again.
“It’s all right, everypony,” Starlight assures the crowd, “This is a perfectly normal part of the equalization process for those who haven’t...” she casts a glance at us, “quite seen the light yet. We’ll try again tomorrow once you’ve had a bit more time to consider our philosophy!” She nods to the guards and the girls start to walk back into the cottage. Not me though, I have a few things I need to get off my chest.
“You can do it Floyd, I believe in you,” Pinkie encourages, giving me a ghost hug.
Thanks Pinkie. I take a deep breath, letting it out slowly.
Starlight notices my lack of movement, her smile growing. “Oh? Do we have a convert?” She looks at me, that smug smile never leaving her face.
I look at her, making sure my mane is covering one of my eyes. I don’t speak, collecting my thoughts. I lock eyes with her, saying the one thing that perfectly sums up the situation. “A man chooses, a slave obeys.”
The phrase seems to throw her for a loop and her smile diminishes. “I’m not exactly sure what you mean by that.”
“It’s not that hard of a concept really,” I retort, never losing eye contact, “A man chooses, a slave obeys. And while I may not be a man at the moment, the point still stands. I choose. I won’t be your slave Starlight, no matter how much you try to brainwash me.”
“I’m not trying to brainwash you!” she protests, her smile wavering ever so slightly, “I’m just trying to enlighten you!”
“No, you’re not.” I walk closer, masking the trembling of my legs. “If your cultists, and yes they are cultists, this entire place is a cult, aren’t slaves, then why can’t they have dissenting opinions?”
“We’re all equal here!” Starlight growls, not taking kindly to my argument. I bet no one has ever actually questioned her before.
“Are we? If we were, you wouldn’t have stolen our cutie marks.”
“I freed you from their grasp! You’ve spent your entire lives under their lie!” she screams, her mask starting to slip. I smirk at this, getting into her face.
“Actually, I’ve spent the last twenty years without one, but that's beside the point.” I look directly into her eyes. “My point is, if we’re all equal, then we all have the equal right to choose. Who are you to deny those who want their cutie marks back?”
“I brought them friendship, I brought them harmony! You’re just a violent, delusional, ruffian!” She takes a breath, bringing herself back under control. “But don’t worry, we’ll help you see the light.”
“That would be all well and good...” I get up close, my muzzle only inches away from her ear. “If you weren’t a hypocrite.”
She recoils, as if physically struck. ‘W-what are you talking about!?”
I just laugh, turning my back to her, heading into the cottage. “I know your seee~cret~” I singsong in the creepiest voice I can manage before slipping past Twilight and Fluttershy. Once out of visual range, I collapse into a heap, letting out a long, shaky breath, and stare up at the ceiling.
“You did a good job Floyd,” Pink comments, lying down next to me. I hope so Pinkie... I really hope so. I close my eyes, thankful that the loudspeaker was gone. I slowly drift out of the waking world and into the realm of dreams.
“I've got a good feeling about today!” Starlight smiles, looking at us, all lined up in front of the cottage, Fluttershy by her side. “So, do any of you have anything you'd like to say?” None of us answer, just glaring at her. “Aw, pity. Well, let's try this again tomorrow, shall we?” She gestures to the guards, who start to lead us back in No new friends today, I'm afraid!”
“Wait!” Fluttershy calls out, “I'd like to lock them in.”
Starlight beams at this, her smile brightening. “Marvelous, Fluttershy! That's the spirit! Party Favor, will you join us, please?”
Party races out of the cottage, groveling at Starlight’s hooves, shouting apologies. I lock eyes with Starlight, giving her a flat look.
“Yeah, totally not a cult, Starlight.”
She glares back at me. “You’re getting on my last nerve.”
“You should probably get some more then, can’t imagine nerves are expensive.” I smirk. It must be so infuriating for her, to have someone who doesn’t seem to be chafing under her damn propaganda. I just wish I had the Pinkie powers back, I’d totally annoy her into submission.
“Obvious self promotion is obvious,” Pinkie monotones, giving the fourth wall a flat look.
I ignore that, letting out a gasp. “They’re eating her and then they're going to eat me!” I shout, dramatically pointing with my hoof. “OH MY GOD!!!”
“What?! Who’s being eaten!?” Starlight whips around frantically. I smirk, pulling out the busted loudspeaker and chucking it at her head. It sails through the air, smacking into her skull with a loud crack! Disoriented, she stumbles around until she falls into a water trough.
“Ugh...” she moans, pulling herself out of the trough, landing in a heap on the ground, her true cutie mark exposed.
“See?” I smirk, pointing at it. “Total hypocrite! Been lying to you guys since day one!”
“I-I can’t believe that actually worked...” Dash mutters out. Sure, it hadn’t been the plan we had come up with but hell, this feels SOOO much better. I grin real wide, my mane poofing back up.
“You should trust me more, I totally know what I’m doing.” I smirk. I look back at Starlight, only to be blasted back into the cottage by her magic. “Ow...” I groan, having been knocked into the bookcase.
“Floyd, I believe she’s angry.”
“Yeah Pinkie, I can see that...” I groan, trying to get the stars to stop dancing around my head. I get to my hooves, wobbling to the door just in time to see Starlight dash into her house.
“Floyd! Y’alright?” Applejack asked, rushing over, letting me lean on her for support.
“Yeah, I’m okay... you guys just go get our cutie marks back, I’ll stay here and uh... pray I don’t have a concussion...” They sit me down against the wall, taking off to go get the cutie marks.
“Looks like it’s just us.” Pinkie sits next to me. “Do you think they’ll do it?”
“You know, you should never, ever, ever sound like Maud. I’m really surprised the universe hasn’t imploded yet,” I joke, wincing as my head throbs.
“You should be more careful, when you get hurt we both feel it.”
“I really can’t wait for you to go back to normal. I miss happy Pinkie Pie...”
“Happiness is a warm gun.”
I stare at her, giving her an unamused look. “Now you're just trolling me.” She was about to respond when streaking out of the sky came her, our I guess, cutie mark. I smile as it moves toward us, only to frown as it splits into two. One goes to Pinkie, restoring us to normal. The other one just... circles me. A quick check of the flank shows that it’s blank, the equal sign gone.
“Floyd? Why is our cutie mark just floating there?” Pinkie asks, sharing my dumbfounded expression as she looks between her ghostly flank and mine, well, her real one.
“I dunno Pinks...” I quickly pull a jar out of my mane, scooping it up and sealing it in tightly. That's a lie really, I know exactly what's going on... and it’s my fault.
“What do you mean you're not coming back to Ponyville?” Dash practically screams at me, flying up in my face.
“Look, Pinkie and I already discussed this on the train up here, we’re going to the rock farm to see her-OUR family,” I explain as we make our way back to the train station.
“Floyd, I don’t think you should just make decisions like this,” Twilight adds, frowning a little. “You don’t even have your cutie mark back.”
I sigh, not looking back at them. “Look, this is something we have to do, okay? I don’t expect you to understand, but I expect you to respect our decision.” With that I trot off, not even looking back at them.
“Wait, so you're saying that, if you play this movie and this record at the same time, they match up completely?” Pinkie asks skeptically, giving the vinyl that’s in my hands a raised eyebrow.
“Look, I don’t know how this whole thing started but a lot of people have done it, it’s just something you try when you’re a teenager.” I place the vinyl in on the record player, moving over to the TV to set up the movie. “Now if we had some pan, that’d make this perfect but as it is... this is going to be a bit diluted...” I get the DVD set up and start rubbing my hands together.
“This seems like a bit of stretch Floyd,” Pinkie goes on, getting comfy on the bean bag chair, “I mean who really has time to make their music match a movie? That's just ridiculous.”
“You're ridiculous.” I grab the remote and press play, my hand hovering over the record player. “Now hush while I sync this up... crap, is it the first or third roar...?”
“Ma’am, excuse me ma’am.”
“Huh...?” I ask as I sit up, letting out a loud yawn. My dorm room was gone. being replaced by the inside of a train car. I let out another yawn, stretching my limbs out before looking at the guy who woke me up. He was a nondescript train worker with a bitchin’ mustache.
“Last stop, ma’am,” he implores politely.
“Oh, thank you...” I yawn out, climbing off the seat, stretching out again, this time trying to crack my joints. I let out a sigh as my back pops. I carefully lift up my saddlebags, placing them on my back. I trot past the worker, hopping off the train. “Thanks!”
“You’re welcome, ma’am.” He smiles, giving a little wave. “Have a safe trip!”
“You too!” I call back, returning his wave.
“Bye mister train pony!” Pinkie waves, having manifested beside me. I am so glad she doesn’t have to keep crawling out of my ear. One time of that was enough for me. “Oh hey! Maud’s waiting for us! Hi Maud!”
I blink, turning my head to see Maud standing at the end of the platform, sporting her famous blank look.
“What are you talking about? She’s obviously worried about us!”
What the hell are you talking about? She’s just blinking at us, where the hell are you getting ‘worried’ from?
“You just don’t see it yet,” Pinkie informs me before she starts to bounce over to Maud, babbling excitedly at her oblivious sister.
She can’t hear you, Pinkie. I move up to Maud, opening my mouth to speak when she cuts me off.
“You're not Pinkie Pie.” It’s not a question, it’s a statement of fact. She just looks at me with those unamused eyes, as if she’s boring a hole into my head.
“Y-yeah,” I mutter out, taking a step back, feeling my ears splay back against my skull. “M-my name’s Floyd, nice to um... meet you Maud...” I hold my hoof out, giving her a shaky smile. She stares at me for a while longer before slowly but firmly tapping her hoof to mine.
“Follow me, the rest of the family is waiting to meet you.” She doesn’t wait for my response, turning around and trotting away rather quickly.
“I get the feeling she doesn’t like me,” I say aloud, sighing heavily. I should have expected that. I wouldn’t put it past Maud to punch Death in the face to protect Pinkie.
“That happened once!”
I give Pinkie a look, not really wanting to know that particular story.
“Oh come on! You’d totally love it! And since you’ve achieved Pinkito, you can totally comprehend it all!” She bounced along beside me, wearing a big ol’ grin on her face.
Yeah no thanks, I’d rather not test that theory Pinkie, best I not be reduced to a jibbering idiot. We just follow Maud in silence, allowing some darker thoughts to creep into my mind.
“Relax, Floyd,” Pinkie says, rolling her eyes, “My family will love you and you’ll love them. As for Maud, she’s just in super-duper-big-sister mode!”
I wouldn’t know about that, I didn’t have any siblings. I shrug a little. I keep my eyes locked on the back of Maud’s head, feeling my heart starting to pound, thumping loudly in my ears. Oh man, this isn’t going to go well at all.
“Floyd, you're getting all panicky,” Pinkie says, looking at me. “Just calm down, okay? Do that breathing thing Cadance taught Twi.”
Yeah, okay, okay. I take in a deep breath, bringing a hoof to my chest before letting the breath out, extending my hoof. I repeat this a few times, feeling the stress flow out of my body.
“Better?” Pinkie asks, to which I nod.
Yeah, thanks Pink, I feel a lot better. Why doesn’t Twi do that more often?
“Because she gets so panicky that she does these cute little panic dances.” Pinkie giggled, snorting a few times.
Stop that! You’re going to make me start laughing! I can’t help but giggle a little with her, the image of prancing Twilight filling my head. I recover quickly, a smile plastered on my face. Thanks Pinkie, I needed that.
“No probalo Floyd!” she says with a smile, bouncing along.
We fall into a pregnant silence, with only the sound of our hooves on dirt. After a few moments of this, we reach the edge of the rock farm. It’s as you would expect, pretty much what was in the show – barren, rock filled fields, really depressing dead trees, a silo, and the farmhouse.
“Huh, this place looks as boring as I imagined. Starlight would love it here...” I mumbled, feeling a pulse of anger surge through me as I thought about that bitch.
“Hey, don’t let that meanie bring you down!” Pinkie exclaims, moving so that she’s walking backwards, “So, before you meet the family, I should give you the 911 on them.”
“I’ve heard it both ways.” She waves her hoof dismissively. “Anyway, pa’s name is Igneous Rock and he’s kinda old fashioned. Ma’s name is Cloudy Quartz and she’s a little more modern.”
Wait, you're the ‘Pie’ family but neither of your parents has ‘Pie’ in the name?
“No,” she shakes her head. “Pa’s name is Igneous Rock Pie.” She glares at me. “Stop getting me off topic! Anyway, you already know about Maud, she’s the second oldest. After her comes Marble and Limestone. Marble is quiet, kinda like Fluttershy, and Limestone is like me! She’s really, really loud! Like a storm! And she's the oldest!”
I’ll ah... keep them all in mind, Pinkie. We reach the door, and Maud puts her hoof out to stop me.
“You wait here, I’ll go in and let them know you're here.” I don’t argue, watching as she opens the door and slips inside.
Okay Floyd, just calm down, you can do this. They’re ponies, they naturally wanna cuddle and be your friend. On the other hand, you're also mindjacking their daughter/sister’s body and reduced her to a ghost...
“Oi Floyd!” Pinkie scolds, swinging her hoof through my head in what I think is an attempt to slap some sense into me, “Just relax, OK? They’re not going to hate you. You just have to remember to giggle at the ghosties.”
I smile a little. Yeah, okay, not totally appropriate for the situation but uh... good advice all the same. Maud opens the door and looks me in the eye. “Are you all right.” Steeling myself, I nod and she gestures for me to come inside. I take in a breath, walking inside. In simple terms, it looks like the Apple house except with less fluff, very utilitarian.
“So you’re this Floyd, hm?” a very matronly voice speaks, catching my attention. Standing in the doorway to what I assume is the kitchen is a light grey earth pony, her mane and tail a dull blue. Her mane was done up in a bun, and she’s wearing a black and white uh... collar and a pair of stereotypical grandma glasses.
“Hey! Ma is not a stereotype!” Pinkie protests, pouting a little.
“Uh... yes ma’am.” I look away, unable to meet her gaze. “Floyd Hendrix at your um... service... No uh... relation to Jimi, I assure you...”
“Geez Floyd, when did you become Fluttershy?” Pinkie asks, giving me a worried look, as if she suddenly noticed my change of attitude.
Yeah, well, I don’t have all those pent up emotions to make me all pissy.
“That's the Floyd we all love.”
“Well I don’t know anything about this Jimi, but my name is Cloudy Quartz.” She looks me over, frowning slightly. “You don’t look any different from Pinkie.”
“Well, no ma’am, it’s mostly uh... in here.” I tap my head.
“Well, why don’t you sit down and get comfortable? Lunch is almost ready and Limestone and Pa won’t be too far behind you.” Cloudy turned, trotting out of sight. I let out a sigh, placing my saddlebags down by the door. I move to take a seat on the couch when I feel a hoof stop me. I look back to see Maud, her hoof poking my flank.
“Pinkie’s Cutie Mark,” she says, blinking slowly, “Where is it?”
I sigh, lowering my head. “It’s a long story, Maud. I plan to tell everything once your family is all together.” She seems to accept that, retracting her hoof and making her way into the kitchen. I take a seat on the couch, laying down.
“Oh, cheer up Floyd.” Pinkie sits beside me... how she doesn’t phase through the couch is beyond me. “Besides, this gives us time to plan our next move!”
What do you mean ‘plan’? You actually plan things out?
“Well of course I do.” She rolls her eyes, giving me a ‘duh’ look. “I’m the premiere party pony after all, of course I have plans!”
So uh... what exactly do you have in mind?
She smiles that big old Pinkie smile, her eyes shining a bit. “Well...”
Well... this is awkward as all hell. The Pie family, plus myself, are all seated at the dinner table, quietly eating our lunch. Did I mention all eyes are on me right now? Maud is giving me her trademark blank stare, Igneous is glaring at me like I slept with his daughter or something... oh... right. Cloudy is giving me a cautious look, Limestone gives me a hateful look and Marble won’t look at me at all. Pinkie smiles, trying to be supportive.
“How long until you’re out of Pinkie?” Limestone asks, her tone more aggressive than her glare.
“Limestone Pie!” Cloudy chastises, “Thou read the princess’s letter just like the rest of us, thou knowest this isn’t any of Floyd’s fault.”
I raise an eyebrow briefly and Pinkie speaks up. “Oh, Mom always talks like that when Dad’s around. He likes it that way.” With a mental shrug, I reply.
“No, no,” I pipe up, looking away from my lettuce sandwich, “He asked a fair question. To be honest sir, I really have no idea how long I’m going to be in Pinkie’s body. Hopefully not too long, the princesses are working to get me my own body as we speak.”
This seems to placate her, the younger mare leaning back in her seat.
“Well... how do we know Pinkie is okay?” Marble asks in a barely audible whisper, giving me an unsure look.
“Agreed. How are we to know our daughter is still well?” Igneous adds, glaring at me. I gulp, looking between them, each giving me an expectant look.
“Just relax, Floyd,” Pinkie taps her chin, tongue sticking out of the side of her mouth, looking deep in thought. “Aha!” she proclaims, a light bulb appearing above her head. “I have some secret stashes of party supplies all over the farm! I’ll simply give you directions to each of them!”
I suppose that will work.
“Alright, how about this? Pinkie told me that she has some stashes hidden around the farm. She suggested that I take you to each of them to prove that she’s okay.”
They all exchange looks before turning back to me. “We shall givest thou this chance Mr. Floyd, but just the chance.”
“Thanks. And please, just call me Floyd.” I get up, looking at Pinkie. After you Pinks. I gesture toward the exit, watching her.
“Yupperooni!” she smiles, starting to hop out of the room, humming a tune to herself.
I shake my head, wondering just how far she could get away from me. “This way please.” I say, starting to follow her. The others trot behind me as Pinkie leads us out into the fields.
“It should be right... here!” Pinkie proclaims, pointing to a rather nondescript pile of rocks.
It’s... a pile of rocks Pinks...
“It’s under the rocks silly!”
I just sigh, moving over to the pile. I move the rocks out of the way, revealing a hole in the ground. I peer down inside, my eyes going wide. There's a huge fucking cavern down there, with party stuff everywhere.
“Pinkie when you said stash, I thought you meant you know, a few things. There’s a whole damn Batcave down there!”
“This was my base of party operations. All of my party supplies are here. I have one in Ponyville, with info on everypony's likes and dislikes. Which reminds me, I have to make a file on you...”
Oh yeah, I forgot about that. Kinda creepy if you ask me Pinkie, but seriously, Twilight is scared of quesadillas? That's just fucking lame. Freddy would have the worst time here.
“So how’s that for proof?” I ask, taking a step away from the hole, letting each of them peer down into the cave.
“Hmm... you could have just read her diary or something!” Limestone countered, giving me a suspicious look.
“Oh for the love of...” I facepalm, letting out a long sigh. Alright, Pinkie, tell me some secret thing that only you would know about one of these chuckle fu-heads.
“Ok um... let me think...” Pinkie sits down next to me, tapping her chin. “Oh I know! Let Maud know that I know that she doesn’t actually eat the rock candy necklaces.”
Ok seriously, Pinkie that's some 1984 stuff right there.
“Alright. Maud.” I turn to her, locking eyes. “Pinkie knows that you don’t actually eat the rock candy necklaces.”
Maud actually reacts to that, her eyes widening ever so slightly. “She does?”
“Yeah, she does, but she makes them anyway because she knows they make you happy.”
Maud goes quiet again before turning to the others. “I believe...” She pauses for a moment and turns back to me. “Do you prefer male or female pronouns?”
I just shrug. “I don’t mind either. Just go with whatever you're comfortable with.”
She nods. “I believe her.”
“Well...” Igneous puts a hoof to his chin, giving me an appraising look. “If Maud believest thou, I suppose I can givest thou a chance.”
“Sweet!” I smirk, fist pumping. Things are finally going my way! About fucking time if you ask me!
“I do have to ask, why is my grown daughter a blank flank?”
I wince, looking back at said flank. “Well... that's a bit of a story. Let’s go back to the house and I’ll explain everything...” We walk back, with me relaying to them the events of Our Town, while also conveying Pinkie’s commentary on the whole affair. “Everyone else got their cutie mark back except us...” I reach into my saddlebags to pull out the jar, the cutie mark floating around in it.
“Does the princess know why it won’t go back on?” Cloudy asks, looking at the cutie mark, a look of awe on her face.
“She has her own idea but... I know why... deep down I know...” I stare into the jar, a wave of sadness washing over me, tears starting to well from my eyes. “It’s because this is Pinkie’s mark... and I’m not her. As long as I’m in here, it won’t go back on.” I close my eyes, the tears flow. “I’m sorry... I’m so, so sorry. I’m stealing Pinkie’s life and now the very core of her being won’t even return to her. It would have been better if Discord had just let me die...” I open my eyes as I feel a hoof on my chin, lifting my gaze up.
“Don’t talk like that,” Maud gently scolds, gazing into my eyes, “It’s not your fault you ended up here.”
“But...” I weakly protest.
“There are no buts, you're here now and while you didn’t choose it, you have to make the best of it. I don’t want to hear you talking like that again, do you understand?”
“Y-yeah Maud, I understand...” I give her a nod, wiping at my eyes.
“Good.” Maud moves forward, pulling me into a hug, resting her chin on my head. I gingerly hug her back, still a bit shaken up. “You can hug harder you know, I won’t break.”
I smile a little at her encouragement, tightening my hug. A few beats later the rest of the Pie family joins in, with Pinkie standing to the side smiling.
“See Floyd? I told you they’d love you!”
I smile back at her, closing my eyes. Maybe there was a silver lining to this after all?
The past week has just been great. After our big hug, the Pie family was much more amicable. Well, mostly. Pinkie should have warned me about that big rock. I mean geez, it’s a freaking rock, not the Hope Diamond.
“It’s Holder’s Boulder,” Pinkie explains, standing next to me as we look up at the damn thing.
“Who?” I ask, tilting my head a little to the side.
“He’s our great, great, great, great, great great grandfather! Holder Cobblestone!” Pinkie exclaims, rearing up on her hind legs. “He found the boulder in a dragon’s nest and then built the farm around it!”
Huh... I walk around it, examining it rather closely. You think...you think it could be some unhatched dragon egg?
“I dunno Floyd, it’d be an awfully big dragon. I mean Spike’s a baby dragon and he’s tiny like a foal, unless it’s an egg full of tiny eggs...”
That's ridiculous. I roll my eyes, placing my hoof on the rock.
“I told you not to touch the boulder!!” Limestone shrieks. I turn to the left, my eyes wide, only for her to collide with me, sending us both tumbling away.
“What the fuck!?” I growl, kicking her off me, getting to my hooves. “What the hell is wrong with you!?”
“I told you not to touch the boulder!” Limestone growls, looking me in the eyes. “What part of that did you not understand!?”
“It’s a rock! I’m not going to break it by touching it! Jesus! You’re all fucking insane!” I snort, glaring at her.
“I’m not the one wearing someone else’s body!” she snaps back, shoving me. I growl, pouncing on her, throwing a hoof at her face. I catch her in the jaw, knocking her head back. She blinked a few times before she got her hind legs under me and bucked me in the stomach.
“Bitch!” I hiss, falling off her and onto my back. She pounces on me and we roll around, trading blows.
“Floyd! Limestone! Just calm down ok!?” Pinkie shouts, her eyes wide as she watches us tumble around.
“Quiet Pinkie! I’m beating your sister’s ass!” I shout at her, landing a shot on her eye. She pauses, glaring at me.
“Don’t tell my sister to shut up!” she glares, unleashing a can of whoop ass on me. Dear god she hits hard. I knew earth ponies were strong but god, this hurts! I hold my arms in front of me, weathering the storm of hoof blows before I feel her being pulled off me. I look up, breathing heavily, to see Maud, holding Limestone by her mane.
“What are you doing?” Maud asks the screaming mare, who glares back at her younger sister.
“That jackass hit me!” she snarls, looking at me rather hatefully.
“And why did Floyd hit you?” Maud asks, not seeming at all strained to keep Limestone away from me.
“I caught her touching Holder’s Boulder again! I told her not to!” Limestone growls, locking eyes with me.
“Floyd?” Maud asks, looking up at me.
“It’s a rock, I got curious. Didn’t give her the right to tackle me!” I snap, wobbling a little as I get to my hooves.
“Limestone, what did I tell you?” Maud asks, her voice taking one a slight tone of annoyance.
“Floyd is not in a good place right now. Mentally, I mean. And tackling her for touching Holder's Boulder isn't helping.”
“I told you Floyd was fragile.” Maud lets Limestone go, trotting over to me. “Come on Floyd, I’ll help you get cleaned up.”
“Thanks Maud...” I sigh, leaning on her, letting her lead me back into the house.
“Gee Floyd... I knew Limestone could get mean sometimes but I didn’t think she’d hurt anypony...” Pinkie laments, walking next to us.
“Hey... don’t worry about it. I mean, if someone was possessing my sister, I think I’d have a problem with it too...” Maud sits me down on a stool, grabbing a first aid kit. “Ow!” I hiss as she dabs at a cut with some peroxide.
“You have to stay still,” Maud says, letting me calm down before continuing.
“Yeah well, that s-crap stings like hell!” I wince, sucking in a lungful of air.
“It could have been worse.” She keeps going, much to my displeasure. “Floyd?” she asks, pausing in her task.
“Yeah?” I ask, releasing the breath I had been holding, the various injuries I’ve sustained starting to actively hurt now.
“I know you have... unpleasant thoughts in your head.” Again, she states this as a fact. “Whenever you feel like they’re too much, I want you to hug me.”
“Hug you?” I ask, blinking, looking at her like she was crazy.
“It’ll help.” She put her tools down, pulling me into a hug. I blink again before returning her hug.
“Maud is best big sister!” Pinkie beams, joining in on the hug as well, even if she phased through us.
I guess so Pinkie, but I wouldn’t know... I’ve never had a sibling before...
Other than that, lots of laughter was shared, stories were told and bonds were formed. Okay, I had a few more breakdowns but I’m doing better! I swear!
“Are you sure you have everything?” Cloudy asks, giving me that fretful mother look. “Do you need any extra tea bags?”
“Cloudy, I’m fine, my bags are full to bursting as it is.” I gesture to my bulging saddlebags. “Any more and I’m pretty sure they’ll pop!”
“Well if you’re... sure...”
“She’ll be fine dear,” Igneous chides, rolling his eyes, “You stay safe, ya hear Floyd?”
“You got it!” I smile, giving him a salute. I blink, turning to see Maud walking up, wearing her own pair of saddlebags. “Uh... Maud? Whatcha doin’?”
“I’m going with you,” she informs me, though I don’t think I can argue with her.
“Hey, uh, Floyd...” Limestone speaks up, rubbing the back of her neck.
“Yeah?” I ask, letting a bit of disdain leak into my voice, still not exactly over the fight.
“I... well... I’m sorry...” she looks away, sighing heavily. “I know it’s not your fault you're in Pinkie and I shouldn’t have blamed you for it....”
I stare at her intently, narrowing my eyes. I’m well within my rights to tell her to fuck off, she freaking beat me up!
“Floyd, Limestone is sorry and she’s basically your sister now,” Pinkie pipes up, trotting over to her sister. “Family always sticks together and they always make up.”
I let out a sigh, shaking my head. “Alright, alright, you're forgiven, but if you shove me again I’m not going to be a happy man.”
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to do that again...” She rubs her arm and we fall into a very awkward silence, not broken until Marble manages to speak up.
“You’ll write to us, right?” Marble asks, giving me puppy dog eyes. I just giggle, shaking my head.
“Of course I will, I don’t think Pinkie would forgive me if I didn’t keep you guys in the loop.” I look over as the train whistles, and the conductor orders all aboard. “Well, that's our cue!” I jump a little as they all pull me into a group hug. I just smile, hugging them back.
It’s Maud who pulls us out of the hug. “The train is about to leave,” she points out, looking at her family, “Take care.” She trots onto the train.
“Huh... not one for goodbyes, is she. Well, thank you for putting me up for the week, it was nice meeting you all.” I move onto the train, waving at them. They wave back, staying on the platform as the train starts to pull away.
“Floyd, are you crying?”
Shuddup Pinkie. I move over to Maud, placing my saddlebags down before sitting next to her.
“Not that I don’t appreciate the company Maud but uh... what about your uh... rocktorate?” I inquire, getting comfy on the bench.
“I need to write a thesis, and what better way to do research for that than getting samples from all over Equestria?” she explains, and we lapse into a comfortable silence. I lay my head down, letting the gentle rocking of the train lull me to sleep.
“So Kelly slips on the fake blood and just goes sailing across the floor. She hits the windowsill and just flies out of the window, head over heels and lands head first in a dumpster!” I burst into a giggle fit, falling out of my seat, “S-she smelled like mac and cheese for a week! Jack gave her the nickname ‘Cheesy Bread!’”
“That sounds really mean...” Pinkie gets out between giggles.
“Humans have weird names,” Maud comments, though I see the tiny hint of a smile on her face.
“Yeah well...” I pause to catch my breath. “I could say the same about ponies.” I sit up, brushing myself off. “Hell Maud, you’re the first pony with a human name I’ve run across. I mean there’s Gilda, but she’s a griffon.”
Maud nods, blinking a few times. “Does ‘Floyd’ mean anything?”
“Floyd is a variant of Lloyd, and comes from old Welsh and means uh... I think ‘gray’.”
Pinkie gasps. “If you had been put in Maud it would have been perfect!”
Yeah but then I’d be Gray Floyd, which would be redundant.
Pinkie pouts, not happy her joke was shot down. She perks up as the train starts to slow. “Yay! We’re home!” She bounces up and down. “I bet Gummy really missed us!”
Have we decided if we’re taking him with us or not? I get off my seat, pulling on my saddlebags as the train stops.
“Are you ready?” Maud asks, already at the door, looking back at me. I give her a smile, trotting over to her.
“Yup! Come on Maud!” I step out onto the platform and take in the sights. I know I’ve been here before but after a week on the rock farm, anywhere seems like a new experience. Would it kill them to spice that place up?
“The only way to farm rocks are in fields like that.” Pinkie joins us, standing on my opposite side, “Any plants nearby just messes up the whole thing.”
Huh... okay... I didn’t know that.
“So, I think we should go to Sugarcube Corner first and get settled in, maybe get some lunch.” I glance down, listening to my stomach growl.
“Okay,” Maud says simply, walking quietly beside me. I notice she’s glancing around, glaring at anypony that decides to stare at my flank.
“Hey! There’s Dashie!” Pinkie pipes up, pointing to the rainbow pegasus, who was busy busting some clouds. I smirk, a terrible, horrible, evil idea forming in my head.
“Wanna help me scare the hell outta Dash?”
“Sweet.” I look around quickly before pulling Maud into an alley. I take my saddlebags off, emptying one of them. “Okay, I’m gonna hide in here. You get Dash’s attention and ask her to help you carry the saddlebags. Say I ran off over something.” I don’t wait for her answer, diving into the saddlebag, trying not to laugh in the meantime. I get ready, pulling Eustace’s green mask out of my mane, you know, the one he’d always use to scare the shit out of Courage? Anyway, I pull the mask on, ready to pounce. Just let me know when Pinkie.
“Okie Dokie Loki!”
A few minutes pass and I hear Maud and Dash talking. I hold my breath, my body tensing up.
On cue I burst out of the saddlebag, my mask covering my whole body. “OOGA BOOGA BOOGA!” I scream, waving my arms around in a vaguely threatening way. The look of terror on Dash’s face is legendary. She shrieks the girliest shriek possible, taking off like a bat out of hell. I fall to the ground, laughing my ass off, holding my sides. “Oh man! That was perfect! Did you see her face Maud?!”
“I didn’t think you could do what Pinkie does,” Maud states, blinking down at me.
“Oh that? Yeah, I’ve been able to do that stuff since I got here.” I place the mask back to wherever the hell I got it from, then pack the saddlebag again. I heft it on, making sure it’s secure. “Alright, now that Dash has been given her dose of nightmare fuel, let’s eat!” I trot out of the alley, Maud following behind me.
“Nightmare fuel?” Pinkie asks, tilting her head to the side.
“Oh it’s a phrase that usually means that something may give you nightmares, hence nightmare fuel,” I explain, blinking as a few ponies wave to us.
“Hi Pinkie!” Roseluck waves, trotting past us.
“Uh... hi.” I awkwardly wave back, watching her for a moment. And now it starts, we really need to get a name tag...
“Morning Pinkie!” Thunderlane shouts as he flies by, making my eye twitch. Just ignore it Floyd and keep walking, nothing you can really do about it...
“Hi Pinkie!” Derpy smiles as he she flutters by.
“That's it! I’m done!” I shout, throwing my arms in the air. Pinkie! How do we get to Sugarcube Corner, quickly!? I refuse to put up with this!
“There’s a shortcut through those bushes!” Pinkie points out, gesturing to a nearby bush. Thank fucking god.
“I’ll see you in a bit Maud!” I salute before diving into the bushes. After some... I-I have no way to put it into words, we emerge from under her bed. “Okay Pinkie, we need to talk.”
“About what?” she asks, jumping onto her bed, somehow not phasing through it.
“We need a way for people to know I’m not you.” I slip off my saddle bags, letting them drop to the floor. “I’m thinking a haircut.”
“You mean manecut,” she corrected before tapping her chin, “But... if you do that... what if we lose our powers?! Than we’d be just another crazy pony! And no one could read our story because we won’t be aware of them anymore!!”
“Pinkie, we’re not Samson, we’re not gonna lose our powers because we got a haircut, that's the stupidest thing ever. Now where do you keep the scissors?” I move over to her dresser, rummaging around inside of it.
“I still dunno about this Floyd...”
“We’ll be fine Pinkie, besides, it’s hair, not like it won’t grow back...” I keep digging. “Aha!” I Iift the item up above my head, the Zelda item theme playing.
“Oooh! You’re getting the hang of it already!” Pinkie cheers, getting a big grin on her face.
“The hell are you talking about?” I ask, trotting over to the mirror.
“You’ll figure it out!”
“Whatever you say, Pinkie...” I gaze into the mirror, turning my head this way and that. I admit, I’m no hair stylist but... I think I can give myself a decent haircut... I hope...
“So Floyd just jumped into a bush and vanished?” Twilight asked, tilting her head to the side. After running into Maud while shopping, Twilight had sent Spike off to get the others, with the goal of meeting up at Sugarcube Corner.
“I’m not surprised she can do that,” Maud replied, blinking slowly, “She reminds me a lot of Pinkie when she was younger.”
“Oh?” Twilight asked, her interest piqued, “How so?”
“You may have noticed, but my sister isn’t always the most stable pony,” Maud paused for a moment, gathering her thoughts, “She used to be a lot worse before she got her cutie mark.” Maud looked around before returning her gaze to Twilight. “She had a lot of... breakdowns.”
“Floyd’s been having them too... I suspect she told you about what happened with Starlight Glimmer?” Twilight asked, to which Maud nodded.
“Floyd isn’t in a good place right now.” Maud looked down, gazing at her hooves before speaking again. “I just want to make sure they stay safe.”
“I can sympathize with that.” Twilight nodded. “I’d do anything to keep my family safe.”
“We’re here.” Maud moved up into the tasty looking building, effectively ending the conversation. Twilight just blinked before following her inside. The others were already gathered around a table, with AJ ribbing Dash over something.
“I was not screaming!” Dash insisted slamming a hoof on the table. “I was just... shouting.”
“Nuh uh sugarcube, ya’ll were screaming yer head off.” AJ snickered. “Like a filly!”
“You take that back!” Dash growled, leaning over the table and getting in AJ’s face.
“Ya’ll lookin’ fer a smackdown?” AJ challenged, pressing her forehead against Dash’s and glaring right back at her.
“Kiss already!” Pinkie’s voice shouted from across the room.
“Bwah!?” The two shouted at the same time as they scrambled away from each other, blushing furiously. Floyd giggled, drawing everyone's attention. She stood at the bottom of the stairs, wearing a bright smile, though her mane had been cut short, now only coming to the back of her head.
“Floyd!? What did you do to your mane?!” Rarity gasped, looking at the new arrival, aghast at her new look.
“I cut it,” Floyd said simply, trotting over and taking a seat next to Maud. “I got a little tired of people just assuming I’m Pinkie, so I gave myself a haircut!” She frowned, rolling her eyes. “No Pinkie, I’m not going to call it a manecut. I don’t care! I refuse to change my vernacular for anyone!”
“Floyd.” Twilight cut in, snapping Floyd out of her argument.
“Right sorry!” She looked from Twilight to Fluttershy to Dash. “Hey uh... can I uh... get a feather from each of you?”
They all blinked, sharing a look.
“Uh... why?” Dash asked, raising her eyebrow. It wasn’t everyday you had one of your friends ask for a feather.
“I want to put them in my hair, duh.” Floyd rolled her eyes. “What else would I do with them? Make a chicken suit? Pinkie already has a chicken suit. Though...” She paused, tapping her chin. “I could totally make a headdress out of them...if I knew how to make one of those.”
“Uh, hello? Floyd?” Dash waved her arm in front of her face, getting the pink mare’s attention once more.
“Ugh, I really wish I’d stop doing that...” Floyd grumbled, crossing her arms with an annoyed pout.
“Well, I don’t mind giving you a feather.” Twilight shrugged, pulling a loose feather from her wing. Dash did the same, both holding their feathers out to Floyd.
“Thanks!” She took them, placing them in her mane, right along her right ear. “Fluttershy?” she asked, turning to the meek pegasus.
“Oh well... I, um...” Fluttershy muttered out, shrinking in on herself, her mane falling in front of her face.
“Hey,” Floyd looked at her, giving her a soothing smile, “If you don’t want to give me one, that's fine, you don’t have to.”
“Oh no, it’s not that I don’t want to it’s that... it might hurt...” Fluttershy mumbled out, looking at the floor.
“It’s alright, Fluttershy.”
“No, no... I can do this...” Fluttershy spread one of her wings, gingerly gripping a loose one in her mouth. She tugged, letting out a little squeak as the feather pulled free. She dropped it on the table, hugging her wing close.
“Wow... thanks Fluttershy...” Floyd muttered, placing it with the others in her mane. “Anyway, there is one thing you girls gotta know and I know you aren’t going to like it.”
“What is it Floyd? You know you can tell us anything,” Twilight assured her with a smile. The others gave confirmation, all giving her a smile.
“Well... the thing is... we’re not staying in Ponyville...” Floyd admitted, looking down at her hooves.
“Y-you’re leaving?” Twilight asked, her eyes going wide. “Why would you do that?! You have friends here, a home!”
“Twilight, I-I can’t do this,” Floyd started, hanging her head low, “I can’t stay here, knowing I’m stealing Pinkie’s life, her home, her friends, I-I can’t...” She started to tear up before hugging Maud tightly. The older mare didn’t bat an eye, gently wrapping a hoof around the shaken mare, stroking her back.
“It was my idea,” Maud explained, “Floyd has massive guilt over her situation, and staying here would just drive the point home. It’d be unhealthy, so I suggested we travel Equestria.”
“Wouldn’t it be best if she stay here?” Rarity asked, frowning, “I mean, we are her friends after all.”
“You’re also Pinkie’s friends, being around you would just make Floyd feel worse,” Maud countered, still soothing Floyd. “It’s only until the Princesses can figure out how to make Floyd a new body.” She looked down as Floyd pulled away. “Better?”
“Y-yeah Maud, thanks...” Floyd nodded, wiping at her eyes. “Anyway...” she cleared her throat, trying to regain her composure. “I wanted to talk to you, Rarity. Pinkie told me she had a ticket to the Gala and she still wants to go, so...”
“Ooh! You want me to finish the dress!?” Rarity smiled brightly, the idea of working on such an exquisite dress pushing the previous drama out of her mind.
“Eh, you can make Maud a dress but I want a tux.”
Rarity’s expression quickly fell. “A... tux?”
“Yeah you know, a tuxedo.” Floyd nodded. “I think I’d look good in one. Maybe something like Mad Moxxi.”
Rarity sighed, sagging a little. “Well, if that's want you want Floyd. I’ll need you to come down to the boutique with me so we can get everything squared away. You should come along as well Maud, you’ll also be needing a dress for the Gala.”
“Thank you, Rarity.” Floyd got up, stretching her limbs out. “Seeya girls later, OK?” she asked before she and Maud followed Rarity out of the building.
“I can’t believe they’re leaving,” Dash pouted, looking at the remaining girls. “I mean... no Pinkie around’s gonna be...”
“Quiet?” Applejack suggested, looking just as depressed at the news.
“Yeah...” Dash nodded, letting out a long sigh.
“It’ll be okay, Dashie,” Fluttershy soothed, forgetting her own sadness for a moment to comfort her friend. “It’ll be good for the both of them to get out of Ponyville for a while.”
“I just... wish we could say goodbye ya know? Like, actually talk to her again...” Dash sagged, her pout deepening. A similar look spread to the others, their thoughts turning to images of life without Pinkie.
“Well, you know... there might be a way...” Twilight tapped her chin a little.
“What? Give us ghost vision or something? Because that sounds awesome!!” Dash grinned, the idea of being able to see ghosts snapping her out of her funk.
“What?” Twilight asked, processing Dash’s outburst, “No, Dash,” she responded, rolling her eyes and shaking her head as Dash let out a whine of disappointment. “Can you girls meet me back at the castle? I need Spike to send a letter...”
“Well, that took forever...” I grumble as we walk out of Rarity’s home, my limbs numb. I had been forced to stand still for hours as Rarity moved back and forth between Maud and I, taking measurements and doing whatever the hell else she does when she comes up with ideas.
“It wasn’t so bad!” Pinkie bounces along next to me, a big grin plastered on her face. “She remembered the tea you like!”
That was a pleasant surprise to say the least, and she did feed us... I had no idea flowers could be that tasty...
“Welcome to the vegetarian life, Floyd!” Pinkie grins bigger before giggling. “I’m just kidding! Some ponies eat lean meat, and pegasi are known to eat fish. I tried it but, the thought of eating an adorable little fishy made me cry...”
Not to mention most animals humans eat are intelligent on this world... Can we please talk about something else? You’re making me hungry.
“Okie Dokie Lokie!” She hums a little, her bounces carefully timed to match my walking speed, which is just crazy but you know, what isn’t nowadays.
I glance over at Maud, who doesn’t look at all put out by being turned into a mannequin for the last few hours. “Hey uh Maud, how’d you make it through that? You barely said anything, wasn’t just standing there ya know... uncomfortable?”
She looks at me, blinking slowly. “I pretended to be a rock.”
“You... pretended to be a rock?” I ask, tilting my head, a look of disbelief on my face. “Why?”
“Rocks don’t complain.”
“Well... I, uh... can’t argue with that logic, I guess...”
“Hey! Floyd! Maud!” Spike shouts, interrupting our conversation. We turn to see the little guy rushing over, huffing and puffing.
“Sup, Puff?” I ask, giving him a smile.
“No, my... name... is Spike.” He stopped in front of us, trying to catch his breath.
I sigh, sliding a hoof down my face. “I know your name isn’t Puff I was... you know what, never mind.” I compose myself, looking down at him. “Anyway, what did you need, my scaly friend?” Spike had shown up earlier in the day while Rarity was working on us, to whisper something in her ear.
“Twilight wanted me to ask you to come to the castle, she wants to ask you something,” Spike explains, finally having caught his breath.
“Did she say what?” I ask, tilting my head. Lots of head tilting man, is that like, instinct or something? I feel like a dog.
“Silly filly,” Pinkie says, giggling at me, “Ponies express a lot through body language! Like with our ears, tail and head movement!”
You know, you are surprisingly insightful Pinkie.
“Aw, thanks! It might look like I’m all fun and games and I don’t pay attention a lot but it’s my job to be able to read ponies!”
You’ll have to teach me some of that...
“Floyd?” Spike’s voice cuts in. “Equestria to Floyd!”
I blink, looking down, seeing the little dragon waving his hand in front of my face to get my attention.
“You okay there Floyd?” he asks, looking up at me, a slightly worried look on his face.
“Oh yeah, I’m good Spike, just having a talk with Pinkie. I tend to uh... stop paying attention to the world around me...” I let out a little chuckle, a sheepish smile plastered on my face
“...right...” Spike says, a little skeptically. “Anyway, she didn’t tell me what she wanted to talk to you about.”
“Well, alright then. We can head over now, unless Maud wants to go somewhere else first?” Maud just shakes her head. “Alright then, lead on, MacPuff!” I declare, pointing with my hoof.
“My name isn’t Puff!” Spike growls rather indignantly.
“Geez man relax, I’m just joshing ya.” I hold my hooves up, hoping to placate him.
“Yeah well, I don’t need to be, uh, ‘Joshed’.”
“Oh for the love of...” I groan, facehoofing. “Please, just lead the way...” He turns and starts to walk, grumbling a little, obviously rather upset at my ribbing. Yeah well, uh... screw you too!
“Still pretty sweary, but you’re doing better!” Pinkie smiles, obviously liking my downgrade in swears.
That's because you're a bad influence.
“What!? I’m not bad!? You think I’m bad!?”
I whip a pillow out of my mane, press it into my face, and scream into it. This place is seriously going to be the death of me. Once I release my pent up emotions, I toss the pillow to the side. “OK, I feel better... much, much better.” We continue the walk in silence, getting a lot of stares from the combination of the short hair and the blank flank. Maud glares at them and the onlookers quickly look away, whistling nonchalantly.
“Here we are!” Spike proudly proclaims as we reach the castle. “So what do you think, Maud?” He smirks, leaning against the wall. “Pretty sweet huh?”
“I’m not into crystals.” Maud looks the castle up and down.
“Personally, I think it looks tacky,” I admit, standing next to Maud. “I mean, it would be better somewhere like the Crystal Empire but it clashes terribly here in Ponyville. Heck, it would have been much better if the old library had GROWN into the castle.”
“You two don’t know what you're talking about!” Pinkie butts in. “I love it! It looks like a giant piece of rock candy!”
Don’t even try to convince me to take a bite out of it Pinkie.
“Yeah well, I think it looks great!” Spike mutters, pushing the main doors open and walking inside. Maud and I follow him in, noting just how dark it is.
Pinkie you don’t think...
“That our friends threw us a surprise party?! Hay yeah!!”
I let out a scream, jumping and latching onto the tree root chandelier...huh, ‘Castle, Sweet Castle’ must have happened while we were gone. Good, I really don’t see how I would have been a positive influence on that episode.
“Ya’ll okay up there Floyd?” Applejack calls up to me, she and the others looking up with concern.
“Yeah, I’m cool,” I call down. “Give me a sec!” I let go of the chandelier and fall like a rock, only to land on my hooves somehow. I put on my best Jack Burton impression. “It’s all in the reflexes.”
“Right...” Dash comments, looking at me with an arched eyebrow.
“Anyway Floyd,” Twilight cuts in, bringing the conversation back on track, “We wanted to give you, Pinkie and Maud a big send off, I hope you don’t mind the party.” Twilight quickly puts on a sheepish smile, shared with the others. I look around, noting the good number of townsfolk and a big banner that says: “Farewell Floyd/Pinkie, Come Home Soon!”
“Gee girls, you didn’t have to do all this...” I comment, feeling sadness start to seep through me. “I mean I don’t really deser-” I get cut off as Dash shoves her hoof in my mouth.
“We get it Floyd, you're all messed up about the body stealing thing,” she says, like that's supposed to help.
“What Dash is trying to say, darling,” Rarity picks up, giving Dash a soft glare, “Is that, we know you're still feeling guilty, but tonight we just want you to have fun, okay?”
I look from each of them, noting the soft smiles they all wore, including Pinkie, who had moved to stand with her friends. I mumble out an answer before remembering that Dash’s hoof is still in my mouth. I quickly shove her away, spitting a few times.
“Disgusting...” I grumble, making a face. “ But yeah... I’ll try for you girls, OK?”
“That's all we ask, Floyd.” Twilight smiles as she and the girls quickly pull me into a hug. I smile right back, the widest, most sincere smile I’ve worn yet, hugging them all back. I haven’t even known them for a week and they're already my best friends.
“That's just ponies for ya!” Pinkie adds, her head halfway phased through Twilight’s as she tries to join in on the hug.
“So,” I ask, pulling away from them, still wearing that smile, “What should we do first?”
“Well,” Twilight starts, pulling out a book entitled How to Host a Party For Dummies, “I’m glad you asked!” We all let out a collective groan, awaiting for her to schedule everything.
“And then, when the poor old mare reached into her cabinet... she realized... she was out of tea!” Fluttershy... shouted? I guess that counts as a shout for Fluttershy. After the party, which was really fun by the way, I got yet another surprise: The girls had set up a sleepover in Twilight’s room. It had been Dash’s suggestion that we tell stories and Fluttershy was trying her hand at a... scary story... yeah that's a thing.
“That's a, um... nice story Fluttershy...” Rarity speaks, doing her best not to offend her friend.
“Very... chilling,” Twilight adds giving a forced smile.
“Oh my, I know,” Fluttershy nods, “Being a bad host is one of my worst nightmares...”
“That's so lame, Fluttershy.” Dash, not one to mince words, rolls her eyes. “Doesn’t anypony have any good stories?”
“What about Floyd?” Applejack suggests, turning the rooms attention to me. “Ya’ll are inta’ movies and what not. Got any that’d be a good story?”
I tap my chin. “Well... the types of movies I’m into would totally mess up your fragile pony minds so... why don’t I tell you a different story.” I smile, an idea already forming in my head. “A story about the future, the future as envisioned by my culture sixty years ago. A story of the nature of humanity, the heights of our greatness, to the pits of our depravity.” I close my eyes. “And it all starts with a simple phrase. War.” I open my eyes dramatically. “War never changes.”
And so begins my great career as a bard. I spin them the tale of the Vault Dweller... and answer questions every five minutes... But! They hang off every word, and by no means do I sugar coat it. I mean, I always play the good guy, so this particular tale has all the best outcomes, but I don’t hold back on any of Fallout’s dark stuff.
“And in the end,” I say, drawing the story to a close, “Despite everything the Vault Dweller did for Vault 13 and the Wasteland, the Overseer refused to allow him back in, fearing that his presence would make other vault dwellers want to leave. So, cast out of the only home he had ever known, the Vault Dweller turned his back to Vault 13 and wandered back into the wastes, but that... is a story for another day.”
“What!?” Dash shouts bolting into the air, “You're telling me after all that, he can’t even go home!? What a load of horseapples!”
“I thought it was a fine, if rather dark, tale, Floyd,” Rarity smiles, “Did you come up with it yourself?”
“Nah,” I wave my hoof dismissively, “A bunch of really talented people did, and to address your concerns Dash, that was just Fallout 1, there are still five other Fallout tales to tell.”
“Aw, sweet!” she fist pumps. “Can we hear the next one?”
“Nope...” I yawn, rubbing at my eyes. “I’m freaking tired. You’ll just have to wait until we get back to hear more.”
“But that could be months!” she whines, pouting furiously, “I can’t wait that long.”
“Yeah, you can.” I get into my sleeping bag, letting out another yawn. “Besides, the usual wait between Fallouts is four years...” I snuggle up, closing my eyes. “Good night everyone...” They each call out their own good nights and Twilight blows out the candles. I smile as I drift off to sleep.
“So, what do you want to do tonight Pinkie?” I ask as we find ourselves in my tree house again.
“No, no, no, you got that line wrong.” Pinkie glares at me, putting her hooves on her hips.
“Huh?” Is the best thing I can utter, staring at her.
“Pinkie is supposed to ask Brain that, duh.” She rolls her eyes, making a rather irritated face. I just narrow my eyes before grabbing her, starting to tickle her belly. “N-no!” She giggles, flailing around, unable to get away.
“Try to out-reference me, huh? Do you even lift, bro?” I smirk down at her, not relenting until she starts screaming uncle. We sit there, panting a little, with me petting her mane.
“Maybe tonight you can tell me more about your family?” She gazes up at me with her big blue eyes full of hope.
“Alright, alright, stop with the eyes.” I smile, scratching her ears. She smiles, getting comfy on my lap. “Well, you know my name is Floyd Hendrix. I was born in 1995 to Daniel and Naomi Hendrix. I’m about one half Navajo and, uh, whatever the hell my dad is. I imagine some stuff from Europe or whatever. Anyway, my parents ran a rather big law firm, so I didn’t get to see a lot of them growing up. I spent a lot of time with my mom’s mom, Grandma Sunny. She taught me all the old ways and my people's culture.”
“Old ways?” Pinkie asks, looking up at me.
“Yeah, it’s a whole thing... that really doesn’t make humans look all that great...” I mumble before clearing my throat. “All you really need to know is that, she taught me a lot of old traditions and stuff.”
“She sounds like Nana Pinkie!”
“If you say so.” I shrug. “She was the one who bought me my first camera. I still have... had it. It was this old piece of crap VHS camera but I loved that thing. I made a lot of crappy movies on that thing...”
“I bet you miss home a lot, huh?” she asks, shifting a little so she could hug me. I hug her back, rubbing her back.
“Yeah Pinkie I do...” We just sit there quietly, with me petting her head.
“Man Floyd, you're always so depressing.” I blink, looking behind me. We’re suddenly in my dorm room, with the girls all standing around us and Princess Luna standing back in the corner.
“Girls!” Pinkie leaped off my lap, rushing over to the girls, pulling them all into a hug. “How did you get here!?”
“Well, I know Luna has to visit your dreams to keep you two safe,” Twilight starts, nuzzling Pinkie, “So I asked if there was any way for us to share a dream. You're leaving and... we wanted to say goodbye... and maybe see what Floyd really looks like.”
“I must say, humans aren’t exactly like I pictured.” Rarity mutters, looking me over.
“I dread to imagine what you thought I’d look like.” I roll my eyes, looking at Maud as she meanders over. “Uh, hey Maud...” I wave, watching as she sits next to me.
“You’re a lot taller than I thought,” she comments, looking up at me. “It must be hard becoming a pony.”
“I’m... getting better...” I mutter, only for Maud to hug me.
“Just remember, I’m here whenever you need a rock.”
I crack a smile, hugging her back. “Thanks Maud... you’re the best...” We sit there, exchanging stories of our childhoods, while Pinkie and her friends chat the dream away. Luna smiles softly, letting herself fade out of the dream.
“Phew... I’m glad we’re finally on the train, pony goodbyes suck.” I trot onto the train, stretching my back out. We had decided against Gummy coming with us, placing him in Fluttershy’s expert care. The Cakes were sad to see us go but swore to Pinkie her job would still be there when we came back.
“As they say Floyd, a rolling stone gathers no moss.” Maud trots past me, placing her bags in storage.
“Yeah, yeah, start throwing the rock puns at me.” I place my own bags away, taking a seat across from her, Pinkie sitting next to me.
“Hey Floyd! Maud! Wait up!” I hear Applejack’s voice call out. We all turn to see AJ, Big Mac and the Cutie Mark Crusaders all rushing towards the train.
“Uh hi AJ, I didn’t know you guys were coming with us.” I wave, giving them a tilted glance.
“Me neither, but Braeburn just sent me a letter.” AJ trots over, taking a seat next to me. “He got himself hurt and ah have ta take his place at the rodeo.”
Oh yeah, episodes. I really need to remember that those are happening.
“Well, you're welcome to join us, girls!” I smile, patting the seat next to us. She smiles, taking the seat while the CMC say goodbye to Big Mac. Welp, wish me luck, hope I don’t screw up the timeline or something.
I squee a little, bouncing up and down in place. Yes, I know, I’ve been here are over a week and Braeburn is what makes me fanboy out? Well to you good sir or ma’am, I say you haven’t experienced the joy of getting the Appleloosan greeting for yourself, so ha!
“You’re such a silly filly, Floyd!” Pinkie giggles at me, a bright smile on her face.
I don’t even care, I’m having fun. Anyway. I calm myself down and clear my throat. “Nice to meet you Braeburn, name’s Floyd, Pink Floyd.”
“Ah thought yer name was Pinkie Pie?” he asks, blinking at me, looking rather confused about our name.
“It’s a long story, cuz,” AJ cuts in, coming to me rescue. “This’n here is Floyd, she may look like Pinkie but she’s a whole ‘nother pony.”
“Well, howdy Floyd!” Braeburn smiles. “And who's this?” he asks, turning to Maud, who returned his smile with a blink.
“This is Maud,” Applejack speaks, pulling both Maud and I into a hug. “She’s Pinkie’s sister! Except, she’s rather quiet.”
“I like rocks,” Maud informs, blinking.
“Well, as ya’ll can see,” he gestured with his injured arm, “we have a lot o’ rocks here!”
“Are ya’ll two gonna be alright finding yer way round’?” Applejack asked, pulling away from us, “Me and Brae’ gotta take care of some things for the rodeo, so neither of us have time ta show ya’ll around.”
“We’ll be fine, AJ.” I wave my hoof dismissively. “You go do your rodeo stuff, Maud and I will be just fine, right Maud?” Maud nods. “So, don’t you two worry about us!”
“Well... alright.” AJ looks a bit uncertain. “But iff’n ya’ll need anything, we’ll be at the corral. Come on ‘Bloom, girls,” she calls over to the Crusaders, who fall in line behind her and Braeburn.
“So...” I cast a glance at Maud. “What do we do first?”
“Find the hotel and put our saddlebags away.” She thinks for a moment. “Then, I’m going to go collect samples. Do you want to come with me?”
“Sure, why not.” I smile at her. “I mean, you aren’t just here for me, after all.”
Maud nods before looking down. Picking a direction, I guess at random, she starts to trot away. I follow her, taking in the sights and sounds like the pathetic fanboy that I am.
“You're not pathetic, Floyd!” Pinkie chastises, bouncing along beside me. “I’m sure Dashie would react the same if she was sucked into the world of Daring Do!”
Pinkie, Daring Do is real.
“No silly, not the real one, I’m talking about the book version!” She rolls her eyes. “I mean come on, not everything in those books is true! You know she exaggerates and stuff. I mean, just look at the one she published about our adventure! She didn’t get my name right!” Pinkie narrows her eyes a little. “Surprise Pie my flank...”
Uh huh... well I’ll let you.. stew over that slight and I’ll be over here geeking out.
“Careful Floyd, people might start calling you a self-insert!” Pinkie teases, her past grievance with Daring seemingly forgotten.
Oi! I’m not a self-insert!
Pinkie giggle snorts at me. “Just you wait Floyd, by the end of the story, you're going to end up a black and red alicorn!”
I just groan, facepalming. Why did I explain bronydom to you again?
“Because I asked nicely!”
I just sigh, shaking my head.
“Are you alright Floyd?” Maud asks and I can distinctly hear a tinge of worry in her voice. Huh, that's new.
“Yeah, I’m fine Maud, just Pinkie being Pinkie is all.” She nods, almost sage like.
“Pinkie can overwhelm you sometimes.”
“Has she ever overwhelmed you?” I ask, genuinely curious.
“Pfft, no way!” Pinkie says dismissively. “There’s no way I’ve ever even whelmed her!”
“There were a few times when it seemed a little much but...” She looks over at me and I see the ghost of a smile gracing her muzzle. “I’ve always made sure to be there for her.”
“It must have been something, to grow up with siblings.” I wave at a few ponies, who wave back. “I mean, I had cousins but that's not really the same thing.
“Were you close with any of them?” Maud asks, and I swear her tone is curious.
“Only one, my cousin Jason. His mom and my father are siblings.” I smile, a few fond memories of us playing as kids coming to mind. “He’s a nice guy, if a bit of a dick.”
“Floyd, it’s not nice to call your family names,” Pinkie chastises, “Family should be supportive.”
“Not every family is.” I shrug.
“What’s Jason like?” Maud steers me down a side street, seeming to know where she’s going.
“Well, like I said, Jay’s kind of a dick. He swears just as badly as me, speaks his mind way too much and used to be a hardcore slacker.”
“Yeah, after he got stabbed by a drug dealer he cleaned up his act. Didn’t help with his parents, though. They were really devout Christians and when we were in high school, he started worshipping an old bearded guy with an eye patch to piss them off,” I explain, memories of that little event playing in my head. “He had to move in with us because his parents kicked him out.”
“Aw... that's sad...” Pinkie frowns a little. “What happened to him?”
“Well...after about a year in college, he got really serious about the religion thing and dropped out to go all ‘mountain man’ out in the woods.” I tap my chin. “Something about being a ‘true norseman.’”
“What's an oarsman?” Pinkie asked, tilting her head to the side. “Isn’t that a pony who rows?”
“No Pinkie, I said Norseman, not oarsman.” I roll my eyes, shaking my head.
“We’re here.” Maud comes to a stop, looking ahead. I look up, seeing a rather nice, old west era building with a big sign that read: ‘Appaloosa Inn’.
“How’d you get us here?” I ask, looking at her. “I didn’t think you’ve been here before...?”
“I saw it when the train pulled in.” She lets out a little chuckle-wait what?!
“Maud did you just... laugh?” I ask, giving her a weirded out look. She just smiles at me, trotting into the building.
Pinkie!? Help!! Maud is showing emotion! The end is nigh!!
Pinkie just giggles at me, shaking her head. “You’re such a silly filly, Floyd!” She bounces past me, phasing through the inn’s set of swinging doors.
“Pinkie! This isn’t a laughing matter!” I run in after them. Maybe it’s all just in my head?
“So what are we looking for, exactly?” I ask Maud as we trot out into the desert surrounding Appleloosa. There haven’t been any more weird Maud-emotions but I’m keeping my eyes out.
“Any open deposits.” Maud keeps her head forward, scanning the landscape around us.
“Kinda reminds me of home...” I mutter to myself. Sure, it’s hot, I’m sweating under my fur and there are bugs but you know... it makes me all nostalgic...
“I think this is a good spot.” I slow my trot, turning to see Maud lower her head and take a bite out of a rock. Jesus, how hard are her teeth!?
“Maud has the strongest teeth in Equestria!” Pinkie pops up beside her sister. “Her teeth are so hard, dentists usually go through a few drills when cleaning her teeth.” I just shake my head, not questioning it.
“Do you want me to do anything?” I ask, gesturing to her saddlebags.
“Can you unpack my equipment while I look around?” She shrugs off her bags, which land on the ground with a thud.
“Yeah, I can do that. You go get your rocks off.” I smirk while Pinkie groans at my joke.
“That was terrible, Floyd. I mean, Maud walked right into it, but that doesn’t mean it was any good!”
Maud looks at me for a moment before she smiles. “Good one, Floyd.” She grabs a few things from her bags before walking off.
“See Pinkie?” I ask, starting to pull things out of the saddlebags, placing them as best a cluster as I can, as I have no idea what half of this stuff is. “Maud thought it was funny.”
“That's because Maud finds anything rock related good.” Pinkie sits down with me and we fall into a nice little chat.
“So, you think If I went through that mirror would I go back to being my old self?” I get as comfy as I can, my legs folded up under me.
“That's a good question.” Pinkie tapped her chin, her tongue sticking out of her mouth as she concentrated. “Maybe if we went through, we’d turn into the human you and I’d be in charge.”
“I hope that never happens.” I shudder a little. “Weird pony-human high school world can only handle one Pinkie Pie.”
“Hey Floyd... you ever get the feeling that someone is watching you?” Pinkie asks, looking around.
“I always feel like somebody's watching me.” I smirk. “Can’t get no privacy.”
Pinkie returns my reference with a pout. “Seriously Floyd! I think somepony is watching us!”
“You're imagining things, Pinkie.” I roll my eyes. “No one is wa-” I’m cut off as something pounces on me from behind. I let out a cry, thrashing around pathetically.
“What are you doing here!?” a gruff voice demands, pressing my head into the dirt. “Who were you talking to!?”
Panicking, I struggle, only for whoever is pinning me down to press more weight on me.
“Who were you talking to!?” the voice demands again, followed by a very angry growl. Pinkie!? What do I do!?
“Call for Maud!” Pinkie shouts at me, standing there with a look of helplessness in her eyes.
Taking her advice, I inhale as much air as I can. “M-Maud!!” I scream at the top of my lungs.
“Mud huh?” the voice asks, grunting. “Now we’re getting somewhere. Where is thi-” The voice gets cut off as a grey blur tackles him off me. I bolt to my feet, my heart pounding in my ears, and whip around to see Maud pinning a black Diamond Dog to a boulder, a look of utter fury in her eyes.
“Whoa... she’s scary.” I pant, feeling my legs wobble like jelly.
“Maud’s the bestest big sister ever.” Pinkie trots over, and gives me the best hug she can. “You OK, Floyd? That was really scary.”
“Y-yeah I-I’m okay...” I take a few deep breaths, watching as my canine attacker struggles under Maud’s unflinching grip. ‘Wait... you were scared? How can one diamond dog scare you when you’ve fought monsters like Tirek...?”
“Those guys always scare me, Floyd,” Pinkie explains, looking into my eyes. “But I know with my friends beside me that I can beat them. But you,” she pokes at my chest, “You're just...” She scrunches her muzzle, looking for the right words. “You’re like a foal, you don’t even know how to use your earth pony strength.”
I open my mouth to retort but close it soon after. You know Pinkie, you're right. I sigh, hanging my head. My ears perk up, Maud’s voice catching my attention.
“Why did you attack my sister?” Maud asks, her usual monotone carrying a distinct hostile undertone. She had her forearm against the dog’s throat, holding it up off the ground.
“I’m not going to tell you anything.” He glares back at us with red eyes. Maud gives him an unamused look, drawing her hoof back and punching the boulder right next to his head. It creates a rather nicely sized hole, sending cracks through the whole thing.
“I’m waiting.” Maud blinks, daring him to try anything.
He sighed, looking at her. “Alright, alright. Look, I wasn’t going to hurt her.” He gestures to me. “You're in my pack’s territory, and I found a pony sitting out in the open, talking to herself rather suspicious.”
I tap my chin, staring at him. His voice is so familiar... wait... “What’s your name?” I ask, walking over.
“Shuck.” He turns to look at me and I notice the bandana tied around his head. “Black Shuck.” I stare at him again, my eye twitching. Yup. I know that voice, freaking David Hayter. I was attacked by a diamond dog voiced by David Hayter. That voice choice was oddly appropriate, score one for you, universe.
“Wait...” I blink, realizing something. “Your name is Black Shuck... I’m not going to you know... die from seeing you three times, right?”
“What?” he asks, sounding horrified. “Why would I do that? I’m a ranger, not a murderer.”
“I wasn’t implying anything!” I quickly put my hooves up. “It’s just... where I’m from there's a legendary dog named the Black Shuck and if you see it three separate times, either you or someone you know will die soon.”
“Yeah well, I don’t kill people that look at me.” He scoffed, rolling his eyes.
“Well, good...” I cough awkwardly, looking at Maud. “I’m pretty sure you can let him go now.”
Maud gave me a look before turning back to Shuck. “Don’t touch my sister again.” She let the dog go, dropping back down to all fours.
“Noted...” Shuck mumbled, rubbing his throat. “Look, I’m sorry about attacking your sister, I’m just trying to keep my pack safe...”
I nod. “I forgive you, though... I think I have a way for you to make it up to us.”
“Yeah?” He crosses his arms. “How’s that?”
“You see, Maud here is a... geologist?” Maud nods. “Yeah, geologist, and diamond dogs know the earth better than anyone so... why not take us to your den? Maud’s bound to learn something.”
Maud pauses, looking at the ground. “There's almost no information on diamond dog excavation techniques...” She looked up at Shuck. “If you can do that then... I can forgive you.”
Shuck looks between us, letting out a sigh. “Alright, alright, I’ll take you, but don’t blame me if you don’t get the warmest of welcomes...”
“We just need to pack up.” Maud moves over to her pack and I follow. With the two of us, it doesn’t take too long to get it all squared away. “We’re ready.” She moves over to Shuck, who has been surprisingly patient with us.
“Alright then, let’s move out.” He turns, starting to walk off. “And stay close, you don’t want to get lost out here.” We fall in behind him, taking in the scenery, which is just a bunch of sand, tumbleweeds and cacti... so not the most picturesque of views.
“So... Shuckster, I’ve never met a diamond dog before.” This is technically true, I know Pinkie’s met them but I haven’t. “Though from what I’ve heard, they aren’t usually this articulate...”
Shuck lets out a growlish sigh. “Typical pony. You think those backwater hicks up north represent all of us diamond dogs.”
“Hey man, I’m not trying to offend you, I don’t know a damn thing about diamond dogs.” In my defense, the show barely touches on any of the cool stuff. It took us what, four seasons from when Gilda showed up to learn more about griffons? And the only minotaur that's shown up is Iron Will. Where do minotaurs live? What do the females look like? We need answers, Hasbro!
“Or ya know, you could ask Twi.” Pinkie speaks up. “She has to know something.”
Maybe next time I see her. I gaze around, blinking when I see a brief flicker of purple. I look again, but I can no longer see whatever it was. Weird...
“It’s probably because you were thinking about Twilight, you know like a, um... carriage!” Pinkie suggests, grinning.
The word you're looking for, Pinkie, is mirage.
She just shrugged, causing me to sigh. The things I put up with...
“We’re here.” Shuck’s voice snaps me out of my thoughts. I look over to see Shuck and Maud standing at a large hole in the ground. “It’s a bit of a drop but, I think you can handle it.” He jumped into the hole, followed by Maud. I trot over, looking down into said hole, gulping.
“Well... here goes nothing...”
“Whoa... this place is amazing...” I mutter out, gazing around the diamond dog den. Unlike the ones Pinkie and her friends saw before, this place is actually... really fucking nice. It’s nice and wide, there’s furniture, lights. Hell, there’s even shag carpeting!
“I take it you’re impressed?” Shuck asked with a smirk. “Unlike our cousins up north, we actually, you know, care about our living space.”
“Shuck, who are these ponies?” a strong russian accent asks, causing us to turn our heads. Standing in the entrance to a side tunnel was a tall and slender diamond dog, clearly a female diamond dog, holding some type of crossbow that reminded me of Bianca from Dragon Age.
“These two are cool, Archer,” Shuck responds before turning to us. “Maud, Floyd, this is Archer Wolf, our resident crossbow expert.
“Charmed,” she responds, looking us over. This... adventure is just going to be full of Metal Gear references, isn’t it?
“Aren’t those the best though?” Pinkie asked, holding something above my head. I glance up to see she was holding a big red exclamation point over my head. Okay, seriously Pinkie!? Where the hell did you get that?! You’re a freaking astral projection! “I’m projecting the exclamation point, duh!” My eye twitches and I just look ahead, not wanting to deal with her right now.
“Maud here wanted to learn some of our tunneling techniques,” Shuck speaks, trying to get the conversation going. “Do you know where the others are?”
“Da,” Archer nods, “Boss is out trying to talk to another pack, Fortune is out foraging, Crying is on patrol with Quiet and Sw-”
“Hi!” a changeling shouts, popping out of the ground with a manic grin.
“Ah!” I shout, jumping into the air and , rather pathetically, hide behind Maud. Maud just raises her eyebrow, looking at Shuck.
“Yeah... this is Switcharoo, he’s a little...”
“Do you like cats?!” Switcharoo asks, pulling himself out of his hole. “I love cats! They’re just so fluffy! I want to cuddle them all!”
Archer sighs, grabbing the changeling by the tail, pulling him back. “Please forgive Switch he is... not right in head.”
“I’m totally sane! I just love cats!”
“Why do you have a changeling?” I ask, peeking out from behind Maud.
“About two year ago, he fell through one of the tunnels. Said something about a failed invasion.” Shuck shrugged. “He seemed harmless, and for a hoofed being he’s surprisingly good at digging...” He shook his head. “We’re getting off topic. If you follow me, I’ll show you some of our tunnels.”
We nod, following after him, listening to Switcharoo babble on to Archer about cats. Thankfully, it doesn’t take us too much longer to get out of earshot. I hum ‘Body Movin’, grooving to the beat as Maud and Shuck talk about geology stuff.
“You know...” Shuck looks at me. “I’m glad you two showed up, actually...”
“Yeah?” I ask, tilting my head to the side. “Why’s that?”
He took on a grim expression. “You see, there's a warlord, goes by the name Adjule, trying to rally the packs up for a war.”
“...Against Equestria, right?” I ask, letting out a long sigh. Welp, now I’m really glad we left ponyville. Watch this be the plot of the second half of season 5 or something.
He nods. “Not only that but, he’s trying to resurrect the god of war, Hakkon.” My eye twitches yet again, this fucking place is giving me a facial tick, great. I mean, seriously universe? Is this your way of compensating for me? ‘Oh look, we got this guy fucking up our destiny shit. Let's throw in a bunch of stuff from things he likes to screw with him.’ Yeah, well, screw you too universe! If I had a fist I’d shake it at you! Pinkie giggles at my tirade and I just glare at her.
“It just so happens you're in luck, Shuck.” I smirk at the rhythm. “See, I happen to have quite the relationship with the princesses. I could get you a direct meeting with them!”
“Really?” He strokes his chin. “That would certainly help... but I’ll have to talk with the boss first.”
“That's fine.” I wave my hoof dismissively. “We’ll be in town for the next few days anyway so, you have time.”
Shuck nods, and we go back to the tour, with me occasionally pitching in what I knew about mining techniques, though they scoffed at the idea of the huge diamond headed drills. Last time I speak up, I tell you...
“Floyd,” AJ puts her drink down, looking from our guests to myself, “Ya’ll seriously brought diamond dogs into town?” she asks, eyeing me like I’m crazy. A day has passed, with Maud and myself exploring the town, and much to AJ’s annoyance, not getting involved with the Trouble Shoes thing. I’m sorry, there is no way I can improve on that episode, and I’d rather not, you know, ruin it. Anyway, it’s at night in the Salt Block, Appleloosa’s saloon, with Maud, AJ, Shuck, his pack leader, and myself at a table.
“Look AJ, there is no reason to be racist here.” I take a sip of my own drink, making a face. Geez Pinkie, how do you drink this stuff?
“It’s an acquired taste, like bourbon.” She licks her lips. “Drink some more!”
Ugh, no! That's terrible!
“Oh come on! I can only taste it if you drink it!”
Fine! I grumble, drinking down the rest of my cup, putting it down on the table.
“First off, ah ain’t racist.” AJ pouts. “Secondly, diamond dogs aren’t known ta ya know, actually talk to ponies.”
“I apologize for the actions of our northern brothers.” The Boss, yes it is THE Boss, just in diamond dog form, looks up from her drink, her slender form hidden under a black cloak. “They’re our version of what you would call...”
“Rednecks? Hillbillies?” I offer, signaling the waiter to get me yet another disgusting drink. I shudder, drinking it down while Pinkie smiles away.
“Both would be adequate.”
“Iffn’ that there story of yers is true, whaddya want me ta do about it?” AJ asks, watching me with a raised eyebrow. “If ya don’t like the drink Floyd, why do ya keep orderin’ it?”
“‘Cause Pinkie likes it...” I mumble, staring into the dark liquid. Pinkie, we don’t get drunk, do we?
“Nope! Most we get is a nice warm buzz!”
Good to know... remind me to abuse this later...
“Anyway.” I clear my throat. “I want you to take these to two to Twilight, I’m pretty sure she can handle it from there.”
AJ looks between Shuck and Boss before sighing. “Alright, alright, ah’ll take ya ta Ponyville but ah ain’t promisin’ nothin’.”
“Sweet! Also!” I dig into my mane, pulling out an envelope. “Here, I wrote a letter for Princess Celestia, can you give it to Twilight for me?” I slide it across the table. AJ picks it up, placing it under her hat.
“Yeah, ah can do that.”
“Alright then!” I smile, slamming my drink, shuddering at the taste. “Hey Maud!” She looks up from her drink (which is, I shit you not, literally on the rocks, like, with rocks instead of ice,) and turns to me. “Wanna have a drinking contest?”
She blinks a few times before shrugging. “Sure.”
“Yes! Next round of drinks is one me!” A cheer goes up through the crowd as Maud and I start our contest, with Pinkie cheering both of us on.
“Coming!” Twilight called as she trotted over to the doors, throwing them open. “How may I...” she paused before her smile degenerated into a frown. “Blueblood, what are you doing here?”
“Oh yes um... hello uh... Twilight.” Blueblood threw on a sheepish smile, rubbing the back of his head. “I um... I-I’m looking for Pinkie Pie...”
“Why?” she asked, raising her eyebrow. “What... you don’t... you don’t have a crush on her do you?”
“Well, I um... that is to say....” the poor prince stuttered, his white muzzle suddenly a deep red.
“Sweet Celestia, you do!” Twilight burst out laughing, falling onto her side.
“Twilight?” Spike asked, peeking out of the kitchen. “Why are you laughing like a crazy mare?”
“B-blueblood has a crush on F-Floyd!” Twilight managed to get out, holding her chest, kicking her hind legs.
Spike snickered, holding back his own outburst.
“I-It’s not funny!” Blueblood fumed, glaring at them.
“I-I’m s-sorry...” Twilight cleared her throat, getting to her hooves. “I’m sorry Blueblood, but you just missed her. She left for Appleloosa a few days ago.”
“Damn...” Blueblood pouted. “Wait, Appleloosa you say? That's that frontier town right? The one that had that problem with the buffalo tribe?” He tapped his chin. “If I run back to the train station, I should be able to catch the next train down there!” He spun on his hooves, galloping back into town.
“You aren’t going to tell him about Floyd?” Spike asked as he watched Twilight shut the castle doors.
“Oh no Spike, it’s funnier not to.” Twilight snickered to herself, trotting back to her lab.
“Yeah, but funny for who?” Spike asked, waddling after her, scratching the side of his head. He just knew Floyd wasn’t going to be too happy with the purple alicorn.
“Ugh, will you get up already!?” Limestone’s voice calls out before my covers are pulled off me. I curl up, shivering. “Look, just get up already!”
“I dun wanna...” I whine, covering my head with my hooves.
“Get up already!” Limestone nearly shouts, making me whimper a little. All she ever does is yell, it’s not nice.
“Limestone.” Maud speaks up and I peek out from under my leg. She’s standing in the doorway to my room. Pinkie and Marble aren’t here, they're probably downstairs eating breakfast. “There’s no need to yell at Shale.”
“You deal with her!” Limestone snorts, pushing past Maud. “I have to get ready for school.” Maud watches her for a moment before making her way over to me, sitting down next to my bed.
“Are you okay?” she asks, holding a hoof out, offering me a hug. I take it, snuggling into her fur.
“Yeah...” I nod, looking up at her. “Why is she so mean?”
Maud shrugs before leaning down, nuzzling my head. “I know she can be mean, but she does care about you.”
“If you say so...” I look down, sighing a little.
“Come on.” Maud pulls away, getting down so I can get on her back. “We need to get you ready for school.”
“Do I have to...?” I ask with a frown. I don’t want to go to school. Why can’t Mama just teach me?
“Come on now, everypony has to go to school.” Maud nudges me and with a pout, I climb onto her back, getting comfy. Once she knows I’m not going to fall off, she trots downstairs.
“Hi Shale.” Pinkie looks up from the table, her mouth full. The smell of pancakes wafts over to my nose and my tummy growls. Marble mumbles a good morning,
“Hi Pinkie.” I wave back as Maud sets me in a chair. She gives me another nuzzle before moving to help Mama.
“Good morning, Shale.” Mama moves over, placing a plate of pancakes in front of me.
“Morning, Mama.” I lean down, starting to eat. We eat quietly, like we always do. It’s always so quiet.
“Maud, would you be so kind as to drop your sisters off at school this morning?” Mama asked. Whenever Papa isn’t around, she talks normal, but whenever he is, they both talk all funny. When I asked her why, she just smiled and kissed my head.
“Sure, Ma.” Maud nods, taking her seat. We all eat in silence and I’m glad Limestone isn’t here yet. She always ruins breakfast.
I take a few bites of my pancake, Mama is a great cook. Just don’t tell her I don’t like the rock soup. I look up at her, swallowing a bite of pancake. “Mama?”
“Yes, Shale?” she asks, looking over at me. I gulp a little, looking down at my plate, poking at my pancake.
“Mama... do I really have to go to school?” I don’t look up at her, already knowing the answer. It’s not fair, I don’t want to go. School sounds stupid.
“Now Shale, we’ve been over this,” Mama sighs, putting her fork down. “Everypony has to go to school. How else are you supposed to get anything into that little head of yours?”
I frown, looking up at her. Why can’t you just learn by eating? That way no one has to go to school.
“You want to get smart, don’t you?” Mama asks, to which I nod. “Then you have to go to school.”
“But...” I protest, my frown deepening.
Mama shakes her head firmly. “No buts. Shale, you are going to school and that's final.” I look down at my plate and take another bite of my pancake. I really don’t want to go but... no one argues with Mama... well, except for Limestone, but she’s just a meanie head.
I finish up, just sitting there quietly. I look at Pinkie and Marble, seeing that they had finished up eating as well.
“I’ll get the girls ready for school.” Maud got up from her seat, gently slipping her head under me. I slide down onto her back, holding onto her neck. “Come on Pinkie, Marble.” They nod obediently, following after her as she trots out of the kitchen. We walk out into the den and Maud drops me off on the couch.
“Get your saddlebags, girls,” Maud instructs, moving over to the closet and pulling out another one that’s my size. I’ve tried it on before, it used to be Limestone’s, and my other sisters used it too when they were little. “Hold still, please.” I do as she asks, wanting to do my best for my big sister. She slips the bags onto me, making sure they’re secured. “How is that? Is it too heavy?”
“It’s okay, Maud.” I look up at her, giving a tiny smile. She returns it, helping me down onto the floor.
“Outta my way,” Limestone snorts, pushing past Pinkie and Marble, knocking Marble over. Maud glares at her, moving over to Marble, who was sniffling a little.
“Come on Shale, it’s time to go.” Maud helps Marble up, then opens the door for us. I trot out after Pinkie and Marble, my heart beating in my ears.
“I like it when you take us to school Maud.” Pinkie jumps into the cart, getting comfy. Marble gets on after her, leaving just me, staring up at it. I’ve ridden in the cart before but... never to school...
“Up you go.” Maud lifts me up and places me in the cart, making sure to put the gate up. She trots around to the front, hooking herself up. She starts to pull us along, the only sounds being that of the cart wheels and her hooves on the dirt road. I put my hooves over the railing, watching as the scenery rolls by. After a while, I look up, seeing what I guess is he schoolhouse coming into view. Maud slows down to a crawl, unhooking herself from the cart. She lets us out, with Pinkie and Marble heading off, waving at us. I wave back before turning to Maud
“Where do we go now?” I ask, looking up at her. She smiles, leading me inside the building.
“You’re lucky, Shale.” She looks down at me, not losing her smile, “You have my old kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Shroud.”
“Is she nice?” I ask, walking beside her, sticking close as other ponies walk by.
“The nicest teacher you’ll ever have.” We stop at an open doorway, peering inside. There were already other foals in the room, and a silver unicorn at the front. She looks up at us, a smile spreading across her face.
“Maud, dear, is that you?” the unicorn asks, trotting over. “I haven’t seen you in years! How has my favorite student been?”
“Good.” Maud nods, gently pushing me into the unicorn’s view. She smiled more, her eyes locking onto me.
“And who is this little cutie?” I blush, looking down at my hooves.
“This is my little sister Shale,” Maud introduces me. “And this is her first day of school.”
“Oh my! Well, isn’t that something. I’m Mrs. Shroud, and I’m going to be your teacher. I promise we’re going to have lots of fun!” She smiles, returning her gaze to Maud. “I’ll let you two say goodbye. Shale, you can pick any seat you want when you're done.” She returns to her desk, leaving just me and Maud.
“Uh huh.” I nod, returning her nuzzle, only to pout when she pulls away.
“You go take your seat, I have to get to class. I’ll see you at after school, alright?”
“Okay Maud...” I nod, watching as she turns and walks out of the room. I move over to a seat off in the corner, managing to get my saddlebags off. I sit there for a moment before looking up at Mrs. Shroud, who’s smiling brightly at us. I smile back. Maybe school won’t be so bad...
“Huh...?” I ask sleepily, opening my eyes. Judging by the meager light coming in from the window, the sun was only just starting to rise. Without even giving me a chance to wake up at all, Pinkie gets in my face, her eyes full of a mix of worry and relief.
“Floyd! You're awake! Where were you! I was so worried!”
What are you talking about? I’ve been right here the whole time.
“Nuh uh.” Pinkie shakes her head, sitting down next to me. “When we went to sleep I went to our normal dream place, but you weren’t there!”
I blink a few times, sitting up, letting the covers fall off me. That's right, I wasn’t... I had that really weird dream....
“What kind of dream was it? Did you dream about falling? Or did you have one of those ‘wet’ dreams?” Pinkie asks, full of innocence.
No Pinkie, nothing like that. I shake my head a few times. It was... I frown, trying my best to explain it. It was like I was back at the Rock Farm but... in the past...
“Like time travel?”
No it was... I was a little filly, you and the rest of the Pie family called me Shale, and it was my first day of kindergarten...
“Really?” Pinkie asks, blinking. “That's a really weird dream. Weirder than that dream I had about a giant cupcake trying to eat me...”
I honestly had no idea Limestone was that much of a bitch.
“Hey! You take that back! Limestone is a good pony!”
Good ponies don’t scream at and shove small children.
Pinkie’s eyes go wide and she raises a hoof to her suddenly open mouth. “Y-you saw that...?”
Yes, Pinkie, I did. The dream started with her screaming at me to wake up, and I saw her pushing you and Marble around.
Pinkie sighs, looking down at her hooves. “Limestone wasn’t the best big sister growing up...” She looks at Maud’s sleeping form. “Maud was always there to keep us safe.”
Weird thing is, I was the baby of the Pie family. I shake my head, letting out a yawn. It doesn’t really matter now Pinkie, it was just a weird dream. Anyway, I’m going back to sleep.
“Alright, sleep tight Floyd.”
You too, Pinkie. I lay my head back down, closing my eyes. I groan as I hear Maud starting to stir in her bed. So much for more sleep... I crack an eye open and spot Maud, frockless, sliding out of bed and stretching her limbs out.
“Geez Maud.” I cover my eyes up, letting out a fake gasp. “What would Mother think if she saw you in such a state!?”
“Mother?” Maud questions, though I can’t see her expression.
“Yeah, you know, Cloudy Quartz.” I move my arms, sitting up again.
“But why did you call her ‘Mother’?” Maud asks, raising her eyebrow.
“It was a joke, Maud.” I raise my eyebrow back at her and we just stare at each other for awhile.
“But you said ‘mother,’ not ‘your mother’, implying that she’s your mother too.” I just stare at her as that bit of information worms its way into my mind.
“Now you're just nitpicking...” I grumble, crossing my arms.
“Floyd... tell her...” Pinkie prods, sitting on the bed next to me. Ugh, fine.
“I had... a dream last night, Maud... it was weird... Pinkie wasn’t there... well she was but... not there there.” I start to explain. Maud blinks before trotting over, taking a seat next to me.
“What was the dream about?” she asks, blinking again.
“Well... we were back at the rock farm, but you and your sisters were all kids again. I was there too but...”
“But?” Maud asks, gesturing for me to keep going.
“I was there, but I wasn’t me. I was a little filly, you and the others called me Shale...” I pause, noting Maud’s eyes widening ever so slightly. “That doesn’t mean anything to you... does it?”
Maud just shook her head. “No. But tell me if you have any more dreams like that, OK?” she says, sliding off the bed and moving back over to hers. She pulls another frock out of her saddlebags and slips it on. Yes, she seriously is one of those ‘one outfit forever’ kind of people.
“So... breakfast?” I ask, getting out of bed and stretching out.
“You have to get dressed first.” Maud blinks at me.
“Huh...?” I ask her, tilting my head in confusion. She points to the nightstand where I placed my feathers for the night. I decide not to question her, putting them back in my mane. We pack up our stuff, heading down to the inn’s dining room for our last meal in Appleloosa.
“I’m still confused by how the trains work in this place,” I comment, looking off into the desert. We were taking the early train to Dodge Junction, the second stop of our ‘round Equestria grand tour. The others, Applejack, the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Braeburn, Shuck, and Boss, were all here to see us off. And apparently the train started from Canterlot and came down through Ponyville and went south then went back up in the west.
“Don’t ya’ll worry your head about it, Floyd.” AJ just shakes her head with a smile on her face. “Ya do enough of that as it is.”
“Yeah, yeah, make fun of the crazy guy,” I mutter, rolling my eyes.
“You’re not crazy,” Maud reassures me, giving me a slight nuzzle.
“Gee Maud, you always know how to brighten me up.” I smile slightly, nuzzling her back.
“See? Maud is best big sister!” Pinkie cheers, trying to hug us both.
“Hey, yer train’s a comin’!” Braeburn informs us, gesturing with his hurt arm, wincing a little. I look in the direction of Ponyville, and sure enough, the train is chugging towards us, letting out a whistle.
“Well, I guess this is goodbye for real, AJ.” I turn to her, only to get pulled into a hug. “Uh... AJ?”
“Y’all take care of each other, okay? Maud, Pinkie, Floyd. Ah don’t know what Ah’d do if any of my cousins got hurt.” AJ pulls away, giving each of us a glance.
“AJ, I’m not your cousin,” I point out, only for her to pat me on the withers.
“Floyd, y’all got a bit of Pinkie in ya now, that makes ya family!”
“And shoot!” Braeburn cuts in. “Any family of AJ’s is family of mine! Ya’ll come back to Appleloosa anytime ya want!” I just look between them, not sure what to say.
“Geez guys... I-I don’t know how to even respond...” I admit, casting my glance away, rubbing my arm.
“Don’t worry about it Floyd, y’all just enjoy your trip.” AJ smiles, turning to watch as the train pulls into the station.
“You all take care.” I turn, trotting onto the train.
“Stay safe.” Maud follows behind me, though... I can tell she’s sad.
“Maud is terrible at goodbyes, always has been.” Pinkie gets comfy on an empty bench.
I can tell...
“Excuse me! Miss Applejack!” The farm pony blinked, turning to see... Prince Blueblood, of all ponies, trotting over to her.
“Prince Blueblood?” she asked, giving him the stinkeye. “What are ya’ll doing here, Prince-Too-Good-Fer-Mah-Apple-Fritters?”
“Yes, well, um...” he coughed into his hoof, trying to avoid her glare. “You see... that was just to get Rarity off my back... I actually found your fritter to be very delicious.”
“Uh-huh...” She just shot him an unamused look. “What are ya’ll doing here Blueblood, ain’t ya afraid to get dirty?”
“No, it’s just very inconvenient. Do you know how hard it is to get dirt out of a white coat?” He looked around before leaning in closer. “Don’t tell anypony I said this but, my aunt actually bathes in fire.”
“Uh, what?” Applejack asked, looking at him like he was crazy.
“She’s fireproof,” he pointed out before clearing his throat. “Anyway, I was hoping if you could point me toward Miss Pie, Twilight was kind enough to inform me that she was in town.”
“Ya’ll mean Floyd? She’s on the train.”
“Wait, what?” He turned just in time to see the train starting to pull away. “Oh, come on!” he snorted in frustration and stomped a hoof.
“Just catch the next train, they’re only headin’ ta Dodge Junction.” AJ rolled her eyes. “Alright, come on girls, let’s go get some lunch.” She didn’t look back, leaving Blueblood to pout on the train platform.
“Wait...” he blinked, looking back at her. “Why did she call Miss Pie ‘Floyd’?”
“Why the hell am I walking funny?” I ask, looking back at my back left hoof. There’s a strange... I dunno, pressure that's throwing me off. I put my bag in the overhead before sitting down on the bench.
“Well, that's easy Floyd!” Pinkie sits next to me, pointing to my hoof. “You have a pebble wedged under your horseshoe!”
I just stare at her. Pinkie, we’re not wearing horseshoes.
“Of course we are, silly!” She giggles. “They’re magic! They blend in with our coat color!”
That's ridiculous! I’d know if I had horseshoes on!
“Would you?” she shoots back with a smirk. I blink, sighing a little. Do I just reach down and pull it off or...?
“Just grab it and pull it off!” Okay... if you say so... I bend over, grasping the edge of the hoof and tugging. I nearly lose my balance as I pull away a pink horseshoe. A small pebble falls to the ground, catching Maud’s attention.
“Pinkie didn’t tell you about the horseshoes before, did she?” she asks, trotting over to me.
“Uh, no... no she did not...” I blink, turning it around in my hooves. It looks like a normal, albeit pink, horseshoe, except it has two raised edges on the sides. “I’m going to assume magic. I know what a horseshoe is, I just didn’t think ponies wore them...”
“It’s to protect our hooves.” Maud gets comfy next to me. “Unlike our ancestors, we live very tame lives, so our hooves don’t get as hard.” She then gives me a look. “If you don’t have magic, how do you get the horseshoes to stay on?”
“Well uh... we kinda... nail them to the horses’ hooves...”
She blinks. “Sounds barbaric.”
“I mean, hooves don’t have any nerves, so it’s not like you’d feel anything anyway.” I place the horseshoe back on and it virtually disappears, looking exactly like a continuation of my hoof. “The only reason it happens is because domesticated horses don’t normally walk around enough to get their hooves to harden, unlike their wild cousins.”
“Your world is weird.” Maud chuckles again.
“Yeah, and so is yours.” We sit there in comfortable silence for awhile, with Pinkie humming Smile, Smile, Smile. “So...”
“It’s going to be at least a day until we get to Dodge Junction,” Maud points out, getting comfy, “We might as well get some sleep.”
“It’s not even noon!” I protest, pointing out the window, where the sun was shining away.
“That hasn’t stopped you before, Floyd!” Pinkie giggles, earning herself a glare.
“Ugh fine, I’ll take a nap... I missed out on some sleep anyway...” I grumble, laying my head down and closing my eyes. As I lay there, I hear Maud’s voice, humming a soft tune. “What are you doing?” I ask, lifting my head up.
“Pinkie always liked it when I tucked her in and sang Granny Pie’s lullaby.”
“I’m a bit old to be tucked in, Maud.” I just give her a flat look, which she returns.
“Come on Floyd, please? It’s a really nice lullaby.” Pinkie bounces up and down, a pleading look on her face.
“Alright, alright, lullaby me away...” I lay my head down again, closing my eyes. Maud starts to hum again, and starts stroking my mane. I don’t complain... it actually feels kinda nice...
“Hush now, quiet now,” Maud sings and... the monotone is gone, completely. “It’s time to lay your sleepy head.” She has a really nice... voice...
“Hush now, quiet now, it's time to go to bed. Hush now, quiet now, close your sleepy eyes. Hush now, quiet now, my how time sure flies.”
“Huh?” I ask with a blink, having woken up in my dream treehouse. “I guess that really is effective...”
“Hi Floyd!” Pinkie shouts, jumping on my lap, smiling up at me.
“Hey, super duper party pony.” I comment, smiling.
“Hehe! Floyd, you’re so silly!” Pinkie smiles, wrapping her arms around my neck and hugging me tightly. I just smile, patting her back.
“You’re not so bad yourself, Pinkie.” I chuckle, petting her ears, getting a happy coo from the pink pony. “So, anything you want to do while we nap?”
“Well... maybe... you could show me some of that dream?” she asks, looking up at me hopefully.
“I can try, but... no promises...” I lean down, touching my forehead to hers. I focus on the dream, and, I uh... assume I just, you know, put it into her brain? I have no idea how this works... After a few moments I pull away, the two of us disoriented to all hell.
“I-I remember that day...” Pinkie mutters, giving her head a shake.
“Wait... that actually happened?” I blink a few times, giving her a raised eyebrow.
“Uh huh. It was the first day of second grade.” She nods, snuggling into my chest. “It all happened the same... except for Shale, she wasn’t there.”
“That's weird... why the hell did I have a dream about some weird alternate version of the past?” I sigh, leaning on the wall, petting her head. “This place is going to destroy my sanity...”
“You know, Floyd...” Pinkie says, rubbing her chin. “Maud doesn’t sing lullabies for anypony... well not technically, she sings them for Marble and me...”
“What’s your point?” I ask, looking down at her.
Pinkie just giggled. "You'll figure it out, you just don’t see it yet!”
“You keep saying that. I’m starting to think I need to get you a thesaurus.”
“Is that some kind of dinosaur?”
I stare at her for a moment before letting out a cry. I open my eyes, a shooting pain coming from my ass. I look back to see a blue unicorn standing on my tail, my saddlebags in his magic. “The fuck!?”
He turns to look at me with wide eyes, then immediately bolts off the bench and out of the car.
“Maud! Get up! We’re being robbed!” Maud instantly gets up, not even looking tired. “He went that way! He’s got my saddlebags!” I point to the car he ran into.
“Stay here,” she says firmly, rushing out of the car. A few shouts carry over, followed by the sounds of fighting.
“Wait!” Pinkie shouts, popping up besides me.
“What?” I ask, looking at her.
“The cutie mark! It’s in your saddlebags!” She gallops into the other car.
“Fuck my life...” I groan, before following after her. Well, there’s Maud, with a few unconscious ponies laying around the car... but no blue unicorn or the saddlebags. “Maud...?”
“Yes, Floyd?” she asks, looking back at me and blinking slowly.
“Did you happen to see a blue unicorn?”
“He escaped through the other door with your saddlebags.”
I just stare at her for awhile, not saying anything.
“Floyd?” she asks, trotting closer, looking and sounding worried.
“They stole the cutie mark, Maud...” I say, falling down onto my haunches, staring at the floor. “They stole it...” We sit there in silence before I hear Maud stomping toward the other door. I look up as I hear the door being punched off its hinges. I see Maud moving through the doorway to the next car, wincing as I hear frantic shouting and very loud thuds, with some breaking glass for good measure. After a few moments of silence, I move up to the doorway and peek into the next car. The caboose, yes they have those here, is trashed , with broken benches, windows, and several pony shaped dents in the walls. Two ponies lay groaning on the floor, while Maud is staring at the door at the other end, which is hanging open. “Maud...?” I ask quietly, trotting over. She turns to me, quickly pulling me into a tight hug.
“I’m sorry... they got away...” she admits, tightening her hug.
“Maud... I-I can’t breathe...” I squirm a little, trying to get air to my lungs. She releases me and I take in a deep breath, savoring the air. “Hey.” I get her attention and we look into each other's eyes. “We’ll get it back, OK? No matter happens or what we have to do, OK?”
Maud nods, composing herself. “I caught these two before they could escape, we should question them.”
“I mean, we could try...” I tap my chin in thought. “Good cop, bad cop?”
“What?” she asks, blinking at me.
“Nevermind...” I take a second, looking around. “The hell did Pinkie go-” I grip my head in pain as what feels like a stake is driven through it. Pinkie materializes next to me, looking to be in the same amount of pain. “Great, video game logic, you got rubberbanded back to me.”
“Owie...” Pinkie whines, holding her head.
“That's what you get for running off...” I rub my head again, taking the time to pull a rope out of my mane and tossing it to Maud. “You tie them up... I’ll see what else we’re missing...” I grumble, moving back into our car. A quick check of our luggage shows that only my saddlebags are missing, which fucking figures. Pinkie, don’t ever, ever do that again. We don’t need that kind of pain, okay?
“Okay, Floyd...” Pinkie nods sadly, laying down on our bench.
Maud and I are going to ask those guys some questions, okay, you just stay here. I walk into the caboose, partly wishing Maud hadn’t knocked the door down. Maud’s tied the two mooks together, looking at me expectantly. “Don’t forget... we got the other guys in the other car...” I take a deep breath, focusing on the gathering dark thoughts in my head, feeling my mane collapse. I pull out a knife, winking at Maud. This was going to be fun...
“Did you really have to get all scary on them?” Pinkie asks as the train pulls into Dodge Junction. Yes, Pinkie, I did, it got them to talk in like a second. Besides I didn’t actually hurt them... just implied that something unpleasant would happen to them if they didn’t. So, we found out that the thieves are bandits, yes, apparently, they’re the ‘Bandits of The Cherry Blossoms.’ And that their leader is a hippogriff named Starscream... I may have ranted about that long and hard...
Maud grabs her saddlebags, one end of the rope in her teeth, dragging the two terrified bandits out onto the platform. The rest are still in the train, all tied up.
“So... what do we do now?” I ask, turning to Maud. Before she can answer, the conductor shouts over to us.
“You stay right there! I’m getting the sheriff!” He gallops off, causing me to sigh.
“Guess we just sit here...” I mutter, sitting on my haunches, looking around. It doesn’t look that much different from Appleloosa, I suppose all frontier towns have a general look to them. Maud just sits next to me, placing an arm around me. I lean on her, letting out a tired sigh, closing my eyes.
“Are ya’ll the Pie sisters?” a gruff voice asks, causing me to open my eyes. It’s a tall, older cream colored stallion, wearing a vest with a sheriff's badge pinned to it, and of course, a ten gallon hat. Standing next to him is the really pissed off conductor.
“Yeah, that would be us... sorta... I’m Floyd and this is Maud.” I pull away from Maud. “We uh... got robbed earlier-”
“And wrecked my cars!” The conductor glares.
“Yes, yes that happened.” I roll my eyes. “Now we caught two of them and they told us they belong to some Cherry Blossom gang...”
“Those bandits have been hasslin’ us for months!” The sheriff spits in disgust. “We just can’t seem to get rid of them.”
“Look, they took something really important, okay? We need help getting it back.” I look at him, trying to look dead serious.
“Look here missy, it don’t right matter what ya lost, ya most likely ain’t gettin’ it back.” He shook his head. “Best just forget it.”
“You see this?” I ask, pointing at my bare flank. “My cutie mark was removed. Don’t ask how, it's a very long and traumatic story. Fact of the matter is, I’ve been keeping it in a jar, which was in the saddlebag that they stole. Now, either you help us or we’ll do it our goddamn selves!” I seethe at him, getting in his face, causing him to back up.
He sputters a little, glancing between my face and my ass.
“Ahem.” The conductor clears his throat. “The damages?”
“Oh uh... yeah...” The sheriff moves away, following the stallion into the train.
“I think I’m going to have another episode...” I groan, rubbing my head. Maud gently rubs my back which, admittedly, feels good...
“Remember Floyd, we’re here for you.” Pinkie smiles, sitting next to me. I know, Pinkie. I know...
“Sweet Celestia! It looks like a dragon went through here!” I hear the Sheriff shout, causing me to smirk.
“You might look like a pony, but apparently you’re actually a dragon,” I say to Maud, much to her amusement. Maud smiles at me, letting out a chuckle. I wonder if anyone else can see her do that?
“Nope!” Pinkie giggles, shaking her head, “Just you and me! Everyone else just sees boring Maud!” Huh... I guess I got myself some Madman’s Knowledge... “Careful, the universe might start throwing Bloodborne at us.” Don’t, Pinkie... just don’t...
“How in the hay did ya’ll cause that much damage?” the Sheriff asks, walking over to us, rubbing the back of his neck.
“Because Maud here is a dragon,” I point out.
“Rawr,” Maud deadpans, getting a laugh out of me.
“That mare ain’t a pony! She’s some type of monster!!” One of the tied up bandits shouts, trembling in fear.
“Ah s’pose ya’ll got some fightin’ skills...” the Sheriff mutters, wriggling his mustache. Yeah, forgot to say he has one of those. Sue me, I have bigger things on my mind. “Alright missy, ya’ll want to get into law enforcement? Cause ya’ll just got deputised.”
“That's... good?” I ask, tilting my head to the side.
“Ah got a stallion on the inside. Ah’m supposed ta meet him today, but now ah gotta deal with this mess.” He gestures to the train. “So ah’ll send ya’ll to go meet up with him. He goes by the name Alias, and when he asks ya who ya’ll are.... tell im’ yer the one who knocks.”
“Okay...” I nod my head. “So where do we go to meet this guy?”
“Not surprised we have to meet this guy in a cherry orchard... I get the feeling these are extravagant bandits...” I mutter, not looking up from our game. Out of sheer boredom, we decided to play tic-tac-toe, with rocks for ‘o’ and sticks for ‘x’. Maud has been thoroughly kicking my ass, much to my annoyance.
“Oh hey! Girls! We got company!” Pinkie calls from her place up in a tree. Don’t ask me how she could climb it, it’s like she has selective solidness. It doesn’t take long for the new arrival to appear, an orange unicorn with a blue mane and tail, wearing a bandana around his neck and a hat on his head.
He looks from Maud to myself, rather confused. “Who are ya’ll?” And... he’s sixties Bob Dylan. I just sigh, taking in a deep breath.
“We’re the ones who knock.” Maud deadpans and I can only imagine her with the hat, glasses and beard.
“Sheriff couldn’t come?” ‘Alias’ asks, raising his eyebrow.
“It’s a long story,” I start, getting up, “Thing is, your gang stole my saddlebags and I want them back, including what was in those bags.”
“Ya’ll are the two from the train that just came inta’ town right?”
“Ah can get ya in, turns out the boss put a bounty on ya. He don’t take too kindly ta ponies who beat up his guys.”
“So... you gonna just bring us in?” I ask, gesturing for Maud to get up.
“Yup... ya’ll just gotta be cool.” He pulls out a rope, proceeding to loop it around my neck and then Maud’s. “Alright, ya’ll just follow me and we’ll see bout’ gettin’ yer stuff back.”
“Alright, let’s get this over with... but if I end up as Slave Leia, you are sooo dead.” He just gives me an odd look before taking the end of the rope in his mouth, leading us to a rather nice looking mansion in the middle of the orchard. Alias nods to the guards at the door, making a show to tug on the rope, ‘causing’ me to stumble. I growl at him, glaring at the guard. Maud just... blinks...
They actually have a nice set up, the place is furnished... with pictures of Starscream, I assume it's him, on nearly every wall. Alias leads us into a room and... okay, fucking seriously!? The chicken-horse is sitting on a throne, with a crown on his head, as well as a purple cape.
“Ah, Alias!” Starscream starts, and of course he has the screechy G1 Starscream voice, “I see you’ve found those ruffians that would dare to impede my minions. Excellent work!” He’s got the colors down, though I can’t see if he has a cutie mark. Beside him are two other hippogriffs, one purple and black, obviously Skywarp, and the other mostly blue, obviously Thundercracker. “Now, tell me your names, and save me the trouble of forcing it out of you.”
I just roll my eyes at him. “I’m Pink Floyd and this is Maud. I’d like my saddlebags back.”
He laughs, a shrill guffaw that makes me want to punch his beak off. “You're not in the position to make demands, mud pony! I have half a mind to let my cohorts have their way with you!” And only now do I note all the thugs in the room... staring at us... with hungry eyes...
“Floyd...” Pinkie whines, noticing them as well, “I don’t like the looks they're giving us...” Relax Pinkie, I got this.
“I mean really Chicken-Horse, you think you can take us?” I easily slip the rope from around my head, Alias didn’t exactly tie it all that tight, with Maud doing the same. “Either you give my stuff back or I’ll go Galvatron on your ass!”
“What?” He blinks, looking confused.
“Here’s a hint!” I whip out a pie, chucking it at his face. He lets out a squawk, flailing as he drops out of his throne, sputtering to get the cream out of his nose holes.
“Get them!!” he manages to shout, still hacking up some pie.
“Floyd! Duck!” Pinkie shouts. I drop to the floor, watching as a pegasus flies over my head, smacking into the wall. “I’ll do the Pinkie Sense, you just do the ducking and jiving!” Seriously, stop using my mind like Wikipedia! “Quick! Kick your left back leg out!” I do so, hearing a high pitch squeal followed by a thud. Peeking over my shoulder, I see a curled up earth pony, tears streaming down his face, hooves down between... oh... oh... sucks to be you guy...
I take a glance over at Maud, who was nonchalantly tossing dudes over her shoulder. Alias, either because we kinda blew his cover or decided to break it himself, had pulled out the magic, tripping up a pony’s leg, making him knock over his comrades.
“Floyd! Jump left!” I do so, barely avoiding being cleaved in half by an ax-wielding minotaur.
“The fuck did he come from!?” I ask, watching him lift it back up.
“We don’t have time for the birds and the bees! Quick dart under him and buck him in the butt!” I don’t even question her, ducking under him... and avoiding his junk. I take in a breath, kicking backwards with my hind legs. He stumbles forward, only to have Alias bring a chandelier down on his head.
“Nice one!” I smirk at him, only for Skywarp to ram into me, sending me tumbling to the ground. I bring my arms up, mostly so I don’t have to find out if ponies can get broken noses.
“You stupid mud pony!” Starscream screeches at me, pouncing on me. “I’ll make you wish your useless mother had never pushed you out!” I scream in pain, feeling his claws rake across my chest. The world seems to go silent and he’s knocked off of me by a grey blur. I curl up, clutching my chest, squeezing my eyes shut.
“Fuck! Fuck, that hurts!” I shout, feeling tears roll down my face. Oh god Pinkie I’m sorry! I almost just got us killed!
“Floyd! We’ll be okay, just rub some dirt in it!” That's not helping! I roll around in pain, gritting my teeth. I’m barely aware of the sounds of the fight, I’m more worried that I’m fucking bleeding!
“Hold still now.” Alias suddenly appears next to me, missing his hat and sporting a nice shiner. He pulls his bandana off, using his magic to pry my legs from my chest, pressing the cloth to my wounds. “Y’all are lucky he didn’t cut too deep, just a flesh wound.”
“You’re not the one he slashed, asshole!” I shout at him. I hear a squawk and turn in time to see Maud, wearing a face of utter rage, holding Starscream’s tail, slamming him into the ground again and again. She throws him into a pile of other groaning goons, then bolts over to me.
“Floyd.” She looks down at me, her rage melting into worry. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah... just a scratch in the paint...” I chuckle, wincing as Alias presses the bandana tighter.
“She just needs some stitches.” Alias nods, pulling away so I can hold the bandana myself. He helps me up, and it takes me a second to get steady on three legs.
“Is there a doctor in town?” Maud asks, letting me lean on her.
“‘Course.” Alias trots out of the room, returning with the saddle bags in the magic. “Ah believe these are yours.” Maud takes them, doing a quick check to make sure the cutie mark is still in there. She slips it on, helping me out the door. We’re already at stop two and I nearly got iced by a chicken-horse, this trip sucks...
“Excuse me,” Blueblood spoke up, catching the attention of one of the locals, “I’m looking for a pink mare, poofy mane and tail, have you seen her?”
“Actually, yeah! Ah saw a bright pink mare going into the doctor’s office!” The mare nodded, pointing to a white building, placed right next to the saloon.
“Doctor? Is she alright?” Blueblood asked, his eyes widening a little.
“Well, she was clutchin’ her chest, but otherwise she seemed alright.
Blueblood sighed, nodding his head. “Thank you, my good madam.”
“Aw shucks, tweren't nothin’!” They said their goodbyes, with Blueblood moving into the office.
“Will you please stand still?” a stallion’s voice commanded, followed by a wince.
“I would if it didn’t fucking hurt!” Pinkie Pie’s voice called back, wincing in pain. Blueblood was caught off guard by her choice of language but pushed past it.
“Am I interrupting?” he asked, standing in the doorway.
“Uh... Hi Blueblood... what are you doing here?” Pinkie blinked, looking at him, tilting her head in confusion.
Blueblood just smiled. “Well, my dear, actually I’ve been trying to find you.”
A pair of eyes watched from the window, locked onto Floyd. They lingered on his flank, a smile forming on their muzzle. "So it is true...you didn’t get your precious cutie mark back. Just you wait ‘Floyd’, when I'm done with you... the cutie mark isn't going to be the only thing you miss.." They slunk back into the shadows, eyes never leaving the pink mare.
“So... you're not actually Pinkie Pie?” Blueblood asks, laying on the bench opposite me. After his sudden appearance, and learning what had happened, the prince had taken the debt for the train, putting it on the royal tab. I had no idea that Equestria had a royal tab... that must be what pays off all the damages Twilight and her friends cause...
“It’s the Elements of Harmony fund!” Pinkie explains, sitting next to me. “It pays for all the weird stuff that happens around us!” Oh, so it’s like superhero insurance, gotcha.
“Yeah, I’m not Pinkie Pie, my name is Floyd Hendrix, I go by Pink Floyd now.” I nod my head, resting on my hoof. I can’t lay down on my stomach, due to well... the claw marks. Maud has even hooked me up with a pillow and a blanket... at the price of constantly hovering over me, but whaddya gonna do?
“H-how did it happen?” he asks, looking at me with concern.
“Well, I died in my own world, Discord snatched up my soul and accidently put me in Pinkie’s body,” I explain for what feels like the hundredth time.
“And what happened to Pinkie Pie?”
“Oh she’s still here.” I tap my head. “We share a brain at the moment, and she can manifest as an astral projection... though only Luna and myself can see her.”
“Princess Luna,” Pinkie pouts. “You have to refer to her correctly!”
I just roll my eyes at her, then look back at Blueblood. “Now I have a question, you’ve been stalking me because of a crush?”
“Well... stalk is a bit of a strong word...” he laughs sheepishly, tapping his hooves together.
“I dunno, seems like an accurate description for what you were doing, what do you think Maud?” I ask, turning to the older mare.
“He was definitely stalking you.”
“Well, if I was stalking you, I was doing a pretty poor job of it, missing you at every stop, even getting off the very same train you got on in Appleloosa!” Blueblood retorts, stomping his hoof a bit in frustration. I snicker a little, much to his annoyance.
“Look, I’m just messing with ya.” I shake my head. Now for the awkward stuff. “I assume you want to ask me out or something?” Not that I haven’t been asked out before... and gotten called a bunch of names I won’t repeat in present company...
“Why don’t you give him a chance, Floyd?” Pinkie asks, tilting her head. Pinkie, I can’t tell you how much of a bad idea that is. “Like what?” Considering I don’t have my own body, that I’m in your body, not to mention I’m asexual. “Silly filly, just because you don’t have sex doesn’t mean you can’t have a romantic relationship!” She just giggles as she sees me staring at her dumbly. “What? Did you think I was clueless? My family may be traditional, but they didn’t want me to end up learning all that stuff the hard way.” Uh huh... I just blink a few times, looking over at Blueblood, who just smiles nervously at me. I suppose I could give it a shot... never actually dated anyone before...
Blueblood clears his throat, getting my full attention. “I um... was hoping you would be my plus one to the Gala...”
“I already have a ticket...” I tap my chin for a moment, looking at Maud. “I was going to have Maud be my plus one. I could give my ticket to her and she could bring her own plus one... Do you have anyone in mind...?”
Maud looks away in thought, blinking a few times. “I don’t know if she’ll be in Canterlot.”
“Who?” I ask, tilting my head.
I stare at her for a few moments before shaking my head. “Alright Blueblood, I’ll go to the Gala with you.” I turn to the stallion, who now has a bright smile on his face. I stretch out, getting to my hooves. “I’m going to go see about getting some food, you two play nice, yeah?” I ask, trotting to the dining car. I pause in the doorway, looking back. Huh... I wonder why Maud didn’t protest...
Blueblood blinked, noticing that the older Pie sister had been staring at him, probably since the moment Floyd had left the car. “Um... yes?”
“Don’t take advantage of my sister,” she spoke, her tone even, though if Blueblood listened close enough, he could hear a slightly threatening tinge. “She is lost and I will hurt you if you so much as make her cry.”
“I have no intention of hurting Pinkie, Miss-” he began only for Maud to cut him off.
“I wasn’t talking about Pinkie.” A pregnant silence filled the room as the two of them stared at each other. It took a moment for Blueblood to find his voice again.
“I swear on my good name Miss Pie, I will do no harm to Floyd.” He puffed his chest out, hoping to make his statement that much more meaningful.
“Good.” Maud looked away, pulled out her journal, and started going over her notes from the samples taken in Appleloosa.
“Good? That's it? You threaten to hurt me if anything happens to Floyd and when I agree all you can say is ‘good’?”
“I don’t talk a lot.” She didn’t look up, her eyes glued to the journal in front of her. Blueblood just groaned, laying down.
“Blueblood old boy... what have you gotten yourself into...?” They sat there in relative silence, broken only by the turning of a page every so often. Thankfully, Floyd came back, pushing a small cart of food.
“Fun fact, travel with royalty and you get free food.” She smiled, grabbing a muffin and chowing down on it.
“You should have gotten me.” Maud looked up from her journal, frowning at Floyd.
“Geez Maud, I’m not an invalid, I just have a claw mark.” Floyd rolled her eyes, lying down on a bench, merrily eating her muffin. Maud shot her a look before snatching a muffin off the cart, chewing on it slowly. “Anyway, I made sure to get non-sweetened muffins for you. Pinkie reminded me that you don’t like sweet things.”
“What's it like having somepony else in your mind?” Blueblood asked, flicking his mane back. “It must be dreadful keeping your thoughts organized.”
“Eh, it’s not as bad as you think.” Floyd shook her head, wiping her mouth off. “I don’t actively hear Pinkie’s thoughts, might be due to her being an astral projection... Before Luna cast the spell, I could hear her thoughts, but now she just hears mine.” She rolled her eyes, muttering to herself, finishing up her muffin and grabbing another. “I mostly just talk with her through thought, just so I don’t appear to be crazy.”
“Why would anypony think you're crazy?”
“Because having a conversation with nothing tends to do that.” Floyd stated, tossing the muffin into her mouth, seeming to swallow it whole.
“Uh huh...” Blueblood couldn’t help but stare at the display, a bit dumbfounded. Floyd licked her lips, sighing a little.
“How long are we going to be on this damn thing...” Floyd asked, turning to Maud, who was still eating her first muffin.
“About four days...” Maud spoke up between bites of muffin.
Floyd groaned, dropping her head onto her arms. “The lack of internet is going to kill me. I don’t even have any books!” She sat back up, letting out a long sigh. “Hey Blue, I gotta ask, who set up the railways here? They should be fired.”
“Well, to hear my auntie tell the story, she was so distraught from Luna’s banishment that she withdrew from government for a rather long time. In her absence, the nobles voted on the... ‘system’ we use... though I use that term loosely.”
“Why don’t you just fix it?” Floyd asked, raising her eyebrow.
“Do you know how much work that would be? Not to mention transportation would grind to a halt in the meantime.” Blueblood rolled his eyes.
Floyd just sighed, banging his head on the window. “This trip sucks!”
“Why don’t you tell us another story, Floyd?” Maud asked, closing her journal. “Maybe the sequel to Fallout?”
“Nah... Dash would kill me if I told that without her... but...” Floyd smiled, a suitable tale forming in her mind. “Allow me to regale you with the tale of the Slayer of Demons and their journey deep into the cursed fog of Boletaria, and how they saved the world...”
You know, I’ve been cooped up on this damn train for two days, so pulling into Ponyville was a godsend... until the girls got on... and then saw the bandage... and then Blueblood... so there went any hope of getting even a few hours to stretch my legs. Anyway, I’m off in the corner with Fluttershy, who, not surprisingly, has first aid training. I didn’t get too much into it before but, they kinda had to shave the area around the claw marks... yes, it sucked hard. Anyway, ‘Shy is helping me change my bandages, which is not pleasant.
“Cheer up Floyd! They say stallions love scars!” Pinkie tries to cheer me up, smiling brightly at me. That would work... if the scars weren’t on your body... “Oh, yeah... I’m going to be a stud magnet!” Yeah good luck with that. I wince a little as Fluttershy finishes up, glad that's finally done.
“There Floyd, you should be good for a while...” Fluttershy pulls away with a frown. “I didn't hurt you, did I?”
“Nah, I'm good Shy, don't worry about it.” I wave her off, getting to my hooves. I stretch my body out, letting out a satisfied sigh as my joints pop. I blink, noticing the...quiet tension in the car. The girls, minus Fluttershy, were all going out of their way to ignore Blueblood, who has been looking down at his hooves, rather dejectedly. “Uh... guys? You all okay?”
“Why do you ask, Floyd?” Rarity asks, looking up from the magazine she’s reading.
“Because you're all treating Blue over there like he has leprosy.” I give them an annoyed look, narrowing my eyes a little.
“Leprosy?” Dash asks, tilting her head.
“Yeah, its a skin disease humans get. In the past those who had it were cast out of society.” I look between them. “But, I thought ponies were better than the ignorant, uneducated masses of the middle ages.”
“It's Blueblood for Faust’s sake!” Rarity pouts as she puts down her magazine and sits up. “Do you have any idea what he did!?”
“Yeah, he scared off a gold digger,” I shoot back, smirking a little at her floundering expression.
“I am not a gold digger!!!” Rarity shrieks at me, her eyes nearly bulging out of her head.
“Gee Rarity, how else would you describe someon-”
“Somepony!” Pinkie cuts in.
“Someone.” I glare at her. “Who goes to a rich kid party, specifically intending to seduce someone of importance to raise their own social status?”
“Well... I, uh...” she mutters softly before clearing her throat. “I need to go powder my nose.” She sticks her nose up, quickly trotting out of the room.
“Damn Floyd, that was harsh,” Dash comments, looking from the door Rarity just left through to me.
“Well, it’s true. She was being a gold digger who got pissy that she couldn’t get what she wanted.” I shrug, crossing my arms, careful of my wound. “Not that Blueblood helped his situation at all.” I cast a glance at Blueblood, who lets out a nervous titter.
“Hey, uh, Floyd?”
“Ya’ll got somethin’ in yer mane.”
“I got a lot of things in my mane.”
“Ya, but this somethin’ is moving.” I blink, sitting up. Now, remember I’ve cut my mane short so it isn’t that big poofy mess Pinkie lives in. How the hell could something be in there? I reach into it, feeling around until I grasp something, something fluffy and very much alive. I slowly pull it out and... it’s a ferret. A snow white ferret, hanging from my hoof by the scruff, just looking at me.
“Floyd, why did you have a ferret in your mane?” Twilight asks, raising her eyebrow.
“How the hell should I know?” I ask, staring at the ferret a little. He stares back, blinking at me. “But uh... totally keeping him!” I used to have ferrets as a kid, they’re fucking awesome. I put the little guy down next to me, rubbing his head. He scurries into my tail, only to pop back out of my mane.
“H-how’d he do that?” AJ asks, staring a bit wide eyed.
“I don’t know but that's fucking awesome!” I grin, looking up at him. “I’m totally gonna name you Quantum!” He seems to like it, letting out a happy dook before vanishing into my mane.
“I think he likes it.” Fluttershy giggles, a smile on her face.
“I just know he’s gonna get along with Gummy! They’re gonna be the best of friends!” Pinkie cheers, doing a cartwheel through Twilight, who had gotten up to get a better look at my new pet.
“Are you sure it’s a good idea to just adopt an animal that came out of your mane?” she asks, giving me a questioning look.
“It’s fine.” I wave my hoof dismissively, watching as Quantum continues to defy logic, hopping between my mane and tail, much to Twilight’s chagrin.
The last few days have been fucking boring. Just so boring. At least the girls were around to help pass the time, they particularly loved my exploits, with Dash calling me a ‘badass.’ I think she just got hyped up by the story, I am most definitely not a badass.
“No, you’re a goodass!” Pinkie beams as we make our way into the castle. The princesses had invited us to stay the night and let let me tell you, anywhere is better than a train. I’m going to come out of this trip with an irrational hatred of trains. Maud’s gone off to try and find Trixie, leaving me with the girls. Blueblood excused himself to go see his aunts, not that I blame him, considering the group here doesn’t exactly like him.
“I do believe we have some time before the Gala-” Rarity starts before Dash cuts her off.
“You mean a few hours.”
“We have time before the gala. I suggest we get started with the the dresses, just in case I need to do any last minute adjustments.” With that, she walked to her room, not even bothering to see if we were following.
“This will be fun...” I mutter to myself, starting to follow her, petting Q’s head as he peeked out of my mane. No, I don’t know how I can walk with just three legs, don’t ask me. I let the girls chit chat amongst themselves, humming “Karma Police” quietly to myself to pass the time.
“Here we are!” Rarity smiles, pulling the doors to the room open.
“How do you know it’s this room?” I ask, following her inside. Well, I gotta say, biggest bedroom I’ve ever been in, damn. You could fit four of my apartments in here!
“Princess Celestia gives us all the same rooms every time,” Rarity begins as the others filter in, taking up various positions around the room, “It saves on the paperwork. Now Floyd, why don’t we start with you, considering your... unique ensemble.” I just sigh, passing Q to Fluttershy and moving over to the fashion pony. I really wish I had an MP3 player...
“Oh don’t be so nervous, Blueblood.” Celestia giggled, looking at her nephew, who nervously sipped at his punch, staring at the ballroom doors.
“I am calm,” he asserted, taking another shaky sip from his glass. “I’m the picture of calm.”
“Then why are you shaking?” she asked, nudging him, nearly causing him to drop his cup.
“Auntie!” He pursed his lips, looking up at her. “You almost made me spill my drink!”
“Oh lighten up!” She rolled her eyes. “You’re so tense. I thought Floyd already said yes, why are you so on edge?”
“I-it’s just... when was the last time I went on an actual, normal date...?”
Celestia tapped her chin. “I believe that was your fling with Fleur De Lis.”
“It was not a fling!” Blue snapped, glaring into his cup. “Damn that Fancy Pants... his mustache is irresistible...”
“Well, there's your date.” Celestia nudged him closer to the door with a wing. “Hopefully I can get some grand nieces and nephews this time.”
“Auntie!!” Blueblood sputtered, blushing as he looked up at her. She giggled, shooing him away. “Crazy old coot...” he muttered, moving toward the door. Twilight and her friends were filing in, each in proper gala attire. Even Maud was dressed for success, something he didn’t think he’d see, based on the short time he had known her. Floyd walked out last, wearing... not a dress. It was a strange low-cut shiny purple jacket that had gold buttons and trim, plus black and white striped collar and cuffs. She had a pair of stockings on her hind legs, one fishnet and the other black and white striped. She also had a matching top hat.
“Sup, Bluey?” Floyd trotted over as the group dispersed. “Like my outfit?”
“It’s... unique, I’ll give it that...” Blueblood blinked, not sure how to feel about the outfit.
“I wasn’t sure how it’d look on a pony. I mean, Moxxi rocks it hard but, ponies don’t have sweater puppies...” Floyd shook his head. “I gotta stop the rambling.”
“Sweater... puppies?” Blueblood asked, giving Floyd a strange look.
“Eh, fuhgeddaboudit.” Floyd waved a hoof dismissively. “Now, uh... what does one actually do at a gala?”
“Well we could mingle... dance...” Blueblood listed off, looking around. “Thankfully, after the last one, it’s gotten less stuffy in here.”
“Not like this ones going to be any better...” Floyd muttered, moving over to the refreshment table and pouring herself a glass, then taking a long sip.
“What do you mean?” Blueblood asked, grasping a cupcake in his magic and taking a bite.
“Hi, Pinkies!” Cheese Sandwich suddenly appeared from under the table, wearing a big grin on his face.
“Holy crap!” Floyd yelped, jumping up and clinging onto Blueblood.
Cheese didn’t notice, still grinning. “When did you become twins?”
“Wait...” Blueblood asked, ducking out of Floyd’s grasp, watching as the mare somehow landed on her hooves. “You can see Pinkie Pinkie?”
“Uh huh!” Cheese nodded eagerly. “I just didn’t know she had a twin!”
“That’s...” Blueblood paused. “I don’t actually know what that is...”
“Hey, uh, Cheese.” Floyd cleared her throat, looking at the new arrival. “What are you doing here?”
“Well, when the princesses found out Pinkie wasn’t able to do the gala, they got me!” He smiled. “I was hoping you’d show up. And since there’s two of you, we can really kick the party to the max!”
“Makes as much sense as anything else in my life...” Floyd muttered, downing the rest of her punch. “But uh, Cheese, I’m going to be with Blueblood tonight, so you can hang with Pinkie.”
“Alright! Come on Pinkie, lets go play pin the tail on the dragon!” He zipped off, leaving a dust trail in his wake.
“That was... odd...” Blueblood blinked, still looking at where Cheese had been standing.
“You have no idea how weird this night is gonna get...” Floyd chuckled, munching on an eclair. “Mmm, Cheese is a damn good baker...”
The gala hasn’t been as boring as I thought it was going to be and the date is going...well? I dunno I’ve never been on a date before. Blueblood has been pretty nice and we’ve spent the last hour or so just sharing stories.
“So, you burned the barn down and got away scot free?” Blueblood questions, a smirk on his face. “I hate to say it but I don’t believe you.”
“Well it’s true. Everyone just assumed that a coyote somehow knocked over a lantern. I’m just happy they didn’t find the moonshine.” I chuckle, finishing up my drink. “I’m gonna go get a new cu-”
“Floyd!” Pinkie shouts, running at me. I blink as she phases through me, landing on the floor, her body obscured by my chair, only her head visible. Uh... what are you doing Pinkie? “Discord and his guest just showed up!” I look over at the door, watching as Discord floated in, the Smooze slithering in behind him. Huh, I was wondering when they were going to show up... “We have to do that song!!!” What? “You know, the Smooze song, we gotta sing it!”
“I’m not doing that, Pinkie.”
“Come on, I already got Cheese on board!” She points behind me. I gaze back, spotting Cheese, who waves happily. I groan, hanging my head.
“You’re not going to let this go, are you...?”
“Nnnnope!” Pinkie grins up at me. I sigh, getting to my hooves and grumbling.
“Is everything okay, Floyd?” Blueblood asks, a worried frown forming on his face.
“Yeah, I just gotta go make an ass out of myself... I’ll be back in a few minutes...” I trot over to Cheese, a bouncing Pinkie following behind me. Alright now how do I do this...? “You gotta let the soul song guide you.” The what now? “The soul song! It’s that little bit of music everypony has inside them. It’s a harmonic expression of your inner emotions!” I blink and sigh. And how do I get it to work? “Just take a deep breath and release control.”
I do so, letting the air fill my lungs. I stay like this for a few agonizing minutes before... I feel it. A tingle throughout my body. My ears twitch slightly at the sound of the Smooze starting its part of the song. I feel my body start to move on its own, and soon the words start to pour from my mouth. Cheese and Pinkie join in and in no time flat, we’re serenading the rest of the gala with the only really memorable thing from G1.
We wrap up and I regain control of myself, panting heavily. That was... one of the weirdest things I have ever experienced in my... lives. I look up to see Discord clapping, with the rest of the ballroom looking on in stunned silence.
“Oh, that was just exquisite!” He smirks. “I didn’t think anyone would have remembered that song!”
“Yeah well... Pinkie wanted to do it...” I mutter, moving over to the punch bowl, pouring myself a cup and chugging it.
“Floyd, are you alright?” I turn my head and see Maud trotting over, a worried look on her face.
“Yeah, I’m okay Maud.” I smile, setting my cup down. She reaches out, adjusting my top hat.
“You know, it’s never a good idea to lie to your big sister.”
“I’m not...” I blink, looking at her. “Maud, I’m not your sister.”
“Aren’t you?” Maud asks, looking into my eyes. “Floyd, you’re as much my sister as Pinkie Pie is.” She pulls me into a hug and I swear I can hear my bones creaking. I suck in a gulp of air as she lets me go.
“Wow Maud... that’s... I’ve never had a sibling before...” Maud leans in, nuzzling me.
“You do now, and you always will.” She peers behind me, a smile spreading across her face. “Your date is waiting for you.” I follow her gaze, seeing Blueblood looking over at us, obviously, unsure if he sound intrude. “Go have some fun.”
I smile back at her, nodding. “You too, Maud.” I walk over to Blueblood, still wearing my smile. I may have lost one family but... now I have a new one.
“Aww, that’s so sweet!” Hush Pinkie, you’re ruining the moment.
Jason’s heart pounded in his chest as he ran, somehow knowing how to run in his now quadrupedal body. He had no idea how he had gotten into this mess, the last thing he remembered was tracking a buck through a light snowstorm and then... and then he was here, wherever here was, as some type of bug-horse.
“Don’t let it get away!” one of his pursuers shouted, frightfully close behind him. He put more speed into his gallop, his legs begging for leniency he couldn’t afford.
“Got you, insect.” Jason let out a grunt as something collided with his side, sending him sprawling across the ground. He moved to get up, only to be dogpiled by several bodies. “Take it to the dungeons. I want to know who sent it.” Jason hissed as they hauled him off, wings buzzing in agitation. His captor watched, eyes shining red in the dark night. “We suffer no trespassers.”
“But... why are you leaving?” I ask, looking up at Pinkie with a frown. My big sister just got her cutie mark and... she’s going away. I don’t want her to go.
“Shale, I can’t practice my calling if I stay here.” Pinkie looks down at me, stuffing her saddlebag with her stuff. “I gotta get out there and make ponies smile!”
“What about us?” I ask, scraping the floor with a hoof.
“You’ll be okay, Shale.” Pinke moves over, wrapping an arm around me in a hug. “You’ll still have Ma, Pa, and the girls.”
“But...” I try to argue, only for her to ruffle my mane.
“No buts, Shaley.” She smiles down at me. She does that a lot now. Smile. Whenever she does, I just want to smile back. “Hey.” She kneels down, looking into my eyes. “Can you do something for me Shaley?”
“Anything Pinkie.” I smile at her then hug her tight, nuzzling her barrel.
“Keep smiling for me, okay?” she asks, nuzzling me back. “You gotta keep the family happy while I’m gone.”
“But... why me?” I ask, looking up at her. I don’t know if I can do that, I mean... Pinkie only just got her cutie mark and making ponies smile is what she’s supposed to do.
“Well, we both know Limestone can’t do it.” Pinkie made a face, getting me to giggle. “And Maud’s too... stoic. Yeah, stoic. And Mable is too shy.”
“Well...” I look down, rubbing my arm. “Okay Pinkie.” I smile again. “I can try...”
“That's my Shaley!” She grins, hugging me tight. She pulls away, letting out a long sigh. “I know it’s going to be different without me around, but everypony has to go their own way someday.” She giggles. “Hey! That rhymed!”
I giggle with her, my mood lightened immensely.
“Come on Shale, let's go eat some lunch.” She lifts me up, placing me on her back. It’s not as roomy as when Ma or Maud does it, but Pinkie is still the comfiest. I get comfy, listening to Pinkie hum as she walks down the stairs. I like this Pinkie, she’s always so happy and smiling, even Limestone’s stopped being so mean to everypony. She digs around in the icebox, leaving me to think.
“Hey Pinkie?” I ask, placing my hooves on the back of her head, peering over her head.
“Yeah Shaley?” she asks, not looking at me.
“What do you think my cutie mark will be?” She pauses, tapping her chin in thought.
“I dunno Shale.” She shrugs before going back to her searching. She pulls out some ingredients, dropping me off in my chair. Despite it being a work day, Pinkie and I were given the day off, since Pinkie was leaving and I was supposed to be helping her. “I didn’t think mine would be parties, so who knows what yours will be.”
“I hope mine is like yours.” I rear up, bracing my hooves against the back of the chair. “I wanna make ponies smile too.”
Pinkie giggles, getting the stove going. “There are a lot of ways to make ponies happy, not just partying.”
“Well, I dunno.” She shrugs, getting some pans out of the cabinet. “But, I do know there's more than just parties.”
“I guess...” I mutter, laying my head on my hooves as I watch her cook. Pinkie is just so... fast. I’ve never seen anypony move like that before. It’s like watching a pink lightning bolt, just zipping from place to place.
“Oh don’t worry too much Shaley, you’ll get your cutie mark when you're ready,” Pinkie assures me, glancing back, her face covered in dough. “I bet it’ll be something really awesome!”
“Like a rock?” I ask, frowning. I don’t want a cutie mark in rocks, it sounds so... boring. My pout deepens as I envision myself working in the fields all day, every day, doing nothing but farming rocks until I’m old and grey. I shiver, not wanting to be cursed with that fate.
“Don’t worry too much about it Shale. You shouldn’t try to grow up too quickly.”
I give her a deadpan look. “Pinkie, you're only two years older than me.”
“Hey, I didn’t say I was a grown up, now did I?” she asks, licking some dough off her cheek.
“Well no...” I frown again, trying to think of a retort. “But, I mean...” I pause again, still stumped. “I don’t want to be like Limestone, she’s sixteen and she still doesn’t even have her cutie mark!”
“That just means she’s a late bloomer.” Pinkie waves her hoof dismissively. She turns the stove off, placing a plate of cupcakes in front of me.
I blink, sitting down. “How did... how did you make those so fast?” I ask, staring at the plate. Those are the most delicious looking cupcakes I have ever seen in my life.
“I dunno Shale. I just... did,” Pinkie states matter-of-factly. “Now let’s eat before they get cold!”
“Don’t they have to cool down first?”
“Oh yeah. Silly me.” She giggles, getting me to giggle as well. I just roll my eyes, getting myself something to drink.
“Where are you gonna go, Pinkie?” I ask, retaking my seat, grabbing a cupcake, and starting to munch on it.
“I don’t really know Shale, but I get these... feelings... all over when things happen.” She gestures to herself. “It’s been telling me I have to go out into Equestria and make ponies smile!”
“Is it really?” I ask, raising my eyebrow.
She shrugs. “I dunno, but if I just stay here, the feelings are never gonna go away.”
“I wish you didn’t have to leave...” I sigh, looking down. Pinkie grabs my chin, lifting my head so we can lock eyes.
“Shale, no matter where I am, we’ll always be sisters, okay?” Pinkie asks, pulling me into a hug.
“I love you Pinkie...” I mutter, nuzzling her chest..
“I love you too, Shale...” she whispers back, nuzzling my head. I blink, feeling Pinkie start to vibrate.
“Uh, Pinkie...?” I ask worriedly, looking up at her.
“Don’t worry about it Shaley, it’s nothing,” she assures me with a smile.
“If you say so...” I pull away, nodding. We eat our meal mostly in silence, with Pinkie doing her best to cheer me up, but... I don’t know if it’s really working.
“Are you sure you’re okay, Pinkie?” I ask, looking up at her. Through the day, mostly while setting up her party, Pinkie had... spasmed? Vibrated? A lot. She’s been playing it off, but I know it’s a problem.
“I’m fine Shale, don’t worry your little head about it,” she assures me, patting my head. I roll my eyes, taking a sip of my punch. I dunno how she does it but, she did everything herself. Filled up all the balloons, made the punch, did the decorating, did all the baking. Is getting your cutie mark like getting super powers? What powers do Ma and Pa have? To be boring?
“If you say so, Pinkie...” I mutter, glancing around. Ma and Pa are off in the corner reading, I think? Our parents are weird like that. Limestone is popping balloons and Maud is playing pin the tail on the dragon with Marble.
“Of course I do.” She blinked for a moment. “Oh! I want to give you something before I go!” She reached into her mane, rummaging around before pulling out a book. “Here!”
“What is it?” I set my cup down, taking it from her.
“It’s a journal, silly! I have one, Maud has one. I think Limestone has one but I dunno if anything can contain that level of concentrated jerkness.”
I giggle a little, examining the book. It’s got a rather nice cover, made of a felt like material. On the front it reads ‘The Journal of Shale Rebecca Pie.’ I open it up, seeing ‘To Shale, the best baby sister ever, from Pinkie Pie.’ written on the inside.
“Wow Pinkie, this is great.” I smile, placing it on the table.
“I’m glad you like it, Shaley.” She smiles back before vibrating again, this time for at least a minute straight. She staggers a little, shaking her head.
“Pinkie?” I ask, more worried than before.
She recovers, giving me a sad look. “Shale I’m sorry but... I have to go now.”
“But!” I jump out of my seat, my eyes wide. “You said you didn’t have to leave until tomorrow!”
“I know Shale but...” She glances back at her cutie mark. “My destiny is calling me.”
“I-I don’t want you to go!” I rush forward, hugging her tightly, feeling tears welling up in my eyes.
“I know Shale, but I have to.” She pulls me into a tight hug before pulling away. She calls out to the rest of the family, letting them know that she was cutting the party short. We help her pack up the rest of her things before taking her to the train station to catch the last train of the day.
“I’m gonna miss you all so much.” Pinkie smiles sadly, somehow pulling all of us into a hug.
“And we shall miss thee as well.” Father nuzzles her head and I can tell he’s trying not to cry.
“Thou will write to us?” Ma asks, pulling out of the hug.
“Of course I will, I couldn’t leave any of you out of touch!” Pinkie gasps. “That would be horrible! We’d all be strangers and forget about each other!” She rambles on for a bit, something I’ve noticed she does a lot now, not even noticing that the train whistle just blew.
“Um Pinkie.” I poke her, getting her attention. “The train’s about to leave.”
“OH MY GOSH!” She jumps a little, giving us each a quick hug. “I love you all so much but I gotta go!” She zips into the train just as it starts to move. I run along it, stopping at the edge of the platform.
“Goodbye Pinkie...” I call out softly, perking up a little when I see her sticking out of the window, waving at us. I wave back to her, staying there until she’s well out of sight.
“Come now, Shale,” Ma urges, nudging me a bit, “Tis time to return home.”
“Okay Ma.” I turn, looking at the ground, letting her place me on her back. Once we get home, I go up to Pinkie and Marble’s room... or rather Marble’s and my room now. I sit on Pinkie’s old bed, a long sigh escaping my lips. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice my new journal, sitting at the desk. I move over, taking a seat and flipping it open. After a few moments of silence, I grab a quill from the inkwell and start to write.
‘Once there was a rock farm, upon which lived a little grey filly...’
I blink the sleep from my eyes, sitting up, giving my head a shake. Once again, another one of those weird ‘Shale’ dreams. This is what... the fifth time this week?
“Sixth actually.” Pinkie materializes next to me, smile first like she’s the goddamn Chesire Cat. “What was this one about?” It was about you leaving the rock farm. “Oh, I remember that. I was so nervicted on the train to Ponyville, I thought I was gonna have a heart attack.”
“Yeah, well, Shale was really broken up about it.” I get out of bed, stretching out, sighing as I hear a satisfying pop from my spine. “Little filly really didn’t want you to leave.” I look at the clock, seeing it was only about five o’clock. Pinkie, you know the way to Maud’s room?
“Yupperoni! You can tell me all about the dream on the way!” She grins, trotting through the door. I follow after her, nodding to some night guards as we walk through the halls.
“Wow,” Pinkie says as I finish the story, “I remember spending that day with Maud.”
“And now I remember it as Shale.” I knock on Maud’s door, standing there for a few minutes. I go to knock again when she opens it, looking exactly the same as she does any other time, minus the frock.
She blinks a few times, looking me over. “You had the dream again?”
“Yup.” I nod, giving a sheepish grin. “This time it was Pinkie leaving the rock farm.” Maud stands to the side, gesturing for us to enter. I do so, taking a seat on the couch. Maud sits across from me, seeming to be lost in thought. “Maud, look, I know you know something. I could tell when I had the first dream.”
Maud looks down, letting out a long sigh. “Pinkie... Floyd, I...” She pauses, collecting her thoughts. “Pinkie and Marble were only two at the time. Limestone was nine and I was six.” I frown, seeing Maud actually starting to tremble. “Ma and Pa were so happy when they found out they were having another foal, I think Pa was hoping for a colt...” She trailed off, a tear streaking down her face. “Shale was born on Nightmare Night but...” Maud went quiet, not looking at us.
“I have another sister?” Pinkie asks, a look of utter shock on her face. “Where is she? Why can Floyd remember her but I can’t?” Her ears pinned back. “S-something bad happened... didn’t it?”
“Maud...?” I ask gently, reaching out and touching her arm.
“She was stillborn.”
“What?” I ask, pulling my arm back, holding it close to my chest.
“Shale was stillborn,” Maud chokes out, squeezing her eyes shut. “Our baby sister never even took a breath...” She broke down completely, pulling me into a nearly bone crushing hug. I hug her back, ignoring my oxygen deprived lungs. She cries into my shoulder, while Pinkie bursts into tears next to us. Maud eventually releases me, allowing me to breathe again.
“You okay Maud...?” I wheeze out, taking in a deep breath.
“Y-yeah... thanks Floyd.” Maud nods, slipping back under her stony mask.
“Hey, you do it for me all the time, I owe you one.” We share a small smile, though Pinkie’s, and by extension mine as well, mane has deflated.
“Why does Floyd keep dreaming about Shale?” Pinkie asks, sniffling a little.
“Yeah that is a good question.” I nod, placing a hoof on my chin. “Why exactly am I dreaming about the life of a person who never lived one?” Maud stares at me, tilting her head to the side.
“Floyd, how old are you?”
“Huh?” I ask, blinking at the strange shift in topic. “I’m twenty, why?”
“And when were you born?”
“I was born on Halloween, but I don’t get the relevancy...”
“Pinkie is twenty three,” Maud starts, a pensive look on her face, “And Shale would be twenty one this year.”
“So she’d be a year older than me so what?” I ask, getting a little weirded out.
“Wait...” Pinkie perks up, her visible eye moving from side to side as she works through whatever Maud is talking about. “Halloween and Nightmare Night are on the same day...and you were born a year after Shale died...”
“Again, the hell are you two talking about?” I ask, utterly lost at this point.
They both lock eyes on me, looking dead serious. “Reincarnation.” They spoke at the same time, the implication hitting me like the Juggernaut.
“What?” I ask dumbly, feeling my body going numb.
“Floyd.” Maud leans forward, looking into my eyes. “You might be Shale, reincarnated.”
I stare at her, barely aware anymore. “Oh shit...” I fall over, the blackness of unconsciousness taking me once more.
Floyd In: The Town That Dreaded Sunrise Part 1 [Directors Cut]
“She’s going to be okay, right?” Blue asked, looking at the silent Floyd, who hung over her sister’s back as the pair walked down the otherwise silent hallway.
“I hope so.” Maud frowned, looking back at the catatonic pony, who was just staring at the floor vacantly.
“Is it a good idea to leave with Floyd in this state?” He looked between the two, his own frown deepening.
“I don’t know Blueblood, but we can’t let Pinkie’s friends see Floyd like this. It’ll just make everything worse. Besides, I think taking her back to the farm is the best option.” The pair slowed down, seeing Princess Luna standing at the end of the hall, waiting for them. “Auntie, shouldn’t you be in bed? The sun came up hours ago.”
“Aye dear nephew, that is true, but I wanted to make sure I caught you before you left.” She looked over at Floyd, sighing sadly. “It pains me to see Floyd in such a state, but alas, there is very little knowledge on reincarnation.”
“It’s alright, princess,” Maud assured her, “Floyd just needs time...”
“With a sister like you I have no doubt about that.” Luna smiled before clearing her throat. “Blueblood informed my sister and I that you were heading to Manehattan next, I was hoping you would make a stop along the way.”
“I’m sorry Princess but, I’m taking Floyd back to the farm.” Maud cut the conversation, starting to move around Luna.
“Where do you want us to go?” Floyd asked, lifting her head up. Her mane had deflated completely, while a far away look was on her face.
“A small town named Hollow Shades.” Luna levitated a map over, unfolding it. “We’ve been getting reports of ponies disappearing there for months.” She frowned, studying Floyd for a moment before looking next to her, most likely listening to Pinkie Pie. “I have to agree with Lady Pinkie, you are in no con-”
“All you have to worry about is getting me out of here.” Floyd cut her off, glaring. “Now give me the map so I can get this done and you can get back to making that body.” Luna blinked for a moment, taken aback by the outburst.
“Very well, if that is what you wish.” She curled the map up, passing it back to Floyd. Floyd took it, placing it in her mane before she slipped off Maud’s back, starting to walk down the hallway.
“Floyd! Wait up!” Blueblood called, rushing over her, both of them vanishing out of sight seconds later.
“I understand if you have reservations on this, Maud,” Luna spoke up, getting the grey mare’s attention, “I am sending my own guard captain to watch over you. He’ll be waiting for you at the train station. You can’t miss him, he’ll be the only strix there.” Maud nodded, turning to leave. “Wait! I almost forgot!” Luna called, stopping Maud in her tracks. “I made these for Blueblood and yourself.” She levitated two necklaces from under her wing, dropping them in Maud’s grasp. “Enchanted moonstone. As long as you wear one, you will be able to perceive Pinkie Pie.”
Maud stared at one briefly before slipping it on. She admired it before looking back up at Luna. “Thank you.”
“Of course. I know both Pinkie and Floyd will breathe a sigh of relief knowing others can see-”
“Princess Luna,” Maud interrupted, “I want you to know that if anything happens to my sisters, I will kill you.” Silence hung between the two mares before Luna burst out into riotous laughter.
It took Luna a few seconds to collect herself, clearing her throat. “Nopony has threatened me so in a very long time. I would commend your bravery, but I know you are serious.” She locked eyes with Maud, the two mares staring into each other’s souls. “Very well Maud, if any harm should come to Floyd and Pinkie Pie, you may inflict the equivalent harm unto me.”
“I will hold you to that.” Maud turned and trotted away, leaving Luna in silence. Truth be told, she was rather jealous. If only her own sister showed such devotion...
You know, this has to be how Jason felt when he found out he was adopted... except cranked up to a million. I mean fuck, man. Just the idea that I’m Shale throws everything I’ve ever known into the fucking garbage. I mean, really, the hell would you do if you found out you were a reincarnation? But you don’t want to hear about my existential ramblings. Well, maybe you do, but you know what, I don’t.
I shake my head, pushing the hard thoughts to the back of my mind. I might as well talk about what's going on. One perk of working for and with royalty? You get to use the royal car that, according to Blueblood, every train has. Because that's totally not a waste of taxpayer dollars. Anyway, Cheese Sandwich has joined our merry gang of continuity breakers. Pinkie invited him along and I think Maud agreed just so Pinkie can have someone else to talk to. Blueblood’s still here, which is nice. He’s growing on me. I think.
This brings us to Mr. Brody by the door. He’s Azrael, Luna’s number one guy. Fun fact, bat ponies are called Strix, the plural being Strigoi. Second fun fact, don’t call them thestrals, apparently it’s a racial insult, like calling an earth pony a mud pony or a white dude a cracker. I made this mistake when we got on the train and now he’s being all pouty in the corner.
“You’re projecting, Floyd.” Pinkie glances at me, a frown on her face. I’ll admit, I’m not in the best of shape, just laying like a lump on the bench, mane all down and stuff... Ugh... I don’t even have the energy to curse properly.
“That's good, I think?” Pinkie asks, rubbing her head.
“What’s good?” Blue asks, looking over from across the car. He’s currently playing Cheese in a match of chinese checkers... a game that's about as chinese as fortune cookies, but that's not the point.
“Floyd’s bottling up her emotions again.” Pinkie looks at him and I can tell she’s relieved to have more than just me she can talk to.
“Well, none of us are psychiatrists...” Blue mutters, making his move. He sneaks a glare at Cheese, as he’s losing quite badly.
“No, but we learned that was a bad idea back at Our Town, you know, with the whole explosive episodes.” Gee Pinkie, way to make me feel worse. “Just let it out, Floyd. Even if we can’t help like a doctor, keeping it in isn’t going to help at all.”
Screw off Pinkie, leave me be. Pinkie sighs reaching out to touch my shoulder. “You remember that world religion class you took in community college, right?” I see someone has been memory diving again. “You remember that meditation the professor showed you? Why don’t you give it a try?” I move to respond, only to pause. I wasn’t exactly buddhist myself, but maybe some of those teachings could help out?
I sit up, and close my eyes, letting my hind legs dangle off the bench. I straighten my back, touching my hooves above my stomach. I take in a breath, leaning my head down so it touches my chest. As I let it out, I lift my head back up, repeating the process several times.
“What’s Floyd doing?” Blue asks, sounding a bit worried.
“She’s meditating,” Pinkie explains. “It’s supposed to help you clear your mind.”
“Okay,” I finally speak after a few minutes, letting out a long sigh. “I feel better.” I sigh softly, laying back down.
“It’ll be okay, Floyd.” Maud moves to sit next to me, rubbing my back.
“Maud, seriously, at some point, I have to go see a psychologist,” I speak, looking up at her.
“I’ll help in whatever way I can.” Maud nods, a look of understanding on her face.
“I’m sure Aunty will provide any help she can,” Blue smiles, sneakily moving pieces when Cheese looks away.
“Does being Shale bother you that much?” Maud asks, slipping back into her monotone.
I stay silent for a few moments before speaking. “I’m not really sure how to answer that, Maud. I mean, I feel like less and less like myself every day. Not in a ‘slipping away’ sense, I don’t feel like I’m fading away...” I sigh, rolling over onto my back to look her in the eyes. “This whole Shale thing... it just... I dunno...”
“It’s like getting a cutie mark,” Pinkie says suddenly.
“What?” I ask, raising an eyebrow.
“Think about it. Everypony has to find themselves, and a cutie mark shows the world who you are,” she explains, poking my blank flank. “You just need to find yours.”
“Yeah, well, that’ll just have to wait until I get out of you.” I chuckle a little, shaking my head. “Thanks for making me feel better, guys.” My mane poofs up a little, though not exactly all the way.
“It’s not a problem, Floyd,” Blue smiles a little.
“Hey! You cheated!” Cheese accuses, pointing an accusatory hoof at the unicorn.
“My good sir! I am highly insulted! How dare you accuse me of cheating!”
I roll my eyes, getting to my hooves. “I’m gonna get something to eat. You want anything Maud?”
“I’ll be back.” I step out of the car, moving up to the dining car. Truth be told, I could just have ordered the train version of room service but, I need to get away from everyone. I grab a plate and go to browse their buffet table, humming to myself.
“You look troubled.” I blink, turning to see a red maned pegasus with a whitish coat standing next to me, holding her own plate.
“That easy, huh?” I ask as I grab some tongs and move some muffins onto my plate.
“Like a book,” she chuckles, grabbing her own food. “I’m Lara, by the way.”
“Floyd,” I reply, moving over to one of the tables. She follows, standing next to the unoccupied chair across from me.
“Mind if I join you?” she asks with a hopeful smile. I nod, watching as she sits down. “So, what's on that mind of yours?”
I frown a little, taking a bite out of my muffin. Something is a little off about this woman, but she doesn’t seem dangerous. If anything, she’s figuratively screaming ‘you can trust me’. I shook my head, collecting myself. “I’ve just been going through a lot, you know...”
“Anything specific?” she asks, nibbling on her bagel.
“Well, I’ve been having these dreams lately,” I start, leaning back in my chair, “That I’m someone else, living a life that didn’t happen.”
“Lots of dreams are like that, they are after all, a manifestation of our minds.”
“Yeah well, most people don’t dream about memories they shouldn’t have...”
“Oh?” she asks, tilting her head.
“My... friends, think that I’m a reincarnation of someone. I’m having dreams about events they went through, but as someone who wasn’t actually there...” I explain, closing my eyes.
She stays quiet for a bit before speaking. “Perhaps you are not seeing what was, but rather what could have been?”
“What makes you say that?” I ask, opening my eyes, giving her an unsure look.
“Well, you said it yourself, your dreams as Shale are a version of events where she wasn’t stillborn. If you are her reincarnation, then those would be her memories.”
“Yeah, but she...” I pause, realization dawning in my mind. “I never told you who Shale was.”
She just smiles, getting to her hooves. “Have a nice day, Ms. Hendrix.” She turns, heading to the end of the car.
“H-hey wait!” I shout, rushing after her. Somehow she gets to the door before me, slipping through and closing it behind her just a moment before I reach it. I quickly pull it open, only to step into an empty passenger car. “What the fuck was that?” I ask, walking to the end of the car. It’s empty all right, no one in sight. I check the other door, only to find it locked. A quick glance out the window shows me that this is the last car. Rather unnerved, I turn, making my way back to the others.
Hollow Shades is... creepy. The place just seems dead. The ponies are all sorta just going through the motions, like they’re not all there. It kinda reminds me of Innsmouth, but the architecture is more Yharnam. Like, gothic type buildings, with ponies in similarly aged garb. Except without all the horrible beasts and general madness.
“Yo,” I call out to an earth pony, as I walk over to them, “We’re looking for an inn, could you tell us where to find one?”
The pony turns to look at me, and just stops moving entirely for a moment to process my request. “We only have the one.” She points to an old building that looks like the hotel from The Shining.
“Thanks. Don’t give up the creep act. You’re totally nailing it.” I return to the group. “Alright so, that creepy ass place is the hotel.” I gesture to it, casting my gaze around. “This freaking place man... some Cthulhu shit’s going down...”
“Should we get some Madman’s Knowledge?” Pinkie asks, giving me a smile. I just give her a glare then turn to Azrael.
“So, any ideas?” I ask, watching as he walks past me.
“Not here. In the room.” He shakes his head, leading us into the hotel. Well, at least the town’s creep factor is consistent, that or the cleaning staff are just lazy fucks and the manager can’t be bothered to fire them.
Blueblood trots up to the front desk, ringing the bell.
“Hello?” some creepy ass pegasus asks, rising up from behind the counter. What the hell was he doing down there? Planning more ways to be a ... Pinkie, give me a synonym of creepy.
“Lessee.” She taps her chin, sticking her tongue out the side of her mouth as she thinks on it. “Ghoulish, weird, gruesome, itchy...” What the hell, itchy? She grins at me. “Itchy tasty!” I sigh, facepalming. I walked right into the one didn’t I? “Totally did!”
“Can I help you?” Creepster asks in that voice everyone thinks Igor speaks in.
“Yes we’d like a room for...” Blueblood turns his head back to count us. “Five ponies please.”
“Of course,” Creepy giggles to himself, “It’ll be twenty bits a night.”
“That's highway robbery!” Blueblood frowned. He blinked as Azrael placed a bag on the counter. “We’ll be staying for the week,” Azrael spoke, giving Blueblood a glare. I probably should have mentioned the guy sounds like Vincent Price. I might have fangasmed if I wasn’t in the middle of a crisis.
Creepy opens the bag and peers inside. Satisfied, he places it under the counter, grabs a set of keys, and walks out to us. “Right this way, please.” We follow him up the stairs and down a hallway. The place even has all the required spooky crap: cobwebs, dust, old paintings of scowling ponies.
“Hey, who’s that?” Cheese asks as we pass a painting depicting a rather stern looking unicorn with a triangle symbol on his lapel.
“Oh that's Somber Shield, he founded the town around a hundred years ago,” Creepy explains. That guy looks familiar but I can’t put my finger on it... We continue to walk down the hallway, when Creepy stops in front of room 208. “This is your room.”
“Of course it is...” I mumble, rolling my eyes.
“Nopony leaves the room after ten.” Creepster gives us the key before starting to walk away. “Have a good night...” he calls out, breaking into a cackle.
“I hate that guy,” I mutter under my breath, taking the key in my forelock and unlocking the door. I push the door open, which creaks loudly, letting the light from the hallway fill the room. It’s about the same as the rest of the hotel, except less dusty, actually.
“Please shut the door,” Azrael instructs, moving past me. I move into the room to let the others in, keeping my eyes on Az the whole time. He moves around the room, tapping on the walls, peering under the beds, examining the bookshelf, and various over things.
“Az, the hell’re you doing?” I ask, taking one of the beds. Considering there were only four beds, I figure Maud and I can just shack up or something.
“Checking for any secret ways into the room,” he responds, looking back at me. “I’ve already found several.”
“What, are we in Scooby Doo or something?” I ask with a groan, burying my head in my pillow.
“What are we dealing with exactly, Azrael?” Blueblood asks as he gingerly climbs onto his bed, watching as Cheese jumps onto his own.
“A number of things, really. My best guess is a cult of some kind.” He spreads his wings, hovering up to the ceiling. Somehow, I’m going say extra magic horseshoes, he anchors himself to the ceiling.
“So... what's the plan? Are we gonna have a stakeout?!” Cheese asks, sitting up with a manic grin.
“The plan is for you all to go to sleep like normal,” Azrael speaks, then he proceeds to lay down on the ceiling, eyes scanning the room.
“This is a great plan, I’m glad to be a part of it...” I sigh, getting under the covers.
“Relax, Floyd,” Pinkie soothes, “We can play some more Far Cry!” That's not that bad of an idea... I close my eyes, letting sleep take me.
I open my eyes, clearly in the dream world, being greeted with the sight of Pinkie poking at my chest. “Uh... Pinkie, what are you doing?”
“Why do you have pillows on your chest?” she asks, giving another poke.
“Will you cut that out?” I ask, slapping her hoof away. I sit up, gazing down at my chest. Something is definitely pushing my shirt out. I hook my finger around my shirt collar, pull it back, and I take a long look. Yup. I have boobs now. “Pinkie,” I say calmly, looking at her. “Can you pull the mirror over here?”
“Okie dokie loki!” Pinkie smiles, rising to her hooves. She hums softly, wheeling the mirror over. I release my shirt and take a good look into the mirror. Well, I’m definitely female now, though I don’t look too different, mostly just in the face really. Oh, and the longer hair.
“This is weird...” I frown, turning my head this way and that.
“I think you look nice, Floyd!” Pinkie chimes, putting a hoof on my leg.
“As if I didn’t have enough identity issues...” I grumble, crossing my arms under my new... ‘friends’.
“Well... maybe it’s because you identify as female more readily now?” Pinkie suggests, looking up at me. I look down at her, raising my eyebrow. “Think about it, everyone’s been referring to you as a she since you got here. Maybe your inner self is changing to reflect that?”
“That's...” I reach up, rubbing my smooth chin, “not that bad of a theory...”
“I try.” She beams up at me, wagging her tail like an excited dog. I pet her head, chuckling a little. “So... Far Cry Primal?” she asks, sitting on her haunches as a TV and game console appear in front of her.
“Sure, why not, let's have some caveman violence,” I agree, taking my seat next to her. Dream time is weird but, we manage to blitz through the game, even with my OCD forcing me to hundred percent the damn thing. Again. For no reward.
“That's it!? What kinda ending is that!?” Pinkie demands as the credits roll. “That was lame!!”
“Yeah, Far Cry has never had good endings.” I shake my head. “Grand Theft Auto has the same problem really. Red Dead was the only one that had a good ending.”
“Can we play something else?” Pinkie asks, looking up at me.
“Yes we can.” I nod as the PS4 morphs into an old PS1. “My favorite game of all time, Final Fantasy 9.” I put the game in and start humming along to the opening theme.
“Wait, how can there be nine fantasies if each one is the last one?” Pinkie asks, tilting her head.
“Well, they called the first one ‘Final Fantasy’ because they thought it was going to be their final game before they went out of business,” I explain, “But it sold so well, it kept them going, so they turned it into a series.”
“But, we’re starting with 9, shouldn’t we go back to 1?”
“Nah. The numbered series aren’t sequels like that. It’s more of an anthology, though some entries do have true sequels.”
“That sounds confusing.”
“Bah, you’ll get used to it.” I pet her head. “Besides, I don’t feel like dealing with 1’s random battle rate.” I groan, hanging my head.
“What?” Pinkie asks, tilting her head.
“I’m not gonna be able to play FF 15 or know if the 7 remake is any good,” I lament, letting myself fall onto my back. “This sucks.”
“Maybe Discord could help out?” Pinkie suggests, laying down next to me. “You remember how he opened that portal to sock world.”
“I suppose I could...” I agree, turning to look at her. “Does Ponyville have electricity?”
“Of course we do, why else would we have an electrical dam?”
“Huh... that is a good point...” I shift a little, looking at her. “Can I ask you something?”
“Sure Floyd! Whaddya have on your mind?” she asks, turning to look back at me.
“Did Maud really punch Death in the face?” She stares at me for a few moments before bursting out into laughter, rolling around the floor.
I just stare at her flatly, waiting for her to calm down. It took a few moments before she did so, her laughing diminishing into an occasional chuckle. “Y-you know when I said that, I was kinda just messing with ya.”
“Well, it sorta happened,” Pinkie begins, snuggling into my side. “During fifth grade, my school had a haunted house for Nightmare Night. I went with Maud and someone dressed as the Pale Horse scared the poof out of my mane.”
“Lemme guess: Maud punched em out?”
“She socked him good, but he was cool about it. Stayed in character too. It was really cool.”
“Sounds like a blast.” I nod. “Wish I could have seen it.” I sit back up, shaking my head, blinking a few times as my hair smacks me in the face. “That's weird.”
“That's why I’m glad my mane is poofy!” Pinkie jumps to her hooves, beaming up at me. I roll my eyes, scratching her ear. She lets out a coo of pleasure, nuzzling against my hand.
“Anyway Pinkie, we still have time before we wake up.” I sit cross legged, grabbing my controller and passing her a second one.
“This is a two player game?” she asks, shifting the controller in her hooves.
“Only in the battle menus,” I explain with a smirk as I hit new game. “Try not to get us killed, huh?” She socks me in the arm before turning her gaze to the TV as our journey begins.
I open my eyes with a groan as sunlight hits me in the face. “Stupid sun, whys it gotta be a dick?” I reach up, pulling my pillow over my face.
“Good morning Floyd,” Blueblood greets, his voice way too cheery for me.
“Screw off Blueblood...” I grumble, waving a hoof at him in a vain attempt to give him the finger.
“Floyd, be nice,” Pinkie chides, obviously having manifested herself. “Morning BB!”
“Er yes, good morning to you as well Pinkie,” Bluey responds, sounding a little unsure. Must be the nickname.
“Floyd, it’s time to get up,” Maud’s voice cuts in, pulling the pillow off of my head.
“Fine, fine, I’m up.” I sit up, cracking my neck and various other joints. I take stock of the room, noting that Azrael and Cheese are gone. “Uh, where’d the guys go?”
“Captain Azrael is answering nature's call,” Blueblood explains, sitting in front of the dusty old mirror, currently fixing up his hair. “Cheese went to see about getting us some food.”
“Bet anything from this place is gonna be moldy or full of spider eggs or something,” I mutter, stepping off the bed. “So... nothing happened last night?”
“Not a thing.” Maud shakes her head. “Azrael was up all night but, he didn’t see anything.”
“Well than, I guess that just means we get to explore Creepsville.” I’m seriously overusing the word creeps. I should have stolen one of Twilight’s thesauruses.
“About that.” Blueblood finishes with his grooming, turning to me. “I was hoping we could spend some time together. Walk around town today.”
“Like... a date?” Maud perks up at this, giving Blueblood a look I can’t exactly place.
“Well um...” Blueblood stutters, obviously intimidated by Maud. “Er, Yes?”
“I’ll give it a shot.” I nod, giving him my best soothing smile. Mind taking a break from our usual routine Pinkie?
“Sure! I can spend the day with Cheese!” Pinkie beams, bouncing up and down excitedly. Good, plus, it’ll give us a measure of how far apart we can be. The door opens and Cheese walks in, pulling a cart of food that smells and looks delicious.
“Sorry it took me so long,” Cheese speaks, giving us all a smile. “They didn’t have a cook so I had to make it all myself!”
“We can worry about what we’re going to do later.” I lick my lips, trotting up to the cart. “First, let’s eat!!”
“Not sure what I was expecting.” I step out of the hotel, gazing around the mostly empty streets. I don't know why I thought this place would liven up during the day. In fact, it’s dead, besides the few ponies shuffling around.
“You know, I think we should have waited until we got to Fillydelphia.” Blueblood frowns, taking in our surroundings. “I don't think this will be much of a date.”
“Don't worry about it.” I wave off his concern. “Lets just go exploring and see what we can dig up.” I smile at him, trotting out into the town. We trot through the town, taking in all the Gothic architecture. It's really just amazing, it's giving me that old 1930’s horror movie feel. “You know, if the ponies here were more friendly, this place would be neat.”
“I'll have to disagree.” Blueblood puts on a critical face. “This place is pretty depressing. I much prefer Canterlot's style.”
“Oh please, it's way too gaudy,” I counter, rolling my eyes. “You got no appreciation for the dark beauty of the Gothic styling.”
“Gaudy?” Blueblood scoffs indignantly. “I assure you my lady, Canterlot is the pinnacle of Equestrian architecture!”
“You.” I reach out to poke his chest, causing him to stumble back. “Need to relax. It's just some buildings, man.”
“Man?” Blueblood asks, composing himself. “I’m not familiar with the term.”
“It's the term for a male human, the female term being woman,” I explain, coming to a stop in front of a large cathedral. “I didn't think ponies worshipped like that.”
“We normally don’t.” Blueblood stops next to me, looking up at the majestic building. “Our religion is very personal, so we don't need places of worship like other races.”
“I did not know that.” I frown, looking at the structure. It’s giving me horrible vibes man, just looking at it makes my skin crawl. “Let's keep moving.” I tear myself away, moving further into town. “You know, like legit, this place would make a great horror setting.”
“I assume you mean like in a film?” Blueblood asks, making sure to stay at my side. I blink before realizing that I hadn't told Bluey about my chosen field of study.
“I can't believe this hasn't come up yet, but yeah.” I nod vigorously. “Before all this nonsense, I was going to school to become a director.”
“Really?” Blueblood perks up, looking at me. “What are movies like in your world?”
“Way more advanced.” I give a sagely nod. “We got color, the ability to add in things later, high definition.” I keep the bragging short, not wanting to confuse him. “I’ve been wanting to make horror movies since I was a kid.”
“That's a bit... morbid,” Blueblood says carefully.
“Nah man, nothing wrong with a good scare.” I smile, feeling the urge to sing welling up in my chest. “Tender lumplings everywhere, Life's no fun without a good scare~” I do a little spin, thankful I don't belt out the whole song. “It's fun to be scared, Bluey, that adrenaline rush when something spooks you, the little trembling feeling afterward. I love it all.”
“I guess it's not too different from enjoying Nightmare Night.” He smiles back. “Do you still plan on pursuing your dream?”
The question catches me off guard and I stare at the ground for a few moments. “I... have no idea,” I answer honestly. “I’ve been living in the moment since I got here. I haven't even given any input of how I want my new body to look like.”
“You could always send my aunt a letter,” Blue suggests with a smile, “I make it a point to always travel with a dragonfire candle. As the name implies, it has the same enchantment as Spike.”
“You know, that's not that bad an idea.” I smile, thinking on the possibilities. “I think I’d make a good strix.”
“You'd be nocturnal,” Blueblood comments.
“I can work with that.” I wave him off, poking at where my fangs would be. “I'll be the world's best horror director.” My smile turns into a devious smirk. “And since Earth copyright laws don't apply here, I can plagiarize my ass off and have no worries.”
“That sounds highly unethical.”
“If you chose to look at it that way.” I shake my head. “I was kinda making a joke, but, I think I'd enjoy adapting human fiction for ponies.”
Blueblood stops, holding his hoof out to get me to stop.
“What?” I blink, frowning a little. “I said I was kidding.”
“Not that.” He shakes his head, pointing down the street. I adjust my gaze and we watch a group of diamond dogs make their way toward a rather nondescript building. The two beefy ones are sporting rather rough looking armor, while the third, taller one is decked out in gold and rather nice robes. I nudge Blue in the side, moving out of sight.
Peeking over a barrel, we watch the tall one knocks on the door. It opens just a crack and after a heated discussion, they move inside.
“That looks important,” I whisper to Blueblood, lowering myself as low to the ground as I can get, making my way toward the building.
“Floyd!” Blueblood hisses, watching me in horror. “What are you doing?!”
“Getting some info. Now stop being a bitch and follow me.” He snorts indignantly, dropping to the ground and crawling after me. We situate ourselves under a window, straining our ears to listen.
“You do realize, white and bright pink don”t make for good camouflag-” I shove my hoof into his mouth, making a shushing motion with my other one.
“...If you're looking for more slaves, a few more tourists just came into town. I can have them ready by tomorrow evening,” a young masculine voice speaks, getting our attention.
“Save your sales speech,” a deep, commanding voice spoke, a loud thump filling the air. “We have the object.”
“Excellent!” the first voice beams. “Let me have a look at it.”
“This was a hard one to find,” the older voice recounts. “Your coven’s old keep was buried deep underground. I lost several good dogs during the excavation.”
“Tragic, now let me-”
Something slams shut, making us both flinch.
“Not just yet,” the second voice scolds. “Bring us the orb.”
“Come now Adjule.” A shudder runs down my spine the name ringing in my ears. This is just swell, Equestria's enemy at large is in the same town as me, ain't that just grand. “If we were going to betray you would we really be having this meeting during the day?”
“Spare me the banter,” Adjule growls. “Just bring me the orb so we can complete our dealings. I have better things to do than carrying on with blood suckers.”
The younger voice hisses back. “You are lucky I like you, mutt. Go, bring us the damn orb and hurry up!”
The sound of galloping hooves fills the air and, sensing a lull in the conversation, I turn to Blueblood. I meet his annoyed glare with a sheepish smile, removing my hoof from his mouth.
“At least we know what happened to the missing ponies,” I whisper, gesturing at the window.
“Yes, yes, but if we don't get out of here, they’ll be adding another two ponies to those statistics!” he hisses in a harsh whisper.
A noise down the street catches our attention and we watch as a pony steps out onto the street. Grateful that they haven't seen us yet, I grab Blueblood and drag him around the building and into the alley. It's not all that spacious, certainly not enough for us to stand side by side. The only real notable feature is a box at the end of the alley... but, judging by the way its shimmering, it’s totally a 'shortcut’ to somewhere.
“Floyd!” Blueblood snaps, his voice rising. “This is a very bad idea!” I shush him again, pointing up at the window. The sound of hooves reaches our ears and the deal resumes.
“The orb,” the young voice says, and I can picture the smirk on his face, “as promised.”
“Is it genuine?” Adjule asks.
“What do you think? Of course it's genuine,” the young voice scoffs. “Now, slide me the chest and I’ll pass you the orb.”
“Fine,” Adjule grunted. The dual sound of wood against wood and something rolling over wood filled my ears. Reminds me of playing marbles with Jason... No, bad Floyd, pay attention!
“Ah!” the young voice sucks in air excitedly. “This is perfect! Now we can fina-”
“I believe this concludes our business,” Adjule interrupts, not interested in the least by Young's babbling. “We’ll be taking our leave.”
“Fine.” Young snorts, slamming the container shut. “The train leaves in three hours. I expect you to be on it.”
“Of course, I'd hate to get your stench on me.” Adjule sniffs the air to make his point. “Something smells.”
“Oh, what is it now?” Young asks, sounding exasperated. “Will you just get out of here?”
“I can smell that stench those Canterlot fools call perfume,” Adjule countered. It’s Blue’s turn to meet my glare with a sheepish grin. Hearing movement toward the door, I grab Blueblood, dragging him toward the box.
“Blueblood, I need you to trust me. Close your eyes.”
“Just do it!”
“Fine, fine.” He does so and I pull in a breath. I really hope this works. I dive into the box, pulling Blueblood in with me. Wait... I have no idea where this leads. ...Fuck.
“This place isn't so bad,” Cheese commented as he and Pinkie trotted in what looked like an abandoned garden. They had been wandering most of the morning, chatting about whatever caught their fancy.
“Yeah, it's got some really nice flowers.” Pinkie leaned down, taking a whiff of one. One would think a projection had no sense of smell, but Pinkie Pie found a way.
“We should have brought a picnic basket.” Cheese laid down, watching Pinkie walking around. “Oh yeah, you can't eat right now. My bad.”
“Don't worry about it, Cheese.” Pinkie waved him off. “I eat whatever Floyd eats. And she eats a lot!” Pinkie hunkered down next to him, grass and wildflowers phasing through her.
“Think the ponies here would like a party?” Cheese asked. He gestured to one of the town's residents, who shambled about rather aimlessly.
“We could try, but I get the feeling that might not go over well.” She didn't say it, but her Pinkie sense had been going crazy ever since they had come into town.
“I know my Cheesy sense has been going bonkers and not in the good way.” Cheese held out a hoof, which was quivering almost uncontrollably. “Hey, does Floyd have a Floyd sense?”
Pinkie gave a thoughtful pout, rubbing her chin. “Well, my other sisters have one. Floyd’s got a little of me inside her so, she might develop one at some point. Since Luna separated our minds, Floyd doesn't have the Pinkie sense.”
“Oh.” Cheese nodded. “That makes perfect sense!”
They held their cool for a few beats before the two of them burst out laughing. A few townsponies looked in their direction, but in a moment or two, shifted their focus back to whatever they were already doing.
“I bet I look totally loony right now!” Cheese let his guffawing fade into a few chuckles, a content look on his face.
“Toys in the attic, you are crazy~” Pinkie sang, closing her eyes. “Truly gone fishing~”
Cheese frowned, looking at her. “That sounds like a sad song.”
“Yeah, it is.” Pinkie nodded. “It's a human song. It just came to mind ya know?”
“You okay?” Cheese asked, reaching out to touch her arm. Neither of them noticed when his hoof didn't phase through her.
“Yeah, I’m just... worried, is all,” Pinkie explained. She rolled onto her back, looking up at the sky. “Floyd and I have been living in the moment. We haven't been together all that long but...I dunno how we’ll cope with being separated.”
“I don't think that’ll be a fun experience at all,” Cheese agreed, nodding his head. “When did you get so introspective?”
“I guess I've always been like this.” Pinkie shrugged. “Before I got my cutie mark I got depressed a lot.” She absentmindedly rubbed her arm, feeling a twinge of phantom pain. “It... got bad. If it wasn't for Maud...” She let the thought hang, taking the moment to compose her thoughts. “When I did get my cutie mark, I kinda thought it was gone. But then one time I thought my friends were avoiding me and I... replaced them with inanimate objects.”
“'Whoa, that is bad,” Cheese responded.
“Yeah, and I think Floyd got a good helping of that bad stuff.” Pinkie sat up, a determined look on her face. “That's why, from now on, I'm gonna be strong for my baby sister!”
“That's the spirit!” Cheese cheered, breaking out the kazoo. “I was getting worried you'd be stuck in the dumps. I’d have to break out the mandatory fun if that happened.”
“I think the poodle hat would have worked better,” Pinkie countered, sharing a grin with him.
“Nah, I'm having too much of a bad hair day for that.” They stared at each other for the longest time before starting to furiously make out. Anyone without the Gift or an enchanted moonstone just saw a crazy stallion making kissing sounds and groping at the air.
Across town, Maud stopped her sample collecting, turning to stare in a seemingly random direction. She narrowed her eyes ever so slightly. Cheese Sandwich was officially on her dirt list.
“You feel that?” Cheese asked, his teeth chattering.
“Eh, it’s nothing.” Pinkie coaxed him back into the make out session, oblivious to the coming earthquake.
I land with an oof, faceplanting on the cold hard ground. Blue lands on top of me, nearly hitting me in the face with his junk.
“Blue,” I say, my tone sickly sweet. “Would you mind not poking me in the face with your dick?”
“Oh!!” he jumps off of me, sounding rightly embarrassed. I raise my eyebrow, noting how dark his cheeks have become and how he’s squeezing his back legs together.
“Relax.” I hold a hoof out, standing up. “It was an awkward accident. Just think about the manatee.”
“The what?” Blue asks, blinking owlishly. I smile, patting him on the head.
“Exactly.” I leave Blue in his confused stupor, taking in our surroundings. Using my extensive knowledge of movie sets, I can deduce that we are, in fact, in a dungeon. “So much for this shortcut. Didn't take us anywhere useful. In the slightest.”
“How did we even get here anyway? I don't think we fell through the ceiling.” Blueblood looks up at the ceiling, searching for a hole. “And unless you're a secret unicorn, we didn't teleport here.”
“Look, I don't understand how this stuff works okay?” I turn back to him, frowning. “I can just do... Things. When I see a ripple in the world, I just know it's a shortcut to somewhere else. I doubt Cheese and Pinkie know how it works either and trying to understand it will most likely make you lose your mind.”
“That's rather dire,” he points out, meeting my gaze.
“Yeah, I know it is.” I nod in agreement. “Let's try and find our way out of here. I really don't want to meet either of those guys.” I peek down the hallway, seeing several cells on either side. A pair of torches hang to either side of each door, bathing the place in flickering light.
“I feel like Daring Do,” Blue says, taking the lead. I dunno if he’s just trying to be macho or what, but there’s definitely a puff to his chest.
“Aren't you afraid to scuff a hoof?” I tease, peering into each of the cells as we walk past. “Hey make sure to check each of these doors man, missing ponies remember?”
“Just because a stallion takes pride in his appearance does not make him prissy,” he huffs, sounding rather defensive. I clear my throat, snapping him out of it. “Er right, check the cells.”
We both take a side, checking each cell we come across. They all seem empty, though at least one had a skeleton in it. It looked like whoever it was had been digging their way through the back wall.
“You can do it, skeleton,” I whisper, hoping to motivate them into finishing their escape. I move away from the door, turning my attention to the last cell. It was nestled into the corner, its torches burning blue.
“If I had to guess, blue means occupied.” Blueblood trots up to the door, taking a look inside.
“Well? Is someone in there or not?” I stand beside him, trying to look in. Letting out a frustrated grunt, I push Blue out of the way, taking a good look. Curled up in the corner is a sickeningly thin changeling.
“You could have just waited,” Blue protests indignantly. “I would have moved. By Faust, my lady, you need to work on your manners.”
“Hey,” I call out to the changeling. “You alive?” The changeling jumps up, obviously startled. In the dim light, I can make out several cracks in their shell, and despite their size, they appear to have normal eyes.
“I've already told you everything I know. Please, just let me out,” the ‘ling begs, their distorted voice making it hard to tell their gender.
“Relax, okay,” I assure giving my best reassuring smile. “We’re gonna get you out of there.” I choose to ignore Blueblood’s frantic headshake. “What's your name?”
“My name is Jason,” the ‘ling replies and I freeze up. There's no way in hell that's my Jason. The universe isn't that cruel to trap two of us here. But what if it is? Deciding to settle my mind, I ask another question.
“Holy shit Jay!” I shout, pressing my face against the bars. “It's me Floyd! And before we do that stupid trope.” I start speaking Dine, which catches him off guard.
He replies in kind, walking up to the door. “Jesus Floyd, it is you.”
“Yeah it is, now stand back, I'm going to kick the door down.” I take a few steps back, turn around and go to buck the door... Okay, why aren't my legs moving? I look back to see my legs wrapped up in Blue’s magic.
“Floyd, I'm not going to let you kick the door down,” he explains, ignoring my death glare.”Allow me to make myself useful.” He releases my legs. He focuses his magic elsewhere, closing his eyes. “Hmm...” He hums in thought. “This is an old Smith lock, shouldn't be too hard to pick.”
I blink in surprise, noting the glow coming from the keyhole. “You can pick locks?”
“After that debacle with Chrysalis, my Aunt thought it best if we picked up some survival skills,” Blue explains. I have to admit, that's pretty smart.
“But don't you have magic for this sort of thing?” I inquire, watching the door intently.
“Which easily be suppressed,” he counters, “Which is why I am also adept at lock picking with my mouth and hooves as well.” Blue grins as the lock clicks. “And voila!”
I don't wait, bursting into the cell, glomping a startled Jay to the ground. “Oh god Jay, I never thought I'd see any of you again.” I feel a few tears running down my face, but, I can't help but smile. That smile turns dopey as a wave of euphoria washes over me.
“I think that's quite enough.” I blink, suddenly finding Jay and myself being pushed to opposite sides of the room. “I understand that you two seem to know each other, but I don't think Floyd would like it if you sucked all of her love out.”
I give my head a few shakes, getting rid of the remaining cobwebs. “You fed on me?” I honestly didn't think getting fed on by a changeling would feel so good. Though, it was freely given love, maybe that had something to do with it.
“Sorry!” Jason whined uncharacteristically. “I don't even know what I did, I was just so hungry.”
“Relax, and just stop whining will ya?” I get to my hooves, giving him another once over. He seems to have regained a more healthy weight and the cracks seem to have closed up for the most part. With light pouring in from the doorway, I get a better look at him. He’s small, most likely a foal. Nymph? Whatever. He has a blood red mane and a matching set of piercing red eyes.
I stare at him for while, processing the information. He’s younger and for a changeling looks unique... Oh. I glance at his backside before shaping my gaze back to his face. I really don't want to think about my cousin’s junk. Just something I'll have to deal with later.
“So, why are we horses?” Jason asks, trotting over to me.
“We’re not. You’re a changeling and we’re ponies,” I explain. I glance at the open door, frowning. “We should really walk and talk. Blue, can you grab him?”
“Of course.” Blue levitates Jay onto my back, trotting towards the door. “Now let's make our way out of this place before those dreadful dogs find us.”
And now I wish Pinkie was here with the Pinkie sense. Guess I'll just have to pray tiady luck we get out of this.
“Did you call?!” Pinkie asks, suddenly appearing next to me. Oh hey, great timing. “I know right? I've been keeping a mind open to your inner monologue. When you showed up down here, I told Azzy and Maud what was up.” And? “Princess Luna is mobilizing her squad as we speak!”
“Excellent.” Blue takes the lead again, gesturing for us to follow. “Ms. Pie, if you wouldn't mind being our guide, we could most certainly find our way.”
“Okie dokie loki!” Pinkie bounces ahead, vanishing into the wall.
“Uh, who is he talking to?” Jay asks, sounding rather confused.
“It's a long story. Basically, I'm in someone else's body, and they exist as an astral projection,” I explain, trotting up to Blue. “You... aren't hijacking someone’s body, are you?”
“How the hell would I know that, Floyd?” Okay, good question. I think for a moment, recalling my earlier experiences.
“Okay, since you've been here, have you heard any voices in your head?”
“Wait, seriously?” I ask, feeling my blood boil. Just fuck you universe, okay? You gave my cousin, who doesn't know a goddamn thing about the show, an OC body, but I gotta be stealing Pinkie’s? Fuck you!!!
"Floyd.” Pinkie trots back out of the wall, pouting at me. “You’re getting all mean again. Just repeat after me: one if by land, two if by sea, three is for the manatee!”
I glare at her, but do as she says. My anger melts into laughter and I can't help but laugh my head off. “Three is for the manatee!” I cheer, snorting loudly.
“Atta girl!” Pinkie smiles, sharing in my mirth. “Anyway~ Coast is clear for the next few halls. It’s like a big maze, so I'll be your cheat sheet!” Right, lead the way. “Okie dokie loki!”
Blue and I trot after her, deciding it was best to travel in silence. With Pinkie’s leadership, we navigate the labyrinthine hallways, though unfortunately, we don’t find anymore prisoners. Eventually, we come to dead end. I give the place a once over, my eyes landing on the lever by the door.
“I don’t like this, Floyd.” Pinkie shivers, her body going nuts. “Something really bad is about to happen.””
“This is the only exit,” I point out, pulling the lever. The wall in front of us shifts, rising up into the ceiling with a rumble. I peek my head out and my blood goes cold.
We’re inside the cathedral, which is packed. It looks like the whole town is in attendance, wearing red and purple robes. There's a guy at the altar dressed up in a white outfit, holding a weird pyramid thing. We lock eyes and time seems to stop.
“Holy shit!” I scream, pointing to the windows. “Gozer the Gozarian, the traveler has come! We’re all gonna die!” The cultists all mumble between themselves and I turn to run back into the tunnel, only for the three of us solid people to get levitated into the building.
“Fortune smiles upon our herd today,” the unicorn at the altar speaks, his voice matching the one I heard earlier, “These outsiders will make a fine offering to Sh”rk’Moil, don't you agree?” The crowd stomps their hooves, chanting the name over and over again.
I gulp, floating helplessly in the air. “We are so fucked.”
“Don't you guys know this is too Jewish?!” I struggle uselessly as they tie my arms to the boards. Yes, I have been tied to a cross. No, I do do not have nails in me, thank fuck. Blue and Jay are on either side of me, also crucified.
“You can rattle off nonsense all you want.” The cult leader grins up at me, making me want to kick his teeth in. He waits for his minions to sit down, placing his hooves on the strange pyramid. “My fellow children!”
The crowd focuses their attention on him, the whole room going silent. I curse under my breath, feeling so utterly stupid. Why did I drag us here? Was I really that far up my own ass with self-pity that I’d rather get us all killed? There's a dark thought, if I die again as a pony, do I get reincarnated as a human again?
I shake my head, growling at my lack of focus. Knock it off, Floyd. Enough with the self-pity, enough with the guilt. Enough with everything. You need to get out of this. Not just for you, but for everyone.
The priest taps the sides of the pyramid, obviously in some sort of code. I shiver as the room crackles with energy, and meanwhile glowing symbols appear on the object.
“Since the founding of this village over a hundred years ago,” the priest begins, resting his hooves on the table. His voice is almost hypnotizing, having a certain... charm to it. “We have prayed to our lord, for deliverance. That he would come and bring us paradise.”
I turn my head to the left, frowning at a still struggling Blue. His mane is dishevelled, his horn...ringed I guess, his coat stained with sweat. I take a deep, calming breath, letting the building guilt bleed out of me.
“Hey Blue,” I speak softly, not wanting to interrupt the villain speech, if only to avoid getting punished. “I’m sorry I got us into this mess. We shouldn’t have even come on this trip. I should have just stayed in Ponyville and seen a psychiatrist.”
He pauses in his struggles, giving me an odd look. “My dear lady, save the apologies for when we aren’t in danger. We can talk about your mental health later.”
I nod, glancing between my own bound limbs. You’d figure since equine legs end in hooves, one could just pull their limbs free, but uh, no such luck I’m afraid. I glance at my right hoof in thought before an idea occurs to me.
“Hey...” I gaze up at my head, shaking my mane as much as possible. “Q! Wake up you adorable cat snake.” The curly pink mass shakes a little, and Q pops his head out. “There you are. Be a bro and chew through these ropes will ya?” I move my eyes, getting him to look at one.
He tilts his head, dooking a few times. Without needing any further encouragement, Q climbs along my left arm, getting to work. I glance at the priest, feeling adrenaline surging through my veins. God, I haven’t been this worked up since the barn burned down.
“Don’t get too worked up, Floyd.” Pinkie sticks her head out of the wall, right next to mine, like some kinda hunting trophy. “Maud’s Maud sense has probably been going off since we got captured. She’ll be here lickity split.”
Wait, Maud has a ‘Maud Sense’?
“Yuppers! Everyone in the family has one except for Ma.” She moves her arm through the wall, rubbing her chin. “I wonder when you’ll develop Floyd sense...”
A sudden slackness in my left arm tugs at my attention and I let it drop to my side. “Good boy Q,” I whisper, feeling him climb to my other arm. “Wait!” I hiss, a thought occurring to me.”Do my legs next, otherwise I faceplant on the floor.” Q dooks in acknowledgement, popping into my hair and crawling out of my tail. Resting my arm for just a moment, I raise it back into place, hoping none of the audience noticed.
The moments tick by like those few moments in class right before summer break. Pinkie has the decency to keep quiet and not prattle on.
“I do not prattle,” she huffed, pouting.
Hush, I’m narrating. I blink at the thought, shaking my head. Q makes short work of the bindings on my legs, leaving me hanging by my right arm. I grit my teeth, feeling like it was going to pop out of its socket.
“Q, hurry the hell up, my arm is in serious pain right now,” I hiss, kicking my feet uselessly. I feel like a little worm on a big fucking hook. This must be what Shaggy and Scooby feel like whenever they have to be bait. My connection with the cross is suddenly cut and after a moment of hang time, I land on my ass. Fortunately, the tail cushions the fall.
“Okay, now untie us.” Blue motions to Jason, who looks utterly terrified. Right okay, time to be a hero. Hearing my thoughts, Pinkie starts to sing that Bonnie Tyler hero tune, which, admittedly, boosts my speed. A quick rummage in the mane nets me a... bonesaw? Okay, that's overkill but whatever.
A quick combo of Q and myself gets Blue free, the look on his face when we get the ring off is such genuine relief, it makes me feel better. After a moment to get the feeling back in his limbs, we trot over to Jason.
“Hey Blue,” I begin, suddenly overcome with a sense of dread. It’s like... impending doom or something.
He turns his head, horn ablaze. “Yes, Floyd?”
“When did it go quiet?”
He goes pale, quite the feat for someone who's whiter than wonder bread. Blue starts to turn his head, only for me to stop him. I mouth ‘don’t turn around’ to him, which he returns with a panicked one of his own. Pinkie.
They’ve noticed us haven’t they?
“Oh yeah, they’re all just staring at you guys.”
Geez Pinkie, don’t get too worried. It’s not like we’re in the clutches of an evil cult.
“Floyd.” Blueblood nudges me, drawing my attention to him. “This is no time to get sidetracked by Ms. Pie. We’re in serious danger!”
“Yeah I know that Blueblood, I’m not an idiot.” I resist the urge to look back, keeping my eyes trained on Blueblood. “Okay so, I have an idea, even if it sounds insane.”
“If it gets me off this thing, I’ll take it,” Jay cuts in.
We glance up at the trapped changeling then at each other. I can tell Blueblood is hesitant to listen, seeing as how I got us into this mess. I give him a reassuring smile, resisting the urge to look over my shoulder.
Blueblood sighs, nodding his head. “Go on, what is it? Another shortcut? Maybe this one can take us to a dragon's lair. I’ve always wanted to be a marshmallow.”
I snicker at the image, putting a hoof on his shoulder. “No, we’re not going through another crack in reality, Bluey. We’re just not going to turn around.”
Blueblood arches his eyebrows looking at me like I said his mother was a bug or something. “Floyd, there is a violent cult behind us. We have to turn around to, you know, confront them.”
I shake my head vigorously. “No way! If we don’t turn around or acknowledge them, the plot can’t advance. And if the plot can’t advance, then we’ll be just fine.”
“Plot?!” he barks, grabbing my head. “Ms.Floyd, this is not a movie. We are in real danger. We can’t just ignore it.” He lets go, lighting his horn up. “You work on getting your cousin down, I’ll-”
I cut him off, grabbing his head this time. “They haven’t gotten us so far Blue, and they’ve seen us for at least a few minutes. I’m telling you, if we don’t turn around we’ll be fine.” You know, if I am right, is it like a Schrodinger's Cat situation back there? Do they not exist, and exist at the same time?
“Well, I’m certainly looking at them, so they do exist,” Pinkie chims in. “They look more confused than anything.”
“See?” Blueblood pulls himself away, fixing his mane. Bet he wants to leave a good looking corpse. “That confusion isn’t going to last forever. We have to get-” He pauses and looks up at Jason. “What was your name again?”
“Jason,” came the strained reply.
“Ah yes thank you.” Blueblood returns his focus to me. “We have to get Jason down and then escape. I understand that Ms. Pie is... different, but I need you to ignore those impulses and make logical decisions.”
Pinkie strides over to him, making him recoil as she puts her face in his. Literally. “I am not crazy.”
Blueblood gulps, putting his arms up pleadingly as he recoils. “I didn’t say you were Ms. Pie, only that not all your ideas apply to the regular world.
“Okay, enough.” I grab my saw, cutting Jason’s legs free. “Just standing here isn’t getting us anywhere. Let's get Jay down and whatever happens, happens. Deal?” Blueblood nods, and we being working on getting Jay down.
I hear a snort and the stomping of a hoof. “I’m done with your idiocy.” A tickle of magic passes over me and the next thing I know, I’m thrown sailing into the air. For the second time today, I get tossed to the floor, only this time, instead of Blueblood landing on top of me, I have cultists dogpiling me. I glance to either side of me, seeing Jay and Blue in the same situation.
“Now then.” The priest taps the pyramid again, causing the object to shift around. The top few inches split open, unleashing a strange mist pouring out of it. “Oh great one, Sh”rk’Moil, hear your children’s plea. We have long sought a way to release you from your prison, and we have finally found it. Come! Come bathe this unworthy world in your sublime light!”
My ears pin to my head, and I watch as a pillar of light emits from the opening. Lightning crackles overhead, and the light from the windows is suddenly cut off. So, Cthulhu. Great. Lovely. I take a deep breath, pushing away my fears. I got us into this, I can get us out. Somehow.
A horrible screeching sound fills the air and I grit my teeth. Jesus, better hearing is not without its drawbacks. A few of the cultists gasp, especially when several dark shapes burst through the windows.
“Get. Off. My. Sister.”
Maud! A sense of relief surges through me, even if the tone of her voice sends a shiver down my spine. I don’t think I’ve ever heard such cold fury in someone's voice before, not even my own when I freaked out in Our Town.
“Aye, release your captives at once!” Luna’s voice booms through the cathedral. “In the name of Equestria, you are all under arrest. Come quietly and you will not be harmed!”
Alright Floyd, time to shine. Forget about all the baggage. Just focus on kicking ass. Letting my mind open, I slip out from under my captors, releasing a breath I had been holding for at least a minute. A quick survey of the room shines some light on the situation. Luna and Maud are at the door, though of the two of them, only Luna bothered to put armor on. It matches the color of the ink splotch on her ass, like an inverse Nightmare Moon. Strix hover above, pointing pony-friendly crossbows down at them.
The priest lets out a growl of frustration, tossing away his robes. “We cannot let Lord Somber Shield’s work end in vain. My brothers and sisters, let us show the moon who truly rules the night!”
A cheer goes up through the cult, and many a robe is tossed away. Coats darken, ears become tufted, and molars become fangs. In the remaining light of the candles, their eyes shine, like unseen predators.
“Vamponies,” Luna spits, the word sounding profane on her tongue. “Demons, the lot of you! Strike true and quick my ponies!” On their liege’s command, the Strix dive towards the cultists, spear and fang at the ready. The cultists respond in kind, meeting their nocturnal brethren in the sky and on the ground.
I feel like I should take a moment to explain our surroundings a bit. At the front of the cathedral are a massive set of wooden doors, which Luna and Maud have basically beaten to splinters. From the door, a red carpet runs up the center of the building, on either side of which are rows of pews. A pillar caps off the end of each row of pews, sporting more triangle symbols on their stone work. The windows, which, like I said, have been shattered, had from what I could tell lots of tentacle imagery. To end it all, the red carpet ends at the back of the building, where the priest sits behind a podium, the crosses set up against the wall behind him.
Returning to reality, it kinda feels like I hit unpause on a movie or game, the world goes back into motion, the sounds of fighting reaching my ears. Okay Pinkie, let’s kick some ass!
“And we’re all outta gum!” She poses next to me, wearing a pair of shades. We share a snort, and begin to take action. “Ooh... get a gong out!” Ooh, I think I know where you’re going with this. Letting... whatever the hell powers Pinkie take over, I reach behind me, pulling out a gong. We grin like cheshire cats, and I give it a good bucking.
Okay, ow!! I regret this decision! Pain reverberates through my ears, and my former captors, previously unaware of my escape, are now perfectly aware of it. Pinkie, new plan! I dive out of the way as one of them lunges at me, hissing like a snake.
“Okay, okay, that one was double edged,” she admits, her own ears pinned to her head. “Roll to your left and then kick your back left leg out!” I do as Pinkie commands, barely escaping as a cultist lands just where I had been. I kick my leg out, catching them on the knee. I wince, hearing a sickly crack.
“Bitch!” the cultist seethes, leaning to one side and nursing a fresh limp.
“That's no way to talk to a lady.” A bolt of bright cyan magic streaks by, knocking the vampony into a pew. I turn to see Blueblood striking a pose. A small giggle escapes my lips, god he’s such a dork. “Are you alright Ms. Floyd?”
I pick myself up off the floor, brushing off my chest. “Yeah, I’m fine Bluey. And please, either call me Floyd or Ms. Floyd, don’t keep flip-flopping on it.”
He blinks, dropping his pose. “Er, yes right...” With a cough, he lights his horn again, standing in front of me. “I shall protect you from these ruffians.”
“Not if Maud beats you to it,” I counter, pointing out the universe's most protective sister. Maud is currently beating the ever loving hell out of at least a dozen vamponies. May Faust have mercy on their souls. “Holy shit!” I exclaim, a realization dawning on me. “Jay!” I whip my head around, trying to find the poor guy in all the fighting. I spot him hiding under one of the remaining intact pews.
I leap over Blueblood, darting into the fighting. I juke and jive, and by the time I make it over there, I’ve collected quite the number of cuts and bruises. I’m still not as good as Pinkie is when it comes to this sorta thing.
“Jay.” I lean down, peering at him. “Come on, I know you’ve been in a cell for who knows how long, but, since when have you been a coward?”
Jay snorts, crawling out of hiding. “I’m not a coward.”
“Good then we can-”
“Floyd! Look out, that guy's got an axe!” I hear Pinkie shout from behind me. I glance over my shoulder, fear running through my veins. Behind me is a tall earth pony, what looks like an executioner's axe gripped in his hooves.
I react with every bit of Pinkness I can muster. Time seems to stand still as I dive on top of Jason, putting as much of myself over him as I can. Oh god Pinkie, forgive me, I’m being selfish, but I can’t let Jay die.
“I understand,” Pinkie chirps like nothing extreme is going on. What? That's it? We’re going to die and that's the best you got? “Oh silly filly, we’re not going to die. Just look.”
I crack an eye open, gazing up at our would-be murderer. Maud stands over me protectively, the axe blade between her teeth. The vampony grunts, trying to wrench his weapon free. A crunch fills the air as Maud bites down, shattering the blade.
“W-what are you!?” the vampony demands, stumbling back, eyes wide with fear. Maud chews the bite of metal around in her mouth, then spits it out. The chunk smacks into the guy’s head, and he drops like a sack of bricks.
“I’m a big sister,” Maud replies impassively, turning her gaze to me. I give her a smile, climbing off of Jay. “Who is that?” she asks, glancing at the disoriented changeling.
“Bit of a story.” I help Jay up, making sure he could stand on his own. “This is my cousin, my formerly human cousin, Jason. Jay, this is my new big sister, Maud.”
“This place just keeps getting weirder...” Jason groans, shaking his head. “Shouldn’t we be getting out of here? I’d prefer not to starve again.”
I nod, taking scope of the situation. Most of the vamponies seem to be taken out, with the remaining few putting up a last stand. The priest has surrounded his podium with some kind of shield. Luna is currently hammering away at it, wielding a big ass warhammer in her magic. Dull thuds echo through the cathedral as she slams it into the shield.
“Floyd...” Pinkie speaks up, her voice quivering. “I’m getting a bad feeling... Like... something really bad is about to happen...”
“Right.” I grab Jason, pushing him towards Maud. “I’m gonna find Blue and get out of here. Maud, I know you want to keep us safe but please, I need you to make sure Jay gets out.”
Maud looks at me critically, putting her arm on Jay’s back. “Okay.” Without another word, she tosses him over her shoulder, ignoring his protests. “I’ll meet you outside.”
“Right.” I turn, scanning my eyes over the fighting. Where the hell are you Blue? You better not have gotten yourself killed... I gallop over to the spot I last saw him, getting a little desperate. “Blueblood!!” I shout, barely audible over the fighting.
A gasp erupts from my throat, as I spot a swath of blonde mane from behind a broken pew. I dart over, heaving it off him. A wave of relief washes over me as I find Blueblood, laying on the ground, sporting a considerable black eye. He mumbles a little, his legs twitching.
“Wow, he’s got one heck of a shiner,” Pinkie comments, peering in close, nearly pressing her face against his. “He’s going to be so bad. Just imagine all the gossip that's gonna come up.”
Yeah well, that's really his-
A loud boom crashes over me, and the walls are bathed in a sickly green light. I whip my head around to see that the priest has finished whatever the hell he’s doing. A purple vortex rages out of the open pyramid, emitting the green light.
“Ponies!” Luna’s voice calls out, slipping into the Royal Canterlot Voice. “Flee quickly! Keep your eyes forward and don’t look back!” The night guards hesitate only a moment before heeding their lady’s call, swiftly fleeing the way they came.
“Pinkie, we’re kinda crazy right?” I ask, eyes locking onto the piece of wood I had moved off of Blue.
“Because I think something horrible is going to come outta that.” I grab the wood, dragging it back over Blueblood. “Okay, okay that should keep him safe...” I turn, galloping over to Luna. “Hey, Inkass, please tell me you know what's going on.”
Whether she actually heard it or not, Luna ignores the name. “He’s summoning the vampony lord, Sh”rk’Moil.”
“That sounds really bad.”
The priest laughs, bathed in the eldritch glow, his fangs on full display. “Come to us mi’lord! Reclaim the night for your children!!” As if beckoned by his call, a figure bursts forth out of the vortex. It’s... god, I can’t describe it, and that's not because I don’t understand what I’m looking at. I see the damn thing just fine, but there’s just... no words to describe it. Best I can come up with is that, it’s vaguely batlike. Only with too many ears, too few eyes, and at least a dozen sets of... wings?
“Yeah, those are wings alright,” Pinkie agrees, staring in awe. “Ooh, I bet Sh’’rk’Moil would make a great boss in Bloodborne!”
Pinkie, focus for once, will ya?
“Floyd, you need to get out of here,” Luna implores, lifting her hammer. “You seem to be unaffected by its visage, but you have to get out of-” She throws up a barrier, just in time to block a magic bolt from the priest.
“My lord, I give you a most grand sacrifice,” he preaches, extending his arms up to the beast. “The so called Princess of the Night herself.” Sh”rk makes a sound I can’t begin to articulate, leaping at Luna. With the two heavy hitters busy, the priest turns to me. “I must thank you. While you have been nothing but a nuisance, you have brought us the perfect meal for our master.”
I growl at him, glancing from side to side. Vamponies lift themselves off the ground, stalking their way towards me.
The priest smiles, licking his fangs. “You shall be rewarded. You will become one of us, and revel in the glory of our lord.” I step back, feeling the adrenaline coursing through me again. Imagine that will ya? Vampire Pinkie Pie. Doesn’t sound as adorable as Flutterbat, to be honest.
Pinkie squees, bringing her hooves to her mouth. “Flutterbat was so scary cute~ like Spooky from that game we played!”
“Sorry!” Pinkie puts a soldier's helmet on her head, a dead serious look on her face. Let's do this. I relinquish control to the Pinkness. I dodge and weave through their attempts to grab me, giggling my head off all the while. “You’re doing it, Floyd!” Pinkie cheers, her serious attire replaced by a cheerleader’s outfit.
“Damn right I am!” I shout, leapfrogging over a mare, snorting as she gets dogpiled by her friends. “I should have done this way sooner!” I glance over my shoulder to see that Luna has dropped her hammer, using summoned weapons to keep the bat lord away. “Hey, I got an idea.”
“I can use Luna’s hammer to smash that weird pyramid thing. That might hurt that thing.”
As I duck under another vampony, I search the room for the discarded weapon. I spot it with a huge grin, making a mad run for it. The vamponies do another run at me, though if they're aware of my plan or not, I have no idea. I reach it and with a heave, raise it off the ground. God this thing is fucking heavy.
The priest seems to really, really, hate this. “Get her you idiots! Do not disappoint our lord on the eve of his victory!” With renewed tenacity, they up their assault, firing bolts of magic and gusts of wind at me. Bearing the weight of the hammer, I sloppily dance through them. A stray bolt catches me in the back, knocking me into the podium. The hammer drops with a thud, marking the site of the blow. “Now, be a good girl.” The priest trots up to me, eyes locked on my neck.
Despite my hopeless situation, I smirk at him. “Yeah, how about no.” I elbow the podium, holding my arms out, catching the pyramid. Gah! The vortex ravages my face and I quickly turn it towards him. The blast of energy knocks him into his followers, leaving me to mess with the stupid thing. “Come on, come on, there was to be an off switch!”
My hoof presses a glowing squiggle, causing the vortex to pause. A moment later it begins to move again, only this time in reverse. I aim it towards Luna, eyes wide as various objects are sucked in. “Luna! Throw his ass in!”
Luna hurls a pew at the beast, turning her gaze my way. “Aye! Let us banish this monstrosity once more!” Movement to my left catches my attention and I point the souped up vacuum in that direction. A few vamponies curse and swear at me, getting pulled in. I shield my eyes, not wanting to see how they get through that tiny opening. “Floyd, now!” Luna shouts. I snap my head back to her, repositioning the vortex.
Shrr’’k’moil makes another charge at Luna, which she greets with a buck to the face. Seeing it come flying towards me, I thrust the pyramid out, squeezing my eyes shut. It lets out the most horrible sound I’ve ever heard and the impact sends me tumbling. Daring to peek out, I’m greeted by the sight of the thing half in its prison. It screeches and flails, desperate to avoid imprisonment again.
A sickening slurping sound fills the air and with a loud *pop*, Shrr’’k is pulled in. The pyramid shifts colors rapidly, and the vortex starts to get violent. I drop to the floor, barely avoiding the podium. It flies into the cyclone, disappearing into its depths.
“Luna, grab Blueblood!” I shout, scrambling on my hooves as the ground slips away under me. Around and around I go, my sense of direction going haywire. Oh shit! I feel a jolt of pain course through me as I collide headfirst into a pillar. I blink my eyes a few times, vaguely aware that I was getting closer to the pyramid.
Suddenly, I’m dropped to the ground just inches from it, my vision flickering out. A trickle of blood falls into my eye and the world fades.
“Shale! Come out and help us with the chores!” Ma Pie calls. I’d answer but, I’m... myself. I look down, seeing my newly feminized human form. I don’t... what? She didn’t look at me when she said that...
Okay, let’s stop and think for a moment. I whacked a pillar and passed out. Now, I’m in a Shale dream, but I’m still me, standing out here in the field. The Pies are working around me, though I don’t think they can see me... I gaze up at the house, already moving towards it. There has to be something, anything. This stuff is going to make me lose my damn mind!
As I reach out to open the front door, someone beats me to it. I cast a glance downward, freezing when I see Shale staring back up at me. We stand there for a few moments, neither of us making a sound.
Shale recovers first, giving me a guilty look. “I was wondering when you’d catch me.”
I ask the only thing that can possibly explain my feelings. “The fuck?”
Shale walked through me like I was a ghost, trotting over towards Ma Pie. “Yes, Ma?” she inquired, looking up at the older mare.
“I need you to check on the west side of the field.” Ma Pie pointed towards an empty cart. “Put all the ripe ones in there and take them to the barn.”
“Yes’m,” Shale replied. She cast a glance back to me, gesturing for me to follow. I blink, walking over to her. “I know you have a lot of questions.” Shale hooked herself up to the cart, beginning her trot. “I’ll get the biggest one out of the way first: you are not me, and I am not you.”
A mix of relief and... sadness(?) washes over me. My sense of self certainly loves this news, I’m still just, you know, Floyd, but... I guess I liked the idea of having a family here. “That's... good?” I fall in beside her, putting my hands in my pockets. “So... what does that make us?”
Shale takes a moment to respond. “We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl, year after year~”
My face contorts into a scowl. “Stop that. I already have Pinkie and Luna poking around my head, I don’t need you doing it too.”
Shale flinches, as if struck. “Right... sorry.”
I sigh, realizing I was chastising a child. A spirit child, but still a child. “If I’m not you, then what the hell’s been going on?”
Shale slows to a crawl, coming to a rather empty plot of plain. Like any other farm, rows of crops are carved into the ground. These are just under the ground. Unhooking herself, she moves over to the start of the closet one, pawing at the dirt.
“It’s a little complicated.” Shale unearths a rock, tapping it softly. Apparently not pleased with the sound, she covers it back up. “See, when you died, Discord dragged you from your world.”
“Yeah, so what?”
“So.” Shale moves to another spot, doing the same procedure. “When he brought you here, you passed through this world's afterlife.” Oh. I think I know where this is going. “While you were going through there, your soul brushed against mine.”
I scratch my cheek, letting the information process while she works. After gathering my courage to dive into some heavy topics, I speak. “What's it like?”
Shale paused, wiping her forehead. “I can’t really say. Before you touched me, I was just... there...” At my stare, she explains further. “Newborn creatures are given blank souls. As they grow and learn, so do their souls. When something is stillborn or dies young...”
My eyes widen in realization. “Their souls stay like that.”
Smiling at me, Shale nods. “You’re getting it.” She resumes her task, a bit of pep in her actions. “When we connected, I was pulled back to the living world with you.” She tapped the rock in front of her, nodding at the sound. She scooped it up, placing it in the cart.
“It was you bonding with Pinkie that let me stay.” Shale stopped and looked at me, her eyes gleaming. “That part of your mind that merged with Pinkie’s allowed me to do well.” She swept her arm out. “I wasn’t conscious, not at first. I don’t know if this is actually how things would have been but...” She trails off, casting her gaze at the ground.
“You’ve been able to live out the life you would have had,” I finish for her. Shale gave me a nod, rubbing at her arm. “And you’ve been doing this without my permission, all this time?”
“I-I’m sorry.” Her ears pin to her head. “I didn’t think it would cause you any harm. I didn’t even know you were able to experience this...” She looks up at me, shame etched into her features. “I didn’t mean to hurt you, I just...” A whimper escapes her throat, eyes starting to moisten.
I kneel down, doing my best to give her a hug. “Don’t worry about it Shale, I’m more relieved than mad.” I flash her a smile. “It was kinda nice to think that I had family here, but, ya know. The idea of having been someone else terrified the hell out of me.”
Sniffling, Shale steps back, wiping at her eyes. “You know the Pies are still your family, Floyd.” Resuming her work, Shale elaborates. “Sure, you’re not me, but, Maud and Pinkie have already adopted you. There’s no way they’d abandon you. And even on the off chance they did, you have Jason with you.”
She makes sense. Considering how Maud is, I’m not sure why I’m worried she’ll leave me. Not to put too fine a point on it but, she’s my rock. I would have broken weeks ago if she wasn’t with me.
“And~ you got Blueblood!” Shale adds, a smile growing across her face. “You should ask him out. Maybe go on a few dates while you're in one of the big cities.”
I feel my cheeks warm up, and I look away from her. “We’re supposed to be talking about us, not my lack of a love life.” Not that I don’t like Blue, he’s actually really fun to hang out with. Besides, I gotta pay him back for that mess in Hollow Shades.
“So...” I watch Shale for a moment, sitting down on the dirt. “What happens now? I can’t just tell you not to do this. It wouldn’t be right.” It really wouldn’t. I’m not going to deny Shale a chance to live, even if it’s just in my dreams.
“You aren’t?” Her look of surprise quickly changes into one of joy. “Thank you so much, Floyd!” With some pep in her step, she bounced over to me, giving me a hug.
“And here I thought only one Pie bounced.” I chuckle, rubbing her head. Out of all the Pie siblings, Shale seems the most ‘normal’. She’s not insane like Pinkie, isn’t a bitch like Limestone, not shy like Marble, and not uh... Maud.
Pulling away, Shale resumes her rock checking. As it turns out, the Pie farm sits on a ley line. The rocks absorb the ambient magic and turn into magicite geodes. Just a little something I picked up from living with the Pies.
“I guess I’m just more well rounded than the other Pies.” Shale looks up at me, still smiling. “You should be waking up soon. Tell Pinkie and Maud I love them, won’t you?”
“Of course I will, Shale.” I sigh, closing my eyes again. “I’d like to talk like this some more, if that’s alright with you?”
Nodding, Shale digs up another rock, checking it. “I’m always here to talk, Floyd, if you ever need another set of ears.” With nothing else left to safe, we spend the rest of the day in silence, with only the sound of digging breaking the peaceful silence.
“I think she’s waking up!”
Blueblood jolted up in his seat, looking over at Floyd’s bed. He took a few sharp breaths, watching as the aforementioned mare stirred. “It’s about time. I’ll go get Maud and Cheese.” Standing up, he tore his eyes away from Floyd, hastily trotting out of the room.
Their merry little band had taken refuge in Hollow Shades’ former mayoral manor. The building had been turned into a makeshift hospital, though none of Luna’s Night Guard or the remaining cultists were seriously injured.
Floyd had been placed in the master bedroom, sporting a large bandage around her head. Pinkie had stayed by her side, with the others taking rotating shifts watching over her.
“God, why do pillars have to hit so hard...?” Floyd groaned as awareness came back to her. She took stock of her surroundings, noting the dreary decorations and macabre nicknacks. “At least this place has a consistent tone. I’d hate to see this place with a pleasant looking room.”
“Floyd!” Pinkie exclaimed, darting over to her adopted sister’s bed. “You’re awake! You’ve been sleeping for days! What happened!? Where you having another Shale dream!?”
Floyd groaned, pulling her pillow over her head. “Pinkie, my head is killing me. Please turn it down to about two, please” Curling up, she pressed the pillow to her ears, trying to drown out the excitable pony’s ramblings.
Pinkie took in a breath of air, letting it out slowly. “Sorry, Floyd. It’s just, I was so worried about you. We were afraid you were in a coma.”
“Thank god I wasn’t.” Floyd held the pillow to her head for a few more minutes. Once sure that Pinkie wasn’t going to burst into another tirade, she placed the pillow back under her head. “A few days huh? Well, besides the headache, I don’t feel too bad.”
“That’s good to hear,” Blueblood spoke as he trotted back into the room, Maud and Cheese following behind him. Levitating a plate off his back, he placed it on Floyd’s lap. “I imagine you’re starving, I thought I’d bring you some lunch.”
Grinning slightly, Floyd wasted no time in chowing down. The others let her eat her fill, taking seats around the room. “Ah~” Floyd leaned back, rubbing her belly. “Much better.” Taking a glance around the room, her mood dimmed. “Maud, where is Jason?”
Blueblood spoke up in Maud’s stead. “Ah, Jason is in a room down the hall. As you know, Equestria has strained relations with changelings. I promise Floyd, no harm has come to Jason. My aunt simply thought it would be best if he was confined to a room.”
Floyd sighed, grumbling something in a language none of them understood. “Fine, I’ll deal with it later.” Sitting up, she rested her back against her pillow. “Alright, so, I dunno about you guys, but I had a nice chat with Shale.”
“With Shale?” Maud asked, raising her eyebrow.
“Yes Maud, with Shale. And no I’m not talking about the Avatar thing,” Floyd replied, placing her plate on the nightstand. “As it turns out, Shale and I are two separate people.She’s been using my connection to Pinkie to live out her life in my dreams.” Floyd flinched slightly, closing an eye.
“Are you alright?” Maud rose up, walking over to the bed. Gently placing a hoof on Floyd’s head, Maud gazed down at her. “It doesn’t look like you have a fever.”
Floyd peered up at Maud, a frown etched on her muzzle. “That’s it? I tell you I’m not a reincarnation of your sister, and you’re afraid I have a fever?”
Moving her hoof down, Maud placed it on Floyd’s cheek. “Our sister,” she corrected, her voice carrying a firm edge. “Shale is your sister too. Just like I am, just like Pinkie, Marble and Limestone. You not being Shale doesn’t change that.”
“Yeah, Floyd!” Pinkie chimed in, glomping Floyd and phasing through the bed. “Once you’re a Pie, you’re a Pie for life!” Pinkie lifted her head up, wearing a bright smile. “You think we’re just gonna let our baby sister out to dry? No sir, Pies stick together!”
Floyd relaxed, returning Pinkie’s smile with a mild one of her own. “Thanks, both of you. I can’t imagine where I’d be if I had be put in anyone else. Like Rarity.” A shiver ran down her spine as she imagined that scenario. “I don’t think I would have lasted a week under her bitching. ‘Oh Floyd, don’t run so much, you’ll chip our hooves!’ ‘Don’t head bang, you’ll ruin our mane!’” Amused, Floyd giggled snorted, her smile deepening. “Oh right, Shale wanted me to tell you guys that she loves you.”
Maud leaned down, placing a kiss on Floyd’s head. “And we love you.”
Floyd sniffled a little, her expectations for the Pie sisters having been shattered again. It only hardened her resolve to get Pinkie her body back. ‘No matter what Pinkie, you’ll be you again. Even if it kills me’
“Luna, I really don’t care what kind of ‘security measures’ you need to follow,” I say, my voice firm and my eyes set. Several days had passed since the destruction of the cult, and we had been cleared to resume our quest. Well, almost all of us. “I’m taking Jason with me.”
“Lady Floyd, your cousin is a changeling,” Luna repeats for what has to be the seventh time. “What kind of panic do you think she’ll cause when she’s seen out in public?” Gesturing to the door, she continues. “It’s in everypony’s best interest for Jason to stay out of sight.”
I snort, stamping my hoof. “To hell with everyone else! He’s my cousin, and he’s my responsibility! I will fight you on this, Luna!” I insist, my determined look morphing into a glare. I dunno how Jay got here, but he’s family, and I’m going to live up to Pie family standards.
Luna gives a sigh of exasperation, rubbing her temple. “I see you won’t drop this matter. Very well, Lady Floyd. In recognition of your aid in stopping the vampony cult, I release Jason into your custody.” Stepping aside, she allows me to enter Jay’s room.
We exchange a look as I open the door and step inside. Jay’s laying on his bed, nose deep in a book. I’m actually rather surprised. Jay was never really one for reading. Might have picked up the habit while he was off playing mountain man.
“Hey,” I spoke, pushing the door closed with a hind leg. “How are you doing?” I walk over to a rocking chair, taking a seat. Pinkie was nice enough to give me and Jay some space. I think she’s off with Cheese or something.
Closing his book, Jason sat up. “You know how it goes, Floyd. Wake up as a bug horse in a world of a girls’ cartoon, and find out your cousin is the girliest looking one.”
I nod in sympathy. “Yeah, I know how that goes, Jay. Believe me.” Scrutinizing him, I ask another question. “So... how are you on the whole uh nymph queen thing?” Unlike me, Jay had been rather actively masculine.
“What do you think?” he asks, snarling lightly. “I’m a freaking little girl horse! I’m not you, Floyd! I was perfectly fine as a guy!” His wings buzz on his back, reminds me of a cicada. Grabbing the book, he chucks it at the wall, seething with probably as many emotions as I do.
Getting up, I sit down on the bed, pulling him close. “Hey, I know what you're going through. I wasn’t all that happy with my arrangement either. Hell, I’m still not. Not being human or male doesn’t bother me. This,” I pat my chest, showing off the new scar tissue, “this bothers me. This isn’t my body. I’m not comfortable body jacking someone.”
Jay snorts, his fangs peeking out over his bottom lip. “Guess I got lucky there, huh?” Glancing up at me, his eyes soften. “I just... I can’t believe you’re alive. When Uncle Dan came out to my cabin, I...”
I shush him, rubbing his back. “It’s alright, even a ‘true Norseman’ like you has their moments of weakness.” After a moment, I glance down at him. “Do you remember how you got here? What was the last thing you were doing on Earth?”
Putting a hoof on his chin, Jay scrunches his muzzle in thought. “I remember I went out hunting. I uh... got pretty drunk before hand...” Pouting, he looks up at me. “I think... I think there was an avalanche. But, I don’t remember anything between then and waking up in this town.”
I nod, taking in that information. It was possible that Jason had died, just like I had. I can already rule out Discord; if it had been him, he would have already teleported in and bragged about it. Or would he risk it? I scared him pretty good, as I recall.
“Whatever happened, Jay, you're here now.” I pull him closer, nuzzling the top of his head. “You're coming with the crew and I for the rest of our trip.” Jay stuck up for me when we were kids, and now, I get to return the favor. I blink at my own behavior, before giving a barking laugh.
“Uh, what’s so funny?” he asks, a confused look on his face.
Pulling away, I trot a bit away from the bed. “I’m an emotional wreck, Jason. Half the time I’m flying into fits of rage, and the other I’m crying my eyes out, in some type of existential crisis.” Shaking my head, I try to gather my thoughts. “And yet, here I am, giving you support. Who the hell do I think I am?”
After a moment, I hear a set of hooves hit the floor, and the next, one of those hooves is placed on my side. “Floyd, you’re a good person. You always have been. Sure, we’re assholes, I don’t think either of us will argue that point. Maybe this is you starting to move past it?” I turn my head, giving him a skeptical look. “What? I said ‘maybe’.”
Giggling softly, I put a hoof on his head. “I dunno, I’ve never been a maybe kinda guy.” Embracing him again, I rest my head on top of his. “I love you, Jay.”
He grunts softly, hugging me back. “Yeah, love you too, Fly.”
I snicker at the old nickname, pulling away from him. “Alright. That’s enough hugging.” Nudging him back to his hooves, I trot to the door. “Come on, we have a train to catch, first class seats too. Don’t have to share the car with anyone but our little group of weirdos.”
Jay laughs, following me out into the hall. “That would be that Blueblood guy and your ‘big sister’ Maud, ya?”
“Plus Cheese Sandwich and Pinkie Pie.” I stop, tapping a hoof on the floor. “Right, that reminds me.” Reaching into my mane, I rummage around until I find the necklace Luna gave to Cheese, not that he needed it. “This will let you see Pinkie.” I slip it around his neck.
“See her? What is she a ghost?” Jay questions, giving me an odd look.
“Kinda sorta.” Pinkie phases through the wall, waving at him. She giggle snorts as Jay starts at her. “It’s nice to meet you, Jason! I hope that we can be friends.” Leaving my cousin to his dumbfounded state, Pinkie turns to me. “Maud and Blue got everything on the train. We’re just waiting on you two.”
“Great!” I turn, placing my head under Jason’s belly, then raising my neck so he slides down onto my back. “Always wanted to do that,” I mutter to myself, following Pinkie out into town. Maybe Jay’s right, maybe I am moving past this stuff. With a spring in my step, I head towards the train station, leaving Hollow Shades in the dust.
“You know Blue, we didn’t need royal suites.” I step out onto the twentieth floor of Manehatten’s Grand Circle hotel, which appears to be one of the city’s finest. “I think everyone would have been happy in a normal hotel.”
“Nonsense.” Blue struts past me, our room keys hovering in his magic. “A visit to a horror town like Hollow Shades deserves to be offset by something nice!” He stops in front of the first room, bowing his head. “And, I’d like to try and make our time here nice, Lady Floyd.”
A warm feeling spreads through my chest, and I open my mouth to respond, only for Maud to step up and take a room key for him. “Thank you.” Unlocking the door she steps inside, Pinkie bouncing in after her, with Jason covering the rear.
“I get the distinct feeling she doesn’t like the idea of us getting close.” Blue sighs, fixing his tie. Passing the remaining door key to Cheese, he turns his attention to the bellhop, who had just come out of the elevator next to ours. “Thank you, good sir.” Levitating the stallion a bag of bits, he gave him a kind smile.
“Gee, thanks your uh, Highness!” the bellhop clutches the bag close to his chest. Tipping his hat, he zipped back into the elevator, leaving us alone.
“I think she’s just being protective,” I assure him, placing a hoof on his shoulder. “I think she is anyway.” Stepping away, I grab a few of our bags. “Come on, the faster we get settled in, the faster we can go see the sights!”
“Quite right.” Blue cheers up, grabbing his and Cheese’s bags up in his magic. He actually travels pretty light, all things considered. He’s got like three bags to my one. My none. I keep most of my stuff in my mane. “I know quite a few out of the way places.”
“Oh yeah?” I ask, watching him enter the ‘boys’ room. Something apparently happened between Pinkie and Cheese, and now Maud wants us to have separate rooms. I don’t want to know what they did, it’s too weird. Frowning, I glance in on Maud. I hope she doesn’t think Blue’s trying to get into my pants, or under my tail. Whatever.
“Oh yes,” Blue responds, regaining my attention. “One can only take high society for so long. Especially the food.” Standing in the doorway, he gestured with a hoof. “There's this old pizza shop down on 7th and Vanderbull, I stop there everytime I’m in the city.”
I shoot him a smile. “Sounds good, can’t ever go wrong with pizza.”
With our stuff safely stowed away, we had a group meeting in the ‘girls’ room. After a few minutes, our schedules were set. I’ll spend the day with Blue, Pinkie will stay a relatively close distance with Cheese, and Maud will uh... try to help Jason shapeshift.
Yeah. Maud, the most solid, unbendable rock of a mare, is going to help teach a changeling how to shapeshift. Don’t ask me how the hell she plans to do that, given her rock solid nature, but who am I to deny her the chance?
Making sure my mane feathers were in order, I step out of the room with Blue. “See you guys later! Jay, don’t give Maud a hard time. If you need a hug, just give her one, she doesn’t mind!” Clearing my throat, I chuckle softly. “He’s actually older than me.”
“If I recall correctly, you said he was a good year older.” Blueblood calls up the elevator, giving me a smile. “I can only imagine what trouble you two will get up to now, what with one of you being a shapeshifter.”
I snigger, nodding in agreement. “I promise not to go burning down any barns. I don’t think that’s covered under the Elements fund.”
“Not if it’s intentional!” Pinkie chirps, bouncing over to us, Cheese in tow. “Princess Celestia said it was to keep us from abusing our position. If you make a mess, you gotta clean it up!”
“Can’t have ponies not cleaning up after themselves!” Cheese agrees, nodding his head fast enough to be a blur. “Even us party ponies have to pack up the party when everypony is done. Or my name isn’t Wreck-Gar! But it’s not.”
I eye him for a second, meeting his bright smile with a flat look. “Alright, just remember, we’re good for at least three blocks. Please try not to get rubberbanded back. That freaking hurts, man.”
“Okie dokie loki!” Pinkie saluted, sharing Cheese’s smile. I mean it, Pinkie. This is going to be my first real date, and I’d rather not get a headache during it. “Okay, okay.” She drops her hoof, rolling her eyes. “Geez, your baby sister gets one date and she gets all high maintenance.” Winking at me, she trotted into the elevator as it arrived, not bothering to wait for the doors.
Cheese pronks after her, only to smack into the elevator doors. He gives a chuckle, shaking his head. “Right! I’m the corporeal one. Silly me!” He steps in as the doors open, holding it for us.
Blue and I exchange looks before stepping onto the elevator after him. We split up upon reaching the lobby, Pinkie and Cheese going off to do whatever, and Blue and I starting our day together. The crowds are much more diverse here. That’s not to say Canterlot and Ponyville aren’t diverse, they just tend to lean towards one tribe over the others.
This place, however, is jam packed with various types, including a few crystal ponies. I spot a handful of strix, and at least one griffon. I get a few looks, though I’m not sure if that's from my currently blank flank, or my royal company. Either way, I just wave them off, and look up at Blueblood. “So... where to first?”
“Hmm... Blueblood rubs his chin, clicking his tongue. “The Manehattan Natural History Museum is hosting an ‘obscure and bizarre history’ exhibit this month. I’m sure it’ll be interesting.” He gives me a hopeful smile, and I swear I can see the sweat drop forming on his head.
“Sure!” I chirp, nodding my head. “Obscure and bizarre history is something I’m way into.” I smile as he relaxes, and watch as he stops a cab. I climb inside, taking a seat. Our driver is a gruff looking earth pony with some nice mutton chops. Always wanted those, though unfortunately, as a human I had been cursed with baby face.
“The Natural History Museum please,” Blueblood requests, climbing in after me. The driver rejoins traffic, pulling us along.
We sit for a few moments of silence before I speak up. “So, what was it like? Growing up royalty, I mean.”
“A mixed bag, really,” Blueblood responds, looking out the window. “I'm not ashamed to admit that I was a brat growing up. Chip on my shoulder and all that.” A long sigh escapes his lips before he continues. “My mother died in childbirth, and my father didn't want anything to do with me. Aunt Celestia was the only family I had.”
I reach over, putting a hoof on his shoulder. “I can relate, to the chip on the shoulder thing. I didn't get along with my parents in the slightest. Dad wanted me to be a lawyer like him.” I giggle snort, picturing myself in Phoenix Wright’s suit. “Can you imagine that?”
He laughs with me, and a smile spreads across my face. I feel that warm feeling from before, and a flutter in my chest. Is this what having an attraction to someone is like? It's not bad, honestly.
“I can only dream of how things would be if you had gone to law school.” Blue turns back to me, his brief bout with funk behind him. “I'm sure Lady Pinkie would be less...”
“Spazzy,” I finish for him. “Yeah, Pinkie’s a spaz, but ya know, it suits her. ‘Sides, I'm a bit of a spaz too, so I can't really call her out for it.”
With mood lightened, the taxi ride goes rather quickly. Blue gets out first and opens the door for me, levitating a tip to our driver. He smiles at me, holding his hoof out. I stare for a moment before offering mine. Taking my arm in his, he leads me up the front stairs and into the museum.
The place is about what you expect, with many exhibits based around, well, history. Following a few signs, we end up at the 'Bizarre and Obscure’ exhibit.
“Come on, I wanna see all the weirdness.” I tug Blueblood along, eyes going from exhibit to exhibit. My eyes land on the closest, some type of book. “Alright, let's start with this one.”
“Lead the way, milady.” Blue smiles, letting me pull him along. He’s kind enough to read the plaque, while I peer intently at the book. “It says here that this is the uh... Book of Clop. Dated to 500 AU, the book can produce erotic fiction about anyone the reader wishes.”
I burst out laughing, leaning against Blue for support. “Oh that's great! How the hell didn't something like that catch on?!” I reign in my laughter, smiling sheepishly at a few annoyed tourists. “Well, it is bizarre, I'll give you that.”
“I can only wonder what sexually starved being made this thing.” Blue eyes it for a moment before turning to me. “If it wasn't years younger than his reign, I'd have thought Discord was the author.”
“Eh, I don't think he's the type to read about it.” Resisting the urge to test the book out, I meander towards another display. This one had a large black square, set on a pillar.
Above it read ‘The Gatekeeper.’
“The hell's the gatekeeper?” I ask, leaning in to get a better look. A crash of thunder strikes and I jump back, hearing my heart beating in my ears.
On the front of the black box, a stallion’s head had appeared. He sported a mangy black mane and matching cloak. “Never, ever come close again to me, maggot!”
Oh. It's that gatekeeper. I'm not surprised. It's been at least a week since Equestria hit me with a reference. Good location too. Getting over my initial fright, I snort. “Who you calling a maggot? You’re just pissy the keymaster isn't here.”
“Shut up!” the gatekeeper snaps, glaring at me. “Don't disturb me again, maggot, or I'll send you to the Black Hole.” Sneering, he fades from view and the box goes quiet.
“Dick,” I huff, wishing I had could flip him off. “Come on, Blue. Let's see the rest of this place.” Grabbing his hoof, I walk away with my nose in the air. Damn floating head, he's lucky he's a museum piece.
The rest of our visit is pleasant, with some highlights being the skeleton of the only bicorn Equestria has ever seen, a strange container that allows cats to talk to spiders, and the 'ritual mask of bad advice’, which shouted at me to 'Take drugs! Kill a bear!’
I laughed at that last bit long and hard. Two references in one? Good show universe, good show. Near the end of the exhibit, I pause to take stock of my feelings.
Spending time with Blue has been some of the most fun I've had on this trip. I dunno, being with him makes me feel normal, like I'm not a wreck. Glancing back at him, I feel a smile spread across my face.
After our thorough exploration of the exhibit, Blue takes me to a pretty nice place for dinner and a show. Given how he's dressed for the occasion, I pull my Moxxi suit from my mane, and with a stop at a restroom, I get all fancied up.
“I know I promised the pizza place,” he starts, locking arms with me. “But I wanted to make our first real date something to remember!” He swept his arm out towards the building in front of us. “This is the Historic Manehattan Theatre. They’re showing a rendition of 'The Ice Pony Cometh’.”
Escorting me inside, he stops at the podium in the foyer. Smiling at the pony behind the podium, he passes her a pair of tickets. “The Theatre doubles as a dining hall and a ballroom. We can start off with dinner, do a little dancing and end off the night with the play.”
“You went all out with this didn't you?” I ask as the hostess leads us to the dining hall. The palace is big. The front half is set up like a restaurant, with a wide open space in front of the back wall, which has a big stage built into it. “Wow, Blue. You go above and beyond. Wasn't expecting this at all.”
Blue blushes, pulling my chair out for me. “I just wanted to make a good impression.” Taking his seat, he gives me a nervous smile. “You’ve never had a date before. I just want this to go off without a hitch.”
I take my own seat, nodding at the hostess as she passes me a menu. “Blue, relax. I'm loving this so far, way more than I thought I would.” I grace him with a smile. “I mean that, really.”
He smiles back, levitating his menu up. “I’m glad, I’d have hated to waste your time.” Peering over the menu, he clicks his tongue a few times. “I think I'll go with the sage and tulip soup.”
I look over my own menu, noting all the flower-based items. There's even one or two grass-based ones. After some debate, I go with the flower salad and garlic stew. “So,” I start, munching on a breadstick. “Chip on your shoulder, huh? What changed?”
Blue sighs, primping his mane, which I think is a nervous tick. “I made life Tartarus for those in the castle. I was the definition of ‘spoiled noble’. I don't know why my aunt put up with me.”
“So what changed?” I ask again, leaning in closer.
“My aunt was devastated when Sunset Shimmer ran away.” Closing his eyes, Blue took a moment to speak. “She would lock herself in her room and weep. When she saw me again, she swept me up on a hug, and begged me to forgive her. She thought she hadn't been a good enough aunt.” Hanging his head, his voice trembles a little. “I didn't want to see my aunt cry again, so I promised her I'd be a better pony.”
“And you are a better pony,” I tell him, patting his head. “Take a little pride in yourself, geez.” I set my hat down, sitting back in my chair. “No need for both of us to be self-loathing.”
We chat away the meal, with me telling him the story of Romeo and Juliet. Personally, I like Hamlet better, it's just more interesting and less angsty. I honestly forgot how fun this was. You know, just telling stories. Guess I get it from my grandmother. Storytelling was always her thing.
Music catches my ear and I look over at the stage. Some musicians had taken to the stage, including a griffon on piano, and Octavia on her cello. Blue clears his throat and gets my attention.
Rising from his seat, he takes a step towards me. “Care for a dance, Lady Floyd.”
I get up from my seat, taking his offered hoof. As we walk out onto the dance floor, an idea occurs to me. I walk up to the stage, rummaging around in my mane. Come on, help me out here... Pulling a series of musical sheets from my mane, I smile upon reading the name of the song.
“Hey,” I call out, getting the griffon’s attention. “Think you could play this for me?” I ask, holding out the sheet music.
Chuckling, he takes the papers, looking them over. “I don't normally take requests, but this is new to me, so I suppose I can make an exception.” Placing them on his note thing, he starts to play.
I smile as the familiar notes hit my ears, and I go I rejoin Blue. “I thought you’d like to hear a bit of human music.” I rub my neck, looking at all the other dancing couples. “I don't really know how to dance, so...”
Smiling gently, Blue takes my hooves, rising to his back hooves and pulling me up with him. “Let me lead then, nothing to worry about.” I nod, letting Blue guide me along the dance floor.
I've never been this close to someone, like this at least. Every time I look at Blue, he smiles at me and I feel my face heat up. My heart is thumping in my chest, my limbs like jelly. He doesn't get mad when I stumble or scrape my hoof against his leg.
He spins me around, pulling me close and letting me hang from his arms. My breath hitches in my throat, our muzzles inches apart. Leaning down closer, he locks eyes with me, as if to ask for permission. It only takes a moment to make up my mind, as I close my eyes and lean toward.
Our lips lock, and the world falls away. All the fears and guilt just vanish. The only thing that matters is this moment, with us together. A few beats pass before we pull away, our faces flush and our breaths coming out in puffs.
“So... how was your first kiss?” Blue asks, eyeing my face critically.
“Better than I thought it would be,” I respond, leaning against him as my legs shake. “Seems like something I’d like to do again.”
His smile brightens, and he leads me back to our table. Finding that my mouth felt like it was a desert, I shakily sip from my drink, feeling the excitement drain from my body.
“Thanks for this, Blue. I mean it, more than before. This has been one of the best nights I’ve had in Equestria.”
Blue looks genuinely surprised, and it takes him a moment to reply. “I’m glad you're enjoying yourself. I was worried that you would hate all this.” Reaching over, he rests his hoof on my arm. I let him, a giggle escaping my lips.
After a few minutes, the musicians take a final bow, and the staff close the stage curtains. Plays aren't exactly my thing, besides the oddball ones like Irma Vep, or Rocky Horror. But I haven't seen a pony play before, so it had to be good.
Watching the stage intently, I rest on my elbow. As the play starts, I almost instantly find my expectations have not been met. “Geez,” I whisper to Blue, catching his ear. “Haven't these people heard of ‘show, don't tell’?”
Raising his eyebrow, Blue whispers back. “Oh? Not enjoying the show?”
“This play is enraging me,” I huff, sending a glare over at the stage. “The dialogue is terrible, the clichés are blatant, and they’ve wasted Chekov’s gun already.” I've written better scripts than this. Hell, those shitty stories I used to write in middle school are better than this.
You know what? I am going to write something better than this. I'll show the hack writers of Equestria what good writing is. Actually, screw that, I'll give the ponies of Equestria stories they've never even dreamed of! A sense of purpose washes over me, and I feel a tingle ripple across my body. Equestria look out, Floyd the Storyteller is gon-.
I blink, realizing that Blue was shaking me. “Huh? Sup, Blue? Did I zone out and miss the rest of the play?” Jeez, I hope not. That would be a pretty shitty thing for me to have don-
“Look,” he insists, pointing at my side, towards my rear. “Your flank.”
I stare at him for a second. “What about my flank? I know, it's...blank.” The world seems to freeze and my eyes widen slowly. There on my flank was a cutie mark; an inkwell with a stone quill resting in it.
I have a cutie mark. A weightless sensation fills my heart and I sway out of the chair, fading out of the world.
“Floyd, you’re going to wear a hole in the floor.” Maud watches from the bed as I walk around the room for what had to be the dozenth time. “You should sit down and relax. Getting your cutie mark is a good thing.”
I pause in mid stride, giving her a pointed look. “It’d be even better if it was tattooed on my ass, not Pinkie’s.” I resume my pacing, eyes locked on the floor. Don't get me wrong, I'm ecstatic. I found my cutie mark, what I'm supposed to do with my life. All that happiness gets tossed out when I remember – this isn't my body.
Every little bit of customization that I perform on this body means I'm becoming more and more comfortable in it, which is not something I really want happening. I've already had Blue send Celestia a letter about this, along with my suggestion of my new body being that of a strix.
“I still can't believe they’re called cutie marks,” Jason comments from his bed. Whatever he and Maud did during my date last night with Blue, it sure helped. Currently, he's in the form of a neon green unicorn colt sporting a Decepticon purple mane. “I mean, really?”
“We can't all be edge-lords like you, Mr. Norseman,” I shoot back, finally deciding I had done enough pacing for the day. Sitting on my haunches, I let out a long sigh. “I’m just so done with all of this. It’s just one thing after another. I’d be stoked for this, if I wasn’t still body jacking Pinkie Pie!”
As if to mock me more, my saddlebags start to vibrate. My eye twitches as I walk over and lift out Pinkie’s cutie mark. It shudders, sending out a pulse that rattles the jar. Yup, another episode. You know, you’re right universe, I just had to meet Gilda, you’re so right, this is a good idea.
Stepping out of the room in silence, I barge into the ‘boys’ room, feeling my mane start to deflate. “Blue, take a letter,” I all but order, locking my eyes on him. “Ask Celestia to tell Twilight to tell Dash that we’ll meet her at Griffonstone.”
“Griffonstone!?” Blue shouts, bolting to his feet. “Why in Celestia’s good name would we be going there? What possible reason would there be to set hoof in that Faust-forsaken dump?”
“Because harmony or whatever is calling,” I grunt back, holding up the spasming cutie mark. “Please, just help me out with this okay? Also, you should probably get packing, we’ll probably resume our trip from Griffonstone so... yeah...” Turning on my heel, I trot back to the ‘girls’ room.
Taking a breath, I let it out slowly. I need to stay calm, I can’t be that kinda person anymore. Just take it as it comes and keep on keeping on. My mane poofs back up, and I shake my head. “Alright, Maud, Jason. We’re going to Griffonstone.”
“To where now?” Jason asks, giving me a funny look. “Your weird balloon cutout starts going nuts and we have to just up and leave now? We only got here yesterday!” I snicker a little at his pout, wondering if his new age is coloring his behavior.
“Okay, again, this is Pinkie’s cutie mark, and secondly, the cutie map is calling her, which means I have to go because Pinkie can’t without me,” I explain, noting his cringe at the term ‘cutie map’. Not that I can blame him. It is kinda a dumb name. I’ll have to talk to Twilight about giving it something better, like harmony map. Or whatever. Shut up, I’m not good with names.
“Floyd!” Pinkie phases through the door, her mane disheveled and her chest heaving. “I got a cutie map summons!!!” After a moment, she notices the jar in my hoof. “Oh, you already know, silly me.” Uh, Pinks? What’s with the mane...? “Well see, me and Cheese were, uh...”
I don’t even need to look at Maud to know her ‘big sister’ mode is kicking in. I push my hoof through Pinkie’s head and shake mine. Pinkie, I don’t want to know what you were doing, and I really, really, really don’t want to know how. I’d suggest dropping it before Maud drops Cheese through a table. Or the floor. Something suitably hardcore.
Pinkie nods sheepishly, giving Maud a weak smile. “So um... is this one of the episodes you know about, or...?”
“Yeah, it is.” I lower my hoof and replace the jarred mark. “The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone. We have to go meet up with Dash at the griffon city of Griffonstone.” I can already tell I’m gonna have a lot of fun with Gilda. I’m an asshole, Jay’s and asshole and she’s an asshole. Just the perfect storm of terrible personality traits, yeah?
“Oh come on, it’ll be fun, Floyd!” Pinkie assures, bouncing around me. “And we get to see Dashie again! Don’t you know, it’s been almost a month since we saw any of the girls! What if they forgot us!?”
I roll my eyes, trying not to laugh. “No way, Pinkie, I doubt they could forget either of us. And it hasn’t been that long, we saw them at the gala, remember?” Remind me to ask Rarity about getting some more clothes. I can’t keep jacking Moxxi’s look, plus, it doesn’t leave the same impression on ponies.
“Okie dokie loki!” Pinkie responds, giving me her biggest smile. “Anyway, come on guys! We need to pack!! We can’t keep Dashie waiting!” Rolling my eyes, I can’t help but smile back. Aye, aye, Pinks. I mock salute her and slid my saddle bag on.
“You heard her, Jay.” I poke at Jason’s side, getting him to his hooves. “Time is wasting and the sooner we get this over with, the sooner we can go back to our murder hoboing.”
Jay gives me a flat look. “We aren’t a D&D party, Floyd.” You may think that, Jay, but we so totally are. Oblivious to my response, Jason slips on the saddle bags Blue was kind enough to pick up for him. Note to self, see about Blue mentoring Jay about magic. Actually, we can probably do that on the train...
Maud doesn’t need my encouragement to get packed, already stuffing her saddlebags with a smile on her face.
“What’s got you so happy, Maud?” I ask, trotting over to the bed. “Excited over meeting griffons?” It’s still a little bizarre, being able to perceive Maud’s emotions like this, when Jay and Blue always just see her blank look all the time. “I know I saw a few yesterday, but I didn’t actually get to meet them.”
Pausing in her packing, Maud glances over at me. “I get to take soil samples from outside Equestria,” she explains, gesturing to her bags. “And I’ve been wanting to meet a certain griffon Pinkie wrote to me about.”
Oh. That’s a possibility I had not anticipated; Big Sister Maud holds grudges. “Well, you know, uh, don’t hurt her too much, yeah? We need her to fix the friendship problem or whatever.” I give Maud a smile, chuckling weakly.
She regards me silently for a moment before nodding her head. “If you say so, Floyd.” I’m legit not sure if that’s just supposed to pacify me or what. It’s so damn hard to tell with Maud. Leaving her to her packing, I go to make sure the boys are getting ready.
It’s so odd saying it like that, like I’m not one of them anymore. I mean, I guess I’m not, when even my inner representation is that of a female. How come I’m not bothered by that, but the whole Shale thing led me to almost getting turned into a blood sucking vampony? Sighing at my own insane thoughts, I knock on their door.
A few beats later, I’m greeted by the sight of an unamused Blueblood, covered in confetti. “Party cannon?” I ask, wincing at the sight. His well groomed mane was plastered off to the side, with strands of it going every which way.
“Yes, Mr. Cheese was packing his saddlebags when the blasted thing went off and caught me in the face.” Glaring back at Cheese, Blue floated a comb and some hair gel over. “Now I have to fix my mane.” Seeing the look of mirth growing across my face, he boops my nose. “Just because I take pride in my appearance, does not make me prissy, so get that thought out of your head, Lady Floyd.” Sticking his nose up, he fixed his tie. “We can’t all have your natural looks, now can we?”
I snicker, feeling my face heat up. “Well, to be fair it’s Pinkie’s looks.” Deciding not to rag on Blue too much, I clear my throat. “Anyway, try not to take too long to pack up, yeah? I don’t want to make Rainbow Dash to wait long, and I really want to just get this whole thing over with.”
Blue nods, giving me a warm smile. “I’ll do my best, Lady Floyd.” Taking my hoof, he places a kiss on top of it. “You can count on me.” Winking, he releases my hoof and trots back into the room.
As the doors close, I give out a content sigh. I never realised how nice it was to have someone like that. Are relationships always like this, or is being a mare affecting me more than I thought? Either way, it doesn’t matter; I’m happy for once and that’s all that really matters. Turning on my hooves, I hum a song, moving back to the ‘girls’ room. We still had packing to do, after all.
“How in the hay did you get to the station before me?” Dash asked, pacing between our little welcoming party. We had arrived at the station the day before and bunked in the rinky dink operation they call a hotel. I’d rather spend another night in Hollow Shades over that place. Freaking death trap is what it is.
“Manehattan just happened to be closer than Ponyville,” I respond with a shrug. “Anyway, we should probably start heading up to Griffonstone. It’s almost noon and none of us brought any camping gear.”
“If griffons didn’t charge a horn and a wing, I’d suggest picking some up in Griffonstone.” Blue glances up the mountain wearing a frown. “The sad part is, they make wonderful food and drink and refuse to haggle the price.
“Yeah...” Dash agrees weakly, taking to the sky. “But uh, Floyd is right. We should zip up there before we lose our light.”
“What? Not gonna zip up there lickity split?” I question, watching as she lowers herself to her hooves next to me. I snicker as her eyes lock onto my flank.
“I mean, I totally could but,” she throws her arm around my neck and gives me a noogie, “I want to catch up with my only human friend, who just got their very own cutie mark!” A smirk grows on her face and she pokes my barrel. “Twilight told me you took on a vampony coven! That’s like super awesome, you gotta tell me about both of em!”
Aw, my first adoring fan. Take note, Pinkie, this is how you start a fanbase. “You’re so silly, Floyd! We already have a fan base; one patient enough to wait through our long dry spells!” Rolling my eyes at her fourth wall nonsense, I begin the trot up the path, regaling Dash with the tale of how we defeated the evil vamponies and their eldritch lord. Of course the others pipe up with their own commentary, but I’m the one with the storytelling cutie mark, so I tell it best.
By the time we reach Griffonstone, the sun is high in the sky. Jay is riding on my back, having tired of walking about halfway up. Maud is nonplussed, Cheese is Cheese, and Blue is far less haggard than I thought he’d be. Sure he’s panting and his coat’s a little matted but, nothing I can poke fun at him for. You win this round, Blueblood.
“Should I start keeping score?” Pinkie asked, wearing a bright smile. “You two lovebirds could turn it into a competition! Like that Beyond Thunderdome joke those youtubers did before!” Maybe, we’ve only been dating for a few days, chill Pinks.
“This whole thing is just surreal,” Jason comments, sliding off my back. “My formerly asexual cousin is dating, and with a guy no less.” Stretching his legs out, cracked his joints with a satisfying pop. “If I wasn’t a little bug girl, I’d think the world was ending.”
“Nah man, that only happens on premiers or finales,” I correct, ruffling his mane. I can tell I’m going to relish being the older cousin. “Right!” I point forward, past the city gates... which were hanging off their hinges. “To the Griffons!”
Jason, and by extension everyone really, is less than impressed with our surroundings. “This is a city?” Jason questions, watching a griffon wriggle out from under a collapsed roof and walk down the street like it was business as usual. “This place is a shithole.”
Maud shoots a stern look at him, one powerful enough that anypony could recognize it, making him shrink back a bit. “Watch your language.”
“Right.” I nod, glancing around at all the griffons as they went about their day. “So, to get you all caught up, Griffonstone has no king and is basically just full of miserly anarchists.”
“Look at that, the idiots finally got something right,” a gruff female voice responds, with more than a bit of venom to it. We turn to see Gilda padding over. Huh, you know I always thought those purple marks on her face were makeup, but no, those things are natural. Unless she dyes her feathers, but I doubt that.
Dash puffs her chest out, her wings fluffing up. “Hello, Gilda.”
Gilda narrows her eyes, doing nearly the same thing, though her talons dig into the ground. “Dash/”
A long sigh escapes my lips and I move between them. “Alright, both of you, put it back in your pants. We have a problem to solve, not listen to you two try to out angst the other. And before you try to insult Pinkie’s intelligence, I am Floyd. It’s a very long story, that isn’t very relevant right now. We also have Jason, my cousin, Maud, my big sister, Cheese Sandwich, and Prince Blueblood.”
Gilda arches her eyebrow, glancing between us. “What, this some kinda dork road trip? You and Dash get tired of stinking up Ponyville and decided to –” She lets out a squawk as Maud suddenly appears in her face, grabbing the griffon by her chest floof.
Maud leans in close, a look of barely controlled rage on her face. “I told Floyd I wouldn’t hurt you for what you said to Pinkie before, but I didn’t say anything about what you say now. Insult my sisters again, and I’ll feed you your beak. Are we clear?”
“Crystal!” Gilda squeaks, nodding her head vigorously. A grunt escapes her beak as Maud drops her on her ass.
“Good.” Maud walks by, stopping to give me a hug. “I’ll be taking some soil samples. The Maud sense will let me know if there's any trouble.” She shoots the newly terrified Gilda a look before trotting off.
Dash whistles, watching after Maud. “Wow, Floyd, I knew Maud was protective, but I had no idea she could get like that!”
“You shoulda seen what happened in Dodge Junction,” I reply, rubbing at my chest. “She went all out on those bandits.” Moving over to Gilda, I snap her out of her terror-funk with a poke to the cheek. “Okay, look. We’re here to solve a friendship problem and you’ve just been deputized.”
“Depu-what?” Gilda asks, getting to her feet. “Why should I help you dw-er ponies?”
“I dunno, Gilda, do you want to continue to live in a helhole like this?” I ask, motioning to the ruin and squalor around us. “So, unless you want to spend the rest of your days in this cesspool, you’ll help us.”
“Ugh, I can’t believe we have to work with Gilda.” Dash makes a face and pouts like a petulant child.
“You’re an adult, suck it up,” Jason admonishes with a flat look. “Okay, Floyd said there’s no king here so, uh, what about that idol thing? That still around?”
Gilda bursts into laughter, falling onto her back. “You actually believe in that thing?” Her laughter attracts a few looks, but I assume the lack of profit discourages anyone from investigating. Geez, these guys are like a walking meme, I tell you.
“You’d better believe it!” an old griffon peeks out of a window, looking very much like a vulture. Not sure if he always looked like that or if it’s some kind of griffon pattern baldness or whatever. The floor gives out from under him and he falls out of view. A moment later, he steps out the door to his home, hacking up a lung. “It was the best thing to ever happen to us griffons!”
Groaning in frustration, Gilda facepalms. “Oh, great. Now you got Grandpa Gruff started!”
“And now, I’m going to stop him.” I give Gruff a hard look and shoo him off. “We’re not paying you any bits, I already know the story of the idol. Now, go on, go play bridge or something, or whatever the elderly do in Griffonstone.”
Gilda bristles and jabs me in the barrel. “Hey, don’t talk to my grandpa like that, only I can!”
“Ladies please.” Blueblood lights his horn, pushing us a few feet apart with his magic. “As Floyd said, Mr. Gruff, we’re not interested in your services. Good day, sir.”
Gruff clicks his beak before turning tail and moving back into his house. He slams the door, only to bring most of the house down. I wince, but sigh in relief when I see him crawl out of the rubble like it was nothing.
“Will someone just tell the dang story already!?” Dash shouts, throwing her hooves up in exasperation. “I don’t care who, just tell the stupid thing already.”
Clearing my throat, I acquiesce to her request. “So, King Grover untied the griffons with the idol and made all the griffons clean up their act. The idol was passed down from king to king, until Guto’s reign. Then, some weird cyclops goat burst into the griffon palace and stole the damn thing. After that, griffon society kinda just collapsed in on itself.”
“Yeah, and that’s how we like it!” Gilda proclaimed, like it was some point of pride. “We griffons do what we want and don’t care about anything! Not like we need to anyway, we wouldn’t steal all your lame pony concepts.”
“Yeah, because you totally wanna live in this place,” I respond with an eye roll. “So, this is how we’re gonna do this: Maud’s gonna do her own thing, Blue, RD and Jay are gonna go look for the idol, and Gilda, Pinkie, Cheese and I are gonna go make some scones.”
“Sounds good to me!” Dash grabs Jay and zips off, the disoriented changelings shouts echoing through the area.
“Scones?” Blue asks, giving me a strange look. “I realize I’m probably asking a stupid question, but why scones?”
“Because that’s just how things go,” I reply, giving him a quick hug. “On the plus side, it’ll give me a chance to learn how to cook!” Leaning in closer, I whisper. “And it lets me keep an eye on the crazy squad.” I push him away, gesturing after Dash. Now you go help Jay keep Dash from doing anything dumb, got it?”
A hesitant look flashes across Blue’s face, quickly replaced with a smile. “Alright, Floyd. You seem to have all this figured out. You just be safe okay?” Planting a kiss on my cheek, he trots off to his new job.
“You’re dating that nerd?” Gilda asks, a snerk escaping her beak. “I bet he’ll lose it once someone gets dirt in his precious coat.”
“It’s like looking in a mirror,” I mutter, walking up to Gilda. “Alright, Turkey, take us to your cart so we can get to baking.” I ignore Gilda’s reply, merely pointing with my hoof. “We can stand here all day trading snarky insults at each other, but that’s not going to make us leave any sooner.”
Leaning in close, Gilda snaps her beak in front of my face. “Fine, follow me.” Turning around, she whacks me in the face with her tail. “Just try not to get lost, will ya?” Following Gilda’s lead, the trip through Griffonstone isn’t a long one. We do get to see just how bad the city is. Griffons just going about their day, wallowing in the abject poverty of their city. It’s a sort of self-inflicted poverty. They’re all too miserly to part with their bits, which means there's barely any circulation of wealth. As we step into what I assume was once the marketplace, at least a dozen arguments over price reach my ears.
“Wow.” Pinkie looks around uncertainly. “It’s like when Fluttershy turned into Meanieshy. Everyone’s just yelling at each other!” Giving me her full attention, she gestures towards some random buildings. “Shouldn’t we be looking for the library? Dash said that Twilight said that we should start there.”
Waving her off, I follow Gilda to what looked like a mobile oven/food stall. “Look, Pinkie, I got this, okay? Everything is going to be fine.”
“Who are you talking to?” Gilda asked, giving me an odd look. “I thought you were crazy before, I had no idea you talked to people who aren’t even there.”
“Hahaha, funny.” Stepping up to the stall, I inspect the thing. It’s not bad, in much better condition than the rest of the place. “I told you, I’m Floyd. The jist is; I’m in Pinkie’s body and she’s sorta like a ghost. Most people need a special necklace to see her. Then you got ponies like Cheese, who can just see her.”
“It’s like Pinkie became twins!” Cheese proclaims, pulling his head out of Gilda’s oven. “Well, it looks like you got a really good oven here. Maybe what you need is a spatula! I know a great place to buy them.”
“Yeah, well, I can’t see her,” Gilda points out, busying herself with setting up her cart. I feel my face frown rather deeply as she sets a tray of scones on the cart. I bake pretty badly, as Pinkie and the CMC will attest, but you know what? I don’t make baked goods with sticks and stones. “So, whatever.”
“Wow, I bet someone would break their teeth if they took a bite out of one of those,” Pinkie states, examining one of the scones. “I had no idea griffons can eat stones and twigs!”
“That’s probably because they can’t,” I reply, lifting one up. “I can only imagine you don’t make a lot of money selling these.”
Puffing her chest out, Gilda swipes the scone from my hoof. “Don’t knock my Grampa’s recipe, and stop talking to people I can’t see!”
“Yeah.” I nod looking at Pinkie. “We really should've grabbed one of the guys’s necklaces while we were together.” Something stirs in my mane, that something watching me in the face a moment later. “Sonofabitch!” I hiss, shaking my head. I blink in realization, seeing Q hanging out of my mane, holding one of the necklaces in his paws.
“You sneaky little cat snake,” I praise, taking the necklace from him. “You swiped this from Blue when we hugged, didn’t you?” Giving him some head rubs, I nuzzle my nose to his. “That’s a good boy, Q! Good boy~” Dooking at me happily, Q retreats back into my mane. “Here, put this on and you can see Pinkie.”
“Right,” Gilda says hesitantly, taking the necklace and slipping it around her neck. “Okay, that's weird. I didn’t need two of you in my life.”
“No one does,” I agree, pouring a few ferret treats into my hoof. “Which is why you should be glad I’m not Pinkie.” Reaching my goodie covered hoof into my mane, I pull it back out empty. “If I had to take a guess, Gilda, you used whatever was laying around to fill in the recipe. You either don’t have, or want to spend the bits for proper ingredients, or the guy selling them is overpricing the stuff.”
“So what?” Gilda crosses her arms, trying to act all tough. She can’t keep that small strain out of her voice though. “I don’t need your pity.”
“Who says I was giving it?” Peering back at the scones, I gesture at the oven. “Look, Gilda, I ain’t gonna tell ya you need friendship, or songs, or parties, or anything Pinkie would pester you with-”
“But, do you actually want to live like this?” I ask, looking back at her face. “Do you really want to be a friendless miser your whole life?” Grabbing the tray, I dump the scones on the ground. “Look, either way, we got baking to do so, let’s focus on that huh?”
“Baking is super fun!” Pinkie bounces up and down, joining Cheese at the oven. “Come on, Gilda! We’ll make your Grampa’s recipe the best in all of Griffonstone!”
Giving us a long, hard look, Gilda sighs. “Fine, either way, if you can make the scones better the sooner I can get out of this dump.” Tapping the tray, she gestures to it. “So, where do we start?”
“I assume we need baking powder.” Getting an eager nod from Pinkie, I reach into my mane. “Just give me a second... Aha!” I sit back, brandishing the newly summoned can of baking powder. “My mane reaching skills are improving!”
The next two hours are spent with Gilda and I getting a proper cooking lesson. It’s not too bad, and I can see why Pinkie likes doing it so much. I just don’t think I could do it full time. I manage to keep Calamity Jane and Banana Man from making Gilda OD on crazy. She’s actually not that bad, honestly.
“And now we wait!” I set the time on the oven and dust my hooves off. “Soon, you’ll have to enforce strict lines for your masses of customers.” Socking Gilda on the arm, I smirk. “Gotta say, I’m jealous of the talons, I’d kill for fingers again.”
Scoffing, Gilda grabs me in a headlock. “Keep that up and I’ll cut down your weasels nest.” I audibly gulp as she holds a talon to one of my curls. “Nah!” With a rough shove, she pushes me away. “You’re not that bad.”
“Hey look!” Cheese pops up between us, wrapping his arms around our necks. “We caught our first griffon!” Pointing dramatically, a bright smile spreads across his muzzle. “See! Hook line and sinker!”
“What are you talking about- Greta!” Gilda tears herself out of Cheese’s grasp just as another griffon falls out of the sky. This one appears to be another female, with green head feathers. She actually has a nice color scheme going on, I like it. Gilda helps Greta to her feet-er paws, only to be slapped away by an indignant Greta.
Trotting over to a crestfallen Gilda, I place a hoof on her shoulder. “You really don’t deserve to live like this. You can deny it all you want Gilda, Dash gave you your first taste of friendship and now you can’t shake off the cravings.”
“Yeah well, she ain’t my friend anymore.” Gilda grunted, running a hand through her crest. “If I can’t keep a friend like Dash, how am I supposed to make other friends?”
“Gilda, you lost Dash because you acted like an obnoxious bitch,” I inform, ignoring Pinkie’s frantic head shaking. “If you’re actually sorry about it, and apologize to her, maybe apologize to the rest of her friends, you can fix things.”
“It can’t be that easy,” Gilda replies, eyeing me up and down. “Shouldn’t I do it like a pony, sing a song, do a dance? All that mushy crap?”
“Friendship’s important but doing that stuff isn’t you.” I poke her chest, marveling in the floof for a moment. “Don’t do friendship like a pony, do it like a griffon. If you make a sincere apology and she rejects it because you didn’t do it the ‘right way’, then Dash isn’t worth getting back.”
Gilda nods slowly, perking up a little. “Yeah, okay.” Puffing her chest out, she puts on a cocky smirk. “I’ll show Dash just how awesome griffons are at being friends. I’ll be so amazing, all her loose feathers will just fly off!”
Grinning at my successful pep talk, I give her a fist (hoof?) pump. “Hell yeah you will!” When as the words leave my lips, a strange foreboding settles over me. A sudden realization comes over me; the knowledge that somewhere nearby, rising conflict is happening. “Hey, Gilda, which way to the Abyss?”
Interrupted before she could speak, Gila closes her beak. A beat passes before she speaks again. “The Abyss, yeah I know where that is, why do you...? Oh! Right Dash and those guys went to go find the idol.”
“Yeah they did, and they’re in trouble. Pinkie! Cheese!” I stomp a hoof, cutting into their conversation. Something about twinkie sandwiches. It doesn’t matter. “We got ponies in trouble, come on.” I give Gilda a light nudge, nodding my head. “Lead the way, G.”
With a roll of her eyes and a brushing of her crest, Gilda takes the lead. As it turns out, my intrinsic hutch was right. We run into Blueblood about halfway to the gorge. Dash’s rope snapped and their guide scrammed when they ran out of bits.
Peering over the side, I spot Dash laying on an outcropping. “Hey, Dash! We’ve come to rescue you!”
“Floyd! Oh thank Faust!” The look of relief on Dash’s face is palpable. “My rope snapped and I sprained my hoof! Wind’s making it too hard to fly out!”
“I could have told you that, dweeb!” Gilda pops her head into view. “Just hang tight, we’ll get you out of there before the other griffons see how uncool you are!”
“I’m afraid you’ll have too much on your hooves to help poor Rainbow Dash.”
No way. There’s no way the universe would be that cruel. Moving my eyes upward, Starlight Glimmer enters my vision. Wearing a manic grin and hovering in a light blue aura is the cause of one of my greatest hang ups.
“After weeks and weeks of travel, I finally have the perfect opportunity to be rid of you!” she boasts, the glow of her horn brightening.
“You’ve been stalking me!?” I accuse, rising to my hooves. I knew I wasn’t seeing things way back when. I should have realized she was a stalker much sooner. “Let it go, Wandass. Your cult wasn’t that great to begin with!”
“Shut up!” Starlight snaps, her face controtting in rage. “Just shut your mouth you cretin!” Glancing down at Rainbow Dash, a smug look etches itself on her muzzle. “You want that idol so bad? Then you can have it – if you can get past its current owner.” Pointing her horn down, she fires a beam of magic into the gorge.
“Who the heck is that?” Gilda demands, taking a few steps back.
“It’s a long story, Gilda,” I respond, reaching into my mane. “Come on, give me something I can use!”
Starlight finally cuts the beam, her face still wearing that smirk. “I’ll leave you to the negotiations; I’d hate to get in the way.” Without another word, she hovers off, quickly vanishing from sight.
“Bitch!” I hiss, throwing a cinder block after her. Unfortunately for me, it misses her by a good mile. “Fuck you!!!” I shout, ragging rather impotently at the edge of the ravine. When I get my hooves on her...
“Look, it’s a spooky scary skeleton!” Cheese proclaims at my side. He’s leaning down over the edge, hoof against his forehead. “Wow, that’s a big one too! He must have really been drinking his milk!”
“What the hell are you... talking about...?” Peering down into the pit myself, I can feel my pupils contract. The cyclops goat, or at least his skeleton, was moving. Giving off a pale blue glow, the beast put itself back together. Grabbing its head, it placed it back on its shoulders, eye socket occupied by a baleful purple eye. “That is not good!”
The skeleton rattles as it roars, leaping from a ledge up to the lip. The impact of it hitting the cliff knocks several large rocks loose, including the section I was on. Let me tell you, freefall sucks, that pit in your stomach, the idea of splattering on the ground. I don’t recommend it. A shriek erupts from my mouth and I flail my limbs in a vain attempt to not fall. As ‘luck would have it’, I manage to grab the damn thing’s leg.
“Floyd!” Jay shouts, buzzing his wings frantically.
“I’m not dead!” I call, hanging on for dear life as Goat-Man flails his leg around. “I’m not letting go, asshole!” I growl, though my bravado doesn’t last long when it slams its leg into the cliff face. “Ow...” I moan out, my grip loosening for a moment.
“Hey, leave my cousin alone!” A flash of red fills my reeling vision and soon, I spot another horned monster peeking over the edge. “...Did Jay turn into the Balrog?” I don’t get a chance to question it as Balrog-Jay grabs Goat-Man by the horns and hauls him out of the gorge. “Shit!” I hiss as I lose my grip and fall.
Thankfully, my fall is short and I land, rather painfully I might add, on an outcropping. Pain surges through my back and side, but I don’t think anything is broken. “As if I didn’t hate Starlight Glimmer enough as it was. She’s suddenly a goddamn necromancer...”
“Floyd!” Pinkie glomps me, apparently having poofed down here with me. “I was so worried! When I saw Starlight, I thought she was gonna steal your cutie mark!” Looking down at me, she sniffles a bit. “You are okay, right?”
“Yeah, I’m okay. Nothing's broken at least.” I sit up, phasing through her as I do. “Just a little banged up. Nothing too bad or anything like that.” Gathering my bearings, I get to my hooves. “We better get up there before the thing hurts Jay.”
“We can’t leave without this!” Pinkie waves her hoof frantically to get my attention. Resting at the back of the outcropping is a golden idol.
Reaching out, I lift it up. It’s old, worn and could really use a good cleaning. But, somewhere in the back of my mind, I know this is the idol of Boreas; the magic macguffin that should fix all of Griffonstone’s problems. A gust of wind blasts into me and I have to turn my head to the side.
“Floyd! Gilda!” Dash shouts, making me look up. Dash’s outcropping is breaking apart, most likely from the big guys fighting above us. “Somepony help!” The outcropping finally gives and Dash starts to fall into the abyss. Ditching the idol, I bolt forward, biting down on her tail just as she dives past.
“Dm! Yr hvy!” I grunt around a mouthful of tail, digging my hooves in so she doesn’t pull me down with her. The sounds of cracking rock make my heart sink. I can’t die here, not until Pinkie gets her body back. I refuse to die until we’re separated. I-Oh shit! My outcropping crumbles, dropping Dash and I.
We don’t fall for more than a second before something hooks into my tail. I grunt as my momentum jars to a halt, nearly losing my grip on Dash’s tail.
“I got ya dweebs.” I’ve never been more relieved to be insulted in my life, let me tell you. Hey, Pinks, tell G thanks will ya? I got my mouth full here. And before anyone asks, no, Dash’s rainbow does not taste like Skittles.
“Floyd says thanks, Gilda!” Pinkie calls from another outcropping, watching as we’re hauled up and past her. “I knew you’d come through in the end!”
“Wait, you doubted me?” Gilda asks, sound more than a little indignant. Pinkie! Stop antagonizing the person holding your sister and friend over a death pit!
“Right, sorry.” Pinkie reappears on a higher outcropping, rubbing her neck. “It’s not that I doubted you, Gilda, it’s more like you reached the standard of you I had in my head!”
“Ahm sowwy, she rambls awot,” I mutter to Gilda, praying that if she decides to drop us her talons will be too tangled in my tail to actually let go. There are a few close calls as we’re pulled back onto solid ground, and more than once we slam against the cliff face.
As we’re back over the edge, I spit Dash’s tail out. Spotting Blueblood holding the rope in his magic, I bound over and pull him into a bear hug. “Oh god, Blue, I thought I was going to die again!” Grabbing his head, I plant a deep kiss on his lips. “Okay.” I release him and sit back on my haunches. “I feel better.”
“R-right...” Blue fixes his tie and shakes the daze from his eyes. “That’s all well and good Floyd, but we still have a monster on our hooves.” Following his outstretched hoof, I see Balrog-Jay in a throwdown with Goat-Man. I’d be worried about collateral damage and all but, uh, y’know, Griffonstone.
“How the hell isn’t Maud here yet?” I ask, looking to and fro in an effort to find her.
“I already am.”
“Gah!” I nearly jump out of my skin, whirling around to see Maud passively blinking behind me. “Maud, seriously!? Don’t seek up on people like that!” I take a few moments to catch my breath, watching the fight drag on. “Okay!” Clapping my hooves, I put as much authority into my voice. “I think I have a plan! Everyone, form up!”
Maud merely blinks at me as Blue, Gilda, Pinkie and Cheese all gather around. I pull them all into a huddle, giving out instructions and roles. Gilda is a little skeptical, but I know this will work, it just needs some timing.
“Let’s do it!” Pinkie cheers when we break, wearing a cheerleader uniform and waving around pom-poms. “We’re gonna show that meanie goat who’s boss~”
“That’s right, Pinkie, we’re gonna send him right back to the grave,” I respond, helping Cheese haul one of his bigger party cannons out of wherever the hell we keep things. I grin at my reflection in the shiny metal. “He’s gonna go out with a boom!”
“I think you mean bang,” Maud corrected, easing herself down the barrel. Pinkie got her to put on that German army helmet again. I think it rocks, fits her perfectly, but I don’t think she’s much of a hat person.
“Alright! We’re set up over here!” I shout, looking towards the roof Dash and Gilda were perched on. “Operation: Annoyed into Submission is a go!”
Sharing a look, the pair take to the sky and zip toward Goat-Man. At this point, he’s got Jay on the ropes, drawing its fist back to clock him in the face. Thankfully, our two fliers get his attention before he can punch out my cousin. Letting out a chilly ‘Baaa’, Goat-Man swipes at them, missing by miles every time.
“Okay, Cheese.” I gesture to the cannon then to the beast. “We only got the one chance at this, you can’t miss!”
“Of course I won’t miss!” Cheese lights the fuse, adjusting the cannon’s aim. “Who do I look like, Mark Gormley?”
I stare at him quietly for a moment, the only sound being the burning fuse. “Okay, I’m just going to assume you got that from Pinkie.” Pushing that nonsense from my head, I focus fully on Goat-Man. I’m going to break Starlight’s horn when I see her. Stalk me will she? That crazy bitch just opened a can of whoop as- A scream tears out of my throat as the cannon goes off, having forgotten my proximity during my rumations.
Maud goes sailing through the air, catching Goat-Man off guard. Twisting her body in mid-air, Maud brought one of her back legs to the fore, kicking him in the chest. Her leg breaks through his ribcage like a wrecking ball, taking out part of his spine. The beast baas again before collapsing into a heap.
“Yes!” I shout, fistpumping. “Go Maud! You showed Skeletor who’s... boss...” My cheer dies in my throat as the bones rise back up, reforming into Goat-Man. “I am so feeding that bitch her own horn.”
With a roar like baa, it charges at me, shaking the ground with every hooffall. Shouting at Cheese to move, I bolt down the street, eyes wide and heart pounding. Shit! That plan was perfect. What the hell are we gonna do now? We don’t have an angry alicorn or some eldritch artifact to seal it away.
“Maybe we just have to keep breaking it?” Pinkie asks, appearing at my side. “It can’t hit us if it’s all broken.” You know, Pinkie, that’s not a bad idea. Maud can just keep hitting i- “Floyd look out! Dive to the left!”
Without hesitation I do so, hearing something heavy slam into where I just left. Sneaking a glance back, I see the broken remains of a cart. “Jesus, what did Starlight do? Tell him I bad mouthed his mom?” Scrambling to my hooves, I take off again, barely avoiding being stomped on.
“Floyd!” Gilda swoops down, flying next to me. “You’re running towards a dead end, dweeb!” With a beat of her wings, she moves over me, grabbing me around the waist. “Hang on! We’re going for a ride.”
“Trust me, Gilda, I ain’t going anywhereeee!” The ground falls away as Gilda beats her wings, taking us into the air. For a moment, I just take in the excitement. I’m flying! Hoisted up by a griffon, but fuck yeah I’m flying! Another enraged baa catches my ear, reminding me we had bigger concerns. “I take it we don’t have enough bits to get help, do we?”
“You’d have to spend all the bits in Equestria, plus all the gold that hasn’t been minted into bits, and sell Canterlot to get these featherheads to fight for ya,” Gilda confirmed, zigzagging to avoid Goat-Man’s grab attempts. “So, if we’re gonna kick his ass, we gotta do it ourselves.”
“We have to keep smashing him until there’s nothing left,” I explain, reaching into my mane. I doubt this thing is going to give me C4 or any fictional weapon that will make this easy. I’d give a hell of a lot for Mjolnir right now. On that note, I manage to pull a sledgehammer out of my hair. “Take me up and drop me.”’
“I take it back,” Gilda begins as she rises higher into the sky. “You aren’t ‘Pinkie’ like Pinkie, you’re your own level of nuts.” She levels off when I’m a good distance above Goat-Man. “Don’t die, alright? I don’t want to be beaten into paste by your sister.” Gilda lets go before I can respond, sending me into free fall.
Steeling my will, I raise the hammer high above my head. Maybe if I smash his skull, he’ll stay down? Doing my damnedest to stay falling towards Goat-Man’s skull, I unleash the best warcry I can, given Pinkie’s voice. Goat-Man looks up, reaching up to grab me. Luckily for me, only having one eye gives you lousy depth perception. Gritting my teeth, I growl as I fall just short of his head. Instead; I bring my hammer down on his shoulder.
“Fuck you, Goat-Man!” I roar, both seeing and hearing his shoulder give way under my fury. I cackle like a mad man as his right arm joins me on my journey to the ground. A tingle spreads across my body, and I feel myself slow down. A quick glance tells me I’m in Blue’s magical grasp. Turning myself so my legs are pointing down, my hooves reconnect with sweet, sweet earth.
I grunt as Blueblood nearly glomps me, wrapping his hooves around me. “Do you have any idea how insane that was? It could have squished you, or you could have splattered against the ground!”
“Yeah, I know that, Blue,” I respond, returning his hug. “But I figured It was worth the risk to get rid of John T. Bone over there.” Wriggling away, I groan in exasperation as the severed arm floats up and hovers back to its former home. “I really hate magic now.”
“How in the hay are we supposed to beat that thing?” Dash asks, zipping over to us. “We freaking shot Maud at the thing!” She flings her arms in Maud’s direction, who had inexplicably appeared next to Blue.
“Dash’s right.” Gilda landed not too far off, watching Jason sock Goat-Man in the face. “That guy takes less of a hint than Pinkie Pie!”
“Hey, I got better!” Pinkie protests, sitting next to me. “I learned my lesson after I nearly ruined my friendship with Cranky.”
I stand up, eyes looked on the two fighting humungonauts. Grabbing my discarded hammer, I toss it to Dash. “Dash, I don’t care if you got a sprained hoof. You’re going to sonic rainboom that fucker into bone dust!” Whirling around to Blue, I gesture with my head. “I’m going to be bait to get him away from Jay. Blue, you’re going to grab his leg into your magic and keep him in place, capisce?”
“I er, okay?” Blue stutters, apparently put off by my intent to put myself in more danger.
“Right then, Dash, get started! Maud, Pinkie, love you guys.” Taking a deep breath, I rear up and whinny, galloping down the street. I dodge past debris and angry griffons, because a reanimated Goat-Man isn’t enough to deter them from their utter and complete lack of fucks given. Stopping at the end of the block, I stare down my target. “Hey Goat-man! I heard your dad had a sheep fetish! No wonder you only have one eye, you mutant freak!”
Goat-Man baas in fury, though whether it recognized the insults or just because it’s me yelling at it, I have no idea. Ignoring Jason, it charges at me, snorting a puff of blue smoke. Come on, Blue, don’t fail me now!
“Get over here!”
Goat-Man’s charge peters out, the beast reaching up to its neck. I grin, realizing that Jason had caught it with his whip. It baas furiously, futility grasping at the thread. Jay’s getting extra love for all of this nonsense, kid deserves it. A glow appears on the goat’s legs, holding them in place.
“Doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere,” Blueblood trots to my side, his face screwed up in concentration. “I do hope Rainbow Dash hurries up, I’m not sure I can do this for very long.” He smiles a little as I lean against him.
We stand there in silence, watching Goat-Man struggle to get free. Rainbow streaks into few, careening toward the behemoth. I can’t make out if she’s using the hammer or not, but damn if she didn’t time it right. Slamming into what’s left of Goat-Man’s chest, her rainboom goes off, the force of the blast flattening the block. Blue and I hold onto each other, barely managing not to go tumbling around.
Pulling away from him, I toss my arms into the air. “Ha! Screw you Goat-Man! You can’t handle the genius that is Pink Floyd!” My eye twitches as the skull stirs and interrupts my bragging. My mood improves when Jason’s foot smashes the damn thing into a million pieces.
Jay walks over to me, reverting to his default form when he’s in front of me. “You okay?” he asks, wobbling on his hooves. I nod my head and the look of relief on his face is palpable. “Good...” he falls forward, right into my arms.
“You just rest up okay?” I ask, petting his mane. He took quite a beating, his chitin cracked in places. “Take as much love as you need, cuz.” I shudder as I feel the draining effect of his feeding, but don’t complain.The feeling tapers off as a snore reaches my ear. Lifting him up, I gently ease him onto my back.
“Looks like he’ll be asleep for a while.” Blue nuzzles my neck, looking more than a little tired himself. “Come on, we should find the others... before any angry griffons come to kill us.”
Our little group meets up again at Gilda’s food cart, where we enjoy some semi-overcooked scones. Not bad, honestly. Dash got out okay, though she complained that her hoof hurt worse, the baby. I have no idea what Cheese was doing during that whole mess, probably off memeing up the place.
“You know, I’m glad we’re talking again, G, but it blows we didn’t get the idol.” Dash pops another scone into her mouth, her injured arm in a sling. “We could have really fixed up Griffonstone.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t say we lost it.” I hold my hoof up, smirking. A beat passes and I clear my throat. “Alright, Q, I know you have it, cough it up.” My mane shakes and Q pops his head out. “You heard me, cat snake, give it.” He indignantly dooks at me before darting back in and coming out with the idol in his little paws.
“Bwah?!” Dash gasps, staring at the idol in awe.
“Ferrets are notorious thieves,” I explain, taking the idol from him. “I figured he grabbed it when I dropped it. Thought I felt him doing a war dance in there.” I pull Q out of my mane, rubbing his belly. He dooks happily, nipping at my hoof. “Anyway, here Gilda.” I toss the idol to her.
“You’re giving this to me?” Gilda asked, holding the thing like it was a baby. “But, I don’t know the first thing about being a king!”
“Queen,” I corrected, putting a hoof on her chest. Q protests the sudden stoppage of belly rubs and crawls back into my mane. “I wouldn’t give it to anyone else here. But...” I look into her eyes. “Without some major changes, once this is gone again, Griffonstone will just collapse again. You need to rebuild the place with this and something else.” I gesture to the oven. “They say the best way to someone's heart is through their stomach.”
“Yeah...” Gilda nods, staring at her cart. “That makes sense. Alright, I’ll do it. I’ll be Gilda the 1st, the friendliest griffon queen! I’ll show these dweebs how griffons should treat each other!”
“That’s the ticket.” I smile proudly, patting her head. Pinkie’s gasp and squee tells me that our friendship mission was a success. I push it out of my mind, deciding to just enjoy the moment and eat some scones. Political ramifications can wait; I’m feeling good and I want this to last as long as it can.
[Non-canon] Floyd In: Out Of Body Experience [non-canon]
“Diane~” I hear the singsong voice of Pinkie Pie right in my ear, waking me up.
“Who the hell is Diane...?” I ask, sitting up and rubbing my head.
“You, silly!” Pinkie says, giggling a little. ”Come on, the Cakes have already made breakfast, and you’ve already slept in. It’s already ten AM,” Pinkie tells me.
“What the hell are you talking about, Pinkie?” I ask, opening my eyes and looking up at her.
Pinkie stops and looks at me. “You’re not Diane... Who are you?” she asks, not moving, simply looking at me while standing completely still.
“Pinkie... why are we back in Ponyville?” I ask, realizing we’re in her room.
Pinkie Pie sighs. “Yeah, alright. Look, I don’t know who you are, or what you know. But right now, you’re in the body of my new sister Diane Pie. And until you woke up today, she and I have been getting her accustomed to Ponyville. Now, it seem you’ve woken up in her body. I don’t know about you, but I’d say we’re going to Twilight about this,” Pinkie says before trotting over to the door, no longer smiling but frowning slightly instead.
“Okay, what?” I ask.
“We’re grabbing something quick to eat before heading off to Twilight’s. Any objections?” she asks, not looking at me while resting a hoof on the doorknob.
“No.” I pull the covers over my head, curling up into a ball.
“Wait. no as you don’t have any objections or no as in you don’t want to come?” Pinkie asks
“Just go away.” I pull the covers tight around me, taking comfort in their warmth.
For a moment I don’t hear anything, but then I hear hoofsteps coming closer and Pinkie Pie speaks up from right next to me.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” she asks softly.
“I said go away!” I snap at her.
“I can’t leave you like this! I want to help you,” she says. “Please, let me,” she begs, I can almost hear her making the puppy eyes at me.
“Get the hell away from me!” I scream, ignoring the tears forming in my eyes. To my surprise, I could hear her moving away a bit. I peek out, looking at her.
“Please. I want to help you. But I can’t if you won’t let me,” Pinkie said, her hair having deflated and tears brimming her eyes.
“Just... go away...” I quickly pull my head back under the covers. Oh god. I made Pinkie cry. I’m just a horrible fucking person aren’t I?
“You really want me to just go away?” she asks me. I don’t answer her, starting to sob in the pillow, pinning my ears to my head.
I hear her take a hesitant step towards me, before beginning to make her way over to me slowly. As she comes close she hesitates again before I feel her arms surround me and she hugs me. I bury my face into her chest, crying my eyes out. She says nothing as I cry, she just keeps hugging me and calmly stroking the back of my head. I eventually notice Gummy worm his way in next to us.
As I begin calming down, I hear Pinkie speaking again.
“Don’t worry. Everything will be fine, and if not, I’ll be here to help you,” she says before moving over so that she could look me in the eyes.
“I-I’m sorry...” I look away, unable to meet her eyes. “I d-didn’t mean to yell...”
“I know. And I’m sorry too. I should have noticed you were in no condition to walk out. If you’re okay with it, I’ll go and get us some breakfast. Gummy will keep you company until I’m back,” she says, looking at me for confirmation.
“Okay...” I nod, scooping Gummy up and holding him close.
Pinkie simply nods and walks out of the room, carefully closing the door and walking away silently, leaving me alone with my thoughts for a while. I cuddle the little alligator, letting out a long sigh. “You’re lucky, you know, little guy... at least you know who you're supposed to be...” I mutter, looking down at him.
He simply looks back at me, blinking with one eye at the time before chomping down at a lock of my hair. I laugh softly and close my eyes, just relaxing.
Eventually, I hear Pinkie Pie returning. She opens the door with a hind hoof and enters backwards while balancing a tray on her head, containing what smells like french toast and cinnamon, her mane back to its normal poofiness.
“Hey, I brought breakfast,” she says, setting the tray down on a stool next to the wall, before coming over and sitting down next to me.
“Do you wanna talk about it?” she asks.
“You wouldn’t understand...” I sit up, placing Gummy in my lap.
“Maybe. But you don’t know that. And if anything, it always feels better when you talk about something,” she says.
“I...” I sigh, leaning back, “I don’t even know who am I anymore...”
“What do you mean?” she asks.
“It’s a long, sad story Pinkie...” I look at her, brushing some hair out of my face.
“We’ve got time. It’s our day off,” she explains. I nod before starting to tell her my story, petting Gummy’s head as I do so.
“So um... I’m Shale... or I was supposed to be... I don’t even know anymore...”
“Just take it slow. I’m here, so just speak at your own pace.” I nod, going through the story, glancing at her every now and then to get her reactions. She seems to go through several emotions as she listens, sadness, understanding, regret, anger and many more. But not once does she interrupt me.
“And that's it... we were on our way to Manehattan when I woke up here...”
Pinkie said nothing, simply sitting there thinking over what I had told her. “You know, with everything that happened to you, I think there’s only one proper response,” she says after a while.
“What’s that, Pinkie?” I ask, tilting my head.
“A party!” she exclaims, confetti popping out from her as she jumps up and lands on her hind legs, spreading her arms wide and smiling at me.
“Uh... what?” I blink, raising my eyebrow. “That's what you took from that?”
“Of course. That’s what you need. A party. Well... maybe not one of those big parties with loud music and a lot of ponies, but something smaller. Still, I think a party is just what you need,” she says.
I blink, thinking it over. “I haven’t had a Pinkie party yet...” I mutter before nodding at her.
“What? You have been in Equestria how long and not had a Pinkie party yet? We have to fix that immediately!” Pinkie says before stopping. “You’re alright if I invite my friends, right?” she asks me.
“Pinkie, I just told you I’ve been in your body for the past few weeks, at what point could you have thrown me a party?” I question, raising my eyebrow.
“That is no excuse! I could still talk, couldn’t I? And if anypony should be able to help me set up a party when I don’t have a body of my own, it’d be you. Of course, there was also that other stallion you mentioned could see me, he could have helped out as well,” she says.
“We both had other things on our mind than a party, Pinkie.” I roll my eyes. “Like, ya know, the whole ‘body snatching’ thing.”
“I guess...” she says hesitantly. “Alright then. But right now, that is exactly what I think you need, and it is exactly what you’re going to get.”
“Alright Pinkie, and yeah, you can get the girls too.” I smile at her.
“Alright. Um... I might be gone a while, will you be alright with only Gummy here?”
“Yeah, I’ll be fine.” I nod, getting comfy in the bed. “Plus, I got Q too.”
“Q?” She asks.
I grab a leftover piece of food, dangling it in front of my mane. It doesn’t take long for Q to pop out, snatching the piece and retreating back into hiding.
“See? Q!” I smirk.
“Aww, that’s so cute. Fluttershy would love that. But I’d better get going now if I want to get all the girls together, as well as make sure we get everything for the party ready,” she says before waving goodbye and leaving the room.
I relax, coaxing Q out, watching him try to get Gummy to play with him. “I don’t think that's going to work out, buddy.” I chuckle, as he nips at Gummy’s tail.
Gummy just sits there, seemingly not paying attention before suddenly snapping at Q’s own tail, only not managing to keep his grip as he doesn’t have any teeth. Q jumps back, rather excited to have a playmate. He starts a war dance, clumsily jumping around. Gummy however just sits still as he blinks and then licks his left eye once.
“Yeah, I didn’t expect you get get anything out of him.” I chuckle, pulling Q close, doing my best to play with him, hooves aren’t as good as hands ya know. We just chill there, waiting for Pinkie to come back.
About half an hour later, a winded Pinkie appears in the door, drawing large breaths.
“You have to - excuse me. I - managed to get - to everyone real quick. But Fluttershy - wasn’t sure she could come because of her animals, so I offered to help her out. So I’m going to be out for a while longer and helping her so that she can attend the party. Oh, and Twilight asked if you had anything against her coming over. She’d like to speak with you before the party.” Pinkie explained, regaining her breath half through her explanation. While speaking, she had also been looking through her closet and throwing out things that weren’t what she was looking for. These things included mostly party supplies like streamers, paint, balloons, and bags of confetti. But some other things that I saw were a lawn chair, a few bricks and her Mare Do Well costume.
“No, I wouldn’t mind Twilight stopping over,” I tell her while watching, letting Q nibble my hoof. “It’d help to have someone else to talk to.”
“Great! I’ll tell her on my way to Fluttershy’s. Also, Twilight might act a bit... weird. I dunno. She didn’t really trust Diane much at first, and she might be like that towards you too. Just a heads up,” Pinkie tells me before going over to the door, some kind of bundle on her back. “See ya soon,” she says, saluting before zipping out the door.
“I’ll try not to break down on her...” I sigh, returning my attention to Q, who is trying to steal the hat to Pinkie’s Mare Do Well costume. “We are not taking that.” I take it from him, putting it on the nightstand and out of his weasley reach.
It didn’t take long until a knock could be heard on the door. “Excuse me, may I come in?” The voice of Twilight Sparkle came through.
“Yes Purple Smart, Pink Floyd has decided you are worthy of their presence.” I snicker, pulling Q into a cuddle as Twilight opens the door with a confused expression before she refocuses.
“Well, it’s a pleasure to meet you, Pink Floyd. My name is Twilight Sparkle, and Pinkie Pie informed me that you were from another world like ours and that you needed a party. We had another like you named Diane before, but now it seems we have you here instead. So, in favor of figuring out what is going on, I came to try and figure it out, as well as try and help you in any way I can,” Twilight said, before taking on a serious expression. “And please, don’t call me Purple Smart.”
“Why not? It’s better than Star Butt.” I smirk, petting Q’s head.
“Because it’s both impolite and will most likely begin to circulate in other circles of Ponyville if you call me that in public. It’s not my name, and I could never live with ponies calling me that. My name is Twilight and I prefer being called by my name,” she explains.
“Wow Twily, way to be a buzz kill...” I roll my eyes. “No wonder you're so damn awkward...”
Twilight sighs. “I’m sorry. But I really dislike being called nicknames like that. Such ones as Twily are alright, or other ones that are similar. But please, when in public I’d enjoy it if you called me by my real name.”
“Alright, alright, whatever you want.” I nod, looking at her. “So... ask away...”
“Thank you. Now, as Pinkie told me, I’m going to ask you about what you are willing to speak to me about first. This way we’ll be able to avoid topics you’d rather not speak of.
“I got nothing to hide Twi, so just ask away.”
“Alright. From what Pinkie told me, you came from another Equestria, however, in that Equestria you inhabit the body of Pinkie Pie instead of, like Diane, a clone of her. I was wondering how you would compare the two experiences.”
“I can’t tell an objective difference though it is... quiet...” I frown, noting the lack of any... Pinkie...
“What do you mean?”
“See, back home, I can hear and see Pinkie, she’s an astral projection at the moment and she can hear my thoughts...” I hold Q close, starting to get uncomfortable.
“But now that you’re here, you can neither see or hear her,” Twilight finishes for me. “Suddenly being without her must be quite different for you.”
“Yeah...” I nod, not looking at her.
“But, I imagine you are looking into a way for you to get your own body, or at the very least to give Pinkie back control over her own. Am I right?”
“I can’t keep stealing her body... it isn’t fair to her...” I nod, busying my mind with playing with Q.
“Then, may I suggest a different way of looking at your visit here?”
“Oh yeah? How’s that?” I tilt my head.
“Think about this time here as training. I can tell that you’re not comfortable without Pinkie, but if you feel that way now, will it not be the same once she gets her body back? If you get one of your own, would you still feel this way? If you can overcome that now, it would be much easier to do it later on,” Twilight reasoned.
“That's... true...” I nod, looking at her. “So... anything else?”
“Well. I was thinking of comparing notes, and if I know myself, I think my other self would more than likely be interested as well. So, I was wondering what we could find that’s different between our Equestrias. So, to simplify, I’m going to read out a few things and you’re going to tell me which of them coincide with yours, and which don’t.”
“Fire away!” I nod.
Of course, this meant the next hour or so was spent listening to Twilight talking about Equestria, and naturally she began with the story of the three tribes and the history of Equestria. As we eventually reached the subject of modern Equestria, I found out that this world was behind mine. Discord had yet to be reformed and the most recent major event had been that of the Pinkie Pie clones from the mirror pool.
“You’re behind me, Twilight,” I interrupt her, “I’m past you in the timeline... thing... whatever...”
“Wait, you mean that everything that has already happened in your Equestria has yet to happen in ours? Interesting. It is almost as if you’ve traveled back in time, but without the consequences of altering the future and creating a paradox by never going back in time. However, I’d rather not have you tell me anything that is going to happen in the future. I swear, I’ll never live down the time I met myself from the future.” Twilight said, groaning.
“I wasn’t going to tell you anyway.” I shrug before snickering. “You totally looked like Big Boss.”
“I would like to ask who this ‘Big Boss’ is, but I’m almost afraid to ask for fear of it being something related to the future. So I guess there aren’t any more differences from there on out besides lesser events,” Twilight says, sighing. “I’m almost disappointed with how little of a difference we found,” she admits.
“Well, Blueblood isn’t a dick, Limestone is a horrible person... uh...our Celestia is a big troll, Luna’s guard is headed by a guy named Azrael...” I list, rubbing my chin.
“Uwah? Celestia is a TROLL? How does that even make sense?”
“No, troll as in, she likes to mess with people.”
“Oh, well that makes more sense. I don’t understand what it has to do with trolls though. Also, I don’t really know who this Limestone is and I think Princess Luna actually manages her own guard so there is no need for a captain,” Twilight tells me.
“And then there's the fact that Celestia’s guard captain is a changeling...”
“Well, I couldn’t say for sure if that’s the case here. All I know is that the acting captain after my brother is a mare called Gleaming Shield.”
I can’t help but let out a laugh. “Oh that's hilarious!”
“Oh, how come?” She asks.
“Because in universes where genders are swapped, Gleaming Shield is the female version of your brother.”
“Wait. Why would you say that?” she asks, looking at me suspiciously.
“Same reason I know that male you is named ‘Dusk Shine.’” I smirk at her.
“And what reason could that be?”
“I know what I know boy... but I’m not tellin’ it.” I chuckle, watching as Q waddled up to her, sniffing at her hoof.
“Well, I suppose it isn’t important anyway. Well, with all of these comparisons, we’ve found a surprisingly small amount of differences. Well, besides the few things you mentioned in the end. You sounded rather certain, but I don’t think you’ve met this Limestone today. Why would you believe she’s different here.
“Because my Limestone is a bitch who pushed around Pinkie and her other siblings. I mean like shove a foal and abuse them verbally.” I snort. “Besides, Pinkie already told me she’s helped her Limestone when she broke down, which I assure you, has never happened back home.”
“I bet you do.”
“Nothing...” I sigh, looking away.
“Well, I have no more questions. Perhaps I could answer any you would have?”
“You have no more questions? That's... kinda hard to believe, Twilight.” I blink, gazing back at her.
“Well, what more could I ask? I’ve already asked Diane all I could before she stopped and said that too much influence from another world could end up being bad. As much as I hate to agree with her on that, she’s right. And from you, I’ve already gathered everything I possibly could about this other Equestria and I don’t feel comfortable asking you personal questions,” she explains.
“Just ask them Twilight... maybe it’ll help sort my head out...” I nod, watching as Q jumps onto Twilight’s back.
“Well, I suppose if you’re alright with it... I think one of the things I’d like to ask how it was for you to adapt both to a new world and a new body. I know a little of what Diane was comfortable telling me about, but it’s always good to have notes to compare, and currently you’ve woken up in a new body twice.”
“Oh you know... theres the guilt over never being able to make up with my parents, the guilt of stealing Pinkie’s body, so uh... guilty I guess. Lots and lots of soul crushing guilt.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. If you don’t feel comfortable with this-”
“I’m fine, Twilight,” I inform her quickly.
Sighing, she looks at me. “Look, I don’t feel comfortable sticking my nose where it doesn’t belong, and this obviously is bringing forth bad memories for you. What do you say we do something else until Pinkie comes back?” she suggests.
“Twilight, I already told you, I need to work this stuff out.” I glare slightly. “So, again, ask away.”
“Right, if you say so. How are you currently coping with your loss of friends and family in the other Equestria?” she asks me rather bluntly.
“I got Maud, so... whenever I have a breakdown, she’s there for me.” I smile as Q pops out of Twilight’s mane, looking down over her head.
“I feel like that isn’t the healthiest of solutions. But I don’t know my way around psychology, so whatever works, I guess. Next, I can’t help but notice your pet here being rather... questionable. Like, how come he’s here, while your Pinkie Pie is not?”
“I guess because he was in my mane. He does weird crap like that.” I shrug. “He likes you though.” I smile.
“And we’re back on Pinkie Pie level again. Terrific,” Twilight says, facehoofing as the door opens.
“Did somepony say my name?” asks Pinkie as she comes in, pushing her party cannon inside.
“Hi... uh sis...” I wave at her.
“So, you and Twilight getting along well?” she asks, putting the party cannon away into her cupboard.
“Yup.” I nod a little, chuckling as Q nips at Twilight’s ear.
“Alright. That’s good, because I totally need help with setting up this party,” she says before opening the same cupboard, a bunch of party supplies falling out instead of the party cannon she had placed there a moment earlier.
“I’ve never set up a party before... at least ones that don’t involve drugs.” I ponder, gingerly taking a step out of bed.
“Oh, no,” Pinkie says as Twilight suddenly decides to ask the million dollar question.
“Hey man, the only thing I ever did was peyote and that was strictly for... reasons!” I defend, pointing a hoof at Pinkie.
Pinkie just shakes her head and looks at Twilight. “Trust me, you don’t want to know.”
“Uh, okay? Well, what was it that you needed help with exactly?” she asks instead.
Pinkie just smiles before we get pulled into a confusing and confounding montage about preparing a party. There wasn’t any music, but it still worked out somehow.
As the others arrive, Pinkie smiles at them all before nodding at them and they all together shout: “Surprise!”
“Gah!” I jump up, smacking the ceiling and landing in a heap on the floor. “Ow...” I moan out.
“Oh no! Are you alright?” Rarity asks as Pinkie comes over and looks over my head with a worried look.
“Yeah, I’m good...” I get to my hooves, shaking my head.
“Sorry. I thought you’d enjoy a surprise party.” Pinkie apologizes.
“No. no, it’s fine.” I put on a smile and nuzzle her a bit.
“Good, now how about we get this party going? I’m itching for some of those cupcakes,” Rainbow Dash says.
“Rainbow, be nice. This is a party for Floyd,” Twilight points out.
The others decide to introduce themselves and after that the party goes much like expected. We play some games, make small talk and enjoy the sweets and music as well as dance. The more unexpected things are how Fluttershy seems to not be as shy as I imagined as well as really tired, seeing as she sleeps through some of the louder music. Pinkie explains it was due to how wild her animals had been lately and suggested they should all look into it tomorrow. But otherwise, it’s a nice and very enjoyable party. Of course, the cider could have been better if it had been the hard stuff.
But as the party comes to an end, we end up seeing them all off... besides Fluttershy, who had fallen asleep due to exhaustion.
“Well... that was fun...” I comment, shutting the door behind them. I yawn, stretching my body out, getting a nice pop from my back.
“Of course it was fun, wouldn’t have been a party otherwise, silly,” Pinkie responds with a tired voice while looking at Fluttershy sleeping away on her bed.
“Hey Pinkie... can I ask you something?” I ask, looking at the floor.
“Uh-huh.” She nods, looking at me.
“Is there... a Shale Pie here?” I ask slowly.
“I’m not sure. I haven’t heard that name before, but It’s possible. Granny Pie might now, but I haven’t met her in a long time,” Pinkie answers.
“Oh... nevermind then...” I shake my head.
“I can look it up later if you want to know for sure. That is, if you haven’t gone back yet by then.”
“I know who Shale is, Pinkie... I was hoping to talk to talk to you about it but... if you don’t already know...”
“Well, I can’t say I’m not curious. And you wouldn’t bring it up without a good reason, right?”
“If you think you can deal with it...” I nod, taking a breath. “Shale is... was supposed to be the fifth Pie daughter, born two years after you and Marble.”
Pinkie blinks in surprise for a while before her ears begin sagging a little. “Was supposed to be? What happened?” she asks.
“She was stillborn...” I whisper out, not looking at her.
“I see,” Pinkie answers after a while. “However, why bring this up? I can kind of see that it isn’t completely out of nowhere, seeing as it has to do with our family, but why did you bring it up? I’m sure my family would have told me whenever they thought I was ready.”
“Because... I am Shale... or at least her reincarnation...” I sit down, closing my eyes.
I soon feel Pinkie settling down next to me and holding me close.
“I guess it was a shock to find out, huh?”
“Pinkie, I don’t even know who the fuck I am anymore.”
“Really? I find that hard to believe. Because I know exactly who you are,” Pinkie states.
“Oh yeah? Who's that?” I ask, looking at her.
Looking back at me she pokes me in the chest with a hoof. “You are you. No matter where you find yourself, no matter what body you find yourself in, no matter what name people give you or call you by, you will always be yourself. There’s a reason why ponies say that somepony isn’t themselves when they choose to act differently. If you change, you don’t stop being yourself either, you just change who yourself is. That’s who you are, yourself. And you can choose to be however you wish to be, all it takes is a little dedication and some work and no matter what, you’ll find yourself not only yourself, but the self you want to be,” she says, looking at me with serious eyes. “And if that still won’t let you see who you are, then aim to change yourself until you know exactly who you are.”
I can’t help but smile. “If only it were that simple... At least not for me anyway.”
“And why would that be?”
“Because I’m a mess... you gave me some of your instability...” I chuckle, letting out a long sigh.
“Instability...” Pinkie mutters. “Well, one thing’s for certain. You aren’t me, that’s for sure,” she says, smiling, before she begins chuckling, and then laughing. Fluttershy moves a bit, disturbed by Pinkie’s loud laughter.
“Yeah, laugh it up Pinkie...” I roll my eyes, trying not to laugh with her.
“Sorry. I just felt like a good laugh. But yeah, we need to keep it down for Fluttershy. But I think she has the right idea, while it isn’t that late yet, today has been pretty exhausting and we could all go for a good night’s sleep.”
“Sure Pinkie, I don’t mind sleeping with my sister and her adorable friend. As they say, incest is wincest,” I say with the straightest face I can manage.
Pinkie turns towards me and gives me the strangest look before mouthing “P.G. Rated” at me. I roll my eyes, mouthing back “Git Gud.” I leave it at that, climbing into bed, cuddling with Fluttershy.
“Floyd, I don’t think Fluttershy would be very comfortable with waking up with you in the same bed as her. I’m sure she wouldn’t have minded if you would have asked her before she fell asleep, but I don’t think she needs such a surprise for when she wakes up, and if Diane comes back overnight, I don’t think he needs one like that as well,” Pinkie says while smiling. “Although It would be pretty funny.”
“You’re no fun...” I roll my eyes, sliding out of bed, letting out another yawn.
“Come on, you can sleep in Diane’s bed together with me instead since Fluttershy is hogging mine,” Pinkie suggests.
“You sure this is PG, Pinkie?” I ask with a smirk.
Sighing, she lays down on the bed before speaking. “Head out of the gutter, Floyd,” she says, shaking her head.
“Pinkie, I don’t even swing, I’m just trying to get a reaction. It’s called trolling.” I climb in, getting comfy.
“Le mad?” she asks.
“...Shuddup Pinkie, you’re garbage.”
“I’m just going to take that as a compliment,” she says, getting comfy.
“Goodnight...” I close my eyes, letting myself drift off to sleep.
“Goodnight Floyd, sleep tight, and don’t let the bug beds bite,” she says, winking audibly.
I wake up with a gasp, sitting up in bed and breathing heavily. I take a look around the room, feeling the tension flow out of me. I’m home, in my cluttered dorm room, props littering the place. “Oh, thank god...” I fall back onto the bed, laughing a little. “That's the last time I smoke peyote after midnight...”
I’ve heard of those kinds of dreams before, with huge amounts of time passing. Thankfully, that's all it was, just a dream. I wasn’t dead. I wasn’t stuck in Equestria. And best of all, I wasn’t hijacking anyone’s body.
I get out of bed, pull my clothes on, and head out into the shared dining room. I grab myself a bowl and pour myself some cereal. I’m so fucking glad I’m not stuck with hooves. I sit down to eat, only to realize, I didn’t grab a spoon. As I move to get up, I hear Roger leave his room, his door situated behind me.
“Oh, hey bro, can you grab me a spoon?” I ask, not bothering to glance back at him. Silence fills the air, going on for a few minutes before I speak again. “Roger? You alright man?” Again, I get no response.
I slowly turn my head, my heart pounding a mile a minute in my chest. I peer around, letting out a sigh of relief as I chuckle to myself. “Such an asshole, Floyd.” I turn back to my bowl.
“Hello Floyd,” Pinkamina coos at me from her position in my lap, a demonic grin on her face. “I’m so glad you’re up.” Her voice gets deeper with each word, her one visible eye staring into my soul. “Wanna make some...” She reaches up to her covered eye, pulling a knife out with a horrible squelching sound. “Cupcakes...~?”
“AAAAAHHHH!” I scream as I fall out of bed, my heart practically exploding in my chest. I land in a heap, buried in my blankets.
“What!? Shale?! Are you alright!?” Blueblood asks as he scrambles out of bed and to my side. It only takes him a minute to free me from my encasement, a look of worry etched on his face.
“Yeah, I’m fine Bluey... just a nightmare...” I smile at him, brushing some hair out of my face. I take a few breaths as I calm down, the adrenaline slowly fading from my trembling body.
“That must have been one hay of a nightmare. What was it about?” he asks, sitting next to me, placing the blankets back on the bed.
“Okay, get this,” I grin, recalling just how ridiculous this thing was, “So, in this dream, I was stillborn but got reborn as some random human named Floyd. Then I died again, got snatched up by Discord and then put into Pinkie.”
“That does sound ridiculous, though I have to say being stuck in your sister's body must have been hellish.” I glare at him, then sock him in the arm. “Owie!” he whines, rubbing it like a foal.
“If you’re done, I still have to tell you the rest of the story.”
“Alright, alright, what is it?” he asked, frowning a little.
“Well, I found out I was a reincarnation but then I woke up like it was all a dream. Then uh... that really scary version of Pinkie that I dressed up as for Nightmare Night showed up-”
“That’s her. Then I woke up.”
“I told you not to finish that Sweet Apple Acres cider, it was way past it’s expiration date!” He scowls, thought I don’t really care at the moment. I get up, trotting over to my writing desk and sliding into my seat. “And what are you doing now?”
“I have an idea.” I gather up my supplies, slipping my glasses on, and pick up my pencil.
“It’s three in the morning!” he protests, but quickly gives up, knowing he’s not going to get through. “Writers...” he mumbles under his breath, presumably getting back into bed.
“Love you too!” I call over my shoulder before diving headlong into my work.
‘Humans have always been a fascinating species. Growing up on a world out to kill them, humanity has long since mastered, or so they believe, their world, having fought their way to the top of the food chain. Our story is not about humanity as a whole, for that tale is much too long for anypony, save an alicorn. Instead, we shall be focusing on a singular human... A particularly interesting young man named Floyd Hendrix...’