There Goes the Neighborhood

by The card holder

First published

So, stop me if you've heard this one: a changeling queen, a homicidal flower, an extremely intelligent meglomaniac, a much less intelligent metal ball, and a mute sociopath are stuck in a house together in Ponyville...

Sometimes, reality gets boring. Sometimes, those in charge of said realities get together and kill time by talking about their own personal universes.

Sometimes, odd situations are made regarding said universes.

And that's why, one day, four different villainous beings from various universes, along with a local villain, are brought together under one roof in the town of Ponyville, all watched over by the resident princess.

So, let's sit and watch what happens, shall we?


Now featuring coverart that took literally 2 years in mspaint to make.

Roomies

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It is a little known fact that there are, in fact, multiple universes in existence.

Now, surely some of you at this point would be quick to point out the multiverse theory. And while it is true that the idea is very common, it is, in fact, actually false. You see, there are not an infinite number of universes, based around infinitely minute changes in infinite things, but rather, there are dozens upon dozens of standard universes, each one separate from the others.

Another little known fact is that each of those universes is ruled and watched over by a single entity- who, for the sake of convenience, we shall call "gods". They are each responsible for overlooking their own personal universe, initially shaped to whatever their minds could come up with.

While it is true that some gods rule their universes strictly, and carefully shape their chosen worlds to their image, it is far more common for the gods to simply come up with a single concept to start life with, and then seeing what happens.

As such, being a god was a very cushy job. At most, you just had to watch to make sure none of your universe's beings decided to try and break down reality, or otherwise bridge into other universes.

Life as a god, therefore, quickly got boring. After all, there's only so many scenarios you can cook up for your personal world before you start getting bored. This is usually the part where they choose instead to converse with other gods, curious about what their neighbors came up with in their own universes.

Others, such as the five who were seated at a table located in a particular back corner of reality, passed the time by playing poker.

Now, it deserves mentioning that, being gods, they did not have any need for such a mortal concept as names, as they were more than capable of determining which exact god they were talking to by way of a complex series of electromagnetic signals, subsonic waves, and various snippets of 1950s jazz songs. However, in a twist of good luck for those who were beneath the gods, those assorted signs could be roughly translated into semi-common Earth names.

"Dammit, Bill, stop hogging all the chips!"

"I don't know what you're talking about."

The void was briefly filled with the sound of crunching.

"There, see! You just did it again!"

"Did what again?"

"Can you two simmer down? We're trying to finish this game."

"You're not gonna win, Jerry."

"Oh, then why haven't you won, yet?"

"I implore you to look again."

A brief moment of silence, followed by an angered sigh.

"How do you do it, Gary?"

"Easy. I'm better at playing cards than you."

With the game finished, the five of them started dealing cards amongst themselves once again.

"Alright, same as last game, blinds at 200 and 100, Arthur starts us off, followed by Tyler, and so on."

As another poker game went underway, conversation quickly followed.

"So, any of you see anything new yet?" Jerry asked.

"Just the same as usual," Bill said, still munching on chips.

"I think my universe recently had some major events happen, but I've stopped paying attention to that long ago," Arthur added.

Tyler rolled his eyes. "What, you finally get tired of that horse world you made?"

Chuckles circled around the table.

"Hey, at least I had some originality, unlike you guys," Arthur retorted. "I swear, anything you could ever want to make, and everyone picks humans."

"Don't fix what ain't broke, right?" Jerry suggested.

"Like you're one to talk," Arthur shot back. "What part of giving your humans almost godlike power seemed like a good idea?"

Chuckles once again went around, and Jerry shrugged. "It was something different from the norm, at least. And besides, I still have full control over it. Any of them get too snippity, and," he snapped his fingers. "Back to square one, minus a troublesome soul here or there."

"Better than having something almost pulled straight from a cartoon," Gary added. "Honestly, I don't even care enough to interfere anymore. Last I checked, they managed to stumble into time travel, only to undo it within the same afternoon."

"You think you have it bad?" Bill challenged. "It feels like reality itself is constantly on the verge of collapsing in my universe. I mean, I was worried the first few times, but now I just kinda put the whole thing in a glass case and let it be."

Tyler just sighed. "At least your universes are interesting. I accidentally made mine as generic as could be, and now I don't even bother looking at it anymore."

Silence once again surrounded the table, broken only by the shuffling of cards and the occasional crunching of chips. Suddenly, right when it was his turn, Arthur stomped to his feet, scaring away the cat, Chuckles.

It is unknown why there are cats living alongside the gods and their universes, but the gods themselves long ago stopped caring about them, although sometimes they'll decide to take one as a pet. Whether or not the cats had any sort of importance remained to be seen.

"You know what? We're all getting bored with our own universes. Why not... well, mix things up a bit?"

"What are you getting at, Arty?" Bill asked.

"I say we take someone from each of our universes- anyone, really- and put them all together in my universe."

Jerry snorted. "What, just take five beings and dump them all into horse world?"

"...pretty much, yeah."

Those at the table thought it over. "Well, it would be something different..." Gary started.

"Sounds good to me," Tyler said.

Soon after, three more agreements joined his. Arthur nodded.

"Alright, go and pick... well, whoever, I guess. I'll handle 'easing them in', as it were. Can't have them mucking up my world too much, right?"


Excited chattering came from everywhere within the cavern, changelings eagerly buzzing around in anticipation. Today was the day they had been waiting for.

A voice cleared their throat, and all eyes turned to the front of the cave, where their queen was now standing proudly before them. "My children, after all this time, we are ready!"

Frenzied cheering was her response.

"Tonight, we shall take back what is rightfully ours!"

The cheering rose in volume.

"We will show those ponies the pain we have suffered through for..." She began trailing off.

"Three!" one of the changelings up front offered.

"THREE YEARS!" Chrysalis finished with a flourish.

One would hope that the changelings were not hoping for a sneak attack, as the volume was no doubt audible for miles outside the caverns.

"Now, my children..." the crowd became silent as the queen prepared herself, grinning. "Time to-"

At that moment, there was a sound not unlike the popping of a cork, and the queen of the changelings was no longer there, as if she had simply stopped existing at that moment.

The changelings were confused, as is what normally happens when your leader vanishes right before sending you on an invasion.

After a period of silence, one of the changelings spoke up. "Let's go get pizza!"

Once more, the cave was filled with cheering, and soon emptied of the changelings within.


Pain is an odd thing. Living things tend to avoid pain whenever they can, only agreeing to suffer through it if they know that it would prevent them from suffering through worse pain down the line. This is curious because living things also tend to know that, as long as they can still feel pain, then either they're still living, or they have made a huge mistake in their religion of choice.

This is why, upon feeling her consciousness returning to her, Chrysalis was glad to feel pain, especially since it was not actually that bad, and was more along the lines of an uncomfortable headache.

Slowly, she opened her eyes, and scanned her surroundings. She was lying on the ground of a nondescript room, the only features being a projector, a water cooler in the corner, and a table with six chairs around it.

She quickly also noticed that one of the chairs was already occupied by what appeared to be a bipedal creature of some description. Its back was turned to her, and she could see that it was wearing a bright red outfit of some kind. She could also see that it was a little bit on the large side. In fact, she felt that it was oddly egg shaped...

The being turned towards her, and she could see what appeared to be a large mustache peeking around what she assumed to be its face.

"Before you say anything, I'm just as confused as you are."

The being leaned back as it took a drink of water from a plastic cup, and Chrysalis took the time to inspect the projector. It was sending an image onto one of the walls, displaying the message "Don't Panic! And please wait patiently. Thank you." in a friendly font.

Still on edge, she carefully walked around the table, inspecting the being. Sure enough, he had a large mustache, along with a pair of thick, dark blue glasses over his eyes and perched on his (rather pointy) nose, and a set of goggles that rested on his bald head.

He seemed briefly surprised by her appearance, but just as quickly recovered.

While Chrysalis still did not trust this... thing, she had a feeling that, based on the way he simply stared into his cup and grumbled to himself, he was right, and they were somehow stuck in the same situation.

Cautiously, she got into one of the chairs opposite of him, and joined him in waiting in silence for... something.

The two just sat there, unsure of what they were waiting for, or if indeed there was anything to wait for in the first place. After a few moments, Chrysalis levitated a cup off of the water cooler, filled it up, and brought it back to her. This display made the egg-shaped being arch an eyebrow, but he still didn't say anything else.

Just when Chrysalis went to take a sip, there was a small crash behind her, and she nearly choked on the water before turning to see the source of the noise. On the ground not too far from her chair was an odd white metal ball, with various metal bits and pieces sticking out of it. After a second, whirring came from the ball, followed by an automated-sounding voice.

"Sleep mode deactivated. Reboot complete."

Soon after, another, less automated voice came from the sphere.

"Oh, jeez, agh, that smarts..." She could see the center part of it rotate around a bit. "Wait a second, this is... I'm not in space!"

The sphere actually managed to jump slightly while letting out uproarious, triumphant laughter, sending itself tumbling around on the ground. "Ow."

After wiggling himself around a bit, the ball was able to turn towards the table, revealing a large, robotic blue eye. "Oh, and I'm not alone, either!" He cleared his throat, despite not having a throat to clear. "Hey there. So... where am I?"

He looked between both beings at the table. "Also, follow-up question, who are you two?"

Chrysalis looked between the ball and the egg being, who seemed to regard the ball with an odd fascination.

When he did not speak, Chrysalis decided to pick up his slack. "We are not sure where we are," she said, her first spoken words since arriving in this room. "All we know is we're supposed to wait," she explained, pointing at the projected-upon wall.

The ball looked at the wall, then back at her. "Huh, that's strange." He then rolled his eye, probably as an equivilant of a shrug. "Well, beats being in space, in any case. Anyway, I'm Wheatley. And you are?"

"...Chrysalis."

The room's other occupant seemed broken out of his odd gaze. "Ah, right." He leaned up a little, as if posing. "I am Doctor Eggman."

Chrysalis just barely managed to avoid chuckling at the fact that her earlier observation was more accurate than she thought.

"Oh, I get it! 'Cause you're shaped like an egg! Brilliant!"

However, she failed to completely choke down her laughter after Wheatley's statement.

Eggman frowned, grumbling as he slumped back in his chair. "Why is it always the blue ones..."

Wheatley looked around. "Well, er, hate to be a bother, but... one of you guys think you could put me in one of the chairs, at least? I can't exactly... move. At all, really."

Eggman showed no sign of getting up, causing Chrysalis to roll her eyes and levitate Wheatley off the ground.

"W- Woah, that's unexpected."

As she set him down in a vacant chair, his eyes just barely able to see over the table, he blinked and shook slightly. "No offense, but that was pretty weird, mate."

No longer on the ground, Wheatley was able to take a proper look at the room. "Okay, well, it's not too bad in here, I guess. We got... well, a table. And chairs. Six of them, even. And a water cooler, which is good for you guys I guess, but I couldn't care less... Oh, and the flowerpot really brightens the place up!"

Chrysalis and Eggman were both hoping the ball would just shut up, but his last statement caused them both to look up in confusion.

Sure enough, there was a nondescript flower pot on the middle of the table, full of dirt.

"That wasn't always there, was it?" Chrysalis asked, uneasy.

"No, it wasn't," Eggman answered.

Suddenly, a flower sprung up from the dirt, causing the three of them to let out small yells as they flinched back.

It didn't help that the flower was smiling widely at them.

"Howdy!" it said, it's voice almost sickeningly sweet. "I'm Flowey. Flowey the flower!"

While she wanted to be annoyed at this newcomer, Chrysalis couldn't shake the feeling that something felt... off about the flower.

Flowey looked around the room, that smile never leaving his face. "Say, you wouldn't happen to know where I am, would you? It seems like little ol' me is lost!"

"Well, uh, we have absolutely no idea where we are," Wheatley helpfully stated.

Eggman nodded in agreement. "As far as we know, we're all waiting for something."

"Or someone," Chrysalis added quietly, looking away.

Flowey's smile fell slightly. "Well, golly, that's no good!" He looked at each occupant of the table, who either offered a shrug or a clueless eye wiggle. When his gaze fell on Chrysalis, however, she couldn't bring herself to look back, for some reason.

Seeing this, Flowey took another look around, only now the other two weren't focused on him, either.

His smile dropped completely as he looked around the room.

Then his facade cracked.

"One of you knows what's going on, don't you?"

The sudden shift in tone made everyone snap their view back to the flower, who now wore a semi-demonic visage. Out of nowhere, several little white pellets surrounded all of the others, and Chrysalis could feel the energy burning off them.

"Die."

Flowey then started cackling maniacally as the pellets started closing in on the three of them. At some point, Wheatley started yelling.

Then, just before they would have impacted them, they disappeared.

Flowey stopped his laughing to give a confused gaze. "...what-"

And then a bolt of lightning flew from the projector, striking the flower and causing him to yelp in pain and fall over. There was a click, and the projector screen was now different.

Please refrain from harming each other
Thank you for your patience

As Flowey picked himself up, he caught the glares of everyone around the table. He rolled his eyes.

"Whatever."

After that, Flowey scooted over to an unoccupied corner of the table, and the room was once more silent.

After more waiting, there was the sound of something hitting the ground, and everyone turned to see yet another newcomer. This one was bipedal, much like Eggman, but a lot thinner. He also wore a dull yellow letterman jacket, with a large, friendly "B" on it. His face betrayed no emotion, and he regarded the occupants of the table coldly.

"Hello!" Wheatley said.

The newcomer just looked at him, and quickly patted his pockets. Apparently, he didn't find what he was looking for, as he gained a small scowl, and silently took his seat at the table.

An awkward silence descended over the group.

"Well, this is an odd bunch, if I do say so myself," Wheatley eventually spoke up. "Two humans, one of which is a bit on the larger side-"

"Hey!"

"-a flower who may or may not want to kill us all-"

"No, I certainly do."

"-a personality core, and some sort of... insect... horse, thing...?"

"I'm a changeling."

"Right, right... Makes you wonder who else is gonna join us, you know?"

Suddenly, the projector turned off. Chrysalis didn't actually notice until now, but the room didn't actually have any light sources, yet she could still see perfectly clearly.

"No, everyone's here, trust me."

All five of them jumped at the new voice, coming from another human man at the head of the table, wearing a simple black and white suit. The word that came to mind when Chrysalis looked at him was "nondescript", as if one could pass by him on the street and not think twice.

"Now, you're all probably wondering why you're here-"

Another set of pellets materialized and flew towards the man, who calmly ducked them just as another bolt of lightning struck Flowey.

"Anyway, as you've no doubt guessed, I'm the one responsible for bringing you here. Now-"

Once again, his speech was interrupted, this time by the human in the jacket as he suddenly sprang up and grabbed the man's head, before slamming him into the table, then into the floor, and then began stomping on his face, still not showing a hint of emotion.

"Well, that's just not nice at all."

The five looked back to see the suited man now at the other end of the table, fine as ever, and the assaulting human was shocked to look down and see no sign that the man was even there to begin with.

Shortly after, another bolt of lightning struck the man, who winced in pain but didn't even make a sound as he retook his seat. Shortly after, Eggman scooted away from him, not that the man noticed.

"Well, any more interruptions?" the man in the suit looked at the gathered beings, getting various glares in return. "No? Okay, good. Down to business, then."

He folded his hands together. "You see, I'm the god of- well, one of your worlds." He pointed out Chrysalis. "Yours, in fact. Call me Arthur."

This sent her mind reeling. "Wait, you mean you're the...?!"

"What, were you expecting another pony, red hair, female, all that?" He laughed. "Nah. Honestly, I have no idea where you guys got that one."

Seeing the confused stares of everyone else, he cleared his throat. "Right, as I was saying, me and my friends- that is, the gods of all of your worlds- decided that... well, you all-" Suddenly, he gained a mischievous glint in his eye. "You all need more than a little learning on how to be nice people."

Those at the table looked themselves and each other over, and couldn't argue his point.

"Wait, then what did he do?" Wheatley asked, gesturing towards the letterman jacket human. "I mean, he's just another human from the looks of it."

Arthur took out a piece of paper. "376 total fatalities, and counting at the time of his removal."

"Ah, yes, that'll do it, then."

Eggman scooted another several inches away.

"Right, well, as for how exactly this will work." Arthur threw away the paper, and it simply vanished into midair. "You're all gonna be rooming together, in a sleepy little town called Ponyville."

Chrysalis's eyes widened. "Ponyville?!"

"Yep, that's the one." He turned to the others. "Now, I'm not gonna explain the specifics to you all- I'll leave that to her," he nodded towards Chrysalis, "but I will say that, since this is to teach you all to be just a little less... well, bad, there are gonna be some ground rules."

Another piece of paper materialized in his hands, and he took out a pair of reading glasses as he went over it.

"No harming the locals, no harming each other, no plotting to take over the world," he pointed at Flowey, "no taking anyone's souls," then Eggman, "no putting wildlife into robots," then to Chrysalis, "and minimal disguises."

Angered murmurs filled the room, but all of them realized that they couldn't really disagree in this situation.

"Oh, and one more thing," Arthur hastily added. "To make sure you're actually going to make attempts at being nice..."

He snapped his fingers, and a certain purple alicorn suddenly appeared next to him, eyes closed as she spoke upwards.

"-and that nopony should ever be forced to- GAH!"

She jumped almost to the ceiling when she opened her eyes, and witnessed the collection of beings before her. Her eyes met Chrysalis for a brief moment, who wore an equally shocked expression.

"Princess Twilight Sparkle," Arthur greeted, bringing her attention to him. "Long story short, these guys are in need of varying degrees of attitude adjustment. You'll be helping them out with that. Oh, and by the way, I'm the god of your world, nice to meet you."

"Wha-"

"Great, glad you agree. I'll send them your way in a few moments. Bye now!"

Just as suddenly as she appeared, Twilight vanished once again.

"Alright, there's a house already waiting for you all, so now, I bid you-"

He paused for a second as his gaze lingered on the human who had assaulted him earlier. "Oh, silly me, I forgot something."

Reaching into his suit, he took out a simple double-sided tape player, and threw it towards the man, who caught it, looking it over.

"You're welcome, by the way."

His face still blank, the man started pressing buttons on the player, whirring the tapes around, before pressing play.

"Fornicate with-" Another set of button clicks. "Yourself."

"Charming." Still all smiles, Arthur stood up and looked over the group. "Well, since that's all taken care of, toodles!"

And then, they all disappeared.

The moment he was alone, Arthur burst out laughing. "Oh, man, this is gonna be good."


The group of five misplaced beings found themselves in an almost identical situation to the one they had before, only now they were sitting around a dinner table in an average kitchen in an average looking house.

"Well, this is terrible," Flowey helpfully observed.

"Gotta agree with you, there, Flowery," Wheatley said back.

Flowey's face twitched, but he said nothing.

Eggman turned to face the other human. "So, since you can 'talk' now, what do we call you?"

The man seemed to think over it for a bit, before whirring the tapes around once again.

"Jacket."

Chrysalis thought over this new scenario she was thrust into. Stuck in a house with four people that were mild annoyances at best, in the middle of a town home to some of her greatest enemies, all under the pretense of learning how to not be such a bad person.

Groaning, she slammed her face into the table, and kept it there. "There better be a strong drink in that fridge."

Flowey, who had hopped and dragged his pot onto the counter next to the fridge in order to gain access, answered her. "Yep, we got this!"

Chrysalis looked up to see the flower clutching a bottle of a rather infamous brand of pony alcohol, known for requiring at least a couple hours of rehabilitation after drinking. It was exactly what she needed.

"Oh, thank-"

Suddenly, Flowey dropped the bottle onto the ground, sending its contents and glass scattering everywhere, an evil smile on his face. "Whoops."

Outside, ponies who were inspecting the house that had suddenly just kinda appeared flinched back as they heard a loud wail of anger and anguish come from inside.

And so, Ponyville was never the same again, for the third time that month.

Settling In

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While he was no stranger to odd things happening for no particular reason, Spike was still shocked when Twilight just completely vanished in the middle of dictating a letter to him. Equally shocking was when she reappeared just a minute later, wide-eyed and jaw-dropped.

For a second, there was nothing but silence in the room.

And then all hell broke loose.

"Spike! Get me a book on Equestrian legends, stat!"

"On it!"

Spike left the room just in time to avoid a whirlwind of papers and quills, all caused by Twilight's frantic search for something nearby that could tell her something, anything, about what had just happened.

"You're not going to find anything, you know."

Twilight yelped loudly, and everything fell to the floor. Turning, she saw the same bipedal figure that apparently roped her into this mess, sitting calmly at a nearby table, ignoring the storm of papers fluttering to the floor around him.

"Wha- But- Who-" Twilight shook her head wildly to interrupt her own blabbering. "Who are you?!"

"I already told you, I'm the god of your world." He held his hand out. "Name's Arthur."

Twilight just kept staring in disbelief.

"Oh, sorry, would it make you more comfortable if I did this?"

Twilight blinked, and suddenly Arthur was a nondescript suited stallion in front of her. This just made her freak out even more, before she seemed to realize something, and took a deep breath.

"Okay, haha, very funny, Discord."

"Did someone say my name?"

Twilight's blood ran cold when she heard his voice behind her, and it was all but frigid when Arthur's face brightened.

"Discord! Nice to see you again!"

The being of chaos teleported next to the self-proclaimed god, and the two started shaking hands and chatting like they were old friends, making Twilight's eye twitch repeatedly.

Noticing this, Arthur excused himself from Discord's company. "Sorry about that, we play cards every once in a while. Anyway, Twilight."

The room suddenly felt like it had a more serious atmosphere, though whether or not that was just in Twilight's head is debatable.

"Those five beings are here in order to better learn about the wonders of friendship, niceness, and so on. You will assist in doing so by watching over them and making sure they behave."

A stack of papers appeared in his hoof, which he offered to Twilight. She was still dumbstruck, and numbly accepted the papers into her magic.

"The first one has the rules that have been set for them, and the rest of them are some information on the residents. Except for Chrysalis, but I figure you know enough about her already."

Twilight just absentmindedly flipped through the pages, not actually reading any of them. Eventually, she looked straight at him. "Why? Why me?"

Arthur shrugged. "Why not? Aren't you the princess of friendship now or something?"

"Well, yes, but-"

"Then it's settled!" It looked like Arthur was about to leave, when suddenly he realized something, and turned to Discord. "Oh, and by the way, Disco, try to keep from messing with them too much, alright?"

Discord playfully faked a pout.

"Don't worry, I'll let you know if I change my mind. Well, toodles, both of you!"

And just like that, Arthur was gone.

By now, Twilight's brain had caught up to her, and she frantically began studying the pages she had been given.

Discord chuckled. "Well, Twilight, looks like-"

"Don't care, get out now please thanks," Twilight rattled off, nonchalantly picking up Discord in her magic and tossing him out of the nearby window, ignoring the ensuing crash of glass.

"Alright, Twilight, I found..."

Spike observed the room, seeing Twilight frantically reading through a stack of papers that weren't there before, and a shattered window behind her, which she seemed to be ignoring completely.

Looks like it was gonna be one of those days, again.

Silently, Spike set the book down on the ground and left. Rarity could probably use help with something or other, after all.


After Flowey ducked away to another part of the house to prevent Chrysalis from uprooting him, the new housemates took the time to take a look around their new home. All in all, it was fairly standard, with the exception of the rail running along the ceiling throughout most of the house. Thankfully, it was the exact kind of rail that Wheatley could attach himself to, which meant that he no longer had to be carried around by Jacket.

It didn't take them too long after that to look around the rest of the house. There were just enough rooms for all of them, save for Wheatley, who had a small compartment he could fit into, and Flowey, who, being a flower, could just sit in a window or something. Who got what room was quickly decided, and Eggman and Chrysalis immediately took to their own rooms, for different reasons. Jacket went elsewhere, and Flowey just sat in the front room, grumbling occasionally. After failing to get a conversation out of him, Wheatley simply went around the house, trying to memorize where exactly he could and could not go.

After about an hour of this, there was a knock at the door. This broke Flowey out of his grumbling, and he hopped over to the door to open it. Wheatley arrived shortly after, too.

"Oh, visitors already?" he commented.

Flowey pulled the door open with an elongated vine, and found a purple winged unicorn standing there, a set of papers visible in the bags she was wearing over her back. There was also a visibly strained smile on her face.

Recognition struck for Flowey. "Wait, aren't you that horse we saw in that one room?"

"Pony, but yes," Twilight replied, stepping inside. "In any case, I am Princess Twilight Sparkle, and, well, I guess I'm in charge of the five of you while you're here."

She looked around the room, including at Wheatley (who offered a "Hello!"), and her smile dropped. "Um... where are the others?"

"In their rooms," Wheatley said. "Not sure why. It's a beautiful day outside! I mean, the birds are singing, there are flowers blooming..."

Unseen to both of them, Flowey visibly winced.

"So, they are here, right?"

"Oh, yes, absolutely!"

After a moment, Twilight coughed awkwardly. "So, could you... get them, please?"

"Oh, of course!"

With that, Wheatley zoomed off, leaving the princess alone with the flower. She had read up on Flowey before coming here, as she did with the others, too, and out of all of them, he was the one that worried her the most. The summary Arthur had given her didn't go into too much detail, but it said enough: created accidentally from an experiment, only to find out they had practically infinite control over time, and abused it to enact every single possible action on those around him, eventually up to killing them for fun. Sure, it also said that, through a "complicated series of events", he could be considered redeemed, but Twilight wasn't sure if she bought that. Still, she wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, so she gave a smile at him.

He just looked back, his face a mask of boredom.

"So... Flowey, right?"

Twilight already memorized his name, but she didn't want to sound too creepy. Judging by the scowl on his face, it only just barely worked.

Another moment of awkward silence passed, Twilight glancing uneasily back and forth. "Well-"

"Stop talking to me," Flowey said simply.

Twilight pouted.

Shortly after, Wheatley returned, the other residents of the house following him. Twilight looked over each one in turn, mentally running back and forth over what she had read on them.

Wheatley, she knew, wasn't that bright, because he was designed by his world's best scientists for the purpose of being stupid. The context was unknown to her, but they certainly succeeded, though he occasionally managed to actually have good ideas, or at least ideas that look good at first.

Behind him was Chrysalis, who looked entirely fed up with the whole situation. Twilight already knew about her, so she moved onto the next person.

Dr. Robotnik, more commonly called "Eggman", who was capable of amazing robotic feats entirely on his own. Of course, he used these talents to constantly try and take over the world, though he was always thwarted by "a certain blue hedgehog". His face was unreadable, though he appeared to be assessing her carefully.

Finally, there was "Jacket", and he would be the most unpredictable, Twilight thought. After serving in the military, he-

Twilight stopped her inner recollection as she noticed something. "Wait, where's the last one?"

Chrysalis and Eggman looked behind them and waited, but no one else came from the hall. After a few seconds, they turned and shrugged.

Twilight could feel herself starting to panic, but she forced herself to stay calm. "There were five of you, so do any of you know where the fifth one is?"

The four of them looked between each other, before Flowey spoke up. "Jacket went outside about thirty minutes ago. Looked like he was going for a walk."

Twilight decided that now was the perfect time to panic.

"Stay right here I'll be right back OKAY BYE," she shouted, before teleporting herself into the air above Ponyville. She quickly scanned around the town, looking for signs of carnage. She knew what this "Jacket" was capable of, seeing as he had used nothing but his own natural strengths to single-handedly kill only a few hundred people.

As she frantically searched, her fear started to skyrocket. Just how hard was it to find a bipedal creature in the middle of-!

Moving as fast as she could, she plummeted to the ground and ran up to the first pony she saw. "Excuse me, miss, have you seen a creature walking on two legs pass by here recently? Other than Spike, I mean."

"Oh, I did, actually, a few minutes ago, I think it went towards the schoolhouse."

Twilight's blood ran cold. Surely he wouldn't...?

Ignoring the mare's questions, she flew towards the school as fast as she could. Hopefully, she wouldn't be too late...

She landed just outside the playground, and noticed that it was empty. Cautiously, she walked around to the front door, and peeked her head in. The halls were equally empty.

Twilight let out a breath she was holding. The fillies and colts must be in class right now. Unless...!

Moving quickly but quietly, Twilight slipped inside the building and crept down the halls. She went to the classroom door, and listened carefully.

She could hear Cherilee talking about something, but she couldn't make out what.

Twilight let out a sigh of relief. Looks like-

Suddenly, the bell rang, making her nearly jump out of her skin. She stood back as the door burst open, and a stream of fillies and colts came flooding out of the classroom. Almost all of them offered quick hellos to the princess, and she was quick to uneasily return them.

Once she was sure all the kids were past her, she went into the classroom, finding Cherilee packing up what she had been using for her lesson. When she looked up, she jumped slightly at Twilight's presence. "Oh, hello, Twilight! How are you today?"

"Good, good, fine, listen, have you seen a bipedal creature come here, about six feet tall, wearing a jacket?"

"Oh, you mean Jacket?"

Twilight's eyes shrunk to pinpricks. "You mean he was here?!"

Cherilee nodded. "He came by not too long ago. He left not too long before you arrived, though. Shame, the children loved him."

This made Twilight pause. "They... did?"

The teacher nodded. "Of course, we were all a bit scared, at first, and his method of speech didn't help, either, but he proved to be very friendly, even if he interrupted my lesson a little."

"So... did he say anything about where he went?"

"I'm not sure. Though he did say he would be right-"

Suddenly, they could hear screams coming from outside. Acting on instinct, Twilight flew to the door leading to the playground, horn ready to cast a powerful spell.

When she saw the scene in front of her, her magic died off, and her look of pure determination was replaced with one of confusion.

Ahead of her, standing in the middle of a crowd of fillies and colts, was the very human she was looking for. He had his arms stretched out, and a pair of children were hanging from them, screaming from excitement as they dangled from his limbs.

For a split second, Twilight thought she could see a ghost of a smile on his face. It passed quickly, though, as he made eye contact with her.

Hearing hoofsteps behind her, Twilight turned to see Cherilee trotting up. "He seems to have a way with children," she noted, gesturing to how the young ponies eagerly tried to also hang from the human, who was starting to sag slightly from the weight.

"Why were you looking for him, anyway?" Cherilee asked, tilting her head curiously.

"It's... a long story, I'll have to tell you later. I do need him to come with me, though."

Apparently, he heard their conversation, as he started gesturing for the children to get off. Once he was free of small ponies, he took his tape player out and clicked one of the buttons.

"That will be all for now."

The foals let out a chorus of "Aww"s, and as Jacket broke free from them, they began to engage in their usual playground activities. He walked up to Twilight, his face stoic.

After the two stared at each other for a bit, Jacket was the first to 'speak'. "Hello."

This broke Twilight out of her confusion. "Uh... hi there. Listen, Mister... Jacket, could you come with me, please? Back to the house?"

"Understood."

Without another word, the two of them started walking back through the streets of Ponyville. Oddly, none of the ponies seemed to be scared of Jacket, and a few even waved happily at him. This was unexpected, to say the least, but Twilight decided to simply worry about it later, if there was even anything to worry about in the first place.

Soon, they arrived back at the house, and upon entering, Twilight was thankful to see that the rest of them were still there, evidently not even talking amongst themselves while waiting.

Curious, Twilight glanced over to a clock on the wall, and saw that she was gone for only five minutes.

As Jacket took a position with the rest, Twilight cleared her throat. "Anyway, as you already know, I've been... assigned to help you all..." She fished out one of the pieces of paper and read from it. "'Become less unfriendly and all around stop being jerks.' Seeing as I'm the Princess of Friendship," she pushed on, ignoring a groan from Flowey, "that means I will come up with various... 'exercises' built specifically to make you all nicer... beings!"

Chrysalis lazily raised a hoof.

"Yes, Chrysalis?"

"Are we allowed to just curl up and die?"

"...I would assume no."

"Dammit."

Twilight uneasily glanced around the room, noting the stares directed at her (save for Chrysalis, who opted to just stare at the wall). All of them seemed to hold some amount of contempt, save for Wheatley, who oddly enough seemed genuinely excited.

"Oh man, I can't wait to get started!" he said. After a moment, looking around at the others staring at him oddly, he coughed (or, at least, imitated the sound of one). "That, uh, that was sarcasm. I'm not very good at it, sorry."

"Riiight, well..." Twilight looked through more of the papers. "I'll get started on making some good friendship exercises for you tomorrow! For the rest of today, you can go ahead and get settled in and everything." She looked at Jacket. "Just, please stay inside, okay?"

"Entiendo completamente," a series of clicks, "echo de menos a caballo p├║rpura."

"...I'll take that as a yes. Anyway... er, welcome to... Ponyville?"

After a moment of awkward silence, Twilight left. The moment she was gone, Wheatley turned to Jacket. "What exactly did you do outside, anyway?"

Jacket just shrugged and went back to his room. Eggman, seeing no reason to remain, went to his own shortly after.

After a while, Chrysalis suddenly brought her gaze to the front door. "Curses, I forgot to ask what exactly 'minimal disguises' meant."

"Well, I guess you'll find out, won't you?" Flowey said, grinning evilly.

"Flowey, I will not hesitate to find a dog who is willing to urinate all over you."

A moment of silence came up between the two, before Flowey spoke up again. "Huh, I gotta say, I'm impressed by the fact that you managed to come up with a useful threat even when we aren't allowed to hurt each other."

Chrysalis just groaned and went back to her room. This left just Wheatley and Flowey alone in the front room.

"Well, sarcasm aside, this probably won't be too bad, right?" Wheatley said.

Flowey rolled his eyes. "Oh, sure, and we'll all just become the best of friends!" He laughed darkly. "I don't think so."

"Why do you keep talking like that, mate? It's kinda creepy."

Flowey just stared ahead, unamused. "...That's the point."

"Ah, yes, I see," Wheatley nodded. "But why would you do that? It isn't very nice."

An uncomfortable few moments passed, with Flowey looking at Wheatley, dumbfounded and speechless. Eventually, he spoke up. "You really are an idiot, aren't you?"

"I AM NOT-" Wheatley cut off his sudden shouting with a few imitation deep breaths. "Sorry, sorry, just... some bad memories."

Flowey just shrugged and went over to the window, mentally filing that little tidbit about the sphere away. Sure, he couldn't hurt anyone, but no one said he had to be nice about it.


Back at the castle, Spike just watched as Twilight flew from shelf to shelf, gathering all of her past friendship letters she had archived, as well as any books that were even halfway relevant to the subject of friendship.

"Spike! See if you can find volume 3 of Starswirl's Friendship Theories!"

"You're holding it right now."

Twilight moved one of the books she was levitating in front of her face, and grinned sheepishly. "Oh, my bad."

As she went back to the chaos of her own book keeping, Spike questioned why he came back here, instead of finding Rarity. At least with her, freakouts like this were easily solved by inducing something to make her faint.

"Alright, I have everything I need to come up with any friendship lessons I could possibly need to teach!" Twilight suddenly said, moving a stack of books and a thick folder full of parchment onto a desk. "Now to start working on one!"

Sensing that his work was done, Spike left to take a nap.

When he came back, he found Twilight still at the desk, the same expression on her face. Curious, he glanced over her shoulder to see what progress she had made so far.

The

Smirking, he turned to the princess. "Making good progress, I see?"

"Spike, don't you have to go ogle Rarity some more?"

Glancing at the clock, Spike gasped. "You're right! Seeya, Twilight!"

As he ran out of the room, Twilight focused more intently on the paper in front of her. Surely, she could come up with a lesson to teach five less-than-nice people to be friends with each other and everyone else.

Right?

Neighbors

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Octavia hummed happily as she trotted home, saddlebags full of groceries. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she was aware of the fact that Ponyville had gone a full four days without something crazy and/or stupid and/or dangerous happening, but she pushed those thoughts aside in the name of blind optimism, a trait which is responsible for 80% of any civilized population retaining the will to live.

As she trotted up to the front door of her new house, seeing as the old one was demolished during a particularly bad incident involving fruit carts, she couldn't help but notice that there was another house next door. Normally, this wouldn't be very notable, but she was pretty sure that said house wasn't there before.

Shrugging and attributing it to her imagination, she went ahead and entered her home, simultaneously expecting the sight before her and disappointed by it all the same.

"Vinyl! Can I not be gone for five minutes without you making a mess?!"

From behind the couch, she heard the rustling of what were no doubt numerous wrappers as the neon blue mane of her housemate appeared, removing her headphones from her ears. "Oh, hey, Octy. Back already?"

Octavia rolled her eyes as she stepped further in. "Why are you even eating this many snacks? You know I was out shopping!"

Vinyl shrugged. "I got bored and hungry. Oh, by the way, we're out of Nays."

"We had two family sized bags left!"

"Well, we did."

There was silence in the room, before Octavia let out a sigh. "Just make an effort to actually clean this up for once, please?"

Vinyl looked at the piles of candy wrappers, empty chip bags, and a few stray smashed cans around her. "Alright, fine, I might've gone a bit overboard."

Octavia only let out a small "Hmph," as she left for the kitchen, while Vinyl started levitating trash into a nearby small trashcan. After a few moments, Octavia shouted from the kitchen, "And would you stop leaving those novelty flowers outside of the windows!"

Vinyl looked up from her community service work. "What?"

"I said, stop putting your stupid dancing flowers everywhere!"

"Hey, those aren't stupid!" Vinyl thought over what she just heard. "Also, what?"

"Don't act dumb! I'm looking at one of them right now and I know it was your doing!"

Now legitimately confused, Vinyl followed her roommate's shouts into the kitchen, hoping to figure out what exactly she was talking about. There, she found Octavia glaring through the kitchen window, where a smiling flower in a pot was doing a small dance on the other side.

Vinyl couldn't stop herself from letting out a small laugh at the sight, making Octavia turn the glare towards her. "What? I didn't do it, but that doesn't mean I can't find it funny!"

Octavia rolled her eyes. "Yes, just like how it wasn't you who put itching powder in my shampoo, or it wasn't you who unscrewed the salt lid before I used it, or how you claim to have not even been around when I find out that someone placed coat dye in the soap."

"Hey, that last one was an accident, and you know it!"

"Regardless, go out there right now and-" Octavia looked back out the window, but noticed that the flower wasn't there anymore. "...get... your...."

Vinyl looked and noticed the lack of a dancing flower, as well. "Huh. Weird." She then turned to Octavia. "See? I told you I was innocent!"

Octavia looked back and forth between the window and her roommate. "I don't- But-" She sighed. "Okay, perhaps I was a bit quick to judge."

After a moment, Vinyl leaned forward. "Aaaand?"

"...and what?"

"Are you going to apologize?"

"Vinyl, you still owe me several apologies for other things you've done."

"Name one."

"Remember that time you managed to shatter all the windows in the house with your speakers?"

"...name five."

"There was-"

Suddenly, they heard some faint screaming coming from outside.

"...was that-"

At that moment, a metal ball crashed through the kitchen window, revealing itself to be the source of the screaming. At the same time, Octavia and Vinyl started screaming, which caused the ball to scream even more as its single blue eye flicked back and forth between the two ponies, causing a feedback loop of screaming and terror.

In other words, a typical Ponyville event.

Eventually, the screaming died down, and the ponies looked at the ball, worried and scared expressions on their faces.

"Uh, sorry about that," the ball said. "Small accident while moving around."

Vinyl took the time to look out the smashed window, where she saw a rather portly bipedal figure leaning out of an equally shattered window in the house next to them.

Upon seeing her, the figure waved. "Apologies for the damages, but could you please return the talking metal ball?"

Not really thinking, Vinyl picked up the ball with her magic and brought it through both windows, where the biped grabbed it out of her magic. "Thanks!" the ball said on its way back.

Once both of them disappeared into their own house, both Vinyl and Octavia looked at the pieces of glass on the floor.

"Vinyl?"

"Yes, Octavia?"

"Did that just happen?"

"Yeah."

"..."

"..."

"...should we be worried?"

"..." Vinyl shrugged. "Probably."

"Oh, just kiss already, you two!"

Both ponies let out yelps as they turned to the voice, which belonged to the same dancing flower they had seen earlier.

Octavia was the first to speak after the silence. "Y- you can-"

"Holy shit a talking flower!" Vinyl blurted out.

Octavia just looked at her friend, before turning back to the flower. "...are you with the metal ball and whatever it was that took him back?"

The flower rolled his eyes. "Yeah, I'm stuck with those idiots." Suddenly, his face lit up. "Hey, maybe I could stay with you two? You seem a lot less annoying than that other bunch." His face briefly twisted into a mildly demonic visage. "But that's not saying much."

Suddenly, he was picked up in Vinyl's magic. "What-"

"Nope nope nope nope get out," Vinyl quickly said, throwing the flower, pot and all, into the other house, where she heard it hit someone, but she didn't care enough to check as she stormed out of the room, muttering about "damn demon flowers".

Now alone in the kitchen, Octavia could only bring herself to do a reevaluation of her entire life up to that point.

Maybe she should not have gone to Ponyville. Her parents were right, it is indeed a silly place.

Associates Associating Associative Associatives

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Twilight smiled to herself, levitating a stack of papers in her magic as she walked down the street. After a few hours of hard thought and work, she had finally come up with an adequate idea to help her new charges with.

Spike then immediately spotted a massive flaw with that idea just as he got back, however, so instead she fell back on an old classic technique, which was in no way chosen due to a stress-induced sudden de-shelving of the library happening to end with an open book for Basic Psychology open right in front of her.

That would be silly.

Making sure everything was in order, Twilight took a deep breath as she reached the front door of the target house, and she knocked. It wasn't long before the door swung open, a grumpy Chrysalis standing there.

"What do you want?" she asked.

"I'm here to help you all become better people!" Twilight said.

Chrysalis slammed the door in her face.

Undeterred, Twilight simply teleported into the house next to the changeling, which in retrospect she should've been expecting.

"Alright, everyone," Twilight called out to the house, "to the kitchen! Friendship business!"

Chrysalis just groaned as she went and took the first seat at the table. Shortly after, Wheatley glided in on the house rail.

"Okay, okay, I'm here!" he said, his voice hiding an undercurrent of mild excitement.

Next to arrive was Flowey, who pulled himself up onto the table. Oddly, he had a smile on his face, a fact that didn't go unnoticed by Chrysalis.

"Why are you in such a good mood?"

"Oh, just meeting the neighbors," he said. "I said hello, and they threw me outside. I like them already!"

Finally, Eggman arrived at the table and took a seat, followed shortly by Jacket. Once they were seated, everyone looked to Twilight, who cleared her throat as she brought her papers up to her face.

"So, in order to properly rehabilitate all of you, I decided the best place to start would be a simple exercise."

"Eggy here could use some of that," Flowey piped up.

"Hey!"

Twilight ignored them. "So, I am going to say a word, and point at one of you. Whoever I point to, you say the first related word that pops into your head. That sound good?"

A chorus of "No" met her, along with a solitary "Not at all, really" from Wheatley.

"Great!" Twilight said, faking enthusiasm. She flipped to a certain paper, while putting aside another one to write down notes on. "Alright, first word is..."

She pointed a hoof at Flowey. "Smiles."

"Trash."

Twilight made a quick note, before continuing, pointing to Wheatley. "Apple."

"Apple."

Twilight started writing something down, then abruptly stopped. "Uh, Wheatley? You do know how this works, right?"

"Yeah, of course," Wheatley said. "You say a word, I say the first word that pops in my head, classic psychology trick."

The room remained silent as everyone stared at Wheately. "What?"

"You're supposed to say something different, you idiot," Flowey said, barely suppressing a smile.

The sphere shot the flower a glare, but said nothing to him. "Okay, okay, give me another."

"...cube."

Wheatley said nothing.

As Wheatley continued to say nothing, Twilight looked up, worriedly, to see him still staring at her. "Uh-"

"Button," Wheatley finally said.

The room remained silent, before Twilight wordlessly added more to her notes, and then pointed to Jacket. "Armor."

"Bulldozer."

Twilight arched an eyebrow, but said nothing.

Next up was Chrysalis. "Ponies."

"Annoying."

More notes. Pointing to Eggman.

"Chaos."

"Emeralds."

This continued for some time, each member of the house giving varying answers, and all of them very clearly disinterested with the entire exercise. Still, Twilight made sure to take diligent notes, and even had to use the back of her writing paper to fit everything in.

Eventually, though, she ran out of words, and upon telling them that, she could feel the sigh of relief from them. It had taken an hour, but finally the nightmare of seemingly endless words was over.

Chrysalis was the first to speak as Twilight started gathering her papers together again. "Question."

"Yes, Chrysalis?"

"If I cannot disguise myself and obtain love from ponies, how am I supposed to eat?"

Flowey looked at the changeling. "You eat...?" he muttered under his breath.

"Uh..." Twilight, having no answers, looked into the fridge. She found it to be fully stocked, along with one of the compartments being almost completely filled with what looked like blood bags, but filled with a strange pink liquid. A note on top of them said "For the bug".

"Um... try this?" Twilight said, levitating one of the bags over to Chrysalis, who accepted it into her own magic. After looking at the bag for a moment, unamused, Twilight also levitated over a straw from one of the cabinets, smiling sheepishly. This, too, was accepted by Chrysalis, and she stuck the straw in the bag before taking a drink. After a moment of licking her lips, she nodded.

"This will work."

"Well, if none of you need anything else, I guess I'll be going then."

With that, Twilight finished packing up her things and left through the front door, leaving the residents alone again.

"How long do you think before she gives up?" Eggman asked.

"Two-" Click. "Weeks."

"Gotta be honest, I give 'er just one week," Wheatley said, almost sadly.

"I hope it's tomorrow," Chrysalis added, still sucking on her love bag.

Flowey stayed silent, however, as he had moved to a nearby window to look out at the town around them. Part of him highly doubted it, but maybe he could still reset, if he just...

















Nope, that wasn't working.