Like a Flower to the World

by Loganberry

First published

Newcomer Verdant Plateau is happy enough eating daisies. Pinkie Pie has other ideas.

Verdant Plateau, new to the neighbourhood, has heard plenty of tales of Pinkie Pie and her extraordinary efforts to welcome newcomers to Ponyville. That's why she's currently eating tiny flowers in a field outside town.

A revised and expanded version of "And Thou No Breath at All", an entry from the December 2015 Writeoff.

Now has a reading by Feral!

The Quiet Shadows Falling

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As Verdant Plateau gulped down her seventh daisy of the day, she became aware of the curious cloud that had obscured the noonday sun. Its shadow wandered and weaved, bobbed and bounced, swayed and swerved. Verdant swallowed again, but this time all that slid down her gullet was a sticky, sickly mixture of saliva and dread.

The shadow moved in for the kill.

“Hellooo! I haven’t seen you around before! You’re new in Ponyville, huh? Well? Are ya?”

Verdant nodded awkwardly, spotting as she did so an eighth daisy sheltering beneath a particularly expansive dandelion leaf. She reached out with a gentle, ginger forehoof to touch it and feel its delicate petals for just a moment, then craned her neck and used her teeth to pluck it smoothly from its hiding place.

“Aw, just boring old flowers? How do you feel about cake?”

A thrush called in a nearby tree. Verdant sucked the new daisy into her mouth, then listened with rapt attention, ears up and head down. There was a sudden commotion in the branches and she looked up reflexively. The bird took off, wings beating smoothly, almost lazily, as it disappeared southward.

“What’s your name?”

Verdant slowly raised her head and was confronted by one of Pinkie Pie’s heartfelt smiles of welcome. Teeth. So many teeth. She shuddered, wishing she shared the songbird’s ability.

“Mmm?” Pinkie batted her eyelashes at Verdant in a way that she found more than faintly disturbing.

The other mare cringed. There was nothing else for it. “Verdant Plateau. I was a language student in Fillydelphia, and now I’m taking a year off.”

“Oh, wow, that’s such a nice name! And it fits so well with your super-amazing coat! I don’t think I know another Verdant, which is odd because I know everypony around here and you’d think there’d be another one in a town like this although I guess Ponyville isn’t a very large town and— oh! I’m Pinkie Pie! And I just know you’re going to love—”

Verdant gulped down the daisy and was immediately seized by a fit of coughing. Her eyes bulged and rolled in her face; her long auburn mane flopped and flashed in the sunlight; spittle flecked the teeth and gums of her wide-open mouth. In seconds, Pinkie was with her, thumping her hard on the back. Verdant stopped coughing and rolled away hurriedly.

“Thanks, Pinkie Pie.” She got unsteadily to her hooves.

“Oh, it was nothin’. But now you owe me for it!” An avaricious light flashed in Pinkie’s eyes.

Verdant sighed and reached for her saddlebags, but her hoof was quickly swatted away.

“Don’t be silly, silly! What would I want bits for? All you have to do is to come to the bakery at six o’clock tonight. You know Sugar Cube Corner, right?” Verdant nodded unwillingly. “Make sure you come to the back door — it’s a little boring on the outside, but it’s what’s inside that counts! Be there or be an éclair! And ooh, that reminds me...”


“See ya later – gotta cater!” Pinkie bounced off, whistling a cheerful three-part harmony. Verdant sighed again, returning her attention to the daisies.

* * *

On her third attempt, Verdant finally managed to make it all the way to the bakery’s small and rarely used back door. She knocked once, softly, and listened.


She exhaled and turned away, the ghost of a smile playing on her lips, but found her forehoof reaching out again. She rested it against the surprisingly unadorned brown wood for a few moments. Then she sucked at her teeth and knocked a little louder, giving two brief raps.


This time, only Verdant’s head turned away. Her hoof remained resting against the door, feeling its small depressions and cracks. She gathered herself for one last attempt, weighing in her mind just how hard she really wanted to knock. Eventually, she pulled back her foreleg and, winding herself up for a solid blow— she let the hoof drop.

I have an invitation, after all, she reasoned, and pushed at the door.

It yielded and opened smoothly: there was no scrape or creak, and — oh, what joy — no bell to tingle at the young mare’s passing beneath, but simply the sudden rush to her nostrils of a hundred captivating confections. She closed her eyes tight, but that only made the scents even harder to ignore. Opening them again and taking a deep, broken breath, she entered, leaving the door ajar behind her.

The long hallway was dark and shadowy. A cool breeze filtered in from somewhere above and there was a faint bubbling sound in the distance. There was another door at the end of the passage; this one was firmly shut. After a quick glance over her shoulder, Verdant approached it warily. She reached out to turn the knob, but once more she abruptly dropped her hoof. She bent down to listen.


Muffled and distant behind her, the Town Hall clock chimed six times. She waited for the echoes to die away.


Well, she’d kept her part of the bargain by coming when she’d been told. If nopony else had, that was their problem. Letting out the stale lungful that she hadn’t realised she’d been holding, Verdant turned to leave, relief flooding through her as she stepped—

Pinkie Pie was leaning easily against the painted wall of the hallway, silent and still. She was munching on the remains of a small white flower. A daisy, it looked like.

“You!” Verdant straightened up suddenly. “You startled me! I didn’t know you were even here!”

Pinkie swallowed her snack in one quick gulp and beamed. “Then you, Verdant Plateau, have your head screwed on right.”

“I do?”

Pinkie put a hoof to her temple. “Or was it left?” Her smile wavered for a fraction of a second, then returned in full force.

“Are... are you here to throw me a party?” ventured Verdant.

Pinkie raised an eyebrow. “A party?”

“Isn’t that what you do to new ponies in town?”

“I most certainly do not!” There was sudden, startling weight behind Pinkie’s words, and Verdant took half a step backwards. “That wouldn’t be very friendly!”

“Then what—”

Pinkie Pie pulled herself up to her full height and cleared her throat as though preparing to issue a proclamation. “I do things for new ponies, and I do things with new ponies, and sometimes if they’re pegasi I do things under new ponies. Doing things to new ponies isn’t very friendly, and being a Pinkie Pie means being friendly to everypony.”

Verdant’s brow furrowed. “A Pinkie Pie?”

Pinkie waved a hoof dismissively. “Eh, it’s kind of quantum. Please don’t tell Twilight or she might want to take a look at it and then it might disappear, and I don’t want it to disappear because it is me, and me needs to be here!”

You never really stop being a language student; Verdant couldn’t resist correcting Pinkie. “I need to be here.”

A fraction of a second later, as she realised what she’d done, Verdant braced herself for the inevitable, terrifying hug. It never came. Pinkie was still propped up against the wall, munching steadily on another daisy.

Where did she get that?

“So, Verdant Plateau,” said Pinkie, leaning forward with a neck that seemed made of rubber as she swallowed her latest snack, “did you like your Patent Pinkie Pie Preception Party?”

“Um, what?”

“Preception Party! It’s kinda like a reception party, except that it always comes first!”

“And this was it? Just now?” Verdant’s brow furrowed once more.

Pinkie nodded and smiled. Not a grin, not a smirk, not a beam or a simper. Just a smile.

Verdant started to turn for the door, her face now wearing a remarkably similar smile.

“Yes,” she said.