It’s a beautiful day in Ponyville. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, there are foals playing around the nearby fields, and a yellow pegasus with a long pink mane is walking through the town on her way to Sugarcube Corner with a cute pink saddlebag on her side.
Today is National Pecan Cookie Day, and that, of course, means that Pinkie Pie is throwing a National Pecan Cookie Day Party. The pink mare would always try to find the smallest reasons to throw a party, but eventually her five best friends convince her to lay off them and not have them every single day. Although she definitely goes all out if it’s one of her close friends' birthdays, she does manage to keep her other parties relatively small, including this one today.
Fluttershy had received the invitation yesterday through Pinkie’s alligator friend, Gummy, and she quickly wrote Pinkie an RSVP and gave it to the messenger. She had been preparing all morning for the party, taking a bath, doing her mane, feeding her animal friends, and doing her other chores for the day so that she would have time to be at Pinkie’s party and see all of her friends.
It was almost noontime which was the time the party was supposed to start, although Fluttershy knew that while she, Twilight Sparkle, and Applejack would definitely be early if not exactly on time, Rainbow Dash and Rarity would almost certainly be late. Rainbow Dash would most likely be taking a nap and lose track of time, while Rarity would spend Celestia knows how long on her mane and makeup and claim that she was being fashionably late. Pinkie never started the party until everypony got there, so it would probably start slightly later than noon, depending on when the last pony got to the sweets shop.
After a few minutes, Fluttershy’s destination came into view, but as she started to get close she saw a few birds flying down to meet her. As they landed, Fluttershy took notice of the alarmed expressions they all bore on their faces, and even more of the alarmed tweeting they spoke with.
Fluttershy bent down to be eye level with the frightened creatures. “What’s wrong, little friends?” A few seconds of peeping later she gasped and recoiled slightly. “What? Kiwi the pigeon is too sick and too weak to fly?” Her question was answered with nods. “Oh dear,” she said worriedly, before spreading her wings and preparing to take off, “well, please lead the way then.”
The birds had led the pegasus pony to a small nest in an oak tree a little ways out of town. When she landed in the tree she indeed saw her friend Kiwi sprawled out and resting on the straw floor of her home. After a quick analysis in which Fluttershy tried to find the cause for illness, then a prognosis, and then a way to break a terrifying piece of news to the rest of the neighboring birds. One that she could barely handle without breaking down in tears.
She emerged from the tree leaves and landed on the ground with her head hung low and a large frown on her face. The other birds in the area flew down hesitantly, looking at each other as their pegasus friend both held back her tears and braced for the explanation.
“Um, attention every, uh, bird,” she started, the dam of tears behind her eyes preparing to break, “I-I’m afraid that I have some v-very s-s-sad news,” she sniffled before she broke down, whaling, ‘I’M SORRY, BUT THERE”S NOTHING I CAN DO FOR HER!”
She then rolled herself into a ball, still on the ground except for the huge intakes of air that she was getting. It was always very hard on her to see one of her dear animal friends have to go into the great beyond, but this one seemed harder for her. Kiwi was among the first of the animals to meet her after she fell from Cloudsdale and got her cutie mark, so they had always had a particularly close connection with one another. Kiwi had also introduced her to other birds that would become Fluttershy’s friends, and they introduced her to more friends, and so on. She knew all of the birds that surrounded her to hear her news.
After a minute or two of trying to stop herself from crying and to steady her breathing, she looked up to prepare to comfort her bird friends, expecting to see them distraught over the news of their old friend dying. Instead she saw them huddled together a few yards away, tweeting in soft voices to each other. Curious, Fluttershy looked closer and saw that a younger pigeon she knew named Charlie was the leading voice. The huddle almost reminded her of something she saw in one of Rainbow’s hoofball games, where the team would get together and discuss a plan before each play.
A minute later, there were nods all around, and Charlie stepped forward to speak directly to the timid mare. She leaned an ear toward him and he started to chirp quietly.
“You know somepony who can help Kiwi?” Fluttershy asked, hope brightening her face, and even more hope came when Charlie nodded in affirmation, before chirping a few more times. As Fluttershy listened, she seemed to get more and more confused at what her friend was telling her. When he finished, she tilted her head slightly and asked. “Who’s Pigeon Mare?”
Fluttershy took one last look around as she approached a rather shabby-looking two story building less than a block away from her original location. “This has to be the place,” the mare thought to herself, recalling the description of the building.
Unlike most of the other structures, this one had a square roof made of stone, and it was colored a dull shade of green, contrasting with the bright colors around it. Frankly, these characteristics of the building made the pegasus scared of it, as it gave her feelings of fear, doubt, and even more fear.
Fluttershy suddenly heard coughing coming from her saddlebag, and when she turned her head she observed her sick friend struggling to breathe for a few seconds before he stood still again save for the movement of her chest up and down for heavy breathing. Any feeling of fear that may have been in Fluttershy at the moment was quickly broken down by her concern for Kiwi, and she took a deep breath and took off into the air toward the roof of the building.
She landed on the ledge of the structure’s roof and gazed around. There were plenty of bird cages and other forms of bird houses, which seem to have attracted at least a half a dozen pigeons, and there was a brown bag full of seed in the corner.
“Hello,” Fluttershy called out in a volume that is just above a normal pony whisper, “anypony home?” She waited a little bit before she heard a noise coming from the roof access door. The sounds made Fluttershy get spooked and so she decided to hide behind the seed in the corner. From this position she hears the door open several seconds later and then hoofsteps seeming to be pacing around the whole rooftop.
Fluttershy decided to risk exposing herself by taking a peak. She saw a figure with a brown cloak with a hood, hiding all of her face and most of her body, and the only thing she could make out about the mysterious form for sure was a brown tail. The hooded shape quietly looked around for a minute, trying to find where they heard the voice from, and as she did she saw some pigeons landing next to the hidden figure and looked up to her with interest. Retreating her line of sight backwards behind the bag again, Fluttershy was beginning to wonder if she should reveal herself to them, but a voice called out before she could make a decision.
“Is somepony up here?” a calm and monotone voice asked, reminding the hiding pegasus of Maud Pie. Fluttershy assumed the figure was trying to speak to whoever was hiding, but a pigeon flew over to them before flying directly to the top of the bag, looking down to her, and crying out. “It’s alright, you can come out if you like.”
Fluttershy hesitated for only a second, deciding her options, before deciding to listen and slowly come out from behind the seed bag. As she stood shaking slightly in front of the enigmatic waiting for a reaction, she decided to break tradition and introduce herself first.
“Um…hello. I-I’m Fluttershy,” she mumbled, staring at the roof and digging at the ground. A long moment of silence followed between the two of them as one was staring at the other waiting for more while the other was trying to stare at anything else. “Uh, do y-you happen to know the P-P-Pigeon Mare...by chance?”
Finally, the individual opposite Fluttershy took their hood off and the yellow pegasus got her first look at their face. It was a pegasus mare with a pale blue coat and a brown mane to match her tail. She stared at Fluttershy with dull, orange, emotionless eyes which then changed their direction of focus to the side of the animal caretaker to the saddlebag.
Fluttershy’s eyes widened as the mare trotted toward her side and looked at her, signaling her to open the bag, which she did with her wing. It revealed the weak Kiwi with her wings out and midsection exposed, her chest moving in rhythm with her hard breathing. Fluttershy was impressed by the mare’s deduction skills, almost seeming like she could sense the presence of a pigeon in need coming from her bag, and even though her dull eyes weren’t filling up with tears as Fluttershy’s had,they still held a slight tone of worry in them.
Ever so slowly, and with such care that it almost made Fluttershy jealous, the Pigeon Mare lifted Kiwi up and brought her over to a small basket of newspaper, laying her down in the print, and examining her.
After a few moments of sitting in silence while watching the blue mare, Fluttershy stood up and looked over her shoulder. “Uh, s-so can you help her?” she asked in her whispered voice.
Pigeon Mare turned around and nodded slowly. “Leave her with me overnight and come back in the morning.” Despite her voice seeming hushed and emotionless, it held an air of kindness and care that made Fluttershy want to trust her a lot more, which was a huge accomplishment considering she barely talked to new ponies the first time they met, let alone placed any sort of trust in them.
Fluttershy nodded, mumbled a thanks with a small smile to compliment her gratitude, and then flew off the roof, leaving her pigeon friend alone with an unknown stranger.
“Wow, I never thought I’d do something like that,” Fluttershy thought as she landed outside of the building before she looked at the belltower and saw the time. “12:20? Oh No! I’m late for Pinkie’s Party!”
She jumped up and flew as fast as she could toward the party at Sugarcube Corner.
“Where the hay is Fluttershy?”
All the rest of the guests had arrived at the party at least moderately on time, and were waiting for Pinkie to start the party. There were cupcakes on the corner table, balloons of different colors hung all over the shop, and, most noticeably, a giant display table that contained nothin but pecan cookies. Most of the ponies were standing by this table eating cookies while Rainbow Dash paced impatiently out by the door.
“Ah’m sure she’ll be along any minute now, Rainbow Dash,” Applejack assured.
As if saying the magic words, when Rainbow turned back to look through the doorway, she saw her friend landing softly on the ground a few feet away from the doors and starting to trot into the party.
“Hello everypony,” she said, digging her hoof in the ground, “sorry I’m so late.”
“It’s ok, Flutters!” Pinkie Pie grinned from ear to ear, going over to the table and grabbing some cookies. “That just means we can start the party RIGHT NOW!”
Everypony cheered while raiding the cookie table, getting a few each and sitting down at a circular table on the side and began to talk to one another. Rainbow and Applejack about who could get more apples from flying or bucking, Twilight and Pinkie talking about the weather, and rarity telling Fluttershy about her new line of dresses she was planning to release in the following month. The caretaker pony was content to simply listen to her friends, as she liked to keep to herself and hear rather than speak, and especially when that pony was Rarity, who would talk for hours and hours and only ask her a few scattered questions, which she liked. It helped that Fluttershy was moderately interested in fashion, unlike something like magic or the Wonderbolts.
After a few moments of the idle chatter, Twilight turned to face Fluttershy. “So why were you so late to get here today?”
“Oh, well, you see, my dear friend Kiwi got very sick, and I went over to check up on her.”
“Oh dear,” Rarity gasped, “well I certainly hope everything is alright.”
Fluttershy sighed and shook her head, instantly alerting her friends and making them all concerned. “Well, she was too sick for my experience, so..well, um…”
The hesitation made her friends assume the worst. “Oh no, Fluttershy,” Rarity said, running over to wrap her in a tight hug, “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
“What? No, that’s not what I-”
Applejack stepped forward and took her stenson off as a sign of respect. “Fluttershy, Ah...Ah know what you’re going through, so if you need somepony to talk to you, Ah’d be happy to help you through this-”
“No, you don’t understand,” Fluttershy said from over her unicorn friend’s shoulder, still wrapped up in her hug, “she’s still alive.” The five ponies all simultaneously took a deep breath in relief as the yellow pegasus continued. “I just decided to bring her to a pony who seems to know a little bit more about it than I do is all.”
“Now what kind of pony could possibly know more than you?” Pinkie Pie asked with a silly smile.
“I went to a pony that my bird friends told me about,” she informed her friends, they called her the Pigeon Mare.”
Fluttershy yelped at the sudden chorus of loud voices following her revealing the mare in question’s identity. After she recovered Rainbow and Pinkie ran up to her, shocked.
“You mean you actually talked to her?” Rainbow Dash cried, “are you nuts?”
“Yeah, are you pecans?” Pinkie asked, breaking her serious tone for only a minute to giggle before her serious expression could return.
“Listen carefully, Fluttershy,” Rainbow Dash interrupted, grabbing her on her shoulders, “no matter what happens, do not, I repeat, do not ever go near to that mare again!”
“Who’s Pigeon Mare?”
Rainbow Dash looked mouth agape at Twilight. “Duh, she’s, like, the creepiest pony ever! I know you haven’t been here as long as the rest of us, but I can’t believe you haven’t at least heard of her under that big rock you live under.”
Twilight sighed and rolled her eyes, and replied sarcastically, “Yes, how silly of me. Could you, the all knowledgeable Rainbow Dash please bequeath unto me the information I hath surely been lacking?”
“Why, of course, my eggheaded servant,” Rainbow said, before starting her story in a tone as if she was telling a campfire story. “There’s a pony that lives in the scariest house in all of Ponyville, who never ever comes out. The only indication that anypony is there is the flocks of pigeons that go to see her everyday, her only friends or connection into the outside world.”
After the pegasus stopped the other ponies sat in silence waiting for her to continue. “That’s all?” Twilight asked after Rainbow gave no indication of continuing.
“Well, yeah. She’s really creepy, and I don’t trust ponies that are creepy.”
“Zecora,” Applejack said.
“Derpy Hooves,” Rarity stated.
“Pinkie Pie,” the pink party pony pointed out.
“Well, they aren’t that creepy, except Pinkie, but still, nopony has ever talked to her, so that’s plenty of reason to stay away.”
“But, Rainbow,” Fluttershy finally spoke up, “I talked to her a little when I dropped Kiwi off for her to take care of her, and she seemed like such a nice pony.”
Instead of being reassured, Rainbow gasped again. “You left the bird with her? Well, that’s it! She’s gone forever.”
“Rainbow Dash,” Fluttershy said sternly, surprising her friend, “you don’t know that about her, and for all you know she could be just a shy, lovely mare who wants to be left alone.”
Rainbow raised a hoof and was about to speak again when she froze and her expression turned into one of excitement.
“Wait,” she babbled with a wonderstruck look, “you’re saying you got to see the roof of her house from up close. Like, all of her bird equipment and, you know, her face.”
“Really! What does she look like?”
“Well, just like a normal pony, I suppose.”
“Really? Interesting…” Rainbow Dash sat back down at her spot at the table and stared into the distance, obviously thinking about something, which would be a first for her.
“Well, now that that’s out of the way,” Pinkie said cheerfully, oblivious to the awkwardness of just a moment earlier, “let’s get to the dancing.”
Pinkie ran over to the phonograph in the corner, popped in one of her many party records, and dropped the needle. All of the ponies got up to start dancing with each other, except for Rainbow who seemed to be in her own little world for a few more minutes before Applejack trotted up to her and asked if she wanted to dance, and rainbow accepted.
The best friends ate tons of cookies and listened to tons of records over the next few hours, doing it all. Conga lines, party games, whatever it is Twilight calls dancing, and lots and lots of cookies. All in the spirit of a typical party planned by Pinkie Pie.
Later that night after all the cookies vanished and the energy died down, the six friends decided it was time to head off. One by one, they all said goodbye to Pinkie Pie and walked out of the Sweets Shop, most of them tired, tummies full, and ready to go home for the rest of the day. Since Applejack, Fluttershy, and Rarity’s houses were in the same general area, they waved to Rainbow and Twilight and headed on their way.
Before they started trotting away, however, Fluttershy took one more look over her shoulder warily at the faded green house that she had previously paid no mind to, but now stuck out at her like a sore hoof. Her eyes landed on the roof specifically, as she watched several pigeons fluttering in the air and a few perched on the edge, pecking around.
“You okay, sugarcube?”
Fluttershy turned to see both of the ponies she was supposed to be walking home with staring at her, waiting for her to walk with them. Quickly, Fluttershy walked over to her two friends who walked beside her on their way to their respective houses.
“What was that about?” Applejack asked Fluttershy with a raised eyebrow.
“Oh, nothing,” Fluttershy responded, sinking lower to the ground at the attention from both mares on either side of her, “I’m just worried about poor Kiwi is all. I hope she gets better overnight.”
“Darling, I’m sure this ‘Pigeon Mare’ will have her fixed up in no time. It is in her name after all,” Rarity comforted.
Fluttershy turned once more to view the fading building in the distance, a small smile sprawled across her muzzle.
“I suppose you’re right.”
The next morning, Fluttershy got up bright and early at dawn as she usually did, a time Rainbow Dash wouldn’t even dream of waking up at. The reason for the early time being that some of her animal friends arose around that time, and she liked to get them all fed and ready for the day, and that’s exactly what she did.
However, she had another reason for getting up earlier than most of the rest of Ponyville this morning, and that was that she would be able to see how her friend had fared over the night. Ever since she had gotten back from her cottage, it was really the only thing she could think about before going to bed and drifting off into the dream realm since she no longer had a party to distract her.
After finishing her daily chores and freshening up, she flew out of her cottage and toward the town, but only went a little bit before landing and deciding to walk the rest of the way.
One of the things that set her apart from most pegasi was her love of the ground below and everything on it, and for that reason she half walked and half flew. She almost never flew above Ponyville because she knew that she would be missing out on such a beautiful town below.
She loved walking through the path in the morning because there weren’t a lot of ponies and the ones that were out were usually too busy preparing for their day to try to strike up a conversation with her. It wasn’t that she hated talking to the ponies of Ponyville or anything like that, but if she had to pick she would much prefer the sounds of tranquility in the early morning light.
That light shone on the edges of the battered old house that she soon came into the proximity of. When she got close enough she gracefully spread her wings and took flight to the rooftop.
She landed softly on the concrete surface, observing the top which was as it was yesterday when she first brought her ailing pigeon friend. Still all the cages, still all the bags of feed, and still the pigeons circling around the general area. The only difference between her landing this time and last time was she saw the fabled mare already there, and her hood was even down.
“Hi,” Fluttershy said softly, making the Pigeon Mare suddenly turn to face her. The mare nodded and went over to one of the cages, opened it, held out one of her hooves, and out came Kiwi. When Fluttershy saw her, she gasped in surprise and almost started crying, but not out of sadness, out of joy.
Fluttershy couldn’t even say anything, just simply reaching out her hooves to accept her feathered friend into a big hug. Finally, Fluttershy let the tears fall, relief washing over her. The day before, Fluttershy had called it quits, and thought that nothing could be done to save Kiwi, but here she was, flying and completely healthy again
After about a minute of hugging, Fluttershy once again acknowledged Pigeon Mare, saying “Thank you so very much.”
“No problem kid,” her calm voice said. She reached into the saddlebag she was wearing and took out several shiny red berries, stretching out her hoof to give them to Fluttershy. “Make sure to give these berries to Kiwi in the morning and at night, but wash them before you do.”
Fluttershy felt her eyes widen and her mouth drop open. “How did you know her name?”
Pigeon Mare turned and held out a hoof to a pigeon nearby, who rubbed it with its head. “I have a special connection with these beautiful creatures. I understand them in a way that most ponies can’t, and if what Kiwi said is correct, you do too.”
Fluttershy felt her cheeks blush at the observation, and she suddenly found a spot on the ground that seemed very interesting to dig at.
Pigeon Mare gave a little smile as she took in the image ahead of her, then turned around and got some seed, scattering the yellow food on the edge of the roof. As soon as she did, about a dozen of her namesake friends swooped down and started pecking away to their hearts’ desire.
Fluttershy watched in awe as the light blue pegasus seemed to be in complete harmony with the birds, moving among them, feeding them, communicating with them by simple head nods from her end and tweets and clicks from them. As she watched the other pegasus, Fluttershy began to wonder about this mysterious mare. “Why is she isolated from the other ponies? Why does she only have pigeons as friends? Did something happen to her?”
Fluttershy was dragged out of her thoughts by the other pony preparing to make her way toward the roof access door and reach for the doorknob.
“Wait,” Fluttershy shouted as loud as she could, which wasn’t very loud, “I d-don’t suppose you...want to go and g-get something to eat...would you?”
Fluttershy hid behind her mane as she waited for a response, fearing the answer she knew she would get from a completely isolated pony like the one on the roof with her. After a moment of silence, from both ponies and pigeons, Fluttershy peaked out of a parted bit of her pink hair, and tried to read the expression of Pigeon Mare. She was gazing back at her with an almost saddened expression, responding to the nervous question by seeming almost as nervous.
“No thank you,” Pigeon Mare responded quietly, “I’m not exactly comfortable around other ponies. I’d much rather stay here surrounded by my friends.”
Although her expression seemed almost the same as Fluttershy had seen in the past twenty four hours, there seemed to be a small twinge of sadness, and it made her even more curious. Normally Fluttershy would never try to take a pony out of their comfort zone, as the yellow pegasus had a pretty fragile one herself, and she would most certainly never want to make somepony uncomfortable by doing something they didn’t want to, but she felt that she needed a way to pay back the nice, yet slightly odd, pegasus
“Are you sure? We could just go down for a teeny bit and get some pizza if you like.”
The Pigeon Mare’s ears pricked up and she seemed to be somewhat enticed by the offer, but her insecurities were still holding her back from accepting.
“No thank you, Fluttershy, I just don’t really want to.”
“How did you-” Fluttershy began before out of the corner of her eye she saw Kiwi fly by and land on her shoulder, making her realize that a little birdie must have told Pigeon Mare. “But I want to make this up to you, and show you how much it means to me.”
“I have already seen how much it means to you. I’ve never seen a pony so kind and wonderful as you, and I only wish I had your confidence to be able to do what you and so many other ponies do.”
Fluttershy was taken aback by the words of her friend. “Wait, am I her friend?” She couldn’t believe that she had not only given Fluttershy a compliment, especially since it was the first positive thing she had told her, but that apparently she had more confidence than this pony. Anypony.
“Why do you not think that you have confidence?”
Pigeon Mare turned away with her eyes snapped shut. “I don’t really feel connected to society, I never really had. I just feel so different, and I feel like living with my friends is the only way I can feel happy.”
Fluttershy thought for a moment before her rebuttal came out, “Well, if you want we can just go to the pizza shop and sit down and talk for a bit if you like. Nopony will judge you or make fun of you, I promise.”
The other pegasus opened her eyes and stared uncertainly at Fluttershy, weighing her options almost. Fluttershy turned to the side slightly at the direct attention she was receiving, fearing the negative answer.
But not getting it.
Fluttershy perked up and smiled like when Rainbow implied that she wanted a pet that one time before she got Tank. “Really?!” she half asked, half exclaimed.
Pigeon Mare nodded slowly, although the sadness and anxiety remained. “Just promise me we’re just getting pizza and coming back.”
Fluttershy nodded, hoping to see some of that anxiety fade, and to her relief, it seemed to.
“Alright,” the blue mare muttered, “let’s go.”
Together, they took off into the air on their way. For Fluttershy, it was just a trip to get some pizza with a new friend as a thanks, nothing more. But for Pigeon Mare, well, it was something more.
Little did they know that two ponies were hiding behind some trash cans next to the green building in an alley, one was watching it with a waiting smirk, while the other was barely containing her excitement.
“There they go Pinkie,” the smirking one announced, magenta eyes following the two pegasi in the sky, “now we can go check this place out.”
“Why would we do that when we could start planning her Congratulations on Coming out into Public party?”
“Because, as much as that sounds so thrilling,” Rainbow rolled her eyes, “this is a better idea. We’ll just go up there and snoop around for a bit, see what we can find.”
“But why would we want to do that when we can just knock on the door and greet ourselves?”
“I don’t trust her. Nopony who spends that much time alone spread around those rats with wings-” Rainbow’s eyes lit up as she paused. “Don’t tell Fluttershy I called them that.” Pinkie nodded in confirmation. “Anyways, she can’t be trusted, and I think if we can see what goes on up there, especially since she’s gone for the first time in...ever, this is an opportunity we can’t pass up on. Now come on, I’ll fly you up there.”
“No thanks, Dashie.”
Rainbow stared bewildered as she wondered how her curly-haired friend would get up there without her. In response the pink pony pulled out four red balloons from under a trash can, pulled some strings out of her hair, blew the balloons up, and somehow tied them all to her back. She was lifted off the ground and hovered up to the roof before landing exactly in the center of it.
Rainbow Dash just watched her, shook her head, and followed suit, but with wings instead of balloons.
Fluttershy was really surprised at how well her new acquaintance was navigating the streets. Even though she was trying to avoid bumping into other ponies or making any sort of eye contact with them, she was masterfully moving down all the right paths, making the right turns, all without asking Fluttershy for directions or looking at street signs. Although she was still walking side by side Fluttershy, she still seemed to be able to correctly anticipate where they were going and not trail off.
They got to the pizzeria and Fluttershy trotted forward slightly to hold the door open for the pegasus. When she followed behind, Fluttershy noticed Pigeon Mare look at her surroundings. Since it was so early there weren’t too many ponies inside eating pizza, so there were plenty of open tables spread around the restaurant. There was a counter on one side of the building that had a window leading into the kitchen, with a pony standing and waiting to take orders.
Pigeon Mare seemed to scan the entire room before murmuring something and turning to Fluttershy, her eyes silently asking her to do the talking, which Fluttershy did. She walked up to a teenage colt manning the counter and placed her order, the pizza pony scratching down the order as she gave it. Then she gave him some bits, they thanked each other, and Fluttershy turned to Pigeon Mare, beckoning her to follow as they went to sit down at a table in the corner.
“You’ll love the pizza here,” Fluttershy insisted as they got settled, “this restaurant has the best pizza I’ve ever tasted.”
The mare turned to look at Fluttershy before silently examining her, as if debating telling Fluttershy something. “I know,” she finally said, “I used to go here a lot.”
“You did?” Fluttershy asked.
“Yeah. Me and my friends used to go here together a lot.”
This new information made Fluttershy even more curious about Pigeon Mare. “You lived in Ponyville?”
Pigeon Mare lowered her head and gave a dry chuckle before saying, “I guess it comes off as a bit of a surprise, but I wasn’t always the loner that you see before you.” She looked up toward Fluttershy, although she was looking off into her memories. “I was born and raised in Cloudsdale, but after Flight School I moved here to Ponyville to be part of the weather team. After a while I started to make friends with ponies, a shocker, I know, but I also found myself at peace with pigeons. After all of my weather duties I would either go and hang out with my pony friends or I would go and feed my pigeon friends, and after a while I found that I could communicate with them better. For a while, everything was great, and I loved my life in little old Ponyville, and I even found myself a coltfriend who loved me for who I was, or at least I thought he did. After a few months he started to distance himself from me and only strung me along, making me super confused until one day I caught him kissing another girl on a bench. When I asked him about it he denied it until eventually giving up and admitting he only wanted me for my looks, which looking back on it I really can’t deny. He never really cared about me or any of my problems, and almost never complimented me on anything except my flank. After that I decided that I no longer understand ponies, and I lost all hope in ponykind, and that my only true friends, ones that would like me for who I am and not anything else, were my pigeon friends. So I decided that I must live alone with them, never coming out of my house for anything, and only hearing news and getting supplies from my friends who cared enough to be with me no matter what.”
Pigeon Mare’s eyes held reflections of past bad luck, regret of everything she had done in the past, which seemed unfair to Fluttershy because she never asked for any of it to happen.
“Oh, Pigeon Mare,” she lamented, “I’m so sorry that had to happen to you.”
“It’s not your fault,” she said, before chuckling again, but it wasn’t in humor or amusement, instead being something almost dark and depressed, “and by the way, my real name is Sassaflash. I know nopony calls me that, but that was what all my friends used to call me.”
“Well, they still do, Sassaflash.” Pigeon Mare’s head turned sharply in surprise to look at Fluttershy across the table, who held a comforting smile on her face. “You don’t need to hide in your building alone anymore. There are so many wonderful friends to meet in Ponyville, and if you could be brave and go out into the world, then trust me, you would find some.” Fluttershy got up and hugged the mare she had taken out to pizza with, giving her a big hug. “You already have one.”
When she released her grip, she read Pigeon Mare’s expression as one of relief and almost happiness attempting to crack the stoic face. Before she could respond, the colt that took their order came out carrying the pizza with a smile. After Fluttershy thanked him and grabbed a slice, Pigeon Mare followed suit, took a bite of the slice, swallowing, and speaking again.
“Thank you kid, thank you.”
“See anything yet, Pinkie?”
The two mares had been trespassing on the roof for about ten minutes, looking around each corner and trying to find a sign of something suspicious.
“There’s something up here, I can feel it,” Rainbow Dash said to herself, lifting a cardboard box and looking under it. After finding nothing, she put it down before she looked toward another one, preparing to lift it up before she saw something on it. It was a pair of black binoculars, and a pretty good set too. Rainbow picked them up and looked through them, being able to see for miles around from the roof of the building.
“Hey Pinkie, check these out,” Rainbow said, tossing the pair to her pink friend as soon as she was ready. She put the binoculars to her eyes and saw what Rainbow had previously seen a moment ago, a big smile gracing her face, “Oh, these are great,” she said, moving to the right slightly to see past some buildings.
“Pinkie, look out for that-”
Too late. Pinkie felt her leg get caught on something, and she fell onto her back before she could react, but it wasn’t the only thing she fell on. A table was knocked over, and a cage went flying into another, and pandemonium soon began. Stuff got knocked over, equipment was all over the place, pigeons got scared and flew all over the place, and feathers erupted from their panicked forms.
Both Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie ran to avoid everything for about fifteen seconds before they looked at each other shocked and sent a message through their wide eyes: run, or fly, in Rainbow’s case. The pegasus took off, flying away as fast as possible, while Pinkie jumped off the roof, landing safely in a bush nearby.
Both of them immediately went into hiding, deciding to call it a day and do the rest of their activities indoors out of fear.
Fluttershy and Pigeon Mare had just got back to the building, both unaware of what had happened, but were soon about to see the results. They had a lovely time out in the restaurant, eating pizza, talking, and recounting stories about Ponyville before and after Pigeon Mare decided to exile herself. Fluttershy couldn’t remember the last time she had had such a pleasant day without one of her best friends, but it looks like today actually was just another pleasant day with one of her best friends. Her newest best friend. And it seemed perfect.
Until she and Pigeon Mare flew to the rooftop, that is.
Fluttershy landed next to her and gasped at the horrible sight in front of her. The first thing she noticed was laying right in front of her, a pair of shattered binoculars, but it was just the appetizer. Beyond them everything seemed to have been changed. Cages were busted and bent on the roof, seed was scattered everywhere, some of the perches were broken, and not a single bird remained.
“What?” Fluttershy asked aloud, “This is awful! Who did this?”
She turned to Pigeon Mare who slowly and sadly made her way toward the center of destruction, a void of any positive emotion following her.
“Ponies, Fluttershy,” she responded without turning around.
“We can rebuild the cages and sweep up,” Fluttershy encouraged, “The pigeons will come back.
“Of course they’ll come back. They’re birds. I trust them. I understand them. It’s ponies I don’t understand.” Her head lowered some more and a single tear fell out of her orange eye. She continued while facing away from Fluttershy still. “You see Fluttershy, it’s time for me to leave here. Someponies are meant to be with ponies, and others, like me, are just...different,” her voice sounded so defeated, and Fluttershy had to hold back tears that were appearing from both the thought of her new friend’s helplessness and departure. She tried to follow her and stop her.
“Pigeon Mare, wait! None of this would have happened if I hadn’t…”
“Fluttershy, don’t be sad,” Pigeon Mare turned to face the creamy yellow pegasus for the first time since landing on the roof, and it seemed to carry some hope, to Fluttershy’s surprise. “You’ve taught me that some ponies can be trusted, and I’ll never forget that.”
“Where will you go?” Fluttershy asked.
“Somewhere I can live in peace with my friends,” she said, pointing a hoof to some pigeons flying overhead to illustrate her point. “Don’t you see? I have a mission to help pigeons everywhere. Wherever there’s a bird in need of seed, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a helpless flock suffering some abuse like I did, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a pigeon with a weak wing or a broken beak, I’ll be there.” She started to walk away from the center of the roof and to the edge.
Pigeon Mare stopped at the end and turned to face her only friend, flashing her the only genuine smile Fluttershy had ever seen from the stoic mare. “I just hope there’s another Fluttershy where I go next,” she softly declared.
Just then, both mares looked up as the sound of flapping wings and tweets came from above, and in swooped dozens of gray pigeons, all landing at different points on the roof, but most of them landed next to the light blue mare. She spread her wings out and took off, all of the pigeons following suit, either flying in conjunction with or falling slightly behind their pony friend in the direction she was facing. Fluttershy saw them start to fade away, and she heard a voice calling out to her in a type of echo.
“Remember kid, always wash your berries before you eat them, and fly toward the sun.”
Fluttershy felt a pair of claws on her back, and she turned around to see one last pigeon, Kiwi, looking toward the mare who had helped her get better the night before. Fluttershy smiled despite a few tears rolling down her cheeks as she looked to the pegasus and pigeons slowly flying into the distance.
“Goodbye Pigeon Mare.”