You Only Fail Twice

by Charles Rocketboy

First published

To fulfil her cutie mark, Twist has to face her greatest obstacle: Twist herself. (Also an explosion)

Twist's special talent and passion is making yummy sweet things, and Pinkie Pie has taken her on as an apprentice. And everything is going to be fine. Everything is going to be fine. Twist is not a bundle of nerves and low self-esteem, nope no nein.


You Only Fail Twice

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Twist knew beyond the shadow of a doubt where her future lay. She was going to bake yummy sweets and cookies and stuff. It was her calling, her passion. She had a mark on her side of two peppermint sticks and everything. The future was bright, the future was chocolate oranges.

The fact she didn’t know how to bake many things was a bit of a snag, but Pinkie Pie had agreed to take her as an apprentice. And it was going to go well. It was going to go well.

“You’re here! Yay!” Pinkie bounced around Sugarcube Corner’s kitchen like a frog on acid. “Today we’re gonna bake a chocolate cake! And then we’re gonna eat the chocolate cake but only half of it, and I’m gonna take a photo and send it to Twilight and go ‘nya nya, we can have cakes and eat them!’”

Twist thought this through, gave up, and said “Okie dokie lokie?”.

Nodnodnodnodnod. “Okie dokie lokie!”

The ingredients were laid out before her, vast and edible. Twist knew how to bake little sweets and Pinkie had got her started on cupcakes, but this – this was the real thing. There was a cherry for the top and everything. This was going to be complicated, just like the big fillies did it. And it was going to work.

And it was going to work.


Well, part of the shell had gone in when she’d broken the eggs but she thought she’d got it all out, and melting the chocolate had gone fine, and she might have put in 50% more cream than she’d been supposed to but that might work out fine, and she’d only got cake mixture on her left lens (and the floor) when beating it, and she’d dropped the spoon about twelve times as things had gone on and oh Celestia she was breathing funny again—

“Slooooooowwwwwwww dooooooowwwwwnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn,” droned Pinkie Pie, shaking Twist (very slowly) by the shoulder. “Remember, baking isn’t a race! It’s baking! That’s why we don’t have those funny shirts with the numbers on. (Hmmm, maybe we should.) Slow and steady wins the not-race-baking-thing!”

“I’m fine, Mith Pinkie, I’m fine, really, honetht,” lied Twist, in between gasps of heeehhhh. “Thith ith going to be the betht cake ever.”

“Silly filly, you’re still in training – you don’t have to be the best yet! Otherwise there’s nothing for me to do, unless you were making me your apprentice and—“ (she went on like this for twenty seconds) “—now do you want to try cooking it? I’ll let you use the oven this time!”

Ah. Right. The thing with the many settings that her mother told her Do Not Touch. Yes, fine, this will work, honest.

“Just remember not to have it too high or too low!”

“Yeth Mith Pinkie,” said Twist, putting on a brave face and putting the Schmooze-esque lump of cooking detritus in the oven. She grabbed the dial, turned it to what she thought was the best setting—


Smoke rose above Sugarcube Corner and it rained chocolate twenty blocks away.


After Twist had been pulled from the slop and the colts with the hazmat suits and mops had salvaged the kitchen and Twilight Sparkle had informed the town that Discord hadn’t escaped again, Pinkie said “I think that could have gone a teeny bit better”.

Twist looked at the floor. “I’m thorry. I, I thought that--” She trailed off, too embarrassed to carry on.

“Don’t worry about it. We’ll try again tomorrow!”

“Oh.” She forced a smile. A bad one. “That’th, that’th good. Um. I’ll go home now…”


The next day, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon came to offer their understanding and moral support.

“Maybe your cutie mark should be a big meth, right Twit?”

Twist walked a little faster to Sugarcube Corner. The other fillies also walked a little faster.

“No, Silver, she’s got the best cutie mark,” sneered Diamond Tiara. “Two peppermint thticks is the only thing she can cook!”

“Go away,” muttered Twist.

“It is, isn’t it? Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Isn’t—“


“Oooo, cupcaketh, I’m tho imprethed!” Diamond Tiara blew a raspberry. “Did Pinkie Pie have to do it for you?”

“She’th mentoring me,” said Twist, quiet and beaten.

Silver Spoon couldn’t think of a way to turn to turn that into an insult, so she said: “Maybe your cutie mark should’ve been a great big ‘lost’ sign!” Diamond looked confused, so she added: “Because she’s a loser.”

“Ohhh, right. Oh, no, you mean a lother!”

There was a roar of thunder and the heavens pissed all over the two bullies.

“Sorry, had an accident!” called out Rainbow Dash. Rainbow Dash who was hovering over two small, strategically placed rain clouds.

The duo scowled and squelched off, Diamond saying “I’m gonna tell my dad on her” (but only when out of soaking range). Twist watched them go, torn between feeling glad and feeling embarrassed that she’d needed help. Again. Maybe she really was a loser.

She probably was a loser.

She was definitely a loser.

“You off to Pinkie’s?” asked Rainbow Dash.



Twist took the long way home, so her parents would be out when she got back and wouldn’t ask why she was home so early. If they knew why, they might scold her for giving up or give her a pep talk or something. She couldn’t take that, more people thinking she was rubbish. Even though she was rubbish.

She’d known she wouldn’t be able to bake that cake and if she couldn’t do that, how was she ever going to follow her mark? Maybe she’d got the wrong one. Really, when had she ever been good at doing anything that wasn’t related to schoolwork? (Making little sweets didn’t count, everyone could probably do that. She wasn’t even good at them, really. She couldn’t do them at all.) Games, school dances, crafts, everyone could do those better. Everyone could see it.

That was why most foals didn’t want to talk to her.

Yeah, they were all right. Loser. Lother.

She got home and went in, eyes on the ground, and decided SURPRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISE what a minute, what?

“When you didn’t come to Sugarcube, I decided to come here!” said Pinkie Pie, who for no discernable reason was sitting in the hallway staring at the door. “Your parents said I could make myself at home but then said they’d changed their minds after I tried to make your house look like a cake but anyway!”

“I. I. I.”

“Now, come on, let’s make that cake!

“B-B-But Mith Pinkie, the latht time, it… I’ll jutht meth it up again!”

Pinkie patted her on the head. “You got it wrong last time but that just means you know what not to do this time! It’ll be better this time, I pinkie promise!”


This time, the kitchen was also a mess and the resulting slumped black thing tasted like a pile of butts and Twist burst into tears.

“I knew I knew I knew I’d meth it up I can’t bake at all I’m jutht a lother everyone’th right I’ll never be any good—“

Pinkie poured a sack of flour over herself.

Twist meant to keep crying but it’s very hard to do that when someone pours a sack of flour over themselves.

“So it does work with everyone,” said Pinkie to herself, before turning back to the foal. “Now don’t be a silly filly, Twisty! If you can’t bake it all, how could you bake all those things you did bake? You don’t have an identical twin also called Twist! You don’t have an identical twin also called Twist, right?”

“N-No, Mith Pinkie, but thothe are only little thingth—“

“And you’re only a little pony! And I bet there’s lots of other little ponies and even big ponies who can’t even bake cupcakes!” Pinkie leaned in close and whispered “Twilight told me that when Celestia tried, she burned them.”

That, Twist had not expected. “R-Really?”

“Anyway, everyone makes a mess when they learn something new because we don’t know what we’re doing yet! The first time I tried to play fifteen instruments at once, my forelegs got tired and I dropped them! You’re a smarty pants, you didn’t expect to be good first time, right?”

“No, but…” Twist tried to find a way to sum up her fears of failure and disappointment, how she couldn’t do things everyone else could and she was mocked for it, the secret terror that the bullies must be right in some way or it wouldn’t happen to her. “What if I’m jutht not any good like everyone thayth?”

“And can this everyone bake cupcakes, huh? Huh? Huh? Huh? What are they good at? Actually, doesn’t matter what they’re good at because even if they were so good at making cupcakes that they were turning into a cupcake, they shouldn’t be trying to make you stop trying because that’s being a meanypants jerkface! I hereby name that person Meanypants Jerkface! (What was I talking about? Oh yeah!) If you weren’t ever gonna be any good, why’d I have agreed to take you as an apprentice?”

“Why did you?” asked Twist.

“Duh! Because your mum asked and then she gave me one of your candy canes as proof of concept and I ate it and mmmmmmm! And I can prove I’m not lying, watch:” Pinkie coughed. “I pinkie promise I’m not lying, cross my heart hope to die stick a cupcake in – my – eye. Ahem. Because your mum asked and then she gave me one of your candy canes as proof of concept and I ate it and mmmmmmm!

Pinkie Pie really did think Twist could be good. Something stirred in Twist’s heart and that something was fear of disappointing her, but something else stirred and that was pride. And a third thing stirred, and it was a memory of Diamond Tiara mocking her, and a fourth thing stirred and it was the thought Diamond Tiara’th a jerk anyway.

She gathered all her nerves and said: “Can we try the cake again?”


And on the next day of school, Twist came in with a lunchbox full of slices of cake and gave them out to random ponies. Word got around that Twist was giving our cake and it tasted pretty darn good.

And then, Twist said (very loudly) “I heard Diamond Tiara and Thilver Thpoon are going to make cupcaketh for everyone.”

The day after that, a desperate Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon came in with burnt pieces of slag and when Featherweight ate one he was almost sick.

Win, thought Twist.