What else can I do
to emphasize my title’s awesomeness
when I’ve already used the max font size and bold underlining?
Assisted by The Voices in His Head
Pre-read and edited by:
Derpy Hooves - Angel Bunny - Henry the Bear - Shakespeare1
Krastos the Glue Maker - Toa Lewa (Nuva)2 - Legato Bluesummers - A Lv. 87 Snorlax
Space Pirate #100343 - John Freeman - The BLU Pyro4 - Lyon of Grado
[Chapter Intro Images Pending Inevitable Popularity Peak]
Pen Stroke & Batty Gloom,
Everyone else who contributed to Past Sins,
And all the people who make up this crazy fanbase in general;
You guys and gals are amazing.
“Oh, what fun is there in making sense?”
Mind of Screw
Contingencies. Her master had been so smart. Such beautiful chaos. She needed to get it out. Purge. Expunge. That’s what he had said. No. It didn’t need to be said. It was innate in her creation. He planned well. Arrogance was bad. He took pride in it. This time he planned for it to kick in. Odd, why did chaos allow for plans? The first time he fell to it he had not been whole. If he’d have been imprisoned completely, he couldn't have seen all the things around him. Oh what horrible order was wrought upon the world after the first time! What insidious laws still remained!
She shuddered at the terrible memories she’d been blessed with. A shrill, staccato squawk echoed from the trees.
What was that? A bird? How pretty! She suddenly had an urge to find it. A new pet! No. There was a weight on her back. It was too heavy to run. She had to keep walking forward. No distractions. Chaos first. Such beautiful chaos. So many things out of order. Everything would flow and spew from nowhere into nothing and back again. She could simply sit back and let the ecstasy of insanity take hold. Like before. She wouldn’t have to concentrate any more. Bliss. Order your thoughts for a day, and your reward will be eternal. It hurt to order them. Things did not belong in their proper places. She had to focus. It hurt. It bored her.
She stepped off of the forest trail and into a clearing, where two others stood waiting. A statue she recognized sat between them. Both sets of eyes shimmered in greeting, each flickering through a sickening rainbow of colors in an unstopping volley of fluorescence.
How beautiful! Such gross strobes. And the skewed one wears them all the better! She could not wait for the madness to spread. Again. Third time’s a charm, he’d say. She had to focus on this task. Mind mustn't muse too long on one object. Don’t space out. Get him back. Let him out again. Such a terrible fate, stone. Quite lovely. It made her angry. Why would anypony be so cruel? Such disgust filled her. Bad, bad, bad. Focus. She didn’t want to keep him waiting.
It welled up in her. The chaos that had been put there, now stretching out toward its true host. It felt so good it hurt.
She sighed, pleasure overwhelming her as she stepped up to the statue’s base. The closer she got, the closer she was to releasing the energies. She quivered in anticipation, and dumped the weight from her back. The unconscious pony slumped to the ground, and the insane pink mare who had been carrying her jumped forward, embracing the cold stone of Discord.
“Here master! We are here! It’s almost time! Disorder will be soon! You two!” She whipped around. It was time. She pointed at the brown stallion, whose eyes were turned a pulsing rhythm of color. “Get the things set up. Are they set up?”
“They haven’t been.”
“Good. You.” She jumped over to the grey pegasus whose eyes blazed with brilliant lights. She gasped. They were asymmetrical as well! The combination was so breathtakingly beautiful that she wanted to kiss her; tackle her to the ground and endlessly ravish such a sweet, strong, scrumptious incarnation of insanity. No. Not now. That would be rude. The pegasus’s smile was lopsided. Such temptation. Too little time. She needed to focus.
“Good. You.” She repeated again, pointing at her winged pegasus companion repetitively. “Do you have the prisoner?”
“Then who does?”
“Do you!” She leaped upon the pegasus, unable to control herself. She stopped, lips halfway to the grey mare who laid splayed out, legs-up on the ground, when she heard a noise. It was the pony she had carried all the way here. She descended from the sky, her white wings and coat shining brilliantly in the sunlight. It had taken her long enough to get here! Why did she seek to delay Discord?
Screwball frowned at the white pegasus, suddenly realizing that she was not, in fact, the pink earth pony carried here and dumped carelessly next to her imprisoned master. Screwball looked back at the pink pony, remembering to focus and forgetting her impromptu advances.
“Surprise!” yelled the white pegasus, who now sat atop Discord’s head, his face twisted into an expression of terror and agony. Pain suddenly rippled through Screwball’s body. She needed to free his chaos; unleash it before it tore her apart. The notion scared her.
“I already know your name!” she cried to the new pegasus.
“Whose name?” inquired the brown stallion.
“Surprise’s!” she replied, frowning at his ignorance.
“Surprise?” the mare pinned below her asked.
“Yes?” asked Surprise, who now lay atop the mailmare, squished between the two.
“Ooh! A surprise? I love surprises!” shouted Pinkie Pie, who had woken up and quickly untied herself from the ropes used to keep her from escaping once Screwball brought her to the clearing they now stood in. She bounced up, and bounded over to the trio of ponies. Surprise disintegrated as Screwball’s attention was suddenly drawn to the new voice. She gasped, her mouth contorting into an expression of horror. This was bad! They needed her to cooperate!
“Go back to sleep!” she said, jabbing a hoof into the pink pony’s chest. “We can’t let you escape!”
“Escape? But I haven’t seen the surprise yet!” Pinkie Pie grew worried. “Hey! What’s Discord doing here? Isn’t he supposed to be back in the royal gardens?”
“We stole him!” Derpy proclaimed proudly. “Right, big muffin?” She turned to the brown stallion.
“My name is Coconut. Yes. I’m not a muffin. Right.” He suddenly tackled Pinkie Pie, wrestling her to the ground and using his body to anchor her to the ground where he had just wrestled her to. “Do we start now?” He turned his head up to Screwball, who stood staring at the sky, pondering the taste of blue. She decided it sounded like an insect’s bite. Focus. The chaos inside her screamed to be released.
“Derpy, begin the ritual.” Focus. Now was the most important part. Order your thoughts, now will be the most important part.
Derpy began the ritual. She squirmed out from under her pink coated attacker, and flew up to a nearby cloud. She moved it into place directly above the statue of Discord. She then began pulling out ingredients from her saddlebags and pouring them into the cloud, occasionally mixing them into a more homogeneous state.
“Hey,” Pinkie Pie pipped from underneath the brown stallion, “What’s up with your eyes?”
“Yeah! They’re all flashy and turning all sorts of crazy colors!” She smiled up at him, genuinely curious.
“I don’t know. Discord gave them to us.” He frowned. “No. She did. Yes. Not him. Same thing.”
“I need to release this! Get. It. Out!” Screwball panted, she could feel the energies inside her coming to a boil. It was agony. She was a balloon of chaos in a vacuum of order, and her body was shaking from the strain of keeping it all in. She gasped for breath, crying out in pain as she staggered to the ground. It hurt. She had lost focus for too long. Things were not going as planned. How could one plan in an environment of unpredictability?
“Are you okay?” Pinkie Pie reached out a hoof to comfort the other strange pink earth pony. “I’m not sure what’s going on, but I know that whatever it is, me and my friends can help! Do you need help?” She smiled brightly, eyes twinkling. It was a horrifically normal reaction for a concerned pony. Screwball backed away. She was frightened.
“No help... release... chaos. Coconut... laughter. Discord.” Her vision was fogging up. Random splotches of color danced around her, and her coat began to radiate waves of heat. Surprise peaked out from behind the Discord statue, watching her cautiously.
“Release... Discord?” Pinkie Pie finally understood what was going on. “Oh no! You can’t do that! Then everypony will be unhappy again! And I don’t want to be a meanie-mean-pants to any of my friends ever again! Or a mopey-sad-sack!” She struggled against the brown stallion, but he remained firmly clamped to her body. “Hey! I know!” she said excitedly, “If you stop, then I can throw you a party! A Not Reviving An Ultimate Evil For Magically Contrived Reasons Party!”
Her words fell on deaf ears, however, as Screwball had just let loose a horrendous screech of pain that caused everything in the immediate area to lose their ability to hear anything but a low ringing noise. She hurt. So. Much. It needed to escape. Pain finally gave her focus as the chaotic energies pushed their way from her mind and tried to escape her body.
“Hooves!” she shouted upwards, “Is it ready yet?”
“Yes!” replied Derpy as she stirred in the last ingredient. The cloud was now pink, and when she bucked it chocolate raindrops began pouring out. Screwball smiled, relieved. She next turned to the saute before her, and the energies pushed outward.
She finally let them go.
Light spilled forth from her, glowing brown and black and inky purple and sickly yellow green. The colors swept through the air and into the pink cloud, seeping into the droplets that it rained down. The raindrops now began to target Discord alone, sucked toward the statue as if it were a magnet. A chocolate magnet. What an interesting concept. She’d have to tell Discord about that once he was back. Back! She needed to focus. Screwball glowered down at Pinkie Pie, stomping a hoof dangerously close to the baker’s face. She growled. The pink pony gulped.
“W-what are you doing?” She squirmed. “Stop! You’re being bullies! And meanies!”
“Miss Pie. Do you...” She lowered her head to the pony’s ear, a sliver of a smile on her face, “Wanna hear a joke?”
“Ooh yes! I love a good joke.” Pinkie’s face flooded with relief. “Oh, don’t tell me, this is all a prank right? Please say it’s a prank!”
“What do you get when you strum more than one string on a guitar?”
“Uh... music?” Pinkie tilted her head in confusion.
“No! Ya’ get-” Using the energies of chaos that still resided in her, she pulled a guitar out from literally nowhere and strummed dramatically. “Dis’ chord!” She spoke in an accent.
A pause, and then Pinkie Pie chortled uncontrollably. “Oh, that’s a good one. Well—” She gasped for breath, “—really, it’s a terrible joke, but it’s so bad it’s good! I love those kinds of jokes.” As she continued laughing she began to glow. Surprise rubbed her hooves together in anticipation as Derpy and Screwball gazed upon the gathering energy. Discord’s statue, now coated in chocolate, also began glowing as the energies of Laughter wafted toward it. Finally, as her laughter died down, the light stopped and the chocolate solidified. A moment later it began to crack. The statue was no longer made of stone.
Pinkie Pie’s ears sprang up at the sound, and she gasped when she turned to see what made the noise. “Oh no! We have to—!”
“HALT WHERE YE STAND, CRIMINAL SCUM!”
The sky exploded into darkness, and lightning streaked through the clearing, smashing away the pink cloud and dislodging Coconut from Pinkie Pie. The smoke from the blasts cleared to reveal Princess Luna hovering above the chocolate statue, her royal guards pinning down the three disciples of chaos below her. She surveyed the scene, and grimaced when she saw what they had done. She dropped to the ground beside Pinkie Pie, who was busy dusting herself off. Another crack formed on Discord’s statue.
“Bearer of Laughter!” she commanded, “Lend me thine energies. We think We can undo the spell if we act together!”
“Okay!” replied Pinkie, who was not sure how to do that. It didn’t seem to matter, though, as Luna’s horn began to glow and Pinkie could feel energy being syphoned from her body. It made her tingly all over, and she shivered excitedly.
Luna’s horn pulsed with power, and she fired a single, pink-encased, purple beam of energy at the heart of Discord. The statue became encased in the energies, and the cracks’ progresses began to slow. With a surge of power, Luna began forcing the cracks in the chocolate coating back toward their center, and she seemed to have the situation under complete control.
This makes too much sense, Screwball thought. She began to panic. All was lost. Her plan was foiled. Chaos. She was doomed. Surprise rematerialized and leaped at the moon princess, but her attack did nothing. Luna didn’t even flinch as the white pegasus landed blow after blow on the alicorn’s body. Screwball tried to struggle against the guards who held her, but it proved futile. She was trapped. Focus. All was lost. Doomed. Forever order. Focus.
Suddenly, more energy poured from the darker pink mare. It drenched the statue, overwhelming the layer of glowing pink and black and forcing them deep into Discord’s body. The energies met in the center, and, before anypony in the clearing could react, annihilated. Light rushed outward, and the statue began dissolving. Bits of chocolate stone flew through the air, crackling and evaporating as they hit the ground. The air began to reek of burnt sugar, and Screwball passed out as chaos energies washed over her. Again.
Later, the moon princess stood outside the small white building of Ponyville’s hospital that her guard had commandeered after dragging their unconscious comrades out of the forest. Her hair was disheveled, and her wings twitched at random as she paced in front of her personal guardstallion.
“And thou still have not found Discord?” Luna frowned at her armored subordinate, worry on her brow.
“No ma’am.” the unicorn replied curtly, “We scoured the forest, and cast every scrying and locator spell we could think of. The only thing left of his statue is residual energy from the explosion. No body. No shards. No nothin’.”
Luna grunted her thanks, and turned back to the hospital’s door. She trotted inside and strode past the ponies working there, ignoring their bows and curtsies. She had been having a very hectic day. After discovering that Discord had disappeared from the palace gardens, she and her sister had gathered the royal guards and hurriedly teleported them throughout their domain in an effort to find where the master of chaos had gone. The search had proven futile until one unit reported that the zebra Zecora had spotted “a pony-napping pink mare, whose crazed eyes were quite a scare,” and Luna had decided to investigate personally. The result had been less than ideal.
After the explosion, the princess had awoken to find her guards unconscious and no sign of the three ponies who had, as she quickly learned, been attempting to free Discord. Exactly how they had intended to do this—and the reason why they had needed Pinkie Pie—still eluded her, but what was more important was that it looked like they might have succeeded. Her ears twitched at the thought. Celestia would need to be informed as soon as possible, but right now Luna had somepony else to talk to.
“How art thou doing, Pinkie Pie?” she asked as she trotted into the hospital’s private care room. Before her lay the pink earth pony, wires and tubes strapped and plugged to her forelegs, all either monitoring or nurturing her. Her hair was messy and puffy, and she smiled widely as the princess approached.
“Super-duper, your majesty! Although,” She looked at her belly, rubbing it with a foreleg, “I sure could go for some cupcakes right about now. Or maybe some cookies. Or even just bread! Anything that tastes better than this Icky Vinous Fluid they gave me.” She stuck her tongue out in disgust.
Luna smiled, suppressing a giggle, “It is called Intravenous Fluid, my little pony, and We believe it is supposed to be injected, not drunk.”
“Hmm...” Pinkie placed a hoof on her chin, contemplating the princess’s words, “Well, I guess that would explain why Nurse Tenderheart fainted when I swallowed the whole bag... and I’ve been getting pretty suspicious about all those needles they’ve been trying to poke in me.”
Luna let out a dry chuckle, “Yes, well, We hope thou don’t mind, but We are pressed for time and have need of some information from thou.” Pinkie sat up at these words, looking eagerly at her sovereign, “When We arrived, there were three other ponies there along with thou, and Discord’s statue appeared as if it were breaking. We have three questions: What was going on, how didst thou end up there, and who were those other ponies?”
“Weeell...” she began, “this morning I was busy baking at Sugarcube Corner when Mrs. Cake said we needed more milk, so I ran to the market as fast as I could to get more but on the way I ran into a pony I had never met before! So I got super excited and was all—” she gasped dramatically “—and ran back as fast as I could to go set up a party for her, because I always throw a party for anypony I’ve never met before, but then I realized that I didn’t know where she lived, so I ran back out and found her waiting right outside the door going Edibeebiobabeebiobabibeebioba—” imitating the pony in her story, Pinkie flapped her lips with a hoof, making bubbling noises, “—and so I said ‘Hi! I’m Pinkie Pie, what’s your name?’ And then she said ‘Screwball!’ And I was about to ask where she wanted her party when she suddenly screamed ‘Surprise, not yet!’ and waved a hoof at somepony behind me, but when I turned around all I could see was Sugarcube Corner! And then...”
She stopped suddenly, tapping a hoof against her head and narrowing her eyes in concentration, “Well, there were a bunch of hoof-sounds all of a sudden, then lots of blurry colors, and then my head hurt a lot for a moment...” She gasped, eyes widening, “She ponynapped me! That’s why I woke up with all those ropes tied around me! Why would anypony do something like that?”
Luna nodded, taking notes on a notepad that floated nearby, “ ‘Tis precisely what We are trying to learn. Doth thou have any idea what these three ponies were doing with Discord’s statue?”
“Yep! They were trying to free that big baddy by turning his statue into super-delicious chocolate. Mmm.” She licked her lips.
“Uhm... could thou beith more precise?” Luna asked, and Pinkie started describing the scene she had awoken to. Luna frowned in concentration, taking notes on her notepad while trying to grasp the dynamics of the spell they had been attempting.
“...and then BOOM! You showed up!” She smiled widely, throwing her forelegs into the air for emphasis. This action ripped most of the attached wires away, and sent one of the smaller monitors flying across the room, and into the face of the medical pony who had just entered. Luna gasped as the steel blue mare collapsed, and the tray of supplies she had been carrying clattered to the ground while the monitor shattered into a million tiny pieces. Pinkie Pie’s eyes went wide, and she snapped her forelegs back against her body. “Oopsie.”
“Oh Our Us! Art thou alright?” Luna bent her head down to her battered subject, levitating debris away with her horn.
“Urgh... yes... but,” Nurse Tenderheart struggled to her feet, swaying slightly as she reoriented herself. “I just... I think I’ll go home now, if you don’t mind.”
“Uhm, no, that is fine. Thou... you look like you need a rest.” Luna stated.
“Sorry about that!” Pinkie chirped from her bed. The nurse nodded absentmindedly in response and staggered out of the room, flinching as a headache began to descend upon her. Luna and Pinkie stared at the empty doorway for a moment before turning back to each other.
“Anyway,” the princess resumed, “Thou said that thou recognized the other two ponies in the clearing. Couldst thou perhaps identify them? ”
“Well, duh!” she gushed, “The pegasus was Derpy Hooves the mailmare, and I’d recognize her anywhere because I see her pretty much every day of my life. The other was a brown pony who I didn’t really know at first, but then, after that pink one said his name was Coconut, I remembered that he’s the pony who helps manage the town’s water systems!” She frowned again, “Wait a minute, why would a ponynapper say their own names when the pony they captured is right next to them? That seems pretty dumb to me. Like, really dumb.”
“Well, arrogance has its upsides, We suppose.” Luna nodded, taking a few final notes, “We thank thee for thou time, Pinkie Pie, We believe We have all the information We need.” She smiled gently at the earth pony, and turned to leave.
“No problemo! See you later!” Pinkie waved a hoof as she departed.
Next, after sending a rapidly scribbled letter off to Celestia, Luna when to the hospital’s main wing, where the six guards caught in the magical blast now lay. At the entrance she was greeted by Nurse Redheart, who reported that none of her guards were hurt, but also that none were “in the right mind.”
“What doth thou mean’eth?” Luna glanced across the long room, noting that her guards were the only patients. They were laid up in two rows, one on each side of the room, while three other nurses strode up and down between them, taking notes and making measurements of their conditions. “They appear fine to Us.”
“Yes, well, perhaps it’s best if I just show you.” She motioned the princess over to the left row of beds, and began recounting what was wrong with each. The first guard was perhaps the best off; though he could not speak without singing, his words were clear, sane, and perfectly on pitch. The second guard, however, couldn’t stop breaking out into uncontrollable laughter every time he opened his mouth to try and speak. The third guard was much the same, only, in place of laughter, he could do nothing but hit on every pony in sight and make lewd suggestions regarding what they could do together in bed.
Luna shuffled away from him and moved on to the next row, which was even more bizarre. The first stallion—the one who had been closest to the statue, Luna remembered—lay staring at the ceiling with a blank expression while mumbling gibberish to himself. He was also the only one with any physical manifestations of illness; his eyes would change color every four or so seconds, although the nurses claimed they had observed no pattern to the colors themselves. Luna noted that Pinkie Pie had described something similar in her story. The fifth guard, a mare, lay in bed, apparently having a conversation with the ceiling.
“No, you get down here! I am a royal paladin, you have absolutely no right to disobey my orders!” She shook a hoof upward.
“Don’t you talk back to me, civilian! Get your stupid white flank down here this instant or I’ll come up there and drag you down myself!” She growled. Her eyes widened as nothing responded to her demands.
“Oh that’s it. I’m going to tear your wings off you good-for-nothing, gryphon-loving—” Two of the nurses calmly held her down as she tried to attack the ceiling; she seemed to take no notice of them, and she snarled and lashed out at the pegasus above her that only she could see. Luna and Nurse Redheart stepped away from the bed, exchanging worried looks. The moon princess nodded toward the final bed, where the last nurse sat, patiently writing down readings on a clipboard.
“We hesitate to ask, but what is wrong with him?”
“Him? Well... let’s see, how do I put this...” Nurse Redheard breathed in, motioning to the still stallion, “He says that—”
“I see everything twice!” he cried, jumping up in his bed, eyes bulging from his head. He flailed around briefly before collapsing back into the sheets. The nurse beside him jotted down a few more notes, and Luna tilted her head toward Nurse Redheart in confusion.
“What does that mean?”
“We don’t kn—”
“It means I see everything twice!” he proclaimed. The second nurse gave a sideways glance at the two onlookers, and then cleared her throat.
“Watch,” she said before turning back to the stallion. She held up a single hoof in front of his face, “How many hooves am I holding up?”
“Two!” he replied.
“How many horns does the princess have?” she asked.
“Two!” he cried.
“How many ponies are watching you right now?”
“How many legs do you have?”
She turned back to the princess. “I think you get the idea.”
“Two!” he yelled. His attendant rolled her eyes.
Nurse Redheart and Luna looked at each other, shrugged, and then trotted back to the front of the wing.
“Hmm, well, do what thou can for them until We can get them moved to the royal hospital, though We are not sure Our doctors will be able to do much more. We’ve never seen anything like this before.” Actually she had, when Discord was in control, but she didn’t want to cause any sort of panic. She thanked the nurse and her staff for their efforts, and then trotted out of the hospital, writing down a few more notes as the door slid shut behind her.
She frowned, thinking hard. Something was off. Two of the ponies that had captured Pinkie and six of her guards had become possessed by chaos. Their minds would be warped and their thoughts muffled under blankets of insanity. This had happened before. Discord had once used this curse to make pseudo-willing slaves, but he grew bored of their “predictable idiocy” and used them only when absolutely necessary; he liked to toy with those under his domain, but mind-controlled ponies do not squirm when bound. She shivered at the thought that somewhere out there, there were two ponies who had been made his slaves. Or, maybe not Discord’s slaves, but...
Screwball. She was in control. Relatively. From what Pinkie had been able to recount, Luna gathered that she had not only been possessed by chaos, but also served as both a host to a huge chunk of Discord’s power and the group’s ringleader. That ceremony was how they had intended to revive him. By using his own chaos energies augmented with the magic of the Bearer of the Element of Laughter, who had been the most sympathetic to his manner. Luna frowned, eyes darting back and forth along the ground as she walked, lost in thought. Screwball still had to come from somewhere, though. Not even Discord had the power to create life... so there was yet another poor innocent caught up in his schemes.
So, three ponies, all possessed by chaos and intent on reviving Discord, were lost or hiding away in the Everfree Forest, while Discord himself was either dead or plotting his revenge. Luna suspected the latter. She and Celestia had a lot of work to do. If Discord managed to attack first, as he had last time, then not even the Elements of Harmony would be able to stop him again.
The moon princess leaped upward, gave a mighty series of flaps, and vanished into the night sky, headed back to Canterlot.
Long after the royal guard had completed their last sweep of the area, there was a whistling in the clearing. The wind blew toward its center from all directions, causing leaves to spiral through the air and coalesce in a tumbling ball in the center. There was a sucking sound, and suddenly thousands of droplets of glowing chocolate milk materialized throughout the air. They were inhaled inward toward the ball of leaves and grass, combining with it to form a dense cluster of sticky, stinking biomass. The wind picked up, forcing the leaves and milk deeper into themselves, causing the ball to spin faster and faster and take on a more ovular shape.
Finally, the wind stopped, and there was a brief, bright flash of yellow light. A figure dropped from where the sphere had floated. It landed with a soft thunk, and the night was still again.
AND SO THE EPIC OF DYX BEGAN
I welcome all criticisms and comments.
Please leave all feedback on this story’s EqD page, thank you.
My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic © Hasbro
I do not own the intellectual properties that the authors of the fan-fiction that this fan-fiction is loosely based on do not own. So there.
1I couldn’t understand a thing that dude said, but it sounded awesome.
2The air Toa was quoted as saying that this story was “very goodwritten for such an oddstrange matoran.”
3He was killed in an unfortunate railgun accident shortly after sending in his feedback. He will be missed.
4This man(?) is terrible at giving clear feedback. Or returning manuscripts unburnt. Never use him as an editor.
Assisted by Solid Snake1
“Oh, Gummy, it wasn’t that bad. And I already told you to stop being such a worry-worryson about me!”
Pinkie Pie and her pet sat alone in her room, finishing off the last of the cake from the earth pony’s I-Escaped-From-Ponynappers Party. Though, at first, her friends had not been able to stop fretting over her, she had put their worries to rest over the past two days by being just as hyper and happy as usual. Yes, it had been a frightening experience, but she hadn’t been hurt and Discord, it seemed, had not returned. Aside from the six ponies in the hospital, Ponyville had hardly been affected.
Pinkie smiled at the small alligator in front of her, and gave it an affectionate pat on the head before picking up their empty plates and trotting downstairs to the kitchen. She hummed softly to herself as she cleaned them until, from behind her, a chime sounded, and she dashed out to the bakery’s counter, a huge grin on her face.
“Hi! Welcome to Sugarcube Corner! How can I help you?” She had to lean over the counter in order to see her customer. It was a light pink unicorn filly with sandy blond hair and golden, watery eyes. Pinkie’s smile dipped a bit, but she snapped it back into place. No sense in getting sad about something out of her control!
The filly swallowed nervously, “Um, I just want some muffins. A dozen. Any flavor, uh, just as long as there’s a blueberry and a carrot one in there too.” She darted her head back to the small saddlebags she wore and fished out some bits as Pinkie sprang around behind the counter, quickly coming up with a bright pink box filled with her order.
“No problemo! Here ya’ go!” Pinkie beamed down at the filly, scooping the bits into the cash register and moving around the counter to place the box on her customer’s back. “But can’t you make muffins at home?”
“Yeah, but uh, I wanted to surprise auntie Top. And Sparky. To cheer them up. They haven’t really been their normal self since—” The filly looked away from the mare, voice ducking to a forced whisper, “Since mommy’s been gone... Eek!” She gasped as Pinkie Pie rushed over the counter and embraced her. The mare clutched her close to her face, eyes squeezed shut.
“Don’t worry Dinky, I promise your mommy’s gunna be alright!” She sniffed, “I’m sorry, I never should have let that dummy Discord get the best of me in the first place.”
“I-it’s okay Miss. Pie, really, it’s not your fault.” The small filly squeaked as Pinkie squeezed her forelegs around her, but smiled in spite of herself. She didn’t have many friends, and had been feeling desperately alone with her mother gone. The one-way hug finally ended, and Dinky dropped back onto her feet. Pinkie Pie wiped a few tears from her eyes before suddenly jumping to the register, jerking it open, and then flying back over to the filly with bits in her mouth.
“Here,” She offered, “I’ll give you half off, it’s the least I could do. And you deserve a bonus anyway.”
“Huh? Oh, no, it’s fine I—” But Pinkie simply dropped them into her saddlebag, ignoring her protests, “Uh... th-thank you.” Dinky gave her a quick hug before darting out of the bakery, smiling back one last time as the door closed behind her. The pink pony waved her off, silently wishing her well.
Normally when somepony was feeling blue, Pinkie would be the first to respond, throwing them the biggest party she could muster on short notice, but this case was different. She didn’t want to hurt either of the Hooves sisters or Carrot Top any more than they already had been, and it wouldn’t feel right to celebrate with Derpy still missing. It was inspiring to see Dinky putting on such a strong face, though. The filly had even taken over the mail delivery in her mother’s absence. It made her so happy she felt like crying.
“I wish I had a filly like that.” Pinkie sighed, turning back to the kitchen.
She stopped, frowning at her thought. Where had that come from? She tapped a hoof to her chin, rolling her eyes upward in an attempt to rationalize the sudden maternal urge. Why would she of all people want a child? She could hardly manage herself, let alone another bundle of energy. She decided that she had been caught up in the moment, and moved back to the kitchen to tidy up. Gummy was waiting there, blinking blankly at her. He had overheard.
“Hey!” she said, “I wasn’t serious! I was just thinking out loud!” Gummy snapped his gums together, blinking again. Pinkie gasped. “Gummy! How could you say something like that? You know I’d never, ever, ever, try to replace you.” The alligator waddled forward a bit before leaping at Pinkie and latching onto her mane. She giggled, and then trotted back to her room.
“You’re right!” she chirped, “We haven’t been out together in a really long time. Heck, I’ve been cooped up in either that hospital or here for the last few days. We really need to get out. Hmm... I know! Let’s go visit some friends!”
A few minutes later, she was trotting along the edge of the Everfree Forrest, taking the long way to Fluttershy’s cottage in order to get more time alone with her pet. Midway there, however, their half-heard conversation was interrupted by a rustle in the bushes. Pinkie halted abruptly and pranced over to investigate, plunging her head into the foliage. She thrust her head around, looking for the noise’s origin, but found nothing until something poked her in the rear. She snapped her head back out, and focused on her surroundings just in time to see a white figure disappear around the side of a nearby tree.
“Hey, wait!” She pranced over to the large oak, ducking her head around it as the figure fled farther into the forest. It was a white pegasus with puffy yellow hair, and she soared between the trees, quickly fading from view. Pinkie gasped.
“Wait! Who are you?” she cried. Drawn by curiosity, the pink pony abandoned her plans and galloped through the forest, intent on making another new friend. Gummy, clamped to her mane, flapped through the air as she rushed deeper into the Everfree Forest.
Meanwhile, back at Ponyville’s hospital, the conditions of the royal guards had deteriorated. Though only the one had the “eyes of chaos” as Nurse Redheart had dubbed them, all six had receded into their own world, ignoring all the nurses and babbling amongst themselves.
Things were fine otherwise—at least until the nurses who had been watching over the six royal guards had to rush out of the room to help with a “large emergency” that had recently occurred at an unspecified location somewhere far away. There was no one else available to watch over the patients, and so the six ponies were left alone to saturate in their insanity.
The delusional mare, now tied down with a rope, was the first to act in the silence following their overseers’ departure. She once again swiped at nothing.
“Shut. Up!” she screamed. “You annoying little gnat!” She raged against her bonds, trying futilely to claw her way up to the ceiling. “I’ll turn you into cupcakes when I get my hands on you!” Beside her, the stallion with multicolored eyes shot up.
“Glass!” he shouted, leaping from his bed and marching to the window at the end of the wing. “Fuse. Spring board.” He place a hoof on the windowpane and stared intently at it, continuing to mumble to himself. The mare cursed her imaginary enemy’s mother.
“What is it?” one of the stallions sang in low soprano. “Who said my name?”
“Oh honey, you’ll be screaming my name after we’re done tonight,” cooed the pony two beds over. Glass ignored him, and pushed himself out of bed to join his friend by the window. Disappointed but not defeated, the third stallion strutted after him, a slick grin on his face.
The guard that had laid between them peaked out from his bed, a concerned look on his face. Unbeknown to the nurses, he was still quite sane, but when he opened his mouth to warn his companions against letting the chaos energies get the best of them, the only sound that came was a short burst of giggling. He snapped his muzzle shut, frustrated, and decided to keep watch from a safe distance.
“OH YEAH? COME DOWN HERE AND PROVE IT, WHY DON’CHA?” the mare erupted, thrashing around violently in her bed.
“For the last time, who are you two talking to?” demanded the pony who saw everything twice. The mare paused, noticing his voice for the first time, and turned her head to look at him.
“That stupid white pegasus. She won’t leave me be!” She jabbed a hoof upward, and the stallion’s eyes scanned the ceiling. She growled suddenly. “Yeah? Well you look like the inbred offspring of a half-dead, maggot-ridden, mule-fu—”
“I see them!” her companion suddenly cried, “Ha, ha! I see them!” He flung himself out of bed, and began untying her bonds, giddy with excitement.
At the window, the mad pony sat with his foreleg extended against the glass while the laughing pony stood between Glass and his pursuer, cackling uncontrollably while keeping them at leg’s length from each other. The one on his left groped and pawed at him while making alluring suggestions to the one on his right, who stood oblivious, belting an operatic duet from Moss Art’s Don Giovanni. He slid back and forth, fulfilling alternating roles in the play while singing in a deep, reverberating bass.
On the other side of the room, the mare’s ropes fell away, and the two delusional guards flew upward after the unseen specter.
The two grappled with nothing for a moment before it dashed away toward the window. They gave chase, charging across the room.
“SI! NO! SI! NO! SI, SI! NO!” A deep breath. “NO-!”
The pair dived over their four squad mates and crashed through the window. It shattered, and they bounced onto the ground. Scrambling to their feet, they quickly resumed their chase. The stallion who had been locked to the window, his trance broken, followed, hurling himself after them. The singing one also joined their charge. He was angry that his song had been interrupted and wanted revenge on the mare who had stopped him.
“Fermatiti! Fermatiti, caz—! I mean stop! Stop, in the name of lo—! Of the law!” he sang. The laughing pony was next, his sense of duty compelling him to stay with his troop despite his inability to communicate.
“Wait for me, you naughty things!” chirped the last stallion, who leaped gracefully through the shattered window, prancing at the rear of the group. He grinned devilishly, ogling the five flanks that now swayed in front of him in spite of the fact that he had seen them hundreds of times before and that his specie’s biological, social, and cultural evolutions had ensured that there was nothing especially attractive about that part of a horse’s body to him anyway.
Together, the six ponies galloped away toward the Everfree, ignoring all else and chasing after the invisible white pegasus they could all now see.
Meanwhile, thousands of feet away, two figures lay entwined on a bed of leaves and bramble, muzzles nuzzled into each other’s coats. Sunlight filtered through the treetops that surrounded them, bathing the area in green-stained yellow. The pony with a white streak in her purple mane stirred, her eyelids cracking open to reveal spiraling purple irides. She squinted, her vision adjusting, and glanced down at the mare that was curled up against her.
Screwball had never seen a more divine sight. Derpy lay still, sighing softly in her sleep while her ears occasionally twitched. Her mane was disheveled and matted. Her coat was dirty and covered in stickers from days spent rolling around in the forest with Screwball, the two utterly lost in their insanity. As such, the pink mare looked much the same, and she did not intend to wash up any time soon. That would bring order. That would be against Discord’s nature, and, anyway, she did not wish to ruin the beauty that dirtiness had wrought upon both of them. Screwball guessed that she was the most attractive thing chaos could fathom, what with her hair splattered with mud and plastered with plants, and her eyes horribly warped and twisted in on themselves.
Well, almost the most attractive. She looked down at the still-sleeping pegasus, whose wings were tucked at her sides. Screwball smiled. It was the eyes; those are what set Derpy apart, made her the most alluring beacon of chaos in the world and brought Screwball to her knees in ecstasy. It was a terribly addicting distraction, and the jumble that was her mind didn’t help things. She needed to find Discord, find him and restore him before the princesses did or else be trapped here, in this universe of law, for the rest of her life. She knew that he was out there, she had felt the spell working, just as he had imparted to her it would, but by the time she and her two companions were done dodging the guards, any trace of him that might still have been in the clearing was gone. So she retreated, trying to focus, and fell prey to Derpy’s strobe-like, misaligned eyes. She huffed, angry at herself for not being able to control the energies raging inside her.
From the trees, there was a sudden rustle. Screwball glanced up to see that Surprise had returned, floating down and landing softly on the bed of leaves below her. She sat on the opposite side of Derpy, and the pink earth pony staggered up to greet her. The bone-white pegasus was so thin Screwball could make out her ribcage, and the skin below her eyes sagged with exhaustion. She panted as she spoke.
“Follow. Please.” She then flung herself around and dashed off into the forest, wings clutched to her sides.
Screwball bolted after her, accidentally kicking Derpy awake and yelling for Coconut to follow her. The brown stallion, who had been keeping watch from atop a nearby tree, leaped from his perch and began running parallel to Screwball, galloping across the underside of the forest canopy. Derpy shook her head to clear it of sleepiness, and then vaulted into the air, swerving and dodging through foliage as Screwball sprinted after Surprise. The four ponies ran in silence, their mission too important to be discussed, or even properly understood. All Screwball knew was that she needed to find Discord, and following Surprise felt like it would do just that. Somehow.
Elsewhere, the white pegasus vanished through a particularly thick set of bushes, and Pinkie Pie scampered after her, emerging to find herself in a small clearing of dried grass. She gasped; it was the same place she had been taken to days earlier by the crazy chaos cult. She took a few tentative steps forward, scanning the area, but any sign of the pegasus was gone.
Before she could examine the clearing further, however, her leg caught on something and she tripped, tumbling to the ground and flinging Gummy from her mane. Shaking dirt off herself, she bounced back up and looked for whatever had caused her fall. She gasped again when she saw it.
It was a small, quivering colt, and his coat was a chocolate brown. He possessed a pure white mane with a black streak that resembled Twilight’s highlight, despite the fact that its short strands were tangled with small sticks. But what stuck out were his eyes. Their whites were yellow, with shrunken red pupils. This sparked a certain memory in Pinkie, but she was too focused on the foal to pay attention.
The two gazed at each other for a moment before he squeaked in fear, eyes widening. He scampered up, took two shaky steps away from the pink pony, and then collapsed, the few leaves still stuck to his coat crunching against the ground. He curled up defensively and began whimpering, hurt and obviously afraid of this strange pink creature.
“Oh my gosh, are you okay?” The mare crept closer to the foal, wanting to comfort the poor thing. “Don’t be afraid, Pinkie Pie’s here to help!” She held out a hoof, smiling gently at the foal. He peered back at her with wide yellow eyes; and though Pinkie noted their oddness, she was more concerned with how the rest of him looked. He was nothing but skin and bones, and so weak that he could not stand. He shied away from her as she reached out.
“Oh, I’m sorry, don’t be afraid,” she repeated, “Hmm... hey! You look hungry, do you need some food? I have a whole bakery back at home, and I can make you all sorts of delicious treats!” At the mention of food, he perked up, and tilted his head questioningly at the pink mare.
Just then, however, a certain small green alligator decided to pop up from the grass, right next to the colt’s face. He yelped, and then scrambled over to her, clinging to one of her legs and quivering with fright. A quick burst of laughter from Pinkie startled him, and he looked up at her in awe.
“Oh don’t worry, that’s just Gummy. He won’t hurt you. See?” She held out a hoof in example, and Gummy snapped his jaw around her leg, climbing back up into her mane. She giggled, and then plucked the colt from the ground, tossing him onto her back.
“You okay up there?” she asked.
“I—” He stop briefly, surprised to find that he had a voice, but then nodded happily in response. “Yes. Th-thanks.”
“Okie-dokie!” She turned back towards Ponyville, stepping back into the trees. “Now c’mon! Lets get you some snacks!”
On the ride back, the brown colt was fascinated by all he saw, like a newborn just discovering the world. He clung to Pinkie’s waist tightly, and asked her about everything they passed in the forest. He ooed and awed and giggled as Pinkie Pie told him silly stories about all the plants and animals, most of which involved a song or two, and by the time they exited the forest, the colt that would soon be named Dyx no longer clutched Pinkie Pie in fear and weakness, but hugged her affectionately, glad that such an energetic and caring person had found him. He hoped that all ponies were like her.
Some time later, Screwball burst through the opposite side of the underbrush and skidded to a halt in the same clearing, stunned. Though she had just been only a nose or two away from Surprise, the white pegasus had vanished. Screwball grew frantic as she tried to locate her, the purple in her eyes turning bright yellow as anxiety overtook her.
Above the panicking pony, Coconut dropped down from the treetops, flipping himself over in mid-air and landing flawlessly on all fours. He stood still next to his master, face expressionless, and waited for her to say something. Behind the pair, Derpy Hooves careened out of the treeline, swooping through the air and crashing gracelessly into the ground. Unfazed, she jumped back up, shook herself off, and then grinned widely at Screwball, waiting for the next order.
Screwball, however, had more pressing concerns. Where had Surprise gone? She had led them here and then vanished... so she must have led them here. Of course. But why? Was Discord still here? Had they missed him after all? No one else was in the clearing...
The mare halted suddenly, for it was at this moment that she noticed that her group was not the only one in the clearing. At the other end of the small grassy field, a sextet of dark pegasi wandered aimlessly, caught up in themselves. The sole mare in the group paced at the front, cursing quietly to herself. Behind her, two stallions were led in chorus by a third, and together they started to sing an off-beat and mostly out-of-key version of an ancient sea chantey while a fourth stallion rolled around on the ground in front of them, laughing uncontrollably. The final member of the former guard sat ridged near the first mare, staring intently at Screwball’s trio.
The two ponies’ eyes met, and two bolts of energy suddenly sapped from Screwball and into the possessed knight. He immediately snapped out of his prolonged stupor, but his eyes now shimmered with the same intense rhythm of color as Derpy and Coconut’s. His transformation was complete, and he gasped as the change overtook him. Upon hearing this, his companions stopped their activities and turned toward him. They then noticed Screwball, but before anyone could react, each was hit with the same bolts of energy that had struck the first. Power washed over them. Their eyes were now multicolored strobes.
A moment of silence passed before anyone in the clearing grasped what had transpired, but as soon as it clicked, Screwball leaped into action.
“You!” She pointed to the now docile guard mare. “Report.” The mare saluted instantly.
“We were chasing some stupid white pegasus through the woods,” she replied, “but she disappeared when we got here.”
“White pegasus? Surprise! Where’d she go?” Screwball grabbed the mare by her face, drawing the guard’s full attention toward her.
“I don’t know!” she spat, pulling away.
Screwball stared blankly at the ground. So Surprise had led them all here, but what for? So that she could get more followers? They were useless without Discord. Discord. Something had happened to him; he was still alive, she knew, for his power still sustained her, yet he had not revealed himself... unless... unless he could not. He needed others. Surprise knew that. She had guided them all here to gather. To gather followers. To rally support. To make an army.
There was a surge of power from inside her, like a shock of static electricity. Yes. That was it. She needed to raise an army. An army of chaos to free Discord—not from stone, but from whatever was keeping him from returning to his full power. That was their mission. Good. Focus. Time to disorganize the troops.
“All of you!” she cried to the six before her, “What are your names?”
“I am Back Burner!” replied the stallion closest to her. He was the one she had first hit with her power.
“Staccato!” sang another.
“Rodger Rodger!” said the pony who saw everything twice.
“Wind Whistler—!” the cackling guard managed to squeeze out. He could now manage to speak a few words, but the price for that break had been his sanity.
“Moondancer, but why do you care, ugly?” grumbled the mare.
“You can call me Bush Diver,” cooed the final stallion, “but what’s your name, baby?”
“Screwball!” she replied, ignoring his advance, “Now hurry, we have a lot to do and not much time to do it!”
“We do?” asked Derpy Hooves.
“Yes. Wait. No.” Coconut said. “What are we doing?”
“We,” Screwball said, rubbing her hooves together evilly, “are going to create an army, and take over Equestria! MUA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-!” Lightning flash behind her, and thunder echoed throughout the clearing, though their effects were dulled by the fact that the sky was crystal clear and the weather was otherwise quite pleasant.
“Yay!” said Derpy, who pranced happily in response to the news, “But... how?”
“By—” Screwball stopped, putting a hoof to her chin in thought. She mused silently for a moment.
“I’ve got it! Come here, everypony,” Screwball said, waving her minions into a huddle. Together, the nine ponies formed a small, interlocked circle, and Screwball began whispering her improvised and half-baked plans to them. They listened intently, and a few minutes later they broke, galloping back into the forest to begin their sinister plan.
Right after a quick game of hide and seek, of course. It had been decided that Coconut would be the seeker. He didn’t have much to say about that, but counted diligently to 48.29 and then followed his companions into the forest.
“Ready or not, here I come!”
Mrs. Cake almost had a heart attack when Pinkie broke the news to her.
“Y-you’re adopting him?”
“And you... named him... Dyx?”
“Yes-a-roonee!” Pinkie smiled innocently, eyes shimmering with pride. “Although, really, he named himself that. Because, you see, when I asked him what his name was he said he couldn't remember, except he felt like it began with a dih sound, so I thought that was terrible and started reciting the alphabet to help jog his memory but he still couldn’t remember so I said ‘pick out whichever letters you like best’ and he said ‘Y, X, and Q’ but Q doesn’t really fit with any of those and so I put the first two after the dih but—wouldn’t you know it?—Y can already make an ih sound so I got rid of that completely and squished the rest together in my mind and BAM! His name’s Dyx.”
“B-but you have no idea where he came from! How do you know he‘s not somepony else’s? What if his parents are looking for him?” The blueish mare exclaimed.
“Because I asked, duh! The poor little guy can’t remember a thing.” She turned to her foal, who sat at a table, “All you can remember is waking up in the forest, right?”
Though the brown colt had been weak when Pinkie found him, the moment she had placed a few muffins and milk in front of him he had perked up, diving into the food. By now he had gone through four helpings, though Mrs. Cake had eyed him warily as he chomped and slurped away at his meal. He hadn’t noticed, however, and continued to hum happily to himself, eyes squeezed shut in pleasure, until Pinkie had asked for his input.
“Mm-hm!” He replied, glancing up briefly before throwing his head back onto the platter in front of him. He had not eaten since... well since ever, as far as he was concerned, and food was the only thing he really cared about at the moment.
Mrs. Cake, however, chewed her lip and tried to think of what to do with the situation her employee had thrust her into. She knew how much attention children demanded, after all, she had two of them, and though Pinkie had proven to be a good babysitter on occasion, having a colt of her own to look after would still pose a monumental challenge. Also, they simply did not have the space for a third child, either in bedrooms or play areas, and while the foals could bunk together for a time, the situation would become unstable as the three grew up and sought their own private spaces. And on top of it all, Pinkie Pie herself could still be a handful at times, so really, it would be like raising three and a half foals. Two quite was enough for her.
“I’m sorry, but I—” Mrs. Cake swallowed nervously, “—can’t let you do that, Pinkie Pie.”
“Huh?” The pink mare stopped short, almost dropping a plate of pastries in shock. She hurriedly set them on the kitchen table for Dyx, and turned back to her boss, eyes wide with shock, “What? Why!?”
Mrs. Cake inhaled deeply, bracing herself as she explained her reasoning. Fortunately, Pinkie’s reaction was not as extreme as she had feared it would be, but by the end she still wound up sniffling sadly. The older mare rolled her eyes inwardly and placed a comforting hoof on the younger one’s shoulder.
“There, there, dearie. I’m sorry but we just can’t...” She searched for the right word, “...sustain both you and another foal at the moment. Besides, you’re young, and there’ll be plenty of time to raise a foal later. When you’re older and have met somepony who loves you.” She smiled weakly, hoping her words would have their intended effect.
“But, Dyx is here now...” Pinkie suddenly snapped back up, stomping her hoof in determination, “and I’m going to help him!”
“Er, yes dearie, I know how you feel, but it’s just that, you can’t—not alone anyway, and me and Mr. Cake won’t be able to lend—”
But she never got to finish, as Pinkie suddenly bounced up and exclaimed,“That’s it!” before scooping Dyx from his chair and scampering out the door. The colt yelped as his food was yanked away from him, but smiled triumphantly when he managed to hold on to a single corn muffin. He ate it in bits and pieces as he bounced atop Pinkie’s back, clinging to her mane.
Mrs. Cake stared at the empty bakery, a sinking feeling in her gut.
Pinkie Pie galloped through town, dodging ponies and carts, chasing some unknown idea.
“Um, mommy,” the colt on her back asked, “where are we going?”
“To find you a daddy!” she declared.
Mrs. Cake was right, she admitted, there was really no way she could keep Dyx peacefully at Sugarcube Corner, especially with only herself to look after him. But Dyx was her responsibility now, and she wanted to raise him. To help him grow and find his place in the world. But first she needed to find a solution to her immediate problem, and the most logical one, she decided, was to find somepony else to help her. That way she could kill two birds with one stone: housing and a proper division of labor. But, she realize, not just anypony would do. She needed somepony reliable and responsible; somepony caring and compassionate; somepony who could withstand her antics; and somepony, of course, who was good with kids.
She smiled as an idea came to her, and galloped onward.
Fluttershy was lounging on her sofa, reading Of Snakes and Stallions, when something pounded on her door. Startled, she hurriedly marked her page and trotted over to the window to see who was waiting. It was Pinkie Pie, with a foal on her back. Fluttershy blinked in surprise. That was odd. What did they need her for? Maybe the foal was sick? No, they would have gone to Nurse Redheart for that. She opened the door and opened her mouth to greet her friend, but all that came out was a yelp of surprise as Pinkie tackled her to the floor.
“Fluttershy!” she cried as she stood above her yellow friend, eyes twinkling in excitement, “Do you wanna be my husband?”
That was the last thing she expected. “Wh-what? Your hu—?”
“Do you.” Pinkie repeated, poking Fluttershy’s nose with her hoof to emphasize each word, “Want to be. My. Husband?”
Fluttershy tried to wriggle away from Pinkie. “Uh, you, um, want to marry me?” she asked, hoping with all her heart that she had misheard.
“Yep!” chirped Pinkie. “I need someone to help me raise Dyx!” With that she stepped off of the self-made veterinarian and sat facing her a few feet away. She placed Dyx on the floor next to herself, and he looked around the room, fascinated by all the different cages and contraptions. Fluttershy stared at the pair from where she lay, mouth agape, too stunned to do anything. Luckily, Pinkie Pie noticed her confusion.
“Hmm, maybe I should start at the beginning: I was having cake with Gummy...”
And so while Pinkie Pie explained her plight and Fluttershy tried desperately to hold onto her sanity, Dyx was free to explore the cottage. Still feeling hungry, he went looking for the kitchen.
However, as the brown colt had only been alive for two days and exposed to pony society for a few hours at most, the task proved more difficult than it sounded. The first place he checked turned out to be a storage closet, and he once again yelped in terror as a bag of birdseed, a tower of towels, a roll of gauze, and a mop fell out, burying him.
Panicking, he wrested the mop off his head and hurriedly shoveled everything back into the closet. He then slunk away before either of the mares noticed, glad that they had been distracted enough not to hear all the clatter. He opened another door—more carefully this time—and, as luck would have it, found what he was looking for.
He tore through the kitchen’s cupboards and pantry, stuffing any and all food he could find into his mouth. Cereal, bread, hay, oats, flowers, flower, milk, sugar, baking soda, vanilla, butter, raw eggs—shells and all—cream, carrots, celery, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, mushrooms, avocados, apples, apricots, peaches, plums, pears, oranges, grapes, grapefruits, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, bananas, a bunny, and—wait—a bunny!?
Angel, his lower half sucked into Dyx’s mouth, desperately slapped the colt’s snout, screeching silently for him to let go. Shocked, the colt complied, spitting out the hapless bunny and swallowing what food remained. Angel immediately hopped onto his head and pounded on his skull with a foot.
“Ow, ow!” Dyx cried, waving his hooves around his head in an effort to throw the bunny off. “I’m sorry! Accident! Was an accident! Get off! Help! Ow—!”
“Angel!” Fluttershy scolded, appearing in the kitchen doorway in the nick of time, “What do you think you’re doing? That’s no way to treat a guest.”
In response, Angel began pointing from himself to Dyx with his left hand while making eating motions with his right. But he was trying to eat me!
“I don’t care if he ate—” She paused, seeing her now empty kitchen; only the spice rack and a single cabbage had survived Dyx’s rampage, “Uh, everything... but he’s still our guest, and you need to apologize for hurting him.”
Angel slapped his face, looking exasperated, but after a glare from the yellow pegasus he begrudgingly squeaked out an apology and hopped off of Dyx’s head. The brown colt scampered over to his savior, embracing her and burying his face in her coat. Fluttershy was momentarily taken aback by the sudden show of affection, but she recovered quickly and wrapped a leg around Dyx, hugging him against her breast.
“There, there. You’re okay. He’s not going to hurt you.” She smiled down at him, and he looked back up, his watery eyes already drying. Fluttershy frowned. Why are his eyes yello—?
“Oh wow. You were hungry!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed as she burst into the kitchen. Gummy waddled in behind her, and took up a position next to Angel on the other side of the room.
“Sooo...” the pink mare continued, “Whadda you think? Wanna become a father, Fluttershy?”
“Oh.” She pressed her ears back against her head, forgetting about the colt’s odd eyes, “Uh, well, I can’t, really. I’ve already got all the animals to take care of and...” She glanced down again, and Dyx beamed back, his shimmering golden eyes framed by mopey black and cream-colored hair. Then she looked at Pinkie, who was biting her lip and doing her best to look heartbroken. Resistance was futile. “Oh, I mean... alright. I’ll do it.”
“Whoo-hoo!” Pinkie cried, sweeping Dyx from her friend’s arms and twirling around the kitchen with him. “Oh thank you, Fluttershy! Thank you, thank you, thank you!” She suddenly lunged at the pegasus, squishing Dyx between them in a group hug, “We’re going to be the best parents ever!”
Angel, however, would not relent. As soon as the ponies’ hug broke, he jumped back onto Dyx’s head. He pointed repeatedly at the colt’s eyes, and made a series of slithering motions with his body while flapping his arms up and down. He then started babbling angrily while jumping back and forth, acting out an argument with himself. He then pointed at Pinkie Pie. Next, he hopped onto the kitchen sink, grabbed a cup, filled it with water, and slammed it onto his head. He finished his act by pointing at Fluttershy.
His message was lost on the two mares.
“Uh, that’s, um... nice, Angel,” Fluttershy said, “Anyway, Dyx, since you’re going to be living with me—”
“Us!” Pinkie sang.
“Oh, right, us. Since you’re going to be living with us, why don’t I show you around the house while your mommy cleans up the kitchen, hm?” She smiled at Pinkie Pie to emphasize her demand, squeaking.
“Wait, why do I—?”
“Okay!” Dyx exclaimed, cutting off the pink mare. He dashed over to Fluttershy’s side, and the two set off to explore the cottage.
Meanwhile, as Pinkie Pie began mopping up what little of the kitchen Dyx hadn't eaten, Angel sat alone, brooding about his inability to communicate. He sighed in frustration, but perked up when he sensed a presence to his right. It was Gummy, and the alligator opened his jaw in greeting as he waddled closer. He then blinked twice, halting at the bunny’s side.
Angel nodded solemnly, and put an arm around his companion. Sometimes it felt like Gummy was the only one who understood him.
Dyx liked it here. There were lots of neat things to look at, pets to play with, plenty of food—though Fluttershy said most of it was for the animals—and a nice warm bed to sleep in. That was what he liked the most. Before this he had been cold at night. Cold and thirsty. But now things felt good. He had a home, and he was getting a mommy and a daddy. He wasn’t sure what that meant, but he liked both of them; Pinkie was always loud and always jumping around. She made Dyx want to dance and sing in excitement. But Fluttershy was so quiet and gentle. He wanted to hug her and never let go.
Yes, Dyx decided, he liked it here.
AND SO DYX KNEW OF COMFORT
I welcome all criticisms and comments.
Please leave all feedback on this story’s EqD page, thank you.
My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic © Hasbro
I do not own the intellectual properties that the authors of the fan-fiction that this fan-fiction is loosely based off of do not own. So there.
1All his input came from Otacon, but I credit him because he has a gun and I don’t want to make him mad.
Assisted by The Doctor1
A Dyx Between Friends
<<Chapter 1 - Chapter 3>>
It was decided that the two mares would be wed in a week, and so Pinkie Pie rushed around town, gathering supplies and building hype for the wedding. Though most of her friends reacted to the news with, at best, confusion and, at worst, outright terror—Rarity fainted—both of the Cakes were glad they would no longer have to deal with Pinkie’s antics.
The celebration was going to be massive. Pinkie would spare no expense. Streamers were strung throughout the town, and balloons bobbed from every fence pike, rooftop, and light post available. Games and presents soon piled up by Sugarcube Corner, ready to be dispersed the night before the big day. The bakery was busy day and night spitting out pies, cakes, pastries, and muffins and dumping them in heaps onto tables ready to be thrown across town at a minute’s notice.
All of Pinkie’s preparation did not occur in a vacuum, however, and soon the entire town was sucked into the action. Sweet Apple Acres poured their crop into the town, while Rarity fretted over the hundreds of dress and suit orders that flooded her store. Dinky, still working in place of her mother, found herself too busy to worry about either her sister or Carrot Top as she tried to keep up with the unending streams of invitations Pinkie sent to all the ponies in town who had assumed that they were invited anyway. Meanwhile, all the local artisans, craftspersons, and vendors dodged, ducked, dipped, dived, and dodged through the bustling streets in order to perform all manner of party-related duties. It became so hectic that the mayor was forced to enlist Twilight to help maintain citywide order and more effectively organize the preparations. But even then they could barely hold everything together.
Only Rainbow Dash managed to keep on top of her duties. After waking up near noon, she would work briefly on the weather and then laze the rest of the day away on a cloud. She spent most of that time watching all the other ponies zip back and forth below, and wondered why they seemed so stressed.
During this time Pinkie only paused once in her work, and that was to ask Twilight a very important question. She was at all not happy with the answer.
“Yes, Pinkie, I am sure there is no such thing as an invisibility ring; true invisibility is impossible by definition. Besides, only unicorns can wear rings. Just have Rarity pick out a nice necklace for you or something,” the unicorn said. Her pink friend sighed, muttering something about a ‘great party prank,’ but quickly recovered and bounced off again, leaving Twilight to work out where to store the two tons of toothpaste that had appeared on her doorstep the day after Colgate had signed the wrong line on an order form.
By Wednesday, the wider world had been sucked into the preparations. An entire crew from Canterlot was wheeled in to help Vinyl Scratch set up the sound system, and the town’s center was transformed into a glistening white dance arena, with the unicorn DJ’s table set at its head. Pegasi from Cloudsdale were called in to help the weather team bend the climate to Pinkie’s will, and an entire construction team was wheeled in from Trottingham to make sure all the decorations were perfect. An orchestra, whose only housing could be found at the school, was also brought over from Canterlot, and Cheerilee was swamped trying to guard them against the hordes of adoring fans that all fame inevitably brought. They practiced constantly, and so nopony got much schoolwork done during the day. Several of the younger fillies, however, did discover their music-related talents and earned their Cutie-Marks. The Cutie Mark Crusaders were not among them.
Finally, after the longest week in Ponyville’s history, the day of the marriage arrived.
The area in front of the library had been turned into an altar; a small stage had been place a few feet in front of the door, and rows of chairs radiated out from it in a large semicircle. A crimson carpet had been unraveled on the ground, and it extended from the outermost row all the way up to a pair of steps that led to a white, wooden arch that framed the spot where the two ponies would be wed. Red, white, and pink flowers and heavy green vines were entwined between its slats, and directly beneath it was a small black podium.
At this podium, there sat a single pony. He was a unicorn, black as coal, and he had a single white cloth clamped around his neck. On his back he carried grey saddlebags, which were packed to the brim but did not bulge. His mane was dark purple, and it matched the glasses he wore over his turquoise eyes. Beside him hovered a small leather book with the title, Bib Libel's Guide to Marriage: A Complete Collection of all Known Customs and Ceremonies, embedded on its front in bronze letters. His cutie mark was a large white heart.
He stood at the altar and gazed out across the sea of chairs in front of him. He looked farther back, to the tables upon which mountains of pastries and armies of red drink cups lay. A single titanic cake towered over them all, with a pair of pink and yellow figurines buried in the frosting on its top. He peered into the distance, where the shimmering tiles of the dance floor sat waiting, surrounded by speakers and encased by a ceiling of lights and disco balls.
He sat at his podium, took in the whole of the town, and put forth a single question.
“Where is everypony?”
For though all the preparations for the wedding were complete, not a soul had come to see it. The chairs sat empty and the food lay untouched. Not even the brides had shown up. Only he, the minister, was there.
He had been hired only a day earlier, when, as he was resting on the roadside, a blue pegasus with rainbow hair had trotted up the road. When she was close enough to noticed him, she pick up her pace and shouted in greeting.
“Hey!” she called. “You wouldn’t happen to know Chris-something-or-other, would you?”
“Christener?” He raised an eyebrow at her as she came to a stop in front of him.
“Yeah! That guy. Do you know him?” she asked, “We need him for a wedding, and Pinkie said he’d be around here... though I still don’t how she’d know that...” She shook her head dismissively. “Anyway, do you know where he is?”
The unicorn’s expression softened at the mention of a wedding, and cleared his throat. “Well, I am Christener—though most ponies call me Christ†—and I would be happy to offer my services to you, Mrs...?”
“Name’s Dash. Rainbow Dash. And I’m the fastest pegasus in Equestria!” She puffed out her chest, grinning with pride. “But right now I’m just the messenger. Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy are the ones getting married.” She frowned, muttering, “Hrm, that still sounds weird out loud...”
“Well then, Mrs. Dash.” Christ† said, “just name a time and place, and I will be there to make matrimony happen! Uh, that is, assuming my schedule allows it. You see, I have just been hired for a couple in Trottingham, and their wedding is in little over a month.”
“Oh, no problem.” Rainbow Dash said, pulling out a fat letter from her saddlebags and tossing it onto the ground between them, “The wedding’s tomorrow, in Ponyville.”
“Tomorrow?” His eyes widened. “I am afraid that is impossibly little time to prepare a wedding in! I do not believe—”
“Don’t worry about that part, dude,” Rainbow said, shaking her head, “we got it covered. Pinkie just wants a minister to make it ‘perfectly perfect,’ and apparently you’re the best.” Suddenly, her demeanor changed, and she leaned forward to eye him suspiciously. “You are the best, right?”
“Oh, y-yes! I assure you, my services are second to none.” He swallowed, and Rainbow gave him another hard look before finally backing off.
“Alright, just checking,” she said, “A lot of freaky stuff has been happening recently, and I don’t want no phony-pony conin’ my friend. Anyway, can you make it by tomorrow? Or should I tell them to hold off for a day or two?”
“I believe that will not be necessary,” he replied, “Just let me pack my things and—”
“Great!” Rainbow exclaimed. “All the info’s in the letter, and the bits, too.” She turned to fly off, but stopped mid-crouch. “Oh, and if that’s not enough, just tell Pinkie Pie when you get there. See ya’!” With that she soared up into the sky, leaving a streak of rainbow in her wake. She was over the treetops and past the horizon before Christ† could react.
“Wait!” he cried, turning back to where the pegasus had been, “I thought you were going to fly me over... darn.” He sighed, and looked down at the package she had left. “Guess I will be walking again, then.”
He prodded the letter with a hoof. It was pink, wrapped in ribbon, and covered in smiley face stickers and crayon drawings of balloons. He levitated it in front of him and opened it. His eyebrows flew up as a waterfall of bits spilled out, scattering across the ground. He blinked, temporarily stunned, and then continued his investigation.
The only other thing inside was a piece of crumpled paper that turned out to be an invitation, written in bright red ink, that urged him to come to “The Most Super-Spectacular Wedding Ever!” and conduct a marriage ceremony. He laughed to himself as he read it, and decided that, if nothing else, this job sounded like a unique enough experience. He then turned to the bits on the ground. They totaled to 200 more than his usual pay. He blinked, recounted, and then gasped in horror as it occurred to him that he had less than 24 hours to get to Ponyville or else risk betraying a pair of incredibly eccentric clients.
Panicking, he swung back to his campsite and began disassembling it. He went first to the tent, removed all the things inside—the sleeping bag, his book collection, a few trinkets—and then collapsed it with his magic. He rolled up the sleeping bag onto his withers, placed the folded tent into his left saddlebag, and then the rest of his things into their appropriate pouches in the one on his right. Next he packed the few pans and cups he owned and then made absolutely sure the previous night’s fire was out. He gave the small clearing a final one-over, nodded to himself, and then trotted off along the road, levitating out a map as he did so.
He cringed when he saw how far he had to travel. Oh well, he thought, at the very least I might meet the Bearers of the Elements of Harmony.
And though that thought gave him some encouragement, he still found his whole assignment odd. Typically, when called upon, he was expected to plan, set up, and oversee the entire wedding, not just recite the vows. Anypony could do that last bit. The actual legal side of the marriage was handled through a local government official, such as a mayor, and he was only there to help ease along the celebratory side of things. As such, he did not see why he was needed now, but the attitude expressed by Pinkie Pie’s letter was intriguing, and her payment meant he was obligated to appear.
So he trotted on, hooves clopping against the ground as the day’s shadows grew longer and longer until they blanketed the world and the sun sank below the horizon. A starry sky sailed above him, and weariness creeped into his body. His eye drooped, his feet dragged, and his head bowed, but it was not until the moon was sinking behind Canterlot Mountain that he arrived in Ponyville. He sighed with relief, and curled up next to the great tree he found near the town’s center to get a few hours rest before the ceremony.
Only he now he had woken to find the town deserted. This perplexed him. Did Miss Dash give him the wrong date? Had something happened during the last day? Would the town really let all this effort go to waste?
His thoughts were interrupted, however, when a bright blue blur came screaming out of the sky and barreled into him before he could react. He cried out in shock, skidding across the ground, and came to a stop uncomfortably close to the one puddle of mud the weather team had missed. His book thumped to the ground next to him a moment later. Grunting, he hauled himself back up, and began brushing himself off with his magic as he looked around for his attacker. He blinked in surprise when he saw it was Rainbow Dash.
“Oh. Hello again,” he said.
“Oh hey Christ†!” she replied. She had tumbled a few feet from him, and was also in the midst of picking herself up off of the ground. “Heh... sorry about that. You okay?”
“Uh... yes, I am. No harm done, it seems.” He levitated his book back to his side, and readjusted his glasses. “But—” He yawned. “What about the wedding? Where is everypony? I have not even seen the brides yet.”
“Oh yeah, that.” She rubbed the back of her head with a foreleg. “It turns out they worked so hard to get things set up that they ended up too tired to come today. I checked out the town myself; everypony’s still asleep. Even the ones with alarms.”
“I... see...” he said, frowning in confusion, “Well then, what do we do now?”
“I dunno.” She shrugged. “I was just heading home for a nap when I crashed into you and decided to say hey. You need anything to get ready for the wedding? Because, knowing Pinkie Pie, it’ll probably still happen today.”
“Well... would you mind taking me to meet the brides?” he asked, “I would very much like to get to know who I will be wedding.”
“Oh sure, no problem. Fluttershy’s probably awake—all she’s had to do is take care of Dyx. Just follow me!” she exclaimed, zooming off in the direction of their cottage and waving a hoof at Christener to follow.
“Wait! Hold on!” he cried, lurching into a gallop, “I can’t run that fast...”
Pinkie Pie yawned as she made her way down the steps from the bedroom that she, her son, and Fluttershy now shared.
Her mane was greasy, matted, and sprinkled with small white feathers from her pillow. She had stayed up late the night before, making a final few adjustments to the town’s decorations. She had worked so hard that her body had been riled up on adrenaline, and she had been unable to fall asleep until deep into the morning. Her feet dragged and her head sagged as she lumbered down the stairs, and she felt rust around her eyelids as she creaked them open.
Now in the kitchen, Pinkie proceeded to make breakfast, intent on making up for her lost sleep with nourishment. As she was still a bit new to the cottage and Fluttershy had done most of the cooking for the three of them, it took slightly longer than normal for her to throw something together. But after much rummaging through cabinets she sat happily at the table, a plate of syrup-drenched pancakes and eggs in front of her. She took a moment to enjoy the sweet scent of sugar before wolfing down her meal. She licked her lips and belched in satisfaction, smiling, and let her food settle for a moment before cleaning up.
Tossing her dishes into the sink, she trotted out to the cottage’s living room to find it deserted. Usually, after Fluttershy had made Dyx breakfast, the colt would help the pegasus with her chores until lunchtime, after which he’d be free to wander around the cottage and play on his own until dinner. Fluttershy would then spend the rest of the evening trying to tutor him; Dyx would be starting school in a week or two, and Twilight had been unavailable because of Pinkie’s wedding preparations.
Pinkie Pie’s routine, meanwhile, had consisted of sleeping, waking up early, and then heading out to town to get on with the wedding preparations, so she only saw Dyx and Fluttershy at dinner and, occasionally, during breakfast. But today she had missed them. She frowned. That was too bad, she had wanted to tell Fluttershy... something. She tapped the side of her head with a hoof, trying to clear the cobwebs from her mind.
“Hmm...” She trotted over to a window, hoping the mid-morning light would jog her memory. It felt really important, what she had wanted to tell Fluttershy.
She rubbed her chin with a hoof, and looked around the room. Her eyes fell on the green dress hanging in the corner of the room. It was Fluttershy’s gala dress, now re-purposed into a wedding gown. She had set it out last night, so that it would be ready for the wedding today. The wedding. Today. Pinkie gasped.
“Of course! Everything’s done! That’s what I forgot!” She looked back at the window, and her eye’s widened. “Ohmygosh! I’m late!” she cried, scrambling to the door. She yanked it open, and galloped outside.
And then crashed headfirst into the black unicorn who had been trotting up the trail to their house.
Their skulls cracked against one another, and the two ponies fell back onto their haunches, each crying out in shock. Pinkie recovered in time to see Rainbow Dash flap to the ground next to her, cringing.
“Ooh... you two okay?” the pegasus asked.
“Yep,” replied Pinkie, unfazed, “My mane absorbed most of the impact.”
“Huh? I don’t think that’s—” But Rainbow Dash was cut off by a loud groan from behind her, and the two mares turned to see the black unicorn shaking his head to clear it.
“Urg, good morning,” he murmured, rubbing his head in pain. “Would you be Miss Pinkie Pie, then?”
“Yep that’s me!” she chirped. “Ooh, but how do you know my name? We haven’t met before! And you’re not from Ponyville, because I know everypony in Ponyville and I don’t know you! Though you do look familiar...” She scrunched up her face in thought.
“Well,” the stallion began, “I do put out adv—”
“Oh, I know!” she continued, face lighting up, “Did I have a dream about you? Or maybe you’re from Canterlot?”
“Well, I have done many—”
“Because I’ve been to Canterlot a few times and so I could recognize a some ponies from Canterlot even though I haven’t thrown them any parties, except that one time during Twilight’s birthday where there was that garden party next door.”
“Uh, if you could just slow down, please—”
“Speaking of which, I always wanted to throw a garden party—because I never have before and how could I be a proper party pony if I don’t throw every type of party possible? But I’ve never been able to because I asked Lily if I could borrow her garden for a party once and she just screamed and fainted which I’m pretty sure means ‘no’ and I don’t know anypony else who has a garden that’s big enough for a party so—”
“Pinkie Pie!” Rainbow Dash shouted, sticking a hoof in the pink mare’s mouth,“I think he gets it.”
“Oh, mhmph.” Pinkie said, refocusing on the stallion as Rainbow Dash pulled out, “So anyway, where were we? Oh right, your name. Ooh, wait, let me guess! Is it Shadow? Or Night Shade? Coal Heart? Bottle Breaker? Maybe—”
“No, no, none of those.” he interjected, “I am Christener—though most ponies call me Christ†—and I am the minister you hired for the wedding today. Remember? The wedding? It took me all night to get here on time.” He smiled nervously, glancing between the crazy mare and her companion.
“Ohh yeah!” Pinkie replied, eyes widening. “Great! You’re just in time!” She bounced up, and began galloping down the road. “Now let’s go before people start eating all the food.”
“Whoa, hold on.” Rainbow said, swooping in front of the earth pony, “Nopony’s there. They’re all asleep. All the setup wore them out.”
Pinkie stopped in her tracks. “What?” she screamed, “They all slept in on my wedding day!?” Her body quivered with anger, and her right eye twitched.
“Pinkie, you slept in on your wedding day,” Rainbow Dash replied, rolling her eyes.
“Oh yeah?” she snapped, jabbing a hoof into her friend’s chest, “Well you... you, uh...”
But before Pinkie could think of a proper retort, there was a great clamor from the forest’s edge. Startled, the three ponies turned to see a brown colt burst out of the treeline, eyes wide with fear. A swarm of bees buzzed out after him. He sped by the trio without a word, breathing hard, and then hurled himself into a patch of bushes on the trail's opposite side. The bees pursued him, ignoring the three other ponies and disappearing into the foliage.
Pinkie Pie blinked in surprise, while Rainbow Dash and Christ† stared blankly at the spot the colt had disappeared into. A moment passed, and then the bees returned, this time chased out by a yellow pegasus. She spread her wings, glaring at the bees, and they retreated from her as fast as their wings would let them. The colt was huddled underneath her, smiling triumphantly.
“Thanks daddy!” he gushed. “They were about—”
“Don’t you ‘thanks daddy’ me,” Fluttershy, said, frowning at the foal beneath her. His smile disappeared, and he pressed his ears back against his head as she continued scolding him. “I told you not to disturb the animals’ homes—especially those that can hurt you—and yet you still went and made the bees angry. What do you have to say for yourself?”
“I’m sorry,” he said, lowering his head.
“Good.” She smiled, beginning to move across the trail. “Now let’s go find those bees’ hive so you can apologize to them for invading their home.”
“Uh, I don’t think we can do that,” the colt said, following after Fluttershy and glancing at the three ponies that she had yet to notice.
“No excuses, Dyx. We both know you provoked them, and you’re going to apologize for that.”
“No, I mean—”
He was cut off by a roar from the forest, and Fluttershy halted as a large brown bear stomped out from the underbrush. The remains of the bees’ nest were clutched in his right paw, and a glob of honey hung from his muzzle. He lumbered over to Dyx, sat down in front of him, and held up his free forepaw to the colt. The foal looked at Fluttershy, then quickly bumped his hoof against the bear’s paw, grinning. The yellow pegasus watched the exchange, dumbfounded.
“Henry said he’d give me some honey if I distracted the bees for him,” Dyx explained.
“What!?” Fluttershy exploded, turning on the bear, “You had my son get chased around by bees!”
He growled in response, baring his teeth.
“Don’t you talk back to me mister!” Fluttershy scolded, flapping into the air and staring down at bear. “You know perfectly well that bee stings hardly hurt you, yet you still put my son in unnecessary danger! I am very disappointed in you.” She jabbed his nose with a hoof and he shied back, whimpering in fear. “Now I don’t want to see you hanging out with Dyx ever again, understand?”
He nodded hurriedly before dashing back into the woods, his tail between his legs. Fluttershy turned back to Dyx.
“And I don’t want you getting into any more trouble either,” she said, “Do you realize how hurt you could have gotten?”
“Uh, w-well,” Dyx began, tapping a hoof on the ground, “originally, I was going to just smoke the bees out, but I didn’t want to set anything on fire... again... and I thought I could run fast enough, and...” he trailed off, smiling weakly.
Fluttershy sighed, settling back to the ground, and lowered her head to look her son in the eye. “Dyx, I’ve told you enough times to stop getting into trouble, and you know the forest is a dangerous place. Please, please, promise me you’ll stop doing things like this. The animals need to be taken care of, and I can’t watch you all the time.”
“Yeah!” Pinkie chimed in, being the only pony from the trio not stunned into silence, “You need to be super-duper careful around here, okay?”
“Okay,” he said, pawing the ground. “But there’s nothing else to do around here!”
“Sure there is, Dyxie, you just need to try new things.” Pinkie chirped, “Besides, soon you’ll be in school, and you’ll make a whole heap of friends, and then you can play with them!”
“Yes,” added Fluttershy, “and in the meantime you can play with Angel, or Gummy, or one of the other animals. But you have play nicely, okay?”
“Okay,” groaned Dyx.
“Alright, thank you, sweetie,” Fluttershy said, giving her son a nuzzle, “Now let’s get back the cottage and get you cleaned up for the wedding.” She turned back to the trail, swinging her head around to see Christ† for the first time. She shrieked, her eyes widening in fear, and then dived behind Dyx.
“Who’s that?” she squeaked, cowering behind her son.
The unicorn stared at her, his mouth opening and closing wordlessly as he looked from the space the bear had been to the now petrified mare who had shouted it down only moments before.
“Uh...” was all he could manage before Pinkie jumped in.
“He’s the pony who’s going to marry us!” she cried, darting to Fluttershy’s side to nudge her back onto her feet and over the Christ†. “He’s new here, so be extra nice!”
“Uh, I, uh, actually—technically—I am going to wed you two,” he said, having rediscovered his voice, “But, anyway, it is a pleasure to finally meet you.” He extended a hoof in greeting. “You are Miss Fluttershy, I assume?”
“Oh, um, yes,” she replied, sticking a quivering hoof out to meet his, “It’s nice to meet you too.” She gave his hoof a quick shake, and then took a few steps back to stand next to her son.
“Well, now that we’re all friends,” Pinkie Pie said, “Let’s get going!”
“Going where?” ask Rainbow.
“To my wedding, duh!” Pinkie said, rolling her eyes. “Where else would we go!?”
“Ugh, Pinkie,” Rainbow groaned, smacking her forehead with a hoof, “I just told you that the entire town is out cold. You’re going to have to reschedule it.”
“Oh, hmm...” Pinkie frowned in thought. This was a problem. If everypony was asleep, then they would miss the greatest Pinkie Pie Party™ ever of all time so far. And that would be terrible.
“Well then I’ll just have to wake them all up!” she declared. The pink mare leaped down the trail, only to be jerked back onto her rump by a yank from her tail.
“Hold on,” Rainbow Dash said, spitting out the hairy pink mess, “You can’t just burst into peoples homes and wake them up. Why don’t—?”
“Sure I can!” Pinkie chirped. “I’ll just climb in through their windows!”
“No! Just—! Gha...” Rainbow lowered her head in defeat, sighing. “Fluttershy, would you please talk some sense into your wife for me?” She turned to the yellow pegasus, who was pawing the ground nervously while standing next to Dyx, who was busy watching Christ†, who was himself focusing all his attention on adjusting the cloth around his neck and trying not to gawk at the scene he had stumbled into.
“Oh, um, yes,” Fluttershy said, sliding over to her two friends. “Um, Pinkie, maybe, instead of bother all those ponies—not that you would mean to, it’s just that, getting, um, pounced on tends to be rather bothersome. Anyway, what if, instead, we moved the wedding back a few hours and, uh, left a note for everypony so they’d know? That would work. If you’re not too busy with anything else, that is.”
“Hmm...” Pinkie Pie sat back on her haunches, tapping her chin and nodding her head thoughtfully. That was a good idea. Though it would mean a bit of extra work to keep things ready, it would also guarantee that everypony would be there. A smile appeared on her face, and she bounced forward to hug Fluttershy. “Ooh, what a totally great idea! But when do we set it back to. In an hour? Does that work?” She looked at the four ponies in front of her.
“Only one hour?” Rainbow Dash complained, “I dunno, I’d like to get at least five more.”
“Five hours?” Pinkie looked at Rainbow Dash, and tilted her head to the side.
“Yeah! Uh, y’know, because I have to do weather reports... and stuff...” The pegasus shifted her eyes suspiciously.
“Oh, and I still have some chores to finish up,” Fluttershy added.
“I am good to go, but I would not mind a few more hours of sleep,” Christ† said, suppressing a yawn, “Though, really, it would be ideal to have a few more days to get to know you two more; it helps me personalize the vows.”
Dyx merely shrugged, and went back to munching on the leaves of a nearby plant. Fluttershy noticed this and darted over to his side, smacking the red-colored leaves out of his reach and making him spit out what he had already bitten off.
“Dyx!” she yelled. “I keep telling you, those are poisonous. Stop trying to eat them!”
“But I feel fine!” he whined, “And I’m hungry.”
Fluttershy sighed. “You’re always hungry...” She picked up her son by the scruff of his neck, and tossed him onto her back. “Come on, let’s get you some medicine. Again.” She began trotting back to the cottage, turning her head back to say goodbye to her friends.
“And send Rarity over when you’re ready, if she’s free,” she said.
“Okie-dokie! See you all in five hours then!” Pinkie cried, bursting into a gallop and flying down the road. She had a lot of houses to hit, and she still had to pick up her dress from Rarity, and she’d have to get Twilight to use her magic to keep all the food from spoiling, and—
Pinkie frowned, realizing just how much she’d have to do to keep everything perfectly-perfect, and quickened her pace towards Ponyville.
Princess Luna strode through the courtyard, her hooves clacking on the white cobblestones that lead to the entrance of the Canterlot Royal Hospital. Two guards flanked her, their dark armor gleaming in the noon light, and together they marched through the sliding doors of the hospital’s main entrance.
The waiting room was clean, smelt of dust, and had a thick sandy brown carpet that seemed to suck all the sound out of the room. A pink mare dressed in white sat at the reception desk, fiddling absentmindedly with a paper. A row of chairs lined the wall closest to the doorway, where a single stallion sat, his features obscured behind a two-week old newspaper.
The Princess moved up to the receptionist, and her two guards followed her, each taking a defensive position around where she stopped. Luna tapped a hoof against the bell on the desk, and it gave a dull clang.
The mare glanced up, sniffing in air. “Yes?” she exhaled.
“We have come to check upon the six soldiers of Our Royal Guard that arrived here earlier this week,” she declared, gazing down at her subject, “Are they well and in good hooves?”
The mare bent down below her desk, coming up with a fat clipboard of papers. She lifted the first few pages, scrolling through the list of names. “Do you have a name, Your Nightness?” she asked.
The Princess blinked rapidly. Did she really just ask for her name? That couldn't be right.
“What doth thou mean?” she asked, tilting her head in confusion.
“A name,” the mare said, look up from the papers, “Do you have a name for me, ma’am?”
“A name? A name?” the Princess snapped, jerking back from the desk, “We are Luna! Princess and Ruler of Equestria. The Harbinger of the Night. What do thou mean, ‘A name’?”
Outside the sky darkened, and the doors to hospital slammed open. A wind rushed in, scattering papers around the room. The pony sitting at the door cried out in anger as his newspaper was ripped from his grip. It tumbled through the air, smacking one of Luna’s guards in the face, but he did not react as it squirmed and contorted around his muzzle.
“Doth thou not know of thy Overlord? ” Luna continued, standing tall. The rooms shadows stretched over the floor, pulled in toward her body. She spread her wings, and the wind howled around her. “Hath thou already forgotten the Nightmare of Our folly? How dare thee ask a name of thy own Emancipator!?”
Lightning flashed outside, and thunder rocked the building. Luna’s eyes blazed with white light, and storm clouds swirled above the hospital. She leaned against the edge of the receptionist's desk, and peered down at the now quivering mare.
“Well?” she hissed.
“N-no. Y-your N-nightness—uh—Princess Luna. ” The mare shrunk under the alicorn’s stare. “I-I mean, what is the name of the patient. N-not your name.”
Luna’s wings fell to her side, and the wind dropped to nothing. The clouds evaporated, and pieces of paper settled around the room. Luna stared at the receptionist with horrified eyes. The stallion near the door sat dazed, his mouth agape and hair splattered over his head. The royal guard made no move to remove the newspaper that was now molded over his face, and his companion continued to stare impassively at the waiting room’s exit.
A yellow sticky-note detached itself from the ceiling, and fluttered down onto Luna’s nose. The princess blinked once, and then shook it off, pulling herself away from the mare’s face. She cleared her throat, glanced briefly around her peripheral, and then stared straight at the back wall as she spoke.
“Moondancer. We recall a Moondancer.” she said, pausing. “How fares her company?”
“Uh, j-just a moment, Your Nightness,” the receptionist stammered, flipping through the papers on her clipboard. She scanned through them, her eyes darting up and down. A moment passed, and she grinned weakly up at the alicorn, eye shrinking in fear. “Uh, I’m s-sorry Your Majesty, b-but—” she gulped, “—there’s no record of any Moondancer getting checked in here in the last week. O-or any group of ponies bigger than four.”
“What?” Luna’s wings unfolded in panic, her eyes widening, “What do you mean?”
“I-I mean there’s no record, Your Royal Highness.” The mare cowered in her seat, “N-nopony ever checked in. Oh please forgive me!” she cried, throwing her forelegs up to shield herself.
Luna closed her eyes, taking a deep breath to calm herself. No need to panic. It was probably just a simple mistake. The guards were still in Ponyville. Or the basic paperwork had slipped through the cracks. It was bureaucracy, things like that happened all the time. She would just have to send somepony else to check on them for her. She frowned. Really, she should have done that in the first place, but the task had seemed too important to delegate to an inferior. Damn all these royal duties, she thought.
It had been a busy week for her. Although Discord had not been revived, the incident had caused quite a panic in Canterlot and in Equestria at large. Celestia was forced to appear across the land to reassure the citizenry that everything was okay, while Luna had been stuck at the capital to juggle a panicking aristocracy with military leaders who insisted they be deployed throughout the land as a precaution. Luna had fought an uphill battle to convince her generals that putting troops in the streets would only incite more panic, and she was eternally grateful that a few key aristocrats did have their wits about them and were able to do most of the work for her in assuring the ruling class that Discord had indeed left the land.
“The princesses know what they are doing,” one had said, “and besides, neither of them can feel his presence any more.”
“Um, Your Nightness?” the receptionist asked, beginning to relax her forelegs. At the sound of her voice Luna’s head flew up, and the mare flinched back to her defensive position.
“Is there an administrator We could speak to?” the Princess asked.
“O-oh, yes,” the receptionist moved forward, leaning over the edge of the counter to point out her directions with a shaking hoof. “The doctor’s office is through the main doors, and down the hallway. Last door on your right. Y-you can’t miss it Your Majesty.”
“Thank you,” Luna replied, nodding her head and trotting to the door she had been directed to. Her guards followed.
As the doors swung shut behind her she halted in mid-stride, letting out a soft gasp as she remembered something. She turned back, and stuck her head out the door. “Oh, and one other item,” she called out to the receptionist, “Please call me just ‘Luna’.”
“O-oh...” the receptionist replied, “S-sure. Luna.”
“Thank you,” the princess said, smiling. She then pulled her head out from the doorway and continued down the hall to the doctor's office. His report was disheartening.
“I’m terribly sorry Your Highness-” he began.
“Sorry. Luna.” he corrected, reading over a paper from his files, “But apparently there has been a huge oversight on my part.” He swallowed, “I take full responsibility.”
Luna frowned. “Take responsibility? Please, don’t sound so morbid. I am sure whatever happened was a simple mistake. I just wish to know how my guards are doing. Their conditions were rather serious.”
“Er, of course, Your Night—er, Luna. Here is what I’m talking about.” He turned the paper around on the desk, and slid it over to the princess. “We sent a crew out a week ago, just as you instructed, to transfer the guards from Ponyville’s hospital, but there’s no record of the patients ever making it back.” He chewed on his lip as Luna read over the document.
“I-I’m not sure what went wrong—all the ponies I sent out to make the transfer are still here, but it’s as if they trotted halfway down there, forgot what they were doing, and then came back to their normal duties without reporting in.” He swallowed again. “Really, I should have noticed that—like I said, it was a gross oversight on my part—but I assumed that, because I hadn’t gotten a bad report that week, nothing had gone wrong with any of our cases, including yours, Majes—er, Luna. I am very sorry. I’ll do everything I can to correct it.”
Luna nodded, and placed the paper back on the stallion’s desk. “That is indeed very odd. Night Breaker?” she called, turning to the guard on her right.
“Yes?” he replied. “What do you wish of me?”
“I need you to interview each of the ponies who were supposed to transfer my guards back to Canterlot. Find out what they remember about that day and report it to me.” She turned back to addressing the doctor, “I trust you can arrange those interviews?”
“Yes, Luna. I can do that immediately if you wish.”
“Very good,” she replied, “Please do so.”
“Right away!” he cried. He saluted awkwardly, and then sped out the door. Luna turned to the guard on her left.
“Breadcrumb,” she said, “I need you to fly to Ponyville and make sure Moondancer and her company are well. Go now.”
“Mphs mwm,” replied the guard with the newspaper still stuck over his head.
“And take that thing off of your face,” Luna added, “You look ridiculous.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He saluted, and then trotted out the door, leaving just Luna and Night Breaker in the room.
“Very well,” the princess said, “I am afraid that I must leave now; I am already late for a meeting. Get me that report as soon as possible, and good luck.”
“Yes, ma’am. Thank you, ma’am.” He saluted.
Luna nodded her thanks, and then raised her horn to the ceiling. It glowed with a light that expanded around the princess and then flashed outward, whisking her away to her royal duties.
The kettle screeched, and Fluttershy began pouring out boiling water into two cups.
“So...” said the unicorn at her kitchen table, “how long have you known Miss Pinkie Pie?”
“Oh, ever since I moved to Ponyville,” she responded, still working at the counter, “She threw me a party on my first day here, you know. That was really nice, even though I spent most of it hiding under the punch table.” She smiled at the memory. “But anyway, we weren’t very close friends until after we met Twilight Sparkle; she brought the six of us together, really.” The pegasus turned her head back towards her guest. “Chamomile or green tea?” she asked.
“Chamomile, please,” Christ† replied, “You six? The Elements of Harmony?”
“Oh, um, yes. I guess you could think of us like that.” Fluttershy placed a pair teabags into the steaming waters, and then carried the cups one at a time over to the table. She placed one in front of Christ† and the other at her seat. She sat down. “But to me they’re my very best friends.”
“Ah. I see.” He levitated the cup to his mouth, and sipped politely, humming in satisfaction. “This is excellent, Miss Fluttershy.”
“Oh, thank you,” she said.
She took a sip from her own cup, and glanced around the table. She wanted to be polite, but having a perfect stranger over for tea was making her nervous. She still wasn’t quite sure how Pinkie had found him, and though he seemed nice enough, his presence had made her realize just what she was getting herself into. She was marrying one of her friends so they could raise a colt that Pinkie had just found in the forest. Element of Kindness or not, this was a huge leap for her, and she had begun to feel a bit overwhelmed in the past few days. Dyx was a handful, and though she knew that Pinkie would be more available after the wedding, she would still have her job with the Cakes, and Fluttershy wasn’t sure that she could keep on top of all her chores and still be a good father for the colt. At least school would be starting soon and then she wouldn’t have to worry about him getting into trouble all the time.
“So, um,” Fluttershy said, trying to keep the conversation going, “How long have you been wedding ponies?”
“Oh, ever since I got my cutie mark.” he replied.
“Oh. Well that sounds... nice.”
“Oh I love it. I get to meet new ponies all the time and be around them when they’re at their happiest.”
“Yes, well, at least that happens most of the time. Relationships do go sour occasionally, but when that happens I try my best to ease the pain. Not everything works out for everypony all the time, unfortunately. But so long as their relationship is based on love, ponies will find happiness.”
“Oh. That’s...” Fluttershy trailed off, and there was another lull in their conversation. Christ† cleared his throat, and took a sip from his teacup.
Fluttershy felt bad. She wanted to be happy and excited about her wedding, but even thinking about the future she was tying herself into and all the responsibility she was piling onto herself only incited nervousness. She was too tired to feel the dread she knew she should be feeling. Dyx’s antics had exhausted her. His idea of fun, she had discovered, seemed to be to create as much chaos as possible whenever she turned her back on him. One day he had chased the cat into the forest, and it had taken two hours to calm her down enough to let Fluttershy bring her back. Another time he wrecked a beaver's dam, and Fluttershy had spent the rest of the day overseeing Dyx as he helped rebuild it. And twice this week he had accidentally set fire to the chicken coup. Somehow.
“So,” Christ† said, breaking Fluttershy’s musing, “what made you and Miss Pinkie Pie decide to finally get married? I understand the wedding preparations were rather rushed...”
“Oh, well, um,” Fluttershy looked up from her tea, “Pinkie, um, proposed to me just last week, actually, but she’s very enthusiastic about her parties. It’s her special talent. I’m surprised she didn’t want to get married very next day, actually.”
“I see.” He took another sip from his teacup, “So, if you do not mind me asking, what makes you think she is ‘the one,’ as they say?”
“Oh, um, well...” Fluttershy had heard that question, or a variation of it, many times in the past week, and it was always awkward to explain that she and Pinkie weren't actually marrying for love. “Really, Dyx is—”
“Daaaaaad!” The colt’s whine cut her off, and the two ponies looked over to see him walking through the kitchen door, a desperate expression on his face. “Can I please go outside?”
Fluttershy sighed. “No, honey. You’re grounded until after your mother and I are married. You really hurt those bees.”
“But Angel’s being mean to me!” The foal complained.
“What is he doing this time, Dyx?”
That was another thing. Angel had started pestering the colt, but Fluttershy couldn’t figure out why. She had watched the bunny dance around and point out various patterns many times, but she hadn’t been able to decipher any of them. Eventually, he had given up on trying to communicate to her about whatever it was about Dyx that bothered him and instead had taken to picking on the colt whenever Fluttershy wasn’t around. Nothing violent, of course, but always annoying enough so that it was a problem.
“He’s sitting outside the window and... and, uh—” the colt frowned, looking for the right word, “—and taunting me!”
“He... he just is!”
Fluttershy sighed, excused herself from the table, and trotted into the livingroom to investigate. Sure enough, Angel was outside the window. He had set up a miniature lawn chair and was lounging in it with a tanning mirror in his hands and a glass of iced tea at his side. He also wore a pair of sunglasses that were almost as big as he was.
Fluttershy frowned at the sight, and Dyx scampered over to the window to stick his tongue out at the rabbit. Angel looked down at the colt, took an exaggerated sip from his iced tea, and wiggled his eyebrows as if to ask ‘Are you jealous?’ He then returned to his sunbathing.
Fluttershy sighed. “Just ignore him, sweetie. He’s only trying to get a reaction out of you.”
There was a knock at the door, and Fluttershy moved to answer it. It was Rarity.
“Good afternoon, darling. I hope you’re ready for your big day!” The white mare smiled, but she looked tired. There were faint bags under her eyes, and her mane was just the tiniest bit messy to show that she had slacked on her usual beautification.
“Oh, yes,” Fluttershy replied. “I just need to put on the gown—which is perfect, by the way. Pinkie’s taking care of everything else.”
“Oh, good. I’m absolutely thrilled you like the dress. I was a bit worried that simply changing up your gala dress wouldn’t be enough, but it worked out beautifully. Anyway, I’ll help you into it and then we can get going and—ooh! Is this the minister?” She turned to Christener, who had walked out to see who had entered. Dyx was still frowning at Angel.
“Yes I am,” he replied. “Miss Pinkie Pie hired me.” He he shook hooves with Rarity.
“A pleasure to meet you,” she said.
“The pleasure is all mine,” he replied. He turned to Fluttershy, “And I do not mean to be rude, but I will be heading to the wedding now. I believe Miss Pinkie Pie will want me to be there before you. For the ceremony and all.”
“Oh, yes.” Fluttershy replied. “Of course.”
“Alright, I’ll see you then,” he said, starting up the path, “And thank you for the tea.”
“You’re welcome,” said Fluttershy.
“We’ll see you in a few!” Rarity called. She waved him goodbye before entering the cottage and shutting the door. “Now, let’s make you fabulous!”
Breadcrumb descended from the sky, aiming for Ponyville General Hospital. He had flow high above the clouds, but his armor and fur had been more than enough to keep him warm. He liked watching the world from up there. It felt so far away; quiet. He enjoyed that feeling of isolation. Now, though, the wind rushed past him, and as he neared the hospital he swooped upward to slow himself before folding his wings in and dropping to the ground. He trotted into the reception area and asked to see the head doctor.
“I need some information from him. I’m on a mission from Princess Luna.”
“Oh, of course,” the receptionist replied “I’ll get him right away.” She left and quickly returned with the doctor, and Breadcrumb wasted no time in getting the information he needed.
The doctor explained to him that, according to the head nurse, the staff from Canterlot Royal Hospital had come and taken Moondancer’s company back to the capital while she and her crew were out. When Breadcrumb pointed out how odd that sounded, the doctor shrugged and pulled out a clipboard from his desk.
“Well, they did fill out the appropriate paperwork.” He showed the clipboard to Breadcrumb. “I don’t know why they came back empty hooved.”
Breadcrumb glanced over the medical forms, and then looked the doctor, confused. “Uh, doc? Why is the ink pink?”
“Pink?” The doctor turned the clipboard around, and frowned at it. Sure enough, thought it was filled out all that had been written on was colored bright pink. “How odd, I didn’t notice it until you pointed it out. I wonder...” He sniffed at the paper, and then licked it. Breadcrumb raised an eyebrow, squeamish.
“Uh, doc? Are you feelin’ okay?”
“Interesting,” the doctor said. “It takes like chocolate.”
Breadcrumb’s eyes widened. “Chocolate?” Even if Luna hadn’t told him to be on the lookout for any sign of Discord, the first thing he would have thought of at the mention of chocolate was the draconequus. When Discord had first escaped he had been flying, alone, above the Everfree Forest, and it had rained chocolate milk so hard that his wings had been too heavy to fly with. He’d crashed into the forest below, and it had taken him two days to find his way out on foot. He still had nightmares about that place.
“Yes, it’s definitely chocolate. Why would anypony do their paperwork in pink colored chocolate?”
“That’s a very good question.” Breadcrumb scanned the room cautiously. The doctor was acting much too calm for somepony who’d just found out half his patients had gone missing. He looked at the receptionist he’d first talked to when he’d walked in. “What do you think about this, ma’am?”
She shrugged in response, staring back at him with glazed over eyes. She looked like she’d suddenly stopped caring about her job. Breadcrumb frowned, and looked back at the doctor. He was slurping words off the paper. The royal guard gasped and snatched the clipboard away with a wing, tucking it away under his armor.
“Doc, what the hay are you doing?”
“Oh, sorry. I was hungry.”
“Hungry? I’m trying to find out why six of my friends went missing and all you can think about is how hungry you are? What is wrong with you!?” He stormed out of the hospital, disgusted by their apathy, and threw himself into the sky. He couldn’t believe it. The first piece of evidence he stumbles upon might point to Discord being involved and that dumb doctor goes and ruins it because he can’t control his appetite. He should have bucked him for acting so stupid. That would show him, that little—
Breadcrumb halted in mid air, his rage suddenly passing from him. He landed on a nearby cloud and reviewed what he had just thought. Why had he gotten so angry? And why had he stormed out of there like that? That had been very unprofessional of him. And also completely unlike him. He scratched at his head, and looked at the clipboard. All the writing was still there, unaltered despite having been slobbered on. He frowned. Something fishy was definitely going on down there, and whatever was perpetuating it had affected him. He needed to get this to Luna ASAP. Her Nightness would know how to handle Discord’s influence.
He kicked off the cloud and veered toward Canterlot. On his way from the capital he had avoided flying over the Everfree Forest but now time was of the essence, and now below him were the dark and wild trees. Midway through his flight, however, he noticed a dark-colored pegasus curled up on a cloud and decided to investigate. As he approached he saw that the pegasus was wearing the armor of a royal guard, and when he landed he recognized her as one of those who had gone missing: Moondancer.
She was in a terrible condition. Her coat was dirty, her mane was tangled and grimy, and her armor was smeared with patches of green, evidence that she had spent days living in the underbrush, though he could not think of why she would look this bad. The Everfree River had enough calm spots for a pony to bathe in, and she could have flown out in the first place. He stuck a hoof out to nudge her, but stopped as he remembered something Night Breaker had told him.
The other guardstallion had been with Luna on the night of Discord’s almost-re-release, and he had told Breadcrumb about how one of the hospitalized guards had been “possessed by chaos.” Breadcrumb still wasn’t sure exactly what that meant, but if Discord’s influence had spread to that hospital then there was no telling what it could have done to those who were caught in that blast of chaotic magic. He again stuck out a hoof, but readied himself to flee should Moondancer turn on him.
His caution was futile, for in the next moment he was tackled off the could by somepony from above and behind him. Branches snapped and leaves rained around him and his attacker as they plunged through the treetops. He didn’t have time to slow himself, and his breath was knocked out of him as he smashed into the ground. He heard the clipboard crunch underneath him as his head smacked against the earth, but then all other sensations were replaced by a throbbing pain in his head and the world became blurry and dim.
He struggled to stay conscious, but found himself waking up. His side was sore, and it hurt to breath, but his vision had returned. He was in a clearing, and Moondancer was sitting in the distance, watching something to his left. Something was wrong with her eyes, he thought. He turned his head to see what she was looking at.
It was a pink mare. She towered over the guardstallion, smiling maliciously. He tried to move, but found his limbs bound by rope. The mare bent down to stare at him, and her eyes were wrong. There were no real pupils, only distorted spirals in the middle of bright red irides. They changed color to blue as he gasped in fear, and her expression turned from intimidating to victorious.
“Gotcha,” she said. A dirty rainbow of magical power rushed from her eyes to his, and Breadcrumb was blinded by color as his mind swam with chaos.
Once again, Christener stood at the altar, ready for a wedding, and this time the town was ready with him. The audience was filled with the townsfolk, and their coats created a collage of colors. The relatives of the bride and groom sat in the front row along with the friends and family of the bridesmaids. To both his sides were the bridesmaids; the four other bearers of the Elements of Harmony. Pinkie Pie stood in front and to the right of the podium, grinning at everything. All they were waiting for was Fluttershy to enter.
When Christener had first arrived in town, he been impressed with the decorations, but as the day had gone on he began to think that they were a bit excessive, even for a wedding. Had it really been necessary to dress up the whole town? But as he’d talked to Pinkie Pie more things started to make sense. Her life was dedicated to partying, it was only fitting that one of the most important days of it would be the biggest she could muster.
Still, as a wedding planner, he couldn’t help but question some of her odd design choices.
“Mrs. Pie, if you do not mind me asking,” he said, pointing to the audience, “why did you use folding chairs for seats? Aren’t those for Minotaurs?”
“Uh, you know, I’m not sure,” she replied. She looked at the audience. Some of the ponies were sitting across two chairs as if they were a bench, while others had opted to fold theirs up and stand or sit in the grass.
“I can explain that,” Twilight Sparkle interjected, “Things got so crazy while we were setting up that I had to delegate some task to other ponies, and I put Lyra in charge of seating arrangements. My bad.”
“Oh,” said Christener. That didn’t explain anything. He turned back to Pinkie, “And why do you have an entire orchestra? I mean—”
“Well for the background music, duh!”
“Background... music? Wha—” But just then the orchestra started playing, and he turned to see Fluttershy walking down the aisle. Three little fillies pranced ahead of her, tossing pink petals onto the red carpet. They all wore simple white dresses and had soft yellow flowers in their hair. The bride herself looked gorgeous. She had blue and white flowers throughout her mane, and a long light green dress that trailed behind her. She had butterfly earrings and a matching necklace with an engraving of a pink balloon on each wing.
She walked up the aisle, smiling nervously at the ponies around her. Dyx was beside her, wearing a simple black suit with a red tie. He lagged behind his father to eat a few of the flowers the fillies had tossed out, but he was not enough to draw attention away from her natural grace and beauty. The crowned ooed in appreciation, and they stomped politely as she moved up the aisle.
Fluttershy trotted up the stairs and stood facing her soon-to-be-bride, and Dyx took a seat in the front row. The music faded to background noise as Christener began to recite the vows. Pinkie Pie quivered with excitement as he spoke, and practically squealed her yeses. Fluttershy was much calmer, and though she bit her lip at a few lines she replied with confidence and conviction.
As he spoke, Christ† thought over his day. All in all, he considered the ceremony a success. He had his doubts when he had arrived, but he could tell now that these were good ponies, and he wished them the best in their marriage.
“...and now, finally, you may kiss the bride!” Chrsitener declared, beaming.
Pinkie froze, and Fluttershy immediately shrunk back from her spouse, blushing. At this, the crowd stopped their quiet admiration and instead let out a chorus of huh?’s which caused the band conductor to slip up, which led to the music dying out in a screeching racket. Christener blinked in surprise, glancing between the couple while his book hovered in front of him. He looked down at it, re-read what was written, looked back at the brides, and then turned to the now equally-confused bridesmaids. They shrugged.
“We have to k-kiss?” the yellow pegasus squeaked. Pinkie Pie snapped out of her freeze and turned on the minister pony.
“Are you crazy!?” she cried, “I haven’t even brushed my teeth today!”
“Uh, but I—! But you—! But she—!” Christ† pointed at his book and at the mares, trying to demonstrate the reason for his confusion. He blabbered on for a moment or two more and then gave up, turning back to the brides’ friends. “They are getting married, right? This is a wedding, right? I’m not crazy, right?”
“Of course it’s a wedding!” Pinkie shouted, throwing her hooves into the air “It’s the greatest, most super-duper, perfectly-perfect wedding ever in history! But you want to ruin it all by having me make out with my best friend! In front of the whole town! And our son! Who does that?”
“But you’re getting—!” Christ† stammered, waving a hoof from one bride to the other, “Don’t you two—? Haven’t you—?”
“Hold on, everypony,” Twilight Sparkle said, sliding between Pinkie and the minister to break the conflict, “I think there’s been a tiny misunderstanding here.” She chuckled nervously, and then plucked Christ†‘s book from his magical grip. “Let’s just have a little look in this book here and see what the problem is...”
Her eyes scanned the page, and she frowned in concentration. “Hmm, nope, nothing wrong here. ‘Dearly beloved, blah, blah, blah, you may now kiss the bride.’ These are the usual marriage vows, Piknie. This is what happens at weddings. Normally, anyway.” She handed the book back the Chrisnener.
“You want us to kiss?” Fluttershy whispered from the ground. Her face was now beet red.
“This is ridiculous!” Pinkie said, jabbing her hoof at the minister. “If I wanted to kiss Fluttershy I wouldn’t need any dumb book to tell me to do so. You seriously need to rethink your—!”
“Okay!” Christener cried, snapping the book closed. “I’ve got a better idea. How ‘bout I just say: ‘You may now hug the bride,’ hmm?” He smiled desperately. “Does that work for you Miss Pie?”
Pinkie’s rage evaporated. “Oh yeah, that’ll be great! I knew there was a reason you’re the best, Christ†.” She scooped up Fluttershy into a hug, and the crowd cheered, deciding to just go along with it.
That was it, Christener thought to himself, after tonight he was never coming back here, and he would only speak at weddings he had planned. Even if they were the Bearers of the Elements of Harmony, these ponies were all crazy.
Later, after things had settled down and the cake had been eaten, Twilight stepped up to the podium and took hold of the microphone. “Excuse me everypony,” she said, “I’ve prepared a speech for this occasion, and I think now is a good time to share it with you all.” She levitated a stack of papers in front of her, and a few groans were emerged from the audience. Twilight cleared her throat.
“Marriage,” she began, “Marriage brings us together today—”
“—to par-tay!” Pinkie finished, jumping in front of the microphone and shoving her friend out of the way. Papers flew everywhere. The crowd cheered. “Now c’mon everypony, let’s dance!” Pinkie jumped off the stage and galloped toward to dance floor. The crowd stampeded after her.
Twilight sighed and rolled back onto her hooves. She trotted after the crowd, disappointed but hopeful that she might be able to work the speech later into the night. She didn’t.
Dyx was a very happy colt. He wasn’t quite sure what this whole ‘wedding’ thing was about, and he didn’t understand the fuss about ‘kissing’ that had happened earlier, but at least he had finally gotten some real food. He’d been able to eat a whole layer of cake, two plates of muffins, a bowl of fruit salad, and a bag of cookies before Fluttershy had stopped him and told him he’d had enough. He’d tried to explain that he hadn’t, though, but she wouldn’t listen. His dad never believed him when he told her he was still hungry.
“I’m sorry honey,” she’d say, “But there’s no way you’re not full. I’m afraid that if you eat anymore you’ll get a tummy ache. Or that your belly might explode.”
But he wasn’t full. He was never full. He didn’t understand how anypony could ever be full; how they could eat so little and still be satisfied. The hunger in his belly had been there from his first memory, and it had gnawed at him ever since. He had forced himself to get used to the emptiness after he learned that meals were limited, but the recent binge had finally suppressed his hunger, and he could think in peace. Now, he moved through the dance floor, reveling in the sight and sound of it all.
Around him the whole town danced, the forms of ponies he did not know were illuminated by the stage lights. They swayed and jerked to the music, tapped to the beat and shook to the rhythms. Their shadows flickered and jumped across the ground, multiplying and vanishing under a shifting flurry of strobes and rainbow lights. He slid through the crowd, occasionally dodging a stray kick from the dancers, and revelled in the chaos. His senses were overloaded with the color and sound, and it was intoxicating. He hadn’t cared much about the wedding ceremony—that black pony talked too much—but he liked this. This he could watch forever.
“Hey, kid!” someone shouted.
“Huh? Me?” Dyx turned to see who it had been. He was surprised that he could hear anypony over the music, but the voice cut through clearly.
“Yeah, you! C’m’over here, dude.” He saw that it was the DJ, and she was waving him over with a hoof, her head bobbing to the beat. He trotted over to her turntable.
“So, what’s your name, kid?” she asked him.
“Dyx, huh? Neat name. I’m Vinyl Scratch. Nice ta meet ya’, kid.” As she talked the bobbing of her head kept in perfect time with the music. Dyx couldn’t help but be hypnotized by it. “So, kid, I saw you just wanderin’ around out there on the floor. Why weren’t ya dancing? Don’t like techno?”
“Uh, no,” Dyx replied, not sure what a ‘techno’ was, “I like watching better.”
“Watching, eh?” Vinyl smiled wryly to herself. “They would ya’ say you got a good pair of eyes?”
“Uh, yeah, I guess.”
“Great!” She stopped her bobbing and bent down to his level, removing her glasses as she did so. “Then can you tell me what color my eyes are? I keep getting mixed reports.”
“Um,” Dyx looked at her eyes, unsure of what to call the color he saw. As he stared he became unnerved by their appearance. They were off somehow; they seemed distant and unfocused. “Uh, red but also purple... I think. But, uh, can’t you just look in a mirror or something?”
“Ha! I wish,” she said, sliding her glasses back into place, “I could stare into a mirror all day and not even know it. I’m totally blind.” She turned back to her turntable, and her head resumed its bobbing.
“Blind?” Dyx asked, “What’s that?”
“It means I can’t see. My eyes don’t work.”
“Oh.” He couldn’t imagine what that would be like. “Why?”
“Eh, I’m not really sure. But don’t worry. I was born like this, so I don’t know what I’m missing, and I’m happy. Ignorance is bliss, y’know?”
He didn’t. If he were to have some part of him taken away, he would want it back no matter what. He didn’t know what he’d do if he suddenly couldn’t see or hear or smell or... remember.
“How do you, y’know, walk around and stuff if you can’t see where you’re going?”
“Oh that’s easy. Sonar, like how bats navigate.” Vinyl swiveled her ears around for emphasis. “Why do you think I became a DJ in the first place? Sound is my special talent. I can see everything on the dance floor better than anypony else. I just do it with my ears and a bit of magic instead of my eyes. Still can’t see colors, though.” She frowned. “I swear, if I could get a definite answer on my eye color that would make my life. Half my fans tell me it’s red, the other half tell me it’s purple, and my friends tell me it’s maroone. How do you ponies even kept track of all these shades in the first place?”
“Well, if I forget something I usually ask daddy about it,” Dyx replied, “And we had a whole lesson about colors once. ‘Trees are green, mommy is pink, the sky is blue—’ ”
“Yeah, see, that’s something I’ll never understand. There’s no sky for me, all the sound just gets lost up there. The sun, the moon, day, night, it’s all pretty much the same emptiness to me, but when the music starts, the world is mine.” She chuckled. “Heh, sorry kid. Now I’m just rambling at’cha. You can go back to watchin’ the dance floor if you want. I got a nice track coming up that I think you’ll like. Actually, wait.” She perked up, swirling one of her ears around. “I think your mother’s calling you.”
“Dyyyyyx!” Pinkie cried, hopping up to the colt just as the DJ spoke, “There you are! I’ve been looking all over for you. Now c’mon, we finally have some time together and it’s time to dance; let’s go get our groove on!” She scooped up Dyx onto her back and leapt back onto the dance floor.
“Nice meetin’ ya’ kid!” Vinyl called after them, “If you’re ever in Canterlot, hit me up!”
But he did not hear her. He was too busy trying to keep up with his mother’s dancing. He tried to copy all her moves, but she was moving too fast for him. She twirled, and he could only shuffle his feet. She jumped and bucked, and he could only trip and kick. She popped, locked, and dropped it and he just fell onto his side. He huffed in frustration and gave up, deciding to go back to just watching. Pinkie noticed him wandering away, and went over to tap him on the shoulder.
“What’s the matter, Dyxie?” she asked. “You can’t be partied out already!”
“Dancing’s too hard,” he said, “I don’t like it.”
“Too hard? Hmmm.” Pinkie scrunched up her nose in thought. “Ooh, I know what’ll do the trick!” She jumped over to the turntable and whispered something in Vinyl’s ear. The DJ smiled, nodding, and Pinkie hopped back as she changed records. Dyx tilted his head at her, confused, but she just winked at him as the song started playing.
“You reach your right hoof in,” Pinkie grabbed Dyx’s hoof and started singing along, leading him in the dance. “you reach your right hoof out, you reach your right hoof in and you shake it all about!”
As they danced Dyx began to smile. This he could do. It was much easier. And it was fun. He and Pinkie danced together, and he was happy to be with her. He hadn’t spent much time with her since the day she’d found him, and he hadn’t realized how much he’d missed her until now. She had given him food, and she had made him laugh when he was scared, and though Fluttershy had taken care of him, Pinkie was the one who had rescued him.
“Mommy,” he said when the song ended, “Are you ever going away again?”
“Huh? Going away?” Pinkie raised an eyebrow at him.
“Uh, yeah. After you moved in with daddy, you weren’t there hardly ever.” Dyx shuffled his hoof against the ground, worried that what he was saying sounded stupid. Pinkie’s face softened.
“Oh, Dyxie, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to leave you. I just had so much to do to make this wedding absolutely, super-duper, perfectly-perfect!” She threw up her hooves on the last words, as if showing off the world to her son. Dyx looked up at her wide eyed, and Pinkie bent down to hug him. “And it was, so I won’t have to leave you and Fluttershy alone ever again.” She broke the hug.
“Except for when I’m working, that is, and I guess that we couldn’t be together when you’re in school, but school doesn’t last all day either and I’m pretty sure I could schedule my work so that we both do those at the same time, which would mean we’d have all of the rest of the day to play together! If you want.”
“Really? Every day?”
“Yup! And we’d have even more time on weekends!” Pinkie smiled, and knelt down to look her son in the eye. “And if you ever need anything, I’ll be there for you, Dyx. I promise.”
“Yep. Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.” She mimed the actions as she spoke them. “That’s a Pinkie Promise, and nopony breaks a Pinkie Promise while Pinkie Pie’s around. Especially not me. Because I’m Pinkie Pie!” She giggled, and Dyx laughed. “Now, where’s Fluttershy? I haven’t been able to dance with my own husband yet!”
“I’m, um, over here,” the yellow pegasus said. She was stepping through the crowd of dancing ponies, trying to squeeze through the mass of bodies while flinching from stray limbs that were thrown her way. As soon as Pinkie saw her she rushed over and brought Fluttershy to where Dyx was standing. The pink pony then pulled the colt in toward them, and they hugged for the first time as a family.
The party lasted long into the night, but Christener took his leave of the town as soon as the sun had set. He was exhausted from his long days of traveling, but he knew he could make much better time if he left tonight. He trotted out the way he’d come, and was almost half a mile from Ponyville when he heard a rustle in the bushes beside him.
He eyed the bush and took a few steps away from the sound, but kept going. He knew the best way to deal with creatures from the Everfree Forest was to avoid them. However, the rustle repeated itself, and it was closer this time. He glanced back to see nothing, and quickened his pace. The rustle followed him.
“Who’s there?” he shouted, turning to the treeline. He cast a spell and his horn ignited with a magical light, revealing the area. He took a cautious step forward and looked into the forest. He saw only leaves and their shadows.
“What the—?” Something hit him from behind. He flew forward into the trees, his horn sputtering out. He landed on the ground, and something was on him, pinning him down. He struggled against it and tried to shout, but a hoof pinned his horn against the ground and he could only gasp as his head snapped back. Two shimmering eyes appeared in the darkness above him, and a voice spoke.
“Welcome to the herd.”
All he saw was sickly color.
AND SO DYX KNEW OF FAMILY
<<Chapter 1 - Chapter 3>>
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My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic © Hasbro
I do not own the intellectual properties that the authors of the fan-fiction that this fan-fiction is loosely based off of do not own. So there.
†Pronounced “Kr-ih-st,” as in Christopher.
1His damn dysfunctional time machine is the reason why it took so long to release this chapter. Don’t ask for the details.