By Cereal Velocity
For the Friendoff- based on this image
The five ponies looked on in confusion at the objects on the table. None of them really wanted to be the first to touch them.
When Twilight Sparkle had awoken that morning in her library home, she had been surprised to see the strange assortment of belongings sitting on her nightstand. Not sure what to make of any of them, she had called her friends over to see if they could make any sense of them.
“… and they were just sitting there?” Rainbow Dash asked into the silence.
“Yep,” Twilight replied.
On the table was five objects- a smallish transparent ball with a hole in it, some kind of black slab, a cylindrical container with a tab on the top, a larger slab that looked somewhat like a book, and, lastly, a small box with buttons on it, connected by a rope to a larger box with a glass front.
“Maybe a burglar came,” Pinkie Pie reasoned, “except he left stuff instead of taking stuff! What a strange burglar.”
“Why would anypony want to burglarize a library?” Applejack asked.
“Maybe… maybe they really like reading,” Fluttershy mumbled. Her rabbit, Angel, sat on her head looking at the transparent ball.
Twilight shook her head. “All of my books are still here.”
With that, the ponies continued to look on at the objects in silence. Rainbow was the first to approach the table, poking the artwork-adorned cylinder with her hoof experimentally. It felt heavy, and made a noise as if there was a liquid inside it. She took it in her hooves and looked at the tab on the top as the others watched.
“It’s a drink!” she said triumphantly. “I think.” With her teeth, she clamped the tab and tried to pull it back. It snapped out of her grip with a clink. “Celestia damn it-“ she swore, grabbing the tab again.
“Are you sure that’s how you open it?” Twilight asked quizzically. Rainbow said something, but it came out muffled around the tab in her mouth. After a few unsuccessful attempts, the tab did eventually give way, spraying Rainbow in the face with a brown liquid. The pony sputtered and dropped the can, wiping at her face with her hooves.
“Pffttth!” she managed, stopping suddenly as she instinctively licked some of it off her face. She blinked, tasting it. “Hm,” she hummed. “Actually, this is pretty good.” She retrieved the dropped can and happily licked more of the liquid off the top. She stopped after a few licks as she saw the rest of the assembled audience staring at her.
“What?” she asked. The awkward silence was interrupted by a small clunk which drew everypony’s eyes to the floor under the table, which was occupied by Angel, rolling around in the transparent sphere. Fluttershy gasped in concern.
“Angel!” she exclaimed, crouching low to get her head under the table. “How did you get in there?” she asked. “Are you okay?” She stopped the ball with her hoof, which drew a glare from the small rabbit. Applejack chuckled.
“I think he’s fine, sugarcube,” she said. Perhaps emboldened by Rainbow’s bravery, she approached the table next and examined the small black slab. It was surrounded by a metal band and had a large button on the bottom. Finding no other alternative, she carefully pushed the button. The slab came to life, radiating a bright image. Applejack instinctively backed away a few inches.
“It’s a… it’s a lantern, I think,” Twilight guessed, looking at the device.
“That ain’t no lantern I’ve ever seen,” Applejack responded warily. The screen shut itself off. Twilight gave it an odd look.
“Push it again,” she said. The orange pony obliged, and the screen lit up once more. This time, Applejack leaned in to see what it looked like.
“It has some numbers and says ‘slide to unlock’,” she said. “What the hay does that mean?” Twilight gave it a look and carefully reached up with a hoof and slid the device across the table. Nothing happened. The screen shut off again. Twilight tapped the button one more time and looked carefully at the screen.
“Oh. There’s a little arrow,” she said. She tried sliding the slab to the right this time. Nothing happened and the screen shut off.
“It must be broken,” she decided. She turned instead to the book-like object next to it. She levitated it and placed it on the floor where she could get a better look at it. There was a latch on the front, which she carefully nudged open with her snout to reveal a similar glass surface on the top, and a box with rows of tiny buttons with letters on them on the bottom. When she opened the lid, the screen lit up, much like the slab, to reveal a box with some words in it she didn’t recognize.
“Tech support…” Twilight started to read, not sure how to make heads or tails of it.
Fluttershy looked over, now carrying Angel in his bubble, which she had been unsuccessful in separating from the rabbit. “It looks like a scroll to me,” she said softly.
“I guess so,” Twilight conceded, still trying to read the text. “But what’s a ‘cereal velocity’?”
“No idea,” Applejack said, looking at the screen as well. “Is that all there is?”
“No, there’s more,” Twilight said, reaching out instinctively with a hoof as if to turn the page of a book, but was met with nothing but glass. She frowned.
“Maybe it’s a magic scroll,” Rainbow pointed out, now drinking contentedly from the can. Twilight moved back a bit and leveled her horn at the screen, lighting it with magic, trying to turn the page in same fashion. She was met by a strange resistance from the device- it was as if her magic was travelling down some kind of grid with a bizarre pattern to it. She’d never felt anything like it. The screen fizzled and the device beeped at her. The text remained stubbornly stuck. Twilight shrugged.
“Are all these things broken?” she sighed. “Pinkie, maybe you can-“ she stopped as the she realized the pink pony was not next to the group. The four ponies turned around in unison to see her furiously mashing the buttons on the smallish box with her hooves. In front of her was what looked like a moving picture, with a small, blocky, red-suited figure running across a green surface, nimbly jumping over green pipes. Everypony stared in amazement.
“Girls!” Pinkie exclaimed, turning around to face the group with a bright look in her eyes. “It’s a game!” At that moment, though, a small mushroom impacted with her figure, it fell off the world, and the words GAME OVER flashed on the screen. Pinkie turned back around to keep playing, but her face fell at the message. “Oh. It was a game,” she said sadly.
“Ah, so that’s where I left those,” a voice said, coming through the window of the library. Every pony turned to look for the voice, but there was nothing at the window. There was, however, a Princess Celestia standing on the balcony above where the ponies were huddled. Each one dropped to their knees upon instinct.
“Princess!” Twilight said. “I- wait, these are yours?” she asked. The princess chuckled.
“Yes, I must have left them here by accident last night,” she said, magically levitating each of the strange items away from the ponies. Rainbow Dash looked like she was about to say something about the loss of her drink, but she contained herself.
“Oh, that’s- wait, what were you doing in the library la-“ Twilight started to ask, but was cut off.
“Oh, just look at the time,” Celestia swooned, turning to the skylight. “Royal business to attend to. Fair thee well, ponies!” she said, unfurling her wings and departing out the skylight window. The gaggle of ponies was left staring at the place where the princess had been, utterly mystified as to what had just occurred. Pinkie Pie, on the other hand, casually trotted over to Rainbow Dash and licked the side of her soda-covered face.
“You’re right, you do taste good,” she said cheerfully. Rainbow blushed.
“Pinkie, this isn’t that kind of fan fiction,” she mumbled.