Pinkie Pie's eyes shot open. Her face was buried in her wet pillow, stained from her tears. She quivered and shook as she very gently tried to lift herself up from the bed. She was afraid of seeing her bed soaked, covered in blood, evidence of a horrific deed she had committed…but her bed was dry, save for her tears.
She gently placed a hoof to her face, feeling the still fresh tears on her cheek. She shivered as her hair moved to cover her eyes, still in shock at the sights she had seen.
"How…How could I…" the vivid images of the nightmare she had just slept through came back in her mind. Horrific cries rang vividly in her ears, her coat soaked with blood, the feel of slicing open another living being…it felt so real. Pinkie Pie shook her head viciously, trying to remove these thoughts from her head.
"Why am I having these dreams!?" She rammed her hooves into her head, trying to stop the images that were assaulting her. For the past two weeks she'd been having restless nights of sleep. She was having nightmares every night, the severity of what they showed were getting worse and worse with each one.
The first dream hadn't been too scary…she was just attacked by a monster, she had shrugged it off easily, and it wasn't too different from a normal day really. From there the monsters changed, one night she was attacked by the Pony of Death who wanted her soul for damnation, another night it was a faceless slender pony whose presence quaked her very being, then the next night she suffered from a disease and starvation as her body had begun to rot but was denied death from the pain…
She could handle those dreams. They weren't real after all; a good party with her friends made all those scary thoughts go away. She'd tried changing her diet for a day to see if the bad dreams would go away, and it worked for a night, but only for a night. The next night she had dreamt of being a monster, one with sharp teeth and claws. She was the monster and she had attacked and eaten herself. She still remembered the gagging taste the dream had left in her mouth.
The next dream had her terrorizing ponies throughout Ponyville; she'd wrecked homes, crops, products and lives. Then the next night she attacked each of her friends, she could feel the berserk rage of the monster as it had slashed and tore them apart indiscriminately, but at least it was a quick death, her friends didn't suffer in that dream.
But the dream last night was different…it was personal. She was a monster again last night…but it was different. She was just herself, no fangs, no claws, no berserk rage, but a monster. In the dream she had captured her friend, her dearest friend Rainbow Dash. She had taken sharp objects and…
Pinkie dashed into her bathroom, before emptying the contents of her stomach into the toilet, as the vivid images of what she'd done in her dream flashed before her once more. She felt wretched, how could her mind even come anywhere close to thinking of such horrible, horrific things!? She loved her friends! She loved them more than the sun, then her sweets, then her parties, then life itself! Especially Rainbow Dash! Rainbow Dash was the coolest, most awesome fun-loving Pony she'd ever met! If she wanted to just hang out and have fun or pull some pranks or share some sweets or help throw a great party it was Rainbow Dash who was there for her.
She wiped her mouth as she groggily looked at herself in the mirror. Her mane was straight, her eyes were bloodshot with bags under her eyes, her coat was dull with a sickly look, and she was breathing quite heavily. She looked terrible.
She ran some cold water and repeatedly splashed her face with it. She really, really, REALLY wanted to go see Rainbow Dash…she had to know she was okay but…at the same time she couldn't do it until the memories of that dream had faded some more…and she had to get out of Sugar Cube corner for the day…she wouldn't be able to hold back anymore of her stomach if she even smelled a cupcake.
Pinkie tried to stay in the shadows of the buildings as she quietly walked through Ponyville. The fresh air and warm sun weren't any comfort today. She didn't want to look at anypony either, worried their faces would trigger another flash of the awful images in her mind. She had nowhere in mind to go, she just had to wander, had to get away from Sugar Cube corner, from her room, from anything that would remind her…
She looked up and around, she had lost track of how much time had passed since she started her little trek, thankful no one had stopped to ask her why she was acting so differently today. She knew the other ponies had started to notice dips in her cheeriness, ever since the dreams she'd been throwing more parties than ever before, but more and more they weren't enough. Twilight had even asked her if something was the matter and she'd done her best to reassure her friend…
Twilight was a great magical pony! If anypony could figure out a way to stop these dreams she did! She winced at the idea of having to tell Twilight all about the horrific things her mind had imagined about her and her friends…but maybe she wouldn't have to, Twilight might find a solution without having to know what the dreams were of.
She picked up her pace, running straight for the library. It didn't take her long, she figured her body must've been taking her here by instinct; it did have a funny way of working that way. She ran to the door and knocked a little frantically. It didn't take long for the door to creak open.
"Oh, hey Pinkie Pie." Twilight said surprised but happy to see her friend, "Is this an invitation to a party agai-" Twilight stopped as she blinked, noticing the distressed look of her friend, "…Are you alright Pinkie? You don't look so good."
"No…No I'm not good Twilight…Can I come in?" Pinkie said, minding her manners for once.
"Of course Pinkie, please, make yourself at home." Twilight said quickly offering her friend hospitality.
"Thank you…" Pinkie said as she quietly trotted into the house. She quickly headed for the table in the center of the room and sitting on one of the red velvet pillows before it. She rested her head on the table, closing her eyes as she took a soft sigh to try and relax.
"Can I get you something to drink? Perhaps some hot chocolate?" Twilight said remembering her friend's favorite hot beverage.
"No sweets please…if you have some coffee that'd be great…no cream or sugar…" Pinkie softly groaned.
"No sweets?" Twilight said in shock, "Oh my…this really IS serious!" She said as she quickly prepared her friend the hot drink she requested. She levitated it before Pinkie, who groggily took it and began to drink. She grimaced at the bitter taste.
"Pinkie, what's the matter? You can tell me." Twilight said sitting down next to her downcast friend. Twilight could see the signs, her mane was straight, her coat was dull, her eyes bloodshot with bags under them and most noticeable of all…she wasn't radiating the energetic aura of Pinkie Pie.
"Oh Twilight…Its awful!" Pinkie put her hooves over her head, "It's the most awful thing that's ever happened to me! I can't even believe what's happened to me it's so awful! I can't sleep, I can't rest, even parties aren't helping! I need relief, I need to stop this but everything I've tried only seems to make it worse!" Pinkie said her voice was quivering; Twilight couldn't help but be surprised at how terrified her friend sounded.
"Pinkie…tell me, what exactly is this 'awful' thing that has happened." Twilight tried to reassure Pinkie that everything would be alright. Pinkie took a big breath, steeling her nerves.
"I've been having nightmares Twilight." Pinkie finally said, "Awful, horrible, relentless nightmares. I was throwing more parties to forget them, but they kept coming. I tried changing my diet, I tried relaxing before bed, I even tried falling asleep in a handstand with a lemon in my mouth while in the shower. Nothing works…and last night's nightmare was the worse of them all."
"Nightmares?" Twilight said tapping her chin for a moment, "One second." She said as she got up and quickly ran over to a bookshelf. She began to pull out books checking them out, scanning them one by one, "No…no, no, no, not you, you're not right either…" It took about ten minutes before Twilight finally pulled a book and looked at it satisfied, "Ah-hah!" She said as she trotted back to the table and opening the book, flipping through the pages quickly.
"Nightmares," Twilight began after having stopped on a specific page, "A dream of strong negative emotions; a common occurrence that most ponies will experience. However, if the nightmares should persist or become more terrifying with each episode it could be several reasons: external forces such as medication or diet, which we've already ruled out," Twilight added an addendum, "External stress from recent physical or mental events or caused by a psychological event from anytime during the pony's life that left a deep impact. There are several ways to determine what kind of nightmare is being experienced and what the best manner of treating them are." Twilight said before silently reading the next part.
"So, that book can help me stop the nightmares?" Pinkie asked, hope rising in her heart.
"Looks that way, of course it can't stop you from having nightmares for the rest of your life though, they're a normal part of sleep, but it can help you with your constant nightmare issue." She said still reading. "There's a spell in here that'll let me look into your mind and see the memories of your dreams, that way I can see what you've been dreaming about and apply the proper spell to try and help."
The hope that had risen inside of Pinkie fell into her gut like a boulder into a lake.
"No! No no no no no no Twilight!" Pinkie said shaking her head furiously, "You CAN'T see my dreams! They're…they're!" Pinkie covered her face with her hooves, "They're too horrible Twilight! I…I don't want anypony to see what I've seen!" Her voice was trembling; tears were threatening to leave her eyes once more.
She looked up when she felt Twilight's hoof placed against her shoulder, the look of concern on her face.
"I can't imagine what kind of dreams you've been having Pinkie, but I can see the pain on your face. It's effecting who you are and I can't just let this go. You came to me for help and I'm going to help you. Please, you have to let me see what you've seen, so that I can help." Twilight pleaded to her friend. Pinkie lowered her head as she held back the tears burning at her eyes with all her might, swallowing hard as she knew her friend wanted to make everything better and might have the power to do so…
"Twilight…" Pinkie muttered in hushed breath, holding back a sob.
"Yes? What is it Pinkie?" Twilight asked, in a similar hushed voiced.
"Please…you have to promise me…that what you're about to see…w-won't change your opinion of me." Pinkie sniffed deeply.
"I swear Pinkie, I won't think of you as anything but the dear friend I know and love." Twilight said, Pinkie saw her smile, it was so reassuring, so comforting…
"P-Pinkie Pie swear?" Pinkie asked one last time. Twilight just seemed to smile a little amused.
"Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye." Twilight did the motions of the Pinkie Pie swear, mimicking sticking the pastry into her face. Pinkie took a moment to let it sink in, then squeezed her eyes shut and lowered her head a little.
"A-Alright…I t-trust you Twilight." Pinkie Pie softly muttered, as she did her best to prepare for whatever was going to happen next.
Twilight nodded softly, as she remembered the spell from the book, her horn glowing with light as she concentrated on it. She gently swept hair covering Pinkie's forehead behind her ear to hold it, then gently tapped the tip of her horn against Pinkie's skull.
"LEAVE ME ALONE" The Slender Pony approached regardless, the static screeched at her as it drew closer. Pain shocked her body from one side to the other as blood seemed to splatter and cloud her vision turning the world red. She fell to her knees trying to grasp reality, before the pain and sound became too much to bear.
There was a hole in her body. She could feel the worms wriggling in it, crawling up into her torso. They were eating her, eating her alive. The pain clawed into her very soul but yet death would not come. Her body laid there, unflinching as the insects had their way, feeling every wriggle and slime of their bodies as they slid under her skin.
Bones crunched in her teeth as blood dripped down her chin. The fresh taste of gooey flesh slid down her throat. Sharp teeth bore down again into the side of an earth pony's neck as the pony's head fell from her body, giving her a good chunk of flesh to chew. The taste was revolting, but she craved it. She HAD to have it. She had to have more! Her teeth dug into the pony's skull, crushing the skull as the inner organs began to dribble into her mouth. She had to have more; this one would never be enough.
The screams had died down for now, but that wouldn't last for long.
"Why? Why are you doing this?" It was the pained and frantic cry of Rainbow Dash. She could see her tied down to a table, her wings already sawn off, sawn off by her own hands.
"Oh Rainbow Dash…everypony dies sometime." Her voice betrayed her as she pulled out a scalpel, "It's a simple concept really. You just have to think, 'Did my life meaning anything? Did I die with a purpose? Will my memory be left when I'm gone?' All are important questions you see." She walked towards Rainbow Dash; she could feel the murderous intent grasping at every fiber of her being.
"But…" Rainbow Dash hiccuped through the pain and tears, "I won't have died for a good purpose…if you kill me." She sobbed. "How could you do this to me?"
She raised her hoof and petted Rainbow Dash's face. She leaned in close to her, there was an attraction she could never describe as having felt before. Her breath was hot and her body betrayed her mind, "Oh Rainbow Dash…If you don't know the reason by now, you'll never understand. This is just how things have to be." She stepped back from her prisoner.
Rainbow only looked confused, but she would rectify that look. She gripped her scalpel and placed it at the base of Rainbow's hip, and sliced down her leg. Pain overtook Rainbow's face and voice as she began her delicate slicing operation. After all, she had to prepare the ingredients to be just right.
Twilight stumbled back. Her head kicked back instinctively, wanting to escape from the horrors inside of Pinkie's mind. Twilight crashed into a book case, causing a cascade of books to fall onto her. She was breathing heavily, frantic and panicked. The spell had only taken a few seconds to complete, but the rush of all the dream memories flooded her all at once.
Those dreams were horrific…and so real…she had felt everything in those dreams, even though dreams should not normally contain such vivid feelings. The monster that attacked her…the feel of bugs crawling all throughout her skin and organs…the gagging taste of flesh in her throat…the torturous acts she had committed…she wanted to vomit.
"Twilight?" Came a scared, timid, almost shy voice. Twilight snapped from her thoughts and looked up at her pink friend. She was trembling, trembling with fear as tears streamed down her eyes. That was right…these were the dreams Pinkie was having…the dreams that were terrifying her, the dreams that she had come to her for help with…
"Pinkie…" Twilight finally muttered, swallowing back her own emotions and stomach contents, "I…I had no idea…" she said shakily getting to her feet and slowly walking back to her friend. She had to be strong right now.
"Twilight…" Pinkie sniffed through her sobs, "I'm sorry…I'm so sorry you saw them…" she closed her eyes, gasping for air through her sobs. Twilight quickly moved next to Pinkie, taking her into an embrace to hold her tight. Pinkie cried desperately into Twilight's shoulder. Twilight held her dear friend, making sure she knew she had all of her support. The images may have had made her stomach twist, but her friend was more important than that.
"It's okay Pinkie…" Twilight said once Pinkie's sobs had started to calm down, "I can see how much these dreams have been eating at you…the Pinkie in those dreams are not you. So we just have to figure out why you're having them." Twilight said, letting her friend dearly know that she had in fact kept her promise. The Pinkie in her arms was nothing like the Pinkie that appeared in the dreams. Pinkie slowly nodded her head in agreement, before finally being able to stop her tears and let go of Twilight. Twilight turned to her book and flipped a few pages.
"Since we know it's not your diet, we need to determine if it's because of recent events or if it's something much deeper in your psyche…so let's start there. When did the dreams start happening?"
"Well…" Pinkie rubbed her face, trying to dry it some, "The dreams started about a few days after the Grand Galloping Gala…and they've been happening about every night for the last two weeks. They didn't happen one night after I did change my diet, but then they just came back the next day…" Pinkie said trying to recall how often she'd have them.
"Hmmm…Well, the Gala was a pretty big incident. You certainly seemed fine at the Donut Shop…but what about after that? I know you said you had some business to attend to before you headed back to Ponyville, so we didn't see you again till we were heading to the chariot." Twilight wondered.
"…Well…after I'd spent time with you guys, I went and met with my sister Octavia. She was the one playing the Cello on stage during the gala. She was the main reason I was able to get away with my music antics while there. I wanted to go thank her for helping me try to liven things up." Pinkie said recalling the night, "She was a little irked at me at first for the mess I'd caused, but she forgave me and we ended up having a very fun chat about what we'd both been up to since we'd left the farm. After a little while it was time for me to go so we promised we'd keep better in touch."
Twilight pondered this, "Do you think it was that meeting with your sister that could've started the dreams?" Twilight asked curiously.
"I wouldn't understand that if she was," Pinkie said putting a hoof to her chin in though, "We had fun that night…there wasn't anything that she said that was negative."
"Have you gotten a letter from her yet?"
"I did get one, but it was just letting me know that she was going to be performing a concert in Fillydelphia. She said that her band was touring around so that if I wanted to send her letters I'd have to address them to her band since the mail carriers know where they'll be." Pinkie said tilting her head in thought, "Again, there was nothing negative though…"
"Well, what about the last two weeks then? You seemed mostly fine, other than a few instances where you weren't as chipper." Twilight said remembering Pinkie Pie was a little less hyper then usual the last few days. She certainly could understand why now though.
"No…nothing significant. I've been throwing more parties because of the dreams, but it's just been life as usual in Ponyville…" Pinkie said shaking her head slowly.
"I see." Twilight went back to consulting her books, scanning the pages of the book, flipping through some more looking for what would be best to handle this.
"Here we are…it's another spell. This one is a bit more a mind delve; its intention is to find the source of your problems though. It'll let us find out why you're having these dreams, be it a minor or major reason." Twilight said confidently, "So don't worry Pinkie, I'm going to make sure you'll be all better in no time." She gave her friend a confident smile.
"Thank you Twilight…" Pinkie said giving a soft smile back.
"Alright, the book says the spell can be a little disorientating at first, but that you'll get used to it. You ready?" Twilight asked. Pinkie gave her a nod. "Then here goes nothing." Twilight said taking a deep breath as she concentrated once more, her horn flaring up with light. She lowered it towards Pinkie's forehead once more and gently touched her.
Pinkie's mind did a flip and felt like it fell into a hazy fog. She lost track of her surroundings as it felt like she was falling from a very far height. The world was spinning around her as she felt like wind was rushing past her. Her stomach was rolling inside of her as she was inside of this intense feeling. She wondered just how long she was going to feel this way, when she finally felt the world stabilizing with a thud that knocked the wind out of her.
She gasped for breath, coughing a bit before feeling the sensation of a ground beneath her. She lifted her head up and shook it lightly, before slowly opening her eyes. She was still in the library… that was for sure. But Twilight was missing, why would she have left her alone in the library?
"Twilight?" She called out, but the only thing that came back was a hollow echo. This was bizarre; the library seemed eerily quiet, even more so then usual when Twilight wasn't around. She looked onto table noticing two things on it, a bag and a note. She carefully read the words on the note:
'You must cross the darkness to see the light.'
Pinkie looked at the piece of paper a little confused. Did Twilight write this? If she did…what did it mean? Was she supposed to take this bag with her? Twilight must know what she's doing after all; she wouldn't just abandon her here without a good reason…
Pinkie opened the bag, looking to see if there was anything inside of it.
There were two things inside. The first one was obvious what it was, it was a lantern. Inside was oil with a wick. There was a knob on the side; she assumed it would turn the lantern on. If she was going to use it, she'd have to make sure not to use up all the oil. She gently placed the lantern back into the bag.
"What's this?" She asked as she pulled out a rectangular device. It had a dial on it and an antenna, but it wasn't an object she was familiar with. It had a face like a picture on it, with a circle on it that had holes. In her mind it kind of looked like a miniature Phonograph, but how would this tiny thing play music?
In her hoof it began to spring to life, playing a soft static sound. Pinkie dropped it surprised by the sudden sound. She stared at it as it buzzed; the sound seemed like a bunch of bees being mixed through a DJ table. She poked the device with her hoof. After a few moments the buzzing stopped. Pinkie looked confused, but had the gut instinct that it must be something important. She placed it back in the bag.
"I guess Twilight believed I needed this bag…I'll keep to her advice then." Pinkie muttered to herself as she carefully strapped the bag to her back. She then looked around. The library seemed to hold no more clues for the moment, so she decided to step outside. She felt more comfortable now that she had visited Twilight, so maybe she could go visit Rainbow Dash now… "Huh?" Pinkie said stopping short of a few feet out the door. A thick fog had fallen all around Ponyville. It was so thick she couldn't even see the buildings next to the library. She'd have to get close to a building if she wanted to see one. Then she started to shiver as a wind blew by, the temperature had fallen a significant amount.
"What's going on? I've never seen this kind of weather in Ponyville before…" Pinkie said confused. "Did Rainbow Dash do this? Why would she?" Pinkie knew she had to find Rainbow and talk to her now. She quickly began to run off in the direction she knew Rainbow's house to be. She was in full gallop, when she suddenly realized she had to come to a full stop. She skidded along the ground and stopped along an edge, a few pebbles getting kicked loose and falling in front of her.
There was a gigantic chasm that had never been in Ponyville right before her. It cut right down the road to Rainbow's House… In fact it cut off the entire way outside of Ponyville if you didn't have wings.
"What's going on?" She asked as she stared into what seemed to be a bottomless pit.
"There it is." Pinkie Pie said as she pulled out a map of Ponyville. She'd gone back to the library to find it; luckily she had an uncanny ability to find things she needed very quickly. She took a red marker in her mouth and drew a circle with an X through it at the road with the chasm on it. She then placed smaller X's on several houses she'd tried to gain access to in trying to find anypony. The town appeared to be empty, abandoned.
"What happened here?" She asked herself looking at the map of X's. She'd only investigated a small portion of Ponyville, but there were always ponies either at home or wandering around. On bad weather days they'd be in their homes or there'd at least be a notice of some kind if a lot of the ponies would be leaving. Plus why was there that bottomless pit at the edge of town?
"I need to get to Sugar Cube corner. If I can make it there I can get my hot air balloon and try and see if there's any pegasi in the sky, they might have an explanation for the fog." Pinkie Pie said confirming her plan of action in her head. She also admitted to being worried about Gummy, she hoped he would be alright. She quickly checked her route on the map before packing the map and the pen into her bag. She'd mark anymore unusual occurrences she encountered in Ponyville on the map for her to remember.
She stepped back out into the chilly day when something cold and wet landed on the end of her nose.
"Huh?" Pinkie said trying to see the end of her nose. She shook her head a little, then looked up into the sky. Small specks of snow began to appear as they slowly fell to the ground.
"Snow? But…But its summer…" Pinkie said in shock staring at the white spectacle. She could see her breath but she hadn't realized it was cold enough for snow out. The pegasi controlled the weather, so they must be up there right now! Pinkie headed out in a gallop towards Sugar Cube Corner.
Suddenly Pinkie heard a static sound coming from her bag. Was that miniature Phonograph making noise again? It certainly picked random times to do so.
Pinkie was knocked out of her thoughts when she saw the outline of a figure in the fog.
"Oh! Somepony is here!" She said her hope rising. She quickly ran faster to the figure. As she got closer though, she couldn't help but get the strong feeling that something wasn't right, as the phonograph grew louder…
"Hey, what's going on here?" She instantly asked before even assessing who it was. She stopped shortly though when she got a good look at the pony…and she let out a high pitched scream.
"Ruuuaaaa…ghhuuurrrrrggghhh…" The pony was barely a pony anymore. Its coat and mane was gone, replaced with the look of rotting flesh that was trying to live. One of its front legs was missing, there was a missing chunk of flesh from its back, its eyes looked like they had been gouged out, several teeth looked like they had been knocked out with the holes bleeding, and several lacerations covered its body.
"A-Are you alright!?" Pinkie said taking a step back from the pony. Her initial reaction was to figure out if it was in pain, but her gut told her to stay away, that this thing didn't want her help. The phonograph in her bag started ringing off the hook.
"Gruuuuuh" The fleshy mass lunged at Pinkie, its teeth bearing to strike down. Pinkie cried out and jumped away, as the creature fell where she was standing, its teeth sinking into the dirt. Pinkie took a few more steps away from the creature as it brought its head back up, a mouthful of dirt in its teeth. It growled as the dirt dribbled out of its mouth, soaking the dirt with its blood. It began to slowly lumber towards Pinkie again, growling as it seemed to smell her out.
"S-Stay back! Stay back!" Pinkie cried out trying to back pedal away from the terrifying creature. It growled and moaned, dripping a trail of blood as it was intent on tracking her. The creature terrified Pinkie, it looked like it was on the verge of death, yet it wouldn't die. Instead it was intent on attacking her. Every fiber in her being told her to run away, run as fast and far as you can from this creature.
"Stay away from me!" She cried before her legs finally took action and ran around the creature, quickly galloping away. The creature went to lunge again, its teeth implanting on the dirt once more as Pinkie ran past. As she got farther and farther away the phonograph in her bag began to settle down, before going silent once more.
She collapsed into a sitting position as she breathed heavily; her heart was beating a mile a minute in her throat. What was that thing? Why had it attacked her? Why did it look like a pony? Why had she not seen any pony else but that…thing?
"Sugar…cube…corner…" Pinkie panted trying to calm her nerves. She bit down on her arm, pinching herself to remind herself she wasn't dreaming. She was in control of herself…she could run away from what she saw…this was not a dream. She shook her head and got back to her hooves and began to run again.
The door to her room in Sugar Cube Corner creaked open slowly as Pinkie pushed it. The inside of her room was pitch black. She couldn't see anything past the frame of her door. She carefully dug into her bag and pulled out the lantern, holding it in her mouth as she turned the knob. The wick came to life, the flame shining. She stepped into her room, the light of the lantern illuminating what she couldn't see before.
She looked at shock at the state of her room. It looked like it hadn't been used for years. The wallpaper was rotted and peeling, the wooden floor was splintering and falling apart, the curtains were riddled with holes, dust was thick and the air was stagnant. Pinkie looked around confused, before placing the lamp down gently onto a table so she could see the whole room.
"Was I…gone for a long time?" Pinkie asked as she stepped through the room, hearing the floor creak and groan as it adjusted to her weight. "Twilight wouldn't have used a spell to send me into the future if she was going to help me…would she?" Pinkie said not sure what to think. "The spell did say it would be disorientating…I guess this could just all be part of that side effect."
The Phonograph began to let off a soft static. Pinkie stopped in her tracks as she listened to it. The last time it went off she met that creature and it had gotten louder as she got closer to it. She looked around the room hastily but she didn't see anything that looked like a monster…
"Calm down Pinkie Pie…there's…nothing too serious to worry about. Let's just check and see if Gummy is here…grab the balloon…and head for the sky…you can put this creepiness behind you then." Pinkie said as she grabbed the lantern in her teeth and quickly pushed her bathroom door open.
"Gummy?" She called out despite the lantern in her teeth. She looked into the bathroom and nearly dropped the lantern.
The walls were smeared with blood, bloody hoof prints and hastily scribbled words. The curtains were torn to shreds, the remains barely hanging onto the poles that used to hold them. Caked blood covered the outside of the tub; the whole room looked like a massacre.
"G-Gummy? A-Are you in here?" Her words were muffled, but she had to check, she had to look. Her mind screamed leave but she had to find out if he was in here or not. She took steps into the bathroom, her hooves echoing loudly as she stepped onto the tile. The only relief she was given was that the Phonograph grew quieter as she stepped in further.
She placed the lantern down on the sink and gulped as best she could. The room stank of mold and blood; it made her want to gag. She carefully checked around the tub and the curtains, only seeing more blood. She turned to look at the walls, getting a chance to read what was written in the hastily scribbled blood:
The words sent chills down her back. What did they mean? 'He hungers?' the words echoed in her head. Was that…referring to Gummy? But Gummy had no teeth; the only thing he could swallow was the mushy gator food she bought for him. What had happened in her bathroom? Why would this have happened here? Her mind was reeling with questions; she desperately needed the comfort of one of her friends right now.
She stepped away from the wall, there was only one place left she had to check and that was the tub itself. She very carefully leaned her head over the edge of the tub, looking down into it.
In the tub laid half of the rotted remains of a tiny green gator.
Pinkie threw her hooves over her mouth as the tears began to stream out of her eyes. It was unmistakable…that was Gummy. He looked like he had been there for a long time. Pinkie's stomach was moving into her throat as she stared. 'Why was this happening?' was the question bouncing around her head again and again and again. She needed answers.
It was then that she noticed a bright red ribbon. It was tied immaculately into a bow around something that was sticking out of Gummy's mouth. Pinkie swallowed as she stared at the item, not sure what it meant. The item was clean…it was free of blood and it looked like…it looked like Gummy was trying to give it to her.
Pinkie gingerly lowered her hoof and took the item from Gummy's mouth, the item slipping out with a bit of ease. She was able to look at it clearly now, realizing it was a key. The key had a symbol of a star on it. She didn't quite know what it meant, but Gummy had given it to her in his last days. She had to keep it. She gently placed the key into her bag, remembering just then that the phonograph was still giving off a quiet buzz.
She carefully grabbed her lantern and stepped out of the bathroom, closing the door behind her. She placed the lantern down on the ground as she wiped her face again, hiccuping.
"Gummy…I'm so sorry…" She cried into her hoof as she desperately tried to calm down, "I promise…I'll give you the proper burial you deserve one day…" she held back another sob, "Please forgive me for not being there for you…"She said as her shoulders shook. Her attempts at calming down were failing. The tears were pouring out stronger now. She just wanted to sit there and cry…
Her mind snapped aware when she heard the buzzing grow louder, turning into the high pitched ringing. Whatever was setting it off was getting closer. That meant she didn't have the time she needed to sit there and cry her heart out, she had to move or the fate that befell Gummy was going to befall her too.
She hastily grabbed the lantern and ran across her room to the closet where she kept the balloon. The ringing grew louder. Her heart was racing a mile a minute. She grabbed the closet doors and ripped them out.
A high pitched scream erupted as a white blur latched onto Pinkie's face. Pinkie whirled her head around frantically as pain struck all around her face. She scrambled her hooves and rammed her head against the wall, erupting another screech from the blur. She whirled her head and flung it across the room. Pinkie breathed heavily as she felt blood trickling down the side of her face. She turned to look at her attacker, her eyes opening in shock.
"Shkyyyaaaaaaaaaa…" Writhing on the floor was what looked like the upper half of a hairless young filly, its white skin beginning to rot on its bone, its two front hooves grasping for land as it flailed on its back, its eyes covered by a white bandanna as its black mouth opened, a long tongue flickering out as it let outs its wailing cry. The screech of the thing struck her ears harder than the loud ringing of her phonograph.
Pinkie Pie was speechless upon seeing this creature. That thing resembled a filly…her stomach did a flip, a full grown pony was one thing…
The creature found its way right-side up, its wailing screeches quieted down as it seemed to be tasting the air, its tongue flicking about. Pinkie winced as she tried to take a step back, only to find a wall there. The creatures head snapped to look straight at Pinkie Pie. It let out another wail as with shocking speed it began to crawl straight at her. In a blind rush she quickly jumped to the side, the creature slamming its head straight into the wall. It let out a wailing cry as it flailed its head in pain.
Pinkie's heart pounded in her throat as she watched the creature. Its wailing cry made it sound so pitiful. It had left a sizeable bloodstain on the wall and its head was bleeding profusely. It flailed its head back and forth. Pinkie wanted to reach out and help it, she wanted to stop its pain and let it know everything is alright…
The creature let out a blood curdling scream and rushed at her again, its mouth clamped down hard on her leg. Pinkie cried out she flailed her leg trying to get the creature off, but it held on with a tight grip. She began to run around trying to shake the creature, but its grip seemed to get tighter. She couldn't hear anything beyond her screams and the beating of her heart.
She stopped next to a wall and slammed the creature hard against the wall. The creature was still there, she slammed it hard again. She slammed it again and again and again. Warm blood splattered against the wall and onto her coat. She slammed it with all of her might against the wall.
The creature slid off as life escaped its body, collapsing onto the floor with a thud. Pinkie's breath filled her lungs with fire as her body shook with adrenaline. She looked down at her bleeding leg and then at the creature she'd just finished off…
"Oh no…oh no oh no oh no…" Pinkie said in a shaky breath as she stepped backwards from the creature. She hadn't meant to kill it, did it deserve death? It had attacked her but was it the right thing to do? She sat on the ground panting, her body shaking, her mind reeling. She looked down at her body and saw the soft splatter of its blood against her coat. Her stomach flipped again and again, her contents about to come up.
"What have I done…" she gasped trying to cool her burning lungs, "Why did it have to come to this?" She shook her head violently. She didn't want any of this but it was happening…this was no dream that she could wake up from and it'd all go away…this was here and it was real.
She took a deep breath as she tried to stand on her shaking legs.
"Rainbow Dash…Rarity…Fluttershy…Applejack…Twilight…anypony…I need you right now…" she said shakily walking towards her closet. She grabbed the lantern and looked into the darkness. The Balloon was there, the basket holding the deflated balloon. Hope rose in her heart as she placed the lantern down and began to pull out the cloth from the basket…
Large holes riddled the balloon. It wasn't useable for flight.
Pinkie broke out in sobbing tears, crying into the hole-ridden cloth.
The phonograph had finally stopped ringing.
Chapter ThreePinkie Pie tenderly finished cleaning and wrapping her wounds. Her leg still throbbed from the bite wound, but at least now it would start to heal properly. She tested her weight on it; there was a small bit of pain but nothing she couldn't handle. She could keep moving; she could run away if she had to.
She looked at the note she had placed on her bed once more; it had been resting at the bottom of the balloon's basket, as if it had been waiting for her to find it.
"Laughter and smiles of youth, together as they find out truth. Dreams of the future are held, as fears of the past are expelled."
She had been dwelling on this note since she'd found it. She knew it was a riddle…she wasn't very good with riddles. But her mind had finally calmed down enough now to start thinking more coherently. Her brain was finally not reeling from horror long enough to take deciphering these words seriously.
"…Well…I guess the first line means foals…foals finding truth? Like…learning?" That word sparked it for her, "Oh! This riddle is about a school." She said rereading the riddle in context of a school and all the lines fit, "So…does that mean I should head for the school?" She asked herself.
She looked around at the dilapidated room, the balloon that was torn apart, the body of half a filly…
"…No reason to stay here." She sighed as she packed the note into her bag before grabbing the lantern and heading outside. She shivered as she hit the cold, snowy air once more. She hadn't realized how warm it was being inside of the buildings…
She turned the lantern off and placed it back in the bag. She then began her gallop towards the school.
She watched carefully from behind a tree as the lumbering form of the monster paced away from the entrance to the school. It looked just like the first monster she had encountered, the three legged groaner. 'If there's more than one of those things, maybe Groaner is a good thing to call them…' she thought to herself.
She had hoped the buzzing of her phonograph wouldn't give her position away, but it didn't seem to notice any sounds unless she made them. It soon began to lumber away into the fog, turning into a dark silhouette of itself. She figured now was the perfect time to move.
She quickly made it to the front door of the school and pulled on the handle, trying to get inside quickly. The door jammed from the sound of it being locked.
"W-What? It's locked?" She said bewildered. She hadn't expected it to be locked, not after that riddle had told her to come to the school. 'Did I get the answer wrong?' she asked herself as she looked at the door again. It was then that she noticed just above the handle was the lock, with the symbol of a star on it.
It felt like a switch was flipped on in her head. She quickly reached into her bag and pulled out the key Gummy had left for her, being careful not to undo the ribbon. She placed the key into the keyhole, it fitting perfectly. The door unlocked with a satisfying 'click' that made her smile softly. She went to grab the key to hold onto it again.
The key turned into ash, the tiny pieces quickly falling to the ground.
She stared in shock at the gift Gummy had given her. The only part that hadn't turned to ash was the ribbon that floated down gently, landing on her outstretched hoof.
"No…Gummy's gift…" She said, her lip quivering as tears threatened to fall once more. She shook her head quickly, taking a deep breath of cold air as she calmed herself again. She'd already cried a lot…if she kept crying she wasn't going to get out of this situation anytime soon. Besides, she still had the ribbon from the key…
She very carefully tied the bow to the end of her mane. It still didn't have its frizz to it, but tying it at the end helped make her feel like it was a little poofy again. The ribbon gave her comfort, she felt as if Gummy was right beside her while wearing it.
She opened the school door and headed inside. To her surprise the area was fairly well lit, she had been expecting to need her lantern like at her house. The school seemed to have fared better than her house did, it had a thick layer of dust but the structure wasn't nearly in as much disrepair. Lockers lined the walls as the hallways lead to classrooms, before her an opening to the main auditorium. Signs hung on the wall pointing out the direction to the gym, nurse's office, Principal's office and the numbers of the classrooms.
"Huh?" She said as her ear twitched upon hearing a sound. It sounded like the laughter of young foals. She turned her head in the direction of the sound, simply amazed at the sight. She could see the ghostly apparitions of two young foals playing in the hallway. They laughed and pranced around each other before running down the hallway in the direction of a classroom.
Pinkie watched as they faded through the door to the classroom. She quickly turned her head to her bag and listened for the static of her phonograph…but it was silent.
"…Well…maybe those ghosts aren't monsters like the others…" she said quietly to herself. Perhaps if they weren't monsters, they were a sign. She quickly followed after the foals, opening the door to classroom 104.
The classroom was as quiet as the halls of the school, stagnant air mixed with a layer of dust. But the room gave Pinkie a sense of nostalgia; it was the classroom she had gone to when she had moved to Ponyville.
Memories began to flood her mind.
"Well Ms. Pinkamena Diane Pie, we recognize that you have been home schooled for most of your life, but upon testing you on the Ponyville Standardized Test your score was not high enough to acknowledge a graduate level pony. So we are requiring you to take at least one year of public school here in Ponyville." The mayor explained to her.
"W-What? I have to go to school?" Pinkie said pouting in her seat opposite the mayor's desk. "But learning was so boring!" She stomped her hooves a little in her chair.
"Now, now sis," Octavia said reaching over and placing a hoof on her sister's shoulder, "it won't be that bad. Just think of all the new friends you'll be able to make. You'll have a lot more ponies to invite to your parties." She said comfortingly.
"But…but…" Pinkie said looking at her sister with pleading eyes. She already knew that she wanted to spread smiles as much and as far as she could, but this was her first time finding other ponies to be friends with to host a party for. She was rather intimidated by the thought that they wouldn't like her parties.
"Tell you what," Octavia said with a comforting smile, "if it's alright with the mayor, I'll go to school with you. How does that sound?"
"I don't see why not." The Mayor said nodding with a smile.
"Really!? Oh my gosh you're the best big sister ever!" Pinkie said hugging her dear sister with all her might, a big smile on her face. Octavia smiled in return as she petted her young filly sister.
Pinkie smiled at the warm memory. It was one she hadn't thought about in a long time. When Pinkie had decided to leave the farm Octavia was the one who had been the one willing to help her adjust to life outside of it. Her parents seemed to understand and stayed behind to let their kids experience the world.
Octavia had been the biggest help to her while they were at school. She gave her the confidence boost to meet the new ponies and she made so many friends. She was also the reason she'd met Mr. and Mrs. Cakes and ended up staying with them.
It was after that year of school that Octavia decided to leave on her own adventures, having discovered her love of the contrabass and classical music. She'd been sad to see her sister go, but understood she had to go live her own life. Besides, she'd left her in the care of some very wonderful friends.
Pinkie walked down the rows of desk with a soft but warm smile on her face. The room certainly gave her plenty of happy memories to remember. She stopped before her old desk in remembrance, but noticed a piece of paper lying on top of it.
"What's this?" she asked before taking a quick breathe and blowing the dust off of the paper. Sitting on her desk was a little foals drawing. On it was the picture of a family smiling on a rock farm. She gently placed a hoof against it; it was one of her old drawings. She smiled as she remembered the fondness she had for doodling during class. She could see their old house in the background, her mother and father standing behind their kids in the foreground. She smiled at the cute scribbling of her and Octavia.
"…Wait…" she said suddenly realizing something. She took her hoof away from the picture and stared at it. Something was wrong with this picture. She couldn't put her hoof on it though…
"It's my family…what would give me the impression somethings wrong?" she stared at the happy family of four. She couldn't fight the strong urge that there was something wrong with the picture. But no matter how she racked her brain, nothing seemed to come to mind. She scrutinized the picture carefully.
"…I'm sure if Octavia was here she would know what the problem was." Pinkie shook her head softly, "She always was the smartest of us. If we were ever in trouble she would always bail us ou-" Her words stopped dead.
"Alright fine, I'll play with you, but only because you're so insistent."
Her eyes shot back to the paper as she scanned it and counted the number of people in her family once more.
"One, two, three, four…five?" She counted out loud as she pointed to an empty spot that should've contained her other sister. "Where's Bellamina? Where's my younger sister?" She scoured the picture for any sign of her. She wouldn't have drawn a picture of her family without her…would she?
"…Wait…come to think of it…when was the last time I thought about Bellamina?" she asked herself quietly. She remembered thinking about Octavia several times over the years, but she'd never thought about Bellamina…"Oh my gosh…I must be the worst sister in the world!" She said feeling so rotten for having forgotten about her other sister.
She tried to recall memories of her sister desperately, but the only thing that came to mind was the story of how she got her cutie mark…but beyond that…
She shook her head furiously trying to jog loose any memory, but she didn't remember anything else. She looked down somberly before slamming a hoof against the ground.
"I'm so so SO sorry Bellamina! I promise you; once I get out of here I'll keep you in my thoughts!" Pinkie said determined now. She had to escape the horrors that had befallen Ponyville. She looked around the classroom, her eyes being drawn to the desk next to hers; the one Octavia had sat in during school. On the desk was a red circle with an X through it written with a red marker. She carefully grabbed the edge of the desk and opened the top of it, looking inside.
Inside of the desk was a blue jewel carved into the shape of a contrabass.
"…Wow…it's beautiful…" Pinkie gasped examining the item. She wasn't sure what it was doing there, but she had the strong feeling that it was something she was meant to keep. She picked it up carefully before placing it gently into her bag. She closed Octavia's desk, before realizing she should check her desk as well. She was careful not to disturb the picture and opened hers as well. Inside was a red jewel in the shape of a balloon. She quickly placed it inside of her bag as well.
She closed the desk and looked around. None of the other desks appeared to have anything of significance on them. She headed to the front of the class and checked the teacher's desk. There was a note written on the desk:
"At the eve of the switch from night to morning, the red moon will shine."
"Another riddle?" Pinkie asked aloud to no one. This one certainly made less sense then the last riddle she tried to solve. Off the top of her head she couldn't figure out what this riddle was trying to tell her…
She twirled her head towards the door when she heard the laughter of the foals coming from the hallway once more. She quickly exited the room and looked around the hallway for them. She saw them further down, playing with each other. She slowly approached them, trying to get a better look at the two little foals. However, once she got close enough they began to run down the hallway, she gave chase.
The little foals didn't run too far, they quickly made a turn into another room. Pinkie stopped in front of the door and read 'Janitor's Closet' on the front. She heard a click come from the door, as if it had just been unlocked. She reached for the handle and opened it, walking into the closet.
The room didn't look anything like a Janitor's Closet should, rather than shelves of items for cleaning it was a mostly empty room. At the end opposite the door stood a small knee-high pedestal, then behind it was what looked like a door with a clock and symbols around it, in-between two portraits of the princesses.
"Oh! Is that lantern oil?" she said as she walked up to the small pedestal, noticing a small bottle of yellow liquid. She sniffed it real quick to confirm what it was before picking it up and placing it in her bag, "Good, that should keep me stocked for a while."
She then walked forward to take a closer look at the door. To the left of the door was a picture of Princess Luna, graciously drawn with her body in a circle, surrounding a small hole in the wall. Princess Celestia was drawn much the same way, also surrounding a small hole in the wall.
"Wait…this hole…I know this shape." She said having noticed something about the hole Celestia was surrounding. She quickly reached into her bag and pulled out the red balloon jewel and fit it gently into the hole. It snapped into place with a satisfying click.
"Then that means the other jewel must go here." She said placing the blue contrabass underneath Luna's picture. When the second jewel clicked into place, the clock moved forward out of the door a little, followed by the symbols placed in a circle around it. She looked carefully at the symbols; there were six pictures, three of suns, one red, one yellow, one blue and three moons, one white, one green and one red.
"Wait…a clock and a moon…" The words from the teacher's desk came to mind. "The eve of the switch from night to morning…night is pm; morning is am…they switch at twelve…and the red moon will glow at that time." She placed her hoof against the dial of symbols and turned it, placing the red moon so that it was directly above the number twelve on the clock. Then she moved the two hands of the clock to point at the number as well.
The clock chimed twelve times as it and the dial moved back into the door, before the door moved up and rose into the ceiling opening the path. Pinkie quickly walked into the next room.
"Huh?" She said as her ear twitched. She heard a very quiet sound, like it was a sound coming from Ponyville itself. She recognized it as a siren, a siren was blaring in the distance. She wasn't sure what it meant, but she had the gut instinct it didn't mean anything good.
She focused on the room before her. She regretted it instantly.
The room itself gave off the stench of it rotting, the ceiling was brown with missing tiles, the walls were a mess of peeling rotted walls, and the floor was covered in dirt, mold and grime. Holes littered the room, revealing a mesh of iron grating behind them, apparently the foundation holding the room together.
Two dead ponies hung from the corners of the room, their bodies wrapped in some kind of cloth, but their blood splattered the wall and floors next to them. They hung by chains and metal that kept them suspended. On the wall between them was a single word written in their blood.
She didn't need to be told twice as she ran out of the room. She ran out of the janitor's closet and back into the hallway.
"W-Wait…what happened to the light?" She asked as the hallway she entered was pitch black. She quickly reached into her bag and pulled out her lantern. The flame came to life illuminating the hallway. She gasped as the hallway was no longer that of the calm and quiet schools, but instead was made of the same dilapidated materials as the room she'd just escaped.
Everything was rotting, held together by a metal grating. The grime covered the floor in splotches and blood caked the walls. Hanging bodies of ponies were visible at various intervals down the hall. The smell of so much rotting gagged Pinkie; if not for the lantern in her mouth she would've lost her stomach.
The sound of static hit her ears next. Her heart started pounding as she next heard footsteps echoing down the hall. She turned to the direction of footsteps, listening to the hiss of static grow louder as the footsteps grew closer. Her brain was screaming at her to run, listen to the wall and put every force of power into her hooves…
But she seemed stuck, almost glued to the spot. This feeling wasn't like the other monsters. This sensation was piercing down right into her very soul. This feeling was biting into her and was forcing her feet to stay.
The edge of the light hit the creature. It walked further into the edge of her light and she felt her heart stop for just a brief moment.
It was one of the monsters of her nightmare.
It was a tall, slender pony that towered over her. It had no face; its skin clung to its face and body as if they were attached directly to its bones. It was pale, deathly pale, accentuated by the black suit and red tie it wore on its torso. It continued to take slow careful steps toward her; every hoof step echoed in her brain like it was trying to grate her mind.
The Phonograph erupted into its loud high pitched ringing as she felt a pain strike her mind. She finally felt herself no longer glued to the spot and with every ounce of strength she turned around and ran.
Her heart jumped to her throat and beat away a mile a minute as her hoofs connected loudly with every single step she took. She didn't care about the grime or the bodies she passed, she had to get away. Her mind grated with the feeling of a haze that the creature seemed to bring with its presence. The loud ringing of the phonograph seemed to be the only thing that kept her in any state of mind to run as fast as she could.
She rounded a corner with lightning speed. She was putting everything into this; she knew she could run fast, she could keep up with, if not out-run Rainbow Dash at times. She had to be losing the Slender Pony, she had to be escaping. She dared to look over her shoulder.
It was keeping up with her. It seemed to only be walking, somehow the slow paced canter it strutted kept up, and his whole being seemed to slide towards her, as if there was no escaping.
Her mind reeled and she whipped her head forward trying to go faster. She had to turn another corner. Her hoof caught under one of her legs and she nearly fell. She scrambled her legs and took off again.
"SHKYAAAAAA" A blood curdling scream bellowed out before her as she saw half of a white filly start to crawl straight for her. She jumped over it, its tongue passing over one of her hooves as it tried to bite her. The screams of the filly were cut short as she heard the sound of it being crushed by the monster chasing her. Her stomach hit her heart inside of her throat as her lungs burned. Her mind was reeling and the haze was growing.
'I can't escape I can't escape I can't escape I can't escape I CAN'T ESCAPE' the words yelled and flung themselves to the very corners of her mind. She felt it: She was about to die. This monster was about to kill her and there was nothing she could do about it…
Her eyes flung open as she saw at the end of the hallway an open door.
'An exit!?' Her mind screamed as she continued to book it. She raced as fast as she could, trying to ignore the constant looming presence of the threat behind her. She had to get to that door! She was almost there! Just a little closer! Just a little closer! She was going to make it!
She jumped, passing straight through the open door and skidding to a halt inside of the room. Her heart instantly sank as she looked around. The room was a square with one entrance, no exit. She had jumped straight into a dead end with that monster behind her.
She looked around frantically; the room was adorned with party decorations: multi colored streamers, balloons caked with blood, vile looking snacks, poorly wrapped and rotting gifts, hanging ponies at every corner, a seal of blood drawn out on the floor.
She instantly turned around, watching as the Slender Pony gradually walked into the room. The only opening to the room sealed shut with an iron gate behind it. There was no escaping it now. She was trapped in the same room as this monster.
She dropped the lantern from her mouth, no longer able to hold onto it as she panted frantically. The lantern rolled to the center of the room, turning itself up right and in the center of the blood drawn seal. The seal lit up with a red glow filling the whole room with light. She could see the red hued Slender Pony as it walked towards her.
"STAY BACK." She yelled as she ran to the gifts. She began grabbing them one by one and throwing them at the Pony. The gifts struck the pony and seemed to stun him for a moment. But as the gifts hit him, they fell to the ground and burst into a pile of ash. They slowed his walk down for a moment, but soon they didn't even phase him.
She grabbed the last gift and tossed it with all her might, straight at his head. It struck him before blowing up into a pile of ash.
Pinkie cried out in pain as she felt like her forehead was splitting open as her vision hazed into oblivion.
She stomped her hooves down and ran blindly in a direction away from the pony. Her vision returned as she felt blood trickling down between her eyes, dripping off of her nose. He'd opened up a fresh wound on her head.
She grabbed the table holding the vile snacks on top of it and tossed it to the ground. She raised her hind legs up and with all her might she kicked the table straight at the Slender Pony. The whole table struck him and pushed him back. He hit the wall as the table seemed to hold him in place for a moment.
Pinkie panted as she stared at the creature. He got up. He pushed the table gently and the table fell apart as a pile of ash.
Pinkie's legs gave way under her as she fell to her knees. Tears fell from her eyes as she sobbed in pain and exhaustion. She couldn't fight this monster. It was too much. Her mind reeled and wanted to accept her death. Her body couldn't take it, her mind couldn't take it.
She felt her mind begin to hurt worse, the Slender Pony was drawing closer. She couldn't look at him, she sobbed with her eyes closed shut just wanting the horror to end once and for all.
The pain stopped. The hoof steps of the Pony had stopped getting closer. The ringing of the Phonograph was dyeing down.
Pinkie dared to open her eyes and looked up. He was still there, but he had stopped its assault on her. He looked like he was looking away from her, at some something she couldn't see…
That's when she heard it. The siren. The siren was going off again in the distance. The Slender Pony put one of its lifted hooves to the ground and turned to look at Pinkie. She braced for whatever he was going to do, but he just stood there. Then, slowly, he lowered his head into his suit and pulled out a small brown box. He placed it on the ground before turning around and walking away from her.
The light in the room dimmed until it was pitch black.
Light from her lantern began to bring a gentle glow to the room.
Pinkie hiccuped, taking in a huge breath of air that burned her lungs again. She could feel her heart still racing at top speed as she began to get her bearings. The room wasn't the one she had just been in. It looked like a normal basement. It had pipes and fixtures that controlled water and heating throughout the building. Her lantern lay on its side in the middle of the room, glowing with its gentle flame.
The brown box was still where the Slender Pony had left it.
Words failed Pinkie. She didn't have the strength to get up at the moment. She lowered her head and let herself sob again.
The world was quiet. Her hair floated around her face; she didn't feel the sting of her wounds here. Everything felt the same like this. It seemed almost as if all her cares were a mile away…
The last of her oxygen left her mouth and flew past her face. Her lungs began to burn. She wanted to hold it for a little longer, but her body defied her.
Pinkie gasped, taking in a huge breath of air as she surfaced from the bucket of water. She panted heavily as she tried to relax and calm her beating heart. She had just survived staring death in its face. That thing…that monster…that…Slender Pony…she knew just getting close to it was a death wish. When it had gotten close her mind had fallen into a haze unlike she'd ever experienced before…then there was the head-splitting pain…
She gingerly touched her re-wrapped head wounds. The cuts from the attack in her room had started to heal, but the slender pony had left a deep gash down the middle of her forehead. But she'd survive, the cut only stung a little now and that would fade soon. The bandages on her leg had also needed to be changed. All that running had reopened the bite wound and her leg was currently throbbing as it recovered.
She shook her head and mane, casting the water off of her head. That soak had relaxed her some, but she was still inside of that school. The school where she had been chased inside of that…that…the only word that came to her mind that could describe it was as an 'Otherworld', one that was separate yet almost the same…
She lowered her head and started gulping down the bucket of water. She hadn't realized how thirsty she was at first, but she remembered how much crying and running she'd been doing and suddenly her throat felt as dry as a desert. She very quickly emptied the bucket of its contents.
Her tongue lapped at the bottom of the bucket expectantly, but there was no more water to be had. She softly sighed as she pulled her head back up and looked around at the empty cafeteria she was in.
She was able to imagine back when it was in pristine condition, all the little foals that would gather around, eating lunch as they took a break from their day of learning. Friends would share gossip stories, adventures in the games they were playing at home, some would doodle, some would spend time by themselves, but lunchtime and recess were always the foals' favorite part of school.
"Those days are long gone in this place, aren't they?" Pinkie sighed as she stared at the empty, dust covered room. The tables had been empty and abandoned for a long time now and no foals visited these halls. Even the brief glimpse at the playful ghost foals had gone away and left the empty silence.
She took a soft breath and picked up the red ribbon, she had taken it off to soak her head. She gently tied it into a bow at the end of her mane once more. She was growing very fond of this ribbon, not only being a gift from Gummy; it seemed to give her a sense of normalcy during these calm moments, when she just had time to herself. It seemed to put her mind at a bit of ease just knowing it was there.
"I guess…" she said taking a deep breath and turning her head, "All that's left to do now is…open this box…" She said looking at the brown box that sat next to the bucket. She hadn't looked inside of it; in fact she had wanted to leave it there. Even more she wanted to smash it; she wanted to destroy the box. Anything that Slender Pony had to offer just made her stomach twist in anger. But forces beyond her understanding compelled her to bring it with her. She had put it down to get some water and now that she had finished it, it sat there mocking her.
"…Maybe I can smash it after I find out what's inside." She reasoned with herself, giving herself enough confidence to finally open it. She carefully lifted open the brown lid, half expecting it to burst into fire upon her touching it. The lid slid off easily as she looked inside it.
"…W-why is this in here?" She said as she stared in shock at what sat inside the box. It was the key to Sugar Cube Corner. "Why would he have this? Why would he give it to me?" The questions racked Pinkie's mind, but no answers came. She had just come from that area, after all her home was right above Sugar Cube corner.
"I-I can't believe I forgot to check on the store itself!" Pinkie kicked herself mentally. She looked at the key again, then remembered what she had seen in her room and sighed, "No…I can believe I didn't check it. Not after that filly attacked me…I did want to get out of there as quickly as I could."
She carefully picked up the key and placed it in her bag. She had to go back and find out what had happened to Sugar Cube Corner now. She then carefully replaced the lid on the brown box, before picking it up and dropping it on the ground.
She lifted her good leg and smashed the box under hoof. It let off a satisfying crunch as she crushed it.
The snow had started to pile up thickly at her hooves. The town looked like it had a white blanket covering it. Every part of the town had snow on it, the streets, the roofs and the trees…Pinkie had never seen the town covered in the snow this way before. There had always been ponies that made sure the town was still useable during the winter, clearing the streets and making sure the snow didn't pile up too thickly…
Each step gave a crunch in the snow, as the cold ground sank underneath her. She shivered even more now, wishing she had brought some winter clothes to keep warm. Normally she did well in the cold, but the snow kept wetting her coat. She could feel ice starting to form at the base of her legs.
Sugar Cube Corner finally came into view. She sighed in relief; she had seen groaners in the distant fog but none had come close to her, she had managed to make it here only suffering from the cold.
She went up to the door of her favorite bakery and gently tried to open it. The door was locked, as she had expected. So even if she had tried to check on it earlier she would have just had to move on.
She carefully pulled the key to store out of her bag and placed it into the lock, the door unlocking. Pinkie watched as the key turned to ash, just as the school key had before it. She just let out a soft sigh as she pushed open the door, stepping inside.
As she expected, Sugar Cube Corner was dark, just like her room had been. Scant amount of light entered the room as she looked around. She quickly reached into her bag, pulling out the lantern. She was thankful she had refilled it with the oil back at the cafeteria as she set the flame alight.
To her surprise, Sugar Cube Corner looked fine. There were no pastries on the shelves or counters, but there was a lack of dust and decay. In fact, the place was even decorated. There were ribbons and banners and balloons set up all around the shop. There was a table set up for holding snacks and punch, several games placed in various locations as well as a pile of presents on another table.
There was a banner tied from one pole to the other above it all that read, 'Welcome Pinkie Pie'.
"Are these decorations for me?" Pinkie asked placing her lantern down on a table so it could illuminate the room.
"Oh! Do we have a guest? I love guests!" said a voice that sounded all too familiar. Pinkie stopped as she looked around, she hadn't heard ANY ponies’ voice since she'd entered this horrible place and she was suddenly filled with hope.
"Yes! You do have a guest! It's me! Pinkie Pie!" Pinkie Pie quickly called out excitedly, wanting to meet the other pony right now. "Where are you? Come on out! I promise I'm not like those monsters outside!"
"Oh, really?" The voice chuckled, "It's just so hard to tell these days who is and isn't." The voice said cheerfully.
"Please, will you come out? I'd really like to see your face." Pinkie said, she didn't care that the voice seemed to sound familiar; she just wanted to see the pony.
"Okie-dokie-loki! Since you asked so nicely!" A blob of darkness in the corner of the room began to move, it seemed to manifest into the form of a pony before Pinkie's eyes. The shadows surrounding the pony faded as light soon gave her a form. Pinkie gasped in shock, covering her mouth with a hoof.
"What's the matter? You seem surprised to see me! You said your name was Pinkie Pie right? What a coincidence! My name's Pinkie Pie too!" There was no doubt about it, the bright pink coat, the frizzed up curly mane and tail, the blue and yellow balloons for a cutie mark, the bouncing bubbly attitude…it was Pinkie Pie. "But that's going to get confusing if we BOTH start calling each other Pinkie Pie!" She explained as she stopped bouncing for a moment, thinking about, "We should give you a nickname!"
"W-What…but I'm…" Pinkie couldn't think of anything to say. Why was there two of her? And this Pinkie didn't seem to be suffering at all from any sadness or despair, she wasn't covered in any bandages and she didn't look hurt. This Pinkie looked exactly like she did before the nightmares had started to affect her, and this town wasn't helping her.
"Oh! I see your hair is down, does that mean you're sad? You must be! The only time my hair goes down is when I'm sad! We can call you Sadie Pie!" The happy version of Pinkie bounced again, "Why are you sad Sadie Pie? Did someone steal your sweets? You can always make more you know!" She giggled merrily, "Oh! I know what'll turn that frown upside-down! Let's have some cupcakes!"
"C-cupcakes?" Pinkie asked a little hesitantly, "But…I want to get out of this town…"
"Aw, you want to go?" Happy Pinkie Pie said, tilting her head, "But you only just got here! Come on! There's so much fun for us to have!" She bounced over to a door on the side of Sugar Cube Corner, one that led to the basement. She opened the door then turned back around, "Come on and follow me! We'll have lots of fun! Then we'll make those Cupcakes!" The happy Pinkie Pie bounced into the darkness of the stairs, disappearing from sight.
Pinkie just stared in disbelief as the second Pinkie disappeared from sight. She couldn't believe her own eyes. Surely she was the only Pinkie Pie…right? She had to find out why there was a second Pinkie Pie. She grabbed the lantern and slowly began to follow down the stairs to the basement. She could hear the constant giggling of herself far down in the darkness. For some reason, she might have preferred the silence…
She hit the bottom of the stairs and looked up, expecting to see the basement. Instead there was a long hallway before her, with a series of four wooden doors along it with a final wooden door at the end.
"Come on come on! Let's play already!" The chipper voice echoed throughout the hallway. Pinkie couldn't tell which direction it had come from. She slowly walked up to the first door and opened it, entering slowly. Inside the room she got a shock, as she saw the familiar look the living room from the farm.
"Here…you should eat something." The ghostly image of her father had placed a bowl of soup before a ghostly image of her younger self, wrapped up in a blanket.
"…I'm not hungry…" her younger self had softly muttered in response. She bundled herself up tighter into the blanket.
"You haven't eaten anything since you got back…please, you have to eat." Her father sat down on the couch next to his daughter.
"…I don't ever want to eat again…" Young Pinkie said, her voice quivering with fear. Her father placed his head around his shaking daughter, holding her close to his body.
The images faded away. The room was quiet as Pinkie stared at the images she had just seen. 'Was that…a memory?' she asked herself. It wasn't a memory she could remember. The words her father had spoken felt ominous, but she couldn't think of why they would seem that way.
She saw something out of the corner of her eye, looking down on the table where the soup had been placed. On top of it was a green tile with the image of a cat on it. She wasn't sure what it meant, but she felt it was something important. She made sure to quickly grab it and place it inside of her bag.
She then exited the room, closing the door behind her.
"You do want to have fun, don't you?" Came the cheerful voice that echoed through the hallway once again. Pinkie ignored it for the moment, opening the door across from the first one. Inside the door she saw an interrogation room, one she would've seen at the local authorities when she was little.
"Can't you see she's been through a lot?" The ghostly image of her mother told a ghostly police colt, as she hugged her pink daughter, "Your questions are upsetting her!" The pink filly was shaking in her mother's arms.
"I apologize profusely…we're not trying to scare her, but we need to know what happened." The colt said reassuringly.
"You need to give my daughter time," her father said adamantly, "This has been a tough time…for all of us."
"We understand, and you have our condolences, but if we need to know the details. Once we do, we can bring this whole affair to an end quickly." The colt returned.
The images faded from the room once more, leaving behind a pink tile on the interrogation table. It was another scene that didn't exist in her memories. This one confused her more than the last one, not knowing what reason she would have to be in an interrogation room like that…
She examined the tile, seeing that it had the picture of a bird on it. She quickly placed it inside of her bag before exiting this room as well.
"Ooooh, you're going to make me wait, aren't you?" The chipper Pinkie Pie voice echoed in the hallway, sounding disappointed. Pinkie softly shook her head. The voice of that other Pinkie was unsettling to her. Hearing herself talk without it being her just felt…unnatural.
She carefully walked to the next door, opening it and stepping inside. This time she saw her bedroom from the farm. Three beds filled the room, one for each of them as their parents had slept in a different room.
"Come on sis…you need to get some sleep…it's getting late." The ghostly image of her older sister Octavia was trying to comfort the young pink filly. They were sleeping in the same bed as her sister hugged her tightly, "I know you're having a hard time…but I'm here…you know I won't let anything happen to you."
The young pink filly began to sob into Octavia's coat. The two of them embraced as the images faded once more. On the bed sat a red tile with the picture of a snake on it.
Pinkie wiped away a tear that had begun to form at the edge of her eye. She didn't know why these emotions were welling up inside of her, the images were too real to not be true…but why couldn't she remember them?
She carefully placed the red tile in her bag before exiting the room.
"Come ooooon…I've prepared a party for you and everything!" She still sounded happy, but like she was getting impatient.
Pinkie shook her head softly; she had to see what was in this other door now. That other Pinkie could wait.
She opened the final door on the sides of the hallway, stepping into a room that had its walls painted like the sky, the ground was covered in sand and rocks. It looked like the outside of the rock farm.
"So…you're sure this is what you want?" Her ghostly father asked once again.
"Yea…it is. I just…I don't think I should stay here anymore." Her younger self responded slowly.
"I understand." Her mother commented, standing next to her father, "Just please be careful out there. I know you'll have Octavia with you."
"Are you sure you guys don't want to come? I don't know if I'll be coming back either." Octavia said looking from her younger sister to her parents.
"I was left this farm by my father; I can't just leave it now." Their father shook his head slowly, "This farm is my whole life now, good and bad memories alike. So I hope you can forgive us for not coming with you. Just please be safe."
"Don't worry father, I'll guarantee that nothing shall happen." Octavia smiled.
"We trust you Octavia." Her mother nodded, tears in her eyes. The images faded away, a blue tile with a fish on it sat in the middle of the room.
'That was when we left the farm, wasn't it?' Pinkie thought remembering having left the farm with her parent's approval…but she hadn't remembered that conversation before they had left. Yet…she was sure it had happened. All of these images were experiences she'd had when she was younger…yet she had forgotten them.
'Why would I have forgotten these memories?' She asked herself as she walked over to the blue tile, before placing it in her bag. 'There must be a good reason for why I have forgotten…maybe…maybe that other Pinkie Pie knows…' She thought to herself as she exited the room.
The other Pinkie Pie voice huffed softly, "You're not very fun Saddie Pie! If I was told I was being thrown a party I would just go straight to it!" The voice sounded like her patience was wearing thin.
Pinkie walked down the rest of the length of the hallway, reaching the door at the end of it. She pushed the door open, walking inside.
"Oh! There you are! I was afraid you'd gotten lost somehow! Which would be weird, how do you get lost in a straight hallway? I mean I'm sure there's a way but you sure have delayed the party!" The other Pinkie stood in the middle of the room, illuminated by a lantern that hung from the ceiling. The rest of the room was pitch black except for the circle of light that showed where she was.
Pinkie carefully turned off her lantern, before storing it back in her bag and then turning to face herself.
"Tell me…you know what those images were about, don't you?" She asked as seriously as she could.
The other pinkie frowned, "What? You made me wait for that? That's not very nice." She said giving a huff, "But I'll forgive you! After all now that you're here we can have fun together!" She bounced happily.
"Please! I want to have fun as much as you do…but I can't enjoy myself until I find some answers." Pinkie shook her head, "What happened to Ponyville? Why are there monsters? Why am I seeing the images I'm seeing? I want nothing more than to go back to throwing parties and hanging out with my friends…" she lowered her head a little, "But I can't…not so long as all these questions are eating me up inside."
The other Pinkie stopped bouncing and just seemed to frown.
"Fine, I see how it is." The other Pinkie turned around, "I guess I'll just have to remove that sadness from you Sadie Pie."
Pinkie blinked in confusion. She had no idea what the other Pinkie meant, but she hadn't answered any of her burning questions…
Her thoughts were stopped as her heart sunk. Her ears could hear the siren going off. The light in the room was dimming, turning it pitch black slowly.
'Oh no…oh no!' She thought beginning to panic as the light faded completely. She tried to brace herself for anything, the world was changing; she could feel it shifting under her hooves. As the siren began to die out, the lantern began to flicker back to life, re-illuminating the spot the other Pinkie was standing.
The ground around them had turned into the rotting, grime-covered floor that had appeared the first time she had heard the siren. The other Pinkie Pie was still standing where she had been; the only difference now was that she was wearing a strange dress with wings…
As the other Pinkie began to turn around, the phonograph began to come to life with static.
"You know…" the other Pinkie spoke up, "playing with myself really might be the most fun I'll ever have." She let out a soft chuckle, turning around fully to give Pinkie a full view of the outfit, "I'll have to make it last…but all things do come to an end."
Pinkie stared at the outfit, beginning to notice details about it she wish she hadn't. The wings on the back, 6 in total, were each a different color and were crudely stitched on. Around her neck was a necklace with multiple unicorn horns dangling from it. The cloth her dress was made out of looked like a patchwork quilt made of leather, each square of the dress had a different cutie mark on it.
"Oh, do you like my dress?" The other Pinkie noticed her gaping stare. The other Pinkie angled her body to show it off better, "I'm so glad you like it, I worked very hard to make it. It wasn't easy getting everything to be so intact. Ponies really like to squirm you know." She laughed as she gently played with one of her wings, "I'm quite proud of how it came out too. But I must admit, I see something I can add to it that would make it even better!"
The lantern grew brighter, illuminating more of the room, revealing a table that had been hiding in the darkness. The other Pinkie turned and walked towards the table, reaching into a medical bag that was placed on the table.
From the bag she pulled out a large, sharp butcher's knife.
"Now be a good pony and hold still will you? I don't want to mess up that beautiful Cutie Mark of yours." The other Pinkie said as if it was a natural thing, before putting the butcher's knife in her mouth. The phonograph began to let out its wailing rings.
Pinkie's heart felt like it had stopped. She couldn't even comprehend everything that this other Pinkie was saying. But it was very clear that the other Pinkie wasn't going to give her a chance, as the other Pinkie began to charge full gallop at her. The other Pinkie appeared to be aiming for her legs.
She jumped out of the way, as the knife came close to cutting deep into her. She tried to back up away from the other Pinkie, into the darkness when she hit something hard. She looked behind her, and as if following her eyes the lantern hanging from the ceiling glowed brighter, revealing the entire room to her.
She had run into the dried remains of a pony hanging from the ceiling by a butchers hook. She jumped away, not wanting to even touch it as her eyes quickly began to see the decorations of the room. She felt her stomach reach her throat.
Pony bodies hung from several parts of the room, their bodies dried and caked pools of blood lay underneath them. Skulls decorated the walls, while the furniture was made up of bones and skin, balloons floated that were dyed with blood, streamers and ribbons had been given the same treatment, piles of body parts and organs lay stacked in the corners of the room. On the table with the medical bag, appearing from the darkness that had hid it before was a plate adorned with four foals surrounded it, with a pile of cupcakes in the center of the plate.
Her ears twitched as she heard the galloping of hooves and jumped into the air, as the sound of a blade being swung struck the body she had run into. Pinkie ran away from the twisted version of herself, panting heavily as she galloped to the other side of the room. She turned around, watching as the other her pulled the knife out of the body.
"Sadie Pie, this isn't any fun if you just keep running!" The other Pinkie said cheerfully, pulling the knife out of the body, "I admire you though; you have the will to fight! I like that in a pony." She chuckled happily as she placed the knife back into her mouth.
The other Pinkie said everything in that same, happy voice. It terrified her, thinking that such things could be said with such a happy tone. That Pinkie had every intention of killing her, and not quickly; it was obvious she wanted to make it a slow, painful process.
The other Pinkie was charging again. She could dodge it from this distance though; she jumped out of the way, avoiding Pinkie.
"GAH" She cried out as a searing pain sailed across her right leg. She stumbled away as she looked at the other Pinkie, who was giggling, blood dripping from the end of the butcher's knife. The other Pinkie had tilted her head and changed her direction when she had dodged. The knife had cut deeply into her leg; she could feel the blood trickling down her leg.
With a playful hoof stomp, the other Pinkie broke into another charge straight for her. She mustered all her strength to jump away again.
"GAAAAH" she let out another painful cry as a gash cut down on her back leg, causing her to trip and collapse on the ground. Her leg twitched in pain as the gash reached diagonally down half her leg. She was severely bleeding now; the other Pinkie was able to maneuver too well for her to dodge. The attacks had all but immobilized her movement now.
"I give you an A for the effort, but a C for the execution. That gives you a good round B!" The other Pinkie cheered happily for her. "I do hope you won't completely give up once you lose your legs though! I know it'll be tough, but keep on fighting!" The twisted words sounded so cheerful it sickened Pinkie.
She turned her head to watch the other Pinkie put the knife back in her mouth. She had come up to her from behind and was raising her head now. She was going to bring the knife down, bring down right into her leg.
With all of her might she pulled her back leg in, as the other Pinkie began to throw her head down with all her might to chop the leg off, Pinkie bucked the leg with all of her might into the other Pinkie's jaw.
A loud crack sounded through the room as Pinkie felt the body of the other Pinkie fly backwards, away from her. She heard a loud thud, followed by the clanging of the knife hitting the hard ground. She panted in pain, trying not to focus too much on her bleeding legs. She turned her head weakly to look in the direction the other Pinkie had flown.
The other Pinkie groaned, having landed on her back. She rolled over, lying on the ground as her head wobbled. Her mouth was bleeding severely. She coughed and hacked, bits of teeth and chunks of blood flying out. She panted as best she could through the blood oozing out of her mouth, turning to look at the Pinkie she had attacked.
"Nicbth…truhth…" The other Pinkie tried to speak, but she just sputtered out what sounded like nonsense. She looked in pain as she tried to speak, but she slowly got to her wobbly hooves.
Pinkie slowly got to her hooves as well. Putting weight on her injured legs made her body cry out in pain for relief, but she did her best to silence the cries.
"Ahlbth…finthith…yoobth…" The other Pinkie sputtered out more blood, as she gripped the butcher's knife as best she could with her hoof, dragging it along the ground as she began to walk towards Pinkie. Pinkie took in sharp breaths of air as she concentrated on the vile Pink mare before her.
The other Pinkie began to pick up the pace, before going out into a full on run straight for Pinkie. She seemed groggy, but determined, to bring that knife down into Pinkie's flesh. Pinkie had aimed the uninjured half of her body at the other Pinkie, bringing her hind hoof up once more.
The butcher's knife was raised into the air, sparks flying as it had scrapped along the ground. The frantic rush of the other Pinkie was closing in, ready to strike down. For a moment, everything seemed to hold still, right on the edge of death, two forces that never should've met collided.
The butcher's knife flew through the air, impaling itself into the ground. A loud crunching sound broke through the air.
Pinkie's hind leg had struck, landing with all its might straight into its victim's throat. The other Pinkie's eyes shrunk as her wind pipe was crushed, her forward energy being matched by the stopping force of the kick. Her body betrayed itself and swung itself free of the ground, her whole being shifting out from under the power of the kick and hitting the ground with a hard thud.
That Pinkie jerked and twitched on the ground, as it tried with all its might to get air from its broken wind pipe, only to be filled with blood that poured freely from the neck. She jerked and squirmed, as her eyes rolled into the back of her head. It seemed to last for an eternity, but the body finally stopped squirming as life escaped it.
The only thing that could be heard was the loud panting of Pinkie Pie, her phonograph had gone silent. She stared at the corpse that lay before her. She saw herself dead, killed by her own hoof.
She seemed to be numb to the pain that was trying to coarse through her body, her mind beginning to fall into a haze from the amount of blood she was losing down her legs. It seemed…insignificant at the moment. All she could do was stare numbly at the lifeless body before her. Nothing else seemed to even exist in the world.
However, her mind finally began to receive the signals her body was sending. She needed medical attention. Her legs became shaky as she finally began to take her first step. She limped, putting as little pressure on her injured legs as possible, over to the medical bag. She carefully pried it open, looking inside. There were many sharp instruments, scalpels, syringes filled with a strange liquid, even a saw for cutting bones.
However, she saw a roll of gauze bandages. She carefully grabbed it, pulling it out of the bag. She unrolled the length of it, before carefully, but tightly, wrapping it around her wounds. She wrapped slowly, but surely, wrapping up the large cut on her hind leg, then the smaller cut on her front leg.
The bandages quickly soaked with blood, but they would seal her wounds for the time being. She placed the remaining gauze inside of her bag and then turned towards the exit. She slowly limped her way back into the grimy hallway, walking past the steel doors. She carefully began to climb up the stairs, her wounds slipping once or twice due to the grime that had grown all over them. The climb was slow, her body ached with pain and exhaustion, but she made it to the top.
She slowly walked across the rotting floor of Sugar Cube Corner, heading straight to one of the grime covered counters. In a dry spot on the counter sat a brown bottle, the label of it called it a 'Health Drink'.
Pinkie's dulled mind pulled the cap of it off with her mouth, before taking it and drinking the whole thing. The drink tasted like a mix of bitter herbs and strawberries for flavor, it was a lot like drinking medicine. But her body was grateful to have the liquid inside of her. She placed the empty bottle back down on the counter and slowly trudged to the middle of Sugar Cube Corner.
She lay down, panting heavily, as the haze of her mind finally came to a stop as she went into an uncomfortable sleep.
A groan escaped Pinkie's lips. That had not been a restful sleep by any stretch of the imagination. She rubbed her throbbing head as she began to stand up.
Her body was wracked with aches the moment she tried. She laid back down and took several deep breaths, her senses being hit with the overwhelming stench of decay. She pulled her head away from the ground coughing as the stench tried to gag her. Her eyes shot open as she tried to look around; however, it was far too dark for her to be able to see anything.
She fumbled around in her backpack reaching for her lantern before pulling it out and turning it on.
The floor she sat on was a mess of rotting wood and grime, the normal pristine floors of Sugar Cube Corner had become one with the otherworld now. She lifted her head up to look around, seeing the walls and furniture were also rotting away, bodies of ponies hung from the corners of the room, bad confectionaries were placed on various counters on the shop.
Pinkie quickly turned her head away, closing her eyes from the images. She had seen so much of it already, yet it still wasn't any easier to see any of this. She had kind of wished that waking up would've made this whole place go away, as if it were just some bad dream.
"At least I wasn't attacked by a monster…" she groaned as she began to stand up onto her wobbly feet. She looked down at the blood soaked bandages that covered her legs.
Images of herself attacking her assaulted her mind, as the events replayed in her mind. She remembered each cut, then of her own hoof ending the life of herself.
A pang of guilt coursed through her. She hadn't wanted to kill her, but in her state of self-defense she hadn't been given any other option. If only this town hadn't warped everything, if only things went back to the way they always were…
"Wait!" Pinkie said as a thought reached her mind. She looked around Sugar Cube Corner once more, before looking down at her feet, viewing the grime-riddled floor. "Sugar Cube Corner didn't look this way when I came in…" she said aloud as she began to realize what was happening around her, "Which means…oh no…that siren didn't go off again! I'm still in this…otherworld!" Pinkie began to panic as the realization hit.
"No…no no, calm down Pinkie!" Pinkie said sitting herself down taking in deep breaths, "If you panic then nothing good will happen!" She shook her head, before gently tapping it with her hooves, "Stay calm…stay calm and just…just think."
Her heartbeat began to slow down as she managed to rationalize with herself.
"Okay…okay first things first…" she said as she looked at her legs, "I need to change these bandages…" she reached into her bag and grabbed the bandages she'd put in there from before. She quickly unwrapped her wounds, inspecting each of them to make sure they were healing properly before reapplying fresh bandages. She used up the last of her gauze, but she felt satisfied with the fresh wrappings.
"It'd probably be better if I had some disinfectant…but I gotta work with what I have." She sighed softly. "So now what?" She asked herself as she reached into her backpack and pulled out her map. She unfurled it to try and see where she should go.
She gasped in shock. The map was blank now. The entire map only consisted of one word,
"Nowhere? I'm not anywhere?" She asked herself confused. She pressed against the map looking for any clue as to what happened to the old one, but there were no clues to be had. Letting out a defeated sigh, she placed the map back into her bag.
"I…guess I should get a look at my surroundings…before I decide where to go next." She softly gulped down a bit of anxiety. She wasn't sure what to expect outside now that the siren hadn't turned the world back to normal.
"Alright…you've been through a lot already Pinkie…you can handle this…" she softly motivated herself as she gripped the lantern in her mouth, standing up. She headed for the door and softly pushed it open, expecting a blast of cold air.
Walking out of the store, she found that all of Ponyville had succumbed to the otherworld. The entire street was paved with the rotting floor, littered with holes that showed the metal framing that held it together above a dark bottomless pit. The houses had mutated into decrepit, rust-colored shacks that were falling apart at the seams. The fog still only illuminated part of the town, but was now as black as the sky. The only light that penetrated the area was that which came from her lantern.
She carefully looked around, before stepping down from the front steps of the shop. She didn't have any idea of where she should head first. The other version of herself hadn't dropped any clues, and if she had she didn't want to go back to find it.
Suddenly, a loud thud hit her ears as the ground shook slightly. She looked at the ground carefully, as another tremor passed through, a few pebbles shaking at her hooves. Pinkie's heart began to race, she had no idea what this meant but it couldn't be anything good. She looked around her, trying to find a source for the rumbling.
"Ghhuuurrrrgghhh…" Came the groan of a monster Pinkie had become familiar with. She quickly turned her head in that direction as her phonograph began to pick up with the sound of static. Coming slowly out of the darkness was a Groaner, hobbling its way slowly towards her.
'…There's no way he's the source…' the thoughts ran through Pinkie's head for a moment, when suddenly she was deafened by a loud roar that cut through the foggy air. The rumbling picked up its speed, as if the source was now running. Pinkie took a few steps away from the Groaner, not sure what she should do.
"Ruuuaaaaa…" The Groaner groaned as it tried to move faster. Pinkie couldn't help but notice that it looked as if it was trying to escape, but escape from what?
"Ruua-GHRA" The Groaner let out a final cry of pain as from the darkness a massive mouth appeared, biting into the creature, taking it in one bite. It swiveled its head back up before chomping the Groaner in a single bite. Pinkie stared in shock at the giant monster before her.
It was a single body, a large mouth at its front, with no eyes, its skin was curved and pink running straight back, large muscular legs that held its entire frame up. It was as if someone had taken off a pony's head and neck and put a giant mouth at its body. It stood as tall as a dragon.
It let out another roar that knocked Pinkie back to her senses. It had finished its meal and it was looking for its next one.
Pinkie turned on her heels and ran with all her might. The creature let out a roar as it began to chase, every stomp of its legs shook the ground under her hooves.
Her heart was pounding as she tried her best to run, she constantly felt her hooves about to slip from the shaking ground and she panted like crazy, rushing air to her lungs.
She felt and heard a massive thud behind her. She looked over her shoulder and saw the creature had tried to bite down on her, its head crashing into the floor. It quickly pulled its head back out, letting out a pained roar as it began running again.
She watched it run, its loud thudding feet doing its best to keep up with her. However, it was slower than her and she knew it, this thing wasn't nearly as fast as the last thing that chased her before. Confidence built up inside of her, she turned to face the road ahead of her.
She made a quick turn, noticing the path ended before her. She ran quickly, looking behind her as she saw the creature run straight into the buildings, letting out another pained roar.
'I can do this…I can out run this thing.' She thought to herself as she felt her confidence skyrocket. She didn't know what it was, but she could outrun it…
She looked ahead of her and saw the rotting town pass her by with every hoof step.
'But where do I outrun it to?' She asked herself, not sure of that answer.
She heard it let out another roar as the tremors under her legs began once again. It was coming after her again, but it didn't seem too bright. It was a thing to be feared, it could eat her if she wasn't careful, but she could get away from it…
She quickly made the turn around another bend, increasing her distance from the creature.
Her attention was caught by what she saw in the distance. It looked as if a giant gate of metal bars had been erected in the middle of the world, cutting off one half of the world from the other. As she ran towards it she could tell it stretched up into the sky but couldn't see where it ended.
She looked behind her; the pink monster was slowly starting to catch up as it meshed its jaw and roared for her blood.
She looked back at the gate, seeing a normal sized door open in it for her to fit through. She kicked herself into high gear and charged straight for the door.
She slipped through with ease and quickly slammed it shut behind her. She stared through the metal bars at the creature running straight for the gate. She panted as she watched it charge with all of its might straight forward.
It crashed loudly against the gate, letting out a wild roar as it came to an abrupt stop. The gate was strong enough to hold it back. It let out another roar as it stepped backwards, rushing straight into the gate again. The bars bent slightly, but held strong. Pinkie stood there amazed, watching the creature fight with all its strength to break through the bars, roaring and hollering as it slammed its head repeatedly against the bars.
A loud cracking sound echoed through the area as the creature stopped its thrashing. It let out grunts as it tried to figure out what the sound meant, before it crashed its head once more against the gate.
The loud crack sounded again and the large creature found its hind leg through the floor. It began to let out frantic roars as it thrashed around, trying to get its foot free. The ground below it cracked and gave way, the creature roaring as it clawed at the metal gate for support. Its giant form soon fell through the ground, its loud roars disappearing into the dark sky as it fell into the bottomless pit.
Pinkie slowly walked towards the area he had crashed into the gate, peaking her head down towards the bottomless pit. The creature had fallen, it was nowhere to be seen or heard anymore. The ground it had stood on continued to crumble away, spread out towards the town. The whole town was slowly falling into the bottomless pit as well, as if the only place left in the whole town was this area behind the metal gate.
Pinkie stared at the crumbling town, in shock that it truly was crumbling away yet…it almost made her a little happy. The place that had caused her so much torment was slowly vanishing before her eyes. It had left her stranded there, but it was going away.
She turned her back from the crumbling town, to get a look at where she currently was before letting out another surprised gasp. She hadn't noticed what was actually behind the gate since she had been too focused on running.
The dirt before her was littered with rocks of all sizes, spread as far as the eye could see. In the center of all the rocks was a wooden house, small but quaint with a moderate windmill. It was the farm, the place she had lived and grown when she was a foal.
'The farm? It's not supposed to be this close to Ponyville!' She thought as she began to run towards it. Its familiarity and comfort was calling for her.
The image of a ghost-like filly appeared before the front door as she ran closer to the house. The little filly ran forward, going through the door to the house. Pinkie had to follow it.
She quickly reached the front door opening it and going inside.
Inside, in the living room, was the ghostly image of her younger sister, Bellamina stood there looking at her.
"B-Bellamina!" She called out, dropping the lantern from her mouth. It hit the ground with a clang, rolling over to the young ghost filly, who stopped it with her hoof.
"I'm…surprised you made it all the way here Pinkamena." Bellamina sat the lantern right-side up, "I guess I was wrong, I guess you can handle the truth."
"Bellamina! Y-You're…" Pinkie started, but stopped herself as she looked at her sister. "You're…not really here, are you?" she said, her cheerfulness dipping as she could see through the ghostly image of her sister.
"You'll see the truth here." Bellamina turned and pointed, directing Pinkie to the stairs to the upper floor, "This house is your last safe haven though. After this, there is no turning back." Her younger sister said ominously.
"…What do you mean?"
"Goodbye sis." Bellamina's last words echoed as her image faded from the living room.
Pinkie could only stare at where her sister had stood, not sure what to make of what she saw. She felt a pang of sadness and yet…a bit of comfort as well. It was short, it was brief, and it didn't last as long as she had wished it could've, but…
She had talked with her sister.
She walked over to the lantern and picked it up once more with her mouth. She couldn't stop here, not now. Her sister's last words gave her a boost of strength, a boost that she could use to see this through. She looked at the stairs her sister had pointed to; they lead to the bedrooms on the second floor.
'The truth…I guess it's time to find out what that means.' She thought to herself as she took the careful steps up to her destiny.
At the top of the stairs she was met by a wooden door. She carefully pushed it open, revealing a hallway. On the sides of the hallway were four square holes with writing below them. At the end of the hallway was another wooden door. She stepped into the hallway, when suddenly the wooden door snapped closed behind her. She quickly looked at the door, trying the handle, only to find it locked.
She let out a soft sigh as she turned back to the hallway, before almost jumping out of her skin again. The Slender Pony stood at the end of the hallway, right outside the door on the other side. Her heart started beating in her throat as she stepped back against the door that had locked closed behind her.
However, the Slender Pony turned around and seemed to phase through the last door, as if telling her he was waiting for her on the other side.
She took a deep breath as she tried to calm her beating heart. The very sight of the creature was instilling fear into her…
She shook her head as she calmed down.
'My sister said that the truth was here…I have to have faith in her.' Pinkie carefully got back on her hooves, stepping forward slowly, 'She said I was ready for it. I've managed to come through this far through hell and back, I can handle this.' She took a deep breath as she turned to the first hole in the wall, reading the words written under it:
Eyes gleamed over,
It stalks before striking,
Its tail wags in anticipation.
Pinkie thought it over in her head. The square shaped hole was just the right size for her to place in one of the tiles she had gotten from Sugar Cube Corner. She assumed the riddle meant that she had to put one of them in the slot.
She carefully looked inside of her bag and went over the selection she had: a bird, a snake, a cat and a fish.
'This riddle refers to the Cat tile, doesn't it?' she asked herself thinking the clue over. She carefully grabbed the tile and gently placed it into the hole in the wall.
The tile began to glow white, spreading out from the hole it was in. Pinkie took a step back as she watched the plate spread out into an area the size of a door before her. The light soon faded away, revealing a door in its place.
She carefully opened the door, looking inside. It was a single room, almost like a closet. Four solid walls with no description to them, yet she felt compelled to go inside. She walked into the dark room, closing the door behind her.
Suddenly, the flame on her lantern went out on its own. As she reached out to try and relight it, the room was filled with light. Projected on the walls were images. Pinkie instantly recognized them as memories.
"I don’t know Pinkamena…are you sure this is a good idea?" Bellamina asked as she walked with her bouncing older sister towards the edge of the rock farm.
"Of course it is!" Pinkie said happily as she lead her younger sister, "It's a super special party! I tried to invite Mother, Father and Octavia, but they were all too busy. So that means you get to enjoy the fun with me!"
"Well…I do love your parties." Bellamina smiled, it was true that she did. The two of them reached the edge of the forest.
"We're here!" Pinkamena called out happily.
"Who are you talking to?" Bellamina asked confused.
"Why the Party Host of course!" She giggled happily. Bellamina looked confused, but the confusion didn't last for long. From the forest walked a tall colt, his coat was pale and dull grey, his mane was unkempt and was curled into a mess of brown, he didn't look like he'd had a good bath in at least a week, and most odd of all was that his cutie mark was that of three dark red balloons.
"Hello Pinkamena, I see you brought a friend." The old colt said with a smile. His voice sent shivers down Bellamina's back.
"See? He's the party host! He's going to throw us a super-duper-wonderfully-fantastic party!" Pinkie bounced over to his side and pointed at his cutie mark, "And see? We both have a similar cutie mark! That means he's going to throw us the best party!" Pinkamena was very excited.
"Oh of course, I always throw the best parties." The colt let out a soft deep chuckle.
"R-Really?" Bellamina asked a little unsure, but if her sister believed in this guy, then he must be alright. Besides, they were going to a party, and parties were always fun.
"Come, the party is this way." The colt smiled as he turned and walked back into the forest.
"Yea! Party time!" Pinkie bounced happily after the colt. Bellamina followed slowly after the two.
The flame of the lantern flickered back to life as the images faded from the walls. Pinkie stared at the walls that had shown the images she had long since forced herself to forget about. She didn't like where this was going. Back then she was too ignorant to realize that the colt gave off a bad vibe, she was too focused on parties.
She gulped heavily as she opened the door back up and reentered the hallway. She looked at the hole before her, with the text written under it:
Sleek and smooth,
Striking at its prey,
Its tail lets it move.
The image of a snake came to her mind. A bad feeling ran through her as she carefully pulled out the tile with the snake on it, placing it carefully into the slot. The light turned the area into a door just as the previous one had.
She hesitantly walked into the room, trying to prepare herself for whatever it was she was about to witness. The light of her lantern faded away.
"W-What are you doing to my sister!?" the young Pinkamena cried from behind the bars of a steel cage. The colt had locked her inside under the guise that they'd be playing Pin the Tail on the Pony.
"Don't look so sad little filly," The colt said with a dazed over smile. Pinkamena looked into his eyes and saw nothing; it was as if the colt truly had no soul to him, "I'm just about to play one of the most wonderful games with your sister."
"She doesn't look like she's having fun!" Pinkamena cried out, looking at her sister who was strapped down to a table. She was frantic, trying to pry herself free from her bonds. The straps were too tight; she could do little more than twitch various parts of her body. He knew what he was doing.
"Oh, she may not look like it now, but I've played this game with lots of ponies before. Just look around you, I've had many friends over the years." A wry smile came to his face before he turned his back to her.
Pinkamena looked around the room; it was the first time she'd paid any attention to it. Suddenly, the horrifying stench of the room was obvious; it was coming from the various states of decay from the ponies that adorned the room. Most were of young fillies, with little more than their heads remaining as decorations. The colt had dressed the room up for a party using the bones and skin of the ponies he had killed.
"NO! STOP! PLEASE!" Came the hysterical cries from her sister. Pinkamena's attention instantly snapped back to what was happening before her.
"That's right, make the noise. It's what I long for." The colt laughed as Pinkamena watched as he carefully placed a scalpel against her skin. With precision he began to cut away at her.
The scream of her younger sister echoed around the room as the image faded. The flame came to life, illuminating the dark room once more.
Tears streamed down Pinkie's face like they'd never fell before.
'Bellamina…' She sobbed to herself as she remembered the horrific images of her sister being dissected alive by the colt. She had tossed the memory aside a long time ago, a memory that had been too horrific for her to want to remember. Her precious sister had become nothing more than a plaything for that colt.
She hiccupped as she gasped for breath between her sobs. She still had two tiles left to go; she had more memories to remember. She had to remember everything that had happened, for the sake of her sister.
It took her a long time to leave that room, very quietly closing the door behind her. She had to see everything first, see it all before she could say anything. She very quietly walked to the next section of the wall and read the text bellow the square hole:
Soft to the touch,
It soars over its fears,
Its tail stabilizes.
Pinkie quickly took the tile with the bird on it and placed it into the hole. The door appeared just as it had with the others. She walked inside, staring at the walls as the light once again faded from her lantern.
"Come now, you must eat. There's no point in letting yourself go hungry." The colt chuckled to himself, his cold, harsh, cutting laugh. Pinkamena had curled up in the back of the cage, having cried her heart out. All that remained of her sister now was the lifeless upper-half that still was strapped to the table. She hadn't seen what he'd done with the rest of her after he'd finished.
"Here, I even made you this special treat." He said opening a small hole in the cage, pushing a plate with a cupcake on it. Pinkamena didn't want his treat; nothing made by this cruel colt could truly be worth eating.
Her stomach let out a growl; she hadn't eaten since breakfast and had been hoping to stuff her face with a feast from the party.
"See? You're hungry. You should eat." The colt smiled.
Pinkamena's body defied her mind, as it slowly got up and walked over to the cupcake. She sniffed the cupcake carefully, but it was hard to smell anything past the stench of decay in the room. She then, very carefully, licked at the frosting that lay on top of the cupcake. The sweet sugary taste hit her tongue, almost as if in defiance of what her mind was telling her. Her mind screamed that something was wrong.
She very carefully opened her mouth and took a bite out of the cupcake.
"Good, I'm so glad you're eating. It would be a shame if your sister went to waste." The colt chuckled ominously.
The flavor of the cupcake hit Pinkamena's senses like a brick. This wasn't a sweet and sugary cupcake; it was salty and chewy, almost as if the main ingredient had been…
The colt laughed as he watched the expression on the young fillies face distort. Pinkamena vomited, rushing back to the back of the cage where she coughed and sputtered, trying to get the vile from her mouth. The imposing laugh of the colt hit her ears, causing her tears to return.
A loud crash was heard from the top of the staircase leading to this basement. The colt looked up surprised, his eyes widening. He suddenly tried to open the cage like a mad beast, as if he absolutely had to reach Pinkamena. He managed to open it as he began to reach a hoof inside, when he was suddenly tackled by another large figure.
There was loud yelling, as if there was a fight going on. Another large figure appeared before the cage, reaching to try and grab Pinkamena.
"No! No!" Pinkamena cried out as she tried to resist the figure pulling her out of the cage.
"It's okay! Don't be afraid, that evil colt can't hurt you anymore." The voice that came from the figure was comforting, reassuring. It was nothing like that of the colt's.
Pinkamena looked up fearfully at the figure as it pulled her out of the cage, holding her in one of his legs. The colt had a white coat with striking red hair; he wore a blue uniform adorned with a blue hat.
"It's okay, we're the good guys. We've come to take you home." He said with a smile as he moved quickly to get her out of the basement.
'I was rescued…' she said remembering as the light came back, 'But it had been too late…they didn't make it in time to save my sister.' Pinkie shook her head, 'and that…that vile treat…' even the thought of the cupcake was making her stomach turn. 'It's…it's hard to believe anypony could be that cruel.'
She walked back into the hallway as the thoughts continued to bounce through her head. 'Those words I spoke in another memory make sense now though…after having eaten that; I really didn't feel like ever eating again…'
She looked up at the last hole in the wall, the words underneath it read:
A slick texture,
Its sustenance for most,
Its tail propels it forward.
Pinkie carefully pulled out the last tile, the picture of a fish on it, and placed it in the hole. She carefully wiped away a few tears forming in her eyes as the door appeared. She carefully walked through, seeing what the last of her hidden memories had to offer.
Pinkamena sobbed into Octavia's coat. The older sister had been doing her best to comfort her younger sister, but no matter what she tried she couldn't get the filly to sleep.
Pinkamena had barely eaten, she refused to sleep and she constantly was sobbing. Octavia had no idea what it was that her sister had seen; all she knew was the Bellamina was dead. That fact alone seemed to have Pinkamena jumping at the shadows.
"Oh my, I hear crying." Came a very soft, soothing voice.
"Grammy Pie." Octavia said, surprised, looking up to see their grandmother walking into the dark room carrying a lantern.
"Grammy…" Pinkamena sniffed as she saw her grandmother.
"It's me child." She smiled warmly as she walked closer, placing the lantern on the night stand, then nuzzling the crying filly, "What troubles you?" The sound of her gentle voice seemed to sooth something deep in the filly's soul. Pinkamena's sobs slowly turned to sniffles as she composed herself enough to speak before her grandmother.
"B-B-Bell…Bellamina's…dead grammy…" Pinkamena choked a little.
"Yes…I know dear. It's a fact we all must deal with now." Grammy said solemnly. "We all have done our share of mourning, and we shall forever mourn her loss. But your tears seem to hide something more my child. They seem to hide more than just your loss."
Pinkamena rubbed her eyes as she sniffed, looking away from her grandmother, burying her head into Octavia's coat.
"I'm…never throwing another party as long as I live." She sobbed.
"Oh child, why would you say such a thing? You know we love your parties, and you love to throw them." Grammy Pie said, surprised at the sudden words from her granddaughter.
"M-M-My partying…got Bellamina killed." She sobbed the words out into Octavia's coat. Octavia did her best to try and comfort the filly. Their grandmother looked a little sad, but closed her eyes as she seemed to understand.
"My dear Pinkamena…if nothing else, you should continue to throw your parties." She spoke softly but truly.
"Huh?" Pinkamena and Octavia said in unison as they both turned to look at their grandmother.
"You see dear Pinkamena; your sister loved your parties. She truly had fun at them; sometimes all she could talk about with me was how much fun she had had at your last party." Grammy Pie chuckled softly to herself as she remembered, "Which is why I'm telling you; continue to throw your parties child, in honor and memory of your sister. Your sister would not want you to live the rest of your life being afraid and crying. She'd want to see you smiling for the rest of your days." Grammy Pie's smile was warm as the words she spoke were the truth.
"B-But…" Pinkamena sniffed as she tried to comprehend her Grandmother's words, being only a filly as she was. "But…the world is so scary Grammy. How…How can I have a smile in it?"
"Simple my child," she chuckled softly to herself, "You have to laugh your fears away."
"Laugh?" Pinkamena asked curiously.
It was a lesson she remembered often from her childhood. Her grandmother would often visit her and teach her how to laugh at her fears, stand up to the shadows and the idea of monsters and to laugh her fears away. She could face anything the world had to throw at her so long as she had the inner strength to laugh when the day was over.
She had forgotten why her grandmother had repeated the lesson so often to her, in her memories before she had just thought it was because she had been afraid of the dark as a filly. She knew now that it was because of something much deeper.
A small smile crept onto her face as she remembered all of the memories she had forgotten now. The good memories, the bad memories, the ugly ones, the beautiful ones. She had locked them all away to keep herself happy, to try and keep Bellamina's wishes true. She hadn't been ready to accept the memories into her heart as fact…
She carefully left the last of the rooms that contained her memories. She could feel the slow, rhythmic beats of her heart that resonated loudly through her. A smile was on her face as she remembered her sister fondly.
'So…there's just one last thing to do then.' She said as she looked to the door at the end of the hallway. She slowly walked towards it, her resolution holding firm in her heart. She knew what she had to do now.
She opened the door, stepping out.
Outside the door she saw four torches lit around an open arena. A pathway was lit for her leading to it. A fence was placed along the path and arena so she couldn't go anywhere else.
She gently put her lantern away as she walked towards the center of the arena. She could feel small tremors shaking through the world as she walked.
As she reached one side of the arena, from the ground on the opposite side the Slender Pony emerged from ground. He stood tall over her, his presence still bearing down.
But…she wasn't afraid this time.
"I finally understand now." Pinkie said softly, shaking her head slowly before looking at the Slender Pony with a smile, "My fear of your presence, your stature over me, your very existence…you're the colt aren't you." The Slender Pony just stood there, unchanging from Pinkie's words. "Well…you're not him exactly…but you're my image of him." She closed her eyes and smiled, "which means…I'm not afraid of you anymore."
The Slender Pony began to walk towards her, every step seeming to echo across the arena. Pinkie opened her eyes as she watched the pony walk towards her. Her mouth began to quiver as she saw him getting closer. She felt the haze beginning to hit her mind, the phonograph letting out its static.
She stood firm where she was, remembering fondly the words of her grandmother, the memories of her younger sister, of her friends back in Ponyville, of the fun she's had throughout her life thanks to the help everyone she's ever known gave her. All of them helped her live a life she could say she was proud of.
The Slender Pony stood a few feet from her, but the haze he brought to her mind began to fade. Her quivering mouth puckered up for a moment, before a soft sound came from it.
It started off low, as it gained its footing inside of Pinkie.
"Heh, heh, heh…"
The confidence grew in her with each sound that came out of her, the haze lifting, the static of the phonograph becoming more quiet.
She was laughing. She was laughing at the fear that this Pony…no, that this whole town had brought upon her, just so that she could become strong enough to face her fears.
She laughed, she giggled, she snorted, she chuckled. It felt like it'd been a lifetime since she had last let out a laugh, she'd let out so many tears that had been pent up for years, so many pains and torments she had kept inside. For the first time in a long, long while, she laughed with all of her heart.
A bright light shone from her neck, as a golden necklace with a blue balloon gem appeared. Her laughter continued as the light from the necklace made the Slender Pony jump back, letting out a shrilling cry as it seemed to hurt him.
The entire arena began to shake with a gigantic tremor as it began to fall apart. All of the scenery around her began to fall into the bottomless pit that lay beneath them. The entire world was crumbling and shattering around them.
The Slender Pony let out another painful roar as he dissolved back into the ground, disappearing from Pinkie's sight.
She calmed her laughing, enough so that she could speak.
"I won't forget you Mr. Colt. And I don't think I can ever truly forgive you for what you did, but I can move on now." She closed her eyes as she smiled brightly. The golden necklace around her neck shined brightly as it shot a beam of light forward, hitting the air before forming into a door of light. The necklace then vanished, to wait for the next time it would be needed.
"It's time for me to head home. For real this time." Pinkie smiled happily as she walked through the door of light, the last of the world crumbling away behind her.
Ending – Game Over
Unlock Condition: Die at any point, except against Pinkie Pie.
Pinkie felt the monster crunch down on her, its teeth bearing into her flesh. She had tried to fight it, she had tried to fend for herself, but it had been too much. Pain soared through her body as the last of her screams faded out. She felt the life escape her body.
"Pinkie pie?" Twilight said, staring in shock at her pink pony friend lying on the ground not moving. "Pinkie Pie wake up!" Twilight shook her friend, no response came. "What's happening?! Pinkie Pie! Pinkie Pie! PINKIE PIE!" Twilight cried with all her might.
It was too late though. Pinkie Pie was gone.
Ending – The Truth
Unlock Condition: Clear the game and see every hidden Truth
Twilight pulled her head back, rubbing her forehead as she groaned. The spell was taxing, not to mention she had held it for minutes already. She shook her head before looking at her pink friend. Pinkie still had her eyes closed.
"Pinkie? You alright?" Twilight asked, not sure if she had been released from the effects of the spell yet.
It took a moment, but soon Pinkie's eyes slowly opened.
"You okay? It wasn't too much was it?" Twilight asked a little worried about her friend.
Pinkie simply blinked, before smiling and lowering her head closing her eyes. Twilight blinked a little confused at this behavior.
"Thank you Twilight." Were the first words to leave Pinkie's mouth.
"Oh, did it work?" Twilight asked, softly smiling.
"It did. And I thank you so much for helping me." Pinkie said lifting her head, letting Twilight see the smile on Pinkie's face. "If you hadn't helped me…who knows what would have happened. I mean, I probably would've been driven insane." She twirled her eyes in example, then chuckling at herself. "But I won't now and it's all thanks to you."
"Oh well I, you know, I was doing it to help a friend in need." Twilight said smiling, accepting the compliments in her usual manner.
"This has been a pretty crazy experience." Pinkie chuckled.
"So…I hope I'm not prying, but you know what was causing those nightmares now?" Twilight asked curiously.
"I do." Pinkie said, but shifted her head a little, "But I'll tell you about it later, I promise. Right now," she stood up, "I have a few things I need to take care. I hope you don't mind."
"Oh, but of course. I'm just happy I was able to help." Twilight smiled. Pinkie smiled back as she headed towards Twilight's door. A thought struck her and she stopped.
"Oh hey, Twilight, before I go I need two favors." Pinkie said happily.
"Sure, what do you need?" Twilight asked curiously.
"Well, first I'll need you to cast the cloud walking spell for me. And second, do you have any red ribbon on you?" Pinkie asked curiously
Rainbow Dash was getting in a good afternoon nap in her home when she was awoken by several knocks on her door.
"Mmm…wha…" She said as she stirred from her sleep. Her ears wiggled as she heard the door being knocked on. "Yea yea, hold your horse shoes, I'm coming." She yawned, stretching as she woke up. She walked over to the door, opening it up.
Almost instantly she was assaulted by a pink blur that proceeded to hug her, knocking her over onto her back.
"G-Guh! What the-" She said in surprise, before realizing her assaulter was Pinkie Pie. "Oh, Pinkie Pie?" Rainbow Dash said sitting up slowly, "What's the idea? You know it's my nap time." Rainbow shook her head as Pinkie slowly let go.
"I know and I'm sorry for waking you," Pinkie smiled, "A lots happened to me and I really just had to see you."
"Well, that's alright then. I certainly can't abandon a friend in need." Rainbow Dash said brushing her hair with her hoof, "What's on your mind Pinks?"
"It's…a really long story Dash. A long and…well a rather sad one." Pinkie said with a hint of melancholy in her voice, "And I'm more than willing to tell you, but I hope you don't mind if I keep you waiting a little while to hear the story." Pinkie ran a hoof through her hair, "I still have some things to deal with before I'm really ready to tell other ponies about it."
"…A sad story? That's not like you Pinkie Pie, you're always about being upbeat, fun and having a good time. What could be so sad about something recently happening to you?" Rainbow asked a little curiously about her friend.
Pinkie giggled a little, smiling at Dash, "You'll know when you hear it. Just trust me for the moment. After all, I came here to hang out with you for a little while, if you don't mind."
"Of course not, a visit from my gal-pal is always welcome." Rainbow smiled as she flew over to another part of her house, "Would you like a snack? I got some fresh apples from Applejack, they're really good."
"That sounds delightful." Pinkie said walking further into Rainbow's house.
Rainbow returned with the apples, the two ponies sharing the snack together. They talked, they laughed, they reminisced about some of the adventures they'd been on since Twilight had arrived in town. Rainbow thought it a little weird that Pinkie was being so sentimental, but figured she must have a good reason. They spent a few good hours just hanging out in her home.
"So Pinkie," Rainbow said after they had just finished a conversation about possible pranks they could pull in the future, "what's with the red ribbon in your hair?" Rainbow asked curiously.
Pinkie turned her head to look at the red ribbon she had tied into a bow on her mane. She smiled softly, before looking at Rainbow Dash, "Well…let's just say it's helping me remember what dear friends I really have." She chuckled.
"I didn't know you needed a ribbon for that, after all we're all right here." Rainbow Dash smiled, putting a hoof to her chest.
"I know," Pinkie laughed, "But I did need the reminder." She gently nuzzled her hair with the ribbon attached to it. She then smiled softly, before looking up at Rainbow Dash.
"Dash…I'm going away for a while." Pinkie announced to her.
"Huh?" Rainbow said almost spitting out the apple juice she had been sipping on. "Going away? But why?"
"I've got something I need to take care." Pinkie said, looking away from Rainbow Dash, though still smiling, "I'm going out to go see my sister Octavia."
"Well…we could go with you, you know. You don't have to go alone." Rainbow explained.
"I know, but this is really something I have to do myself," she chuckled as she gently batted her straight hair with her hoof, "Especially if I want this to be poofy again."
"…So you're sure this is what you need?" Rainbow Dash asked once again.
"It is." Pinkie smiled, looking at Rainbow Dash.
Dash looked conflicted, she certainly didn't want Pinkie to go away, but she also had to support her friend.
"…Hey, you got to do what you got to do right?" Rainbow said putting on a strong face and gently hitting Pinkie's shoulder, "Besides, you'll be coming back right?"
"Oh of course I will. I could never abandon you and the other girls here in Ponyville! You're my bestest friends ever! I can't think of what life would be like without you all!" Pinkie explained happily.
"Then go ahead. We'll see you off, of course. Though things will be mighty quiet without you around." Rainbow said smiling.
"I know, I bring so many smiles here, which is why I could never stay away for long." Pinkie chuckled again.
Classical music filled the halls, the small group of ponies played on the stage to a large crowd. Their instruments were finely tuned, they never missed a beat or a cord as they all played in perfect harmony. The very soul of their music resonated through the hall and the hearts of all the ponies attending.
The final chords were played and the auditorium was filled with applause as they took their bows. The curtains came to a close on the stage as the band members began to pack up their instruments.
"That was probably our best performance yet." Beauty Brass said as she put her sousaphone away in its case.
"I don't know, I still feel like we could do better." Frederic said as his piano was pushed off to the side.
"I still say we should add in some of Beethooven's earlier work, his later work is magnificent but it doesn't compare to the wonderment his early work provided." Harpo said as his harp was also carted off.
"We sounded fantastic guys; don't worry about it too much." Octavia chuckled at her fellow band mates. "It was a great performance, so we've got a well-deserved night of rest." Octavia smiled as she placed her contrabass into its container. She pulled the strap over her shoulders, placing the instrument on her back. She always refused help with putting her beloved instrument away.
"Hey, you're not supposed to be back here!" The band heard a security guard say loudly. They turned their heads to see who he was yelling at.
"I know, but my sister is in the band and I really need to talk to her." Pinkie's begged at the security guard.
"We didn't hear anything about any of the band members getting a family visit today." The security guard said grabbing Pinkie by the leg.
"H-Hey! I'm not lying!" Pinkie said trying to get the security guard to let go.
"It's okay sir." Octavia said walking up to the guard, "She's my sister, though she did come by rather unannounced." Octavia said looking at Pinkie curiously, before noticing that her hair was straight, something she hadn't seen in a long time now.
"Well, alright, if the band says you're okay, then you are. Just don't come in unannounced next time." The security guard huffed before walking off.
"Hey, do you need some time to yourself?" Beauty asked as she walked up to Octavia.
"Yea, sorry guys, go ahead and do your own things, I'll see you back at the hotel later." Octavia smiled. Beauty Brass understood and walked off to the rest of the band.
"Sorry sis, I probably should've given you more warning. Then again even I didn't really know I was going to be setting off till I basically did. Still, I could've written." Pinkie chuckled.
"Yea, would've been nice." Octavia chuckled back, "At least you didn't interrupt my performance this time." Pinkie blushed while smiling, still remembering the Gala. "Come on, let's go have some dinner and we can talk."
Pinkie dined on a fresh daisy salad, while Octavia enjoyed a French Daffodil Soup.
"So, Pinkie," Octavia started as she finished taking a sip of her soup, "Why the sudden visit? I assume it has to do with something that's bugging you."
"Heh…I can't hide anything from you, can I sis?" Pinkie smiled as she took another bite of her salad.
"Not really. You're hair doesn't go down unless your upset about something." Octavia said as her eyes wandered down to the red ribbon in Pinkie's hair, "The ribbon is new though."
"Heh…well the two topics are related." Pinkie said, before giving a soft sigh as she smiled. "I know I'm about to ask a lot from you Octavia…what with you on tour and all…and it's been a long time since either of us brought this up…"
Octavia ate another spoonful of soup as she watched her sister curiously, not really sure what to expect.
"But…I'd like the two of us to go visit Bellamina's grave."
Octavia nearly dropped the spoon from her mouth. She quickly swallowed the contents of her mouth.
"This is…rather sudden Pinkie." Octavia said surprised her sister would bring it up, "If that's what you really want…our next concert isn't till next week in Hoofington, so if we left now we could make it to the farm with enough time for me to get back."
"Oh, thank you sis!" Pinkie said happily, "You really are the best sister in the world." She chuckled happily.
"Sure, I'll do this so long as you tell me what's going on." Octavia smiled.
"Deal." Pinkie smiled back.
The wind blew san across the rocky field, as the two sister's stood before their younger sister's grave. It was a hand-carved rock marker, carefully crafted to look like their younger sister sitting with a smile. She sat on top of a slab that read 'Here lays Bellamina Marie Pie, a beloved daughter, a wonderful sister, and an angel in filly form.'
"That's…really quite a story Pinkie." Octavia said looking at Pinkie, then back to her sister's grave, "But…it's good to hear that you've forgiven yourself for what happened." Octavia smiled.
"Yea, I'm glad I did too. But I couldn't say it was official till I at least came here again." Pinkie said as she gently placed the roses she had picked up on her sister's grave. "I'd forgotten about her because I didn't want to remember. And that's a terrible thing for an older sister to do. So from now on, I promise to visit her once a year." Pinkie smiled happily.
"You know what…if you're going to do that, then I'll join you." Octavia smiled, "I've been too focused on my work lately. I haven't given our sister the proper time of day either."
"Thank you." Pinkie said, nuzzling against Octavia.
"You're my sister; I've always been here for you if you need me sis." Octavia nuzzled her sister back, smiling happily. The sister's shared their happy embrace.
"Octavia, Pinkamena, dinner's ready." Their mother called from the farm house.
"Coming!" Octavia called out, "Come on, let's go get some dinner sis."
"I'll be right there." Pinkie smiled to Octavia. Octavia nodded and headed towards the farm.
"Hey…Bellamina…" Pinkie said softly, getting closer to her sister, "You were a wonderful sister. Thank you so much for being my sister. I love you." She kissed the forehead of her sister's statue. She then turned around and began to walk back to the farm.
Her hair poofed out and curled, returning to her usual, bubbly self.
Written by MEMJ0123