Pinkie remembers the most painful event in her life.
In the main kitchen of Sugarcube Corner, a young earth pony was carefully covering a cake with bright pink icing. After she smoothed out the top, she stepped back to look over her work, spatula still in mouth. Before her were three cakes, each a different colour. They would all ready for decorating once the icing was allowed to set for a few minutes. Pinkie Pie trotted over to the kitchen sink, dropped the spatula within, and quickly washed her hooves.
With time to kill, and left alone in charge of the shop, she didn’t have much to do. There were no customers, as she could see once she walked to the front of the store, but there were two little foals who were sleeping upstairs. She trotted to the upper level to check on them, making sure they didn’t get into any mischief.
Quietly proceeding down the hallway, she looked in their room to see their crib empty. This, however, did not worry her.
“Another game of hide and seek, huh?” she said slyly to no one in particular. Walking over to the toy chest, she opened it quickly, and found within, nopony.
As she closed the chest, Pinkie started looking around the room until her eyes landed on her next target. The closet door opened rapidly, but before Pinkie had the chance to analyse what was within, a sudden tremble hit the building.
Noticing the closet was empty, she closed the door and headed straight for the window. Several ponies were on the ground, looking up at her, or more specifically, at something behind her. She tried to crane her neck around to see what the commotion was about, but it didn’t take long for it to come to her.
A large green dragon quickly flew into her field of vision, as the building shook again, accompanied by the sound of bricks and mortar breaking apart and falling down.
In a panic Pinkie pulled her head back inside and began her search for the twins.
“Pound!” she screamed. “Pumpkin! The game is over! Come out! We need to leave! NOW!”
The building shook again as Pinkie ran out into the hall. Several doors were locked, so she couldn’t get in. She could only hope the twins couldn’t get in either.
Suddenly the building shook again, at a most inopportune time, as Pinkie was standing a bit too close to the stairs. She lost her balance, a hoof slipped, she tumbled, rolling down to the storefront of Sugarcube Corner.
Dazed and in pain, she opened her eyes to see a mass of colour before her. Her gaze shifted up and her focus came back as she heard a very familiar voice.
“Pinkie!” Spike screamed in panic. “Are you all right!?”
He helped the pink earth pony to her hooves as her vision returned in full, and she could see her rescuers: Twilight Sparkle, local librarian; her assistant, Spike, the purple baby dragon; and his marefriend, Rarity.
“Darling, we have to get out of here! Now!” Rarity explained. “What are you still doing here!?”
“The twins! They’re still here and I can’t find them!” Pinkie said, still panicky.
Twilight quickly came up with a plan. “Alright, we’ll split up and look for them. Rarity, you and I will check out the east side of the building; Spike, you and Pinkie go to the west side.”
“Yes ma’am!” Spike responded with a salute.
Pinkie barely had time to think as the two unicorns headed off to one side of the building and Spike led her in the opposite direction. She had no idea where the two of them were going. East? West? Which side was which? What was happening!?
The two found themselves in the main kitchen. Pinkie looked at the three cakes on the table, and realized she should probably get them out of there.
“Pinkie!” Spike said, bringing the young earth pony out of her daze.
The twins! “Check all the cupboards,” Pinkie ordered as the building shook again. “They’re both very good at hiding.”
As the rumbling and tumbling of debris settled down, Spike heard a noise from one of the cupboards: A small tinging sound. He quickly ran to the source, throwing open the cupboard to find within, a young pegasus colt, smiling, with his forelegs raised outward.
“POUND!” Spike yelled, getting Pinkie’s attention. Spike pulled him out and ran towards the young earth pony.
“Oh, Pound Cake! We-” Pinkie was suddenly interrupted by movement from behind her. Her tail was twitching aggressively.
The building shook again. Followed by a crunching sound, and as the group looked up, they could see the ceiling start to give.
Pinkie thought fast. Grabbing the two boys in front of her, she dove under the giant oak table, just as the entire building collapsed around them.
Dust filled the entire area, blocking Pinkie’s view. She coughed as some of it got into her lungs. She tried to remember if they every removed that asbestos around the water pipes.
As the dust settled, Pinkie’s vision began to clear. Tears filled her eyes, washing the debris away. She could hear the dragon outside, roaring in victory, as her eyes adjusted to the darkness they found themselves in. She looked down, and saw in her hooves, a very scared Pound Cake, curled up into a little ball, shivering.
Next to him, Spike was a lot more limp, and Pinkie noticed, he was faring a lot worse. She could feel a wetness rolling onto her hooves, and feared the worst. Gently laying Pound to the floor, she took a good look at the young dragon, and noticed a redness staining her foreleg. Across the back of Spike’s head was a gash, oozing red.
Pinkie was frightened. What did she do? He was fine just seconds ago. The rest of them made it in without a scratch. She started retracing her movements: Perhaps during the dive Spike hit his head on the table. It was hard and sturdy, which is why the earth pony knew it wouldn’t collapse under the weight of the building. But that also meant hitting oneself on it meant a heavy injury, which is something she learned many times in the past.
Thankfully, Pinkie was a regular Pony Scout. Reaching into her mane, she pulled out a roll of gauze, and wrapped Spike’s head tightly, several times to stop, or at least slow, the bleeding.
As she tied the bandage off, Pinkie noticed her young charge begin to move. He slowly started looking around, before quickly moving to the edge of their shelter, to try to move some of the debris… futilely.
He stopped to look at his foalsitter.
Pinkie held her hooves out, and said, “Come here.”
He ignored her and tried to move a big chunk of concrete.
She crawled over to the foal, and grabbed him in her hooves. “We’ll just have to wait until the rescue ponies dig us out. Shouldn’t be long.”
Pinkie was lying on her side, under the massive table, with an unconscious dragon in her hooves. She had no idea how much time had passed. Minutes? Hours? Who knew? All she knew for certain, was that Spike was getting worse.
The bandage around his head was soaked, and needed to be changed. He also hadn’t moved since they ended up under the table. Did he have a cracked skull? Did he fall into a coma? Would he ever wake again? Was it her fault? Tears began to run down her face as she feared the worst.
She could only hope Rarity and Twilight made it out okay, because if not…
Suddenly, Pinkie could hear some movement above… a shifting of something… The Rescue Ponies!!!
“HELP!!!” she screamed with all her might!
“Pinkie!?” A familiar voice came.
“Hold on, we’re coming!”
She could hear the shifting continue as debris was moved.
“Is anypony with you!?” Rainbow asked.
“Just Pound and Spike! He’s hurt bad!”
“Who’s hurt bad!?”
“Oh, Spike! Hurry up!”
It wasn’t long before some nearby debris was moved out of the way, revealing a hole where the bright sunlight burst in.
A yellow mare with an azure mane stuck her head in.
“Hey!” she said, before pulling out. “We found them!” Pinkie could hear her scream.
“Pinkie, send Spike up!”
The young earth pony quickly obliged. Grabbing the dragon and trying to lead his limp form up the hole. He was quickly pulled away. Next was Pound Cake, who flew out as quickly as his little wings could carry him.
Pinkie then tried to crawl through the hole. Emerging on the other side, she was quickly grabbed by the yellow pegasus she met earlier, and carried away from the debris.
Still dazed, Pinkie was lowered to the ground. She could see dozens, maybe even hundreds, of onlookers, milling about behind a line of yellow tape. She could see a team of medics tending to Spike and Pound, as Rainbow quickly rushed over to her, her hooves stained in what she assumed was Spike’s blood.
“Pinkie!” the cyan pegasus exclaimed.
The pink earth pony was the first to speak. “Where’s Twilight and Rarity!?”
“I was about to ask you that,” Rainbow said, her worry palpable.
“Oh no… oh no no no no no no no no-”
She was snapped out of her daze.
“Where did you last see them?”
Pinkie looked up and tried to reply, “uh… they said they were… um… oh…”
“Pinkie! Calm down… just think. Where did they go?” She said as calmly as possible.
Pinkie slowly breathed as she tried to remember. Closing her eyes, it wasn’t long before it came to her. “The east side!” she exclaimed.
“Great!” Rainbow said, quickly flying off.
Rainbow stopped and turned around.
“We were on the west side right?”
“Yeah,” Rainbow said, smiling. “We’ll find them Pinkie.”
“OH! And Pumpkin Cake!”
Rainbow nodded and said, “we’ll find them Pinkie.”
She flew off as Pinkie trotted toward the medical tent.
Once the pink mare arrived, she saw a familiar face helping her dragon friend.
“Is he gonna be okay?” she asked Zecora.
“Please, have no doubt,” the zebra explained. “It won’t be long before he’s up and about.”
As Zecora attended to the dragon’s wound. Pinkie noticed four figures approach her.
“Pinkie!” Applejack exclaimed. “I’m so glad you’re safe.” She wrapped her hooves around the pink pony.
“Did they find my sister?” said a young unicorn next to her, tears welling up in her eyes.
Pinkie replied hesitantly, “I… I don’t…”
Just then, a single noise grabbed everypony’s attention. It was the single noise that changed everything. The single noise of a yellow pegasus mare screaming in horror. Screaming in horror at what she uncovered, and what was now laying before her eyes.
“AHHHHHHHH!!!!!” Pinkie screamed, jolting awake.
As her breathing began to calm down, a rusting next to her grabbed her attention.
Turning to look, Pinkie saw an orange pony wake next to her.
“Pinkie… another dream?” She asked.
“Y-yes…” she replied timidly.
Applejack sat up and hugged her best friend. “It’s okay Pinkie, it’s over now.”
Tears began welling up in the pink pony’s eyes. “It still happened!”
Applejack just hugged her a bit tighter, and let the young mare cry.
She tried to hold back the tears, and it wasn’t long before the torrent started to ebb. “I’m sorry,” she said, rolling out of bed and out of her friend’s grasp. “I-I-I-I-I-I’m gonna-I’m just-I’m a little hungry.” She explained between sobs. “I’m gonna get some food.”
The farmpony watched her friend leave before she could say a word. There wasn’t much to do, so she settled into bed once again, still worried about her pink friend.
Pinkie slowly made her way through her best friend’s house. She still didn’t consider it her home, even though she’d been staying there for nearly three weeks, because she still expected to move back into Sugarcube Corner once it was rebuilt.
As she proceeded down the corridor, her flat mane brushed across the floor. A sharp contrast to her usual puffy and curly mane. It had been like this since the day of the attack, when Sugarcube Corner was demolished and one of her best friends died. Having absolutely no joy in her heart; she felt nothing but fear, pain, guilt, and hopelessness.
Once Pinkie reached the bottom of the stairs, she saw a light coming from the kitchen.
Curious, she made her way toward the light, and saw a familiar red stallion, sitting at the kitchen table, eating a sandwich.
“Mornin’ Pinkie,” Big Macintosh said, greeting the young mare.
“Wha… is it morning?”
He nodded sagely. “I assume that was you screamin’.”
“Di-did I wake you?”
He slowly shook his head.
“Wanna bite?” He asked, raising his sandwich.
“N-no thanks,” she said. “I’m… not hungry.” Pinkie trotted over to the table and folded her hooves, burying her face within.
“Are you all right?” he asked simply.
She shook her head.
“Wanna talk about it.”
A mumbling came from the earth pony.
She slowly raised her head to look at the stallion before her. “It’s my fault,” she said, with tears in her eyes.
Big Mac dropped his sandwich. “No it’s not,” he said simply.
“Yes it is. If I kept a closer eye on the twins… she’d…”
He quickly walked around the table and looked Pinkie dead in the eye, surprising the young mare.
“It’s not your fault.”
Pinkie just stared at Big Mac, in silence, waiting to see if he would continue. When he said nothing, she opened her mouth to explain how he was wrong.
But the workhorse continued. “You didn’t know that would happen, you didn’t know the dragon would attack, you didn’t know anypony would get hurt, and you did everything you could to save them all.”
Pinkie slowly lowered her head and the two sat in silence for what felt like an eternity, until Pinkie finally spoke once again. “I heard from the Cakes earlier today… or I guess it would be yesterday now.”
Macintosh didn’t say a word. He just sat and listened.
“They said Pumpkin is a cat tonic.”
The stallion was confused at this statement. “Catatonic?” he tried to help clarify.
“Oh… yeah,” she continued. “I read some books in Twilight’s library; they mentioned this kinda thing; and after what she saw… What if she becomes a sociopath? She’ll never know pain… she’ll never know sadness… but she’ll never know joy, excitement, love.” The tears started flowing down her cheeks once again. “She’ll never know love Big Mac!” She fell forward, resting in his forelegs. “She’ll never know looooove!”
As they sat there, in each other’s hooves, silence fell once again. They rested in their sorrow, until Macintosh decided to open his mouth to try to ease her fears.
But his words were interrupted by a noise, A loud noise, outside. A noise Pinkie found very familiar.
The two released each other and ran straight towards the sound, to the window that faced the orchard.
“No,” Big Macintosh said simply. Before running straight for the door and out into the night air. Pinkie followed him.
As they exited the building, they found the night was illuminated by an orange glow. A very bad orange glow.
Shocked at the scene before him, Big Mac couldn’t say anything. He could only join his friend, in sorrow.
The sun shone on Spike’s small basket as the young dragon laid on his back, having just woken up a matter of minutes ago. He held his right claw up in the air and stared at the ring that adorned it, dominated by a pink stone. As he saw the ring catch the sunlight, he contemplated what happened earlier, as he slept.
He had to know. Was any of it true? Was what he learned about Twilight’s past, real? What about that photo? Was Cerebral Comet most certainly a real pony, or could he simply be a figment of his imagination?
So far the past of both worlds seemed to be identical. Would today be the day he found an inconsistency?
He didn’t want to get up. He didn’t want to find out.
Spike craned his head to look at the clock on the dresser. Realizing he should have gotten up much sooner than now, he arced his back with a moan, and rolled out of bed. Standing up, his eyes slowly fell on the giant dresser that sat next to Twilight’s bed. He walked over to it and crouched down to look under it.
Sure enough, he saw a very familiar photo frame. Spike reached under the dresser and pulled it out. He looked at the back of the frame, just stared at it for several seconds, and thought the same thing over and over.
‘If this photo is different, that means I really did lose somepony that day.’
He took a deep breath, and flipped the frame over. Quickly releasing his breath with a laugh, he could see the photo was identical to the one in the other world. Twilight in the middle, with her two coltfriends on either side, in a silver frame.
Eventually, his smile faded, as he realized that it actually proved nothing. This photo just proved an inconsistency hasn’t appeared yet.
Spike looked around, unsure of what to do. With the photo still in hand, he proceeded down the stairs to the library’s lower levels.
As soon as he reached the main floor, he noticed something unusual. Twilight, his best friend, sitting there, staring off into space, doing nothing.
“Twilight?” he said.
She didn’t move.
“Twilight!” he repeated, a little louder.
She turned her attention to the young dragon. “Oh, morning Spike,” she said, getting to her hooves. “How’d you sleep?”
Her attention turned to the object in Spike’s claw. “What is that?” she asked.
“Oh,” he looked at it as he walked over to Twilight. “I found it underneath your dresser. Who is this?”
Twilight levitated the frame toward her and looked at it. “Oh my… that’s me.”
“Well, I know that.”
She giggled a bit, before looking at the photo again. “Those were my friends in elementary school: Phosphorus and Cerebral Comet… I told you about them. Didn’t I?”
Spike shrugged, unsure.
The gears in the young unicorn’s head began turning as she bit her lower lip, slightly. “Spike,” she finally said. “Take a letter.”
Her scaly assistant pulled out a scroll and quill from behind his back. Always prepared for any contingency.
“To Dusty Tome, Administrator of the Canterlot Archives. I am looking for any information you can send me on two colts who originally hailed from Canterlot-”
Her dictation was then interrupted by a sudden and frantic knock at the front door.
“Twilight!” a familiar voice came. “Twilight, open up!”
She quickly trotted to the front door and opened it. Floating in the air was the local chief weathermare, Rainbow Dash, and she was frantic.
“Twilight! Something terrible happened!”
“Sweet Apple Acres! Come on!” Rainbow flew away before the unicorn could ask any more questions.
“SPIKE!” The purple unicorn exclaimed.
He wasted no time as he jumped on her back and Twilight galloped off, as fast as her hooves would take her.