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Look, I Can Explain... · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
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Ponyville in a Pie Shell
Mayor Mare smiled as she watched ponies pull the first cartloads of timber and thatch out of the warehouse. The parasprites hadn’t spread to this edge of town, the furthest part from the Everfree. They hadn’t eaten the strategic construction reserves. Ponyville was battered, but it would recover.

The volunteers queuing up to haul the supplies where they were needed only made Mayor Mare smile more, though one mare made that grin falter for a moment. The mayor walked up to her. “Twilight.”

The unicorn folded her ears back and dipped her head. “Hello, Mayor.”

The mayor patted her on the shoulder. “I’m not going to bite your head off, Twilight. If anything, I’d be upset if you weren’t here.”

“I made this mess,” said Twilight, looking back at the half-eaten town. “I should help fix it.”

The mayor nodded. “I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Twilight smiled. “Besides, if I can lift an Ursa Minor, some building materials will be a cinch, right?”

“Um, yes.” Mayor Mare gulped. “Nothing fancy, though. Please.”

“Right.” Twilight drooped again. “Nothing fancy.”

”Where to, Mayor?”

Mayor Mare looked up from her clipboard. “Twilight? You were just here half an hour ago.”

Twilight beamed, already hoisting another heavy load in her magic. “Well, I wasn’t going to be much help with reconstruction. I haven’t read any books on the topic. So, I thought I’d do another supply run. Where to?”

The mayor adjusted her glasses and double-checked the clipboard. “Well, Sugarcube Corner hasn’t been supplied yet.” She smiled as she looked back at Twilight. “I’m sure Pinkie Pie will be appreciative.”

Twilight took on a blank look for moment before nodding. “Right. Sure. I’ll get right on that.”

”12 Stirrup Street. Got it.”

”Carousel Boutique. Not a problem."

”9 Starting Lane. Consider it done.”

”No?” Twilight blinked and shifted her limp forelock out of her eyes with a hoof. “What do you mean ‘no’?”

Mayor Mare scowled at her. “I mean that I cannot in good conscience allow you to lift so much as a box of nails in your condition.”

“Condition? What condition?” Twilight stumbled, barely righting herself before she completely collapsed. “The ground shifted.”

“Twilight, you’ve nearly worked yourself into a lather." The mayor's expression softened. "I appreciate you wanting to make up for casting that spell. I assure you, you have." The frown returned. "Now you’re just punishing yourself, and I’m not enabling it anymore.”

“Come on, just one more?" Twilight thrust a hoof back towards the rest of Ponyville. "There are ponies counting on us!”

Mayor Mare sighed. “Twilight, you and your friends have already saved the day. Let the rest of us take care of the cleanup for a while.”

“There you are!”

Twilight turned, nearly losing her balance in the process. She blinked a few times, but this time, the figure didn’t leave her sight. “Spike? What are you doing here?”

Spike crossed his arms and gave her a flat look. “Rarity told me what you were doing to yourself after you practically threw a bunch of two-by-fours at her front door. She said she recognized a mare working herself half to death." He held up a claw. "And yes, I finished reordering the eaten books. Come on, let’s go home.”

“Oh, don’t you start. I’m fine. Watch, I’ll…” Twilight tried to light up her horn. A few sparks fizzed out of it, followed by a pain like somepony was driving a railroad spike through her skull. “Ahh!” She went to her knees.

The mayor shouted something. Twilight couldn't make it out, but she could feel something scaly pressing against a front leg. Spike was at her side. She brought her head down. He ran his claws along her horn as she tried to keep the wincing to a minimum.

After a few moments, Spike spoke. “Well, the good news is it isn’t sprained. Not yet, anyway."

"'S not a sprain," Twilight muttered. "No ligaments."

"More good news if you can correct me. The bad news is you’ve got a lot of swelling in there. I can feel the heat. Any more magic right now and you’ll probably be burnt out for a week. Again.”

When Twilight could open her eyes again, she couldn't bring herself to face the mayor. “Let’s go home."

“Let’s." Spike hugged her neck and smiled. "Don’t worry, Twilight. I’m here for you.”

As they walked back to the Golden Oak, all the bodily warnings Twilight had been able to ignore came back with a vengeance. By the time they passed Sugarcube Corner, the lance of pain going through her horn had been joined by aches all across her body. Twilight put a hoof wrong and fell to the side opposite Spike, too weary to correct herself.

Something interrupted her fall a few moments in, a cushioned wall sturdy as stone. Twilight felt it shake in time with words: "Phew! Just in time."

Twilight and Spike spoke as one. "Pinkie Pie?"

Pinkie helped Twilight back on her hooves and smiled. "My shoulder was tingling, and that means that somepony needed to lean on it."

Twilight blinked at her for a few moments, then shook her head. "Thanks. Could you help me get home? I kind of overdid it a little."

"A little." Spike snorted.

"Okay, a lot. To the point where I've developed a bad case of cornic inflammation to go with the exhaustion." Twilight noted Pinkie's blank, smiling gaze and added, "I won't be able to use magic for the next couple hours."

Pinkie nodded. "Not a problem." She gasped. "I can even stay over for the night! We can have your second slumber party ever!"

Twilight gave an uneasy smile. "I don't think I'm quite up for a party, but I would appreciate your help."

"Great! We still haven't rebuilt my apartment's roof. Now let's get you home!"

With a friend on either side, Twilight found it a lot easier to make the rest of the trek. Once they were back at the library, Pinkie helped her rinse off, inundating her with chatter. Twilight let it wash over her like the showerhead's cascade, closing her eyes and letting herself not think.

Well, think less, anyway.

Once Twilight was toweled and brushed, she went up to her room, where Spike was waiting for her with a pot of tea, a stack of some of her favorite light reading, and a cool washcloth for her horn. He'd even gotten the guest bed out by himself somehow.

After Twilight settled under her covers, Spike said, "Take it easy tonight, okay?"

Twilight smiled. "You sound just like Mom."

"Hey, I remember what happened the last time you burnt out." Spike shuddered. "Once was enough."

"What happened?" asked Pinkie, snuggled into the guest bed.

"Well, I was physically unable to use my special talent. That rarely ends well."

Spike nodded. "She went completely nuts. By the seventh day she was yelling at her own horn."

"Don't worry, Spike, I won't make that mistake again." Twilight glanced up at her horn. "Besides, I'm getting a headache from even thinking about telekinesis right now."

"Okay. But I'm watching you, Sparkle." Spike smirked as he settled into his basket.

Twilight giggled a little as she took Daring Do and the Alliterative Ankh off the top of the pile. She only got a few sentences in before she noticed something pink in her peripheral vision. She looked up from the book to see Pinkie standing by the bed. "Sorry if this isn't as high-energy as you were expecting, Pinkie."

"No, that's fine. You need some relaxation time. But..." Pinkie bit her lip.


"Well, I know smiles, and I also know frowns. You haven't had an ouchy frown for a while now, but you have had a thinky frown. And I think I know why." Pinkie looked away and was silent for a few seconds. "So... are you more mad at me or Fluttershy?"

Twilight dropped the book. "What? I'm not mad at either of you!"

Pinkie tilted her head. "Really? 'Cause in the bathroom you were muttering to yourself and thrashing your tail and I'm pretty sure the word 'pink' came up a bunch of times."

"Oh." Twilight thought about it for some time. "Well, I am pretty frustrated with Fluttershy for keeping one of the parasprites, but given all the beavers who were helping with the reconstruction, she's clearly trying to make up for her mistakes."

"And me?"

"Why would I be mad at you?" Twilight threw up her hooves "You saved the town with the power of polka!"

"I don't know! But you seemed really tense when you dropped off the supplies at Sugarcube Corner, and I can tell I'm making you a little upset just by being here." Pinkie squirmed. "But I'm pretty sure the only way to fix it is to talk to you, but that's making you more upset and I don't know what to do!"

"Hey, Pinkie." Both mares turned to Spike, who was looking up from a comic book. "How come you never told anypony why you were gathering instruments?"

"Now that you mention it," said Twilight, "Pinkie, why didn't you just tell us how dangerous parasprites are back when Fluttershy first brought them to Carousel Boutique?"

Pinkie blinked. "I thought you already knew."

Twilight sputtered for a moment. "Why would you think that?"

"Fluttershy knows almost everything about animals and you know almost everything about everything! I figured one of you would know why I was so grossed out, and even if you didn't, I thought for sure you would look it up."

Twilight was silent for a moment. "Oh. Well." She cleared her throat. "I see."

Pinkie gasped, covering her mouth with her hooves. "Oh no, I made you more upset!"

"It's okay, Pinkie, really. It does make sense when you put it that way. Still, while it's flattering that you think so, I don't know everything about everything." Twilight winked. "Not yet, anyway." She smiled as Pinkie giggled. "But wasn't it clear after a while that we didn't know? Couldn't you have told us then?"

Pinkie shook her head. "You saw how close I cut it. If I had taken even a few seconds longer, Princess Celestia would've seen how bad the town was!"

Twilight winced. "That was actually one of the things I was thinking about while rinsing off. She was in an air chariot, Pinkie. I'm pretty sure she got a good look. The Fillydelphia infestation was probably just a way to help us save face."

"And you're sad because you feel like you shouldn't have needed one," said Pinkie.

Twilight nodded, her head bowed. "Yeah."

"And that's why you worked your poor little hoofsies to the bone today?"

"Partially." Twilight sighed. "I... Sometimes I feel like I'm a menace."

"What? How can you say that? If it weren't for you, we'd all be under Black Snooty's iron hoof!" Pinkie smacked her own forehooves together for emphasis.

"Yes, but look at what's happened since. Since I moved to Ponyville, I've gotten the town half-eaten, incited a riot with a ticket to the Grand Galloping Gala, demonized a blameless zebra, and risked your life twice. What kind of pony asks her friends to go up against a crazed alicorn and a full-grown dragon?"

Pinkie just looked at Twilight for a moment. Then her cheeks puffed out and the giggles started leaking.

Twilight frowned. "Pinkie, I'm being serious!"

"I know!" Pinkie gasped. "That's why it's so funny!"

"Ugh." Twilight turned over. "Never mind."

"No, Twilight, wait!" Pinkie zipped around to the other side of the bed, frowning. "I'm sorry! I'm not laughing at you. I'm laughing because you think that this is anything new."


"Think about it." Pinkie pointed in the general direction of the Everfree. "Ponyville's on the edge of a forest where the rocks grow on their own."

Twilight blinked. "Don't you mean the plants?"

"Them to. The point is, we're used to all kinds of craziness." Pinkie beamed.. "You're not a menace, you're just fitting in."


Pinkie chuckled. "Oh, I could tell you stories. Besides, just look at our other friends. Applejack caused a bunny stampede, and you don't see ponies shunning her."

Twilight looked away. "I guess..."

Pinkie wrapped Twilight in a hug. Not her usual affectionate vicegrip, but a soft embrace. "You're allowed to make mistakes."

"I know," Twilight said with a sigh.

"Do you hate me because I didn't explain the parasprites very well?"

Twilight recoiled as best she could. A gentle Pinkie hug was still a Pinkie hug. "What? Of course not!"

There was a sound almost like a quiet, relieved sigh. It was probably just Pinkie breathing close to her ear. "Then why do you think we'll love you any less?"

Twilight returned the hug. "Thank you, Pinkie."

"It's what I do. I like Happy Pie more than Sappy Pie, but this needed a little sap." Pinkie released Twilight. "Promise you'll take it easier tomorrow?"

Twilight nodded. "Promise."

Pinkie leaned in close. "Pinkie Promise?"

"Uh, Pinkie what now?"

"A promise you absolutely cannot ever, ever break, because betraying a friend's trust is the fastest way to lose a friend forever." Pinkie began an series of arcane motions with all the important airs of an arcane ritual. "Cross your heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in your eye."

"I Pinkie Promise." Twilight replicated the motions as best she could. "Ow!"

"Yeah, the eye part's tricky."
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