Chapter Ten: Everything
nibbled at her haycakes with maple syrup. It was not Provender Farm
styled biscuits for breakfast, but Teacup had come to enjoy this
alternate morning meal during her month and a half in Hoofington.
There had been a little eatery on her way to work back then, and she
always felt famished when she awakened. This morning, however,
butterflies already filled her stomach, for she was filled with a
mixture of excitement and apprehension that made eating difficult.
noticed that Petal also seemed to have a small appetite, and the
worried look on her face supplied the reason for that. Doubtless
Petal was filled with her current fears over their plan, but she
would be sorted out soon enough. Provided, of course, that the answer
to their request was positive.
thought spiraled Teacup's mind into the alternative, that they would
be turned down. Then, her only hope would lay in convincing Petal to
erase her memories of Earth anyway, and she worried that this would
be an arduous, even impossible task. Petal had become so stubborn of
thought back to her life on the farm. She thought of Cornflower and
Durum. It would be harvest in just under a month, and the Provenders
had no help. Probably they would have to hire somepony to bring in
the harvest, and that would mean fewer bits for the next year. Teacup
had to get all of this memory stuff over and done with, so that she
could head back home as quickly as possible. That way she could be
there for them. Then, everything would be as it had always been.
that this time, she wouldn't become moody and sad because of an
errant remembrance. She wouldn't have any 'moments' where she gave
Missus Provender cause to fuss. She would finally be a happy,
well-adjusted pony, just like any natural-born Equestrian.
the answer was a yes. It had to be yes. It just had to be.
stomach gave up. She could not eat anything. She was just too worried.
Petal had several hours to kill before noon, when they had been told
that they could return to the library, and find out whether or not
Celestia approved of their wish. Not knowing what else to do, they
wandered the town. They spent some time in one store, looking at
comfortable sofas and a long case full of writing quills, not really
interested in either, just trying to keep busy. They found little
amusement in a joke and party supplies shop. Even a store entirely
devoted to fans failed to interest them, though Petal did show
curiosity about what was used to power them.
of what answer they would receive hung over them.
been unusually quiet throughout the morning, her statements simple
and always about anything save the subject at hoof. Teacup had
expected her to go on at some length about all of her issues, but she
had said nothing on the subject. Teacup was both grateful, and
unnerved by this. At last, she could take it no longer.
aren't you going to say something?"
been talking a lot! Remember all the questions I had for Mr. Breezy?
I thought I'd been pretty talkative." They were now at the
outskirts of town, where endless apple orchards grew, and had turned
around to head towards the library. It would be midday very soon.
I mean about the whole reason we are here! About what Twilight will say!"
really don't have anything to say about that, Teacup. I just don't.
At this point, what happens, happens. It's out of my hooves."
Petal's head drooped a bit as she ambled along beside Teacup.
no more doubts, no more worries?" asked Teacup.
have plenty of both, I just have nothing more to say." Petal
looked up at her friend "What do you want me to say? Would
anything I might say make any difference?"
frowned a little bit "No, I suppose not. Sorry, Petal."
find out what is what soon enough. All I will say is this: I want
you to be happy, Teacup. That's all I have ever wanted since we began
this trip. I just want you to be happy." Petal's eyes had a way
of looking both caring and sad at the same time.
know. I do know that, Petal." Teacup gave Petal a little
nuzzle as they walked "You've only ever tried to be a good friend."
mares walked on in silence. The sun rose higher as they made the
center of town, and the noon bell rang just as they reached the
grounds of the library. Petal nosed the door open, and held it for
Teacup, a friendly gesture. Teacup entered. Inside the library was
cool and shade and shelves and the scent of wood, and also the
ancient dust of countless books.
very prompt. I commend you, my little ponies." The voice was
melodious and regal. It was a voice that Petal recognized instantly,
from countless newsfeeds and press conferences. Teacup had never
heard the voice before, but something in it made her legs weak. This
not the voice of an ordinary pony, rather it carried some strange,
soft power that not so much spoke, as commanded.
had come from an extraordinarily tall creature, of exceptional
beauty. She was an alicorn, possessed of all the traits of all three
pony races, hooves, horn and wings. Her regal body was purest white,
her crown gold, as were the elaborate claddings over her hooves. But
what struck Teacup the most was the alicorn's mane and tail. Flowing
like banners in an eternal wind, made not of hair but of the very
stuff of magic, her mane and tail shimmered cerulean, heliotrope and
ocean hues. The flowing curtain of light that was her mane, appeared
like portals to an endless sky, and Teacup's eyes seemed to float off
into them, into infinity as she stared.
thought, Teacup's equine body bowed low, and in her bones, beyond any
doubt, she knew who the impossibly beautiful creature must be: she
was Celestia herself, Princess of Equestria, living Goddess of the sun.
you, but I get quite enough of that really." Teacup dared to
peek up from the floor, where she found herself, legs outstretched in
supplication. "It's OK, get up!" The goddesses'
voice was gentle, even jovial.
shivered. The statues, the things Petal had said. Fear hit her like a wall.
really, get up. It's difficult to carry on a conversation like
that." Celestia sounded almost as if she were teasing. Teacup
heard what must be Twilight Sparkle giggle: "Come on, Teacup,
the Princess won't bite."
I might." Celestia said with a sly smile "If I get too
hungry. Tell me about yourself, Teacup. Join us for lunch."
raised her head and saw that a table had been set up, with various
foods and comfortable hoofstools to sit on. She had been so awed upon
entering that the rest of the room had not registered to her vision.
Twilight and Spike were seated on the other side of the table, and
Teacup only now realized that Celestia had been sitting at the head
of the table, a cup floating in front of her.
Petal, already standing, waiting for her. Petal motioned with her
head towards the table.
proved a congenial monarch, friendly, almost mischievous at times,
and somehow vaguely sad, too. But she was not the tyrant that Teacup
had expected, and while she was not in any sense an ordinary pony -
Teacup was not entirely sure Celestia was even made of flesh -
nevertheless she was disarmingly pleasant to be around.
over the meal, told her story, abbreviated greatly, and finished
explaining, with some quaver in her voice, what it was she sought.
Her memories of Earth were painful, and she just wanted to be purely
Equestrian, to have her experience of Earth as extinguished as the
Earth itself was.
Princess listened attentively, waiting for Teacup to finish.
I first reached out my hoof to your world, I already understood the
suffering there. My offer was always simple; join us and live in
peace. If you are not at peace, then that offer has not been
fulfilled. Twilight Sparkle!" Celestia turned to her student
"I feel confident that you can handle this, so I ask you to help
this pony. Please see that she is taken care of. Now I must go, for I
have matters to attend to."
Princess." Twilight bowed her head briefly, and Teacup felt
compelled to do the same. So, apparently, did Petal.
thing, though." The solar goddess turned her head back as she
was leaving "Do nothing until tomorrow. Be advised, Teacup, that
once done, this cannot be reversed. Take some time to think about it."
the ruler of all Equestria, left the library.
her padded hoofstool, Teacup was flabbergasted. If she had known it
would be that easy, she would have gone straight to Canterlot from
the very beginning.
found Petal outside, laying on the grass that surrounded the edges of
the land the great library tree stood upon. Petal was lying on her
back, legs up, looking at the light that filtered through the leaves
above. She was almost grinning, and occasionally she waved a front
leg at the high, vast treetop, as if she could ruffle the leaves
there, or touch the clouds beyond with a hoof.
ambled over, folded her legs, and lay down a few feet from her
friend. "Whatcha doin?"
came the answer.
At what?" Teacup rolled onto her side and twisted her head in
the grass, trying to see whatever it was that Petal was seeing.
Teacup, at the leaves. The light sparkling through them. You can
stare right at the sun and it won't hurt your eyes. It won't blind
you. See the breeze, moving the branches? That's deliberate.
Pegasai choose days for light breezes, and move the clouds to make
that happen. It's all so amazing. It's just... a miracle."
rolled all the way over onto her own back, her legs up. She watched
the leaves and the sparkling brightness, dared to stare directly at
the sun, and was happy to realize that unlike Earth's sun, her eyes
would never be destroyed by such brilliance. Teacup felt the faint
breeze, and sniffed the air, so full of the perfume of flowers, and
the sweet scent of the grass.
amazing. It's like a dream. Like an impossible dream." Teacup
turned her head enough to see Petal with one of her eyes "All
the time on the farm I felt that. I'd feed the chickens, and just be
amazed.. 'I'm feeding chickens!' Perfect, beautiful, storybook
chickens. And they were glad to see me, too."
on that feeling, Teacup. Commit it to your very soul, if you can.
Feel that wonder as strongly as you can. Please, do that for me, will
you Teacup?" Petal sounded strangely sad.
do, Petal, almost every day. Can't really help it, everything in
Equestria is so amazing."
rolled over onto her stomach, and stared intently at Teacup. After a
long moment she finally spoke. "It won't be. Not after tomorrow.
Nothing in Equestria will be amazing anymore. Not one thing."
up, and walked off.
watched her go, until following her further would require rolling
over again. It wasn't worth it; the grass was so soft and cool. She
looked back up instead, at the light still shining through the
library tree's canopy. The slight movement of the leaves in the
breeze made the sky sparkle, and Teacup felt drowsy and content. Her
worries were over. She had won. Tomorrow, she would be free. No more
pain, no more nightmares of slums and violence. No more lifelong
wounds torturing her heart.
Petal meant by her strange words? Nothing would be amazing anymore?
That was ridiculous. Equestria was amazement itself. There wasn't
anything in Equestria that wasn't amazing. Even the hay was amazing.
The very soil was amazing; it smelled clean and rich and good,
without a trace of oil or heavy metals or anything bad. Teacup was
constantly astonished that every pony didn't just go around staring
at everything all the time!
had, when she first arrived.
had first looked, really looked, at Missus Provender's kitchen when
she was waking after her Conversion, Teacup recalled being astonished
by the wood on the floor. She was lying flat on one of those cheap
Bureau blankets, but her head was right on the floor, and the floor
was all wood. Wood! Only the very wealthiest had access to
wood, since the forests had died. The ultimate luxury, and she was
laying on an unimaginable fortune of the stuff. The whole kitchen was
wood, as was the entire house. It smelled so good. She remembered how
good it smelled to her.
in Equestria was made of wonders. That was just how the place was.
That was why she had never even thought of leaving the farm in all of
those ten years. The farm was so beautiful! Of course, now that she
had lived in Hoofington, she had some idea of how much excitement and
fun existed out in the world. Hoofington had been the most fun she
had ever had in her life, there with Petal, enjoying the big city.
Compared to that, the farm was....
blinked. Somehow, she felt disturbed, now. She couldn't figure out
why, but somehow she felt sad... no, not exactly sad, but...
uncomfortable. That was new. This line of thinking wasn't making her
rolled onto her belly and struggled to her feet. Enough of that.
Petal must have messed with her mind, somehow. Maybe a treat,
something sweet would help. Teacup set off for the local bakery.
Lunch had been fine, but that was a while ago, now. Maybe a cupcake
or something would cheer her up. After all, she had won!
pathways that ran through Ponyville rambled between the thatched
houses and more elaborate shops, sometimes crossing waterways with
little stone bridges. Everywhere were comfortable benches to sit upon
or stretch out on. Little gardens of flowers forced the paths to flow
around them like rivers, and wide, grassy spaces made the entire town
a lovely green park.
on a bench by one of the wide grassy spaces. Fillies and colts ran
and laughed, chasing a colorful ball around the turf.
slumped over on the bench, her front hooves lightly touching the
soil, her head down. She intently studied the pathway, noting the
subtle shades of the dirt, and the tiny, lightly hued chips of rock
that were embedded within it. Some of the gravel in the path were
small fragments of gemstones, she noted. Little bits of ruby,
emerald, and sapphire lightly lay scattered like sand. Teacup idly
dug at them with the tip of her hoof, watching the miniscule
fragments sparkle. Gemstones in the dirt! Equestria could never, ever
cease astonishing her.
Are you alright?" The voice was kindly, more curious than
raised herself up to find a chestnut mare with a bright yellow mane.
The mare wore glasses. Beside her was a tiny filly with wide eyes,
perhaps not that much more than a year old - which for Equestrians
meant that she could already run and talk, but had no schooling. The
filly hid behind her mother's back leg, covering herself in her
mother's tail. She peeked out at Teacup occasionally, before
vanishing back into bright yellow security.
Hello! I was just looking at the little gems in the dirt. Did you
know there are rubies in the dirt?"
emeralds, none of them are big enough to use for anything
though." The chestnut mare was not impressed "If you want
to decorate stuff, you need to go out where the big rocks grow, in
the Dragon Mountains. You'll never find anything interesting here."
my name is Teacup. I'm from South Withers. Howdy do?"
The mare waved a hoof idly at herself. "Banana Acres. I
run the banana plantation, over on the other side of Canterlot. This
is my daughter, Plantain. Say hello, sweetie!"
little filly peeked out through curls of her mother's tail
"Hello." Almost instantly her head drew back, closing the
curls like a curtain on a stage.
banana plantation? In Equestria?" Teacup was astonished.
of course. Everypony loves bananas. You can't have banana
muffins without them. Or banana splits, or banana pudding, or... just
bananas. Ponies are bananas for bananas!" Ms. Acres was
taken aback by Teacup's reaction of surprise.
the climate..." Teacup foundered in the field of conversation.
have a deal with the pegasai. Constant sunshine, and we skip spring,
winter and fall entirely. It's less work for them, and more bananas
for everyone. It's kind of dull, though, summer forever.
Still, that's why we have hooves, right? I want little Plantain to
see other seasons as she grows up. This will be her first Fall. I
just love the Running Of The Leaves." Ms. Acres turned slightly
to nuzzle her foal, but Plantain had other ideas, and retreated,
following the sweep of Banana's tail. The chestnut mare laughed at
this. "She's a little shy around other ponies. She prefers her
bunnies and those... spiders."
This was new. Teacup was aghast.
banana spiders. They live all over the plantation. They used to like
to jump out of the trees and scare everypony. They thought it was
funny. We had to make an agreement with them, so once a month we hold
a banana picnic for the spiders and that solved the problem. But oh,
Celestia, is it boring. Have you ever been to a social event
with spiders? It's 'click-click-click', and you can't
understand a thing they say. Plus, let's face it, they are
pretty creepy. And the clicking - it's like listening to a room of
bored ponies tapping their hooves while they wait. At least they're polite."
moved from being aghast to the more sensible position of wide-mouthed
horror "Aren't... aren't they poisonous?" she squeeked.
Nothing in Equestria is poisonous. Everyone knows that." Banana
Acres looked at Teacup as if she were a bit... slow.
"Anyway it's the bunnies that are the real problem."
By this time Teacup's mind had simply chosen to give up, and she
found herself floating along, down the long river of incredulity.
has gotten them organized them into some kind of a marching band. Up
and down, back and forth, hundreds of them, all in formation. That's
her big plan in life. She thinks she's going to start the first
rabbit symphony or something. It's not like any of them can play an
instrument, they're just bunnies. She'll never amount to
anything marching bunnies around." Ms. Acres seemed frustrated.
"Run along honey!" she scooted her daughter out to the
green field. "Mommy will wait right here on the bench. Go play
for awhile. Go on!"
continued "I want her to go to the big city someday. Not get
stuck on the plantation like me. I can't tell you how dull my life
is. Bananas. Oh, look, more bananas. I'm actually sick
of bananas now - can you believe that? Anyway, I really want her to
get serious about studying, so she can have an exciting life.
But no, all she wants is to play with dancing bunnies. Did I
mention she has them dancing, too? They're not very good,
actually. Bunnies just aren't built to do a decent cabriole,
and it's all feet over ears the moment they try a tours
chaînés déboulés. Pathetic, really."
I have to go." Teacup struggled to her hooves. "It
was very nice to meet you. Um... bye." Teacup tried not
to gallop, but she could not help herself.
mare. Oh well. PLANTAIN!" Ms. Acres yelled out to her foal, who
was hiding behind a bush. "MINGLE! I didn't bring you all the
way to Ponyville so you could hide out!"
was high in the night sky. Teacup wandered down the center of
Ponyville, towards the bridge that led to the town pavilion. She had
been wandering all day long, stopping only to rest, or to have a
snack. She hadn't felt like eating a full dinner.
made a point of avoiding Petal. Right now, that unicorn just seemed
to fill her with uncertainty. She felt angry at Petal, though she
wasn't entirely sure why. Everything had seemed so simple, months
ago, when they had first started out. And Hoofington. Oh, Hoofington
had been so wonderful. Then everything just seemed to go wrong, somehow.
words, those damn words, kept echoing in Teacup's mind. "Nothing
in Equestria will be amazing anymore. Not one thing." It
was a stupid thing to say. Just today, Teacup had sat with a pony
that grew bananas in a patch of perpetual summer, and whose year-old
foal marched dancing rabbits around. They had a peace agreement with
giant spiders. The hell? Equestria could not be more amazing if it
tried to be.
a living goddess this very same day! Can't forget that, she
thought. A living goddess, banana spiders, dancing bunnies, all on
the same day. That was just one day. And on top of all of
that, the day was perfect, absolutely perfect weather, sweet green
grass and flowers everywhere.
a day like that in Wilmington! Hell, try having a day like that
anywhere at all on the long dead Earth! You could probably get the
spiders, but they wouldn't be agreeable, and the grass, sky and
bunnies were right out. Plus, of course, bananas had been extinct for
decades before Teacup had been born.
was the most amazing of amazing places. There was no comparison.
comparison at all.
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