Fluttershy kept her head down low, and kept nodding. Her chest ached with every word Pinkie said to her. Her wings twitched with every syllable. She bit her lip, because she was afraid she might scream if she let her mouth open.
“…It just isn’t working,” Pinkie said. Fluttershy could tell the words hurt Pinkie to say as much as they hurt her to hear them. Her ears sagged, and she kept pausing to sniff back tears between sentences. “You’re really, really nice, and you know how much I love you…”
Fluttershy winced. She had heard those three words from Pinkie so many times, and each time had always been unique, but this one was the first time it had ever hurt to hear them. “I—I know,” she agreed.
Pinkie smiled weakly at her. “…But we’re just really, really different ponies. I thought…” She paused, and took a deep, unsteady breath. “I thought that didn’t matter. I thought it was as simple as ‘I love you, you love me, we can be happy together.’ But we’re not happy.” Fluttershy could swear she saw Pinkie’s mane deflate as she admitted this.
A lump formed in Fluttershy’s throat. She swallowed. Pinkie was right, they weren’t happy. Fluttershy wasn’t happy when Pinkie dragged her to social events she didn’t want to go to. Pinkie wasn’t happy when she saw how little fun her marefriend was having at the very things that Pinkie had intended to make her feel better. Neither of them were happy when it came time to discuss what was going wrong.
“Rarity is scared she’ll be forgotten! We must remember her, or she’ll give into the Nightmare Energy forever!”
Twilight’s words of warning rang clearly in the ears of each of her friends. Each one locked eyes with her the moment she spoke them, moving quickly and without hesitation to form the circle she invited them into.
“Remember something, anything you love about her!”
And that was exactly what they did.
Fluttershy closed her eyes…
…and sighed in disappointment. ”Oh no, no, no, Angel, this won’t do at all,” she said, ears drooping as she looked her rabbit friend over.
The wreath of flowers sat uneasily around Angel’s neck, his expression one that could have easily wilted each bloom. ”We’re never going to win the Prettiest Pet Shop competition with you looking so…plain,” Fluttershy said glumly, then immediately patting her pet on the head, “Not that you don’t look wonderful! It’s just, um, that is…I want you to look as wonderful as you possibly can. Not that you don’t always look that wonderful, just…just…oh dear….”
As she struggled to find the words, and the way to fix the problem they were meant to describe, the pegasus heard happy humming slowly coming toward her cottage. ”O-oh dear…!” she yelped, “I got so hung up on getting you ready for the show, I lost track of time…!”
Angel looked absolutely wonderful. Not that she was at all surprised by that - after all, Rarity herself had designed the collar he was wearing, and Rarity’s work almost always looked wonderful. Not even almost always, really - just always, all by itself. Even those times that nopony actually asked her to do anything, and she just turned up one day and started measuring animals. Not that Fluttershy minded - not at all! She appreciated the effort Rarity had gone to, even if she didn’t quite understand why. After all, even Angel loved it. He was pretending not to, of course, pouting and scowling at the both of them as if he were terribly upset, but she knew her little friend well enough to know that he was just playing the part. After all, the only thing that could possibly have made Rarity’s ensemble more adorable - not that it needed to be made more adorable, with the big, flower shaped collar and the cute little bow, but she was pretty sure it couldn’t hurt - was a pouting baby bunny.
“It’s…” she paused for a moment, searching for the words to describe just how terrific Angel really looked, “…nice.”
“It really is, isn’t it?” Rarity replied, pursing her lips thoughtfully as she peered through her glasses at the bunny. Nevermind the elaborate blueprints hidden away under lock and key, in a box labeled ‘Angel Bunny Beautification’—seeing her work in the flesh, it was already better than all of those. Momentarily, she thought about giving minimalism another go, but then she remembered Princess Cadance’s wedding, the Grand Galloping Galla, all the beautiful dresses she had made—and gave the idea a flat ‘Nah.’ “But really, It’s just right. There’s really only so much one can do for smaller animals before it becomes just plain gaudy, but on your little Angel, it is truly… nice.”
“Alright. She’s in here. Just…”
“…Twilight? Tarnation… is that you?”
“Applejack, look at her. She’s scared. I don’t think she wants us coming closer.”
“Twilight, darling, are you alright? Say something!”
“Girls, please… tell me…”
“What? Tell you what?”
“…What am I?”
“I… I don’t know.”
The prompt: The next step beyond alicorn.
This is a thirty-minute writing prompt; you have thirty minutes (not including time spent thinking and planning) in which to write a story inspired by today’s prompt. You have six hours from the start of this prompt to submit your stories; submissions will be closed at 8:00pm Pacific, 11:00pm Eastern, and 3:00am GMT. If you don’t happen to have a Tumblr account, you can submit your story by emailing it (in the body of the email not as an attachment) to email@example.com; do not submit using Tumblr’s email submission system, as it tends to deliver us only the titles of the stories submitted using it.
Trigger warning: suicide.
Rainbow Dash stretches her wings in the dying light of day, catching the last warm rays of light in her feathers. Everything is perfect, as always. This is definitely her favorite time of day. When the light blue of the day sky and the dark velvet of the night come together to turn the sky into a dusky grey highlighted by pink and gold, even if it only lasts about an hour, that hour is always her favorite of the day because as she watches the sun slide out of view, she can watch as the stars begin to emerge.
But the sound of a pony yelling for her distracted her from the light show in the sky, and when she looks down, she sees Pinkie Pie standing there, watching the cloud her friend is lying on expectantly. Rainbow glides down, barely having to flap her wings even once before she reaches the ground. “Hiya, Pinks, what’s goin’ on?” She asks as she lands, noticing immediately that Pinkie doesn’t look right. The pink pony’s mane isn’t curly like it usually is. In fact, it’s perfectly straight. “Did ya do something different with your mane?”
Pinkie touches her mane and smiles. “Yes, I did, thank you for noticing! It looks good like this doesn’t it?”
Involuntarily, Rainbow remembers how Pinkie Pie had been acting the last time her mane was flat. She’d been talking to inanimate objects like they were actually living creatures. Just the thought of that makes Dash more than a little nervous. “Are you feeling okay, Pinkie?” She asks her friend as gently as she can, trying not to set off Pinkie in case she happens to actually be having an episode like she did before.
“I’m feeling fine, silly filly!” Pinkie says, smiling. “I just wanted to tell you that I’ll miss you and that I love you.” Then the pony trots away, leaving Rainbow confused and unsure.
“What do we do now?”
“What can we do? We keep going.”
“What… like nothing changed?”
“We both know that’s not possible.”
Today’s writing prompt will be revealed at noon Pacific time, 3 PM Eastern, and 7 PM GMT.
Pinkie almost called Fluttershy to cancel their date when she found out the Cakes needed a foalsitter urgently, but she eventually decided it would be nice to have Fluttershy come over and help her, especially considering how well she handled the Cutie Mark Crusaders. But now that she’s trying to feed the foals, she’s beginning to doubt that it was such a good idea.
Originally, they were going to go out to some fancy restaurant Rarity suggested, but that isn’t possible with two little foals in your care, so instead Fluttershy will be coming over to Sugarcube Corner to keep Pinkie company as she’s foalsitting. The foals have been pretty well behaved for the past half of an hour while Pinkie watches them and she has high hopes for how things will go tonight.
Just as she assures herself it’ll all be fine, she sees Fluttershy step into the shop. “Hi, Pinkie,” The pegasus says, smiling as she trots over to where Pinkie is trying to feed the foals. She gives her marefriend a kiss on the cheek before looking towards the foals.
Applejack double-checked to make certain she hadn’t forgotten anything. Her saddlebag contained a blanket and a spare set of hair-ties. She had already seen Apple Bloom off to Sweetie Belle’s place for the night, with instructions to meet her at Sugarcube Corner for breakfast the next morning. Big Mac and Granny Smith were staying with their neighbors the Carrots, where Granny would no doubt relive all the old family rivalries with the matron of the household right up to both their bedtimes at eight thirty. Applejack hoped there would be no biting this time.
She blew a strand of hair from her face. If she was forgetting anything, she wasn’t remembering it just yet. She raised her hoof to knock on the door.
Her hoof connected with nothing as the door of Sugarcube Corner swung open. Pinkie Pie’s grin somehow filled the entire doorway. “Applejack!” she greeted. “Welcome to your ‘The Farmhouse is Getting Fumigated So You’re Homeless For a Night’ party!”
Applejack smiled and bowed her head. “I sure do appreciate ya puttin’ me up for the night, sugarcube.” She stepped forward, expecting her friend to let her pass.
Pinkie remained in place. “Ah-ah-ah,” she said, waving her hoof. “I can’t let you in without paying the cover charge! I gotta keep these parties going somehow!”
“Cover charge?” Applejack blinked in confusion. She nosed open her saddlebags. “Shoot, I’m sorry, Pinkie, I think I left my bitpurse on the dresser back at home. I don’t s’pose I can pay you back tomorrow?”
Pinkie giggled, shaking her head. “Bits aren’t what keeps parties going, silly!”
“Stop running away and answer me. Do you think you can just slip through the clouds after everything that’s happened?” Rainbow Dash asked sternly.
Fluttershy threw a glance at her, then hid her eyes under her mane. Back facing Rainbow Dash , she sat on the stone and shrunk.
Rainbow Dash growled. Even if Fluttershy had some trouble talking to her friends, she never ignored them.
“Answer me!” she shouted, “stop running away and face me!”
Everypony forgets things as they grow older and things change. It never happens all at once, but sometimes you realize it later and it feels as if it has. The memory slips away and leaves you with nothingness. Somepony will mean the world to you one day, but the next day, they’re a memory.
A year or two later, you don’t remember exactly how they look, but you have a vague image of what they look like, and you can’t really remember how their voice sounded. You can’t seem to recall any one conversation or any one moment you spent with them. Well, at least not any of the good ones. But the memories of what they did to you, the memories of the way that one earth pony practically ripped your heart out with the fact that she was moving away, those ones remain, clear as day, in your mind. Every time you think about them, those memories come to mind. Very soon, you don’t remember why you were ever friends with them.
“You’re her friend, aren’t you?” Spike asked, “so why don’t you help her?”
Fluttershy answered with a nod, and then shook her head.
“I-I don’t specialize in ponies, Spike. Birds, however, are a little easier to take care of.”
Spike gave her a flat look and pointed at the door. “You’re a pegasus. If you can take care of Twilight’s wings.”
Fluttershy bit her lip. Reluctantly she nodded. Spike smiled slightly and opened the door.
Twilight Sparkle’s room was dark. The light around the library did not illuminate the floor just beyond the door. Fluttershy looked away. After a moment she tensed her hooves and stepped into the room with her eyes closed.
She heard the door behind her close. Immediately Fluttershy opened her eyes and turned around. She reached for the door, but felt nothing. Fluttershy felt her body tremble.
Turning around, Fluttershy lowered her head.
Fluttershy began, “Um, Twilight? I hope you’ll forgive me for barging into your room without your permission.” She rose her head slowly and pressed her hooves against the floor. “Spike, um, he said that you’re having some, well, problems with wing care.”
Feathers drifted into Fluttershy’s vision. She jumped back and looked up. Many feathers fell. They were easy to see in the darkness, as they gave off a faint purple light. Fluttershy caught a feather in her hoof and felt her jaw drop.
The feather felt firm, healthy. The shaft of the feather glowed brightly, but its light faded quickly. Fluttershy shook her head and dropped the feather.
Fluttershy examined the other feathers that fell.They were healthy. All of them. There wasn’t any reason why that feather should have molted, unless Twilight Sparkle had pulled them forcefully.
“Twilight,” Fluttershy asked, “are plucking your feathers on purpose? Don’t you know you’re hurting yourself?”
“I never wanted this,” a voice answered.
“Hey Twilight, come in here! You’re gonna want in on this bet!”
Twilight Sparkle’s ears perked up as Rainbow Dash leaned out a window of Sugarcube Corner and yelled across the street at her. The pegasus beckoned her inside and disappeared back into the window.
Curious, Twilight trotted across and pushed open the door. All of her friends were gathered around a table atop which stood Pinkie Pie. Pinkie was busy stretching her jaw muscles out while the others dug into their bitpurses and placed wagers.
A small sigh escaped Twilight’s lips. “Please tell me nopony dared her to eat some unhealthy amount of cheese or something.”
Pinkie grinned and shook her head. “Nopers! We all learned our lesson the last time that happened!”
Rainbow flapped her wings. “Pinkie says she can rhyme the word ‘orange.’”
Twilight raised her eyebrow. “Pinkie, you know there’s no rhyme for orange.”
Pinkie frowned. Then she grinned. Then frowned again. “Sorry Twilight,” she said, shaking her lips out. “I can’t hear you over the sound of you all being about to be flabbergasted!”
Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes. “Rarity and I each bet her twenty bits she couldn’t do it. Applejack’s putting her bits on Pinkie, either because she can’t spell or because she doesn’t like money, I’m not sure which.”
“I told Fluttershy we could flip for it. Heads I go with her to Ponyville, tails she comes with me to the academy.”
“And it came up heads?”
“Then you came to Ponyville with her?”
“No. Then she walked up, flipped the coin over, and it was still heads.”
“Heh. She knew about my lucky coin all along. I said I was sorry for trying to trick her. I just wanted to stay with her more than anything. I thought she’d be mad, but she told me if I was that determined to go with her, she’d let me. She just wanted to know one thing.”
“What was it?”
“Why didn’t I try to use my lucky coin to get what I wanted? Have her come to the academy with me?”
“Heh. That’s a good question. What’d you say?”
“I couldn’t say anything. I hadn’t even thought of that.”
The prompt: Let’s decide with a coin toss.
Optional suggestion: Try deciding the results of your fictional coin toss by flipping a coin for real!
This is a thirty-minute writing prompt; you have thirty minutes (not including time spent thinking and planning) in which to write a story inspired by today’s prompt. You have six hours from the start of this prompt to submit your stories; submissions will be closed at 7:00pm Pacific, 10:00pm Eastern, and 2:00am GMT. If you don’t happen to have a Tumblr account, you can submit your story by emailing it (in the body of the email, not as an attachment) to firstname.lastname@example.org; do not submit using Tumblr’s email submission system, as it tends to deliver us only the titles of the stories submitted using it.
“Fluttershy and I were about to graduate, and I had some big news. I got accepted into the Royal Air Force Academy.”
“Huh? I didn’t know you went to the academy.”
“Heh. You wanna hear the story or not?”
“Well, turns out she had some big news too. She heard a little town named Ponyville needed an animal caretaker. Job came with a house and everything.”
“Oh no. What’d you do?”
“We wanted to stay together after school. We wanted to follow our dreams. And we didn’t want to stop each other. We didn’t know what to do.”
“So how’d you decide what to… oh. The coin.”
Come back for the prompt and the story’s conclusion at 1:00pm Pacific, 4:00pm Eastern, 8:00pm GMT.
Pinkie Pie had a problem. Applejack had a crush.
Actually, no. That wasn’t a problem. Crushes were great. They made ponies have fluttery warm-fuzzy feelings. They led to cuddles and nuzzling and smooches. The fact that one of Pinkie’s best friends in the whole world had a crush was such great news that Pinkie could hardly contain her squeaks of excitement and glee.
But contain them she did, because the problem was in who Applejack had a crush on. Applejack had a crush on Fluttershy.
Again, that wasn’t a bad thing by itself. Fluttershy was really, really cute, and super nice, and a pony would have to be crazy not to have a crush on her. Applejack wasn’t crazy—in fact, she was the most not-crazy pony Pinkie knew—so of course she had a crush on Fluttershy.
The problem, that one nibbly bit of trouble that made Applejack having a crush on Fluttershy into just a little bit less than the superific news it should have been, was that Fluttershy was already seeing somepony, and it wasn’t Applejack. Pinkie Pie had a problem, because the pony Fluttershy was seeing was Pinkie Pie.