Starlight in a Broken Vessel

by the-pieman

Chapter 156

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Chapter 156

"Come on man! I'm fine with a harmless prank and all, but really? Did you have to do that? I have an image to uphold! And so does Rainbow Dash I guess. There’s already been enough stuff before this that one could figure I have a thing for her already... which I don’t.”

“Oh, c’mon, Anthony. It’s not like you’re doing anything that would get you in trouble in that photo. And besides, I figured you’d be fine with a little publicity... it didn’t even make front page.” Clark responds, smiling openly at me.

“While I am used to getting more attention than ‘page three news’... I’m not gonna try anything with her. For one, she’s already taken. I’m just glad Big Mac isn’t angry about it.” I imagine me in a fight with Macintosh, and it does not go well at all.

“Dude, Big Mac was in on it.”

“Yeah, lucky for me that’s the case. Anyway, I’m just glad that news dies pretty quickly around here. But if I wake up with another pony, I’m gonna have to do something you’ll regret.”

“Oh, fine... I’m going to go hang out with Fluttershy, then. Twilight seems busy, so I’ll leave of on the Q and A sessions for now.”

“Alright. Oh by the way, don’t forget to keep practicing with your powers. I’ve passed up on opportunities before and... well, I’ve burned quite a few things on accident.”

“Ah, will do. I’m sure Twilight has a good handle on scheduling, so I’ll talk with her later.”

I nod and he leaves. Great, now what is there to do? I suppose I could wander around town, see what’s going on. I pick up the newspaper I had and take a look at the front page. I suppose I should get in the habit of checking news... it’s just I’m used to it always being so boring and pointless.

...and they decide some sort of flower or something is endangered or whatever. Fantastic... These ponies sure are weird. What goes on in the rest of the world? Flipping through the pages, I come across nothing of note. Celestia mentioned something like a human coming by and attempting a takeover... where’s the stuff like that? If they don’t post the big important things at all, she can’t exactly give me crap about not paying attention.

Oh well, guess I might as well see what Pinkie’s doing. Nothing else to do unless a giant monster attacks or some person who hates someone here comes by and wants revenge. Why is this place only interesting when the weirdness magnet is turned on?

I head to Sugarcube Corner and don’t see her around, so I ask Mr. Cake, who’s behind the counter. “Sorry, she’s been acting odd lately. She comes by to sleep when it’s already dark out, and first sign of morning she’s already gone out the door. No idea where she’s going.”

Hmmmm. “That sounds a bit odd. I’ll look around for you. She’s... probably alright just... planning something big?”

Mr. Cake shrugs and I go off to search for Pinkie. Luckily I only have to ask one pony and I’m directed to her. She’s standing in front of a mailbox, opening and closing it and seemingly more disappointed each time she opens it, as if the act of closing it would make something appear inside. This seems a bit weirder than ‘Pinkie being Pinkie.’ “Hey uh, Pinkie? You feeling alright?”

“Shh! I’m waiting for the mail.”

“You... do realize that the mail has to be delivered before it shows up in the box, right? Until a mailman comes, that box is going to be empty no matter how many times you open it.”

“Yeah! But I can’t miss it, incase one of the mail-ponies is a ninja!” Pinkie continues to stare into the box, opening and closing it.

“If one were a ninja, I’m sure there are higher-paying jobs than delivering mail for them to use their skills on. Now come on, what are you waiting for? You order some parts for a bigger party cannon, or is it some pen pal you haven’t heard from in a while?”

“I haven’t heard from Rainbow Dash since this morning!” Pinkie says, and in any other situation, I’d think she was just being facetious. Now, though? She looks uncharacteristically heartbroken. Did... did something happen to Rainbow since I saw her this morning?

“Uh, what’s the big deal? Did she take a trip somewhere?”

“Well yeah, but I haven’t heard a word about her all day! She said she would write!”

“Chill Pinkie, it’s Rainbow Dash, I doubt anything could happen on the day she leaves for... whatever. Give her a week or something. Besides, I doubt that mail service is fast enough to receive, process, and deliver a letter all on the same day.”

“But what if she just isn’t sending a letter? What if she never will, because she’s forgotten about us!” I feel a tad worried about the hyperventilating Pinkie, taking less time between checking the box and closing it than before.

“Do you really think that she’d forget about us in one afternoon?”

“She might if she passes training and becomes a Wonderbolt! We may never see her again, she’d end up going all over Equestria and forget all about us! Do you know when the last time the Wonderbolts came to Ponyville!?”

“Uh, n-”

“They haven’t! If Rainbow gets accepted, she’ll probably never see us, then she’ll forget us!”

“Woah there, calm down. I’m pretty sure it would be hard for anyone to forget us. Wait, Wonderbolt training? Is that what she’s doing? Like, applying to join them? That’s awesome!”

“Yeah, and I’m really happy for her, but what if she sends me a letter and I’m not here to get it? Then she might think we forgot about her!”

Normally I’d ask her if she was crazy, but this is Pinkie and I kinda figured she was already there. It just seems that she’s taken a few more steps into the metaphorical deep end. “Calm down Pinkie, I’m sure we’ll be able to get her letter and reply before she thinks we’ve abandoned her. Let’s just take a few deep breaths, okay?”

Pinkie just starts hyperventilating again, with gusto.

“Not quite what I meant by deep breaths. How about we go get some ice cream or something? Calm down a bit.”

“I- I-” her shoulders sag and she lets out a sigh. “Yeah... that’s probably for the best.” she mumbles.

It’s taken quite a while, but Pinkie has calmed down a bit. It’s easiest to tell by the fact that I’m not imagining I can hear her heartbeat doing a gatling gun impression. That can’t be healthy, Pinkie or not. Anyway, once the bucket of nerves has calmed down, she’s back to being... relatively normal for Pinkie. She’s still worried about Dash. Why? If Rainbow Dash can take me in a fistfight, why would she have trouble with anything short than constant physically abusive military training?

I relay this fact to Pinkie who thinks about it for a minute. “Well... I suppose, but who knows what Wonderbolt training means? What if it is like that?”

“Then why would anyone want to join?”

Pinkie pauses for a minute and decides to go with the classic ‘my mouth is full’ excuse by shoving the rest of her ice cream into her mouth and shrugging. That must be cold!

Sure enough, the second it starts to melt in her mouth, she’s got that ‘I’m trying to smile through excruciating pain’ look. That must be one bad brain freeze. With her face turning a bit goofy from the winces, twitches, and forced smile, I find it a bit difficult to not laugh, though I am trying. She finally finishes it, and looks back down at her empty bowl.

Sighing, I continue to eat my ice cream at a normal pace. I’ve wondered if I can use my heat powers to negate a brain freeze, but I’ll save that test for later. “So, Rainbow Dash is basically living her dream. Good for her and all, but what makes you honestly think that just because she’d be famous, she’d forget about her friends? Fame gets you a lot, but real friends are not one of those things. Besides, who could possibly replace you?”

Pinkie looks off to one side. “I guess... well, I suppose you’re right. Uhm... what do you have planned for today?”

I shrug. “Nothing really. Not much to do around here. For me that is.”

“Well... we could always have a little party! You and me, playing games and stuff! It’ll be fun!”

“Alright, sounds fine with me.”

After our little two-person mini-party, Pinkie comes up with an idea to go see Rainbow Dash rather than waiting for a letter. I figure if it’ll help her from going back to living next to that mailbox, it’d be fine. So now me, Pinkie, and the rest of us are all in a balloon ride up to see Rainbow Dash. I don’t get what Pinkie’s deal is. I mean I saw her just last morning while investigating the Nightmare Night photo thing. Being up in the clouds like this reminds me of my time in Chickago, how I basically ruined half a city’s life...

“Here, have a cupcake!” The pastry is deposited in my mouth before I can respond. Mmm... chocolate, my favorite. How does Pinkie even do that?

As the balloon continues, I get a bad feeling about all of this. I’ve never been that big a fan of heights, and I’m willing to bet that falling right now would end up with all of us in a very messy puddle on the ground. The wind shifts a bit and I swear the balloon is about to go down and I grab the nearest thing. Twilight pushes me off, telling me to calm down. “It’s just a thermal, stop being such a foal.”

As if in answer, the entire balloon shudders, and I fall to the floor of the basket from the sudden movement. I hear Fluttershy squeak in fright, and turn to see what’s frightened her. I hear myself echo her as I see one of the most awe-inspiring and dangerous weather patterns known to man:

A tornado.

Unlike what the movie Twister would lead one to believe, tornadoes don’t roar. Victims of them, however, do scream. I latch back onto Twilight as if she could somehow do something to stop it. “We’re all gonna diiiie!!!” The wind and flying bits of small debri shred the skin of the balloon, and I feel a flying something cut my cheek in passing. 180 MPH debris and I only get a cut? No way, the next one is going straight for my gut, I know it!

I watch as everyone, including myself, is flung out of the basket and tossed into the air. I feel the wind rushing past me, as if some outside force is pushing me towards the ground faster than terminal velocity would allow. This is it. This is the end to my story. I’ve faced all kinds of things, and a long fall is what kills me! I... I wonder what my tombstone will say? Will I get a tombstone? Will we all share one because of the group death?

Slightly above me is Twilight obscuring the sun and looking utterly surprised. Her expression is actually rather comical, but it’s little comfort for my imminent demise.

I catch a glimpse of Fluttershy, a long, shallow cut along the top of her head leaking a thin ribbon of blood, and her wings askew from the gale-force winds.

There’s a pink hoof wrapped around my leg, and Pinkie’s terrified face is visible slightly behind and below my shoe. In spite of the dread she must be feeling, I find myself oddly... calm. Composed. All the fear has... drained away.

I guess this isn’t the worst way to go... and I have wondered what it would be like to go skydiving. I shut my eyes tightly and metaphorically embrace the rushing wind, waiting for the final impact. Then everything stops. I hit! I’m dead, I’m... wait, how could I hit that fast? We were a good hundred miles up, weren’t we? I hear flapping and grunting and then I feel actual ground under me. Cautiously I open my eyes and realize I’m on some sort of... runway. The world pulls out of the odd ant-in-molasses perspective.


There’s a very tired-looking pair of pegasi in a uniform I vaguely recall to be similar to what Rainbow described as being Wonderbolt flight suits. They... saved us? I can’t believe it! I’m alive! I’m alive! I’m holy mother of god I’m bleeding like a waterfall!

The ‘cut’ from my cheek seems to be a large gash and I instantly regret feeling it, as I now know that part of my cheek isn’t even attached to me, and there are small cuts all across the rest of my body. I look like I got attacked by an army of ants with paintball guns; random red splotches of blood all over me. It’s... warm. Uncomfortably warm.

It’s about this point when I realize that there’s a pony in a white uniform, a red + on the uniform. As well, the pony’s speaking.

“-eed medical attention? Sir? I’m not allowed to help if you don’t answer me.” The EMT looks rather worried, and is looking over my head.

“Y- yeah, I- just... I’m not actually dead right now, just for confirmation, right?”

“You’re alive, yes. But you need to get those cuts and scrapes checked; you can get infected from debris lodged under the coa- er, skin.”

“Sure, you do that... I’m gonna take a nap now.” I lay back and stare at the sky, my eyes refusing to close. But I feel so tired... but I can’t... can’t slee- Next Chapter: Chapter 157 Estimated time remaining: 10 Hours, 37 Minutes

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