The Adventures of Ponyville Mare and The Stallion Who Loved Her

by TheDriderPony

Chapter 1: Headlines and Heartbeats

The shrill shriek of the train whistle roused Placeholder from his slumber. He rubbed his eyes as they tried and failed to focus on the rolling hills out the window passing by at tremendous speed. He yawned and his mind finally threw off the last shackles of sleep and woke up properly.

"Afternoon, dearie," he heard a voice ask to his left. He turned to see an elderly mare with smiling eyes pushing a cart full of snacks, bottled drinks, and small conveniences. "You've got up just in time. Anything from the trolley?"

"Mm. Do you carry newspapers?"

She fished for a moment beneath a selection of cookies. "Manehattan Times or Canterlot Chronicle?"

He smiled weakly. "You wouldn't happen to have the Ponyville Gazette would you?"

She thought about it for a moment then shook her head. "Sorry, dearie. We don't usually carry small town publications."

He had expected as much. "That's fine. I'll take one each of the other two."

Bits exchanged hooves and Placeholder accepted the stack of newsprint. "Thank you for your purchase," the mare said as she walked off. "You enjoy those now; there's still about an hour or so left before the next stop in Ponyville."

Placeholder nodded as she left before taking up the first section of the paper and snapping it open. His eyes became like searchlights, scanning for new articles about the one mare in particular he was interested in reading about.

He skipped the headlines and front page entirely. It was always either the same old boring politics or news on whatever disaster the Harmony Bearers had fixed this week. He put aside the Finance section as well. Anything worth reading there would have hit his office well before the papers found out. Sports, World Affairs, and the comics were all likewise discarded.

With the paper now pared down to less than half its size, he began his hunt for the one pony whose adventures were guaranteed to always bring a smile to his face.

Ponyville Mare.

It had been six years ago when Placeholder first encountered a Ponyville Mare story in the wild. In a subway station restroom, finding himself with no other way to pass the time, he'd elected to read the half of a newspaper some previous occupant had left behind. It was not a large article --barely a title and a few lines of context-- crammed into the page between an opinion piece and a jumbo ad. But the title had caught his eye.

Ponyville Mare Disrupts Celebration, Flees City, Returns With Ancient Jewelry and Donates it to the Crown

It was eye-catching, but woefully short on details. The following article hardly expanded on the story beyond restating the title. Several ponies were clearly involved, but they had all been reduced to "a local" or "a citizen" or "another pony". Except for Ponyville Mare. She was the only one who received any identification, scant though it was.

He thought nothing of it at the time. A curious story from a smaller publication, probably written by a bored journalist just trying to make his article quota. Like anyone else, Placeholder forgot the story within an hour of trashing the paper.

But then she cropped up again.

He next heard of her in a Manehattan coffee shop. Another small article crammed in amongst countless others ripped from local papers.

Ponyville Mare Destroys Town Hall in Attempt to Deliver Package

After that, there was a loose page that the wind whipped up into his face one blustery evening.

Ponyville Mare Ends Armed Standoff with Pie and Burlesque Show

Then in his morning paper.

Mocked Ponyville Mare Summons Ursa Minor

There was something about this Ponyville Mare that captivated him. In the dull, grey world of Manehattan high finance, she was a startling shock of color and life. Compared to his life of schedules and meetings and socially dictated schmoozing dinner parties, Ponyville Mare did what she wanted, when she wanted, regardless of the consequences. She was unlike any pony he had ever known. She seemed to flit from job to job, doing whatever she felt interested in rather than whatever would make the most money or provide the best stability.

He wished sometimes that he could have met, or at least heard of her, sooner in his life. Then, perhaps, he would have never headed down the manilla-colored, fluorescent-lit path of finance.

It was around this time that he began to actively seek out her stories.

Placeholder sighed as he reached the section he usually found the best Ponyville Mare stories in. He'd been so eager for a new story, he hadn't realized that this was yesterday's paper. He'd already read Magically Acclaimed Ponyville Mare Beaten By Small Racist Filly.

"So much for getting a new article today." He folded the newspaper and set it aside. The train took a sharp curve and it slid off his seat and under the opposing row. Placeholder didn't go after it. Instead, he unlocked the clasps on his travel saddlebags and pulled out a hefty book. Opening it, he began to leaf through the thick, cardstock pages.

Pages filled with memories flowed past, each one containing an article cut and preserved with utmost care. Every Ponyville Mare story he'd managed to track down; scouring newspapers from the Baltimare's Sun to Las Pegasus's Highlight. Traveling for business did have its perks.

Ponyville Mare Violates Bench-Sitting Etiquette; Takes Three-Bit Fine to Court

Ponyville Mare Invites Sentient Slime to Gala; Massive Heist Ensues!

Unrecognizable Ponyville Mare Arrested For Corrupting Youth Through Alternative Punk Lifestyle

He paused at an old favorite.

Ponyville Mare Infests Town With Doppelgangers; Sentenced to Mandatory Art Appreciation

That one always earned a chuckle.

It was a strange paradox; that he knew so much about this mare and yet so little at the same time. He could rattle off her greatest accomplishments and most memorable moments with ease, yet would falter if asked her age, tribe, or even her name.

Whoever she was, she clearly had pull with someone in power. Someone who could keep her name out of the papers despite her constantly newsworthy actions.

But that was all going to change soon. With enough holiday time banked to spend a week in Ponyville, he was going to track down this mare --the embodiment of living an authentic life-- and get her autograph for his scrapbook. And if things went well, though he blushed at the very thought, perhaps something a little more than that.

The train whistle shrieked again and he glanced out the window. In the distance, he could already see it. Ponyville: the city where he and she were destined to meet.

Placeholder snapped the scrapbook closed and grinned. The hunt was on.


Ponyville was... smaller than he'd expected. He'd expected it to be small, of course, having lived in Manehattan all his life, but even then it defied his expectations. Standing on the elevated train station, he could just about see the far edge of town across the rooftops. Unless he included the fields and groves beyond, but that was pushing the definition of the 'edge of town'. How could such a small place hold such a larger-than-life mare?

Or maybe it was the other way around. The town was small enough that she was the only character who did anything worth writing about.

The only thing detracting from the cozy, small-town charm was a towering crystal building that drew in the eye like a mislaid tile that broke an otherwise perfect pattern. It resembled the photographs of Princess Twilight's castle that he'd seen in the papers, but it was far too small and gaudy-looking. The real one was in Canterlot, obviously, where all the other Princesses lived. And almost certainly the real thing didn't look half as... tacky. Maybe it was meant to be some kind of attraction. A tourist trap. Like the miniature Statue of Libmarety in Las Pegasus. Either way, it was such an odd thing for an otherwise picturesque town. He idly wondered if Ponyville Mare had had a hoof in its conception. Build a replica of a princess's castle? That sounded right up her alley.

He trotted through the meager crowd disembarking at this station --most of the passengers were continuing on to Canterlot-- and exited the platform into the town proper.

He took a deep breath. The clean country air was invigorating and he could feel it replenish his soul with renewed determination and focus. He had planned to find a hotel first, but why waste time? Every minute not spent hunting down the Ponyville Mare was a minute spent not getting to know her and plumb the depths of her soul.

His goal in mind, he walked right up to the first pony he saw who looked like a local; a cream-coated earth pony mare sitting at an outdoor cafe. "Excuse me, ma'am?"

She looked up from her salad, still chewing, the curls of her perfectly split two-color mane bobbing with the sudden motion. "Hm?"

Placeholder winced internally. He hadn't realized that she'd been eating at that exact moment. But he continued; it'd be a bigger faux pas to awkwardly end the conversation immediately after that. "Sorry to bother you, but I'm new in town and was hoping to find a local who could give me some directions."

The mare held up a hoof for him to wait, chewed quickly for a few seconds, then swallowed and smiled. "Sure thing! I'd be happy to help. What are you looking for?"

"Not so much a what as a who. I'm looking for a particular mare, but I don't know her name."

The mare frowned. "If this is the start of one of those gimmicky pick-up lines, I'm letting you know now that I'm spoken for."

"Nothing like that!" he said quickly, "You see, I've been following this mare's exploits through the newspaper, but they never mention her name. All I know is that she's from Ponyville. I've been... hoping to meet her for some time."

She calmed down with his explanation. "Hm. That is a toughie. Well, if they were in newspapers as far away as... where are you from?"


"Oh, nice place. I did some work there in the past. Anyway, you're probably looking for Twilight or one of her squad. Anything interesting happening around here tends to focus on them."

Placeholder nodded as he digested this new information. Twilight was a young pony's name, probably named after the newest princess. A dark thought crossed his mind. Sweet Celestia, what if the Ponyville Mare was actually a filly? Some strange stallion traveling hundreds of miles to see a filly he'd never met did not sound good no matter how you phrased it.

He took a deep breath and steadied himself. No, she had to be an adult. She'd held countless jobs after all, not to mention the articles involving her incidents with cider. In any case, it was as good a start to his search as any.

"Thanks. Any idea where I might find them?"

She pointed behind him. Almost directly at the... no, she couldn't actually mean-

"Big crystal castle. You can't miss it."

Placeholder's breath caught for a second. A mare named Twilight, living in a big crystal castle? No, it couldn't be. It had to be some sort of tourist gimmick. But the gossip columns did say she was something of an eccentric...

Pulling himself up out of the hole his mind was digging, he cleared his throat. "You... uh... that Twilight you mentioned, it wouldn't happen to be --and let me know if I'm just talking complete crazy here-- but... you don't mean Princess Twilight Sparkle do you?"

Much to his shock and alarm, the mare simply nodded, as if this were the easiest question in the world. "Mhm. Mind you, she's not big on the title though. She's usually home around now and is generally fine with ponies just dropping by so long as they don't make a nuisance..."

Her words seemed to fade away as Placeholder retreated to the depths of his mind. It was impossible. Could his Ponyville Mare actually be a Princess?"


Ponyville was a lot bigger than it looked from the outside. Or so it seemed to Placeholder as he wandered down Cremini street for the third time. Unlike the precise gridwork of roads in Manehattan, the streets of Ponyville seemed to connect point A to B in the most roundabout way possible, often stopping at half the other letters along the way. Just as the mare had said, you couldn't miss the eyesore of a castle. The real problem was getting there. Every road that looked like a straight path slowly curved and arced away, somehow leaving him farther away from the castle than he'd begun.

It was a small consolation that he'd convinced himself that Ponyville Mare was definitely not the princess. That was an insurmountable barrier he'd been unprepared to face. But the more he thought about it (which he had plenty of time for as he became ever more lost) the more things failed to add up.

Princess Twilight was a well known public figure. Anything she did of even remote note was plastered on the front page for all to see and praise over. Why would some events at random be relegated to obscurity? Sure, she could be using royal authority to suppress stories that embarrassed her or made her look bad, but if that was the case then why let them be printed at all? It just didn't make sense.

Still, if she was as approachable as Bon Bon had said, she would probably be immensely helpful in tracking down the actual Ponyville Mare.

If only he could actually make it to the castle!

Grumbling as he somehow found himself back in Town Square for the umpteenth time, he caved to his baser instincts and began to look for somepony to ask for directions. Thankfully, there just so happened to be a pair of mares passing by with the kind of unhurried pace that made the Manehattanite confident they were in no rush to reach their destination.

"Excuse me," he called.

The pair stopped, the earth pony raising a cautious eyebrow while the unicorn's eyes remained hidden behind glasses. "I'm sorry, but could you tell me how to get to the castle? I've been trying to follow the roads, but-"

"Oh, I hear ya," the unicorn interrupted, her Canterlot accent heavily cut with lower-class slang. "It's a mess down here. Lemme tell you, I used to live in Canterlot full time. First time I came down here I got so lost I nearly starved to death."

Her companion rolled her eyes. "Vinyl, do stop trying to scare the poor stallion." She turned to address him. "Pay her no mind. She missed lunch and now she's cranky."

"Am not."

"Don't start. Now, most of the roads around here aren't exactly named, but we'd be happy to show you the way there."

Placeholder breathed a sigh of relief. A guide would be perfect. No way to forget the directions or get lost then. "Thank you, that'd be a tremendous help."

He fell into line beside the pair as they turned down a side street that looked as though it should have led away from the castle. After some brief introductions, they walked in amiable silence for a few minutes before Vinyl decided to break the ice.

"So, Placeholder, whaddya wanna see Twilight for? Lemme tell you up front; she'd not really looking for a stallion."

"I- no," he said with a blush. "I just need her help to find somepony."

"Who?" asked Octavia.

"That's the problem. I don't know." He proceeded to give the pair a quick summary of the notion of Ponyville Mare and his quest to find her.

"Huh. Weird." Vinyl commented when he was through. "I don't read papers much, so I've never heard of her, but some of those headlines sound kinda familiar."

"We're only down here a couple days a week," Octavia explained, "So chances are we missed many of these events. But we do know the town well enough. Maybe if you could furnish us with a few more articles, we might come across one we recognize."

It was as good an idea as any he'd had, so Placeholder agreed. "Well, one that comes to mind quickly is Ponyville Mare's Pranking Spree Ends in Significant Property Destruction and Cake. Does that ring any bells?"

"Pranking spree sure sounds like Dash," Vinyl said.

"True, but the cake makes me think Pinkie."

"Tavi, when Pinkie's in town, everything ends in cake."

"Yes. I suppose you're right. Placeholder, do you have another?"

A sillier question had never been asked. "Ponyville Mare's Baked Horror Leads to Multi-Block Evacuation."

"Now that sounds like Pinkie Pie," Vinyl said confidently. "If it's baking and made the papers, gotta be her."

"Nonsense. Pinkie Pie couldn't bake something bad if she tried. Rainbow Dash on the other hoof can burn juice, or so the rumor mill says. Or was that Rarity?"

Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash. The names rang a bell in Placeholder's memory but he couldn't quite place them. Eventually it came to him. "Oh! You mean the Bearers of Laughter and Loyalty?"

Vinyl gave him a bit of a sidelong glance and Octavia's eyebrow rose again. "No one really calls them that around here, but yeah, that's them."

So not just a princess, but the greatest heroes of recent history also lived in Ponyville? Pinkie Pie, Bearer of Laughter and first-choice organizer for countless Canterlot events, and Rainbow Dash, Bearer of Loyalty and Wonderbolts star. What kind of town was this that had so many high-profile figures living in moderate obscurity? He'd always assumed that the Elements (and by proxy, their bearers) worked like superheroes. Spread out in major cities across the nation and banding together only to face truly dangerous foes. Yet instead they all lived in some small farm town?

He could only hope that Ponyville Mare would not turn out to be one of them. An eccentric, but socially-equal pony would be one he might have a chance with, but an eccentric national hero? Not a chance. But so far neither Laughter nor Loyalty seemed to fit the mold he carried in his book. He'd have to just keep looking until he found somepony that did.

"Here we are! Twilight's Castle of Friendship." The road forked ahead and while the main path continued unimpeded, a second path --clearly newer and less-trod than the other-- winnowed off to one side. Mercifully, it led to the castle gates and nowhere else.

"If she can't help you find your mare, then I'm sure one of her friends can," Octavia said. "Between them, they know every pony in Ponyville."

"Thank you so much for showing me here," Placeholder said as he shook their hooves eagerly. "I think I can make it the rest of the way."

"No biggie dude." Vinyl gave him a slightly lecherous look over the tops of her glasses. "Just let me know when you find this mare. I think I'd like to get to know her myself."

Octavia hip-checked her.

"Ouch! What? I'm just sayin'! She sounds like a cool chick!"

Placeholder waved them goodbye as they went their separate ways. They along the main road, and he towards the castle and hopefully, Ponyville Mare.


As he'd been told, the princess was more than willing to see him. Her dragon assistant led him to a library where she sat waiting, a genial smile on her face.

"Hi there!" she said, "Is there something I can help you with? Some kind of firendship problem?"

Placeholder was not entirely clear what she meant by a 'friendship problem', but given the context decided that it might not be the exact right term for his situation. Still, it wouldn't be good to dismiss it outright. How formal was he supposed to be anyway? She spoke casually but she was a Princess. He cleared his throat and took a shot. "I don't know if friendship problem is really the right word for it. I'm looking for a particular pony and some locals I asked said you might be able to help."

"I'll certainly do my best," she replied. "What's her name?"

"...I don't know."

Twilight gave him an odd look. "Okay... do you know how old she is?"

"She's an adult, but otherwise no."

"How about her tribe?"

"I don't know it."

"What do you know?" her dragon asked.

"Spike..." Twilight chided quietly.

"I know she's a mare from Ponyville," Placeholder admitted. "And that she has a life filled with wonder and excitement."

"Great, we've ruled out about a quarter of the Ponyville population," Spike commented, earning him another glare from the alicorn.

She turned back to Placeholder, her voice still calm but slightly strained. "Is there anything else you know about her that might help us narrow it down?"

"Oh, I know lots of details about her and things she's done. She's in the paper all the time but they never say who she is."

He reached into his saddlebag and pulled out his scrapbook. Twilight's eyes lit up at the sight. "Oh! You brought a book!"

"Yes. This is my collection of articles about her. I've been reading about her for so long, I really want to find out who she is and get her autograph."

"Well, if it's book-related, then you've come to the right place." She held out a hoof. "May I?"

Placeholder found himself hesitating. On one hoof, this was his prized collection of which he had never let anypony else see, let alone hold. On the other, this was a Princess. If you couldn't trust a princess, then who could you trust? He nodded and she took the book in a combination of hoof and magic.

She opened the cover and read the first article as Placeholder tried to read her expression. She turned the page and read the second, the third, the fourth. A small smile tugged at the corner of her mouth. Recognition? Or just amusement? She turned another page and the smile vanished. A few more and it turned into a frown. Placeholder could only chew his cheek in worry as his mind cranked out increasingly worrying and unlikely scenarios.

The princess was flipping ahead now. Either her reading speed was truly outrageous or she was just skimming the headlines. But the frown remained stubbornly etched on her face. Soon it was joined by a brow furrowed in concern. She glanced up at him, and for a moment their eyes met. What was that? Embarrassment, sadness, and... pity? Out of everything, pity?

She closed the book with a sigh and gave it back to Placeholder. It had only been a few minutes yet he felt as though years had passed. The warm atmosphere was gone, replaced but an unsettling chill that not even the sun streaming in through the windows seemed to abate.

"I think..." she said at last, making his heart skip a beat, "You see it's... oh, Celestia, this is hard to explain."

"Just tell me!" he blurted as the swirling dark thought spilled from his mind. "Did something happen to her? Was she hurt? Killed? Please, I need to know!"

"No! No, nothing like that!" Her wings arced and shuffled behind her with anxious energy. "In fact, I don't think she exists at all!"

Princess Twilight's words hung heavy in the silent air that followed. Neither party spoke or barely even breathed for a long moment of shock and disbelief.

"But... she is real." Placeholder insisted, though it lacked the same confidence he'd had before. "I- I have a whole book of things she's done."

Her words coiled around his mind like a serpent, refusing to sink in yet slowly strangling the image of the mare in his mind.

"Yeees... but," the alicorn began slowly, clearly just as hesitant to tell him as he was reluctant to hear it. "It's like... Have you ever heard of Buckwheat's Protective Clause?"

The sudden change in topic caught him off guard and disgust quickly colored his features. "Buckwheat? Wasn't that that mare who-"

"Yes. Yes and no," Twilight replied before he could get into the details best not mentioned in polite company. "It is named after the mare you're thinking of, but she never did all those terrible things you associate her with. It was a terrible case of miscommunication and a reporter with a personal grudge. He twisted facts and took ponies' statements out-of-context to make a small incident seem far worse than it was. It should have ended there; a minor incident in a small town, quickly cleared up and resolved. But then a national chain got wind of it. Within days, every major newspaper in Equestria was running the story, unfact-checked, and as a result, through no fault of her own, Buckwheat's career was ruined and she became a national laughingstock, even a pariah in some regions."

"...Oh." There was nothing else Placeholder could think to say. What else could he say to something like that? And what did Buckwheat have to do with Ponyville Mare?

"Because of that incident," she continued, "Princess Celestia drafted the Buckwheat Protective Clause. It states that when a news organization reprints a story from a smaller publication, they cannot use the real names of the ponies involved outside a few special circumstances." Twilight fixed her gaze directly to his. "In short, most papers just rephrase the article and replace the name with the pony's gender and location."

A looming feeling of dread fell over Placeholder as the truth-snake coiled ever more tightly against his thoughts. "Wait. That- Are you saying that-"

"I'm afraid so. Your 'Ponyville Mare' is likely an amalgamation of most of the mares in town. Just skimming through you book I recognized stories about some of my friends, a traveling magician, a few local farmers, an effeminate stallion, and even a couple that are about me."

It was as though the world has dropped out from beneath his hooves.

Placeholder's breathing sped up as the awful realization sunk in like a pony trapped in a tar pit. She wasn't real. She didn't exist. Ponies had done those actions, lived those stories, but they were spread out among dozens of mares. He shuddered as fantasies and dreams shriveled and died. Meeting her, hearing her stories from her perspective, even the most fanciful of dreams where they would run away together to go on adventures and leave his boring life behind. Like sand, they crumbled under the weight of truth till naught was left but dust.

He felt a hoof on his shoulder and looked up into the sorrowful gaze of a princess. "I'm sorry you had to find out this way, and after you'd traveled so far. If it helps, most of these incidents aren't even nearly as dramatic as they claim to be. While not technically inaccurate, whatever reporter drafted these must have really been trying to make his content interesting."

It did not help. If anything that made it worse. Not only was Ponyville Mare a fake, but her adventures were too? Was anything real, or was everything he held dear merely fiction?

Twilight apparently either did not notice his distress or misinterpreted it. "If you like," she said with an optimistic note, "I could go through the articles with my friends and try to put names to acts. Then you could go and get each of their autographs individually."

It wouldn't be the same. "No... I think I'll just go. Thank you for your time, Princess." Head and tail both drooping, Placeholder left the Castle of Friendship in a far worse mood than he'd entered.


She's not real.

She doesn't exist.

You're never going to meet her.

Like a cloud of flies, dark thoughts swarmed around his corpse of a dream.

The ceiling of his hotel room offered no more distraction or diversion than it had for the last several hours, yet he continued to stare up at it anyway. The cracks that spiderwebbed across the plaster seemed to mirror those in his mind.

What now? That was the question that overshadowed the rest in his maelstrom of thoughts. What was he to do now that he knew the truth? Go back to work? End his vacation early and pretend like she never existed?

She did never exist.

After all, what good would it do to hang around Ponyville in a funk for the rest of the week? He'd planned to scope out the places where his favorite stories had happened, but what was the point when the main character, and even possibly the story itself was made up?

He rolled onto his belly and opened his scrapbook to a random page, hoping to find inspiration in the familiar stories. The crackling of the pages sounded old now, tired. He took in the two headlines he was presented with.

Ponyville Mare Caught Using Vocal Double at Charity Concert

Ponyville Mare Beautifies Town, Goes Mad With Power

He tried to picture them as different mares. He made the first a unicorn and the second a pegasus, modeled after some passerby he'd seen in town earlier.

It didn't work. He couldn't do it. Despite knowing the truth he couldn't help but think of them as mere actors playing the role of Ponyville Mare.

He pushed the scrapbook away, a little harder than he'd meant to. It teetered at the edge of the bed and started to tip over. Placeholder surged forward to grab it but caught only air as his scrapbook hit the ground with a thud and a rustle.

He scrambled to his hooves and around the other side of the bed to retrieve his treasure. Luckily, the fall was not far and the floor was carpeted. As he picked it up, a slip of paper came loose and fluttered to the floor. He stared at it quizzically. It wasn't newsprint.

Setting the book on the bed stand, he retrieved the lost scrap and turned it over.

It was a drawing. A loose sketch, done freehoof, of a young mare with a messy mare and wild eyes. It wasn't very good and somepony had scratched out most of it. But the caption at the bottom remained legible. Ponyville Mare.

Placeholder's eyes widened in recognition. He knew this drawing, though he had thought he'd thrown it away years ago. Memories flowed back from when he'd first started collecting Ponyville Mare stories. He'd been inspired by them. Not just the mare, but the wild freedom of her actions and the mentality they represented. Young and full of vigor, he'd tried to bring her more to life than the articles had; elaborating the stories through his own imagination.

And more than that, he'd tried to give her a shape, a form, all her own.

A whisper of an idea budded forth within his mind. An inkling of an idea that cut through the melancholic atmosphere like a candle through darkness.

Now that he had learned she wasn't real... was he really in any different of a position than he'd been in before?

So what if she wasn't real? If she was a fiction? The ideas her associated with Ponyville Mare: freedom, living authentically, and simply having fun with life, those were real. Those still meant something.

He flipped to the back of the book, wondering if the old pages were still there or if he'd removed them. To his surprise and joy, they were. The last few pages of the scrapbook were covered in a dense scrawl, small blocky letters that elaborated some of Ponyville Mare's most interesting stories into a single narrative. Placeholder's early attempts to expand upon what little information the articles offered. He'd built a world for her from the scraps of news he could find. Gave her friends, a personality, and a life beyond print-worthy hijinks. Some parts were scratched out, much like the drawing had been, when he'd come to the decision that it was wrong to impose his own shape and history on a mare that existed somewhere and had her own.

But that wasn't a problem anymore.

A small smile slowly crept across his face. If there was no Ponyville Mare, and the stories were barely true, then what would there be to stop him from making her real?

He stood up with dawning realization. He could bring her to life. No one knew her story like he did! A bit of writing and a bit of art, it could be done!

Even as he thought about it, an image began to form from the depths of his mind. She'd be young, but at an age you couldn't place. An adult's body with a child's energy. A vibrant coat, but tousled and unbrushed from a life lived too quickly for coat care. And she'd have to be an alicorn, obviously. No normal pony could do so much! A pink and yellow mane, like the roofs of Ponyville itself, that she'd attempt to style but would always manage to come loose through her adventures.

And her smile. He could see it clear as though she were standing in front of him! A half-cocked grin, cheeky and fully aware of it, just daring someone to tell her off for whatever chaos she'd caused.

Grabbing his scrapbook, he moved it to the table and eagerly flipped to the next clean page. Taking pencil in hoof, he began to draw.

It didn't matter if she didn't really exist. As long as he enjoyed her adventures, she could be real to him, and he could make her real for others.

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