Ponies of Faith

by JohnPerry

Chapter 1: Ponies of Faith

Twilight Sparkle trotted down the main street of Ponyville, levitating a picnic basket in front of her. It was a gorgeous sunny day and the purple unicorn was on her way to a picnic with her friends on the edge of town. She was in bright spirits, looking forward to enjoying some good food and good company. But as she passed through the town square, a pale yellow unicorn she didn’t recognize began approaching her, levitating a small clipboard in front of her.

“Hello there!” the unicorn said, her voice filled with false cheerfulness. “Could I have a moment of your time?”

“Oh, sure!” Twilight replied cheerfully. “I’m in no hurry.”

“Wonderful! And may I ask you name, dear?”

“Um, Twilight Sparkle?”

“Nice to meet you, Twilight! I’m Lemon Pop,” the unicorn said, offering Twilight one of her front hooves to shake. “And may I just say, that is a beautiful strand of color in your mane! Is that a natural color?”

“Uh, yes,” Twilight muttered, seeing through Lemon’s obvious attempt to butter her up. “So what do you need?”

“Well Twilight, I’m a representative of the Church of Magictology and we’re currently collecting donations to open up a branch here in Ponyville,” Lemon said, her tone becoming more businesslike and yet never losing that false cheer. “Are you by chance familiar with our church, Twilight?”

“Um, well…actually I can’t say that I am,” Twilight admitted. “But I love anything to do with magic! So what is your church about?”

“Well Twilight, we’ve found that unicorns can free themselves of problems and discover hidden magical abilities through increased spiritual awareness and releasing those barriers which prevent us from realizing our full magical potential,” Lemon explained quickly but clearly, her tone becoming much more businesslike at this point. “Our methods are based on rigorous research, but we invite our members to test the value of our methods for themselves and help us improve. If you like, you can sign up for a session with us, it’s only twenty bits and we can set it up whenever is most convenient for you!”

“Oh, well, actually I don’t have any money on me right now,” Twilight admitted. “And I’d like to find out more about your organization before I commit to anything.”

“That’s fine Twilight, perfectly understandable,” Lemon quickly said, moving to ensure she didn’t lose out on this potential recruit. “Please take our brochure then; it explains all you need to know about who we are!” At this she levitated a slick brochure out of her satchel and held it out to the purple unicorn, who took it and placed it in her picnic basket. A few parting words were spoken and Twilight was finally free to continue on to see her friends.

Once she was sure she was out of Lemon’s sight, Twilight retrieved the brochure out of her basket and used her magic to hold it out in front of her to read. It was slick and stylish, but didn’t really offer any substantial information outside of what Lemon had already said. There wasn’t much of an explanation as to what exactly they believed in, and what explanation the brochure did offer was very vague.

At last she spotted her friends, all five of whom had already arrived and were sitting atop a red and white checkered picnic blanket, preparing the food and relaxing. Twilight picked up a little speed at the sight of them.

“Hey Twilight!” Pinkie called out. “What took you so long, you’re almost late! And you’re never late!”

“Hi girls, sorry,” Twilight offered. “I got held up by somepony in the square. Say, have any of you heard of the Church of Magictology?” she asked, immediately drawing a couple of odd looks from her friends.

“The Church of Magictology?” Rarity uttered, as if she misheard her friend. “Oh darling, don’t tell me you joined up with them! You have more sense than that!”

“Um, no, there was just this pony in the square who asked me to join,” Twilight explained. “Why? Are they bad?”

“Bad? They’re a cult, darling!” Rarity exclaimed. “Their beliefs are absolutely ludicrous!”

“Yeah, I think I’ve heard of them…” Rainbow Dash said, lifting her sunglasses to look at the two unicorns. “Don’t they believe that all ponies are actually ghosts from outer space who rode pegasi chariots and fell into volcanoes when they got here, or something like that?”

What?” Twilight exclaimed, darting for the brochure to read through it again. “They never said anything like that!”

“That’s because they don’t tell you until they’ve taken your money, dear,” Rarity scoffed, gently pulling the brochure out of Twilight’s grasp. “Really, don’t waste your time, it’s not worth it.”

“Say, Twilight!” Pinkie suddenly exclaimed. “Was Lemon the pony who talked to you?”

“Yeah, she was!” Twilight answered. “Did she talk to you, too?”

Pinkie nodded. “Yeah, they seemed nice but I wasn’t interested. Besides, I’m a Faustic!”

“A…a what?” Twilight asked, raising an eyebrow.

“A Faustic!” Pinkie repeated. “I believe in the one creator, the Faust, who used her incredible powers to create all of Equestria and all of the ponies in it! She just used her mind and – Whoosh! – And that’s how Equestria was made! And then she wrote down all her great plans in the holy book, which she called the ‘Pitch Bible’. Ooh, and then she had help from these really nice ponies who helped create Faust’s world and then made it even nicer! So we honor those ponies too! In fact, I’m having a party tonight – today is the Feast Day of Saint Thiessen, do you want to come?”

“Oh, I dunno Pinkie, I’m not sure I believe in that stuff…” Twilight muttered skeptically.

“I dunno, it makes sense to me,” Applejack shrugged. “Not sure about all ‘em saints, but the idea of the Faust is mighty compelling. Those of us who have been in Ponyville a while, you get the sense that there was a plan to all this and that somethin’ kind is watching over us,” the earth pony offered.

“Hang on a second,” Twilight said, hit with a sudden revelation. “I just remembered something, there was once a group of camel ambassadors from the Eastern Lands who visited Princess Celestia, and they said something about the ‘one true creator’. Do you think they were Faustic too, Pinkie?”

“Nah, that’s Haslam,” Pinkie chortled, waving a hoof. “I mean, I guess it’s kinda like Faustism, but their creator is named Bonnie or Zacherle or something weird like that. It’s just different,” she shrugged.

“What about you, Dash?” Twilight asked the pegasus. “What’s your take on all this?”

“Eh, I dunno,” Rainbow Dash replied simply, dropping her sunglasses over her eyes and laying down on the blanket. “Never really thought about it before, really.”

“So you don’t believe in a creator?” Twilight pressed.

“I’m not saying that,” Dash said. “Just…I dunno. There might be, there might not. I don’t really know.”

“So…you’re an agnostic?” Twilight asked.

“If you want to call it that, sure,” Dash muttered, waving her hoof idly. “I dunno, what about you, Fluttershy?”

“Me? Oh, um…” Fluttershy stammered, taken aback at how quickly she had been pulled into this conversation. “Well, um, I’m more into, uh…some of the, uh, Far East practices…” she trailed off.

“Oh, you mean like karma and that stuff?” Twilight asked kindly.

“Oh, you know! Yes!” Fluttershy exclaimed, brightening up at the realization that her friend was somewhat familiar with her beliefs. “I found out about it when I was learning about new ways to take care of my animal friends. Some of the herbal remedies and meditation techniques they have are amazing!” she exclaimed. “And they believe in reincarnation, which means that when you die you come back as another pony or animal, depending on how good you’ve been. Oh, I’d love to come back as a beautiful butterfly, or a cute bunny, or a tree! I’d love to be a tree.” She closed her eyes happily, momentarily lost in her thoughts.

“That’s really cool, Fluttershy,” Twilight commented, before realizing there was one pony who hadn’t said anything in a while. She looked over at the white unicorn standing to her side, currently sipping some tea. “What about you, Rarity?”

“Me? Oh darling, I thought you knew!” Rarity chortled. “I’m Jewish.”

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