Future Shock, Backward is Forward and A Fond Remembrance
Pinkie started up her time machine and with another whoosh she was in the future. Strangely, she didn't find herself back home, but outside the same castle. It was almost pitch black out; only the moon and stars provided any light. She could make out the shadowy outline of the castle nearby and approached it.
The castle seemed to be in ruins now, bare earth and the dead, leafless trees surrounding it. Why was it so cold? She rubbed her extremities to try to keep warm as she entered the castle.
"Hello? Anyone?" Pinkie Pie called out into the darkness, but the only sound was the echo of her hooves on the marble floors.
Digging around in her pack she found a bag of jelly beans and began leaving a trail to follow as she walked deeper into the castle. She saw leaves gathered in corners and watched the moon through the broken windows.
Pinkie Pie was getting very frightened by the spooky empty castle and she started whistling the song her grandmother taught her. But as she couldn't whistle, it was more like puckering and spitting the tune.
With each few steps she'd drop one jelly bean and eat one.
She became aware of a soundit was the sound of a mare crying. The sobs were deep and mournful and by the time she found her way to their source, she was crying herself in pity.
There, in the ruins of the enormous and once magnificent throne room, sitting on a crumbling throne sat a mare of dark blue color, her hooves to her face.
Pinkie Pie stepped forward, carefully avoiding pieces of armor scattered around the foot of the throne. She approached, afraid to disturb the mare's sorrow. "Hello?" Pinkie Pie asked meekly.
The sobs continued without interruption. Pinkie Pie cleared her throat, then again, a bit louder and still the crying mare ignored her. Getting frustrated, she approached the throne and poked the mare with her hoof.
"Why are you crying?"
At that, the mare finally looked up, then looked around and saw Pinkie Pie. There was no expression on her face as she stared blankly at the filly.
"Princess Luna? Is that you? You're all big now!" Pinkie Pie said excitedly. "So, where is everyone?"
The princess went wide eyed with fear and she cowered back from Pinkie Pie. Her mouth quivered, as if struggling to speak. "I-I.."
"Princess, what's wrong?"
Luna jumped off the throne and hid behind it as Pinkie stepped toward her.
"Princess Luna, its me, Pinkie Pie! Remember me and the fun we had?"
Luna hesitantly stepped out from behind the throne, her mouth still moving, trying to form words. "P-p-p-ie."
"Right, Pinkie Pie," she said, going up to the princess and patting her hoof comfortingly.
The princess slowly and cautiously reached out and touched Pinkie Pie, her eyes still wide with terror. "Pie."
"What happened to you, to the castle?" Pinkie Pie asked, looking around.
"P-pink... Pie. Pinkie Pie!" she finally managed to articulate. Luna leaned in close to look at this pink filly, examining her and her saddlebags.
"Princess, are you sick? What's wrong?"
"No... spea... thou..." Luna closed her eyes, concentrating hard. "Not word usenot use word years. Argh! Not talk longnot speaking in..." the princess took a deep breath, enunciating each syllable slowly and carefully. "I. Have. Not. Spoken. In. Over. Thousand. Years." Saying that prompted another round of tears.
"Wow, I think I would explode if I couldn't talk just one day!" Pinkie Pie said.
The princess suddenly stopped her crying and looked at Pinkie Pie in astonishment. "You're...still here!"
"Well, yeah! You haven't told me what's going on and why you haven't talked in over a thousand years."
Luna again examined Pinkie Pie and poked her with a hoof. When she was truly certain she wasn't a hallucination, she managed a small smile, but the smile faded quickly and tears began running down her face again.
"Killed them all!" Luna sobbed.
Pinkie Pie tilted her head, puzzled. "Killed all of who?"
"I kill all! Night never ends. All gone."
"This is the future?" Pinkie Pie wondered aloud. Then at once she understood. "This is the night that would last forever," Pinkie Pie said, feeling scared and lost as she sat by the throne.
"All gone!" Luna sobbed.
Pinkie Pie looked around, then back to Luna. "Where's Celestia?"
"Where's Nightmare Moon?"
"But she's the one who wanted the night to last forever."
"She weak... she grew weak. I fought free, but too late to save them!" she wept.
Princess Luna gathered up Pinkie Pie in her hooves and held her close. "I'm so... so sorry, Pie... Pinkie Pie," she sobbed.
"But you and Celestia knew it was going to happen. Why couldn't you stop her?"
"She had... other ways. She still got me. Knowing the futureknowing it changed things. Celestia was supposed to stop me, but she couldn't this time."
"This is all my fault," Pinkie Pie said, looking around at the darkness.
"No. My fault," Luna muttered, slumping back down onto the throne.
"How did you fight her?"
"Oh yeah, your horn."
"A different kind of magic. I was lost... lost in darkness for a long time, but then I began to remember."
"The magic of friendship. I remembered how much Celestia loved me, the good times; I remembered the little pink filly who said she traveled through time to save me. Who shared her cupcakes with me, who told me silly jokes and who played with me in the castle grounds. A filly who told me the truth even though it was scary. A filly who said she'd be my friend forever, but I didn't remember those things soon enough," Luna sobbed.
Pinkie Pie hugged the crying Luna, finding it strange that less than an hour ago they had been about the same age. "There has to be a way to change this! Pinkamena Diane Pie will think of something. Hmm, I need to sleep on it... zzzzz."
Immediately she found herself in the Land of Parties and while she was very tempted by the cake and games, there wasn't time. "Come on, I need the help of the Big Brain again!"
The others fell in line behind her and soon they were marching in rankexcept Rocky, who one of the Pinkies carried in a bucket.
Madam LaFlour sang an inspirational song and Sir Lints-a-lot played the bagpipes in accompaniment while Mr. Turnip joined in on the drum and Rocky played accordion. Everyone in her "army" had pink uniforms and carried candy weapons.
When they came to the dangerous looking thoughts guarding the doors to the Hall of Brainy Stuff they stopped and at first only Pinkie Pie dared approach them.
"We need to see the Big Brain again!" Pinkie Pie said fearlessly.
"She doesn't want to be disturbed. She's busy," the thought replied.
"Washing her hair," the other replied, laughing.
Pinkie Pie suspected they were lying. "The night will last forever if we can't talk to Big Brain!"
"No can do," the one thought said.
"There's nothing you can do that will make us let you in," the other added.
"Okay, you forced me to use my greatest weapon!" Pinkie Pie warned. She approached one of the guards and stuck her hoof out, almost but not quite touching the thought. "I'm not touching you! I'm not touching you! Does this bug you? I'm not touching you!"
Soon her army of friends joined in, surrounding the guards, but none of them actually touching the thoughts. The guards endured as long as they could, but soon the deafening chorus of "I'm not touching you! Does this bug you?" could be tolerated no longer.
"Okay, okay!" the guards finally shouted and opened the door.
Sir Lints-a-lot raised the flag of Pinkavania in triumph. "It is a great victory this day! Despite the terrible casualties we suffered, the fallen will live in our memories forever!" he shouted, looking down sadly at Rocky, who's bucket had gotten knocked over in the excitement.
"Medic!" Rocky shouted.
"Viva Pinkie Pie!" Mr. Turnip shouted.
Striding boldly toward Big Brain, Pinkie Pie was a Pie on a mission. The world was headed toward the most unfunness that was possible and only she could stop it.
To her surprise, Big Brain appeared with a towel around it and shampoo on top.
"I hope you have a good reason to be interrupting my "me" time, Pinkie Pie," Big Brain intoned gravely.
"Uh, yes. I might have, accidentally, destroyed the whole world."
Big Brain sighed and Pinkie Pie was sure that if she had eyes she'd be rolling them. "And you want me to undestroy the whole world?"
"If you don't mind."
"Well, for you, I suppose I could take a look at your little problem," she said with a hint of good humor in her voice.
Pinkie Pie took a large breath and for a minute straight blurted out the details. "And so that's why we're back here and if you don't help I don't know what we'll do and the world will be dark and sad with no parties and I can't imagine a world with no parties!"
"Hmm, that is quite a pickle you've found yourself in. Do you still have your time machine?" Big Brain asked as she hovered over to Pinkie Pie.
"Good." Big Brain went silent for a few moments. "Bring out my entire wardrobe!" she commanded and attendant thoughts quickly brought out multiple pairs of smarty pants and thinking caps and soon Big Brain wore several sets of pants over each other on top and bottom of her and hats stacked on the pants.
Pinkie Pie paced nervously, waiting for Big Brain's answer and the others amused themselves as best they could.
"Is it... a pile of rocks?" Mr. Turnip asked.
"Yes! You are ze master of 20 questions, Meester Turnip!" Madam LaFlour said joyfully.
"Lucky guess," Rocky huffed.
"I have made my conclusion," Big Brain announced finally.
"Please tell me you can undestroy the world. Oh please, please, please!" Pinkie Pie pleaded.
"Time flows like a river, Pinkie Pie. It will move relentlessly toward its destination. Nightmare Moon's incarnation cannot be prevented."
Pinkie Pie's heart made a "Clunk" sound as it fell from her chest to her stomach.
"All my fault," she muttered, looking down sadly.
"I didn't say you should give up hope!" Big Brain said in exasperation. "I was just building dramatic tension before the big reveal. Yes, the river of time flows relentlessly, but like a river its path can be altered and diverted. As you have seen the past can be altered, so now you must travel with Luna to the past. She holds the key to defeating Nightmare Moon. She must teach Celestia what she knows, teach her how to remind the imprisoned Luna about those elements of her defense that set her free. It still may be a difficult road for Celestia to travel, but it gives her the best chance of saving the world and rescuing Luna,"
There was a cheer from those assembled at Big Brain's latest amazing revelation. Pinkie Pie looked up appreciatively and then hugged Big Brain again.
"Thank you, Big Brain! I owe you one!"
Pinkie Pie woke abruptly to find herself sleeping in Luna's arms, the princess' wings wrapped protectively around the filly.
"Princess Luna, I know how to fix things!" Pinkie Pie exclaimed, hopping up and down with excitement.
"How is that possible?" she asked in confusion.
"You'll come to the past with me. You can tell Celestia how you defeated Nightmare Moon, then when you become Nightmare Moon, Celestia can remind you about how you did it so you can defeat her, only better this time."
"I still have to become Nightmare Moon?" she asked sadly.
"Yeah, kinda," Pinkie Pie said sheepishly.
"From what you say, my options have been either death or ruler of a dead world. Perhaps there is a glimmer of hope, a chance to live again," she said, a spark of happiness entering her voice. She looked to Pinkie Pie with a smile, the first the filly was sure had appeared there in a very, very long time.
Pinkie Pie lead the princess to the courtyard where her time machine was and then prepared her time machine and looked it over carefully. She wasn't sure why, but when her father prepared to use any kind of machine, he always looked it over carefully so she thought she should too.
Princess Luna levitated the toy Celestia and started to cry again. "Oh Celly, I can finally see you again," she sobbed and clutched the toy tightly.
Pinkie Pie pulled out a crayon and wrote "Back to the castle with Celestia back then" and then turned the clock.
Again she felt the rush of time against her face and through her mane and to her surprise, Luna raised her hooves and joined her in shouting "Woooo!" as she experienced it too.
Shortly they found themselves back at the castle; they could see Celestia walking away from where she had left her earlier.
Princess Luna cried out and covered her eyes. "Confounded daylight!"
Celestia turned and saw them and she gasped and began walking back. "Who is this?" Celestia asked, looking suspiciously at Luna.
Luna lowered her hoof, still squinting as her eyes adjusted to the light. "Celestia..." Luna uttered, seeing her beloved sister alive again.
"Luna?" she asked in astonishment.
Pinkie Pie was all smiles. "Yep! I went to the future and brought her back here to teach you how to stop Nightmare Moon!"
Celestia looked from Luna to Pinkie Pie. "I don't know what to say."
"I do!" Pinkie Pie said and began singing. "Happy Birthday to youuuu..."
"And that's how Equestria was saved!" Pinkie Pie exclaimed, throwing her hooves up triumphantly.
"But how... where... when..." Twilight muttered.
"Strange that the coin didn't change when it was all over," Pinkie said, turning it over again. "I guess since I took it with me it stayed like it was when Granny Pie gave it to me."
"Okay, Pinkie Pie. Where is this time machine of yours?" Twilight asked skeptically, beginning to levitate the various boxes and looking all around the room.
"Oh that, Big Brain told me later on that it was a really, really bad idea for me to have a time machine so I took it apart and then ate the plans. But first I had to go back and forth a few times to make sure we got it right, but eventually the Princess figured out the whole Elements of Harmony thing and then we were set. It wasn't the best way things could turn out, that whole thousand years on the moon thing for Luna, but of all the other ways things could have gone, this really was the only one that worked out with a happy ending. Fate really, really had it in for her."
"What about the other Luna?"
"Well, Celestia said she had to go back to her own time to be there when her timeline would merge with ours, but I didn't want her to have to be there all alone, so I set the time machine to "just right before the time lines merge" and got her back just a few minutes before that and then she and the other Luna became one."
"Why wouldn't the princess tell me about something like this?"
"She said that since it actually was possible to change time, that doing stuff to time can make weird things happen. So she and Luna probably don't even remember me from back then, but that's okay. It all worked out in the end. The Princess got what she really wanted for her birthday and that's all that matters, though if she doesn't remember any of it, that birthday card I sent probably didn't make much sense."
"I-I'm going to have to ask the princess about all this," Twilight said, rubbing her head.
"Ooh, if you do, ask her whatever happened to my Celestia doll. I think I left it back at the castle," Pinkie Pie asked, smiling fondly at the memories.
Celestia sat in her private study, moving a landscape painting of her castle off the wall. In its place she put up a recently taken picture of herself and Luna. She smiled deeply, thrilled beyond description to have her beloved sister back.
She had let her study get a bit cluttered over the years and she moved things around until she uncovered a small glass display case. She moved it to a prominent place and looked at it fondly.
Inside the case was a magically preserved plush toya Celestia doll, left behind by a time traveler long, long ago.
A drawer pulled out from the base of the display case and an envelope floated out to her. It was of much more recent vintage, little more than a decade old. The hoofmade card slid out of the opened envelope and on the front was a crayon drawing of herself, a filly Luna, an adult Luna and a little pink filly. Celestia made it a point to read this card every year to celebrate her birthday.
She sat on the cushions near the fireplace and summoned some tea and read the card with a smile.
Dear Princess Celestia,
You probably don't remember me. I was the filly who went back in time to help you with Luna so that she would be okay. When Granny Pie told me why you were always so sad, I wanted you to have the best birthday ever. So that's why I went back in time. I hope you like your birthday present! Happy Birthday!
"Yes, Pinkie Pie, I liked it very much," she said, smiling and sipping her tea.