MailMareThe Ponyville mailmare was on her usual route delivering letters, packages, and postcards to the residents of the little town. She hummed as she opened the mailboxes, bounced as she walked down the pathways, and smiled at every pony she saw. She really loved her job.
The mailmare stopped outside the door of the Ponyville library and knocked three times. The library wasn’t technically open yet, and she didn’t want to just walk right in. Inside she heard a bit of a commotion, followed by a loud "Ow!" from Twilight's little purple assistant, Spike. She waited a few more seconds for them to make their way over to the door, but they never did. She knocked again, with the same results. No one came to the door. She stood in thought for a moment. On the one hoof, she didn't want to bother Twilight if she was busy with her studies, or some really important task for Princess Celestia, but on the other hoof, this was an official Canterlot delivery, and she didn't want to risk Twilight not receiving it, or getting it too late.
She made up her mind, took a deep breath, and opened the library door a crack. "Yoo-hoo, Twilight...?" she called, poking her small grey nose just inside the doorway. No answer. "Spike?" Still nothing. She bit her lower lip, and hesitated a bit. Maybe I should just go. It might be okay if I deliver the package tomorrow instead... She looked down at her saddlebags where the package was poking out. A sense of guilt flooded over her as she saw the words URGENT, FRAGILE, and IMPORTANT, stamped in red all over the parcel paper. She sighed, screwed her eyes shut, and pushed the door wide open.
Across town a hyper pink pony bounced around Ponyville’s only bakery. Like the mailmare, she loved her job, and let it show. Unlike the mailmare, however, she often ended up eating more than she delivered. When the bell above the door chimed to announce a new guest, Pinkie quickly wiped the frosting from her mouth and skipped to the counter to greet them. “Oh hey, Rarity!” she said cheerfully. “What scrumptilicious treat would you like today?” She smiled wide.
“Oh, nothing for me today, dear. Sweetie Belle has been nagging me all morning to come here and buy her a--” She froze. “Well, for the life of me I can’t remember what it was she wanted. I’ve been so busy lately. I’m actually losing my mind!” She laughed a small laugh.
“Wellllllll, I know pretty much all there is to know about baked goods, maybe I can help jog your memory! Was iiiiiiiiiiit a cupcake? A cake? A brownie? A blondie? A cruller? A pie? Cobbler? Snickerdoodle? Macaroon? Chimichonga? Strudel? Churr--”
“Oh is that it? Is it a churro? Or were you stopping me for strudel? We have quite a few different kinds of strudel. Do you remember the flavor she’d wanted? I can make any kind she’d like!” Pinkie looked at Rarity expectantly, bouncing slightly where she stood.
“I honestly don’t know what she wants. I’m fairly certain it was not a strudel or a... ‘churro’. I just couldn’t take any more suggestions! You must think I’m so silly for not remembering something as simple as a bakery order!” Rarity sighed, looking flustered.
“Oh, not at all! I forget things all the time. Just the other day I forgot where my apron was. I looked all over Sugarcube Corner. I even went around Ponyville doing super-duper detective work to try and find it. I got back home only to realize I’ve never had an apron!”
Rarity stared at her ridiculous friend and burst into laughter. “Oh Pinkie,” she said, “you always know how to brighten up my day. I think I’m just going to get an order of chocolate fudge, and a special red velvet cupcake for Sweetie Belle. I may not remember the specific request, but I know she’d never turn down something as delectable as your cupcakes.” Pinkie gave a little salute and got to work. She wrapped the fudge up neatly and passed it over to Rarity. Next, she skipped into the kitchen, only to return moments later with a beautiful red velvet cupcake, frosted in a light pink vanilla butter-creme frosting, and decorated with tiny, glittering, sugar silver bells. Rarity’s eyes lit up at the treat. “Pinkie Pie, it’s beautiful! She will just love it!”
Pinkie Pie giggled. “Sweet bells for Sweetie Belle!” She handed the cupcake over in its own little box, and Rarity carefully tucked the treats away in her saddlebags.
“Thank you so much, Pinkie Pie. You really have made my day, and I’m sure Sweetie Belle will be ecstatic.” She smiled at her friend and set a couple of bits down on the counter.
“You’re welcome, Rarity. I’m sorry I couldn’t help you remember what Sweetie originally wanted. If you do think of it, come back and I’ll make it for you on the house. Well, not on the house, I don’t think the Cakes would appreciate that. One time, I made a gingerbread house around Sugarcube Corner and frosted it to look identical and they were so mad when they saw me eating the walls! It was a pain to clean up too, but Gummy and I were up to the tasty task.” Pinkie Pie smacked her lips together remembering that particular Hearth’s Warming Eve. Rarity just stared.
“Yes, well, I’m sure Sweetie will be fine. Thank you again, Pinkie Pie. I very much appreciate it.” With a smile and a slight nod, the white unicorn turned and trotted out the door. Pinkie Pie stood behind the counter for a moment, thinking. She threw a glance over at the alligator sitting on the floor.
“Hey Gummy, do we have everything we need to make gingerbread?” Her eyes twinkled deviously as she picked up the alligator and headed back into the storeroom.
They grey mare slowly opened one eye and peeked into the library. “Uhm... Spike? Twilight?” she called. She opened her eyes a little more and looked around. The library was... empty. That couldn’t be, she’d heard them not 30 seconds ago making all kinds of noise. She cleared her throat and called a little louder: “Twilight Sparkle?” She waited; still nothing. She sighed. Part of her wanted to just leave the package on the table and continue on with her route, but she knew if anyone found out she could get in trouble. The sender specifically asked that the package be signed for; if she just left it here she’d have to either forge Twilight’s signature, or not get it signed. Both were breaking the rules and could cause her to lose her job. She bit her lip again, an old nervous habit, and decided that she’d just leave and try to deliver it later in the day.
She adjusted her cap and turned to leave, but something stopped her. The fur on her back started to prickle strangely, and she heard a low crackling noise coming from Twilight’s private quarters. Slowly the mailmare turned around and looked up the stairs leading to Twilight’s room.
What she saw made her yellow eyes open wide. A shimmering red light started flashing just at the top of the stairs. As she watched, the red light grew larger, slowly descending down the stairs and the wall of the library. Suddenly Spike came running down the stairs, racing the light to get to the bottom. “SPIKE!” the mailmare shouted.
The small purple dragon looked shocked. “What are you doing here!? Uh, I think you should leave... I think something went wrong.” At that moment there was a loud snap and shards of red light flew all over the library, leaving black scorch marks everywhere they hit. Well, almost everywhere.
Spike stood up, stunned, and looked around the smoking library.
“Ponyfeathers!” cursed Twilight. “Spike? Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. The library’s seen better days, but it looks like most of the books are alright.”
“Well, at least something went right. I don’t understand why this muting spell is giving me so much grief. I just want to be able to study in perfect silence sometimes!”
Spike let out a small laugh. He started walking up the stairs to Twilight when he suddenly remembered the mailmare.
“Oh no, Twilight, look!” he yelled as he ran over to where the small grey pony lay unconscious. “I think something really bad has happened.” Twilight trotted down the stairs after him, gasping when she saw the mare, and knelt down by her side. She rested her head on her chest and determined that she was still breathing, her heart rate was normal, and after giving her a once-over, saw there were no visible wounds.
“Maybe she’s just in shock?” Twilight suggested. “Spike, can you go get me a cold glass of water please?” The baby dragon nodded and ran off to the kitchen, returning seconds later with some water. Twilight hesitated, then poured the entire glass on the mailmare’s face. The yellow-maned pony spluttered, shaking her head quickly back and forth and sitting up abruptly. She looked at Twilight, then at Spike, then back to Twilight. Her eyes lit up when she remembered the package she had to deliver. She quickly stood up, reached into her saddlebag, and presented the package to Twilight.
“Oh my gosh! Spike, it’s from Shining Armor! I haven’t heard from him since the wedding. Oh yay, I wonder what it could be.” Spike and Twilight gushed to each other for a few minutes about the possible contents of the package, when they realized the mailmare was still standing before them, smiling wide. “I’m so sorry! How rude of me. Thank you for delivering the package, D--” The grey mare held up her hoof and handed Twilight a clipboard and a quill, motioning for her to sign. “Right. That’s just like Shining Armor, to make it so official.” She quickly signed her name, handed the clipboard back, and focused her attention back on the package. The mailmare smiled, tucked the clipboard away, then tipped her hat to Spike as she trotted out the library door.
That could have gone worse, she thought to herself as she trotted down the pathway. The rest of her deliveries went off without a hitch, thankfully, and she spent the rest of the beautiful, ordinary afternoon hanging out in the park. She loved to come to the park when she was through with work. There was nothing better than laying in the soft, cool grass, and listening to the ponies around her laughing and having a good time. As she was reflecting upon her day, she heard the unusual sound of ponies arguing. She opened her eyes and looked over at the culprits. Lyra and Bon-Bon were engaged in some kind of heated debate over- what sounded like- breakfast foods.
“No, Lyra, you aren’t listening. Cupcakes are NOT a breakfast food. I don’t care how many eggs are in the batter; they will never be considered breakfast.”
Lyra rolled her eyes are her partner. “Oh come on Bon-Bon, what makes you think you know everything there is to know about breakfast? Why are you suddenly a breakfast expert? A-a... a breaxpert! If it were up to you, ponies would have nothing but oats for breakfast. Boooring.”
“If cupcakes were not acceptable, then how do you explain...” She drew a blank. “You know, that breakfast food that looks just like a cupcake.”
Bon-Bon stared at her. “The... what-now?”
Lyra growled in frustration. “You know, the things with the paper around them and the cakey... bready... ness.”
“Sweetie, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Derpy grinned. “It’s a muffin!” she yelled. Or, she tried to yell. Nothing came out. The mailmare looked confused, cleared her throat, and tried again. “Muffin!” Silence. What is going on?! She couldn’t remember having a cold recently, and she was talking perfectly fine the entire day. Oh Celestia... what if I can never say muffin again!? How will I order at Sugarcube Corner? What will become of me?! She forced herself to stay calm and breathe. She decided it was best to try and say something else, on the chance that it was only that word she couldn’t speak. “Ponyville.” Silence again. “Princess Celestia.” Nope. “Feather-licking hoof-chewer!” She blushed, but at least no one heard what she said. So that solves it, she thought, I lost my voice.
The grey mare moseyed through Ponyville, wondering what the best course of action would be for her current predicament. She had lost her voice before, of course, almost every winter when she gets her annual cold, after cheering too loudly at a Wonderbolts performance, etc. but it was never quite like this. She could hear an echo of what she was trying to say in her own mind, but she could tell that it wasn’t actually said aloud. It was a strange, discomfiting feeling. She debated heading over to the library and seeing if Twilight had any ideas, but then she remembered how she’d barged in on her and Spike earlier, and she couldn’t bring herself to face them just yet. She sighed... silently... then shivered a little. As she passed Sugarcube Corner, the bouncy pink baker came out to greet her. “Hey Derpy!” she shouted, waving. Derpy smiled wanly and waved back. “If you can guess what your super-duper most favoritest food ever in the world is, you can get one free!” Pinkie Pie giggled, smiling conspiratorially at the grey pony.
Derpy opened her mouth to speak, but realized it would be pointless. She got an idea and drew an image in the ground, then pointed at it, imploring Pinkie to look at it with her eyes. Pinkie stifled a laugh. “Silly Derpy, what does an upside down lemon meringue pie on a hoof have to do with anything? You hate lemon!” Derpy shook her head and started writing M-U, but just then a sudden rainstorm hit Ponyville, washing away her work. The damp, yellow-maned pony walked away, ignoring Pinkie’s calling, and flew to her home. She barely dried herself off before crawling into her soft bed, squeezing her eyes shut and hoping to Celestia that her voice would be back in the morning.
That night Derpy tossed and turned, visions of chaos and destruction filling her mind, while she stood on the sidelines trying to shout warnings only to have no sound come out. She woke up the next morning drenched in sweat, dark circles shadowing her normally bright yellow eyes. Her heart beat fast as she opened her mouth to speak, but still no sound came. Derpy sat at the edge of her bed, staring at her hooves, and cried more silently than she ever thought possible.
Twilight looked up from her book and over at the door. “Hey Spike,” she called, “would you mind getting the door?”
“On it, Twi!” the little dragon called back, rushing over to the door. “Oh hey, Derpy. Another delivery?”
Twilight looked back down at her book, assuming Spike would collect the mail, put it on the table like he always did, and then continue on with his chores. She was in the middle of reading a really interesting passage about Star Swirl the Bearded’s great nephew, Milky Way the Goateed, when she was interrupted by Spike. “Uh, I’m really sorry to bother you Twilight, but I think you should come down here... Now.”
Twilight sighed, stretched her back, and followed the purple dragon into the entrance hall. “Did you sneeze on another book, Spike?” He didn’t answer. Twilight was surprised to see the grey mailmare still standing in the library. Twilight looked at her, noticing how disheveled her mane looked, her eyes dull and sunken. “Derpy? Is everything okay?” she asked. The mailmare shook her head, her eyes brimming with tears. “What is it? You can tell me. I’ll help you with anything.” Twilight watched as the mare opened her mouth to speak, then stopped, then tried to speak again, then gave up. “Do you... do you want to write it down? Would that be easier?” The tired grey pony nodded, and took the quill and parchment that Twilight floated over to her. She quickly scribbled and handed the paper to Twilight.
Only two words were written there: Can’t Speak. The purple unicorn stared at the paper for a while before speaking. “When you say you can’t speak, do you mean you’ve been traumatized mentally and now it’s difficult for you to speak, or it’s physically impossible for you to speak?” Derpy just stared at her. “Oh, right, yes or no questions would probably be best. Was it the first option?” Derpy shook her head. “Was it the second?” Derpy nodded. “Okay, good. We’re getting somewhere.”
“Twilight... Derpy was hit by your spell yesterday. Is it possible that it’s actually muted her?”
“That’s... a great idea, Spike. Oh my gosh, that means my spell worked! I mean, this isn’t good, and Derpy I am so sorry, but the spell...” She trailed off. “Ahem. I think I can find the spell to reverse the muting spell in one of my books here, just give me a few minutes.”
Derpy shrugged. Honestly, what else do I have to do, she thought. She flopped down on the floor of the library and waited.
Twilight found the book after only a few minutes, but it took much, much longer than that to get the basics of the spell nailed down. After a few unsuccessful attempts, Twilight lay panting on the floor, Spike was rushing around the library with a fire extinguisher, and Derpy was spontaneously quacking. “I’m going to figure this out, Derpy. I promise--”
“I promise you.”
After a few more hours, Derpy was all but ready to give up when Twilight thought she figured out the problem. She planted her hooves on the ground, pointed her horn directly at Derpy’s throat, and concentrated hard. Slowly a pulsing blue light shimmered from the end of her horn. The orb of light grew slowly until it was covering Twilight and Derpy and then, without warning, a loud snap echoed throughout the library, and both Derpy and Twilight fell to the library floor.
“Twilight? Derpy?” Spike shook the two ponies, his face contorted in panic. “Guys, please wake up. Guys...” He paced around the library. They’re breathing, so they have to be okay, he thought. He ran to the kitchen, got two glasses of water, and poured them both over the two ponies. Twilight groaned quietly.
“Spike?” she murmured. Her assistant rushed over to her side.
“Twilight, are you okay?”
“Ughh, so tired.” Just as she finished speaking, Derpy stirred, and Twilight’s eyes snapped opened. “Derpy? Spike, is she okay? Can she speak?”
“I don’t know. She hasn’t woken up yet. She looks like she’s about to..”
Spike and Twilight watched Derpy, as she continued to stir, and then eventually she sat up. She saw Twilight and Spike’s expectant looks, and she suddenly remembered why she was here. She mustered up all of her courage, and finally said “H-hi?” She heard it. She heard herself say it, and by the looks on her companions’ faces she could tell they heard it too. She jumped up, hugged them both, and sobbed “Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!” before cantering out of the library as fast as her hooves would take her.
Pinkie Pie looked up from behind the counter of Sugarcube Corner at the sudden clanging of the bell. She was a little startled by what she saw standing in the door. Derpy Hooves, resident mailmare, was standing in the doorway, panting hard, her mane plastered to her forehead, and her eyes shining brightly in Pinkie Pie’s direction. “Hi Derpy,” Pinkie Pie said. “What can I get--” But Derpy cut her off. Derpy didn’t want to listen right now. Derpy needed to talk.
Across town Lyra and Bon-Bon were eating a tense meal together. They never really got over the argument they had the other day, and Lyra was still insisting that there was a perfectly acceptable cupcake-like breakfast food. Without any warning Lyra jumped up from where she sat, and spilled her carrot soup all over the floor. She looked at Bon-Bon, a triumphant grin spreading across her face.
Rarity quietly sewed the finishing touches on the last piece for her Fall collection. As soon as she cut the last thread she took a step back and surveyed her work. Gowns in every shade of orange, yellow, and brown. Fabric that was perfect to keep a pony warm, but not thick enough to look bulky and gauche. She smiled and took a deep breath, letting her eyes travel over the various curves of her gown. A certain light brown dress was her favorite, with a corset-like top, and a flowing, slightly puffy skirt. It looked just like a -- then it hit her. She finally remembered what Sweetie Belle had been asking for this morning. She picked up her coin purse and ran to Sweetie Belle’s room. She had to double-check before going back to Sugarcube Corner, but she couldn’t be wrong. She was sure of it.
High in Canterlot tower, the two princesses shared their only meal together. Celestia looked at the offering on the table, but suddenly had a very intense craving for something else. It was as if somewhere nearby, multiple ponies were all thinking about the exact same food. “How strange,” she quietly mused.
“What was that, dear sister?” asked Luna.
“Oh, nothing,” Celestia answered. “But Luna, do you happen to know if we have any muffins?”
Have confidence in yourself, even when you don't think you're looking the right way.
Prove to everyone that you CAN be the best you can be.
Don't be afraid to be yourself.
Enjoy your muffin!