The night air was cool on this late-winter evening. Though it was only seven p.m. the sun had already set, and a blanket of dark had covered the town of Ponyville.
Derpy hooves hovered unsteadily down the street, both of her wings failing to maintain any practical rhythm with the other. This generally caused her to fly diagonally in either direction; she would often switch the direction at random times without precise control.
The Pegasus could in fact fly quite gracefully. For some reason she felt it necessary to do otherwise.
Woozy bats, she had once reasoned, woozy bats like bulls stubborn. Such was the sort of logic she used to contemplate most things.
In the corner of her vision she noticed movement. She looked in the direction of said movement to find a group of birds. "Ants!" She called at them. "Eggs all scrambled and gravel from sand!"
When the flock hit the center of her vision the flock seemed to dissipate. Every time she ever saw a flock of birds they always looked so separate, so scattered, especially when they hit the center of her vision. They were always scrambled, so to speak, much like her thoughts, which never seemed to make sense to her, much less to anypony who listened to her speak. It was as if her brain was encoding every message it sent it to her as a thought, making everything that came across her mind hard to comprehend.
She looked back down to where flowers where planted next to buildings. The sight simply did not make her wish to smile. Rather it made her want to go and re-organize everything, more like she usually organized her bathroom. Why anyone would want to plant flowers without any particular order or color scheme was beyond her. The beds were nothing more than jumbled messes of mismatched plants, some of which appeared deformed.
She shook her head before looking ahead of her once more and there was silence.
Suddenly there was a feeling of pain in her forehead from some unseen force. "Ah, gasping bubbles!" She cried out, shaking her head furiously. She was suddenly inside a building, heated and well lit. There were other ponies mingling around her.
"Darts on globes?" She asked aloud, but no pony paid any mind to her.
Where was she? The pony blinked a couple times, unable to remember how she ended up where she was.
"Bulldozer magic!" She said putting a hoof to her head. Why did her head hurt? Where was she earlier. Everything prior to the last minute had completely vacated her memory.
Derpy shook her head once more, deciding she should sit down. She trotted clumsily over to the counter where there were two seats. She stopped for a moment to inspect something on the wall before sitting down.
Suddenly there was another pain to her head and everything faded to black.
/ / \ \____/ / \ \____/ / \ \____/ / \ \____/ / \ \____/ / \ \__
\ \__/ / __ \ \__/ / __ \ \__/ / __ \ \__/ / __ \ \__/ / __ \ \__/ / _
eraM|Mare in the Mirror
To see the world again through different eyes is a gift, a gift that can be both a blessing and a curse.
"Mirror mirror on the wall, who's the fairest mare of all?" The line was from popular pony-tale. Yet there stood Derpy Hooves staring at her own reflection, and not a single thought of her favorite bedtime story even came to mind. Her focus was on other matters; her gaze was directed at the reflection that stared back at her, analyzing her every feature, evaluating her very physical being.
Derpy glanced towards the reflection's face, the reflection returning the stare. The mare in the mirror seemed somewhat enchanted by her eyes and the way they seemed to show as such a brilliant gold in the light. It was the first time she had ever seen the yellow of her own irises so clearly. Her eyes, unlike the ones in the photographs of her, were correctly aligned.
She felt a sharp pain in her head which caused her to cringe. In an effort to douse this pain, she used her left fore-hoof to apply pressure to the upper-left section of her forehead. Once again she made a pained expression, except this time it was not the pain that ailed her; it was the sudden change in contour that had formed on her forehead from the previous night's fiasco.
The kind nurse at the Ponyville Infirmary had explained it all to her. However the more she thought about it the more absurd it seemed and more embarrassed she felt.
The nurse had mentioned her flying into a lamp post, which in itself was rather droll. The post itself was an illuminated object, a beacon of light in an otherwise dim setting. Even if she had not been looking directly at the bulb the radius of its glow would have been rather grand in the night, and it would have no doubt provided a fair warning of the lamp's presence.
The story did not end there. Apparently after colliding head-on with the lamp post she had managed to stumble her way into Sugar-Cube Corner. A witness had claimed to see her examine two available seats at the counter, and then choose the one directly under a plaque that was obviously about to fall.
Where is the common sense in that? She thought to herself. There was indeed none.
Perhaps the most painful part at this moment was the fact that she could not remember anything prior to the visit to the infirmary. Actually, that wasn't even it. The true source of this pain came from the feeling that even if she hadn't partook in these accidents she would still be without memory.
The mare in the mirror hardened her heart, and the burning flames of a caustic anger appeared in the reflections expression. Derpy found herself exchanging looks of certain hatred with her reflection. Malice flared in her eyes as her head grew hot from the malevolence in her heart that caused the blood to pump rapidly through her veins. Her breathing resembled a mixture of denial, panic, and anxiety as all started to become clear.
Derpy Hooves was her name, and it was a name that suited her all too well. At least it did, before today. Before the previous night she had been what other ponies tended to call wall-eyed. This was no longer the case. Her hooves, which now provided her stability in her stance, had once a tendency to cause her to fall. Once again the circumstances had changed.
However there was yet another change in her, and this one was perhaps the most significant one of all: her thoughts. Derpy now had no trouble thinking clearly, at least when compared to how her thoughts once were. Before the incident every idea that had the audacity to cross her mind was jumbled and difficult to comprehend.
Yes, Derpy Hooves had always been a fitting name for her. Now she understood why.
"Why are you this way?" She heard herself say, but she let herself believe that it was the mare in the mirror who was speaking. "Why are you so strange? You're different from other ponies. You're nothing more than the rest of Equestria's comic relief." The reflection gave her a look of accusation, blaming the distressed pegasus for her own existence.
Derpy tried to shrink back and away out of the glares of her reflection, which pierced her heart like arrows could pierce through cardboard. "I can't control who I am," she whispered, "or who I was."
The pony sighed as she departed from the mirror, as it was only causing her to feel more grief.
To hay with all, she thought. Why should she let this change anything about her life? But that was just it, before now she hadn't the capability to ask such questions; she was unsure if this freedom of thought was a blessing or a curse.
Derpy shook her head as if to break from a trance. A hot bath would make her feel better, or so she told herself.
She trotted slowly to the bathroom, but when she opened the door and looked inside, the wish to soak in the tub vanished. The bathroom was a total mess. Towels were randomly scattered about the floor, which was wet with the cold waters of previous baths. Bottles of body-wash were toppled in various locations, lying in puddles of their own contents.
The curtain to the shower was the only thing still in-tact, even if just barely hanging from the bent metal bar above the edge of the tub. Never before had she seen such a mess. Then again, never before had she truly seen. Were it the day before, her two eyes would have seen two separate pictures, each one looking relatively fine in its own sense. Only now when her lines of sight merged was she fully capable to make out the actual mess.
The mess was horrid enough to bring tears to her soft and tired eyes. However she did not shed a single tear, for from the chaos before her also rose another feeling. This was a feeling that was only vaguely familiar to her: a sense of purpose.
Slowly and painstakingly Derpy Hooves cleaned the bathroom.
After using the dirty towels to soak up the water and suds she put them into the hamper and hung clean ones on the wooden wall rack with the chrome hooks. She then picked up the toppled soap bottles and wiped the spillage away with a slightly dampened cloth and replaced any knocked over decorations.
After an hour she found her work completed, and she softly landed her hooves to the sparkling floor. A feeling of accomplishment overcame her for this was the first time she had ever clearly seen anything she had cleaned.
Her happiness was short-lived. When she looked down to the floor she found that in the sparkling tiles beneath her hooves she could see her own reflection a thousand times over. In the tiny squares she saw a thousand images of herself from the photos she had seen; One-thousand images of Derpy Hooves; two thousand wall-eyes.
"I have to get out of this house." She whispered putting extra emphasis on the word have.
Without uttering another word she left the bathroom, trotted past the mirror, and departed from her home. Only when she was outside did the voices in her head quiet down enough so that she could hear her stomach growling.
"I know what I need," she giggled at her craving, "a muffin."
The trip to Sugar-Cube Corner was unlike any previous one. In fact, she could honestly say it was different than any trip she had taken before. Everywhere she looked she saw a clear picture of her surroundings; it was beautiful.
As she hovered close to the ground she caught a glimpse of the simple joys that nature had to show; joys that she had always overlooked. Colorful flora grew almost everywhere; flowers like daisies and petunias sprouted gracefully from the ground while decorative-looking walls of ivy and clover crept up the trees in small amounts. A sweet and refreshing scent filled the air, and allowed Derpy to feel relaxed.
Amongst the scenery one particular event caught her eye. Before, whenever she had seen birds, they had always seemed so separate, so secluded from both her and one-another. But this was different. She saw three birds, a family of robins, in a nest. She watched as the largest one, which she inferred to be the father in the family, stood close to who she believed was the mother. The two larger birds stood side by side watching proudly as their single hatchling hobbled clumsily about the nest.
They look so peaceful, she thought.
She had a chance to see this all before when she was walking home from the infirmary. But at that time she had been unable to enjoy it due to the continuous stream of questions running through her head. Now that she was trying to clear her mind, she found it far more enjoyable.
There was a moment of tranquility, which ultimately kept her entranced she watched curiously as the little bird wobbled over to the edge of the nest, and walked off.
At first Derpy didn't react, for it was a bird after all, and birds fly. However, when the bird failed to slow its descent despite the flailing of its wings, her curiosity was replaced with worry. Almost instantly that worry turned to fear, for it was now obvious that the young robin was still unable to fly.
Without a moment to lose, she dove in the direction of the bird's predicted landing zone. Her belly hit the ground with a thump, causing her to grunt softly, and her eyes stared up as the bird approached the ground. She held her breath, and waited until that moment when she felt the feathered aviator make contact with her forelegs head first.
"Oh my goodness!" cried a soft voice.
When Derpy lifted her head to see who it was she found herself face to face with none other than Fluttershy.
"Are you okay?" The pony was talking to the bird of course.
The bird shook its ruffled feathers in a way similar to a dog shaking water from its fur. It then nodded, just before the parents of the bird came rushing to meet their child. The two birds embraced the youngling, then nodded towards Derpy before lifting their child back into the nest.
Fluttershy on the other hoof did not leave.
"Oh," she said quietly, although it seemed as if the pony thought she was yelling. "That was very brave of you, to dive and save that poor baby bird."
The look on her face was sincerely grateful, and the way in which she spoke gave Derpy yet another feeling of both accomplishment and purpose.
"Please," the yellow pegasus pleaded, "let me make you lunch, I insist."
While Derpy was not at all used to receiving personal invitations, she also wasn't one to turn down a meal. A smile appeared on her face, and question slipped from her mouth without warning. "Will there be muffins?" Her voice contained a sense of hope, as if she truly desired nothing more than a muffin in her life. She was shocked at her own words. In fact, she never intended to say anything at all, but her stomach had a mind of its own.
Fluttershy only smiled, and nodded as softly as she spoke.
"If that's what you're hungry for, I brought home a whole basket from Sugar-Cube Corner this morning."
The yellow pony looked at the other pegasus who had by now rose to her hooves and shaken off the dust from her belly.
"Is something wrong?" Fluttershy asked, noticing the troubled expression on Derpy's face.
Indeed there is, thought Derpy. Had Fluttershy been there to witness the incident? Surely, she thought, Fluttershy had not been there to witness what was probably one of the most embarrassing moments in her life. "No," she lied, "of course not."
Fluttershy smiled and turned around, leading the way to her cottage with Derpy close behind. "Oh, thank goodness!" Once again her voice was soft and gentle. "I was worried you might still be hurt from last night. Come now, this way."
Derpy was left in shock. Perhaps Fluttershy had been there after all, she thought, now knowing that her assumptions had been a reality. But Fluttershy seemed very nonchalant about the whole ordeal. In fact, instead of mocking Derpy she seemed to truly care. Now all Derpy could do was hope the rest of Ponyville would be so kind.
Better not get your hopes up, she told herself in her mind. The skepticism in her thoughts reflected in her expression, though nopony was around to see her face.
By now Fluttershy was a good twenty yards ahead of her, and was still not yet aware that Derpy had stopped. In an effort to not arouse suspicion Derpy raced to catch up with the other.
Derpy's first step inside Fluttershy's cottage was no doubt her most enchanting one. Bird houses on the walls and mouse holes too. It seemed as if the room contained a miniature zoo, or rather a habitat, for the term zoo arouses the pictures of creatures in captivity rather than living in peaceful harmony.
Fluttershy led her to a table, inviting her to sit down at it. "I made tea," she said shyly, "I hope you like it."
Derpy watched as the other pegasus poured the warm brew into two separate cups. The concoction spun around in a whirlpool as the cup was filled, and a cloud of white steam rose quickly in a large puff before thinning to a smoky stream.
Next the yellow pegasus used her nose to push the small plate on which the cup was placed over to her guest. After this was done she disappeared upstairs and returned a few seconds later with a basket. Its contents could not be seen due to being covered by a red and white checkered cloth. She set the basket on the center of the table and smiled.
For a while neither of them moved, for fear that if they were to be the first to take a muffin then they would appear rude. This all changed, however, when Derpy's stomach growled again, giving her a reminder of how hungry she was. With her front-left hoof she lifted the cloth that covered the baked goods, and then with her teeth she took one of the pastries. To her surprise the muffin was still warm, even if not steaming hot. Slowly she placed it on her plate next to her tea. After seeing that her guest had done this, Fluttershy also took a muffin from the basket.
Derpy leaned in low to take a sip of her tea before pulling her head back up to speak. "The tea is delicious; might I ask where you found it?"
Fluttershy was, at that point, just finishing a sip of her tea as well. "Oh, I'm glad you like it. I bought it at a nice little tea shop over by Sugar-Cube Corner. If you want I can write the name down for you."
Derpy smiled warmly, nodding her head once to reposition her head, which added to the influence of her expression. "Yes please, thank you!" She said sincerely before looking off to her left for a moment. "You're really quite nice; I wonder why I haven't spoken much with you before. Or at least, I don't think we have." Her voice grew a little unnerved as she admitted to her poor memory.
Fluttershy used her napkin to dab off the crumbs from her own face before answering. "Oh, well, we haven't really spoken before. Not that I didn't want to talk to you, it's just I never noticed you speaking very much so I assumed that you were shy." Her voice also showed how nervous she was.
" Derpy repeated. It was more statement than question as she stared at the stream of steam rising from her beverage. The white cloud in the air intrigued her. Though the steam itself was amorphous in its ascent, it still maintained form and patterns. She noted how it always rose at the same speed, and for the most part each segment of the stream maintained its shape until it disappeared. There was a long moment of silence, and Fluttershy was beginning to believe that she had insulted her guest, and was therefore relieved when the yellow-eyed pegasus spoke again. "Was there ever a time in your life when you were not sure who you were?"
The question seemed a little random to the yellow pegasus. Nevertheless, she would of course answer the question without interrogation. Fluttershy thought for a moment, her eyes staring at the roof of the cottage. "Well, there was one time in my life." Her voice was filled with thought, and Derpy's ears received the answer with interest as the story unfolded. "It was a long time ago when I was filly. I was a very weak flier. My own wings could barely keep me off of the clouds. Back then I wasn't at all sure of my identity. It wasn't until I fell from the heights of Cloudsdale to the ground that I discovered who I was."
Derpy hid her disappointment behind a pseudo smile. This was not exactly the sort of story she was looking for. If anything it sounded more like the story to discovering a cutie mark. Still, she smiled and thanked her for the story before finishing her muffin and tea. The other mare had written down the name of the shop that sold the tea and passed it to her guest, who accepted the slip of paper graciously. She thanked her for the hospitality, and left the cottage to find that her visit had lasted for over an hour. She took the piece of paper and read the name of the shop. "The Red Leaf" was what was written, and was the next stop for its bearer.
She folded the piece of paper and slipped it behind her ear before going on her way back towards town.
The Red Leaf was a small, red bricked building that had nearly no way of being recognized as a store except for a small wooden sign above the single wooden door at the front of the building. Slowly, she opened the door and stepped in. The interior design of the shop had an old-times feeling. There was hay sprinkled on the brown floor. Due to the slight tint in the windows, a reddish glow was cast about the room and its four walls, two of which had long shelves that held boxes of different styles of tea. However, the part of the store that was most overwhelming to the senses was the scent. Even when the door to the shop first opened, a wave of sweet smelling aromas made its way into Derpy's nostrils. While it was an incredibly inviting scent, it was also extremely strong.
After entering she found that the building was almost completely empty except for a pony to her immediate left. Her pink color was still easy to make out despite the tint of the lighting. Derpy did not recognize this pony. Her eyes scanned over her features. However, the pony did seem to recognize Derpy, which could be inferred by the smile on the figures face when given a good look at her. The pony walked towards her, and spoke to her with a cheerful female voice.
"Derpy, is that you?"
The mare received no answer from the befuddled pegasus.
The earth pony continued to talk. "Derpy Hooves, it's been quite some time since I last saw you. It's me, Cheerilee."
Suddenly and without warning, Derpy's vision disappeared into a white flash. She felt her eyes returning to their awkward positions as the last phrase echoed in her head. She began to see random images and scenes flash across her vision. She heard voices, similar to the one she had heard spoken only a moment earlier.
"Derpy" she heard repeated in many voices, until finally by the one she recognized vaguely, and she was sure it was her mothers.
"Derpy, Its Cheerilee
" The name once again echoed through her head as an image of a filly standing in the frame of an opened door popped into her mind. The voice echoed slightly and started sound closer. She felt her eyes return to normal position, and her vision returned to her in a burst of light accompanied by the noise of her surroundings fading in.
"It's been a long time, hasn't it?" Cheerilee spoke, clearly not aware of what had just happened.
Derpy blinked several times, as if to be sure that this was reality, and was separate from what she had just experience. She felt as if she was about to faint; no, she was definitely going to faint.
"Derpy?" She heard. "Derpy are you oka
Mirror mirror on the wall
1 retpahC dnE|End Chapter 1
*Thank you verywrony for making the awesome cover art.
*Thank you to my two main editors: scifiresx13623 and ExoThermicDistraction25
*Thank you to those who helped edit and revise: Cameo-A-Lux, TheSharp0ne, Grimm-Michael, & Azure-Spark
**Special Thanks to my Bronies, you guys make writing worth while: cragl3yman343, Grimm-Michael, TexThePony, & bpskotch, you guys are great friends and I will never give up as long as I know you.
AND THANK YOU FOR READING!