Spike awoke from his slumber, stretching his arms high into the air and pushing himself up from his small bed. As he stood up, his mouth extended into a large yawn and his legs automatically directed him to the door to the main floor of the library. It had been the same routine for years, ever since Twilight and he had moved into Ponyville. However, as Spike pushed open the door, he noticed something odd; the light in the library had been turned on.
Usually, the whole library would be drenched in darkness as he would be the first one to wake. Spike turned his head to the clock that hung in his room. '5:28 AM'. Now Spike was very curious as to who would be in the library at this time of day as he wasn't late for his daily routine either! Descending down the steps to the second floor of the library, his eyes slowly caught a glimpse of Twilight, who had her chin resting lazily on the circular table and her mouth lowered into a frown.
"Twilight? What're you doing up so early?" Spike asked.
"Hey Spike," the purple mare replied in a monotonous tone before following her greeting with a sigh, "do you know what was supposed to happen today?"
"Yup! Princess Celestia's coming to visit isn't she? To teach you about some sort of magic!" Spike answered. "And shouldn't you be asleep? You wouldn't want to be sleepy when Celestia comes."
"It's no use. I can't sleep! Celestia just informed me that she couldn't come today." Twilight adjusted her head so that her whole face was now planted on the table.
"Celestia...informed you?" Spike's face showed his confusion.
"You burped out a letter in the middle of the night, but somehow you just scratched your belly and went back to sleep," Twilight explained with a slightly angered tone. "The letter said that she couldn't make it today due to some 'problems going on in Fillydelphia'." The unicorn's tone was noticeably bitter.
"I'm sorry Twilight." Spike expressed his sympathy, his mind racing to think of a way to make the purple mare smile. "Oh I know! How about I make you your favorite breakfast!? Fried eggs and chocolate milk!" He tempted her with a wink.
"That would be nice. Thank you, Spike," Twilight mumbled through the wood of the table.
"So what are you gonna do for the rest of the day?" Spike asked, putting on his cooking apron.
"I don't know! I had the whole day planned for the Princess and now that she's not coming, I don't know what to do!" Twilight raised her head briefly before slamming it down onto the table with a loud 'thud'.
"Well, just relax. We'll find something to do after my signature Spike-arific breakfast!" the dragon bragged before rushing off into the kitchen.
Not a second later, the sound of knocking on the front door echoed throughout the house.
'Who in Equestria could be knocking at our door at this time!?' Twilight angrily thought to herself, being forced out of her depressed position as she trotted towards the main door. Flinging it open, a familiar grey mare greeted her with a smile.
"Hello Twilight!" the mare addressed with a huge grin. Twilight stared at her, puzzled.
"D-Derpy? You're hours earlier than when you usually give me my mail!" Twilight exclaimed.
"I know. Sorry Twilight, I have a lot of mail to clear today," Derpy said, pointing to her saddlebags, which were filled completely with letters and parcels, "and when I saw your library lights on I thought 'Why not start now?'" she explained cheerfully.
"Wow, you and the other mailmares must have a lot of catching up to do!" the purple mare exclaimed, looking into the eyes of the cross-eyed pegasus.
"Other mailmares?" Derpy's grin grew even wider, something Twilight thought would be impossible. "Oh my gosh there are other mailmares!?" She jumped at the thought. "Ooo! Who are they? Where are they? When do they wake up? We're going to be the best of friends!" She hopped around excitedly, the barrage of words ending at her laughter.
"Wait Derpy, you aren't the only mailmare in Ponyville, are you?" Twilight inquired, her eyebrows arching together.
"I haven't seen other mailmares." Derpy lifted her hoof to her chin. "I had always delivered mail on my own for as long as I could remember."
"What!?" Twilight exclaimed. "That's ridiculous! How are you supposed to deliver mail to the whole of Ponyville!?"
"I don't know." Derpy shrugged, "It's usually pretty easy, but a lot of ponies have been sending in their mail lately." She once again glanced at her filled saddlebags. "I'm not sure how I'm supposed to deliver all these letters alone, but anyway, Twilight." She reached deep into her right saddlebag, pulling out a small letter with her mouth and handing it to the purple unicorn. "Here's your letter!"
"Thanks Derpy." Twilight reached over and grabbed the letter, placing it a table which sat next to the door.
"And Twilight, for you!" Derpy reached into her left saddlebag, pulling out a small muffin.
"Oh right." Twilight took the muffin with a smile.
"It's blueberry! Your favorite!" Derpy responded with a huge smile on her face.
"Thank you Derpy. The muffins you give me every morning always cheers me up!" The unicorn said with a small smile of her own.
"Thanks! Sorry Twilight, but I'd better get going. These letters aren't going to deliver themselves!"
"I wish I could help you." Suddenly, an idea appeared in Twilight's mind as she turned around, preparing to walk back into her house. "You know, Derpy, I have the whole day free today…" she hinted.
"Oh that's good! I hope you find something to do!" Derpy joyfully replied, turning around and taking a few steps forward before stopping in her tracks. "Wait…I just got an amazing idea!" She took a big leap, landing right in front of Twilight. "How about you help me!? We could be mailmare buddies! Do you want to Twilight? Huh? Do you want to?" Her voice was filled with enthusiasm.
"Yes, Derpy," Twilight answered calmly, "I'd love to be your mailmare buddy."
The grey mare smiled and released a squeal of happiness. "Ooo this is going to be so amazing!" Derpy wasted no time in strapping the saddlebags onto Twilight which were also filled to the brim with letters and parcels.
"Wow…" Twilight struggled to stand. "T-This is-These bags are really heavy."
"Don't worry Twilight! If it gets too much just let me know! Now let's go! The sun's already rising!' Derpy trotted away happily as Twilight glanced upwards into the sky. The first rays of the early morning had already peeked over the hills in the distance.
'I hope I didn't get in over my head…' Twilight thought to herself before following closely behind Derpy.
"Okay Twilight! Your breakfast is…ready?" Spike scanned his eyes around the room, a large tray in his claws. "Twilight?" His question resonated through the library but no answer came. Setting the tray lightly down onto a nearby table, he walked towards the front door, just in time to catch a glimpse of Twilight walking away with Derpy.
"I guess I'll eat the breakfast then!" Spike said happily as he licked his lips. Turning around, he closed the door lightly and walked back to where he sat the tray.
"Okay so where's our first stop?" Twilight asked as they trotted down the street as it slowly started to fill with ponies.
"Hmm… our first stop is at the Carousel Boutique." Derpy mumbled through the list she gripped in her mouth. Lowering her head, she slid the list into her saddlebag.
"Carousel Boutique? This early? Are you sure Derpy? I know Rarity and she doesn't like to be woken up during her sleep," she warned Derpy.
"Oh I'm sure! She never sleeps on the weekend!" Derpy happily responded to Twilight, ignoring the warning as they trotted towards Carousel Boutique.
Silence settled as Twilight went through her mind to find a common topic the two mares could talk about.
"So, Derpy. How'd you become a mailmare?" the unicorn asked.
"Oh that's easy. When I came to Ponyville I needed a job and I found that they needed mailmares! So I signed up and, umm, well here I am!" she chirpily explained, putting a bounce into each of her steps.
"Oh. Does the job pay well?" Twilight continued, hoping to keep the conversation going and the awkward silence at bay.
"Well not really. When I first started out it didn't give me enough bits to live the life I wanted, but I learned to work with the bits I earned and live a simpler lifestyle!" The grey mare's cheerful tone made Twilight feel a little uncomfortable. "Well here we are!"
To Twilight's surprise, Derpy was right. They were standing in front of the familiar, bright, purple door of Carousel Boutique and no sooner did the purple unicorn realize this did Derpy ring the doorbell with her nose.
"You know you could just use your hoof, right?" Twilight asked, baffled by the grey mare's actions.
"Oh yeah!" Derpy giggled before the door flung open, revealing a white unicorn with a very messy, dark purple mane standing in front of them.
"W-What time is it?" Rarity asked sleepily.
"It's 6AM, Rarity!" Derpy responded with a grin.
"W-What!? Why in Equestria would you wake somepony from their beauty sleep!?" Rarity shouted at the two mares in front of her. Twilight opened her mouth to apologize but the unaffected grey pony merely reached into her saddlebag before pulling out a parcel.
"To deliver mail of course!" she spoke through the parcel in her teeth.
Rarity grumbled something inaudible before levitating the package with her horn. Bringing it up to her eyes, she read the label and her frown slowly transformed into a wide smile.
"Wh-Why Derpy, this package isn't suppose to arrive for another two weeks!" Rarity exclaimed in surprise, turning her gaze back to the beaming mare.
"I know! We got it early and I'd thought you'd like to have it early too!"
"This is simply marvelous! I'll be able to get started on my dresses sooner than I thought!" Rarity squealed in delight, setting the package down somewhere inside her boutique. "Thank you so much Derpy!"
"You're welcome! Oh right!" Derpy reached into her left saddlebag, pulling out a muffin adorned with various purple dots. "Vanilla and Grape muffin for you!"
Rarity levitated the muffin, her mouth now showing a warm smile. "Why thank you Derpy. I must say I always look forward to your delicious muffins every morning!" the grey mare reacted to the compliment with a cheerful giggle.
Twilight watched with her mouth hung wide open, gazing at the white unicorn who, mere minutes ago, looked as if she had planned out a vicious murder on Derpy and her.
"Well Derpy darling I must say this was a pleasant surprise, but I'm afraid I have to get back to work now. It was wonderful seeing you!" Rarity gave the grey mare a hug before turning to the purple unicorn. "You too, Twilight. It's great that you're helping poor-old Derpy here!" she praised before walking back into her boutique, the flabbergasted purple-maned unicorn still standing next to Derpy, her mouth hanging open.
"Well, Twilight! On to the next house!" Derpy jokingly commanded as she bounced away from the boutique.
"Derpy wait!" Twilight dashed forward, catching up to the blonde-maned mare. "How did you do that?"
"Do what?" The mare stopped bouncing, staring with a perplexed expression towards Twilight. Twilight gazed back and realized that Derpy hadn't realized what she had just done.
"Nevermind." Twilight removed the inquiry from her mind as she trotted alongside the mailmare, who had resumed her bouncing.
"I always wondered about your cutie mark."
"Yeah? What about it?"
"I mean…it's bubbles. What does delivering mail have to do with bubbles?"
As soon as Twilight's question reached Derpy's ears, she broke out into a huge laughing fit, falling to the ground and clutching her belly.
"What's so funny!?" Twilight asked loudly, slightly offended but mostly confused.
"O-O-Oh Twilight." Derpy took a deep breath in, still trying to regain her composure. "You're so silly! Your cutie mark doesn't have to do with your job!" she replied casually, standing up on her hooves.
"W-What?" Twilight asked in disbelief.
"Cutie marks don't always represent a pony's job silly! Sometimes, cutie marks represent a special moment in a pony's life or maybe something that defines who you are as a pony! Take for example…" Derpy lifted her hoof to her chin. "…you, Twilight!"
"Me!?" Twilight repeated in shock.
"Yes you! If your job was based on your cutie mark, wouldn't you be a astro-no-mi-ne-r or something?"
"I think you mean astronomer Derpy," the unicorn corrected as they continued trotting along.
"Yeah that! And Pinkie Pie too! She works as a baker but her cutie mark is three balloons!"
Twilight's mind wandered at Derpy's words, her eyes staring at the ground passing beneath her. "Huh. I guess you're right." A short silence followed before Twilight caught on to the dying conversation. "So what does your cutie mark mean to you, Derpy? If you don't mind me asking."
"Why would I mind?" The grey mare replied with that everlasting smile. "Isn't each pony's cutie mark a happy tale?" Twilight didn't know how to respond, but luckily Derpy started her explanation as they passed through the streets of Ponyville; the sun started to rise high in the sky and the streets filled with ponies from all around town.
"Well it really all started when I was just a filly. I was born in Cloudsdale with a certain sickness that made my eyes all weird looking. I had no trouble seeing but when other people saw me they avoided me. I never knew my father; it was just me and my mother. Everyday, after I went to Cloudsdale Flight Academy, I'd wait for her to come back…"
An ash colored-coated filly sat in front a small door in an almost empty house. The small walls around her were covered with torn wallpaper and the floor was made with broken wooden planks. The house was drenched in complete darkness, the only source of light being two small candles next to the filly. The foal sat on a small mat, next to a few small toys but the filly didn't pick them up. She just sat and waited, her unusual eyes glued to the door in front of her.
The damp and stuffy air didn't seem to affect the small pegasus. Finally, she heard the sound she had been waiting hours to hear: the sound of the tumblers on the door turning. She stood on all four hooves, a gleaming smile on her face as the door swung open, revealing a tall, brown-coated mare with a long flowing blonde mane.
"Derpy Hooves," the mare called out to the small grey filly and immediately, the foal jumped into the mare's hooves, a huge grin stretched across each of their faces.
"Mommy! You're home!" the filly happily remarked.
"I know what you've been waiting for, my dear Derpy." Walking over to the mat, she sat the foal down and reached for a small bottle which sat next to her. The bottle was worn with torn labels adorning its long body and was capped with a white top, the only part of the bottle that seemed relatively new.
As the mare started to unscrew the top of the bottle, the smile on Derpy's face grew larger and larger until finally, the mare pulled out the cap, revealing a long, thin, purple object attached firmly to the cap's underside. The object ended in a circle which was now covered in a strange liquid. The mare lifted the cap to her lips.
"One…Two…" With a quick blow towards the circle, bubbles of all kinds started to fill the air. The filly immediately got up on her hooves, running to reach for the spheres, shining under the gleam of the candlelight as they ascended higher into the house, popping as they touched the broken roof over their head.
The mare's smile was one of warmth and genuine love as she saw her beloved daughter laugh and smile, reaching and jumping for those inanimate objects. Something in the bubbles captivated the filly and likewise, something in the filly captivated her.
"Again Mommy! Again!" the filly joyfully requested and without saying a word, the mare blew into the circle once again, sending small bubbles flying across the room.
"Here you go Miss Rose!" Derpy leaned forward, presenting a red muffin in front of Roseluck's face. The sun had almost reached its peak, still rising high into the sky and signalling the change from morning to midday.
"Oh Derpy, you always know what to get me to make my day!" Roseluck complemented, taking the muffin into her hooves.
"You're welcome! Bye Miss Rose!" Derpy bounced away.
"You know Derpy really well, huh Roseluck?" Twilight asked the earth pony.
"Oh yes. She's amazing. And it's wonderful to see that she finally has some help. I just couldn't understand how she could deliver all that mail on time! Well, I better get going and you'd better catch up to Derpy!"
"Huh?" Twilight spun around to see Derpy turn a faraway corner. "Derpy wait up!" With a glow of her horn, Twilight teleported to the corner just in time to catch up with the bouncing grey mare.
"Derpy! Hey! But that still doesn't explain how you got your cutie mark…"
"Huh? Oh right! Well one day, I sat there, waiting…"
The filly sat on the same mat she would everyday. As usual, the stars gleamed brightly in the night sky and the moon hung like a pendant. Her eyes, bright and hopeful, stared at the door in front of her.
First, minutes passed which was nothing too unusual.
Then hours disappeared. The first rays of light passed through the window and cracks in the roof and walls. One would see this as a new day but the filly sat, unmoving, waiting for the familiar sound of the tumblers, the familiar sight of the mare she so loved. Unbeknownst to her, she would never hear that familiar sound ever again….
"I didn't do very well in the academy after that. I didn't attend flight lessons or anything else. Most days I would just stay at home, waiting for her," Derpy casually explained. To Twilight, this felt odd. A similar experience would have been traumatic for anypony but Derpy was talking about it as if it was just any other story.
The sun had climbed to its peak, drenching the whole of Ponyville in scorching rays of light. The afternoon was scorching hot but it didn't seem to affect Derpy in anyway. Reaching into the saddlebag on her right, she pulled out a thick parcel.
Twilight took a few steps forward, knocking on the door. After a moment or two, the door finally opened, showing a white coat mare with her signature tinted-red spectacles.
"Vinyl?" Twilight asked at the pony in front of her. Vinyl's mane seemed to be in a mess, with strands of light and dark blue hair all over the place, though she seemed undisturbed by it.
"Yeah?" Vinyl asked before glancing towards the package which the grey mare held in her mouth. "Oh rad! My new bass is here!"
"Bass?" Derpy's question was near incoherent.
"Yeah! Sorta like a guitar but… different. It's hard to explain to non-music folk." Vinyl reached forward for the package but as she got close, the clumsy mailmare accidentally opened her mouth to speak.
"Ohhh!" Finally noticing her mistake, she gasped and shouted out an "Oops!" Not being able to react in time, Twilight could only watch as the package fell to the floor.
"I'm so sorry, Vinyl! I hope this doesn't ruin your instrument!" Twilight frantically started apologizing on behalf of Derpy as her horn started glowing bright purple, levitating the object in front of the DJ.
"Oh it's no problem Twi. I drop my basses all the time!" Vinyl assured the worried mares. "Calm down!" She quickly added as her horn started glowing bright blue, levitating the parcel into her home.
"And…here!" Derpy reached into her left saddlebag and pulled out a small blue muffin decorated with white flakes. "Blueberry and coconut with a dash of alcohol! Ponyville's DJ's favorite muffin!"
"Aw thank you Derpy!" Vinyl levitated the muffin into her home. "That's why you're the best mailmare in town!"
"But she's the only mailmare in town!" Twilight shouted out unknowingly.
"Well..." Vinyl brought her hoof to her chin, "if there was more than one mailmare in town, Derpy would be the best!"
Derpy responded with a humble laugh, her cheeks blushing slightly, "Thank you Vinyl!"
"Hey, anytime Derpster. Now I gotta get back to my mixes. Catch you guys next time!" Vinyl walked back into her house and closed the door, leaving the two mares to continue walking to their next destination.
"So…Derpy. Not to prod on your past but you still haven't told me how you got your cutie mark." Twilight tried her best not to sound like she wanted to force it out of the mailmare.
"Huh? Oh right! So one day, the day of my flight exam finally came…"
"Derpy Hooves. Come up now!" The loud booming voice of a tall pegasus, who sported a light brown coat and a dark blue mane, shouted at the start of the obstacle course. A meek, weak filly stepped up as the other ponies mocked her. "Flight exam time. Fly through all the rings and come back here and you pass! Go!"
Derpy leapt up into the air, pushing herself forward as she flapped her wings as fast as she could but she merely fell back on the exact same spot. The laughter only intensified, filling her head with the endless sounds of their insults and accusations.
Tears welled up in her eyes as she felt the tall pegasus walk towards her. Preparing for nothing but endless scolding and forced to stay back for another year, she opened her eyes quickly.
This time, however, she saw something familiar, something that captivated her and stopped her tears almost immediately. Not far away from her lay a trail of bubbles, shining and glittering under the bright sunlight of Cloudsdale. Her mouth hung open; put into a unwakeable trance by the spheres she held so dearly, she started to take flight without a second thought.
The bubbles trailed through each ring and the grey filly kept up with the trail at her own pace. Though slow, she slowly went through the course, all the while reaching her hoof to pop the stray bubbles she crossed. The feeling of flying with the bubbles brought an almost unnatural smile to Derpy's face, her eyes growing bigger the longer she flew.
Without even noticing for a second, she landed back down on the ground after minutes of flawless flying, popping the very last bubble at where she originally started her flight. There didn't seem to be a source for those magical spheres that had just helped her through the hardest time in her life.
"Derpy. That wasn't fast nor record-breaking, but nonetheless, you did pass the Cloudsdale Flight Exam. Also, I think you've earned something more." The tall, blue-maned pegasus lifted his hoof, pointing towards Derpy's flank.
Turning her head around, she glanced at her flank and saw something new. Several bubbles had appeared in a place where they weren't present before. Screaming in joy, she bounced around the starting platform happily before staring at the sky above.
"Mommy, thank you."
"I'm so so sorry I made you remember that Derpy." Twilight felt like her heart was in pieces. The sun had already descended quite a bit from the top of the sky, slowly taking with its the light of the day.
"Hmm? Why are you sorry? I don't mind!" Derpy replied cheerfully.
"About your mother…" Twilight didn't continue her sentence, assuming Derpy would catch on.
"What about my mother?" Derpy inquired as they approached their destination. The story she told had taken up a bit of time, allowing them to deliver various parcels along the way. Their bags were now noticeably lighter.
Twilight wasn't sure how to answer the question. "When was the last time you saw her?"
"Hmm... about 16 years ago."
"And you aren't worried?"
"Worried? Why would I be worried, silly! One day, I just know that she'll come back to find me! That's why Princess Celestia sent me to Ponyville! So that when my mommy finally comes back, she can find me!" The hope Twilight saw in the grey mare's eyes brought out a array of emotions in the purple unicorn.
"Wait. Derpy, did you say Celestia was the one that sent you to Ponyville!?" Twilight exclaimed.
"Well…yeah! She came by my house the same day I passed my Flight Exam and told me to come to Ponyville. I never asked why, she is the Princess after all!" Twilight opened her mouth to talk but was immediately interrupted. "Oh we're here!" Derpy knocked lightly on the door and a familiar brown pony with a dark brown mane opened the door.
"Why if it isn't my favorite mare, Derpy Hooves. All goes well I hope?"
"Yes! Everything's going amazing! I might actually finish delivering all the mail by today thanks to Twilight!" Derpy joyfully said.
"Oh?" The brown stallion turned his head to Twilight, who felt uncomfortable at the stare. "Then thank you Miss Sparkle for helping Derpy here. It pains me to see her go about and working so hard just to deliver mail to the other ponies."
"You're welcome, umm…" Twilight blushed slightly, realizing she had no idea how to address the stallion.
"Call me the Doctor."
"The Doctor?" Twilight repeated, puzzled. "Doctor who?"
"Just…the Doctor." The stallion replied with a wink and a small smile.
"Hey! Doctor! I have your letter!" Derpy sang out through a small letter in her mouth.
"Why thank you very much Derpy." He bit the letter before returning inside to place the letter on his table.
"Oh and Doctor! Your muffin!" The grey mare reached into her left saddlebag, pulling out a simple, brown muffin. "Just the way you like it! Plain!"
"Why thank you so much Derpy Hooves. You always know how to brighten anypony's day." Taking the muffin in his hoof, the stallion looked at the two mares in front of him. "It's best I'd be going now, the sun is going down and you don't seem to have much mail left."
"Yup! We only have a few more stops left before we clear all of this!" Derpy excitedly jumped.
"Well then, good day Derpy. Good day Miss Sparkle." The stallion turned around, pushing his door close.
"What an odd pony…" Twilight thought out loud.
"On to the last few houses!" Derpy yelled before bouncing along the streets as the sun started to set over the mountains in the distance, slowly causing all the sunlight to vanish.
"Derpy if you don't mind me asking, how do you find time to bake muffins for everypony in Ponyville!?"
"Huh? Oh! Pinkie helps a whole lot! She's been my baking buddy since I first came into Ponyville!"
"Baking Buddy? Pinkie never mentions about her baking buddies."
"Did you ask?" The question threw Twilight off, not expecting such an odd inquiry.
"Well if you didn't ask, how was Pinkie supposed to tell you silly!" The simple logic behind Derpy's reasoning was infallible, and again Twilight was interrupted before she could answer back. "Pinkie always helps me out! I remember when I first came into Ponyville, I was really really scared…"
The grey filly took small, cautious steps through the streets of Ponyville, her eyes scanning every single inch of the large houses around her. Suddenly, a young pink filly hopped in front of her, a huge grin on her face.
"Ooo! You're new aren't you!? If I haven't seen you before that means you must be new because I know everypony, and I mean everypony in Ponyville! I'm Pinkie Pie and I throw parties all around Ponyville, you see…" The puffy-maned pony in front of Derpy continued her rambling without even stopping to take a breath. The grey foal's eyes widened, not out of fear but of curiosity.
"So that means you're new am I right?" It took a while for Derpy to realize that Pinkie had stopped talking and had in fact asked a question.
"Y-Yes, I'm new…" Derpy replied meekly.
"That's super-fabuloustic-fantasmarific-megarific-greatness! That means a party for a new pony! I'll throw it as soon as I finish baking the cake!" Pinkie was about to rush off to Sugercube Corner when she heard Derpy's soft voice.
"Yuppy Duppy! Baking! Ooo do you wanna help!?" Derpy responded with a slow nod, cautious of what might happen next. "That's just so amazing! Come on!" Immediately, Pinkie grasped Derpy's hoof, pulling her towards the large bakery in town.
"Thank you Derpy, for everything!" A light green unicorn said as she levitated the package and the muffin in front of her.
"You're welcome Lyra!" Twilight turned around with Derpy as they trotted to their final destination. The sun had already set over the hills, drenching the sky in the dark purple hue with the bright stars lighting it up like a newly decorated Christmas tree.
"So anyway, she dragged me all the way to Sugercube Corner where she told me how to make cakes!"
"So add a teaspoon of vanilla," Pinkie read from the book as Derpy poured in the brown liquid into the filled bowl, "and we mix it!"
Derpy held the bowl and carried it to the automatic mixer. Pressing a button, the sound of the machine starting up brought a smile to her face. However, upon turning around and taking a step forward, she failed to see the flour-covered floor, causing her to slip back and slam her arm onto her table, sending the thick batter flying directly into Pinkie's face.
The grey mare panicked and pushed herself off the floor. "I'm so so sorry Pinkie! I didn't mean-" but her face twisted in confusion soon after seeing Pinkie laughing hysterically as she licked the batter off her face in one sweep of her tongue.
"That was so funny! And delicious! Do that again! Do that again!" Pinkie's chanting caused Derpy to smile back, realizing indeed how humorous that incident was.
"Soon after that we made a new batch and it turned out perfectly. Ever since then, Pinkie and I have been baking every weekend without fail!" Derpy happily told the purple unicorn.
"So that's why she's never free in the morning on weekends…" Twilight voiced her realization.
"Yup! She helps me bake during the weekends for the ponies in Ponyville!" Derpy strolled forward before glancing at the house in front of them. "Here we are, the last stop." Twilight snapped out of her daze, staring at the familiar building in front of them.
"W-Wait, Sugercube Corner? Why are we here?"
"To deliver mail of course!" Derpy replied without a second thought.
"But we have no mail left to deliver!"
"This is my own mail to Pinkie!" Derpy trotted up the steps, humming her own tune. Upon entering the seemingly empty and clean bakery, she shouted at the top of her lungs. "Ohhh Pinkie!"
The familiar pink pony slid lazily out from under the staircase, her mane flat and her face showing clearly her sadness. Derpy innocently hopped in front of the pink mare, oblivious to Pinkie's state.
"Heya baking buddy!"
"Hey…" Pinkie dragged her greeting until it disappeared into a whisper.
"I brought you your mail!" Derpy reached into her left saddlebag, pulling out the last gift inside. It was wrapped sloppily in a bright pink paper with a large pink ribbon at the top.
"F-For me?" Pinkie asked in surprise, staring at the grey mare as she nodded her head. Pinkie took the gift in her hooves, unwrapping it to reveal a small cupcake with the words 'Baeking Burddy 4eva' crudely inscribed with frosting. Upon laying eyes on the treat, Pinkie's mouth grew into a smile before giving the grey mare a huge hug.
"Thank you Derpy. That's just what I needed."
Twilight stared on in amazement, her face displayed a puzzle look and concern for her pink friend. As the two mares parted their hug, Pinkie finally saw Twilight standing in the middle.
"Oh! Hey Twilight! Didn't see you there!" Pinkie was obviously trying to hide the fact that she was not her usual self.
"Are you all right Pinkie?" Twilight asked, concerned.
Pinkie glanced down at the cupcake she held in her hooves. "I am now…"
Derpy trotted back to Twilight. "Hey, I'll walk you home Twilight!"
"Oh Derpy you don't have to-"
"It's the least I could do after everything you did for me today!"
Twilight thought for a short while. "Okay Derpy, thank you."
"Bye Pinkie!" The grey pegasus shouted as she walked out of Sugercube Corner, her face still beaming with that innocent smile. Turning back once more, Twilight caught a glimpse of Pinkie as she ascended the steps to her room and for a moment, she swore she saw a tear…
"Thank you Derpy, for everything today."
"You're welcome! We should do this again some time!"
"Yeah, maybe next time." Twilight answered hesitantly.
"Well, good night Twilight! I have to attend to Dinky now!" Derpy spun around as she hopped down the street at her own beat.
"D-Dinky? Derpy! Who's Dinky!?" Twilight yelled at the mare who bounced further and further away, completely ignoring her questions. She sighed before entering her house.
Upon ascending the steps to the main floor of her library, she noticed something odd. The iconic, flowing, multicolored mane of an Alicorn caught her eye.
"Princess Celestia!" Twilight shouted before running up to hug her mentor.
"Twilight Sparkle, my faithful student."
"I thought you couldn't make it today!"
"I couldn't… that is until I sent you a letter through the Ponyville's mail service saying that I'd be arriving at your house this very afternoon."
"Letter?" Tracing through her memories, it finally hit Twilight. She rushed down to her front door, picking up the muffin and the letter which sat underneath it and bringing it up to the princess. "You mean this letter? I'm so sorry Princess Celestia. I didn't mean to-"
"It's quite all right Twilight. In fact, I've been watching you the whole day."
"The whole day? You mean you saw me with Derpy? But how'd you know?"
"Spike saw you leaving with a certain mailmare and so I decided to follow you."
"Princess, Derpy told me you were the pony that brought her to Ponyville?"
"Yes, Twilight. That I am."
"Then I have so many questions for you."
"And what might they be, my faithful student?"
"Well, first of all, who's Dinky?"
"Dinky Doo is a unicorn who was an orphan wondering around the streets of Ponyville. Derpy took her in as her own and they have been living together ever since."
"Why haven't I heard of Dinky Doo before, Princess?"
"Because no one ever asks." The answer rang clear for Twilight, who had heard this answer just hours ago.
"Another question, Princess. Derpy told me that during her Flight Exam, she saw a trail of bubbles. Were those bubbles your doing or were they…done by another mare?"
Princess Celestia closed her eyes for a second before answering the question, "I'm afraid that is an answer I can't give, my dear student."
"Okay Princess, then I just have one last question." Twilight paused for a moment, trying to find a way to phrase the question that hung in her mind. "Derpy's mother, is she…"
Princess Celestia giggled to herself, something that caught Twilight off guard. "Sometimes Twilight, it's best not to know everything."
For the first time in her life, Twilight felt anger towards her beloved mentor.
"Princess Celestia. I am not trying to be rude but I don't think that keeping such secrets from Derpy is the right thing to do! She deserves to know! She's so happy because she doesn't know that her mother might be-"
"And are you willing to take that happiness away from her, Twilight Sparkle?"
The question left Twilight frozen in her place. Her mouth struggled to find a suitable answer, an answer that would please both herself and the mare in her mind, but there was none.
"I suppose you learned a very valuable lesson while on your trip with that mailmare, am I correct?" The subject change was obvious. Twilight could see that it was her mentor's way of saving her the trouble of making a decision, at least for now.
"Y-Yes, Princess." Twilight was still visibly shaken from the one question Celestia asked just moments ago.
"I learned that…"
"…no matter how different we might think we are from another pony."
Derpy pushed open the door to her home and in front of her sat her dearest Dinky with her bright purple coat and blonde mane.
"Dinky Hooves!" the mare called out to the small purple filly and immediately, the foal jumped into the mare's hooves with a huge grin stretched across both of their faces.
"Mommy! You're home!" the unicorn happily remarked.
"I know what you've been waiting for my dear Dinky." Derpy sat the filly down on the floor right in front of the door.
"Truth is we're all made the same and we all live just to fulfill one dream."
Derpy brought out a familiar bottle from her saddlebag. Unscrewing the worn cap, the long purple object brought back many memories for the ash-colored pegasus.
"We all dream to find out the one reason that keeps each of us going."
Derpy took a deep breath and blew into the circle, sending small bubbles scattering throughout the apartment.
"We all hope to understand why we're standing on this very ground at this very time."
Dinky jumped up for the inanimate objects that ascended into the air, desperately reaching her hooves to try to pop the gleaming bubbles.
"And even though I don't have the answer to these problems."
Derpy's smile was one of warmth and genuine love as her eyes fell onto the odd unicorn's laughter and smiles as she reached for the floating spheres in the air.
"I know at least one pony who already has them."
Something in the bubbles captivated the filly and likewise, something in the filly captivated her.
"Well done, Twilight Sparkle," Celestia praised with her smile.
"Thank you, Princess, but if you don't mind I need to...I need to go to bed now. To think about some things." Twilight ascended the steps to her bedroom, shutting the door close. Celestia took a deep breath in before walking to the balcony.
"Spike, you can come out now." As her words resonated softly throughout the library, a young purple dragon appeared from behind the kitchen door as he ran to the balcony.
"Princess, I have a question too."
"If you wanted to send a letter to tell Twilight you were available, why didn't you just send it through me?"
Celestia laughed at the inquiry, giving Spike a quick wink and a wide smile before spreading her wings and disappearing into the skies above.
"And that one pony has a mind pure and carefree."
Dinky's eyes lit up as she popped the last bubble in the room. Throwing her huge smile and her bright gaze towards the grey mare, she requested with a voice filled with joy and innocence, "Again Mommy! Again..."
And for a second, Derpy swore she heard the sound of the tumblers turning...