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October 17, 2011
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Button Stitch sat staring into space on Twilight Sparkle's couch, a blanket wrapped around her shivering shoulders.

She'd been brought around with smelling salts, dried off with a clean, fluffy towel by the quiet yellow pegasus, and soothed with a cup of strong tea containing a shot of something the orange earth pony referred to as "apple tonic".

The lavender unicorn had scanned her from snout to tail with her glittering horn, consulting a stack of large, dusty tomes from time to time while asking her an exhaustive battery of probing questions about the past few days, to which she replied with a vague sense of disconnection from the answers, while a little purple dragon stood nearby and jotted their exchange down on a piece of parchment.

Now, the unicorn librarian was giving her diagnosis. Button's best customer... that is... her friend Rarity sat beside her gently brushing her mane. While it felt good to have the tangles straightened out, she was tired, more tired than she'd ever felt in her life. The throbbing behind her eyes meant she was having trouble following the lavender mare's long winded dissertation about blah blah blah entropic imbalances and yada yada yada internal harmonics. The other mares and the little dragon didn't seem to be getting much more out of it than Button was.

The beige earth pony wondered with a twinge of guilt if this was how Miss Rarity's little sister felt when her elder sibling brought her to the shop. While she didn't really mind straightening the shelves and picking things up and putting them back in their proper bins after they'd left, it was the principle of the thing. Things had to be kept in their proper places.

Which was why the two books placed out of order on the shelf in front of her were beginning to drive her a little bit more crazy than she feared she already was. She just needed to fix this, and then she could pay proper attention. They were trying to help her. She'd help out a little too. That's all. Books should be in the right order so ponies could know where to find them. It was important that things should be organized.

Twilight Sparkle closed the book she'd been levitating in front of her. "... and so, to put it simply, Miss Stitch is experiencing these transformations because..."

She trailed off as the beige shopkeeper suddenly shrugged out of the blanket and stood with a determined look on her face. "um... M-miss Stitch?"

The beige earth pony marched across to the shelf and pulled the offending volume down, then slid it back on the other side of its immediate neighbor, turning back to the assembled ponies and dragon with an apologetic shrug. "I'm terribly sorry to interrupt, Miss Sparkle, but T-h comes after T-e and before marbles in the croypongo."

Rarity let loose of the brush and allowed it to clatter to the floor as she brought her hoof to her face. "Oh no! It's happening again!" Fluttershy let out a squeak and dove under the couch.

Twilight, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Spike watched in horrified fascination as the beige earth pony's body flattened and folded nose to tail, then twisted into a moebius strip that proceeded to contract tighter and tighter until it was a compressed knot with her rubbery legs waving in all directions, before inverting itself with a loud POP into the bizarre pink and purple equimonculous that had been plaguing them with its irrational actions the past two nights.

Rarity's cheeks bulged out as she clapped her other hoof to her muzzle as well, a strangled choking sound issuing from the back of her throat. She forced back her gorge with effort. "S-sweet diamond studded riding crops, that was even more dreadful than the first time."

The pony thing opened its mouth and coughed up its propeller beanie, which it placed on its head with a flourish. It tucked a hoof under an armpit and proceeded to squeeze out a rather unseemly rendition of the Equestrian Royal Fanfare as it rotated around its long axis and floated upward, coming to rest with its hooves planted between the support beams of the floor above. It bent its head upward as if grazing, leaving mouthfuls of lavender grass sprouting from the ceiling.

The assembled mares and small dragon were jarred out of their stunned reverie by the sound of the library's front door flying open, and their heads all whipped around to see another pink pony with a frizzy magenta mane come bouncing inside.

Her ears were alternating flops in tandem with her fluttering eyes, and she called out in a chipper voice. "Hey Twilight, I was wondering if you could help me figure out what this new twitch of mine might mean. It's been going on all day and it's been kind of hard to keep a straight face." She gave them a bright smile, her ears and eyes flopping and fluttering away, as they stared at her.

The sound of a slide whistle drew her attention upward, and her eyes widened as she reared back with a huge gasp, jabbing a hoof toward the bizarre creature reverse grazing on the ceiling. "YOU!!!"

The pony thing splayed its legs out like the spokes on a wheel and rotated to face her, pointing a fore hoof back at her. "Mott the Hoople! Eckspeleleoatendote waddatinchoo! Shpadoinkle!"

Pinkie dropped to all fours, let out a snort, and dragged a hoof on the ground in challenge, a fierce scowl settling on her face. "Bring it on, Donkey Kong!"

The bizarre inverted equine started making siren noises and spinning like a ceiling fan, faster and faster until it resembled a saucer with a beanie clad head poking up out of the center. It came spiraling down toward the pink party pony while her panicked friends scattered in all directions. Pinkie bunched her legs under her and poinged into the air with a mighty leap, meeting her foe midway in a burst of confetti.

The pink mare and mare-oid hit the floor jitterbugging, the boards beneath their hooves shaking with the fury of their swing dancing as the skies doubtless shook when Princess Celestia battled Nightmare Moon for control of the heavens a millennium ago. Twilight and the rest of her friends cowered back from the syncopated onslaught, scarcely able to comprehend what they were watching, let alone figure out where the big band music was suddenly coming from.

Pinkie and the strange creature's dance routine came to a sudden pause, with the pink party pony mere inches from the floor in a low dip with the swirling ponylike thing looming over her, its other hoof raised in a flourish. A smile curled across Pinkie's face, and she gave the thing a knowing look. "Touché, pussy cat!"

With that, she craned her neck up and planted a smooch on the creature's snout. It instantly dropped her, spluttering and grimacing and wiping its muzzle with the back of its foreleg.

Meanwhile, Pinkie sprang to her feet with a broad grin. "I'll give you points for enthusiasm, but you just don't have the skills to pay the bills, rookie." She reached behind her and seemingly out of nowhere produced a large forked log with long, snaking rubber bands looped around the ends. She handed the shaft of the wooden fork to the pony thing. "Here, hold this for me, would you?"

When the bizarre creature accepted it Pinkie took hold of the rubber band in her teeth and hopped lightly away, pulling the stretchy material out the door behind her. The beanie clad being stood with its eyes spiraling in opposite directions, dutifully holding the forked log as the span of rubber drew itself taut.

After a few beats, the band went loose again, and a moment later a huge boulder painted to resemble an eyeball came sailing through the door, splintering the frame, and slammed into the hapless ponyform, sending it crashing into the opposite wall in a shower of books.

In the stunned silence that followed, the five mares and one baby dragon could only trade thoroughly boggled glances with one another and stare into space. They all looked toward the door as Pinkie came hopping through, a top hat jauntily perched on her head.

She gave them all a grin, and flipped the hat off of her head and onto the floor. With a flourish, she jammed her foreleg down into the hat all the way up to her armpit. She pulled forth the dazed, disheveled figure of Button Stitch and set her upright on her rear hooves. Pinkie took a deep bow, while the beige mare weaved in place for a moment before toppling to the floor with a clunk.

With a satisfied nod, the victorious pink pony reached down into the top hat again and pulled out the green and yellow propeller beanie, which she placed on her own head and then turned, hopping out the door with her nose held high. "I'll be at Sugar Cube Corner baking snickerdoodles if anypony needs me."

***
Daylight crept into Button's consciousness, clearing away the dreamless, swirling darkness that her mind floated in. This was good. Morning. Princess Celestia's gift to all ponies. Nothing more dependable or predictable.

She savored the stillness for a few moments, allowing other sensations to drift over her. She was lying in a bed. This was good. She wasn't hanging from a closet rod or sitting in a sink or wedged uncomfortably under a coffee table or lying face down in a mound of popcorn like that... that first time.

The room's ambiance was different, though. It smelled clean, which was good, but with a strong hint of a perfume she recognized but couldn't place. The sheets felt like satin, not her accustomed plain starched linen. The mattress was much softer than she was used to as well, and wider. It was quiet, save for some indistinct sounds coming up from below. The ever present, comforting tick tock of her clocks was absent.

The earth pony dared to let her eyes open a crack. An elegant brocade of lavender and pink in a diamond pattern trimmed with snowy lace adorned a canopy over the bed. She stirred, and raised her head, casting a searching gaze over a finely appointed bedroom. She muttered softly under her breath. "This is not my beautiful house... Well... how did I get here?"

Her visual tour of her surroundings ended at the foot of the bed, where she met the gaze of a small primrose colored face looking over a set of little hooves propped up on the corner of the bed. She knew this filly, but couldn't place her name. Button was unaccustomed to the look of rapt interest etched on the youthful features.

Before the disoriented shopkeeper could speak, the young unicorn drew in a breath and shouted over her shoulder in a voice loud enough to crack the heavens and possibly throw even Celestia's dawn off schedule. "RARITY! MISS STITCH IS AWAKE NOW!"

The beige mare's ears levered back against her head and she gave a small whimper as the throbbing in her head took its cue from that crescendo and broke into a vamp.

When the pain had subsided enough for her to open her eyes, she found the filly still watching her intently. The pair of them stared at each other for a while, before Button decided to try to engage her spectator in hopes that she could persuade her to go away. "Um... Is there something you want from me, Miss... uh... Miss?"

The unicorn filly kept her soft green eyes riveted on her. "Are you gonna turn into a weirdo again?"

Before Button could even begin to parse what the little pony had asked, a mannered voice called out from the doorway with an admonishing tone. "Sweetie Belle! What sort of question is that?"

Filly and mare looked over to see Rarity standing there with a cross expression on her alabaster face, a tray bearing a silver tea service hovering behind her in a cloud of magic.

The younger unicorn tapped her chin in thought, and then looked earnestly at her sister. "A direct one?"

Rarity rolled her sapphire colored eyes and jerked her horn toward the door, causing the tray to bobble a little. "Well... you just go direct-ly downstairs and find something to keep yourself busy..." She paused, suppressing a small shudder before pressing on. "... while I talk to Miss Stitch and find out how she's feeling. All right?"

The filly raised a note of protest. "But..."

Her sister swished her tail in irritation and pointedly cleared her throat. The little unicorn's face fell, and her small hooves thudded softly on the carpeted floor as she pulled them off of the corner of the bed and turned to slouch out of the room.

She paused at the door, turned, and ran back to the bedside, rearing up with her hooves on the mattress and leaning in toward the nonplussed earth pony mare with a solicitous expression on her face. "Weirdo or not, I hope you feel better soon."

The beige mare blinked in surprise, finding herself rather touched by this little display of kindness. "I... I don't... T-thank you."

With that the unicorn filly leapt down and galloped out of the room, ducking around her sister as the elder sibling struggled to keep the tea tray level in her magical grip. Rarity cast a fond gaze after Sweetie Belle, before turning with a smile to approach Button stitch.

She brought the tray in for a gentle landing on the satin sheets next to the recumbent mare. She sat down on a stool beside the bed and levitated a teapot from the tray, pouring a measure of fragrant tea into a fine china cup. "So, Button dear, how ARE you feeling this morning? Did you sleep well?"

The earth pony shopkeeper slowly and carefully propped herself up, accepting the steaming tea as it floated to her on the elegant unicorn's magic. "I... I suppose I slept well. Wh-what time is it?"

Rarity gave the slightest pause before answering. "Don't worry about that right now, darling. You still haven't answered my first question. How are you feeling?"

Button rubbed her shoulders with her hooves, a haunted look settling on her features. "N-normal. I feel normal, for now. But... but... AM I going to turn into a... a weirdo, like your little sister said? Is... is that what's been happening to me?"

Rarity caught up the cream pitcher and sugar bowl from the tray and floated them to her. "Cream and sugar, darling?"

The earth pony pursed her lips and furrowed her brow. "I never take cream and sugar." Her expression darkened. "You're avoiding MY questions. If I'm supposed to answer yours, you should answer mine."

The alabaster unicorn settled the cream pitcher down but levitated a cube of sugar out of the bowl and let it plunk into Button's teacup. She gave an apologetic nod to the creeping indignation on her guest's face. "I'm sorry, my dear, but it's vital that you vary your routine if you wish to avoid becoming ahem... a "weirdo" again."

The shopkeeper's expression shifted from annoyance to puzzlement. "I... I don't understand."

Rarity sighed, and poured herself a cup of tea. "Well, if I've got my head wrapped properly around Twilight Sparkle's explanation, there are forces of order and forces of chaos inside every pony, that are more or less in balance as we live our daily lives. In you, however, those forces are rather out of balance. I may be presuming a bit on our acquaintance to say that you favor the side of order rather heavily."

Button's expression clouded. "Of... of course. Order means predictability, predictability means stability, stability means... means s-security."

The unicorn looked at her with searching sapphire eyes over her teacup. "So you adhere to such rigid schedules and patterns because they comfort you?"

The beige mare took a thoughtful sip of her tea. "Mm... Interesting flavor." A wistful expression settled on her face. "I won't bore you with the details, Miss Rarity, but suffice to say that my family wasn't what you'd call well off. We made ends meet, barely, and... and unforeseen events usually brought hardship."

Her brow became troubled as unhappy memories began to haunt her, and her lower lip started to quiver. She hugged herself, tears welling in her eyes, as her voice became softer and softer. "Un... unforeseen events like... like m-me..."

A blue sparkle of magic floated the teacups out of the way as Rarity rose to her hind legs and took the quietly sobbing mare into a hug, rubbing her back. "Darling... Shhh... Darling, listen to me. One thing my mother always told me is that a foal is ALWAYS a blessing, no matter what the circumstances of their birth."

Rarity cocked an ear toward the doorway to make sure there were no eavesdropping fillies hanging about. The sound of a crash and a clatter from downstairs both reassured and unnerved her, as she leaned in to speak to Button in a low voice. "My own little sister was something of a surprise to my parents, and to me as well, but never a day goes by where I'm not overjoyed to have her sharing the world with me. She is a treasure I would never part with for all the diamonds in Equestria."

She gently pushed the earth pony mare back so that she was looking her in the eyes. "Not all surprises are bad ones. Many are wonderful!" A pensive look settled on the earth pony's face as Rarity gave her a gentle smile.

The unicorn brought the teacups back into their respective orbits as she sat Button back against the head of the bed and took her seat once again, plucking another sugar cube from the bowl to drop into the beige mare's tea. "And that's why you need to open yourself up to a bit more randomness, my dear. In your pursuit of a highly structured life, you haven't so much eliminated the chaos part of you as you've suppressed it, let it build up like water in a blocked garden hose."

A dark scowl crossed the elegant unicorn's face. "When that dreadful Discord creature was unleashed, all that bottled up chaos probably drew him to you like a parasprite to a bushel of apples."

A troubled expression settled on Button's brow. "I... I remember when it started to rain... brown stuff... and then things became... odd... I... I remember a voice... like a grandfather clock with no rhythm... it was gloating... cruel... it said I was... I was like a blank canvas just ready to be made into... into a masterpiece..."

Rarity's eyes flared, and her voice simmered. "How dare he... How DARE he... To compare his vandalism to art... To pretend that his thoughtless unmaking was anything even approaching creativity..." She closed her eyes tightly and ground her teeth for a moment. "Twisting my generosity into mindless greed was bad enough, but to... insult my calling by equating it to the pain and terror he was causing innocent ponies... It cuts me to the very quick..."

The fashion designer let out a long, steady breath, meeting Button's troubled gaze with a wan half smile. "Well, thanks to the Elements of Harmony he's gone back to being a rather unattractive bit of clutter in the royal sculpture garden, and I hope the pigeons enjoy him..."

She laid a hoof on the shopkeeper's. "Anyway, to ride the garden hose metaphor into the ground, so to speak, what that horrible monster did to you was equivalent to making a hole in the hose below the blockage, so that what was bottled up would spray out all over, as it were. At least that's how I understand what Twilight explained to me."

The shopkeeper took a tentative sip of her tea and a mild grimace flitted across her face. "Ugh, too sweet." She looked up at Rarity with a pensive expression as the alabaster mare poured a bit more tea into her cup. "So... so when I try to put things in order, what I'm kind of doing is applying pressure and forcing the... the leak to open up again."

Rarity gave her a smile. "Yes, by Celestia I think you've got it. And allowing yourself to... relax a little... in addition to its own benefits, you'll ease the pressure, so to speak."

Button took a sip of her tea, and cocked her head. "Mmm. That's... that's not bad..." She looked at Rarity uncertainly. "But... but I don't know how to be random or relaxed..."

A guardedly wry expression came to her face. "I... I'm afraid I'd start trying to schedule my spontaneity and set myself right back to square one..." She cast the unicorn a pleading look. "What should I do?"

Rarity smiled at her over her teacup. "I think my first and best suggestion would be to be more open to making friends, darling. They provide no end of surprises."

She set the cup down and hopped off the stool. "And on that note, I think it's time you and I, as a couple of new friends, went and did something spontaneous. What say we take a stroll over to the spa and see if they can fit us in for a little pampering."

Button nearly choked on her tea. "Oh... The spa? I don't know, don't... don't we need a reservation? It...it's not the sort of thing I usually..."

She caught herself, and gave the unicorn a fragile smile. "Ah... I think I'll figure this out eventually..."

Rarity gave her a jaunty grin as she floated the tea set off of her bed and headed toward the door with it trailing behind her. "My treat dear, and don't worry. I'm such a good customer of theirs that they make time in the schedule for me whenever I show up."

She gave Button a wink and beckoned with her horn. "Come on."

***
A short time later, the two mares walked out of the front door to Ponyville's spa with their coats gleaming and their hooves sparkling in the afternoon sun. Button Stitch's light brown mane and tail hung loose in the warm breeze. The spa's expert stylists had added a bit of curl and some soft gold highlights, which set her amber eyes off beautifully.

Rarity admired the effect as they ambled across the town square. "My dear, you look like a whole new mare, and not a "weirdo" at all. I told you that Aloe and Lotus would find something better to do with your mane than winding it up tight like a new spool of thread."

Button smiled shyly. "I might have to start going there regularly, as long as it's not so regular I end up all..." She wiggled her head back and forth and briefly crossed her eyes before letting out a soft giggle.

The alabaster unicorn let out a chuckle. "Don't worry, I'm a fervent supporter of surprise spa visits. I'll make sure to help you keep things switched up."

The earth pony breathed out a long, happy breath, before turning to her companion expectantly. "So... What should we do now?"

A cagey expression settled on the fashionable mare's features. "Oh, I was thinking you might like to go to your shop and take a look."

At this, Button's face fell. "Oh... Yes, I suppose I'll have to face the chaos in there sooner or later. I guess it doesn't do anypony any good in the state it's in."

Rarity smiled and arched an eyebrow. "Well, I'll admit I do have a bit of an ulterior motive. I've got schedules I need to keep too, you know, and you and your wares are a pivotal part of that."

Button sniffled and gave the unicorn a smile. "You know... that's a good feeling too. Having someone depend on you."

A look of resolve settled on the beige mare's features. "The sooner I can get back on my hooves, the better. Lets go."

***
A joyous cry went up inside the small shop as soon as the bell jingled. "SURPRISE!"

Button stood with eyes as wide as saucers, taking in the spectacle before her. Her shop had been cleaned up, not to the pristine order that she had once kept it, but neat and tidy. It was complete, rather than perfect.

With the addition of balloons and streamers that had been liberally hung from the reconstituted shelves and bins, it was as inviting as she had ever seen it. Rarity's circle of friends, Twilight Sparkle and Applejack, Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash, her little sister Sweetie Belle, looking happier to be there than Button had ever seen her, and the young filly's friends Apple Bloom and Scootaloo, all stood with bright smiles on their faces around a small table laden with sweets and punch.

Pinkie Pie, the chief architect of the festivities and ascended sage of spontaneity, bounded completely over the table and landed in front of the elated shopkeeper with a wide grin on her face, and placed a party hat with a tiny propellor on top on Button's head, setting it spinning with a flick of a pink hoof.

She let out a giggle as her limpid blue eyes met with her fellow earth pony's glistening amber ones. "A very wise pony once said 'A little nonsense here and there, is relished by the wisest mare.'"

Pinkie stepped forward, gave the shopkeeper a hug, and whispered in her ear. "Welcome to the fun side. We've been waiting for you."

Button Stitch grinned from ear to ear. "Better late than never." She looked around her little shop feeling more at peace there than she ever had before. "I think I could get used to this..."

THE END



The characters depicted in this fiction are copyright and trademarks of Hasbro, Inc. This is a work of fan fiction, and the author makes no claim on Hasbro's copyright or trademarks.

A My Little Pony - Friendship Is Magic Fan Fiction.

The Turning of the Screwball - The Strange Case of Button Stitch

Twilight tries to explain, and a titanic battle of absurdities ensues.

What can poor Button do to keep her freakish alter ego from manifesting.

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this enough to want to read it again, here's Part 1 ->[link]

Or perhaps you would like to read more about the strange case of Button Stitch and Screwball as their story continues here ->[link]
Add a Comment:
 
:icondipsydew:
dipsydew Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2013
This was lovely. <3
Reply
:iconladyofthegeneral:
LadyoftheGeneral Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
This. Is. Amazing. I don't think I've ever laughed quite so hard--you write with such sophisticated and flowing prose and vocabulary that makes this really worth reading!
Reply
:iconwarrenhutch:
WarrenHutch Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2012
Thank you kindly!
There's a couple sequels to this one, if you're interested. "Screwball Mio Amore" and "Screwball Over"
If you check 'em out, I hope you enjoy 'em. :)
Reply
:iconladyofthegeneral:
LadyoftheGeneral Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I read through them alll last night, and frankly, I loved all of them!
Reply
:iconwarrenhutch:
WarrenHutch Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2012
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed 'em! :)
Reply
:iconladyofthegeneral:
LadyoftheGeneral Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
You're welcome!
Reply
:icontora777:
tora777 Featured By Owner May 30, 2012
I don't know why but this song seems to fit well with the Pinkie/Screwball fight scene. [link]
Reply
:iconlack-rat:
Lack-Rat Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2012
"The pink mare and mare-oid hit the floor jitterbugging, the boards beneath their hooves shaking with the fury of their swing dancing as the skies doubtless shook when Princess Celestia battled Nightmare Moon for control of the heavens a millennium ago. Twilight and the rest of her friends cowered back from the syncopated onslaught, scarcely able to comprehend what they were watching, let alone figure out where the big band music was suddenly coming from."

You win the MLP fanfiction, everypony else go home.

Also this is basically the battle between Pinkie Pie and Screwball... [link]
Reply
:iconmerchmandan:
MerchManDan Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2011
Mott The Hoople!! "This is not my beautiful house... Well... how did I get here?"
Man, these music references are perfect! This is such a great story; well done!
Reply
:iconriddel52:
Riddel52 Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2011
Now I feel bad for only just now getting to read this...

It was pretty good.
Reply
:iconwarrenhutch:
WarrenHutch Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2011
No need to feel bad! Attendance isn't mandatory. I'm just glad folks drop in to read it. Thanks in general to everybody who has. :)
Reply
:iconscorch238:
scorch238 Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2011
Things I liked:
Pinkie Pie's battle with Screwball is as incredible as it is indescribable, impossible, improbable, and many other alliterations with the letter "I".

Other thoughts:
Is the title a play on "The Taming of the Shrew"? That's too co-incidental to be a co-incidince.
Regardless, I'm happy to see such a happy ending for poor Button Stitch. Her neurosis (and subsequent transformations) are terrible things.
Reply
:iconrk-striker-jk-5:
RK-Striker-JK-5 Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2011
A great story, here. Wonderful way to work Screwball into Ponyville.
Reply
:icondogman15:
Dogman15 Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2011
I got here from Equestria Daily, and I just have to say that I really enjoyed this story. I think it could work great as an episode, except for the little things like references to Donkey Kong, and some other phrases they wouldn't be allowed to say on the show for whatever reason. Plus, could this story be told in 22 minutes? Perhaps, with maybe a little editing.
Reply
:iconformorian5:
formorian5 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2011
Pinkie Pie and Screwball meet and fight.
I'm surprised the world didn't implode.
Reply
:iconwhysoseriouss:
whysoseriouss Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2011
A lovely story!
Reply
:icondracodei:
DracoDei Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
SPOILER ALERT!!!



She'd been brought around with smelling salts, dried off with a clean, fluffy towel by the quiet yellow pegasus, and soothed with a cup of strong tea containing a shot of something the orange earth pony referred to as "apple tonic".
-Well... I GUESS she wasn't destructive enough to warrant locking in a cell (despite her innocence of any malice... if ever there was a case of "Not guilty by reason of insanity"...), or Fluttershy giving her a stronger sedative than alcohol. I mean I don't know what you will have the magic circle doing, if anything, but... and it isn't sure that the sedative would even WORK. I mean she was doing stuff when she should have been ASLEEP I think.

The lavender unicorn had scanned her from snout to tail with her glittering horn,
-Oh, and I suppose it is plausible that having her conscious would help Twilight find the mental part of the transformation lurking in her.

"I'm terribly sorry to interrupt, Miss Sparkle, but T-h comes after T-e and before marbles in the croypongo."
-Ah, so a backlash when she tries to organize things... which makes Rarity tidying up after herself a bit of "fridge brilliance", because that would mean that her visit probably WOULDN'T trigger an attack, despite how much she would likely be buying. It also might mean that the effect was lurking BEFORE Discord, and he just brought it out, without having to do anything to her directly, because she would try to fix the other things he messed up? Like a strong exposure to something causing an allergy to develop/emerge? Or maybe it is frustration at chaos that triggers it?

equimonculous
-Good lexicon building...

The pink mare and mare-oid hit the floor jitterbugging, the boards beneath their hooves shaking with the fury of their swing dancing as the skies doubtless shook when Princess Celestia battled Nightmare Moon for control of the heavens a millennium ago. Twilight and the rest of her friends cowered back from the syncopated onslaught, scarcely able to comprehend what they were watching, let alone figure out where the big band music was suddenly coming from.
-Two sentences in, and I can already tell this is going to be PERFECT.

and a moment later a huge boulder painted to resemble an eyeball came sailing through the door, splintering the frame,
-I was WONDERING what the ammo would be.... wasn't expecting that though.

"I'll be at Sugar Cube Corner baking snickerdoodles if anypony needs me."
-And of course, a good showdown benefits from a post-butt-kicking one-liner. This fits the bill, much as Pops Racer's line after he defeats the ninja in the "Speed Racer" movie.

The sheets felt like satin, not her accustomed plain starched linen.
-Ah, yes... that WOULD be the best place to prevent a relapse, wouldn't it? Plus, you know, Element of Generosity, so she wouldn't begrudge her it. Although I find it a bit odd that she wouldn't have something better than linen if she sells cloth... or maybe cloth is one of the things she DOESN'T sell much of (just enough for doll-making maybe...).

The ever present, comforting tick tock of her clocks was absent.
-She has a lot of clocks, so she can keep to a precise schedule?

"This is not my beautiful house...
-Is this supposed to be a song reference?

and broke into a vamp.
-vamp? Define please...

"Sweetie Belle! What sort of question is that?"
-Ok, I thought it might be Sweetie Belle at first, until you mentioned "Primrose", since while SB's hair might be, she herself (that is her pelt) is white.

"I'm sorry, my dear, but it's vital that you vary your routine if you wish to avoid becoming ahem... a "weirdo" again."
-In that case, I am not sure but that Pinkie would be the best person to treat her... of course, order around her enough that she doesn't have to CREATE order might be the first step until matters have been explained to her.

"Un... unforeseen events like... like m-me..."
-Oh dear... well... this should help her self-esteem in the long-run then.

The unicorn brought the teacups back into their respective orbits
-"Orbits"? She was floating the teacups around in circles?

and I hope the pigeons enjoy him..."
-A most appropriate zinger for Rarity... I have heard it said that "A Gentleman, is somebody, who never insults anybody... unintentionally."... or something like that. This would, of course, apply to Gentlemares as well...


Pinkie Pie, the chief architect of the festivities and ascended sage of spontaneity,
-Right... bring her in after Rarity gets started... or save her for the equivalent of a rescue inhaler.
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:iconwarrenhutch:
WarrenHutch Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2011
-Well... I GUESS she wasn't destructive enough to warrant locking in a cell (despite her innocence of any malice... if ever there was a case of "Not guilty by reason of insanity"...)

Well, aside from panicked musings about banishment, being thrown in a dungeon, or being banished then thrown into a dungeon in the place you're banished to, Equestrian criminal law and correctional facilities are vague at best. Its hard to say what proper procedures in this context would be, since we're generally presented with a pastoral utopia with only nominal authorities beyond the Royal Sisters and their personal guard.

-Like a strong exposure to something causing an allergy to develop/emerge?
This isn't a bad analogy for what's going on. The pressure/leak analogy is the model I think says it most clearly, of course.

-Although I find it a bit odd that she wouldn't have something better than linen if she sells cloth... or maybe cloth is one of the things she DOESN'T sell much of (just enough for doll-making maybe...).

Well, her notions shop is kind of patterned after a crafts store, like a small scale Michaels, if those exist wherever you happen to live. So yeah, she probably wouldn't have much in the way of bolts of fabric on hand, and even if she did she wouldn't be likely to use any of the fancier stock on herself. The plain linen implies that she lives a rather utilitarian life without much if any luxuries.

-She has a lot of clocks, so she can keep to a precise schedule?
Yep.

-Is this supposed to be a song reference?
"Once in a Lifetime" by the Talking Heads. [link]

-Ok, I thought it might be Sweetie Belle at first, until you mentioned "Primrose", since while SB's hair might be, she herself (that is her pelt) is white.

Common or English Primrose (Primula Vulgaris) are white. It's just a descriptive flourish so I don't have to write "white" all the time, especially in a story with multiple white coated characters. Plus I find using a floral description is a nice contrast for Sweetie's warmer character vs. Rarity's cooler, "alabaster" coat.

-"Orbits"? She was floating the teacups around in circles?

More in terms of smaller object tethered yet not connected to a larger object. I've seen the word used to imply proximity rather than trajectory.

Button's an earth pony, so I presume Rarity was giving her a bit of an assist in drinking her tea. (This, of course, is a symptom of the general thumblessness that plagues MLP fiction writers.)
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:icondracodei:
DracoDei Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Forget criminal law, this is a matter of containing an individual who presents a danger to the public. That might not require anything more unusual than a senile unicorn to exist. AJ knows how to hog-tie for a reason you know...

Huh... thought primroses were pink... my derp.

I suppose drinking tea with a straw would be a little... strange.
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:iconwarrenhutch:
WarrenHutch Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2011
Well, since she is in the hooves of the Elements of Harmony, who seem to be Celestia's squad of troubleshooters, I'm not sure what the disconnect is here.

Your statement about "not guilty by reason of insanity" kind of implied that you were wondering what the "official" response to something like Button/Screwball would be. From what we've seen on the show, executive authority seems to rest solely on the Princess', their household guard, and whomever they designate as their agents and/or representatives in the field. It seems more feudal/renaissance in a functional/legal sense than what we're used to in a modern context with professional law enforcement and/or mental health facilities.

Ponyville has a Mayor who's presumably mostly administrative and civil authority, Appleloosa has a Sheriff, which makes a degree of sense with it being a rougher frontier town with more need of what might be termed "law enforcement", and I presume the Weather Patrol that Rainbow Dash belongs to is kind of equivalent to EMT/Fire Dept/Public Works.

But I digress (it's an interesting subject to consider...)

Long story short, since the E of H are quasi-civilian agents of the Crown, they'd probably play each case by ear, and since as you say, Button hasn't done much more than weird vandalism and trespassing, it seems logical enough to me that Twilight and co. are more inclined to render first aid and investigate her rather than restrain, sedate, or imprison her.
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:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2011
This honestly makes me wonder if Fluttershy's alternate personality Fluttercruel still existed in this timeline (since she was the only one of the mane six Discord never 'convinced' just 'zap you're a jerk now!' ) and Fluttercruel has been struggling to find a way to take control from Fluttershy. Learning about Screw Ball might give her the emotional motivation to. Why? Because she knows better than to trust her 'father' and is pretty much 'one of a kind' but could see Screw Ball as a SISTER and want to drive Button Stitch permanently insane so she can have her sibling. Why? Because it's painful to be one of a kind.
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:iconwarrenhutch:
WarrenHutch Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2011
Absolutely not.

Fluttershy is the embodiment of kindness, Discord imposed an artificial personality where none existed before to turn her cruel, whereas Screwball is drawn from the chaos that Button Stitch was repressing, which he released and amplified. There's no repressed cruelty in Fluttershy, Discord had to use brute magical force to make her that way.

Of all the "discordings" that happened in those episodes, Fluttershy's corruption genuinely upset me and made me loathe Discord as the villain he truly is.

Once again, if you've got a story you want to tell, tell it in your own headspace. This isn't a direction I personally am interested in.
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:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2011
Er. Yeah. Dude. Fluttercruel being an artificial personality was kinda the entire point. 0-0

And also a realization. If Fluttershy wasn't doing all that, who was? Who.

In other words. If Fluttershy wasn't, then someone else was.

And there's no way that Twilight memory would KILL someone.

And this realization, that Screwball is just a repressed part of Button Stitch's personality: would crush and horrify Fluttercruel because it would be a bait and switch from her point of view. Believing she was finally not alone and BAME, you're still something MADE not BORN and you're still one of a kind. And of course finding her scheme was doomed before it started.

Fluttercruel, "Dammit, alone, STILL-alone!"

Fluttershy, "You still have me."

Dude. I am NOT trying to start a war here. I'm just cloud-watching with ya.
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:iconwarrenhutch:
WarrenHutch Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2011
No, you're "cloud watching" *AT* me, and doing it in the comment section of *my* fictions when it would be better if you did it in your own space. I'm trying to be polite about it, but I'm beginning to see I need to explain my position a bit more bluntly.

The comments here are for people's responses to what *I* have done, good or ill. It's not a venue for you to inject your own story ideas into what I have written. If you want to riff on something of mine, that's fine, but do it in your own space and send me a note about it. (And make sure to cite sources, please.) I'll gladly come read it, but understand that whatever you choose to do in your Ponyverse is exclusive to you and vice versa.

This is fan fiction. I don't own the characters and have no say over how others interpret them or present them in their own venues. Here in my venue, however, I have a say in what choices I make in my presentations.

I have *NO* interest in "Grimdark" or twisted or "discorded" interpretations of the characters, and in my personal headspace, they emphatically *don't* exist after Discord was defeated, no matter how much rhetoric you may want to bring to bear to convince me. I dislike *evil* versions of the ponies on a visceral level, and want absolutely no part of them. Please respect my personal feelings on this as much as I try to respect others' right to spin those sorts of stories if that's what floats their boat.

One of the least productive methods of critiquing someone's work is saying "That's not how I would have done it." Which is pretty much how you lead off in your comments here, and then continue to present examples of what *you* would do in *my* space. It's frankly rather rude, although I'm sure you don't really mean it to be insulting. I appreciate that you thought enough of my work here to want to respond to it, but its a bit like sitting down next to someone playing a piano and trying to turn their solo into an impromptu duet, or walking into an art gallery and taping your own sketches up next to the paintings.

To put it simply, if you're enthusiastic about your ideas, present them in your own venue, and keep them out of other people's presentation space as a courtesy. If you have questions or criticism of my stuff, feel free to say it, but stop posting story sketches in my comments. This isn't the place for them.
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:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2011
0-0

I've never minded people doing so in mind. I'll admit I find it VERY weird if they go overboard and don't talk about the story posted at all, but I don't see it as a violation of personal space and I don't discourage them when they do so in mine.

It's very VERY clear you do however, and I'll respect your wishes.

When I insert references to other people's story, they are meant as tributes and praise to that person's work, not attacks or denouncements.

And for the record: the theme was Fluttershy teaching Fluttercruel how to be better than how Discord made her. There.

You are very very clearly upset, and I shall respect your wishes if you don't want to discuss 'what-if's.' But please understand that nothing I post is intended as dictations or commands. I am very sorry if you have interpreted them that way and for that I apologize.
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:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2011
When did Rarity learn to pick locks?

Very interesting story thus far. I have my own interpretation of Screwball. But yours is more straight foreword.

After a few beats, the band went loose again, and a moment later a huge boulder painted to resemble an eyeball came sailing through the door, splintering the frame, and slammed into the hapless ponyform, sending it crashing into the opposite wall in a shower of books. 

Twilight, "MY HOUSE!!!"

And allowing yourself to... relax a little... in addition to its own benefits, you'll ease the pressure, so to speak." 

But having thing organized and in order is HOW she relaxes!

COuld blast her with the Elements of Harmony to repair the damage.



Fluttercruel, "Steed and the Alicorn Fluttershy, Steed and the Alicorn, some day, some day soon, you'll be the steed and I'll be the Alicorn. And just day by day, minute by minute I work myself up, and I'll LIVE and you'll WATCH instead."
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:iconwarrenhutch:
WarrenHutch Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2011
1) Same place she learned kung fu. Girl's got a deft touch, and I don't imagine Ponyvill having relly advanced locks to begin with.

2) Twilight was more than a little boggled at that point to respond with much more than a "whah hah?" Plus she was pretty casual about Tom the Boulder making architectural adjustments to the library in "Return of Harmony"

3) It isn't so much how she relaxes as it is how she suppresses her anxieties. Just because someone sleeps with the light on doesn't diminish the fact that they're terrified of the dark.

4) "blast" and "repair" don't tend to end up in the same sentence too often for a reason. It'd be like trying to "fix" the leak in the metaphorical garden hose with a shotgun.

That all being said, thanks for stopping by and reading.
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:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2011
The shot gun cured Luna of her 'end the world to get people to notice me' problem.

And if she really Discord's masterpiece, his ultimate creation, something that the element's of harmony's restoration that fixed the rest of his magical damage: she might be just fighting a hopeless battle and might have to simply embrace the crazy if she wants to hold onto any traces of her original Ego. What happens when she tries to balance her check book or do her taxes? I know the point of the story is not to be so tightly wound-up. Also, if this is based on balance, wouldn't that mean if Button Stitch is learning how to accept some randomness, wouldn't that leak some ability to -think- into Screwball?
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:iconwarrenhutch:
WarrenHutch Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2011
Well, frankly a shotgun is often a very good tool for people with an "end the world to get people to notice me" problem.

Perhaps a better analogy in this situation is using a hammer to patch up a broken teapot.

Plus, in the context of storytelling, I think it's a tad dull and repetitive if the answer to every problem in the Ponyverse is "Blast it with a rainbow."

Discord called her "A" masterpiece. He just saw her as a particularly pernicious bit of chaos to inflict, not his ultimate creation. He's the Joker, not Michaelangelo. He's not creating anything, just messing up what exists. That's part of why Rarity, as an artist, was so angry that he'd use those terms.

You answer your own question in the last paragraph. The point is finding balance. There's a time to be organized, and a time to just let things happen at random. There's a time to just enjoy a story for what it is without picking apart every little detail. :)

If she releases the pent up chaos in her in positive ways, like occasionally taking a break to go smell the flowers or chase some butterflies, then it's not going to manifest itself as a transformation into Screwball. She's essentially starving the problem of its "fuel" by burning it off in manageable doses.

Screwball does "think", it's just operating on a vastly different wavelength than a rational being.
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:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2011
"There's a time to just enjoy a story for what it is without picking apart every little detail."

Heh. But that's what makes me happy. :-) Finding subtext where there was no subtext. Etc. :-)
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:iconwarrenhutch:
WarrenHutch Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2011
THE FUN HAS BEEN DOUBLED! :)

All seriousness aside, I was just joshin' ya. I'm happy to respond to any question the readers may have. If folks are engaged enough to want to ask questions, that means they got something out of it.
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:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2011
Meanwhile in another universe, Diamond Tiara is visiting her mother in the ponyville mental ward (without her father knowing of course), her name is Golden Tiara, but she's known by a more common nickname.

"Princess, mama had some interesting dreams. The jigsaw puzzle dragon kept channeling mama through this pony in another timeline where the world never turned confusing for your mother and another me didn't even seem to be there. This other pony ran a spool and thread shop and was obsessed with having everything orderly. Whenever she'd begin thinking about making things orderly the jigsaw puzzle dragon would push mama into her place. But then the six pieces of the rainbow taught her to not have -everything- be organized and the jigsaw puzzle dragon couldn't push your mama into the other pony anymore."
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:iconwarrenhutch:
WarrenHutch Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2011
Meanwhile, in a roiling allegorical nonspace sequestered within the deepest recesses of an earth pony shopkeeper's essential being, something somewhat like a pony yet not replied "Groatoahovingo lapranoonical flatooey!" and then broke into kazoo version of the "Winter Wrap Up" song in 15/16ths time, blissfully unconnected to whatever might be going on in other universes, as well as the one it was currently inhabiting.

With all due respect and in the kindest way possible, I'm not particularly interested in dueling headcanons here in my comment stream. If you've got your own Screwball story, post it and I'd be glad to read it and I'm sure other folks would be as well. :)
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(1 Reply)
:iconbuckykatt42:
Buckykatt42 Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2011
I Loved the Pinkie Pie/Screwball battle as well as the way Pinkie calmly left afterwords like nothing unusual happened.
I also loved the ending.
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:iconquakerlol:
quakerlol Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I rather liked this whole thing! Pinkie Pie wins forever and that's really all there is to say on the matter, other than well done you!
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:iconkenfletcher:
KenFletcher Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2011
A pleasant story, with unexpected surprises.
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:icondsludge01:
DSludge01 Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2011
"Un... unforeseen events like... like m-me..."

Here I am enjoying this interesting, entertaining and amusing fic, and all of a sudden you suckerpunch me in the guts with a line like that. :tears:
Yeah, well... fuck you too?
Good story. Well written too. Thank you for a good read!
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:iconwarrenhutch:
WarrenHutch Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2011
And here I am, enjoying folks' kind words and grateful that they're enjoying my work, and out of the blue someone says "fuck you" to me...

I'm glad you stopped in to read the story, and doubly glad you mostly enjoyed it, but I'd be remiss if I didn't raise an eyebrow a little at your choice of words here.
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:icondsludge01:
DSludge01 Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2011
Aw geez, I guess I really stepped in the proverbial accordion there, didn't I?
It was a poor choice of words, and came across all wrong.
I'm very sorry.

I keep forgetting that words only make up a part of the message, and that other parts such as facial expressions, tone of voice and so forth doesn't make it through in written text.
I also forgot that the use of expletives doesn't translate well... :ashamed:

It was a very powerful line, and came rather unexpected. It made me sob. Out loud. (Luckily noone was there to hear me.) It was a bit like having someone coming up to you and for no reason punch you in the guts. I guess I was trying to convey a bit of that sensation by giving off a response similar to what I would should someone do that for real. I can now clearly see that that didn't work, at all (hindsight 20/20 and all that).

Please don't get me wrong: I don't dislike that line. I think it is the best line in the story. It is simply BRILLIANT.

Once again I apologize. It was a poor choice of words, and an example of that an unbridled tongue often sings to its own harm.

Please accept my sincere apologies, and write more stories.
We good?

PS. I have read your other stories, and found them very enjoyable. Luckily I did so before seeing your reply, and can thusly make this claim with at least a bit of credibility (as in I'm not just saying that out of guilt - they really are very good). DS.
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:iconwarrenhutch:
WarrenHutch Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2011
Spoken like a gentlepony.

No hard feelings, and I'm sorry if you felt put on the spot by my response. When something strikes me amiss my policy is to make note of it, hopefully without rancor. As you say, the words on the screen lack the inflection and expression that help to facilitate communication.

Once again, I'm honored that anyone would take the time to read my writings, and overjoyed that it moves them to react, either positively or negatively. So thank you.

Definitely stay tuned, the ponies, they make me write.
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:iconcirdec:
Cirdec Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2011
I'm a fan of multi-chapter fanfics that don't drag on forever. Especially when they're AWESOME. Kudos!
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:iconcadance-and-cascade:
Cadance-and-Cascade Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2011
"This is not my beautiful house... Well... how did I get here?"

:iconfryplz:
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:iconkidkyryte:
kidkyryte Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2011
wondrous. absolutely wondrous
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:iconscary-scott:
Scary-Scott Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2011
Ok, this was awesome for several things, One Random Pinky Pie!
Two, you win amazing 80s song reference number 1985, Once in a life time lyrics.
Three, FUNNY story!
the only down side was that the moment screw ball started to do stuff, It was obvious who it was that became her.

Pinky Pie still wins for best pony of the story!
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:iconsaphiretsukikage:
SaphireTsukikage Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2011
what was the 80's song??
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:iconscary-scott:
Scary-Scott Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2011
once in a life time by talking heads
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:iconwarrenhutch:
WarrenHutch Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2011
[link]

Same as it ever was...
Same as it ever was...
Same as it EVER was...
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:iconbeau-skunk:
Beau-Skunk Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2011
This was a pretty good fanfic, a nice mix of suspence, humor, seriousness, and even a li'l heart-warming. :)

Nice li'l "orgin" for Screwball to, and it ties in well with the "Return of Harmony" episodes. The characters also seemed very in-character to, and I like how you made Button Stitch (AKA Screwball) a very sympetheic, and likable character. I also liked the explanation for her transformation, and how it ties in with the mention of Discord's brief take-over of ponyville, as well.

Very nicely done, I enjoyed it, even though as I said I don't read fanfics to often anymore. :)
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:iconkamenriderculamon:
kamenriderculamon Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2011
That was a fun and enjoyable read.
But now I've got Pinkie and Screwball fighting to the theme of Highlander in my head.
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:iconhaissan:
Haissan Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2011
I have to say, well done... I teared up too
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