Okay, take two. If you're here looking for a new chapter of Barker & Scales, don't worry, I'm not done with them. But I just had no idea what to do with the story, especially after coming up with the object of this here chapter.

On a matter that is completely unrelated to a possible future plot whatsoever, I promise, I was going to have a story where the Elements of Harmony faced off against the Elements of Discord, but now I can't because Discord is the name of the villain of the new episode, so sayeth DirecTV.

Does anypony have a different antonym for Harmony?

My Little Pony doesn't belong to me.

Share and Enjoy. Comment!

"Are you sure it's not too much trouble, Mrs. Cake?"

"Of course not, Twilight," the older earth pony said. "Just keep an eye out for Pinkie Pie, she's been acting a bit strange."

The unicorn glanced at her, startled.

"…er," she finished.

Mollified, Twilight turned to the books she'd laid out on the table. Rarity had dropped off the Crusaders at her library without any warning, and the fillies had immediately proceeded to turn the place upside down. It was all the purple unicorn could do to get away without tripping over one of them. So she had taken refuge at Sugarcube Corner. Sure, here she had to deal with Pinkie Pie, but at least there was only one of her.

She felt a little guilty for leaving Spike alone with them. She thought for a moment, then decided to bring him some rubies as an apology.

She opened the book; Alternate Dimensions: Theory and Practice.

She only got as far as the second page when a pair of blue eyes suddenly appeared in front of her own.

"Aah!" She fell out of her chair.

"Hi Twilight! Guess what?"

"What?" Twilight shouted, changing mental gears so she could deal with Pinkie Pie, Ponyville's resident party animal.

"I just heard Lyra saying that Aloe told her that Blues overheard the mayor saying there were three new houses being built in Ponyville!"

Twilight struggled to keep up. "Huh?"

Pinkie didn't seem to hear her. "Do you know what that means?"

"No! What?"

"It means that there're new ponies moving into Ponyville!"

Twilight blinked. "Really?"

"Yup! Oh, I wonder if it's a colt or a filly? I wonder what she's like, will she be friendly, is she an earth pony like me or a unicorn like you or maybe-"

"Er, shouldn't you be planning the party?"

"-and then we can-What? No, silly. I have to meet them first. How weird would it be to throw a party for somepony you didn't even know?"

"Um," Twilight said, pulling herself back up to table, "Isn't that what you do all the time?"

Pinkie giggled. "I didn't say it would be weird for me, Twilight."

Twilight considered that. "That's an excellent point, Pinkie. Why don't you keep a lookout for them?"

"Great idea! You stay here in case they come in for a snack!" With that, the pink party pony hopped away, babbling about Celestia-knows-what. Probably parties.

"Finally," she sighed, levitating the book in front of her. "Maybe now I can get some work done."

"Don't you work at the library?"

Twilight felt her eye twitch. Staying behind the book, she said, "Yes. Yes I do, Mr.…?"

"Flash. Morphic Flash, master of dimensions. Sorry to bother you reading, but I can't help but notice that book you're reading…"

Twilight lowered the book to see a gangly white unicorn stallion with a scruffy blonde mane. He looked somewhat taller than her, but it was all leg. He had a gold compass rose as a cutie mark.

"Yes? What about it?"

"It's utter crock."

Twilight slammed the book closed. "What?"

"It bears little to no resemblance to the truth whatsoever."

"It's a widely regarded text written by a renowned expert!"

"Who doesn't know what he's talking about. It's much easier to come up with complicated falsehoods than simple truths. In all Equestria, the only two ponies who know anything about the true nature of Reality are Celestia and myself. And I know it better."

Twilight gawked at him. Whatever she was about to say, though, was lost as a thought struck her. "Oh. Wait. Are you the new pony in town?"

"Me?" he asked, surprised. "Technically. Of the three ponies moving here, no, I'm not one of them. I'm just vacationing here."


"Weren't you listening? Pinkie said there were three houses being built. Why would anyone build three houses for one pony?"

Twilight had nothing to say to that.

The colt's head swung towards the door. "Incoming. Exit, stage… here!"

There was a flash, and suddenly the colt was gone. It felt like a teleport spell, only… not. Twilight couldn't explain it.

Shaking her head, she looked at the door.

A very tall unicorn stallion with a dark grey coat and a black mane with a dull gold streak through it was dragging himself through the door. His eyes were half-closed and unfocused. He wore a dark gold, pinstriped vest. His mane and tail were in such a tangled bird's-nest it would probably have given Rarity a heart attack.

The stallion sat himself at a table in the far corner of the room and stared at the wall, mouth moving silently for a moment before he gritted his teeth and banged his head on the table.

Twilight winced on his behalf. She looked around. The Cakes were somewhere in the back, and she was the only other customer. It was a little late, after all.

Twilight trotted over to the stallion's table, noting that his cutie mark was a violet quill.

"Are you alright sir?"

The pony's eyes shot open. They were a dull yellow. He looked around wildly for a moment before focusing on her. "What ho? A foe?"

"What? N-No! I just asked if you were alright!"

He calmed down, slightly. "Ah, yes. Let me redress. No, I'm not fine, in fact I am bad."

Twilight paused at his strange speech patterns. "Anything you'd like to talk about?"

He smiled for a moment. "I suppose a friend might make me glad."

Twilight gathered her books, sighing as she put them in her saddlebags; so much for reading.

The stallion eyed the books warily. "Methinks an avid reader you be; any good stories you've read recently?"

Twilight frowned as she ran this through her head. "Oh, no, I don't read much fiction."

He grunted, looking disappointed.

Twilight took advantage of the moment of silence to take a look at him. He was very, very tall; at least head and shoulders above Big Macintosh, though this pony wasn't nearly as muscular. He looked like he might have been once, but had let himself go and only had a few muscles left. His horn, Twilight noticed, was at least twice as long as hers. It was also very sharp, judging from the cork stuck on the end of it.

He noticed her gaze. "Yes, it is needed. You see, last time I went without this cork, I walked into a wall. It got stuck, you see, just bad luck for me. Don't want stab anyone, after all."

Twilight was beginning to understand that he was speaking in rhyme. It didn't surprise her much, though. Zecora always spoke in couplets, after all.

"Well, let me introduce myself. I'm Twilight Sparkle. Who're you?"

The stallion's eyes flew wide open in horror. "I deserve the tanner for such lapse in manner! Pinto Meter is my name." He smiled at Twilight's gasp. "Ah. Perhaps you know it? I'm a poet, and one of great acclaim."

Twilight fumbled with the clasp on her bag before remembering her powers, then yanked out a thick, hardback book with the title: They're All Mad. She looked at the picture on the book jacket. She looked at her companion. There were differences, to be sure. The pony on the cover was much more well-groomed and looked friendly, if not cheerful, but they were very clearly the same pony.

"You… you…" The name on the spine read: Beck P. Meter.

"I thought you didn't read much fiction. Perhaps you wish to change your diction?"

"But this says you live in Canterlot! You're one of my favorite authors, what are you doing here?"

Beck sighed, eyeing his book with sorrow with a look full of bitterness. "Wallowing in my own self-pity. I simply had to get away from the city."

"What? Why?"

Beck looked her in the eye for the first time. He had dark bags under his eyes. "If an answer, miss, is what you crave, then I won't tell you no. However, first, please let us start; at the beginning of the show."

His horn glowed, and the restaurant changed to a dark, Victorian-style bedroom.

"What is this?" Twilight asked, startled.

"A simple illusion spell. I thought that it would help me tell."

The writer took a deep breath, steeling himself. "Twas a dark and stormy night, the hailstones all a'clatter. The thunder set the beasts afright, the rain on rooftops pattered. And as I slept with curtains drawn, the storm snuck in my dreams, and transformed scattered visions to a most horrific scene. Ursa Majors, manticores, screams that pierced the night; had such profound effect on me, I woke in purest fright.

I calmed myself, 'twas just a dream, though I knew I'd not had worse. Imagination struck a chord, and so began my curse."

The scene around them changed to follow the story. Twilight watched, rapt.

"I wrote down all I could recall, embellished here and there. Add a hero, happy ending; then? A tale beyond compare!"

Beck stood on his hind legs, spreading his hooves in a grand sweeping motion as he banished the illusion.

"Come dawn I rushed to show my friends, who marveled at my work." He sat back down, his eyes now bright with memory. "The book was shown to publishers-"

He paused, then frowned. Lowering his voice, he said, "Wherefore does the pink one lurk?" Seeing Twilight's confusion, he pointed behind her.

Pinkie Pie was standing right behind her. "You found him!"

"Pinkie! How long have you been there?"

"Oh, since the beginning! Keep going!"

Twilight grinned despite herself and turned to Beck with a grin. "Sorry. It's just Pinkie Pie. You'll get used to it, trust me."

Beck's mouth twitched at the corners. "Oh yes; I see, I guess. Silly me."

"As you were saying, Mister Meter?"

Beck cleared his throat. "My book was printed and spread far and wide, and I felt a strange kind of warmth deep inside. That was the day I stopped being blank. I got this here mark that you see on my flank. I wrote other stories and poems galore, and signed ponies' copies right there in the store. I loved all their praise, and sometimes critique, for how to improve if the critics don't speak? And now I am famous, and frankly quite rich; back home I was mobbed every day. It's all been quite fun; now my history's done, so I'll tell why I'm running away."

Pinkie frowned. "Running away?"

"He's just trying to keep up the rhyme, Pinkie."

Beck blinked. "Rhyme?"

Twilight tilted her head. "Yeah, you know-"

"I never rhyme. I flub it almost every time."

The two fillies stared at him, incredulous. "…Oookay."

"Is something wrong? Or may I go on?"

Twilight nodded.

"*ahem* Six months ago, oh sorrow and woe! Oh why won't it go away!" he wailed. "From day into night, I try all my might; but it seems that it's here to stay!"


"For the very first time in my flawless career, I've encountered that thing which all writers fear!" He took a breath. "My imagination's stuck; the dreaded writer's block has struck!"

Pinkie gasped.

Twilight blinked. "Writer's block? That's it?"

"Foal! You do not understand! Six- SIX months I've not written a word, because of Fate's cruel hand! Writing is my life, the only reason I live. Without my muse, my soul is lost; oh, what I wouldn't give…"

The poet banged his head on the table.

Pinkie frowned disapprovingly at her friend. "Yeah, Twilight. What would you do if you couldn't use your magic anymore?"

Twilight considered this, but before she could ponder it much Beck suddenly raised his head and stood as though nothing had happened.

"It is getting late, I fear, and I wish to see my new home. My first night in Ponyville; I hope the building's done."

Twilight looked outside and gasped. "Spike! Oh no, I left him with the Crusaders! I didn't mean to be gone so long." She rose and gathered her things. "It's been a pleasure meeting you, Mister Meter, I hope you get to feeling better, see you round!"

She galloped out, Pinkie shaking her head. The earth pony brightened. "Oh yeah! I have to get your party ready!"

Beck raised an eyebrow, then grunted and walked outside, dragging his hooves.

He started as he walked into the night. There was a rustle of flapping wings, and then a weight landed on his back. He turned his head. There was a large black bird perched on his back.

Beck smiled. "Ah. Quill, my loyal friend; has our home's construction come to an end?"

The raven rolled his eyes. "Yeah, it's done. The Pegasus says he'll come back and finish up tomorrow, but he's got all the essentials done."

"Wonderful, great. Now let's see this house; it's getting late."

The bird groaned at the rhyme.

Their dark colors making them almost invisible in the night, the two moved slowly through the night.

Oh yes, this is much better. Stay tuned!