The movie started dramatically with a dramatic “swoosh” as Rarity dramatically opened the curtains, her magic dramatically pushing them aside so they wouldn’t dramatically interfere with any of the dramatic drama on screen.
After a few logos that none of them paid attention to, because no pony ever does, the film finally began. The opening scene was peaceful enough; a small town, not unlike Ponyville, came into view with cheerful scenes of happy ponies going about their daily lives. Rarity and Fluttershy both tensed and whimpered in fright, leaving Rainbow Dash to wonder what they found so scary.
Maybe I’m better at this whole horror thing than Twilight thought, Rainbow Dash inwardly gloated as she relaxed in her plush cushion, sneaking in a few glances at the others.
“I can’t believe I was so colourblind!” Rarity fumed. “I should have used maroon, not red curtains for this piece of cinematography! It just clashes terribly with the walls!”
Okay, that explains Rarity. Rainbow rolled her eyes, wondering how one pony could be so vain. Yes, irony was lost on the rainbow-maned one. But Fluttershy? What’s got her all--
“Eep!” Fluttershy dove behind the cushion, leaving behind a yellow trail that actually impressed Rainbow Dash a bit. Only a little bit, though.
Twilight looked back at Fluttershy, a soft, comforting smile on her face. “Sorry Fluttershy, I forgot to warn you. The projection sometimes plays some crazy tricks with the lighting.” Demonstrating Twilight's point, Pinkie Pie made a weird motion with her hooves resulting in a shadow bunny. Twilight would have used her hooves, but, well, they were hooves. “See? Nothing to be afraid of.”
Oh. Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes again. She made a mental note to just dress up in all black and just pretend to be a shadow around Fluttershy’s house next Nightmare Night.
The opening credits breezed through, with names of various ponies that were apparently a big deal. At least, that’s what Rainbow Dash figured from Rarity’s periodic squeals and gasps. She’d never heard of any of them. One name, however, caught her eye.
“Hey, Rarity.” She pointed at the name as it scrolled up to the top of the screen. “What’s a Wonderbolt doing in some silly movie?”
“Goodness!” Rarity looked at her athlete friend as though she’d just swallowed a kitten. “Any movie role is good for ponies trying to get noticed by Cherry-wood!” She lowered her voice to a conspiratorial whisper as she leaned over to Rainbow Dash. “I hear some ponies will do absolutely anything!”
“So, being a movie star is bigger than being a Wonderbolt?” The jock of the group was having trouble wrapping her head around the idea.
“To many ponies, most certainly! Think about the lesser-known Wonderbolts. What wouldn’t they give to get out from under Spitfire’s or Soarin’s shadow?”
"Not a literal shadow Fluttershy."
"Oh, nevermind, then, sorry."
Rarity gave a grin and a harrumph as she continued. “Dear, unless you’re the superstar, you’ll only ever be seen once in an athletic show, which can only happen in one venue at a time. One good movie, and you’re the toast of all Equestria! You can become a superstar overnight!”
“Wow, seriously?” Rainbow Dash was actually impressed for a moment. “Well, with a Wonderbolt in this movie, that monster doesn’t stand a chance!” She smiled and nodded assuredly to herself, unknowingly showing her total ignorance as to how movies work.
It didn’t help that Pinkie was there to egg her on, of course. “Yeah!” she squealed in excitement. “Hey, remember that one time those Wonderbolts saved Rarity from falling off Cloudsdale?”
Rainbow couldn’t help but flinch, noticing Rarity starting to grind her teeth as she very poignantly kept her eyes on the screen, shoving a hoof-full of popcorn from Pinkie’s seemingly bottomless bag to keep from shouting.
Pinkie Pie, being Pinkie Pie, didn’t seem to notice. “Oh! Or how about that time the Wonderbolts took on Spike! And then totally saved Rarity again!”
Rarity swallowed the popcorn in her mouth with a loud gulp and reached for some more, as if thinking it would hurt her waistline less if she didn’t take from her own bag. Seeing Rarity, Rainbow couldn’t help but smirk slightly at her. “Hey, Rari--”
“Finish that sentence!” Rarity dared, glaring daggers at Rainbow. “By Fancy's Pants, if you make a lame pun about me falling for you, head over hooves or otherwise, I will take you shoe shopping! And then I’ll get you a nice, bright, fancy dress! With sequinsAre we clear?!”
Rainbow gulped nervously and nodded softly. “C-Crystal.”
The film cut to a sleeping unicorn mare, safely tucked in bed. As she slept, the picture slowly faded into what was apparently a dream, taking place in the old Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters.
“Ooooo!” Pinkie squealed, bouncing in place with uncontrollable energy. “We’ve totally been there!” Rarity wondered for a moment if Pinkie wouldn’t be a perfect candidate for Fillies Gone Wild. She certainly had that ‘party filly’ personality.
The camera panned behind the mare as she skulked about the old castle, revealing none other than Nightmare Moon standing behind her stealthily, just waiting for the right moment to strike. The slither of moonlight glinted off her foreboding plate armor, flaring off gryphon-like falons firmly affixed to her right fore hoof. It was a startlingly faithful rendition, if not somewhat taller and darker.
“She was there too!” The other ponies couldn’t help but twitch at Pinkie’s remarkable grasp of the obvious. “Though, I don’t remember that shiny hoof thingie! Hey, is she going to cut some cake?!” Every pony else just looked over at Pinkie in shock for a moment, wondering if she’d forgotten what kind of movie this was. “Ooooo, I bet you can cut so much cake with that thing, like enough for three ponies at once!”
In cue with a quickening of the music, Nightmare Moon let out an emphatic, piercing laugh, causing the hapless mare to quicken to a full-on run. But it was no use; Nightmare Moon was right in front of her as soon as she turned a corner, as if appearing out of thin air, clawed hoof raised and ready to strike!
With a wicked, cruel, tooth-bearing smirk, Nightmare moon brought her hoof down in a violent slash across her victim’s chest, the mare screaming in agony and terror. The ponies in the room all jumped at the sudden fright! They all reacted simultaneously.
“Ow! Hit my head on the ceiling.... I uh, guess I needed to stretch my wings...” Rainbow Dash moaned, trying to look like she hadn’t just shot up into the air in paralyzing fear. She had an image to uphold.
Applejack wasn’t so much talking as gagging on the ‘apple’ treat she’d been eating, suddenly finding that it was taking some work to keep it down.
“Koolie-Doolies!” Pinkie Pie shouted gleefully.
“Gah!” was Twilight’s nuanced, researched contribution.
Fluttershy, meanwhile, seemed relieved as she let out a sigh. “The cut can’t be too deep, at least. She’ll be fine.”
Rarity stared at the pink-maned pegasus as though she had grown a second head. “Fine!?” She shrieked. “Could you imagine the stains that would have caused! I’m feeling light-headed just thinking about it!”
Pinkie shrugged. “Waste of a good cake knife if you ask me,” she murmured.
Twilight could barely contain her glee. “Ooooo, this is so exciting!” Her voice was tense as she stared in awe at the screen, ready to absorb absolutely everything this scene had to offer.
Suddenly, the scene changed again. The mare was back in her bed, panting and sweating as she bolted into a sitting position, but safe. All but Twilight breathed a sigh of relief. The purple unicorn just cocked a skeptical eyebrow. There had to be more. Waking up from a bad dream isn’t scary enough.
And more was revealed as the mare tossed aside her covers, revealing a set of long, jagged, bleeding cuts across her shoulder, leading down her chest. The same cut she’d suffered in the dream. Twilight simply nodded and clapped her fore hooves in appreciation as her friends gasped in shock, clearly not having expected that turn of events.
Applejack squinted at the screen, licking her lips as she tried to figure something out. The unicorn mare on screen looked about her own age, but was walking up to what appeared to be a high school.
Unable to get over the apparent contradiction, she decided to bring it up to the apparent movie expert of the group. “Rarity, y’all know all ‘bout this here movie stuff...” Applejack began, sounding bewildered. “What in tarnation are adult ponies doin’ in a high-school!?”
Rarity rolled her eyes at her cowpony friend. “Oh puh-leaze! it’s simply more appealing to have adult ponies in these roles!”
“Wha?” Applejack was even more confused now, which was obviously not the intention when she asked the question.
“Teenage ponies look absolutely dreadful on camera!” Rarity continued, waving a hoof dismissively. “So few of them understand how acting works! They need to hire more... Mature actors, ponies who can deliver their roles while catching the audience’s eye!”
“C’mon!” Applejack was in disbelief, shaking her head at the idea. “Now that’s just some cow patties from where I’m sit--”
“It’s him! It’s the Wonderbolt!” Dash squealed gleefully, drowning out Applejack’s protests as she proceeded to fangirl all over her idol.
Leaning against a pole was a dashing, dark-brown coated stallion with a golden lightning cutie mark and the sort of muscled, toned build that only top professional athletes could ever hope to achieve. The petite mare he had a foreleg wrapped around wasn’t exactly a slouch either. Her lithe, white coat, hued with the slightest hint of pale green rippled with hidden muscle and gave a fluid, graceful quality to even the slightest movement. She might not be as strong as her co-star, but she was very attractive, especially in that cheerleader outfit which, were it not for the lack of a giant axe, would have looked just like Pinkie Pie’s getup.
It couldn’t be more obvious that he two were dating.
“Wow, look at that swag! That pony’s so awesome!” Rainbow Dash continued to swoon, even as Twilight looked uncertainly at the couple.
The jock tripped over a somewhat nerdy-looking art-student mare that was passing by. The cheerleader tittered her approval.
That brought a disgusted groan from Rainbow, who was suddenly conflicted. “Okay, that’s so not awesome. But... Wonderbolt, right? Maybe that pony totally deserved it?”
The art student scrambled to pick up all her papers and books, looking at the jock with teary eyes. “Why do you have to be so mean, Flash?”
“Because you’re dorking up my airspace, dweeb,” Flash replied coldly. “Now scram, before I change my mind!”
“He’s a jerk!” Rainbow twisted in her spot, suddenly uncomfortable as she turned to face Twilight. “But... But he’s a Wonderbolt, so he’s gotta learn his lesson, right? You know, learn his lesson, become a better pony, and totally save that day? Right? Right?”
Twilight didn’t even pay attention to Rainbow’s petty hero worship, seeing far too much of herself in that innocent, nerdy art student. Fluttershy shivered a bit as well, murmuring something about flight camp and hiding behind her mane.
Rainbow just nodded slowly. “Ooooooookay....”
The mare from before walked on camera, opening her locker next to the jock and his cheerleader girlfriend. Yep, Twilight mused. Stereotypical high-school angst. For a brief moment, she thought back to Applejack’s observation, wondering why actual teenagers couldn’t act like actual teenagers. Seemed like such a fit to her.
“Ah, Starlight!” Flash sounded especially full of himself now. “I see you trotted over to my airspace too, eh?”
“Yeah, what of it, Flash?” Starlight sounded more confident, clearly not willing to put up with Flash’s nonsense.
“Didn’t think bookworms had legs,” Flash barbed. “Thought you’d be crawling instead. Maybe flushing those textbooks of yours did you some good, nerd.”
Rarity, Applejack and Pinkie Pie made it a point to put some distance between themselves and Twilight. Flash had just made it a point to brag about his love of destroying non-fiction literature. The sight of Twilight’s bag of popcorn erupting into an inferno and the burnt smell that erupted from the bag convinced Rainbow Dash distance herself further still. For her part, Fluttershy raced over to Twilight, trying to calm the enraged unicorn before she took her fury out on the screen and, by proxy, the barn. The highly fragile, flammable, wooden barn.
“Hey, plothole,” Starlight spat as she pulled a large textbook from her locker using her telekinesis before waving it in front of Flash and, with a quick jerk of magic, shredded the book into festive confetti.
Flash grinned triumphantly, while the ashes that were once Twilight’s popcorn caught fire. Again. Applejack started writing on the back of the paper plate. Everything goes to Big Mac, ‘cause it’s lookin’ like my buddies are all dyin’ with me!
Applejack sighed when she realized how flammable the paper plate was.
Pinkie, for her part, was thinking about how the mass-funeral would go. Oooooh, it’d be like a birthday party. Only we’d be dead, so a death day party? And there’d have to be black balloons instead. Oooo, sounds fun! Wish I could be there! Well, I’d be there, but... Could Rarity still manage to arrive fashionably late?
The shredded remains of Starlight’s book were enveloped in a magical aura, however, as they melded back together into one cohesive whole.
“Fixing a book’s pretty easy there, Flash,” Starlight resumed, gazing straight into Flash’s eyes. “But your face? Celestia would probably have an easier time turning the earth into another sun. Can’t imagine what she’d be able to do about that personality either, come to think of it.” She put the book back and slammed the locker shut forcefully. “Piss off, and take those self-esteem issues out with you, not out on her.” She calmly nodded her head towards the pony Flash had just abused.
Twilight raised a triumphant hoof and let out a joyful cry that sent birds throughout the orchard flying in a panic. The other ponies, for their part, slumped back down and let out sighs of relief. There would be no death day party just yet!
“Oh that’s it, nerd!” Flash drew his hoof off the cheerleader’s shoulder and glared venomously at Starlight. “You’re gonna get it now!”
Fluttershy stoically dove at Twilight as one might martyr themselves on a live grenade, only that comparison seems rather inadequate, as a grenade can at worst grant something as pedestrian as death, and can only cause it once. Twilight Sparkle faced neither of these limitations. Fluttershy slammed her eyes shut and hoped it would be over soon as Twilight's eyes started glowing, literally glowing, with a furious passion to draw her vengeance out as long as possible. Just then, a large, muscle-bound stallion with a gorgeous, perhaps because of rather than despite its shaggy and unkempt state, mane stepped forward and caught Flash’s hoof mid-swing. The other foreleg reached around Flashes shoulders to give him an unjustifiable punishment to atone for his sins, a horror that should never befall a stallion,
The dreaded noogie.
Rarity swooned at the display of chivalry, while Fluttershy swooned as her life flashed before her eyes, bringing with it the memory of every scary moment of her entire existence at the exact same moment. It was quite dreadful. Like that one time she fell off her stool in the kitchen. Goodness, were she not a pegasus, she might have broken a bone! Or worse: one of her animal friends! Maybe even a bunny! The horror! Oh, and then there was that whole thing with Nightmare Moon, Discord, the Manticore... But still! Fluttershy had priorities!
Twilight was suddenly pulled from her immersion as she finally registered the crushing weight of a twitching yellow pegasus pony unconscious on her lap. The rest of the group just gazed at her in shock.
“Yeah, sorry about that.” Twilight rubbed the back of her head and grinned sheepishly. “I just really lose myself in these movies, you know? I’ll try to, uh, be a bit more self-aware from now on.”
“Seriously, Twilight,” Rainbow Dash sighed. “You had me worried we were going to end up getting involved with the moon!”
Elsewhere, in the Royal Palace....
“Luna, did you hear that?”
The rustling of a busy abacus ceased as Luna looked up at her sister. “No, sister, we did not. What didst thou think she heard?”
“I’m not entirely sure,” Celestia admitted, “but suddenly, I’ve the strangest urge to have a banana...”
Back in the intact, fortunately not on fire, barn, the movie continued rather smoothly, with Twilight deconstructing and analyzing the scenes. Knowing the director, she was aware of the subtle subtext and foreshadowing that could be placed anywhere, right when no one expected it.
The other ponies settled back into their initial positions, save for Rainbow, who had edged a bit closer to the screen with Pinkie Pie to be closer to the action. Being closer to Pinkie Pie’s popcorn also had something to do with the decision.
Yep. Foreshadowing right when no-pony expected it.
The main cast was eventually introduced. Clearly Flash and his fillyfriend Floozy wouldn’t have had such character development unless they were part of the main cast.
Starlight’s hero was a stallion simply named Johnny, at least according to Flash’s distressed cries. Rainbow Dash found herself enthralled by this oh-so-cool customer, mimicking his every action. It vexed her that he was so much more dashing than THE Dash! Even his shades were bigger and darker than hers!
The last main character to be introduced in the scene was Starlight’s best friend, Feather, who was described as a plain looking pegasus pony. That description once again had Applejack confused.
“Plain?!” Applejack exclaimed. “That there pegasus mare’s lookin’ hotter than a stack of fresh apple pancakes on a cold winter’s mornin’. How in the heck is she ‘plain’!?”
Rarity shook her head and gazed at Applejack, taking pity on her poor, ignorant friend. “Oh dear, don’t you understand? Ponies in the movies are all...” Rarity went a bit teary-eyed before bursting out the last word. “Gorgeous!” She squealed and fanned herself, grinning and giggling like maniac. Or a Pinkie Pie. The two were pretty much interchangeable.
Noticing a smile from Twilight “Learn From My Mistakes” Sparkle, Rarity forced herself to rein in her enthusiasm, returning to her usual exposure. “The point, Applejack, is that you just can’t hire plain looking mares to act in a movie! Now, looking at perfection, that’s just...” Applejack couldn’t help but notice a thin bead of drool escaping Rarity’s lips, tracing the ‘cultured’ pony’s eyes to Johnny’s swaying flank on screen. “Simply marvelous!” Rarity caught herself and wiped her chin, trying again to compose herself. “So therein we have a compromise. The gorgeous ponies play the pretty ponies and the pretty ponies play the plain ponies. It’s much like casting older actors, really.”
“Now that’s just a heap o’ bull shi-!” Applejack was interrupted by Rarity once more as Starlight and Johnny trotted over to Feather at a school lunch table, greeted by a large bowl of hay fries.
“See, Applejack?” Rarity muttered. “Only in the movies can a pony eat like that and still look so svelte!”
Johnny eyed the bowl of fries before, in a single smooth motion, flicking the edge of the bowl and sending one flying off above their heads. The shot cut to a close-up of Johnny lowering his glasses so his eyes were visible. He winked at Feather and uttered, a single, drawn out word, a lazy drawl rolling it around in his mouth as much as possible.
Feather raised an eyebrow and stuck her tongue out, only to find the fry hitting the offending appendage. As she munched down on the snack, she offered her own reply, talking as she chewed. “Show-off.”
“And that’s why you love me,” Johnny quipped.
“News to me,” she replied sarcastically.
“Well, here's today's headline, then,” Johnny whispered with a smirk before stealing a kiss. Feather’s eyes bulged slightly as she audibly swallowed the last of the fry.
“Oh come on!” Rainbow blurted out. “This guy’s awesome! He’s got fillies falling at his hooves!” She looked over at Fluttershy, who was trying to see how much of herself she could hide in her mane. “Why couldn’t they ave gotten a Wonderbolt to play him!?”
“Because,” Rarity butted in, eyes shimmering and awe in her voice, “that’s Gem Lance. Gem Lance! What’s he doing in this movie!?”
“Wait, did you say Gem Lance!?” Twilight squinted at the screen before her eyes bulged, recognition hitting her full force. “I know him!” She leaned forward on the cushion, gazing at the star intently.
“Of course you do,” Rarity quipped. “Every pony knows Gem Lance!”
“No, I mean I actually know him!” Twilight reiterated. “He’s a friend of Shining’s... And, um, a very good friend of mine as well.”
Rarity was delighted at this news, clopping her hooves together giddily. Twilight, by contrast, looked embarrassed by her own revelation. If she didn’t know better, Rarity could swear that Twilight was blushing! But Twilight wouldn't be blushing unless...
"Are you seriously telling moi that you and Gem Lance?! Rarity gasped.
“Yeah, we soooorta dated back when we were teens,” Twilight admitted, shrinking back in an admirable imitation of Fluttershy. “He has a thing for nerdy mares.”
Fluttershy’s jaw dropped so fast it nearly popped out of place, leaving her staring at Twilight with her mouth agape.
"Get. Out." Rarity hissed.
“It’s true,” Twilight meekly insisted.
“Details! I, er, I mean WE demand details” By this point, every pony was thinking what Rarity said, every eye on Twilight, making the unicorn somewhat nervous.
“Well, he was really sweet. Shy too; I’ve got no idea how he got in front of a camera the way he was!” She giggled softly and rested her head in her hooves. “You should have seen him when we first kissed. Neither of us had kissed before, so we were really nervous.”
“You were... You were Gem Lance’s first... Kiss?” Fluttershy managed to ask, trying to close her mouth with a hoof.
“I guess so...” Twilight noticed the stares she was getting. “Wait, why are you all staring like that? Sure, I wasn’t exactly a party girl, but come on, what would any of you do in that situation?”
The room paused in thought for a moment, wondering what they would do when presented with a handsome, dreamy colt like Gem Lance asking to go out with them. Fluttershy was suddenly swaying side to side as she tried not to pass out.
Pinkie Pie, of course, said the first thing that came to her mind, with a stunning level of confidence in her voice. “Big, wet, sloppy make-outs?”
“Pinkie Pie!” Rarity chided. “One does not simply have ‘big, wet, sloppy make-outs’ with a pony like Gem Lance!”
“Yeah, Pinkie!” Rainbow interjected. “They do so much more than that!”
Twilight, for her part, gave a sheepish grin. “Well,” she mused, “we were young, and pretty shy.” Her grin turned devilish for a moment. “But yeah, I so totally made out with a movie star.” She blushed and giggled timidly as she absorbed the stares from every pony in the room.
It was Pinkie Pie, of course, who broke the silence with a bout of raucous laughter. “Ha ha! Snogging Starlight Sparkle!”
“Pinkie, you goofball!” Rainbow laughed along, taking advantage of the party pony’s distracted state to steal some more of her popcorn. “Starlight’s the girl in the movie.”
“Then where’s her special some pony?” Pinkie asked.
“Hey Starlight,” Feather spoke, as if knowing what the viewers in the barn were talking about, “where’s that loser colt-friend of yours? Uh, Roam, was it?”
“He’s not a loser!” Starlight bitterly protested.
“He doesn’t even have a cutie mark yet!” Feather pointed out.
“Hey, it’s cool that he doesn’t have one.” Starlight seemed like she was trying to convince herself as well. “He says he doesn’t want to be tied down by some mark on his flank. Wants to keep his possibilities open.”
“Or maybe he really does suck at everything?” Feather offered with a grin.
“Well, that’s not entirely a bad thing....” Starlight winked as she said that, causing Johnny to choke on his hay fry. Starlight continued regardless, her tone becoming decidedly more somber. “Hey guys, can I ask you something?”
“What?” Feather didn’t seem to notice Johnny’s gagging, and Starlight was content not to bring it up.
“I had this dream last night,” Starlight sighed, looking down ruefully. “There was this unicorn following me, but she was a pegasus too, like Princess Celestia, only... Dark. Like the night.”
“Wait, you dreamed that too!? Feather’s statement only served to shock Starlight.
“Wait, you had the same dream? Mine was in this old castle...”
Feather shook her head. “Not quite, though, mine was at school. Creepy as Tartarus, too, there were these fillies singing some weird nursery rhyme....” Feather laughed nervously, then softened her voice, singing in an eerie high-pitched tone.
“One, Two, It’s Nightmare Moon,
Three, Four, the other Alicorn,
Five, Six, Clever lies and tricks,
Seven, eight, She’s a creature of hate,
Nine, Ten, Find the elements.”
She then burst out laughing. “My subconscious is a genius! Even came up with this wicked sick hoof blade thing for her to wear.”
Starlight’s eyes shot wide open at that last remark. “That was in my dream too!” She glanced around, self-consciously before lowering her voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “When I woke up...” She shifted her admittedly garish scarf to reveal the gruesome cuts.
Feather grimaced, letting out a nervous, forced laugh. “You probably just cut yourself on the edge of your bed and dreamed about it.”
“I don’t think I could cut myself three times in a row like that,” Starlight pouted as she protested. “Look, I just don’t wanna be alone tonight, so I was wondering if you guys could, um, have a sleepover at my place? Just for tonight?”
Pinkie Pie gasped hard and fast, inflating like a balloon, the walls of the barn creaking inward in protest. “Oh, that would be so totally awesome, guys! We should so have a late-night party, with candies, oh, oh, and popcorn and a mov-”
Rainbow Dash cut her off with a tap on her shoulder, her other hoof drawing attention to the barn around them. A party banner clattered noisily down from the roof, dislodged from Pinkie’s rapid inhale. Pinkie, for her part, just stared at the other ponies in wonder.
“Hey, how’d you guys set this party up so fast? I only just had the idea!”
Every pony else just face-hoofed.