'Hey, Zecora. Wait!' You called as you both chased after the zebra. Celestia jumped in front of her and skidded to a halt. She looked up at the zebra with big, adorable eyes.
'We're sorry.' She stuck out her bottom lip. 'Forgive us?' Zecora rolled her eyes.
'I am not upset, you can see. I want to get this bunny to it's family.' She motioned to the grey ball of fluff resting in her hood.
'Oh okay. Mind if we come along?' Celestia asked.
'Just to clarify, we're going even if you say no.' You added. The zebra sighed and continued walking.
As you followed Zecora into the trees, you realized you were entering a part of the forest you had never been in before. You normally stayed in the area surrounding the fields; you had no need to go any deeper into the Everfree. You exited the thick tree cover and came into an open patch. The area was deep in the forest and surrounded by trees. The ground was heavily overgrown with tall grass and other odd plants and weeds. A towering structure loomed over you, casting twisted shadows that stretched across the open pasture. The identity of the structure was masked by a thick layer of ivy that wove in and out of the framework. As you and Celestia gazed up at the eerie structure, Zecora strode over to the bushes on the far side of the field.
'Discord...' Celestia whispered, still not peeling here eyes away from the ivy-covered mystery. 'What is that?'
'I don't know...' You flew up closer to it. You reached out with your paw and pushed away some of the plants covering the side. As the ivy fell away, a painted red board was revealed. A swirling golden pattern was embossed on the wood. As you moved more leaves, it became clear that the wooden object was a carriage hanging on the metal framework of the enormous circle.
'It's.... It's a ferris wheel.' You were confused. 'What in Equestria is it doing out here?'
'This used to be a joyful place.' You jumped as Zecora spoke. 'It could put a smile on anyone's face.'
'Why is this ferris wheel out here?' She looked around, spotting other ivy-covered structures, no doubt other forgotten rides. 'What caused this park to close?' Celestia asked.
'A tragedy, my little dear. Let me tell you what happened here.' Zecora reached into a pouch sewn on her cloak. When she withdrew her hoof, a small pile of shimmering green powder rested on it. You watched intently as it glittered in the sunlight passing through the trees. The zebra took in a breath before exhaling sharply and blowing the powder off her hoof. It filled the air, creating a cloak that covered the ground and formed a fog that impaired your vision. You felt a hoof on your shoulder as Celestia blindly felt around. You wrapped your paw around her. The green fog started to swirl and create shapes in the air. Something was forming.... a blurry outline appeared. Hooves, legs, a tail, a mane. Eyes. A mare. An incredibly life-like mare. She was smiling and wandering happily around. The top half of her face was covered by an elaborate mask. Suddenly, out of the swirling mist, other ponies formed, again, all masked. Most were dressed in fancy clothes. They were all smiling.
'Years ago, masquerades were a happy affair. This one, however, caused only despair.' Zecora's voice echoed through the fog. The mare skipped through the party, weaving in and out of other ponies. Every few feet, she would stop and talk to one of them. Her lips moved, but no sound came out. It looked as though she was asking a question. The pony she asked would shake their head, but she would move on, unfazed.
'This mare you see here is the unlucky one. She was always so happy, always having fun....'
Zecora's voice was full of regret. The mare continued to walk about through the party, asking the question to more masked ponies, only to receive the same answer. Again, the mare continued, joyful as ever.
'Her happiness she showed and was proud of. She had reason; this mare was in love.'
You and Celestia watched intently as the mare continued to go about with her question. After two more tries, she got the answer she was looking for. The pony she asked nodded and slowly raised a hoof, pointing behind the mare. The mare turned with a euphoric expression, that remained for mere moments before it was shattered into pieces.
'Her love, however, was not faithful to her. Another girl's riches he did prefer.'
In front of the mare stood a stallion, no doubt her love, kissing an elaborately-dressed stranger. The mask dropped from the first mare, as did her happy expression. As did her will to live. She approached the stallion, and mouthed three words. The brute turned to her and pushed her away, shouting silent swears as he cornered her. A hoof lashed out, marking the cheek of the broken mare. She ran away, tears falling from her eyes.
'She searched for something to make the pain stop. The closest she could find was a sudden drop.'
You watched in horror as the silhouette of a pony boarded the bottom carriage attached to the ferris wheel. As the wooden box reached the top of the wheel, you understood what was going to happen. The mare threw herself off the carriage, sending her plummeting toward the ground. The dust dissipated as the mare's body hit the grass.
As the green fog lifted, you were returned to normal sight. The ferris wheel that moments ago was proud and glittering stood dilapidated in the center of the open pasture.
'The park was abandoned, buried in time's sand. The forest grew up and reclaimed the land.'
Zecora slowly walked over to a patch of long grass. She pushed it away and revealed a grey gravemarker. The granite was inscribed with a message.
'Cheery Pie. The happiest mare in all of Equestria.'
'And as the park was forgotten, so was she. The pony who filled lives with glee.'
You turned to see Celestia quivering beside you. She was on the verge of tears. You pulled her into a hug.
'Don't cry.' You whispered. 'You'll get ill.' The Princess nodded as you let go of her.
'Doesn't anyone come out here to visit the grave? Didn't she have any family?' Celestia asked with a cracked voice.
'Only one member I knew, her baby filly. For a child to risk the forest would have been silly.
Instead, I bring flowers to her grave. I fear not this forest, I try to stay brave.'
'What happened to the child?' You asked. 'Is she okay?'
'Hardly a child, she is a grown mare now. Cheery's brother's family made a vow-
To look after young Pinkie until she was grown. She is no longer on her own!' Zecora finished, but Celestia needed to know more.
'Wait, Pinkie? Pinkie Pie?' The Princess questioned. Zecora nodded.
'Do you know her?' You asked.
'She's my chef!' Celestia exclaimed.
'Do I know her? Was she the purple one?' You rubbed your chin as you tried to remember.
'No. Believe me, if you'd met Pinkie, you'd know it.'
------- Author's note ---------