Hello? Can anyone hear me?
Okay, this is so stupid. I don't even know if this is working. Ah, well... it's worth a try, at least.
I'm going to just go ahead and assume someone is able to pick this up. These fourth-wall breaking powers have to be good for something, right? Assuming they're real and that I can even use them, that is.
Okay, I should probably start at the beginning.
Hi. I'm a perfectly normal human person. And, for some reason, I'm also Pinkie Pie. Let me explain...
Okay, no, I can't explain. I have no idea how this happened. I was just out shopping one day at a local Target store, getting some light bulbs and garbage bags... that kind of thing. I was walking past the home furnishing section, idly thinking about visiting the "pink" aisle to see if they had any new pony stuff. I glanced at a mirror that was on display and I froze with shock, because I saw a very startled-looking and familiar pink pony staring back at me.
I blinked, and then there was this weird shifting feeling. When I opened my eyes again, I saw my own face staring back at me, but I sure as heck wasn't in Target anymore. I blinked again, and when I opened my eyes, my face was gone, and the mirror once again showed the face of a very confused-looking Pinkie Pie.
So, okay. That's incredibly weird, and I'm obviously hallucinating, right? I had ponies on the brain, and now I had some sort of mental breakdown. I've gone loco in the coco, and I'm really lying on the floor in the aisle at Target, probably foaming at the mouth and gurgling the My Little Pony theme.
But it sure didn't feel that way. Too many sensations. I could smell the room, kind of a dusty smell, with just a hint of girly perfumes and such, but also I could smell bakery wafting up from below. Cookies, cupcakes, cakes, that kind of thing. I could hear muffled voices coming from outside. There was no dream-like shifting of items that I could see, and I could feel the hard wooden floor underneath my rump.
What really freaked me out was the faint taste of frosting in my mouth. I wouldn't have imagined that, I knew. That was something that never would have occurred to me to make up, if I'd been hallucinating or having a stroke or whatever. So, unable to process what was happening, I just sat there. I don't know how long, but I sat there on my unfamiliar pink and fuzzy butt, just staring into the mirror with wide blue eyes, trying to deny that this was happening at all.
And then a drop of sweat rolled into one of those eyes, and stung like the dickens. I finally started blinking again, and it started sinking in that this was real. But it couldn't be real. But it was real. But it couldn't be...
Have you ever seen those old sci-fi shows where they trick the evil androids/robots/killer computers with logic puzzles and that eventually causes their poor electronic brains to explode? That's kind of how I felt, staring at this strange but familiar face in the mirror.
Luckily, my brain didn't explode. I didn't faint, either, which is what normally happens when really weird things happen to characters in stories that I read. Instead, I just went kind of numb and tried to stand up. I had to see if I was actually in Ponyville, because I was definitely in Pinkie's room. I remember it from the show, and this was definitely it. There was even a little toothless alligator staring at me enigmatically.
Walking on four legs is hard, and I stumbled a little on my way to the window. Not too badly, and I managed to not fall down, but I wouldn't be winning any races soon. I can't begin to tell you how freaky it was, feeling unfamiliar muscles and bones shifting under my coat. Completely surreal.
And walking on hooves? Forget it! I've never felt anything like that. No, it's not like walking on tiptoes, or not exactly. Also, I figured hooves were hard, clunky things, and would feel a little like wearing really thick boots. But no, I could actually feel the wood floor under me. It turns out that the soft part of the hoof, which I found out is called the frog, is pretty sensitive. At least on Pinkie's hooves. Oh, and when you put your weight on them, the hooves spread out a little. That was... really weird, feeling that.
I got to the window, pushed it open, and propped myself awkwardly up on the sill. Yup, I was in Ponyville, all right. You wanna know how I knew? There were multicolored pastel ponies every-fricken-where I looked, talking, laughing, playing...
If you've seen the show, you know what I'm talking about. The buildings all looked like something out of an olde-timey village, mostly white on the outsides of the buildings, most of them with thatched roofs. The trim was in all sorts of pastels, pinks being prevalent, but also greens, blues, and purples. It was gorgeous, it was nostalgic, and it scared the living daylights out of me!
I slid back down on my rump with my back to the wall, panting for breath. Dangit, I only wanted to do some shopping, and now I'm in Ponyville, and I'm Pinkie Pie! And I don't even have my light bulbs, which was the whole reason I went shopping in the first place!
And then a small voice in my head said, At least you're not Twilight Sparkle.
Why is that? I asked the voice in my head, I really like Twilight Sparkle!
That's right, voice in my head! Don't you mess with Twilightlicious! But that inner voice wasn't phased in the least.
Because Twilight is probably the only one who can figure out what happened and how to get you home, it said reasonably. And darn it if it wasn't right.
I sat there for a few minutes, back against the wall and hind legs splayed out in front of me, thinking about what I was going to do, what I could say, how many things would probably go wrong when I told Twilight that I was an alien being inside of her friend's body. A weird sucking noise interrupted my concentration, and I glanced down to see some weird green thing glomped onto one of my hooves!
"Gah!" I said, which was not the most eloquent thing in the world, but it got my point across. I kicked my leg by reflex, and the weird green thing (which, obviously, was Gummy the toothless alligator) went flying. I gasped, not wanting to hurt the little guy, but he arced gently through the air and landed on Pinkie's bed. I stared at him, concerned, and he stared back, blinking one eye and then the other.
I was pretty sure he was fine.
Anyway, my new voice had caught my attention. So, I said it again. "Gah." Hmm. Weird.
"Gah. Gah! Gah gah gah. Gaaaaah! Gaaaagaaaahhhhhahahahaaaa!"
"Everything okay, dearie?" a voice asked suddenly.
"GAH!" I replied.
I jumped and looked towards the stairs coming up to the room. Mrs. Cake had her head poked up just high enough to look into the room, and was looking at me with a mixture of concern and amusement.
"Oh! Ah! Um..." I said. Magnificent, aren't I? "I'm just... um. Practicing making noises!"
I threw a panicked grin at her, she smiled back, and then she went back downstairs. I'm 110% sure she was thinking something along the lines of 'oh, that Pinkie is so random!'
Anyway, my voice sounded like you'd think it would. All Andrea Libman-like and high-pitched. A girly voice. Which meant, by the way, hip-hip-hooray, that I am now a girl. Or a mare. A mare pony. A pink girl mare pony thing and oh my god I'm freaking out and...
Okay, okay, sorry about that. That still happens sometimes. Anyway, as upsetting as it was, the loss of genitalia really comes in a distant second when compared to the loss of humanity in general. Trust me on that.
I'm pretty sure I don't have to describe what I look like. Or, I don't know. Maybe I do. I'm under the assumption that, if I'm breaking the fourth wall at all, I'm reaching fellow bronies, but maybe that's not the case? Maybe I'm reaching some little girl somewhere who's a fan of the show, in which case... er... sorry about mentioning genitalia, my bad. Forget I said anything, okay?
Mental note: stop mentioning genitals, in case of kids.
Or, maybe the people I'm reaching aren't bronies or fans at all. Hopefully, you're at least humans. If you're aliens, then I really really hope you're not the abducting/probing kind of aliens, because, honestly, this has been upsetting enough already. Actually, the face-hugging kind would be a lot worse. If you're creepy face-hugging probe aliens, please don't bother trying to help me, I'll be just fine.
Ah. A tangent. Sorry about that. I don't know if it's my Pinkie brain or what, but I seem to go off onto weird tangents all the time, now.
Where was I? Oh. Descriptions. Okay, I'm a pony. Specifically, I'm a pink one, as bright a pink as you can imagine all over my body. My darker pink mane and tail are a tangled mess, thick and poofy, the hair seeming to have a life of its own.
I think I mentioned earlier that my eyes are blue, but they're also huge. Big baby blue eyes. They look so innocent, but that's just so wrong. No way am I innocent enough to deserve those eyes! I'm an adult male human, for goodness sake! I've done naughty stuff with ladies, and everything!
Man, I already forgot that I might be reaching kids. Okay, brain, stop thinking about naughty stuff!
Oh, whoops. Heheh, sorry about that. I really hope none of that came across the fourth wall. It's a little like trying to not think about elephants, and then all you can think about are elephants, you know?
Okay, moving on, and hopefully putting that embarrassing incident behind me...
I had seen Pinkie Pie in cartoons, and in the cartoon her body is a uniform color, but that's not really the case in... well, for lack of a better term, let's call this "real life", okay? Let's not get bogged down in details. Her coat... my coat... whatever, it was only a uniform pink when looked at from a distance. The individual hairs were mostly bright pink, but there were also some different shades of it mixed in, from light to dark pink. There were even some hairs that were almost pure white in there, though not many.
The exception was the cutie mark, which was three balloons on each of my hips. Each mark had two blue and one yellow balloon, and the actual hairs are tinted those colors. It's... kind of cool, actually.
Also, my... her... hooves are a slightly darker shade than the coat. The outer wall of them was hard, like I expected, but the bottom of the hooves were... weird. Okay, first of all, as a pony, I shouldn't be able to look at the bottom of my hooves, right? Forget about that, okay? Ponies around here can do all sorts of ridiculous things, and being able to look at the bottoms of their hooves are amongst the least crazy things I've seen since I got here.
I went off on a tangent again, sorry.
Anyway, there's a part behind that outer wall that's kind of spongy and weird, and then there's the frog, which is kind of a triangle of of soft, pink (of course) tissue. I don't know if that's a magical pony thing or not, because I can't imagine horses from my world having soft tissue like that on their hooves. But that's what Pinkie's are like.
Enough with the descriptions. If you've never seen the show, then it's enough to know I'm a magical pink pony in an enchanted land full of other magical ponies.
The funny thing (ha, ha, I'm laughing) is that I always wanted to come here. I just wanted to come here, you know, in my own actual body. Not in Pinkie Pie's body. So, deciding to listen to that one voice in my head, I thought it was high time I went to find Twilight Sparkle.
Like I needed a reason for that. She's my fave pony, after all.
Still, if anyone (or anypony, as they say it here) could figure out what's going on with me, I figured that it would be the super-brainy nerdalicious magical prodigy who... who...
Who lives in a library inside a tree? Twi~light Spar~kle!
Sorry, I had the Spongebob Squarepants theme in my head, there. Oh, god, I think Pinkie's brain is infecting me with the crazies!
Okay, I'm going to have to lie down for a while. I'll get back to telling you my story soon, once the crazies have died down a little bit.
I have those little breakdowns sometimes, even still. It just gets to me, you know? I mean, it was a fantasy of mine to come here, yeah, but still... When your sense of what's real and make believe get mixed up like this, it's really hard to keep calm and carry on, you know what I mean?
Anyway, back to my story, I guess. As I was saying, I decided to go see Twilight Sparkle. This didn't happen quickly, oh no. It took me probably about a half an hour to make that decision, and probably another half an hour to get over the hammering in my chest to finally even try to venture forth.
I got up walked over to the staircase and carefully (hooves and four legs remember?) made my way down the stairs onto the second floor of, you guessed it, Sugarcube Corner. This floor was where the Cakes lived, the Mister and the Missus and, oh yes, the twins. I forgot about the twins until I walked past an open door to what was, presumably, the nursery. Where Mrs. Cake was... well, to put it bluntly, nursing. The babies. In the nursery.
Both of 'em at once. Gotta hand it to her, that takes skill.
So, like I said, nursing. Mrs. Cake saw me staring and must have taken my look of sheer horror as approval or happiness to see the babies (they are cute, I'll give them that), because she smiled and waved at me. I tore my eyes from the unsettling spectacle and smiled weakly back. I mumbled something about going to go see Twilight, and Mrs. Cake nodded, probably too engrossed with doing mom stuff to really listen to or care about anything I said.
I shakily made my way to the first floor, waved to Mr. Cake, almost passed out again from the sheer surrealism of the whole thing, and then walked up to the door.
That door. It intimidated me greatly! Once I opened it, I would be out of the relative safety of Sugarcube Corner, which was a weird, but at least somewhat familiar, place.
On the other side of that door were ponies. Lots and lots of multicolored, happy little ponies. The thought was pretty scary, actually. I'd be exposed, out in the open. I hesitated... and then I remembered that on this side of the door was a lactating Mrs. Cake. Suddenly things seemed so much easier!
I pushed the door open and took my first steps into Ponyville proper. It wasn't as weird as I thought it would be, really. Kind of like walking into a Renaissance Festival, only with colorful talking ponies instead of guys in tights and women dressed as wenches.
I miss the wenches. Oh, right. No naughty thoughts. Sorry.
I started walking down the (dirt) road, making good time before I stopped and realized that I had absolutely no idea where I was going. I looked around, trying to see a tree sticking up above the rooftops and completely unable to spot it. I did see lots of familiar faces, though. Or rather, familiar manes, coats, tails and cutie marks, because the faces were pretty much all the same in the cartoon, right?
Over there, standing in a stall and selling produce, was Carrot Top. Or was she really Golden Harvest? Or... actually, was it either one? Who said that Hasbro got any of the names right, let alone the fandom! I started freaking out a little bit, realizing that I was in a town full of ponies who probably knew what my name was (or thought they did), but I couldn't be sure that I knew any of theirs!
That little unicorn over there... I'm pretty sure her real name isn't Colgate or Romana, but she's standing there waving and smiling at me like we're old buddies! We probably are old buddies! I waved back, hoping she wouldn't come over and talk to me, but, thankfully, she just went along her way.
And the little lavender filly with the blond mane? Sure, she's tiny, but is she really Dinky? And those two colts over there, kicking a ball back and forth... sure, their cutie marks were right, but were they really Snips and Snails? I mean... Snails. Who would name their kid that?
I wondered desperately what to do about the whole name dilemma as I watched the colts kick that ball around. And then it hit me.
"Ouch," I said, rubbing my muzzle as the ball bounced away.
"Oh, sorry about that Miss Pie!" little Snips (?) said, running up with an apologetic look on his face.
Okay, it was time for the first episode of 'What would Pinkie Pie do?'
"Oh, that's... super... terrific...ly fine... diddley-ine?"
Argh, no, that's not Pinkie Pie, that's Ned Flanders! And it was awful. Just awful. I'm so sorry.
What I did next was worse, though. I mean, it seemed pure genius at the time, but honestly, it's the boneheadedest idea you can even imagine.
"But I think that blow to the noggin gave me temporary amnesia!" I said, "So, quick, tell me what your name is!"
See? I wasn't kidding, that was pretty dumb.
"Um... It's Snips, Miss Pie," the colt said, giving me the look that intelligent life everywhere reserves for crazy people. "And he's Snails," he continued, nodding towards his friend, who was busy staring vacantly at the side of a building.
Huh. Somepony really did name their kid that. Anyway, that's awesome! Two down, a few hundred to go!
"Right! Of course! And... which way to the library, Snips?" This time, it was a good idea. I mean, I'd already convinced him that I was crazy, so why not get some info, right?
The little pudgy unicorn pointed with a hoof. Back the way I came. Great.
"Thanks, Snips!" I said, some honest cheer in my voice. I turned and walked back the way he'd pointed.
I was actually feeling pretty good right then. Actually, I think "relieved" would be a more appropriate word, since I was suddenly feeling a lot less stress. So, with my mood pendulum swinging from "terrified" over to "happy", I started humming to myself as I walked along.
Then I thought it would be cool if I had my hoofbeats match the rhythm of the song I was humming. It took a little while to figure out how to do that without tripping over my own legs, but I got it down eventually.
So, there I was, humming to myself and walking down the street, and suddenly the lyrics of the song I was humming popped up into my head.
My name is Pinkie Pie, and I am here to say...
Oh dear. I was humming the tune to the Smile song. I sure hope it was just my imagination that made it feel like something was building up around me, a sort of energy, as if I were directly underneath a rapidly-developing thunderstorm.
I came to a dead stop and heard a big ruckus behind me. My blood ran cold. I cranked my head around very slowly, dreading what I would see back there.
Behind me were about two dozen colorful ponies, all jumbled together from stopping too quickly, and all looking at me with big grins and bright, expectant eyes.
Oh dear lord, they were about to break into an impromptu musical number right behind me!! I looked at them and said the first thing that came to my mind, which was "Aaaaagh!"
And then I ran away, leaving a bunch of very bewildered ponies in my wake.
I have to tell you, they really didn't exaggerate Pinkie's abilities at all on the show. Man, when she wants to, this pony can really move! Buildings flew by on either side of me as I ran in a blind panic. I'll throw in some standard descriptive language, so you get the idea: thundering hooves, flashing limbs, wind in my mane, tail streaming behind me, all that kind of stuff that translates to "pony runs really fast!"
Naturally, once I calmed down a little, I realized that I was thoroughly lost once again. I found myself in one of the random parks you see on the show from time to time, this one with a fountain in it that had a statue of some unnamed pony, wearing a saddle and rearing up on her hind legs.
Mood pendulum swing time again, and I was back to being a little on the pensive and moody side, so I sat under a nearby tree to catch my breath. I wasn't up to facing the town again, not quite yet, so I just tried to relax and get myself under some semblance of control.
Okay. Mental note: No more singing while I'm Pinkie Pie, weird things happen.
I sat there for... gosh, I don't know, maybe twenty minutes? Then my brain started calming down a little, and I started thinking clearly again. Well, okay, not clearly so much as more clearly than I had been before.
As I was sitting there, the little voice in my head popped up once again, saying, If you're both new in town and Pinkie Pie, doesn't that mean you have to throw yourself a party?
That struck me as absurdly funny, and the next thing I knew I was literally rolling on the ground, laughing hysterically. I also experienced a new sensation, something I'd never done as a human: the legendary giggle-snort!
It probably wouldn't have been so funny if I hadn't been so down a couple minutes beforehand. Hoof. Beforehoof. Whatever, you know what I mean.
Anyway, once the giggles died down, I got back up, feeling a lot better. Well, except that I was thirsty, so I drank a little water from the basin by the hooves of the pony statue, which, bleh, tasted pretty bad, but at least got rid of the last of that frosting taste in my mouth. Thinking that I was tasting what Pinkie had been eating before I got stuck in her body was more than a little freaky.
Then I noticed a drinking fountain nearby, and face-hoofed myself for drinking the bad water instead.
Okay, I say this with all sincerity, guys (or gals? or... whatever you potential aliens are?). If you ever find yourselves with hooves at the ends of your forearms, be very careful with face-hoofing! For serious, I knocked myself a good one and almost blacked out. I ended up with a decent-sized lump on my head, which... well, I guess it would help with any further amnesia stories, right?
So, it's not all bad. Right?
Okay, so once I got done smacking myself in the face, I drank some more water, this time from the drinking fountain, which tasted much better.
Then I walked back into town sedately. No singing, no humming, no nothing. Darned crazy musical ponies!
I wandered for a while, figuring I'd run into the tree-brary eventually. Ponyville isn't that big, right? That's what I thought, at least. But really, Ponyville is huge, at least when you have no idea where you are. I walked past Carousel Boutique like, five times, all by accident, without seeing any other familiar landmarks.
Finally, I found myself back at Sugarcube Corner. Snips and Snails were still there, kicking that ball around, and Snips was giving me the googly-eye, probably wondering what other crazy stuff was going to come out of my mouth.
But now that I (kinda) knew where I was, it was time to go to the library!
And I would have made it, too, if it weren't for...
Oh, whoops, gotta go. Sorry, I've got some visitors, and it's really hard to keep concentrating on this fourth-wall stuff while talking to other people. Let's pick this up in a little while, okay?
Oh, right. Still on my way to the library. If it seems like it's taking forever for me to get to the part where I got to the library, then trust me, it seemed like a lot longer to me!
Okay, I was at Sugarcube Corner, and I kinda-sorta knew which direction to go in to get to the library, since Snips had pointed the way. I started walking, keeping my head down, pretending like I was deep in thought or something. Well, I didn't have to pretend too hard, because I really was deep in thought!
I mean, it occurred to me that it might be harder than I thought to convince people that I was really a human who'd somehow gotten zapped into Pinkie's body, because pretty much any general weirdness I did would have people going, "Oh, she's just being Pinkie Pie."
Maybe you should test that theory out? the little voice in my head suggested.
Well, what the heck. It's not like I had anything better to do, right? It would mean that I got a lot of attention, but what the heck. I was getting desperate. If I couldn't convince anypony, I'd be stuck here...
So I got up on a nearby rain-barrel. Pinkie probably could have just bounced up on top of it, but I had to clamber up onto it awkwardly. When I finally made it up there, I looked around and saw that I was near a market place, and there were ponies all over. Mostly shopping, but there were a few sitting outside of a cafe, eating and talking.
This place was perfect for a little test of my theory. I stood up on my hind legs (wobbling more than a little bit), filled my lungs up, and started shouting:
"Everypony, can I have your attention, please! This is really, really, super-rifically important!"
All the ponies within ear-shot looked at me, some with curiosity and others with an 'oh, great, here we go again' kind of expression. I ignored all that, and continued on.
"Now that I have your attention... I am not Pinkie Pie! I may look like her, but I'm really an alien who got stuck inside her brain!"
Reactions were... mixed. Some ponies rolled their eyes, others laughed, some just shrugged. But every single one of them just went on about their business as if nothing had happened.
Every. Single. One.
Well, except one.
"Well, that explains a lot," a pony that may or may not have been named Bon Bon said, rolling her eyes.
"I really mean it!" I shouted, ignoring her. "I'm not Pinkie Pie! I'm actually an-"
"An embarrassment, is what you are," another voice said, and I looked down to see a frowning Applejack looking up at me. "Now, get down from there an' stop all this foolin' around. Ah got apples t' sell."
I hopped, or rather faceplanted, off of the rain-barrel, and an embarrassed-looking AJ helped me up to my hooves.
"Applejack! You gotta believe me!" I said to her, after spitting out a mouthful of dirt. "I really have been taken over by an alien!"
Wait, why did I put it that way?
"I mean, I really am an alien who's taken over Pinkie Pie!"
Argh, that made it sound like I did it on purpose, and probably for evil reasons!
"I mean, I was a normal alien who all of a sudden got stuck in Pinkie Pie's body for no good reason, and I want to go back!"
Applejack was looking at me dubiously.
"Ah dunno, you seem like the same ol' Pinkie to me," she said. "In any case, yer scarin' off customers, so why don't ya go play at bein' an alien somewhere else?"
I sighed, dejected. If the Element of Honesty herself didn't believe me... Well, it made me pretty sad. I moped my way out of the marketplace, convinced that my theory was correct. There probably wasn't anything that I could do that would be too crazy for ponies to be able to pass off as me 'just being Pinkie Pie'.
Then a couple of realizations hit me all at once.
First, holy cow, I just met Applejack! That's so cool! Of course, she just scolded me, but still! Fanboy squeal time!
Second... why did I say "super-rifically"?
That second one really just scared me. I've never said "super-rifically" ever in my life before! It's not even a word!
I mean, I used to make up words sometimes, but that was when I was a little kid. Little kids don't really know how language works, right? So, they'll make words in ways that kinda-sorta seem to follow the rules, but aren't actually words, and they'll make adverbs up like nobody's business. I remember, this one time I said "bigly", and my mom thought it was the funniest thing, ever. She told everyone about that! So, then it was "bigly" this, and "bigly" that, for, like, a month!
Heck, my one aunt even put that on a birthday card once, years later! She wrote, "I would have gotten you a biglier one, but this was the bigliest they had."
I mean, I had made up the word because of a limited vocabulary, and here they were, making fun of me for it! And she didn't even use it right! "Bigly" was a adverb, not an adjective! As in, "the balloon got blown up bigly", not "it was a bigly balloon"!
Man, that was the worst birthday party, ever! I didn't even get the right Transformers! They got me some weird, cheap knockoffs. I mean, a transforming robot not-quite-Volkswagen bug named "Buddy Bee?" What kind of insanity is that? I mean, I tried to be cool about it, and play with it anyway as if it weren't some kind of a soul-crushing disappointment, but the first time I transformed the stupid thing, it's head fell off!
Maybe I can make up for it by throwing myself another party while I'm here? Wouldn't that be cool? I could... Oh.
Okay, sorry. Went off on another tangent, didn't I?
What was I talking about again? Oh, yeah, the marketplace.
I think that was the first time that it seriously occurred to me that Pinkie's brain might have had some influence on me. Which, great, if I'm not just stuck in Pinkie's body, but I'm actually turning into her, then that means that on top of everything else, I'm also working against the clock!
Which was just... wonderful (sarcastic eye-roll, here).
Anyway, my test proved one thing, for sure. If I wanted to convince Twilight that I really, really wasn't Pinkie Pie, that meant that I had to pull out all the stops. I'd have to do something completely so un-Pinkie that she had no choice but to believe that I wasn't me!
Wait. I mean, "no choice but to believe I wasn't her"!
Argh. You see the kinds of things I'm dealing with, here?
Anyways, it was in that state of mind that I went moping through Ponyville, looking again for that silly tree library that Twilight stayed in. It was hard to even get excited, now, because I was half convinced that she wouldn't believe me no matter what I did!
I was so mopey about it, in fact, that I just completely walked past Rainbow Dash without even noticing her! I would have kept going, but it's totally not in Dashie's nature to let me just blow her off like that.
"Hey!" she said, right next to me. Which startled me pretty good, I think I cleared about three feet of air when I jumped in surprise. "You just gonna ignore me?"
"Oh my gosh, it's Rainbow Dash!" I said excitedly, pointing a hoof at her.
She looked at me blankly for a second, and then rolled her eyes.
"Oh my gosh, it's Pinkie Pie," she said back dryly. "Anyway, I thought we were going pranking today. Don't tell me you forgot! You've been bugging me all week about it!"
"I didn't forget!" I said, which was technically true. "And I'm not Pinkie Pie. I'm an alien creature called a human that got sucked into her head somehow, and I'm trying to figure out how to get home!"
The silence, it was profound.
"O-kay," Dash said eventually, giving me a weird look. "I gotta say, I don't know what your angle is on this one. Are you actually trying to prank me?"
"Nonono, it's really true!" I said. "I'm an alien!"
She just stared at me for a minute, and then grinned.
"Oh, that's brilliant! We'll be alien invaders! Wait right here, I'm going to go get some costumes!"
And, with that, she shot up into the air and vanished. I stood there, choking on the dust she'd kicked up for a little while, and then I stomped my hoof in frustration.
Argh! Why won't anypony listen to me?!
Anyway, I didn't have time for pranking, so I went to go find Twilight, thus disobeying a direct order from Rainbow Dash. That wouldn't have any repercussions later on, would it?
So anyway, I left there and went back to looking for the library, wondering how much further I would have to go, and still deep in thought.
In fact, I was so deep in thought that I walked right past it without noticing! Okay, so I put the Pinkie Caboose into reverse, and went back to the tree-brary door (it's actually called Books and Branches, in case you didn't know). Yay, I was finally here!
I knocked on the door (no, not with my head, I used a hoof). A short while later, the door opened.
"Oh, hey, Pinkie," Spike said, and wow, he was just so adorable in real life! I just wanted to pinch his little cheeks, but I didn't have fingers, so I'd probably have just ended up squooshing his face between my hooves or something.
"Hey, Spikey!" I said, "Is Twilight in? I really need to talk to her, right away!"
"Well, yeah, she's in," Spike said. "But she's in the middle of a big research project for Princess Celestia."
"Well, this is super important. Like, really important."
"Oh, yeah?" Spike asked, looking doubtful and slightly defiant. "How important, exactly?"
Oh, no. I'd gone through too much today to be stopped by a pint-sized draconic doorman, no matter how squishy-wishy is little cheeks were! I leaned down and stared him straight in the eye, focusing all the intensity I could into my gaze.
"It is incredibly super important," I said, trying to put the unstoppable force of a thousand glaciers behind my voice. "It's the most super fantastically important thing I've ever had to say to Twilight, ever, in my entire life."
Technically true, since I'd never said anything to Twilight before.
"Whoah..." the dragon said, obviously impressed. "Okay, you can come in. If it's that important, I know Twilight will want to hear it."
He opened the door for me, and I went inside. Spike asked me to wait in the main area while he went to go pull Twilight Sparkle away from whatever research project she was working on. I wandered over to look at the books, curious to see if they really had that messed-up writing like they had in the show.
It didn't take long to determine that, yup, they sure did! I looked at some of the spines, and they all had that odd, almost-English-looking lettering. At random, I pulled a book out of the shelf to take a peek at the pages inside (I had to use my mouth, and the book tasted like dust and mildew. Blech!)
I flopped the book down and opened it to a random page. Man, it was so weird! It was like I could almost read it. I glanced over it, smirking at the odd letters. That one looked kind of like a letter F. That one over there looked a little like an A. This passage I was looking at almost looked like it said...
"...most powerful magic of the pre-classical era, consisting of a combination of both evocation and conjuration, using a force of almost twenty thaums. This spell causes an effect that..."
Okay. So I could read Equestrian. No need to panic, though, right? It was probably magic or something, and I don't have to explain sh... anything. Right?
That's right, I said "shanything". That's a word now. Deal with it.
My panicky thoughts were interrupted by a grouchy unicorn clomping down the stairs, and Twilight Sparkle herself entered the scene! My inner fanboy was doing somersaults. She was too cute for words!
"Okay, Pinkie." Twilight said, all crabby-like. "This had better be good. What do you need?"
"Twilight, I can read this," I said, the fear making my voice shake a little as I pointed at the book.
She glanced at the book, then frowned up at me. That's when I noticed that Twilight was actually a little bit shorter than I was, which seemed really weird for some reason.
"I don't see why not, Pinkie. It's not that advanced of a book."
"No! I mean..." I shook my head. I knew that now was not the time to go off on a tangent! I was finally there! I could finally get some answers, but only if I convinced the grumpy librarian that I wasn't really Pinkie Pie!
"Okay, Twilight Sparkle, brace yourself. Because this one is a doozy!" I told her.
Twilight's eyes widened, probably remembering the last time her friend had told her about a "doozy" and she'd almost gotten eaten by a hydra. Her annoyance fell away as she realized that I was serious, something really big was up!
"Okay, Pinkie. I'm listening. What's wrong?"
"That's just it, Twilight," I said, and then braced myself and said, "I'm not actually Pinkie Pie!"
Again with the deafening silence? Yup. Twilight just stared at me, completely nonplussed for a few seconds.
"You sure look like Pinkie Pie," she said, finally. "What, are you saying you're a changeling or something?"
Ooh! I had forgotten about the changelings!
"Nope! I'm an alien!"
Another long pause, followed by a flat "What?"
"Whoah, an alien?" Spike said, overawed. "That really is big!"
"Well, technically, I'm an alien in Pinkie Pie's body. I somehow got zapped into her head earlier today, and now I'm really hoping you can get me back home."
Twilight's confusion slowly drained away, revealing the annoyance that was hiding just out of sight this whole time.
"Pinkie, that's ridiculous," she said with obviously strained patience. "I have a lot of work to do, I don't have time for jokes..."
"It's no joke, Twilight!" I said, desperately. "If it were a joke, I'd be laughing! But I'm not, because it's not funny! Help me Twilight Sparkle! You're my only hope!"
Then I realized that I had inadvertently quoted Star Wars, and had to choke back a laugh. Great timing, huh?
"Yeah," Twilight said, eyes narrowing. "Really funny, Pinkie Pie. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to work."
"No!" I yelled, frantic. "Listen, I know this sounds like a typical Pinkie Pie thing, but I'm telling you the honest truth! I'm actually a human, from a whole other world! I was out shopping for light bulbs, and then suddenly I was Pinkie Pie! Please, Twilight! At least consider that I might be telling the truth!"
I turned the full power of the soulful baby-blues on the librarian unicorn, and I saw Twilight's reluctance to believe me waver, then start to fade.
"Okay, let's say I believe you," she said, looking doubtful, but willing to give me a chance. "How did you get here in the first place?"
"Well, okay. What happened was-" I started saying.
And that's when we were interrupted in the worst possible way, by a pegasus flying in through the window while wearing a cheesy, shiny grey Lycra costume. She was also wearing a goofy rubber mask with big fake googly-eyes, and a headband sporting a pair of antenna that bobbled around on her head.
"Oh, there you are!" Rainbow Dash said to me. "Are you ready to get started on that alien prank?"
I was, quite literally, at a complete loss for words. I gaped dumbly at the Rainbow Pegasus of Doom, Destroyer of All Hope, while the silly antennae on her head bounced around absurdly. They had stars on the tips, I noticed.
"If you two are quite finished," Twilight said icily, "I have a lot of work to do. You can see yourselves out."
With that, my only hope of returning home turned and trotted up the stairs.
"What's her problem?" Rainbow Dash asked me, turning her head towards me and smacking me in the eye with an antenna.
Okay, the little voice in my head piped up. If you wanted to have a freakout, now would be a good time.
So, that's what I did.
Well, it turns out that's all I have time for right now. It's bed time. I'll have to continue this later. Hopefully I can actually get some sleep tonight! It was pretty noisy here, last night.
Ah, it was nice and quiet last night. No barking dogs, or anything! So peaceful. Oh, speaking of pets, that reminds me... I hope somepony is taking good care of Gummy!
Anyway, I'm much better now. I know I had a pretty bad freakout and everything, but right now, I'm pretty calm. Relatively calm. Sort of.
So, I'm still pretty worked up, but not as bad as back then. Let's just not talk about what happened. It's really embarrassing.
Okay, okay. I suppose it's only fair that I go into it. After all, if I'm asking for help, I should really I get the whole story out there.
So, Twilight marched back upstairs, trailing an apologetic Spike behind her. Rainbow Dash was standing next to me, wearing an alien costume sporting bobbling antenna (with stars on them) on her head. And I... felt... this weird pulsing sensation... in my brain.
Rainbow must have sensed that I was mildly perturbed, because she gave me this kind of wary look and goes, all innocent-like, "Hey, everything okay, Pinkie?"
It was like my head, all on it's own, rotated very, very slowly to face her. And, I don't know, I guess maybe I was in her personal space a little, because she took a step back.
I wanted to reassure her that everything was fine, just fine. So I smiled at her. But for some reason she took a couple more steps back. I don't know why, I was being perfectly friendly! I was smiling and everything! But I couldn't think of anything to say, so I just kept smiling.
I think my left eye might have twitched a little.
"Um... You're looking... kinda freaky, there. Are you okay?"
She looked a little worried and freaked out right then. Since it was supposed to be me that was freaking out, and not her, that seemed funny. Especially since I wasn't freaking out at all. I was just fine. My smile widened and I started laughing a little.
"heh. heh. heh."
"Okay, you're weirding me out, now," Rainbow said, as she took yet another step back. Why was she so nervous? It's not like I was going to... I don't know, do something horrible to her! Maybe something involving the forced removal and reinsertion of that Lycra body suit she was wearing! Or having her find out if those springy antenna things were edible!
"Heh. Hah. Heh heh ha!"
"Uhh... I think it's time for me to go," she said, as her rump hit the bookshelf behind her. And, wow! I hadn't realized how far across the room she'd moved! Of course, I probably hadn't noticed because I was still just a couple of inches away from her face, stepping forward every time she stepped back.
I felt my eye twitch again. I tell you, that was sure annoying!
"Is this about the prank?" she asked, as I stood in front of her with a big grin on my face.
The prank? Oh, that was so funny! So I laughed even more!
"Hah ha! Hah hah hah!"
"You're really freaking me out, Pinkie Pie!" Rainbow Dash said, and then I literally just felt something go *snap!* in my head. I think whatever it was that broke was attached to my smile muscles, because my smile suddenly vanished. It was either that or my mane, which suddenly de-poofed right then and there.
"My. Name. Is. Not. PINKIE PIE!!!" I informed her. Pretty calmly, I think. Under the circumstances, I mean. Though, I think I did get a little bit.. shrill... at the end, there.
Seriously, though, how many times do I have to say it? Doesn't that pony ever listen?
Anyway, Dash responded by going "Gaah!", jumping up into the air, and then flying out the window.
Oh, no. We're not having any of that! I have to let her know just how much I appreciated her help! I felt my grin re-attatch itself to my face, though my mane and tail stayed perfectly straight (in retrospect, I probably should have been concerned about that). I barged out of the door, looking around for a rainbow-hued contrail.
I spotted it streaking away down the street. Smiling at the world in general, I took off after her.
I got to see a lot of Ponyville that afternoon! It was like a big old game of tag, and I had to go make Rainbow Dash "it"! I sprinted after her as fast as I could, which I believe I've mentioned is pretty darned fast.
I dodged ponies, zipped around market stalls, hurdled over Mr. Waddle (who's also a pony, but a very old one), and never, ever once lost sight of that rainbow contrail. Which was kind of nice that something was going right, for a change!
I'd always wondered how Pinkie Pie had managed to get ahead of Rainbow Dash in the cartoon. It turns out that Pinkie is just really, really fast, and Rainbow Dash always telegraphs exactly where she's going. I think my favorite was when I slowly raised myself out of a garbage can behind her, lid balanced precariously on my head, while she was peeking around the corner to see where I was. I leaned forward and whispered "boo" into her ear.
Maybe it was just my imagination that the resulting rainbow contrail as she sped away was slightly more yellow than usual. Maybe.
Anyway, I think Rainbow Dash thought, for some reason, that she could finally lose me in an alleyway, because that's the last place that I found her hiding. I mean, it was perfectly obvious where she was. Somehow.
I don't know, maybe it was Pinkie Sense that told me where she was hiding. Or maybe she's just really really bad at hide and seek. I got to the alleyway entrance and stood there, staring at the boxes that Rainbow was hiding behind.
"Oh, Rainbow Da~ash!" I sing-songed, "Come on out! I just want to play with you!"
Rainbow Dash went "Gah!" again, which reminded me of when I was first experimenting with my new voice, and I started giggling a little bit. She threw a panicked look at me and launched herself into the air, taking off over the rooftops.
Rooftops? Now, that was no fair! I jumped up on the boxes that she'd hid behind, and then bounced from there up to the nearest roof. The roof wasn't too high, maybe only fifteen feet off the ground, and the boxes got me halfway there, so it was easy-peasy!
I started to run after her again, jumping from roof to roof. I don't know, for the fastest flyer in Equestria, she sure seemed... I don't know, a little slow. Maybe it was that stupid costume she was wearing, increasing her drag, or something. But I was catching up to her pretty quickly!
I think she noticed that, because she abandoned the rooftops and flew out over the open marketplace. Oh, clever girl! Nothing but obstacles in my way, which she could just fly over! I jumped down off the roof, determined to catch up with her. My eyes were watering pretty heavily at this point. I think I was forgetting to blink, actually.
It was wall-to-wall stalls in the market place, which might have proven tricky if I didn't get the brilliant idea to go through them instead of wasting all that time going around them. It was like making my own very special shortcut!
Rainbow was running out of steam, it looked like. She'd been flying flat out for a while now, and she finally landed. Right by Applejack's stall, no less!
Strangely enough, I felt perfectly fine! I had energy to spare! I could almost feel it sparking off of my coat!
As I ran up, I heard Rainbow Dash pleading with Applejack.
"You gotta help me!" she said to the apple vendor. "Pinkie's gone nuts and I think she's trying to get me!"
"I'm not trying to get you, Rainbow Dash!" I said, wide-eyed and grinning. "I just wanted to tell you how funny I thought your prank was!"
"Help me!" Rainbow begged.
"Now you two can just quit it," Applejack said sternly as I stalked towards them. "Ah ain't playin' any of your stupid 'alien invader' games. Ah got apples to sell!"
"Of course you do! You're Applejack!" I said, laughing shrilly. AJ looked at me like I'd maybe grown a second head.
"I'm not playing, AJ!" Rainbow Dash said. "I think there's really something wrong with her!"
"Ah reckon' you may be right," Applejack said, eying me warily.
"Something wrong with me?" I echoed. How absurd! Except for the whole being a human stuck in a pony thing, of course. I tilted my head to the side as I tried to filter that information. I made sure to keep on smiling, though. You know, to put them at ease, and all.
For some reason, I don't think it worked.
"There's something very wrong with you!" Rainbow Dash said from behind Applejack.
"There's nothing wrong with me, Rainbow Dash!" I said with a high-pitched giggle, shaking my head in disbelief. A couple bits of wood fell out of my mane when I did that, probably from the stalls I'd crashed through a little while ago. You'd think they'd make them sturdier than that! "I'm not the one wearing a grey alien suit! I'm not the one with the bobbling antenna headband!"
I was walking towards them as I was saying this, by the way.
"I'm not the one who showed up at just the perfect time to ruin any chance that I had to get home, by convincing Twilight Sparkle that anything I was going to say to her was part of some silly joke!"
AJ had backed up against her stall now, and Rainbow Dash was hiding behind it. I noticed that there was quite a crowd of ponies around the three of us, now. Though, they all seemed to want to stay pretty far back, for some reason.
"Ah don't know what's goin' on here, but Ah reckon' it's gone on far enough," Applejack said, trying to sound reasonable. I just blinked at her a bunch of times, though that was just because I was trying to catch up on all the blinking I'd missed out on earlier. "It don't seem like Rainbow Dash is having fun anymore, so maybe it's time we all just went home. All right, Pinkie Pie?"
I took a deep breath, getting ready to loudly assert yet again that I was not Pinkie Pie, when something Applejack said resonated with me.
Rainbow Dash... is not having fun? For some reason, that really shook me. That's when my head-voice re-entered the scene.
Don't you think that's enough, now? it said. You're scaring them.
And that's when I realized that, yeah, I had gone just a little bit off the deep end, there. I felt the crazy-smile fading as I looked at the two ponies in front of me.
"I'm... I'm sorry," I said, truly remorseful. "You're right, Applejack. I'm sorry, Rainbow Dash. I didn't mean to..."
"That's her, officers!" a voice said behind me, and I turned to see Carrot Harvest, or whatever her name is, coming up behind me, flanked by three ponies. Two of whom were earth ponies in uniforms of some kind, and one of whom was a unicorn wearing a white labcoat.
"Who, me?" I asked, incredulously. They couldn't be after me, could they?
"She wrecked my stall!" Golden Top said. "She's a danger to the community!"
"I'm not a danger, I'm an alien!" I said. Which, in retrospect, was probably an unwise thing to say, and is probably why things unfolded like they did.
The two police officers (I didn't know Ponyville had police, but honestly, what else could they be?) looked at each other and nodded.
"Why not just come with us, miss?" the one on the left said, in what was probably meant to be a soothing voice, except it sounded like he gargled with pointy rocks.
"Let's just stay calm, and we can work all this out in a rational manner," said the one on the right.
"I am calm!" I said, though I was lying. I was starting to feel pretty nervous, actually.
"Um, officers? Ah think my friend Pinkie here is just a mite stressed out. Why don't you let me take her home, and-"
"Please stay back, ma'am," Righty told Applejack, while Lefty moved over to my left side.
Hoo, boy. This wasn't going to be good. They were surrounding me!
"Look, officers... I'll fix the damage, I promise!" I said, then I looked at the ruined market stalls. Hmm. Probably not. They were just a little bit... exploded. "Or, I'll buy them new ones! How does that sound?"
"That sounds good," Lefty said, soothingly. "How about we just go downtown and work this all out?"
"I guess... wait, Ponyville has a downtown?"
"Get her!" Righty said, and they both lunged for me.
I jumped straight up in the air, and the two officers did a coconut-bonk off of each others skulls. I landed amidst the jumbled limbs and immediately took off. Unfortunately, that took me straight towards Carrot Butt, who collapsed to the ground, shrieking "She's gonna eat me!"
"That's stupid!" I yelled as I ran away. "Stop being stupid!"
I didn't make it far, though, because a glowing magical field lifted me up off the ground. It was coming from that unicorn in the lab coat! My legs pedaled uselessly in the air as I tried to get away from him.
"Applejack, Rainbow Dash, listen to me, please!" I said, as the doctor approached me. The two police ponies were groggily getting up, massaging their heads as they did so.
Oh, things weren't looking too good for human Pinkie Pie! But at least I had AJ's and RD's attention!
"I'm sorry I scared you, I really am!" I said, desperately, as the approaching doctor used his telekinesis to pull something out of his coat that I couldn't quite make out. "But you have to believe me! Tell Twilight Sparkle!"
The cop-ponies were closing in, looking grim. The doctor was fiddling with the whatever-it-was he'd pulled out of the lab coat. Applejack and Rainbow Dash looked at me with expressions that said that they couldn't quite believe what they were seeing.
"Tell her I Pinkie Promise that I'm really an alien, trapped in Pinkie Pie's body!" I yelled. "Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my... butt?"
No, I didn't forget how the thing went, that deranged doctor pony had stuck a needle into my rump!
I immediately started to feel woozy, and I knew that I had been jabbed with a sedative. That was just so not fair! Before I lost consciousness, I shouted my frustration and fury to the sky, decrying this injustice to the very heavens themselves:
"I only wanted to get some lightbuuuulbs!"
As epic last words go, that could probably use some work.
My vision started to dim, and the last thing I remember seeing before blacking out was both Rainbow and AJ looking at me with shocked expressions on their faces.
I don't know how much later it was that I woke up here. But when I did wake up, it was in a padded room, with my forelegs stuck into a straight jacket. They thought I was a crazy pony!
Anyway, I've been here two nights, now. I haven't seen anypony but the nurses, who bring me pills and help me use the bathroom when I need it, and the orderlies, who bring me lunch, and then watch me eat it, then count the utensils before they go. I guess the doctor is going to interview me later on today. But for now, I've got nothing to do but stare at these padded walls.
Which is why I've tried to send this message out to you. Basically, I've got nothing better to do!
Anyway, here comes the orderly with my food. So, I'll pick my story up after lunch, which is... Mmm! Pureed carrots! Delish!
That was sarcasm. Please help me!
Seriously. Pureed carrots? Which I have to eat with a plastic spoon? Are they afraid I'm going to go crazy and stab someone with a root vegetable if they don't mash it all up?
Anyway, the doctor interviewed me a few hours ago. It was the same Mister Stabby Needle guy as before, the one who injected sedatives into my butt. And, I thought I was done with these fourth-wall reports, but... well, something happened that made me think that I'd better give this another try. Things might be worse than I thought!
I was brought into a little room with a table in the middle, and a chair that I was made to sit in. Oddly, they made me sit in it human-style, which isn't as uncomfortable for a pony as I thought it would be (maybe Lyra isn't so nutty, after all!). After a few minutes, the doctor came in, floating this big accordion-folder with him, as well as a pen and a clipboard.
He stood across the table from me, placed the folder on the table, then looked up at me over the top of his half-moon glasses. Then he sat down, took out the clipboard, and started writing, apparently paying me no further attention.
I just sat there, waiting for him to say something. But no, he just scribbled more on his clipboard.
Finally, I'd had enough, and said, "Soo... You gonna let me out of this straight jacket, or something?"
The writing stopped, and he put the clipboard aside and looked at me.
"Do you think I should?" he asked
"Well, I have a wicked bad itch on my nose, and I can't scratch it. It's kind of driving me..." I cut myself off there, because I didn't want to say "crazy" while I was in the looney bin.
"Yes?" he asked.
"Nevermind," I said, and he went back to writing on the clipboard.
A minute later, I sighed and said, "Look, I really want to go home. Can I just leave?"
"Leave?" he said, putting the clipboard aside. "I can't let you leave while you're still sick! You're a danger to yourself and others!"
"No, I'm not!" I protested. Honestly, I was the least dangerous pony with a human brain, like, ever!
"You smashed up half of the market stalls in Ponyville. I think that's pretty dangerous," he commented.
"Half?! No way!" I was outraged by the injustice of that statement! "It was more like... ten percent, tops! Maybe even more like eight percent!"
"That's still a considerable amount of damage. Plus, you think you're an alien."
I'd had some time to think about this. There was no advantage in telling the truth to these guys, because, to be fair, the truth sounded pretty crazy!
"No no no," I said. "All of that was just a joke! I was playing with Rainbow Dash, and I got... well, a little out of hand."
"Out of what, now?"
"Hoof. I got out of hoof."
"But I heard you," he reminded me. "I heard you say it when we came to you in the market place."
"Well... yeah. It was all part of the game, right?"
"I don't think so, Miss Pie. You seemed pretty convinced. Not to mention all of the witnesses you had told throughout the day that you were an alien."
Argh, of all the ponies who could have listened to what I said, it has to be this guy? Nopony else could be bothered to listen to what I was saying other than the guy who was convinced that I was crazy for saying it!
"My friends told you that?"
"No, I wasn't able to talk to them. I think they're avoiding this situation. You've caused them some considerable trauma with your actions, after all," he said, and I flinched as I felt the guilt well up. "But I did talk to the ponies in the market place. Apparently, you'd made quite a spectacle of yourself earlier that morning, shouting about being an alien stuck in a pony body."
"Fine. I'll level with you, doctor," I said. I was already tired of the game. "I really am an alien. But here's the thing... you think I'm crazy for thinking that, but how do you know it's not true?"
"Well, we don't like to use the word 'crazy', here. We prefer... 'confused'. And, frankly, Miss Pie, it's very obvious that it's not true. I'm looking at you, and I'm seeing a pony."
"Well, duh!" I said. "I told you, my brain got stuck in Pinkie Pie's body!"
"Then, where is Pinkie Pie?"
"If your mind is in Pinkie's body, then where is Pinkie's mind?"
That's a pretty good question, don't you think? the little voice in my head asked.
I felt a chill run through me, as I realized that the most likely place she would be is... in my own body, back on Earth!
"Oh, no. No no no!" I said. "This is bad! This is the most super-awesomely baddest thing that could ever happen!"
"Please settle down, Miss Pie," the doctor said.
"You don't understand! She's probably in my body back home! Oh, she's going to get me arrested, I just know it!"
"Why do you think so?"
"Because, by the standards of my people, Pinkie Pie is kinda crazy!" I said. "Oh, man, I can see it now..."
And this is what my imagination came up with:
"Everypony needs to party" Pinkie Pie said, cranking up the music in the electronics section. "Come on, people! Shake your groove thangs!"
"Hey, get your hands off of me!" one of the Target employees said, as Pinkie tried to start a conga line
"You seem crabby!" Pinkie said. "I know, I bet it's your clothes! My friend Rainbow Dash gets crabby when she wears clothes for too long. Here, let me help you take them off!"
"Hey, get offa me! Security! Security!"
"Who's Security? She sounds like a nice pony! Do you think she'd want some cupcakes?"
A police officer rushed up, taser in hand.
"Oooh, what's that? It's all... aaaagh!"
Or, maybe it was more like:
"Okay, you say you're a pony from Ponyville, your name is Pinkie Pie, and you were just trying to throw a big party?"
"That's right! They had all that cake just sitting there, I thought it would be fun to have a big old celebration!"
"Well, I guess that would explain this charge of 'assault with cake'."
"I wasn't assaulting them with cake! I was giving them cake!"
"You were "giving them cake" using a homemade cannon made from a leaf-blower and various parts from the hardware section!"
Anyway you look at it, it was bound to be pretty bad!
"Trust me, if Pinkie is in my body, it won't end well! She's probably locked up, most likely in a psych ward... exactly... like... this one."
Hmm. For the first time, it occurred to me that I probably had made a huge mess for Pinkie to clear up, if we ever managed to switch our bodies back.
"Yes, just like this one," The doctor said. "And here you are!"
"Look, I'm not crazy, okay?"
He just looked at me, raising one eyebrow.
"Okay, 'confused', whatever. I really did get brain-swapped with Pinkie Pie. I mean, come on! After everything that's happened here, this can't be that unusual!"
"What do you mean by that?"
"Oh, I dunno," I said, slightly sarcastically. "How about the return of Nightmare Moon? How about the Ursa Minor ripping up Ponyville, or the parasprites eating most of it? How about Chrysalis and her changelings at Canterlot? And, oh, I don't know, how about fricken' Discord making clouds out of cotton candy that rained chocolate milk! After all the weird stuff that's happened around here lately, you think me being an alien is really all that odd? At least consider the chance that I'm telling the truth!"
"Yes, an amazing number of very odd things have happened here. And the latest is that you now believe that you're an alien. When did you say this happened again?"
"The same day that you sedated me and brought me here!" I said, exasperated.
"Exactly," he said, making a note on his clipboard. "And yet... you know about all of these strange things which happened around here, some of which were almost two years ago?"
"We aliens watch you guys on T.V.," I tried to explain.
"On what now?"
"Television. It's... like a magic box, and it shows us stories. And some of those stories are about you ponies. So, I know all about Pinkie Pie and her adventures."
"I see. That's very inventive. " he said, scribbling. Then he pulled something out of the folder and showed it to me. "What does this look like to you."
"A piece of paper with some ink spilled on it," I quipped.
"No, I know what it is, I want to know what it looks like."
"Oh, well why didn't you say?" I asked, then I leaned in to look at it more closely. "Hmm... It looks like a Rorschach test!"
"Do you mean 'Horseshach'?" the doctor asked, and I sighed and nodded. A perfectly good joke ruined by an unexpected equine-related pun! Such is my life...
"I meant," the doctor said, sounding cross (and I was glad to have finally gotten some kind of emotional reaction out of him, I admit!) "what does the ink on the paper look like to you?"
"Ohhh," I said. "It looks like... a waste of perfectly good paper!"
The doctor sighed and put the paper away.
"I can see that you're not going to help me at all with this," he said. "But I'll tell you what I think. I think that you're a very smart, sensitive pony who has been through a lot in the last couple of years. All those terrible things that kept on happening to you and your friends, I think they made you just stop wanting to be Pinkie Pie. I think this 'human alien' thing is just a rather clever invention, to avoid dealing with the hard realities of your life."
"That is so not true!" I complained. "I had a perfectly ordinary life back home! A job, a girlfriend, everything!"
"Interesting. You were male, as well?"
"Yah-huh!" I said, and he scribbled some more on the clipboard.
"Well, Miss Pie. If you remember this other life of yours so well, tell me: what was your name?"
"That's easy! It's..."
I trailed off doubtfully. Where my name was supposed to be, there was a hollow space. I couldn't remember! I could remember my whole life, my childhood... I could even remember what I'd had for breakfast that morning! (It was scrambled eggs, sausage and hash browns). But my name was gone!
"It's very simple, Miss Pie. You are, by all accounts, a very clever and inventive young lady. And your life has been pretty horrible lately. And, you said it yourself, earlier, when I brought up where Pinkie Pie herself might be. You said, 'Pinkie Pie is kind of crazy'."
Oh. I had said that, hadn't I?
"So, you used that imagination of yours to invent a life for yourself out of whole cloth. One where you no longer needed to be Pinkie Pie. Where you didn't even need to be a pony. You just forgot one thing: to give your new identity its own name."
He stood up, leaving me sitting there completely stunned. Could it be true? I mean... I was even acting a little like Pinkie Pie! No, a lot like her!
"I'll have the orderly bring you to your room, all right? I want you to think about it, Miss Pie. You have friends and family who love you, and want you to get well and come back to them. I'll talk to you tomorrow, Pinkie."
The orderly came to take me back to my room, but I barely noticed. My head was a churning cauldron of doubt, denial and fear.
I sat in my little room for hours, just working it over in my head. Could I really be Pinkie Pie? This whole thing, could it just be a delusion? I was on the verge of accepting it, when the little voice popped back into my head.
He said "human alien", did you notice? it said. But you never actually said the word "human" around him. Just "alien". That's pretty interesting, don't you think?
I blinked. Oh my gosh. That was right. I'd never said "human" in front of the doctor. Maybe he'd heard it from some other pony, but...
I played that day's events back in my mind. I'd said the word "human" to both Twilight and Rainbow Dash. But the doctor said he'd never talked to them!
And, somehow, he just seemed to know that the one piece of information you'd be missing would be your name. the little voice pointed out.
I felt a chill run down my spine. That doctor knew something that he wasn't telling me!
And there was something else. He'd said that "my friends", meaning Twilight Sparkle and the others, had refused to talk to him. But how likely was that? They were Pinkie's friends, they'd want to help in any way they could! And, why hadn't they visited?
And that's when I realized that one thing I didn't have of Pinkie Pie's was her self-doubt, that thought that maybe her friends didn't really love her. I knew Twilight and the others would have come to see her! I'd been here for three days! Some pony was keeping them from seeing me, and my bits were on Doctor Liar-pants!
Something is wrong. Something is very definitely wrong! And I am going to get to the bottom of it, Human Stuck in Pinkie Pie's Body style!
So, that's it. I'm busting out of here, tonight. I'm going to find Pinkie's friends. I'm going to find out what happened. And I'm going to put it right!
But, if I fail... well, I'm hoping this message reaches someone who can help me. Or, even someone who can help Pinkie Pie. If I can't figure out how to reverse it, and she really is stuck in my body, well... please find her. Help her get out of whatever jam she may be in, and be her friend. She'll need as many of those as she can get.
And that's it for me for now. It's time to make my great escape!
And I bet you'd like to know how it happened, huh? Okay, well strap yourselves in... because this is going to be a thrill ride!
Or, maybe not, I don't know. It was exciting to me, at least!
I knew a little bit more about what was going on, now. Yes, I'd somehow inherited some of Pinkie's personality quirks along with her body, but I wasn't Pinkie Pie. I was definitely... whatever my actual name was. This whole thing had been done to me, possibly by that doctor pony, possibly by somepony else. And I had to find out who, how and why!
In order to do that, I needed allies. And, lucky for me, Pinkie Pie came with a whole passel of allies! Un-lucky for me, three of them were probably currently convinced that I was totally fruit-loops. That left Rarity and Fluttershy as the ponies most likely to listen to me before trying to turn me over to the authorities.
The little voice in my head suggested that I start with Fluttershy. She did seem like the most likely candidate to be my first ally, and not just because she shared the same voice-actress as Pinkie. The main problem with that is... well, I have no idea where Fluttershy's house is in relation to Ponyville! Heck, I don't know where the hospital is in relation to Ponyville!
But all of that was for later. For now... I had to get the heck out of this room! But I had no idea how I was going to do that.
Pinkie Pie would be able to get out, I knew. She'd do some wacky thing, like simply pop through the wall, or talk in circles around an orderly, or some similar crazyness to get out. But I wasn't really Pinkie Pie, and I couldn't do those things.
But... maybe I could. Maybe all I had to do was, somehow, tap into my own inner Pinkie Pie.
So, I meditated. I thought about parties. I thought about happiness, and joy, and laughter. I thought of my friends back home, and Pinkie's friends here. Cake and ice cream, parties with balloons and fun games... I didn't realize it at the time (because I had my eyes closed), but Pinkie's mane and tail were slowly curling back up as I sat there, deep in thought.
And then, suddenly, I had a plan. And the first step was to get out of this straight jacket!
It turns out that Pinkie's body actually has incredible flexibility. It's almost like she's made out of taffy, or something. There was some rolling around on the floor, a few choice curse words, a Pinkie Pie version of the Sweetie Belle scoot, and some frantic wriggling, but I finally got that darned thing off. Harry Houdini's got nothing on me!
The next part of my plan was fairly easy. I just needed to gather a few simple items. It didn't take me long to get a small pile of lint and pluck a few stray hairs from my now-poofy tail, and I was looking around for a Bunsen burner when I heard the keys rattling in the lock of my door.
Oh no! I was nowhere near ready! I still had to find a pumpkin, three candles, a jar of pickle juice and a propeller beanie!
The orderly opened the door, carrying my dinner on a tray in his mouth. He didn't notice me, at first. So, I decided to improvise!
"Plan B!" I shouted, jumping at him. He dropped the tray in shock, and I wrapped the straight jacket around his head. He pawed at it frantically to get it off, and when he finally did, I shoved a hoof-full of my dinner into his mouth.
I stared at him, filled with regret as he lay there on the floor of the room. He twitched slightly while he gurgled on the terrible taste of mashed peas.
"I'm so sorry," I told him, sadly. "But better you than me."
I left the room, closing the door softly behind me. Operation: Get Out of the Loony Bin was on! Any plan that succeeds is a good plan, and all that!
Of course, the next step was to get out of the hospital. Barking-dog pony barked at me as I walked past her room, but since she barked pretty often, I wasn't too worried about her giving me away.
I slipped into a nearby stairwell, hoping to make my way down to the first floor without being noticed. I'd just started my descent when my tail started twitching like crazy. That distracted me enough that I stumbled, tumbling head-over-hooves down the stairs.
Et tu, Pinkie Sense? Darned self-fulfilling mystic senses!
I was lucky that my fall was broken by something soft at the bottom of the stairs, something that went "Oof!" I got up to my hooves and looked down to see Doctor McLiar-Pants himself lying in a crumpled heap!
"Miss Pie?" he asked, woozily. I didn't give him a chance for a follow-up, running off while he was still dazed, my freaky earth-pony speed getting me quickly out of range of his even freakier unicorn-pony magic. Still, it wasn't long before I heard him raising the alarm behind me.
Not good! And definitely not part of the plan! I mean, the original plan was simple:
1. Get out of the room
2. Get out of the hospital
3. Fix everything
4. Go home
Being chased by orderlies wasn't part of the plan. Maybe I could add it in there, like a task 1b: get chased by orderlies, but then I'd have to figure out how to make room on the list. Which was in my head, so maybe it wouldn't be that hard, after all. Wait, why was I worrying about this now? I had other things to do!
Like, getting away from these orderlies!
Three days in a tiny room hadn't done much to hurt Pinkie's incredible speed, so I poured it on and pulled steadily ahead of my pursuers. I made it out the front doors and into the the early evening light outside, with the sun just beginning its descent. I saw Ponyville off in the distance, so I shifted into overdrive and left a dust trail behind me as I ran.
I heard various shouts of "There she is!" and "Get her!" and "Do we get paid extra for this?" coming from behind me as I reached the outskirts of town. I started walking as I passed the first buildings in Ponyville, because the last thing I wanted was a lot of attention.
I was still smiling, but this one was an honest and happy smile, compared to the admittedly freaky one I had on my face when I was chasing after poor Dashie. Ponies smiled back at me as I walked sedately through the town. Some even waved! Either these ponies have short memories, or nopony had told them that I was supposed to be crazy. Which seemed downright odd, to me.
Once I was a block or so in, I quickly dodged into a side alley and hid behind a convenient rain-barrel. The orderlies, along with Doctor Needles himself, all came running up and milled around in confusion, trying to figure out where I had gone. I had to put a hoof over my mouth to stop from giggling at the confused expressions on their faces!
Then I had a burst of inspiration for a little prank. I quickly slapped a fedora on my head, and then pulled on a trenchcoat and slid a pair of Groucho glasses onto my face. Once I was suitably disguised, I stepped out next to the confused hospital staff.
"There she goes!" I cried, deepening my voice and trying to sound gruff. "Quick, she's getting away!"
The hospital ponies looked at me, startled, and then the doctor shouted, "Get her!"
And then they all ran off in the direction I'd pointed.
Oh, it was so funny! I fell on my back, kicking my legs in the air and laughing so hard I got the hiccups!
Giggling, and occasionally hiccuping, I continued on through Ponyville. I figured that the orderlies and Doctor Creepyface would be looking for me here in town, so the sooner I got out of here, the better. Then I could look for Fluttershy's cottage! What I hadn't planned on was getting lost again, since I was still pretty unfamiliar with Ponyville.
Just as I was getting ready to start grumbling in frustration, I saw Fluttershy herself slowly walking though town. What luck! It was almost as if I had someone looking out for me, making sure things would go my way!
So, I got all stealthy-like and started following her. I mean, I didn't want to confront her in the middle of Ponyville, she might panic and call attention to us. My thought at the time was that I'd wait until she left town, then I'd follow her back to her cottage. At that point, I'd try to talk to her about what had happened.
If I could get Fluttershy on my side, then she could help me convince the others. One at a time, I'd convert all of Pinkie's friends to my side, and then we'd go take on the bad guy! Whoever that was!
I thought Fluttershy was shopping, but she was actually just walking through town. I kept my disguise on, following her stealthily. I hid behind a mailbox, on top of a light post, behind a wagon, and underneath a familiar brown earth-pony with a spiky mane and an hourglass cutie mark.
"Um, excuse me?" he said, giving me a startled look.
"Not now, Doctor!" I told him. "I'm trying to be all ninja-like!"
"Uh, I'm not a doctor. My name is Ti-"
"Ap-bap-bap-bap!" I said, sticking a hoof on his muzzle. "If your name isn't 'The Doctor', I don't wanna know about it!"
Grumbling, he moved off, leaving me without cover. So I dove into a large potted plant.
That's when I recognized the neighborhood. Sure enough, Fluttershy was walking up to the tree-brary that I'd had such a hard time finding on my first day here!
I approached the library myself and crept along the side of the wall until I reached a handy window. I peeked briefly through the window, and I saw the Mane 6 minus one all standing inside. The newly-arrived Fluttershy was being given a cup of tea by a smiling Rarity, while Applejack stood frowning off to one side. Rainbow Dash was hovering near the ceiling, her forearms crossed over her chest, and Twilight Sparkle was saying something.
I pressed my ear up against the glass and listened in.
"...even matter either way, is all I'm saying," Twilight Sparkle was saying. "Also, the fact that they won't even let us see her is... well, it's weird! And this thing about interrupting her therapy, well, that makes no sense!"
"Regardless of what she did, it's obvious that they are overreacting," Rarity said.
"I'm really worried about her," Fluttershy said. "Locked up in there, all alone..."
The sensitive pegasus started to cry, and Rarity patted her gently on the back.
I wondered briefly who it was they were talking about. Sounded like somepony was in trouble!
"We just gotta bust her out of there," Rainbow Dash said. "I mean, yeah, she freaked me out, but she's my friend, and I'm not going to just leave her in there!"
"Ah'm worried about this 'alien' thing," Applejack said, frowning. "If she really believes it and it ain't true, then okay, she needs some help. But if it is true, then what happened to Pinkie Pie? We need answers, and they ain't giving us any."
They were talking about Pinkie? Oh, that's me! Well, sort of...
"We can't just go rushing in there, though," Twilight said, frowning. "There are rules and procedures for a reason. Let me write to the Princess, I'm sure she can help us."
"It's been three days. We don't have time for red tape!" Rainbow asserted. "Let's just rush in there, clobber anypony who tries to stop us, and get to the bottom of this!"
"You rock, Dashie!"
"Hey, who said that?"
Oh, whoops. Was that out loud? I whipped off my disguise and popped my head up to see everypony looking at me with expressions ranging from confused to even more confused.
"Hi, everypony!" I said, waving. "Guess who busted out of the hospital?"
A strange and hectic few seconds passed as I was hustled into the library and plopped down into a chair.
"Pinkie Pie! How did you get here?" Twilight said.
"Like a sneaky ninja!" I replied.
"No, I mean... Nevermind," the unicorn said, giving me her 'dealing with Pinkie Pie' look. "Look, first of all... Are you okay?"
"Yah-huh, I sure am, Twilight!"
"That's good. And... are you still claiming that you're an alien?"
"Yup! Though, I know it sounds crazy."
Twilight sighed, and rubbed her temple with a hoof.
"There has to be a way to figure out if she's lost it, or if she's telling the truth," Rainbow Dash said.
"I agree that this is a bit of a conundrum," Rarity said, breaking out the big words. "However, after all we've been through, it's definitely possible that this is true. Remember Discord?"
"I really am telling the truth, you guys! I Pinkie Promise!"
"Yeah, but if you're crazy, you could think you're an alien without actually lying!" Rainbow Dash pointed out. Which was surprisingly astute for her. Must be all the reading she's been doing.
"Oooh, good point, Dashie. But I know I'm not crazy!"
"Please stop using the word 'crazy'," Twilight said, sounding irritated. "I'm going to examine you, Pinkie Pie, or whatever your name is. Is that okay?"
"Sure thing. And Twilight?"
"Thanks for being willing to try and believe me, even if you're still not sure," I said, smiling happily. Twilight hesitated a moment, and then smiled back.
Then she tapped me lightly on the head with her horn, and this purple glow surrounded me, which was all tingly! After a minute or two of that, Twilight stepped back and looked at me, all thoughtful-like.
"Well?" Rainbow demanded. "Is she an alien or just cra... er... nuts?"
"'Nuts' isn't any better than 'crazy', Rainbow Dash," Twilight pointed out. "And... I'm not sure. It feels like something is off, but... I can't tell what it is."
"She sure seems to act like our Pinkie Pie," Applejack said, doubtfully. "Ah ain't sayin' it ain't true, Ah just thought an alien would act... well, different."
"I may be an alien, but I'm still using Pinkie's brain," I pointed out. At least, that was the conclusion I'd come to, for why I was acting the way I was.
Twilight flinched at the thought, and Rarity murmured a brief consolation. Fluttershy gasped in apparent horror, covering her mouth with a hoof.
Rainbow, however, just laughed.
"How's that working out for ya?" she asked, snickering.
"Eh, it's interesting, at least." I said. "Look, why don't I just tell you my story? Maybe that will answer some questions."
Eveypony agreed that this was an excellent idea. I asked Twilight for some snacks before I began, eliciting shudders of horror from the other ponies as I briefly described the food I'd been eating for the last few days. Before I knew it, I had a plate full of cookies, a couple slices of cake, a loaf of crispy bread, and a large salad all sitting in front of me.
About twenty seconds later, I leaned back with a happy sigh, patting my now-full tummy in satisfaction.
"She eats like Pinkie, too," Rainbow Dash said, looking at the empty plates in front of me with something resembling awe.
I grinned at her, and I began to tell my story, starting with...
Hey. Wait a minute. I just realized, where did that disguise come from?!
Seriously. Forget the disguise. I don't know how it happened. I don't care how it happened! I'm just going to leave it alone for the time being, and go with the answer of "It's Pinkie Pie, and I ain't gotta explain shanything."
So, instead of worrying about that disguise, I started talking to the others about what I'd experienced so far. About how I went shopping, my tragic lack of lightbulbs, the whole looking into a mirror thing...
Of course Twilight picked up right away on how I knew so much about them and asked me what was up with that. So, I had to explain a little about television. I explained it as a window that looked into other worlds, which isn't exactly right, but I didn't want to get into a whole discussion about cartoons and such.
I figured it would probably freak them out if I told them that they were make-believe characters in my world. I didn't realize that the thought of aliens potentially watching their every move would freak them out as well. I had to explain that, no, we could only see them... maybe about twenty-two minutes a week, or so, and then only for about twenty-six weeks out of the year. And only when they were doing something interesting. I'm not sure how comforting they found it, really.
Okay, but, seriously. Was I reaching into some sort of inter-dimensional storage space that Pinkie has stocked with disguises? Am I creating matter out of nothing but pure imagination?
They weren't really convinced. Dash's argument that a delusional Pinkie could break a Pinkie promise carried a lot of weight. I didn't despair, though, because they agreed to help me look into it, and to keep out of the hospital.
That the doctor's behavior had definitely been a little odd was something everypony agreed on. They only had my word on the "human" thing, but every pony in the room agreed that him asking everypony but Pinkie's closest friends questions about my behavior was very strange.
Rarity said it best when she said, "It's as if he was looking for just enough evidence to justify the rather flimsy reasoning required to keep you locked up."
Yeah! It was exactly like that! Thanks, Rarity!
And, besides disguises, what else would be in that inter-dimensional storage? Pinkie's diary? An endless supply of pastries? The party cannon?
Of course, they were worried about what happened to Pinkie Pie, if this whole alien thing was true. I assured them that my world was physically pretty safe, no ravening monsters or anything, and that I had enough cash on me to buy food for a while. Assuming Pinkie stayed out of trouble, she would most likely be fine.
They looked as doubtful about that as I felt, and I can't say that I blamed them.
And what about those Groucho glasses? I mean, the fedora I can see, and the trenchcoat isn't too far of a stretch, but why would a pony have glasses that resembled Groucho Marx?
Curse my rebellious brain. I didn't want to think about that!
Anyway, we discussed a course of action and made some plans. At one point, Rainbow Dash took off, flying off to the Everfree. Her job was to stop by Zecora's and see if it was all right for me to stay there for a day or two, to keep me out of town and out of sight until Twilight could write the Princess and get her help in resolving the situation.
And now I had to think about it again! I couldn't just walk through town, I needed to be disguised!
I tried to retrieve my awesome disguise, and I couldn't! I didn't need it before, I was just playing a joke. And now that I actually had to have it, I had no idea how to get a hold of it again!
I briefly considered "tapping into my inner Pinkie" again, but without a desperate need, I really wanted to hold off on doing that. I was still worried that I'd lose myself, somehow!
Besides, are you really acting like Pinkie Pie, or just acting how you think she would act? the little voice in my head asked pointedly.
Good point, voice in my head. Good point, indeed. I'm going to put that right up there on my list of things to try to not think about because it makes my head hurt but I will fail and think about anyway.
Oh, that's another thing. I opted not to tell them about the voice in my head. I wouldn't want to add any more evidence to the "Pinkie is crazy!" pile, would I?
Rarity generously (heheh) offered to get some clothing for me to disguise my very obvious, very pink self. I ended up with a frilly blue dress that covered most of my body, that had a pretty high collar that managed to hide most of my face, at least from the sides, and she topped it off with a hat that looked like a wedding cake gone mad.
Having been a bright pink pony for the last few days meant that my male pride had already given up protesting such indignities a while ago, and it merely whimpered slightly as I put on the fru-fru garments.
"You look divine, darling!" Rarity said, very pleased with herself.
"Thanks, Rarity!" I said. Then, "Ouch!"
I took one step and fell immediately on my face.
"AAAAGH! This psycho dress is eating my legs! Gettitoff, gettitoff, gettitoff!!!" I shrieked, thrashing around in a panic and sending Fluttershy diving behind Applejack for cover.
"Stop! You'll ruin it!" Rarity commanded. I stopped flailing my legs, embarrassed by my reaction. Rarity carefully unwrapped the gown and helped me back on my hooves.
"Sorry," I apologized, shamefaced. "I'm not really used to walking around in dresses."
"You ain't ever worn a dress where you're from?" Applejack asked as Fluttershy cautiously peeked around from behind her.
"Nah. I mean, the females of my species wear dresses, sometimes, but not the males."
"Wait, wait," Twilight said, frowning. "You're not just an alien, you're a boy alien?"
Fluttershy reversed course and slowly hid behind AJ again.
"Ugh! This is just too weird!" Twilight said, rubbing at her temple with a hoof.
"I know, right?" I said. "Imagine how I feel!"
"I'd rather not," she grumped.
"Well, I wasn't aware that I'd be putting you in drag, but you still look fabulous, darling!" Rarity said, popping up off of the floor.
I wondered briefly what the heck Rarity had been doing down there when I noticed that she'd pinned up the hem of the killer dress a little bit, so that it wouldn't catch so easily on my hooves. Nice!
Rainbow Dash returned shortly after that, and after she recovered from laughing herself into hysterics just from looking at me in that dress, she reported that Zecora would be only too happy to let me stay in her hut for as long as needed.
Yay, I get to go to the creepy forest of doom!
Fluttershy got over her shyness enough to allow me to walk back to her cottage with her, and Rarity accompanied us. To keep us company, she said, but I think it was also to keep an eye on both Fluttershy and the clothes she'd lent me.
Walking through Ponyville in the evening was an interesting experience. Ponies were closing up shop, chatting to one another casually, and generally winding down. It was a different kind of energy than you saw during the day, much more serene.
Fluttershy and Rarity walked on either side of me like a pair of colorful fuzzy bookends while I glanced around excitedly. I won't kid you, even after all that had happened, I was still really excited to be in Ponyville! If I weren't stuck in Pinkie's body being chased by a needle-happy lunatic, I'd be thrilled to just spend days here, wandering around and looking at stuff. It's all so awesome!
"Pinkie, stop that!" Rarity hissed at me suddenly, breaking my pony-zen. "You're drawing attention!"
"Stop what?" I asked, honestly confused.
"You're... um... bouncing," Fluttershy said.
Oh, yeah... whoops! I was totally doing the Pinkie bounce as we walked down the road. That would explain some of the stares, I guess. And the drafty feeling under the dress. And the way the buildings kept going up and down. Way to be subtle, guy!
I concentrated on walking more sedately through town, though I couldn't wipe the grin off of my face.
"You certainly seem happy to be here," Rarity said. "I'm not sure why, it's just the same old Ponyville."
"That's just it, though. It's Ponyville! You have no idea! I mean, I would see this place on TV all the time, but to actually be here, that's so super-incredible I can barely stand it!"
Rarity looked at me like I was crazy.
"It's just Ponyville," she pointed out. "Now, if you were talking about Canterlot..."
I froze in place, thinking Oooh. Canterlot! While I was here I should totally go and see...
Okay, no, I told myself. No getting side-tracked. No going sight-seeing! I had to fix this! Remember the plan! We're on step 3, "Fix everything", remember?
We resumed our trip, and we reached Fluttershy's little cottage thing pretty quickly. And, I don't know what to tell you, guys. It was definitely her cottage, and it looked just like I expected... but... well, it kind of smelled bad! Like a barnyard, even though I'd never been in a barnyard, so I don't really know what it smells like. But I imagine that it would smell a lot like this!
"It's... lovely," I said, trying not to gag at the smell of all the animals, who were apparently doing their animal business all over the well-fertilized yard.
Mental note: Step cautiously in this vicinity!
"Thank you," Fluttershy said with a smile.
Okay, it was worth smelling that just to see that smile. It was so... I dunno. Heartwarming. I just wanted to hug her. I wanted to retch at the smell. I wanted to get inside, because it hopefully smelled less terrible in there!
So, we went inside, which indeed smelled a lot better, though the smell of animal fur and feathers was just as strong. Hey, I just realized! Pinkie Pie doesn't have any allergies! If that had been my human body, I'd have been lying on the floor with my eyes swollen shut, gasping for breath!
Of course, if I were in my human body, I'd probably be back home, and I wouldn't have to worry about it.
There were tons of animals all hanging around in Fluttershy's cottage, peeking out of little birdhouses and dens and holes in the walls and such. It seemed they were shy of visitors. I saw all sorts of animals, some I didn't even recognize (hey, I'm not a nature guy! I even hate camping!). Why, Fluttershy even had a tiny little alligator! Just like... hey, wait a minute...
"Gummy!" I said, truly happy. I trotted over to him and tried to pet him, and he bit me on the leg. "You took him?" I asked Fluttershy.
"Oh, um... Yes." she said, looking down and tracing her hoof in circles on the floor. "I hope that's okay?"
"Of course it's okay!" I told her. "I was so super worried about him! Thank you for taking care of him while I was... well, locked up."
"Oh, it's no bother," she said, smiling again.
"Here, let's get you out of that dress," Rarity said, levitating Gummy off of my leg.
"Why, Rarity! So forward!" I said, fluttering my eyes at her.
She stopped, looking surprised, and then glared at me.
"Stop that," she commanded. And then she used her telekinesis to start removing the frilly thing.
"Oh no!" I play-shrieked. "You mustn't! No, not here, not in front of Fluttershy! Rarity! Bad touch! Eeeek! Not the petticoats, too? Ah, you don't need to be so aggressive! Think of all the little innocent animals, forced to watch!"
Through it all, Rarity's face just turned deeper and deeper shades of red, though I'm sure that was more in anger than embarrassment. Fluttershy was... actually giggling a little. Yay! I made Fluttershy laugh! Totally worth the telekinetic swat Rarity gave me once she got me out of the dress.
"Can I keep the hat?" I asked, pointing at that ridiculous white thing still perched on my head. Rarity lifted if off without a word. "Aww..."
"Honestly, I feel like the only sane pony sometimes," Rarity said grumpily, though I think I caught the quirk of a hidden smile as she turned away to put the hat in the box she'd brought along with us.
Fluttershy gave me a spare set of saddlebags, which she'd stuffed with food and a water bottle. They weren't sending me off into the wilds empty-hooved, which made me very happy! We went back outside, and Fluttershy showed me the path I had to walk.
"Now, if you get going right away, and stick to the path, you should get to Zecora's before the sun completely sets," Fluttershy said. "Are you sure you don't want to spend the night? The forest is much safer in the daylight."
"I'm sure I'll be fine," I said. As much as I adored Fluttershy, spending the night in a zoo sounded... less than fun. "After all, Applebloom goes to visit Zecora all the time, right? And I'm a grown up pony with the mind of a human! I'm absolutely positive I'll be okay!"
She looked doubtful, but gave me a goodbye hug. Rarity did, too, apparently having recovered from the whole dress thing.
"Now, you be careful," she said.
"Don't worry, I'll be just fine!" I told her.
I started walking down the path and ten minutes later I was running for my life from a manticore.
"Aaaaaagh!" I yelled, terrified, running full out.
Something twitched on my body, and I felt the sudden urge to dodge left. I did so, and the manticore plunged to the ground where I had been standing a moment before. Snarling, it shook itself off and charged after me again.
It was really getting dark, now, and the path was getting harder to see. That's probably why I tripped over a root and went sprawling. The manticore growled, and stalked menacingly towards me.
I know what you're probably thinking, because I was thinking it too: If I got Pinkie's body eaten, she'd never forgive me!
It was then that a green cloud of something enveloped the manticore. It yelped, then ran away, leaving my backside thoroughly ungobbled.
"It was a fortunate thing that I came by," said my rescuer. "The ponies would not be happy, if you were to die."
Zecora! Oh, I'd never been so happy to see a zebra in my entire life! She helped me up, I thanked her, and she basically told me "no problem", except in rhyme.
The walk to her hut was, like, the most anti-climactic thing ever, so I won't even bother telling you about it.
Don't get me wrong, Zecora is a great host, though the rhyming does get a little hard to follow sometimes. It's just... Okay, there are plants growing through her hut. Like, vines and stuff. In one wall, and out another. Or out the roof. Which means that all sorts of creepy-crawly bugs and things come ambling through all the time, too.
Have you ever seen an Everfree Forest centipede? No? Well, I have, and let me tell you... Hrggblblblhhahaargh! Those things are just nasty! And they're the size of my foreleg!
Anyway, Zecora cooked up some stew for us that night: a nice, peppery vegetable soup with odd roots and stuff which she told me, in rhyme, she had collected from the forest around us. Then she showed me to a rough pallet she'd set up on the floor of her hut. Exhausted, I lay down and almost immediately fell asleep.
I don't know how long I was out for, but I woke up with this really creepy feeling of being watched. I looked up... Zecora was standing right over my pallet, just staring at me. For some reason, that terrified me, and my breath caught in my throat.
We stayed like that for a few seconds, and then Zecora spoke, in a slightly menacing tone.
"For one who snores so incredibly loud, Pinkie Pie, perhaps you'd be better off sleeping under the open sky?"
I took the hint, sheepishly gathering up my blanket and pillow, letting myself out of the zebra's hut. Outside, it was dark. Like, pitch-dark and impossible to see, thanks to some clouds over the moon. Almost immediately, I tripped over something.
"Ouch!" I said, then, "sorry!"
"No problem," a low and guttural voice said.
For the second time that night I froze in complete and primal terror. I wondered what it was that had spoken, but then I realized that I would much rather not know. Sadly, my blissful ignorance was soon washed away, as the cloud that had obscured the moon all this time finally got bored and moved on.
It was that vicious, terrifying manticore once again.
"Oh," I said, feebly.
"Hi," it replied, grinning through its ginormous fangs.
A long silence ensued, and the manticore blinked in confusion.
"So..." it said, adjusting its claws awkwardly. "You gonna run, or something?"
"I suppose I could," I said. "Should I scream in mortal panic while I do so?"
"If you like," the manticore said graciously.
"All righty, then," I said. "But first... is that a big, juicy rabbit with an injured leg?"
I pointed at some empty space. When the manticore turned to look, I bolted off into the forest, screaming at the top of my lungs. I heard the manticore curse behind me, then the sounds of its pursuit.
Thus began a merry chase as I dodged under bushes, leapt over ditches, clambered over rocks, and occasionally swung on vines, Tarzan-style. One of the logs I jumped over twitched slightly as I did so, then raised itself into the air behind me, followed by three other giant "logs". One of which was wearing, for some reason, a top hat and a monocle.
The hydra screamed, then lumbered after me, joining in the chase.
Oh, great! Now I'm being chased by a manticore and a hydra! What else could go wrong?!
"Ba-kawk!" clucked a cockatrice, rising up out of a nearby bush in a fine display of dramatic irony.
I turned to flee from the weird rooster-snake-thing, careful not to look in its eyes. What else? What else was in this blasted forest that was going to hunt me?!
Well, how about a timber wolf? I turned to run from it as it started howling, then stopped. Another monster, yellow and fuzzy, jumped out of a bush right in front of me! Now I was trapped! Surrounded on all sides by vicious critters!
"Roar!" roared the manticore, moving in.
"Growl!" growled the hydra, shaking the ground as it stomped towards me.
"Awk!" squawked the cockatrice, slithering up from behind.
"Awooo!" howled the timber wolf, creeping around towards my side.
"Pikachu!" said the little mouse thing, crackling with energy...
...wait a minute.
"Oh, man," I said, sitting down. "This is just a dream, isn't it?"
The monsters all stopped and looked at each other.
"Oh, drat and bother," said one of the hydra heads, the one with the top hat. "The little pink thing has gone and figured it out."
"Well, that's disappointing," the timber wolf said, panting. "I didn't even get to chase anyone."
"Go chase Pikachu," I said. "He's in the wrong cartoon anyway."
The timber wolf happily chased after the chubby little guy, who fled in a panic. The rest of us just sat there, basking in the awkward silence that ensued.
"So... what next?" I asked after a minute.
"I dunno," the cockatrice said. "Anyone wanna do something?"
"Like what?" I asked, ignoring the shrieks and the occasional crackle of electricity coming from the nearby forest.
"Would anyone care for a drop of tea?" the monocled hydra head asked, and one of the other heads snorted derisively. The rest of the monsters voiced a vague disinterest in the idea of boiling leaves.
There was another flash of light from the forest, a yelp, and a crashing sound. The timber wolf sprinted out of the darkness, his hindquarters smoking slightly. Pikachu emerged a little later, gave me a disgusted look while shaking his head, then wandered away.
"Anybody got a deck of cards?" I asked. Then something with far too many legs wriggled down my face, and I woke up shrieking and completely freaked out!
"What is this screaming I hear?" a grouchy zebra asked from her nearby bed. "It's far too early to voice such fear!"
"There was a centipede on my face!" I informed her, in my calmest and most rational screech.
"Did it bite you, or perhaps sting?" she asked.
I shook my head no.
"Then do not be frightened of just any old thing!"
I opened my mouth to say something, and then hesitated. How did she do that? This required some research.
"What would you have said if I said 'yes'?" I asked her.
"If you had made the claim that you had been stung?"
I nodded again.
"I would have had a different rhyme upon my tongue."
Whoah. She's good!
"Zecora, do you always rhyme whatever you say?"
She looked at me, still slightly cranky from being woken up so loudly.
"No," she said.
"Oh. Well, why do you?"
"Do my rhymes bother you? Is it something you would prefer me not to do?"
"Oh, no! I like it! I was just wondering why you do it."
"It is a cultural thing, Pinkie dear. These rhymes sound easy upon my ear."
"Oh. Well, I think it's neat!"
She nodded, seeming less cranky.
"Then I shall get us something to eat," she said, getting up and heading to the kitchen. Or, at least, the area of her hut that she called the kitchen. It was a firepit in the middle of the room with a huge cauldron.
I got up, stretching, and then started looking for any additional bugs in my mane and tail. I stopped briefly, when it occurred to me that she hadn't rhymed that last sentence. Then I realized that she had, but she'd rhymed off of my last sentence!
Oh, she is too good!
Zecora made some breakfast, by which I mean that she piled some vegetables and fruit on a plate and gave it to me. It was pretty tasty, honestly, along with the fruit juice she served up.
Then she slipped on an empty set of saddlebags, saying: "Touch nothing while I am gone, do you hear? These ingredients can be quite dangerous, I fear."
I agreed not to mess with her potions or ingredients. She stood in the doorway, just looking at me. I don't know why, but I got the feeling that she didn't quite trust me, all alone in her hut, with bottles full of rare and possibly dangerous chemicals.
"Pinkie Pie, would you please join me? I'd rather keep you where I can see."
Well! Of all the nerve! It was like she thought I couldn't be trusted, or something! I put down the glass jars full of various liquids which I'd been idly wondering if I could juggle and hopped over to the door, following the zebra out into the Everfree.
You know, this forest isn't so bad in the daylight, when it's not actively trying to kill you. It's pretty quiet, kind of tranquil. Or, it was, up until the point where Zecora started calmly pointing out all the different plants that were incredibly toxic.
"This one will kill you, with terrible cramping pain. This other one merely causes breakfast to come up once again. This flower here creates a pretty blue dye; but do not eat it, or your bones will liquify."
Mental Note: Do. not. touch. ANYTHING! This place is, like... super-Australia, or something.
Anyway, after she pointed out the first few instantly-fatal things, I pretty much crowded up behind Zecora's tail, keeping as close as I could. I mean, I was briefly considering trying to find a patch of Poison Joke and seeing what it would do to me, or maybe use it for some pranks (Flutterguy!). But liquid bones? No thanks!
It would sure make yoga pretty easy, though.
Eventually, Zecora finished getting all the stuff she needed to gather, and we went back to her hut. Much to my surprise, Twilight was waiting outside the door for us, tapping a lavender hoof impatiently.
"There you are!" she snapped. "I've been waiting for almost an hour! I thought I told you to stay here!"
Whoah! Cranky Twilight alert!
"Sorry," I said, "Zecora wanted me to come with her. Something about not wanting me to juggle delicate containers of volatile liquids, or something like that."
Zecora gave me an 'I knew it!' kind of a look.
"Never mind that. I heard back from the palace. Celestia is gone!"
"What?" I said, honestly surprised and, if I had to admit it, more than a little alarmed. "Did she get kidnapped? Er... Pony-napped... no... Princess-napped?"
"Abducted?" Twilight said in a snarky deadpan.
"No, she's on some urgent diplomatic mission to the Griffon Kingdom, and won't be back for weeks. Luna's apparently overwhelmed with the day-to-day running of the country. Her knowledge of law and tax codes are a millennium out of date, and she keeps yelling at everypony."
"Royal Canterlot voice?" I asked.
"No, frustration." Twilight replied, seeming a little frustrated, herself. "Luna said she'd look into your situation at her earliest opportunity, but that might not be for a few days. She also said she's never heard of anything that can switch a pony's mind for a creature's from an entirely different world."
"Have my ears led me astray?" Zecora asked, looking surprised. "What is this you say?"
"Rainbow Dash didn't tell you that Pinkie is claiming she's really an alien trapped in Pinkie's body?" Twilight asked, frowning.
"She neglected to relay that information, I fear. That is something I would have liked to hear."
"Well, why didn't you say anything, then?" Twilight asked me, crossly. Man, that unicorn really got the whole 'annoyed' thing down pat!
"Hey, everypony I tell that to thinks I'm crazy. If I told Zecora, she'd think I was crazy, too," I said, by way of an admittedly lame explanation.
Zecora looked at me with an unreadable expression for a longer time than I was, strictly speaking, comfortable with.
"We should discuss this matter inside my hut," she said, eventually. "Where I fully expect to be told what is what."
Feeling slightly embarrassed, I followed the zebra into the hut, followed by a grumbling Twilight.
Once again, I related the whole 'looked into a mirror, saw Pinkie Pie, became Pinkie Pie, had epic adventures' story that I'd told Twilight and company the previous evening. This time, though, things were different. Zecora looked at me with a very thoughtful expression.
"It seems you may have run afoul of mirror magic," Zecora said. "The results of which are often-"
"Wait, you believe her, just like that?" Twilight blurted out, looking shocked.
"- quite tragic," Zecora finished, giving Twilight an annoyed look. "I believe what she says may very well be true. All that remains is to determine what to do."
"Wow," Twilight said, sitting down. "I guess if you say it's possible..."
I snorted in frustration. I say what happened, and she thinks I'm most likely just nuts. Zecora says it's possible, and suddenly, Twilight's ready to believe without hesitation. What was I, chopped celery? And I say celery, because ponies don't eat liver. At least, not outside of a Fallout Equestria fic.
"Skyggie, known as the Shadow Witch, is the one you should seek. The voyage to her castle should take less than a week. I do not believe this is her doing, though she may have answers to the questions you are pursuing."
Yes! Epic Voyage of Friendship! A potential mysterious new foe appears! This was going to be great!
"I think it would be better to wait for Celestia," Twilight said, crushing my hopes beneath her tiny purple hooves. "If anypony can set this right, it's her."
Argh! Adventure-blocked by Twilight Sparkle! It made me sad. I had to convince her!
"That's a bad idea," I told her.
"What do you mean?"
"Look, doesn't it seem odd that all this just happened while Celestia is out of the country?" I pointed out. Hey, I spend tons of time on internet. I can spin conspiracy theories with the best of them! Twilight looked thoughtful, but not convinced.
"Besides, there are two possibilities," I continued. "Either I'm nuts, in which case we waste a few days traveling, or I'm telling the truth. In which case, Pinkie Pie, your Pinkie Pie, could be in real danger. Not to mention, if part of the plan was to get Celestia out of the way, then this could be part of a plot against Equestria itself!"
Okay, I was laying it on a little thick, there. But, bless Twilight Sparkle's adorkable little heart, she ate that up with a spoon!
"You're right." she said slowly, then repeated more forcefully, "You're right! I'll get the others, and we'll be back here before noon."
"Awesome!" I said. "Let's go get her! With a name like that, she has to be evil!"
"In all honesty, she is quite nice," Zecora said. "I simply suggested her as someone to ask for advice."
Man, what is it with these ponies (and zebra), harshing my adventure buzz? Anyway, I had a hard time believing that someone with a name as ominous as 'the Shadow Witch' wasn't involved somehow.
"Zecora, would you be kind enough to draw us a map to where we can find this... Shadow Witch?" Twilight asked.
"I'll gladly make a map for you, in order to see you through. Castle Penumbra is where you will find her abode, simply by following the western road."
I groaned melodramatically.
"Oh, man, we have to go through the forest? There are so many things in here that want to kill me!"
"You shall be fine, my dear. Your friends will help to see you clear."
"Right," Twilight said, pulling out her 'decisive voice'. "You wait here, try not to drive Zecora crazy, and I'll go gather the others."
I watched the lavender unicorn gallop off, then looked towards the now slightly nervous-looking Zecora.
"Say, Zecora," I said, grinning. "Would you happen to have a deck of cards?"
Just so you know, almost all Epic Adventures start with the Boring Journey of Tedium. More on that, later.
Twilight was true to her word. The other ponies showed up after another couple of hours, slightly before noon. Zecora had been kind enough to loan me a couple of saddle-bags of my own, which she stuffed with various potions, ointments, and the like. Just in case of emergencies, she told me. In rhyme.
Once we'd all settled in, we had a quick planning session. Twilight started things off by relaying some... disturbing news.
"I've got some... disturbing news," she said. "It turns out that Doctor Needles has been going with the police from house to house, looking for Pinkie. He even showed up at Fluttershy's place right before we left, and they demanded that they be allowed to search for you. I guess somepony noticed you going there, in spite of the disguise."
Oh. Well, I wasn't really inconspicuous, I suppose, even in that dress. Hey, wait a minute...
"Hold on," I said. "The doctor pony's name is actually Doctor Needles?"
"Yes?" Twilight said, looking confused that I'd sound so upset about something like that.
"Oh, man! This whole time I was calling him that in my head because I thought it was derogatory! That's his actual name?"
Twilight confirmed that it was.
"I am so disappointed. I guess I'll just have to exclusively call him Doctor Creepy-face McLiar-pants from now on, then."
"Oh-kay," Twilight said, then tried to get the planning session back on track. "We're going to go find somepony named Skyggie, also known as the Shadow Witch."
"I just know she's responsible!" I said. "With a name like 'the Shadow Witch', she has to be a villain!"
"Yeah! Let's get the witch!" Rainbow Dash added enthusiastically.
"She's not evil, she's been quite nice to me," Zecora said, once again running interference between fantasy and reality. "Her title is simply because illusions are her specialty."
Dash sank down onto the floor, pouting.
"I hate it when things get complicated," she groused. "I'd rather have a bad guy I can just buck in the face and get it over with."
For the record, I agreed with Dashie.
Any step forward is a step closer to getting home, the little voice in my head reminded me.
"Why don't we ambush the doctor and take him prisoner?" I asked. Most of the other ponies looked shocked. Except Dash. She perked up considerably.
"Why would we do that?" Twilight asked.
"We can make him tell us who he works for!" I said.
Twilight seemed dubious about that.
"And how do you plan on doing that?" she asked.
"You can use your lie-detection spell on him!"
"What? I don't have a lie-detection spell!"
"No! Why would I have a spell like that?"
"I dunno," I said, feeling disappointed for some reason. "It just seems like the type of spell you'd have."
"Well, I don't," Twilight said. "Can we please focus on the journey?"
There was general agreement to that, and Twilight took out the rough map that Zecora had drawn up, which mostly just consisted of a little triangle where her hut was, a line going west, and a couple of squiggly lines indicating rivers. There was an X on the map where the castle was, and a bunch of written notes on the things we might encounter along the way.
It was about an hour after noon when we finally started out. The trail was rough, and slightly muddy, and the formerly-peaceful forest was now alive with small buzzing insects. Small, buzzing, biting insects, which all seemed to enjoy nothing more than dining on delicate pony flesh.
I really do not like the Everfree.
Amazingly enough, nopony complained. Not even Rarity, who I was secretly sure would spend the whole time whining about her mane. She did make a concession to the journey, though: instead of her normal purple cascade of hair, she had her hair tied back in... well, a ponytail. It was almost unbearably cute.
Still, in spite of the discomfort, I was actually in a very good mood. How could I not be? Here I was, not only on my way to get answers, but I was also traveling with the bearers of the Elements of Harmony themselves! How awesome is that?
In fact, I was so happy, that I decided that the whole voyage deserved a song! I took a deep breath, and started singing:
"No!" Twilight Sparkle said, spinning in place and locking me down with a steely glare. "No singing!"
"Awww..." I said in reply.
"I'm sorry, Pinkie... or, whoever. I'm just not in the mood for a song right now. Okay?"
"Sure, Twilight," I said, managing to hide my disappointment.
We walked in silence for a few minutes after that. Well, relative silence.
"Pinkie," Twilight said after a while. "No humming, either."
A couple minutes later, and Twilight sighed and said, "I didn't think I'd have to specify no whistling, as well."
"Well, excuse me for being in a good mood, and trying to make the trip a little more fun!" I said, feeling slightly irritated. "We've got a long way to go, are we really going to do it all in complete silence? I mean, can't we even talk, or anything?"
"Well..." Twilight replied, looking slightly doubtful.
"I kinda agree with Pinkie Guy, here," Rainbow Dash said. "It's going to be a long trip, we might as well try to enjoy it."
Pinkie Guy? Oh, heck no.
"Please don't call me that, Dashie," I said, only to be ignored.
"I don't mind singing," Fluttershy said. "And I always thought Pinkie had a lovely singing voice."
"We could tell stories," Applejack said. "Ah got a few funny stories from when Big Macintosh was just a colt."
"O-oh, really?" Fluttershy said, with poorly feigned casualness.
"Or, indeed, perhaps we should find out more about our traveling companion," Rarity suggested. "Assuming we could get a straight answer."
"Fine," Twilight said, looking defeated, but with a small smile that showed she didn't really mind it. "Let's tell stories. And, you can start... Pinkie Guy."
From the way she snorted when she said that, I could tell the title amused her greatly. I rolled my eyes.
"Fine," I said, "what would you like to know?"
"Well, you could tell us about yourself," Twilight said. "You know an awful lot about us, but we know almost nothing about you."
"You're seriously going to pander to Miss Pie's delusions?" a familiar voice said on the path before us.
The doctor, along with the two policeponies, stepped out from behind some bushes. It was a trap! Or, something. The two groups of ponies stared at each other for a few seconds before it occurred to me to say something.
"Look out!" I shouted, completely unnecessarily. "It's Doctor Creepy-face McLiar-pants!"
Twilight looked back at me and rolled her eyes.
"Yes, we can see him," she pointed out.
"What did you call me?" the doctor asked, confused.
"Come along quietly, and you won't get hurt," one of the police ponies said, the one with the gravely voice.
"You're kidding, right?" Rainbow Dash said, challengingly. "The way I see it, there's three of you, and six of us."
"I'm not really comfortable fighting the police," Twilight whispered furiously towards the pegasus.
"You five are already in enough trouble as it is," the other police officer said. "If you keep this up, we'll be forced to press charges."
Well, that cinched it.
"Stop! Everypony, just stop," I said. "I can't allow this. I can't have you guys get into trouble trying to help me."
I stepped forward, looking at the three stallions, and said, "If they don't try to stop you taking me, do you absolutely promise to leave them alone, and not press charges?"
"Pinkie, no!" Dash protested. The others voiced their own disapproval to my plan. I looked back and held up a hoof.
"Relax, guys. I got this," I told them, and tipped them a wink.
The two police officers looked at each other, then turned back to me.
"Sure. We'll leave them alone. Now, why don't you just come quietly with us, and we'll head back to the hospital."
"I need a promise," I pointed out, walking closer to them. The two uniformed ponies shifted uncomfortably.
"Fine, we promise," gravel-voice said. "Now, come along."
"Girls?" I said over my shoulder, still walking towards the three of them. "I'll see you at the place we were going, okay?"
"No, you're coming with us," the doctor said, in what he probably thought was a calming, reasonable voice. "You promised, remember?"
"Oh, did I promise to come with you?" I said, in my best 'oh-so-innocent' voice. "I don't recall doing that."
"You said, if we left your friends alone-" gravel-voice said angrily before I cut him off with a deep sigh.
"No, you said you'd leave them alone if they didn't stop you from taking me," I pointed out sweetly. "But don't worry, I'm not unreasonable. Here, I'll even put my hooves behind my back for you."
I wasn't crazy. At least, I don't think I was. I had a plan. Of sorts, at least. I just... well, I had no idea if it was going to work or not.
So, I sat down on the dirt road, putting my fore-hooves behind my back, conveniently out of their sight. And then, I concentrated. Inner Pinkie, and all that. It wasn't long before I started feeling that odd sensation I'd felt before, the same one that had started building up when I almost sang in Ponyville. The same feeling of being at the center of a thunderstorm that I'd had while chasing Rainbow Dash through town.
It felt good, and I started grinning widely. I just knew the plan, such as it was, would work. The policeponies hesitated, looking nervous at the huge smile on my face.
"Well... Good," the police officer with the normal voice said, looking doubtful but trying to cover it up by being brave. The two officers exchanged worried glances and then stepped forward, obviously intending to cuff me and drag me off.
"Don't worry," I said to them. "I'm not going to give you any trouble. I'm just going to give you a pie inna face!"
And, with that, my suddenly-coconut-cream-pie-laden hooves whipped forward, launching the creamy confections straight at their startled faces! The twin pies arched through the air beautifully, smacking them both in the eyes with a lovely, thick-sounding "thwap!" noise.
Giggiling, I waved at the startled mares behind me, blew a raspberry at the stunned doctor, and hopped into a nearby bush.
"After her!" Doctor Creepy said (I refuse to use his real name!)
"You need to work on your 'Evil Villain' dialogue, doc!" I shouted at him while scrambling through some brambles. "That's incredibly cliche!"
The cursing police ponies, still wiping the goo out of their eyes, stumbled after me, though I did hear gravel-voice say something along the lines of "You know, this is pretty tasty."
Thus began the game of tag that lasted for... gosh, I don't know. Hours, maybe? It was late afternoon when we started, and the sun had started setting when things wrapped up. I led them on a pretty merry chase, through bushes and across streams. I tried to keep going in the same general direction I had been before, towards Skyggie's place, because it didn't make a lot of sense to me to have to backtrack any more than needed.
The terrible trio managed to keep up with me surprisingly well, though it probably didn't help that I kept going back to play tricks on them. Like, running a line at hoof-height between two trees, causing them all to trip. Or hiding in a bush until they all ran by, then popping out and slapping a "kick me!" sign on the doctor's rump before running away again.
I found some big gourds that Zecora had warned me about, saying "Breaking that gourd will cause a reek that will last for no less than a week." So, naturally, I gathered up a few of them and pelted the ponies with them, running away giggling while they gagged on the terrible smell.
Then there was the patch of poison joke I found. I ran around it, and then waited for the bad guys to see me. They ran through it, like I hoped they would. I sat there, grinning, until they almost caught me. Then, I remembered that the poison joke doesn't take effect until the next morning, and started running again.
I still don't know where I got that barrel of glue and the huge bag of glitter, but the chase became a lot more sparkly after that.
Still, they refused to give up. I was starting to get the feeling that I would never lose these guys, unless I ran into another manticore, or something.
"Aaaugh! Watch out, it's a manticore!"
Okay, mental note: Equestria loves itself some dramatic irony.
The glittering police-ponies squawked in panic as the winged monster reared up in front of them, and I turned back with a sigh. I had thought the doctor's dialogue was cliche, but this was the second time I'd encountered a manticore in the Everfree! Three, if you count my dream from the night before. That was really pushing the cliche boundaries!
Anyway, I couldn't leave them to be eaten, even though they were trying to drag me back to the loony bin. Fortunately, Zecora had given me a jar full of manticore-repellant. Well, it was actually an 'almost-anything' repellant, as it created a cloud of burning, irritating smoke that would chase away almost anything with a nose, but it would work to get rid of the manticore.
I ran towards the shrieking ponies and burst into the clearing to see them backing away from the terrible monster.
"Hey!" I shouted at the manticore. "No fair, I'm still playing with them!"
Then I chucked the jar of repellant at the manticore's head. And, much to my surprise, the jar went right through the thing!
"Gotcha!" the doctor said, and suddenly I was once again wrapped in a magical field and lifted off the ground. The manticore blipped out of existence, leaving me completely confused.
"I told you she'd come back if she thought we were in danger," Doctor Creepy-face gloated. "All it took was a convincing illusion. Now, where did I leave that sedative?"
"Hey, that's not fair!" I protested, legs windmilling uselessly through the air. "I only came back to stop you guys from being eaten!"
"And, we thank you," the doctor said, sparkling smugly in the waning sunlight. "Ah, here we go."
"Nooooo!" I protested, as the needle jabbed once again into my butt. This was becoming really annoying!
That's when I noticed an odd combo of Pinkie's senses. Sure, there was the twitchy tail, but I was also having an achy hoof and a twitchy leg. I wasn't sure what all of those together meant.
Maybe it meant there was a cliffhanger coming?
Oh, actually what it meant was that Rainbow Dash was going to come rocketing out of the sky, knocking all three of those ponies over like bowling pins! Doctor Creepy's magic failed, and I flopped to the ground with an "oof!" sound as the air was knocked out of me.
"Over here!" Rainbow shouted, as the three glitter-covered bad ponies struggled up on their hooves.
Gravel-voice recovered first and started walking towards me, only to get lassoed around the hooves by a determined-looking Applejack. Rarity lifted the other one off the ground with her magic, and his legs kicked feebly in the air as he protested. AJ made her way over with another length of rope to tie him up.
The doctor pony was getting back up now, scowling like a thunderstorm, his horn glowing. The reflection of his magic off of the glitter covering his coat made him sparkle like a disco ball. Twilight stepped in front of him with a scowl of her own, and the two of them had an epic magical battle for all of about two seconds before Twilight completely overwhelmed him and sent him sprawling.
Honestly, I would have felt bad for the guy, if he hadn't kept jabbing needles into my posterior. He just got magically spanked by an adorable little unicorn who's head only came up to his shoulder!
"You okay, Pinkie?" Rainbow Dash asked, concern in her eyes.
"Oh, yeah," I said nonchalantly, as my vision began to dim from the sedative. "I've nebber bloon beglern."
"What?" Rainbow asked, confused for some reason.
"Flargle?" I replied. "Hurble yerg, mumble wumble..."
"Um, guys? Something's wrong with Pinkie." she said, and the others started gathering around me.
Hey, you try talking straight with a rump full of tranquilizers! The darkness started closing in, and I felt another odd combo: Tingly gums and a twitchy back left leg. Oh, that must be the Pinkie Sense sign for a cliffhanger!
Happy that I'd figured out what that meant, I passed out.
I wobbled through the realms of unconsciousness like a pony made of Jello during a mild earthquake. I was stumbling, very unsteadily, through a marshmallowy wonderland of swirling color and subtly shifting shapes.
Whatever that doctor stuck me with, it was some strong stuff!
“Sounds like a soporific,” a scruffy-looking human said, limping by while leaning on a cane. “Possibly an opiate of some sort.”
“Huh…” I said. “I have no idea what that means.”
“Whatever,” he said irritably. “Like I care.”
He wandered off and sunk deeper and deeper into a gumdrop-shaped hillside with every step until his head disappeared from view.
“Trippy,” I said.
“I’ll say,” a cat said from a nearby sparkly tree limb.
I sighed. This was all kinds of crazy.
“Stop talking,” I told the cat. “Cats don’t talk.”
“Neither do ponies,” she pointed out.
Well, she had me there, I had to admit.
“So, cat. What’s going on?”
“Not much. You’re having a weird dream after being drugged by… What was it again? Hold on…”
The cat pulled out a note card from somewhere, along with a tiny pair of reading glasses.
“Doctor Creepy-face McLiar-pants?” she said.
“Yup, that’s his name,” I said. “He’s kind of a jerk. Keeps sticking needles in my rump. I’m not a pincushion!”
“You’re not really a pony, either,” she said. “You’d best get that sorted out.”
“Tryin’ to, baby,” I said, as I started walking down the road again. “Tryin’ my best.”
I blinked, and when I opened my eyes, I was on some sort of wooden sailing ship. The cat was sitting on a nearby rail, and the ship was slowly bobbing up and down. It was slightly disorientating.
“Ugh, I hate the ocean,” I groused. “Everything in it either wants to poison you, eat you, or infect you somehow.”
“Don’t go in the water, then,” the cat said, then started licking herself in an intimate area. I turned my back to give her some privacy, not that she apparently cared at all.
The door to the captain’s cabin burst open, and a mint-green blur zipped past me.
“All hands on deck!” shouted Cap’n Lyra, scourge of the Seven Seas.
“Sure, don’t go in the water,” I muttered, ignoring the Cap'n for now. “We’re just surrounded on it by all sides, no problem.”
“Belay that talk!” Cap’n Lyra snarled at me, glaring from underneath her ridiculously over-sized plumed pirate hat. The enormous white feather bobbled dangerously towards me, and I took a step back out of sheer self-preservation.
“Sorry Cap’n!” I shouted. “Just talking to this cat, here!”
“Do yer be crazy, filly? There be no cat there!”
I glanced over, and sure enough, the cat was gone.
“Figures,” I sighed.
“I dern’t allow nae mental cases on board mer pirate ship!” the Cap’n bellowed. “If yer gon’ be talkin’ ter phantom cats, Oi’ll put yer inna boat’n cast yer adrift!”
That accent was floating around more than the ship was, but I decided it was better not to mention it.
“Aye aye, Cap’n!”
“Ship ahoy!” Boson Bon Bon shouted.
Everypony (meaning the Cap’n, me, and Bon Bon) scrambled around like lunatics while we approached the other ship, full of terrified-looking ponies staring back at us.
“Show these scallywags the fearsome might o’ the Crimson Hand Pirates!” Cap’n Lyra barked. "Scuttle yon wee clipper with the might o' our roaring cannon!"
"Aye aye!" I shouted, saluting, preparing to fire the cannon.
I was more than half-sure the cannon would shoot nothing but streamers and confetti at the poor, doomed ponies on the other ship. In fact, I was so sure that, just before I fired it, I managed to convince myself that there was no way it could possibly happen, as it was far too likely, and the world didn't actually work that way.
So, when the cannon went off and blew party supplies all over the victim's ship, Cap'n Lyra was only slightly more surprised by it than I was, and a whole lot angrier.
“What. Was. That?!” she snarled, advancing on me.
“Um… party cannon?”
“The party cannon is canon!” Bon Bon chirped.
“I’ll put yer off my ship!” Lyra screamed, shoving me overboard.
Great, I’ll probably get eaten by a shark. I closed my eyes in anticipation, but the bite never came.
I slowly opened my eyes, feeling groggy and woozy and, oddly, like I was still rocking back and forth on the ship. The sight before me made no sense at all, as I was looking up at a blue ribbon of sky, barely visible through the treetops. The trees were slowly moving on either side of me, giving the impression that I was slowly moving forward while lying on my back.
Nothing weird happened for a while, though I fully expected it to. I lay there, calmly accepting that something strange was going to happen any second now. Then, suddenly, something yellow and hairy flashed before my eyes, first one way, and then back again.
A burst of adrenaline surged through me as I completely panicked over what that creature might be. Giant yellow spider? Ravenous wolf creature? I just didn’t know!
So, screaming, I scrambled to my hooves, tripping over the improvised litter made of two long branches with some fabric stretched between them that I was being dragged along on, and stumbled right into something warm and fuzzy.
“What they hay?!” shouted an alarmed Applejack, as I extracted my face from her… tail area.
The fact that this was actually real began to sink in. That, and the fact that, in my panic, I had completely over-reacted to AJ’s blond tail swinging over my face as she dragged my unconscious self along the forest trail.
She was looking back over her shoulder at me, all indignant, which I can’t blame her for one bit. And, no, she does not smell like apples.
“Um, sorry, Applejack,” I said. “I was a little disoriented, and I panicked.”
Applejack scowled at me as I stood there, swaying woozily now that the adrenaline was wearing off. Then she snorted, and kicked the now-broken litter away from her.
Rainbow Dash, behind me, must have seen the whole thing. Either that, or she was laughing fit to burst for no reason at all. I glanced back and was surprised to see her pulling a litter of her own, on which was…
“It's Doctor Creepy-face McLiar-pants!” I shrieked, pointing a hoof. “Look out, he’s right behind you!”
Dash gave me an incredulous look, then went “Pfffft!” and started laughing again, this time actually falling down and rolling onto her back, kicking her legs in the air feebly.
I could feel myself blushing. Apparently, I’d said something stupid. In order to distract myself, I glanced around, trying to get my bearings. In addition to AJ, who was busily blushing and scowling at a tree at the moment, there was Twilight, who was up ahead on the path, looking back at us with mild impatience.
Rarity was next to Twilight, a poorly-concealed grin on her face, and next to Rarity was a very odd sight.
“Um… where’d the little filly come from?” I asked, pointing at the adorable little thing. She was a delicate pink shade with a blond mane tied in twin pigtails with red ribbons. Her blond tail also had a red ribbon, tied in a big red bow.
The little filly glared at me with the meanest look I’d ever seen from a pony.
“You tell anypony about this, and I swear, I’ll gut you,” she said in an instantly-recognizable gravelly voice.
I just stared at her for a few seconds before I started whooping with laughter of my own, joining Dashie on the ground, howling until my ribs started hurting! Oh, thank you poison joke! Reverse Flutterguy, it was an instant classic!
The gravelly-voiced filly glared pure death hatred beams at me while I giggled myself into near unconsciousness. I finally recovered enough to make my way weakly back up on my hooves.
“Where’s the other one?” I wheezed, still wobbly-kneed from the after effects of both the sedatives and the hilarity.
“Um. He’s right here,” a voice said behind me, and I turned to see Fluttershy, standing, apparently, all alone. She turned her head to the empty air beside her and said, “Could you turn sideways, please? If you don’t mind?”
A pony suddenly appeared out of thin air, making me jump slightly.
“He’s two-dimensional,” Twilight said, coming up beside me.
“I know,” I said, “but you can’t expect me to give everypony a detailed… OH! You mean literally two dimensional!”
That was seriously kind of cool. From the side, he looked perfectly normal. From the front, he just vanished! It was so weird!
So, now I knew what the poison joke did to two of them. Time to find out what happened to Doctor Creepy (etc.) back behind Rainbow Dash.
“So what happened to the doctor?” I asked.
“Watch,” Rainbow Dash said. She leaned down until her muzzle was right next to his ear. She took a deep breath, then shouted, “Wake up!”
The doctor snorted and all four legs kicked out. He blinked in confusion for a couple of seconds, then started to drag himself upright.
“You’ve all made the worst mistakes you can even imagine,” he snarled, eyes flashing. “When we get done with you-“
“Sleep,” Rainbow Dash said, and the doctor’s eyes rolled back in his head as he flopped bonelessly back down into the litter she was dragging.
“That… is so awesome!” I squealed.
I trotted around to the side of the litter.
“Wake up!” I shouted.
“You’ve made a powerful-!“
“You will rue the day-!”
“You’ll regret this when she-“
“Pinkie!” Twilight shouted. “Stop playing with him!”
There went Twilight, ruining my fun once again. It’s almost like it’s her job to be a buzzkill or something.
“I’m just getting a little revenge for all the times he knocked me out,” I said. “I have really freaky dreams when he does that.”
“It’s not right,” Twilight said.
“Darned right, it’s not right!” I said. “Oh, wait… you meant me playing with his sleep disorder?”
“Fine,” I grumbled. “But why are they here?”
Fluttershy answered before Twilight could.
“We couldn’t just leave them!” she said.
“That’s true,” Twilight said. “The two-dimensional one might have been fine, but not the little filly or the narcoleptic doctor!”
“I am not a little filly,” Gravel-voice said angrily.
“Aww, she’s so cute!” Rainbow said, trying not to snicker with laughter and not succeeding very well.
"Quit it!" he/she said, stomping an adorable hoof in frustration.
"Awww," said Fluttershy, who was being completely un-ironic about it. "So cute!"
"None of you would be laughing if you knew what it's like to be suddenly stuck inside the body of a pink filly!" he/she raged.
"Yo," I said, raising a hoof. "I know exactly what that's like, and it's still pretty funny, dude."
More with the death glares! That pretty much eliminated any chance of bonding over shared experiences and a lack of male genitalia, I tell you.
"We should get moving again," Twilight said, making a monumental effort to not let a smile of her own break out across her face.
"You have to admit, Twilight," I said, "being on this side of poison joke is a lot more funny."
The unicorn snorted with laughter, then quickly tried to hide it by rubbing at her nose as if she'd just stifled a sneeze.
"I... hate you all..." the little pink filly said, scowling cutely. "So very, very much."
"Okay," Twilight admitted, smirking, "it's a little funny... what are you doing?"
I glanced up guiltily from where I was about to start lowering Dr. Creepy's left front hoof into a bowl of warm water.
"Nothing!" I said, dropping the hoof.
"Where did you get... Oh, nevermind," Twilight said. "We should all get going."
Everypony agreed (except the prisoners, of course) and we started walking down the road again.
It turns out that I'd been knocked out for the better part of a whole day, and we were now two or three days away from Castle Penumbra, depending on how much distance we covered over the next couple days. I was really glad they didn't wait for me to wake up, since that would have just wasted a whole bunch of time.
Good news is, Applejack forgave me for my unwanted intrusion into her personal space. Though, that might have been her wanting to let it drop because Rainbow Dash kept needling her about it.
The others filled me in on some of the details as we walked. After I'd been rendered less-than-conscious, it was pretty easy for the rest of them to wrap up the others. They'd kept them under guard, at first to make sure they didn't try to loop around and ambush us at a later time.
After that first night, though, they realized that the team of bad guys must have run through a patch of poison joke, and decided to bring them with us, rather than have them face the terrors of the Everfree alone.
"You may just regret that," gravel-voice said.
"Hold up, wait a minute," I said. "Look, I can't keep thinking of you as 'gravel-voice'. So, how about I start calling you by your name?"
"Forget it," s/he growled.
"Aw, come on," I urged. The little filly just scowled menacingly at me.
"Look, I need to call you something. So, either you tell us your real name, or we start calling you Princess Puffball."
"You wouldn't dare!"
"Fine... it's" *mumble mumble*
"A bit louder, please?"
"Cinnamon Swirl! Okay? My name is Cinnamon Swirl!"
This time, Twilight lost it too.
"Fine, laugh it up," he said grumpily. "I'm so arresting you all when we get back to Ponyville."
The other guy, the flat one, his name was simply Terrace. A nice, normal earth pony name, I was told. Boring! I decided to call him 'Flats' instead. Poor guy couldn't talk. I mean, his mouth moved and everything, but no sound came out. I felt kind of bad for him, but he didn't seem hurt or anything.
We made pretty good time the rest of the evening, and started setting up camp before it got dark. We had everything: a big bonfire, tents, s'mores, the whole nine yards. We even woke up the doctor for a little bit, letting him eat and drink before putting him back under.
Doctor Creepy-face, by the way, has a real potty mouth. Just thought you should know.
Finally, it was time for bed. AJ and I got the first watch, as we were sharing a tent. She was the only one who'd brought a tent large enough for two, and I was nowhere near sleepy, after having been asleep most of the day. So, Applejack and I stayed up, chatting idly about various things for a couple of hours, and then it was Rarity and Fluttershy's turn to take watch.
That's it. That's all there was to that day of traveling. So far, it was my first day in the forest where nothing bad or scary happened to me.
I lay down to sleep, terrified, because I knew that the Everfree forest just loved itself some dramatic irony... I spent half the night lying awake, expecting anything from a dragon assault, to an earthquake or a forest fire.
You know what ended up happening? Nothing. Not a darned thing.
Stupid inconsistent forest...
...wait, why am I complaining?
Seriously, it's almost like the ground itself was shaking. Just thought I'd throw that out there, it has no bearing on anything, and it sure didn't stop me from sleeping. My anxieties did that all by themselves.
I did manage to fall asleep eventually, though. I don't think I slept very long, because the sun was barely up when I stumbled, yawning, from the tent, leaving a hatless AJ snoring in a puddle of her own mouth-juices.
Outside, a humming Fluttershy was briskly fixing up breakfast over the embers of last night's fire. The others were, apparently, still asleep. On the menu were some sort of pancake-looking thing, some dried fruit, and fresh apples. My stomach growled loud enough for the pegasus to glance over my way, breaking into a smile.
"Good morning," the angel of the campfire said, smiling while preparing the food. "It sounds like you would like some breakfast."
I laughed, and scooted up to one of the fallen logs that we'd been using for makeshift benches last night.
"That smells great, Fluttershy," I told her. "Why are you up? I thought it was Twilight's and Rainbow's watch last thing in the morning."
"Oh, I couldn't sleep, so I let Twilight sleep in. Besides, I wanted to cook breakfast for everypony."
Fluttershy, serving up heaping helpings of kindness and pancakes!
"Almost done?" I asked eagerly. They smelled fantastic, I'm not even kidding!
A small wooden plate with two cakes on it was passed my way, which I took in my front hooves and gobbled greedily.
"My goodness," Fluttershy said, wide-eyed.
"More?" I asked hopefully, holding out the plate.
"I... am afraid we only planned on a certain amount of food, and we're already stretched thin as it is, with the addition of three mouths to feed. Or... a pony, a filly, and a two-dimensional pony that apparently doesn't need to eat. You can have an apple or two, though."
"Aww..." I said, then relayed the unhappy news to my tummy.
Unhappy with such tidings, my tummy growled and grumbled in protest. Fine, then, traitorous stomach! Go on strike, you stupid digestive organ. See if anypony takes you in or gives you food when you're squelching around the forest on your own!
"Speaking of our guests," I said, munching on an apple, "where are they?"
"Oh, Rainbow Dash is keeping an eye on them, over there," Fluttershy said, pointing with a wing while preparing more cakes. "Can you take over for her, so she can come and get some breakfast?"
"Oh, sure," I said, though I didn't relish the thought of hanging around with the foul-mouth filly with the Harvey Fierstein voice. Hopefully he was asleep under the makeshift lean-to we'd made for them, like Doctor Needles undoubtedly was.
I approached what I liked to call "The Everfree Jail", because my sense of humor works that way. Rainbow Dash was sitting and facing the lean-to where our prisoners were being kept, but she was laying down and snoring lightly.
She fell asleep! I never would have expected... well, okay, it is Rainbow Dash. Her being asleep isn't that strange. But, still! Element of Loyalty, asleep on the job?
But that wasn't the worst part!
"Where the heck is Doctor Creepy-face?!" I shouted, just as soon as I saw that his little pallet-thing was empty. I heard a little "eep!" behind me from Fluttershy, and some grumbling from one or two of the pony-filled tents.
"Bleargh?!" Rainbow Dash replied, waking up, woozily startled.
"And where's Flats?! And the puffball's gone too!"
"No, I'm not," growled Cinnamon Swirl, who was, in fact, completely obvious now that I saw her. Or, "him". Whatever.
"Did the other two escape?" I asked her.
"Yeah. I woke up the Doc, and he and Terrace took off while the pegasus was sleeping," Cinnamon Swirl's voice grated.
"Whaz goin' on, Pinks?" Rainbow Dash slurred as she started to get up. She didn't make it too far, slumping back to the ground almost immediately.
I nudged Dashie with an elbow, saying, "Look what you did, miss napaholic!"
"Whazza?" Rainbow Dash asked. "Whoza... zzzzzz....."
Un-be-lievable. She fell asleep again! This was too much, even for Rainbow Dash!
Wait. This actually was too much, even for Rainbow Dash.
"What did you do to Rainbow Dash?" I asked the filly.
"Doc drugged her," he said.
"Needle to the butt?" I asked, and he nodded.
Man, that guy really like doing that. Poor Rainbow! I should have known she wouldn't just fall asleep like that! Now I had a bad case of the guilties for thinking Rainbow Dash had slacked.
"Sorry, Dashie," I said to the snoozing pegasus. "So, why didn't you go with them?" I asked Cinnamon Swirl, honestly curious.
"Because the Everfree is a dangerous place, Terrace can't help me when he's like that, and the Doc seems like the type of pony that knows that he doesn't have to outrun the monster, he only needs to outrun the slowest member of the group. And that's me, right now."
"That's surprisingly logical, for such a little filly," I said, having some first hand... hoof... experiences with the Everfree's welcoming committee. He glowered at me for saying that, for some reason.
"You may be an escaped lunatic," the little filly said grudgingly, "but you came back when you thought we were being attacked by a manticore. I don't think you're the type of pony that would abandon me in the middle of the forest."
Awww! This time, I really couldn't help myself! I scooped the bundle of adorableness up into a hug, while he struggled and kicked, bit and cursed.
"That's soooo sweeeet!" I cooed at him while I bled profusely from the nose after a particularly fierce hoof-kick. He got me a good one in the eye, too.
"Put me the censored down, you censored censored pile of censored on a censored's moldy backside!" he yelled, though obviously without the censored bits.
See? I remembered about the potential kids picking up on this, and censored the naughty stuff! Yay, me!
Anyway, the ruckus caused everypony to wake up, with varying degrees of annoyance. Except, of course for Rainbow Dash, who was still enjoying the thrills of drug-induced sleepy-times.
"What they hay is goin' on out here?!" Applejack grumbled as she staggered out of her tent.
"I don't know, but it looks like Pinkie is assaulting Cinnamon Swirl with unwanted hugs," Twilight replied, yawning and rubbing at an eye with the... wrist... thingy above her hoof.
"Um... I think, the doctor and Terrace got away," Fluttershy said, having been close enough to overhear a lot of what was going on. "And Rainbow Dash got sedated by Doctor... um... Creepy-face."
"Oh, the poor dear," Rarity said, exiting her tent and looking, somehow, immaculate. "Is she going to be okay?"
"Well, if my own experience is any indication, then she's just having some weird and trippy dreams," I assured the concerned ponies.
"Y'all reckon' we should go after 'em?" Applejack asked, finally getting her hat back on. Which was a relief to me, because she honestly looks a little odd without it.
"No," Twilight replied after thinking for a few seconds. "We really can't afford the delay. We need to get going as soon as possible."
"All righty, then. How about some o' them vittles, 'Shy?" I'll give you three guesses who said that, and it wasn't Rarity or Twilight.
"Yes, I have pancakes for everypony," Fluttershy said, smiling and handing 'round the plates.
Twilight started walking with the others back to the fire, when she turned to look back at me.
"So, Pinkie," she said. "How long are you planning on hugging Cinnamon Swirl against his wishes?"
What? Oh... I glanced back at the now-still filly in my embrace, who was glaring absolute hatred at me.
"Oh, whoops! Sorry!" I said, putting him down and patting him on top of his head. He batted my hoof away, snarling and cursing angrily. "Now, go get yourself some breakfast. You're just a little filly, and you need your nutrition!"
Oh, the things he said while stomping over to the fire! It would have made a sailor blush.
Anyway, I'd already eaten, so I helped Fluttershy wash up while the others ate. Then came the tearing down of the tents, packing things up, and getting back on the road! This time, it was Rainbow Dash on the makeshift litter, and I got to pull her. I suppose that's fair, considering how I'd spent most of the previous day being dragged around, myself.
It does make walking tricky, though. I was concerned for poor Dashie, being bounced down the road like that. I mean, I tried to avoid the bumps and dips, but sometimes it was unavoidable!
Cinnamon Swirl, more or less resolved at this point to traveling with us, was trotting alongside of the group and panting with the effort of keeping up with a bunch of full-grown mares. AJ nabbed him by the scruff of the neck and, ignoring his yelp of protest, deposited him firmly on her orange back.
So not fair. I wanted a pony ride!
So, in order to show my vast disapproval, I stuck my tongue out at him as he glowered moodily from Applejack's back. He didn't see me, though, since he was scowling at the ground. When he finally did glance up, I quickly snuck my tongue back into my head and pretended that I was extremely interested in examining the trees and bushes surrounding us.
The blond filly looked at me suspiciously, then asked, "So, what's your deal, anyway?"
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Doc says you're crazy, you smash up a bunch of stalls in town, escape the hospital, and now you're all traveling... where? And for what?"
"Why do you want to know?" I asked.
"Because I'm stuck with you while you go on this little trip to nowhere, that's why!" he said.
"Aw, don't pout," I said. "I'll tell you, but you have to use the magic word!"
He looked at me in confusion while he swayed back and forth on AJ's back.
"Abracadabra?" he said, finally.
"No, 'Please'. You don't know the magic word?"
"Fine. 'Please', then."
So, I filled him in, telling the story yet again. It was becoming routine by now: Target, lightbulbs, mirror, Pinkie Pie, Ponyville, etc. etc. I could tell the rest of the Mane 6 were listening in as I talked, even though they'd heard the story already.
"Huh," he said when I was done. "And these friends of yours believe you?"
"Sure," I replied jauntily, "they've seen much weirder stuff than that."
"What do you mean?"
"What? Seriously? You don't know these mares?"
"No," he said bluntly. "Why, should I?"
"The Elements of Harmony?" I said, receiving a blank look in return. "Seriously, what is with you ponies! They only saved the world at least twice already, and you can't even remember their names?"
"Saved the world from what?" Cinnamon Swirl asked, toying idly with a braid. Yes it was cute, but I was too annoyed to d'aww at it.
"Nightmare Moon, does that ring a bell?" I replied. "How about Discord? Not to mention Queen Chrysalis and the Changelings, though that was more of an assisted world-save than a direct goal."
"Woah, really? These are those mares?"
"A-duh," I said, rolling my eyes. That earned me yet another Glare o' Doom. "Well, enough about me. What about you?"
"What about me?" he asked, looking surprised.
"Why do you work for Doc Creepy?" I clarified, and he snorted.
"I don't work for him, I work for Ponyville. I'm a Ponyville police officer."
"Oh? And how long have you known the good Doctor?" I asked, honestly curious.
"We met that same day we came to get you. He showed up at the station and told us to come with him."
"Really?" I asked, surprised. "And does that happen often?"
"You guys taking orders from average citizens."
"Uh..." he trailed off, looking confused. "Well, he was a doctor. Said he needed our help."
"And why are you here now?"
He glowered at me from Applejack's back.
"Because I'm stuck as a filly, you twit!" he snarled.
Twit? Twit? I don't even... nobody's ever called me that before! I didn't know whether to laugh or be offended, or both!
"No, I meant why did you come to the creepy forest of doom in the first place?"
He rolled his eyes in annoyance.
"Well, obviously, we had to chase down the escaped lunatic," he said, voice dripping with derision.
"Yuh-huh," I said. "How many police ponies are there in Ponyville?"
"Two," he said. "Me and Terrace."
"So, let me get this straight," I said, preparing my excellent summation. "So, the doctor came to get you, somehow knowing I'd go 'crazy' in town before I actually did. Later, you and your partner, both police ponies sworn to protect the citizens of Ponyville, left the town completely without any police presence whatsoever, on the orders of a doctor you'd just met a few days before, to go traipsing around in the most dangerous forest in Equestria to find a single supposed 'lunatic'. Is that typical operating procedure in cases like this?"
Oooh, I so had him! His eyes got really wide, then he looked confused.
"It... it made sense at the time..." he said, sounding lost. "We... ordinarily, in situations like this, we'd spread the word to nearby towns to keep an eye out for the escapee, maybe check the roads."
"Mind control!" I shrieked suddenly, causing everypony within earshot to jump halfway out of their skins.
"What they hay you shoutin' for?" Applejack asked, annoyed.
"Cinnamon Swirl was mind controlled by Doctor Creepy-face! I knew it!"
"Was not!" he shouted back.
"Was not, times infinity!"
"Was so, times-"
"Will you two please stop that?" Twilight asked, annoyed. "You're acting like children!"
Simultaneously, both Cinnamon Swirl and I stuck our tongues out at the startled mare. When I saw that the filly had her tongue out too, I giggled.
And so did he! A true, girlish giggle! With no gravely-sound at all! The poor thing clapped her hooves over his mouth, looking up at me with horror.
Sighing, I patted him comfortingly on the head.
"I know that feeling, man," I told him/her. "I really do."
"Dear Celestia," he whispered in horror. "I don't want to turn into a filly! What if this is permanent?"
"Oh, don't worry about that," I said bouncing happily for a moment before remembering, oh yeah, I was hauling Rainbow Dash and bouncing wasn't really a good idea. "It's just poison joke. The cure is an herbal bubble bath. The spa back in Ponyville can fix you right up."
"Really?" he asked me with wide eyes full of hope.
"Yeah. Heck, for all I know, Zecora went and gave me the cure already. She gave me a whole bunch of stuff in my saddlebags, for all kinds of emergencies."
Now his eyes got really narrow and scrunchy.
"You mean... you might have had the cure all this time, and you didn't tell me?" he said, his voice cracking between deep and rough and high-pitched girly.
"Didn't think about it. Tell you what, I'll go through the saddlebags at our lunch break, and see what we've got, okay?"
He tried ordering, insisting, pleading and ultimately begging, to stop right away and see if I had the cure on me. Applejack finally had to turn around and tell him to shush, which he did with bad grace. Up until the point where he started yawning, and then fell asleep.
Nap time for Cinnamon Swirl! He's ten times cuter when he keeps his mouth shut, I swear. We walked in silence after that, our only conversations carried out in whispers. I don't know why the others let him sleep like that, but I wanted to avoid any more cursing coming my way from a pint-sized filly. Having an adorable creature like that curse at you in a voice like that kind of harshes my Zen, you know?
About two hours later, Twilight called a halt.
"There's something up ahead," she said. "It looks like it's the second river."
"Yay!" I said, then "Wait, second river?"
"Ayup. We crossed the first one yesterday, while you were snoozin'," Applejack told me.
"Oh. Cool! What does that mean?"
"It means that we'll be out of the forest by nightfall," Twilight said, happily. "Also, it means that we're going to take a quick lunch break!"
I'll get back to you guys in a little bit, it's time to eat!
I just wanted to eat. Cinnamon Swirl had other ideas, though. Even before anypony produced so much as a single lunchtime grape, he started pestering me to go look through my saddlebags. Being the kindly person that I am, I decided that a grumbly tummy could wait a couple minutes while I looked through the supplies that Zecora had been kind enough to give me.
To be bluntly honest, I hadn't exactly paid the closest attention to what she'd given me. That rhyming gets really hypnotic after a while, and I kind of just zoned out.
So, long story short (too late?) I started unpacking everything. Jars and jugs, bottles and philters and little paper envelopes filled with powders, all came out to be stacked on the ground. Lucky for me, Zecora had written handy little notes on each one explaining what it did. In rhyme. That crazy zebra sure loves rhyming!
The last thing I pulled from the bag was a small, fancy red glass bottle. I was about to read the note when something occurred to me.
"Hey, hypothetical question," I asked the impatient filly. "Let's say I do cure you. Are you going to cause any problems for the group, like try to arrest me or anything?"
"I'm outnumbered six to one, and your friends have already proven they'll help you resist, so I don't think I'll be arresting you," he grated, back to the gravel-voice. "I'll do my best to convince you to come back with me quietly, though."
I sighed and said, "Well, that would be annoying." Then I read the label on the bottle.
"Ah, well. No luck. I don't have any poison joke antidote here," I told him, then put on a big smile to try and cheer him up. "You're cuter as a filly, anyway!"
He just stared at me while I put the red bottle back in the bag and then started packing things back in again.
"I don't believe you," he said.
"Let me see that last bottle."
"Well, okay, but... I've already got a bunch of stuff packed back in. You really want me to unpack everything again?"
He just stared at me coldly, then marched back to the rest of the group. Fluttershy gave him a sandwich. I shrugged, then got everything packed back up, then joined the group myself to start eating.
After a few minutes, Cinnamon Swirl left to go use "the little filly's bush" (my words, not his). I didn't think anything of it until I heard some noise from behind me a minute later. I turned to see a little filly butt poking out of the top of my saddlebag.
"Hey, what are you doing?" I asked, alarmed.
"I'm using this!" he said, pulling the red bottle out. "I can't stand the thought of being a little filly any more!"
"Hey, that's not..." I said, as he started to crush the bottle he was holding over his head. "Wait! Don't do it!"
"Why not?!" he replied, with a laugh that was a little on the crazy side. "Don't you want me to be cured?"
The liquid inside cascaded over his little filly head, soaking him.
"Because that's not poison joke cure," I said sadly as he coughed and spluttered. "It's a bottle of perfume that Zecora gave me to give to Skyggie as a present."
"What?!" he shrieked, then broke down coughing again. A strong, flowery scent of rose permeated the area, making everypony's eyes water.
"Goodness, that's... quite a lot of scent," Rarity said. "It's... quite lovely. But perhaps we could tone it down a little bit?"
"No problem," I said, then dumped the water bucket over the coughing filly's head.
"H-hey!" he spluttered weakly.
"Nope," I drawled, my eyes still watering from the perfume. "You're gonna need a bath, bud."
Twilight sighed, put her sandwich aside, and wrapped the poor little guy-filly in a telekinetic field, dragging him towards the river. Awkward silence ensued while the rest of us sat in a tight circle, eating our sandwiches and trying desperately to pretend like there wasn't a foul-mouthed filly being repeatedly dunked into the water nearby.
"Sooo," I said. "Great sandwiches. Who made them?"
"Um..." Fluttershy replied, flinching at a particularly inventive string of insults regarding Twilight's appearance. "I made them before we left."
Ah, I thought I detected a slight hint of barnyard.
"Well, they're great!" I said, chewing noisily.
"Ah'll say," Applejack said loudly, managing to (mostly) drown out an expletive-filled tirade on the merits of Twilight's ancestry. "Mighty tasty, Fluttershy. Mighty tasty, indeed."
"...and can go censored yourself with a censored CACTUS, you censored..." floated across our lunch site.
"-delicious," Rarity finished, lamely.
At a loss for words, we just sat idly by until an obviously angry Twilight returned, dumping a wet and sullen Cinnamon Swirl at our hooves.
"Eat!" she said, levitating a sandwich into the filly's mouth. "Use that mouth of yours for something other than filth."
Cinnamon Swirl pulled the sandwich out, and his lungs inflated mightily, no doubt getting ready for another tirade demonstrating the many inventive ways you can use swear words to describe a pony.
"It's either the sandwich," Twilight said, darkly, cutting him off, "or this bar of soap."
The filly regarded the bar of soap hanging in Twilight's magical grasp, then looked back at the mare scowling at him. He deflated, and chose the wiser and tastier option.
With two of our members furious with each other, lunch proceeded awkwardly and quickly. We got packed back up, I harnessed Dashie up (lucky mare slept through the whole thing) and we got on our way again.
I won't bore you with the details of the rest of the journey out of the forest. I think the Everfree was aware of the fact that the five mares I was traveling with represented the most flank-kicking concentration of awesome in all of Equestria, and decided not to mess with us any further.
On the far side of the Everfree was rocks and plains. Dusty plains stretching off as far as the eye could see, with nothing but a single small mountain in the distance. It was a weird-looking mountain, thrusting up out of the ground like an accusing finger pointing at the sky, tall and narrow and completely out of place in that otherwise flat and dusty plain.
"The Traveler's Spire," Twilight said, tucking her map away with a look of satisfaction. "Skyggie's castle should be at the base of that. We should be there before noon tomorrow."
"Can't we keep going?" I asked. "I mean, it's right there! We could reach it tonight!"
"The sun's already settin'" Applejack pointed out. "an' that's a fair distance away, still. We ain't gonna reach it until near-mornin' even if we walk all night. Ah'd rather be rested when we face... whatever we're facing when we get there."
"I quite agree," Rarity added. "My hooves are just aching from all this walking. A rest would be most welcome."
We opted to stay near the Everfree, with its abundant sources of firewood and water, setting up camp just outside of the treeline. We soon had a fire going, and we were sitting around, mainly being quiet. Twilight and Cinnamon Swirl were still not on speaking terms, and their sullenness more or less infected the entire group with a lack-of-good-times.
"Say, why don't I tell you all a little bit more about me?" I suggested, trying to break the tension. "I can tell you about my college days, or some of the things I got up to as a kid, or..."
I trailed off, looking around warily.
"What's up, Pinks?" Applejack asked.
"It's just... every time I try to tell you guys about my past, something weird seems to happen. I guess I'm just expecting something to leap out of the Everfree and attack us, or something."
"That's just coincidence," Twilight said shortly, obviously still crabby from being called a censored daughter of a censored manticore earlier. "I think we should learn more about you."
"Okay," I said, tempting fate. "Well, how to start? I was born on a cold winter's day..."
"Blugh?!" Came a voice from behind me, and I sighed. "Get offa me, you crazy licorice!"
"Dash is awake," I pointed out needlessly.
We spent a little time getting the woozy pegasus back on her hooves. The first thing she did was excuse herself and stagger drunkenly off to a nearby bush to "take care of some business." She returned a minute later, obviously much more coherent.
"That's better," she said happily. "We got anything to eat? Hey, what smells like flowers?"
Cinnamon Swirl just glared at her while Fluttershy passed some food over to her.
"Pinkie Guy here was going to tell us her... his story," Twilight said, smiling a little at the joke name. Ugh.
"Awefum," Dash mumbled around a mouth full of sandwich. "G'fer it."
I sighed, then tried again. And, my goodness, I actually managed to talk! I won't bore you guys with the details of my life, but I told the ponies a lot about what it was like to grow up as a human. Of course, me being me, I couldn't help but recount some of my more... interesting adventures. I may or may not have embellished. Honestly, I can't remember if I did or not, I was so caught up in the story telling.
For example: "We were so sure that it was a killer bear or a maniac axe-killer on the loose, that we just started running," I said at one point, relating a story of backyard camping gone awry. Every single pony, even Cinnamon Swirl, was staring at me with wide eyes as I talked. "We got back to the porch, hit the light... and scared the dickens out of the raccoon that was tearing apart our cooler."
Rainbow Dash snorted. "A raccoon? You guys freaked out about a raccoon?"
"Hey, when it's that dark out, a raccoon sounds huge. Our imaginations did the rest!"
It was a lame story, the story of how my brothers and I nearly peed ourselves with fright after having our cooler viciously assaulted by a raccoon, but it broke some of the tension.
I continued on, sensing approval from the ponies around me as I related story after story from my childhood, many of them ending up with me being injured in some way.
It occurred to me, as I was talking, how crazy it all had to sound to outsiders, even though a lot of it made sense at the time. Rainbow hooted with laughter at the story of me jumping off of a roof with a super-hero cape made out of a bath towel (broken wrist and one cracked rib). Applejack enjoyed the story of the time I visited a cousin's farm and decided to take a tractor (having to take a brief moment to explain what a tractor was) for a spin, only to end up with it sideways in a ditch and me covered with... well, the ditch in question was used to dispose of cow manure. I'd ended up with a cracked collarbone on that one.
"See, there are worse things to be covered with than perfume," I informed Cinnamon Swirl with a wink. In spite of himself, he snorted with laughter, then glowered at me as if I'd tricked him into enjoying himself for my own nefarious purposes.
I talked for a a while, reliving my life. It felt... good. It reminded me of who I really was, under all the pink. My nostalgia prompted other pony's nostalgia, and the others started talking, too. I was fascinated. I mean, I knew a lot about these guys from the show, but there's so much we don't know about them.
I was in total geek heaven listening to them talk. I can't even tell you guys! The stories were amazing, and I really wish I could remember them all, I really do.
Like, for example, how Fluttershy had gotten a job as a waitress when she first came to Ponyville. Apparently, she was walking to her first table to take their order, walked right past them, and then just kept on going until she was out the door and on the outskirts of town.
Or how Applejack once got stuck in a well when she was a filly. Not because she fell into it, but because a couple of fillies from her school had convinced her that there was a sack of bits at the bottom of it.
Or how Twilight had miscast a spell and accidentally summoned a horrendous creature from another dimension, all teeth and claws, which Celestia then subdued and now keeps as a pet. Apparently, she calls him "Fluffy-kins".
Or Rarity, who tripped over a fold in the carpet at her own cuteceanera and fell face-first into the cake. "And there I was, without even a conveniently-placed obnoxious prince to shake it off onto," she said, laughing in an extremely infectious way.
Rainbow Dash refused to admit any misadventures, but Fluttershy helpfully supplied the time that she got mixed up during a flight exam. Even though she completed the course in record time, her score had to be thrown out... because she went around the track the wrong way.
"Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up," she said. "At least the name 'Wrong-way Dash' didn't stick."
"Only because 'Rainbow Crash' sounds better," Fluttershy said, the barest hint of smugness in her voice. When Rainbow Dash looked at her with amazement for her unexpected snarkiness, she replied by saying, "You shouldn't have told them that I used to wear braces."
Even Cinnamon Swirl eventually defrosted enough to relate a story about his colt-hood. Apparently, he decided to become a police officer after somepony stole his backpack from school. Not a funny story, like the rest, but it was still nice to have our floral-smelling filly mascot joining in the conversation.
Eventually, it was time to turn in. Twilight and Rainbow Dash took the first watch, Rarity and Fluttershy would take the last, which meant that I'd have to get woken up in the middle of the night with Applejack, in order to keep an eye on things. Cinnamon Swirl, the lucky dog, got to stay in Fluttershy's tent, since we were pretty sure he wouldn't run away, and he was small enough to fit inside a single-pony tent with her.
As we were settling down to get some sleep, Applejack turned to me.
"That was a nice piece o' work," she said approvingly.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Getting us all talking, by talking about yourself. It's been kind of a rough trip, and tempers were gettin' on the short side. Ah think things are better, now."
"Well, I really just wanted to finally share my story," I admitted. "The whole 'opening up and sharing' thing that everypony else did was a nice, but unintended, side effect."
"Honest and humble, too," Applejack said, chuckling. "Ah want my own Pinkie Pie back, but... Well, shucks. Ah reckon' Ah'll miss you when you're gone."
That was a shot straight to the heart, I can tell you. Totally unexpected, extremely touching... I blinked back happy tears for a minute.
"Thanks, Applejack," I said, choking with emotion. "I'll miss you guys, too, of course. Maybe Pinkie would be interested in a time-share option, so I can come to visit!"
I said it jokingly, because I was pretty sure it wouldn't be possible. AJ laughed, saying, "Well, that may be. As long as y'all don't make us sit through one of them gol-durned three hour time share lectures!"
I laughed too, snuggling into my blankets as I did so.
"Good night, Applejack," I said. "I'll see you in a few hours."
"'Night, Pinks," AJ said, getting under her own covers. I was just drifting off to sleep when she said, "An', can ya do me one little favor?"
"Sure, AJ. What's up?"
"Ya kinda woke me up last night, what with yer snorin'. Can you try to keep it down tonight?"
"Sure, I... Wait, what?"
There followed a brief but lively pillow fight, both of us trying not to giggle and failing utterly, until Twilight poked her head into our tent (she got a wayward pillow to the face for her troubles) to ask us to please keep it down.
We stopped, calling a truce, and now it's time I got some sleep. I'll pick this up again in the morning.
I couldn't be more excited! Finally, some answers!
The sun rose, and once again Fluttershy was up making breakfast for us. It was more wonderful pancakes and stuff. Cinnamon Swirl was up by the time I stumbled out of my tent, and he seemed to be in a much better mood. Possibly because he'd taken his braids out, finally.
Don't get me wrong, it's a good thing he undid them. They were looking pretty ratty, especially after his river-dunking by Twilight. Still... I missed them. I asked him if we could re-braid his mane and I received a curt "Why don't you go braid your face?" from him in reply. Which was... surprisingly free from cursing, honestly.
Anyway, everypony did seem to be in a lot better mood that morning. I don't know if it was because of all the nostalgic story-telling the night before, or if it was because we were finally within sight of our destination. Whatever the reason, I was allowed to sing as we walked!
I knew a few Pinkie Pie songs by heart, but a couple of them were actually long enough to bother singing like the Smile song. Also, I sang them the theme song. Yes! And I got them to sing along with me on the second time around. I even got them to sing the appropriate parts! Like having Rainbow Dash singing, "Big adventure!" and Fluttershy singing "Sharing kindness", and so on. It was awesome!
Once they got sick of that, though, I had to think of something else to sing. I was briefly tempted to teach them "Never gonna give you up", but I opted not to. Not even my sense of humor finds that funny anymore!
I sifted through my memory, trying to think of songs to keep us motivated, and to have fun. I finally settled on one. A song that was, perhaps, a little cliche, but still always managed to get people pumped up.
Sadly, only Applejack, Rainbow Dash were initially willing to help me out with the rhythm portions. I got them stomping their hooves in a specific pattern as we trotted along.
So, now, picture this: I have Applejack and Rainbow Dash stomping along with me as we proceeded down this relatively barren plain towards an intimidating destination where waited... who knows what? And the rhythm they were stomping was this:
Stop stomp stomp! Stop stomp stomp!
I started singing and, for the very first time in history, Queen's rock anthem "We Will Rock You" echoed across the Equestrian landscape! The ponies all looked at me funny, but I distinctly heard Rainbow say "Awesome!" as we stomped along. She joined in when I started singing the chorus for the second time, and AJ joined in after that.
Eventually, the other mares joined in with the stomping as well, though not in singing the chorus. Now all six of us (seven, if you count Cinnamon Swirl, who was now riding Fluttershy's back and clapping his hooves to the rhythm) were stomping along to the best stadium anthem ever written.
That wasn't the only song we sang, of course. I followed that up with Tubthumping, by Chumbawumba. Don't worry, though. I took out all the alcohol references and replaced them with references to fruit drinks and the like. Can't go around corrupting the little ponies!
Just for giggles, I also threw in 'Everybody Have Fun Tonight'. Yeah, that didn't help anypony think I was any less crazy! I tried to get Fluttershy to sing 'I'm Too Sexy' with me, but she adamantly refused, which made me a sad pony for about ten seconds before I got her singing 'My Favorite Things', where she added her own lyrics, like "cute cotton tails on small bunny rabbits".
One part that was pretty fun was when Rainbow and I sang 'I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)'. We alternated the lyrics, and everything!
"OH, I would walk five hundred miles," I sang, followed by Dash singing, "And I would walk five hundred more!"
"Just to be the mare that walked a thousand miles to fall down at your door!" we sang together.
Then we burst into an alternating series of "Da-da-lat-das", shouting at the top of our lungs. A couple of days ago, that alone would have been enough to get Twilight scolding us. Today, though, she was giggling at our antics, as were the rest of the ponies.
I found in Dash an excellent singing partner, one who wasn't afraid to try a new song. So, after a whispered conference on lyrics, we tried another cooperative one.
"Mock!" I sang, and Dash alternated with: "Yeah!"
"Hold up," Twilight said, inconsiderately stomping all over our groove. "We're almost there. Maybe we should approach a little more quietly?"
"Aww...." Dash and I said together, but we both shut up.
All the goofing around on the way over here meant that I hadn't really paid much attention to my surroundings. We were actually really close to the castle now. Here, I'll try to describe it for you. Let me put on my dramatic voice, and give this a shot:
The mountain reached up like a single pillar, black as night, pointing straight up to the sky like an accusing finger. At the base, it got slightly wider, and then opened up into a crescent-moon shape. Nestled into that crescent moon was a castle like I'd never seen or even imagined before, all shining black stone, and seamless as if it had grown there rather than been built there.
The castle was tall and wide, with many spires along its breathtakingly high walls. Glowing crystals set along the top of the walls, and in the spires themselves, created a pulsating white light that cast odd dancing shadows on the ground all around us. A single massive door, apparently made of black obsidian, dominated the center wall.
Also, I was getting some odd Pinkie sense that I didn't know what it meant. It was a twitchy back left hoof and an itchy scalp. Maybe it was the Pinkie sense for "freaking spooky castle"?
"Well, there's no actual cover to hide behind," Applejack pointed out. "So, there ain't much sense in sneakin' up on it. Ah say we just walk up, bold as brass, and knock on the door."
"Maybe we can go home?" Fluttershy suggested. I can't say I blamed her. My 'spooky castle sense' was going off stronger than ever, the closer we got.
"No, we have to finish this. It's for Pinkie's sake," Twilight said.
"Maybe I could stay here?" Cinnamon Swirl asked. "I mean, Fluttershy and I could stay here. I could... keep an eye on her. While she stays here. Right?"
"Not fooling anyone, bud," Rainbow Dash said, nudging him along.
"Okay, everypony. We're here as friends, remember. Let's just go and talk to her, all right?" Twilight said.
We agreed, and off we went. Cautiously, of course, but still out in the open and not trying to hide. Not that there was anything to hide behind. The only cover for miles was a row of bushes right in front of the castle wall, that I hadn't noticed previously.
We were about twenty feet from the door, when a voice suddenly rang out.
"Ah, how nice to see you, my little ponies", the voice boomed, both feminine and menacing at the same time. "Please, come closer... if you want to meet your doom!"
The voice, which, by the way, was so loud and shocking that it nearly made me pee myself and also caused Fluttershy to collapse in terror, reverberated around the area oppressively. It was a slightly familiar voice, one that just oozed malicious intent.
We stopped, of course. We ain't got the stupids.
"We're here to see Skyggie, the Shadow Witch," Twilight called back. "We come in peace, we only want to ask her for some help."
"Indeed?" the voice replied snidely. "If you come closer, you will not find Skyggie. You will only find... your doom!"
Sheesh. Melodramatic, much? Also, I noted, the voice sure liked saying "doom!" a lot.
"The Shadow Witch is no more. This castle now belongs to me! Trespass, and it shall be your-"
"Doom?" I suggested.
There was a dangerous pause.
"Oh, foalish whelp!" the voice blazed in fury. "You dare to mock me?!" A cloud of purple smoke coalesced in front of us, a dark shape forming in the center. "I shall show you the true meaning of the word... Nightmare!"
The shape stepped out of the cloud, massive and deadly. Wings flared wide across the armored form, and the long horn on her forehead gleamed with deadly sharpness. Yup. I recognized her, all right.
"Nightmare Moon!" the ponies around me all shouted at the same time. Except for Cinnamon Swirl, who was both clueless and hiding behind Fluttershy.
This Nightmare Moon was sure scary! In fact, she seemed to be a LOT larger than I thought she'd be, standing easily four times taller than anypony else there. Long fangs hung down from her mouth, and her eyes gleamed green and deadly. She looked like an evil caricature of a pony, one intended to induce... well, nightmares.
With a sudden burst of clarity, things clicked in my mind, and I understood what my new Pinkie sense was. Simultaneously, I also figured out why Pinkie was okay with "giggling at the ghosties", but would sometimes freeze in terror when, say, a gigantic hydra came stomping towards her.
"Oh, yawn," I said, sitting down and doing my best to look bored. "Don't you think you're overdoing it a little bit?"
Twilight gaped at me as if I were crazy. The pony-monster in front of me looked confused, but recovered bravely.
"I am Nightmare Moon!" she cried, flapping those massive wings. "I am the Queen of Darkness! All shall bow before me! Flee, and perhaps I will let you live!"
"You're not Nightmare Moon. She was a part of Luna, and Luna is in Canterlot. Care to try again?" I said, grinning.
There was a long, uncomfortable moment of indecision, after which the creature before us started talking again, this time with a sarcastic male voice.
"Oh, fine, you caught me," the voice said. The purple smoke dissipated, and Nightmare Moon wavered and reformed, becoming a creature that seemed to be made of several different types of animals. "Oh, well done, my little ponies!" the creature said smoothly. "It is actually I, Dis-"
"You're not Discord, either," I pointed out. The creature in front of me just stared. "So, what's next? Going to pretend to be Chrysalis? Tirek? The Smooooooze?" I asked, really drawing out the "o"s in that last one. "Is Gilda going to swoop out of nowhere to harass us and call us lame dweebs? Is Trixie hiding behind the bushes, waiting to ambush us?"
'Discord' vanished with a loud popping sound, and a blue unicorn mare with a silver mane stepped out from behind the bushes by the front door.
"How did you know it was me?" The Great and Powerful Trixie asked. And I knew it was actually her and not another illusion, because that new Pinkie sense went from shrieking an alarm back to just a background nuisance, like it had before the fake Nightmare Moon showed up.
"Trixie?!" gasped everypony but me and Cinnamon Swirl.
"Well? Trixie asked you a question!" the showmare said, stomping up to me. "What gave me away? How did you know where I was hiding? How did you know it was me?"
"Oh, I have my ways," I said in a mysterious voice. I failed to elaborate that my 'way', in this case, was complete random chance and blind luck. "What are you doing here, anyway?"
"I am the greatest performer who has ever lived!" Trixie boasted. "However, I had heard of one whose skill with illusion surpassed even my own. Skyggie, the Shadow Witch! I came and petitioned her to be my teacher. And, as you can see, my skill with illusions is now truly without peer!"
She came right up to me and stared me in the eye.
"And so, I must know," she growled. "What gave Trixie away?"
"Well... Your Nightmare Moon was a little too scary, first of all. It's pretty clear you modeled her after the Nightmare Moon from Nightmare Night, and not the actual one from legend. She was too big, too menacing, too... well, frankly, too ugly. The real Nightmare Moon was deadly but beautiful, since she was a reflection of Luna's darker half, and what she secretly wanted to be like."
The other ponies were looking at me like I was crazy as I spouted a variety of fanon theories. Can't say that I blamed them. I honestly had no idea if what I said was remotely true.
"Also," I added, since Trixie didn't seem satisfied with that answer, "it seems like Pinkie has a Pinkie sense that can detect illusions."
"Pinkie... sense?" Trixie asked, confused.
"Yup," I said chirpily. "For example, I know that castle doesn't really look like that. It's an illusion, too."
"Well, technically, it's not," Trixie said. "An illusion is when you create an image that is formed with nothing behind it. This is an image that is overlayed on an existing object, which makes it-"
A bolt of pure magical power shot out of Twilight Sparkle's horn and impacted the castle, which shimmered and vanished.
"-a glamour," Trixie finished lamely, staring at the castle in apparent shock.
"And that was a spell that cancels out illusions," Twilight said in a slightly self-satisfied voice. "It works just as well on glamours."
My new Pinkie sense stopped immediately, once the imposing and fake building disappeared. The real Castle Penumbra, without its impressive glamour coating, was a squat and dumpy-looking tower, maybe three stories tall, with a slightly warped front door made of wood.
"Skyggie cast that glamour herself," Trixie whispered, sounding awed.
"So, Trixie," Twilight said casually. "Why were you trying to scare us away?"
Trixie snapped back to reality.
"Ahem. Well. Trixie wanted to stop you from seeing her mistress. She has... guests. And now is not a good time, especially for the six of you, to see her."
"Why not?" Rainbow Dash asked with a challenge in her voice. "This ain't like on the stage, Trixie. You give us any guff, and we'll mop the floor with you, no matter what tricks you have to pull out."
"Ordinarily, I would rebuke Rainbow Dash for her crude threats," Rarity said in a deceptively chipper voice. "However, I, too, remember the stage show. And the green hair," she finished with a note of menace in her voice.
"Ah reckon' it's in your best interest to let us pass, Trixie," Applejack said. "Ah don't wanna have to fight, but we came too far to give up now. Plus, one of our friends may be in danger. We gotta see Skyggie."
"I'll give you a lollipop if you let us through," I said, holding one out to her, the huge rainbow-swirled kind you usually only see in cartoons.
"Where did you get... " Trixie asked, staring in incomprehension at the oversized confection in front of her. "Never mind. No. I can't let you past. You don't understand! She's in terrible danger, and it's because of all of you! If you go in... I don't know what will happen to her!"
"How is she in danger?" Twilight asked. And then tower door banged open. Trixie flinched, and distanced herself slightly from the rest of us.
"Because of me," an annoyingly familiar voice said.
I sighed. Seriously, this was getting old.
"Hey, Doctor Creepy-face," I said wearily.
"That is not my name," he replied, eyes flashing with anger. Then he added smugly, "And it's not 'Doctor Needles', either."
"Really? Are you a changeling or something?" I asked
"A changeling?" he asked, sounding extremely amused by the accusation. "Hardly. Those fools are weak, needy. I am neither. Even so, I am but a humble servant of my queen, and nothing more."
"You are more," I told him. "You are also the most annoying and lamest villain, ever."
He stared at me, eyes narrowed, and I could see a vein throbbing in his forehead.
"Lame villain?" he repeated, low and deadly. "Don't assume that my prior defeat was at all indicative of my real strength. I was only using a fraction of my true power and why are you laughing?!"
Oh, I couldn't help it! It was so incredibly cliche!
"'Only... a fraction...'," I repeated, nearly breathless from a bad case of the giggle-fits. "Oh, it's like you're reading from the villain's guide to shonen manga! That makes you super lame! Like, you were only using a fraction of your true lameness!"
His eye twitched, and then a maniacal grin overtook his features.
"Indeed," he purred, voice oozing with menace. "Would you like to see my true abilities?"
"Sure, why not?" I said, grinning.
"Um, Pinkie," Twilight started saying, sounding concerned. I held up my hoof, still chuckling.
"Hold on, Twilight. I want to see how deeply I need to pity this fool."
His horn glowed, and suddenly dozens, maybe even hundreds of needles appeared, all hovering in his magical grasp, shifting and weaving like a school of extremely pointy fish. The ponies behind me gasped in horror at the sight. It sobered me up a little, too, at least to the point where I stopped laughing.
"Would a 'lame' villain be able to do this?!" he shouted triumphantly.
"Well..." I said, rubbing at my chin with a hoof, "Since you just did, I would have to say the answer is 'yes'."
He stared at me for a few seconds before screaming in rage.
"You... Argh! I'm going to... Rraaaagh!"
Oooh, he was so mad, he could barely talk! He took a step forward, and the needles advanced with him, zipping about like angry wasps. "I'm going to jab you into a coma!" he screamed, incandescent with fury. "You insufferable little pony! I'll fill you with more holes than a pincushion! And then I'm going to-"
"Sleep!" I told him. His eyes got really wide for a second.
"Aw, shi-" *thud!*
The needles all fell to the ground around him. And, in a fine display of irony, a couple ended up stuck in his own hide.
"Piece of cake," I grinned at the stunned ponies behind me. "Now, let's go see that witch!"
And, with that, I turned and trotted on into the castle.
Skyggie needs to open some windows or something! This place really needs an airing out.
We left Cinnamon Swirl outside to keep an eye on Doctor Creepy. We told him that it was because we needed him to stop the raving doctor should he wake up, but it was really to keep the filly out of harm's way. Either way, he bought it, standing guard adorably outside the creaky wooden door.
Did you notice that Dr. Creepy mentioned his "Queen"? the little voice in my head noted.
Oh, hey, little voice in my head! How've you been? Haven't heard from you in a while! I thought back.
Er... doing just fine, the voice replied. Anyway, the "Queen" statement is probably really important, don't you think?
Probably, I thought back. It's most likely just Skyggie putting on airs and calling herself a Queen. Which is always a bad sign, in Equestria.
The voice stayed quiet after that, apparently having gotten everything out that it had wanted to say.
Anyway, forget that. I know what you're all probably thinking. You're probably thinking that, now that we have Trixie tagging along, she's going to get into a big fight with Twilight or something, right? Or, maybe you're not thinking that. I don't know. Honestly, it's kind of conceited of me to say that I know what you're thinking when I really don't. Maybe you're thinking about fuzzy bunnies. I know that's what Fluttershy is probably thinking about.
Are you thinking about fuzzy bunnies, or are you thinking that Twilight and Trixie would be fighting?
Well, if you are thinking about those two fighting, rather than fuzzy bunnies or something, then HA! You're totally wrong! If you were thinking about something else, then never mind. Twilight didn't seem to care all that much, honestly.
No, it was Rarity who got into it with the Great and Powerful one. They were arguing from the moment we walked into the castle.
"I honestly did you a favor," Trixie was saying. "Once I changed your mane, it had actual character."
"As if you'd know character!" Rarity snipped back. "Or did you mean your silly little stage show? No class at all, just explosions and boasting."
"As opposed to pointless primping? Please. It's not 'style' if you have to be so ostentatious about it! Style is inherent, not something you find in a bottle."
"Oh, yes, I see!" Rarity said, rolling her eyes as we made our way through the dusty, cobwebby, torch-lit corridor. "Like that stunningly classy hat and cape combo you wore in Ponyville? That was so subtle and understated!"
"I needed it for my act! I had to impress!" Trixie countered. "It's the only way to get country bumpkins like yourselves to pay attention!"
"All those tacky stars and the like? Oh, please! I could make a more impressive ensemble in my sleep. One that was elegant and mystical enough to impress anypony who saw it!"
"Ha! I'd like to see you try!"
"Any time! Stop by my shop in Ponyville and I'll show you!"
"Fine! How does next week sound? Perhaps Thursday?"
"Perfect! I'll have something ready for you!"
"Ha! Don't you need to measure me, first?"
"Hardly! I have the eye of a designer, I already know your rough proportions, all I need to do is a final adjustment next week!"
"I see! Perhaps I should take you to lunch in order to thank you!"
"That would be grand! Should we say 2:00, at Cafe de Foin?"
"That sounds perfect! I'll see you then!"
"Wait, are we still actually arguing? I've lost track!"
"I honestly have no idea!"
Seriously, that conversation got weird.
It was about then that Twilight finally got involved in the conversation, shushing them both. They still grumbled at each other, though, unable to let things settle.
"I've got a zipper-lip spell and I'm not afraid to use it," Twilight pointed out to them. Wisely enough, they both quieted down after that.
"We really shouldn't be here," Trixie said after a minute or so. "Skyggie... she needs her rest. Things have been rough for her, recently."
"Oh? She getting all worn out mind-controlling ponies like Cinnamon Swirl?" I asked. I may have even used some snark.
"What? No! Skyggie doesn't have the capability to mind-control anything!" Trixie said.
"Suuure," I said, winking. "So, who's the mind-controller?"
"Mind control, eh?" a raspy voice said further down the hallway. "Ya don' say. Sounds familiar, sounds familiar, indeed."
We all stopped dead, looking warily at each other. Twilight bravely stepped forward, horn glowing for the light. There was nothing in front of us but more shadows.
"Please forgive our intrusion into your home," Twi said. "We're here to see Skyggie the Shadow Witch. Is that you, ma'am?"
"Guests! Ah! I haven't had guests in a dog's age," the voice from the shadows said. "Trixie! We've got... Trixie? Blast it, where is that girl! Always vanishin' when I need her... if only all her illusions were as good as her vanishin' act!"
The voice chuckled from the shadows down the hallway. Oh, yeah, this isn't creepy at all!
"I'm right here, Skyggie," Trixie called. "I'm just... escorting our guests to you."
"Ah, wonderful!" Skyggie replied. "Maybe I'll make you my assistant, and get rid of that useless Trixie!"
Trixie gave us a pained look. "Come on," she said, leading us down the hallway.
Amazingly, she didn't look angry, which didn't fit at all what I knew about Trixie's personality. She just looked... I don't know, sad, or something.
The hallway we were in opened into a large, circular room. It looked like... well, like a library, honestly. Bookshelves were stacked against the walls, filled with huge tomes. Twilight let out a little "ooh!" sound as we walked in.
There were also some tables, some big comfy chairs, and a huge fireplace, currently not in use, that was big enough for me to stand in with another pony standing on my back. The place was a bit dusty and untidy, too. There were plates left on the tables along with mugs and teacups, there were open books all over the place, illuminated by candlelight, and there were papers and drawings on every flat surface, including the floor. Oh, and what looked like a big pile of laundry in the middle of the room, too.
That wasn't all, though. To our left as we entered, directly across from the big fireplace, was the biggest danged mirror I've ever seen. It was attached to the wall in a dull frame that looked like it was tarnished silver. It was easily fifteen feet wide and twenty feet tall (or four and a half meters wide by six meters tall, for those of you who prefer metric). It reflected the room with stunning clarity, better than any mirror I'd ever seen before in my life.
"Where is that girl?" I heard from somewhere in the room, and I looked around cautiously for the owner of the raspy voice. Could Skyggie be invisible? I was really getting weirded out, honestly.
When the "laundry" in the room suddenly shifted, though, it all made sense. Skyggie, dressed in tattered black and grey robes that had seen much better days, straightened up and turned to look at us. She threw back her hood, and my first thought was whoah, she's a fox!
Don't take that the wrong way! She wasn't, like, sexy or anything. No, she was literally a fox. Or, at least fox-like, though she stood upright, like a human. She was also kind of portly, and obviously fairly old, the ruddy fur on her face and pointy ears turning to grey.
She had eyes so dark a brown that they looked black in the candlelight, and between the way that her eyes wandered aimlessly and the slightly confused smile on her face, I knew for a fact that there was simply no way this was our villain.
I was so disappointed.
"Say, have any of you seen my assistant?" Skyggie rasped. "Her name is... La-something, I think."
She trailed off, confused.
"I'm here," Trixie said, sounding sad. She moved to stand next to Skyggie, who patted her on the back fondly.
"She's not normally like this," Trixie told us. "This all started a little over a week ago."
"What happened?" Twilight asked.
"She was attempting a spell," Trixie said, then looked ashamed. "I was... trying to help. I fumbled my part of it. Something... came through the mirror."
"That mirror?" I asked, pointing at the huge one in the room.
"Do you see any other mirrors in the room?" Trixie asked pointedly.
"Well, no, but you should never assume!" I said.
"The Dark Queen!" Skyggie said happily. Then she frowned, looking sad. "She told me to get rid of my wind chimes. I miss my chimes."
"D-Dark Queen?" Fluttershy said, hiding behind Rainbow Dash.
"Don't worry," Rainbow assured her. "If we see this Dark Queen person, we'll kick her hindquarters!"
"She's in the mirror!" Skyggie said helpfully, beaming and pointing.
We all turned to look, and... well, yes she was. I sighed with exasperation. This day had started out so nice, and now it's like... just this positive cascade of villains! It's like I'm in a video game, or something.
Anyway, I should probably tell you what the Dark Queen looked like. First of all, imagine the most annoying, smuggest smirk you can imagine. That's the first thing I noticed. She was equine in nature, about the same size and shape that I assumed Celestia would be, but that's where the resemblance ended.
She was definitely not a changeling. Her hide was a silvery-grey, first of all. Her horn and hooves were golden in color, as was the crown on her head. Her gold-colored mane was this extravagantly styled wave that actually arched up over her head in a manner that I would have to make fun of in a little bit, because it was frankly ridiculous. Her tail, also gold, was similarly styled, done up in a fan-shape radiating from her hindquarters.
Her eyes were weird. There were no pupils, just orbs of shifting colors that stared out at us. Sheets of color rippled off of her coat like steam, in all colors of the rainbow. And her wings (because of course she looked like some sort of alicorn...) looked like prismatic butterfly wings. Think like the wings Rarity had, only much bigger, and apparently made out of pure crystal. The wings stood straight out from her sides, flapping slowly.
The Queen took a step forward, and the mirror bowed outwards like it was made of stretchy plastic or something. Then her hoof burst through and the mirror snapped back, rippling like a pond after a rock had been dropped into it. The rest of the Queen's body passed through after that, and she stood in Skyggie's library, smiling smugly at us the whole time.
She took a deep breath, undoubtedly to start talking to us in a condescending tone or tell us how we were all doomed or something. I decided I wasn't really in the mood for that.
"Hi, Queenie!" I chirped. "Nice hair, by the way."
The smirk faded (yay!) and the Queen glowered at me.
"Silence, wretch!" she said, her voice bouncing around the room like a rubber ball on Red Bull. "Show the proper respect for your new Queen!"
"And who are you, that we should call you that?" Twilight asked.
"Oh, many names I do have," the Queen purred, then glared at me as I gave a quick snort of laughter. She decided to ignore me and continued. "There are those who call me Ephemera, and others who name me Mab. I've been called Meave and Rune and Titania. But you, my little ponies, can call me-"
"Queen of the Faeries?" I asked, grinning. I'd recognized a couple of those names, especially that last one. The Queen scowled at me again.
"Do you want me to destroy you? Because I would be more than happy to grant that desire."
"Sorry, sorry," I said contritely, holding up my hooves. "You were introducing yourself, and I interrupted. That was very rude of me. Please, do go on. You were telling us who you were and why you were here?"
"Perhaps you may learn proper servitude, eventually," the Queen said, the smirk returning. And then she started monologuing! "Yon Skyggie did attempt to use the mirror for a viewing, and her clumsy assistant did direct her gaze into my realm, where I seized her mind to peer back into your own world.
"Ah! And what riches I did see here!" she said, pacing gracefully across the floor and gesturing grandly with a hoof.
"Bookcases?" I asked, confused. The Queen looked at me blankly.
"What? No! This land! Equestria! So rich, so happy... such a wonderful place for my kin and kind to settle! Ah, but there were problems. This land is well protected. Not only by your own rulers, these princesses," she said, scoffing. Probably because she thinks Queens outrank Princesses, not knowing that nopony pulls rank on Celestia, "but also by these so-called 'Elements of Harmony'. These objects are powerful enough to stop even one as powerful as I, but they have a fatal flaw: They require all six to work, and all six must be borne by those who truly care for each other."
Ah. I was starting to get it, now.
"The plan was simple," Queen fancy britches was saying. "I would simply remove one of you from the equation. But which one? Ah, the answer became clear! The pink one, she could see across the realms! That made her mind vulnerable to me."
"Hey, Twilight," I whispered. The unicorn turned to look at me and I nodded towards the Queen and said "Glamour."
Twilight's eyes widened and she nodded. Her horn started charging up.
"Twas a simple matter for me to attack her mind, to move it out. And thus, I rendered the Elements of Harmony-" -*pamph!* went Twilight's horn- "completely useless! No longer would they threaten me! I could take over Equestria at my convenience!"
I stuck a hoof in my muzzle to try to stop laughing. Dash and Applejack were doing the same, while Rarity and Twilight just looked on in shock as the Queen's majestic form vanished, and her loud and regal voice rose in pitch to a tiny little squeak.
Now I get to describe her for you again!
The figure that was busily describing all of her plans looked... kind of the same. I mean, greyish coat, crystalline butterfly wings and all that, but now she was about half our size, maybe the size of a foal. Her tiny little wings were fluttering like a hummingbird's as she floated a few feet off the ground, her stubby little horn poking out from between an enormous pair of bug-eyes. Her formerly weirdly-styled mane and tail were just wisps of hair that floated around her head like dandelion fluff. Her limbs stuck out stiffly from her body, which sported an enormous potbelly.
Honestly, she looked like a unicorn chihuahua with crystal butterfly wings. And she was still talking!
"With Celestia out of the way, and you no longer able to use your greatest weapons against me, I shall take over this nation within days! None shall stop me! Ha hahah! Hahahaha!!! Hahaha- oh, bugger, why didn't you tell me my glamour wore off?"
Her stubby little horn glowed, and with a *poof!* sound, the former regal presence reappeared. She glowered at us as we all completely lost it. Even Fluttershy was giggling into her hoof, though she looked guilty about it.
"I strongly advise you to stop laughing," the Queen said, snarling. "Your future health depends upon it."
"You've made a mistake, though," I said, as the giggles died down.
"Oh?" Queenie Meanie said, quirking an eyebrow at me. "And what, pray tell, would that be?"
"You thought you got rid of Pinkie Pie. But you messed up, didn't you?" I said, stepping forward, all eyes on me. "Because Pinkie Pie has been here the whole time!"
That's your cue! I told the little voice in my head.
Come on, I figured it out a while ago. You're really Pinkie Pie, who's stuck in my head, right?
What? No, dude! I'm your subconscious.
Oh. Drat. Oops!
I glanced around, noticing that all eyes were on me. Except for Skyggie, who was smiling at the ceiling.
Awk~ward, I said to the little voice.
I know, right? it replied.
What do I do? I panicked.
Quick, roll a bluff check!
"That's right!" I said slowly. "Because... I've been Pinkie Pie this whole time! You've fallen for my trap! Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha...?"
I trailed off, looking around.
Rolled a one, dude, my subconscious told me.
Rarity, Fluttershy and Applejack all just looked embarrassed for me. Twilight had face-hoofed, and Rainbow Dash just rolled her eyes. Trixie looked lost, which wasn't a surprise.
"That didn't fool anypony," Twilight said, stating the blindingly obvious.
That insufferable smirk had returned to the Queen's face, and she looked all set to get her gloat on. But it was time for Twilight to be epic, and the Faerie Queen never got her chance.
"Pinkie Guy isn't wrong, though," she said, horn glowing as she stood in front of me. "You have made a mistake. A critical one, that will prove to be your undoing."
When the Queen replied, she sounded condescending. But, if you looked really close, you could see a glimmer of worry in her eye.
"Oh? And what would that be?"
"You assumed that we wouldn't become friends with the person you put in Pinkie's head. We've gotten to know him, over the last week. He's kind, he's funny, and he truly likes us. And we like him. The Elements are powered by friendship. Well, this is our friend!"
Oh, god. Right in the heart, guys. Right in the heart. Pure happy tears came pouring out. Manly tears, of course, in spite of the fact that I was a bright pink pony at that moment.
"It will do you no good without the Elements," the Queen pointed out snidely. "And now that you've so foolishly delivered yourself to me, here, I shall make certain that you never have the chance to use them!"
Whatever spell Twilight had been casting finally went off, blanketing the room with a brilliant white light. When it faded, I noticed that I had something around my neck. Take a guess at what I saw when I looked down!
"You mean these Elements of Harmony?" Twilight asked sweetly.
"But... how did..?"
"After the trouble we had with Discord hiding the Elements and Chrysalis stopping us from reaching them in the first place, Celestia and I worked out a spell that I could cast that would summon the Elements to us, wherever we are. You won't be ruling Equestria today, Dark Queen!"
Then she looked back at us and said, "Girls, formation!"
I hopped over next to the others, a little mantra in my head going Oh, goody! Oh, goody! Oh, goody! on an infinite loop.
Sometimes, it really is that easy to beat a bad guy. The Elements warmed up, and I felt a connection to the others that I can't even describe. I could feel them: Applejack's honesty. Rainbow Dash's loyalty. Rarity's generosity and Fluttershy's kindness. And, tying it all together, the fearless, peerless leader, Twilight Sparkle and the friendship she felt for all of us. Even for me.
My hooves left the floor, and rainbow light cascaded out of us, washing over the Queen and instantly dispelling her glamour. She had time for one last, squeaky "Noooo!" before she crumpled into dust, which then got sucked back into the mirror. The light washed over Skyggie, too, who blinked and looked around as if she was just waking up. And, I noticed, a little thread of rainbow light went back down the hallway we'd just walked through. I had an inkling that I knew what that was for, though I didn't really want to believe it.
Finally, the light faded, and we set gently back down on the ground. I was pooped, I can tell ya. Those Elements take a lot out of you!
Then I was treated to the most rare and precious thing I've ever experienced in my life: The Mane 6 group hug. My heart positively melted, I tell you!
Everything was perfect! Well, almost everything. I was still in Pinkie's body, after all. And there was just one more thing...
"Who the censored are you, and what are you doing in my house?" Skyggie shouted.
"Hmm..." Skyggie said as she grabbed me by the jaw. "Hmm..."
She turned my head to the left, then tilted it to the right, and peered into my ear.
"Interesting," she said, then grabbed my muzzle to turn me to face her. She stared deeply into my eyes for a long time, an extremely serious expression on her face.
"Well." she said, finally releasing me. "There's no doubt about it. This here is a pony."
Everypony in the room groaned and slumped.
Wait, sorry, I should go back a little. I'm kind of skipping some things, here. Of course, that means that I'll have to tell you about Skyggie's Broom of Doom. Trust me, it deserves that name.
So, here's what happened, right after we beat the Queen:
"Get out of my house!" Skyggie shouted. "Trixie!"
"Help me get these thieves out of my house!"
Skyggie didn't wait on explanations. Instead, she waddled over to grab a broom from a nearby wall, which she used to demonstrate her displeasure towards us.
"Ma'am, we aren't thieves," Twilight tried to explain. "We're here because-" *whap!* "-ouch!"
"Consarnit, would you just-" *whap!* "-hey!"
"Knock it off, you nutty old loon!" *whap!whap!whap!* "Ow, hey, quit it!" *whap!whap!whap!whap!* "Will you just-" whap!whap!whap!whap!* "Agh, alright, I'm sorry! Aaaaah!" *whap!whap!whap!whap!*
Not a one of us was spared the broom. Well, except Rainbow Dash, who hovered near the ceiling, laughing her prismatic tail off, and Fluttershy, who was under a table while all of this was going on. Thank goodness, I can't imagine what might have happened if Skyggie had whapped Fluttershy with a broom! Skyggie probably would have exploded with guilt, or something. I know I would have, in her place.
I'm sure it was a comical sight. Trixie, pleading with her demented mentor, stood in the middle of the room while shouting at Skyggie, who was hustling after us as quickly as she could while we ponies all ran away. Every time she got close enough to one of us, she'd whap us with that broom of hers.
Somehow, she managed to corner me, in spite of the fact that this was a round room with no corners. What can I say? Skyggie is awesome that way. I huddled down and put my forelegs up over my head while she continued to visit bristly doom upon my noggin.
"Get!* *whap!* "Out!" *whap!* "Of!" *whap!* "My!" *whap!* "House!"
"Enough!" Twilight shouted, and the Broom of Doom was wrapped in a purple field of magic and lifted into the air. Skyggie went with it, holding on with a death-grip, rising up until her feet were just off the floor.
"My broom!" she shouted. "Leggo of my broom!"
"Not until you listen to reason!" Twilight said.
"Never!" Skyggie shouted defiantly, tugging on the broom, which just made her rock back and forth like a pendulum.
"Listen, if you just settle down, we can explain what's going on here, and you'll see that this is all just a misunderstanding," Twilight said with forced calm. "Now, just let go of the broom, all right?"
"No, it's my broom!" Skyggie replied stubbornly. "You let go!"
"Look... Oh, for goodness sake," Twilight said, as Skyggie and her broom began to rotate in place. The unicorn was forced to trot clockwise around in front of her, in order to keep herself in front of Skyggie's face.
"Listen, we came here to ask for your help. But, when we got here, you were being mind-controlled by the Dark Queen of the Faeries, who apparently took over your mind during a spell that went wrong. We banished the Queen, freed you... and then you started attacking us with a broom when you should have been thanking us. All right?"
Twilight, breathing heavily, stared at the dangling pudgy fox-person suspended from the household cleaning object (of doom). Skyggie blinked at her, then smiled.
"Well, why didn't you say?" She said, and dropped back to the floor. "Welcome to Castle Penumbra! Trixie! Why didn't you tell me we had guests?"
I was starting to wonder how much of Skyggie's previous foggy-headedness was due to the Queen, honestly.
Things calmed down after that, enough so that Fluttershy felt confident enough to come out from underneath her table.
Trixie was sent back to the entrance to get Doctor Creepy and Cinnamon Swirl while we explained what happened, and how we used the Elements of Harmony (which we were still wearing, by the way) to beat the Dark Queen. When I explained how she'd been zapped into dust, Skyggie just shook her head.
"The Queen of the Faeries isn't so easily beaten," Skyggie said sadly. "It may take her some time to recover, but she could come back."
Drat. Oh, well. At least the Queen is an idiot. That would make things easier, should she ever come back.
Anyway, Skyggie got really distracted right then, because that's when Trixie came back, levitating the unconscious doctor while Cinnamon Swirl trotted along next to her.
"Oooh!" Skyggie cooed. "Wook at da widdle filly! She's so cuuute!"
Everypony in the room took a wary step back. Fluttershy plugged her ears with her hooves.
"Who's this old bat?" Cinnamon Swirl said in his gravelly voice.
There was a pause, then Skyggie looked at us curiously.
"What's wrong with her voice?" asked the Witch.
"Oh, he got into a patch of poison joke a while back, and since then his voice has been switching between the one you just heard and a high-pitched filly voice," I explained.
"Oh, poison joke? I can fix that right up!" Skyggie said happily, waddling over to a nearby shelf and pulling down a vial of something-or-other.
"You... have a poison joke cure?" Cinnamon Swirl asked, so excited that his voice cracked back and forth between the high-pitched and the gravel-voice at least three times.
"Next best thing!" Skyggie said, uncorking the bottle and passing it over to the eager filly. "Here, drink this up!"
Alarm bells went off in my head as Cinnamon Swirl eagerly started drinking the potion. "Um, what did you just give him?" I asked.
"Something to fix her voice," Skyggie said, smiling, then said to the filly, "I like that perfume you're wearing! It smells like the kind my good friend Zecora makes for me."
"Why haven't I turned back?" Cinnamon Swirl said, then realized something terrifying. "Oh, sweet Celestia's fuzzy fetlocks, what happened to my voice?!"
Oh, man. I hate being right sometimes!
"Why, it's just something that will restore your voice to normal, little filly!" Skyggie said, smiling happily and rubbing the filly on the head.
"I'm not a filly, I'm a stallion!" Cinnamon Swirl raged cutely, in a high-pitched voice. Poor guy.
"They make pony stallions awful small and girly these days," Skyggie replied suspiciously.
"That's what the poison joke did to me, it changed me into a filly, you ridiculous old coot!"
"Oh. Whoopsie-doodle!" Skyggie replied. "Well, don't you worry, when you take the poison joke cure, it will cure you completely."
Cinnamon Swirl just sighed, glared all around, and stomped off somewhere to pout.
"Oh, is that Doctor Needles?" Skyggie said, seeing the sleeping doctor for the first time. "He was just out here to treat my lumbago."
"That was over a week ago," Trixie said. "He was possessed, too."
"He stuck needles in my butt!" I exclaimed.
"Mine too!" Dashie chimed in.
"He's funny that way, yes." Skyggie noted. "Well, he musta cured my lumbago, because I feel great! Or, maybe it got fixed when I was hanging from the broom..."
"Look, can we focus?" Twilight said. "We still have a big problem!"
"Oh? What's that?"
"The Dark Queen swapped the mind of my friend Pinkie Pie for an alien's mind from another world!"
"Wow, what a crazy thing for her to do," Skyggie said.
"I know, right?" I replied as I flipped through some of the books on a nearby table. Mostly they seemed to be dream journals.
Anyway, we explained, and that's what led to the examination I was telling you about earlier. In addition to peering into my ear-holes, Skyggie also fondled my hooves (shudder), yanked on my tail, petted my coat the wrong way (that's really irritating, by the way!) and then briefly fell asleep while looking into a book.
I took the opportunity to ask Skyggie some questions. Like, for example: "Hey, Skyggie. What the heck are you, anyway?"
"I'm a Kitsune," she said, adding proudly, "We're renowned for our extreme grace and exotic beauty."
She smiled a shy smile and looked away demurely. I stared at her, the chubby fox-lady with a face like a furry red apple with gray streaks in it, and nodded sagely.
"I can see that much," I told her. Hey, we all have our illusions, right? "What brings you to Equestria?"
"Too much competition at home. New illusionists popping up out of the woodwork, over there. Yup."
After Skyggie reached her diagnosis of me being a pony, Twilight asked if there was any way to reverse the effect, to get me home and to get Pinkie Pie back.
"Unfortunately, this is beyond my current abilities," Skyggie said, shaking her head. Everypony groaned again. "However, you need not despair, little ponies! If you are able to retrieve for me the Mirror of Souls, I should be able to swap the two of them back, no problem!"
More quests! Yay!
"Where can we find this Mirror of Souls?" Twilight asked.
"You can find it in the Caverns of Dread, in the Lost Treasure Hoard of the Great Emperor Zhing. To get there, you must first pass through the Plains of Torment, where the lacerating razor-grass grows tall and vicious. Then, continue on through the Bog of Eternal Woe, where the drowned corpses of the dead will try to feast upon your marrow and the wil-o'-the-wisps will lure you to a watery grave.
"If you make it through there, you will find yourself at the base of Mount Near-Certain Doom, and the entrance to the Caverns, which is guarded by an ancient dragon known as Milbrourioux, which is Ancient Centaur for 'Big Old Dragon'. Milbrourioux will ask you a riddle, and if you fail to get it right, he will eat you on the spot. Sadly, the only tongue Milbrourioux speaks is a peculiar dialect of Ancient Centaur, which nobody else spoke even before the centaurs went extinct a thousand years ago.
"Supposing you get past him, you will have to enter the Caverns of Dread. Just watch out for the Blade Bats, the blood-sucking Tunnel Worms and the Shade-wraiths, all of whom will likely swarm you the moment you step hoof inside. Make your way to the Hoard cave and defeat the twenty-seven deadly traps, any one of which will easily kill you all at the slightest mistake.
"Then, you must find the Mirror of Souls in the Hall of Mirrors. Don't take the wrong one, or your soul will be sucked out and sent to the Realm of Eternal Torment. Which isn't fun at all, I assure you. Get the Mirror of Souls and return to me, and I can perform the ritual that will exchange these two back, lickety-split!"
As we all looked at each other with wide eyes, Skyggie cleared her throat and continued with, "Or, I suppose you could just ask Princess Celestia if you can borrow one of hers. I think she has, like, six of them."
"Uh... We'll probably just ask the Princesses," Twilight said, backing away from the crazy fox-lady.
"You sure?" Skyggie asked, sounding almost disappointed. "The Princess is always so busy. Going to the Hoard Room of Great Emperor Zhing would probably be easier than getting on her schedule."
"I'm Celestia's personal student," Twilight replied, somehow managing to avoid sounding like a bragger. "I'm pretty sure I can get on her schedule easily enough."
"You're the Princess' personal student?" Trixie asked, mouth hanging open. "I don't feel so bad about what happened in Ponyville, now."
"Oh, well... It's not a big deal," Twilight said, blushing adorably.
It was just then that somepony decided to do something potentially really stupid.
"Wake up!" a girly voice shouted, and I looked over to see Cinnamon Swirl waking up Doctor Creepy.
"Oh, no!" I exclaimed. "Why would you do that?"
"He was mind controlled too," the filly said. "Remember? He should be fine now that he was hit by the rainbow."
The doctor woke up and looked around warily.
"Um. Hi, everypony," he said. "Could you tell me where I am and what I'm doing here?"
More explanations happened, which he had a hard time believing at first.
"I don't believe it," he said at one point.
We eventually got through to him, and he completely failed to even attempt to ram a needle into my hindquarters, so I decided to trust him, at least provisionally. Not to the extent that I was happy about him traveling back to Ponyville with us to get the poison joke cure, but you know what I mean.
I decided to at least try to mend fences. So, I walked up to him and said, "Look, Doctor Creepy... er, Needles. I apologize for what I said earlier. You aren't the lamest villain ever. The Queen beat you by a long ways."
"Oh. Uh. Thanks?" he said, confused. He hadn't remembered anything past coming to see Skyggie over a week ago.
"Don't get me wrong," I said. "You're still easily the second lamest. It's just that the Queen had you beat by a solid mile."
"Thanks," he said again, dryly.
"No problem!" I said, then bounced away.
Anyway, plans were made. Now that we'd stopped the invasion that we didn't even know was happening, we could go back to Ponyville, then to Canterlot, see Luna (or Celestia, if she was back) and then get me switched back once and for all. Everything would work out fine, just as long as nothing went wrong.
I know what you're thinking. I was thinking it too, just as soon as I thought those fatal words. Because as soon as I thought 'as long as nothing went wrong', something immediately started going wrong!
It started as a twinge in my back left hoof, followed by a similar twinge in the others. Then my legs started feeling wobbly...
"Um, guys?" I said, only to be ignored.
"We should be able to return the same way we came," Twilight was saying. "It shouldn't take us long to get to Zecora's, and then to Ponyville..."
By this time, my legs weren't just wobbly, they were shaking. As was my tail, jittering back and forth as if it were possessed.
"Guys..?" I said, feeling a little frantic.
"I could just fly there tonight, and bring back some extra supplies, then meet you by the forest edge tomorrow morning," Dash suggested.
"Good idea," Twilight said, nodding.
"Guys!" I shouted, and everypony turned to look at me as I vibrated across the floor, bouncing like a pink jackhammer.
"Pinkie!" Twilight shouted, alarmed. "What's going on?!"
"Oh, not much," I replied casually, as the vibration of my legs started me spinning in slow circles on the floor. "I think I'm just having one of Pinkie Pie's 'Doozies', that's all."
That's when we noticed the humming sound. It had started low, at first. Low and quiet, adjusting upwards so slowly that we simply hadn't registered it until now. We were all looking around for the source, but it was Fluttershy who noticed it first.
"The mirror!" she gasped, pointing with a hoof.
We all turned to look at the gigantic mirror in Skyggie's main room, which was glowing with a soft light. As the sound increased in volume, so did the light in brightness, until the entire mirror was glaring with it, bright as the sun. We couldn't hear ourselves talk, we couldn't even see each other.
Personally? I was convinced it was the Queen again. She was coming back in her second form! I swear, only my temporary blindness and the complete lack of ominous Latin chanting kept me from bolting from the room. Not in fear, I was sure we could beat her again, but out of sheer annoyance!
Then the mirror exploded, sending deadly shards of glass through the room that completely failed to so much as scratch anypony. The sound dropped to a more manageable level, which is the only reason why I heard Skyggie's devastated voice saying, "My mirror..." in a tone of absolute shock.
There was a figure in the light, tall and sinister, a solid black silhouette in the bright glare of the light. It towered over any of us ponies, radiating pure menace. It stood there, almost as if posing against the light, and then stalked towards us, walking on two legs. As it got closer, the form became clearer, and I could start making out details, as much as I wished that I couldn't.
Tall and thin, it was wrapped in a brown coat. A similarly brown fedora was atop its head, rakishly askew. It was wearing black pants, thick boots and a pull-over shirt under the coat. But that's where the similarity to anything human ended, and the horror began.
The thing's hands were huge and swollen, the thick, jet-black fingers like sausages were holding a long metal rod that arced sputtering lightning and billowed with black smoke. The face was something like out of a horror film, an extended snout like an anteater hanging below two huge dead-looking insectoid eyes, glassy and black, reflecting the room around it as it stared out unblinkingly.
The rest of the thing's face was an expressionless black, with a skin texture like rubber. I couldn't make out any ears or other distinguishing marks, and it was completely hairless.
My spine was creeping with horror at the demonic apparition before me. Doctor Needles hadn't scared me. The Dark Queen? Pathetic. But this thing? For the first time since I came to Equestria, I was terrified. Not just scared, not startled, but down-to-my-hooves terrified of this creature.
It strode into the room, looking around with apparent interest, though it was hard to tell on that alien face. The light behind it blinked out, fading away to nothing, revealing the brick wall that had been behind the now sadly exploded mirror.
Even though I was still vibrating from the Doozy, my friends clustered around me as the creature discarded its rod of smoke and lightning, which hit the ground and then exploded for no apparently good reason.
"All right," a tense Twilight whispered to us, "get ready to use the Elements if this thing attacks us."
The demon paused, then looked at us and cocked its head to the side in an inquisitive fashion. It made some sort of noise, a mumbled vocalization.
"Mpphmph?" it said, walking towards us. We all shuffled backwards, and the thing stopped.
"Mpph mphh mph mphhmph?" it said, holding its hands out towards us.
"What?" Twilight asked. "We can't understand you."
The huge, sausage-like fingers came up and removed the fedora from the hairless head. Then, as I watched in nauseated horror, it pulled off its own face, which actually turned out to be a gas-mask of some kind.
A set of very human, very familiar features looked up and grinned at us. I stopped vibrating suddenly as it became clear what the 'doozy' was.
"I said, 'Are you my mummy?'," Pinkie Pie said in my voice.
Well. That was unexpected.
"Get it?" Pinkie Pie asked, grinning at us. Seeing that I was the only one who did, and I was in complete brain-lock due to shock, nopony ended up saying anything. It was about then that Doctor Needles decided it would be a good time to run, screaming, into the depths of the Castle. Trixie had already vanished a lot more quietly, as soon as she'd seen the 'demon' show up. Nopony pulls a fast fade like the G&PT.
Skyggie? She was just staring at the blank wall where her mirror had been, open-mouthed and wide-eyed.
"What a waste of a really good setup," Pinkie groused, pulling off her huge rubber gloves.
"Who the heck are you?" Rainbow Dash asked, the first of us to find her voice again.
"Come on, Dashie, don't you know?" Pinkie asked with a chuckle.
"No! You're just some weird creature that busted out of the mirror!"
"Well, if you don't know who I am, I bet she does," she said, pointing at me.
"Hey!" I said, knocked out of my shock by mild annoyance. "If you're going to go pointing at me, Miss Pointy Pointerson, at least use the correct gender pronoun! I'm a 'he', Pinkie Pie!"
"Oh, sorry," Pinkie said, just as all the rest of the Mane 6 shouted "Pinkie Pie?!"
"Yup, that's me!" Pinkie said. "Well, sort of. That's me," she said, pointing at me again, "but I'm me too!"
"Wait, if you're you and me, then who am I?" I asked, confused.
"You're you, of course."
"But you're me too?"
"Am I also you, then?"
"Don't be silly."
"Pinkie?!" Twilight asked in shock, and the ponies all started to gather around their friend. "How did you get here? Is that really you?"
"That's right, Twilight! Hey, that rhymes! We don't have a lot of time, though. I've got some terrible news!"
The five stunned ponies all looked at each other warily.
"What is it?" Twilight asked.
"Our whole world is in great danger," she said solemnly. "I was so worried I wouldn't make it in time to warn anypony! A powerful, ancient force is trying to invade Equestria. The Dark Queen of the Faeries!"
Many sidelong glances followed this statement.
"Um, Pinkie?" Twilight started, but Pinkie was on a roll.
"She's a legendary evil from the time before Luna's banishment. She has a whole army of faeries, and she plans to invade, and I only know that because she was chatty with me when she was swapping me out with this guy," she said, pointing at me again! Honestly, she goes a whole life without fingers, then she has hands for a week and can't stop pointing at me!
"She also told me that she was going to get me out of the way so that you couldn't use the Elements to stop her, which I thought was kind of stupid... not her plan, but that she told me her plan. What kind of an idiot does that?"
"I know, right?" I said. "She needs a copy of the Evil Overlord list."
"Probably a bad idea," Pinkie said.
"Pinkie?" Twilight tried again.
"She also manufactured some fake diplomatic emergency in the Griffon kingdom to get Celestia out of the way, thinking that she could handle Luna on her own, which I doubt because she's kind of a moron. The Queen, I mean. She's the moron, not Luna."
I nodded in full agreement with that statement.
"Wait, Pinkie," Twilight said, only to be cut off again by Pinkie's verbal steamroller.
"So, what we have to do is get to Canterlot as soon as possible, so we can get the Elements of Harmony, and then get to someplace past the Everfree Forest called Castle Penumbra. Then we'll have to use the power of our friendship to stop her, and then we can have the Princesses swap us back to our own bodies and send him home. What do you think? Great plan, huh?"
"It sure was," I said. "That's why we already did it."
There was a silence that was loaded with possibilities, after which Pinkie said, "I'm sorry, what?"
"We already did it," I repeated. "Well, most of it. We're on the part where we have to see the Princess to swap us back, now."
Pinkie looked at Twilight, who nodded in confirmation.
"Really?" she said, seeming slightly disappointed.
"Yup," Applejack said. "Turned out to be pretty easy."
"Oh. So... no risk of a world in unending war and confusion caused by an invasion of the Faerie?"
"Not right now," Twilight said with a casual shrug. "Maybe some time in the future. Who knows?"
"Oh. But, how did you manage to do it?"
"We used the Elements!" Rainbow Dash said proudly.
"We hit her with a rainbow!" I said, grinning. "I've always wanted to hit something with a rainbow, but you rarely get the opportunity, you know?"
"Wait, wait," Pinkie said, sitting down heavily on the floor. "You were able to banish the queen with only five elements?"
"We had all six. We're still wearing them and everything," Rainbow Dash said, then pointed a hoof at her necklace. "See?"
She took my glasses out of a pocket in the coat, put them on and peered at Dashie.
"Oh yeah," Pinkie said faintly. "Funny I missed that."
Then she looked my way, and her face froze.
"You're wearing my Element!" said Pinkie accusingly.
"You're wearing my pants!" I retorted. "I'd offer a trade, but I'd prefer you keep them on. The coat and fedora are new, though."
"Yeah, I got them from Mal."
"Look, why are you wearing my Element?" Pinkie asked, sounding seriously upset.
"We needed him to help us beat the Queen," Twilight said. "He filled in for you."
"You replaced me?" Pinkie said in a small voice, and I could see her (my!) lower lip trembling.
"Please don't cry, Pinkie!" I said desperately. "Here, have a cookie!"
I held out the massive, lemon-frosted sugar cookie to the depressed human on the floor.
"You... can access the Pinkie Space?" she whispered, eyes wide with shock.
"That's what you call it? I'd been thinking of it as 'Pinkie Pie's Very Special Place'." I thought about that for a second. That was the first time I'd said it out loud. "Oh. I suppose that can be misinterpreted by the dirty-minded, though."
That didn't help, oddly. Pinkie, still sitting on the floor, started crying big old man tears, which made me start tearing up, myself. I mean, this was Pinkie Pie! I'd been stuck in her body for days, now, and she was miserable! I kind of felt responsible, oddly enough.
Still, I didn't have a chance to say anything before Pinkie was tackle-hugged by Fluttershy, who smiled joyfully at her and said, "Nopony, no one, could ever replace you, Pinkie Pie. Never, ever doubt that! But that doesn't mean that we can't make new friends, too!"
"That's right," Rainbow Dash said. "We'll always be best pals!"
"Indeed, darling. I can't imagine life without you!" Rarity added with a gentle smile.
Pinkie sniffled, then wiped her (my) nose on the sleeve of her trench-coat (ick).
"You really mean it?" she asked. "You want me back?"
"Of course we do, sugarcube!" Applejack said.
Rainbow Dash added, "Pinkie, we were all set to go on a massive quest to get this Mirror of Souls thing to switch you two back!"
"A quest that almost certainly would have killed us," Rarity put in.
"And that involved a huge, scary dragon," Fluttershy whispered, terrified at the very thought.
"But it turns out the Princess already has one of her own, so we didn't have to," Twilight said, smiling.
"But we totally would have done, if she didn't have!" Rainbow said, with great grammatical confusion.
Pinkie smiled happily through her tears, then said, "You guys are the best friends ever!"
The ponies all rushed my former body, hugging and babbling excitedly. Pinkie's former look of betrayal faded away instantly, replaced with one of pure joy and, eventually, mild annoyance.
"Just what do you think you're doing?" she asked me.
"Uh... Getting in on some of this hugging action?" I said hopefully. She just frowned, and I disengaged and slunk away.
"Ain't that just like mares, to shut a guy out?" Cinnamon Swirl squeaked, grinning at me, and I stuck my tongue out at him.
I sat back and watched as Pinkie's friends reconnected with her, and I knew why she'd been so upset. Like I mentioned before, I don't usually doubt my friend's convictions, but I know that Pinkie sometimes does. And sitting there, excluded from the group like that, I knew a little bit how she could feel like she'd been replaced or left behind when she found out I used her Element. I was feeling a little bit that way, myself. I checked my mane, just to be sure, but it was still delightfully poofy, so I knew I wasn't too badly off.
"Well, how about I tell you girls how I managed to get here?" Pinkie finally asked, and I perked up. "It all started when-"
"My... mirror..." a slow and deadly-sounding voice rasped behind us.
I turned, terrified. Skyggie stood behind us, hunched over, her face unseen in the shadows that seemed to form around her. I swear to you, those shadows looked like they were alive, flailing around like tentacles. Not only that, but they were shot through with a pulsing red light, as if pure rage were coalesced into a physical manifestation, and then wrapped in shadows. We all got up and backed away from her, because we would have had to have been idiots not to.
And the worst part? Her fists were wrapped tightly around the Broom of Doom.
"I... think we should be going," I said lightly. The others seemed to agree, and there was a mass backing-away towards the hall that led to the door.
"My mirror!" Skyggie shrieked. And, I'm not even kidding, lightning flared outside and thunder roared around inside the room. The scariest part was that my illusion-sensing Pinkie sense was as quiet as a mouse.
"And that's our cue," Pinkie said, grabbing up Cinnamon Swirl like a football and pelting towards the doorway.
"I'm really sorry!" Fluttershy shouted as she ran after her friend.
"It was a lovely mirror, such a shame!" Rarity screamed in panic, half a step behind the pegasus.
"Wait for me, guys! Um, not that I'm scared!" Rainbow Dash said, flying quickly after them.
Twilight glanced at me, then back at the witch, and said, "Um, I'm really very sorry, but-"
"Do you know how expensive that thing was?" Skyggie roared, brandishing the broom at her. That's when Applejack started running, hat pulled down low over her brow.
"Uh... maybe I can get the Princess to pay for a new one?" the unicorn suggested with a weak smile.
"Raaaagh!" Skyggie replied, rushing at her.
Twilight gave me an apologetic smile as her horn lit up. "Run," she suggested, right before she teleported away.
Skyggie slid to a stop, then rotated in place and started advancing on me.
"Um. I think I left a cake in the bath tub. I'd better go get it before it gets soggy. See ya!" I said, and ran off as fast as my little pink hoofsies could carry me. Skyggie, powered by pure rage, managed to stay just a couple of steps behind me, and that's when I got really scared. You remember how fast I said Pinkie was while running? Skyggie was keeping up with me, and maybe even gaining a little!
She took a swing at me, and I could have sworn I heard that broom crackling and humming with eldritch energy as it narrowly missed my hindquarters. The terror that triggered gave me a burst of speed, and I left a pink blur behind me as I shot out of the castle and rapidly caught up with my friends.
Skyggie, shaking her broom over her head and shouting really unrepeatable things after us, stayed on the doorstep to Castle Penumbra, jumping up and down in a psychotic rage. I was, briefly, worried about those left behind, Trixie and Doc Needles, but the one could take care of herself, and the other probably had it coming, whatever 'it' was.
"That... was scary," Pinkie said, putting Cinnamon Swirl down and collapsing on the ground while gasping for breath. Humans weren't designed to run like ponies, and I wasn't in the best of shape to begin with. Still, we were probably a good mile or so away from the crazy kitsune, which would have to do for now.
"Maybe... you can... tell us what happened.... while we walk..." Rarity said, panting for breath. "I would rather like... to get far... far away from this awful place."
"Seconded," Twilight said, fresh as a daisy after her teleport. "It sounds like a good idea to me. Pinkie?"
"You got it, girls," she said. "What happened was-"
"Wait!" I said, and everypony looked at me while I scanned the area.
"Um, what's going on?" Rainbow Dash asked.
"There's something about Equestria," I said. "Every time somepony tries to explain something, something weird happens to interrupt it."
"Not every time," Twilight said.
"Fine, nearly every time," I said. "How many times did I try to tell you guys my back-story before I was finally able to do it without being interrupted?"
Twilight opened her mouth to protest, but then looked thoughtful and shut it again. "Okay, you've got a point. Are we in the clear?"
"Yeah, I don't see anything. Nothing on the ground, nothing in the air. I think we're good to go."
"All right," Pinkie said. "What happened is-"
And then the Diamond Dogs attacked. Just kidding. Here goes! The long-awaited Story of Pinkie Pie!
"What happened is, I had just eaten a cupcake... okay four cupcakes, when I went up to my room to get my pranking supplies. See, Dash had wanted to go pranking that afternoon, and that sounded super fun, so I had to go and get my stuff. The problem is, once I got there, I saw this really weird and creepy face in the mirror."
"Hey!" I said, but Pinkie ignored me.
"She said she was the Queen of the Faeries, and something about using Castle Penumbra as the staging point of an invasion. She said she wanted to get me out of the way, and all that other stuff I told you about before. And then, whoosh! swish! Suddenly I was in another body!
"It didn't take me long to figure out what happened. I mean, sometimes I used to let my mind wander, and I'd see places like that in my imagination, but I guess I never really knew that those were parallel worlds, before. Yes, Twilight, I know what parallel worlds are, please don't interrupt.
"So, I stood there, trying to think. I knew I had to get back to stop the Queen... I still can't believe you guys did that without me! Anyway, I had to get back. And that meant that I needed to figure out where I was and what resources I had."
It was here that I noticed that Pinkie wasn't talking very "Pinkie", but I guess that makes sense. I don't talk very... whatever my name is. Hey, maybe Pinkie knows?
I didn't want to interrupt, though, as she was finally getting to tell us her story. According to what she told us as we walked through the plains towards the Everfree, she found out my address by my driver's license, but couldn't figure out where that actually was.
So, she had Target call a taxi for her, which means that my car has probably been towed and impounded for the last week, since she just left it in the lot. Which didn't upset me, really. After all, can you imagine Pinkie trying to drive?
The part that made me clench my teeth a little is when she gave the driver all the money she found in my wallet. Which, if I remember right, was about a hundred bucks. Not a bad tip for a three-mile taxi ride, but oh well.
She found my apartment, spent some time going through my keychain until she got the right keys...
"Seriously, why do you have two locks that you go through and, like, twenty keys?" she asked me.
"I have a hard time throwing my old keys away," I admitted meekly.
Anyway, she got into my apartment and seriously thought about what to do.
"I sat there for a little while, wracking my brains, when suddenly there was this weird groaning sound," Pinkie said. "And this big blue box just appeared in the middle of the room! A person came out, introduced himself as 'the Doctor', called me an 'Inter-dimensional schizm point of temporal conflux' and told me to come inside. And, wow! That box was way bigger on the inside! Then he said that he'd try to help get me home. I was saved! Or so I thought..."
I just gaped at her. Did... Seriously, did the Doctor, the actual Doctor show up in my apartment? My fanboyism kicked into overdrive and shut down a part of my brain, and the rest of it just crackled and fizzed.
"We ended up going on some adventures, but he ended up leaving me by accident in a spaceport somewhere. And that was where I met Mal and his crew. They offered to let me travel with them on their ship, Serenity, until the Doctor came to find me. They gave me this hat and fedora so I'd fit in a little bit better."
Wait a minute, my brain said. We're in Firefly now? What gives?
"We ended up having some trouble with the Alliance, and I got into an escape pod-"
Serenity had escape pods? I thought, baffled.
"-and I landed in the middle of this really nice looking countryside, with all these people that were about half my size. They kind of looked human, except they had really big feet. Anyway, next thing I knew, I'd gotten caught up in this quest to go destroy this one ring that one of them had-"
Okay, wait a minute.
"Pinkie," I tried. No luck.
"-which we finally did, but then some weird portal opened up and sucked me through. The next thing I knew, I was being chased by the white walkers north of the Wall! Winter had come!"
"Pinkie!" I tried again.
"Anyway, I ended up running until I found this guy named Ned Stark, who really reminded me of this other guy I'd met on Middle-Earth. He introduced me to his cousin, Tony, who took me back to where I'd started, on your home Earth, but then he needed my help fending off an alien invasion."
"Now just you hold on one-"
"So, together we worked on building this giant robot! Then he put on his Iron Man armor, while I piloted the Iron Giant, and we successfully repelled the alien invasion! After that, he helped me build the dimensional key. That was that rod that I was holding when I got here. I was wearing the gloves because of the high probability of it exploding when I used it. And that's how I got here!"
Pinkie stopped, grinning eagerly at us. All the ponies just looked completely baffled, which they honestly should, considering that she'd just run them through a good chunk of Earth popular culture in a few minutes.
"I don't believe you," I told her flatly.
"You... don't?" she asked, looking suddenly nervous.
"It just seems odd to me that you ended up in all these different worlds."
"You ended up here!" she pointed out.
"Yes. But isn't it odd that the only places you visited on your inter-dimensional voyage are in my DVD collection?"
Pinkie looked guilty, and I knew I was right.
"You spent the last week sitting in my apartment watching DVDs, didn't you?" I asked her.
She looked away, shuffled uncomfortably, then finally admitted, "Yes."
"Well... why? Why didn't you tell us that?"
"Because I was supposed to be on my way back to save everypony, but I didn't know how!" she replied, upset. Great, now I felt bad. "I didn't want everypony to think that I just... had fun, while everypony else was in trouble!"
I sighed. "Well, I guess I can understand that. I mean, I was pretty familiar with Equestria before I came over, but even I wouldn't know where to go on Earth to figure out how to get here."
"Oh, that reminds me. I found a DVD with me and my friends on it," Pinkie said, a little too casually for comfort. "The Friendship Express?"
I started panicking slightly, and Twilight, who'd been trying to follow along (bless her heart), finally had her frustration cup overflow.
"Okay, what is a 'dee-vee-dee', and how are we on it?"
"It's hard to explain, Twilight. But did you know he has figures of all of us? Tiny little toys, some with hair you can brush, even."
"Uh," I said, trying to break in. For some reason, I'd just broken out into a sweat.
"He really likes you, Twilight," Pinkie continued with a teasing smile. I don't think she'd forgiven me yet for using her Element.
Oh, hey! So that's what tunnel-vision looks like! Awesome, today I learned.
"What?" the unicorn asked.
"Yeah, he has more figures of you than of anypony."
Twilight eyed me suspiciously, and I was torn between hyperventilating and just fainting right then and there. I opted to go for the panicked attempt at distraction, which never works.
"Hey, wait a minute! Pinkie still hasn't told us how she got here!"
"Oh, that's right," Twilight said, turning away from me. "Pinkie?"
Holy Celestia! It worked!
Pinkie winked at me, and I knew we were probably going to end up discussing My Little Pony at some point, but she let me off the hook for the moment.
"Well, like I said. I just sat there in the apartment for a few days, watching those DVDs of yours. Then this idea started to occur to me. Like, there was no magic there, but there was technology. And, maybe I could make technology work like I used to make magic work."
"And how do you make magic work?" Twilight asked, perking up. I imagine that she was hoping for the long-delayed explanation on Pinkie Sense, but she ended up disappointed when I answered instead.
"Like this," I said, reaching behind Twilight's ear and pulling out a cupcake.
"Wha... how? Where did that come from?" Twilight asked.
"Are you forgetting who you're talking to?" I asked, then held out the cupcake. "Want a bite?"
She shook her head, and I ate the thing in one bite. It was a little stale, but still good.
"See, he gets it," Pinkie said. "You just have to expect that things will work, and they do. So, I started building, expecting that whatever it was I built would work to take me home."
"Wow, that's awesome!" I said.
"I had to take apart that big metal box on your desk for parts," she said.
"Big... metal box?" I asked, my blood running cold.
"Yeah, it was black? Connected to something that looked like a smaller version of the mirror-thing I watched the DVD things on?"
"My... computer..." I said, feelin' a little Skyggie, myself.
"You okay?" Pinkie asked, sounding honestly concerned. "That wasn't bad, was it?"
Argh. Though, you know what? Pinkie somehow cannibalized my computer to make a device that transported her from Earth to Equestria. That's pretty awesome. And I can always buy a new-
"And I had to break apart that big DVD mirror-thing, too," Pinkie said.
I felt my left eyelid spasm a little at the news of my nearly-new fifty-two inch flat-screen TV's demise. Pinkie continued on with her explanation.
"I wasn't joking when I said I was worried that the dimensional key might explode when I used it. I didn't want to blow up your body-"
"Thanks," I said, shaking my head to clear it. It's only a TV, after all. it can be replaced.
"-so I went to this place called a 'mall' and bought this thick coat, the heavy gloves, and the gas-mask, just in case things got all explodey. I got the hat because I thought it looked cool."
I glanced at the hat. It sort of did.
"Good choice," I said approvingly.
"Thanks!" she said.
"It does look kind of cool," Rainbow Dash said.
"It really does, doesn't it?" Pinkie said.
"Halt!" the Royal Guard said.
"What?" the rest of us said.
Yeah, I'll be right back. I gotta go deal with this.
I mean, I'm not getting arrested, or anything. Still, I have no idea how it happened without us noticing. Suddenly, pegasusususes everywhere! They landed all around us, a couple of them with carriages, which held even more ponies, including two very familiar ones. One was a unicorn who face-hoofed immediately upon seeing us, and the other was an earth pony, who did this:
"That's them! That's the escaped mental patient and the ponies who helped her escape!" No-longer-Flats shouted while pointing a hoof at me. He must have made it back to Ponyville while we were trudging through the forest, gotten himself a quick herbal bath at the spa, then summoned the guards to come and get us.
"See?" he continued. "That's my sergeant! I know he looks like a little filly, but that's because of the poison joke that crazy mare made us run through!"
"Terrace, calm down," Cinnamon Swirl piped adorably at him. "It turns out that-"
"And that's some kind of weird alien!" Terrace continued, hysteria cranking his voice up to 11 while he pointed at Pinkie. "And now I don't know what's going on!"
"Care to explain this, Twily?" Shining Armor asked as he got done face-hoofing and hopped out of the carriage.
"Hi, big brother," Twilight said with a smile.
"You have a brother?" I asked, feigning surprise. "Since when?"
"Since always," Twilight said, throwing me a confused look and completely missing my probably-not-as-funny-as-I-thought-it-was joke.
"She's your sister?" Terrace asked, looking confused and mildly horrified.
"I already did that joke," I pointed out.
"Terrace," Cinnamon Swirl tried again. "It's all true, okay?" The unnerved stallion looked down at the little filly. "I mean, I know it seems nuts, right? But the pink mare over there isn't crazy. Weird, but not crazy. He really is an alien, and that alien is the mare. They're trapped in each other's bodies."
Terrace gave C.S. the bug-eye for a few seconds, then screamed, "They got to you, too! Oh, Sarge, I'm so sorry! I knew I shouldn't have left you with them!"
He scooped the protesting filly up in a hug, crying and blubbering. "Please forgive me, partner! You were brainwashed, and with only two days until your retirement from the Ponyville P.D.!"
"Lemme go, you idiot!" Cinnamon Swirl shouted, unleashing a truly impressive flurry of hoof-strikes.
"Sir, please release and step away from the juvenile," one of the guards said.
"Will everyone just settle down?" Shining Armor barked. "I'm going to find out what's going on, here. Twilight? Please explain why I was just dragged halfway across Equestria by a possibly unstable police officer to find you, your friends, a filly and an alien all wandering around in the middle of nowhere."
So, we set up an impromptu camp, since it was getting late anyway. The guards had brought lots of provisions, we had our tents, and soon we had a fire up and roaring while Twilight was explaining everything. Well, almost everything. I think there were parts of it that even she couldn't believe, and she'd seen it all happen.
When she was done, Shining Armor summed it up thusly:
"Okay. So, what I have here is that your friend Pinkie and this alien swapped bodies because 'Queen Glittery Chihuahua' wanted to take over Equestria," he recited, while looking at his notes, "and because of that, everypony in town thought that Pinkie was crazy when the alien in her body was actually telling the truth. Then a 'creepy-faced doctor with a needle fetish' locked the alien up, and then he escaped because 'Pinkie Pie', and 'sneaky-ninja'ed' his way to the 'tree-brary'. You got your friends together, used the Elements of Harmony to beat up the Queen, then the real Pinkie Pie showed up out of nowhere, 'because she's awesome like that', and in the process, broke a very expensive mirror. Is that more or less right?"
"Um. It probably would have made more sense if Pinkie Guy hadn't kept interrupting," Twilight said.
"Wait, 'Pinkie Guy'?" Pinkie asked.
"I can't remember my real name," I explained. "The Queen did something funky to my head."
"Oh, for goodness' sake," Pinkie said. "Why didn't you just say? Here."
She pulled out my wallet, took out my driver's license and showed it to me. I blinked at it in surprised happiness as my name slotted itself back into my memory, right where it belonged.
"Oh, wow," I said, my brain all tingly. "Thank you, Pinkie! I can't tell you what it's like not even knowing my name!"
"No problem. Want me to hold on to this?" she said, indicating the wallet.
"Yeah, please," I said, and she tucked it away. I turned to Shining and said, "-"
That's all I got out, because Rainbow Dash immediately interrupted me.
"Hold it! Don't keep us in suspense! What's your danged name?"
"Oh! Sorry, everypony. I should introduce myself properly." I stood up, and bowed slightly. "Pleased to meet you, my name is Allen."
"Nice to meet you, Allen," is what everypony but Dash said. Instead, the pegamenace just stared at me, then burst out laughing.
"Allen the alien!" she said, extremely pleased with her own cleverness. Her laugh was infectious, and soon we were all laughing fit to be tied. It seems silly, and it's really not that funny of a joke, but heck... it had been a long day. We'd just beaten the Queen of the Faeries after taking down her needle-obsessed henchpony, and then we'd fled the murderously angry Skyggie and her demonic broom, so it's not too surprising we'd have a post-traumatic fit of the giggles!
We had a pretty good time after that. Just chatting, laughing, eating and joking around. It was the best time I'd had since I came to Equestria, and that's saying something. It was amazing.
We sang some songs, and I learned some new Equestrian campfire songs, which was awesome! We shared stories, told jokes... even Cinnamon Swirl joined in, once he found out that the guards weren't going to mock him for his... ailment.
"Wow. That's rough, buddy," a grizzled earth pony guard said after Cinnamon Swirl related his story.
"Ah, it ain't so bad, now that I'm used to it," the filly said. "And, I know I can change back once I get to Ponyville. One more night as a filly isn't gonna hurt me."
Oh, that's right. The guards were going to fly us all back to town, drop off Cinnamon Swirl and Terrace, and then bring the rest of us to Canterlot to see the Princesses. Yay for not having to slog through the Everfree!
The awkward conversation happened at one point. You know, the one where I had to explain why I had Mane 6 pony dolls in my apartment? And, why I had so many more figures of Twilight? Though, seriously, it's not that many more. A couple of blind bag figures, one molded and one brushable figure, and a custom figure and plushie I got off of a fan site. That's not so crazy, is it?
"Well, what can I say?" I said in my own defense. "We don't actually watch you guys, we watch stories that we make up based on you guys that just happens to go along with what really happens to you, more or less."
"Well, why do you have so many figures of me?" Twilight asked, looking mildly freaked out.
"Yeah, why not me?" Rainbow Dash said. "I'm the coolest!"
I blushed, then launched into my explanation.
"Yes, you are, Rainbow Dash. And Fluttershy is the sweetest, Rarity the most beautiful, Pinkie the funniest, and Applejack is the most practical and dependable. You all have your wonderful points, and I love you all. But Twilight is... adorkable."
"Adorkable?" Twilight asked, scrunching up her face in confusion. "That's not even a word, is it?"
"See?!" I said, pointing. "Adorkable! A portmanteau of 'adorable' and 'dork'. She's so cute and nerdy, it's all I can do not to squee every time I see her!"
Shining Armor looked torn between wanting to be protective of Twilight and the desperate desire to laugh at his sister's obvious discomfort. He settled on laughing when Twilight gave a Fluttershy-worthy 'eep!' and buried her head under her forelimbs.
That did it. Everyone else laughed at poor Twilight's expense, and she didn't come back up for air until the laughter died down a little. When she did look up, it was to glare at me.
"Is that all?" she asked, visibly annoyed.
"Well... you're also fantastic with magic," I said. "That counts for a lot. And you can plan and organize like nopony else! You have incredible skills, you just lack a little in social awareness. That's what makes you so cute."
She blushed again, or rather kept on blushing like she had been for the last few minutes only more so, and then said, "You really think I'm cute?"
"You're all cute! All ponies are cute!" I said in a panic, as Shining Armor had visibly flipped from 'teasing' to full-on 'protect the little sister' mode. "That's, like, at least 90% of what it means to be a pony! Equestria runs on Cuteonium!"
"Is Shining Armor cute?" Twilight asked, giggling slightly.
I looked at the stallion. He looked back at me. I quirked an eyebrow at him as I regarded him. He responded by lowering both brows and glaring in a warning sort of way. I responded to that by derping my eyes and waggling my eyebrows. He laughed, which means that I won.
"He'd be a lot cuter if he did something with his mane, and at least tried to use some make up," I said, and the tension dissipated in more laughter.
We got back onto safer subjects, and Pinkie and I had the camp in stitches with our impromptu comedy routines. We were constantly riffing off of each other, one of us starting a joke and the other one finishing it, or improvising off of each other like a well-honed comedy machine. Can you imagine? Two Pinkie Pies! My ribs hurt so bad by the end of the night, the only thing that made it so I could sleep was that I was so exhausted from laughing so hard.
But sleep, I finally did. Pinkie, far too tall to fit in any pony-sized tents, slept in the back of one of the carriages with a blanket. The guards kept up a watch rotation, so that the rest of us could all sleep.
In the morning, breakfast was prepared by the guards, which, sadly, meant no more Fluttercakes. Too bad, those things are delicious! I have to remember to ask her how she makes them. Then we packed everything up, hopped in the carriages...
Okay, I don't know if I can adequately explain what it's like to fly in an open carriage pulled by a pair of pegasi. It. is. awesome! I wished, just for a minute, that I could have been Rainbow Dash, instead of Pinkie Pie, because flying like this? Seriously cool!
The wind whipped our manes around, except for Rarity, who cast some sort of shield spell to protect her coiffure. That spell had the unfortunate side-effect of making everything she said sound like it was coming out of the bottom of a well, and none of us told her how silly she sounded... it was hilarious!
The ground flashed beneath us with astonishing speed, the browns of the plains giving way to the dark greens of the Everfree, and then into the more delicate and gentle greens of Ponyville almost before I could believe it. We landed gently, just outside of town, and we decided to take a break and have some lunch before we left on the final sprint to the castle.
The guards all went to a cafe to eat and rest up, and my pony friends decided to head to Sugarcube Corner, with the exception of Fluttershy, who wanted to stop by her cottage really quickly to make sure her animals were okay, and Twilight, who wanted to check and make sure Spike was doing all right.
I went off with Cinnamon Swirl and Terrace, looking for the spa. Terrace went along, I'm guessing, because he felt guilty about Cinnamon, and I went along because... well, pretty much for the same reason, honestly. I mean, it was my joke that did this to the poor guy.
I have to tell you, I'm still just in awe of Ponyville! I giggled to myself in what was probably a very disturbing way as I walked with the others to get the filly a bubble bath. We didn't quite make it, though, because a voice in the crowd shouted, "Is that my baby? Is that my Cinnamon Swirl?"
"Sorry, Cinnamon," a shame-faced Terrace said to the suddenly terrified filly. "I kind of told your mom what happened."
"What?!" the filly asked, panicked.
"Sorry! She scares me!"
A thick-waisted middle-aged cream-colored mare came charging towards us, a hungry look in her eye. I looked down at the filly next to me as he whimpered and clung to my leg, all the color drained from of his face. He looked up at me with pleading eyes and said, "Help me!"
"That's my mother! She's always wanted a filly! I have five brothers! Five! She never stopped trying, and now she thinks she has a daughter! Help me!"
As the mare thundered down the street, I scooped up Cinnamon Swirl and held him to me, and for once, he didn't try to bop me in the nose.
"Stay away from my baby!" I shrieked at the mare, who skidded to a halt in confusion. She looked at Terrace, who just shrugged and looked away.
"That's my baby!" she shouted back. Ponies were gathering around to watch the show.
"Nuh-uh! Mine, crazy lady!" I said.
"You don't have a baby, Pinkie Pie!" Bon Bon shouted not-so-helpfully from the crowd.
"Oh, nice one, candybutt!" Cinnamon Swirl shouted back, clinging to my neck like I was a life-preserver.
I was about to make a clever retort when Cinnamon's mom slammed into me like a wrecking ball. The filly went flying, and his mother made a truly impressive diving catch. As I lay there, gasping for breath, Cinnamon Swirl was dragged off by the manic mare.
"Mine! My little filly! At last!"
"Noooo!" Cinnamon Swirl cried while being dragged away. "Help me, you colossal butt-heads!"
"My son!" the mare giggled. "My daughter! It's my son and my daughter!"
"You guys suuuuuuuuck!" Cinnamon Swirl's voice faded away, and I finally regained enough breath to talk.
"We should help him!"
Terrace laid a hoof on my shoulder and said, sadly, "Forget it, Allen. It's Ponyville."
I stared at him in disbelief, then slapped his hoof away.
"You did not just say that. It's not possible."
"Look, where does she live?"
"I dunno. And even if I did, I'm not going there. That mare is seriously nutty."
I glared at him, and then looked away with a sigh. I set off in search of the filly, and Terrace slunk away, probably to go report in to work or something. Honestly, that guy... He stops being two-dimensional just to turn out to be a coward. So disappointing.
I spent the next hour wandering around Ponyville, listening out for the little guy. I mean, I was pretty sure that I'd be able to hear him... After all, how many foul-mouthed fillies would be screaming at the tops of their lungs in Ponyville?
After the fifth time I jumped from around a corner and went "Ah-hah!" at a startled Diamond Tiara and/or Silver Spoon, I decided to give it up. Maybe I could get Pinkie Pie to look for him after we switched back and give his mom a "special" bottle of herbal bubble bath.
I met up with the others at Sugarcube corner, got myself a box of cupcakes to go (all my searching around meant that it was time to get going already) and went with the others, explaining on the way what happened to Cinnamon Swirl. Dash, naturally, laughed her butt off, and there was some general chuckling from the other mares, too. But Twilight and Pinkie both agreed that they'd try to find him and slip a bottle of the cure into his mom's possession at some point.
The pegasi took off and Ponyville dropped away behind us. As we passed overhead, I saw the familiar face of a blond filly, her hair re-done in braids and the rest of her stuck in a frilly pink dress, reaching out of the second story window of one of Ponyville's homes. He was shouting something, which I should probably be glad I couldn't hear. I waved sadly.
Fare thee well, Cinnamon Swirl. Fare thee well.
Anyway, there's a flight ahead, and cupcakes to eat, and friends to talk to, so I'm going to concentrate on all that for now. Next stop, Canterlot!
I mean, I'm not trying to spark jealousy, or anything, but... wow!
The sun was just past the noon position when we flew in past the Canterlot city limits. The city is actually a lot bigger than I expected, with little suburbs dotting the way. The city itself was gleaming white, with lots of gold accents, just like you'd expect. There really were waterfalls cascading off the side of the mountain, shimmering in the sunlight and casting rainbows all the way down. It was breathtakingly beautiful.
That didn't stop us from talking, naturally. What stopped us from talking was the fact that I was hanging out of every side of the carriage, nearly at once, babbling constantly about the things I was seeing. I couldn't stop myself! It was so awesome, and there was Canterlot in the distance!
We had more than one carriage, of course. I was in one with Pinkie, Rarity and Fluttershy. Twilight was in another one with her brother and Applejack. I think she might have felt a little uncomfortable around me, since the whole "cute" thing the other night.
Oh, well. I still had a great time! The cupcakes, sadly, did not survive the trip. Their sacrifice will be remembered fondly.
I was too excited to really have anything even resembling a coherent conversation outside of "Look at that! Oooh! Wow, look at that!', so the other three just talked without me. I vaguely remember Pinkie saying something about the Earth, or something, but honestly, that whole trip was a blur.
We finally landed in a courtyard outside of the castle, and we all hopped off. My heart was going a mile a minute. I mean, here I was, right outside Canterlot Castle! And it was so tall! And pointy!
We were ushered in, and I was beyond nervous as we walked through the hallways. What I decided was probably extremely ancient art was set up all over: paintings and tapestries, vases on little stands and in cupolas, weird little statues... that kind of thing. It was like walking through a museum that a bunch of people lived in.
It wasn't much later that the eight of us (Shining Armor had tagged along) were waiting outside of the Princesses' reception area, just on the other side of the throne room. After a few minutes, we were shown in, and there she was: Princess Luna.
She got up out of the throne (the exact same one you see in the intro of the cartoon) and descended the stairs to meet us.
"Twilight Sparkle! How good to see you, again! And you others, as well!"
I was impressed. She looked at Pinkie in my body without even blinking an eye, even though nopony here apparently had any idea what a 'human' was.
We got her filled in on what happened pretty quickly. She asked a few questions here and there, but otherwise let us get our story out. When we were done, she turned to me and looked at me with a considering expression. I suddenly felt very, very nervous.
"So. What does our visitor think of Canterlot?" she asked. And that's all it took for my nervousness to vanish and for my mouth to flip into overdrive.
"Oh my gosh, it's so super-awesomely fantastic that I can't even believe I'm here, this is like a dream, oh wow this castle is just amazing and everything here is so old, well I don't mean you, Princess, though I suppose you're pretty old, kind of, but you don't look like it and you're so pretty and your mane is just amazing, I'd like to touch it, and the paintings are cool and so are the tapestries and those sculptures look really expensive and I don't know if this is real gold on the floor or not, but I think it probably is and I really want to touch your mane and how does it do that?"
Luna just blinked at me after the verbal onslaught, while I grinned and blinked back at her.
"Well?" I asked after a minute.
"Well?" she repeated, confused.
"Can I? Touch your mane, I mean?"
"I... No. I am sorry, little... pony?"
"Aww..." I pouted.
"Please, do not do that."
"Do what, Princess?"
"Those eyes... those accursed, soulful... argh! All right! You may touch the royal mane, but only for a moment!"
I stood up and plunged my hoof into Luna's ethereal mane. There's really no way to describe what it felt like. Maybe... like cool, dry water, flowing and swirling around my hoof and leg, with the sense of barely-concealed energy, almost like it was humming with electrical power. That's not exactly right, but that's as close as I can come to describe it.
"That is enough," she said after a while. It wasn't as long as I wanted, but it was probably longer than she was comfortable with, especially once I started giggling. Hey, what can I say? It tickled!
"I shall send for one of Celestia's Mirror of Souls, and have it brought to us in the antechamber," Luna said, and one of the attendants in the room took the hint and scurried off. "Also, I shall write to my sister anon, informing her of what has transpired. I have no doubt that she will wish to return forthwith to see to these matters for herself."
Luna then instructed Shining Armor to return to duty, which he did, and the rest of us to go get something to eat and wait nearby for her summons. Which we did. But, as we were eating, something occurred to me. There was something that I had forgotten. Something important. I became quieter and quieter as my sense of unease grew, until finally Twilight said, "Allen, is something wrong?"
"Yes," I said, my voice low. All other conversation stopped as the others looked at me, concern and worry in their eyes. "But I can't remember... Something is wrong... "
Suddenly, it hit me. I knew what it was!
"What is it?" Twilight asked, concerned.
"I... I can't believe I forgot this..." I replied.
"What is it?" Rarity asked, eyes wide.
"All this time has passed. All this time..." I said, voice raw with disbelief.
"Just spit it out, already!" Pinkie said, sounding vexed.
"Pinkie!" I said, getting up on my hind legs and grabbing him (somehow) with my hooves. "I totally forgot! And you totally forgot, too!"
"What?!" she said, alarmed.
"New! I'm new! Not just to Ponyville, but to Equestria itself! And I never got my party!"
Everypony else groaned and slumped back into their seats, but Pinkie grabbed me by the head and stared intently into my eyes.
"Oh you poor thing!" she said, then hugged me. Which was weird. I was being hugged by both Pinkie Pie and myself at the same time. It hurts the brain to think about it, doesn't it? "Before you get sent home, I personally promise to throw you the biggest, most awesome party I can slap together in under an hour!"
"Thank you, Pinkie!" I said, sniffling a little at the raw emotion. "Thank you so much!"
"You two are ridiculous," Twilight said, to which Pinkie replied, "Adorkable." Twilight blushed and returned her attention to the plate of food in front of her.
It wasn't long after that when Luna sent for us. This time, we met the Princess in her private study, and she had the mirror there already. I looked at it with mild confusion.
"I expected something cooler," Rainbow Dash said. I agreed wholeheartedly.
The mirror in question was a highly polished chunk of, apparently, silver. But no matter how polished silver gets, it doesn't really match a nice glass mirror. We looked a little like funhouse reflections in the thing.
"All right, then. Here is the mirror," the Princess said. "Would you like to switch back now?"
That surprised me. I thought we'd have to go see Skyggie again. Though, after the whole thing with her mirror, I couldn't imagine she'd be too pleased to see us.
"Um. You can do it, Princess?" I asked, concerned.
"Yes," she replied shortly. "Celestia isn't the only one who can utilize the magic in these mirrors."
"Oh. Maybe we should still wait for her," Pinkie said, looking doubtfully at the mirror.
"Don't be absurd. These are not difficult to use. Now get over here and let me swap your brains."
"Noooo!" Pinkie and I said simultaneously.
"Don't make me call the guards," Luna said. "Trust in me. I can do this. You won't feel a thing."
Pinkie and I looked at each other, then at Luna, and we nodded. Her horn lit up, and the Mirror of Souls started glowing as well. Twilight watched with keen interest, probably trying to figure out how the spell worked.
"Well, unless things go terribly awry, that is," Luna continued as her horn flared brightly.
There was an odd feeling. Like, I was suddenly being crowded somehow. I got knocked backwards, landing on my side, my hooves flying out from underneath me.
"Ugh," I said, blinking my eyes and trying to get up. My legs weren't working right, though. "Did anypony get the number of that bus?"
"Nopey-dopey," said Pinkie Pie. "But it sure packed a wallop!"
We both realized something was wrong at about the same time.
"What they hay just happened?!" both of us said, using the same mouth.
"Oopsie," Luna said. "Hold on, let me check my notes."
The Princess quickly left the room, leaving the others all staring at me and Pinkie at the same time. That wasn't hard. We were both in the same body. Her body, to be precise.
"Who are you talking to?" Pinkie asked me. "Yes, that's right, I am asking you."
Um. Okay. You know those abilities you have, where you dream and see other worlds?
Pretty much ever since I got here, I've been trying to use that power to communicate back to my home world.
"Oh, neat! Is it working?"
I have no idea.
"Pinkie, what's going on?" Twilight asked.
"Allen and I are stuck in the same body right now," she said. Then she glanced over at my body, which Fluttershy was nudging.
"He seems to be okay," the pegasus said, which was a huge relief, I gotta say.
Are you gonna keep doing that? a voice sounded in my head It's my head, actually.
It's kind of a habit by now. Sorry if it bugs you.
Nah, it's okay.
It's pretty crowded in here, the little voice in my head said.
Who was that?
Oh, sorry. That's my subconscious.
Oh, neat! I have one of those too! Say hi!
Hi, nice to meet you. I'm Pinkie Pie's subconscious.
This is too crazy.
Hey, we're not crazy! Just because there are four voices in my head all talking at once doesn't make me crazy!
No one said you were! I meant the situation!
Maybe it will help if I imagine my own inner dialogue as blue? I suggested.
That's a good idea!
"You've been standing there just staring at the wall and blinking for the last couple of minutes. Everything okay?"
"Yeppers! I just have a bunch of extra voices in my head right now, that's all!"
Anyway... um, do you mind if I keep narrating?
Nah, go ahead.
Thanks. Anyway, Pinkie explained to the others what was going on, how we were both inhabiting the same body, along with our subconsciouses (who, by the way, seemed to be getting on great. Currently they were exchanging stories about how hard it was to keep us in line, and how clueless we could both be). Twilight and the others seemed okay with that. Or, as Twilight said, "It's not the weirdest thing to have happened this week."
True words, Sparkle.
Luna came back shortly after that, an ancient and yellowed scroll hanging in the air before her, surrounded by a field of her magic.
"I believe I see my error," she said. "I would like to try this again."
"Maybe we should wait for Celestia?" I said, and Luna's eyes narrowed.
"Listen, human! I am fully capable-"
"That was Pinkie who said that!"
"Oh, you little sneak, it was not!" she retorted, taking control of the mouth.
"Be still!" Luna snapped, and the two of us parked Pinkie's pink butt on the floor and shut our collective mouths. Her horn started glowing again.
Good luck Pinkie Pie.
You too. Remember, I owe you a party!
Looking forward to it!
Luna's horn flashed, and this time I felt a tremendous pulling sensation, and then another like I was being hurled across the floor. That was when I realized that I was going to lose access to...
Haha! Oh, that's hilarious! He landed in Fluttershy this time! Oh, I suppose I could do that thing he was doing... Hi, everypony! I'm Pinkie Pie! Luna goofed again, and Allen landed in Fluttershy's head. She doesn't seem to happy. Well, of course she doesn't! She can't hide from somepony in her own head!
Luna is casting the spell again now. Oops, now he's in Rarity's head, and Rarity ended up in Fluttershy's! We're playing musical brains, here, it's hilarious! Okay, now Luna is reading her notes again... Okay she's trying again. Let's hope things go well this-
What the... Where the heck am I? Oh, great. I'm in Pinkie Pie's body. How could Luna keep messing this spell up so badly? It doesn't look so hard! It's just an alteration on Starswirl the Bearded's Superior Alternate Cognitive Conjunction. I mean, if I were stronger, I could cast it myself! Wait, she's trying again to-
Aaah! Consarn it! What just happened? Oh, great. Ah'm Pinkie Pie! This'll be a hard one to explain back home, especially since I think Big Mac's got a crush on Pinkie. Darnit, Ah can't believe that-
Aaaaah!!! Okay! Okay! I feel like I'm going to be sick! Too many body swaps! What's going on now? Oh, back in Pinkie's body. I can handle this. I'd better tell Luna not to-
Whee! This is fun! Hi, everypo-
What?! No! Oh, this is so not cool! Where are my wings? Why am I pink? Luna had better-
What? Oh, not again! Well, better'n bein' Rarity, Ah suppose. At least Ah'm an earth pony. Still, maybe we'd better just tell Luna to-
Blergh? What? Pinkie again? Okay, that's it!
"Okay, Luna, that's enough!" I shouted. The Princess looked at me in surprise, probably because nopony had ever shouted at her like that before. "Seriously, I think we'd better just... hold off. Because all that body-swapping is making me feel slightly woozy."
"Very well, then," Luna said with a sniff. "If you wish to wait for Celestia, then we shall wait for Celestia."
The Princess of the Night turned and marched her moon on out of the room, and I turned back to the others.
"Oh my goodness, oh my goodness," Twilight was saying, crouched down on the floor with her forelegs over her eyes.
"This is entirely unacceptable," Rainbow Dash said, glaring cross-eyed up at her disheveled mane.
"Now, Ah reckon Pinkie's right. We're better off waitin' on Celestia," Fluttershy said. Then she walked over to Applejack and took the stetson off of her head and slammed it down on her pink mane.
"Hey, you could have just asked!" Applejack said, grinning hugely and bouncing on her hooves.
"Ack, too much hair!" Rarity complained. "And not enough wings! This sucks!"
"Uh. Hey," I said, doing a quick count. "Anypony seen Twilight?"
Just then, my body groaned and sat up.
"What just happened?" it said. "Oh. Great. Now I'm the human."
So, to sum up:
I'm back in Pinkie's body, Fluttershy is in Twilight Sparkle's body, Rarity is in Rainbow Dash's, Applejack is in Fluttershy's, Pinkie is in Applejack's, Rainbow is in Rarity's, and Twilight is in mine.
Yay, good job, team!
We sat around the antechamber in an uncomfortable silence for a while. Nopony seemed much in the mood for talking at the moment.
Lucky for us, it wasn't long after that when the door opened, and Celestia herself walked calmly in. She... looked... amazing. Seriously, seriously amazing. Regal doesn't begin to cover it. She just had this air of calmness, of strength. Like she was in total control over every situation, and over her own emotions.
She took one look at the seven of us sitting there and burst out laughing.
"It isn't funny, Celestia," Luna groused from behind her sister.
"Oh, Luna, I'm so terribly sorry, but it really is." Celestia replied as we bodyswapped seven grinned awkwardly back at her.
"Well, I was certain I remembered the spell correctly! I mean, it's been over a thousand years since I've last used it, but it's not a hard spell!"
"No," Celestia said, walking in and looking around. "It isn't. But it does help if you don't use the one Mirror of Souls in our collection that is malfunctioning."
As one, everypony in the room turned to look at the polished silver mirror in the corner of the room. Celestia's magic wrapped around it and turned it around. On the back of the mirror there was a large sticker that said "Defective, do not use!"
"Oh," Luna said feebly, and my heart (wherever it currently was) went out to her.
"Maybe that should have been on the front of the mirror, too?" I suggested. "You know, to make it harder to miss?"
"Good idea," Celestia said. "I'll make a note of it. In the meanwhile..."
Her horn glowed golden again, and another mirror appeared. This one shimmered like mercury in a highly polished frame.
"I believe I can fix this. If you'll allow me?"
We all nodded eagerly. Celestia's horn started glowing, and I felt my nerves ratcheting up tightly. Her horn flared, and I felt another sensation of movement...
*tap tap tap*
Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?
Hahah, just kidding! Hi, everypony! It's me, Pinkie Pie, again! Allen's asked me to keep up on his 'reporting'. He's not even sure that this is going anywhere, but if it is, he want's to make sure you all know what happened. If there even is anyone, that is.
Well, Celestia got us sorted out lickety-split, which is a funny thing to say, and I know a pony named Lickety-split back in Ponyville. Anyway, Allen was really happy to be back in his own body, and I'm happy to be back in mine, so yay! Everypony is happy!
We all sat down with Celestia after that and explained what happened. At the mention of the Dark Queen, Celestia just sighed and rolled her eyes.
"She's more annoying than dangerous," the Princess said. "I really wish she'd stop trying to take over Equestria."
"She looks like a glittery pixie chihuahua with a horn," Allen said somberly.
Celestia just stared at him for a moment and then laughed. "She really does, doesn't she?"
Anyway, Celestia offered to send Allen home right then and there, though she warned that it was a one-way trip.
"I can send you home, but I can't bring you back," she said somberly. "Once you go, you'll never be able to return to Equestria."
"Wait, wait," Allen said. "Pinkie got here, somehow, so I know it's possible!"
"Hmm. Yes, that's true" Celestia said, looking at me in surprise. "Interesting. I'll have to look into that. Maybe there's a way I don't know of?"
"Besides, he can't go yet," I said. "I owe him a party!"
"Oh! Can we have it in Ponyville?" Allen said. "I want to meet some more of the background ponies! And hug the CMC!"
"You sure are big on the hugging," Applejack said.
"Oh, that reminds me," Allen replied with a grin, and then nothing in the world could stop him from hugging all of us. Except for Fluttershy, who looked a little nervous. He stopped and knelt down, holding his arms open. "Fluttershy?" he said. "You don't have to, but I really would like a hug. I mean, if I'm not too scary?"
"You're not too scary at all," Fluttershy said with a smile, and hugged the human just as hard as he hugged her.
Aww, so sweet!
Anyway, we flew back to Ponyville that same day. I had a party to plan for my new friend! We talked a little on the way, too.
"I really wish I could stay longer," Allen said, as we zoomed through the air in the back of the pegasus-carriage.
"Well, why don't you?" I asked him.
"I have friends back on Earth, too. And family that will worry about me, if I don't come back. Plus... Well, I like human women, and there's a shortage around here."
That's understandable, I guess.
"Oh, that reminds me," I said. "You had some little rectangle thing that was buzzing on your desk."
"Rectangle? Oh, my cell phone?"
"Is that what it was? Okay. Well, I touched something marked 'answer' when it did that once, and then it started talking and said it was your boss and were you coming into work."
"Argh!" Allen said.
"I said that I had some weird stuff going on, and could I have some time off. Boss said he understood, and take a couple weeks off, and come back when you feel better."
"Really? Wow. Thanks, Pinkie! Maybe I can stay for a while longer!"
"And then someone named Rachel called."
"Argh!" Allen said, louder than before. Everypony looked at him. "Sorry," he said to them, and then to me, "That's my girlfriend."
"Oh. Well, she started yelling at me about something or other as soon as I answered. Something about missing an anniversary?"
"Argh!" Allen said. "Wait... it's not our anniversary."
"She said you missed a six-month anniversary, or something."
"I told her I didn't know about it. Then she yelled some more. I told her to stop being a meanie-pants, and then she got really quiet. Then she said you guys were 'broken up' or something."
"Arr... wait. You know what? You probably actually did me a favor, there."
"Yeah, she's kind of a nutcase."
Anyway, we eventually landed in Ponyville, where I wasted no time at all in setting up the biggest, most awesomest party I possibly could in Sugarcube Corner. Allen got a lot of stares, of course, but then ponies had stared at me, too, when I was in his body.
Still, he was outgoing and friendly enough that pretty much everypony there warmed up to him. He even did what he said, and tracked down the Cutie Mark Crusaders and gave them hugs! They giggled when he did that, and stared at him wide-eyed when he said that he knew that they would find their special talents soon and that he was a big fan. And then he said this:
"And, even though you haven't gotten your cutie marks yet, isn't all the work you've done trying worth it, just for the friendships you've made and the adventures that you've had?"
And all three of them nodded and smiled. And then they hugged him again.
We played lots of games, ate way too many sweets, and just had lots of fun and laughed a lot. And then, when the party was over, Celestia herself showed up and asked if he wanted to go home yet.
"Can I stay, for just another week?" he asked, and Celestia said yes!
Well, anyway, Allen stayed in town for a while, visiting everything and talking to what he called "the background ponies" whenever he could. Mostly, he'd ask them their names and what they did for a living, and then just listen with this happy little smile on his face. For some reason, he seemed really interested in talking to our mail pegasus.
Finally, the week was up, and we all took the train back to Canterlot. Celestia was there, along with Luna. And Allen, much to everypony's surprise, asked if he could hug them! I couldn't believe it! I couldn't believe it even more when they said yes! So he did! He hugged the Princesses!
And then it was time for him to go home, which was really sad. We said our goodbyes, and we hugged even more (my hugging muscles got sore!). We cried. He cried. The Princesses didn't cry, but they smiled sadly.
And then he said, "I don't know if I can ever come back. But believe me when I say, I'll spend as much time as I possibly can trying to find a way. Good bye to all of you. Meeting you all was the greatest thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life."
And then the Princesses cast their spells. A bright light appeared, surrounding Allen, and then it suddenly went 'pop!' and vanished.
And then Allen was gone, and I'm kind of sad, now, so I'm going to stop doing this.
So long, everypo... I mean, everyone! This was Pinkie Pie, over and out!
You know, after I came back from Equestria, I figured I wouldn't be trying any more of this reporting. I mean, I lost Pinkie's fourth wall abilities and everything, right? So what was the point of even trying.
Thing is, I figured something out. The last few weeks, I've been having weird dreams. Dreams of Equestria, and sometimes of other places. It took me a while to realize that these weren't just regular dreams. I was fourth-wall breaking, like Pinkie was. Like Pinkie, I could dream my way into other worlds.
Somehow, some of Pinkie's abilities had rubbed off on me, and I ain't likely to complain.
So, naturally, I set about to try and find a way back into Equestria. I missed all my friends. My job is boring. My family is okay, but we don't talk much these days. And I've rediscovered the joys of bachelorhood now that Rachel and I broke up. Not much keeping me here. The question was, how was I gonna get back?
Well, how did Pinkie get back? She just tried making things out of various bits of electronics, and believing that whatever it was she built would somehow work to get her back. So that's what I did.
I never did replace my TV, too expensive and I ain't made of money, but I scavenged parts from discarded appliances and such, even going to the junkyard one day. My new computer was left alone, as I believed that I could simply use the parts I got for cheap. And I didn't want to be out another computer, if this didn't work.
But I couldn't even allow myself to think this might not work. Not even once. I just kept at it, day in and day out, not even thinking about what I was doing, just believing.
I spent day after day with a soldering iron and bits of scrap electronics. What I made looked more like modern art than any kind of device that would zap me bodily into another world, but I kept going. What's a few dozen hours and a score of scorch marks on my hands and arms compared to the thought of going back to Equestria at will?
Finally, I had the device done, or at least it felt done. It was as done as it was gonna get, I figure. I took a few weeks off of work, paid my rent in advance for the next two months, left messages for everyone I knew, and in all other ways I could think of, made myself ready.
The device I made didn't look like Pinkie's. Not even close. It was a thick ring, with handles made of electrical tape on either side. I grabbed the stuff I planned on bringing, plugged in the batteries, and flipped the switch.
Two minutes later, I picked my crispy self up offa the floor. It hadn't worked, which left me mighty upset, I can tell you. The darned thing just exploded in my hands, luckily not doin' much in the way of damage to me. I might lose my deposit on the carpet, though. When I dropped what was left of the device, it kinda burned a hole in it.
I got up, and made my way to the bathroom. I was gonna check on myself to make sure I wasn't burned or bleedin' anywhere. And that's when I got a shock. A metaphorical one, rather than the literal one I'd just had a minute ago. When I turned the light on and looked in the mirror, a familiar face looked back at me. But, as you may have figured out by now, it weren't mine. I don't have green eyes, after all.
There was another shift sensation, like I'd felt far too often recently, and suddenly I was standing in a mare's bedroom and lookin' into a mirror. I saw my own face, lookin' startled, starin' back at me, and then it faded. All that was left was the reflection of the mare who's body I was inhabitin' now.
Welp, I don't rightly know if this was my own doin', with that device I'd made, or if the Dark Queen was goofing 'round again, or something else entirely. What I did know was that I was back in Equestria, which meant that I would get to see my friends again, and maybe even have another adventure!
I left the bedroom at a trot, glad that I remembered how to walk on four legs (it's kinda like ridin' a bike, really). A minute later, I went back and got the stetson and put it on top of my blond mane. For some reason, I felt naked without it. Then, after a quick last check in the mirror to make sure the hat looked proper, I tipped myself a wink and walked out the door.
Time to go see Twilight. And, while I'm at it, the rest of my friends, too. I just hope Applejack isn't too worked up all by her lonesome, back on Earth.
Ah, I'm sure she'll be fine. And we got the Mirror of Souls to switch us back, whenever we want.
This is Allen, probably soon to be known as "Appleguy", signin' off from Equestria. Yee-fricken'-haw!