Over the river and through the woods, Pinkie Pie cheerfully hopped along. The curly-maned pony had just concluded a visit with her friend Zecora, deep in the heart of the Everfree Forest. The pony and zebra had shared a nice little chat over some tea, prepared by Zecora, and some cupcakes, provided by Pinkie. The pink equine still had a few of the sweet snacks left, stored safely in her saddle-bags.
Pinkie hummed a cheerful tune to herself as she bounced along the winding path through the dark woods. Most ponies would have been afraid of what might be lurking in the dark trees and dense underbrush that lined the trail. Pinkie, however, wasn't afraid. She'd taken this path dozens and dozens of times, and she knew nothing would bother her. And on the off chance something did accost or confront her, her odd little Pinkie Sense would warn her ahead of time with a twitch or itch or something.
Pinkie stopped dead in her tracks. Her right ear was itching. That one happened when...
She was being watched.
"Hello?" the earth pony called out. "Who's there?" Only silence answered her. "I know you're there." Still only silence. Pinkie narrowed her eyes.
Slowly, she began to turn her head from side to side. She reasoned that if the itching faded or intensified when she looked in a certain direction, she could eventually narrow down the location of who or what was watching her. Like an odd itch-based sonar or something. Sure enough, as her gaze drifted over a nearby bush, her ear began itching more intensely. "AHA!!" Pinkie blurted out. "There you are! Now come on out, or I'll-"
A hideous, keening shriek filled the air. A large creature, slightly bigger than Pinkie, leaped up out of the bush and into the air. It looked like a large, bipedal lizard, with massive talons on its hind legs, smaller claws on its fore-arms, and a mouth full of razor sharp teeth. Its scales were a mottled green-grey hue, with black stripes running down its back. Amber eyes were locked on Pinkie, and the pony could see the hunger burning in them. This creature had one thing on its mind:
And Pinkie was all too happy to help.
Before the lizard-beast could land, or even react, a cupcake smashed into its face at terminal velocity. The creature was sent flailing, its trajectory and balance thrown off by the impact. The predatory animal landed in a crumpled heap, the remains of the cupcake coating the inside of its toothy jaws.
The creature quickly leaped back to its feet, extended its arms, and flexed its claws. For a moment, it had the full intention of attacking the small pink prey in front of it.
But then, as its tongue registered the taste of the cupcake in its mouth, the beast froze. Slowly, it began to chew thoughtfully, trying to figure out what these new tastes and textures were. It swallowed the baked deliciousness, then sat there, its mind slowly processing what had just transpired.
Pinkie, smirking knowingly, pulled another cupcake from her saddle-bag. The hunger quickly faded from the reptile's yellow eyes, instead replaced by excitement. It opened its fang-filled maw widely, its tongue lolling out as it awaited the next tasty treat. With a giggle, Pinkie tossed the cupcake - blue icing with red sprinkles - into the air. The lizard-thing caught it with lightning speed, and quickly gobbled it down.
What looked like the lizard equivalent of a smile spread across the creature's features. It slowly lowered its claws and took on a more nonthreatening stance, and began to cautiously approach the pink pony. It tilted its head slightly, before making some sort of soft, curious noises. They sounded like a mix between a bird's chirping and an odd, low screeching noise. The tone of the noises seemed to imply it was being inquisitive.
"My name is Pinkie Pie," Pinkie grinned, pointing at herself. "Pinkie. Pie. Pinkie Pie."
The lizard made three short chirp-like-noises, the syllables and pitch matching Pinkie's name.
"Yeah, Pinkie Pie," Pinkie nodded gleefully. "And you... Oh, hang on. I think I know what you are."
The beast tilted its head to the right, making a gesture of curiosity.
"You're a Velociraptor, right?" the pony asked politely. "I think I've seen pictures of you before in books and stuff."
The creature stared at her for a moment, experiencing an existential crisis. Ve-loc-i-rap-tor. Velociraptor. The word sounded so strange, so foreign... yet oddly familiar. Oddly... right.
Until today, it had always just been... itself. A predator. A slave to its instincts. Nothing more. Or was it? Now it felt different. It was discovering new things. The delicious food the pink creature had thrown at it. The odd sense of comfort it felt in the presence of what should have been its prey. The bizarre sense of familiarity the word "velociraptor" held. It turned the word over in its head again. Yes. Yes... It was a velociraptor. That's what it was. A velociraptor. Slowly, the raptor nodded, confirming its identity for both Pinkie Pie, and itself.
"Okay, Mr. Raptor!" Pinkie grinned. "Do you want another cupcake?"
The raptor titled its head again. Cupcake? What? What is a cup-
Before it could finish that thought, the pink pony stuffed another cupcake into its mouth. The raptor sat there, confused for a moment. It then quickly gulped down the treat, and flashed what looked like a smile. Oh. That was a cupcake.
"You like cupcakes, don't you Mr. Raptor?" Pinkie asked. "I have more back at my house. Would you like some more?" The raptor nodded enthusiastically. "You have to promise not to hurt anyone though. No biting, no scratching, no eating any other living creatures. Got it?"
The raptor stared. It then slowly nodded. If not hurting anything meant more cupcakes....... then it was perfectly fine with never being a carnivore again. Yes, that was a perfectly fair trade. It began to nod more enthusiastically.
"Great!" Pinkie exclaimed. "Though what should I call you? Do you like Mr. Raptor? Or would you like something different? How 'bout... Utah?"
The raptor blinked a few times. Utah? Why Utah? What's a Utah?
"I don't know why, either. It just sounded cool," Pinkie shrugged.
The raptor was now even more confused. How did she...? No matter. If being docile and going by the name of Utah meant cupcakes... so be it!
"Okay, Utah it is!" the pony cheered. "Ready to go, Utah?" The raptor nodded, excitement shining in its eyes. "Great! Let's go back to Ponyville, then!" And with that, Pinkie Pie began to hop along the forest path once more. The raptor stared at her for a moment, before mimicking her bouncing with short leaps of its own. And so, side by side, Pinkie Pie and Utah the Velociraptor began to make their way through the Everfree Forest, back towards a completely unsuspecting and unprepared Ponyville...
"I'm bored..." Spike grumbled.
"You didn't have to tag along you know..." Twilight replied with a slight roll of her eyes.
The purple unicorn and her draconic companion had just entered the Everfree Forest, and were casually walking along the trail that led to Zecora's hut. Twilight usually went by her place once or twice a week, to socialize and discuss magic, alchemy, culture, and other scholarly topics.
"Yeah, I know," Spike shrugged. "But I haven't seen Zecora in a while. I thought it'd be nice to say hi." Twilight stopped trotting and turned to stare at him, clearly dubious. Finally, Spike rubbed the back of his neck and smiled sheepishly. "Oh, and, uh... Maybe ask about a potion or something to make me more manly or something? You know, uh, to better get Rarity's attention? Eh heh heh..." he chuckled nervously.
Twilight continued to stare for a moment, before sighing and shaking her head. "Come on, lover boy," she said with a playful smile. "We can't be late. And the sooner we get there the better. You don't even want to know what sort of stuff lives out here."
"Like what?" Spike asked curiously. "Besides, y'know, manticores and parasprites and-"
"Pinkie Pie?" the unicorn and dragon both asked in unison. There was no mistaking that familiar sound of hopping hooves coming from around the corner just ahead of them. Twilight and Spike stopped walking for a moment, expecting their friend hop into view. And their suspicions were correct. A few seconds later, Pinkie Pie bounded around the corner, appearing on the path in front of them.
They did not, however, expect a velociraptor to hop out alongside Pinkie from behind the bushes.
"WHAT IS THAT?!" Spike screamed, flailing his arms and falling back onto his tail in shock.
"IS THAT A VELOCIRAPTOR?!" Twilight shrieked in confused horror, backpedaling a few steps to put some distance between herself and the dinosaur.
Pinkie and the raptor immediately stopped dead in their tracks. "Hi Twilight! Hi Spike!" Pinkie Pie cheerfully waved. The raptor simply tilted its head from side to side in confusion.
"PINKIE!! RAPTOR!! WHAT?!" Twilight exclaimed, her mind barely able to process what it was seeing.
"Oh, you mean Utah?" Pinkie tilted her head, mimicking the raptor's actions. "He's my new friend."
Twilight and Spike stared. An awkward silence fell over the four creatures. Finally, Twilight spoke up.
"Okay, wait. There are so many things wrong with this situation..." the purple unicorn observed. Her voice was now much calmer than before, though her tone was audibly tense. Slowly, the raised a hoof to her forehead, and began to massage her brow. "First of all, where did you find a velociraptor? Second of all, how did you befriend it? Third of all, why? And fourth of all...... Utah?" she quirked an eyebrow.
"Yeah, uh..." Spike weakly muttered, "What she said."
Pinkie simply flashed her characteristic grin. "One, I found him the forest. Two, I tamed him with cupcakes. Three, I thought he was hungry and might want a friend," she gleefully replied. "And four, I dunno, it just seemed to fit."
Twilight and Spike stared. "Okay, I'm not even going to try to touch the 'taming with cupcakes' and 'needed a friend' points. But seriously, Utah?" Twilight asked, her expression one of sheer confusion.
Utah the velociraptor tilted his head from side to side again. What was she saying about him? He didn't quite follow. Pinkie shrugged. "Like I said, it just seemed... right."
"But he's a velociraptor," Twilight deadpanned.
"Well, duh," Pinkie Pie rolled her eyes playfully. "He's certainly not a T-Rex."
"Which mean's he's not a Utahraptor," the unicorn answered. "So why name him Utah?"
Pinkie tilted her head curiously. "A what now?"
Twilight facehooved. This was hurting her brain. "Nevermind. Okay. Fine. Utah the Velociraptor. That works, I guess..."
Of course it works, Utah thought. It was his name after all.
Wait, since when could it understand pony speech? Utah blinked a few times, dumbstruck. What did those cupcakes have in them?!
"Y'know..." Spike muttered, cautiously approaching Utah. "Now that I'm not terrified he wants to eat my liver... He's actually pretty cool."
"Yup!" Pinkie chimed. "You can come closer. He won't bite. Or scratch. Or eviscerate."
Spike took a few steps closer. Utah curiously watching the small purple lizard-thing slowly approach him. Spike took a few more steps. Utah continued to stare. "I don't know if I like the way he's looking at me, come to think of it..." the dragon muttered, taking a step back.
"I promise you Spike, he's harmless. Watch, I'll prove it. Hey Utah," Pinkie turned to the raptor, "Want a hug?"
Hug? Utah blinked. What is a hu-
Without warning, the pink pony threw her forelegs around him and squeezed him tightly. Utah let out a surprised squawk. What was she doing? Was this a trap? An attack? Some weird mating ritual? A challenge for dominance of the pack? The raptor's mind raced. It thought about trying to escape, twisting free or leaping back from her. But it very quickly calmed itself down, and realized Pinkie wasn't attacking it or anything. In fact, this strange embrace - a "hug" as she called it - was strangely nice. Very comfortable, oddly soothing...
And that was how Utah discovered that hugs were awesome.
"Wow..." Spike stared. "Pinkie totally just hugged a raptor."
"They're supposed to have feathers..." Twilight muttered to herself, staring into space. "Why doesn't it have feathers? Why...? Scales...? Feathers...?"
Spike ignored the scholar's mental breakdown, returning his attention to the dinosaur. "Well, if he's really harmless..." The purple dragon walked up to Utah, much more casual and less cautious than before. He stopped a foot or so in front of him, leaned forward, and began to stare at the massive talons on Utah's feet. "Woooooaaaaah... Coooooooool..." the baby dragon crooned.
Utah was still lost in hug-induced bliss. He had no idea his claws were being ogled.
Eventually, Pinkie broke the embrace, and trotted a few steps back. "See? Perfectly harmless!" she exclaimed happily. Utah finally regained his sense, and looked down at the baby dragon in front of him.
"Awesome..." Spike blinked, studying the claws on Utah's forelimbs. "Y'know, I wonder if Zecora has a potion to turn me into a raptor...?"
"His name is Utah, but he's a velociraptor..." Twilight babbled, nearly catatonic. "Velociraptor mongoliensis... Not Utahraptor ostrommaysorum Utah... Raptor......"
"Oh boy..." Spike frowned. "Uh... I better get her to Zecora's. Get her mind off of all this. Or what's left of her mind, at least..."
"Okie-dokie!" Pinkie replied. "Tell Zecora I said hi! Me and Utah are going into town, so I can give him more cupcakes and introduce him to the rest of our friends..."
"Velociraptors were pack hunters. They worked together with their friends, too... Predatory friendship magic..." Twilight babbled. Spike gently grabbed a hold of one of her hooves, and slowly led her away. "Myyyy little raptor...." she sang off-key.
Pinkie and Utah both stared as the dragon and unicorn made their departure. Then, in unison, they both shrugged. "Huh. Oh hey, Applejack's farm isn't too far from here. Want to go say hi to her?" Pinkie asked her raptor friend. Utah nodded in agreement. "Yay! Alrighty, lets go!"
And with that, Pinkie Pie began to hop along the forest path once again, with Utah leaping into the air and quickly following suit.
Boing. Boing. Boing.
Applejack was having a good day. It wasn't a very eventful day or anything. In fact, nothing about it was out-of-the-ordinary. Which was exactly why it was a good day.
She'd gotten up early, done all her chores, and was now reclining on the porch of her farm. Her flank was comfortably seated in a rocking chair, and she had a tall glass of apple juice by her side for refreshment. No crazy plans with her friends, no villainous schemes threatening Ponyville, nothing weird or dangerous transpiring... Just a normal, quiet day. Most ponies would have considered it all quite boring. But Applejack was quite content.
Up until Applebloom ran up and started babbling about monsters.
Applejack hadn't noticed her sister running down the road and across the yard. Not until she ran right up to her, waving her hooves and screaming. "Monster monster monster Ah saw a monster!!" Applebloom exclaimed.
Applejack sighed. "Whoa there, sis. What'd ya see?"
"A monster!" Applebloom blurted out, her eyes wide with terror.
The front door to the farm opened, and Big Mac strode out on to the porch. "What's goin' on?" he asked.
"Applebloom thinks she saw a monster," the older sister replied with a roll of her eyes.
"But Ah did! Ya gotta believe me!" Applebloom pleaded. "It was big, scaly, had claws, and was chasing Pinkie Pie!"
Applejack's expression instantly went stern and serious. "Okay, time out. What about Pinkie Pie?"
"She was hopping along, and the monster was hoppin' along with her! It looked like a giant lizard!" Applebloom exclaimed.
Applejack smiled softly. "Sis, I think you might have been seein' things. That was prob'ly Gummy. He must have had a growth spurt or somethin', or yer eyes were just playin' tricks on ya."
Applebloom glared. "Ah think I know the diff'rence 'tween a gator and a monster."
Applejack smirked. "Sure ya do, sis." She then picked up her glass of apple juice, and took a sip.
Which she promptly spat out all over Applebloom. "What in tarnation?!" the orange earth pony yelped, ignoring the angry protests of her beverage-saturated sister.
Pinkie Pie had just hopped through the front gate of the farmstead. And hopping along right next to her was, just like a Applebloom had said, a giant lizard. More specifically, a dinosaur. And even more specifically... "Is that a velociraptor?" Applejack weakly asked.
"Eeyup," Big Mac replied calmly, despite his eyes being wide in shock.
While the Apple clan looked on in horror, Pinkie Pie turned to Utah and grinned. "Hey look, it's my friend Applejack and her family. Wanna go say hi?" Utah nodded enthusiastically. He then dropped into a low stance, and began to sprint rapidly towards the farmstead. He wanted to share the magic of hugs with Pinkie's friends.
Unfortunately, it looked more like he wanted to make a snack out of them.
Applejack jumped out of her chair, knocking her drink to the porch. She didn't even care that the glass broke. "Get in the house!" she yelled. Big Mac threw open the front door, and promptly raced inside. Without giving her a chance to react, she grabbed Applebloom and ran through the door behind her brother. The moment she was inside, she bucked the door shut.
"What are we gonna do?!" Applebloom fearfully screamed.
"Hang on, hang on!" Applejack barked, setting her sister down. She immediately trotted over to a nearby sofa and gave it a strong kick. The piece of furniture slid across the room, and slammed flat against the doorway. "Hah hah!" the blonde mare laughed triumphantly. "That should do it."
"Ya think that'll stop it?" Applebloom whimpered.
Big Mac nodded. "Eeyup."
"That thing looks like it's built for speed, not strength. There's no way it's getting through there," Applejack replied with a smirk.
There was a loud thud as something hit the front door. Then another thud. A few seconds of silence. Then a knock. Another knock. A series of impatient, forceful knocks. And finally, silence.
The three siblings stood there for a moment, straining their ears to pick up any sounds or noises that would indicate what the creature was doing. After several tense seconds, they all let out deep, relieved sighs. "Well tha's a relief..." Applebloom smiled nervously.
Big Mac raised a hoof to his forehead, and wiped off a few beads of sweat. "Eeyup."
"Ah think we're safe now," Applejack observed. "Besides, even without the barricade, Ah doubt that thing's smart enough to know how ta open doors, anyhoo."
There was a loud clicking noise in the kitchen. The three siblings all raced to the doorway, and stuck their heads into the room. They were just in time to see the backdoor swing open, and a velociraptor casually walk through the doorway. Utah paused for a moment to wipe his feet on the doormat, before closing the door behind him.
"Clever girl..." Applejack muttered, dumbfounded.
"Ah think it's a boy..." Applebloom grumbled.
"Whatever..." the older sister rolled her eyes. "Ah think the more important thing is for us to-"
Utah turned his attention towards the Apple siblings. He tilted his head to the side curiously, before extended his clawed arms and letting out an excited screech.
"RUN!!" Applejack screamed. Immediately, the three ponies turned and ran back into the living room, leaving a dumbfounded raptor in the kitchen.
Utah wasn't sure if he should feel offended or not. On the one hand, he just wanted to give them a hug. On the other hand, he was a raptor, and raptors tended to scare people... He figured it was nothing personal, and decided that he would just have to show him that he wasn't as dangerous as they thought.
So he gave chase, with the intention of hunting them all down and giving them lots of hugs.
Racing into the living room, Utah managed to glimpse a flash of red as Big Mac darted up the stairs. Letting out a reptilian shriek of excitement, the raptor leaped for the stairs, easily clearing the distance of small room and landing halfway up the steps. Big Mac, having just reached the top of the stairs, looked back over his shoulders. The taciturn stallion's eyes went wide in horror. The piece of straw he'd been chewing on fell from his gaping mouth. "Uh oh!" he gasped.
"Don't just stand there, run ya buckin' idiot!" Applejack barked from the upstairs hallway. She quickly lunged back, grabbing her brother, and yanking him away from the predatory lizard. Utah hissed. There was no need for such uncouth language! Both ponies quickly galloped away, disappearing from the raptor's field of vision.
"Quick, this way!" the raptor heard the youngest pony yell from upstairs, followed by the sound of a door opening.
Utah leaped up the stairs and landed in the middle of the upstairs hallway. Just as he landed, he managed to catch a glimpse of a door at the end of the hall slamming shut. Utah's mouth curled into a grin. In the blink of an eye, the raptor hopped all the way down the length of the hallway, and landed in front of the door. With a bark of triumph, Utah grabbed the doorknob with both clawed hands, gave it a sharp twist, and yanked the door open.
He found himself staring into an empty bedroom. Utah cocked his head to the side, and let out a few chirps of confusion. He stalked into the bedroom, and looked around for a few seconds, before his eyes fell upon a closet. A few quick strides later, he was in front of the door, which he promptly pulled open. Only to find an empty closet.
Suddenly, he heard another door open out in the hallway, followed by the sound of several hooves on hardwood floor. Utah quickly spun around and leaped across the bedroom, landing back in the hallway just in time to spot another door shutting at the opposite end of the corridorl. Letting out a small growl of annoyance, the dinosaur ran down the hall and wrenched this door open too. Once again, he found an empty bedroom.
With a growl of frustration, the raptor whipped its tail out behind it. Just as he did so, the door behind him started to open, only to get slammed back shut by impact of his tail striking it. "Ow!" Applejack yelped from the other side.
Utah blinked twice. He then spun around, grabbed the door, and yanked on the doorknob. Unfortunately, in his excitement he didn't mind his own strength, and the dinosaur ended up ripping the door right off it's hinges.
The result was a very confused dinosaur standing in the hall holding a broken door, while a blonde-haired pony sat in the doorway rubbing her sore nose. The two both instantly froze, and slowly raised their eyes to meet each others' gazes. They stared at each other for a moment. And then chaos erupted.
"RUN RUN RUN RUN RUNNNN!!" Applejack screamed, sprinting right past a startled Utah. The raptor let out a series of apologetic bark-roars, before trying to slam the broken door back into place - right into Big Mac's face as he tried to race through the opening.
"Mah face!" Big Mac yelled in agony. Utah let out a horrified screech, before throwing the broken door back over his shoulders. Unfortunately, the raptor had left the door on the opposite side of the hallway open, so the broken door sailed through the portal and smashed into some furniture in the other room. From somewhere in that room, Applebloom screamed in terror.
Utah whipped his head around, trying to figure out what to do. Applejack was running down the hall. Big Mac was holding his face, which now sported a black eye. Applebloom was screaming incoherently.
All over some hugs, or lack thereof.
And then, as luck would have it, things got worse. Much worse.
"WHO'S MAKIN' ALL THAT RACKET?!" the voice of an elderly mare suddenly boomed from a nearby room.
"Uh oh! We woke Granny Smith up from her nap!" Applejack gasped.
"Y'all know what that means!" Applebloom yelled, racing out of the room where she'd been hiding.
Utah didn't know what it meant. But he had a sinking suspicion. And his suspicions were confirmed when Big Mac bellowed a simple command: "RUN!!!"
And so, the three equines and the dinosaur forgot their differences, and for a brief moment, all worked towards a single common goal - escape. And while the three ponies all made a mad dash for the stairs, Utah decided to take a more... direct route.
Pinkie Pie was standing in front of the farmhouse, a hint of worry on her face. Utah had been in there a long time. At first she thought the screams she'd heard had been of happiness and excitement. But now... Now she was starting to worry a bit. She'd already tried the front door twice, but it hadn't opened. It must have gotten stuck or something when Applejack and her family had run inside earlier - they'd been in such a hurry to make their house look nice for company, or so Pinkie thought. But just as she was about to approach the front door again for another try, Utah reappeared.
Via an upstairs window.
With a shriek, the raptor smashed through a window on the second floor, creating a shower of broken glass and fractured wood framework. He also took brought a purple curtain with him.
Utah landed right next to Pinkie, safe and sound, albeit with a slight look of horror in his eyes. "Oh, hi Utah! Wow, I know Applejack has been saying that window needs replacing, but I didn't think she'd ask you to knock it out for her. Glad to see my friends helping each other out!" the pink pony exclaimed with an oblivious grin. She then noticed the purple drapes wrapped around the confused dinosaur. "Hm. I don't think purple is your color. And dresses aren't really your style. But I bet my friend Rarity could find something you look good in. Maybe a top hat?" she asked rhetorically.
Utah just stared at her, slightly confused. Top hat? What's a top hat?
"Yeah, maybe a top hat and a monocle. Then you'd be a dapper raptor!" Pinkie exclaimed. Utah just continued to stare. "Let's go see if Rarity's busy!"
Utah shrugged. Sure, why not? He then nodded his head towards the road, gesturing for Pinkie to lead the way. Pinkie smiled, and then began to hop back across the farmstead's front yard, back towards the road to town. Utah hopped along after her, following her lead.
Meanwhile, Applejack, Big Mac, and Applebloom made their escape out the back door and into the orchard. They were pursued by a very irate Granny Smith, who was surprisingly spry when grumpy.
"Rainbow Dash? Hello? Earth to Rainbow Dash?"
Scootaloo raised an eyebrow as she hovered on a cloud next to the cyan pegasus. Rainbow Dash had been giving her flight lessons lately, after overhearing an incident involving some other fillies picking on Scootaloo. They'd been practicing in the skies just outside Ponyville, where nopony would be able to bother them. Things had been going great, until about five seconds ago. One moment Dash had been giving Scootaloo critical flying advice, and then the next moment she went dead silent. Her eyes were very wide and distant, and she was just staring blankly down at the ground below them.
Scootaloo looked over at Tank. The rugged little turtle was hovering on the cloud next to Rainbow Dash, wearing a pair of goggles and a small rotary flight harness. His eyes had a look of concern in them at mirror Scootaloo's.
"Um... Dash?" Scootaloo asked again. This time, she actually raised a hoof and gently poked her hero's shoulder.
"Bwuh?!" Dash recoiled slightly, clearly startled. She then began to look around frantically. "Ah, wait, what?"
"Woah, I'm sorry!" Scootaloo hovered back a bit. "Are you okay?"
Tank nodded, non-verbally echoing the filly's concern.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Dash shook her head. "I'm just... uh... I think I might be going insane," she said with a sheepish smile.
Scootaloo tilted her head to the side. "Insane? Why would you be going insane?"
Dash smirked, and dismissively waved a hoof. "Oh, when I looked down a second ago, I thought I saw a velociraptor."
Scootaloo chuckled. "A velociraptor? You mean like the big lizard?"
"Yeah," Dash grinned. "Pretty silly, right? My mind must be playing tricks on me, since dinosaurs are extinct and all that jazz. Oxygen deprivation from flying too high, or something like that..." she observed playfully. "I mean, there's no way-" Dash leaned over to look down off the cloud again, and froze. Her eyes went wide, and her pupils shrank. After a few seconds, she flatly stated: "Okay yeah that's a velociraptor."
"What?!" Scootaloo squawked, before darting over to the edge of the cloud. "Where?!" Tank also hovered over the edge of the cloud, and peeked down at the earth below. In unison, Tank and Scootaloo's jaws both dropped open in shock.
Less than a hundred feet below, Pinkie Pie was hopping along the road back into Ponyville. And hopping along beside her was a dinosaur, of the velociraptor variety.
"Is... what... I... huh?" Scootaloo babbled softly.
"Yeah, uh... I have no idea..." Dash muttered.
Tank just stared in silence.
The blue pegasus suddenly shook her head. "Wait, what am I doing?! I need to rescue Pinkie!" she exclaimed. "Tank, Scootaloo, stay here! No matter what, don't leave this cloud!"
"But Dash-" Scootaloo tried to protest, but was cut off with a harsh glare.
"No matter what!" Dash barked. And with that, she leaped off the cloud and went into a nose dive.
Her intention had been to drop kick the raptor while descending at terminal velocity. She didn't know if that would be enough to save Pinkie, but it would at least buy her friend some time to escape. No matter the cost, she couldn't let her friend get eaten. As she neared her target, Rainbow Dash grit her teeth and let out a feral growl. The distance between her and the raptor was closing rapidly. Impact was imminent.
And then Pinkie suddenly hopped up in front of the raptor and grinned widely up at Rainbow Dash. "Oh hey Rainbow!" she cheerfully chimed. "Meet Utah!"
The blue pegasus let out a surprised yelp, and tried to put on the brakes. Flapping her wings frantically, she attempted to slow her fall. Through sheer force of will, she managed to skid to a halt just inches from Pinkie. Her wings ached something fierce from the effort, but it was better than a breakneck collision. "Gah..." the cyan mare let out a sigh of relief. She then looked down at the pink pony she was hovering just in front of. "Wait, what?! This thing has a name!?"
The raptor glared at her. He was not a thing, he was Utah.
"He's not a thing, he's a sentient raptor who gained self-awareness through my awesome cupcakes!" Pinkie happily explained. Dash and Utah both stared at her, and the madness of what she'd just said. "Oh, and yeah, his name is Utah."
Dash slowly looked back and forth between Pinkie and the raptor. "So... let me get this straight... You... You tamed a raptor?" she asked, incredulous.
"Well I dunno if tamed is the right word," Pinkie replied thoughtfully. She looked over at Utah. "Pacified, perhaps?" Utah just shrugged.
Dash crossed her forelegs and rolled her eyes. "Close enough."
"What do ya think?" Pinkie asked with a cheerful grin. "Pretty cool, huh?"
Dash turned her gaze towards the dinosaur. She began to look him over, examining him from head to tail. "Hmmmm..." she pondered, tapping thoughtfully at her chin with her right hoof. She narrowed her eyes as she heavily scrutinized the reptile. "I think..."
"Yes...?" Pinkie smiled.
"Yessssssss?" Pinkie's smile widened.
"I THINK HE'S TOTALLY AWESOME!!" Dash exclaimed loudly, suddenly flying a quick circle around the confused raptor. "Seriously, he's a RAPTOR!! A freaking dinosaur! Look at those scales, those claws, that sleek build aerodynamic build..."
Utah turned his head from side to side, trying to keep up with the exuberant pegasus as she flew around him.
"But," Dash paused, "He's not as cool as Tank," she stated with a confident smirk.
"Pffft, well of course you're going to think Tank is cooler," Pinkie waved a hoof playfully.
"Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaash?" the voice of Scootaloo suddenly called down from the sky. "Can we come down now?"
Dash looked up at the cloud where the filly and turtle were hiding. Both of their faces were peeking curiously over the silver-lined edge of the clowd. "Oh, yeah, sure," she casually replied, before waving for them to come on down. "He's harmless." Dash paused for a moment, before looking over at Pinkie and raising an eyebrow. "He is harmless, right?"
Pinkie grinned. "Oh of course! He's totally harmless, unless you're a cupcake."
Dash flashed a lopsided grin. "Oh, well, glad I'm not a cupcake then."
A low mechanical buzz heralded the arrival of Tank, who hovered in via his miniature helicopter harness. Scootaloo flew in beside him, and both of them took up a position on either side of Rainbow Dash. "Wooooaaaah..." Scootaloo said, her eyes widening as she took in the full sight of the velociraptor. "That's.... that's a real raptor!"
Utah tilted his head to the side. Why did everyone react like that? He looked over at the turtle. Tank was staring at him, but not in the awe-struck stunned way like everyone else. If anything, the turtle's expression was one of blank indifference. It seemed he was just staring because he stared naturally.
While Utah and Tank stared at each other, Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash turned their attention back to Pinkie. "So where did you find him?" Scootaloo asked.
"Oh, I found him in the Everfree Forest," Pinkie replied cheerfully. "I was just hopping along, and-"
Utah wasn't listening to Pinkie. His attention was entirely on the turtle. There was something odd about it. Something odd about its stare. It wasn't a blank empty stare like most animals had, but rather it possessed depth and meaning and... understanding. Staring into the turtle's eyes was like staring into the eyes of one who possessed the wisdom of the ancients.
The turtle suddenly let out a small squawk. Utah stared for a moment, and then let out a series of low squawks in response.
Dash, Pinkie, and Scootaloo immediately stopped talking, and turned to stare at the two reptiles. "Wait, did Tank just make a noise?" Dash asked, thoroughly confused. "He never makes noise!"
"I think they're talking to each other..." Scootaloo theorized.
"Yeah, I've heard that turtles can chirp and growl and stuff," Pinkie happily informed Dash. "So, anyway, where were we?"
"Something about cupcakes?" Dash arched an eyebrow.
While the three ponies went back to their conversation, Tank and Utah began to have one of their own. The turtle would make small squeaks and growls, while Utah would chirp and growl and squawk replies. Somehow, the two reptiles seemed to be able to communicate. As they conversed, Utah made a few gestures at the contraption on Tank's back. Eventually, a smile formed on both reptiles' faces.
"So then we went by Applejack's farm, and Utah went in to say hi," Pinkie said.
Dash chuckled. "So how did AJ respond to the big reptile stomping around her house?"
"Oh, I heard lots of screams. They must have been so excited!" the pink pony grinned.
Dash and Scootaloo both shared worried looks. "Uh..." Scootaloo frowned. "Are you sure those were screams of happiness?"
"Of course, who wouldn't be happy to see Utah?" Pinkie naively replied.
The two pegasus shared looks again. Dash then turned back to Pinkie and observed: "A lot of ponies. Most ponies, in fact. Well, except Fluttershy. She might be happy to see him, teeth and talons aside. I mean, she wasn't afraid of that manticore, and-"
"You're right, Rainbow Dash!" Pinkie suddenly exclaimed. "I should totally take Utah to visit Fluttershy next!"
Dash blinked. "Wait, I didn't really mean-"
It was then that Tank slowly crawled up between the trio of equines. Immediately, Dash noticed something was wrong. "Uh, Tank, where's your harness?" the blue pegasus asked. "And your goggles?"
Tank just smiled.
And a split-second later, the dinosaur equivalent of insane laughter echoed through the skies overhead. The three ponies all looked up, and beheld the glorious sight of a raptor in flight. Utah had somehow managed to don Tank's flight harness, and the small rotor blade was positioned right on his rump. The raptor had also put on Tank's goggles. With a series of cheerful barks, it began to fly circles around the clouds, its lower body raised higher than its upper body in true comedic fashion.
Dash and Scootaloo stared in shock, eyes wide and jaws dropped. Tank just smiled. And Pinkie did the only reasonable thing she could think of.
She pulled an old phonograph from behind her back, cranked it up to max volume, and put on a recording of Flight of Valkyries.