As the intro to Bridges in the Sky began, the video on the three cube-shaped screens showed a vast canyon landscape as the camera panned up while it elevated down. There was still applause from the crowd after the intro video, featuring Hans Zimmer’s score to Inception just seconds before. Then the first blast of throat singing was sounded, eliciting more cheers from the crowd.
As more throat singing continued, the video cut to a clown wearing a yellow shirt, blue overalls, and a red bowler hat riding a unicycle through the canyon area. The music then lulled into a soft, but powerful choral section. As the clown in the video continued to ride, the music changed keys a few times. In between a key change, the crowd began to cheer loudly again.
Four men walked from the left side of the stage to their instruments, the bassist and keboardist on stage left, the guitarist on stage right, and the drummer with his massive wrap around-and-over drum set in the back center.
The video of the clown’s journey was soon coming to an end. As the music began to increase with intensity, the clown on the video was riding to the cliff’s edge with no signs of stopping. Just as the clown was about to ride off, the screens cut to black as the spotlights shone solely on the lead guitarist, John Petrucci, as he played the opening riff with his signature black Ernie Ball Music Man guitar. Once the drummer, Mike Mangini, started pounding at the drums, the lights in the back of the stage flashed the audience like strobes. Soon, the other two members, Jordan Rudess on a Korg OASYS with an Apple iPad above, signature keytar to his left, Continuum Fingerboard behind him, and John Myung on a black six string Ernie Ball Stingray bass guitar, followed with their playing.
After about a minute of playing, their singer, James LaBrie, came from behind and grabbed the mike stand and began singing the song.
The crowd was ecstatic now: the whole of the great band Dream Theater was assembled onstage. As they’ve done many times on the tour, they performed the song flawlessly, their musical genius flooding over the audience. They played more songs, each one performed as flawlessly as the last, and the crowd loved every second of it.
It was then time in the set to play Surrounded from their Images and Words album. Preceding it, though, was a beautiful piano solo by Jordan on his keyboard. Everyone was swayed by his masterful improvisation. James came back onstage.
“You think it’s difficult to play something like this,” said James, “but imagine having to play this every night.”
The crowd applauded in agreement.
“The incredible, talented Mr. Jordan Rudess, everyone,” he concluded.
The crowd exploded with applause as Jordan began to play the intro, which brought Mike, John (Petrucci), and John (Myung) back onstage. The crowd quieted down so they could hear James sing.
Morning comes too early and nighttime falls too late,
And sometimes all I want to do is wait.
A few audience members took out their cell phones to imitate lighters.
The shadow I've been hiding in has fled from me today.
I know it's easier to walk away than look it in the eye.
All five members then noticed that the stage began getting brighter, which wasn’t supposed to happen until the rest of the members joined in. It could have easily been a malfunction, so the song continued without interruption.
But I will raise a shelter to the sky,
And here beneath this star tonight I'll lie.
The stage began getting very bright, but what was so odd was that there were no spotlights being directed on them, but the stage only got brighter.
She will slowly yield the light,
As I awaken from the longest night.
The crowd was confusedly clamoring about what was happening, but they were drowned out by the sound of an electric whirring. The noise was too loud to ignore, and all five members ceased playing. By now, the brightness had made anything beyond the stage invisible to each member.
Suddenly, with what sounded like a bass-filled explosion, the light washed away from the area. The band members were shocked to find themselves not on stage in a theater, but in a large hall with stained glass, marble pillars, purple walls, and pink/orange checkered ceilings.
All of the band’s instruments (along with their stands and John’s effect pedals) were brought with them, including some amps and lights from the stage.
“What the hell?” Jordan asked quietly to himself.
That’s when they all heard a loud gasp coming from their left. They turned to see a purple unicorn pony, a white alicorn, and a small, purple, bipedal reptile staring at them, equally as frightened as they all were. The alicorn assumed command and addressed the five band members.
“Who are you all? As a matter of fact, what are you?” her voice sounded calm, but was just as authoritative as well.
“Dude,” stammered Petrucci, shocked out of his mind, “did that horse just fucking talk to us?”
“Answer the question!” she demanded.
“Whoawhoawhoa!” shouted James instinctively through his microphone, just as he would if he were trying to calm a fight at a show. He was surprised that despite not being plugged into any outlets anymore, his microphone was perfectly functional. The loud sound his voice made rung through the hall, forcing the two equines and reptile to cover their ears. He immediately looked regretful of his action when he saw the look of displeasure on the white alicorn’s face.
James put his microphone back on its stand and tried talking normally to this creature as calmly as possible, which would be no easy feat.
“Listen, I’m very sorry about that, just don’t hurt us.”
“Who says I was going to hurt you?” she asked. “I just wanted to know what you are.”
“I could ask you the same question.”
“But… I am a pony. Isn’t it obvious?”
“Where I come from, ponies aren’t purple and don’t have horns on their head or wings on their back, or talk for that matter.” James’ response seemed to shock the alicorn.
“Yeah, really. Are those things even real?”
Celestia answered by unfurling her wings and flapping them, sending a strong gust towards the five band members, who were awestruck, even more than before.
“Holy shit,” responded Mike, putting his hands on his head. “This is crazy.”
Myung was still too shocked to speak.
“This has to be some kind of weird dream,” said Petrucci.
“No,” disagreed Jordan, “this feels way too real to be a dream.”
“What makes you say that?”
Mike threw a drumstick at Petrucci’s back, perfectly hitting his target.
“Ow!” exclaimed Petrucci. “What was that for?”
“You felt pain,” replied Mike, “so that must mean we aren’t dreaming.”
The reptile snickered a little as it watched Petrucci rub his back. Petrucci glared at the creature, having heard him. Scared by the angry look in his eyes, the creature hid behind the purple unicorn, trembling. Petrucci made a sigh of regret.
“Alright,” he said, setting his guitar down, and prompting the others to join his side. “I’m sorry. I think some introductions are in order.” He cautiously walked towards the three creatures along with his bandmates. “My name is John Petrucci. As for what we are, we are a species known as humans.”
“Mike Mangini,” said Mike.
“Jordan Rudess,” he followed.
“James LaBrie,” answered James.
“John Myung,” said Myung, raising his hand.
“Such weird names,” observed the unicorn aloud.
“No offense,” retorted Mike, trying to sound as inoffensive as possible with his Boston accent, “but I’m sure once we hear your name, you’ll sound pretty funny too.”
“None taken,” the unicorn responded flatly. “And for the record, my name is Twilight Sparkle.”
Mike threw his arms up. “I rest my case,” he said.
Jordan knelt down to Twilight. Although on all fours, and with the top of Twilight’s head at chest level with the others, Jordan was able to be at eye level with Twilight. He outstretched his hand to her, a gesture which Jordan was thankful that she understood. She extended her hoof out and let Jordan shake it.
“It’s good to meet you, Ms. Sparkle,” Jordan said with a genuine kindness in his voice.
“Please, call me Twilight,” she responded with a giggle.
“My name is Princess Celestia,” introduced Celestia.
“Whoa,” said Petrucci, “like royalty ‘princess?’”
“That is correct. I am the ruler of this land, known as Equestria. You are right now in my castle in the capital city of Canterlot.”
Cute, thought Petrucci, not daring to say it aloud.
“Princess?” asked LaBrie. “Wouldn’t that make you a queen?”
“In the Canterlot monarchy, the highest rank is order of the princesses,” answered Celestia. “There are no queens.”
This didn’t seem to aid the bandmates in their confusion.
“Now,” said James, slight hesitation still present in his voice, “could you please tell us what you think could have caused us to appear here? I can gather that we’re not in our home world anymore, so how did we end up here? Better yet, is there any way for us to get back?”
“As for your first question,” said Twilight, “I’m not entirely sure. I was performing a new spell I learned this week for Princess Celestia, and—”
“Wait,” interrupted Mike, “did you say ‘spell?’ As in magic?”
“Well, yeah,” she answered matter-of-factly.
“You mean magic exists in this world too? I mean, if unicorns and pegasi exist in this world, I guess it would make sense for magic to exist too.”
“Magic doesn’t exist in your world?”
“That’s awful. Here why don’t I show you myself?”
Twilight’s horn began glowing, perking the five humans' interest. Everyone looked behind them as they heard a small wiggling from one of the stands. Twilight had lifted Petrucci’s guitar from its stand and was levitating it with magic.
Not a single human’s mouth was closed as they watched the guitar float towards Petrucci, who was so distracted by the magic, that the guitar bumped him on the stomach. Despite knowing that the guitar was there, he still stared at it.
“Go on,” said Twilight, “take it.”
Petrucci did as he was told. When Twilight felt he had a good grasp on it, she stopped “holding” it, letting him take control of his instrument.
“Magic actually powers a lot of things in this world. That’s why your microphone and amp was working. I assumed those wires from the back plug into another power source where you’re from, right?” Mike smiled at the unicorn’s intuitive and strangely logical explanation.
“So,” said Mike, “what were you saying about this spell now?”
“Anyways,” continued Twilight. “I had learned a spell that allows me to take an item that I’ve left from far away and teleport it right to me. As I was trying to perform the spell, I suddenly felt like there was interference in the spell. I was only using a library book as the test subject, but it felt like I was trying to teleport the entire library.
“Princess Celestia helped me out with her magic when she saw how exhausted I was getting. Despite using a lot of energy, we were able to teleport something.” Twilight suddenly began to sound very sheepish. “I guess that ‘something’ turned out to be you, hehehe.”
“How were you able to get us, though, when we live entire worlds away?” asked James.
Something then clicked into Celestia’s mind. “Luna,” she sighed. She then ran through the halls to look for this Luna.
“It would be best if you stayed here,” said Twilight. She turned her attention to the purple reptile. “Spike, you watch over them.” She then ran to follow the princess.
“Wait!” cried Spike, trying to chase her down. “Don’t leave me here!”
“So,” said Petrucci from behind him. Spike turned around to see Petrucci on his knees, trying to look as calm as possible despite glaring at him before, “your name’s Spike.” On his knees, Petrucci was the same height as Spike.
“Yeah,” stammered Spike, still nervous.
“It’s okay, man. We’re not going to hurt you. Shake on it?” Petrucci extended his hand to the creature. Once Spike could tell at last that this human wasn’t going to hurt him, he accepted the handshake. “That’s what I’m talking about. By the way, what exactly are you?”
“I’m a baby dragon,” said Spike. Petrucci’s eyes widened a bit at hearing the word “dragon,” but considering all he’d been through, he could start accepting anything. “I’m also Twilight’s assistant. By the way, what’s with all of the guitars and instruments and stuff?”
“Oh, right,” said Jordan. “We’re actually a rock band where we come from.”
“A rock band? That’s so cool! What are you guys called?”
“Dream Theater? I like it. Would you mind playing me something?”
“We’d like to be able to talk to the princesses first,” said James. “The faster we can get back to our home world, the better.”
Spike groaned, disappointed. Soon afterwards, Celestia and Twilight appeared, the former glaring at a very dark blue alicorn who was standing in between them. Upon seeing the five humans in front of her, the alicorn’s eyes widened and she charged towards Petrucci. Petrucci wasn’t too sure of what to do, but suddenly, he felt her arms wrap around his waist as she nuzzled her head into his chest.
“Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh!” she squealed. “It’s really you! I can’t believe the greatest band ever is in our castle!”
“What’s she talking about?” asked Mike. “Does she know us?”
“Unfortunately,” said Celestia. “Luna, explain yourself.”
Luna stopped hugging Petrucci and merely looked at him guiltily. He answered back with a smile, trying to make her feel at ease.
“I have a telescope in my room,” began Luna, “that allows me to see worlds beyond. However, a large amount of magic is required to do this. One of my favorite worlds to look at is yours. If you haven’t figured out by my reaction to you being here, I love your band and music. I use my telescope to watch your shows all the time.”
“I’m… flattered,” said Petrucci.
“Thanks, but, I digress. I was watching your concert tonight. I was unaware that Twilight was performing such a teleportation spell at the same time. That particular spell can only be performed when there’s little to no magic to interfere with it, otherwise, the spell’s target is diverted towards the location of the outside magic. When she started performing the spell, it had begun to redirect itself and interfere with my own magic.
“I was unhappy that the concert was being interrupted, so I strengthened my magic. All I managed to do however, was connect Twilight’s teleportation spell to my telescope which connected it to your world, which made you the object which the spell would transport.”
It sounded simple enough, but it didn’t seem to solve the problem.
“So, does this mean we can still go home?” asked Mike.
“The good news is,” said Celestia, “that we know where your world is, so finding the way to send you back will not be a problem…” The bandmates sighed in relief and patted each other reassuringly. “…The bad news is actually sending you back home.”
“What do you mean?” asked Jordan.
“I mean that sending you all here drained a lot of magic and energy from the three of us. We don’t have the strength to send you back tonight.” The band members were very irate now.
“I’m not sure if you forgot,” said James, “but we’re a rock band. We have other shows in the future, so we can’t just stay here.”
“Sure you can,” said Celestia flatly. “Like I said, there’s nothing we can do.”
The whole of Dream Theater knew that getting mad at them wouldn’t solve anything. All they could hope for was that they wouldn’t be stuck here for too long.
“How long would we have to stay, then?” asked Jordan.
“At the very most, just a couple of days. What I’ll do is store some magic, and when I’ve stored enough, I can use that as the energy required to transport you back home.”
“What about rest? It is nighttime, and we’ll need a place to sleep.”
“I’d highly suggest you take the train with Twilight to her home in Ponyville. There are cottages there that are available to you which I will let you all live in free of charge until you return. Plus, the residents there are much more hospitable than the ones in Canterlot.” Everyone was now able to smile.
“Thank you,” said James, “that’s very kind of you.”
“You’re most welcome. The train leaves in about a half an hour, so I suggest you get going.”
“Wait!” spoke Mike. “What about our gear? My drums especially are going to take a while to disassemble.”
“No problem,” said Twilight. Using her magic again, she completely disassembled Mike’s drum set, sorting all the drums, cymbals, bars, and other accessories within the course of a minute. Mike was awed again.
“I’m never going to get used to that,” said Mike.
While the two Johns and James carried their own instruments and stands, Jordan and Mike needed a little more assistance. Jordan carried his keytar, iPad, and fingerboard while Mike grabbed his snare and his bag of drumsticks. Twilight, Celestia, and Luna all carried the rest with their magic: Petrucci's pedals, Jordan’s keyboard, the keyboard’s stand, and Mike’s drum set. Spike merely sat on Twilight’s back. With everything, they needed two train cars to fit all of the band's gear and instruments.
“That seems to be everything,” said Petrucci to Celestia. “Once again, thank you all so much for this.”
“It’s the least we could do,” she responded. “The train should arrive in Ponyville by 8:00 tomorrow morning. I’ll have some moving ponies transport your things to your temporary residences. In the meantime, have some fun. Enjoy your time here.”
“We’ll certainly try.”
“Now, Luna, what do you have to say for yourself?”
Luna crept towards Petrucci.
“I’m so sorry for sending you here. If you need to hate anyone for this, hate me. It’s just I love you so much.” Luna's voice was rasping due her choking up with tears. Petrucci eased her pain by giving her a soft hug. Realizing that one of her favorite musicians was giving her a hug, she stopped crying instantly.
“Don’t worry about it. What’s done is done. We’ll just have to make the best of it.”
John let go of her and went onto the train with his fellow bandmates. He was a bit peeved that he had to crouch down slightly to fit, but he was glad he’d still have room to sit and rest. Not much longer afterwards, the train began to move. Despite having just got on, Petrucci saw Twilight and Spike were sound asleep on their seats.
He went into the next car to find his other four bandmates lying on the seats, trying to get some sleep. As he passed each band member, they raised their fists up for John to bump with his own fist. He went to an unoccupied seat and sat down. He watched the scenery roll by him, the night providing a lovely backdrop. Lulled by its beauty, John’s eyes could not stay open for much longer. Within a few seconds, he closed his eyes fully, surrendering to sleep.
Petrucci woke up to the feeling of something nudging into his ribs. He groggily opened his eyes to find his vision blurred, though all he could make out was a purple mass pushing its head into his side. Upon rubbing his eyes, he found Twilight staring at him with a blank face for a second, and in the next, it quickly turned to a smile.
“Hello, John,” greeted Twilight. “Did you have a good night’s sleep?”
“Yes, actually,” replied Petrucci. “I can’t remember the last time I slept so well.”
“Morning, sunshine,” said Mike to Petrucci. Dream Theater's guitarist turned to see his other four bandmates wide awake.
“Morning, guys,” responded Petrucci.
“Anyways," spoke Twilight, "I was just letting you guys know that we’ll be arriving in Ponyville Station in about 20 minutes.”
“Okay. Will we need to worry about what the other townspeop– ponies will think about us?”
“I thought about that waking up this morning. I sent a quick letter to Princess Celestia asking about that. She said she’ll have the mayor greet you at the station.”
“Can she do that on such short notice?” asked James.
“Of course. It’s not that big of a deal, especially when five alien beings are showing up in her town. No offense,” she finished, ears drooped and looking rather sheepish again.
“None taken,” quipped Jordan.
“You shouldn’t need to worry. Everypony in Ponyville is very nice, and they’ll do their best to accommodate you.”
“Wait,” interrupted Mike. “'Everypony'?”
“Well, yeah. That’s how we refer to everypony here. Do you find it offensive?”
“No, not at all, it’s just we’re used to saying everybody.”
“Alright. You don’t mind if I continue using the term then, do you?”
“Not at all,” said Jordan.
"I'm gonna go wake Spike up now. Could you all please be ready for when we arrive?"
“Alright. Thanks, Twilight.” After responding with a smile, she left the car.
“I really wish we were taking the train during the day,” said Petrucci, looking out the window. “The countryside is beautiful.”
He then looked out over the hills to see a town comprised of white buildings with thatched roofs. There was also some other defining buildings as well, including a barn, a windmill, and a large carousel-shaped building in the center of it all.
“I’m guessing that’s our stop,” spoke Myung.
Twilight entered the car again with Spike riding on her back.
“Morning, guys,” greeted Spike. He certainly looked to be in high spirits.
“Good morning,” said the whole of Dream Theater in unison.
“Are we almost home? I’m starving.”
“We’ll have breakfast when we get there,” said Twilight in an almost condescending tone. Suddenly, the thought popped into her head. “I never even asked you guys. What’s in a human’s diet?”
Petrucci answered, “Well, I’m guessing since this world is inhabited by ponies, you’re all vegetarians. I’m sure we could be fine on that for now.”
Twilight seemed immediately unnerved. “Wait, so humans eat meat?”
“Not ponies! Not ponies.”
“What kind of meat do you eat then?”
“We normally eat fish.”
Petrucci felt a little guilty about giving Twilight a half truth. However, if he told her that they ate meats such as beef, chicken, and pork, all from animals which could be sentient in this world, her trust in them might have flown out the window. He figured fish would be the least likely animal to be sentient in this world that they could actually eat. Thankfully, he was right.
“Alright then. I can see what Fluttershy can do for you there.”
“Fluttershy? Is that one of your friends?” asked James.
“Yes. Speaking of, I want to tell you that her personality is very much like her name. She’s very shy around strangers, so don’t be offended if she flees from the sight of you.”
“We’ll be sure to keep that in mind,” said Jordan sympathetically.
“Also, as you probably might have guessed from what Princess Celestia said before, unicorns and pegasi exist here, and my several friends are just that. They’ll actually be greeting me at the station when we arrive, which should be any minute.”
“For the record,” asked Mike, “are there any ponies besides unicorns and pegasi?”
“If you’re referring to earth ponies, then yes, there are. I have two of them for friends too. Just freak out as little as possible and you should get along great with them.”
“I don’t think its us freaking out that’s going to be the problem,” said James under his breath.
In the town of Ponyville, the day was just coming to its usual beginning. The various carts and vendors were just opening for business. Foals were playing in the streets while the older mares and stallions walked with their friends, conversing about what a beautiful day it was. Little did they know, that today was not going to be like any other day.
At the Ponyville Train Station, there were five mares standing there waiting for the overnight train from Canterlot to Ponyville, the one that Twilight and Spike were on. One of the mares was an earth pony that was orange in color, had a blonde mane and tail banded in a ponytail. Another was a white unicorn with a curled purple mane and tail.
The third was another earth pony, but almost everything about her was pink, from her coat to her frizzled mane and tail. The fourth was a pegasus with a roughly cropped rainbow-striped mane and tail. She was cyan in color. The other pegasus that stood next to the cyan one was yellow with a long flowing pink mane and tail.
“Is she here, yet?” asked the pink pony in a bright peppy voice, jumping up and down excitedly.
“No,” moaned the cyan pegasus, her voice raspy for a mare.
“Is she here, yet?”
“Is she here, yet?”
“Is she here, yet?”
“PINKIE PIE!” she finally exploded.
“Okay. Got it.”
Another pony walked at the station, standing close to the quintet of mares that wer waiting for their friends to arrive. She looked much older than the other five ponies standing next to her. She had a grey, wavy mane and tail, a sand colored coat, a pair of glasses, and a white collar with a puffy green necktie.
“Mayor?” responded the white unicorn in a British accent. “What are you doing here?”
“Good morning girls,” replied the mayor. “I’m expecting to meet some very special guests on the train from Canterlot.”
“Guests?” wondered the yellow pegasus in soft, quiet voice. “What kind of guests?”
“To be honest, I’m not too sure. Princess Celestia sent me a letter saying that they are inhabitants from another world, but they are very friendly. She then said I’d need to treat them with respect while they were here.”
The yellow pegasus’ voice began to tremble. “So, they’re aliens?”
“Fluttershy,” scolded the orange earth pony in a southern accent, “there ain’t no such thing as aliens.”
“Judging from the letter I got from Princess Celestia,” said the mayor, “that’s exactly what they are. But she ensured me that they are harmless.”
The train was visible from the station, and it looked like it would pull in any second.
“Don’t worry,” said the cyan pegasus, “if they even think of causing trouble, I’ll buck them back to whatever ‘world’ they came from.”
The train finally reached the station, slowing down ever-so-easily.
“Well you can’t kick them out until I’ve thrown them a party first!” cheered the pink pony.
Once the train stopped, a door opened from one of the front cars. Twilight’s friends, along with the mayor, walked to the open door to see Twilight and Spike.
“Twilight,” called the cyan pegasus, “where are these ‘aliens’ I’m hearing about?”
“Aliens?” asked Twilight, clearly offended. She just sighed and pounded the car that held Dream Theater inside it. After a few seconds of tense waiting, the door opened. Petrucci was the first human to step out. His appearance alone was enough to cause the jaws of the six unfamiliar ponies to drop. Their shock only grew when Mike, Myung, Jordan, and James filed out of the car.
“Guys,” began Twilight, “these creatures are called humans. They were brought here from another world last night by accident. They’re stuck here until Princess Celestia can conjure enough magic to send them back. In the meantime, I thought it would be nice to introduce you guys to them, as they’ll be making their temporary residence in Ponyville. Well, have at it.”
The ponies still continued to stare. In an attempt to break the awkward silence, Petrucci was the first to speak.
Upon John’s speaking, the pink pony literally sprung from her group to introduce herself to this stranger.
“Hi,” she said with a great smile. “I’m Pinkie Pie. What’s your name?”
John was surprised by her eagerness, but answered anyway. “My name is John Petrucci.”
Pinkie Pie giggled. “That’s such a silly name. I like you, Mr. Tooshie! Would you like to be my friend?”
John would have normally brushed this pony off if she was a human, having all the mannerisms of an obsessed fangirl on crack. However, she acted more like a child than an adult, so he figured it was just best to humor her as such.
“Please, call me John. And sure, I’d very much like to be your friend.”
“YAY!” she cheered, wrapping her arms around Petrucci’s torso. She then felt herself being pulled off by the orange pony.
“Don’t mind her,” said Applejack. “She’s always like that. Anyways, my name’s Applejack. You wouldn’t mind introducing us to the rest of your posse, would you?”
“Sure,” vouched Jordan. “You’ve obviously met John. Anyways, I’m Jordan Rudess.” The others then introduced themselves.
“I’m Mike Mangini.”
Pinkie was staring at Jordan with a bright smile.
“Can I help you?” asked Jordan.
“Oh nothing,” chirped Pinkie Pie, “I just really like your beard.”
“Oh, thanks,” he chuckled awkwardly.
“Hi there,” said the cyan pegasus, flying up to Petrucci and extending her hoof. “Name’s Rainbow Dash; don’t wear it out.” Petrucci shook her hoof before Rainbow Dash hovered to the other band members to introduce herself. The white unicorn was next.
“My name is Rarity, fashion-designer extraordinaire,” she stated, allowing John to shake her hoof.
“Fashion designer, huh?” pondered Petrucci. He then joked, “You wouldn’t mind making us some new clothes while we’re here, huh?”
“But of course,” responded Rarity, “You come here with nothing but that shirt and those pants? Laundry will be a nightmare for you, darling! Tell you what? Come to my shop today and I’ll make some measurements for some brand new clothes for you all.”
“Are… are you serious? Do you know how long that would take?”
“Don’t be silly, it will be a cinch. Plus, I’ve always wanted to design clothes for a species other than a pony.”
“You don’t need to do all that work for us. What we have with us is fine.”
“Nonsense. The pleasure is all mine. Now what do you say?”
“If you’re really set on doing it, I guess my hands are tied.”
“Excellent. You shall not be disappointed.”
Rarity then made her way to the other members. John looked behind Twilight, where a yellow and pink mass was huddled behind the purple unicorn.
“Let me guess,” said John. “That’s Fluttershy.”
“I’m sorry,” apologized Twilight, blushing profusely.
She then jumped behind Fluttershy and pushed her towards Petrucci. Fluttershy looked up to see Petrucci staring at her. The only thing the bashful pegasus could do was squeak and bury her head under her arms.
Petrucci couldn’t help but feel sorry for this pony, but he didn’t know how to approach her in fear of frightening her further. Mike, Myuing, James, and Jordan then looked to see Fluttershy cowering in front of John. The first person to do something was Jordan, who knelt besides the scared pegasus, and lightly pet her down her back.
Jordan was slightly saddened by the pony’s trembling, but found it becoming less and less violent the more he stroked her. His comforting seemed to do the trick, as she was able to look Jordan in the eyes and break a small but noticeable smile.
“Hi, Fluttershy,” he cooed.
“Hi, Jordan.” She whispered. She jumped happily onto him and wrapped her arms over Jordan’s shoulders and around his back. Seeing Fluttershy come out of her shell, Jordan’s four other bandmates circled around him as they introduced themselves again to Fluttershy, to which she was much more comfortable doing.
“If I may,” interrupted the mayor. Everyone gave her their undivided attention. “I haven’t gotten to introduce myself yet. I am the mayor of Ponyville.”
“Oh,” exclaimed James. “You’re the mayor.” All five humans shook the hoof of the mayor.
“Yes, well, I was hoping you would join me for a brief moment.”
"What’s going on?” asked Mike.
“You see, I wish to reveal yourselves to the whole of Ponyville, so they can see that you are all harmless and friendly."
“That’s all well and good, Ms.,” said Petrucci, “but that would take hours.”
“You’d be surprised. Follow me.”
Twilight’s friends followed Dream Theater, who followed the mayor to the town hall.
Rarity noticed the last two cars as they were being unloaded into several large carts. She noticed that Petrucci’s guitar and Jordan’s Korg OASYS were loaded into the carts.
“You never told me you were musicians,” Rarity told Petrucci with interest in her voice.
“You’re right. Where we come from, we’re actually a famous rock band.”
“Yeah,” jumped in Spike. “They’re called Dream Theater. Isn’t that awesome?”
“A band?” asked Rainbow Dash. “Aw man, I gotta’ hear you play.”
“Perhaps when we’re settled—”
It was too late. Twilight’s friends bombarded the five human’s with excited praises and hopeful wishes to perform. The commotion even caused ponies in the streets to turn their heads towards the large group. They were undeniably shocked at the sight of the bipedal aliens. Petrucci tried to make as much peace as he could by waving to the ponies that looked at him and his bandmates. The townsfolk stood still, completely petrified.
“I think we should hurry this up,” said Mike to the mayor.
After an uncomfortably awkward walk to the town hall, the mayor asked Dream Theater, Twilight and her friends to sit on the town hall steps while she assembled the populace.
“So,” whispered Rainbow Dash to Petrucci, “how good are you?”
“If you really want to know, and I’m not blowing smoke up my ass about this too, we’re considered one of the greatest progressive metal bands of all time.”
“You know, metal. Fast and/or heavy riffs and solos. Progressive. Odd time signatures, poetic lyrics.”
Rainbow Dash looked at Petrucci like he was speaking a completely different language.
“It’d be best if I just showed you.”
The mayor had pulled up a large podium with a microphone that was connected to a loudspeaker at the top of the town hall. After tapping the microphone a couple of times with her hoof to check the sound, which seemed to be working, she addressed her town.
“Good morning, everypony. Some of you may have seen five strange bipedal creatures walking around town within the last hour. For those who haven’t and for those who have, your assembly at town hall is greatly appreciated if you want to know more about this. Thank you.”
Within just a few moments, hundreds of ponies formed around the town hall, only to stop in their tracks upon sighting the humans. Once the town was assembled to the mayor’s liking, she spoke to the populace.
“Now, I know you may shocked or even frightened about these alien beings, but you have not only my word, but the princess’ word that these creatures, who call themselves humans, are not harmful.”
The crowd didn’t seem convinced. That’s when Petrucci walked up to the podium and grabbed the mike.
“Hey everyone,” he said. “Sorry, I meant everypony. I’m still new at this. The point is, we didn’t come here to cause you any trouble. Hell, we didn’t come here of our own free will at all. All we’re waiting for is for the princess to have enough magic to send us back home.
“You might be frightened by our appearance, and you have every right to. I mean, five strange creatures just show up out of the blue? What reason do you have not to be scared? All we ask for is a chance to show we’re good guys. If there’s anything that we can do to prove ourselves, shoot.”
The ponies shouted something along the lines of, “Give a Pinkie Pie promise.”
“What’s a Pinkie Pie promise?”
“Here,” intervened Pinkie Pie, going through the poem using the motions.
Cross my heart, hope to fly,
Stick a cupcake in my eye.
“Really?” asked Petrucci in a whisper to Pinkie Pie.
“Come on,” egged Pinkie Pie. “It’s really easy.”
“And if I do this, they’ll trust us?”
“They’ll have to. Nopony breaks a Pinkie Pie promise.”
Figuring it a better option than being a pariah for however long they were stuck, Petrucci chose to do the Pinkie Pie promise. He drew an x over his heart with his fingers, shot his flat hand out in front of him, put his hand into a fist, and placed his fist over his eye.
Myung, Jordan, Mike, and James made the same motions as Petrucci. However silly it was, the crowd’s faces of shock and terror were replaced by light smiles and pleasant chatting amongst each other. Petrucci talked through the mike again.
“So, are we good?”
The ponies nodded their heads in agreement.
“Thank you all so much. All we ask is that we be treated like normal citizens. So you can go along your merry ways. Once again, thank you everypony.” He then pointed out his other bandmates as he spoke. “By the way. My name is John Petrucci, this is John Myung, Jordan Rudess, Mike Mangini, and James Labrie. Thanks.” The mayor then took the mike from Petrucci.
“Alright, everypony. This meeting is adjourned.”
The crowd began to disperse, murmuring and chatting about their new guests.
“Thank you so much for doing that,” said the mayor to Dream Theater. “I guess I can be the first to say—”
“Shhh,” hushed Pinkie Pie, closing the mayor's mouth. She then rushed away as a pink blur.
“What the hell was that all about?” asked Jordan.
“Oh, it’s just Pinkie being Pinkie,” answered Twilight. “So now that you are official citizens of Ponyville, how’s about we give you a tour of the town?”
“That sounds great, actually,” responded James.
Before they could get started, Pinkie Pie wheeled in an ornate fuchsia and white wagon and placed it about ten feet from the five humans.
“What is she doing?” asked Mike.
“The welcome wagon,” answered Applejack.
Pinkie Pie pushed a red button on the front of the wagon, causing the top doors to slide down, revealing an assortment of cupcakes and pies on four shelves with a small oven in the center. A multitude of flags and horns popped out, the latter sounding off music. Pinkie then broke into song and dance.
Welcome, welcome, welcome,
A fine welcome to you.
She placed large black party hats with orange visors on each of the humans heads, as she continued to sing and dance. The members were extremely confused with what was happening, but it was nonetheless entertaining to be greeted in such an over-the-top manner.
Welcome, welcome, welcome,
I say, “How do you do?”
Mike and Jordan seemed to be enjoying their little musical number the most, lightly bobbing to the music and its beat as Pinkie continued.
Welcome, welcome, welcome,
I say, “Hip hip hooray!”
Welcome, welcome, welcome,
to Ponyville today!
Pinkie Pie slid on her knees in a finale, but the music seemed to stop before the last note.
“Wait for it…” she said.
Upon the last note, a cake flew out of the oven straight towards the group. No one amongst the humans was expecting something like that, and merely watched as the cake flew straight into Jordan’s face. The only reaction that Jordan could muster was to close his eyes as the pastry splattered over him. It was then that the band members jumped in surprise.
Then, confetti blasted from tubes that were on the cart, and showered over the band members, many of which stayed stuck on Jordan’s frosting-caked face. Mike couldn’t help but laugh hysterically, while the others giggled at Jordan’s expense.
“Do you have any idea how silly you look right now?” asked Mike.
Jordan wiped as much cake and confetti from his face and beard as possible. He looked very bemused.
“I need a shower, like, now.”
I'd like to give thanks to my wonderful editor, Sabre. Feel free to check this person's page.
Twilight and her friends led Dream Theater though Ponyville to the cottages they’d be staying at. Petrucci and the other members still wore their hats from Pinkie’s song in an effort to please her. Jordan, however, was far from being pleased, as he still had bits of cake and frosting clinging to his face and long, white beard. Pinkie hopped alongside the forlorn keyboardist, doing her best to make him happier. Though, her actions met with little success.
“Aw, come on Rudy! I said I’m sorry. How did the cake taste anyways?”
“I’m not really in the mood right now,” he moaned.
“Please? I made it myself.”
“Fine,” he relented, “the cake was good. Scratch that, it was delicious. But I personally like cake in my mouth and not in my face.”
“Well, then you should have opened your mouth!” Pinkie giggled obliviously. Jordan’s patience was wearing thin. Twilight, seeing the look of annoyance on his face, decided to change the subject.
“So,” she wondered aloud, “you say you’re a rock band? What instruments do you each play?” Twilight was well aware with which instruments the band played based on their appearance in Canterlot the night before. However, not only did Twilight’s friends not know, but she had to keep Jordan from trying to murder Pinkie Pie.
“I play the guitar,” spoke Petrucci.
“Bassist,” Myung simply stated.
“Keyboardist,” said Jordan, annoyance still present in his voice.
“Singer,” said James.
“Drummer,” piped in Mike.
“That’s interesting,” said Twilight. “What kind of music do you play?” Twilight now started to sound intrigued, as she genuinely didn’t know the answer to that question.
“They said play ‘progressive metal,’” answered Rainbow Dash.
“Metal?” gasped Rarity. “That’s barbarian’s music!” Jordan was very annoyed now. At that moment, Twilight wanted nothing more to bury her head in the sand. Thankfully, Jordan’s rebuttal was more controlled than what Twilight had expected.
“Once we get to the cottages, I’ll gladly show you what kind of music we play.”
“Fine,” snorted Rarity, “but I highly doubt I’ll like it.”
“We’ll see about that,” muttered Jordan.
Not much later, the band arrived at the cottages. There was one for each member, and it included a bedroom with a queen-sized bed and closet. The living room had a couch and a rug, and the kitchen came with a stove, cupboard, silverware drawers, and an icebox. The bathroom was fully equipped, with a tub, toilet, and mirror.
After observing their temporary homes through the windows, Mike noticed that all of their equipment was being placed inside a large building surrounded by the cottages. From the inside, it looked like a banquet hall. There were tables with plates, silverware, and cups placed on them surrounding the large polished dance floor in the back, along an impecable glass ceiling that could see the sky in all of its glory.
“What’s going on here?” asked Mike. “What’s our stuff doing here?”
“Princess Celestia knew very well that your drums wouldn’t fit in your cottage,” answered Twilight, “so she decided to move all of your gear to the banquet hall. Don’t worry, it’s rarely used, so it shouldn’t be a problem.” Twilight then went to the ponies unpacking Dream Theater’s stuff. “It’s okay, sirs. I’ll take it from here.”
Twilight used her horn’s magic to quickly levitate all of Mike’s drum set pieces into the back of the banquet hall. Mike still couldn’t hide his amazement as Twilight assembled his entire drum set systematically in roughly the same time she disassembled it yesterday. As Twilight was constructing it, the mouths of everypony almost dropped to the floor by seeing the sheer size of Mike's set. Most drum sets in Equestria had a snare, a couple of toms, a hi-hat, a crash and a ride. Mike's set easily had about six to seven times more equipment, all of which would surround him like a giant cage.
"Whoa," was all that Rainbow Dash could muster.
Once Twilight finished with Mike’s drums she set Petrucci’s guitar, James’ mike stand, and Myung’s bass in place from her right to her left. Jordan assisted Twilight with his keyboards, as she wasn’t too sure how the things were assembled. Twilight first set Jordan’s special rotating and tilting stand to the right of Mike’s drum set. Jordan then placed his Korg OASYS onto the stand, which Twilight helped fasten on to hold it in place. Jordan then fastened the iPad onto his keyboard as Twilight set his keytar and Continuum fingerboard in their proper places. The whole of Dream Theater was amazed that such a set up could be done in mere minutes like that.
“Remind us to hire you for our next show,” spoke Petrucci. Twilight’s ears drooped as she darted her gaze to the side, blushing and smiling.
“Now,” snooted Rarity, “I’d love to see you impress me with your ‘metal.’”
Jordan turned his Korg on, despite it not being plugged into an outlet. He remembered what Twilight said about magic powering things in this world, and just like he predicted, the keyboard lit up. Jordan then played with the wheels and buttons on the keyboard until he put it in its piano setting.
Without saying a word, Jordan put his fingers to work, playing an improvised solo similar to the one he did for the Live Scenes from New York album. Not surprisingly, Rarity was the first to be absolutely stunned. Her expectations were instantly shattered as she watched this bearded human fly across the keys with such precision and grace.
Twilight and her friends were almost brought to tears by Jordan’s playing. It wasn’t long before Jordan stopped playing, as he proved all that he needed to.
“My heavens,” sighed Rarity. “That was absolutely beautiful.”
“Thanks,” said Jordan. “I figured someone of your tastes might appreciate the piano a little more than the other sounds I can crank out of this thing.”
“Is that the kind of music you normally play?”
“Sometimes. We like to change the timbre around a little.” Jordan demonstrated with the keyboard bit from Endless Sacrifice, showing the keyboard’s full musical potential.
“That’s incredible! Jordan, I had no idea that you were so… elegant.” Jordan couldn’t help but chuckle a little at the mare’s compliment. “I do apologize for debasing your music. If that’s the kind of music you perform, I’d die to hear more.”
“Don’t sweat it. To be fair, our music can be heavier than what I played, but I assure you that there’s plenty of ‘elegance’ in it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I’m going to wash up.”
“Take your time, darling.”
Jordan was just about to leave the banquet hall, only to see Pinkie Pie standing in front of him, carrying a plate with three loaves of bread stacked together with a large knife on it.
“Pinkie Pie,” he said to her, “may I please go and wash my face?”
“Okay,” chirped the pink pony, “I just thought you all could use some breakfast.”
“Breakfast?” asked James. He was then reminded of his forgotten meal with a growling in his stomach. “I, uh, I guess we forgot to have breakfast.”
“What’s on the plate, anyways?” asked Jordan. He then took a sniff. “Is that banana bread?”
“Yep. Made fresh today, Jorday!” Pinkie Pie giggled at her forced rhyme.
“Please stick to calling me Jordan. I’d love some, but I’m going to wash up first, is that okay?”
“Okie dokie lokie!” Without a further word, Jordan made his way to one of the vacant cottages to use its bathroom.
Meanwhile, Pinkie Pie set the plate of banana bread on one of the tables inside. Mike was about to grab the knife when Pinkie Pie put her front hooves on the table, impeding Mike’s progress.
“Let me get that, silly.” She then took the knife’s handle in her teeth and cut Mike a big slice. She used the knife as a makeshift spatula, scooping the slice and placing it on one of the set plates on the table for Mike.
“Much obliged,” thanked Mike, taking his plate. Mike broke a piece off and placed it in his mouth. His eyes widened as he continued chewing. “Holy Christ,” he exclaimed with food still in his mouth. “That is the best damn banana bread I’ve ever tasted.”
“Really?” asked Pinkie Pie.
“Seriously. If I only had a tall glass of milk, I’d be in business.”
Pinkie suddenly rushed out of the banquet hall only to appear seconds later with a basket containing two large bottles of ice cold milk.
“Here you go, Mr. Genie!” she stated. Mike was almost at a loss for words.
“Y— You are my personal Jesus.”
“What’s a Jesus? Is that some kind of butler or something? I’ve always wanted to be a butler! With the aprons, and the clothes, and those towels, and the trays, and the…”
“It’s an expression where… never mind.” Mike merely let Pinkie ramble as he poured five glasses for him and his bandmates with one bottle while Twilight poured seven with the other for her friends.
Jordan returned looking much cleaner, but his shirt was wet around the collar, and there was still frosting stains on it. He saw all four of his bandmates plus the six ponies - including Spike - eating the breakfast Pinkie Pie had gotten for them.
“Hey everybody,” he greeted.
“Hey, Jordan,” welcomed Petrucci. “Mike poured you some milk. You need to have some of that banana bread, it’s to die for.”
Jordan took one small bite from the slice already set for him. Jordan marveled at how perfect the sweetness and moistness of the bread was.
“This is amazing!” said Jordan. “It doesn’t even need any butter.”
“I’m glad you like it,” responded Pinkie Pie. Her voice changed to one that was a bit more somber. “Hey, I just wanted to say that I’m sorry for shooting that cake in your face.”
“That’s okay. It’s all water under the bridge now.”
“Thanks, Jordan!” She wrapped her arms around Jordan’s waist, leaving Jordan to set his bread down and place his now-free hands on the pony’s back in comfort.
Mike finished the last bite of his bread when Rainbow Dash approached him.
“So, that’s your drum set?” she asked, pointing to it in the back of the room.
“Sure is,” Mike answered. “Pretty impressive, huh?”
“Yeah. I’ve never seen one so big!”
“You should see some of the sets that others have where I’m from. It’s incredible.”
“How about you go over there and show me what you can do on that?”
“Maybe later. Once we get the tour of the town finished, we should have plenty of time for a performance. Sound good?”
Rainbow Dash was irked that she wouldn’t hear a wicked drum solo for at least several more hours, but she had no business ordering a professional musician around.
“Alright,” she finally agreed. “Once we’re done showing you around, you pound those drums like nopony’s business.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
“Alright,” said Twilight, approaching the humans after they had finished their bread. “How was breakfast?”
“Very good,” said Petrucci, brushing crumbs off of his beard. “Are we ready to start that tour?”
“Indeed we are. Let’s go.”
The humans were then shown around Ponyville. Petrucci and the others were thankful that the ponies were much more receptive of their presence. Various ponies gave them all pleasant smiles as they passed them, while others even waved. It seemed that of all worlds that they decided to be whisked away to, Dream Theater couldn’t have landed in a better one.
Rarity had insisted that they stop by her shop, the Carousel Boutique, first along their way.
“So,” spoke Jordan as they all entered. “Why are we stopping here?”
“Well,” answered Rarity, “I thought you might like to know where I live and work. Plus, there’s a favor that I owe you all, especially you.”
“Me? This isn’t about the ‘metal’ thing is it? I already forgave you for that.”
“I know, but I just feel so dreadful for putting that on you, so I will make it up to you.”
“I will not take no for an answer.”
“Okay. So what’s this favor?”
“She’s making us new clothes,” cut in Petrucci.
“What? You don’t need to do all that.”
“Pshaw,” exclaimed Rarity. “It will be easy. See all these dresses? I made them all myself. If you think I can’t handle a simple shirt, what kind of fashion designer would I be?”
“How would that even work, anyways?” asked James. “Wouldn’t the lack of hands and fingers make it difficult?”
“Not when you can use magic like me. Now, Jordan, please be a dear and take off your shirt and pants?”
Jordan’s eyes could not be wider, and his cheeks could not be redder.
“Oh, come now, darling, I’m naked and you don’t see me making a fuss. Plus, it will only take a second.”
Jordan nervously took his shirt and pants off, leaving him in his underwear for everyone to see.
“I prefer the undergarments stay on,” stated Jordan.
“Alright,” Rarity settled, “I’ll see what I can do. Arms out, please.”
Jordan held his arms straight out while Rarity held a clipboard, pencil, and measuring tape using her magic. She began wrapping the tape around Jordan in various areas while she wrote the measurements on her clipboard. It felt weird to Jordan that it literally took Rarity only a spit second to measure all these areas.
“Are you sure your measurements are accurate?” he asked.
“Jordan, you act as if this is the first time I’ve ever done this.”
Jordan just let Rarity continue. It didn’t take her a while to finish. She then observed Jordan’s shirt and pants, looking at any differences she might see in pony clothing and this human’s clothing. Within a minute, she took a variety of fabrics, cloths, pins, scissors, etc. Jordan watched with amazement as she quickly, but intricately cut and sewed the fabrics into a grey t-shirt and black pants for him. Jordan then felt himself being lifted into the air, shocking him greatly. Rarity pulled Jordan’s new shirt over his head and slipped his new pants over his legs and buttoned them up, setting him back down when she was finished.
“Now,” asked Rarity, “how are your new clothes?”
“They’re…” started Jordan. “Very comfortable. Thank you so much. What about my old clothes, though?”
“I’ll throw them in the wash to get the cake off of them and throw them in with the other clothes that I’ll make.
"You are awesome. Thank you, Rarity."
“You’re most welcome, Jordan. Alright, who’s next?” Mike raised his hand in the air like an excited child.
The band got the same go-around with the measurements, the construction of their first wardrobe, and trying it on. Once everyone was done, Myung had a clean black shirt with black pants, James had a grey shirt with blue jeans, and Mike and Petrucci both had black shirts with blue jeans.
“That was fun,” chirped Rarity. “I can’t wait to make the others!”
“Jordan’s right,” said James. “These are very nice. Thank you. I wish we could find a way to repay you.”
“Perish the thought. The fact that I’m under the same roof as such esteemed guests is payment enough. Now, go and enjoy the rest of your tour. I’ve got more clothes to make.”
“Once again,” said Jordan, “thank you so much. Have great day.”
“Take care!” With that, everyone minus Rarity left the store.
The next stop was Sugarcube Corner, the local bakery where Pinkie Pie worked and got the banana bread from. It was later in the morning, so business was slowing down a bit. The band walked in to be greeted by the aroma of baked goods. They then noticed a yellow stallion with a white apron, an orange and white striped bowtie and hat, along with an orange mane and tail managing behind the counter. A mare came out the back. She was light blue in color with a dark pink mane and tail. She was wearing a yellow and pink apron while carrying a tray of cupcakes on her back. The two ponies noticed the humans walk into their shop.
“Oh,” exclaimed the yellow stallion. “You’re those, um… humans that appeared. Allow me to introduce ourselves. I’m Mr. Cake, and this is my wife, Mrs. Cake. We run this bakery.”
“Is this where Pinkie Pie got that banana bread?” asked Mike.
“Indeed she did,” responded Mrs. Cake. “Did you like it?”
“Like it? It was the best banana bread I’ve ever had!”
“Oh,” exclaimed Mrs. Cake, not expecting such a compliment. “Thank you!”
“I wish I could give you some form of payment, but I don’t think American dollars would be accepted here, would they?”
“American? So you come from a place called America?” asked Mr. Cake.
“Yeah,” said James, “but don’t bother trying to find it on a map.” Despite the casualty of the comment, Mr. and Mrs. Cake giggled.
“So,” asked Mrs. Cake. “What brings you over here?”
“Nothing much,” answered Pinkie Pie. “We’re just giving them the old tour of Ponyville.”
“Dearie? Could you give us a hand? We’ve got a large order coming up and we need your help to set it up.”
“Yes-siree-bob, Mrs. Cake.” She then turned to the humans. “I’m sorry, but I have to stay here for a while. Have fun with your tour!”
“Well,” said Twilight, “we’re going to be off too. Have a good day, Cakes.”
“Farewell!” They were then off to their next destination.
The next walk was easily a bit longer than the others, as the next stop was far beyond Ponyville’s limits, and that was Fluttershy’s cottage. The humans were quite impressed to see it in its state.
“Jeez,” said Petrucci, “it’ like something out of a Disney movie.”
“Is that a good thing?” asked Fluttershy from behind.
“Oh, it’s not a complaint. The house looks very pretty.” Fluttershy smiled in response. The other thing that the humans were noticing the animals. Normally, ducks and squirrels on Earth would flee as fast as they could from an approaching person. However, the animals just stood by and observed the strange looking creatures walking by them.
Fluttershy opened the door to her cottage. Dream Theater was amazed by the number of animals they saw inside: Mice, birds, chipmunks, and there was even a white rabbit in sleeping in a bed to the right of the door.
“Are all these animals your pets?” asked James.
“Oh no,” responded Fluttershy. “We just enjoy each other’s company.”
It had been a long walk from Ponyville to Fluttershy’s cottage and it was nearing lunchtime. Myung’s stomach growled, much to his embarrassment.
“Oh,” cooed Fluttershy. “You must be hungry. I heard from Twilight that you eat fish, so I have some sardines you could eat.” She took out a bucket from her kitchen with small, dead, fish inside it. “Here you go.”
Petrucci did his best to not look disgusted, but he had to be frank with her.
“Fluttershy, I don’t mean to sound picky, but humans require their meat to be cooked. They’ll get horribly sick otherwise.”
“Oh,” Fluttershy exclaimed, “I didn’t know that. I would gladly fry them up, but there’s not enough room to cook all these fish for all five of you. I could offer you some soup.”
“Soup… sounds fine. Thank you.”
Petrucci would normally object to soup in such warm weather, but he didn’t want to sound rude considering she was feeding them. He then felt more comfortable when she began pulling a large container of tomato-based soup from an icebox in her fridge. She started to ladle the soup into bowls on her kitchen counter. Petrucci looked at the array of vegetables that cascaded down the ladle, and his mouth watered slightly.
“So,” he said. “It’s like gazpacho.”
“Gaz what?” asked Rainbow Dash.
“It’s an Italian tomato soup that’s served chilled where we come from.”
“Well then,” said Fluttershy carrying a tray with the filled bowls on her back, “I hope you like it.”
Each member grabbed their own bowl from the tray while Fluttershy went back to serve Twilight, Spike, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and herself. Petrucci figured that there were no spoons here due to lack of fingers, so he lightly and politely poured the soup from his bowl into his mouth. Much like with the banana bread, he was amazed with how exceptionally good the soup was. Each vegetable’s taste was evident and they each tasted marvelously good, especially when combined into the soup.
“Alright,” said Petrucci, “I have to know how everything in this world tastes so good.”
“What do you mean?”
“The banana bread, now this. Where I come from, food doesn’t taste nearly this good. What’s your secret?”
“It’s just a simple recipe that I got from one of my cookbooks.”
“Well, I mean the vegetables tasted so fresh and flawless.”
“Maybe I can tell you a little about that,” spoke Applejack. “All us ponies work together to make things the way they are. Pegasi are responsible for the weather and rain and such, so our crops can get the right amount of water when needed, and—”
“Wait,” said James, “did you say that you ponies control weather?”
“Yep,” answered Rainbow Dash. “Isn’t that how it works for you?”
“No, actually. Weather can be very unpredictable in our world. Sometimes, there will be lots of rain, sometimes there’s none.”
“Well, how in the hay are you supposed to grow anything?” asked Applejack.
“We, just do, I guess.”
“Anyways, we earth ponies are normally farmers because we have a special connection to the land and our crops, so every fruit and veggie picked, plucked, or bucked is fresh, tasty and delicious.”
“I see. And you’re such a farmer?” asked Jordan.
“Sure am, sugar. Would you like to see the farm?”
Once everyone finished Fluttershy’s soup, they left for their next stop, Sweet Apple Acres: Applejack’s home and farm. Like the walk to Fluttershy’s, it was very long and time consuming, only kept shorter by the band’s pleasant conversations with the ponies. They finally arrived along the grove of apple trees that would lead to the farm. Applejack then thought of something when she glimpsed at a tree house deep within the forest of fruit-bearing trees.
“Oh, nelly,” she mumbled.
“What’s wrong, Applejack?” asked Petrucci.
“I completely forgot. My family or the girls don’t know about all y’all.”
“They must not have heard the announcement. I suppose we should just turn around and—”
“Hi Applejack!” called three fillies in unison as they ran from the opposite direction and stopped in front of the group.
One was a yellow earth pony, with a red tail and red mane, adorned on top with a large, pink bow. Another was a white unicorn with a pink and purple mane and tail. The last of the three was an orange pegasus with a purple mane and tail. All three of the fillies were dumbfounded at the humans before them. Applejack broke into a nervous sweat and gulped, expecting the worst.
“What…” sputtered the orange filly in shock. “W— w— w— what are you?”
“Girls,” spoke Applejack. “These are our friends.”
The girls still stared at them still, unsure what they were going to do.
“Uh…” said Petrucci. “We come in peace?”
Nothing. Petrucci then opted to sit on the ground and put a hand out.
“It’s okay,” he whispered. “I won’t hurt you.”
The bravest of the three fillies, the yellow earth pony, approached first. She inched ever-so-slowly, giving Petrucci hope that he could gain her trust. When she finally got close enough for him to touch her, he reached behind her ears and gently scratched.
“Boy,” she moaned, “that feels good.”
It was then that the other two foals were convinced. They ran to the humans hand began asking them a barrage of questions.
“Settle down, girls,” ordered Applejack. She then introduced the whole of Dream Theater and explained their situation to the three of them.
“Hi,” said the yellow filly. “I’m Apple Bloom, Applejack’s sister.”
“I’m Rarity's sister, Sweetie Belle,” said the unicorn filly.
“Name’s Scootaloo,” said the orange pegasus. “And we’re…”
“THE CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS! YAY!” they all shouted in unison.
“Cutie mark?” asked Jordan, confused.
“You see these marks on our flanks?” asked Rainbow Dash, pointing to the rainbow lightning bolt under a cloud on her rump. “Those our are cutie marks.”
“A pony gets them when they discover their special talent,” finished Twilight.
“Funny,” answered Jordan. “I thought those were tattoos or something.”
“What? You’d have to be a lunatic to get something like that.”
“Come on,” begged Apple Bloom. “You gotta meet the rest of the family.”
The three fillies ran down the road while Petrucci and the rest Dream Theater followed with the ponies plus Spike closely behind.
Over the last hill, there was a house shaped like a barn. From where they were coming, there was a field of corn on the left, a few sheds to the right, a chicken coop and well up front, and a carrot field in the back. The members of Dream Theater were happy to see how homey it looked.
There was an elderly-looking green pony with a white mane and tail both styled in a bun sitting in a rocking chair outside the entrance, taking a nap. There was also a large red stallion with an orange mane and tail with a yoke around his neck, carrying a bale of hay into the barn entrance.
“Big Mac!” called Apple Bloom, running onto the farm grounds. “Granny Smith! Look who we found!” Judging from their appearances, Petrucci could tell who was who. Granny Smith awoke from her sleep and took a look at the five humans who were now on her property. Her eyes grew wide in fear.
“Help! Don’t let them abduct me!” she cried.
Jordan felt pity for this mare by how slowly she tied to “run” into the house, her old brittle bones barely moving her at all. Big Mac dropped the bale of hay upon hearing the commotion and set his sights right on Petrucci. In a familial sense of protection, he charged at the confused guitarist.
“Wait!” cried Applejack trying to step in front of Big Mac’s charge. He simply bounded over her and continued on.
“Big Mac, wait!” shouted Applejack, but he was beyond reason now. Before the humans could get rammed, a rainbow-colored blur tackled Big Mac away from the group, dizzying him into sitting on his behind. Applejack and Apple Bloom ran in front of him to try and explain.
“I was trying to tell ya’,” said Apple Bloom. “These things are friendly. They’re just stuck here, is all.”
“Come on, big brother,” egged Applejack. “They just want to make friends. Say hello.”
Big Mac just sat there observing the humans.
“Get away from our house, ye’ varmints!” cried Granny Smith. She had a metal pot in her mouth and began beating it against the side of the house, alerting Big Mac onto his feet again. Applejack ran over and took the pot from her.
“Calm down, Granny Smith,” said Applejack. “They ain’t no timberwolves. They’re just this race of creatures called humans who are lost until they can go back home. I was just bringing them over to introduce y'all both since they’ll be here for a spell or two.” Granny Smith looked quizzically at her granddaughter for a second.
“Well, why didn’t you say so?” she asked. She then made her way to the humans to give her introductions. Applejack laid a hoof on her face.
“So,” said Petrucci to the red stallion, “you’re Big Mac?”
“Eeyup,” he simply responded.
“I’m John,” he said extending his hand. Big Mac indifferently allowed Petrucci to shake his hoof.
“Sorry about that back there,” said the elderly mare, finally reaching the group. “I’m Granny Smith.”
The whole of Dream Theater gave their names. Twilight then gave Big Mac and Granny Smith a cliff notes version of their arrival into Equestria.
“You poor dears,” responded Granny Smith. “If you ever need anything, don’t hesitate to ask. Ain’t that right?” she addressed her three grandchildren.
“Eeyup,” spoke Big Mac for them all.
“Well,” said Twilight, “it’s getting late, and we should try and finish up the tour. We’re just glad we got everything settled. We’ll see you all later.” With that they finally left. However, the Cutie Mark Crusaders decided to tag along and get more information about these humans.
On their way back to downtown Ponyville, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo asked Dream Theater many questions, eventually learning about Dream Theater’s musical status.
“You have to play for us,” demanded Scootaloo.
“That would be great!” agreed Apple Bloom.
“Please, please, please!” begged Sweetie Belle.
“Well,” said Mike, “if you aren’t doing anything tonight, I promised Rainbow Dash a drum solo.”
“YAY!” the fillies cheered.
“Ugh,” groaned Spike, riding on Twilight’s back. “I’m starving!”
“I told you,” whispered Twilight, “we’ll eat when we get to the p—”
“What’s that?” asked Jordan.
“Nothing,” Twilight quickly spurted.
Twilight then showed off more of the different shops and vendors around Ponyville until they made it to Twilight’s house, which was also the Ponyville Public Library. It was certainly impressive to Dream Theater that the building was a giant tree. They just had to get a look inside.
Twilight allowed them in. It looked very cozy, even for a library’s standards. Jordan, Myung, and Petrucci began to browse through the books.
“Twilight,” asked Petrucci, “you wouldn’t happen to have any songbooks, would you?”
“I do,” she responded. “Why?”
“Is there a chance that I could check some out? After spending a day here I… had some songwriting ideas that came into my head. I thought it would be interesting to incorporate augmented versions of Equestrian music into a future album possibly.”
“That sounds wonderful,” said Twilight, brimming with happiness over Petrucci’s interest in her books. She handed him three large, worn tomes. “Here are some collected works. I hope these work.”
“These will be great. Thank you.”
Myung, wising up to Petrucci’s idea, found some books on famous Equestrian poetry to see how any of them could serve as lyrics.
“Are we done yet?” asked Scootaloo.
Immediately after asking, there was a knocking at the door. Twilight opened the entrance to the library to see a grey pegasus with a blonde mane and tail. She also had crossed eyes.
“Message to members of Dream Theater,” she said.
“Yes?” answered Petrucci.
“Rarity wanted to let you know that your clothes are all ready.”
“Oh, thank you, um…”
“You can call me Derpy.”
That’s just sad, thought Petrucci. “Anyways, thanks. We’ll be right over.”
“Okay. Bye!” She flew away clumsily in different directions.
"Well, guys,” said Twilight. “That was the tour. I hope you enjoyed it.”
“Yes,” agreed James, “that was very helpful.”
“Rainbow Dash,” called Mike, “girls.” The cyan pegasus and the Cutie Mark Crusaders gathered around him. “Me and the guys are going to get our clothes and take a bath. Then, meet me us in the banquet hall. Sound good?”
“Okay,” said Rainbow Dash. “See you later.”
“Thanks for the books,” both Johns said to Twilight.
“Have fun!” called Twilight back.
It was late in the afternoon when Petrucci entered his cottage, a bag of books in one hand and his bundle of newly-made clothes in his other. He set both items down on the couch and went to the bathroom to draw some hot water. He placed two of the books on the kitchen counter and the other in the bathroom. He then took his clothes and hung them neatly in the closet. Rarity had made four more outfits just like the one made for him today plus his old Earth rags.
By now the water was hot enough that Petrucci set the stopper, let the tub fill, and added some bubble bath that had been placed beside the tub. He then got undressed and used the toilet to do his business for the first time since he had been there. Once he stopped the water, he flushed the toilet. He then climbed in and immersed himself while keeping his arms dry. He took out the songbook and read it as he soaked.
Petrucci was impressed that not only the written language was the same, but the musical language was, too. The sheet music was exactly like what one would read back on Earth. This only made things easier for Petrucci. Having a vast knowledge and understanding of music, he was able to skim through parts of the book while understanding it completely. For as simple as it was, it was exactly what he had been looking for.
“This is going to make some damned good music,” he said.
Once Petrucci got out, he set the book away from him so that any water that dripped out wouldn’t smudge the pages. He quickly dried himself off, went to his bedroom, and got dressed. Feeling refreshed, he picked the book up and placed it back with the others.
Petrucci walked outside to find his four bandmates, along with Rainbow Dash and the Cutie Mark Crusaders, waiting for him outside the banquet hall.
“Hurry up,” whined Rainbow Dash. “I can’t wait anymore.”
“Alright,” relented Petrucci, “let’s get going.”
They all walked in only to find the room pitch dark.
“Wait,” said James, “aren’t the ceilings made of glass? Then why is it so dark?”
His answer came in the form of large black sheets of cloth being removed from the ceiling, illuminating the large room to reveal tens of ponies standing inside. The room was decorated with balloons, streamers and ribbons. There were also various childish party games around the area.
“SURPRISE!” yelled all the ponies, mildly shocking the band.
“This is going to be one of those nights,” mumbled Petrucci.
The members of Dream Theater were no stranger to parties, despite how infrequently they attended them due to tours, not to mention the large amounts of time they spent writing and recording albums. However, this was not the party they had had in mind. An ideal party to them would be pleasant conversations, fine alcoholic beverages with hors d’oeuvres, and calm, serene music. This party was quite the opposite; it felt more like a child’s dream birthday party.
In place of the pleasant conversations, the ponies in the banquet hall were conversing loudly, laughing, and acting a fool. Instead of the fine alcohol and hors d’oeuvres, there was a large bowl of punch and various pastries laid out on a large table along one of the longer sides of the hall, which included cake, pies, and strudels. And instead of the serene music, there was the sound of some poppy, cacophonous music coming from a single record player next to the band members’ instruments.
The five humans were, at first, most nervous about the ponies handling their instruments without their permission. They were relieved to see that the nearest pony to the instruments was ten feet away. Normally, a human party of this caliber would have each attendant clamoring to play the instruments, but the ponies seemed to be vastly respectful.
Before anyone could react to anything, Pinkie Pie popped up in front of Dream Theater, seemingly out of nowhere with rainbow colored confetti erupting from behind her and onto the humans.
“Surprise!” she cheered. “Hi, I’m Pinkie Pie, and I threw this party just for you!” She began to bounce around on her hooves. “Were you surprised? Were you? Were you? Huh? Huh? Huh?”
“Pinkie,” responded Petrucci flatly, brushing confetti off of his beard, “it’s us.”
“Whoops! I usually throw these parties before I even meet the guests. I guess I throw so many that I just introduce myself all the time. Isn’t that hilarious?!?”
“Very,” he responded sarcastically. "Uh, anyways, why are you throwing us a party? Wasn’t that welcoming song enough?”
“Silly, I throw these parties for EVERYPONY who’s new to Ponyville! You’re nothing special. I mean, you are special, but you’re not. Are you mad? Am I confusing you? Please don’t be mad, I—” Jordan stopped her by putting his fingers on her lips.
“We understand, Pinkie,” he said. “We really appreciate it.”
“Thanks, Jordan. So, what do you want to do? Do you want to bob for apples? Or play Pin the Tail on the Pony?” The awkwardness began to rise amongst the humans..
“If it’s okay, we’re going to just hang around and maybe talk to a few of the townsfolk, get to know them.” The answer slightly startled Pinkie, as it seemed anypony else would have been excited to play such childish games. She was, however, very accepting of Jordan’s answer.
“Alright, Jordan. If you change your mind, you know where to find the games!” With that, she darted off.
“God damn, she’s random,” commented James.
Whatever it was, it seemed Pinkie Pie pulled a fast one on them again. However, a party didn’t sound enough like an imposition that Dream Theater wouldn’t enjoy it.
Feeling thirsty, the whole of the band made their way to the punch. It looked delicious, and considering how good everything else tasted today, they figured that the punch would be no different. Taking a glass from the multitude of cups around the bowl, each human took a ladle full of punch and poured the beverage into the cups. After taking the first sip, they knew they had been right.
“This punch is great!” said Mike. “It's a damn good thing this punch doesn't have any booze in it, 'cause the amount I'll be drinking tonight would get me way too drunk.”
“Drunk?” questioned Twilight from behind him. “You mean like alcohol?”
“Well, yeah. There’s alcohol in this world?”
“Not anymore. Princess Celestia banned alcoholic beverages almost 200 years ago. They’re extremely forbidden.”
“Sounds like Portnoy’s ideal world,” quipped Petrucci.
“Portnoy? Who’s that?”
“Mike Portnoy. He was our original drummer for twenty years before he left the band. He was an alcoholic before he got himself sober about twelve years ago.”
“Well good for him. Has your world ever tried banning alcohol?”
“They did,” said Mike. “It didn’t work out so well.”
Petrucci jumped back in. “We learned self-control and we legalized alcohol again. That’s all I’m going to say. What caused the banning of alcohol in your world?”
“Ponies just didn’t seem to have the same ‘self-control’ as your race did, so Celestia had everypony quit cold turkey.”
“That must have been rough.”
“Sure, but it’s not like it’s a necessity here.”
As Twilight and Petrucci continued their talk about Equestrian history, Mike went off to find Rainbow Dash. He eventually found her bobbing for apples with Applejack. He didn’t want to get involved in the game, but he would at least try to start a conversation.
Rainbow Dash was up, and she had her head dunked in the water. She emerged with a red apple held firmly in her teeth and munched it in one bite. She turned her head to the various ponies cheering her on to find Mike standing there.
“Hey, Mike!” she called. “You’re just in time to bob for some apples!”
“No, no, no,” protested Mike politely, “I don’t do that kind of thing.”
“Come on, don’t be a square!”
“I’m no square. I just wanted to talk with you.”
“Talk, huh? Tell you what? You pull out one apple with your mouth, and I’ll ‘talk’ to you. Deal?”
Mike wanted to continue to protest, but he was interrupted by the ponies chanting, “Mike. Mike Mike.”
“Alright, when in Rome,” relented Mike.
He took his shirt off so his new clothes wouldn't get wet. He then knelt by the large bucket of water, sporting a face that read, “I can’t believe I’m actually bobbing for apples.”
Saving himself any more awkward waiting, he dunked his head into the water, swishing it around to try and find an apple to bite into. Thankfully for him, he was able to grab hold of one and pulled it out of the water with his teeth as the ponies cheered his success. Mike was surprised to find that, for as childish as it was to bob for apples, it was rather fun all in all.
“That was awesome!” said Rainbow Dash. “I thought you said you didn’t bob for apples back at home.”
“I don’t,” answered Mike. “That’s usually a game reserved for children, or foals in your terms, back where we’re from.”
“Who're you calling a foal?” she asked, annoyed.
“I’m not. If ponies consider bobbing for apples a normal party activity, that’s fine with me. Humans just tend to outgrow those kinds of things earlier in our lives.”
“Well, you humans don’t know what you’re missing.”
“Yeah, I guess not.”
“So anyways, what did you want to talk about?”
“I just thought I get to know you a bit more. What’s it like, being a pegasus?”
“That depends. What’s it like to be the drummer to your band?”
“It’s probably the greatest feeling in the world.”
“Well, looks like you just answered your own question,” Rainbow Dash responded with a smile and wink.
“Did you even have to try out for the band or what?”
“I did, actually. The band’s original drummer quit the band after twenty years, so I, along with six of the world’s best drummers came to audition for the open seat. After a great audition and an intense waiting period, I was accepted to join.”
“Lucky! I’m sure you’ve never heard of them, but there’s this pegasi flying group I’ve always dreamt of joining called the Wonderbolts.”
“Okay. Are you any good?”
“Any good? I won the Best Young Flyer competition a couple of years ago because of my sonic rainboom!”
“Sonic rainboom? Is that where you break the sound barrier and it creates a rainbow or something?” he asked sarcastically.
“Yeah! I’ll have to show you sometime.”
Mike was blown away yet again. This pegasus could supposedly fly faster than Mach One, and she was speaking of it as if the act was as easy as walking.
“Could you show me really quick?”
“It’s a little too dark out for that. Plus, you haven’t shown me your drum solo yet.”
“Right. Maybe when the party dies down.”
“Oh no, buster. You’re playing for all of us. No way I’m going to deny these ponies a good show.”
“I suppose it is better playing for a larger crowd...”
“That’s the spirit! By the way, I noticed that you still have your shirt off.”
Sure enough, Mike was topless and his shirt was being held in his hand.
“Sorry, my hair got wet from the apple bobbing and I didn’t want to get my shirt wet.”
“Alright, let me help you with that.”
Rainbow Dash began to fly circles around Mike, forming a small tornado in the process, not strong enough to pick up Mike, but enough for the wind to pick his hair up.
“This is what I call a ‘Rain-blow dry’! No need to thank me. Just helping out a friend…”
She stopped talking when she looked at the result of her work. In place of a wet head of long hair, Mike’s hair was now formed into an afro. Rainbow Dash was smirking and trying to contain her laughter, but it proved useless, as she was rolling on the ground, laughing loudly. Mike felt his new hairdo, getting a clearer idea of what Rainbow Dash was laughing at. He wasn’t all too happy.
“Where’s Rarity when I need her?” he muttered to himself.
Off on the other side of the party, near the punch bowl, Jordan and Rarity were having their own nice little chat.
“...And because of the work I did with Liquid Tension Experiment,” concluded Jordan, “I proved myself worthy to join Dream Theater, where I’ve been ever since.”
“That’s wonderful,” responded Rarity.
“And what made you want to become a fashion designer?”
“I’ve always considered it a very rewarding career path. I’ve made dresses for many celebrities and had them featured in magazines. I mean, what’s not to love?”
“In fact, my passion for fashion is what led me to get my cutie mark.”
“Right. I actually wanted to hear a story about how someone got theirs.”
“Excellent. Well, it all started when I was a filly and— WAH HA HA!” she screamed, her eyes widened at a figure in front of her.
Jordan turned around to see Mike with his new afro hairdo.
“Jesus, Mike,” Jordan said, “what the hell happened to you?”
“Rainbow Dash,” was all that Mike said.
“I figured as much,” spoke Rarity. “Let me fix that.”
With her horn glowing, Rarity used her magic to simply pull all of Mike’s hair back, which somehow brought it back to normal. Mike felt his head and was happy to find it in its original condition. Mike could now put his shirt back on.
“Thanks Rarity. You’re a lifesaver.”
“You’re welcome, darling. Go and enjoy the rest of the party.”
“As long as I don’t have to bob for any more apples, I should be good.”
“Wait,” stopped Jordan, “you went bobbing for apples?”
“Yeah. I wanted to talk to Rainbow Dash, but she said I had to bob for an apple first. My hair got wet dunking my head in the water, so she tried drying it for me by flying around me really fast.”
“What’s next? Are you going to do Pin the Tail on the Pony with Pinkie Pie?” Jordan joked.
“You know what? I just might. I had a lot of fun with Rainbow Dash and I’m going to try and enjoy myself to the fullest tonight. Yo, Pinkie!” he called, before heading to the Pin the Tail on the Pony game.
“What’s gotten into him?” asked Jordan.
“He’s just enjoying himself,” said Rarity. “Perhaps you should too. Maybe after he performs his drum solo, you go up and play some more of that keyboard.”
“Sure, that sounds like fun. Now, what were you saying about your cutie mark?”
“Oh, right. Anyways, when I was a filly, I was the costume designer for our school play…”
Myung was helping himself to a slice of cake from the table. He was slightly disappointed that it, along with the other desserts, were the only things being served at the party, which wouldn’t make a filling or nutritious dinner. However, the cake that he was eating was at least very tasty. Over his helping of cake, he spotted Fluttershy as she walked up to him. She looked like she was trying to strike up a conversation, but seemed far too nervous to. Myung continued to observe her as he continued chewing his bite of cake.
“Um, hi,” he finally spoke after he swallowed his cake. This seemed to get the conversation going.
“Oh,” she exclaimed silently. “Hi John. I was just going to try and talk to you. It’s just I haven’t heard you say much at all today. I figured you were just shy like me, so I thought I’d try to talk to you.”
“It’s not that I’m shy, I’m just very soft-spoken. In fact, the fact that I talk very little is a running joke amongst our fans.”
“Well, that’s not very nice.”
“Eh, it’s all in good fun. I mean, if you can’t learn to laugh at yourself, right?”
“Oh. I guess so.”
“Listen, don’t sweat it. By the way, this cake is delicious. I’m guessing the Cakes made this too?” Fluttershy’s sad frown brightened slightly into a smile, brightening the conversation.
“Mmhm. You know that ‘large order’ that they were talking about?”
“Let me guess. It was for this party.”
“That’s right. You must be very smart.”
“I have my moments.”
“And that instrument you play.”
“My bass? What about it?”
“It’s just that I’d love for you to play it. Would you be interested in coming to my cottage tomorrow and playing a little for me?”
“I don’t see why not. I should be using my time here to practice anyways.”
“That sounds wonderful. How about you come any time after breakfast?”
“That works for me.”
“Would you like me to get you some punch, John?”
“I don’t mind getting it myself.”
“Oh, okay then. I’ll see you later.”
Fluttershy walked away from Myung to merge back into the crowd. John, finding himself pleased by the yellow pegasus’ presence, decided to set his plate on the table and follow her.
James was absently walking around the party space, observing his surroundings, when he found himself near the record player where several ponies were dancing. The music felt too silly and girlish for him to dance to and not feel equally silly and girlish. Suddenly, Pinkie Pie popped out in front of him in her usual fashion.
“Hey, James!” she called, pulling him into the dance floor. “Let’s dance!”
“No,” James calmly protested, “I’m good.”
“Don’t be such a party-pooper. Come on, let it loose!”
Pinkie Pie and James were now in the middle of the dance circle, being observed by the other ponies who had been dancing. Pinkie Pie held on to James despite his reluctance to stay. He realized that escape would not be possible if he didn’t play along, so at first, he let her lead. Pinkie stood on her back hooves while she spun James around like a crazed ballroom dancer.
James felt initially strange about being pulled into the dance like this, but he began to hear the ponies chanting his name. As they continued to encourage him, despite how awkward he may have looked, James felt more and more comfortable as the dance went on. His confidence continued to rise until he eventually took the lead. Pinkie and John were both happy in their enjoyment of the dance.
Pinkie Pie then spun James away from her, much like what would be done in a cartoon. He was stopped by a familiar orange pony in a brown cowboy’s hat.
“Shall I have this dance?” asked Applejack.
“Sure thing,” responded James.
James and Applejack began to do-si-do to the music as it continued.
Despite Pinkie Pie having moved from the games to the dance floor, Mike still had company in Rainbow Dash and the Cutie Mark Crusaders at the Pin the Tail on the Pony game. Rainbow Dash had finished her turn, despite having pinned the tail far from its intended target.
“Alright Mike,” called Rainbow Dash. “It’s your turn.”
Mike had his blindfold placed over his eyes by Rainbow Dash, rendering his vision completely useless. He then felt the hair of the tail in his hand. As he gripped onto it and tried pulling it up to try and pin the tail on the pony poster, he felt that the tail was anchored to something.
“Now hold on,” said Rainbow Dash’s voice.
Mike then felt himself being pulled by what he correctly assumed to be Rainbow Dash’s tail through the banquet hall. Being led about without seeing where he was going was making Mike very apprehensive.
“Where are you taking me?” he asked.
“Relax, dude,” she told him. “You can trust me.”
“If you say so.”
After being led through what he considered to be the entirety of the banquet hall, he was stopped after running into a Rainbow Dash, who stood still in front of him.
“You can take your blindfold off now,” said Rainbow Dash.
Mike did as he was told, and with his vision restored, he found himself behind his massive drum set.
“Is this what I think it is?” asked Mike.
“Sure is,” she answered.
Rainbow Dash went to the record player and moved the needle off the record, eliciting unhappy groans and complaints from the party guests. Rainbow Dash flew to James’ microphone and made an announcement.
“Fillies and gentlecolts,” she cheered. “Put your hooves together for the amazing Mike Mangini!”
There was more confusion in the room than Rainbow Dash or Mike would have cared for, but it was only going to get more uncomfortable and confusing if Mike were to continue standing around. Plus, he had a promise to keep. He quickly got to his stool, sat down, and grabbed a pair of drumsticks from the bag that was set next to the stool.
Rainbow Dash and the Cutie Mark Crusaders were already pumped to hear what Mike could do. It was only until Mike took out his drumsticks that the other ponies began to get excited for what they were about to hear.
And so, Mike began, playing a beat consisting of eight simultaneous hits of his bass drums and two of his toms. After that, he began playing complex rhythm with his snare and one of his hi-hats. Mike giggled slightly at the ponies’ failure to dance to his intricate playing. The ponies themselves decided to stop dancing and instead observed what else this human could do with his drums.
Mike continued this beat while periodically moving to his four octobans placed in the center of the top bar of his drum cage. Mike then wowed the ponies with some fast rolls from a combination of his toms and bass drums.
Rainbow Dash, being a speed aficionado herself, was highly impressed with how fast this human could move with his arms. Mike flew his sticks left and right, hitting his toms and octobans with short three-hit rolls until he resumed his standard hi-hat/snare beat, resulting in a rush of cheers from the ponies watching. Rainbow couldn’t keep herself from beaming at his prowess.
Needless to say, the least impressed of all inside the banquet hall were the rest of the members of Dream Theater, who had seen Mike’s solos countless times before. To every other pony, Mike was truly a sight to behold upon his signature instrument.
After a repeat of his introductory tom/bass beat, Mike opted to impress the ponies further. He began playing fast triplets on his right splash cymbal with his right hand while keeping the beat on his snare and bass pedal. He further amazed the crowd by effortlessly switching from the splash cymbal on the right to the splash on his left with his other hand. It seemed there was no limit to his talent.
After another impressive round of rolls on his toms, he began to make a simpler beat with his hi-hats, and, on occasion, his snare. He complicated it even more by including his octobans again, creating another stunningly complex rhythm. Once he finished with that, he moved on to his next special surprise.
In 2002, Mike had broken the record for World's Fastest Drummer, a record set at 1203 beats per minute, and a record which he still held to this day on Earth. Mike figured it was time to show that part of him to the crowd. Mike began with a very simple and slow snare roll, his bass drum keeping the beat. Now the ponies felt compelled to chant Mike’s name in the rhythm he was playing. Mike, feeling pumped from the crowds growing enthusiasm, began to quicken the beat of his snares, getting faster and faster each second.
Just when it seemed it would get too fast for Mike, he continued to get faster, his face keeping a confident and pleasant smile all the while. The ponies stopped chanting at this moment, being more intrigued by just how fast he could possibly go. Mike had gotten to the point where his roll sounded more like a buzzing. With one final hit, Mike began playing his snare slowly with his left hand, cooling down slightly for his next move.
Mike kept his right hand up high when he started playing another fast snare roll with his left hand. Any jaws that were left closed at that point were dropped now.
“What?” breathed Rainbow Dash. “No way.”
Rainbow Dash flew over Mike’s drums and saw that Mike was indeed playing the roll with one hand. She decided to use her new location to garner more cheers from the stunned crowd. As Mike switched to his right hand to do a one handed roll, Rainbow Dash shot her hooves into the air, finally ushering some cheers and applause from the stunned ponies.
Mike then began to alternate hands again, hitting one of his crashes with his free hand as he did so. He repeated this again and again until he formed a rhythm.
“Mike! Mike! Mike!” chanted the crowd upon each crash hit.
Mike had been playing for approximately five minutes now and he knew that he had to do the finale. Mike began playing on his toms until he worked his way into the center. He then crossed his left arm over his right, playing the toms on his left and right with the opposite hands. Mike uncrossed his arms, but this time, he put his right over his left, once again, playing the left and right toms with opposing hands.
Mike alternated again again until he was criss-crossing all over his toms, going faster each time he switched his arms around. Once the ponies’ applause was as loud as it could be, Mike began to slow down the speed of his drumming until he seemed to stop. However, Mike concluded with the same eight tom/bass hits that he used to open up his solo. With it finally being done, Mike stood from his stool and took a bow, receiving his loudest cheers yet. Upon leaning back up, he felt Rainbow Dash’s forearms wrap around his torso.
“That was so awesome!” she told her friend. She held out her right wing to him while somehow flying to his level with her left wing. Mike assumed she was going for what would be considered a “High-Five,” so he opened his palm up and slapped her wing.
Jordan and Petrucci, who were standing next to each other, gave a quick glance at each other and walked off towards their instruments. Rarity and Twilight gave excited looks to each other, knowing what was about to happen. Myung saw his two bandmates heading towards their gear and went along to join them. James was already very close to his mike, so he stood where he was. The ponies were excitedly clamoring to each other.
Once all five members had their gear equipped and turned on, Rainbow Dash issued a challenge.
“Play the hardest song you know.”
James knew immediately what this song would be, so he decided to sit out.
“Dance of Eternity?” asked Petrucci to his bandmates.
“Dance of Eternity,” confirmed Jordan, turning on the introductory sample.
Mike and Myung led in, followed by Jordan and Petrucci. The ponies were more inclined to listen again, as they figured the song would be as abstract as the drum solo. And they were right; the song was a collection of different time signatures and technical musicianship that the band was able to play perfectly, easily exciting and moving the audience.
When the band got to a harder, but simpler section, Petrucci scanned the audience to find another familiar pony head-banging to the beat along with some others. There could be only one pony who would know this song as well as she would. It was Princess Luna, and she appeared to be having a ball. John smiled and continued his playing. It seemed that the other members didn’t pay too much mind to notice her.
Twilight and her friends were too wrapped up in the music to notice Luna either. Twilight was highly impressed with everyone’s technicality. Rarity had her eyes locked on Jordan the entire time. She even swooned when Jordan played his famous ragtime solo. Rainbow Dash was also impressed with the others’ musicianship and found the speed of both Petrucci and Myung’s respective solos to be quite admirable.
Of all Twilight’s friends, Applejack and Pinkie Pie were the first to notice Luna, and they opted to dance with her, despite their unfamiliarity with the song. Fluttershy was drawn in by John’s bass playing, giving gentle, unheard cheers to her new friend as he played.
Rainbow Dash kept her focus back on Mike as he played through perhaps the most challenging part on the song for his instrument. As usual, she was thoroughly amazed.
After another section of odd time signatures and key changes, the band finished the song with maximum success. Now that the rest of the band had the time to observe the cheering crowd they were able to see Luna cheering them also.
Twilight and her other friends were also able to see Luna and talk to her.
“Luna,” called Twilight, “what are you doing here?”
“I came to deliver some things to the band members’ cottages,” answered Luna. “That’s when I noticed Mike playing one of his solos, so I came to listen.”
“They really are amazing, aren’t they?” asked Rainbow Dash.
“You have no idea.”
James also noticed Luna, giving him an idea. He ran to his bandmates and whispered something to them. Luna was keen on finding out what they were discussing, but before she could wonder any longer, Petrucci and Jordan played the beginning to Under a Glass Moon. Luna squealed at finding out which song it was.
“Do you like this song?” asked Twilight.
“It’s my favorite by them!”
“Favorite?” asked Applejack. “You know this band?”
“It’s a long story,” explained Twilight.
Luna was too wrapped up in the song to pay any more attention to anything. This song had a much more standard rhythm than the last song, so the ponies felt inclined to clop their hooves onto the ground in rhythm to the song.
None of the ponies had listened to James sing yet, but upon singing the first few lyrics, he had girlish screams serenade him as if he was a member of a popular boy band. Rarity, Fluttershy, and Twilight definitely seemed to enjoy this song. It was smooth, mystical, elegant, and at times, serene, especially around the verses. Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Pinkie Pie definitely preferred the songs harder choruses, moshing to them with Luna.
Soon, it was soon time for Petrucci’s legendary solo on the song, and with a short prelude from Myung’s bass, Petrucci was off. Twilight could practically see Petrucci’s soul command his guitar as he brilliantly played the solo. After figuring and wondering how good of a musician Petrucci was, she could now experience it in all of its glory.
After a final repeat of the chorus, Dream Theater played the outro and ended the song, producing more cheering.
“Thank you, Ponyville!” dismissed James.
With that, all of Dream Theater’s members, minus Jordan, left and rejoined the party, being praised and congratulated by the rest of the audience. Jordan was busy fidgeting with his iPad until he brought up his music library, making a small playlist for the rest of the party. Jordan hit “Shuffle,” and the first song that happened to come up was Universal Mind by Liquid Tension Experiment.
Feeling energized by the night’s events, Jordan threw his hands in the air and yelled, “Let’s party!”
The members of Dream Theater danced with their new pony friends: Petrucci with Twilight and Luna, Myung with Fluttershy, James with Applejack and the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Jordan with Pinkie Pie and Rarity, and Mike with Rainbow Dash. Their joy and liveliness was incomparable.
By the party’s end, all of the ponies left the banquet hall and headed for their homes, with Dream Theater bidding them good night and thank you in the process.
“Good night,” called Petrucci to a mint-green unicorn and a cream-colored earth pony with a blue and pink mane and tail. “Thanks for coming.”
“Thanks for the show!” responded the unicorn.
Twilight and her friends, including Luna, finally filed out of the building.
“Well,” said James, “that was quite enjoyable.”
“I forgot to ask,” mentioned Petrucci, “where’s Spike?”
“He started dozing off early into the party,” said Twilight, “so I put him in one of the cottages to sleep. In fact, I’ll go get him.” Twilight trotted off to get her draconic assistant.
“So,” asked Rainbow Dash with ample enthusiasm to the band, “do you think you could do a full-on concert while you’re here?” Petrucci wasn’t sure how to answer this.
“The thing is,” admitted Petrucci, “we could possibly be going home tomorrow, so…”
“Yes,” interrupted Luna, “about that. My sister tried to charge a magic generator, but the largest one we had still couldn’t hold enough power to send you home. We now have to build one that’s large enough and then charge it, and that could take as long as a week or two.” Each of the human’s mouths dropped in unpleasant surprise.
“A week!?!” shouted Myung, startling Fluttershy.
Mike and James both grabbed their hair, trying to take all of it in. Twilight had come back with Spike in tow, the latter sleeping on Twilight’s back. Having not known what had been said, Applejack explained it to her. Twilight frowned as her ears sorrowfully drooped.
“Please forgive me,” begged Luna, “I didn’t wish for this to happen.”
Petrucci walked over to a cottage and slammed his fist against its wall. Having gotten most of his negative energy out there, he rested his head up against the wall, breathing heavily. Everyone just stared at him.
“If there’s anything I can do,” said Luna, “I will be more than happy to do so.”
“Unless you can send us all home right now,” panted Petrucci, “your assistance is no longer needed.”
Mike, Myung, Jordan, and James were also visibly upset. Many shows would have to be canceled and many ticketholders would have to be compensated. Twilight and her friends wished they could help, but they were just as powerless to aid the situation now as anyone. Pinkie Pie, ever the optimist, walked up to Petrucci and jumped onto his back, hanging her forearms over his shoulders and wrapping her forelegs around his waist.
“You know,” she said sympathetically, “sure you’re stuck here in a different world millions and billions and trillions and gazillions of miles away, but hey, you’re all still here, right? And it’s not like you’re not going home. You’re just going to have to wait a little longer, that’s all.”
Pinkie’s encouraging words seemed to boost the morale of the other ponies to try and cheer up their friends.
“Don’t you worry,” said Applejack. “We’ll be sure to take good care of all y’all.”
“You bet,” agreed Rainbow Dash. “We won’t leave you hanging.”
“I mean,” added Pinkie Pie, “what are friends for?”
Pinkie Pie got off of Petrucci and cartoonishly roped all of the bandmates in with her arms and pulled them into a giant group hug, giggling as she brought them closer. There was something about Pinkie Pie’s childlike giggle that seemed to alleviate the stress that everyone was feeling right now, as if they somehow knew that everything was going to be alright.
“Thanks, Pinkie,” said Jordan calmly. “You really have a knack for helping others see the best in situations like this.
“Anything for my friends,” she chortled.
“In that case, would it be too much trouble for us to get some sleep? It’s been quite an exhausting day.”
“I bet,” spoke Twilight. “Plus, I’m sure you’ll like the surprise Luna gave you.”
“Luna?” asked James.
The five humans walked into Petrucci’s cottage, which was the closest of any of the band member’s cottages. When they got inside, they looked inside the kitchen to find an open medium-sized wooden box on the counter. Inside of it was eight rolls of gold coins.
“What is this?” asked Mike.
“When I heard about the generator, I decided to lend you some money for anything you might need while you’re here. There’s a box in each cottage for you. I meant to deliver them personally, but I had seen that the pink pony was throwing one of her usual welcome parties, so I decided to wait. When I heard Mike playing his drum solo inside the banquet hall, I decided to come and listen.”
“I see,” said Petrucci. “Not to sound greedy or anything, but are all of these coins considered a lot of money?”
“200 gold bits,” answered Luna. “More than plenty.”
Petrucci ran his hand through his hair, surprised by Luna’s inhuman kindness. Petrucci turned around to thank Luna, but she held her hoof up to silence him.
“No need for thanks, John. Your being in my presence is the greatest thanks I can receive from you.”
As Petrucci gave her a kind smile, an exaggerated yawn from Scootaloo was heard in the back of the group.
“Are we done yet?” she whined. “I’m getting tired.”
“Scootaloo,” scolded Applejack.
“No,” protested James, “she’s right. It’s about time we got some sleep. I know you don’t really wish to hear it, Luna, but thank you very much for your generosity.”
“It’s no problem at all, James,” she responded.
Twilight and her friends bid Dream Theater farewell and goodnight and left to go their separate ways.
“Well,” said Luna, who still remained, “I hope you all sleep soundly tonight.”
“You too, Luna,” said Petrucci.
Luna ushered a smile before she unfurled her wings and set off back to Canterlot.
“So,” began Jordan.
“Looks like we’re just going to have to make the best of this… again,” finished Mike.
After a short giggle, the whole of Dream Theater gave a friendly group hug, bid each other goodnight, and went inside their cottages sleep for the night.
Petrucci wasn’t quite tired enough to fall asleep yet. He was still a little stressed over the prolonging of his stay in Equestria. Despite knowing that his return was guaranteed, his friends and family on Earth didn’t know this; for all they knew, he was possibly dead. Petrucci couldn’t imagine that his other bandmates weren’t thinking the same things.
The night was warm, so Petrucci was comfortable taking his shirt and pants off as he slipped into bed. More thoughts began to cross his mind, these being more pleasant than his first. He could not have ended up in a better world: the inhabitants were kind, selfless, and hospitable. The world itself was beautiful and the food and language were one in the same. They appreciated his band’s music, and even offered to share their own.
That reminded him of the books he received, so he got out of bed and went to the bathroom where he left the songbook. He picked it up and brought it back with him to bed. After reading more and more of the songs, Petrucci soon began to realize that his incidental trip here would be nothing but bliss and pleasure.
Once he began getting too groggy to read any further, Petrucci set the book next to him on the bedside floor. Putting his head onto the pillow, it wasn’t long before he could gently lull himself back to sleep.
Petrucci awoke feeling as rested as he did the previous morning on the train. However, it was still relatively dark out. He rolled over to a small bedside table where he saw a clock. It read 5:56. John felt too rested to fall back asleep and wait for the sun, so he got out of bed and made his way to the bathroom for a quick bath.
As he drew water from the faucet, waiting for it to get warm, he felt his stomach grumble. He then remembered how little he actually ate the previous night. He had only eaten a particularly large slice of cake at the party, which, come to think of it, wasn’t even the least bit nutritious. He didn’t particularly want to wait for the vendors and markets to open. That’s when it hit him.
Applejack worked on her farm. If he knew any kind of farm on Earth, she and her family would get up at the crack of dawn and begin working. Surely, they could provide him with a couple of apples to eat. That’s when it hit him again.
Petrucci was an avid bodybuilder when he wasn’t practicing, writing, or performing. He had already thought a couple of times about finding a gym in Ponyville where he could spend some time during his now prolonged stay. If he could assist Applejack and do some work on the farm, he’d be able to spend some time with his friends, AND he’d be able to work out a little. He was killing two birds with one stone.
Petruci slipped into the now warm bathwater, quickly lathering his body with soapy suds and cleaning his hair with shampoo. He didn’t feel the need to thoroughly clean his body, as he’d be sweaty and dirty by the time he was down.
After drying himself off, Petrucci slipped on his old clothes from the night before, along with his shoes. He didn’t want to waste clean clothes (especially ones made for him) just to get them dirty almost instantly. Just in case he needed them while he was out, he packed a roll of bits in his back pocket. Finally, after writing a short note explaining his whereabouts and pinning it to the outside of his cottage door, John took a jog to Sweet Apple Acres.
It was still relatively dark out, but Petrucci could still easily tell the path that he needed to take thanks to the soft, orange glow from the eastern horizon. That’s when he noticed a sliver of bright light coming off the eastern hills. It looked like the sun was rising, but what struck him odd was how fast the sun was rising. Petrucci couldn’t be help but stop in his tracks and look at the bright celestial body rise over the hills. He was amazed as he watched the lavender night sky be eradicated by the cyan blue within a matter of seconds, all while the ground was showered in the warm glow of the sun’s rays.
John had honestly never seen a more beautiful sunrise in his life. He found it very… inspirational. Another idea clicked.
“I’m going to have to remember that one,” Petrucci muttered to himself, jotting down a possible future melody in his head. Suddenly realizing that he was not moving towards his destination, he turned on his heel and headed back towards Applejack’s farm.
Once Petrucci came across the groves of apple trees, his hunger began to kick in again. He found it more and more difficult to resist taking an apple for himself, although he knew how wrong that could be.
I’ll ask her if I can have one when I get there, thought Petrucci.
After what felt like an eternity on an empty stomach, he was relieved to see the red barn in the distance. It would be just another ten minute walk before he could finally get to the entrance. Petrucci instead decided to cut that time in half by jogging there.
Sure enough, in five minutes, he was at the entrance to Sweet Apple Acres. He waited a bit to see if any of Applejack’s family was up before he knocked on their door. Thankfully, he saw Applejack come out of the barn entrance at the front of the house with an empty bucket in her mouth. Petrucci made a wave to her once she caught a glace at him. She spat the bucket on the ground and greeted her friend.
“Howdy, Johnny,” she said with a smile. “What brings you to Sweet Apple Acres on such a fine morning?”
“Well,” answered John, “there’s two things. I was wondering if I could just buy an apple from you for breakfast. Also, I’d like to help you out on the farm if you need any help.”
“Well, ain’t you the sweetest thing? I’m going to have to decline on the apple part, Johnny…”
Petrucci was about to drop his jaw in disbelief until Applejack finished her statement.
“…because you’re going to have breakfast with us, Apple family style!”
“What? No, I couldn’t impose.”
“It’d be no imposition at all. As a matter of fact, after how well you played last night, it’d be a privilege to have you dine with us.”
John wanted to continue to decline, but he felt like Applejack would continue to reject his rejections until they ended on a rather hostile stalemate.
“That’s very kind of you,” Petrucci relented. “Thank you.”
“Now, about that help…”
“How’s about you help me get some eggs from the coop?”
“Eggs? What’s a pony supposed to do with eggs?”
“Why, you joker, we eat ‘em!”
John felt very confused at this point.
“What’s wrong, sugar?” asked Applejack, her head tilted to the side with her ears drooped. She was worried that he had offended him. “Do ponies not eat eggs where you come from?”
“…No, they don’t. Their diets consist entirely of plants.”
“Well, Johnny, do they talk, throw parties, or run their own barns?”
Petrucci couldn’t believe he was outsmarted by an equine.
“…Point taken,” he admitted.
“Hehehe. Don’t sweat it. Let’s just get those eggs.”
John took an indifferent sigh and followed Applejack to the chicken coops.
Mike woke up to the sun beaming through his blinds. Upon looking at his clock, which read 6:30, he figured it was just as good of a time as any to get up and going. As he moved from his bedroom to the bathroom, he thought about what he could do today. He thought about spending some time with his human friends and practicing. He also considered hanging out around Ponyville some more, quite possibly with Rainbow Dash. He considered his options as he slipped into the bathwater.
He was a stranger in a strange world, and he would like to feel safer around the company of his human friends. On the other hand, the inhabitants of Ponyville had proven to be quite kind and accepting towards him and his other bandmates, especially Rainbow Dash. He did only have a few days in this odd, but pleasing world, and he finally decided that he wanted to have as much fun here as possible.
He got out of the bath and slipped on another set of his new clothes that he had received from Rarity. He walked out of his cottage to see if his other bandmates were awake so he could tell them that he was going out. His cottage was right next door to Petrucci’s, so he figured that he’d check him first. However, Mike found the note that Petrucci left on his door. It read:
Gone to help Applejack at Sweet Apple Acres.
“Good idea,” muttered Mike. He went back inside his cottage to write a letter as well. His was very similar to Petrucci’s, saying:
Hanging with Rainbow Dash.
That’s when Mike thought of something. During the tour yesterday, he had never been shown where Rainbow Dash lived.
“This might be an interesting day,” sighed Mike.
Jordan woke up feeling very energized. Upon taking a bath and clothing himself, he made his way towards the banquet hall. Upon walking inside, he could see the post-apocalyptic aftermath that the party left. There were spilled liquids everywhere, popped balloons and streamers scattered all over the ground, and the snack and punch table in complete disarray. However, the only thing that he needed was his iPad, which was still attached to his keyboard setup. After taking it out of its case, he put it in its video camera function and decided to make a video log (vlog).
On Earth, Jordan had a YouTube channel which he used to make videos of him walking and strolling around the cities he visited on his tours, him practicing before a show, and various apps that he made, programmed, and/or enjoyed. Jordan figured that upon returning to Earth, if he needed evidence of where he and his bandmates had been, he’d have some. Plus, it’s not like they’d be able to travel here to raise hell as some humans would. Once Jordan got outside, he hit record and began his first Ponyville vlog.
“Hey, everypony,” he greeted, putting emphasis on the “pony” part. “If I told you where we all were right now, you’d never believe us, so instead, I’m going to show you instead.”
Jordan took the camera off of his face and slowly panned out over Ponyville, catching many of the buildings, and thankfully, the populace of pastel ponies to make his point clear. He caught a couple of pegasi, a unicorn, and a couple of earth ponies.
“Right now, you’re probably thinking, ‘Jordan, where the hell are you?’ The answer is, we are in a town called Ponyville, hence the ponies that I just showed you, in a country called Equestria. This is where we ended up following the incident at the Boston show around a day and a half ago. But, the important thing is that we’re alright.”
Jordan looked beyond his tablet to see Twilight Sparkle trotting towards him.
“In fact,” said Jordan, “here’s one of the new friends we made.” He turned the iPad camera so it was now facing Twilight. “Hello, Twilight.”
“Hello, Jordan,” she spoke. “What are you doing?”
“I’m making a vlog.”
“Vlog? What is that?”
“Think of it as a visual journal entry that you share with others.”
“Share? You mean with your other humans?”
“Exactly. We have a technology where we come from that allows others to share and watch videos, and I like to share my videos in the form of these vlogs.”
“Sounds fun. Are you you free this morning?”
“Not really. Why?”
“Rarity and I were going to get breakfast at the local café. Care to join us?”
“I dunno, I’d like to wait for my other members to get up—”
As if on cue, both Myung and James came out of their cottages, fully bathed and dressed. Jordan focused his camera at his bandmates as Twilight addressed them.
“Great timing!” exclaimed Twilight. “Would either of you like to join Rarity, Spike, and me for breakfast?”
“I’d love to,” said Myung, “but I’m going to see Fluttershy and play for her.”
“Suit yourself,” said Twilight. “How about you, James?”
“Wait,” interrupted Jordan. “Where’s Petrucci and Mike?”
“Maybe you should read the notes on their door?” she mentioned with a giggle. Jordan looked and read each of their notes.
“In that case,” said James. “I’d love to have breakfast with you.”
“That’s great to hear. Let’s get moving.”
“Alright,” confirmed Jordan. “Bye John!"
Myung responded with a wave. Jordan, James, and Twilight walked into the town while Myung went to the banquet hall to get his bass.
“Alrighty,” continued John, pointing his tablet’s camera back towards himself, “we are going to go get some breakfast, and I will meet you all there.”
Jordan stopped recording and followed Twilight to the café with James by his side.
Petrucci left the Sweet Apple Acres house feeling stuffed as a Thanksgiving turkey. His breakfast included pancakes, hash browns, eggs, toast, fruit salad, and freshly made apple juice. He almost felt a little guilty that he was fed so much. Petrucci wanted to make it up to her by working double.
Petrucci was followed outside by Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo, who had stayed the night at the Cutie Mark Crusaders clubhouse. Applejack wasn’t too far behind them.
“I’m really glad you came over, John,” said Apple Bloom. “I can’t believe I’m going to be hanging out with a talented musician!”
“Don’t get your tail in a tizzy, lil’ sis,” said Applejack. “John ain’t here to play games or hang out. He’s coming over to help us out. Speaking of which, John, is there something in particular that you’d like to help us with?”
“Uh,” thought Petrucci aloud, “is there anything that involves heavy lifting?”
“You could help Big Mac with replacing the hay in the barn. How’s that sound?”
“That sounds great. Thanks.”
“Alrighty, let’s get to it. Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, yer comin’ with me.”
As Applejack rounded up the fillies to assist her, Petrucci turned around and walked forward, only to literally run into Big Macintosh. The large red stallion looked at John in his usual flat demeanor.
“Sorry about that, Big Mac,” apologized Petrucci.
“Eeyup,” said Big Macintosh. His tone seemed strangely apologetic.
“About yesterday, that’s just water under the bridge, right?”
“Great. Let’s get too it, shall we?” John patted Big Macintosh on the side of his neck as he made his way towards the barn.
Mike headed to Sugarcube Corner. As well as looking for something for breakfast, he figured that Pinkie Pie would know more than anyone where his rainbow colored friend would be. Upon opening the door to the gingerbread-looking structure, a bell rung, alerting its two owners of his arrival.
“Oh, hello Mike,” greeted Mr. Cake, recognizing the human in front of him. “What can I do for you?”
“Have you seen Pinkie Pie around?” asked Mike.
“As a matter of fact,” cut in Mrs. Cake, “Pinkie is upstairs right now entertaining the foals.”
"You have kids?”
“As a matter of fact, we do. Would you like to wait for Pinkie?”
“Yeah, that’s fine. While I wait, I’d like to get one of those cinnamon crumb muffins right there.” Mike pointed to the display case.
Mike watched as Mrs. Cake opened the display case and picked out a muffin with her teeth, placing it on the counter. Mike felt a bit disgusted by that, but considering that she didn’t have hands or fingers, and her hooves (which touched the floor on a near constant basis) would have been a nastier alternative, he decided to accept it the way it was.
“So how much is it?” asked Mike.
“Oh, please,” Mr. Cake said, “this one’s on the house.”
“Nonsense. I want to be treated like everyone else who comes into your store, and I want to pay as much for this muffin as any pony would. Now, how much is the muffin?”
“That will be three bits,” said Mr. Cake in a more respectful tone.
Mike took out his roll of bits, ripped the paper holding them in place, and took three of the coins out, placing them on the counter.
“Thank you very much, Mike,” bid Mrs. Cake.
“No, thank you.”
Mike stood around and waited for Pinkie Pie to come down, eating his delicious muffin in the process. Thankfully, it was only a few minutes until Pinkie Pie came galloping down the stairs. She seemed very happy to see Mike, as told by her wide smile and loud drawn out gasp. She leapt from the staircase and onto Mike, giving him a big hug.
“Hi, Mike!” she squealed. “What are you doing here?”
“Hi, Pinkie. Do you know where Rainbow Dash is?”
“Well, of course I do! Let’s go!”
Before Mike could even react, Pinkie pulled Mike by his waist out of the bakery with unnatural speed.
Jordan, James, and Twilight had arrived at the café with Spike and Rarity. It was a pleasant enough day that they could all sit outside. Jordan and James both ordered large glasses of orange juice, Twilight and Rarity had blueberry tea, and Spike had a foal’s size milk. Jordan resumed his vlog while they waited for their meals.
“Here we are at a local café,” commented Jordan on his iPad camera, “with my good friends, James, Twilight, Spike, and Rarity.” Jordan panned over the group of people, dragon, and ponies sitting at the café table. “We are about to have breakfast on our second day of being here. James, would you care to tell us what you ordered?”
“I decided to get the apple pancake,” answered James.
“Awesome. Just awesome. Ladies?”
“Well,” spoke Twilight. “I ordered the daisy and mushroom omelette with a side of fresh-cut strawberries.”
“I decided on the eggs Florentine with tomato,” answered Rarity.
“What a coincidence,” commented Jordan, bringing the camera back towards himself. “I ordered the same thing, except with a side of hash browns. What about you, my main man?” asked Jordan, bringing the camera back to Spike.
“Oh, hey everyone,” said Spike, unprepared for the interview. “I just brought some gemstones from home. There’s really not much here for dragons.”
Spike took a handful of rubies, emeralds, and sapphires from a bag on the floor next to him and placed them in his mouth, making a loud crunch as he chewed them.
“Your dental bill must be astounding,” said Jordan with a feigned lack of enthusiasm.
Spike nonetheless, giggled at Jordan’s comment.
“Anyways,” the bearded keyboardist continued, “our food should be arriving any minute, so I shall end this video, I’m having a great time here, and as usual, I hope to see all of you…” Jordan pulled the camera close to his mouth. “…on the road.” Jordan stopped the recording and resumed his wonderful morning with his friends.
Fluttershy was dusting her house for Myung’s arrival. She certainly didn’t want her guest to be playing in a dirty environment. Many of Fluttershy’s animal friends did what they could to help as well. Several squirrels brushed the floors with their tails, a badger wiped off the kitchen counter with a rag, and a plethora of different birds helped change the blanket’s and rugs around the house for cleaner ones.
There was a white rabbit lounging in his bed doing absolutely nothing. However, he was quite content being in this state of relaxation.
“Angel,” Fluttershy requested of her white rabbit, “would you mind cleaning the windows for me?”
Fluttershy gave Angel a cloth to do the chore with. The rabbit promptly wadded the cloth into a ball and threw it at Fluttershy’s face, hitting her in the nose.
“Angel, please don’t make a fuss,” begged Fluttershy. “I’ll make you that salad you like for dinner if you do this for me.”
The bunny thought of it for a second, before plopping himself back in his bed.
“Oh dear,” whined the yellow pegasus. She was just about to clean the window herself when a knock was heard at her door. “Oh my. I didn’t think he would be this early.”
Fluttershy opened the door to see John Myung, in the flesh, with his bass guitar strapped over his shoulder on his back. John looked over to see all of the animals with cleaning supplies.
“Did I come at a wrong time?” he asked confused. It isn’t every day, after all, that he would see a bunch of woodland animals cleaning a house like a Disney movie.
“No. It is after breakfast after all. It’s just I didn’t think you’d come so soon. I just wanted the house to look nice. I’m sorry.”
“No need to apologize. I was the one who came early. Do you need a hand or anything?”
“Oh no. I wouldn’t expect a guest to help clean my house. Please take a seat on the couch. I’ll be with you soon.”
Myung walked inside Fluttershy’s dainty cottage. Angel was sound asleep when Dream Theater first came into Fluttershy’s house, so Myung was the first human that the rabbit ever laid eyes on. In its soft bunny voice, Angel shrieked and ran upstairs for shelter.
“I take to it that your rabbit doesn’t like me very much,” commented Myung.
“Oh, it’s alright. He’s just never seen anything quite like you before. I’m sure once he realizes that you mean no harm, he’ll warm up to you.”
Upon that statement, the little rabbit came charging downstairs in miniature football gear, carrying a broom like a lance.
“Oh boy,” was all Myung said.
Petrucci heavily surprised Big Macintosh with how much work he put into the barn. The red stallion expected to be waiting for the human most of the time, but Petrucci was up to speed with his new work buddy the whole time. While Petrucci baled hay into large piles with his hands, Big Macintosh would pull it out to the dump. By the time Big Mac returned, Petrucci had another bale ready to go. Big Mac was amazed at how aptly this creature worked.
Once the barn was cleaned out of old hay, the two began moving in new hay. Big Macintosh cut the ropes holding the bundles with his teeth while the both of them spread the hay bales out evenly over the barn floor with their hands, feet, and hooves.
Within twenty minutes, the barn was completely refurbished. Petrucci and Big Mac were quite content with themselves.
“Looks like we did a good job, didn’t we?” asked Petrucci.
“Missed a spot,” responded Big Mac.
Petrucci turned around to see another tied bundle of hay launched in his direction. He didn’t have any time to react, and the straw knocked Petrucci down onto the floor. He rolled the bundle off of him and stood back up.
“Really?” he asked in a faux annoyed tone.
“Eeyup!” happily responded the red stallion.
“Alright, let’s see how you like it!”
John picked up the bundle by the string and tried to whip it at Big Mac. However, even for as strong as Petrucci was, he didn’t have enough strength to toss the hay hard and fast enough to hit Big Mac, who easily dodged Petrucci’s attack. The human then chased after the red pony, which also proved to be a challenge. Big Mac was content with being able to outrun the human, but upon looking back to see how far behind his chaser was, his hoof tripped on the extra bundle of hay, sending him tumbling onto his side.
Petrucci used all the strength in his legs to get Big Mac before he could get back up. With a large bound, Petrucci landed on top of Big Macintosh and began to wrestle with him. Big Mac could have easily overpowered the smaller human at any point, but he was enjoying playing with Petrucci for now.
As Petrucci pushed, rubbed, and at times lightly beat Big Mac’s body, Big Mac would merely challenge him further by rolling around and making it more difficult for the human to try and have power over him. Nonetheless, they laughed the entire time.
“What in tarnation is all of this ruckus?” asked Applejack, walking into the barn upon hearing the commotion.
She watched as Petrucci was pouncing on Big Macintosh like a kitten while her brother rolled around in an effort to avoid him. The two finally stopped when they noticed Applejack as she stood in the doorway, snickering at their childish antics. They both got up and brushed as much hay off of themselves as possible, trying to look professional in front of her. Applejack snickered again as she saw the hay still stuck in Petrucci's beard and long hair, as well as in her brother's blonde mane.
“Nice job on the barn, you two. Come on, I think y’all deserve an ice cold drink.”
Upon her walking away, John and Big Mac looked at each other, smiled, and shared another laugh. They both exited the barn soon after, Petrucci’s one arm wrapped around Big Mac’s neck in a brotherly embrace.
Mike followed Pinkie Pie to the outskirts of Ponyville where they came across a house seemingly made of clouds. Mike wasn’t exactly impressed by the fact that he was witnessing a house of clouds. In this world of talking unicorns, pegasi, and dragons, he felt that it was only natural to see a house made of condensed water droplets at some point in time. What Mike marveled over, however, were the waterfalls and streams composed of rainbows that flowed on the clouds like water.
“Now that’s cool,” said Mike.
“Hey, Rainbow Dash!” yelled Pinkie Pie at the top of her lungs.
Mike was worried that she wouldn’t be home, but was soon relieved to see the blue mare with the Roy G. Biv mane come out of her door. She let out a large yawn that was even noticed by Mike and Pinkie.
“We didn’t wake her up, did we?” asked Mike with concern in his voice.
“She’ll be fine,” assured Pinkie Pie. “She likes to nap throughout the day anyways.”
As Pinkie predicted, upon seeing her friends on the ground, a smile grew wide upon her face and she swooped down from above to greet them.
“Hey, Pinkie,” she said. “Hey, Mike. What’cha doing over here? Did you want to see some of my awesome aerial stunts?” She flexed her forearms as she spoke, giving the impression that she was a very cool pony.
“Yes, actually,” said Mike. “I mean, unless it’s too early for you…”
“What? Pffft. There’s no such thing as ‘too early’ for Rainbow Dash. Just sit down and watch!”
Mike sat cross legged on the grass next to the dirt path to watch Rainbow Dash do her thing. Pinkie Pie was sitting in a lawn chair with a red and white box of popcorn, both of which seemed to come from absolutely nowhere. Pinkie dug her face into the box as Mike watched Rainbow soar through the air as majestically as an eagle.
Mike himself felt very relaxed. The air was acceptably cool for a summer morning such as this, there were hardly any clouds that he could spot, and the sky was a beautiful light blue that he’d never seen in his life. Mike forsook sitting down and decided to lie down on the grass, seeing nothing but the blue sky and the cyan pegasus performing for him in it.
“I could get used to this,” sighed Mike.
Jordan took the last bite of his eggs Florentine. Thankfully, they had silverware for unicorns who could use them with their magic, so Jordan and James both didn’t have to resort to eating with their hands. Needless to say, Jordan’s eggs and James’ pancake were among the best that they had ever had, which felt odd to them, considering that their meals came from a quaint little dive in a small town rather than a five-star, high end restaurant.
“So,” said Twilight. “How were your meals?”
“Absolutely delicious,” answered James.
“Best eggs I’ve ever had,” said Jordan.
“That’s great to hear,” chirped Twilight. Their waiter came by their table.
“Have we decided on anything else?” he asked.
“If you could get our checks, that would be great,” said James.
“Checks? Darling, please. I shall cover breakfast for you.” She then motioned towards the waiter. “If you could bring just one check, please.” The waiter went back inside to print it out.
“Rarity,” spoke Jordan in a condescending tone, “you make us new clothes, and now you’re just buying us breakfast? You do know that Luna gave us those bits for a reason, right?”
“But of course. It’s just that I love to cater to very esteemed and talented ponies such as yourselves. Plus, I feel bad for not compensating you for such a wonderful performance last night.”
Any attempts that Jordan had to try and reason with this white unicorn over splitting the bill were dashed. It seemed that Rarity was simply a very generous pony, and she was quite adamant on making sure she took care of her friends.
“Alright,” relented Jordan. “Have it your way.” Jordan downed the last of his orange juice. All of a sudden…
“There he is!”
Jordan heard the words as if they were being directed right at him. He turned around to see two mares approach from behind him. One mare was a snow white unicorn with a spikey mane and tail with stripes of light and dark shades of blue. Along with a cutie mark of a reversed double quaver, another defining feature of hers was a pair of sunglasses with a purple tint.
She was followed by a light grey earth pony with a brushed, dark grey mane and tail. She wore nothing but a white collar with a pink bowtie. She also had a cutie mark depicting a light purple treble clef.
“Sorry if I’m interrupting anything,” said the white unicorn.
“No,” said Jordan, “it’s okay, we just finished actually.”
“Excellent. Let me introduce myself. My name is Vinyl Scratch. This is my partner Octavia.”
Jordan shook the hooves of both ponies before he spoke to them again.
“I’m guessing by your cutie marks, you are both musicians.”
“I told you he was sharp,” told Vinyl to Octavia, who continued to sport a calm, expressionless face. “Anyways, from what I gather, your show last night at the cottage banquet hall has been the talk of the town all day. I heard that you were the keyboardist for your band, am I right?”
“No, you’re right. May I ask why you’re asking me this?”
“You see, Mr. ….”
“Just call me Jordan.”
“Jordan. Anyways, we have heard nothing but great things from last night, and we want to make you an offer. You see, Octavia and I make music combining classical and electronic music and tour around Equestria. We’re having a show tomorrow at the Ponyville Theatre, and I’d be honored if you wanted to perform with us.”
Jordan was shocked that he was receiving such an offer. Of course, he wouldn’t just take any offer given to him on a silver platter, so he had to make sure he could do it.
“Do I need to learn any music for this?”
“There are a few songs with riffs just so the crowd can identify it, but for the most part, we improvise all of our music. That is, if you can improvise.”
Feeling that her statement sounded more like a challenge, it was becoming very difficult to decline her offer.
“Tell you what. Come back to the banquet hall in about an hour. I’ll play a little for you, and you can tell me if I’m good enough to be in your concert. Sound good?”
“Excellent. I shall see you then, Jordan.”
The two walked away, leaving Jordan to resume the rest of his breakfast time with James, Twilight, Spike, and Rarity. They continued to talk about Jordan’s offer until Rarity covered the check.
Angel’s football gear was laid over the floor. Fluttershy just hovered in the air, shocked at the sight that she was seeing. Myung continued to sit on the couch with Angel strewn out over his lap. Myung rubbed the rabbit’s back as the mound of white fluff smiled in pure content.
“I don’t believe it,” said Fluttershy. “I’ve never seen anypony be able to do that to Angel ever!”
“Is he usually that mean?” asked Myung.
“Sometimes he can be a bit hard… but… he’s really sweet once he gets to know you. I just don’t think he’s ever let anypony give them a chance.”
“I can see that.” Myung carefully scooped Angel up in his hands and placed him into his bed, the rabbit falling asleep as soon as his body hit the cushion. “Now that that’s out of the way…”
Myung picked up his bass and tuned each of the strings. Hearing the musical notes, despite how simple they sounded now, the woodland animals who were still in the house gathered around Myung, knowing that he was going to play.
Once he was set up, he placed the left edge of the instrument on his right knee and began to play a soothing melody. It seemed that as the first notes of the song were played, each animal, including Fluttershy, was lulled into a calm and serene state.
For a large portion of the song, Myung simply tapped the fretboard with his fingers, which not only looked impressive, but gave the song a very distinctive sound. Fluttershy walked over to the couch, leading Myung to scoot over while he continued to play. Fluttershy hopped up on the vacant spot and curled up beside the bassist as he played. Myung couldn’t help but crack a smile by the tenderness of the moment.
Rainbow Dash continued to flip and zip through the air, much to the entertainment and enjoyment of Mike and Pinkie Pie. During a particularly low fly-by of her two-piece audience, Mike and Rainbow Dash connected their gaze at one another. Mike’s look seemed to say one thing:
Rainbow Dash understood perfectly. She climbed up as high as the sky could take her.
“She’s going to do it!” shrieked Pinkie Pie, shaking Mike like a ragdoll. “She’s going to do it!”
Using her upward momentum, Rainbow Dash did a hard back loop and nosedived towards the ground. As she got faster and faster, a white cone began to form around Rainbow Dash’s front section. Mike was amazed by this pony’s speed, causing him to stand up in complete awe. Rainbow Dash was watching his reaction, and she was heavily anticipating what he was about to witness next.
With a final burst of energy, Rainbow Dash burst through the cone, which erupted in a rainbow colored ring. The cyan pegasus continued to fly with rainbow colored contrails behind her. That’s when Mike noticed the wave of the sonic boom’s force make its way through the trees and towards him.
Mike’s exclamation was muted by the blast of Rainbow Dash’s signature move, which managed to knock Mike and Pinkie Pie over onto the ground.
Petrucci heard the sonic boom all the way from Sweet Apple Acres as he shared a cool drink with Big Macintosh and Applejack.
“What in the holy mother of God was that?” asked Petrucci.
“Rainbow Dash,” spoke Applejack with a smug grin.
Jordan, James, Twilight, Rarity, and Spike were making their way back to the cottages when they heard the explosive sound of Rainbow Dash’s sonic rainboom. They all swiftly turned their heads to the source of the sound to see the rainbow ring form off in the horizon.
“Wow,” was all Jordan and James could muster.
“Yeah,” agreed Twilight, knowing exactly what it was. “Wow.”
John was continuing to play when the rainboom’s blast slightly shook Fluttershy’s cottage. The movements, despite how small they were, nonetheless caused the timid pegasus to squeak in fear and wrap her arms around Myung for safety. Myung quickly put his bass down next to him and tried to comfort his friend by gently stroking her back and assuring her that everything was fine. He took a peak out the window to see the rainbow ring.
“What in the world…?” wondered Myung.
Mike watched in shock and sheer amazement as the ring expanded across the sky. He could easily watch Rainbow as her contrails painted their way through the sky and back towards him and Pinkie Pie. He couldn’t help but applaud at such a magnificent feat. Rainbow Dash saw Mike’s act of appreciation and glanced slightly away, blushing all the while. Mike giggled at Rainbow Dash’s prideful bashfulness.
“Now this,” commented Mike to himself. “This is the life.”