The strange noise woke Mrs. Cake up. Unlike her husband, who would remain asleep even if an earthquake was taking place right under their bed, she had quite sensitive ears and could hear practically any sound, even in dreams. She had learned to ignore the usual night noises to keep herself from waking up for nothing, but that one was weird and out of place.
The blue mare rose from the bed and walked outside the room, quietly, tiphoofing. She saw a glow at the end of the corridor, it was the bathroom light. The door had been closed, but a small fraction of the shine could still be seen. There was somepony inside, making those strange noises.
Mrs. Cake approached, still carefully, although she didn’t think it was a burglar. After all, what would a burglar do in the bathroom?
The weird sound happened again. It was an abrupt and kinda disgusting noise. It sounded painful, too, and Mrs. Cake started to feel bad for whoever was in there.
It sounded more or less like:
The baker mare opened the door, and gasped when she saw a very recognizable pink pony kneeling before the toilet, hanging to the white throne with her front hooves, and almost introducing the head inside.
“Pinkie?” asked Mrs. Cake, worried. “What are you doing?”
The pink mare turned her head slowly. Her eyes were teary and tired, and her face was marked with wrinkles of sickness.
“Sorry, Mrs. Cake...” she said, weakly. “I... I didn’t want to wak-”
She couldn’t finish the sentence. Her cheeks inflated quickly, then she introduced her head back in the toilet, and the disgusting sound was heard once more.
Mrs. Cake approached and flushed the toilet.
“If you were feeling bad, you should have told us,” she said.
“I didn’t want to wake you up...” whispered Pinkie, panting.
“When did this started, deary?”
“Um... an hour ago, or so... I was in my bed, and I felt my tummy aching... I tried to ignore it and sleep... but it got worse, and now...”
Mrs. Cake put a hoof on Pinkie’s forehead.
“You don’t seem to have fever,” she said. “Maybe it’s something you ate.”
“I don’t know... I didn't eat anything unusual...”
Mrs. Cake remembered that Pinkie had thrown a party for Twilight in the Library that afternoon. In fact, she had come back late, and she hadn’t wanted dinner, preferring to head to bed instead.
“What did you eat?” asked the baker mare. “And more importantly, how much?”
“Let's see... I ate half of the strawberry cake, half of the chocolate cake, three quarters of the other chocolate cake, five cupcakes, seventeen lollipops... Four apples, ten apple fritters, nine caramel apples... Eleven pies, the other five cupcakes... and some corncakes...”
“How many corncakes?”
“Dear Celestia, that's too much! Even for you!”
“Ugh...” Pinkie hugged her belly. “Can we stop talking about food? Hurts... it hurts...”
Mrs. Cake tapped Pinkie’s back with one hoof, using the other to hold her head over the toilet. The pink mare vomited again, although this time it wasn't as much as before.
“Ok...” sighed Pinkie. “I think... I think that was the last one...”
“Your tummy still hurts, doesn't it, deary?”
“Don’t worry.” Mrs. Cake flushed the toilet again and helped Pinkie to stand on her hooves. Then, she accompanied her back to her room.
It took them a while. They had to stop midway a few times, because Pinkie thought that another regurgitation was coming. Fortunately, they were all false alarms. Going upstairs wasn't an easy task, either. They did it step by step, with Mrs. Cake's hoof placed firmly on Pinkie's back.
Finally, they reached the bedroom, and Pinkie climbed to her bed.
“You stay here and don’t move, deary," said Mrs. Cake. "I’ll go to the kitchen to prepare a cup of chamomile tea.”
“Thanks, Mrs. Cake... Sorry to bother you so much...”
“It’s all right. Now, don’t lie down on your bed, just sit. Cover yourself with the blankets, but sit. When Carrot has a stomach ache like yours, he feels much better if he’s sitting down.”
Pinkie did as Mrs. Cake said, and she felt slightly better. Her tummy was still hurting, but less than before.
“Very good,” said the baker, smiling motherly. “Now I’ll go to get that tea.”
“Wait...” Pinkie took the yellow teddy bear which was in the bed and gave her to Mrs. Cake. “Please, put Mr. McPlantigrade somewhere else.”
“What? But Pinkie, you always sleep with him!”
“I may vomit again, and I don’t want him to get dirty...”
Mrs. Cake's smile became more motherly.
“Ok, I’ll tell you what we’ll do...” she put the teddy bear on a chair. “Mr. McPlantigrade will wait here. I’ll go for the chamomile tea, and then I’ll wait here until you are better and asleep, and then I’ll leave McPlantigrade by your side again, what do you think?”
“Thanks...” said Pinkie, with a weak but sincere smile on her lips.
Mrs. Cake trotted downstairs, leaving the pink mare alone, sat in her bed and hugging her tummy. The stomach ache caused the minutes to turn into hours. Pinkie moaned from time to time, when she was incapable of standing the pain, wishing for Mrs. Cake to return as soon as possible.
Finally, the scent of chamomile tea entered in the room, followed by Mrs. Cake, who was carrying a plate in her mouth. On that plate there was a white cup, filled with the healing liquid. For a brief moment, Pinkie got a flashback of her youth, back in the rock farm. Her mother also used to prepare chamomile tea when she or her sisters got sick.
Mrs. Cake left the plate on the bed, and gave Pinkie the cup.
“Here you are, deary,” she said. “Drink it carefully, it’s hot. Little by little.”
Pinkie drank a small gulp. She felt the warm tea descending through her esophagus and reaching the tortured stomach, and the pain seemed to diminish.
The next thirty minutes passed slowly. Pinkie drank the chamomile tea under the watchful eye of Mrs. Cake, who was honestly feeling a bit uneasy. She had never seen Pinkie like that. The pink pony was usually the avatar of happiness, always bouncing around, laughing and making others laugh. Now she was just a mare with a tired face sitting on a bed, holding a cup of tea in her hooves. Silent, with her half-closed eyes lost somewhere in the infinite. No laughs, no words coming from her mouth at more than fifteen syllabes per second, not even a smile on her face.
But then, Mrs. Cake realized about something she had forgot: behind her overwhelming optimism, behind her spontaneous songs, behind the Element of Laughter, behind her apparent powers to ignore or downright negate the laws of physics; Pinkie Pie was, at the end of the day, just another mare of Ponyville. A young mare, she wasn't even a complete adult yet. A pony who, like any other one, needed food on the table, a roof over her head, and a comfortable bed to sleep in.
And, when necessary, also a cup of chamomile tea.
"Do you feel better now, deary?" asked Mrs. Cake.
"Yes," said Pinkie. "It doesn't hurt anymore. I'm sorry for being such a nuisance, Mrs. Cake."
"Oh, you're not a nuisance, Pinkie. Don't worry about this, everypony gets tummy aches from time to time, it's part of life."
"But you had to wake up for me, and it's so late..."
"Well, you're our employee and our renter, and also our friend. Actually..." Mrs. Cake waited for a moment, as if she was thinking if she should pronounce the next words. Finally, she decided, and said, with a smile: "Actually, we consider you part of our family. Since your parents aren't here, it's our responsibility to take care of you in situations like this one."
Pinkie stared at the baker mare, with her eyes widely opened. The tiredness had disappeared from her face. It seemed that the chamomile tea had done its job.
"Really?" she asked. "You consider me part of your family?"
"As if you were our beloved daughter," said Mrs. Cake.
Pinkie was left speechless. She remained there, staring at the last drops, practically without blinking. The blue baker was afraid she had said something inappropriate.
"That means that I have two mommies now!" smiled Pinkie. "How cool!"
Mrs. Cake sighed. Yes, the chamomile tea had done its job.
Pinkie drank the last drops. It was good to see her back to her usual self. She yawned.
"Now you have to rest," giggled Mrs. Cake. "And try to not eat that much the next time, ok?"
"I don't understand what went wrong." Pinkie laid on the bed and covered herself with the sheets. "I have never had troubles with sweets! I thought my stomach was used to them!"
"Well, everything is bad in excess," Mrs. Cake put Mr. McPlantigrade back on the bed. Pinkie hugged it. "Or maybe you're getting too old for such banquets."
"What?! I'm not old!"
The baker laughed and patted the head of the pink mare.
"Good night, Pinkie."
"Good night, Mrs. Cake," she yawned again. "And... thank you for taking care of me..."
The young mare closed her eyes and fell asleep immediatly.
Mrs. Cake picked up the plate and the cup and abandoned the room, quietly. But, before going downstairs, she took a last look to Pinkie. The smile had returned to her face, and her breathing was calm. Everything was good.
Then, the baker realized about what the pink mare had said a few seconds ago:
"That means that I have two mommies now!"
Mrs. Cake felt a warm sensation in her own tummy. Although not directly, Pinkie had called her mommy.
TUMMY ACHE - END