Dash rolled over in her cumulus bed and murmured softly.
She opened her eyes with reluctance. By the sickly orange light coming through her window, she judged it to be the crack of dawn. It was not a sight familiar to the cyan pegasus, who preferred to sleep in until breakfast became indistinguishable from lunch. Smacking her lips, she clambered out of bed and leaned out a window. Far below on the ground, Pinkie Pie was looking back up at her with wide, blue eyes and an even wider smile.
"Puh. Pinkie?" mumbled Dash sleepily. "Why are you up at this hour? It must be... "
Her addled mind tried to recall what time dawn was scheduled for this week, but the memory turned over and went back to sleep.
"... early," she finished lamely.
"Come on, Dash!" yelled Pinkie. "We need to get started as soon as possible to get the wheel built!"
Dash decided not to try and process the non-sequitur lest her tired brain shut down altogether. Instead, she swooped lazily to the ground and landed in front of Pinkie.
"Wheel," she echoed flatly.
Pinkie nodded, dancing from hoof to hoof excitedly.
"The Ferris wheel, silly."
"Ferris wheel, right, right. I get it... No, I tell a lie. I don't get it. What Ferris wheel?"
"For the funfair."
Dash rolled her eyes.
"Let's pretend, just for a second, that I can't read your mind, Pinkie. What are you talking about a funfair for?"
"Ohh." Light dawned in Pinkie's eyes. "It's for Applejack and Fluttershy. Since Plan A fell through, I was up all night thinking about Plan B and what would be a romantic first date for them and it came to me just like that! A funfair! It would be a great place for a date! But then I remembered that there's no funfair right now, so I -"
Dash cut her off. "So you decided to build one. And I'm sure that sounded like a great plan in that wonderful fantasy land inside your head, Pinkie. But here in the real world, you can't build a funfair by yourself in a few hours."
"I'm not doing it by myself. You're going to help me, right?"
"Sorry Pinkie. I may be fast, but even I have to follow the laws of physics."
Pinkie Pie frowned sulkily. "Dumb physics. Always ruining my fun."
"Look, go get some sleep. We'll think of another plan later and then we... can..."
She trailed off, staring past Pinkie's left ear. Pinkie followed her gaze and saw, far off in the distance in the pre-dawn light, a grey mare with blond hair flying erratically over the rooftops of Ponyville. Across her back was a pair of satchels with the Post Office logo on the side.
Dash turned back to Pinkie.
"I think I have an idea."
Derpy Hooves tried desperately to follow what the rainbow-maned pegasus in front of her was saying, but she spoke in strange, rapid tongue-twisters that made her nearly incomprehensible. The two of them hovered high above the ground, where the wind forced them to shout to be heard properly. Even then, it was difficult to catch every word.
"Um... so the pink one goes to Blues?" she ventured, fidgeting with the two envelopes that she had been given.
"No! The pink one goes to Applejack and the blue one goes to Fluttershy. But if they ask, you tell them that the blue one, which I wrote, is actually from Applejack to Fluttershy and the pink one, which Pinkie wrote, is from Fluttershy to Applejack. You know Fluttershy, she's the pink-haired pegasus and Applejack's the earth pony on the hill above. Look, I gotta dash. Pinkie's waiting for me below."
The strange pegasus dropped out of sight, leaving Derpy with her head - and one eye - spinning.
"Dash and pink is waiting for your blue? What?"
She stared at the letters and tried to put the jumbled pieces of their conversation together.
"Blue one to the pink-haired earth pony Pinkie below and pink one to the blue pegasus Dash above and if I get asked, they came from Flitterwick in Appleshire, got it."
Pinkie Pie unlocked the doors of Sugarcube Corner and pushed them open. Inside had been tidied up and was looking its usual cheery self. She flipped over the sign in the window from "CLOSED" to "OPEN" and picked up the small pile of mail from the floor.
"Let's see," she said to the room at large. "Bill, bill, junk, bill, love letter, junk, junk, bill. Huh. Nothing exciting here."
She discarded the letters on the counter and went into the kitchen to turn on the ovens for the day of baking ahead. A moment later she poked her head back into the shop and stared at the letters.
"Wait a minute..."
Trotting over, she picked up the pile and flipped through them again, trying to decide what had caught her eye. She stopped half-way and held up an envelope triumphantly.
"Ah-ha! This stamp hasn't been postmarked! Free stamp!"
She smiled happily. A bit saved was a bit earned, after all.
With the sun high in the sky now, Rainbow Dash decided that she couldn't keep putting off getting up. Slinging the bedsheets aside, she rolled off the bed and onto the floor - a layer of cloud which was nearly indistinguishable from the cloud that had been designated the "bed". Groggily, she wandered through the hall and retrieved the mail before continuing into the kitchen for breakfast.
As she dropped the pile of circulars onto the table, one caught her eye. It was bright pink.
"Aw, don't tell me..."
She placed a hoof on the letter, pinning it to the table, and tore it open with her teeth. A single sheet of white paper fell out. She could see the first line immediately:
My dearest Applejack,
Dash smacked a hoof to her forehead. Derpy had delivered the letter back to her instead of to Applejack. Still, she hadn't taken the time to read Pinkie's handiwork before passing it off to the mailmare. Curiosity got the better of her and she continued to read.
Big Macintosh watched from his corner table as the last customer of the lunch hour left Sugarcube Corner. Now was his chance. Standing up, he crept as silently as his large frame allowed to the counter and gave one last glance to make sure nopony else was around. Satisfied, he lightly tapped the service bell and winced at the noise it made.
"Coming!" said a voice from the kitchen. Mrs. Cake, with a tea-towel slung over one shoulder, trotted into view and beamed at the red stallion.
"Hello, Big Ma-"
"Shh," he hissed. "No names. Do you have my order?"
"Why, yes, I do. One moment, please."
She opened a cupboard under the counter and pulled out a small, brown paper bag, laden with something square inside. She placed it on the counter and Big Macintosh snapped it up, spiriting it away under his mane. He dropped five bits on the counter and started to slink away. Mrs. Cake shook her head disapprovingly.
"I still think you're being very silly about a bit of carrot cake."
"You don't know my sister like I do, Mrs. Cake. She... just wouldn't understand."
The bell jangled as he left. Mrs. Cake put the five bits into the till and took a moment to examine the mail. A blank blue envelope lay on top.
"Pinkie Pie? Do you know anything about this letter?"
"Which one?" replied Pinkie from the kitchen.
"This blue one."
"That sounds familiar. I'll take a look."
Rainbow Dash smoothed out the letter.
My dearest Applejack,
I wish that coarse words could express how I feel about you. When we are together, I daren't speak of my feelings because I fear that they would fail me and condense my bubbling emotions to a mere expression of fondness. So I babble instead because what I feel is more than that. Much more.
I love you.
Dash nodded. This was the usual sappy stuff you expected in a love letter, though Fluttershy could hardly be accused of babbling. Perhaps Pinkie put more of herself into this letter than she thought.
I love you with all my heart and soul. I love you for your kindness when I was in need and your patience with my failings. But still more than even that: I admire you. I admire everything that you do with such power and grace that draws me into your world of excitement. When I see you fly I almost feel that I can, too.
What was this nonsense? Applejack can't fly! She shouldn't have trusted Pinkie to write the letter. She'd obviously let her mind wander and gotten Applejack mixed up with...
Dash felt her heart beat a little faster as she continued.
For so long I have kept my feelings to myself because I find expressing them so difficult. In this letter I have bared them all and I hope, I pray, that they will find their way to my true love's heart.
A "P" was crossed out.
Her heart was pounding in her ears now and the room seemed to spin. She told herself that the letter wasn't for her - that the words inside didn't mean anything. She told herself that this was all a mistake and fate wasn't guiding the mailmare's deliveries today.
But deep down, she hoped that she was wrong.
Pinkie Pie brushed aside some flour and placed the letter on the tabletop. She continued to stir batter in a bowl as she read.
Ever since I was a little filly, I have been accused of being brash and a little too honest with my feelings. Though I never felt that this was something to be ashamed of, it has gotten me in trouble more times than I care to remember when my opinion of someone was less than pleasant.
It was with surprise, so, that I found you to display the same honesty and yet never have a bad word to say about anyone.
This letter was Dash's fiction for Fluttershy but, just for a moment, Pinkie imagined the athletic pegasus speaking the words to her and she felt her face flush.
You live your life for others, showing them kindness and wonder beyond measure. And for once, I find myself speechless. That someone like you could exist in this world is a gift from the heavens, and I thank them every day that this pink-maned angel walks among us spreading cheer.
It was not hard to envisage the letter being for her. Pinkie's breath became a laboured effort as her heart caught in her throat.
But the words that I long to say feel foolish on my tongue. And so if I must be honest - and I must - I give you this letter and these words: I love you.
I consign them to Celestia and ask that she bear them to you whom I adore above all others.
Pinkie closed her eyes and wished. She wished that fate could be so kind to her. But when she opened them again, the letter still had the names of Applejack and Fluttershy.
In the sparking, chaotic realms of her mind, she wondered whose names she had wanted it to say.