The interior space of the storage box was cramped and Rainbow Dash kept flexing her wings as she moaned in frustration. Her feathers grazed Pinkie Pie’s face as the pink pony giggled and curled up next to her friend. “That tickles!” she said.
“Pinkie,” Dash said, “I’m trying very hard not freak out in such close quarters. Pegasi are not meant to be mailed in boxes to random colonies on Mars!”
“Derpy Hooves mailed herself to Las Pegasus once,” Pinkie said. “She came back one hundred-thousand bits richer.”
“How did she get the money?”
“I don’t know. Something about a two-day adventure with three stallions that lost their friend on his wedding day.”
“That sounds dangerous.”
“Don’t worry! Derpy’s fine. I don’t know what happened to the stallions though.” The two sat in silence for almost three seconds when Pinkie spoke up again. “Wanna play a game?”
“Rock, Paper, Scissors?”
“Staring contest?” Pinkie kept her eyes open as she turned on the light of her wrist-tablet. Dash blinked. “I win!”
“Pinkie, please. We have forty-five minutes before we make it to the West End Colony. I’m tired. I’m hungry. And to top it off, I was chased by officers less than two hours ago, fell off a hover car, hurt my leg when I broke through a roof of glass, and had to hoof-it to escape capture. Thank you very much, but I’m not in the mood for ANYTHING right now. Except rest. So good night, Pinkie.”
“Okay. I wanted to test this out with your P.E.T. anyway,” Pinkie said as she connected an extendable cord over to Dash’s wrist-tablet.
“What are you doing?”
“I want to dream with you,” Pinkie said.
“You want to what?”
“Besides, you asked me what I had shown to the Captain of the Star Song. Now you get to see it! Doesn’t that sound fun?” Pinkie pressed a few buttons on her tablet as Dash shook her head. She placed a pair of goggles over Dash’s eyes.
You look shocked. I don’t see why. Look over there and you’ll see the rolling green fields, lush forests and amazingly super cool waterfalls cascading down into a crystalline pool. Doesn’t that description make you wanna just jump in and swim around? Oh, yeah, the pegasus wings…fly around a bit, then!
Oh, you want to know who I am? I’m DigiPie! I’m the digital version of Pinkie Pie and your friend is currently building this world for you as we speak. It’s called “The PieVerse.” We tried naming it a few other things, like “PieCadia, PieVille, PieQuestria,” and even “the PieTrix,” though I have no idea what that last one was about. It just sounded fun.
The PieVerse was made while Pinkie Pie was working in the mines of Noctis Labyrhinthum. She was really sad because she didn’t have a lot of friends, until one day this really shy mine worker named Rory showed up and offered to help her. He just wanted someone to talk to and Pinkie Pie became that friend for him. In return, he made a program for her based on a digital form of entertainment called Digital Universing. Such universes could be anything from a simple room for interaction to entire worlds created on a single data disc, complete with backup in-case anything scary happens like asteroid impact, super volcano eruption or massive warmongering interstellar bunny horde.
The technology was simple to use, but Pinkie Pie made it even better. She learned the basics of world construction from Rory and built upon it with her own understanding of logic. And that’s how Equestria Five was made! Why five? I don’t know. It’s a simulation that self-learns and builds upon itself, but memory has to be added to the unit after it reaches a certain level of complexity or else it will halt and not allow progress to go any further.
Does your head hurt yet, Dashie? I’m sorry. Have a cupcake. A cupcake the SIZE OF A MOUNTAIN!
“Hey Dashie! Wake up!”
“Yeah Dashie! Wake up!”
Rainbow Dash rubbed her head as she sat up. A field of tall grass covered her up to her chest as two pink ponies bounced around her. “Oh my gosh,” Dash said, “There are TWO of you?”
“I’m DigiPie!” the one with yellow eyes said.
“And I’m Pinkie Pie!” the other with blue eyes said.
Then they both spoke in-sync. “And we found a map! To Cupcake Mountain!”
Rainbow Dash’s mouth dropped. “A map….to where?”
The two Pies pointed at a mountain in the distance. The sun was rising over a peak covered in white with pink sides leading all the way down into a river of rushing rainbow colors. The clouds were cotton-candy pink and chocolate rain pelted the mountainside as Rainbow Dash watched on.
“WHAT IS THAT?” Rainbow Dash nearly shouted.
“Edible is what it is! All of it!” DigiPie said.
“We can eat our way out of anything! No more TaffyLanches to worry about,” Pinkie said.
“Is that an avalanche of taffy?” Dash asked. The two pink ponies nodded. “I thought so. I’m gonna go back to sleep now and you can wake me from this crazy world when we get to our destination.” Dash put her head down…
…and found it resting on a pillow in her home. She immediately raised it and peered around in shock. “Not funny, Pinkie! Stop doing that!” She stood up, walked over to her entry door and opened it. Rainbow Dash did not move.
Through the entryway of her home, she saw the interior of Canterlot Castle. Princess Celestia had just sent Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rarity and Applejack out of an opaque sphere of privacy. Rainbow Dash saw herself as the memory of her moved out of the sphere and stood, ears down and eyes closed, off to the side. Rainbow Dash looked at her memory-self and ran forward. She phased through the body of her doppleganger and toppled into the privacy sphere.
Twilight Sparkle and Princess Celestia were talking.
“I’m sorry I have to burden you with this information, my faithful student,” Celestia said, “But remember that I have never had a pony as skilled, as caring, as amazing as you under my wing.” She raised her wing over the young unicorn as Twilight started to cry. She moved underneath the feathers of the Princess and sniffled as she choked upon her words.
“No, please don’t make us go. I don’t want to go there.”
“I’m sorry,” Celestia said. “I…I want things to be different, but if you don’t go, all of Equestria will suffer.”
“Send someone else!” Twilight yelled. “We had to fight Nightmare Moon by ourselves. Then it was Discord. Then so many more things…Why does it have to be us? We’re just fillies!”
Princess Celestia lowered her muzzle to her student and nuzzled her as tears began to flow. “I am so sorry, Twilight. Please forgive me…”
“NO!” Twilight said as she backed off. The Princess stood back, stunned. “No, I’m sorry too. I can’t! I can’t do it! I can’t lead my friends into danger like this anymore! How can you ask me to go to a place where I may never come back?”
“You do it!” Twilight yelled. “Then, see how you feel when you have to leave behind everypony you care about.” The Princess lowered her head and closed her eyes. And then she stopped moving. Twilight however, kept sobbing.
Rainbow Dash looked at her friend. “I never knew, Twilight,” she said. “I never knew what you had to go through.”
“No,” Twilight said. “How could you, Dash?”
The blue pegasus took a step back. “But…aren’t you a memory?”
“Yes,” Twilight said. “A memory…stuck in time. Stuck..and alone.”
“Wait…” Dash said. A burst of light enveloped the scene as the pegasus moved to embrace her friend, but when she reached out, she grasped nothing but air.
Rainbow Dash sat up in the storage box. Or tried to anyway. She hit her head and cried out in pain. Pinkie removed the goggles from Dash’s face and the pegasus saw a similar pair of glasses on top of Pinkie’s head. “Dashie, what happened? You just disappeared for a few minutes and then…poof, here you are.”
“I saw her.”
“Saw who?” Pinkie asked.
“Twilight Sparkle! I saw her and all of us back at Canterlot Castle when the Princess called us together. But she was arguing with Celestia and…she started talking to me, like she was right there with me. Didn’t you see any of that?”
“No,” Pinkie Pie said. “I just saw you at the edge of Cupcake Mountain and then…”
“Where are we?” Dash asked.
Pinkie looked at her tablet again. “We should arrive at the colony in a few minutes. I feel the hover moving a lot slower now. I think it’s trying to land.”
“Pinkie…what if Twilight really is stuck somewhere? How could we get her out?” The pink pony shook her head and Dash turned on her tablet as she brought up the map of tracking units. Her own tracker and Pinkie Pie’s were overlapping, but four more spread out around the city. “I don’t get it, though. According to the tracking bugs, there are still four other ponies moving around out there. So I don’t understand how Twilight could be stuck anywhere if each of these signs if moving.”
“Maybe you were dreaming during the simulation,” Pinkie said. “Anyways, we’re here!”
The movement came to a halt. There was silence for about a minute before the box was lifted up and put down again. Both Pinkie and Dash kept a hoof over their mouths as the sound of footsteps walked away and one pair approached. There was a shuffling above the box as it opened into daylight…