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Welcome to the “Shipping and Handling” Bonus Chapters! Please remember that these were written as bonus content for a reason. Skipping them entirely will not harm the overall effect of the story for you. These chapters contain extra content that builds upon a few loose ends from the main story. It’s nonessential stuff; if you don’t like the topic of any one of these chapters, just skip it! These are just for fun anyway.
So if you’re sticking around to read anyway, then enjoy! There will be six of these chapters total, one featuring each of the six shipper characters.
Cosmic Glow in: That’s Karma for you!
The sun peeked over the horizon. The alarm clock on the bedside table began to ring. The grumpy blue unicorn moaned and staggered out of her bed.
It was an average morning in Ponyville, but a particularly awful one for Cosmic Glow. For one thing, it was the beginning of the unfriendly unicorn’s first day of unemployment. Dethroned from her high and mighty position as top shipper at Equestria Speedy Shipping Services, she would now have to begin searching for a new job to attempt to quickly become the best at.
Glow’s irritability was compounded by the presence of an incessant noise that had kept her awake the previous evening; it sounded like somepony was working diligently on a construction project. The sounds of hammers and saws had tormented her all through the night.
“What kind of complete lunatic would be building a house in the middle of the night?” the unicorn grumbled to herself as she brushed her wig and placed it on her head. “Seriously, doesn’t anypony in this town have any respect for their neighbors?”
Glow proceeded to her front door, fighting back another yawn as she prepared to go out shopping in Ponyville. Flinging the door open with her magic, she took one step forward…
…and promptly plummeted twenty feet to the ground.
The unicorn lay on the dirt for a few moments, dazed and completely baffled to what had happened. As her vision came back into focus, a ridiculous spectacle appeared before her.
Strangely, she wasn’t in Ponyville at all. In front of her was a particularly familiar cave; one she had visited only two days prior. Above the cavern’s wide maw was her house; apparently, it had been completely taken apart, and rebuilt upside-down (with the interior somehow remaining right-side up), and then fastened to the rock face over the cave’s entrance.
Glow’s face clenched into a snarl. Only one pony could possibly be responsible for something so bizarre. That is, if the culprit could indeed be called a pony at all.
“Screwball!!” she screamed.
On cue, the perky little chaos pony poked her head out of the cavern where she lived. She smiled broadly upon seeing Glow.
The disgruntled unicorn stomped up to Screwball, staring right into her whirling eyes.
“And just how do you explain this, you demented buffoon?”
Screwball looked up at the suspended house, then back at Glow. “Neighbors!” she squeaked happily.
“No,” said Glow. “I already told you, we’re done. You failed to help me. I hate you. And more importantly, how in Equestria did you manage to deconstruct and then rebuild my house without destroying the interior?”
Screwball tapped a hoof to her chin in thought. “Neighbors,” she repeated in a very matter-of-fact tone, as if this somehow answered the question.
“Listen, you,” Glow growled. “Take my house, and put it back where it belongs. And then leave me alone!”
Screwball proceeded to pluck up a bug inching along the ground with her teeth, much in the style of a bird. She chewed thoughtfully, glancing again at Glow’s house as it loomed over the cavern.
“Now!” yelled Glow impatiently.
“All sales are final,” Screwball answered.
Enraged, Glow whirled and aimed a buck right at the chaos pony’s face. Her hooves connected with their target, and, interestingly, Screwball’s entire head sort of imploded into her neck, creating a sound akin to a squeaky chew-toy rather than the expected cracking of skull. A few seconds later, it popped right back out and assumed its normal position; Screwball was, of course, more-or-less invincible.
Glow stood, wondering what to do next. There really was only one thing she could do; ask Discord how to rid herself of the little purple nightmare he had allowed her to borrow. Without another word to the creature continuing to innocently antagonize her, Glow turned and began the long trot down the mountainside to Canterlot castle gardens.
“Good day, my little pony!” the god of chaos’s voice echoed in the unicorn’s head as she placed her hoof on the statue. “I believe you are the same mare who came asking for my aid a few days ago. How did Screwball work out for you?”
“She did what I told her to… for the most part,” Glow responded. “But it wasn’t enough to actually ruin the event. That’s not the point here; what I really need is for you to tell me how to let her know I don’t need her anymore. I’m finished with her help, but she won’t stop following me around.”
Discord’s silky laugh bounced around in Glow’s skull. “Ah yes, that was one detail I forgot to mention,” he said almost tauntingly. “You see, you gave my darling Screwball a chance to cause all sorts of chaos. I doubt she’s been so happy since before I was imprisoned. And so, with that in mind, I think it’s safe to assume that little Screwball, has, shall we say, imprinted on you as her new best friend… or maybe foster-parent is a better word. Isn’t that wonderful?”
Glow’s face became horrified as the statue chuckled with mirth.
“I hope you have a high tolerance for chaos,” he continued, “because Screwball will never, ever leave you alone for more than a few hours. And it’s no use trying to kill her, or even hope to outlive her; little Screwball’s made of tougher stuff than you normal ponies. The Elements of Harmony could probably destroy her, but good luck convincing them to use their powers to end another’s life; Fluttershy alone would gladly die herself rather than take the life of another pony, even if the other elements agreed.”
“Wait… you planned this whole thing!” Glow realized. “Not only would you get to spread around a little chaos, via Screwball, but you’d also get to mess up the life of the pony who helped you do it!”
“Now you’re catching on!” Discord continued gleefully. “I knew you weren’t completely stupid! Just stupid enough to fall into my trap, of course!”
“You… you’re completely insane!” Glow declared. “You’d put me in this position just for the fun of it?”
“Whoever said this was just for fun?” Discord asked, his voice full of mock offence. “I’m just being a good parent, trying to make my little creation happy. And the way to make her the happiest is to find somepony for her to drive mad!”
The imprisoned creature cackled again. “Hopefully you enjoy playing with my little darling; I know she’s going to love playing with you… for the rest of your life…”
The statue chuckled darkly, and the presence receded from Glow’s mind. Stunned, the unicorn turned to Screwball, who continued to hover nearby, gazing up at the statue longingly.
“Listen, you little freak of nature,” Glow said icily. “I don’t care what your old man says; there’s no way I’m letting you follow me around forever.”
Screwball stared uncomprehendingly. “Tea and Crumpets?” she asked suddenly, offering the unicorn a platter that contained neither tea nor crumpets, but instead a single large grapefruit.
Glow stared at her opponent for several seconds. “You can’t continue to bug me if you can’t find me,” she grumbled. “I’m out of here. Don’t try to follow.”
Glow teleported away suddenly, confident that she would lose Screwball for good. The bizarre pony, now sucking happily on the large fruit, lifted into the air with the help of her propeller beanie and floated off to relocate her new companion-for-life.
Glow spent the next several days traveling around Equestria, but it quickly became apparent that there was nowhere to run; Screwball cornered her at every turn. The senseless creature was everywhere; in one town, she oozed out of a drainage pipe in the pond next to which Glow was enjoying lunch. In the next town, she stepped out of a painting in a museum as if it were a simple doorway. One strange morning, Screwball fell out of the unicorn’s wig as she lifted it over her head, resulting in the poor unicorn being pinned to the floor by her ridiculous companion’s weight. Glow was left with no choice but to pry herself free and teleport yet again.
The days continued to pass, and the mare was quickly run ragged by the incessant visits from her bizarre stalker. Finally giving up hope, she returned to Ponyville.
One fine afternoon, the ponies in town looked on awkwardly as the seemingly cursed unicorn trudged gloomily through the streets, being followed by a tiny cotton candy cloud that poured chocolate rain over her. It was one of Screwball’s creations, or course, modeled after a favorite trick of Discord’s, but the unicorn much preferred it to the presence of the actual chaotic mare who, at the moment, had disappeared for a few glorious minutes.
However, while Screwball herself was mercifully absent, the candy downpour attracted another unwanted visitor.
Glow jumped at the sound of an absolutely tremendous gasp coming from behind her. She turned to face a bright pink earth pony, whose mouth dangled open in shock as she stared at the cloud hovering over Glow’s head.
“Oooh!” The pink pony squealed. “Where’d you get that cloud!? I haven’t seen one since Discord was banished!”
Glow sighed. Screwball was finally missing, and now she had to deal with another of her least favorite ponies instead: Watt’s hyperactive marefriend, Pinkie Pie.
Pinkie bounced in merry circles around the dour unicorn. “Can I have that cloud? Please? Pretty please? I’ve been looking everywhere for one!”
“Believe me, if you could get the thing away from me, that would be great,” Glow mumbled. “But the stupid thing only wants to follow me.”
“I can fix that!” Pinkie announced. The mare crouched down, waggling her hindquarters in the air like a cat ready to pounce. Suddenly, she sprang into the air, leaping right over Glow and swallowing the cloud in one gigantic mouthful.
“Aw, come on, Pinkie!” called another familiar voice from nearby. “You couldn’t save any for me?”
To Glow’s dismay, Watt himself appeared from a nearby street. He frowned as Pinkie smiled apologetically, before he turned to his ex-coworker.
“Well, hey Cosmo!” he announced gleefully. “I haven’t seen you in a whole week! That’s gotta be a record or something!”
“Well, yes, Watt,” said Glow sarcastically. “That can happen when one gets fired from her job.”
“Yeah, the place hasn’t been the same without you,” Watt commented.
Glow’s mood lifted slightly. “Really? I suppose any place that loses a pony with my kind of charisma would definitely feel different afterwards.”
“Yep, it’s different alright,” Watt continued. “I haven’t seen all the others so cheerful in a long time!”
Glow’s small, self-important smile was instantly replaced with her usual scowl.
“Ooh, so this is your friend, Watt?” Pinkie asked curiously.
“Yep!” said Watt proudly. “This is the unicorn from work I told you so much about. We had all kinds of fantastic adventures together.”
Glow raised an eyebrow. “I don’t recall any adventures,” she said irately. “All I remember is your endless chatter, which is one thing I really don’t mind hearing less of.”
“Ooh, she’s grumpy!” said Pinkie with a giggle. “Why are you such a grumpy-grump grumpy pants, Cosmo?”
“It’s none of your business,” Glow replied. “And my name is Glow. Don’t listen to Watt if he says otherwise.”
Watt stepped over to Glow and put a hoof on her shoulder. “Are you still upset about losing your job?” he asked her. “Maybe Pinkie and I can help you find a new one or something!”
“It’s got nothing to do with that,” Glow said. “Just leave me alone, okay? I’d like a few moments of peace before she comes back?”
“Before who comes back?” Watt asked.
Glow groaned. “If I tell you, will you two go away?”
“Maaaybe,” Pinkie sang.
Glow hung her head in defeat. “It’s that awful chaos pony, Screwball!” she suddenly cried. “You know, the one I hired to try to make Ditzy fail that assignment.”
“Oh, her,” said Watt, remembering the rather interesting events of the previous week. “What’s wrong? Did she do something to you? I mean, besides remove your mane?”
Glow blushed. “She… she just won’t leave me alone, that’s all,” she explained, holding her wig more tightly against her head. “She follows me everywhere. No matter where in Equestria I go, she always finds me. I can’t lock her up, I can’t hide from her… I can’t even hurt her! She’s just an invincible and infallible agent of chaos, who has decided to make me the target of her stupidity for the rest of my life!”
Watt bit his lip. “Where did you find her in the first place, anyway?”
“I borrowed her from Discord,” Glow admitted. “I figured he’d want me to help him spread chaos, so it seemed like a win-win situation… but he ended up betraying me.”
Watt and Pinkie exchanged a glance. Both of them grinned.
“What are you two smiling about?” Glow growled.
“Not to be rude, but you should have expected that,” Watt said, as Pinkie giggled in agreement. “I mean, you did kind of try to ruin Ditzy’s life. But karma came back to bite you, and now you’re the one who’s life is getting ruined. Thus, the balance of the universe is restored.”
Glow scowled. “Oh, thanks Watt. That makes me feel so much better. Unfortunately, realizing that this was a bad idea will not make Screwball go away.”
“Now hold on,” Watt said. “Maybe Pinkie and I can help you out a little. Even a pony like you doesn’t deserve to be miserable once she’s learned her lesson.”
“And how exactly do you intend to help me?” Glow asked irascibly.
Again, Pinkie and Watt exchanged a knowing glance.
“Watt, you know what it’s time for now?” Pinkie asked her coltfriend.
Watt grinned. “Time to sum up the situation by singing a random song out of nowhere?”
“Exactly!” Pinkie squealed delightedly as the very air around the ponies was suddenly filled with a bubbly, upbeat tune. Startled, Glow looked all around the plaza, as if expecting to see some device playing the music.
“How are you doing that?” she asked nervously.
Pinkie failed to respond and instead began to add the lyrics to her impromptu musical number.
When this unicorn upstart-y
Tried to ruin Luna’s party
She thought she was quite a smarty
Spreading chaos without shame.
But despite the fact she cheated
Her rival was not defeated
And now she’s being mistreated
Since that Screwball pony came.
“Go ahead Watt, you sing a verse!” Pinkie urged. Watt, unlike Glow, did not seem to find the sudden musical an unusual occurrence, and he picked up where Pinkie left off.
Cosmo doesn’t know what to do
Wherever she goes, Screwball goes too
Fate wants to make sure she pays
But she’s seen the error of her ways.
To rid herself of that little whelp
She must accept a little help
Can she push her pride away
And give in and say okay?
…Or will she just tell us to get lost?
Glow opened her mouth to very forcefully tell Watt that she did in fact want him and Pinkie to get lost, but Pinkie cut her off with yet another verse.
Though your heart seems teeny-weeny
And you’re clearly a big meanie
To ditch that pony with a beanie
You’ll need help from Watt and me.
Since your situation’s dire
Perhaps this song will inspire
You to swallow all that ire
And just ask us politely!
The music stopped as abruptly as it had began, leaving Glow to gape disbelievingly at the two smiling ponies in front of her, both awaiting her response. She gave an overdramatic sigh.
“Fine. Anything’s got to be better than spending the rest of my life with Screwball,” she admitted. “Will you two help?”
“What’s the magic word?” Pinkie sang.
Glow crinkled her nose, glaring at Pinkie.
“Will you two help me please?” she said acidly.
“Of course!” Watt and Pinkie agreed in unison.
“But you still need to work on that delivery,” Pinkie added, wagging her hoof at Glow accusingly. “I wouldn’t call that friendly; it was more like forced politeness oozing with sarcasm and self-loathing at the fact that you had to stoop to such a level. You pushed back your pride long enough to say please, which is good enough for my purposes, but still.”
Glow didn’t know how to respond to that. She gritted her teeth and prevented herself from outright attacking Pinkie.
“What do you two have in mind?” she asked, changing the subject. “Like I said before, there’s no way to destroy Screwball, and there’s no way to escape her. There’s no location in Equestria secluded enough that is beyond her reach.”
Watt nodded. “That’s true, Cosmo. But what if we send Screwball out of Equestria?”
“And how in Celestia’s name are you going to do that?” the unicorn scoffed.
“Oh, that’s the easy part,” Pinkie cut in. “The hard part is going to be getting Screwball to do what we want her to. Just cooperate with our instructions, and everything will turn out okey-dokey-lokey!”
Pinkie turned to Watt and nodded resolutely. “I’ll go get things ready,” she said cryptically. “While I’m doing that, you stay here with Glow and make sure Screwball sticks around.”
“Can do!” Watt called, watching his marefriend hop merrily off.
Glow shook her head. “I can’t believe I’m going along with this,” she grumbled.
“Aw, don’t worry about it, Cosmo,” Watt said. “Don’t you trust Pinkie and I?”
“No. No I don’t.” Glow deadpanned.
Watt shook his head. “Do you trust anypony, Cosmo?”
“Not really,” the unicorn responded indifferently. “I have to look out for myself. There’s been too many times in my life that I’ve relied on somepony for something, and it ended badly. Relying on other ponies for help only gets you betrayed, or throws you into deeper trouble. Or in some cases, you find yourself counting on an unlikely solution to an impossible problem promised to you by a pair of blithering idiots.”
“Well, lucky for you you’ve got two reliable ponies like Pinkie and I helping you out today!” Watt announced, completely missing the hidden meaning of Glow’s last phrase. “But maybe you should ease up a bit. I mean, I know you’re just kidding, but some ponies actually do think you’re a big jerk.”
“I am not kidding!” Glow hissed, pressing her nose up against Watt’s. “I can’t stand you. Why can’t you grasp that concept?”
Watt chuckled. “Oh please, Cosmo,” he said, rolling his eyes, “you and I have hung out for waaaaay too long for you to convince me that you don’t like me. I mean, why would you have put up with me for all these years if we weren’t best pals?”
“You haven’t given me much of a choice, have you?” Glow mumbled as she started to walk toward the plaza.
Watt seemed not to hear her. “You know,” he continued idly, “what you did last week was kind of harsh though, even for you.”
Glow groaned. “What, you mean trying to sabotage Ditzy Doo?” she asked. “I gave her ample warnings to back off. She brought it on herself.”
Watt snickered. “Looks like the universe doesn’t agree with you, Cosmo. I daresay fate hasn’t been in your favor since you pulled that stunt.”
Glow snorted. “I’ve noticed,” she grumbled. “Admittedly, I wasn’t aware of just how dire Ditzy’s circumstances had become until Breeze explained it to me the next day. But what’s done is done, and now I just want to get that mare and everypony associated with her out of my life. Including Screwball.”
She thought about that for a second. “Scratch that. Especially Screwball.”
“Hi neighbor!” came a bubbly little voice. Glow groaned as the aforementioned chaos pony emerged from the soil of a flowerbed, uprooting the recently planted roses and scaring the living daylights out of the cream-colored earth pony that had been planting them.
“Speak of the devil,” Glow sighed. Screwball floated over and grinned innocently, offering Glow one of the roses that had become dislodged during her arrival.
“Aw, look,” Watt cooed. “She’s giving you a gift.”
Glow frowned. She hesitantly took the rose from Screwball, and then watched uninterestedly as it promptly melted into a red hot waxy substance, splattering the dirt road below them. The original owner of the roses watched apprehensively as she gathered up the remaining scattered flowers, before scurrying away into town.
Glow stared at the sticky mess that had previously been a flower before her eyes returned to Screwball. The chaos pony glanced down at the gunk, then back up at Glow. She opened her mouth and pointed to it expectantly.
“I’m not going to eat it!” Glow insisted. “What is wrong with you, you freak?”
Screwball didn’t respond. Instead, she opted to scoop up some of the steaming red goop with her forehoof, offering it to Glow.
Annoyed, Glow entrapped Screwball’s entire body in a field of telekinetic energy and threw her against a wall. Screwball simply bounced off the solid surface as if she was made of rubber, and crashed into Glow on the rebound, causing both ponies to collapse in a tangle of limbs.
Watt tried his best to stifle a laugh as he watched Glow struggle to heave Screwball’s bulk off her back so she could stand again.
“Do you see what I mean?” she cried in exasperation. “How am I supposed to put up with a pony who completely disregards the laws of logic?”
“Try not to worry about it,” Watt urged. “Pinkie should be almost ready by now. Follow me to Sugarcube Corner and we’ll see about getting rid of Screwball for good.”
A new cotton candy cloud began to dump chocolate milk on Glow again. “Fine,” she mumbled. “Even if this doesn’t work, maybe at the very least Pinkie can eat the cloud again.”
“Hiya, Mrs. Cake!” Watt greeted loudly as the door to the sweet shop slammed open, knocking over a large, painstaking cupcake display with the vibrations.
“Oh, hello Watt,” said Mrs. Cake a little tiredly as she hurried over with a dustpan and brush to clean up the fallen pastries. “Pinkie Pie’s upstairs. She’s probably expecting you, so go on up.”
“Okay, thanks,” Watt said with a grin. “Mind if I bring a few friends up as well? Pinkie knows them too.”
“Sure, why not,” Mrs. Cake said absently. “Just try not to make too much of a-”
Watt cut her off as he charged up the staircase, followed closely by a morose looking blue unicorn and some other thing that may or may not have actually been a pony. A pink cloud floated behind the group, raining chocolate milk all over the recently waxed floors of the sweet shop.
“…mess.” Mrs. Cake finished flatly. She turned to the kitchen. “Dear? Bring a mop. Pinkie’s friends are here.”
A few moments later, Glow found herself in Pinkie Pie’s brightly colored bedroom, although there was no sign of the pink mare herself. Curious, since Mrs. Cake had just attested to her presence.
“Where is she?” the unicorn asked Watt, while absently pushing Screwball off her back, who had suddenly decided to dig through Glow’s wig like a chimpanzee looking for bugs.
“She’s probably trying to get in right now,” Watt said. “But the door’s still open. You gotta close it first.”
Glow raised an eyebrow. “Watt, I think that even a scatterbrained dolt like you knows that the door needs to be open for a pony to enter the room.”
Watt looked at Glow as if she had rocks in her head. “Well, duh,” he answered. “Of course the door has to be open. It’s just open to the wrong place right now.”
“Huh?” Glow asked. “What in Equestria are you talking about? The only thing behind the door is the hallway of Sugarcube Corner.”
Watt sighed. “Fine, I’ll close it myself,” he answered, ignoring Glow’s argument. He shut the door, waited a few seconds, and then opened it again.
Glow quickly noticed the apparent change of scenery. Beyond the bedroom door was a huge corridor built of dark stone.
“Oh, so you’re rearranging timespace now?” she yelled angrily, slapping Screwball across the face.
“Relax, Cosmo,” Watt said dully. “Screwball has nothing to do with it. It’s just part of Sir Lintsalot’s Castle, in Pinkie’s imaginary country.”
He trotted out into the dark hallway before Glow could ask any questions. “Pinkie!” he called, his voice echoing down the gargantuan tunnel. “We’re here! Are you almost ready?”
“One second!” came the high pitched response.
The horribly grating sound of metal on stone filled the air, causing Glow to flinch. After a moment, Pinkie Pie appeared in the stone corridor, huffing and puffing as she pushed some gigantic contraption across the floor. When it was in line with the bedroom door, she stopped, wiping her brow with a hoof.
“What in Equestria is that pile of garbage?” Glow asked.
“This?” asked Pinkie, pointing hesitantly to the huge device as if she wasn’t totally sure that’s what Glow was referring to. “This is the Super Vacuu-matic 9000. It’s what we’re going to use to take care of Screwball.”
“But… where did you get it?” Glow asked, cautiously approaching the machine. She stood at the threshold between realities, afraid to step into the dark corridor that Pinkie and Watt had somehow conjured up.
Pinkie shrugged. “I know a guy,” she answered simply.
There was a short pause. “Well, he’s not really a guy,” the mare elaborated. “He’s actually more of a pile of rocks who is also a mercenary for hire. He owes me all sorts of favors, so I figured he wouldn’t mind if I borrowed this from him.”
Glow decided it was time to get this over with. Pinkie was becoming more and more nonsensical by the minute, and Glow had had enough nonsense in the past week.
“So what does it do?” she asked. “You said it’s a Vacuu-matic. Is it just going to suck Screwball up?”
Pinkie nodded enthusiastically.
“You know that won’t change a thing,” Glow warned. “Screwball has escaped from much worse than a giant vacuum cleaner.”
“I know,” Pinkie said with a sly grin. “But if the Vacuu-matic stays in here, and you stay out there in Equestria, Screwball won’t be able to get to you anymore.”
Glow leaned forward, peering down the ominous corridor. “You mean this place really isn’t part of Equestria?” she asked.
Pinkie snorted. “I’m pretty sure this place isn’t even part of our universe, Cosmo!” she giggled.
Screwball, in her usual randomness, has somehow acquired a carton of eggs, and was now cracking them one by one and emptying their contents, which, mercifully, turned out to be confetti, onto Glow’s back. She glared at the oblivious chaos pony.
“Whatever,” she said to Pinkie. “I don’t even care how this works any more. If it’s going to get rid of Screwball, then hurry up and do it so I can get back to my life.”
“What’s the magic word?” Pinkie chanted.
Glow glared daggers at Pinkie. “How about, ‘do it before I shove you into that machine along with Screwball’.”
Pinkie bit her lip. “Oh… alright, you big party pooper. Stand back as far as you can.”
Glow and Watt both backed against the wood-paneled wall of Pinkie’s room. Glow pushed Screwball gently through the air, where she hovered like a balloon a few feet in front of the waiting mouth of the gigantic vacuum device. Pinkie, who now sat atop the great steel machine, leaned forward and pulled the large lever on top.
A deafening wooshing sound filled the air, and even from a dozen feet away, Watt and Glow had to hold onto a dresser to avoid being pulled across the floor by the incredible suction the Vacuu-matic produced.
Screwball began to drift through the air towards the oppressive device. But the chaos pony seemed to realize that something was wrong. She dropped to the ground suddenly and stood defiantly a few feet in front of the vacuum tube, not budging in the slightest despite her proximity to the machine.
“Turn it up!” Glow cried from her position at the back of the room. “She’s resisting it somehow! You need more power!”
Pinkie adjusted the dial on the machine, and the suction increased dangerously. All loose objects in Pinkie’s bedroom were immediately sucked in. Loose papers, small toys, even the bed sheets all disappeared into it.
Glow clung to the dresser for all she was worth, staring in shock at Screwball, who stood against the whipping gale with apparent ease. A pony of her size, standing at such a short distance from the vacuum, should easily have been pulled in by this point.
“Get in there, you big nuisance!” the unicorn cried, letting go of the dresser and sliding across the floor to Screwball. The mare began to heave against her adversary, but it was as if Screwball was cemented to the floor.
Glow’s wig was torn from her head rather suddenly; she just barely managed to catch it with her magic before it was swept up by the raging wind the vacuum produced.
“More power!” she shrieked.
“It’s too dangerous!” Pinkie called back. “If it does take Screwball, you’ll be pulled in too!”
Pinkie had a point. Glow called for Watt instead. The earth pony released his grip on the furniture and slid across the floor rather quickly, crashing unceremoniously into Glow’s rump.
“Help me push! We’re got to get her to move!” Glow urged.
For a few seconds both ponies, both ponies pushed in vain, but Screwball didn’t move an inch. However, something else did.
The cotton candy cloud, which had become stuck to several pieces of furniture, finally came loose from the suction, and was instantly pulled into the whirling winds of the vacuum.
Immediately, the suction almost entirely stopped. There was a fearful grinding noise from the depths of the Vacuu-matic.
“That can’t be good,” Pinkie mumbled from atop the machine.
Smoke began to billow from the sides of the machine as it struggled to perform its task, despite the sticky substance clogging it up. Bolts began to burst from the sides.
“It’s going to explode!” Watt yelled.
A panicked look crossed Glow’s face. “Are you sure?”
Watt narrowed his eyes. “Cosmo, I’m Ponyville’s premier electrician. Believe me, I know an impending explosion when I see it. Now hit the deck!”
Watt dove under the bed, although it was a little too low for him to fit. His hindquarters and read legs stuck out rather comically. Glow backed off and, seeing no suitable cover, produced the strongest magical shield she could muster.
Pinkie tried to hop off of the machine, but she had barely moved when the overload became too extreme.
The blast was enormous. Fortunately, the majority of the fire and shrapnel was contained on the other side of the doorway in the stone corridor. Pinkie Pie was blown through the door like a missile, colliding with the wall with enough force to send a series of cracks through it. She staggered backwards, her eyes rolling dizzily and her coat completely singed and covered in ash.
“Pinkie Pie,” came the almost bored sounding voice of Mrs. Cake from the floor below. “Honey, Mr. Cake and I are a little too busy to deal with explosions today.”
“Sorry, Mrs. Cake!” Pinkie called, sounding no worse for wear despite being blasted across the room. “I’ll clean it up!”
Pinkie opened a few windows to allow the smoke to escape, and extinguished the tiny flames that had caught on her mane and the tip of Watt’s exposed tail. Glow lowered her shield as well.
And in the midst of it all, Screwball stood completely unharmed, glancing casually around the room as if nothing had happened.
Glow fell to the ground in defeat, covering her face with her hooves. She stayed there, quivering, as Watt clambered out from under the bed and Pinkie, who seemed miraculously uninjured, dusted herself off. The two of them scrambled over to Glow once they had situated themselves.
“Are you okay?” Watt asked. “Did you get hurt in the explosion?”
“No,” Glow mumbled. “I’m just out of ideas. Screwball wins. I admit defeat.”
“It’s so weird,” Watt said. “I didn’t think Screwball was this uncooperative. I mean, she did what we told her to last week when we asked her to stop sabotaging the party…”
Glow removed her hooves from her face as an idea struck her. “Watt,” she said hesitantly, “could it be that we’ve been going about this the wrong way?”
Watt cocked his head, but said nothing.
Slowly, Glow rose to her hooves and trotted over to Screwball. The chaos pony grinned at her… and proceeded to lick the side of her face in the manner of a dog.
Despite her tormentor’s disgusting actions, Glow put on her best falsely polite smile; the very one she often used when dealing with Equestria Speedy Shipping Services customers.
“Screwball,” she said as sweetly as she could manage. “Do you think you could do your good neighbor Glow a favor and float over there into that hall for me?”
Screwball nodded eagerly. “Favors for neighbors!” she squeaked delightedly as she floated into the stone passage.
Glow slammed the door. “Quick,” she demanded. “How do you change it back to normal?”
“Just expect to find Sugarcube Corner on the other side when you open it again,” Pinkie said.
Glow pictured the dim upstairs hallway of the sweet shop and opened the door once again, bracing herself for the onslaught of Screwball. None came. The narrow hallway was free of any lurking chaos ponies.
“Is… is that it?” Glow asked. “Is she really gone?”
“Sealed in a dimension with no connections to our own!” Pinkie announced proudly. “She’s not getting out unless one of us lets her out!”
Glow sighed with relief. “I can’t believe it,” she breathed. “It actually worked. Pinkie and Watt actually did something helpful for once in their lives.”
She turned to the door. “Glad that’s over. I’m out of here.”
“Wait for me!” Watt called. “Oh, and I’ll see you tomorrow Pinkie!”
“Okey-dokey-lokey!” Pinkie called as she grabbed a broom to begin cleaning the disaster area that her bedroom had been reduced to.
Glow trotted down the stairs, with Watt following closely behind. Mrs. Cake glanced up as they walked by.
“Is that chocolate raincloud coming through here again?” she asked nervously.
“Nope!” said Watt. “It got sucked into a giant vacuum and caused a catastrophic explosion. But everything’s just peachy now!”
Watt trotted out, leaving Glow standing alone with Mrs. Cake.
“I pity you. I really do,” Glow said, before turning and excusing herself from the shop.
Mrs. Cake blinked, and then shook her head and got back to work.
“See? See?” Watt laughed, bouncing merrily around Glow as she trotted through town. “See where a little kindness will get you, Cosmo? It’s karma, I tell you!”
“Oh please,” Glow snorted. “That was all fake and you know it.”
Watt chuckled. “Yeah, but it got the job done. Screwball doesn’t know the difference.”
He began to trot away. Glow watched him go.
“Watt. Hang on a second.”
Watt turned around. “Yes Cosmo?”
Glow pawed at the ground awkwardly. “Um… I guess I… I kind of owe you and Pinkie for the help. So thanks, and all that.”
An absolutely enormous grin crossed Watt’s face. He pressed his nose against Glow’s forcing the unicorn to take a few paces backwards.
“Ooh, what’s this?” Watt asked ecstatically. “Cosmo showing a hint of gratitude? I never thought I’d see the day.”
Glow’s usual scowl returned. “Enjoy it. It won’t happen again,” she snarled.
Watt laughed. “Yeah, yeah. Whatever. I’ll see you later Cosmo!”
“And I’ll enjoy every moment between now and then,” Glow shot back.
Watt disappeared down the street at his usual breakneck speed, leaving the unicorn standing alone. The corner of her mouth curved up in just the tiniest of smiles.
Maybe Watt isn’t totally worthless after all…
Glow trotted home, finally accepting the fact that her day was looking up. That is, until she arrived at her property to find her house missing. With a groan, she remembered its relocation, courtesy of Screwball.
Her rare good mood ruined, Glow’s usual grimace returned. Even with Screwball gone, it was going to be a long day…