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ThursdayDear Princess Celestia,23 comments · 114 views
Today I learned that you can substitute 2 tbsp of water, 1 tbsp of oil, and 2 tbsp of baking powder for an egg.
I also learned that you should not do this in a recipe meant for the microwave. Your cookie will explode into chocolate-chip foam all over the inside of the microwave.
Just thought you should know.
Your Restraining Order Defying Faithful Student,
PS: If you figured out how to make it reliably, you could totes put that shit on coffee. They do that these days, did you know that?
TuesdayFic recs, November 18th!19 comments · 230 views
Spoilers: I survived my procedure! :D It wasn't nearly as bad as I'd anticipated (actually, the prep Sunday was the worst part). I am something of a drama queen these days, and I don't like that. D:
Goombasa has started an audiobook for Pascoite’s excellent Duet in the Folk Style!
I'm reading the writeoff entries at the moment, so things will be slow and based more or less entirely on audiobooks. I've also started watching G3. Help me. D: Wooooo!
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The Best Clop-fic Ever! by ThatGuyFromKFC
Genre: Ponies Doing People Things
Twilight and her friends browse the internet. This was not my first time reading this story, and judging by how I rated it last time, my appreciation for it has not increased. The whole joke is that the ponies are “clopping” their hooves against the keyboards and no actual sex is happening, even though that fact is never really emphasized in the text. (This story, it should be noted, exists in the eleven thousands, number-wise, is just over 500 words long, and has over seventeen thousand views. Epic troll is epic.) I honestly can’t say what would have improved this: more of it, less of it, a different approach, who knows. It’s not even that notable. Read it if you can spare the time to run your eyes across 500 pointless words I guess?
How to Train Your Pegasus by L3gion
Genre: Coming of Age
A little pegasus filly is sent to live with her uncle on a rock farm and runs away, only to be kidnapped by a dragon with an eye for pony meat. (Has nothing to do with the Dreamworks movie How to Train Your Dragon, fyi.) This is one of those “small adventures”, where a lot happens in a limited area and most of the exploration comes in the form of personal growth. This does start off in an odd place, though: a scene with Snow Bolt, our protagonist, arguing with her father before he sends her away. The issue is one of sympathy. There’s no real indication of who to root for. Snow Bolt is set up as a Sympathy Sue with a laundry list of problems that will obviously be overcome by the end of the story — she’s got gimpy legs, she can’t fly, she’s a blank flank, she gets bullied at school — but she’s a right little shit, given what she says to her father. He, meanwhile, comes off as overbearing and controlling, but by the end of the scene, it seems like he might just be at his wits’ end raising a daughter by himself. This, as it turns out, is the case, and I’m very glad the final chapter gives us a bit of his perspective.
As for the rest, well, it’s quite a ride. Mostly, it comes down to character dynamics. Snow Bolt is antagonistic toward her father. She ends up more or less as frenemies with Scarlet, the dragon. One could argue their relationship is actually more akin to Stockholm Syndrome, though I think the commenter who quoted The Princess Bride actually captures it perfectly. Yes, Scarlet continually belittles her and threatens to eat her, but it’s meant to be taken humorously, at least by the reader. Of course, it’s never quite clear just how much she does want to eat Snow Bolt, which keeps things interesting. And then there’s the squirrel, an odd if effective addition to the cast of characters. She and Snow Bolt hit it off after a rocky start, owing to the language barrier, and she not only serves as a friendly shoulder for Snow Bolt to lean on when Scarlet gets too overbearing, but also helps teach her how to fly.
Missteps in the writing were unfortunately brought out by the reading, most notably close repetitions and an odd habit of having characters say things that could easily be covered by a dialogue tag, e.g., “‘Aaah!’ she shouted”. There were also some telling issues, mostly adverbs and those short prepositional phrases that explain what you've only just read. Then there’s Snow Bolt herself. Now, she’s not a Mary Sue, because she does grow over the course of the fic, and her character arc is probably the strongest part of the piece. But she’s also got aspects of both Fluttershy (talking to squirrel) and Rainbow Dash, and, in the story’s most eye-rolling moment, gets her cutie mark by performing a Sonic Snowboom. It was silly at a time meant to be a thrilling climax. Still, as flight-based fics go, this one really delivers; that subgenre tends to be a little dull, but I never found myself bored by the explanations of flight or anything else. This is a very enjoyable read, all things considered.
Recommended If You Don’t Mind Some Imperfections in the Writing
I Just Want to Fly by Firefly2012
She played Snow Bolt in Illya Leonov’s reading above. She’s a tad on the quiet side, and I was disappointed she didn’t do voices for Scootaloo or Rainbow Dash, but she’s absolutely spot-on with everything else. She’s only got two readings so far, so to the list she goes!
Scootaloo is depressed ‘cause she can’t fly, so Rainbow Dash writes a letter to the Princesses on her behalf. The writing is very, very telly, especially at the start, but I find I can’t hold that against this. The real draw here is the reason for Scootaloo’s flightlessness: it’s psychosomatic rather than physical. I was rather entranced by that. Luna’s advice is also good; I think I enjoy seeing her interact with Scootaloo more than Rainbow, anymore. Definitely a nice, light read.
Recommended If You Value Substance Over Style
Between the Lines by Bad_Seed_72
Whoa. This guy is pretty much perfect in every way. He’s every bit as good as Scribbler, and that should be all you need to know! His other readings include a one-shot, A Hoof-ful of Dust’s Synchronicity and Lost and Found, which he’s only a third of the way through, so I guess I’ll be watching him now!
Genre: Character Piece
After a book-related incident in the orchard, Twilight starts to think that there might be something wrong with Big Macintosh. It's 2014 and we’re still writing “an Apple can’t read” stories? This one at least makes an effort to differentiate itself from all the others, but it stumbles along the way. For starters, Twilight seems to spend a good two-thirds of the story with the Idiot Ball, trying to figure out what’s pretty easy for the reader to guess. She doesn’t, of course, and I was pleased that my suspicions are confirmed by the text. (She can hardly conceive of a pony who doesn’t like to read, let alone one who can’t.) But therein lies the problem: any bad feelings a reader might get about the first half of the story aren’t put to rest until the final third-to-quarter of it. And the reasons for why Big Mac can’t read, while compelling, are honestly just another “the Apple parents died when their kids were young, and said kids still carry the mental scars”. In trying to add something to one cliched trope, this only serves the reader with a second. As for the writing, well, maybe it’s just a result of my negative takeaway, but I couldn’t help noticing a lot of metaphors that felt really off-base or overblown. The church one near the end especially stands out; there’s an attempt to make it fit, but it honestly feels too much like ponifying an Earth institution without regard for the greater world. Beyond that, though, this is a Bad Seed story and I can’t fault much else. Give it a shot only if the premise is something you want to see done differently.
God Damn the Sun by Dark Avenger
Prequel to Something Magical
Collection is tagged Mature, but this story is not
Something Magical was Dark Avenger’s Outside Insight entry, a compelling story about an aging Cranky Doodle Donkey that nevertheless confused me due to his relationship with a griffin. With the prequel out to explain that, I had to read it right away. Unfortunately, this doesn’t cover the griffin part, but it does lay out, in rapid-fire form, Cranky’s life story, from that night at the Gala, to finding Matilda, to losing her again. That last part is what’s most compelling about this, the rest being perhaps a bit slim, only just enough to give a sense of what’s going on. That said, I found the idea of Cranky cursing the sun (and Celestia?) a might strained fitting into the story, but then I suppose he wouldn’t be Cranky if he didn’t have someone to be mad at. Definitely a good piece if you’re looking for more Cranky stuff.
Recommended for Cranky Donkey Fans
MondayMinor Button Goulash update1 comments · 57 views
I know not a whole lot of people are watching it, but hey: I submitted to EQD and made a few changes based on the pre-reader's comments. Nothing really major, with the one exception of the ending. I never liked that ending, and now it ends on a joke instead of something trite and sappy. Enjoy!
7 comments · 82 views
I'm sitting here, waiting for my ass to explode, and doing a Thing, which involves me going through a bunch of old stories. This was the first one alphabetically, and I figure it's not really worth giving it a solo post. So, if you're into Transformers, check it out!
1w, 1dFic recs, November 14th!19 comments · 251 views
I am now no longer worried about dying on the operating table Monday! :D Hooray! (Which is to say, I'm no longer worried about the procedure, not that I've given up on life. :B)
Go read this short blog story by Aquaman, and then read CouchCrusader’s reply to it, a few comments down.
And if you thought I wasn’t going to post Sonata this time, you were wrong!
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Princess Celestia Makes the Sun Explode by Protopony350
I have to say, this doesn’t quite hold up to its predecessor. It’s also something of a sequel, or at least has connections to the other story in the collection. There’s not a whole lot to say about it other than the honey joke still isn’t funny. Only attempt this if you liked Twilight Sparkle Gets Stuck in a Bear Trap.
All’s Fair in the Music Business by ThunderTempest
Genre: Slice of Life
Vinyl Scratch has a gig at the royal wedding. Octavia wants the same gig. Vinyl lies to her about just where she’s going. Octavia gets mad. That’s the entire story. Seeing that this was written for Thirty Minute Ponies explains a lot, namely there really being no point to it. This could have been an interesting setup to explore their dynamic, whether they’re friends or fillyfriends, but absolutely nothing is done with it. That said, this is another one of those cases where, had it been longer, it would be a waste of time, but the reading is barely five minutes long and a personal reading would only be shorter. Tackle this if you like ScratchTavia, I guess? (Not that their relationship is specified one way or another.)
Three Goddesses, the Apple, and the Stallion by Snake Staff
Discord sows chaos among the goddesses of day, night and love so that he might be free to sow chaos across their realm. The first thing that strikes me about this is the writing: the language use is properly “epic legend”, and other than a single misstep, this passes the Luna test. Second, the only real show character in the main part of this is Discord. That the others are referred to as “goddesses” and not “princesses” helps sell what would otherwise be a horribly out of character story about Celestia, Luna and Cadence, if one does not account for it being a legend in the first place. (In which case, it makes plenty of sense.) Discord’s plan is great, though I’m sorry we don’t get any mention of him actually being defeated, even offscreen. I will say that I was surprised by the stallion’s choice. (I was expecting something more along the lines of “you’re all equally pretty, but you don’t care enough about the ponies to put aside your argument and save them, so really, you’re also equally ugly”. I mean, that’s how I would have done it.) However, this is recontextualized by the end. I won’t spoil it, but I’ll say that the implications are somewhat staggering.
One Thousand and One by Cold in Gardez
A pegasus couple awaits the return of their son. This is short, sweet and really powerful. The writing is superb, and the scene unfolds almost agonizingly, drawing a portrait of a family unsure of what to do with itself. The ending is perhaps predictable, though I wasn’t expecting it. I did maybe want to see more insight into the wife’s state, just to strengthen the emotional impact of her actions. But overall? Really fantastic for as short as it is.
The Riding Pony by O
Rainbow Dash gets Applejack a riding saddle. I felt I needed to read this because O was talking about it in the comments of my Fall of Equestria review. (Also the sequel was released recently and has been making the rounds.) This explores societal taboo through the lens of sex: riding saddles were once a symbol of power, of the rich over the poor, and also pegasi and unicorns over earth ponies, but in this time of peace and harmony, they are mere sex toys. There’s a lot of nuance in just what this sexual play really means to both Rainbow Dash and Applejack. I only wish that nuance hadn’t been spelled out in the narration. The history and significance of the saddle, along with why RD and AJ are playing with one, is literally dumped in a string of paragraphs near the start of the story. Given that I knew damn well I wasn’t going to enjoy this story on its erotic merits — though it’s an equally good look at the point of submission, I suppose, and how power works in a consensual sexual relationship — this writing issue is a major letdown. There’s also a distinct lack of commas at the end of dialogue. And, well, I found myself horribly uncomfortable with the content, because humiliation is like, my anti-fetish (see also, Fallout: Equestria). I kept wanting Applejack to get mad and stay mad, not think about how much she liked it, and if the societal taboo stuff had been sprinkled through the story instead of dumped at the beginning, there would have been a good bit more oomph to it. (Considering that Rarity shows up to join them, this is 100% the scenario posited at the start, just never explored to its fullest emotional extent.) That said, this story is so totally not for me, and I have to assume that the people who it is for will like it. (And not, y’know, give a damn why ponies are doing dom/sub play in the first place.)
Recommended Only If You’re Into This Stuff
Wingmare by Esle Ynopemos
Fluttershy goes to a bar, not for the drinks, but for one pony in particular. Fluttershy is drinking juice boxes at a bar do you really need another reason to read this story? Well, okay, it’s also about Fluttershy being Rarity’s titular wingmare while secretly pining after her. It’s equal parts cute and touching, and well written to boot. The only thing I can say against it is you have to accept inter-mane shipping, but I think swallowing that pill is worth it for this short.
The Adventures of Wondercloud and Sugar Rush
It was a bright and sunnytimes day in Pony City, and life was slowly returning to normal after the big evil attack from the evil aliens from the evil planet of Badhorsia, which happened in the last story, which you should read if you haven't already, because you need to know what happened and recaps are dumb and annoying.
Everypony was busy putting their homes back together. A huge frickin' crane in the downtown area was pulling skyscrapers up off the street because there were totally skyscrapers in downtown Pony City even though I forgot to mention them last time. It is a city, after all!
Meanwhile, in the neighborhood where Wondercloud Lightningbolt and all her friends lived (except Midnight Twinkle; she lived in the cemetery because she's a goth), they were putting their homes back together the old fashioned way, with wood from the Everlame Forest. The pony carpenters and lumberjacks had been busy busy busy all week cutting down lots and lots of trees from the forest, because A) having less lame stuff in the world is good, and B) seriously, fuck that place.
So to actually get to the story now, we pick up with Johnniepear and her older brother Bawsc being badasses. Johnnie was seated next to a huge pile of logs, which she picked up two at a time, one in each hoof, and tossed at her brother. Bawsc, who was reeeeeeally big and strong and dark red and had a cutie pahootie that was a picture of himself wearing sweet shades and holding up a pear in one hoof, would flip up and roundhouse kick the big boards. Then, one of two things would happen. Either the board would be kicked right to where it needed to be, upsetting the bucket of nails which then flew up in the air and nailed themselves right into the board, securing it in place, or else the board would break into the right sized pieces and then all that other stuff would happen. They could kick a house together in about ten minutes.
"Oh thank you, thank you!" cried a cream-colored earth pony with gothy black mane with blue and purple streaks, who was wearing black mourning garb and had a cutie thinger that looked like two interlocked wedding rings with plus signs hanging off the bottom. Her name was Mai Waifu. "Pear Family, you're the best!"
Johnnie and Bawsc leapt into the air at each other, meeting over the top of the house, where they did an epic brohoof into a pile of rocks that exploded and stacked itself up neatly into a chimney. Then they posed on the roof. It was really badass.
"Y'all're rightly welcome, Ah reckon!"
"Like a BAWSC!" (That was Bawsc's catch phrase and pretty much all he ever said.) (Also, she wouldn't admit it if you asked her, but Johnnie secretly looked up to her big brother a lot and believed she got all her cool badassery from him.)
Unfortunately, there was a flock of birds flying overhead at that moment, and they got caught in the Badassery Wave that emanated from the epic bro-chimneying. They all exploded, raining guts, feathers and tons and tons of bird poop down on Johnnie and Bawsc. Johnniepear shook her hoofsie at the sky.
"You horseshit goddamn birds!" she yelled loudly. One last bird, who had been all the way in front of the flock and thus just barely missed by the Badassery Wave, finally succumbed to the unstoppable badass that was Johnniepear, exploding and landing a tiny plop of poo right on her hat. She grumbled and got down off the roof.
"But oh, oh, oh!" sobbed Mai Waifu into her hoofkerchief, ignorant of all the badassing and poopery happening above her head, "if only you knew where my poor husband was! His name is Strum McAwesomeposture! I haven't seen him since before the aliens attacked our town! I'm ever so lonely and bereft without him!"
Johnnie and Bawsc looked at each other and shrugged.
"Ah reckon we'll keep a peeper open for 'im," Johnnie said with her funnytalk, "but I ain't rightly seen 'im none, now, gol durn dangit."
Meanwhile, across the street, Wondercloud and Sugar Rush were busy putting up the same house they'd been working on all day. It was Sugar Rush's house, and she was being kind of random in how she decided it should look.
"We need more frosting over here!" She zipped around from place to place inside the house frame while Wondercloud lugged a single, small board of wood overhead. "Ooh, and this part should look like a haunted factory! And this is where the koi pond will be!"
Wondercloud kind of wasn't paying attention to her fillyfriend, though. She was distracted by watching Johnnie and Bawsc be awesome.
"Man," she grumped to herself, "I may be awesomer than Johnniepear, but not by much. And it doesn't help that she's so strong. This sucks!" She plopped the board she was carrying down onto a bucket of nails. She was at least awesome enough that that auto-nailing trick worked, but it didn't do anything to cheer her out of her funk.
"Hey, Cloudie, don't be such a saddypants!" exclaimed Sugar Rush exclamatorily. "Why don't we take a break and get something to eat? I bet I left a sandwich around here somewhere!"
She turned as there was a huge BOOM! and the sound of a house exploding.
"Oh no," she cried, "it's Badhorsia! They've come back!" She lifted up a piece of flooring and scooted underneath it, turning into a pony-sized lump in the floor.
Wondercloud rolled her eyeballs. "No, Sugar, it's just Captain Carrotbeard acting up again."
Sugar Rush peeped out as Wondercloud pointed to a house on the other end of the area. It was shaped like a pirate ship, complete with a big cannon that was still smoking because it had just fired a large cannonball. Seriously, what did you think that BOOM! was? That very same cannonball had arced gracefully through the air to come to a stop on a house that had once been covered in flowers and pagodas and throwing stars, but was now just a pile of rubble with three very angry ninjas in it because the cannonball had really more gone through the house instead of resting gently upon it.
One of the Ninjas wore a green ninja suit and carried nunchucks. Her name was Foxglove. The second had a rose-colored ninja suit and used sais; she was Thorn. Last was a ninja in a yellow suit, named Pistil, and she dual-wielded wicked sicknasty Colt .45s that were modded to hell and back so they were really long and had big magazines and were covered in insignias and kill counts and stuff. They all used throwing stars and kunais and ninja-y stuff like that, but come on, a ninja with massive revolvers, how cool is that? Also, the only reason anypony could see them is because the ninjas allowed them to.
Anyway, they were all glaring across the street at Captain Carrotbeard, while she slapped her flank with her hook and waggled her carrot-shaped beard at them. "Yarr-harr-harr!" she laughed, and disappeared into the hold of her houseship.
This was a fairly regular occurrence in Pony City.
The Flower Ninjas (that's what they were called) looked at each other, sending mystic ninja-vibes between themselves instead of talking, and nodded before vanishing and reappearing over by Johnniepear and Bawsc.
"Oh Johnniepear-san-chan-kun-sama-hime," said Foxglove with a ninja accent, which is like a regular accent except you can't hear it because it's ninjas, "our house was just destroyed by cannon fire from our arch-nemesis, Captain Carrotbeard."
"Shoot an' shucks in the willikers, I reckon," Johnnie said, scratching under her hat.
"This happens all the time!" cried Pistil. "Could you maybe get her to knock it off, at least while we rebuild from the alien attack?"
"And could you maybe give us a hoof?" Thorn added askily.
Johnnie looked at Bawsc, who nodded at her.
"Sho' nuff we can, or mah name ain't Johnquilinda 'The Walkabout' LePear!" Johnnie said. "Ah'll go give Carrotbeard a right-up talkin'-down to, and Bawsc'll give you gals a leg or three fixin' your shack-dig."
The ninjas prostrated themselves before Johnnie (and that means they bowed really low, and not anything having to do with what's up a colt's hiney, I had to look that up) and exclaimed, "Thank you, Johnnie-bo-Bohnnie! We will be eternally in your debt!"
As the group broke up to go do their respective what-they-said-they'd-do's, Wondercloud harrumphed and pouted and crossed her hooves over her chest very grumpily.
"That sucks!" she moaned with a huff-po. "I'm the one who saved Ponylandia from aliens, but they go to Johnnie for help! What's the deal with that?"
"Maybe you don't have any name recognition," said Midnight Twinkle, who was totally there and gothy as usual.
"Name recognition?" Wondercloud tilted her head, looking at her friend who kind of wasn't really her friend but hung around anyway.
"It's like with fashion brands!" whined Fashionface, who was also there and now talking about the only thing she knew anything about. "The one with the highest advertising budget is most well known and so everypony goes to that one first!" She could talk about fashion without whining. It was a gift.
Their buttery-yellow pegasus friend Whisperlite was also there, but she didn't say anything because ladybugs.
"Well," wondered Wondercloud wonderfully, "how do I get some name recognition, then? I mean, ponies ought to know about us, and me especially, since we saved their butts and everything, right?"
All the ponies assembled nodded. "Cloudie, I have an idea," Sugar Rush began, but she was interrupted as two streaks of flying pegasudes (this is the proper plural of pegasus, by the way, not pegasi; it's all Latiny and Greeky and stuff and hard to explain) as they came in for a landing. Wondercloud's eyes got really wide as she recognized them.
The first one was a light blue stallion in a slightly darker blue flight suit with lightning bolts all over it, and even slightly-more-darker-than-that mane that was kind of crazy and mussed up like he'd just woken up or something. He looked like he had coffee in his veins instead of blood, because when he twitched he sort of moved too fast for the eye to see. He'd jitter a little bit and then suddenly be over at the edge of your vision, and he did this a lot, just popping back and forth randomly, while muttering things like, "Pies, cakes, pies, pies," under his breath. His name was Pie in the Sky and he was drooling slightly.
The second was a bright yellow mare clad in tight, tight, tight black leather assless chaps and a black leather flight jacket with a logo on the back: a letter A made out of skulls and lightning bolts and fire. She was wearing flight goggles and smoking a cigarette coolly. There on her butt was a picture of a pair of lips that were getting ready to make a kiss but they were on fire. Her name was Hotflank and she was the leader of the Awesomebolts. Pie in the Sky was also an Awesomebolt, in case you didn't realize it, and actually he was the only other one.
Wondercloud made a little squealing noise and did a small loop in midair.
"Oh my giddy aunt, you're Hotflank and Pie in the Sky! You're the Awesomebolts, the coolest ponies in all of Ponylandia!"
Sugar Rush thought that was weird for her to say. After all, wasn't Wondercloud the coolest pony in all of Ponylandia?
Hotflank nodded and bit her cigarette, which put it out. She spit it into the street. "Yup. The Princesses told us about the devastation here, so we came to help out. Where's the fire at, sexy britches, or is it just me?" She laughed, and all the ponies just kind of looked at each other and shrugged because they didn't get the joke.
"Wow, this is so awesome!" Wondercloud flew over to Pie in the Sky, who was busy watching a butterfly from every conceivable angle as it meandered through the air. "Is there any chance I could join you guys while you're here? It'd be a dream come true!"
Pie in the Sky ate the butterfly.
Hotflank went, "Pffft!" and looked at Wondercloud. "And just who d'you think you are, kid?"
Wondercloud opened her mouth, but Sugar Rush interrupted her.
"She's Wondercloud Lightningbolt, and she's the coolest pony in Ponylandia!" she said crossly. Her eyebrows got all big and bushy and frowny. "She saved everypony from aliens, you should know who she is!"
Hotflank, who was now chewing on a toothpick, gave Wondercloud a once-over. "Never heard of ya," she said out of the corner of her mouth, and spit her toothpick at Sugar Rush, who ducked it. It stuck into a board in the side of her house, standing straight out.
"Anyway," Hotflank continued continuously, "we're gonna go find the Mayor. If you want an autograph or something later, maybe we'll do that." And the Awesomebolts walked away from them, Hotflank's flanks swaying and drawing all their attention and some of their drool, while Pie in the Sky just kind of blipped from place to place behind her.
When they were gone, Wondercloud gave a dejected sigh. "Great. Not even the Awesomebolts know who I am."
"Pish-posh and pshaw!" declared Sugar Rush. "You don't have to be a Mopey McMoperson! Err, McMopony! All you have to do is do something to impress them and they'll let you join for sure!"
"And if you joined the Awesomebolts, you'd get that name recognition you need!" added Fashionface.
"This actually sounds like a viable plan, assuming you can actually impress them," Midnight Twinkle grumble.
Whisperlite didn't say anything, but then she'd also gone sort of transparent since her last scene, and if they'd looked for her, they would have had a hard time seeing her.
"Of course I can impress them!" Wondercloud said, thumping her chest with a hoof. There was a hollow rumble like distant thunder and she farted a tiny lightning bolt. "Just you wait, I'll show them! I'll show them all! I'll be the coolest pony in Ponylandia and a member of the Awesomebolts!"
"There's one thing I don't get: how can the Awesomebolts be the coolest ponies in Ponylandia if Wondercloud is the coolest pony already?" questioned Sugar Rush with questions.
"It's a matter of terminology," stated Midnight Twinkle plainly. They were sitting on a hill overlooking Pony City while Wondercloud warmed up, twirling and making awesome spirals and patterns in the air with her sweet rainbow contrail that sometimes had lightning bolts in it.
Midnight continued, "Wondercloud is the coolest pony, singular, while the Awesomebolts are the coolest ponies, plural. Though if you ask me, it's all fairly ridicu-"
"Ohhhhhhh!" Sugar ohhed. "That actually makes sense now! So even if each of them is just a little less cool than Cloudie, when combined as a team they outclass her!"
"Exactly!" smirked Midnight, feeling ever so slightly proud for having explained it so well. "Just how we, as the Elements of Awesomery, as a team, are way more powerful and awesome than we are by ourselves. We could easily outdo the Awesomebolts, for example, if we cared to."
Wondercloud came in for a landing at that moment and snorted. "Speak for yourself, Twinkle-toes," she said, pointing behind her. In the air behind her was a slowly-fading rainbow that was twisted into a soft pretzel, complete with electric sparks for salt. "I know why Sugar's here, but why are you here, anyway?"
The purple unicorn snorted back. "Because I want to see this with my own eyes. Besides, I just got here and don't own a house to have had burnt down, since I live in the cemetery and all."
Wondercloud shrugged. "Anyway, I'm all set. Now to find those Awesomebolts!"
They wandered back into town, past various ponies still putting their houses back together. It didn't take long to track down the Awesomebolts. Their twin fiery contrails streaked through downtown Pony City, as they helped shore up skyscrapers and clean up debris, as well as ferrying ponies back and forth between work sites and occasionally posing for ponyrazzi photos. They looked really awesome while doing it, at any rate.
Wondercloud cracked her knuckles somehow and rolled her neck, loosening up.
"All right, ladies," she said forcefully, "stand back and watch a master at work. I'll throw up a few Raincork Screwbows, maybe an Inverted Spiral Thunderstorm, and they'll be putty in my hooves!"
Sugar Rush held up a blob of squishy yellow stuff. "I have some non-Newtonian fluids lying around, would that work?"
Wondercloud made a :| face, shook her head, and flew off.
Midnight Twinkle gave Sugar Rush a sidelong glance.
"Dare I ask why...?"
"Sometimes," replied Sugar, a faraway look in her eye, "I'll suddenly realize that there were fluids around me that weren't there before..."
Meanwhile, Wondercloud was flying for the center of town, gauging exactly where to make her best entrance. She didn't want to get too close to the buildings, of course, and she had to make sure that her tricks would be visible from the angle they were flying.
Finding the perfect spot, she revved up and immediately launched into a series of loops and twirls, doing barrel roll after barrel roll like she was a rabbit in a biplane. The rainbow contrails twisted around each other, and soon she was tying them in knots and double knots and Gordian knots and Freudian knots, which don't even exist, but she was fucking doing it because holy shit this is some amazing aerial acrobatics we're talking about here.
Unfortunately, Wondercloud had miscalculated slightly. The Awesomebolts had already moved on to the Town Hall to hobnob with Mayor Sexynickers by the time she was done, her twists and knots and pretzels and thunderstorms just littering the sky like so much litter on the ground. Only awesomer. And in the sky. As she was ascertaining this circumstance, she plowed headfirst into a building. She made squeaky noises as she slowly slid down the side of it.
In the next scene, she decided she'd have to step up her game.
"It's time for a Sonic Awesomeboom!" she said to nopony in particular, although a pony who was washing windows up high overheard her monologuing and really had no idea what she was talking about.
Wondercloud flew up really high, at least as high as a cloud, whereupon was seated a very surprised duck or something, then she started nosediving towards the planet, which seems like a really bad idea if you don't know that this is step one of achieving a Sonic Awesomeboom. Her plan was simple: she'd fly down Main Street and hit booming velocity right in the center of town. It was sure to attract the Awesomebolts' attention.
And thankfully, her plan went off without a hitch. To an onlooker -- yes, I mean you, Taxi Driver Magillicuddy, I see you rubbernecking over there! They may put up with that kind of slacking in the taxi fleets, but you're on construction pony time, mister! Back to work! -- it appeared as though there was a big huge rainbow ribbon stretching down out of the sky along Main Street, straight for the center of town. It almost touched ground right where Main Street crossed Pony Boulevard, at which point there was a huge boom and the word AWESOME exploded outward in rainbow colors. Then the ribbon did a 90-degree (Fahrenheit) turn and took off up into the cerulean stratosphere again.
But hang on just a minute, what in the heck was a duck doing on a cloud anyway? I mean, they can fly and all, but they're waterfowl! They're not known for hanging around high in the sky. I need to do more research next time! Anyway, back to the story.
Unfortunately, setting off a sonic boom of any sort in the middle of town means that there are going to be no windows in about a two-mile radius when you're done. Ponies scattered left and right, fleeing from the falling glass shards, as Wondercloud looked back with some chagrin to see what she'd done.
"Oops," was all she could think to say before she impacted the underside of a passing zeppelin.
"This is not my day at all," she groaned, and with a light popping sound, detached from the dirigible to float gently to earth.
Tragically, the Awesomebolts hadn't even been outside to see the Awesomeboom at the time. Pie in the Sky was busy raiding some poor bakery of all their delicious baked goods, just after they'd gotten back up and running finally, while Hotflank was having an "extended meeting" with Mayor Sexynickers, which is a nice way of saying "they were totally doing it", because they were.
Wondercloud decided to give it one more try, because that's how these things go. Unfortunately, she was out of ideas, so she just waited for the Awesomebolts to wander by and started busting some sick dance moves in their direction. She had a boombox with her, so it was totally awesome.
Unfortunately, they kind of didn't notice her popping and locking and hopping and docking because they were too busy staring at the destruction wrought by her Sonic Awesomeboom. Or at least Hotflank was, Pie in the Sky was too busy flitting around and asking random passersby, "Pie? Pie?" Not if they had any, just more or less if pie existed. Most of them did not make eye contact.
"What the crap happened out here?" Hotflank demanded, wiping her lips with a hoof. Wondercloud did a 720 on her forehoof, finishing impressively on her wingtips.
"I've been trying to get your guys' attention like all freaking day!" she exclaimed. "Did you see my awesome breakdancing?"
Hotflank just stared at her. "Wait, you did this? All these windows were just fixed and washed and now they're all gone! Not to mention, crap, I just realized we've been walking in glass this whole time. What in the name of moist dragon dildos were you thinking?"
"Uhh..." Wondercloud said elocutionally, not looking directly at Hotflank.
"Look, it's nice you want to impress us and all, but we're not here for watching flashy tricks!"
"We're here for pie!" mumbled Pie in the Sky, in a brief moment of lucidity. "Both kinds."
Hotflank rolled her eyes. "No, we're here to rebuild. This isn't the time for acrobatics, it's the time for putting houses back together and shit! Princess almighty, if you want to impress us, go build a house or something!"
"Oh, I, uh," Wondercloud stammered, and then she drooped with emotional weight. "You're right. I shouldn't be showing off when there's important work to be done. I'm sorry, you guys." Then she snapped her head up, and cut a butterfly in two with the whiplash. "Well you know what? I'll impress you that way, then! I can totally build a house in..."
She looked back towards the area where she'd been working that morning and sagged again as the emotional baggage just piled on. "Half a day."
"Yeah, kid, whatever. Get back to work." Hotflank smacked Pie in the Sky with her tail and sauntered off, hips wagging seductively.
When Wondercloud was able to tear her eyes away from those enticingly leather-clad cream buns, she slowly winged her way back to where Sugar Rush was watching with sadness and Midnight Twinkle was watching with laughter.
"I knew you couldn't do it!" Midnight Twinkle said triumphantly.
"Oh, shut up," said Sugar Rush. "Cloudie, what're you gonna do now?"
Wondercloud sniffed, more in resolution than sadness. "Gonna make a house, all by myself. That's the only way I'll impress them, so that's exactly what I'm gonna do."
"Don't hurt yourself trying," Midnight snarked. Sugar Rush punched her in the shoulder and she tumbled down the hill, yelling curses and grass all the way.
Sadly, building a house by herself was way harder than Wondercloud anticipated. She tried kicking the boards into place like Johnniepear had, but she missed the mark most of the time, and one even rebounded off a wall and came back to smack her in the rump. Then she tried the orbital bombardment method, carrying up a bunch of boards into the air and dropping them into place, but that didn't work with the nail bucket thing, and they kind of just clattered off of each other. She wasn't getting anything done, and it was getting on into the afternoon. She was running out of time.
She tried pleading with the boards, but that didn't work.
She tried gnawing on them, which only gave her mouth splinters, eww.
She tried kicking the boards that were already in place, but that just broke them and then she was making negative progress, which wasn't good at all. It was, in fact, less than good.
Finally, she stomped her hooves in the air (because you can do that if you're a pegasus and really frustrated) and grumbled to herself.
"It's hopeless! There's no way I can put a house together as well as Johnnie! I should just give up on this whole stupid thing and forget about the Awesomebolts." She crossed her hooves and pouted, which was cute.
"Now hold on, apple-de-ap," said Johnniepear, suddenly appearing in the scene, "that there ain't no way no how to get goin' on buildin' a house none, Ah reckon-alutely."
"Johnnie, what're you talking about?" As a matter of fact, Wondercloud really had no idea what her friend had just said, and for the most part, never did.
"You been wastin' time all day tryin' tuh compete with me 'n mah brother, ain'tcha?"
Wondercloud looked like she'd just snuck a cookie from the cookie jar and given it to the dog. "Yeah..."
"Well, shoot and a half, Wondercloud, why don't we just work together!" Johnnie slapped her own flank and whooped. "Buildin'll take half as long if we stop competin'!"
It was like something electric clicked in Wondercloud's head, except if it had, she'd have shot sparks out her nose, which she wasn't doing, so it was kind of a dumb simile. She zoomed up into the air and spun around.
"You're right, Johnnie! Why didn't I think of it before? We're both awesome, you and me, and if we combine our powers, we can awesome some houses together in... in less than half a dozen winks!"
Johnnie waited for Wondercloud to come back down to earth and smacked her on the back. "Now yer thinkin'!"
"Hmm," hmmed Wondercloud, putting a hoof to her chin in thought. "I'll have to work on that catchphrase, though. Lickety-split?"
Johnniepear shrugged, then she said, "Hey, here come all our friends!"
Sugar Rush, Midnight Twinkle and Fashionface came over, and so did Bawsc because he'd been there the whole time. Where's Whisperlite, you ask? I have no idea. Maybe she was off being cute with kittens or something, it doesn't matter. Even if she's slacking off, whatever she's doing is completely fucking adorable because KITTENS OH MY GOD.
Wondercloud looked at each one of them in turn and smiled. "Guys, I'm sorry, I should have asked you for help way sooner. I may be the coolest pony in Ponylandia, but I'm not half as cool as all of us put together! Let's awesome up some houses!"
The ponies cheered and then set about doing just that. Working together, with their powers of awesomery, they could build a house in two minutes! That was way faster than anypony else! They built a house for Wondercloud, full of clouds and lightning bolts and also some columns; they built one for Whisperlite, with trees and birdhouses and stuff; and they built one for Fashionface with fashion and fashion and also some fashion in it. Soon, they were throwing up a huge dust cloud with all of their awesome building skizzles (that means skills, lol), which attracted the attention of not just the Awesomebolts, but every pony in Pony City!
When Wondercloud and her friends took a break after their tenth really awesome and totally customized house, they saw that they were surrounded by a crowd of smiling faces, as well as the ponies to whom those faces belonged, all cheering and stomping applause for the awesome work they had all just done.
"Congratulations!" cried Mayor Sexynickers, finally having recovered from her "extended meetings" with Hotflank. "Not only did you all save Pony City and all of Ponylandia from aliens, you're also hot tits at rebuilding homes! Three cheers for the Elements of Awesomery!"
There were, in fact, four and a half cheers for them, but who's counting?
"Aw shucks," said Johnniepear, stepping forward, "we all couldn't-a done it if it 'tweren't for Wondercloud here now then none goldurnit shucky dang-a-dong doo!"
"She's right," said a voice from somepony they couldn't see. The crowd parted and up stepped Hotflank and Pie in the Sky. "You're all really awesome when you work together."
Hotflank came up to Wondercloud -- very very close to Wondercloud -- and Sugar Rush got a little jealous and overprotective, because she does that when mares be frontin' on her womans. But she didn't say or do anything other than write Hotflank's name on her mental list, because it would have ruined the moment.
"I was wrong about you, Wondercloud," said Hotflank in a very sultry manner. "You're really awesome. In fact, I think you yourself might be even more awesome than the two of us combined."
"Really, you mean it?" Wondercloud was getting excited. No, not like that, she was hoping that Hotflank would ask her to join the Awesomebolts, is what I'm saying.
"I bet you still wanna join the Awesomebolts, don't you?" Hotflank breathed, her face mere inches away from Wondercloud's.
"Y-yeah," gulped Wondercloud, trying not to look at all the parts of Hotflank's face that were really, really attractive. "I do still wanna join, if you'll let me."
"Well too bad!" shouted Hotflank, and whip-cracked her tail, turning away from Wondercloud. The crowd gasped and Wondercloud's heart sank.
Hotflank looked back over her shoulder and grinned. "Because we're joining you."
The crowd cheered and Sugar Rush jumped forward to hug Wondercloud and keep her away from the leather temptress. Hotflank laughed and nodded.
"It's obvious you're cooler than us, so we'll join you! We'll even name ourselves after you! Let's see, what was your full name again?"
"Wondercloud Lightningbolt," said Wondercloud Lightningbolt, wiping away a single manly tear of joy. Where it landed on the ground, a flower sprouted, blooming with a rainbow bloom that released butterflies when it opened.
Hotflank conferred with Pie in the Sky for a hushed moment, then nodded and looked at Wondercloud.
"All right, we've decided. We'll be called..."
Pinkie craned her head around, trying to see across her room to where Rainbow Dash was seated in front of her computer. Even with headphones on, the sounds of clashing firearms could be heard thundering against Rainbow's head. There was absolutely no way to get her attention from afar.
Setting her laptop aside, Pinkie crawled out of her bed, regretting it once her hooves hit the cool wood floor.
"Soon, Mister Blanket, we will be together and warm once again," she said, casting a lingering glance at the bedspread as she moved towards Rainbow Dash.
Her first instinct was just to tap the pegasus on the shoulder, but she realized that would no doubt startle her, as Dash got very intense when she was campaigning. She opted instead to wave her hoof between the screen and Rainbow's eyes. In hindsight, it didn't seem possible not to have startled Rainbow Dash, no matter what she did.
"Agh, Pinkie, cut it out!" Rainbow's head darted back and forth, trying to see around Pinkie's hoof. "My kay-dee ratio is like fifteen to one and I've been hunting this noob for... Oh no you didn't! You flank-sucking son of a buffalo, you did not just camp my ass!"
Pinkie, who was plastered up against the nearest wall at this point, peeled herself away from it and put on a cheerful expression. "Uhh... Now that you're dead, Dashie, d'you wanna read my newest fic? It's almost done!" She hopped in place, trying to add emphasis via movement.
"Sure thing, Pink," Rainbow Dash said, not looking at her. "We've got like five minutes left in this match. I'll come read it when I'm done."
"Okie dokie lokie!" Pinkie gave Rainbow a peck on the cheek and hopped back into bed, thankful for the lingering warmth that remained between the sheets. She scooped up her laptop, settling it comfortably in her lap, and put a hoof to her chin.
"Hmm, now let's see, where was I? Oh yeah, that's right!"
Hotflank paused for dramatic effect. "We'll be called the Lightningbolts!"
There was a pause, and then the crowd applauded.
"Not a bad name, if you ask me!" said Wondercloud, nodding appreciatively.
"Ah think it makes a lotta darn sense, Ah reckon," added Johnniepear.
"Too bad it has nothing to do with anything at all," grumbled Midnight Twinkle.
"Oh, stop being such a whiner," said Fashionface, burning Midnight but good. "It's fitting!"
Sugar Rush gave Wondercloud a huge smooch-ola on the lips. They all celebrated and then the crowd went back to working because somepony who was a total buzzkill -- I'm looking at you, Corporal Couch and Pen! -- mentioned that they were all slacking off and daylight was burning. But it was okay, because Wondercloud and her friends had a big group hug, even Midnight Twinkle.
"Wow, so I guess all this time, all I needed was my friends! Thanks to you guys, I'm the coolest pony in Ponylandia again, and I totally have awesome minions!"
"Uhh, we aren't exactly minions," said Hotflank crossly.
"No, you totally are, watch this." She straightened herself up and put a hoof to her chest, closing her eyes, and then pointing with that same hoof. "Minion! Go fetch me a lemonade!"
Hotflank just stared at her, and her stare turned into a look of pure surprise when Pie in the Sky brought over a tray with an ice-cold lemonade on it. Wondercloud tousled his mane and drank it in one gulp.
"Ahh, refreshing! See? Minion. And one minion is better than none!"
"Just don't let it go t'yer head, now, y'hear?" chuckled Johnniepear.
"Aww, how could I?" Wondercloud flashed her winningest smile, which did in fact win her something somewhere. "You guys are the best friends ever. But now that I'm number one in awesomeness again, there's something that's been bugging me."
Wondercloud cast a pointed glance at Fashionface, who yelped when the points poked her.
"Ow, not so pointy!"
"Fashionface," said Wondercloud seriously, "you are by far the least awesome of the Elements of Awesomery. And if I'm gonna be number one in awesomeness because of my friends, I need to cut out some of the dead weight, if you know what I mean."
Fashionface shrank back, her curly purple mane bobbing, as all eyes turned to her. For a moment, it looked to her like all the ponies around her were dark shadows, with shining red eyes and hungry teeth. She fought back a scream.
"That's why," continued Wondercloud, "I vote we change Fashionface's Element of Whining to something else!"
Everypony gave her a weird look for a while, like she'd just spewed water ponies out of her mouth or something crazy like that.
"You can't just change the Elements!" cried Midnight Twinkle sourly.
"Ah don' see why not," shrugged Johnniepear. "After all, votin' can solve all yer disputes! It's the American way!"
"I think it's a great idea!" added Sugar Rush.
"But what would you change it to?" whined Fashionface. Wondercloud winced.
"Ooh, I know!" cried Sugar Rush, hopping up and down sideways. "You could be the Element of Bitchiness! You know..." She stood up on her hind legs and waggled her head back and forth. "Oh no you di'int, fillyfriend, snap snap!"
The ponies all wondered exactly how Sugar was able to snap her hooves like that, but then they remember that she's the Element of Randomness, so it was okay.
"That sounds pretty good, actually," said Fashionface without so much whining this time. "I could totally do that!"
"Sweet!" cried Wondercloud. "Great idea, Sugar. All in favor?"
Five hooves went up in the air. Whisperlite would never miss a chance to exercise her right to vote, after all.
"But you can't just change the Elements by voting!" Midnight cried, holding her hooves out pleadingly. "This is old magic we're talking about!"
"Midnight abstains," Wondercloud said. "The motion carries!"
They rushed in and hugged Fashionface, while Midnight pouted.
"Nothing happened, I'm telling you..."
"That's what you think, girl," said Fashionface snarkily. She snapped her hoof right in front of Midnight's face and the lavender unicorn syndrome fell right over!
Everypony laughed. It was a good day.
"C'mon, Sugar," said Wondercloud with a little yawn. "I'll walk ya home."
Sugar gave a little yay and cuddled up against Wondercloud, who put a wing around her and started back towards Sugar's house.
"But like oh no and stuff," Sugar sadly said, "we never finished building my house!" She frowned a big frown and looked down at the ground, which rhymed but didn't make her feel any better.
"Don't be so sure," Wondercloud said, nudging her. "Look over there!"
She pointed with a hoof and there, much to Sugar's delight, was her new house! Even though she couldn't remember them having worked on it all day, not only had it been completed, it was everything she'd ever wanted! Every last detail -- chocolate lagoons, tropical fruit trees, even the demolition derby arena -- was there, including a few things that she hadn't even known she'd wanted!
She squealed in delight and hugged Wondercloud and pranced over to the door, which looked like a clock made out of sprinkles and licorice. She was about to open the mushroom-shaped doorknob when she noticed something. There, between the door and the right-side window, was the toothpick that Hotflank had been chewing on earlier that day, that had stuck into the wall. Hanging from it was a small sign and on that sign was an inverted cupcake.
Sugar's eyes went wide. Her teeth chattered. Her mane got all standy-up and spiky and her whole body freaked out. Without so much as knocking on the door (why would you knock on your own door though?), she turned tail and zipped back over to Wondercloud, who had been watching here, bewilderedly, all this time. Sugar hid herself under Wondercloud's wing, peeking out and shivering.
"Sugar Rush, whoa, what the crap, settle down, damn!"
"It's there, Cloudie! On my house!"
Sugar Rush pointed a quaking hoof at the house. "It's right...!" But as she looked again, the toothpick and sign had both vanished. Had she imagined it the whole time? Sugar got a very urpy feeling in her tummy and made a poopie face.
"I don't see anything," Wondercloud said, starting to get worried. "Are you sure you're feeling all right?"
"That's a good question." Sugar sighed. "I'm sorry, Cloudie, I guess I freaked out over nothing. But can I spend the night with you anyway?"
The pegasus covered in cutie marks laughed. "Of course you can! It'll be fun." She gave her fillyfriend a big kiss. "You're just so random sometimes." Then she chuckled and gave Sugar a hug and they both went to Wondercloud's house for the night because she's a good fillyfriend.
The best part of Pinkie Pie's morning was checking her fanfiction sites on the Canternet for new comments on her stories. Comments always gave her a happy feeling inside, like she'd just eaten a bowl of good cream of hay soup, and it was doubly so after she'd released a new story.
So it was with high hopes that she turned on her laptop and dialed up ponyfanfiction.pon, the first site on her list.
Sitting there, waiting for her, was an entire paragraph of comment. Her eyes lit up with expectation as she read it.
wow, I shared this with my friends and they LOVED IT! omc, your writing is so hilarious, you should really get published or somethin! we really liked Hotflank and Pie in the sky too, Hotflank is such a sexy beeyetch (*bg*) and Pie was a lovable idiot. Like, his antics were hilarious and he just didn't seem to know what was going on lol!! he totally reminds me of a friend of mine ;D anyway I really liked this and my friends too we can't wait to see what you write next! keep on partying, PartyPartyParty99!! <3
Pinkie had spent the entire time biting down on her hoof so she wouldn't scream. The comment fully read, then reread, she let out a gleeful shriek and began bouncing up and down in her bed. Gummy, disgruntled by the sudden oceanic movement of his preferred sleeping spot, slithered off the mattress onto the floor and curled up beneath the bed.
"This is so exciting!" she exclaimed. "I got a whole new fan! I love each and every one of my fans so much! I'll write them a reply, just to say thank you! I wonder who they could possibly be..."
As luck would have it, on the other side of Equestria, the mare secretly known as TinieWings was checking the Canternet at just the right time to see the reply to her message. Fleetfoot's laughter echoed through the Wonderbolts' rec room, attracting the attention of at least one of her teammates.
"What the hay are you laughing at, Fleet?" Soarin asked, leaning over to peek at her monitor.
She snarled and pushed him away. "Hey, back off! I just got a comment from that author who wrote that story..."
"Ohhh no..." Soarin's eyes widened, his pupils dilating to pinpricks.
"You know, the one with-"
"Don't say it!"
Fleetfoot's face lit up in a manic grin. "Pie in the Sky!"
Soarin groaned and hid his face while Fleetfoot continued laughing.
"Fleet, seriously, I don't wanna hear about it."
"Which is exactly why you will," said a third voice from the doorway. Spitfire smirked at her comrades before entering the room. "What was my name again, Hotfire?"
"Hotflank," Fleetfoot said, giving her team leader a grin. "And such a hot flank it is, too."
Spitfire hissed through her teeth. "Ooh, I know, I can't help it! It's all those assless chaps I just can't resist wearing!"
Soarin was now covering his head with both hooves. "Guys, c'mon..."
"What's the matter, pie boy?" Spitfire smirked at her wing leader. "Can'tcha take a joke?"
Soarin rolled his eyes. "It has to be funny first."
Fleetfoot pouted. "Aww, poor Soarin. We'll have to get him some pie to cheer him up."
Soarin's cheeks began to burn and he looked away from them.
"Yeah," said Spitfire, barely able to contain laughter, "both kinds!"
Both mares collapsed onto one another, laughing until their eyes watered, while Soarin, red-faced, made a hasty retreat from the rec room.