Twilight, Rarity, and Applejack huddled together in the library, whispering conspiratorially. It was the following afternoon and they had agreed to discuss the previous night’s revelations, or lack thereof. Each had waited impatiently to be done with the day’s work before rushing off to convene in the library, ignoring whatever other chores they could even tenuously justify putting off.
Spike emerged from the kitchen, carrying a silver platter brimming with fancy cupcakes. He had started baking them the very moment Twilight mentioned Rarity would be visiting. The rich frosting atop the treats practically sparkled, boasting artful spirals of purple and white. Spike stopped beside the mares and regarded them suspiciously. “You guys aren’t whispering about me are you?”
“Not even close,” Applejack laughed as she helped herself to one of the cupcakes.
The little dragon seemed a bit disappointed.
“We’re talkin’ about somethin’ real important, but we can’t tell ya about it.”
Twilight frowned at the country mare. “Choose your words more carefully. Now he’s really going to want to know what it is.”
“Yeah, what’s going on? I promise I won’t tell.”
“Won’t tell what?” Pinkie asked as she peered around the side of the front door. She trotted into the library with the usual skip in her step. Her friends fell silent and glanced around awkwardly. Applejack scrunched her nose as if she was holding back at saying something.
The pink pony stepped up on the center table and gazed down upon them with an amused expression upon her face. “You’re still trying to figure out what stallion it is aren’t you?”
“Is it Big Mac?” Spike asked, unsure of what he was guessing at.
“I hope you’re not mad,” Twilight said sheepishly.
“Mad? I only get mad when things upset me. I can’t be mad at you guys for at least trying. You’ll probably never, ever, ever, ever guess who it is though,” she said with a mischievous smile.
“Caramel?” Spike hazarded another guess.
“Keep trying,” Pinkie giggled as she hopped off the table and waved goodbye to her friends. She began humming an extemporaneous tune to herself as she shut the door behind her.
As the sound of her humming faded, Twilight exchanged glances with the other two mares. “That was really random. I thought that she’d at least want to borrow a book or hang out with us.”
“I know why she was here,” Spike said, looking down at the empty platter in despair. “Did you get a chance to eat a cupcake, Rarity?”
“Um, I suppose not, but thank you anyway Spike-ee-wai-kee. You’re always so thoughtful.”
Spike snatched the silver platter and dashed back to the kitchen. “Never fear, I can make more,” he yelled.
Rarity began pacing the room with an air of annoyance. “Pinkie is really having fun with this, isn’t she now? I almost wish I was pregnant so I could be special.”
“We’re all special,” Twililght said cheerfully.
“Yes, well, there are different heights of specialness to be attained.”
Twilight levitated her detective’s hat onto her head. “Let’s look for clues. A logical evaluation of the facts should produce answers,” she said confidently as she strapped a satchel full of investigation tools over her back.
Applejack snickered. “What’re ya gonna do with the magnifying glass? I don’t think we’re gonna need ta burn any ants.”
“You are taking this all rather lightly,” Rarity said contemptuously as she and Applejack followed the detective unicorn out of the library and into the sunlight.
“Well, I’m just glad it’s not my brother. I’m mighty curious about who it really is tough. Unfortunately Rainbow Dash is our best guess so far and that don’t make no kind o' sense.”
The Cutie Mark Crusaders sat by Ponyville River throwing stones to see how many times they could skip them across the surface. Apple Bloom was stealing the show.
“Okay, okay, we get it. You really are the greatest athlete in all of Equestria,” Scootaloo conceded.
Apple Bloom was not afforded to opportunity to celebrate this achievement. At that moment, she and her friends simultaneously noticed something that made them jump.
“There she is!” yelled Scootaloo, gesturing wildly at a pink pony with a tangled poof of a mane. She was skipping across the bridge nearby.
“Ta-da!” Pinkie exclaimed as she jumping up in front of them, leaving it to the imagination how she had traversed the distance to get to them. This was met with an unexpected silence from the little fillies. They merely glanced back and forth to each other, not having a coherent strategy to execute. “How you are?” Pinkie asked cheerfully.
“Uh, good,” Sweetie Belle stammered.
“Okie dokie,” Pinkie turned to go, waving and smiling brilliantly.
“Wait! Don’t leave,” Scootaloo protested. “We were wondering something. It’s kind of silly, but—”
Apple Bloom cut her off thoughtlessly. “I heard Twilight ask Big Mac if you and him had ever slept together! It seemed like a big deal for some reason, because—” she stopped when she noticed how mortified Pinkie had suddenly become.
“Are you alright?” Sweetie Belle asked fearfully.
Pinkie recovered from her momentary shock. “No, I never slept with him,” she said with a matter-of-fact smile.
Apple Bloom looked relieved. “Oh okay, that’s what he said too.”
“Well, I’ll see you around, girls,” Pinkie began to trot away particularly quickly.
“Hey, before you go, congratulations on the baby,” Scootaloo called after her.
Pinkie was immediately back in their faces. Before they knew it, she had whisked them under the bridge and was looking around desperately as if they were being chased by something dangerous.
“How do you know about that?” she whispered hoarsely.
“Applejack, Rarity, and Twilight were talkin’ about it in the kitchen last night for hours,” Apple Bloom whispered back.
“We’ve been waiting to congratulate you all day,” Sweetie Belle added.
“How many ponies have you told about this?” Pinkie asked, glancing quickly between them as if they might scamper away and reveal her secret to the entire world.
“We ain’t told nopony yet,” Apple Bloom whispered.
“Who’s the dad?” Scootaloo asked, forgetting to whisper. “Did you get married without us noticing? You seem to be able to do things really fast, so I wouldn’t be surprised.”
Pinkie considered for a moment. “I’ll tell you who he is, but you have to Pinkie swear not to tell anypony in the world, especially not your sisters. Also, if I tell you about this, you will no longer be the Cutie Mark Crusaders.”
“Who would we be then?” Apple Bloom asked with a puzzled expression.
“You will be the Cutie Mark Crusader Secret Keepers.”
“Why would you tell us and not tell your best friends?” Sweetie Belle inquired skeptically.
“It’s really complicated,” Pinkie said with her usual humor returning to her voice. “But it’s such a burning secret that I just have to tell somepony.”
Twilight kept getting questions and comments about her detective hat, so she tucked it away in her satchel to better focus on ascertaining the truth about Pinkie’s lover. Applejack and Rarity had split off so they could make better time questioning key citizens of Ponyville. They were gleaning as much information as they could about Pinkie’s whereabouts and behavior during the past few weeks. Everypony had seen her, but the anecdotes they described all sounded fairly typical: random songs, yelling, running, playing games that were designed to entertain ponies half her age, binge eating, and, of course, lots of smiling.
Twilight had just concluded a conversation with the mayor detailing how Pinkie had unintentionally derailed a city council meeting, when Applejack and Rarity came galloping and sprinting towards her, their faces bright with excitement. They did not speak, but only beckoned Twilight to follow, leading her to a secluded grove in the city park.
“We just spoke with Mr. Cake,” Rarity informed her, catching her breath.
“He told us that, ‘bout a month ago, he saw Pinkie sneak outta the shop at night and meet up with Rainbow Dash behind a cart. He said they giggled for a while and came out lookin’ all too pleased with themselves... Well, if that doesn’t just top it.”
Twilight giggled in spite of herself. “That’s some pretty juicy information. How did you get Mr. Cake to tell you about it?”
“We had ta give him a reason ta talk,” Applejack said, standing on her hind legs and throwing a few mean punches at the air.
“Actually we pestered him about it relentlessly until we extracted the full story,” Rarity interjected haughtily, putting her nose in the air.
The purple unicorn considered the situation carefully. “Okay, perhaps there’s something going on between Dash and Pinkie, but that still doesn’t explain how she got pregnant!”
“Is there any spell that can change the sex of a pony?” Applejack asked, looking to her unicorn friends.
“Well, uh, I actually spent a lot of today doing research to see if there was a gender changing spell,” Twilight admitted.
“And?” Rarity prompted.
“It turns out there is, but I’m probably the only unicorn in this area capable of casting it.”
“Then I suppose it’s technic'lly possible Rainbow Dash is the dad,” Applejack reasoned.
“There is only one way to find out,” Rarity declared.
Applejack thought for a moment. “Ask her?”
“No, she already refuses to reveal any information about the situation." Rarity replied. "She’ll simply fly away if we confront her.”
“Not if I bite her tail she won’t.”
“Does her tail taste as good as it looks like it does?” Twilight asked.
“Nah, it’s actually a bit coarse.”
“Ahem. Aren’t you interested in hearing my plan to discover if Rainbow Dash is attracted to Pinkie?” Rarity asked.
She whispered the details to her friends. They were surprised at first, but agreed that it was worth a shot. Twilight, however, made certain to warn Rarity that the plan could easily go terribly amiss.
The next day, Rainbow Dash cleaned her cloud house frantically. Her friends had never shown much interest in visiting her in her home, but earlier that day, out of the blue, Rarity had requested a visit. Dash opened a hole in the cloud floor to peer down at the ground below. This time Rarity was actually waiting there. She was fashionably late, but this had only given Dash more time to tidy up the place.
Dash swooped down and landed beside the unicorn. “If you wanted my opinion on your new fashion designs why in the name of Celestia aren't we doing it in your boutique?” she asked, not quite concealing her annoyance.
Rarity licked her lower lip momentarily while eyeing the pegasus. “Oh, I don’t know really. I suppose I merely desired someplace more... private.”
“Alright,” Dash shrugged. “Let’s get this over with. You should know that I’m about the last pony on earth to give you useful fashion advice. I might be some help if we were talking sunglasses, but dresses?”
She did not wait for a response from the unicorn before hoisting her into the air and rocketing towards the house. Rarity weighed very little even with her satchels, which were supposedly full of clothing. Her body snuggled warmly in Dash’s embrace as they flew to the house. Rarity cast a cloud walking spell over herself as Dash set her down at the doorstep. The magic sparkled across her immaculately clean white coat.
Dash showed her into the still shamefully messy little house. Badly aligned posters of the Wonderbolts littered the walls. Daring Do books cluttered the floor while what clothes she had, mostly dresses Rarity had provided, were strewn about in crumpled heaps. Dirty dishes were also lying in almost every conceivable place. “Uh, it’s not exactly up to your standards, I guess,” Dash muttered, blushing slightly.
“There’s no reason to be ashamed, dear. We all do things that are a bit… dirty, from time to time,” she leaned up on a dresser to gaze at her reflection in a mirror mounted above it. Dash cocked her head to one side, noticing Rarity wiggle her hindquarters a bit as she gazed upon herself in the mirror. Rarity spied her friend's reaction in the reflection.
“Rainbow Dash, be a dear and help me put these stockings on,” she said, removing her satchels and drawing out some silk leggings with flowery frills.”
“Okay, now we’re getting somewhere,” Dash picked up the garments with her hooves and began clumsily working a stocking up one of Rarity’s hind legs.
“Use your teeth,” she whispered gently.
Dash found this actually made the task far more difficult and significantly more awkward, but Rarity seemed to be enjoying herself for some reason. Once it was accomplished, she turned around as gracefully as she could without tripping over clutter and sauntered over to Dash’s bed. She nestled on the sheets and smiled at her pegasus friend.
“So, what do you think?” she asked in a sultry voice, batting her eyelashes. She poked the tip of her tongue between her teeth and eyed Dash lustily.
“Okay, now I see what’s going on here,” Dash said as she approached the bed with a knowing smile. “You’ve got a huge crush on some stallion and you’re practicing your flirting. You should have just told me that's what you were doing, 'cause, I'm not gonna lie, this was getting pretty freaking awkward.”
Rarity got up huffily and bonked Dash on the head with a silky hoof. “No you oaf! I’m trying to seduce you!”
Dash threw herself on the floor laughing. “That’s priceless!” She was laughing so hard she was crying. Rarity stood over her with a less than amused expression upon her face, but after a few moments of watching Dash helplessly flopping about on the floor, unable to stop repeatedly cracking up, she smiled and could not help but begin laughing too.
Once they had both finally caught their breath, Dash looked up and met eyes with Rarity. “You know, just because I yell a lot and don’t comb my hair very much doesn’t mean I’m like that. It’s funny to know you are though. I can’t wait to tell the others. They’re gonna have a field day with this one!”
Rarity pleaded desperately. “Rainbow Dash, please don’t be cruel.”
“What? It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Who wouldn’t want to get with a toned work of art like myself?” She stood up and brushed some old bits of uneaten cereal from her hair. They had gotten in her mane while she was laughing and rolling around on the dirty floor.
“I’m not attracted to you Rainbow Dash, nor to any mare for that matter. I am without a doubt the straightest one of our group of friends... No offense.”
“Then what was the point of this?”
“I wanted to see if you were into, well… you know.”
“You could have just asked.”
Rarity hung her head. “That’s the same thing Applejack said.”
Dash blinked. “Applejack knew you were doing this? What on earth stopped her from telling you that this was a bad idea?”
“Alright, I’ll be completely honest with you. Twilight knew about this too. We all came up with this scheme together because we wanted to know if it was possible that you and Pinkie were an item and if the baby was somehow yours.”
“Wait, that’s what all this is about? Huh, I never thought I’d have to explain how these things worked to anypony, least of all you Rarity, but you see, uh, it takes a stallion and a mare to create a baby because—”
“Just stop.” Rarity put a hoof to her forehead in exasperation. “I know how these things work. Let’s just say that our speculation about Pinkie’s baby has taken us to some very dark places.”
Dash sat down in her favorite reclining chair and was silent for a time. Rarity removed her stockings and put them away. As she finished, Dash elected to speak up. “Don’t worry about it so much. The dad is somepony crazy, just like Pinkie. He’s pretty amazing really. He just can’t be here right now... You looked nice in those socks though. You should find some stallion who likes putting them on you with his teeth,” she winked at Rarity.
The unicorn sighed but smiled back at her friend gratefully. All in all, it had not gone as badly as it conceivably could have.