I intended this chapter to be longer, but I know how much that cliffhanger left you wanting, so l'll break it off at 5300 words so you can all breath a sigh of relief.
Warming sunlight crept through the crack of the door as the radiant ball in the sky slowly made its climb to the heavens. Over the course of an hour, the ray had moved the width of the barn, finally casting itself on someone’s closed eyes, which contracted in irritation.
Ellis stirred from his sleep. He could feel dried straw poking at his back. Annoying, but still it provided him with a comfortable place to rest. The morning’s beacon of light stung brought irritation to his retinas, multiplied by the migraine seething in his brain. Ellis doesn’t get drunk too often, but he knew a hangover when he felt one. It was like pain came in many particular flavors: stinging pain, burning pain, aching pain, and then there was the pain that usually came with a shit-ton of confusion and worry. He tried to recount his memory from yesterday, blocked out by a fog of haziness. Attempting to waft the fog away, he stirred a bit more and finally opened his eyes and looked around. He was in a barn, at least, not a back alley with his pants around his ankles. Ok, that was something he didn’t want in his mind at the moment. Barns are a bit more familiar, more friendly. It dissipated some of his anxiety. Then, he became aware of the constricting weight on his torso. What could it possibly be? Ellis craned his neck down.
There was Applejack, snuggled in his arms, sleeping softly on his chest.
If anyone could see Ellis’s inner persona, it would be furiously smashing the panic button.
Applejack, roused by his erratic movements, blinked away the bleary screen out of her eyes and looked up at the wide-eyed human with her head still resting on his pectorals.
“Mornin’, sugarcube. How’d ya sleep?” She asked with a smile.
Ellis’s thoughts were in full freaking Armageddon mode, trying to clear away the drunken brume from his memory, trying to extract any solid evidence to contradict his worst conclusions. It wasn’t working.
“Ooohhhh shit. Look, AJ, ah... ah think yer... ya know... pretty an’ all, fer a pony, but... oh shit... ooOOoohh mah Gawd...”
She raised an eyebrow in lethargic confusion. “What the hay you frettin’ ‘bout, Ellis?”
He nearly ripped off his hat, trying to relieve the pressure. If felt like his head was going to explode. “Look, ahm sorry... ah- ah don’t think... Ah wasn’t thinkin’... Ah was drunk... Oh shit...” He wiped away the hot sweat on his forehead. “What the hell happened last night?”
“Nothin’.” She replied plainly. “We jus’ talked.”
“Yeah, ‘bout you, ‘bout yer troubles, ‘bout yer friend. Ah listened to it all.” She tightened her forelegs around him a little bit more. “We got a lot off our chests. Never knew how much better you kin feel after a lil’ heart-to-heart. Don’t you remember?”
Ellis let his head fall to the hay and exhaled deeply. To his relief, his memory was trickling back to him. “Yeah, ah remember.” A pang of sadness washed over him briefly. “Ah don’t think ah’ve told anyone ‘bout that. Kept it to mahself. Always hoped that he was still out there somewhere. From what ah’ve been through, that jus’ don’t seem too hopeful no more, an’ since ahm here now, in another world, ah don’t think I’ll ever see him again.” He sighed again. “Ah guess yer right. Ah feel better now that ah’ve told you. Thanks fer listenin’.”
“No problem, Ellis, ah will always be here for ya.”
They sat in silence for a moment.
“You think you kin...”
“Oh! Right.” She straddled off of him and stepped aside.
“Kinda gotta move an’ all.”
Another awkward silence. Ellis placed his hat back on his head.
“One more thing...” He asked suddenly.
“We talked... an’ that’s all we did, right?”
“Yeah, we jus’ talked. It was late, we were both tired, ah brought ya here tah sleep, we talked a bit, an’ then we both fell asleep.”
“Thank God!” He exclaimed.
“What? What’cha think we did?” She was absolutely oblivious to Ellis’s trepidations.
“Nothin’. Ferget it.”
Ellis stood up and began stretching while Applejack dismissed the matter and headed outside into the cool morning air. She took a glance at the sun’s position to determine the time. About five or six in the morning was her guess, plenty of time to start working. She felt great, like she was all clean on the inside. It felt like all the fatigue and pain she had built up inside was all washed away and wiped clean. She may have only gotten a few hours of sleep, but it was the deepest sleep she ever had. She took a lung-filling breath of the fresh country air through her nostrils. The farm pony had a good feeling of things from here on out. Sawdust did say that it was their day off for the week, so she and Ellis could spend the day together, talking. It seemed like a likeable idea now that she knew him a little better.
A sudden shout made her head whip around.
“APPLEJACK!” Rainbow Dash soared towards the orange pony at top speeds.
“Dash? What is it- OOF!” The cyan pegasus halted all of her momentum on a dime with a crushing hug around her friend.
“Thank Celly you’re alright, AJ! I went to your house, and Granny Smith said that you went back to Ponyville during the night and hasn’t seen you since! I thought... I thought something happened to you! I-I don’t know what I’d do without you!” Her embrace showed no signs of stopping anytime soon. Tears and weariness were evident in her reddened eyes.
“Rainbow Dash!” Applejack struggled to breath in the pegasus’s grip. “‘Course ahm fine! What are you... talking about?!”
“AJ?” Called Ellis as he stepped outside the barn. “Oh, hey Dash.”
Dash looked at Ellis, then she looked at Applejack, then back to Ellis, then Applejack. A blush surfaced on her face.
“What... Did you two...?”
The mechanic shook his head. “Please, girl, it really ain’t how it seems.”
She breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank Celestia!”
Applejack was becoming irritated. “What?! What in tarnation are you two talkin’ about?!”
“Never you mind.” Ellis replied.
She huffed, but didn’t press the matter further. Rainbow Dash looked like she’d been through a lot. She was panting hard, like she’s been flying fast all morning. Bags hung under her eyes, like she has been deprived of most of her sleep, or just came back from a bout of crushing depression. From what the earth-pony was about to hear, it was both.
“What happened, Rainbow? Wah did ya think somethin’ happened to me?”
She met Applejack’s eyes with hers, so belittled with grief. “Ponyville... Last night, it was attacked... by a monster. A Tank.”
Ellis had been re-tying his shoes when he heard that word. His head shot straight up.
“A what now?”
Total and absolute devastation.
It was the only word Applejack could use to describe the sight of Ponyville when they arrived. It was worse than Spike’s episode that had occurred only a month ago. Smoldering pockets of dying fires scorched various places throughout. Buildings were torn to pieces, windows were broken, debris was scattered on the crumbled streets. The atmosphere reeked of smoke, fear, and blood. Families were huddled outside of their destroyed homes, weeping and hungry. All of the cheery new outlook that Applejack gained was gone. Ellis merely gazed around with an unreadable expression. Rainbow Dash floated a few feet away from him, equally downcast at the sight of it all.
“Applejack!” Twilight ran up to her friend, accompanied by a haggard Rarity, a drooping Pinkie Pie, and Dominic. The collection of companions and their demeanors confused her. The alabaster unicorn looked like she had neglected her outward appearance for days, while the usually exuberant pink mare looked sunken and depressed. And Dominic... well, she hardly ever saw the dreary chemist, but he looked positively grim.
“Twilight!” She met the unicorn halfway they each gave each other a quick, friendly embrace. “What happened here? What sorta monster coulda done this?”
Twilight glanced at Ellis. “The kind of monster that isn’t from this world. Ellis would know of it.”
“Yeah...” He said without taking his eyes off of a foal that was crying out for his mother. “This looks like a Tank’s been through here...”
“Well, this is an interesting development.” Dominic spoke in his usual verbose manner. “From another world you say? And from the same one as the ‘human’. This is most puzzling...” Because his eyes were out of focus, he had to squint to gain a better look at Ellis. His eyes widened for an instant, as if hit with recognition, but then returned to their usual state. He cleared his throat. “I apologize for my unbecoming lack of etiquette. I am Dominic. I specialize in alchemy and all things volatile.”
Ellis observed the curmudgeonly earth-pony, who was a stark contrast to all the ponies he had met so far. His face was weathered, but robust. His eyes were a deep, ultramarine blue. His coat was black, his mane was long, grey, and greasy-looking. His cutie mark appeared to be a collection of three differently-shaped flasks, regarding his profession. He expected to shake his hoof, but the chemist did not move.
“I only wish the circumstances were a bit less morbid, for I was looking forward to finally meeting you, even though you may have inadvertently caused a bit of trouble for me.” He shot a glare at Dash. “No offense to you, of course, but the effect that you had on some ponies was entirely unpredictable.”
“Sorry...” Rainbow Dash muttered.
“Right, so I’ve heard...” He said, not yet convinced of her sincerity. “In other news, Lyra is busy distributing the potions I’ve brought to those who need assistance in getting to the hospital. She is probably the only being that can effectively handle them without the use of magic. Zecora is resting soundly in Twilight’s library. I don’t believe she’ll be waking up for at least another day.”
Spike yawned as he stretched his cherub-like arms past the edges of his crib. Still in a sluggish state of torpidity, he rolled out of the confines of his bed and thumped on the cool floor, laying there until he had the motivation to get up.
“Urg... I slept like a rock...” He grumbled, looking to Twilight’s bed and finding a pony-shaped bump under the covers, rhythmically rising and falling. Spike narrowed his eyes.
“How dare she sleep in! That’s my job!” Stomping over to the bed, he hopped up onto the mattress, and angrily pulled off the covers. Expecting his caretaker under the sheets, he received a shock when lavender fur was actually black and white stripes.
“Gah! Twilight’s been turned into a zebra!” He shielded himself instinctually. When there was no reaction from the sleeping equine, he lowered his arms and stepped closer. The baby dragon prodded the zebra’s cheek gently. She stirred and muttered something unintelligible under her breath, but did not wake. “A sleepy zebra, apparently.”
Without warning, in a dreamy trance, the zebra lunged out with her front hooves and caught the unlucky dragon in her forelegs. Spike yelped in surprise as he was pulled close and his face was forced against the nape of her neck. The zebra smiled and mumbled something in a foreign language before she began to suckle on one of Spike’s spines like a newborn foal. The dragon attempted to struggle out of her grip, but it was too strong for his scrawny body.
“They did their best to help evacuate the town.” Continued Dominic. “Of course, we’re still accounting for the damage...” He lowered his voice. “...and casualties...”
Dash spoke next. “So... uh... where is Lyra, anyway?”
The aged stallion rolled his eyes. “Post office.”
“Cool... ‘cause I’m gonna... help her with stuff... and nothing else!” She sped off with a gust of turbulence and a streak of chroma. Dominic watched her fly away.
“I swear, I’ll unlock the secrets of the universe before I decipher out the mentality of you mares...” He mused. “Anyhow... recovery is well underway. I expect, once Lyra has done her work, I shall return to my lab.”
“Applejack.” The voice came from Rarity. She was trembling. “I was so worried about you, that you were in Ponyville when the monster attacked, and you... you...” She gritted her teeth to stop any more tears from being shed. “You’re a dear friend to all of us, Applejack, and that monster was... absolutely horrid! I-I’ve never been more frightened in all my life when I saw it! What were you doing to avoid such an atrocity?”
“I slept with Ellis.” She replied nonchalantly. Everypony was hit with a look of utter stupefaction. The applebucker looked at all of them in confusion. Ellis pinched the bridge of his nose.
“She really don’t mean it like that...”
“Yes, ah do!” She shouted, now agitated by their strange reactions. “What’s so wrong about it, huh? All ah did was hit the hay with him!” Their faces turned red.
“Applejack...” Ellis spoke with his face still resting in his hand.
“Please... please stop talkin’.”
“Wah should ah? Ah come back to a town that looks like a timber wolf went through a chicken coop, an’ each an’ every one a y’all are...!” She trailed off, counting only five out of her six friends, including Rainbow Dash, who was not present at the moment.
They all looked to the ground.
“Where is she?!” Applejack demanded.
“I have no idea of any other way of telling you girls this, so I’ll speak plainly.” The doctor unicorn removed his glasses with his magic and carefully wiped them with a soft cloth before continuing. “In all my years of medical practice, I have never seen a pony with as much constitution as your friend. It’s almost... frightening.”
“What does that mean, doc?” Applejack was brought to the hospital by her friends. The usually quiet building was flooded with injured ponies and sweat-slick hospital workers. The air beheld the battle between the stenches of sterility and tangy blood. The atmosphere was abuzz with the murmur and moans of the sick and the urgent shouts of the doctors and nurses. The surgeon they were talking to looked particularly haggard. The bags under his eyes told of built-up fatigue from being woken up in the dead of the night and put to work immediately. He’s been up ever since.
“It means that, against all odds, your friend Fluttershy is still alive. We had to shock her heart back, but once it started beating again, it showed no signs of stopping.”
“Can we see her?” Twilight asked hopefully.
The doctor sighed. “Under normal conditions, we wouldn’t allow that, but these aren’t normal conditions, and I know how much you care for your own, Twilight. I let you all see her, but only for a few minutes. Nurse Redheart will show you to her room. I have many more patients to attend to.” Without any more pleasantries, he clopped off briskly. A preened white earth-pony nurse bid Twilight, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Dominic, and Ellis to follow her down the hall. They passed by roomed with bandaged ponies, all groaning in pain. The sharp blips of monitors echoed across the building. The hospital had never received so many injured patients at one time, some of the rooms had three or even four ponies in them all at once. The smell of antiseptic intermingling with pus wafted through the air all throughout. The group finally came to the end of the hall, where Nurse Redheart promptly veered to the left and entered a small room.
Applejack stifled a gasp. There was Fluttershy, wrapped in gauze and hard casts, carefully propped onto a bed in such a way that her wings threaded under metal bars, which allowed them to stick straight out without her weight pressed onto them. Her hind leg was suspended by a system of pulleys. Tubes ran to her forelegs, depositing blood to replenish what she had lost. The heartbeat monitor chimed out a steady rhythm of bleeps and her chest moved as a sign of proper respiration.
“She’s resting right now. We’ve done all we can for her.” The nurse explained, scanning through the clipboard. “She’s suffered three major fractures--both of her wings and her hind leg--and several minor fractures. Aside from some cuts and bruises, that’s about it.” She set down the diagnostic papers. “Given her rate of healing, she’ll make a full recovery. The doctor wasn’t kidding when he said your friend is a fighter. We’ve never seen somepony bounce back like that.”
Despite her encouraging words, Fluttershy’s friends could only look upon her ruefully. She had faced a monster all alone, and though she somehow survived, she was nearly torn to pieces. Twilight had to personally rush her to the hospital herself, eyes dripping with tears, mouth moving to its own accord, blubbering out words of assurance that she was going to be ok, that she wasn’t dead. The doctors shoved her off into the emergency room immediately, where they used their magic defibrillator to restart her heart and bring her back to the waking world. The last time Twilight saw her, she was awake, screaming in pain, half-yelling out what sounded like a name while being covered with white bandages and carted away to her room. For the rest of the group, this was the first time they saw her since her encounter with the Tank. But, of all the ones in the room who held the gentle pegasus close to their hearts, Ellis was the most upset.
“Goddammit.” He shambled to the achromatic wall. “God DAMN IT!” He slammed his white-knuckled fist into the wooden surface. Everypony jumped. “WHY DOES THIS HELL HAFTA KEEP FOLLOWING ME?! WHAT HAVE AH EVER DONE TO DESERVE THIS?!?!”
“Ellis...” Applejack attempted to calm the human.
“Ah tried to get out! I fought an’ shot an’ killed my way out, but ah jus’ kept getting sucked back into it!” All of his pent-up rage and frustration was finally tearing through the now-impotent screen of optimism. “Ah lost EVERYTHING, an’ now, even when ah thought it was all over, that sonuvabitch followed me here tah ruin the lives a’ people that don’t have anything tah do with this!” He heeded not their disheartened looks and turned skyward to address one he had not addressed in a long time. “I haven’t done anything tah deserve this! They haven’t done anything tah deserve this! Why do you hafta keep tormenting me! I’m sorry, ok?! IS THAT WHAT YA WANTED TAH HEAR?!?!”
He finally ran out of breath and sank into a wooden chair beside the bed, his palms holding his face.
“A-ahm sorry. Ah never meant any a’ this tah happen...”
Applejack trotted up to his side. “Ellis...”
She was ignored. “Ah only wanted y’all tah be happy...”
“Guess that’s jus’ too much tah ask fer...”
“Maybe it woulda been better if we both died on that bridge like nature intended-”
Everypony in the room didn’t so much as breath. Ellis brought his quavering hand up to the spot on his face where Applejack had hit him.
“D-don’t you EVER t-talk like that, Ellis! You may be just as sad and angry as we are about this, but if you ever start regretting the fact that yer still alive, so help me Celestia, ah will put you in a hearse mahself!” She threw her forelegs around him. “This ain’t yer fault. Nopony coulda known that... that thing came here with ya, an’ you certainly didn’t bring it here. Ah don’t know what did, or what it wants-”
They all turned their heads to the thought-to-be-sleeping pegasus on the bed. Fluttershy was awake. Her eyelids flitted half-open, as if that action alone took monumental effort. Her voice was so weak, so full of pain.
“Peace. All he wants is peace... He’s trapped inside of his own body, begging for release. I know, I saw it in his eyes. He may look like just a monster, but he used to be... a human. That human is still there, buried under all that rage... a-and agony...” Thin lines of moisture could be seen around the edge of her eyelids. She tilted her head to the human. “Ellis, I know it’s asking a lot, and it’s like nothing I’ve ever asked of anypony before, but he needs his rest... Eternal rest. There’s only one way to give him that.”
Twilight spoke before Ellis had a chance to respond. “Are you asking him to kill it?!”
With much sorrow, she nodded.
“This is incredibly uncharacteristic of you, Fluttershy.” Dominic said. “You believe this creature is beyond salvation?”
“He’s already been through so much; more than anypony should ever have to bear. He doesn’t want help... he just wants to be free of his torment...”
“I hear ya.” Ellis stood up from the chair. “Better tah die than to live as a monster.” He paused, unsure of what to next. Then, he kneeled down to the side of the small pony-sized bed and removed his hat. “Hey, ah may have not know ya for very long, but for what it’s worth, ahm sorry this had to happen to you.”
Fluttershy smiled. “Thank you, but don’t worry about me. I’ll... I’ll be fine.” She seemed to be nudging her head back to indicate Ellis to come closer. After a few tries, he finally got the message, leaning towards the injured pegasus to hear words only meant for him. She whispered softly in his ear.
“I don’t know why, but he seems to hate you the most.”
Ellis shrugged. “Ah may have called him ugly back at the bridge.”
She appeared to want to say more, but winced in pain as the strain she had put forth so far finally collapsed onto her. Putting herself back in resting position, her eyes shut once more.
“I think that’s long enough.” Interjected Redheart. “Come on, the patient needs her rest.”
Saying their last, heavy-hearted goodbyes, Fluttershy’s friends left the room. The nurse dismissed herself to return to her duties, of which she had no shortage of. There were many in the hospital who still needed treatment and care, and they had only a small workforce to do it. It was generous enough that she allowed them to stay for so long. So, the group traversed the hospital halls, intent on leaving the building, when Ellis caught sight of pallid fur and a hammer-and-nail cutie mark.
“Ball-Peen?” The human poked his head inside the room. The construction worker pegasus was sitting in a chair by the bed, conversing with the one laying on said bed. At the mention of his name, he turned around to find Ellis, smiled, and gestured for him to come inside.
“Guys? I’m gonna catch up with y’all later.” He called to his friends and entered the room. Peen pulled up a chair for him, and Ellis graciously accepted it.
“What brings you here, Elli?” The pegasus asked.
“Ah was ‘bout tah ask ya the same thing.”
“He’s here for me.” Said the pony on the hospital bed. Ellis didn’t recognize her at first, being wrapped in white cloth to the point of mummification, but he instantly realized it after hearing her voice and catching sight of her braided, auburn mane. Her foreleg was in a cast and her eyes were covered tight. She tilted her head towards the sound of Ellis’s voice.
“Oh, hey. Ah think ya took a heavy sum of bits from me.”
“You think that wasn’t fair?” She asked, surprisingly sincere-sounding.
“The price’a being a stupid jackass, ah guess.”
“Least you realize it. Most men wouldn’t let their ego take a blow like that. I like you for that. You come back to my bar any time, an’ if anypony gives you guff, leave ‘em to me.”
He was enjoying this lovely conversation, but Ellis had a more pressing question on his mind.
“What happened to ya, Rum? How’d you get in so bad a’ shape?”
She grumbled. “That bloody heathen of a monster tore through my tavern like propriety took a mental-health day. There are two sodding holes in the walls, my furniture is in shambles, an’ I’m here because it tossed me into my liquor shelves. I’ve probably got more cuts than coat!” Something extra crept into her voice; something that nopony had heard for a long, long time. It was fear. “I... I probably could have died. What a way to go, right? Covered head-to-hoof in gashes, lying in a puddle of your own booze while the alcohol slowly poisons you to death. I haven’t been the saintliest of souls, so they probably had a special, cozy place in Tartarus waiting for me.” She smiled and turned her head towards Ball-Peen. “But this lovely young lad carried me to the hospital.”
“I just... ya know... did what I could...” He stuttered.
“Don’t be so modest, whitey. Take pride in that you know how to treat a lady right.” She turned back to Ellis. “He’s been by my side ever since. It’s good to have company, ya know, and he’s quite charming. Wish I’d known him more a bit sooner. He’s just gotta learn how to come outta his shell.” Ball-Peen was blushing profusely.
“That’s great how y’all’r safe. What ‘bout Sawdust?”
“He’s fine. Came by here earlier.” Peen replied.
“Tried to pull my whitey away from me. With bowling.” Rum Run inserted. “Didn’t you blokes do that yesterday?”
Ellis shrugged. “Bowling’s pretty damn fun.”
“I can see why you guys would enjoy swinging your balls around.” She snarked.
After a small, hearty snickering fit, the human had nothing else to say.
“Well, ah can see you two have it all worked out, but ah think ah gotta deal with that monster problem. It came here with me, so it’s only natural that the responsibility should fall to me.” He got up and went for the door.
“Wait.” She stopped him. “So you really weren’t making it up? Your friend here had me in stitches when he said you told the same story sober, but they really seem to believe you, and given recent events, I’d be hard-pressed to dole out any feckless doubt. Come closer.”
Ellis obeyed, walking towards the sightless barkeeper.
“If you’re going to deal with it, then do me a small favor. Go to my bar and take the door to my cellar. Take the strongest bottles you can find and use it against that bastard!” She lowered her voice to a menacing whisper. “He wrecked my bar and threw me aside like leftover dandelions. I want you to burn him for me, savvy?”
Ellis’s face twisted into a wicked grin.
“Ma’am, it would be mah genuine pleasure.”
It took it from her.
Pinkie Pie moped into her darkened room. All the shades were drawn. Little sunlight touched the colorful decor of her bedroom. All the colors seemed to be just as melancholy as the only inhabitant of that area. Her slackened mane brushed the floor as her heavy hoofsteps brought her across the floor and to her bed. There was no more crying for her. Her pillow was already soaked with tears. She merely lay in her bed, sunken in the soft folds of her fluffy pillow-top mattress, recumbent in her own despondency. Pinkie didn’t feel like being happy. She didn’t feel like smiling, or laughing, or partying... All of that was sucked out of her when that slab of stone came crashing down on her party supplies. She works hard to earn those bits for her decorations. She supports the party shop owner as a frequent customer. He was a good friend. Now, he’s in a full-body cast, laying on a bed in a room with three other similarly injured ponies. All because of the monster.
It took it from her...
Her party... Her efforts to make welcome the one she had erred. The one that she had shunned when everypony else accepted him... She had so much planned to make it up to him. To bake him all the cupcakes anypony could ever want and play games and tell jokes and sing karaoke... All gone on the careless whim of a mindless beast...
She felt something ignite within her heart.
HOW DARE IT DO THIS TO HER!!!
With reckless fury, of which she had not experienced in a long time, she leapt off of her mattress and thrashed around blindly. Tables were knocked over, stuffed animals went flying. She became a hurricane of ruinous anger. The potent emotion emotion took hold of her body and made it act without her brain. Her pet alligator, Gummy, who was standing on top of a stool, blinked his eyes out of sync and stared at the howling mare phlegmatically. She screamed and bucked and raged until her room was a lurid mess. Pinkie Pie sat in the middle, panting hard, basking in the bitter glow of her destructive release.
It wasn’t enough. She still felt hatred, hatred without anywhere to channel it. She thirsted for vengeance. Somepony needed to be punished.
With renewed purpose, she strode to her dresser. Going to one side of it, Pinkie gave a mighty heave and pushed the flamboyant furniture aside, revealing a small door. She yanked a key--decorated with an icon of a cupcake--out from under her candy-colored mane and thrust it into the keyhole, turning the tumblers and unlatching the bolt. The door swung open.
It was her stash of surprises; a collection of all the things she used for practical jokes or super-special occasions. It was more spacious than the entrance. Leaning against one wall was her trusty Party Cannon next to a stack of confetti-filled ammunition. It was only one item to her gratuitous arsenal. The store was filled to the brim with weapons of mass celebration, and any of them could be re-purposed. Streamer-firing crossbows, balloon bazookas, tasty treat-throwing trebuchets... none of them were good enough. She had to go right to the latest and greatest.
She squeezed herself through the door and tiptoed her way to the very back. There sat a reinforced chest, one that she had never opened before. The party pony had declared it too powerful for her soirees and too dangerous for pranks. She never found the right niche for it. Not until now. Flipping the the latches open, the dust-caked lid was pried off, releasing the intoxicating odor of freshly-manufactured goods. Pinkie Pie drank the scent in deeply. A twinkle shimmered in her cerulean eyes.
“That big meanie will get his just desserts!”