It had been a slow day for Gustav Gutsworth, proprietor of ‘Gutsworth Pies & Pie Accessories’. His humble shop in the backstreets of Ankh-Morpork had its fair share of customers, and he had never been left wanting. He even spent money on such luxuries as importing real meat for some of his fare, instead of the State-Recognized ‘Meat Product’ that made up much of an Ankh-Morporkian’s diet.*
And well, while it had been a slow day, he couldn’t help but feel it could have done with being a tad slower.
He stared in mild bemusement at his corpse, slumped over the counter, an assassin’s dagger sticking out of his back. He noted, with the eye of a trained merchant, that it was one of those single-use disposable models that the Assassin’s Guild favoured for... less-important clients.
Still, he was forced to admit he felt a sense of pride that he had been taken out by an assassin of the Guild, instead of a common thug. He supposed it might’ve been related to that recent incident in which he had, accidentally, mistaken the rat poison for the jar of Klatchian Curry Spices he kept on the same shelf when preparing a ‘Gutsworth Kurried Kidney Pie’. To be fair, the two were interchangeable when it came to killing rats.
“Well... Now what?” he said to himself.
Suddenly, all around him were colours. Vibrant colours, impossible colours, fantastic colours that one certainly didn’t see (legally) in Ankh-Morpork. He spun on a ghostly heel to see two figures standing before him. One he had been expecting. The other he definitely hadn’t.
I am terribly sorry about this. She insisted.
The tall, slim, hooded fellow, Gustav supposed, was Death. He seemed to fit all the necessary criteria: scythe, dark robes, malnutrition, voice that entered one’s brain without stopping by the ears first.
… Well... It. It was pink.
And suddenly it seemed to be standing right in front of him.
“Hi! I’m Pinkie Pie!”
And apparently it could talk. If Gustav had still been fully functioning, he probably would’ve fainted by now. The colours flying around him solidified into streamers and confetti, that somehow managed to land on his ghostly form.
“I- … Juh-... Wha-” he stammered.
“Aww, he’s speechless! Oh, wait! I have some cake and punch here, and your complimentary balloon!” The pink thing, which Gustav realized was vaguely horse-like in shape, ran behind Death and reappeared a split-second later carrying on its head a tray, containing a slice of cake and a cup of fruit punch. Held in its mouth was a balloon suspended from a string. Death looked on with what could be called mild embarrassment.
Gustav found the tray shoved into one hand and the balloon in the other. The pink thing grinned happily.
“Y'see,” it began, “I heard about what was going to happen to you today and I thought that, well, you might be sad about it, and that made me sad, and when I want to cheer up I throw a party! So this party is just for you, to help cheer you up, too!”
Gustav heard a rasping whistle and felt something touch his ear. He looked sharply to his right to see the pink thing standing there, now sporting a conical hat and blowing a party whistle.
He looked up at his balloon. It read: Happy Deathday!
He looked at Death in utter confusion. Death shrugged.
He finally managed to say a flat “... What.”
The pink thing was now suddenly next to Death again, head leant against the skeletal figure in a somewhat affectionate matter.
“I'm doing part-time work!” It said.
It is a long story.
* No one asked what "meat product" was made from. After witnessing the process of its manufacture, its inventor buried himself in the River Ankh.**
** Strictly speaking, you can't drown in a colloid.
Albert stood in front of Death's desk. The sound of a billion hourglasses surrounded him, and was somehow drowned out by his sheer frustration.
“Master, gods know I've put up with a lot over the years, but I cannot abide this... This... Invasion of my personal space!”
But it is not your personal space. It is the kitchen.
“Exactly! The kitchen! My kitchen! Do you know what she did?”
The question is rhetorical, you will tell me anyway.
“She cleaned the pan! Cleaned it! Took me near a year to get the grease to just the right consistency and it's gone! What's more, she's been making... cakes! Muffins! Baked goods!”
Do the baked goods offend you?
“And outside! Have you seen outside?”
“It's... Colourful! I don't know how she did it, but it's alive! Vibrant! Real!”
… She said it needed lightening up a bit.
“That's right! All that black was just creepy! Now it looks much better! I left the fields though, like you asked.” Pinkie Pie was standing right there, next to Albert, tray balanced on her mane. Three bite-size pies rested on it.
”Oh! Here, try this! New recipe! I got it from that chef we met yesterday, the one who drank too much coffee!”
“And she keeps doing that!” Albert finished, exasperatedly waving a hand at Pinkie Pie as she scoffed her own sample. He sighed, and pinched the bridge of his nose as he turned to leave, slamming the door behind him like a coffin lid.
“Aww, he didn't try the curried vegetable pot pie!” Pinkie said, looking at the door sadly.
It is rather good. Death intoned, his sample having mysteriously vanished. Klatchian?
“Yes indeedy!” she beamed in reply. The smile fell into a sad frown shortly after. “I'm not... Upsetting him, am I?”
“Yeah. He seemed angry when I used the kitchen. I suppose I should've asked first, but I didn't think it'd be a problem...”
I would not worry. He disliked my daughter, and my son-in-law, and my granddaughter when he first met them. In fact, I believe he dislikes everyone. It comes of his profession, I suppose. They can be a disagreeable sort.
Pinkie's ears pricked up and her eyes sparkled. “Maybe I should throw him a party!”
… I do not think that would be wise.
She deflated just as quickly. “Well... If you say so. Is there anyone else today?”
There is always 'someone else', but your work today is sufficient.
“Right. I'll see you next week, then.”
There was the slightest suggestion of movement that indicated Death had nodded. Pinkie turned and stepped out of Death's study, re-emerging at the empty stable adjoining his house. She looked up at the walls (black), at the roof (black), and at the hay (black).
Death could not grasp the concept of colour, and despite Albert's complaints, Pinkie had actually done nothing to change that. It was merely that she was so alive that it brought even Death's imagined images to a kind of life. Every hoofstep was a splash of colour that spread out and turned a lawn a lush green, or made the fountain of white marble flow with cold and clear blue water.
Even now the walls of the stable had imperceptibly become whitewashed. The hay was a golden-yellow, and the roof timbers a rich oak, varnished and topped with red slates.
Yet, even as colours swirled and changed all around her, her own seemed to become dull. She slumped onto the hay and heaved a great sigh.
“Oh. Hi, you,” she said to the little robed figure that had appeared from the hay.
“No, no, I'm fine.”
“... Well, alright, no, I'm not.” she sighed again. She rolled onto her back and stared up at the roof, while the Death of Rats jumped onto her belly, looking at her intently with two tiny, blue pinpricks of light. “I dunno, it's just... This place is so different from Equestria...”
“What made me change my mind? … Y'know, it's funny, he never actually asked me that.”
“Yeah. I suppose. Well... After he visited me, I got to thinking, and then I thought about my cutie mark, and the promise I made to myself when I got it, and – Wait, did I tell you the story of how I got my cutie mark?”
“I really should sometime. It's a gem! But anyways, I was so happy when I discovered parties that I wanted to spread that happiness and make everyone as happy as I was!” She gestured with a hoof as a section of the wall suddenly bore the image of a rainbow.
“So I thought and thought and thought and thought and thought about it, and then realised, 'why can't I be in two places at once?' He never said I had to stay here to help.”
“So I came over and asked him about it, and he offered me a part-time job!” She grinned to herself as she thought about it. She had almost forgotten the Death of Rats was even there, and was talking more to herself than to anyone else.
“It was pretty gloomy at first... People seemed so... Sad about it all. Back home we just... Well, we don't really think about it. Mom and Dad said that after it's all over we go to join everyone else in a new life, where everyone's always happy...”
She rolled over again, toppling the Death of Rats into the hay. There was a muffled and disgruntled Squeak as he dug back out.
“I asked him about it, but he said he didn't know. He's never been there. But it's gotta be something similar, right? It's nothing to worry about, at least. So I try to make things happier. I talk to them, I throw them a party, it's all in good fun! And I do love to have fun...”
“... You're right, I'm rambling. I should just get back home. See you next week!” Her perky demeanour seemed to re-assert itself as she got up and turned to face the wall. She readied herself for a leap, gave her rump a wiggle, and jumped through reality. All that was left behind was the imprint of two back hooves, burning with a bright pink flame.
The Death of Rats watched her leave, and shook his head.
“... And that's the lot. My, Pinkie, I didn't really put you down as such an avid reader!” Twilight Sparkle smiled as she levitated a rubber stamp over every piece of paper, slipping them back into their respective book jackets. A large stack of textbooks and reference books sat atop Twilight's study table, currently doubling as the library's front desk. An exhausted Spike was panting heavily for breath on the floor.
“But... I must say...” the unicorn continued, looking at the spines of the books. “... That's an odd selection y'got there. 'Burial Practices & Rites in Ancient Equestria', 'Ghosts, Goblins & Ghoulish Figures'... And what was this one again? 'Necroponicon'? Hay, I didn't even know I had half of these. Whatever do you need them for?”
“Research!” Pinkie beamed. When no further information appeared forthcoming, Twilight pushed for more.
“Oh, it's... Something for... uh, Nightmare Night!” She grinned disarmingly. Twilight seemed to accept this, to Pinkie's relief. She stacked the books on her back with the skill of a waitress balancing plates and turned to go.
She stopped just short of the door.
“It's the middle of spring!”
A pink streak shot down Ponyville's main street, leaving a baffled purple unicorn in its wake.
It had been a busy day in Ankh-Morpork's newest temple. Well, perhaps 'temple' is a little generous; it was really a front room hired from a kindly old woman who lived near the Temple of Small Gods, which had refused the application for a shrine.
The High Priestess, and currently only devotee, was the (Late) Aminata Odham, who, due to a slight quirk of Fate and a misplaced slice of cake, had found herself back in her body shortly after relieving herself of it, but with a firm resolve to make the most of unlife and preach what she had seen on The Other Side.
She had just put the finishing touches to the altar (a table covered in cheap gingham cloth, also on hire from a kindly old woman) and a statuette of the object of worship. It could, charitably, be described as equine in shape. It could also be described as very pink.
High Priestess Aminata Odham hammered the last nail into the lintel of the door, pinning up the new sign. She stepped down from the stool and looked, proudly, upon her handiwork.
“ THE FURsT TEMpEL OF THE pINK pONY OF DEAf ” *
* "TREsspAssERs WILL bE HuGGED"