It didn’t take long for Pinkie to receive a response to the letter she sent. Thanks to the magic candles Twilight had given them before taking over as ruler of Equestria, communication between the princess and her life long friends had become very fast and extremely efficient.
The letter she sent expressed that Twilight agreed with Pinkie Pie’s concern, but also said that she was leaning more towards Cheese’s side of the argument, stating: “We can’t just assume he’s a criminal because of the way he acts or what he looks like.” She did, however, find the knowledge he possessed very disconcerting and asked Pinkie through the letter to bring Weird Al and her family to Canterlot as soon as possible while she contacted the rest of their friends. If he was any sort of threat at all, she wanted to have the other Elements of Harmony present should they all come to blows.
Pinkie returned to the dining area with the new knowledge she accrued, only to find everypony acting as if an alien hadn’t just appeared in their house. Cheese was nonchalantly seated at one of the booths with the comic section of today’s newspaper; Li’l Cheese was using his gray building blocks to build bars around their prisoner; and Weird Al was calmly seated in the corner of the room, letting Li’l Cheese build his makeshift prison around him.
For a party pony, Pinkie was flabbergasted. The way they were acting now was a far cry from how they were acting when Al first arrived, and Pinkie found it a bit unsettling.
Cheese quietly laughed at his newspaper. “Ha ha, silly cat. I too, love lasagna,” Then, he heard Pinkie’s hoofsteps as she trotted further into the room. He looked up from his comic strips. “Oh, hey Pinkums. You get that letter back from Princess Twilight yet?”
“Yes I did, Cheesy-Doodle...” Pinkie responded. She absentmindedly wandered towards Li’l Cheese and Weird Al. “Say…Sweetie Pie, what are you doing to Mr. Yankovic?”
Li’l Cheese finally noticed his mommy had returned and turned to greet her. “Oh, hi Mommy!” he shouted with a smile and a wave, “I’m just building a jail around Daddy Al.” Pinkie Pie’s eyes widened upon hearing the nickname Li’l Cheese chose for Al, she wasn’t sure if she liked it.
“...And he let you do it?” Pinkie asked in confusion. She looked up at Al and was surprised to find he was smiling at her, despite the way she had treated him not but minutes before.
“Uh-huh!” Li’l Cheese cheered happily. “He’s really nice and helpful. When you asked me to watch him, I immediately started to think about what a good guard would do to a bad guy. Then I was like duhhhh…he’d throw him in jail! But we don’t have a jail, so Daddy Al suggested I build one and I said okay! So I went upstairs to get my building blocks while Daddy Al waited patiently for me to get back!”
Once again, Pinkie was flabbergasted. She looked to Cheese for some form of confirmation that the story Li’l Cheese was telling was true. In response, he shrugged his shoulders and looked back at his paper. “That’s what happened,” he said. He then chuckled at another comic he had just read. “Hee hee, crazy dog. You’re too big to be playing in that kiddy pool.”
Pinkie turned back towards Weird Al, a guilty feeling suddenly becoming present within her tummy. Weird Al had been nothing but nice since he came here and had shown absolutely no signs of wanting to harm her family in the slightest. Pinkie began to wonder if she had been too quick to judge the human in front of her, but the next thing Al said made her certain of it.
“I used to play games like this all the time with my daughter back when she was a kid.” He laughed fondly at the memory. “I’m sorry I scared you and made you think I was a bad guy. From what I remember of your show, you tended to run into the worst of the worst on a regular basis. It doesn’t surprise me that you may be suspicious of me now that you have a family to protect.”
Al gave her a friendly smile and Pinkie felt her heart sink. She wasn’t the best at spotting liars like Applejack, but she was the best at judging smiles and laughter. She always knew when other ponies were faking it, but she could tell the expression Al was giving her was 120% genuine.
Pinkie scrapped her hoof against the ground before responding, it was her turn to apologize. “No, I’m sorry! Just because you're new here and you look different doesn’t give me the right to treat you like a monster. I learned that lesson a long time ago when I met Zecora. Also, I shouldn’t have immediately assumed you were here to hurt us. I learned that lesson too back on the Pony Express when I assumed the Cakes’ rivals ate the MMMM.”
Weird Al scratched his head in thought, “The Marzipan Mascarpone Meringue Madness, right?”
Pinkie nodded, feeling a little more excited that he sounded already ready to let bygones be bygones. “How did you know?”
“I remember the episode.” He scratched his head in embarrassment.
Pinkie giggle-snorted. “You sound just like Rainbow Dash. She can tell you every little detail of every Daring Do book she’s ever read, but will always play it off like she barely remembers any of it.” Pinkie suddenly gasped, “I still have to introduce you to Dashie!” She gasped a second time, “And Twilight!” She then gasped a third time, “And Fluttershy and Rarity and Applejack and Pinkie Pie! No wait, I’m right here.”
Pinkie Pie shook her head to simmer down her excitement, “Point is, they’re all going to love you, Ally!”
Weird Al laughed at Pinkie’s sudden burst of enthusiasm. “Well, someone’s in a better mood. Does this mean I’m not an evil human spy anymore?”
“Well, of course it does, silly,” Pinkie said with a wave of her hoof, “I was being a dummy before. You haven’t acted like a meanie since you got here and you played with my sweet Li’l Cheesy even though I called you a bad guy.” She grabbed Li’l Cheese and pulled him into a hug. “I was a little scared at first because you sounded just like my Cheesy-Doodle, but now I know your just as nice and friendly.”
“That’s a relief.” Al admitted. “I always enjoyed working on your show, so I don’t think I could handle one of my favorite ponies hating me.”
“I could never hate anypony!” Pinkie stated in sudden shock, “Especially not you. You sound like my husband, which automatically makes me have to love something about you.” She dropped Li’l Cheese and rushed over to hug Cheese Sandwich just to prove her point. “I don’t hate even the worstest of the worst, because there’s always a chance they can be turned into bestest of the best!”
Li’l Cheese brushed himself off as he picked himself up off the floor. “Mommy always says a villain is just a friend who doesn’t like you yet. And I know she’s telling the truth because she’s friends with tons of villains, like Mr. Discord, Ms. Starlight, Ms. Berrytwist...”
Before Li’l Cheese could raffle of more names, Pinkie continued on with her own tangent, “What Li’l Cheese is trying to say is, I don’t hate anypony, period. And if I did convince everypony to treat you like a criminal before being proven wrong...well, I would throw the biggest apology party ever to tell you I was sorry.” Pinkie scratched her chin at the thought. “In fact, that's what I’m going to do! As soon as we’re done talking to Twilight, the Sandwich family is going to throw you the biggest, superest, duperest, most blow-your-mindest Welcome to Equestria/Apology party ever! With streamers, fireworks, cakes, pies, pastries, and…umm..?”
“...Polka music?!” Al asked, now becoming extremely excited about taking part in actual Pinkie Pie party.
“It ain’t a real Sandwich party without polka music.” Cheese offhandedly said as he continued to read his paper. He laughed again, “Heh, foolish Princess, that isn’t how you create a stable working class infrastructure with equal rights for all races.”
Everyone else in the bakery suddenly looked at Cheese in confusion. Feeling their gazes, Cheese immediately put down his newspaper, “It was a political cartoon. Always, what is our plan, oh party guru, master baker, wife of mine.”
“Twilight asked us to meet her at Canterlot Castle. The other girls will be meeting us there too. They wanted to see Ally for themselves.”
Weird Al turned to Li’l Cheese. “Sorry about this, kiddo.” He stood up, knocking over the bars Li’l Cheese had built. He walked over towards Pinkie and Cheese, “Should I be worried?”
Pinkie shook her head. “Twilight specifically said she didn’t want to judge you until she got to meet you. She has met humans before, you know.”
“I do know.” Al stated with a smug smile. “But what about the others? Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Rarity, and Applejack?”
“They might be a little bit more opinionated.” Pinkie explained, “If Twilight tells them everything I told her, then they might start worrying about you too. But I’m sure everything will turn out super-duper after Twilight gets a chance to look at you, she might even be able to send you home right on the spot.”
Li’l Cheese was saddened by this. “But what about the party we were going to throw for Daddy Al?”
“...After the party we throw for him, of course,” Pinkie corrected. She tussled the little colt’s mane, causing him to giggle.
Al nodded. “Well then I guess there’s nothing keeping us from leaving, other than this conversation.” He walked towards the door, “Let’s get moving.” He was about to push open the door, but then Pinkie suddenly appeared in front of him and tackled him to the floor again.
“I thought we were past this, Pinkie?” Al said with a dry expression.
“Sorry, Ally, but I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to just walk the streets where everyone can see you. Most ponies don’t know what a human is, let alone seen a human. They won’t be able to handle it and they’ll start panicking!”
Al chuckled. “Pinkie I think you're over-exaggerating.”
Pinkie furrowed her brows in a serious expression. “I live in Ponyville. The panic capital of Equestria. We live a hop, skip, and jump away from a forest of monsters and regularly have to deal with evil mega meanies who want to take over our town as the first step to conquering the rest of the kingdom. I know what will cause a panic when I see it, Ally. I have had plenty of experience.”
Al was suddenly reminded of all the events that happened in the show that would prove Pinkie Pie’s claim. After letting Pinkie climb off him, Al got back to his feet, “You make a very good point.” He turned his back to her as he began to think. “But then how are we supposed to get Canterlot from here?”
It was at that point that everything went dark and cold, mushy feeling enveloped Al’s entire body. It felt almost as if he was being submerged in a bathtub of refrigerated mashed potatoes, and despite him writing a song about an addiction to such things, he was certain he was not comfortable with the feeling.
Fifteen minutes later, Pinkie Pie, Cheese Sandwich, and their adorable child found themselves on a nonstop train to Canterlot with Pinkie’s party cannon in tow.
Li’l Cheese looked up at the party cannon sitting in between their seats in confusion as their train started to move, “Mommy, why did you shove Daddy Al in your party cannon again?”
“It was the quickest and sneakiest way I could think of to get him out of Ponyville without being seen.” Pinkie Pie explained, “Plus I ran out of mustaches, so it was really the only option we had.”
Cheese folded his front legs and nodded his head in agreement, “Yes, a mustache would have been perfect.” He stated sagely, “We could have ever given him a pair of fake glasses to complete the disguise. Nopony would have noticed a thing.” His brows furrowed as a guilty look of anger soon spread across his face. He slammed his forelegs against his seat as he stood on his back hooves, a spotlight shining down on him from nowhere. “But I was too foolish to restock our emergency supply! I didn’t assume we’d have an emergency this soon! And for that, I am sorry.” He fell down onto whatever acquainted for ponies’ knees, “Please forgive me, my family.”
The spotlight vanished as Cheese finished his monologue. Pinkie draped a black blanket over Cheese’s shoulders as the rest of their train car roared in uproarious applause.
“Your stage presence is getting really good, Cheesey,” Pinkie Pie complimented.
“You really think so?” Cheese asked as he threw his blanket to Celestia knows where, and got back into his seat. Meanwhile, somewhere else in the train car, somepony who had caught the blanket and was screaming like a schoolfilly.
“Well, you were kinda sounding a bit hammy near the end, but otherwise your performance was terrifitastic! The Ponyville Community Theater is going to hire you for sure this year!”
“Thanks, Pinkums.” He climbed over and gave her a kiss on the cheek, causing her to giggle in embarrassment. “You always know just what to say.”
“Kumquat.” She said lovingly as she nuzzled into the crook of his neck.
“Kumquat to you too, Pinkums. Kumquat to you too.” He said back as he started doing much of the same.
Both parents soon noticed that Li’l Cheese wasn’t kumquating with them, and turned to see him staring worriedly at the party cannon. “Are you sure he’s okay in there, Mommy?” Li’l Cheese asked, “I’m afraid Daddy Al is gonna get all cramped up in there, like the pickles in the jar before we use them for Daddy’s special jellybean and pickle sandwiches.”
Pinkie climbed down from her seat and rubbed a hoof on her son’s shoulder. “I'm sure he’s just fine, sweetie.” She said with a smile. “Like Mr. Doo’s magic box, my party cannon is bigger on the inside, so Ally should have plenty of room to stretch his legs. Plus, he’s currently surrounded by cake, and I can’t think of a better place to be then that!”
Her words seemed to help Li’l Cheese feel better, but just to make certain, she picked up her foal and blew a raspberry into his tummy, forcing Li’l Cheese to squeal in laughter. He soon clung onto her neck and gave her the biggest hug he could manage, “You’re silly, Mommy.”
“I know.” Pinkie reciprocated his hug in kind.
Cheese was touched by a warm feeling as he watched his wife show such love to their child. He immediately decided he wanted to be a part of it, only to be flung from his seat and onto his family when the train abruptly stopped. He hated when it random situations ruined nice family moments.
Pinkie Pie’s party cannon was launched from its resting place as the Sandwiches hit the floor. The party ponies all gasped as they saw it come crashing down in the center aisle, Li’l Cheese being the first to react. “Daddy Al!”
He rushed over towards the side of his mother’s cannon, but didn’t watch where he was stepping. The next thing he knew, Li’l Cheese was tripping over the string that made the party cannon fire, and accidentally shot Weird Al into the door of the train car in a huge mess of frosting and cake batter. He slid to the ground like a pie thrown against the wall, practically unconscious.
The conductor soon strolled into through the other door to the car, “Sorry folks for the sudden stop. A flock of sheep decided to sit on the tracks. It’s gonna be a few minutes before we can—” His voice soon died in his throat as Al began to pick himself up. He was completely covered in gunk like a slime creature from outer space, and the collision did him no extra favors, as his voice was now slurred and his vision was impaired.
Disorientedly, he stumbled forwards like he was walking through a bog made of taffy. “ArE we… thur yech?” He gurgled through all the cake batter pooling in his mouth.
The conductor screamed, “It’s a hideous swamp monster! Everypony run for your lives!”
The conductor and other passengers of the train all booked it out the door he had just come in from, leaving only Pinkie, Cheese, Li’l Cheese, and Al to occupy the room. Pinkie blinked as she looked around the train car, “Well, that could have gone worse.”
She and her family smiled, completely sure that the worst was over.
“Train security! On the ground, swamp monster!”
That’s when a group of five train security guard stallions burst into the room and tackled Al’s cake covered body to the floor. They then proceeded to beat Al mercilessly with their bare hooves.
Cheese moved his hoof over Li’l Cheese’s eyes so he wouldn’t witness such violence, “Yeeaah, it could have gone better too.”
The train eventually came to stop at the station in Canterlot, allowing Pinkie and Cheese to carry Weird Al’s beaten and bruised body on a stretcher. After explaining to the train security stallions that Al was a guest of Princess Twilight, they were more than willing to put a stop to their assault, and were even nice enough to supply them with a year of free train tickets as a means of apology.
Unfortunately, the damage had already been done, and Al was left too delirious to walk, forcing Pinkie and Cheese to carry his admittedly heavy frame all the way across the city and towards the castle by themselves.
As they trotted down the street on their back hooves, both parents quickly noticed some of the looks they were receiving from the city’s rich inhabitants. As usual, the nobles of Canterlot were looking upon a creature different from them with feelings of disgust and disdain. This was why Pinkie and Cheese didn’t like throwing parties here, most ponies here were always so snooty and mean. They didn’t like trying anything new and always acted nasty towards other races.
They especially seemed to not like Al, which made Pinkie and Cheese not like them even more. Their brows furrowed at the negative attention they were receiving. They would have continued on their journey without saying another word, but then Li’l Cheese tugged on his daddy’s shirt to ask him a question. “Why is everypony staring at us, Daddy?”
Cheese didn’t want to go into this conversation. “What are you talking about, kiddo? Ponies stare at us all the time.”
Li’l Cheese solemnly nodded. “Yeah, but usually they’re smiling.”
Cheese exhaled out his nose. “They… don’t like Weird Al, Li’l Cheese.”
Li’l Cheese blinked in confusion. “But they haven’t even met him yet! How can they not like him if they haven’t got to know him?”
“Some ponies aren’t like us, Li’l Cheese. They decide they don’t like others just because of the way they look, and that isn’t right.”
“Maybe we could throw them a party and introduce Daddy Al to them! I bet they’ll love how silly he is as soon as they get to know him.”
Cheese shook his head. “I’m not so sure, kiddo. Some ponies aren’t willing to change their minds. Sometimes, it’s best to just leave ponies alone and ignore the thoughts they have of you.”
“But I thought everypony I didn't know was just a friend I haven't met yet?”
“They can be…” Cheese explained. His smile slightly returned as he tried to rekindle his child’s waning optimism. “...they just have to want to be your friend back.”
Li’l Cheese smiled back at his daddy, but quickly began to keep quiet as they made their way around a corner onto the main street that lead to the castle. The rest of the walk soon became unbearably silent.
Meanwhile, on a cliff higher up the mountain and overlooking Canterlot Castle, a vertical line of technicolor light soon appeared in the air. It floated several feet off the ground for a couple seconds, before opening horizontally in both directions, like an accordion whose ends had been pulled apart.
A similar sound was produced as two beings were spat out of the portal. The smaller of the two landed first. He was a bipedal translucent creature with white clothing that matched the fashion of proper england gentleman. The other being was by far much larger and looked to be completely comprised of granite. He crushed the first being underneath his body as they both landed face first on the ground below.
A groan was heard, but it didn’t come from the creature doing the crushing. The being in white floated out through the center of the other creature’s back as if his body was an open doorway.
As he rose into the air, he began to dust himself off. “I suppose it’s a good thing I’m already dead, otherwise I’d be buried six feet under right now.” He adjusted the top hat upon his head to make certain he looked as prim and proper as a gentleman was expected to. He then turned to the stony giant and placed his hands on his hips. “Now listen here, sir! What is the meaning of trying to squash me underneath your titanic girth and chiseled features?! It was most uncouth of you!”
The giant picked himself up out of the imprint he had left in the mountain stone and rose to his full height. He easily dwarfed the gentleman as he turned towards him and folded his arms behind his back. He was dressed in a blue tunic with darker blue gloves and boots on his arms and legs. A smooth metal helmet was wrapped around his head, pulling all attention to his deadly glare and crimson eyes.
The gentleman immediately flew back in terror. He had never met this creature in person before, but knew all too well of his infamous reputation. He was a destroyer of worlds, an enslaver of the weak, the most dangerous villain in the universe. The being gulped, he was…
Darkseid looked down at the miserable creature who had been so foolish as to shout at him. He took note of his clothing—19th century British nobel wear, if his knowledge of earth history was correct—as well as the fact that the being underneath it appeared to be completely invisible. He raised one of his brows curiously. He was an odd first sight to see after being sucked into that portal, but he severely doubted he would be at all worth his time.
“Who dares bellow at the mighty Darkseid? Lord of Apokolips!”
His voice was higher-pitched and goofier sounding than the gentleman first imagined. He had heard so many stories about how intimidating and scary his gravelly voice was, but now that he was finally speaking to him, all the dread he was feeling before had flown straight out the window. In fact, he could have sworn he heard a voice like his before somewhere..?
He shook his head clear of those thoughts before Darkseid started to get impatient. The last thing he wanted was to get vaporized because he took too long answering a simple question. The being cleared his throat before speaking, “Ahem...My name is James Craddock, Milord. Known to many others in criminal circles as The Gentleman Ghost. I am a world renowned thief.”
Darkseid squinted his eyes at the Gentleman Ghost. “I’ve never heard of you.”
Gentleman Ghost began to tap his fingers together in embarrassment. “Yes, well...I am one of the Justice League’s lesser known rouges.”
“Hmm…” Darkseid was getting disinterested with their conversation. He looked up and noticed the portal floating above the ghost before watching disappear a second later. The corners of his mouth turned upwards as he turned around to look over the cliff at the castle below them. “You wouldn’t happen to know where we are? Do you, Craddock?”
Gentleman Ghost shook his head and continued in his proper British accent, “I’m afraid I do not, my good sir. I am just as flummoxed as you are.”
Darkseid processed the Gentleman Ghost’s answer before turning his gaze back towards the castle. He noticed that it was being patrolled and guarded by several cutesy equine creatures in golden armor. His brow cocked a second time out of the absurdity of it all.
His eyes soon moved over towards the road leading up to the castle and noticed three more colorful equines running up towards it with a man on a stretcher. He almost immediately recognized him. “Is that Weird Al Yankovic?”
“Really?” Gentleman Ghost flew upwards to look over Darkseid’s shoulder and moved his head to match where Darkseid was looking. “My word, it is him! What a strange coincidence.”
Darkseid began to ponder this as Gentleman Ghost continued speaking, “You know it’s funny, but you actually sound just like him. Come to think of it, so do I. Minus the accent, of course. Talk about your long stream of coincidental meetings, am I right?”
Darkseid grumbled at his words. “This isn’t right. There are too many coincidences happening at the same time for this all to be happenstance. We were brought here for a reason and it has something to do with him.” He pointed at Weird Al just as the trio of ponies carried him into the castle.
Gentleman Ghost rubbed his nonexistent chin in curiosity. “How do you figure, Milord?”
Darkseid turned back to the ghost in order to explain. “Well, it’s a well known fact that ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic is an absolute monster and sadist! He makes his living by parodying the works of successful musicians in order to make them look like fools! It only makes sense that he would call us here to help him continue his reign of terror and conquer this bright and cheery land in his name.”
If Gentleman Ghost had eyeballs, he would be blinking in confusion. “Umm… I don’t believe Mr. Yankovic is a monster or a sadist, Your Lordship. I believe all his musical parodies are all in good jest.”
“What?!” Darkseid shouted in shock. “The man is totally a sadist! Have you ever heard The Night Santa Went Crazy? Or how he talks about surviving a plane crash and biting a man’s ear off in Albuquerque? ‘Weird Al Yankovic loves the idea of pain. That’s why he puts it in so many of his songs.”
Gentleman Ghost didn’t want to argue with the guy with unavoidable laser beam eyes, so he decided to relent. “As you say, Lord Darkseid, but how are we supposed to get in contact with him without alerting the entire castle to our presence?”
Darkseid closed his eyes and began to think. Gentleman Ghost had a point, they were both in complete alien territory and didn’t know what powers these equines possessed. If they tried a full frontal assault on the castle, they could easily end up dead (well in Ghost’s case, more than dead) before they even reached the doorstep.
Darkseid glanced over at Gentleman Ghost’s translucent body and soon began to form an idea. “Ghost, you are actually a specter, correct?”
Gentleman Ghost nodded his head. “That is correct.”
“Which means you should be able to possess the bodies of living creatures, correct?” This was a shot in the dark for Darkseid. He was only partly familiar with the concepts of human horror movies.
“That is also correct, Milord.” If Darkseid wasn’t hellbent on keeping up a stoic and intimidating appearance, he would have did a fist pump in victory.
“Perfect.” Darkseid smiled wickedly. “Then you will possess one of the guards and find out why these equines have brought Weird Al Yankovic here and report back to me. From there, we will then plan our next plan of attack!”
Gentleman Ghost hummed in agreement. “Oh, I like that idea! It might give me sometime to scope out the castle’s treasury. With a castle that luxurious, you know there has to be some tasty baubles inside. I’m off!” He flew from the cliff and down into the body of an orange pegasus guard before hastily rushing into the castle.
Darkseid; meanwhile, chuckled silently to himself and backed away from the edge of the cliff to avoid detection. His grin grew wider and increasingly more evil. “I don’t know what you’re planning, Mr. Yankovic, but know that now, more than anything, that the Lord of Apokolips wants in.”