I curiously watched as Pinkie Pie hopped along next to me. Twilight did just tell me to not think too much about what Pinkie did in general, but it was still interesting to just bear witness to her weirdness. True, I hadn’t spent a lot of time among ponies, but even I could tell that hopping wasn’t exactly the standard way of locomotion for the quadrupeds.
“Would you like another cupcake?” Pinkie once again pulled out a delicious treat from her mane, which I graciously accepted. It was delicious after all...
“How come there are no hairs in this?” I mumbled to myself after taking a bite, noting that this one was strawberry-flavored. “Considering where it came from…”
“Oh, silly you!” Pinkie snorted next to me. “My cupcake recipe doesn’t include any hair.”
I took another bite while Pinkie continued laughing. It should, of course, be obvious that hair wasn’t a required ingredient for cupcakes. Still, I found myself more concerned with the method she had chosen to store them. Then again, if Twilight was to be believed, I should thank the lucky stars and just enjoy my cupcake for the hairless treat it was.
“Whoa!” Pinkie abruptly stopped me from going any further, her eyes fixated on the sky. “Better wait a second.”
“Wait a second?” I asked quizzically. “Whatever for? The street’s almost empty…”
Pinkie continued to not say much of anything, which just served to confuse me even further. Just when I was about to ask what was going on for a second time, a loud crash captured my attention. A few meters before us, a suitcase had fallen and spilled its contents all over the street, which mostly consisted of clothing and some toiletries.
“Terribly sorry about that!” a voice came from above. “Are you two okay?”
A turquoise pegasus mare was descending towards us, a second identical suitcase balanced on her back. “It just kinda slipped off my back. Really, it was an accident!”
“Oh, don’t worry about it, Starlight Stream! We were well clear of the impact zone,” Pinkie waved her off, apparently knowing the mare. “Would you like some help gathering up your things?”
“No, that’s okay, thank you.” Starlight wanted to deny Pinkie’s help, yet the pink pony had somehow already neatly collected everything from the floor and carefully put it back into the suitcase.
“Don’t worry about it; I just love helping a friend out.” Pinkie gave her a big smile as she hoofed over the suitcase, leaned in close, and whispered into her ear. “I also left a little surprise in there for you.”
Pinkie retreated with a wink until she was next to me. “It’s a cupcake.” This time it was my turn to receive some top-secret information, which caused me to roll my eyes in amusement.
We parted ways with Pinkie’s friend and started back on our way to Fluttershy’s. Pinkie was casually hopping along while I contemplated if I really should ask the question that was burning in my mind or not. Eventually, my curiosity just got the better of me.
“Hey, Pinkie?” I made eye contact with the bouncing mare, catching her attention. “How did you know that something was going to fall right in front of us?”
“That’s because of my Pinkie Sense!” she exclaimed happily, as if I was supposed to know about it somehow. “Whenever I get a twitchy tail, it means something is going to fall!”
“That’s…” I wanted to say stupid, but seeing as this was a magical land with talking ponies, and Twilight had just told me that I shouldn’t think too hard about the things Pinkie did, I decided to just roll with it. “Very convenient.”
“I know, right?” Pinkie chuckled happily. “My Pinkie Sense tells me so many things! For example, it tells me when one of my friends is sad, or when there’s a ball-emergency, or when I’m running out of sugar back at the bakery, or when I need to save Gummy from the local fishpond again, or even when there’s a new pony in town! Actually, it’s kind of weird that it never reacted to you being new in town, but hey, sometimes things just don’t go according to plan, don’t they?”
“They sure don’t, Pinkie,” I shook my head, knowing full well that things had gone all kinds of sideways for me recently. “They sure don’t.”
Pinkie seemed to be content with letting the conversation peter out at this point, just happily hopping alongside me. I took the lull as an opportunity for a short recap on my current situation, taking stock of just how incredibly weird all of this was. Eventually, my mind returned to the topic of magic again, the single most amazing thing this new world had to offer in my opinion.
“Hey, Pinkie?” I looked over at the pink mare. “Twilight and you were talking about the magic of music earlier, right?” Pinkie happily confirmed my question with a nod and a smile. “Could you tell me some more about it? I’m really interested because Twilight said it might be connected to my special talent somehow…”
“Of course!” Pinkie didn’t need much prompting, since, if my earlier observations were correct, she really enjoyed whatever this particular kind of magic did to her. “The magic of music is just amazing! Whenever somepony is, like, really in tune with their emotions, something magical happens to them. Music starts playing, and you get this irresistible urge to sing, and then you just do! And sometimes other ponies get to sing along as well, but only if the singing pony has a really deep connection with them!”
Pinkie started rattling off her explanation like a machine gun, barely giving me enough time to keep up with her. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but considering how Twilight was an expert on all things magical, I should be able to count on her to explain the more technical aspects of it. For now, I was just happy to gather some more information.
“It always makes me feel all warm and bubbly inside.” Pinkie was wildly gesturing to get her point across, her smile seemingly growing bigger by the second. “And when other ponies join in, it’s just the best since I get to share this special moment with my friends!”
Pinkie somehow gave herself a hug and let out an adorably happy squeal, which was slightly concerning to me, since she did so in mid-air while still keeping pace with me.
“Kind of makes it sound like the magic forces you to do a musical number?” I scrunched up my face a bit, trying to comprehend what I was being told. “And others too?”
“No, silly,” Pinkie booped me on my snoot, causing me to go cross-eyed. “It just helps to nudge you in the right direction, and gives you some incredible music to go along with your singing. Nopony is forced to do anything—if you don’t want to sing, you just don’t. But since it’s so much fun, most ponies just do.”
“Provides background music, huh?” I was reminded of earlier today, when I started singing “Lemon Tree” on my way to school and somehow heard the music to go along with it. “I think this happened to me this morning…”
“It did?” Pinkie seemed to get even happier, and I started wondering if there was an upper limit to her happiness or if she just perpetually kept getting happier. “I’m so happy for you!”
“It took me by surprise though,” I said as we left Ponyville behind us, starting on the path to Fluttershy’s cottage. “I never experienced something like that, so I stopped a few lines into the song and tried to figure out where the music came from.”
“Oh…” For the first time today, I observed Pinkie calming down slightly, but she perked right back up. “Well, next time it happens, you know exactly what it is and you can just enjoy the feeling!”
“Where does the music come from anyway?” I asked, probing for some answers.
“I don’t know.” Pinkie chortled. “From the magic around us, I guess. I’m sure Twilight could tell you though.”
I just hummed in acknowledgment, trying to wrap my head around this new information. All in all, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but Earth logic didn’t seem applicable here. After all, for these ponies, being magically compelled to sing out their feelings was the most natural thing, barely worth a mention.
We continued walking on the path, and Pinkie, ever considerate, just left me to my ruminations. While I was thinking about this weird new magic, we arrived at Fluttershy’s humble abode in short order.
“Heyo! Fluttershyyy!” Pinkie started waving as soon as she saw Fluttershy in the distance, apparently spending time with some otters by the creek. “I’ve come to play!”
Fluttershy, for her part, flinched after being surprised by the shouting pony, but relaxed as soon as she saw Pinkie and me approaching. It didn’t take long for a small smile to appear on her face, as she returned the wave.
“Hello Pinkie, hello Beat,” Fluttershy greeted us. “How come you two are coming together?”
“I met Beat when he was with Twilight, and since it was getting late, I decided to escort Beat home safely and check in on you.” Pinkie immediately went for a hug, causing Fluttershy to giggle.
“Yes, since my time at school ended earlier than expected, I decided to drop by at Twilight’s library, to discuss my magic lessons,” I supplemented my own explanation. “I had a lot of fun.”
“Oh that’s simply wonderful.” Fluttershy managed a wide smile, obviously happy for me. “Did you make a lot of friends at school?”
“I wouldn’t say a lot,” I thought back to the Cutie Mark Crusaders, whom I suppose I could consider friends for now. “But I made some, that’s for sure.”
Fluttershy closed the distance between us, and I found myself the target of a hug. Pinkie, not one to be left out immediately joined in on the fun. At first I was a bit uncomfortable with the sudden contact, but one couldn’t be at the center of such joy without getting infected sooner or later. I just let myself melt into the moment and had a good laugh with these ponies, my worries about being in a strange new world momentarily forgotten.
It didn’t take long for this heart-warming moment to be interrupted, the perpetrator being my growling stomach. I may just have eaten some cupcakes, but I was still hungry for some actual dinner.
“Why don’t we go inside and you can tell me all about your day while we eat?” Fluttershy suggested much to my satisfaction. “You’re welcome to join us, Pinkie.”
“I’d love to, thank you, Fluttershy!” Pinkie replied, ever-smiling.
I walked up the stairs and into my room, letting out a content sigh. Dinner was a fun time with Pinkie thrown in the mix. Fluttershy wanted to know everything about my day, and was an incredibly intent listener, genuinely invested in what I did. She was obviously most interested in the fact that my special talent might be related to music in some way.
Every now and again Pinkie grilled me about what kind of food I liked most, no doubt for planning that party I kept being told about by everyone. Eventually, I excused myself from the table, citing my exhaustion as the reason. It had been a long day, and I felt just about ready to just collapse into bed at this point.
I carefully slipped out of my hoodie and set it down on a nearby chair, giving my wings a quick once over to check for rogue feathers. Eventually satisfied that everything was in order, I gave them a few experimental flaps. It was still an extremely foreign feeling to have these extra limbs, but at the very least I was slowly getting used to moving them how I wanted. For now, it was just the bigger motions that I was getting the hang of, but I’d probably be able to try some more precise movement with them.
Nodding to myself, I tucked them back to my side and hopped into bed, getting myself comfortable under the sheets. A big yawn escaped me, reminding me once again about just how tired I was.
But, thinking back on today’s events, there was just one thing I absolutely had to try again before going to sleep, no matter how tired I was. I closed my eyes, calming my breathing, and redirecting my focus inwards.
It didn’t take long for the now-familiar feeling of my magic to wash over me, which caused me to smile. The more time I spent in this meditative state, the more it felt natural to me. While at first, the feeling of mana circulating within me felt weird and alien, it slowly started to feel like a natural part of my being.
I continued to familiarize myself with the way my mana pathways flowed, just like Twilight instructed me to do. The exercise was actually rather calming, and I fell into some sort of trance while doing it. I didn’t know how much time I spent like this, but eventually I started to, very faintly, hear a song in the distance… or maybe within myself?
I couldn’t quite make sense of it, as I could only feel, rather than hear it, but it felt like someone was singing. A harmonious, calming song seeped into my entire being, guiding me, slowly, to sleep.