Pinkie Pie's Wonderful Flying Machine

by OmegaPony11

The Machine

Pinkie Pie’s Wonderful Flying Machine
By OmegaPony11

The explosion violently tossed Rarity into the walls of the command deck, every bone in her body screaming in pain. Grimacing, Rarity stood up, ignoring that her dress was in scorched tatters and her face was covered in grime. There were more important things to worry about. Getting Pinkie Pie off of the Harmony for starters. Simply surviving was also on that particular list.

She looked towards the helm of the Harmony where Pinkie struggled to maintain control of the massive airship. Her pride and joy now under threat, she was doing everything in her power to keep the ship afloat in the skies. It was a fool’s errand, Rarity knew, so long as the battle continued below.

“Pinkie Pie!” Rarity yelled, only to scream as a pipe fell from above. Steam jettisoned from the damaged pipeworks, the heat now causing Rarity to sweat. She staggered over to Pinkie, who held on to the steering wheel as if it were her lifeline.

“We have to get out of here!” Rarity pulled against Pinkie in an effort to get her to let go, only for Pinkie to choose now, of all times, to use her earth pony strength. Rarity’s magic was not strong enough to dislodge Pinkie from the helm either. If only Twilight were here. She would have removed Pinkie through either words or spells.

Alas, Twilight was with them. Rarity had to remove herself from that line of thinking as the Harmony continued to to burn around them. There was nothing to be done for Twilight now, but she would be damned if she was just going to let them highjack her friend like that!

“I’ve got this, Rarity!” Pinkie grunted as she turned the wheel of the ship. Her main and tail were utterly flat, all sense of joy gone ever since the battle . Rarity had only seen Pinkie like this once, and it broke her heart completely to see her friend like this. Still, the Harmony did turn, the cracked viewglass of the command deck bringing the battle into clarity.

Somewhat. The city below them smoldered in the fires of battle, yet ironically was also covered in large shards of black ice. Rarity sucked in a gasp of air as she surveyed the damage. She could see the dressmaker's shop, where she had received new clothes more fitting to the locale, set alight. She saw the restaurant she had lunch with Captain Hurricane in completely crushed by an ebon iceberg. Far in the distance, the factory where she had found Sweetie Belle and her friends was now nothing more than a raging inferno. The sky was now overcast, though by no cloud cover; only the shroud of smoke and ash blocked the sun and blanketed the city in warforged darkness.

Rarity also saw a bolt of black magic zooming towards them. Pinkie cursed, piloting the airship sideways in an attempt to dodge the arcane assault. The ship quaked as the bolt struck the starboard side; another console exploded in a hail of sparks.

Pinkie blanched as she looked at the ruined console. Her mouth moved, yet no sound escaped her. She stayed like this for a moment before finally looking over to Rarity. Fresh tears streamed down her marred face as she pointed to the console.

“That... that was the starboard stabilizer,” she explained. “Without it, we can’t stay aloft. I’m sorry, Rarity. Please forgive me. We’re... we’re going down.”

Rarity took in a deep breath as she felt the Harmony lurch underneath her. Pinkie never once let go of the wheel as she tried to steer the ship away from the city.

“You can still make it out of here,” Pinkie said, looking Rarity straight in the eye. “There should be another parachute. Rainbow Dash should be able to catch you. I need to make sure the Harmony doesn’t hurt anypony when it hits.”

Feeling her own tears trickle down her face as the ship continued to fall apart around her, Rarity looked into the eyes of her dear friend, laying her hoof down  on top of Pinkie’s. This was supposed to have been a simple trip of discovery, wonder, and good hearted adventure. Nopony had said anything about battles or treason. How had everything gone wrong?

Chapter 1: The Machine

Rarity took a deep breath as she looked around Ponyville’s town square. It seemed all her friends save Fluttershy were busy with something. What that something was eluded the pair, and what bothered her the most was just how hush-hush their little project was. To the east of Sweet Apple Acres was a large tent, almost as if the circus had come to town. The tent was massive, bright pink, and emitting various loud noises at all hours of the day, whether it was the sound of a machine or heavy construction.

Each pony went into the large tent with some form of construction material whenever Rarity caught a glimpse. Applejack and Big Macintosh hauled large beams of metal and wood. Rainbow Dash brought in large sheets of canvas and clouds from Cloudsdale. Twilight brought her books, as expected. Spike brought his pillow.

What was unusual was Pinkie Pie, and this was saying something. The bouncing pony was barely seen by anypony, dashing off to the massive tent in the morning and slowly returning to Sugarcube Corner late at night, tired yet still with a bright smile on her face. As far as Rarity was aware, the energetic dear was planning some sort of massive party for somepony. The question was, what reason had Pinkie found to celebrate yet again? Rarity had celebrated her birthday a month ago, so it was not for her, and her calendar marked no other birthdays coming up. Anytime she talked to Twilight, there were no plans for the Princesses to visit Ponyville either. Unless it was another newcomer to town, she had nary a clue.

The villagers of Ponyville expressed their own interest in the tent and the project, but otherwise their speculation matched Rarity’s. The Cutie Mark Crusaders attempted to help by entering the tent through various means of stealth, only to be promptly ejected by Pinkie Pie with a smile and a wink. Whatever was happening, the pink earth pony fiercely guarded her work. The only guess anypony had was that the project was very large and very loud. The popular theory held, Pinkie was building a party cannon that would cover all of Equestria in one massive party.

Instead of worrying, Rarity convinced herself that Pinkie would reveal what she was working on in due time. Instead of fussing, she and Fluttershy spent a lot more time together. Whether it was trips to the spa, having the yellow pegasus model new attire, or learning more about animal care to better make Opalescence comfortable. When Fluttershy was unavailable, Rarity would spend time with Sweetie Belle in an attempt to pass on all she knew to her little sister.

Thank Celestia for spa days.

Yet there was always that nagging feeling of being left out that Rarity could not seem to shake. Usually the six did almost everything together, whether it was supporting one another in their day-to-day endeavors, saving Ponyville from disaster, or putting away some sort of ancient evil threat that would consume all of Equestria in eternal darkness or chaos or some other such nonsense. The fact that four of her friends were keeping a project this large literally under wraps made her uneasy. What could be so important that they did not want to tell her what they were doing? Were they afraid that Rarity would not be able to help?

Rarity silenced her suspicions as she noticed Fluttershy walking towards her. The meek pegasus smiled as the two met up and continued their walk towards the spa. It then occurred to Rarity that she had never asked Fluttershy if she knew anything about the goings-on in the tent, at least not in any direct manner. Now was as good a time as any.

“Fluttershy dear, I was just wondering if you’ve heard from Twilight or Applejack or any of the others since they began working in that big tent.” It was a simple beginning to her questioning. Nothing about the tent directly, just asking about their friends.

“Um... I haven’t heard much from them either,” Fluttershy said, “Whatever it is, I’m sure we’ll know soon. We just have to be patient. That way we can enjoy their project all that much more. Er... if you don’t mind waiting, that is.”

“You aren't upset not to be involved?” Rarity asked as she opened the door to the spa, “You don’t feel left out?”

“I’m sure they would have come if they needed me. I mean, yes, it can be a bit lonely without the girls, but I still have Angel to keep me company. And I know whatever they are working on will be worth it. Do you feel left out?”

Rarity forced a laugh, Fluttershy raising an eyebrow in reply. “Of course not, dear, that’s silly,” answered Rarity, “I’ve used my time constructively. I was able to catch up with all my work orders for the season, have plenty of time to spend with Sweetie Belle, and have more wonderful spa trips with my best friend. What isn’t there to like about having time off from all the usual shenanigans?”

The spa sisters, Aloe and Lotus, quickly arranged Rarity and Fluttershy’s usual treatment: pony pedis, facials, massages, the works. For a while, Rarity forgot all about the tent and the project, losing herself to the expert hooves of the attendants.

Feeling refreshed and revitalized, Rarity and Fluttershy left the spa to head towards the town square, hoping to catch a bite to eat. On their way, Applejack and Rainbow Dash approached from the direction of Sweet Apple Acres with large grins on their faces. They were both positively filthy and Rarity found herself standing behind Fluttershy, hoping beyond hope that all the work just done on her coat and mane would not be ruined by those two.

“Well howdy, Rarity, Fluttershy,” said Applejack, “Just the mares we wanted to see. We’re almost done with our big project, and Pinkie wanted us to get you to do the finishing touches.”

“Now you want our help?” Rarity responded, feeling a little dejected. “I suppose we can help, though I have to ask: I am not going to get as... grimy... as you two, am I?”

“Nah, we got all the real hard work done first,” Rainbow said, “Pinkie said the next part is all you though, and we really wanted to see the looks on your faces when you see what we’ve been cooking up. C’mon, Twilight is waiting too!”

With this the duo departed at full speed, leaving Rarity and Fluttershy to tail behind them. Soon the familiar sight of Sweet Apple Acres came into view with the tall barn centered on the horizon. The tent flaps of pink canvas billowed in the wind.

Applejack and Rainbow disappeared into the tent as they always had, leaving Rarity and Fluttershy standing outside of the entrance. The fashionista felt a growing sense of suspense as she approached. This was it. The big secret project she was not allowed to know was now at her hooves. If it was a party, that was fine. Pinkie likely needed her expertise in choosing colours and decorations.

If it was something else...

Rarity shook the thoughts from her head. There was no telling what it was going to be until she stepped through the flap. Taking a deep breath, she looked to Fluttershy and nodded before stepping through the curtain into the temporary structure.

Both ponies looked up and gasped.

Underneath the tent was something Rarity would never have imagined seeing. It was an airship, similar to the yachts owned by nobility and well-off ponies, except this one simply dwarfed all others. Never in a hundred years had she ever expected to see such a large vessel, let alone expected her friends to be able to pull off the feat of constructing it.

The airship was equipped with two large propellers on its sides, as well as smaller propeller engines around the hull. Two large tail-fins made up the aft of the airship, resembling the fins of a fish. The main body of the ship was a large blimp, a sleek version of Twilight’s hot air balloon. The passenger gondola alone was large enough to put many fancy yachts to shame, if only for size.

“It’s so... big,” Fluttershy said as she looked up at the project. Rainbow beamed as she flew around one of the propellers.

“It’s so awesome! I know what you’re all thinking: ‘how did Rainbow Dash help build something so great?’ Well let me tell you, when Pinkie Pie came to me and Applejack for help, she obviously came to the best flyer in Equestria to get everything about this right and...”

“It’s so... plain.” As wondrous as the airship was, it was utterly unrefined to look at. Beige canvas, grey steel, and not a single mark of style anywhere. If the rich ponies’ yachts had anything, it was proper aesthetic appeal. Rarity looked at the ship and saw an empty canvas, one where the possibilities were endless.

A pink blur ran through the construction grounds and halted in front of Rarity, a big smile on her face. Pinkie Pie, as disheveled as she was, appeared bright and energetic as always. Now if only she would do something about the various oil and grease stains in her coat.

“You’re right Rarity! My super-duper-amazing-airship is very plain!” Pinkie said as she waved a hoof towards the vessel, “Which is really boring if you want to sail the world in it. So I’d like you to help decorate it! Make it all spiffy for when we have a super awesome party on board!”

It did sound like an interesting challenge, to decorate the largest airship ever constructed by pony hooves. Perhaps Rarity could expand her business to ship decor. After that, home renovation was only a hop, skip, and jump away, and who better to begin such a venture than Rarity the unicorn?

“My dear, I would be honoured to bring my expertise to this project to give this ship some much needed flair,” Rarity said, “But I just wish you had told me when you started this project. I could have had things ready by now.”

“I know, and it made me super sad not to tell you or Fluttershy, but I had a good reason! Here! I’ll explain everything as we take a tour of the ship. Twilight’s waiting for us in the engine room now. Let’s go!”

Pinkie approached the cabin of the docked ship, where a rope was tied to a lever on the side of the gondola. With a tug from her mouth, the lever bobbed downwards with several grinding gears clicking in unison. A staircase began to lower as the inner gearworks continued until it landed on the ground with a thud. With a smile and a bounce to her step, Pinkie ascended the staircase with Rarity and Fluttershy in tow.

Rarity raised an eyebrow as they entered the airship. Just as it was plain on the outside, it was dull on the inside, which surprised her greatly. Pinkie Pie had by no means the same aesthetic taste or skills that Rarity possessed, but she did expect the pony of parties to at least have covered the ship as one giant party boat. The fact that everything was so spartan left her with more questions than answers.

“I hope you didn’t feel left out when we started work on this,” Pinkie said as she led her friends through the halls of the gondola, “I was going to ask you the moment I knew this baby could fly high. I didn’t want to waste your time working on spiffying the ship up if we couldn’t go anywhere after all. So much work the ultimate expression of party ship!”

“You mean you already took this for a test flight?” Rarity asked. Pinkie giggled before shaking her head.

“Not really. We just made sure we can have lift off without going too far.”  Rarity recalled the loud racket that had come from the tent the other night. She had thought the library blew up after a mishap with one of Twilight’s experimental spells. It was good that Pinkie was taking precautions to make sure her project worked. “But I did want all my friends to have a part in building the airship. Twilight worked on getting the crystals for the engine, Applejack helped with construction of the hull, Rainbow helped with getting the canvas so we can achieve proper flight, and you can help with making the ship look great!”

“Uhm...” muttered Fluttershy as she peeked over Rarity’s head, “What do I do? I don’t really know how to build things or run engines.”

“You get to be moral support!” Pinkie replied, causing Fluttershy to sprout a small smile.

“I know you started this project,” Rarity stated, “but what part did you play?”

“Besides getting an amazing maiden voyage party in the works, I designed the ship from fore to aft, starboard to port, up and down, lefty to righty, top to bottomy!.” If anything would cause Rarity’s jaw to drop, it was this news. Never had Rarity ever imagined that Pinkie would design a technological marvel such as this. She knew of several of Pinkie’s machines that were used to catch up with Rainbow Dash and Gilda when that rude griffon was in town. As far as Rarity knew, Pinkie always had such gizmos and gadgets laying about either for her myriad parties or pranks.

The idea that her little Pinkie Pie was some sort of mechanical genius under that unorthodox mind to design and help construct the largest airship in Equestrian history was just mind boggling. She simply had to know how Pinkie worked on something so massive under such secrecy.

“Pinkie Pie, I never imagined you could do something like this,” Rarity said as they passed through what  appeared to be the dining room, “Forgive me for saying this, but you never seemed the type to sit still long enough to work on something so grand, or have your thoughts so lucid as to design it in the first place.”

“Oh this was nothing. All I needed was some time.” Pinkie chuckled as she turned the handles on a large metal door with a sign reading “Engine Room” on it. “I’ve always wanted to use the smarts Uncle Cogworks showed me so I can visit him again. Then I thought ‘Pinkie, you know what would be better? Visiting Uncle Cogworks with those smarts!’ Then I thought ‘Pinkie, you know what would be super better? Bringing all your friends to visit Uncle Cogworks, and THEN have a super awesome party!’ With a lot of time, Pinkie smarts, and the help of great friends, I know we’re going to have so much fun when I get this ship in the sky!”

Rarity stopped suddenly, with Fluttershy halting behind her. They both shared the same thought; Pinkie wanted to take them on a voyage in her flying machine, but to where? What would Rarity do on such a trip? She had a business to run, and who knew if her parents would go on another vacation and leave Sweetie Belle in her care? She could not bring a filly like Sweetie Belle on an airship. Something could happen, like her little sister falling overboard, or a problem with the engine or a fire!

Fluttershy looked concerned as well as she fidgeted about, casting nervous glances to a nearby window.  Rarity could only presume that she was likely thinking about all the animals in her care, whether it was Angel Bunny or an orphaned pet or an injured animal come to rest in her cottage. If Fluttershy were to leave for some great adventure, who would care for all the little critters?

I should go. I should think of it as a long overdue vacation. This will be fun. “Pinkie, I would be honoured to go on this marvellous vessel’s maiden voyage,” she said at last, “I will be certain to inform all my clients that I will be unavailable for the duration of the trip.”

“I... I don’t know.” Fluttershy hid behind her long pink mane, turning her eyes away from Pinkie. “It sounds really dangerous. What if there are scary monsters... l-like dragons! What if there are big mean dragons across the ocean!”

Pinkie placed a comforting hoof on Fluttershy’s shoulder, her smile warm instead of bubbly. “Everything in Uncle Cogworks’ notes said the way to his home was safe, and the country itself is safe as well! I Pinkie Promise that absolutely nothing will happen to you or to any of my friends. Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.”

Fluttershy’s worry slowly vanished as a smile encroached on her face. “I’ll go too then,” Fluttershy said, “I’ll find somepony who can take care of all of my little animal friends; this sounds like it will a wonderful trip.”

Pinkie absolutely exploded in glee as she tackled both Rarity and Fluttershy in a hug, forgetting they were on a staircase. The trio fell a short distance until they became a mess of tangled limbs, with Pinkie laughing and giving thanks to her friends for agreeing to come.

“That’s everypony!” she said cheerfully, “This is going to be so great! We’ll have so many parties and play so many games and have such a great time!”

“Indeed,” Rarity replied as she dusted herself off and rubbed her battered form. “Though it would be nice if you did not have to show your affection on a flight of stairs. If I may ask, you never once mentioned an Uncle Cogworks before.”

“Oh, he’s not my real uncle,” Pinkie said as she began to turn the handles on another door. “He was a friend who lived near the rock farm where I grew up. I never noticed his place until after my cutie mark, and one day when I was having a party and invited everypony around,  I went to his place to give him his invitation. When I arrived at his workshop, I got to see all of his wonderful inventions! Whirligigs and thingamabobs, gizmos and whatzits, and all sorts of machines that go ding!”

“So I almost begged him to show me how to build like he did, thinking I could use his teachings to make ponies happy. That Party Cannon? One of the first things I ever created! Took a long time to perfect but it was worth it! When he left for his home country, I was sad, but also glad that one day I can show him everything I’ve leaned.”

“Um... Pinkie Pie? I-I don’t understand,” Fluttershy said, “We never see you invent machines or anything like this, though I’m pretty sure you are very good. But most of the time you just bake sweets with the Cakes.”

“Cupcakes and muffins and all that stuff is easy to make, and the materials are much easier to come by,” Pinkie explained as she bounced over to the door to the engine room. “Just look at this ship! Metal! Lumber! Canvas! A pony like me just can’t get all this stuff in one go. I had to call in a lot of favours, and spend a lot of time usually saved for parties and pranks to build this!”

Pinkie hopped around the cramped corridor, utterly delighted about her work as she continued to gush and bound around the hallway. “I love being in Ponyville where all my friends are, and I love having parties and working on delicious tasty treats! If this ship wasn’t bugging my noodle for the past six months, I would have kept making goodies. And it’s so much more fun to be here in Ponyville having fun and bringing smiles than lecturing in some mechanics class in some academy.”

“By the way, remind me to have you sample my new butterscotch-maple-walnut-soufflé.” Pinkie giggled at the thought of her new confectionery. “I think it makes a yummy in my tummy, but for some reason Mister Cake didn’t want to give it a try.”

“But I have never seen you focused on one thing like this before,” Rarity added, “Unless its a newcomer to Ponyville or a party, your attention is simply everywhere!”

"Oh come on, girls! Popping out of hammerspace all the time takes energy! I need to focus my energy on what's important."

"And popping out of walls and flower vases, and the masonry of bridges isn't?"

Pinkie shrugged. "Eh. It's about a three out of ten. This is more like an eight, or even a nine! You have any idea what this airship is gonna be able to do? We're talking big changes here! Do you have any idea how much fun we’re going to have? Parties in the sky! In. The. Sky!"

Pinkie then opened the door to the engine room as she waited for Rarity and Fluttershy. As they entered the engine room, they noticed Twilight Sparkle was looking over various gauges and meters that adorned the walls while going over a checklist levitated by her magic. As she was about to say hello to Twilight, Rarity’s eyes widened as she looked at the ship’s source of power.

Hovering among a brass apparatus was a massive yellow crystal, the likes of which Rarity had never seen before. Twilight’s horn immediately began to glow with magic as tremendous power emanated from the crystal, tendrils of arcane strength flowing from the crystal and lashing against the brass frames that acted as its cell. Energy crackled from the crystal as it slowly spun in its dais, and a low hum of power could be felt throughout the room.

“Hello Rarity, Fluttershy,” Twilight said as she approached, “I’m glad Pinkie finally decided to show you what we’ve been working on for so long. I can see you’re both impressed by the Mageia Chrysalidas energy core.”

“I just call it the ‘Big Magic Crystal Spinny Thingy’,” Pinkie said with a wink, just out of Twilight’s hearing.

“I told Princess Celestia and Princess Luna what we were working on in a letter, and they both agreed that a ship as large as this would need a considerable amount of power, so they sent over the entire apparatus. The way it works is fascinating. The pylons absorb energy from the crystal as it spins, acting both as amplifiers and foci, transferring the energy across the ship through copper ley-lines I crafted and laid myself. Once the machine gets power the crystal...”

As Twilight went on and on about the technological aspects of the magic crystal engine, Rarity thought instead to just how much went into the airship. An apparatus of this magnitude had to have taken quite a bit of funding, as a source of power of this magnitude would require only the finest materials to act for the crystal’s housing. The crystal spun in an almost mesmerizing turn, the power and the majesty far grander than any gem Rarity could ever conceive.

“...and that allows oatmeal to come out of the pot at a mild yet delicious temperature,” Twilight said deadpan, “Rarity, have you been listening to a word I’ve said?”

“Oh, sorry dear, my mind was elsewhere.” In an effort not to offend Twilight, Rarity decided to ask something else. “What about the funding? Surely something like this would cost quite the purse of bits.”

“I’m glad you asked!” Twilight’s horn glowed with magic as she lifted a scroll from a nearby saddlebag, “When Pinkie came to me for help with getting the material and of course the power supply, I sent a letter to Princess Celestia along with a copy of Pinkie’s design. As quick as you can blink, she and Luna authorized a grant ‘In the interest of advancing Equestria’s scientific and cultural knowledge.’ They’ll be coming to see off the maiden voyage once we are ready to depart.

This is so exciting! This ship was designed for long range flights, and with the Mageia Chrysalidas, we can go well beyond the borders of Equestria, even over the ocean. Just imagine what sort of discoveries lie in wait, new magic we can study, new ponies or even other civilizations we can encounter!”

Twilight and Pinkie’s bright smiles were infectious to say the least, as Rarity and Fluttershy soon found themselves smiling back at the enthusiasm of grand adventure. Twilight was right: discovery was on the horizon, and opportunities to go where no pony had gone before only came once in a lifetime.

“When do you need me to begin my share, darlings?” Rarity said, now discovering new enthusiasm for the project, “I want to begin right away so we can set sail! So to speak.”

“We have a month,” Pinkie replied as she pointed a hoof at a wall calendar, “I made a deadline and we are going to stick to it. I know a month isn’t a lot of time, Rarity, but...” Pinkie looked at Rarity with large, pleading eyes, tears welling up. Rarity rolled her eyes at the exaggerated display.

Rarity placed a hoof gently on Pinkie’s lips. “I work well under pressure,” Rarity reassured, “But it is a tall order. I will need some help.” As she said this she turned to Fluttershy, who looked away when Rarity’s attention was focused on her. She remembered well what Fluttershy was capable of with needle and thread, it would be a boon to have Fluttershy act as an assistant of sorts.

“Oh, um, I guess I can help with your work,” Fluttershy said, “Helping to make your dress was fun. This should be the same, but bigger, right?”

“Then it’s decided!” Rarity exclaimed as she clapped her hooves together, “Just you wait, Pinkie Pie! Your wonderful flying machine will be the talk of all Equestria for years to come! Mark my words! Fluttershy? Let’s do this!”


The month went by quickly as Rarity and Fluttershy worked side by side to get Pinkie’s airship up to snuff. Large silk flags were stitched with care, furniture pieces for the passenger gondola chosen with only the most refined taste in mind — and after calling a few favours — Rarity had managed to secure some artists to craft proper figureheads for the airship.

The figureheads were carved from the finest oaks and painted in the likeness of the Princesses. They would be shipped to Ponyville well before the vessel would take off into the wild blue yonder. Rarity sighed as she looked out the window of the Carousel Boutique as the sun set on another day. Another day that had passed before the time for the ship to take off.

“Fluttershy,” Rarity said as she looked up at the nearest clock. They had worked well into the night. “I think that is enough for today. We’ll meet up again tomorrow to work on the curtains for the main dining hall. I want to speak with Pinkie Pie before the night is done.”

“Oh... All right, Rarity.” They cleaned up Rarity’s boutique quickly, Fluttershy humming to herself softly as she finished up another day’s work. She was enjoying the quiet work, and Rarity wondered why she never asked Fluttershy to be her assistant before now. The pegasus did have a knack for sewing, something that was more than apparent after she was able to craft Rarity’s gala dress from sketch to perfection. Of course there were the animals in her care, though now Rarity wondered if there was a way to get her Fluttershy to spend more time in the boutique.

After they said their goodbyes, Rarity left her shop and headed in the direction of Sugarcube Corner as the sunset bathed the streets of Ponyville in a warm orange hue. Whatever concerns she had seemed to melt away with the sight of twilight; this was just the closing of another day. Tomorrow would bring more work needing to be done for the airship to be deemed ready, and Pinkie and the others were counting on her expertise.

As she approached the bakery, Rarity could see Pinkie slowly make her way towards the door. The pink earth pony let out a long yawn, something Rarity would never have imagined would affect the energetic mare. Pinkie perked right up when she saw Rarity, however, and quickly waved her over with a frantic hoof.

“Hi there Rarity!” Pinkie called out, “Do you want to come inside? I’ll get us some muffins and hot cocoa!”

“That sounds lovely,” Rarity replied. “I did want to talk to you about the journey. Shall we?”

Sugarcube Corner smelled like freshly baked sweets as always, and the Cakes were as kind and as courteous as ever when they saw Rarity step inside with Pinkie. After balancing a tray with two muffins and two mugs of hot cocoa on her back, Pinkie led the way to her room. Rarity did not make it a habit of coming to Pinkie’s abode, as it was a chaotic a mess as she imagined it would be. Being prepared for the disaster zone, however, did nothing to make her resistant to cringing at the sight.

One half of the room appeared to be the aftermath of a party, something Rarity guessed was Pinkie’s way of keeping in practice. Perhaps Pinkie simply celebrated every day in her own way, as a way to revel in life itself. The other half appeared in no less a mess, with various surfaces covered in blueprints and other tools to build schematics. Add a bit of the usual pink garish decor that was expected, and Rarity’s expectation of Pinkie’s room was all but met.

Pinkie set the snack down on a table before allowing gravity to do its work as she dropped onto a large bean bag chair. The sound of pony hitting bean bag awakened her pet alligator Gummy, who immediately leaped into air and attached itself to Pinkie’s head. Rarity tried not to look into the glassy eyes of the toothless reptile, but found herself getting lost in the milky eyes.

“What’s up, Rarity?” Pinkie said as she shoved a hoof into the bean bag chair and and scooped up a sizable amount of jelly beans. “You don’t come to my place often. Is there something you want to talk about? I can talk about all sorts of things! How best to get lemon meringue out of your mane, one hundred different ways to use a peanut...”

“One moment, about the voyage?” interjected Rarity before her friend’s mouth really began to motor, “I was wondering, you mentioned you wanted to visit Uncle Cogworks. Where exactly does he live? Outside of Equestria?”

“Very far outside of Equestria.” Pinkie swallowed another hoofful of jelly beans before moving to a desk. After opening a drawer, Pinkie pulled out a large roll of parchment before setting it down on the table. Rarity’s nose crinkled at the smell of old parchment; it shared the same unique fragrance as one of Twilight’s ancient tomes.

The map detailed the extended journey far past the west coast of Equestria and across the Azure Ocean to another continent. There lay the nation known as “Mechanon”, a country that as far as Rarity knew did not exist. There was something uncanny about the map, something strange and unnatural. The name of Mechanon did not feel right, like it should have been something she would have known. The map also appeared woefully incomplete, with several regions with large, stylised question marks dotted in regions that were not drawn in.

“That’s the map Uncle Cogworks left me for when I wanted to visit,” Pinkie said. She let out a long yawn after downing her hot cocoa in a single gulp. “When he left for Mechanon, he just left a letter, this map and his tools. This is going to be my opportunity to see him again.”

Rarity nodded in silence as she regarded the map again. She couldn’t help but have that feeling of wrongness whenever she looked at the map, but if it was important to Pinkie, then she would go along with it. Perhaps Twilight knew more about the directions to Mechanon, or had asked the Princess.

When she turned to ask Pinkie another question, the earth pony was asleep, having laid her head on the table with only the slightest pool of drool flowing from her mouth. Levitating a napkin, Rarity sighed with a smile as she cleaned Pinkie up before lifting her friend with her magic. Laying Pinkie on her bed, Rarity took a moment to appreciate just how peaceful the energetic pony looked when she was asleep. Even in deep slumber, that infectious smile never left her lips.

“Good night, Pinkie Pie,” Rarity said as she turned off all the lights, “See you in the morning.”