Celestia Luna and Twilight woke with a start in Alison’s condo. Eduardo had just left hours ago with Rainbow Dash deciding to stay and Pinkie Pie leaving with him. Rarity was sharing a bed with Alison and the other three were in her living room and Rainbow Dash taking the spare room. Twilight took the couch, and the celestial sisters taking the wall mattress. Twilight wiped tears from her eyes and looked over to see the princesses in the same condition.
“Did you have the same dream?” Luna began whispering taking care not to wake the others.
“Yes sister I know I did.”
“How? It can’t be possible. What did you see?” Twilight asked.
“Fire, destruction, death at every corner…” Luna replied.
“Innocent lives, lost. It was complete chaos.” Celestia finished.
“That’s what I was afraid of.”
“Did you see who was in the center of it all?” Celestia asked.
“Eduardo…” Luna said gripping the sheets.
“His eyes, did you see his eyes?” Twilight asked franticly.
“Yes, I can never forget them.” Luna said.
“The Nightmare has returned.” Celestia finished.
“How did it even survive?” Twilight asked. “We stopped it 5 years ago. How can it still be alive?”
“It’s a living entity Twilight. It matches us both in power.” Luna replied.
“The shards of your armor. They were left there after the battle! We need to get the Elements.” Said Twilight
“I’m afraid that won’t be enough this time around.” Celestia said.
“What?! Why not?!” Twilight asked.
“The Elements were never meant to destroy. They only purify. The Nightmare has grown stronger. More powerful than when we were one and the same. Even now I can feel its presence.” Said Luna
“How? I can’t feel anything.” Said Twilight.
“It was once a part of her Twilight. It would be surprising if she didn’t. Though it is interesting that it would reveal itself now of all times.” Said Celestia.
“It must have followed us here. It must have been watching all of us all this time waiting for a chance to strike.” Twilight said.
“So why hasn’t it done anything yet?” Luna said curiously.
“I think that’s the scary part. It reveals itself yet it does nothing to harm us. For the Nightmare that is Strange.”
“What if it attacks the others?”
“I don’t know but for now it is best we do not over react and keep this to ourselves. We must go back to Equestria and when the time is right we inform the others.” Celestia said.
While Luna complied Twilight was still very uneasy. “What about Eduardo? We all dreamed the Nightmare possessing him.”
“Well if that is the case we will have to take him with us.” Luna replied. “How we’ll convince him though I haven’t a clue.”
Celestia gently smiled. “I think we won’t have to worry about that part.” Luna and Twilight looked at Celestia with curiosity. “A little leverage goes a long way and it might actually help strengthen him.”
“What do you mean?” Asked Luna.
“Lets just say I have a hunch.”
The next morning the girls returned to the warehouse which was buzzing with all sorts of activity. In one end Eduardo switching back and forth between an engine in the machine shop and the newly painted AE86 Levin that was parked in an empty space across from the M3. While he walked back and forth he was making the proper connections in preparation for installing the new race engine he had recently received, Spike meanwhile was close by watching him intrigued by the amount of focus and concentration he had been putting in to his work and giving Eduardo a hand when it was needed. Twilight and the princesses made their way in the living area. Twilight was doing research over the internet getting more in-depth about human culture, history and the general topics of religion. Celestia and Luna were discussing in what ways Earth differs from their kingdom however the dream they had was still fresh in their memories.
Meanwhile, Alison, Fluttershy, Rarity and Pinkie pie had gone to one of the larger malls just for the sole purpose of getting some air and having a little fun with shopping and whatnot. Applejack had opted out feeling too relaxed and played Jericho’s acoustic guitar with the dogs nearby all resting under the shade of a tree. All the while the three were watching Rainbow Dash practicing new tricks close to the earth, no doubt she was doing it to show off her skills.
‘Alright, computer is in and wires already ran. All that’s missing is then engine and trannie.’ “Yo Spike lets get that motor over here.”
Spike happily complied and walked over to where the engine was hanging from chains on the lift with the transmission sitting next to it on the shop floor both of them prepped for installation. Eduardo soon joins him and make their way towards the Levin taking their time dropping the motor in.
“Okay Spike, remember what I taught you, righty tighty, lefty, loosie.”
He made quick work in bolting the engine to the motor mounts and after checking Spike’s work Eduardo rewards him with a fist bump and undoes the chain. “We’ll make a mechanic out of you yet my boy.”
After finishing the final connections and testing all the systems Eduardo instructed Spike to start the car up. After a couple of seconds of the engine turned over roaring to life purring to Eduardo’s satisfaction. Spike gave it a couple of test revs to check for any strange sounds. Satisfied with the results he gestures to Spike.
“Alright Spike, cut her off.”
After cutting the engine off Eduardo closes the hood then cleaned up and organized everything making their way to the kitchen for a well deserved snack.
“Gotta say Spike you handled yourself pretty well. Have you been going through my notes too?”
“Nah, I watched a few build videos that you had in your laptop. From what I saw it seemed pretty easy but the wiring was confusing. I don’t know how you do it.”
“Ugh tell me about it, I may do this for a living but that particular part of my job is something I take no pleasure in. If so much as one crossed wire happens it takes hours to find it and fix it. Its easier in my cars because of the lack of electronics save for A/C and the stereo. But for stupid shit like power windows and heated seats, its just unnecessary weight to me.”
“But wouldn’t the stereo be unneeded weight too?”
“Cars and music go hand in hand. I personally am at my best when theres a good song playing in the back ground. Besides anything I do there has to be music involved in one way or another.”
“That’s kind of poetic.”
“I guess but that’s just how I’ve always been. If theres no music, I ain’t happy.”
Eduardo looked over to the second floor seeing Twilight and the princesses minding their own business. Eduardo chuckled and looked over at Spike.
“Hey, wanna help me with something?”
“I already like where this is going.” Spike giving a chuckle of his own.
“Wow, it’s no wonder why this world is so divided.” Twilight began. “Alot of these religions represent more or less the same things but from what I see its just a select few who take things too far.”
Celestia sighed. “Unfortunately being alive as long as we have we have seen similar actions though not nearly as extreme.”
“Indeed, I mean don’t get me wrong I like the attention but it’s too much. Its one thing to be admired respected and loved, not to mention having an opinion that matters so much to the masses. Its another thing all together when everypony is hanging on to every word, gesture, and movement followed by kissing the ground you walk on.” Luna said.
“True, and don’t even get me started on the different political stances. It just seems that none of these leaders can agree on anything. I mean yes, we have our own foreign and domestic issues but we always come to a peaceful conclusion whether it be the Tribal Leaders of the Griffons, or the Dragon Ambassadors. There are times of tension but the end result is always the same. Everypony just wants to do whats best for their subjects.” Celestia said.
“It really makes one wonder how anyone can survive in this world.” Twilight said.
“Well from what we have seen individual humans have a strong will to survive. Its remarkable how they adapt to the situations their put in.” Said Luna. “Especially Eduardo…”
The three fell silent for a moment before Twilight spoke up again.
“It doesn’t feel right hiding this from him. Right now he is just as involved as we are.”
“I agree Twilight, however the timing isn’t right for that. We have to be sure no pony else is around except for the ones who need to know.” Celestia said.
“Goodness forbid any of his loved ones get hurt. I don’t know if his heart can take anymore suffering.” Luna said.
“I agree. He is doing a masterful job at suppressing it but for those who have seen it first hoof knows that its still there. I believe that is what will be the worst part about telling him.” Celestia said.
“Opening old wounds.” Twilight said.
“And he is trying so hard to move on.” Luna frowned. “Curse that wretched Nightmare. If only I hadn’t been so blind all those years ago…”
Celestia put a comforting wing around her younger sister and pulled her in for a hug. “It wasn’t your fault Luna. If anything I’m the one to blame. If I had been more sensitive to your needs and if I had put more effort in helping you none of this would come to pass. You would have never gotten jealous, I would have never banished you, and the Nightmare wouldn’t be here.” The pain of those memories were present on their faces. “Luna I am so sorry. I’ve been such a bad sister to you. There wasn’t a moment in those days where you hadn’t crossed my mind.”
“Please don’t apologize sister, we’re together now and that’s all that matters.” Luna replied hugging her sister tighter.
Twilight watched the scene in front of her unfold feeling tears well up in her eyes and a smile small smile forming on her face.
The three looked over at Eduardo leaning in from the other side of the railing fighting back tears. It was a losing battle. “That was beautiful man.”
The three teary eyed women looked at him unsure of how to react to their teary eyed host hanging off the second floor railing.
“How much of that did you hear?” Celestia calmly asked.
“Right around where you were beating yourself up. Its one thing to hear about that from someone else but its different seeing you two play it out. So much emotion. Feels good man.”
Twilight looked at his hand to notice a megaphone. “What were you going to do with that?”
His eyes opened wide when he quickly remembered what he was going to do. “Oh uh…” He bit his lower lip thinking of a scape coat. He then pointed to a random direction. “OH MY GOD LOOK OUT THE BEES!”
Much to his surprise they actually looked with their faces showing alarm. He then he took the chance to jump to the first floor and run outside. ‘Holy shit I can’t believe that actually worked. Confound these ponies, they bring out my emotions!’
Meanwhile back in the living area, the girls realized they had just been punk’d. They looked back at each other with silly grins on their faces.
“I can’t believe we fell for that.” Celestia giggled.
“I know that’s like the oldest trick in the book. I would know I read it.” Twilight said
“Are you kidding? I’m the one who wrote that book.” With that all three burst into laughter.
Soon recovering Luna was first to speak. “I never took Eduardo for the sensitive type.”
“I know. He ceases to amaze me.” Celestia added.
“The guy is an emotional rollercoaster.” Twilight finished.
Outside, Spike and Eduardo were talking.
“Real smooth Eddy.”
“Shut up, I’m a sucker for a good story as told by the ones who lived it.”
“I can see that. Sucks you didn’t get to use the megaphone though.”
“Oh I wouldn’t be so sure Spike.”
Eduardo gave Spike a devious grin.
“I’ll get the rope.” Said Spike grinning back.
“Hoowee Rainbow you sure worked up a good sweat today.”
Rainbow Dash had just finished her practice session and now was resting under the tree gently laying her head on Jackson and Rocky rested his head on Applejack’s lowered leg as she played the guitar.
“Yeah well to be this awesome you have to be in the best shape ever.”
Applejack chuckled finding her friend’s confidence amusing. “Yeah well just don’t hurt yerself again.”
“Jeez what are you my mother?”
“Somepony has to look after ya RD. Might as well be me figuring as how I’m the only one that can keep up.”
“I’ll admit, that’s true. Pegasi would do anything to have your body.” Rainbow Dash chuckled.
Applejack raised an eyebrow. “Beg your pardon?”
“Oh c’mon quit foolin’ you know what I meant.”
Applejack chuckled. “Yeah Ah thought Ah’d get you this time.”
“Yeah, maybe if I just moved to Ponyville.”
For a moment they both fell silent.
“Ah miss home.”
“Ah wonder how Granny Smith Big Mac and Applebloom are doing.”
“I’m sure their fine. With Applebloom older now she can help around the orchard and she’s a wiz with those tools.”
“Ah guess. Shes just so mature now.” She smiled weakly. “Ah miss mah little sister.”
“Yeah, Scootaloo’s the same way.” Rainbow Dash Chuckled. “Even after 3 years I still can’t believe she pulled off a Sonic Rainboom.”
“She got her cutie mark that same day didn’t she?”
“Yup, exactly how I got mine.”
“Funny how the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
“Yeah. She’s gonna be big someday.”
“What about Sweetie Belle?”
“Oh how can I forget? Scoot told me that she was so scared back stage for her first solo performance.”
“Yeah Ah remember Applebloom tellin’ me that she saw her cutie mark come up after she was done.”
“And the crowd couldn’t get enough of her.”
“Those Crusaders grew up so fast. It seems like yesterday they were covered in tree sap and twigs.”
“Oh remember how Rarity would react when they entered the Boutique?”
They both smiled and spoke in unison. “You’re tracking dirt EVERYWHERE!” They both laughed.
“Didn’t they start a club back home though?”
“Yeah I recon they did. Same as before only with new members.”
“I figured as much, I heard from Ditzy that Pip and Dinky just got their cutie marks recently because of that club. I’m surprised those 3 were able to work it in to their schedule.”
“Says a lot about them seeing as how they still have it goin’. Either way, Ah got a feelin’ we’ll be seeing them again soon.” She looked at Rainbow Dash. “So how’s bein’ a Wonderbolt?”
“Well its not easy but so much fun. I’m still surprised how much free time I have considering. Heck even now I still help with the weather occasionally.”
“What? THE RAINBOW DASH havin’ a part time? That don’t sound like you Sugarcube.”
“I’d never leave Ponyville hanging. Element of Loyalty remember? Besides, the six of us still hang out a lot of course now with the addition of the CMC and Spike.”
“Yeah. Come to think of it not all that much has changed. We still go on some crazy adventures from time to time and still get mixed up in some shenanigans. Only difference is we’re a little older.”
At that moment they were interrupted by Eduardo hanging inches above them with the megaphone. “OYE QUE BOLA ASERE?” Both of the girls screamed on surprise and were dogs were startled by the sudden appearance from above. Applejack then swung the guitar against Eduardo’s head knocking him on the ground.
Realizing what had just happened Applejack rushed to his side. “Oh horseapples. Eduardo talk to me y’all okay?”
“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA.” Said Eduardo hanging upside down before fainting.
“Remind me to wear a helmet around you AJ.” Spike said approaching from behind the tree.
“You sure you can handle it?”
“It won’t be easy.”
“I can handle it.”
“Okay just being sure.”
Jericho and Joseph just got off of work and were currently at the batting cages. They were back and forth about the speed of the baseball when it is launched. Joseph opted for maximum speed while Jericho was against it.
“Okay, last time. Are you ABSOLUTELY sure?”
“YES! GET ON WITH IT!”
“I knew you well, dear brother.”
Jericho input the settings and the machine started up. First ball, swing and a miss.
“Okay just getting warmed up.”
Second ball, swing and a miss.
Third ball, bounced off the bat almost immediately hitting the ground.
“Okay, you’re getting there.”
Fourth ball, solid hit. So solid that it flew back to the machine and knocked it causing it to malfunction and start spewing baseballs and terminal velocity.
“OH SHIT!” Cried Joseph.
“GET OUT OF THERE MAN!”
After about ten minutes of Joseph tending to his bruises he limped back to the G8 alongside Jericho.
“If you say I told you so I swear to god I’ll make you lose your lunch and I don't give a damn if you're my boss either.”
Jericho laughed in response as he got in the passenger side. Joseph started up the car and they were soon on their way.
“So what do you want to do now? Catch a movie? Have a beer? Have a smoke and a pancake?” Jericho asked.
“I can go for some ice cream.”
“Well after taking all those balls I can imagine why. No worries man I’ll pick up the tab on this one.”
“Deal.” They stopped at a red light. “Man Jenny is going to flip when she sees this.”
“Hey, we’ve survived worse.”
“That we have brother.”
The light turned green and they set off.
“Say when was the last time Eddy took a vaca?” Joseph asked.
“Come to think of it I can’t remember. Hes already been to Germany.”
“Nurburgring and Autobahn.”
“World’s best road.”
“That place is just sexy.”
“Good times, good times.”
“Yeah but most of that we were the ones vacationing and he was handling business. What with the mass producing and all that. Only times we’d see him is after the meetings and he would fake a smile pretending everythings alright.”
“Yeah, now its taking care of itself.”
“We should get him to take another one. And I mean a real vacation. No business, no worries, no responsibilities. Just fun.”
“We should convince Ally to go with him.”
“I already feel sorry for the hotel maid.” Joseph laughed.
The brothers park the car and make their way to an Ice Cream parlor across the street. They walk in to spot a few familiar faces.
“Joe, are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
“Jer, I think so.”
They walk up to a table with four women sitting chatting it up when Jericho sneaks up behind a poufy pink haired woman and covers her eyes with his hands.
“Guess who?” Jericho said in a playful tone.
Pinkie Pie leapt up from her chair and gave them both a bone crushing hug.
“ACK! Pinkie….can’t….breathe.” Joseph said.
Upon releasing them they both gasped for air.
“My word! Joseph, dear what happened to you?” Rarity asked.
Jericho willingly replied with a smile. “He’s been taking a lot of balls today.”
Joseph Charlie horsed him in his thigh in response.
“Oh.” Alison replied.
“Whats a batting cage? Oh my, are there bats involved?”
“Yes Fluttershy but not the kind you’re thinking of.” Alison said.
“A bat is a stick with one end fatter than the other and used to hit baseballs.” Pinkie finished.
“Now how did you know that?” Joseph said.
“Internet.” Pinkie replied.
“Safe search I hope.” Jericho said.
“No worries boys they’ve been briefed on the dangers of the internet.” Alison said.
“Smart move.” Replied Jericho.
“Yeah, maybe we should get him those cookies he likes so much.” Said Joseph.
“Oh you mean those little chocolate chip ones that are very soft and moist and come in a white box?” Alison said.
“Yeah those. Wait, how did you know?”
“I found his stash and shared it with everypony.” Pinkie said.
“He has a stash?” Said Jericho.
“According to Pinkie he keeps spare cookie boxes in those tool chests he has as well as in the bedroom, the office, and one in that blue car of his. Very unsanitary if you ask me.”
“Well I guess now we know getting them won’t be needed thanks to Pinkie.”
“Yeah question is, are there any cookies left?”
“Cookies? No thanks I’ve got plenty and more in my ice cream.” Pinkie replied with a cartoonish smile.
“Tell me about it. That order alone almost took me to the cleaners.” Alison giggled.
“Aw c’mon she can’t be that bad.” Jericho said.
Rarity and Fluttershy just stared at him.
Joseph wanted to break the silence. “ANYWAY! Alison we were thinking about convincing Eddy to go have a vacation.”
“Yeah the guy is always working. Even on weekends.”
“Even on sundays.”
“That’s how you know he’s not well.”
Rarity spoke. “Well, now that I think about it I never see him relaxing for a moment. He is always in motion.”
“Oh yes, a lot of times we have to tell him to be careful. I don’t want the poor dear to over work himself.” Fluttershy said.
“Isn’t that why Twilight tied him down?”
“What?” Jericho and Joseph said in unison.
“I’ll explain later. But what are you two getting on about?” Alison said.
“We think its best if you got his ass to relax.”
“And we mean really, truly, honest to god relax.”
“Break a few bones if necessary.”
“Make sure its not so painful that it’ll keep him from relaxing.”
The brothers smiled at Alison.
“What a GREAT IDEA!” Pinkie exclaimed. “OH Lets take him to Ponyville! We can introduce him to everypony and we’ll have a PARTY and we can Invite everypony! OH I gotta go prepare.” With that she ran out of the ice cream parlor.
“Uh...” Joseph began.
“Should we be worried?” Jericho finished.
“No its quite alright, throwing parties is her special talent after all.” Fluttershy said with a smile.
“But, she doesn’t know how to get to Eduardo’s…..does she?” Joseph said.
“Boys, let me tell you something.” Rarity begin. “When it comes to our loveable bubbly Pinkie Pie, sometimes its best not to question her methods.”
“Its true, she has an uncanny ability to pop up in the strangest ways. It scares me sometimes, but I know she doesn’t mean it and she’s only being herself.” Said Fluttershy.
At that moment Pinkie burst right back into the parlor running to the table and picking up her ice cream. “I almost forgot this.” She then ran right back out in the same blistering speed in which she entered.
“That’s our Pinkie.” Rarity giggled.
Jericho chuckeled. “Yeah, I guess its kind of hard not to put a smile on around her.”
Joseph turned to his older brother. “Hey, don’t forget that ice cream you promised.”
Eduardo had an ice pack on his head making his way toward the truck.
‘Damn Jericho you bought one tough ass guitar. Not even a crack.’ “Okay old girl, time for your tune up.”
The moment he unlatched the hood, a certain bubbly pink haired woman shot out of the engine bay leaving streamers and balloons in her wake.
“SURPRISE!” Pinkie yelled while aiming her party cannon in the air and firing.
“AAAAHHH!” Eduardo fell back tripping on himself and landing on the back of his head knocking him out cold.
“Eddy?” Pinkie called out.
Twilight walked up from Eduardo’s office around the truck. Seeing the scene in front of her she already knew the story before anyone told it and immediately facepalmed.