Day 1, Part 2: Introductions
“You know, I think I’m getting the hang of this.” I turned from the path we were walking down to regard Derek. He’d managed to get himself aloft with a few shaky flaps of his wings.
“Surely, Rainbow Dash can help you out,” Dana said.
“Yeah, but I’ve always liked learning things myself,” Derek said, managing to rise a few more feet. With some effort, he managed to propel himself forward.
“Careful up there!” Twilight said warningly. “If you guys get hurt on your first day it won’t exactly do me any favors...”
“...Oh, and the injured will probably be less than thrilled, too,” Colin joked. Twilight rolled her eyes; I thought about making a drinking game where you took a shot for every eye roll she made. We’d be blitzed within ten minutes.
“Hey, check this out!” Derek said, noticing a small cloud overhead. Wavering through the air like a housefly, he approached the cloud and dove inside. After a moment, he opened a hole from within and peered out, a small portion of the cloud wrapped around his muzzle like a beard. “Arthur... Arthur... King of the Britons...” Colin and I instantly knelt, much to Twilight’s confusion. Louis looked confused as well, while Dana gave us an incredulous look. “Oh, don’t grovel!” Derek said; his British accent was much better than mine, which usually earned me a punch in the face from any actually British folk present. “If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s people groveling...”
“What are you doing?” Twilight asked, bewildered.
“Yeah, what the hell, guys?” Dana said.
“Shh! Don’t ruin it!” I hissed, mock-sternly.
“Ah, it’s fine,” Derek said, shaking the cloud beard off. He leaned out of the cloud and looked in the direction we were headed. “Oh, hey, we’re here!”
As we climbed a small hill in the path and got a look at the farmland, I suddenly realized just how many acres of trees the Apple family had. For the next mile we could see what had to be at least a thousand apple trees of varying age, rolling over countless hills. On what appeared to be the corner of the property lay the pens for the sheep and pigs. Towards the horizontal center of the land, close to where we stood, was the familiar red barn right beside the rustic farmhouse. I took a deep whiff of the air, and for a moment thought I was going to spit out a couple apple seeds right there.
Louis let out a sharp whistle. “Not hard to see how this property got Ponyville started.”
Twilight smiled and led us through the front gate. “Let’s see if Applejack’s around. By the way, remember what I said about you already knowing certain ponies. When you meet Big Mac or Applebloom, act as though you’ve never known them.”
We nodded. “All right, but remember,” I warned. “Once they learn the truth, I’m going to jump on the chance to grab Applebloom and tell her how adorable she is.”
“Seconded,” Derek said as he glided down and landed beside Colin.
“Not in a way that necessitates calling for an adult, right?” Louis asked.
“I’ll get back to you on that.”
We followed the dirt road towards the farmhouse, enormous aged apple trees lining the path on either side. I drifted towards the side as we walked and looked up into one tree’s branches. Its apples looked quite ripe, ready for a buck-induced descent. Matter of fact, there were a few empty bushels gathered around the base of the tree...
The sound of rapidly approaching hoof-falls on the other side of the tree made me snap to attention. There was a grunt and a loud Thunk! I only had a mere second to glance up and scream “Oh dear GOD--” before I was barraged by the farmland’s namesake. Attempting to get out of the way, I slipped on a fallen apple and fell to the ground. Somehow, more than half of the apples managed to collide painfully with my head, causing me to utter a swear with each collision. After a few torturous seconds the bombardment ended.
“Oh mah gosh!” I heard an accented voice cry. “I’m so sorry, fella!” Shaking the stars out of my eyes I turned to see Applejack hurrying from behind the tree and up to me. In person she was densely muscled, had a thick layer of dirt around the base of her hooves, and her accent was slightly subtler than the one portrayed on the show. Her trademark stetson looked quite clean, however; perhaps it truly belonged to her father.
“It’s cool...” I said, carefully standing up to avoid tripping on another apple.
“Hey, Applejack!” Twilight said. “Glad we caught you, these are the...” she stopped to make sure no one was around to eavesdrop. She leaned in towards Applejack. “The ‘visitors’...”
Applejack gave a happy gasp. Suddenly I found one of my front hooves between both of hers, being shaken like a Magic 8 ball. “Well, boy howdy, I’m sure glad you folk got here safe ‘n sound!” She turned to shake hooves with the others while I got my foreleg to stop wobbling like jello. “Welcome to Equestria, and welcome to Sweet Apple Acres!”
Louis in particular seemed the most excited to meet Applejack; I figured he was part of the ‘Applejack is best pony’ crowd. “It’s an honor to meet you, AJ.”
Applejack chuckled. “Honor’s all mine, partner. So y’all are gonna be seekin’ work in Ponyville for a while?”
“Applejack is always willing to let ponies help on the farm,” Twilight said. “The busy season’s coming up, her family needs all the help it can get.”
Colin made a couple practice bucks. “I might be of some help.” Applejack approached him and gave his hind legs a gentle prod; I could tell Colin wanted to make a joke along the lines of ‘I need an adult!’
“Well, you sure got the build for it,” she said. “Once y’all are settled in, feel free to mosey on down here and we’ll get you workin’.” Her tone became serious. “It’s hard work though. Don’t expect an easy ride.”
“The best work is the kind you still feel at the end of the day,” Derek pointed out.
“Exactly!” Applejack said with a grin. She approached the bushels by the tree that had nearly buried me, somehow all full of apples in spite of the amount that landed on me, and balanced one on her back. She noticed Dana staring hungrily at the apples. “Help yourself!” Dana opened her mouth to protest, but Applejack held up a hoof. “Least I can do to welcome y’all to Ponyville.”
Dana grinned before snagging an apple with her teeth. As she chewed on the entire thing I realized just how enormous pony mouths were, compared to the human mouth. While for a human an apple basically equated to a ball gag in terms of size, ponies could stuff their faces comfortably. Dana swallowed the apple while the rest of us grabbed one as well. “Oh my god, that was delicious…”
They really were; my diet consisted entirely of crackers, soda and other various junk foods (yet, miraculously, I never got much higher than a couple hundred pounds), so I never ate that much fruit. This apple, however, made me rethink just how much crap I’d been stuffing down my gullet. “Beautiful…” I said, licking the juice from my lips.
Applejack nodded appreciatively. “Well, it’s accepted fact these’re the best apples in all of Equestria. Why don’t y’all stay for dinner? We’ve got fresh apple turnovers comin’ out of the oven any minute now!”
“And ‘apple fwittuh’?” Louis said in a baby voice.
“Oh, god, please don’t...” I said, raising a foreleg to my chest. “I barely survived my first heart attack after seeing that...”
Applejack looked confused as to how she was involved in inducing heart attacks when Twilight intervened. “We’d like to, Applejack, but we really gotta get going,” Twilight said. “I promised them I’d introduce them to all of our friends.”
“On that note,” I said. “Where does Rainbow Dash usually nap on your property?”
Applejack laughed. “I see the princesses didn’t shy from showing her slackin’ off!” She pointed towards the east end of the acres. “I last saw her flyin’ that way. Don’t let her scare you off if she tries to figure out how ‘cool’ y’all are. She respects those who stand their ground.”
“Thanks for the tip,” I said. “See you around, AJ, great to meet you!”
“Y’all come back now, ya hear?” Applejack called as we headed down the eastward road.
- - - - -
“So, what was that about a ‘heart attack’?” Twilight asked a few minutes later.
“Well, I wasn’t serious,” I clarified. “One thing bronies loved about the show is how... adorable you guys were.”
“And too much sweetness causes heart attacks,” Colin said. “So when we saw baby Applejack...”
“Sweetie Belle drinking a milkshake...” Derek added.
“And Fluttershy doing anything, at any time, ever...” Louis said.
“Bronies have an overall reaction of ‘HHNNNNNNGGGGGG...’” I clutched at my chest, grimacing in faked pain. I opened one eye to see Twilight looking at us with unease. “...You’ve had plenty of cute moments too...” I added sheepishly.
“...okay...” Twilight said. “Anyway, keep checking the trees. Rainbow Dash usually naps in the branches, and...”
At this point I sensed that the smug God of Comedic Timing was rolling up his sleeves for another trick. Instinctively I looked up to see a cyan and rainbow-colored blur speeding towards us. “Move,” I said, calmly yet firmly. All eyes looked skyward and saw our incoming visitor. The six of us all spread out to make a sizeable landing pad. Rainbow Dash landed heavily between us, sending a thick cloud of dust up from her landing. I swished the air with a leg to clear the dust, and regarded the pegasus.
Many fics seemed to consider Dash’s mane and tail to be messy, unkempt and so forth. Yet, to me, it came across more like she had a simple enough style that she didn’t need to pamper it often. Her poise, as expected, was always one of confidence, of being ready to accept any challenge to her established ‘coolness’. Her wings seemed to constantly shift in place, which logically showed she was always aching to get back into the skies. “Hey, Twilight!” She said. Her voice wasn’t as raspy, either, a bit more feminine. She looked at us and raised an eyebrow. “These the aliens?” She asked, somewhat unimpressed.
I frowned; I should have expected the blunt attitude. “Yep,” I said with a cough. “The humans. It’s great to meet you, Rainbow.” I held out a hoof for a bump, yet she just kept staring at us warily.
“Right... So, you guys are gonna be hanging in Ponyville for a while?”
“Yeah...” I said, confused. By her tone, it sounded like she didn’t like the idea of the whole affair. “Is there a problem?”
Dash narrowed her eyes. “I don’t know. Is there?” I stepped back half an inch; that little quip seemed to carry a boatload of implied distrust.
“Rainbow Dash!” Twilight said, sternly. “Be nice!”
Dash backed off a little bit. “So what’s up?”
“Well, I wanted to introduce you to them,” Twilight said, happy for the lighter mood. Dash, though reluctantly, accepted the introductory brohoofs as we each said our names. I couldn’t shake the rather glaring feeling that Dash didn’t trust us, and it wasn’t hard to assume why. A race of aliens that have known war for centuries suddenly being brought to her home might not inspire that much confidence.
That’s what the Embassy is for, I remembered. Celestia and Brushstroke want to prove that humans are more than capable of what Equestria stands for… We just need to want it bad enough. I decided that Dash would come around, sooner or later.
“You want me to what?” I snapped back to reality to see Dash looking quizzically at Derek, who was flexing his wings with a pleading look on his face.
“Please, just give me some pointers...” he said. “And no, I don’t expect to fly anywhere near as fast as you. I just want to know I can fly without causing or suffering severe injuries, and nopony’s a better flier than you.”
Dash’s expression softened, and I nodded in silent approval; stoking her ego was a surefire way to get her to like you. She pursed her lips for a moment. “...Fine, come see me sometime and I’ll show you some of what I’ve learned... and maybe some tricks I picked up at Wonderbolt Academy.”
Derek bounced in the air with a whoop. “You won’t regret this!”
“Hopefully...” I heard Dash mutter over Derek’s excited cheering. Dash spread her wings. “Well, I gotta get back home to feed Tank. See you guys later.” Without another word she took off at a speed that made my ears pop. I watched her streak out of sight before turning to Twilight.
“She doesn’t trust us.”
Twilight dragged a hoof along the ground. “I don’t know about that... She’s just... looking out for everypony. She knows that humans have a past that can best be described as...”
“...Icky?” Dana guessed with a shrug.
“I was going more for ‘troubled’...” Twilight said. “But, yeah, she just wants to be careful.”
“She’ll come around,” Louis said. “She’ll have plenty of time to get to know us.”
Twilight nodded. “So, you guys ready to go meet Rarity?”
- - - - -
“I’ll be the toast of the town,
the girl on the go,
and the type of pony,
everypony should know...”
“What are you singing, Dana?” Twilight asked as we got back into town.
Dana blushed a bit. “Sorry, a bit louder than I meant...”
“Sounded lovely,” I complimented. “As for your question, Twi, it was a song from the show. Rarity sang it during the episode she spent in Canterlot, where she made you that dress for your birthday?”
“Oh, yeah...” Twilight said. “I would have liked to hear it...”
“Wait...” I said. “You don’t think it’s strange the show had you breaking into song?”
Twilight shook her head. “It happens now and then.”
She sounded as though ponies had accepted it as a way of life. “Well, humans don’t do that...” Louis said.
“Nopony knows why we do it,” Twilight said. “But we still enjoy when it happens. Sometimes a pony will sing about the smallest of affairs.”
...Oh, god dammit, brain... I thought as a dusty memory surfaced.
Rounding a corner we laid eyes on Carousel Boutique. Everything about it depicted class, glamour, fabulosity... Just looking at it made me feel like sipping a martini, adjusting my monocle and going “Mmm, quite.” We followed Twilight towards the building and entered. A bell over the front door announced our arrival. It was at this point I realized just how well the show depicted Equestria, from both the ponies and the places they lived in. Everything was here; the raised section of floor for ponies to stand upon while Rarity fitted them, several mannequins wearing her finer outfits, and a multitude of mirrors. I wondered if Brushstroke/Lauren brought some of the show’s staff to Equestria to give them an idea of what to animate...
“Rarity!” Twilight called.
“Be right down, dear!” We heard her call from upstairs. As the Element of Generosity came down from her quarters upstairs, I felt rather light-headed. I hadn’t even been a pony for a whole day, and I thought Rarity was drop-dead gorgeous. Her stylized mane bounced ever so slightly, her poise didn’t falter at all as she walked, and while she had her nose raised slightly in the air like so many stuffy Canterlot types, you still got a sense of humility from her.
She gave a soft gasp when she took notice of us. “Are these the humans we were told about?”
Twilight nodded. “I’m showing them around Ponyville and introducing them to all of our friends.”
Rarity approached us, her mouth slightly open in awe. I gave a slight bow. “Miss Rarity...” I said in greeting. Colin, Derek and Louis all did the same. Rarity tossed a hoof at the display.
“Oh, please, call me Rarity, darling.” Her voice was a bit more casual than I’d expected. “Welcome to Equestria, Ponyville, and Carousel Boutique. I must say, I’ve been looking forward to meet you all...” She approached Colin and looked him over. “Though I understand the need for turning you into ponies, I’ve been eager to design a number for humans... It would be my first outfit designed for a biped.”
We each introduced ourselves to Rarity. It was nice to see her more trusting than Rainbow Dash. “I believe it would be fitting that, as a gift of welcome, I design an outfit for each of you. From the colors of your coats and manes alone I’ve already come up with a slew of ideas... I’ll just need to take your measurements...”
Rarity turned, approached a desk and opened a drawer. She withdrew some blank parchment, a quill and ink, and a length of measuring tape. “Now, ladies first...” She said, beckoning Dana over. Dana eagerly stepped onto the platform and stood still as Rarity began taking measurements.
A low mewl made me look toward the stairs. Sitting on the bottom step was a rather bored-looking white cat. “Opalescence!” I said happily.
Rarity glanced towards the stairs. “Oh, be careful, darling, she’s not very friendly with strangers...”
Nodding I took a few steps toward the stairs. Opal narrowed her eyes at me. I noticed that, like on the show, animals here had much more expressive faces. Opal looked more than capable of expressing distrust, as she appeared to be doing now. “Hey there...” I said, trying to sound friendly and not condescending, since animals were smarter here. I knelt down; years ago I’d found that, around timid creatures, sitting down and getting on their level helped ease their tensions.
Opal stared at me for a moment before hopping off the step and slowly approaching me. When she got within an arm’s reach (a phrase which I didn’t think applied to me at this point) I slowly raised a foreleg towards her. She gave me a tentative sniff before turning up her nose and walking towards Rarity, who had finished with Dana.
“Well, that was better than I’d expected...” Rarity said, relieved. “Usually anypony who tries to meet Opal is left with countless scratches. Now, Mr... Derek, was it? Why don’t you come up next?”
The next twenty minutes were spent getting measured for our new attire. I was brought to the platform last. As Rarity measured me, pausing occasionally to stop and go “Hmm,” I took a moment to let reality sink in further. Everything a brony could hope for, and us five were lucky enough to be the first; and knowing every brony alive would get the opportunity to come here a few months down the line made it all the sweeter.
“A solid black would work...” I heard Rarity mutter. “Perhaps a red tie...”
“Please say I can get a top hat...” I said, grinning like a dork.
Rarity flinched violently. “A-A TOP HAT?!” She yelled. “Such headgear would ruin the whole ensemble!! Never would I soil my grand vision for you--”
“I was kidding!” I laughed. Rarity sputtered for a moment before sighing.
“Not funny...” she muttered.
“And yet, everypony else is laughing,” I pointed out, nodding towards the others, all of whom were trying and failing to hide their snickers. I noticed Rarity frown at me out of the corner of my eye, and felt her tug the measuring tape around my hind leg with an excessive amount of force. “Gah! Okay, okay...” I giggled.
“I’m all finished here,” Rarity said, giving a good-natured smile. I hopped down from the platform, realizing I’d gotten almost completely used to my new body in a matter of hours. “I should have something ready for each of you in a few days.”
“Looking forward to it,” I said. I glanced at the stairs. “Hey, where’s Swee...” I stopped; if Sweetie Belle heard me drop her name, it would look suspicious. “Where’s your sister?” I asked in a low voice.
“She’s off ‘crusading’...” Rarity said. She paused. “...That means they’re--”
“Off doing something ridiculous while hunting for their cutie marks,” the bronies (and pegasister) and I all said in unison. We all glanced at each other, perplexed. “...’kay,” I said. “Yeah, the show had episodes centered around them.”
“Then you know the kind of trouble they get into?” Rarity asked. We all nodded solemnly. “Then might I ask you keep an eye on them, intervene if they try to do something...”
“Reckless?” Dana asked.
“Dangerous?” Colin guessed.
“Completely stupid?” I blurted out before I realized what I was saying.
Rarity seemed to agree, though. “All good answers.”
We all nodded. “We’ll keep ‘em out of trouble as best we can, Rarity,” Derek promised.
“Well, we gotta be going, Rarity,” Twilight said. “We only have an hour till sundown, I want to introduce them to Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie.”
As we herded out the door we each gave a goodbye to Rarity. “Stop by anytime!” Rarity said with a cheerful wave.
- - - - -
“Creed, why are you breathing so heavily?” Twilight asked.
We were walking along a path on the outskirts of town, on the far side from Sweet Apple Acres. A rolling plain rolled off to our right. To our left lay the Everfree; while the show had depicted places like Carousel Boutique and the Golden Oaks faithfully, it hadn’t done the forest justice. In a cartoon it may have looked threatening to the characters but significantly less-so to the viewers, but in real life I felt a chill run down my spine with every glance. It got pitch black when you looked further than two trees in. Occasionally I spotted a pair of glowing eyes staring at us before it vanished into the darkness. To keep myself from dwelling on the true creepiness of the Everfree, I looked straight ahead to look forward to meeting Fluttershy.
“Just preparing myself...” I said between breaths. While I was never one to pick a favorite pony, I always had a soft spot for Fluttershy. “Remember what I told you about Fluttershy’s cuteness? What if the show only had a fraction of her true adorableness?” My eyes widened in staged fear. “I don’t think anyone could handle that much ‘HHHNNNNNNNGGG...’ It would be like an outbreak of FOXDIE...”
Twilight let the Metal Gear reference roll off her back and rolled her eyes again; sooner or later she’d be able to roll them enough to peer into her skull. “Well, remember what else the show portrayed.”
“Right, her shyness is off the charts,” Louis said knowingly. “Be calm, don’t frighten her, make her feel comfortable...”
“And be extra gentle around her animals,” Twilight said. “If you’re good with animals, you’ll get along with Fluttershy just fine.”
“I do well flushing dead goldfish down the toilet, does that count?” Colin asked. Dana, Derek, Louis and I all winced as Twilight cast a horrified look at Colin. “...Oh, come on, we’re all allowed at least one joke in poor taste every now and then...” When Twilight didn’t look away he sighed and got serious. “Okay, I’ve honestly never done that, and I understand animals have a bigger part in pony society than in ours. I won’t make jokes like that, especially around Fluttershy. I apologize.”
Twilight relaxed a little bit. “I do hope that was merely a joke...” she said as she turned back towards the path.
I walked a bit towards Colin. “To be fair, at any other time that joke would’ve been hilarious,” I whispered.
Finally, after passing a few trees on the edge of the forest we got a good look at Fluttershy’s cottage. It had a very ‘Hobbiton’ vibe to it, with a massive number of birdhouses hanging on the property. We followed Twilight up the path, over the small bridge leading over the creek running by the cottage, and approached the oak Dutch door.
Twilight made to knock when Colin spoke up. “Wait, I think I hear her out back.” With a joyful hop I hurried around the side of the house.
“Creed, slow down!” Twilight warned, yet I didn’t listen. Behind the house lay Fluttershy’s corral; fenced-in areas, a sizeable chicken coop, and even more birdhouses dangling from the trees. There were several dozens of animals scurrying around, all chittering happily like that one jarring change of mood after a certain traumatizing scene in a Disney classic. Most of them were gathered around the creme-yellow mare, who was speaking in a cooing voice to her friends.
“Be sure to leave some food for everyone else...” she said as she poured a bag of seeds into some bowls. The critters all happily ate their fill while she watched them lovingly.
I cleared my throat to make myself known. Fluttershy turned and made a small squeak before hiding in her long pink mane. Twilight hurried past me and approached her friend. “Fluttershy, these are the humans we were told about. I wanted to introduce them...”
The animals all seemed rather confused at the sight of us; perhaps there was something in our scent that seemed off to them? Slowly I approached some of them and, like with Opal, knelt down. One of the braver-looking critters, a squirrel, approached and smelled my hoof. When it seemed comfortable I gave it a gentle rub down its back. The squirrel turned and chirped at its friends, who all scattered among the rest of us. Fluttershy watched with interest as we ‘mingled’ with her animal friends, gaining enough confidence to approach us.
As she approached me I smiled warmly. While everypony else we’d met had subtle differences to their portrayals on the show, Fluttershy’s was spot on. Everything about her was small, timid, fragile, and most of all, adorable. “H-Hello...” she whimpered. OH GOD HER VOICE.
Self control self control self control... I thought rapidly. Self control self con-- fuck it.
I was suddenly hugging her tightly with the biggest grin I’ve ever had. Fluttershy’s eyes were wide with shock and confusion. “Sorry,” I said, not sorry at all. “Always wanted to do this.” I quickly let her go, blushing. “It’s so great to meet you, Fluttershy.” She wasn’t moving, however, rigid with anxiousness. Great, I thought. My first time meeting her and I scare her. A sudden weight on my back made me glance back. Standing on me was a bunny with its arms(?) folded, and a disapproving look on its face.
“Howdy, Angel,” I said cheerfully. He raised a furry eyebrow at me before hopping off and standing guardedly next to Fluttershy. Like Dash, he seemed distrusting of us; I added ‘Gain Angel’s trust’ to my list of things to achieve in my time here.
“Your animal friends are so cute...” Dana said, rubbing the belly of a badger that had rolled placidly onto its back. “I have a dog back home named Benny; he’s a corgi, one of the sweetest dogs you’ll ever know...”
Fluttershy loosened up a bit and smiled. She approached Dana slowly and sat on her haunches. “They seem to like you guys...”
I approached and sat by her side. She flinched away a bit, making me feel even worse for startling her. “Again, sorry bout that,” I said, this time with more sincerity. “It’s just, you know that the Princesses have told your story to us, right?” She whimpered in confirmation; evidently she hated being in the spotlight, even in an animated form. “Well, a lot of us really admire you for being... you. You’re kind, gentle and, let’s face it, adorable, and we love you for it. But we also see you as a brave mare, who’s not afraid to put her neck on the line for her friends. You faced a dragon, an army of changelings, you managed to get Discord to play nice... In some of your adventures with your friends you basically carried the team. And right now, all we want is to be lucky enough to hang out with you, if you’re comfortable with it.”
As I spoke, Fluttershy’s cheeks flushed and she gave a giggle. I actually felt my heart shudder, but it soldiered on. “Thank you...”
I glanced back at Twilight, who was giving me an appraising smile. “The humans are going to be looking for things to do around town,” she said to Fluttershy. “They might help you with your animal friends, if you want.”
“That would be great!” Fluttershy said, her voice barely rising in volume. “Maybe even adopt one of these critters; so many of them are looking for a good home...”
“Ooh, I don’t know...” Derek said. “I mean, I don’t know if the Embassy is a good place for pets...”
“Oh...” Fluttershy said, disappointed. Louis, Colin and I all shot Derek an irritated glance; giving Fluttershy any reason to be sad is immediate cause for a brony beatdown. He shrank slightly under our glares, but we relented.
“Well, we should get going...” Twilight said. “We need to get back to the Embassy before it gets too dark.”
“We still need to meet Pinkie Pie, though...” Louis said, disappointed.
“Don’t worry, you’ll get your chance,” Twilight said. We stood up and gave Fluttershy a fond farewell. As I headed towards the path I spotted Angel sitting on a fence post, his expression softened somewhat. That’s headway, I thought.
- - - - -
“Hearts still beating, everyone?” Colin asked as we approached the Embassy twenty minutes later.
“Almost fully operational again, sir!” Louis said in a crap Scottish accent.
I pretended to give my heart a jump start by banging on my chest. “Working on it!” I said with staged urgency.
Twilight giggled, then turned to me. “What you said to Fluttershy...”
“Every word of it,” I said before she could ask if I meant it. “You know, it was actually her that finally made my curiosity about the show boil over. Remember that breakdown she had at the Gala? There was a clip of it I watched, that made me look up that first episode.”
“I want to watch it sometime...” Twilight said. “If it means so much to the... ‘bronies’... and if it led to our peoples meeting, it sounds like something everypony should experience.”
“Ha HA!” I said, triumphantly. “I’ve converted another!” We arrived back at the Embassy just as the sky became its blackest. The lobby was fully lit, yet, save for the guards, it didn’t look like any staff were present. The rush of the day suddenly caught up with me, resulting in a loud yawn. “Well, tomorrow morning we’ll head out to Sugarcube Corner and meet Pinkie, I guess...”
The consensus was shared with the others as we climbed the stairs, this time with a bit more ease than before. As we reached the top landing I approached the door to the dorm. I raised a hoof towards the knob--
Ding ding ding. “Wait a second,” I said. I slowly turned towards Twilight and smirked. “There wouldn’t have been another reason to get us out of the Embassy today, would there, Twi?” Twilight kept trying to evade eye contact, biting her lip nervously. The others looked confused for a moment until, one by one, they had the same realization I had. I took a moment to straighten up. “Let’s try and act surprised,” I whispered to Twilight encouragingly. When she smiled, I opened the door.
“SURPRISE!!” As I’d expected, the dorm was covered in streamers, confetti and balloons, and had a large banner on the far wall reading, ‘Welcome to Ponyville!’ A quick amendment in black marker added the words ‘and Equestria!!’ to the end. A large table filled with a ludicrous number of desserts and beverages stood in the center of the room, the cushions all pushed off to the side. In front of the table stood the ponies (and dragon) we’d been spending the day meeting, as well as Sugar Cane, Princesses Celestia, Luna and Brushstroke, and last but not least, Pinkie Pie.
In spite of opting to merely ‘act’ surprised, somehow we still did not expect a party this wild. We all gave joyful laughs and hurried into the room. Even though this kind of party seemed rather childish, it somehow still held great appeal, given where we were and who we were hanging with. Pinkie bolted up to us, a grin on her face so wide I could barely make out her wisdom teeth.
While on the show her mane was quite bouncy, it didn’t hold up against the real deal; it bounced like the breast physics in a Dead or Alive game when she so much as tilted her head an inch in any direction. “Hey!” She chirped. “I’m Pinkie Pie! But you already know that since you watched the show! Ooh, what was I like on the show? Did I like parties as much as I really do?” She gasped in horror. “Oh, what if she didn’t?! What if she only sorta liked parties, and what if that makes you think I won’t throw the bestiest best best parties you’ll ever go to?!”
“Pinkie...” Colin laughed.
“What if you don’t think I’ll be the best friend I can be by not throwing you the most amazing parties ever?!”
“Pinkie...” Louis said, a bit more loudly.
“Well, that’s not going to happen! I promise that your parties will be the best, and we’ll all be the best of friends and...” I really should have expected Pinkie to be like this. In retrospect she probably would have been somewhat grating in person, even for a brony. I cast Brushstroke a pleading look for help, but she seemed content to watch us deal with it ourselves.
I rolled my eyes. “PINKIE!!”
Her rant stopped on a dime, and she looked at me. “Yes?” She asked casually.
“I promise you...” I said. “The show did you justice. Nothing about you was underplayed. We believe that your love of parties is second to none.”
Pinkie wiped her brow with a forehoof. “That’s a relief! Cake?” Out of nowhere she produced a slice of chocolate cake on a paper plate and offered it to me. I gave her a perplexed look, unprepared for the sudden breaking of the laws of physics (insofar as they can be broken in a world of magic talking ponies). Taking the plate in my magic I took a bite.
My mouth seemed to melt; the perfectly moist texture, the rich chocolate taste, the smooth icing... No human alive could make a dessert this delicious. My mouth hung open and began to drool. “Holy mother of god, this is amazing...” I said in an awestruck voice. “I now know the Nirvana of desserts, and her name is Pinkie Pie...”
“What?” Pinkie asked. “No, I’m Pinkie Pie!! I don’t care what a ‘nur-vahna’ is, it can’t just take my name!”
“Pinkie, he means... never mind...” Dana said, approaching the princesses. I shook myself of my daze and did the same. While I gave Celestia and Brushstroke a familiar bow, this was the first time I’d seen Luna in over a month.
“It’s great to see you again, Princess Luna...” Derek said humbly.
Luna laughed good-naturedly. “Please, just call me Luna, and it is good to see you all, too.”
“Best princess!” Colin blurted out before covering his mouth.
Luna gave Colin a brief quizzical glance before smiling. “You know it...” She said with a wink. I turned to Sugar Cane, who had already started helping herself to some cake.
“I take it you’ll be hanging around, Sugar?” I asked.
“Mmhmm!” She said before swallowing her mouthful of cake. “I’m gonna be working downstairs, just holler if you need anything.”
“I take it you all had no trouble settling in?” Celestia asked.
“Other than stairs and having to wrestle with something as mundane as a doorknob, nope, no troubles,” I said.
Celestia nodded. “Good, good... Now, my emissaries, I remind you that your purpose here is not just to live in Ponyville. You must make names for yourselves among its denizens. Give citizens aid around town, show them that ‘Amareicans’ are more than capable of living among them. In time, they will see that, since your arrival, you will have been different in appearance alone.”
“So become ‘outstanding citizens’?” I asked. I looked at Twilight. “Like the Mane Six? ...Though I think the fact that they’ve kept it from being reduced to a smoldering crater was a key factor there. I’m not sure we’re up to ‘community service’ of that caliber.”
Brushstroke laughed. “You never know; keep Ponyville talking about those ‘extremely friendly Amareicans’. Volunteer at places, help the construction force, create a positive image for yourselves. The better these ponies think of you, the more likely they will embrace humanity melding with ponydom.”
“And now, my little ponies...” Celestia said, earning a mild snicker from us bronies. “We must take our leave. We have much work to do to prepare for our diplomatic relations with Earth.” Celestia gave a brief, affectionate nuzzle to Twilight before turning and approaching the door. We gave Luna and Brushstroke a deep bow as they followed Celestia out of the dorm. Brushstroke turned in the doorway and gave us all a warm smile.
“Welcome to Equestria,” she said before using her magic to close the door.
“Okay!!” Pinkie shrieked dangerously close to my ear, making me leap in the air with a yelp and a cuss. “Let’s get this party STARTED!!” She gave a previously unnoticed record player a gentle buck, causing it to start blaring a high-energy dance song.
“Hang on a second!” Colin yelled, bolting into his room. He emerged a moment later carrying a bulky iPod dock in his mouth, an iPod already inside. Twilight sprinted up to Colin, almost knocking the device from his jaw.
“It’s a Dock!” I said. “It’s basically a more high-tech version of that record player.” Colin placed the dock on the snack table and reached towards the iPod with a hoof. He stopped, realizing he lacked the dexterity needed to fiddle with it. He gave a disappointed moan.
“I got it,” I said as I approached, lighting up my horn, and carefully enveloping the iPod.
Thankfully the touch screen responded well to magic. I flipped into Colin’s library and leafed through his collection. After a few moments I stopped when my eyes fell on one album. A wide grin on my face, I started the song.
“...Well who the hell put this on?!” Derek asked in his British accent.