Fluttershy stepped back, feeling like she couldn’t do anything more to help Pinkie Pie. The yellow pegasus trotted slowly over to Rainbow Dash, who was now on her feet, trying to understand what had happened. By this time, all the ponies present were inside the sound-proof room. Twilight Sparkle walked carefully over to the pink earth pony, glancing sympathetically at her two pegasus friends as she passed.
Pinkie Pie was still curled up in a fetal position, sobbing hysterically into her forelegs. “Pinkie?” Twilight asked softly as she approached, afraid to disturb the pony while also trying to help her relax. “Pinkie Pie, it’s OK. We’re still your friends. We’ll stick by you.”
Sniffing, Pinkie Pie looked up through the straight strands of her pink mane with wide, glistening blue eyes. “You… you’re not mad at me?”
Twilight smiled. “No, not at all.” She placed one purple hoof on Pinkie’s head. “We know it’s been rough for you. We’re just trying to help.”
“Do yoo….” Pinkie mumbled to herself, blushing a little.
Rainbow Dash had joined the two by now and was nudging Pinkie Pie. “You gonna get up?” Twilight flashed a glare in the blue pegasus’ direction. Dash sighed, “I mean, would you like some help standing up?” The earth pony shook her head silently and pulled herself up on all fours.
“What were you saying, Pinkie? I couldn’t quite hear.” Twilight smiled sadly. It was almost like Pinkie Pie was turning into Fluttershy. She seemed so ashamed or bashful. This was definitely not the same old Pinkie Pie.
“I… was gonna ask…” Pinkie bit her lip and turned to face the three other, more magical, ponies, “do you like my parties? And would you… do you still want to be my friends?”
“Dude!” Rainbow Dash came to the rescue, draping one foreleg over her pink friend’s shoulders, “Your parties totally rock! And of course we want to be your friends! I mean, sure, you can get a little annoying at times.”
“Dash,” Twilight scolded, glaring once more at the Pegasus.
The rainbow-maned mare rolled her crimson eyes and continued, “That doesn’t mean we won’t stand by you, like Twilight said.”
Fluttershy fluttered over to land on the other side of Pinkie Pie, “That’s right. We still love you. I’m… sorry for knocking you over.”
Pinkie Pie looked sadly at Fluttershy, “It’s OK. I kinda deserved it.” Then… it happened. It started slowly, no more than a chuckle, but Pinkie Pie’s mouth curled once more, slowly- the ponies were anxious, afraid that she was cracking again- and she let out a tiny, insignificant sound. Then it grew. Over the period of less than two seconds, Pinkie Pie’s laughter became a burst of joyful giggles. It was like a light had been switched on. Her coat seemed to brighten; her eyes began to shine; and her hair! It popped like a balloon, back into bouncy pink curls! The gathered ponies were astounded.
“That’s all it took?” Rainbow stepped back, mouth agape.
“Guess so!” Pinkie Pie smiled wide, eyes closed in bliss.
Twilight smiled warily, “That’s the power of laughter.”
Immediately after her transformation, in classic Pinkie Pie style, the pink-coated mare skipped merrily through Ponyville, wanting to reacquaint herself with everypony. The others who had been with her began to disperse on their own, after discussing some things Pinkie wasn’t included in. She passed several of her friends and tried to greet them pleasantly. However, anypony she stopped to talk to seemed distracted, like they’d rather not deal with her right then. She could understand a few ponies rejecting her hyperactivity, but the whole town? After a moment, the earth pony just shrugged and decided to visit with one of her better friends.
Sweet Apple Acres was bustling with activity. The whole Apple family seemed to be out and about, bucking trees, carrying baskets, or just sitting around talking. As Pinkie passed, several of the ponies present moved themselves only so slightly away from her. Pinkie became suspicious, but wasn’t really concerned. Maybe Applejack would be glad to see her. She wasn’t sure how long she’d been gone, but things seemed mighty peculiar here in Ponyville.
“Hey, Applejack!” Pinkie bounced over to her fellow earth pony friend who had just kicked a whole bushel of apples out of one tree. Her yellow mane whipped about her face as the mare caught her breath.
“Huh? Who goes?” Applejack pushed the hat on her head up a little more with one orange hoof to get a better look at her visitor. At the sight of Pinkie Pie, her green eyes widened in shock. “Pinkie! I- I didn’t know y’all were comin’ back home so soon! You all right, sugar cube?”
Pinkie squinted confusedly, but giggled just the same. “Yeah, I’m fine. You OK?”
AJ chuckled hesitantly, “I’m doin’ just peachy, Pinkie Pie. W-would you like some apples?”
Realizing that these apples were to be a pity present, Pinkie Pie declined the offer, saying, “No thanks. Although they do look just ripe!” She winked, hoping to get at least a groan from the bucking mare. However, all she received for her terrible pun was a quick smile of sympathy.
“OK, well, I’m gonna go now, Applejack…. You have fun with your apple bucking.” And with that, the orange earth pony went right on back to bucking, leaving Pinkie Pie to roam around the orchard alone. As she walked, she thought.
This was getting annoying. First, all the ponies in town were acting weird around her, and now her best friends, too? Maybe it would be different the next time. With a little hope left in her newly revitalized heart, Pinkie trotted with glee back into Ponyville to make one last visit.
“Helloooooo? Rarity?” Pinkie poked her head into the boutique, trying to spot the unicorn. It didn’t take too long. She could see the white body and purple mane of the unicorn from inside the doorway. She was bending over a workbench, holding a needle and thread in the air with her horn. There was an audible gasp from the magic mare and the needle fell onto the table.
“Pinkie Pie!” Rarity turned about anxiously to talk to the happy pony who had just walked into her shop. Then came the barrage of questions, fired like lightning.
“Oh, Pinkie Pie! How are you?”
“Would you like a coat? I’ve made tons, in case you came back.”
“No, thank you.”
“Are you sure?”
“How about a new dress?”
“Oh, you poor dear! Are you all right?”
Pinkie’s replies were just as quick and biting; she answered with little to no emotion, fed up with the whole “let’s treat Pinkie Pie like she needs help” treatment. Still, she remembered that these were her friends and that they really were worried for her. The mare with the curly pink mane and tail smiled sadly at her friend and tried to speak, but Rarity was still anxiously thinking aloud.
“I think I’ll make some tea. Would you like some tea, Pinkie?” she began to trot towards the kitchen (The boutique has a kitchen?! Pinkie thought, When did that happen?), purple tail bouncing elegantly with each quick step.
“Rarity,” Pinkie chuckled hopefully, “I’m fine, really! Can we please just play around?” But the unicorn was already busying herself with choosing which tea Pinkie would probably prefer (“Maybe some Earl Grey?”). Pinkie, completely disheartened by this point, sighed, finally giving up. “OK…. See ya later, Rarity….” And with that, the disappointed pony clopped sadly out of town to go think, alone....