Epilogue: five years later
“Applejack, come on, we’re going to be late.” I pound a hoof on the door of their farmhouse, then sit back on my haunches as I wait for her. I yawn and look around, I still can’t get over how quickly they built this all up. It’s only been five years, but their farm is larger and more developed than their ranch on Earth ever was. Well, no one ever said the Apples were slow workers... though apparently they are slow when it comes to packing for a trip. I pound my hoof on the door again. “Let’s go, AJ, come on!”
Her voice comes from the other side of the door. “What are we even supposed to bring to this wedding anyway? I haven’t been to Earth in half a decade, and I haven’t been to a wedding there since college.”
“We don’t need to bring anything, we already have it all set up! That’s why you need to hurry up and get out here. The portal only open for another 32 hours you know.”
“Fine, fine, hold your horses.” The door swings open and the farm mare trots out.
I eye her up and down, then raise an eyebrow. “Really? You’re bringing the Stetson?”
She gives me a strange look. “Uh, yeah, do pegasi fly?”
I roll my eyes and the two of us start trotting towards the town. “AJ, this is is Rarity’s and Shining’s wedding. You know, Rarity, the most prissy and formal mare in all of Equestria? And, Shining Armor, the most respected unicorn in all the land? I’m pretty sure this wedding will make tuxedos look like casual wear, so I’m pretty sure they won’t want you wearing your hat”
AJ snorts. “Hey, Rarity asked me to be her bridesmare, she is fully aware that Applejack comes with her hat.”
“It’s bridesmaid, AJ, not bridesmare. Try not to use the pony lingo when we get to Earth, you know it makes the humans uneasy.”
She waves a hoof. “Yeah, yeah, I know. Don’t you lecture me, Rainbow, I spent just as long on Earth as you did.”
“I know, I know.” I smile as we canter down the road and towards the town center. “You do remember what Rarity said though? Both their Earth families are going to be there, and all their human relatives will want to see what sort of ‘animals’ their son and daughter are living with in Equestria. We’re supposed to look all, you know, civilized and stuff.”
“Sure, but still, this wedding is being held on my old farm, and I’ll be darned if I can’t wear my hat on my own land.”
“True enough.” I nod. She has a point, Mac and her were kind enough to offer their ranch to host the reception, which Rarity and Shining graciously accepted due to its location so close to the portal. They only had 72 hours to do everything: Go to Earth, organize a wedding, get their families to Iowa, get married, and then make it back to Equestria before the portal closes. They did admirably well in these first 48 hours, and their families are already arriving at AJ’s ranch for tonight. All that is really missing now are us bridesmares.
“How we getting there by the way?” AJ asks as we enter the town. “We renting a car or something? I haven’t driven in ages, wonder if my license is still valid.”
“We have transportation arranged. Rarity said her family was quite keen on paying for everything, and she said they insisted on giving us the royal treatment since we’re ‘offworlders’ to them.”
AJ rolls her eyes. “Great, more hero worship, not like we don’t get that enough around here.”
“Well we did sorta lead everyone here and spearhead Discord’s fall, can’t blame the ponies for looking up to someone for that.”
As if on cue, we trot past a pair of ponies and then give us a subtle bow. AJ blushes as we trot past. “Still not used to that, even after five years. But why do Rarity’s parent’s want to treat us like guests, she does know that we were humans for half our lives, right?”
I nod. “Oh yeah, definitely. Rarity and Shining told them the entire story when they visited home two and a half years ago.”
“That must have been awkward. Your son goes missing for two and a half years, then comes back as a girl and says she’s actually a pony and is living on another world.”
“Yeah, it took guts to tell the truth like that.”
AJ nods, “Well, her parents took it surprisingly well. Rarity said they sounded pretty excited about this wedding, right?”
“Yep,” I confirm as we canter down the last block and reach the New Ponyville central plaza. Right in the middle of it, at the heart of our town, stands the Mirror Shrine. It’s just a simple stone acropolis of sorts, not much larger than a Starbucks would be, I suppose. Though, unlike any store, this monument is surrounded with ceremonial guard that maintain a constant presence. The monument itself is covered in inscriptions detailing what happened here five years ago, and around it are a few statues of my friends and I. Personally, I found the statues a bit creepy, but I suppose it’s a nice gesture. In any case, other than the guards it’s usually pretty deserted. But the Shrine does contain the mirror, and every two and a half years it becomes a border crossing. The only border crossing.
“Damn, busy day.” Applejack muses as slow our canter to a trot and make our way towards the Shrine. Since the portal is open, it’s surrounded by hundreds of ponies and merchants. We walk past mares handing out trinkets, stands selling the newest tech made on Earth, and masses of other ponies trading newspapers and other communiqué from Earth.
“Yeah, well, they only have three days to make all their new sales and get their supplies restocked. Can’t blame ponies for wanting to keep in touch with our other home.”
We trot passed the merchants, and we start moving up the steps of the shine where we see our friends waiting for us near the mirror. “Rainbow, Applejack! There you are!”
“Twilight, Flutters, Pinkie.” I nod at the three of them then look around. “Sorry we were late, Miss Apple pants here was slow in getting ready.”
AJ shakes her head in amusement. “So I take it my brother, and the happy couple, will meet us there?”
Twilight nods. “Yeah, Shining and Rarity are meeting with family, Earth side. And your brother went through this morning to help them get the farm ready.”
I whistle. “I still can’t believe they managed to arrange a wedding in twenty-four hours. Damn, bless their hearts for doing all this just to let their parents attend.”
Fluttershy nods. “Rarity was always close to her parents. I’m just happy she is able to include them in her wedding.”
Twilight scratches her chin. “I can’t even imagine how awkward it must of been for her to ask her family to that wedding. I mean, even with the video and pictures she brought with her from Equestria, that is one hell of a story to tell. How do you even have that conversation?”
I nod, “That’s what I was just telling AJ. I don’t know how she explained it.”
Pinkie giggles. “Hey, Mom, hey, Pops, long time no see! It’s your son! I switched species! And genders! And now I’m going marrying a stallion! But it’s okay, you’re all invited to the wedding. It’s in two and a half years, see you all then!” She smiles innocently at Twilight. “It probably went something like that.”
I roll my eyes and look at the mirror. “Right. Well, let’s get moving. You know that they say about interdimensional portals through space and time. They wait for no man.”
Fluttershy raises a hoof to her muzzle. “Do ponies really say that?”
Before I can remark, Twilight steps forward. “Gah, Dash is right, we can talk on the way there. Let’s get going girls.”
The guards on either side of the portal bow slightly and step to the side to let us through. The senior guard gives us a salute. “Stay safe on the other side, ponies. Portal closes in thirty one hours.” I give him a polite salute in return, then walk into the mirror to feel everything start to spin.
I stumble forward and land on my hands on the other side. Overhead, a gentle loudspeaker rang out with a procedural voice. “Welcome to Earth, Rainbow Dash. The current time is T-minus thirty one hours till closure.”
I rub my head and try to get my bearings. The room we arrived in looks nothing like the crumbling school field-house we left five years ago. We’re in a spotless room with modern glass and brushed aluminum on the walls. Ahead of us are a series of cameras watching the portal, and an reinforced vault-like door with two well dressed humans standing on either side of it. I rub my neck and stand up. “This looks like a cross between Stargate Command and an Ikea.”
I look around to see three girls, which I assume are a humanized Fluttershy, Twilight, and Pinkie. They are looking around just as bewildered as I am. Twilight looks back at the statue portal. “Where’s AJ?”
She is answered by a gently ‘wumm’ noise as the statue portal behind us ripples open and sends out a fourth girl. She stumbles forward and lands next to me, rubbing her head. Before I can say anything witty, that automated voice turns on again. “Welcome to Earth, Applejack. The current time is T-minus thirty one hours till closure.”
AJ tries to stand but falls forward again. “Gah, I don’t remember humans being so top heavy.”
Pinkie giggles. “Double D’s will do to you, missy.”
AJ looks down at her nude chest and blushes. “Ah, damnit, now I remember why I didn’t want to go to Earth the last time the portal opened.”
“Well, they certainly did a lot since then, that’s for sure.” I look around the room again, noticing one of the humans from the door walking towards us.
He gives us a polite nod. “Ms. Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Applejack, and Princess Sparkle, welcome to Earth. Hopefully the portal transit wasn’t too harsh on you.”
“We’ve been through worse,” I remark as I look back at my friends. “How did you, and that voice in the speaker know who we were? We look nothing like our pony selves.” It’s true, we all look like 20-something girls with normal physique, albeit with generous chests for whatever reason. Unlike those Equestria Girls movies, our hair is not some unnatural hue. We’re just three brunettes and two blondes with normal human eye colors. Honestly, the only reason I can recognize Fluttershy is because of her shy stance, she reminds me of Fiona all those years ago.
The guy clears his throat, then gestures with his hand to point at my hips. “Your cutie mark, Rainbow Dash, not even the portal’s magic can strip that from you.”
I twist over and glance at my flank, or rather, my hip. “Well, I’ll be damned, I do still have my cutie mark. Good to know there’s at least that much to prove we’re ponies.”
My friends start checking themselves out and the human nods. “Well yes, that and your Equestrian Identification Cards will serve as evidence that you are ponies.” He gestures over to the wall where five sets of human clothing are folded, and five small bags lay. “Please keep the ID cards on your person at all times. Our contact number is on the back in case you get in trouble while on Earth, and you also will also be required to show your ID to get back into this facility. Remember that human guests are not allowed to return to with you to Equestria, unless, of course, they are immediate family members or spouses.”
Applejack whistles slowly as we walk over to get some clothes. “Wow, you guys have this all figured out, don’t you.”
The guy blushes slightly. “Thank you, ma’am, you should know that your brother was instrumental in the creation of this facility. None of this wouldn’t have been possible without his organization five years ago. He spearheaded the effort to find and organize the remaining ponies on Earth, and he arranged the purchase of this land to ensure the portal remains in Equestrian control.”
I slide on some shorts, and then eye the bra in front of me, unsure how to even put it on. “So, you guys still keep us ponies a secret from the humans at large?”
He nods. “For the most part, yes. The local mayor knows, and we have an understanding with members of the federal government as well. But the vast majority of the world’s population is blissfully unaware, and we do try and keep it that way.”
“Makes sense, we still don’t really know how stable that portal is. A billion humans flooding through there might seriously mess with the balance of the worlds,” Twilight remarks.
I watch her clumsily putting on her clothes as she goes on to mutter something about missing her magic already. With a smile I turn back to the human. “My friends and I were told we have transport waiting for us. Will the car fit all five of us?”
“Car?” The human laughs slightly. “Ms. Rainbow Dash, you and your friends are our most exalted guests of honor. Come, we have special transportation waiting for you.” He holds out his arm to point at the door.
I glance back at my friends to see them all put on the last of their human clothes. “Ready, girls?”
The human speaks up from behind me once again. “Oh, don’t forget to grab the bags we left for you. They have your IDs as well as some other trinkets for your temporary stay.”
Applejack winces as grabs hers. “Purses? Really now, couldn’t you have gotten us like, backpacks or something?”
“I think they look lovely.” Fluttershy ruffles through hers, then gives a sharp peep of excitement as she spots something. “Gum! Oh, I haven’t had gum in years!”
“What the hell is this?” Applejack picks a black tube out of her purse. “Lipstick!? Did you seriously give me lipstick?”
The human bites his tongue. “Exalted guests, please, your transport is waiting outside. May we get going?”
I smile and sling my purse over my back. “Yeah, yeah let’s get going. I wanna see what kind of wheels you got us.”
The human glances back at me as we walk through the door. “I told you, we didn’t get you ‘wheels’.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever you cool kids are calling them these days.” I wave a hoof at him. No, wait it’s not a hoof. Hand. I wave a hand at him. Gah, I better not screw up my wedding speech with a ponyism like that.
Twilight muses from behind us, “Wow, you guys really renovated this place.”
I glance around as we walk, casually looking at the glass and metal walls. “Yeah it looks pretty slick in here, where did you get funding? It’s not just the gems that Big Mac brought back with him, is it?”
Twilight answers for him, “We learned that unicorns can create gold and gemstones with alchemy, so every time the portal opens we conjure up gold bricks and send them through the portal. The foundation here uses the funds from that to maintain the grounds, as well as pay a generous living stipend to any ponies that volunteer to spend a thirty moon cycle on Earth.”
The human nods. “Yep, that’s what I ended up doing. Some of us have to stay on Earth and make sure this place stays secure. We also have ongoing effects across all six continents to track down any remaining ponies. We’re still finding a few, even all these years later.”
“Well that’s really nice of you.” Fluttershy speaks up, “Sacrificing your own time in Equestria in order to help out ponies still on Earth.”
We start climbing up a glass staircase and the human glances back at Flutters. “Well, thanks, but it’s hardly a ‘sacrifice’. I actually prefer living on Earth. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Equestria is a great place, I’m just not cut out for the agrarian lifestyle. And there are quite a few ponies who have chosen to stay on Earth too. For example, you may have heard Sombra is running for mayor of Chicago?”
“Bleh, just what that city needs.” Twilight shakes her head.
“Well he's not breaking any laws yet, but we are keeping an eye on him. Anyway, like I was saying, quite a few ponies have elected to live here on Earth.”
I glance around, somewhat confused at why we’re going up this staircase. I thought we were going to the parking lot? I shrug and look over at the human. “You ponies are crazy, I could never stay here on Earth. Nothing against you guys, but I just can’t live without my wings.”
Next to me, AJ rolls her eyes. “Right, because we all know you couldn’t live as a human without wings. Especially for, say, twenty five years?”
I bite my tongue as we reach the top of the stairs and the human slides a keycard through a security door. I turn to AJ and scoff, “Yeah, yeah, you know what I meant, AJ.”
“Did we though?” She glances at me with a smirk.
“Hey... AJ” I narrow my eyes at her.
She stops. “What?”
“Nice purse.” I stick my tongue out at her.
“Oh you little—.”
*ahem* The human cuts her off as he clears his throat. “Ladies, after you.”
I glance up and I feel the outside air blow across us from the door he opened. Twilight and Flutters walk through the door first, and I hear the former gasp. “Oh, wow...” Curious, I step forward through the doorway and my eyes go wide as I see what our transportation is. We’re on the roof of the building, and apparently they installed a helipad.
AJ whistles from behind me. “That looks expensive.”
I start walking towards the enormous, modern helicopter. “Not just expensive, damn, it looks like it’s out of Blade Runner. I’ve never seen a helicopter as high tech as this. Who makes it? Where’d you get it? Damn, it looks amazing!”
“Human tech moves exponentially faster than anything Equestria has, surely you all remember that.” The human crosses his arms and gives me a polite smirk. “Now you know why I volunteer to stay on Earth. We get all the coolest new toys here.”
I walk up the aircraft and run a hand across the slick surface. “Wow, I wanna fly this bad boy.”
I get elbowed in the side by Twilight. “Hey, come one, you’re not flying, the pilot is. You’re just a passenger, a bridesmaid going to a wedding. Act the part.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know.” I bite my tongue. “Any of you girls miss the action and stuff we were in before? It feels odd just sitting back and being treated like royalty everywhere we go.”
“Well...” The human trails off. “You sorta are, uh, royalty.” He gestures at Twilight. “And even if you didn’t have the bloodline, you earned the full respect of both of our worlds from your actions. So now we all are repaying that favor.”
Twilight sighs. “Well then fine, this royalty wants booze. Is there any in the copter?”
“And this royalty wants candy!” Pinkie bounces in place.
Our guide grins and nods. “There’s champagne in an ice bucket on the back seat, and snacks in all the seat pockets. Have a safe flight, I’ll see you ladies back here in thirty hours.”
“Who are all these people?” Applejack whispers from behind me as we make our way to the bar under the giant banner reading ‘Best Wishes ~~~ Tom & Rachel ~~ Rarity & Shining’.
I look out at the crowd of a hundred of so humans and their families sitting down for the wedding dinner. “Hell if I know, it’s mostly Rarity’s family I guess. I think Shining and Twilight said they only invited like four people from their side. The rest is all Rarity’s hoity toity bunch.”
AJ bites her lip, looking positively adorable as she does so. We are wearing custom bridesmaids dresses that were made by Rarity, and she made sure we all got dolled up for the dinner. AJ and I were, naturally, against wearing makeup, but we decided that this is Rarity’s wedding so we decided to play nice. And wow, I’d say it was worth it: Human AJ makes one fine dane. She chews her lipstick-covered lip for a moment. “Do you think these humans all know about, you know, what we are?”
“Hmm? No, Rarity said only her immediate families knows. To everyone else they just assume, I don’t know what they assume. Most are too polite to ask I guess.” I turn towards the open bartender and wave him down. “Scotch, straight, two glasses please.”
He raises an eyebrow. “You two ladies sure you can handle that? ”
AJ returns his gesture. “Honey, I think we can manage. Just pour the damn drinks”
The bartender blushes and turns to get us glasses, and a feminine voice speaks up from behind us. “Make that three glasses, darling.”
I smile as I turn around. “Rarity, we were just saying how a proper lady doesn’t drink straight Scotch. You sure you want some.”
She leans on the counter and blows one of her dark bangs out of her eyes. “What can I say, we girls like to live dangerously, don’t we?”
AJ chuckles, then looks Rarity up and down. “You look amazing Rarity, honestly, Shining is one lucky stallion.”
“I’ve been saying that for years, and it’s more true than ever, milady.” I give her a kind smile then turn back to see the bartender grabbing the wrong bottle. I shake my head, “Hey, no, barkeep, get us the Blue Label, this is a wedding after all.”
He nods and grabs the top shelf bottle, then pours us our glasses. AJ takes of a sip of her’s and smiles. “Damn, I forgot how many nice things we’ve been missing on Earth. Almost makes me want to stay for a few moons.”
Rarity giggles softly as she sips her glass. “That could be arranged, AJ, and you know, I’ve seen the way some of the bachelors here have been looking at you...”
“Oh god no.” She sets her glass down suddenly.
I laugh, “You gotta try the waters someday Applejack.”
“I’m welcome for a stallion to come into my life, but no humans, thank you very much.” She shakes her head and starts drinking again.
“Variety is the spice of life, darling.” Rarity smiles. “Shining and I love experiencing the shift in the bedroom as we go from ponies to humans, and then back again. You really must try it sometime.”
The bartender leans forward, confused. “So... uh, where did you say you were all from?”
*Clink clink clink clink*
We all look up to see Shining standing at the head table hitting a spoon against his glass. “Hello! Thank you all for coming!”
“Ooo, excuse me girls, I should be up there for this.” Rarity excuses herself and slips through the crowd to be with her man.
AJ and I watch her leave. “She really does look amazing.”
“Unbelievably so.” AJ nods.
Shining continues his speech, “...my new wife and I appreciate you all coming out here at such short notice. Sadly, we don’t have much time to spend here, but our time here is made so much the sweeter by the company of all of you.” Shining looks over at Rarity arriving at his side, and he throws an arm around her. “Now, I’m not the type of guy who is good at giving speeches to crowds...”
“Bullshit.” AJ says quietly at my side, making me snicker.
“...but I want you all to know, that even though you don’t see us around everyday, you are all in our thoughts, always.” Polite applause fills the air, and Shining takes opportunity to kiss Rarity gently. “You have all given us the mental fortitude we needed through some of the most difficult times we have ever faced, and I want you to know that we wouldn’t be standing here without your support, and the support of our friends.”
“Ah, that’s my cue.” I down the rest of my drink and head forward.
“Remember, don’t screw up.” AJ laughs from behind me. I had a bet with her, five hundred bits, that I wouldn’t accidentally drop a ponyism in my speech.
Shining finishes up his words as I close the distance. “...Rarity and I have had the amazing fortune of sharing the same circle of friends. Her best friends are my best friends, and we couldn’t ask for a better group of peers.” He glances over at me, extending his hand. “And on that note, one of our dear friends here has a few words she would like to say.”
The guests all applaud his speech, and Shining passes me the microphone. I wave at the audience. “Thank you, and it’s really an honor to be given the chance to speak at your wedding.” I turn give the happy couple a polite nod, then brush one of my bangs out of my eyes. “When I first met Shining, he was in a dark place. His whole world was upside down and he was in danger. He was lost, confused, and in all sorts of trouble. I quickly introduced myself, and he immediately asked for my help.” I look back at the married couple. “But he didn’t ask me to help him. He was in danger himself, but he was begging me to leave him and go help Rarity...”
Shining blushes and I see Rarity kiss him on the cheek. The audience ‘awws’ and I continue. “It was like that everyday with Shining. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t put others before him, and it’s clear that he won’t hesitate for an instant when it comes to protecting his loved ones from harm. In the ideal world, instances like that would never arise, but truth be told, Shining has found himself in scenarios like that more times than we care to remember.” I pause and look around the room. “In all honesty, none of us would be alive today without his bravery and self sacrifice, and he’s the most humble, selfless man I know. The man that stands before you is a beacon of all that is right in the world, and he is an inspiration to everyone around him. To put it simply, he makes the rest of us want to be better individuals, and for that, I thank him.”
I raise a champagne glass to him, and he blushes as he returns the gesture. I smile and continue my speech, “But, as highly regarded as Shining is, I’m afraid he is not perfect. I mean, to be honest, he’s not the most generous person I know...” I shake my head sadly. “...because that title goes to Rarity.”
The audience awws again, and I turn to face her. “Rarity is the embodiment of many things; beauty, empathy, wonder, talent, and so forth. But that’s all shadowed by her sheer, unbridled, unending generosity. Rarity won’t spend one penny on herself if her friends need it more, and she volunteers every second of her free time towards helping others less fortunate than her. Her generosity knows no bounds, and it has not only inspired all of us, but saved our lives. Rarity, for everything you have done, know that we are all eternally grateful. Thank you.”
“Oh come here you.” Rarity reaches over with tear soaked eyes and gives me a hug. The crowd gives us applause, and I pat Rarity on the back before ending the embrace.
I pick the microphone back up and wipe my own eyes as I take a deep breath. “Rarity and Shining Armor...” I raise a glass towards them. “Here’s to you! May you both live every day like your last, and every night like your first!”
There’s a whoop in the crowd and everyone stands up as they raise their glasses. “To Rarity and Shining Armor!” The crowd happily exclaims.
I start applauding the happy couple with the rest of the crowd, and then I yell out into the mic, “Rarity and Shining everypony! The best stallion and mare you could ask for!”
I raise my glass and see the happy couple kissing to the applause of the crowd, but behind them I spot Twilight looking at me and facepalming. Next to her I see Applejack laughing her ass off. I blink for a few seconds and retrace my words. “Damnit.”
“Hell of a speech, Dash.” I look up to see Big Mac holding out a glass.
“Thanks.” I grab the drink, it’s been an hour or two since that speech and I think it was time for another round. “I can’t really take too much credit for that speech though. It pretty much wrote itself, those two are literally paragons of virtue.”
“So is the Dalai Lama, but you don’t see me getting a room for of people to raise a glass to him.”
I chuckle softly. “I did get a bit emotional. It feels so strange being... done. You know? Shining and Rarity are married, the portal is running smoothly, and Equestria is all but rebuilt and running like it was thirty years ago. I almost miss how things were, before. The uncertainty, that excitement... those were the days. Nowadays everything is just, I don’t know. Lame.”
Mac moves to give me a backrub. “You only want what you don’t have, Dash.”
“I guess?” I raise an eyebrow.
“It’s an axiom of life. When you’re single you want a partner, but when you get married you lament about not being single. When you’re poor you just want enough money for food and shelter, but when you get that all you can think about is getting a raise so you can buy a nicer car. It doesn’t matter what you own in life, you will never be happy with your current situation.”
I sigh and take a sip of the drink he handed me. “So... you’re telling me we can never be happy?”
He kisses the back of my neck. “I’m saying, you have to learn to live in the moment. Don’t get caught in the mindset that your life will get better once something happens. Your life is great now. Enjoy what you have while it lasts, in a few days you’re going to miss ‘today’.”
I look around. “So you’re saying, instead of feeling sad that all the good times are over...”
He kisses my neck again and whispers. “...we should instead be taking advantage of the fact that, right now, we can go and experience what hands feel like in the bedroom..”
I blush beat red. “And here I thought you were trying to make some sort of life statement, but nope, just trying to get in my pants.”
He grabs my hand. “Can you blame me? Have you looked in a mirror?”
“You don’t look so bad yourself, handsome.” I stand up and peck him on the lips. “We don’t by chance have a room reserved, do we?”
He pulls me towards the farmhouse. “Honey, this is my old land, and I still own the house. If I need a room, I can get us a room.”
“Just make sure we don’t run into any kids, I think they are playing around in there.” I follow behind him as we leave the outdoor wedding reception and go up the steps to the front door of the farm house. I pause and smile as I see the doorknob to the house is still a modified flat bar with teeth marks on it.
He rests his hand on it and smiles as well. “It seems like so long ago when we ‘ponified’ this place.
He pushes the door open and I follow him inside. “I know what you mean, Mac, it’s crazy to think that was just five years ago. It feels like an entire lifetime has passed.”
“You can say that again, Dash.” A familiar voice calls out from just in front of us.
“AJ?” We turn the corner and see her and Fluttershy sitting in the living room. My heart sinks a tad as I realize the humanized sexcapades of Big Mac and I are going to have to wait a little bit.
“What are you two doing in here?” She raises an eyebrow.
“Oh you know...” I scramble to think of an excuse.
“Looking for a room,” Mac says flatly.
Fluttershy blushes, and AJ just bites her lip. “Nice. Very subtle.”
I let go of Mac’s hand and look around the living room. “What are you two doing in here though? Just taking a break from the crowd?”
Fluttershy nods. “Just, you know, reliving some memories.”
AJ looks around. “Yeah, I was just taking Pinkie to see some of the horses, then we decided to stop by here and relive some memories.”
I plop down on the leather sofa. “I didn’t think Pinkie liked horses.”
“She always asks about that mare, Sara. Pinkie said she couldn’t wait to see how he was holding up, or something.” AJ shrugs.
I lean back into the sofa and close my eyes. “Heh... remember when we woke up in a panic and ran around my apartment when realized we had tails?”
AJ laughs. “Ah, that was priceless. Scared the dickens out of me at the time though.”
Mac taps his chin. “You know, speaking of those early days, I think I still have that bottle of Scotch from your 25th birthday. The one that was here at the start of it all?” He gets up and rummages through some cabinets.
Fluttershy smiles softly. “You know, I heard in some communities it’s tradition is to take a shot of alcohol on the exact anniversary of your birth...”
I waggle a finger at her. “Oh no. Don’t you start with that, the last time you did that look what happened!”
We laugh, and a moment later Mac returns with that same bottle. “Well gang, let’s finish this off, for old time’s sake.” He empties the bottle into four glasses.
“Hear hear!” I grab my glass and raise yet another toast that night.
We all take a sip, then lean back and look around as we each reflected on how it all started. “It’s been a hell of a ride guys.” AJ says quietly.
“Yes it has, yes it has...” I sit my drink quietly.
The pitter patter of children’s footsteps makes us look up, and a moment later we see a group of a half dozen young kids running down the hallway playing tag or something. A moment later their game spills into our living room. “Uh, hello.” I wave at the kids.
They couldn’t be older than ten or so, and they barely pay any attention to us adults as they run around the furniture. Fluttershy waves at them as they run the sofa she is sitting on. “Oh, hello, little ones! Careful, don’t trip.”
A second later one of them does just that and falls over onto the carpet. The other kids start to giggle and point fingers. “Oooo, she just said not to! You’re going to get in trouble!”
Mac laughs softly and rubs his forehead. “Shouldn’t you kiddos be in bed? It’s almost midnight, that’s gotta be way past your bedtime.”
One of the boys shakes his head at him. “My momma said today is special because Miss Rarity and Mister Shining can only be here for one day. So she said we can stay up as long as we want!”
AJ smiles wide and nods. “Oh? Is that that so? And what do you think of Miss Rarity?”
“She’s really pretty.” One of the young girls nods.
I feel someone staring at me and I look to the side to see a girl looking at me and tilting her head. She couldn’t have been over than nine or so, and I wave at her. “Hey, what’s your name?”
She ignores my question and steps closer. “You were a bridesmaid! So does that mean... Are... are you one of them? One of the cute horses from where Rarity is from?”
I can’t help but laugh, and beside me AJ and Flutters do the say. Applejack nods at her. “Well, sugarcube, we prefer to call ourselves ponies, but yes, we’re all from there.”
“Whoa, coooool!” The entire group of kids stare at us in wonder.
“What’s it like!”
“Can we come visit?”
“Show us the mark!”
“Yeah, show us your marks! You all have them, right?”
I exchange glances with AJ and she smiles. “Well, we can’t take you there, but we can show you our cutie marks if you want.”
“Only if you all promise not to tell anyone at school,” Mac remarks from my side. “Remember what your parents told you, this is all a secret.”
Fluttershy rests a hand on his shoulder. “Oh, Mac, they are just kids, let them have their fun.”
“I suppose.” He waves a hand at his sister, and I see Applejack inch up the side of her dress to expose her cutie mark.
Applejack beams as the kids gasp when they see her vibrant cutie mark. “There you go kiddos, what do you think about that”
“It’s so cool! I want one!”
“Yeah! It’s so colorful!”
“Oh? You kids wanna see a really colorful one?” Mac elbows me gently.
I grin. “Hehe, Mac is right. Who wants to see a cutie mark that’s way cooler than just some boring ‘ol apples?”
“Hey.” AJ creases her eyebrows at me. “I happen to like apples.”
“Understatement of the century,” I mutter under my breath then I turn sideways and lower a hand to bottom rim of my dress.
The kids all turn their attention to my thigh. “What does yours look like!?”
I slide the dress up and expose my lighting bolt. “Oh, you know, only the most flippin’ awesome thing ever!” A moment later the kids let out a collective gasp and see their eyes widen.
“That’s the coolest!”
“How did you get that!”
“What’s it mean!”
“That’s so awesome looking!”
“I want one!”
“...Eh, it’s just a tattoo.”
I turn my head towards the voice that said that last line. “Oh? What makes you say that?” I look over at a quiet looking kid, standing off by his lonesome on the far side of the room.
He shrugs. “I said it’s just a tattoo, right? There’s nothing special about it.”
The rest of the kids remain dead silent, and I hear a soft laugh coming from next to me. I look over and see Mac shaking his head in amusement. “Kid... you have no idea what sort of things that cutie mark has done. You know what happens if you wake up with that cutie mark?” Mac whistles.
The kid looks around nervously, but clearly interested. “What do you mean? What did it do?”
Another kid speaks up. “Yeah, how’d you get it?”
“What happened to you once you got it?”
“I don’t know if I can tell you the whole thing.” I slowly trace my fingers around my cutie mark. “Kids, that’s a long story...”
The kid in the back scoots forward. “Come on, tell us. Please? What happened?”
AJ kicks her legs up and leans back. “Portal doesn’t close for another 18 hours Dash, we got time.”
Fluttershy leans forward. “Yeah, Dash, you never actually told us your version of it.”
Mac crosses his arms across his chest. “Yeah, come on, Rainbow Dash. Tell us the story of how you got your cutie mark.”
I glance around the room, everyone’s eyes on me and the room is dead quiet. I glance over at AJ. “I was at summer flight camp?”
She rolls her eyes. “The other cutie mark story, Dash.”
“Yeah, tell us the good one!” one of the kids speaks up.
“Alright...” With a soft sigh I grab my glass of Scotch and sit back in my chair. “You sure you wanna hear this?” I glance around and see all the kids nodding eagerly. I smile slowly and take a deep breath:
“Even though MLP:FiM ended a few years ago, my friends and I still loved the show. Stories, merch, fan art, I loved it all...”