“La la la la la,” hummed Pinkie Pie leisurely as she skipped through town. It was her first time out on her own. Following the success of her first party with her family and how happy she had made them she had decided to go out into the world and bring joy to others. She knew that was her destiny.
The train ride had been fairly uneventful, but now she was in the bustling town of Ponyville. She could see so many different types of ponies of all different colors and cutie marks. Earth ponies, pegasi, and unicorns were all friends. She loved the place already.
Her tummy rumbling, she decided to get some treats before continuing on her way. She passed by a shop that had a cupcake sign in front of it, and she hopped in anticipation. She loved cupcakes.
When she went inside she saw there was only one other customer in the store. While she was waiting for him to finish she ran around excitedly, taking in all the different cakes and treats. Her mouth began watering as she began imagining their deliciousness. There certainly wasn’t this kind of diversity back at home. It had taken a lot of effort to set up her first party. She had had to send out for it all because there was nothing party worthy at home on the rock farm. She could definitely set up a ton of parties with this kind of variety.
She looked up as the male customer groaned loudly.
“I can’t believe this!” said the stallion, moving up and down on his legs. “There was a hole in my wallet! I don’t have enough money. I'm ten bits short! This is everything my daughter wanted for her birthday and the party is going to start really soon. I don’t have enough time to run back home and get more money. My daughter is going to be so unhappy!”
He looked down curiously at the clang of change on the counter, seeing a young pink-coated filly he had never seen before.
“That's enough, right?” asked Pinkie, counting out ten bits.
The stallion smiled despite the situation. “Well, that’s mighty kind of you, but I couldn’t take your money.”
“Sure you can! I know how absolutely wonderful it feels to throw a party and how happy it makes everyone.” She smiled dreamily as she recalled how joyous it had made her parents and sisters. “I can’t just stand here and let a party get ruined! They’re way too important! I want your daughter to have the best party ever!”
The stallion smiled wider. She was just so cute. “Well, thank you for your help, little filly. What’s your name?”
“I’m Pinkie Pie!” she said excitedly, hopping in joy.
“Thank you very much, Pinkie Pie.” He looked thoughtfully at the ceiling for a moment before looking back down at her, asking, “Would you like to come to her party? It wouldn’t feel right to just take your money without offering you something in return.”
“But you already did give me something in return: a nice, big smile.”
His grin faded for a moment from her unexpected statement. It then returned with a laugh. "So I did. My offer still stands, though."
“I’ve actually got some stuff to do, or else I would have loved to come to the party. Thanks, anyway.”
"That's too bad. I think she would have loved to have met you. Thanks again."
The stallion finished paying for his goods, expressing his gratitude one last time before departing.
“Well, that was just so sweet of you,” said Cup Cake.
“It was the least I could do.”
“So what can I get for you, sweetheart? Actually, hold on.” Walking away for a moment she came back with a small bag. “Here,” she said, placing the bag down. “Have some cookies. They’re on the house.”
Pinkie's head tilted a little. “No, they’re not. They’re on the counter, silly.”
The mare laughed. “I mean, they’re free. No good deed should go unrewarded.”
“Thank you!” Pinkie said happily, digging in. “Mmmm, mmmm!” With each bite she felt joy and yumminess suffusing her being. “Oh, wow! These cookies are simply amazing! You asked me what I wanted before, and now I’d like to say “one of everything,” because it all looks so good. And if it tastes half as good as this, I know it will be.”
Mrs. Cake sighed, looking troubled. “I’m glad you think so.”
Pinkie suddenly stopped moving, a cookie an inch from her mouth. “What’s wrong?”
“This is the last day we’re going to be open.”
“What?” said Pinkie, dropping the cookie. “Why?”
“Business has been too slow. We’re a new store. It doesn’t matter how good the product is if no one comes in to buy it. We have to sell enough to pay off the rent on the property space, and we’re not even close. So we’re going to sell whatever goods we can today, and then sell whatever is left over to whoever wants to buy this space.” Mrs. Cake put her head on her hoof, using the other one to wipe away a few tears. "And to think opening a sweet shop was always my dream." She sniffed as she let out a huge sigh. "I guess that's over now." She carelessly shook her hoof in Pinkie's direction. "But that's not your problem." She wiped her face again. "Look at me," she said to herself, "unloading my issues on a little filly. What's wrong with you?"
Pinkie sputtered incoherently for a few moments, not being able to process what she was hearing. Who could possibly not love a shop like this? There was only one thing to do. She threw the snack bag into her saddlebag, setting it down by the door. This was no time for cookies. There was a big frown that had no place in the world. She was going to turn it upside down, no matter what it took. “Hey!”
“If your shop could stay in business would that make you happy?”
“Yes, of course. But what does that-”
“Okay, then! In exchange for the cookies I’ll save your shop.”
“What?” asked Mrs. Cake confusedly. "Hey!" she called out after the filly as Pinkie grabbed the bell on the counter and ran outside.
Pinkie climbed a nearby pole, dinging the bell repeatedly. “HEY, EVERYPONY!” she yelled out. A number of ponies glanced up at her, stopping to gaze at the filly. “How could you just keep walking by here? You have to check out Sugarcube Corner, Ponyville’s best sweet shop. Their stuff is so, so good. Check it out now! You won't regret it.”
A few of them ignored her, but the majority of them were swept up in her enthusiasm, deciding to check it out because she was so gung-ho.
Getting down from the flagpole she stood in front of the store, praising its wares and encouraging every passing pony to visit the shop.
Carrot Cake had just finished making a new batch of cakes, and came out to the main floor asking, “Honey? Who is that?”
Cup Cake looked strangely at the pink pony. “I don’t know. This is the first time I’ve seen her. She came in to buy some treats. When I told her we were going to be closing today she suddenly took the bell and started doing that.”
“I… I don’t know why. She helped out a stallion because he didn’t have enough money, so I gave her some free cookies to make up for it. Now she says that she’s going to save our store from shutting down.”
“We should go have a word with her. She doesn’t need to be doing something like that.”
They didn’t get the chance. They quickly became swarmed with customers, and didn’t have any available chance to take a break and tell her to stop. Over the course of the next hour and a half business had increased exponentially. In just that time they got more customers than they had had since they had opened the shop. Just about every single one had the same thing to say: “Who is that cute little filly outside? I just had to come in because of her.”
As word spread of the energetic and enthusiastic filly giving her all for the shop the line was quickly increasing in size, all of them being drawn to her spunk and personality.
Pinkie saw that business was well-off outside. The line was out the door. They had the clients, now she wanted to check on the products.
Mrs. Cake was feeling out of breath. They could hardly keep up with the mass of customers with only the two of them. There were just too many.
“Hey, can I get three blueberry muffins, five chocolate cupcakes, and a large piece of cheesecake?” asked a mare.
“C-coming right up,” said Mrs. Cake with a huff.
She hadn’t even moved when she suddenly heard a cheery voice say, “Here you go!”
Pinkie Pie held out a bag to the customer, and the mare smiled back at her. “Why, thank you.”
“Is that it?" she asked, her tail wagging like a dog. "Are you sure you don’t need anything else? A-ny-thing?” She used all her charm and her sweetest voice, smiling as wide as she could.
The mare giggled. “Not really, but…oh, how could I say no to that face? I suppose I could add another three muffins, chocolate this time.”
“Coming right up!” With uncanny speed she quickly returned with the products. “Thanks for your help.”
“Help?” asked the confused mare.
“Yep!” said Pinkie, not elaborating.
The mare shrugged, letting it go, paying for the treats. “Here, for being such a great helper.” She left one of the chocolate chip muffins as she exited.
“Yay!” said Pinkie, scarfing it down greedily before saying loudly, “NEXT!”
Mrs. Cake felt like Pinkie had gained complete control of the entire situation. Business was booming, and her sparkling personality continually drew ever more ponies. Each of them usually bought a little something extra at Pinkie’s prodding because she was just so adorable they couldn’t turn her down. The majority of them also gave a little of the treats they bought to her, in return for the happiness she brought them.
Over the next four hours they remained flooded with customers. Pinkie spent most of her time gathering the items the customers wanted, but sometimes went in the back with Mr. Cake to help bake more things to fill demand. The only thing she didn’t do was handle the money.
At the end of it all the Cakes had to shut down the shop because they had literally run out of everything. They had no more supplies to make anything else.
“Thanks for coming, everypony!” said Pinkie Pie, waving energetically to the crowd as they began filing out. "Sorry we're sold out, but I appreciate your help all the same." Even though they were disappointed they just couldn’t suppress their smiles. Throughout it all Pinkie Pie had never lost her spirit. “Hopefully you can come back tomorrow and enjoy some more of these great treats.”
Cup Cake and Carrot Cake just stared off into space for a short period of time, trying to figure out what had just happened. They had been going nonstop for so long they hardly had any time to think about anything. They looked at the near mountain of bits they had gotten from selling so much. They had gotten plenty of orders for birthday parties, regular parties, celebrations, and the like.
“Sooooooooo,” said Pinkie, hopping up and down passionately, boundless joy on her face. “Was that enough? Was it, was it? Can you stay open now? Is your store safe? Did you sell enough?”
Mrs. Cake looked over at the tireless filly that had brought them back from the brink of despair. She was overwhelmed with the help Pinkie had provided. She never would have even imagined this would have been possible this morning. Tears welled up in her eyes, and she put her hooves on her face as she began crying.
For the first time since Pinkie Pie had started her quest she lost her smile. She stopped her hopping. “Oh… it wasn’t enough… is that it?” Now she felt like crying too. “But... but I did my best…,” she said dejectedly. Tears began coming down her eyes. "I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!"
Mrs. Cake walked over to Pinkie, giving her a loving nuzzle. “Pinkie Pie, you silly foal. This is way, way, way more than enough to keep us in business.”
“So... why are you crying?”
“Because our dreams don’t have to end. You saved us. I’m just so happy!”
“Well, if you’re happy then you shouldn’t cry. You should give a cheer and be joyful. Like this: WOOOOHOOOO!” she cried out as she jumped into the air.
Pinkie Pie was jubilant again, and Mrs. Cake couldn’t stop a grin from coming to her face. “Thank you, Pinkie Pie.
“Did you really do all that just because of some free cookies?”
“Of course not,” Pinkie replied. “That would just be silly. I did it because I wanted to see you smile.”
It had been the same sort of response she had given to the stallion. Just like with him her childlike response confused Mrs. Cake. “Um… is that all?”
“What do you mean, “Is that all?” My goal in life is to make as many ponies happy as I can. If it could make someone smile I’ll do anything it takes.”
Pinkie turned around, starting to walk towards the exit. “Well, I gotta go. I’ll see you later.”
Carrot Cake blinked in surprise. She was just too innocent. She didn’t even see what she did as something amazing. She just came in, helped, and was going to leave as if nothing had happened. “Pinkie Pie, won’t you at least stay for dinner?”
Pinkie giggled, shaking her head. “Sorry, but I don’t have time.”
“Are you going home to your family?”
“No. I don’t have any family in Ponyville. This was my first day here, and I already love everypony I met. I left my home on a rock farm to go out and see new things, and I have to hurry before the sun…" She suddenly stopped talking as she opened the door, and saw that it was already dark. "...sets," she finished with a sigh.
“Is something wrong?” asked Mrs. Cake.
Pinkie turned to them with a smile that was too wide to be convincing. She shook her head quickly. “N-not at all. I had meant to spend today looking for a place to sleep but I got caught up in helping you.
“It’s fine. I saw a park on the way here that looked like it had a comfy bench I could spend the night on.”
As Pinkie began walking out the door Mrs. Cake sputtered in disbelief for a moment. “P-P-Pinkie Pie!” she called out. When the filly turned to her she had lost her fake smile. The downtrodden frown on her face was in stark contrast to her attitude throughout the entire day. Tears were brimming in her eyes.
It felt like all the joy had gone out of the mare to see their hero of the day looking so down. “Are you trying to insult us?” she said angrily. “You’re staying here tonight!” She stomped her hoof for emphasis.
“Oh, don’t worry about me. I’ll be okay.”
“Nonsense!” said Carrot Cake. “We could never live with ourselves if we let you sleep out in the cold on a park bench after everything you’ve done for us today.”
“That’s right!” said Cup Cake. “Do you think any of this would have been possible without you? You think all those customers came in here today because of us or our merchandise? They came in because of you! We could use someone with your social skills and personality in our store, especially if you don’t have a place to live here. We have an unused room on the top floor you can stay in as long as you're in Ponyville. You wouldn’t have to pay any rent. We’d just like you to help us out in the shop like you did today, and help serve up plenty of joy and smiles.”
“Are you sure?" Pinkie edged closer to them, a hopeful look on her face. "I don't want to be a burden.”
The pair walked over to her. After looking at each other they both nodded, and Mrs. Cake said, "Pinkie Pie. Do you remember a minute ago when you said that you don’t have any family in Ponyville?”
The two of them picked her up, placing their hooves around her lovingly as they wrapped her in a strong hug. “Well…you do now. Welcome to our family, Pinkie Pie!"
Warm tears came down Pinkie’s eyes as she stayed in their embrace. She had given a smile, and just like a proper smile should it came back to her. Now they had given one back to her, and she couldn't stop a smile coming to her own face.