The TRUE, heart-wrecking story of why Rarity was not seen on Nightmare Night, in glorious Typo-Typing by Megawacky Max, the brony from South America
(in other words, please excuse my horrible grammar mistakes, okay? English is not my native language)
"All in all," Twilight Sparkle said, "it was one of the greatest Nightmare Nights of all my life."
Spike the dragon merely rolled his eyes. He felt sick, a clear reminder of previous Nightmare Nights back in Canterlot. And how wouldn't he? After so much candy and surprises now he was suffering what can only be described as a sugar hangover. He was half-buried in his own basket bed, whimpering quietly every now and then.
"But let's get back to work! I got delayed on my research of ancient unicorn magic! Spike, please get me the book titled 'A Study on Unicorn History', volume fifth." There was a silent pause. "Spike?" she asked.
"Oooaaaahhhhgggggg..." was all that Spike could mutter, unable to move from his bed.
"Aw, poor baby dragon," Twilight said, taking pity on him. "I guess an excess of sugar is not the same as an excess of gemstones, right? Uhmm, that is something worth researching about..."
"Oh please, Twilight," Spike moaned, "give yourself a break, will ya? It's the day after Nightmare Night and you really expect me to get to work? Sheesh, don't you remember the days before the Nightmare Nights back in Canterlot?"
"Oh... Oh yes, you always had this sweet-tooth syndrome back then, too. But my research--!"
"... It can wait," Spike muttered faintly, slouching deeper in the basket. "Really, take the day off," and he added in a special moment of inspiration: "Princess Celestia won't like it if you go bonkers about studies and responsibilities again."
Twilight was about to speak, but hesitated. There was a slight blush on her cheeks as she recalled certain recent events regarding her extreme diligence at studying.
"Well... perhaps you are right... I should... just... take things easy..."
"You're convincing nopony with all that reluctance," Spike interrupted somewhere from inside the basket.
"Agh, all right, all right, I'm working on it, it's not easy for me to... just... stop... studying..." Twilight shook her head and sighed. "You're right. I need to learn to take breaks and so on. I guess I could go have a walk or something. Visit my friends. All that."
"Sounds great. Please don't bang the door when leaving. My head feels like if it's gonna spin off my neck."
"That settles it, then." She clapped her hooves together. The uneasy grin on her face showed she wasn't entirely sure about leaving her studies for a day, but the memory of Princess Celestia's disappointed voice was enough to help her take the decision. "Stay here and rest. I'll go visit my friends. Oh, and don't eat any more candy!" she added as she was about to leave the library.
The door slammed. Spike moaned painfully; well, that's it for not banging the door. Then he looked sideways to the small table next to his little bed. A large bowl of towering candy loomed right over his aching self.
"I am so doomed...", he gave in and reached for a chocolate hoof.
The town of Ponyville was awakening from the events of the night before. Still many bits and pieces of decoration flooded the streets, but the efforts of a large group of volunteer ponies was slowly but steadily taking care of it all: plushie spiders, smashed pumpkins, apple cores galore, streamers, little flags, dozens of fake cobwebs, and, yes, thousands of littered candy wrappers. There was no school after Nightmare Night. Spike wasn't the only youngling with sugar hangover.
But still, what a night! Nightmare Nights back in Canterlot had never been as amazing as it was this time. Twilight tried to remember why... then she slowly realized she hadn't been at that many Nightmare Night parties to begin with. Oh, as a filly she sure was in for the candy, but as she grew older and more responsible, even on a night of joy and candy she would sweeten her eyes with the sight of... books.
Books, more books, parchments and old words.
She had to sigh a bit at the memories. Right, she wasn't the social kind back then. She recalled invitations rejected by her, candy left to spoil next to her books, and the special, so very special feeling of being the only student in class the next day after the celebrations.
Yes, back then there were also sugar hangovers.
She could hardly blame Princess Luna for the way she found it hard to fit in. Luckily Twilight was able to help her out with a little help from her friends, even if Fluttershy seemed quite... reluctant to help. Of course, she was probably scared of the whole celebration. But even then, Rainbow Dash was a--no, wait, she didn't help that much either, did she? In fact, she nearly spoiled everything by cracking that lightning bolt on the wrong time at the wrong place. But then you had Pinkie Pie, and Applejack, and Rarity--
Come to think of it... where was she, last night? Twilight recalled seeing all her friends but Rarity. She didn't--
"Ah, careful, sugarcube. Twilight? You okay?"
"Ow, who put that bucket in my hoof?" Twilight staggered to her hooves.
"Ya tripped yourself, didn't ya? Walking while day-dreaming, by the looks of it."
Applejack was watching her friend with half of an amused smile, the other half mixed with worry.
"I'm all right, Applejack. I guess I was day-dreaming after all. But what is all this?" Twilight asked, looking around properly for the first time. The street was full of buckets and barrels, most of them empty, some others containing...
"Apples and apple cores!" said Applejack. "The family and I are gathering what was left of last night. Whoo-hee, wasn't that something?"
"It was. Speaking of last night... did Rarity participate as well? I don't seem to remember seeing her at all."
There was a visible change in Applejack's expression. Her ears flopped backwards and her smile went down.
"Ah. Rarity." She turned around and picked up a bucket from the floor with her mouth. Twilight followed as she headed to a small pile of apple cores. "Rarity doesn't celebrate Nightmare Night, Twilight. Not in the traditional way, at least."
"What do you mean 'not in the traditional way'?"
Applejack began to fill the bucket with the apple cores, cleaning the street. "It's something that happened before ya came around, see. I could tell ya, of course, but... Weeellll... it's better if ya hear it from the lady herself."
"Wow, you make it sound like a tragedy."
"Depends on who's telling the tale. I could tell it straight, but if ya want to hear the proper version, ya go see Rarity."
"I think I will. Thank you, Applejack, and good luck with the rest of the cleaning."
"Ma'h pleasure, sugarcube."
Twilight Sparkle trotted down the streets of Ponyville with no real hurry, keeping a slight feeling of awe at the many clusters of working ponies here and there. Truly Nightmare Night was a great celebration, but she had never really appreciated the work it generated the day after. Not back in Canterlot, since she never had to worry of such things as a candy-munching filly, nor ever noticed it during her years of study and research. Of course the decorations wouldn't just go away with a puff of magic, but, really, she never bothered to think of all the work and dedication it took.
There wasn't much time to think now, anyway.
"Ah, here we are..."
Rarity's house and boutique was just a few feet away. Twilight approached the door and attempted to open it.
Huh. Closed? It was business time already, and even if school was closed it didn't mean the rest of Ponyville was. Twilight knocked on the door.
"Go away! We're closed! Come back tomorrow!" came the almost rageful cry from inside. It took Twilight off-guard and, when she came to realize it, she had backed away a few steps.
"Rarity? It's me, Twilight!"
There was the sound of the locks being unlocked, and then the door opened up.
"My goodness, I'm sorry, darling. I didn't think it would be you."
"What's with the yelling?"
"Oh, nothing, nothing..." Rarity evaded the answer. "But pray join me for breakfast! The water is just about to come to a boil."
"That sounds nice, thank you," Twilight said, trotting in.
Her hair is a mess, she thought to herself, and there are slight black circles under her eyes.
"So what brings you here on this beautiful morning?" Rarity asked as they were sitting face to face at the table. Between the two friends, along the wooden surface with very delicate and all-elegant tablecloth, Rarity's breakfast glistered in toast and jam. She was making a very expensive-looking porcelain teapot pour steaming tea in Twilight's cup, with magic.
Her voice is edgy, too, Twilight thought. Huh...
"Where's Sweetie Bell?" she asked, looking around. "Is she also in bed because all the candy she probably ate last ni--" she stopped and turned her attention to Rarity as she heard the teapot clink hard against her cup, knocking off some tea in the process.
"Oh dear, silly me," Rarity chuckled a nervous giggle, "I'm a bit sleepy-headed, this morning, haha."
"Rarity, are you feeling all right?" Twilight cautiously asked.
"Of course I am!" she replied, perhaps louder than needed.
The way she is grinning... she's nervous, Twilight considered.
"I am perfectly fine, thank you very much. It's just a beautiful morning and I am feeling very, very, very well, yes. Uhm... uuhh... ah... I-Is it hot in here, or it's just me?"
"It's you," Twilight replied flatly. "You've over-flooded your cup already."
"Ack!" Rarity magically flung the teapot away in despair, sending it flying to the nearest wall, where it smashed in a million pieces. "Oh, pity that, hahaha, it was an old thing and I didn't like it anyway and I am sure that I can purchase a new one that was very nice of you to drop by Twilight but I'mgonnaaskyoutoLEAVEPLEASE!"
"Rarity!" Twilight shouted.
Her friend blinked. "What?" she asked, innocently.
"I'm sorry, but I have the teeniest bit of suspicious that your current attitude is related to Nightmare Ni--"
"Don't say that name!" Rarity cried. "No, no, no, we don't talk of Ni--of that. No, we don't. Everypony wants to celebrate, that's very good, wish them luck and happiness and all that, but in here we don't mention Nig--THAT."
She noticed Twilight's severe look. Her friend was glaring at her over invisible glasses. Rarity hesitated, and then seemed to calm down.
"I guess I owe you an explanation..."
"I was wondering why I haven't seen you last night," Twilight slowly said. "Applejack said something about you not celebrating Nightmare Night the traditional way, but she added that I'd better ask you if I wanted to know the details."
"Oh, Applejack didn't tell you? That's very noble of her, really. It's nothing too important, Twilight... It's just that Nigh--THAT and I don't... really... get along... that well, so I don't participate of the celebrations the same way all the other ponies do. It's an old story, too, that left what you may call 'a scar'."
"A scar," repeated Twilight.
"Oh yes, a scar! Deep in my very soul, marking me forever for Nightmare Nights to come!" Rarity swung her arm into a dramatic pose. Whatever it was, Twilight thought, it sure didn't change her style.
"Care to tell me? Sometimes a friend can be of help."
"Oh, of course, darling, but I had many friends who tried to be of help. I'm not saying I won't tell you anyways... I mean, we are friends and all... but whereas I am certainly looking paranoid this morning and absolutely not, I repeat, NOT in my best-looking self, it would do good to you to admit that the main reason you want to hear this little... anecdote of mine... is all due to curiosity and very little else."
"I admit I am curious," Twilight agreed. There was no way around it.
Rarity sighed a great, dramatic sigh. She began to spread some jam on a toast with a butter knife... and magic.
"Very well, then. But I must warn you, Twilight Sparkle: if you make fun of this, if you laugh at my despair, if I see your lips curving upwards ever so slightly, I will put our friendship in serious doubt. Not even Pinkie Pie laughed when she heard this story, such tragic my tale of woe is."
"I promise I will not laugh at you," Twilight solemnly vowed. To her insides she thought: Wow, she means it! But how could I possibly laugh of a friend's tragic tale?
"All right..." Rarity took a very deep breath, then narrated in a carefully-measured voice: "It all began back when I was a little filly. It was my very first Nigh--nnnggg... Oh, fine," she caught Twilight's rolling eyes, "it was my very first Nightmare Night--aggh--and I was thrilling with anticipation. Back then I hardly knew any of my current best friends, but I had many other friends at school. We were all excited about the whole concept: Free candy? Designing costumes? Staying up all night? It was the dream of all younglings.
"So, during weeks I spent my time designing a costume for the event. I was going to be a Princess!"
"Of course." Twilight sipped her tea. Rarity went on.
"On the eve of Nightmare Night my friends and I gathered together to visit every doorstep in Ponyville, asking for tricks or treats on every stop. Each of us held empty bags that promised to be full of delicious treats by the end of the journey. I looked simply spectacular in my princess outfit, though my friends said it didn't really match the spirit of the celebration. Why, they were wearing those ugly-looking cardboard masks and over-stitched rags and--"
"Please go on," Twilight said, stopping her friend from going into a fashion overdrive.
"Oh, right, right. Anyways, we departed to our very first door, and we knocked, and the door opened. 'Trick or Treats!' we yelled, and I must admit it was one of the joy-fullest moments of my young and beautiful life. So, each of us, my friends and I, got something in our bags. I remember Cyanmane got a hoof-full of licorice worms (eww), Hoverwings got several chocolate-covered sugar cubes, and Sapphire Gleam found a couple of jawbreakers in her bag."
Rarity paused purposefully for greater effect. She took a long, deliberate sip from her cup. Twilight waited, patiently, and then...
"... I got a rock."
Another long, deliberate sip. Rarity's eyes narrowed as she glanced at her friend.
"You are not wanting to laugh, are you, Twilight Sparkle?" she asked.
"No..." her friend hastily replied, a true battle in her soul to avoid making a mistake. A rock? She thought. She wasn't prepared for that one, and Twilight was finding not laughing to be a sudden problem, made worse by Rarity's severe and serious expression.
"Are you sure you don't want to giggle at what I just said? About me getting a rock as my very first Nightmare Night treat?"
"Even since you know my little cutie mark story regarding also a rock?"
"E-E-Even so..." Oh, sweet Celestia, be strong, Twilight!
"And especially since... you know... Tom?"
Now Twilight's eyes were bulging with merry tears. She could only manage to shake her head in denial.
"Why are your lips quivering like that?" Rarity inquired, even more serious than before.
"Feeling pity of you for your heart-wrecking story?" she risked.
"And the quivering is definitely not, by any ways and means, an attempt of your lips to break into a joyful grin?"
"T-Totally not...! F-Friends d-don't d-do t-that..."
"Good. The next door we visited..."
Oh, sweet Celestia, is there more? Twilight panicked.
"... was greeted with chocolate horse shoes, cotton candy mane, and marshmallow fillies for my friends."
There was a new deliberated pause. Twilight eased her inner laugher and risked the question.
"And... you got..."
"I got a rock." Pause. "You're going slightly purple, darling. More than your usual color, I mean. It probably is a bad idea to hold your breath like that, as if you were trying to... I don't know... avoid laughing your lungs out?"
"Don't... be... rid-d-d-diculous..." Twilight breathed again.
Rarity kept an accusing glare on her friend for an uncomfortably long time.
"Very well... My little errand that night proved to be of a repeating luck, you see, for every door we knocked at, a new rock landed in my bag. While my friends gathered candy, I was gathering..."
"... r-r-rocks?" Twilight stuttered, a desperate attempt not to break into hysterical laugher.
"Rocks, indeed. As you can imagine, it wasn't quite the experience I was expecting from a night of joy and candy."
"Okay, okay..." Twilight breathed deeply. Oh dear, that was too close! "Still, even if that first Nightmare Night was not a success, it doesn't mean--"
"The NEXT year," Rarity interrupted with determination, and Twilight knew things were just about to turn ugly, somehow, "I was ready to give Nightmare Night a second chance. To look at the bright side, you know how it is. So I designed a brand-new disguise (I was the Queen of Hearts, that time) and gathered again with my friends for a quest of joy and candy. And we reached the very first door of the night, and my friends, all of them, got delicious treats."
Purposeful pause. Twilight wasn't really wanting to laugh anymore. There was something dangerous in Rarity's eyes...
"And... you got..."
"... a rock."
"All that second Nightmare Night of my life, right behind every single door, awaited a brand new rock for me," she said. Her tone... there was a slight hissing on it. "And the same happened the following year... and the year after that... oh, and the year after that other year I just mentioned. Rocks. All of them. Rocks. You can look at me, Twilight."
She was avoiding Rarity's eyes, but had to take the risk and meet those piercing windows to her soul. There was a light deep into them and it glowed the wrong way.
"Rarity... That story..."
"I don't want to put in doubt your version of it, but... Wasn't it a bit of an exaggeration on your part?"
"An exaggeration," said Rarity, flatly. Her horn began to glow.
"Yes, you see, just by the very basic variables of probability alone, it is impossible that you could have gotten so many--"
Rarity's horn stopped glowing as the dissipating dust revealed that, where once was a breakfast table, now laid a considerably large heap of stones of various shapes and sizes. The rest of the furniture, along with bits and pieces of cups, tea, toasts and assorted jams, were somewhat visible amid the rubble. Twilight was looking at it, not knowing what to make out of it.
"Uhm. Rarity? What is... this?"
"Trick-Or-Treat, Twilight Sparkle!" Rarity growled through gritted teeth. The edge in her tone made Twilight back away in an ancient instinct to avoid predators. "Do you like it? It's my very own collection of disappointments past! All of them carefully catalogued by name, date and, most important, door!"
Twilight then noticed the scribbling on each stone. Oh, sweet Celestia, she's actually collected and catalogued them!
"Well... I can... see your point," Twilight risked, "but still that is no reason to hate Nightmare Night and avoid the celebrations."
"Avoid the celebrations? Dear goodness, Twilight, I certainly do not avoid the celebrations! I just don't celebrate it the traditional way!"
"But you weren't anywhere to be found!"
"Of course I was! I was. Right. Here! At home! Right next to the door! Waiting!"
"Yes!" Rarity chirped, her left eye twitched.
Oh dear, thought Twilight.
"Waiting... for what?"
"The children, of course!" Rarity grinned. There it was that twitching again. "The joyful children wearing their little costumes and asking for tri-hee-hee-cks or tre-heh-heh-ats, coming a-knocking to my door, so I could give them... give them..."
"Candy!" Rarity giggled a nasty giggle. "Oh, don't look at me like that, darling. I am the essence of Generosity after all, even before I was officially proclaimed as such. So, every Nightmare Night, instead of going out and having fun, I celebrate it in my own way by staying home by the door, waiting for the kids, and giving candy to all of them. Lots, lots of candy."
"Oh... Oooff... That's a relief--I mean, that's so kind of you!" Twilight corrected herself at the last second. "But still, that doesn't sound untraditional to me. I though--"
"And I know," Rarity interrupted again, and this time Twilight could see she was talking more to herself than to her friend, "that, if I am patient... and if I wait long enough... one night... one of these Nightmare Nights... they will come a-knocking as well."
"The grandchildren of all those wonderful ponies who gave me these beautiful rocks back when I was a filly myself!" Rarity claimed, the demented grin back to her face. "I don't forget, Twilight, dear. I don't want to think they gave me things for free when I was a kid. I give candy away because it's a tradition I want to keep as the proper one, so to speak. But when one of them come... when the grandchildren of one of those w-w-w-wond-d-d-derf-f-f-ful ponies who gave me a rock comes to my door... They. Shall. Have. THEM. BACK!! HAH! HAHAHA! HAAAH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! More tea, darling?" she finished, suddenly switching back to her normal voice.
Twilight was wide-eyed and tilted backwards as far as her gravity center would allow. For a moment there, when Rarity was laughing out loud, she seemed ready to bite. Now she was staring at her with her normal smile and manners. Behind a pile of rocks with mementos written all over, which she had put on her breakfast table, crushing it under its weight.
Twilight shook her head. Very slowly. And very carefully.
"Thank you for not laughing at my terrible story, Twilight. It's good to have friends like you."
Twilight just nodded, never leaving her state of shock.
Applejack smiled with the satisfaction of a job well done. The streets of Ponyville were litter-free, at last. Big Macintosh had just departed back home with the last cart full of remaining apples from the celebration past. She was about to leave as well, when she spotted Twilight on the street.
Twilight stopped in front of her friend. They shared a meaningful glance.
"You were right," Twilight slowly said, "if I wanted to hear the proper version, I had to go hear it from Rarity herself."
"Did ya find it difficult to hold yer laugher during the first bit?"
"Did she showed ya her... collection?"
"Every one of them."
"Bet she trashed another table, huh. Does that every time."
"Nothing to worry about. In a day or two she'll be back to her usual self."
"Right. I was thinking..."
"... I believe I got too much candy for the kids, yesterday. There's going to be a lot left to spoil. Perhaps... perhaps Rarity could want some."
"That sounds like a nice attitude, sugarcube. I'm sure she'll appreciate it."
"Hopefully. Take care, Applejack."
"See ya, Twi."
Twilight trotted back home, thinking on Rarity's mind break during the tale... and remembering her very own when she was late for that letter to Princess Celestia. Ah, well, she thought, I guess we all deserve our own moments of hysteria. Who I am to judge her? Next Nightmare Night I'll try to persuade her out, though.
For the time being, a bonbon or two can make all the difference. But I'll have to take some from the secret candy stash in the hollow books, the only place Spike would never dream to find any.
Hey, we all had at least one sugar hangover in our lives. It just doesn't mean we can't have them with style. And books... books are my style.