"Welcome to the weather factory kids!" I greet them in my white coat and hardhat. All the little foals dressed up the same. "I'll be your guide for the day! Rainbow Dash!"
The foals all cheered. One little filly cheering louder than the other.
"Now just follow me. Right here is where we make the spectra! Right through these doors. Come on no need to be shy, get closer, and close, and gotcha! Ha! That why I ask ya to put on the sunglasses earlier! Quite a sight isn't it? Dozens of pegasi concentrating the sunlight, and once it's the right consistency, it's then separated into its seven pieces. If we did it before hoof, we'd have to gather up the seven colors separately."
The foals all oohed and aahed. One filly got too close to the rail, but I caught 'er.
"Look out, kiddo, don't want you falling in."
"Would I get a mane like yours?"
"Naw! This mane is 100% natural thank you very much!" I grinned.
Then entire factory shook, a giant dragon tore its way through the cloud walls. I saved my favorite guest from falling in a second time. The dragon dunked its head in and began gulping down the rainbows.
"Everypony that can fly, help those who can't and get out!" I ordered. I then shouted at the foals. "Follow me, don't stop and don't look back!"
With my favorite filly on my back we raced back the way we came. Then I suddenly felt a bit lighter. I turned to see she was now in the claws of the dragon.
"LET HER GO!" I roared forgetting the other foals who screamed for help.
I gasped when I saw the dragon had in its other claw, Twilight!
"I feel like Kazakh cuisine. But I'm on a diet. So which one should I got with? Or maybe to heck with dieting and I should have both. What do you think? Please hurry, you look busy." It pointed behind me.
A fog container had broken open and was pushing the foals away from the exit faster than they swim through it, and would crash into the smashed machinery like rocks in rapids.
"So what's it gonna be?
A weighty choice is yours to make.
The right selection or a big mistake.
If a wrong choice you choose to pursue, those you love will perish without you."
I screamed and dove right into the dragon's gut! No! I knocked her and Twilight out of his claws, they're falling to fast, I can't build up speed in time! No! Please! Please!
I gasp awake, panting, and drenched in sweat. My wings were spread out behind me.
These nightmares, how long have I been having them? Uuuuuuuuuugh.
Ugh, this is like when I saw that side of Gilda I never knew existed, or wanted to know.
Huh? Gilda. Where was Gilda? I hadn't thought of her since, whenever. No. I didn't just not think of her, I didn't REMEMBER her! What the buck!? Sure she turned out to have turned into a jerk (or maybe I just stopped being a jerk and she stayed one), but she was still my real friend once!
I'm sick of this. I'm sick of stuff I don't know. I'm sick of my friends not acting like my friends. I'm sick of stuff I can't change. I'm sick being made to jump through hoops.
The others aren't awake yet. I trot outside without them.
I wandered out of the Everfree without running into any trouble. It was dawn. I looked up see Cloudsdale, the same as it always was. No dragon flying about, no pegasi falling from it, no pegasi... no pegasi.
I growled. "I've. Had. ENOUGH!"
= "Ichigo Pushes Aizen" - Bleach =
I do a cold start and zoom up to Cloudsdale, creating a shockwave on the ground.
I cut through the air like a knife.
I don't bother trying for a graceful landing, I pierce the foundations like a bullet, leaving a hole behind and creating a ring of clouds around me as I land, creating an impression in the clouds as I do.
I look around. Not a pegasus in sight. Nopony walking, opening their shops, fling around, it's like a ghost town. I snort air and stomp my hooves.
"Okay! How the buck is this supposed to make sense? Where's Cloudsdale delivery teams? The guards? The shops should be opening! The streets are never deserted!"
Suddenly I hear a bunch of noise behind and turn around. There are pegasi crowding the streets, the store opened and shouting for potential customers. Guards standing at attention. Pegasi taking off and landing every which way.
They had not been there a second before!
"Hey! Dash! What's got your feathers in a knot? You okay?" I turned and snorted to see Spitfire. There in her flight suit.
I flew in her face. "Spitfire! What are you doing here right now?"
"Uh, being awake? Not much else. It's morning, Dash, I haven't even done my morning practices yet."
"No! I what were you doing right here? Right now? WHY did you come right here to this place? It wasn't to talk to me, you couldn't have known I was here before!"
"No, I didn't, I just came..."
"Trick question! I made a big entrance! I poked a hole in Cloudsdale! You didn't see that?"
"And you didn't see or notice?!"
"I... I didn't."
"So. What. Were. You. Doing. Before?!"
"I... " Spitfire eyes widened. "I don't remember, at... at all... I can't... it's like... it's like I woke up right here. But I wasn't sleepwalking! It's like I went to bed right after you last visited... ugh, when did you last visit? What is going on here?"
All of the pegasi just continued to happily trot on by. Not noticing a Wonderbolt and the Maker of the Sonic Rainboom in plain view.
"Why are you wearing your full flight suit when you told me you were going to be just practicing?"
"I... I was just... wearing it? Me and Soarin' wore them for the grand Galloping Gala remember?"
"That was a public event! I know you don't wear them just flying around Cloudsdale! Like you're doing right now. So why?"
Spitfire shook her head, her eyes doing the thousand yard stare. "I... don't know." Spitfire began shaking. "Rainbow Dash, what is going on?" She repeated.
What could I say? What did I dare say? Sure I told Rarity, but Rarity wasn't surrounded by ponies who were... I don't know what.
"I can't say."
"Dash! You saved my life, and Soarin', and Misty Fly's! Let me help you! You're my friend."
"... I save your life and two of your friends, we hang out for one afternoon as part of the prize for me winning Best Young Flier. Then at the Grand Galloping, 'we' spent most of the time with you being pulled away every three seconds for photos. That makes us friends?"
Spitfire stomped her hoof. "You think I enjoyed that evening anymore than you did? I was going to have more fun hanging with you than having pictures taken for the hundredth time that night! But Soarin' and me were the highest ranking Wonderbolts there! We had responsibilities! I'm sorry, but this isn't the time to be a jerk about it! This isn't like you!"
"How well do you even know me?"
"I know you well enough to know you do not look well! I WANT to help, and so would my teammates! But I can't help unless you tell me what's wrong!" she pleaded.
I snorted sarcastically. "If you wanna help, make me a Wonderbolt."
"Rainbow! I'm surprised at you! If that's really what you want, I guess we can have you measured for a fight suit."
I clutched her by her shoulders hard. "THERE! Does that make sense you'd say that?!"
I narrowed my eyes as Spitfire's eyes widened.
"Of course it makes sense, it's what you...it's what you want?" Spitfire began shaking. She gritted her teeth. "No, it doesn't!"
"How do I know you're Spitfire?"
"...How do I know you're Rainbow Dash?" She whispered. I saw a snarling blue mare reflected in her eyes.
"I know who I am!"
Spitfire cried out as my as my grip tightened. "You're hurting me!"
Nopony around us reacted.
I push her back as I let go.
Spitfire rubbed the spots I grabbed her. She looked around, I think she realized none of the pegasi were noticing us.
"Dash, you're scaring me." She said looking at me, she looked more worried than scared. "Please. Calm down. Breath. I don't know what's going on. But I get the feeling you don't either. Or you wouldn't be this strung up. Please. Maybe we can figure out what's going on together."
I'd trusted Rarity.
"Follow me Dash." Spitfire said, as she lead me straight to the Wonderbolt stadium. "It's funny, I just remembered, Fleetfoot has a cold, and the others are all booked up, maybe after we solve this, maybe you'd like to be a Wonderbolt for a day? It's a charity performance for Ponyville orphans so maybe-"
And I saw them. All those Wonderbolts. Waiting obediently. Standing in a row, like action figures. No interest in seeing me. No surprise. Nothing but blank looks. Spitfire didn't seem to notice.
And it all made sense. I should have known better. I wasn't about to follow this Judas Goat.
"Go back to sleep, Spitfire," I snorted and dived back down the hole I came from.
I glanced back, I was surprised that I wasn't surprised when I don't spot any pegasi from a distance again.
I fly above Ponyville. Taking in everything in like I always do. Heh. I don't think any of my friends realize how much I notice while flying. Trying to spot ponies acting unusual.
Nope. Everything is normal. The Cakes are opening their shop right on time. Sea Swirl looks in the fountain and smiles this morning right on time. There's Daisy, opening the flower shop like she does every Thursday a minute after the cakes do right on time. June Bug opens her window and greets the day.
Raven being greeted by Mayor Mare's husband and daughter Fair Ruling, right on time.
The twins opening their doors.
And here comes, "What a beautiful day."
"And we're ready to make anypony more beautiful if they care to! Would you like to, Rose?" She asked as the redhead came by.
"Not today, thanks."
Right on time.
Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon grin evilly and whisper to each other just around the corner plotting their next doomed scheme to humiliate the CMC.
Everything sure seems normal. Everything happening right on time.
Like the fight with the dragon day before yesterday never happened.
Ponyville always snapped back no matter the disaster, be it stampede or parasprites, you either toughed it out or moved.
Sure, me and my friends got our scraps and bruises but...when was the last me and my friends got so much as a paper cut on ANY of our adventures?!
I remember all the bruises I've gotten from training, it was just par the course. So many of our, my adventures lately. And not so much as a scratch?
"Here, Miss Rainbow Dash." I looked and saw a pink pegasus with a cupcake cutie mark. "Some cupcakes for Ponyville's hero!" She smiled, flapping her wings. Doesn't she live in Cloudsdale?
"No thanks. Give'em to the orphanage."
"But...but they're for...they're for you." She sounded confused and worried.
"And I want you to give'em to the orphanage instead."
"But...but nopony ever-"
I ignore her and land on the ground.
I look around. These things liked order so much? Heheh. Well. How about some chaos into the mix? Heheh. I spot Lyra and Bon Bon sharing some morning tea.
I struck the tea cup out of Bob Bon's grip and onto the ground.
"Hey!" Lyra stood up.
Bon Bon snapped, "What do you think you're-oh my Celestia!"
She stared at the broken tea cup. I looked down. The tea turned a sickly green color.
"Poison?!" Lyra gasped. "You...you saved Bon Bon...thank you." She whispered, stunned.
"BWAAHAH!" An ugly unicorn stood up on the next table over to us, and twirled his mustache. "You may have foiled my evil scheme to get Bon Bon's candy store! But you'll never catch me!" He ran away at full galloping. I stood there.
"Aren't you going to do something?! He tried to killed Bon Bon!"
"Why, aren't you?" I asked evenly. "Bon Bon's your best friend in the world right?"
Bon Bon blushed.
Lyra opened her mouth, and suddenly looked like she had a headache.
"BLAST!" An identical ugly pony stood up at yet another table. "You may have seen through my illusion decoy! But you'll still never catch me!" Lyra grabbed him with her magic, he didn't even try fighting back.
"So that's what you were doing? You're the greatest! Thank you!" Lyra said.
I didn't answer. I trotted over to an open window at Sugar Cube Corner's kitchen, reached in a grabbed a pie piece and stuffed my face.
"Oh! How nice! I was making that pie just for you!" Mrs. Cake smiled and nodded.
I threw the rest of pie right at her face.
She lowered her head at the last second, "Let me get you a napkin."
It hit Pinkie Pie who was right behind her square in the face. Pinkie Pie used her freaky big tongue of her to wipe it off her face. "Haha! Classic gag, Dashie! Let me cook up some more later and we'll have a real pie fight after the party!!"
I trot straight to Big Mac's apple stand, and grab and eat an apple without paying. Then I notice a sign that says. 'Free Sample Today.' I grunt and eat another one. 'Extra For Heroes.' And another. 'Extra Extra For Elements of Harmony.'
"Enjoy." Big Mac smiled and nodded.
I spot Granny Smith. I grab a vine off of the flower shop wall, and zoom up behind her, and making a hissing sound as wave it right behind her.
"Agh! A rattler! Run for the hills!" Then she smiled and said. "Haha! Good one, youngster!" She smiled and nodded.
I fluttered back. This...this wasn't about everything being nice... this wasn't everything being orderly...
I spotted Derpy, I zoomed over to her mail bag, and pulled out a letter and ripped it in half.
"Thank goodness! I totally regret writing that letter to my sister! Thank you!" Cheerilee called spotting the torn letter picking it up.
Cheerilee has a sister?
"Wow! That was nice of you, Rainbow Dash! You're a hero!" Derpy cheered, clapping with her wings, and fell on her butt as a result of the sudden lack of lift. "Ow! My bad!"
"Sorry, I didn't catch you there."
"It's okay, I fell cause I'm such a big dummy."
"...What did you say?"
"I fell cause I'm a big dummy. I'm sorry."
"You were't a dummy when you aced me on that test in grade school."
"Oh I cheated. Because I was jealous of you totally radical awesomeness that could never compare to yours because I was a total dweeb."
HA! I knew-...I started that rumor. I felt sick again for the second time in so many days. I trotted away drunkenly. The world shifting under my hooves.
I staggered into Sugarcube Corner, I didn't bump into anything, in fact, I just happened to fall on some nice comfy pillows.
My head was spinning. I look around. Foals playing games that didn't go anywhere. A generic din that I couldn't even make out.
I don't know how long I sat there, until Pinkie Pie gave me a piece of cake, I didn't care anymore, I ate it.
"You okay, Dashie?" Pinkie Pie rubbed my mane.
"No. Not at all."
"Wanna talk about it?"
"It's about what I want?"
"Sure. You're feeling down."
"Shouldn't it be more about your friends feeling happy Pinkie Pie?"
"You mean in the general sense? ...I...ugh . .. sorry, Dashie, my head feels funny." Pinkie Pie wandered off like she was drunk now too.
I look around some more. There's a big banner hanging,
Happy Anniversary, Cutie Mark Crusaders!
There was no number for how many years they'd been together.
Cakes. Sodas. Games. Everything a foal would want for a party is here. The guests of honor are, of course, the center of attention.
Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon laugh evilly and put hot sauce in three punch cups. Pinkie Pie comes along and drinks all three and hops away. Then Diamond Tiara hits the table angrily, and the hot sauce is launched up and spills on both of them getting in their eyes. They run away crying and everypony laughs and points at them, then get right back to partying without missing a beat.
Sweetie Belle took the karaoke machine by storm. She didn't look any worse for spending the night at Zecora's. Where was Rarity? Was she alright? Could she be alright? Had Sweetie snuck off here? Or had Rarity let her go cause it'd be improper or whatever for Sweetie to miss a party? I should have asked. I could have asked. I didn't.
Apple Bloom drinking some orange soda.
"Apple Bloom, are you okay?" Pinkie Pie asked. "You're drinking ORANGE soda instead of cider?"
Apple Bloom looked up and down at her drink and Pinkie Pie. "Pinkie Pie, just cuz mah family loves apples doesn't mean Ah only like apples. Half mah family tree is Oranges. Sheesh."
Dinky was now having her mane styled. Ponyville's number one pegasus filly sat behind her smiling.
"Wow! You're really good at this, Bright Night!" Dinky said looking in a mirror.
"Thanks. I learned a lot from my mom," said the blank flank pink pegasus. She looked right at me and waved. "Would you like me to braid your hair next, Rainbow Dash?"
My heart stopped beating. Orange filly. Skate board. Always scooting along. Never giving up. Little wings buzzing like a changeling's. Huh? What, what are changelings?
Heart started again with a shock wave threatening to burst my blood vessels.
Pink filly? Books and combs? Always reading and playing hair dresser? Loving to help solve problems? Teacher's pet? Wings flapping like a dove's?...No.
No. No. No. NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!
I stood up. Everything coming into focus. I felt my head clear. I felt calm. Like a north wind washing over me.
I trotted over. I put a smile on my face. "Wow, Bright Night. It's sure been a long time since you joined the Cutie Mark Crusaders, huh?"
"Feels like a really short time to me," Bright Night said.
"Ah that's sweet of ya ta say, Bright Night!" Apple Bloom hugged her, Bright Night hugged her back. Then Sweetie hugged them both. I resisted the urge to retch. "Feels like only yesterday ta me!"
"Not quite yesterday." Bright Night blushed.
"Who cares? Us becoming friends was the best thing to ever happen!" Sweetie Belle cheered.
"Yeah." Bright Night nuzzled them. "Being friends with you has been wonderful. You girls are the greatest. It's been ages since I made new friends before I met you, and I've loved every minutes I get to spend with you. You're the bravest, most wonderful little fillies I've know!"
Sweetie blushed bright red. "Heh, heh, thanks! Thanks for the help with my homework yesterday by the way."
"My pleasure. And thanks for letting me and Apple Bloom listen to you sing..."
Sweetie somehow blushed more. "J-just practicing for the next talent show."
"You'll do great."
"We'll do great!" Apple Bloom gave Bright Night a little noggie. The fillies all laughed.
I coughed and said in a perfectly nice and even voice. "Bright Night, I'd love to have my mane styled. but mind if we do it outside first?"
Bright Night nodded. "Okay. Apple Bloom, Sweetie, see you later."
"Be back while there's still cake," Dinky said.
Pinkie Pie patted me on the shoulder. "Heh, remember, Dashie, if you give her a free ride, you gotta give the rest of the Cutie Mark Crusaders a ride too!"
"Don't worry Pinkie, I'll never forget. Come along Bright Night," I said the last part teasingly, biting into the back of her neck.
"Sorry!" I said, my smiling becoming a grin as I tossed her onto my back like a sack of potatoes.
"Now hold on!" I said not giving her a chance to, zooming out of Sugar Cube Corner, lifting up my tail and knocking the wind out of her from the impact.
I flew up, just making sure enough that the small pony didn't go splat or get away.
"Daaaash!" The small pony yelled. I ignored her.
I landed on a patch of clouds over Ponyville. Did the whether plan even call for them today? I don't care. I throw the weight off my back onto the bank front of me. I grab her in my rear legs before she can get her wits together, and dangle her over the side, swinging my legs back and forth, making sure she gets a good look at the ground.
"Who are you? What are you? Why are you doing all of this?!" I said darkly.
"Dash...Dash what are you doing?!"
"I asked you a question! Or maybe you'd like a do or die flying lesson!"
"You know my name is Bright Night! I'm a pony! Doing WHAT?"
I let her go for one millisecond and re-catch her. "No games! No run around! I asked why you're doing all of this!"
"I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN!"
I tightened my grip. "Ponyville's been screwed up. We've all been turned into fish in a bowl! Nopony is even noticing how screwed up it is! You've got the entire town under mind control! What's the point of all this?! And how does it help your scheme making everypony be nice to me!? That scared of me?!"
"You've got nearly everything wrong! I'm not the enemy!"
I growled. "Don't lie to me! If you're not the bad guy then why did you replace ...replace...replace did you replace...HOW COULD YOU STEAL WHOEVER-IT-WAS' PLACE?! Did you want us as your private show?! What right did you have?! You made us your puppets! YOU STOLE MY MEMORIES OF THAT FILLY!"
"I can't steal what was abandoned. You never even realized what you had until you lost it. Same as everyone."
"Enough with the stupid, stupid riddle-speak! What magic did you use?! How do I break the curse?! How do I save my friends and end your stupid game?!" I laid on the pressure for a little bit so she knew this game was over.
"C-can't breath! It's not my-"
A streamer wrapped itself around my waist like a snake and pulled me away from the edge along with Bright Night, we tumbled on the cloud. She landed on the opposite side from me.
I saw Pinkie Pie, huffing and puffing on the cloud. She was holding the other end of the streamer impossibly with one hoof. Parked next to her was her crazy flying machine.
"I didn't want to interrupt until I got the whole story. But Rainbow Dash, have you gone crazy?!"
"Pinkie Pie what are you even doing here?!" I looked around but not seeing anypony else.
"You were acting pretty dang weird! First you were all, well, like me after I thought you were done being my friends, then you were acting too much like me. First I told myself that you just didn't want other ponies to see your mane getting styled! But I told myself back you were playing WAY too rough with Bright Night when you left! And I also told me back that Dashie is never that rough with foals that they start getting hurt! And your 'sorry' didn't really sound like a sorry. And Dashie is never not sorry for hurting somepony. But me said you liked scare foals and ponies a lot, but I said hurting and scaring aren't the same thing and-"
"Pinkie Pie! She's...she's not supposed to be here! Some… somepony else is! She stole their place! Somehow! She's cursed Ponyville! She's messed with our memories! She has you all under mind control!"
"...An evil filly witch? I guess that fits. But I don't feel brainwashed, I mean, I don't mean I feel like I know I'm brainwashed. I mean, the last time I was brainwashed, I felt hatred for everypony, I...I was angry at everything...I, I thought the whole world was the bad guy..." Pinkie Pie's eyes widened. "And you didn't care about anypony."
My eyes widened too. "She's doing it right now!" I kicked the monster in disguise in the air, and Sonic Rainboomed her into next lifetime, after all, that always breaks the curse.
Instead, Pinkie Pie grabbed her out of the way before I could blast off, Pinkie's hooves reaching further than she logically should have been able to when I took my eyes off Pinkie.
Now the little witch had Pinkie Pie as a shield.
Pinkie Pie bleated. "Dash...please stop. This isn't you."
"No! It's all of you who aren't yourselves! And that means it's my job to knock you all back to normal! And if knocking that little creature to Tartarus is the way to save all of you, then fine!"
"Dash. Even if she's done all that...you can't just, Dashie, that's wrong!"
"If it saves you, everypony, Ponyville, and all of Equestria, then it couldn't be more right!"
"Dashie." Pinkie Pie's eyes misted over.
I tensed, ready to strike.
"Bright Night..." Pinkie Pie whispered, "Go get help...I'll… I'll keep Dashie busy."
The monster pretending to be a pony nodded.
"If it's to save you and everypony, I'll fight you."
"And...to stop YOU from becoming a monster, I'll...me too."
I took a step forward.
"GO!" Pinkie threw the intruder into her flying machine, and kicked one of the controls, sending her gizmo flying, not falling, towards the ground.
I charged to Rainboom the impostor and apologize to Pinkie for ruining her toy later when I was staring down the barrel of her party cannon!
I dove out of the way as it fired. I then dived after the thief but got snapped back to Pinkie Pie. DANGIT! I forgot about the streamer she tied around me! I rip it off.
UGH! Pinkie Pie shoot herself with her party cannon right in my stomach, head-first!
Off the clouds we go, in the opposite direction of the invader.
We both crash tumbling heads over hooves into Sweet Apple Acres.
I pushed her away from me, and she lifted up a rock and reached under it.
"Sorry, Dashie! Good thing I keep boxing gloves stored around Ponyville! in case of emergencies! HUH?" There was nothing under the rock. "But that's impossible!"
I zigzag towards Pinkie Pie and use Taekwondo to knock her out fast with a hoof kick. But she uses Zui Quan to avoid my initial strike leaving me open!
Shoulda known Pinkie Pie knows drunken boxing!
Pinkie Pie hesitates, that's fine by me, I smack her in the face, and she falls over, but she bounces right back up, hooves first! Agh!
"Give up, Pinkie! You can't match me in speed!"
I fly towards her spinning like a drill!
"I still got better endurance!"
She kicks a boulder in my path that I'm forced to tunnel through.
"An' yer not used to fighting without ESP!"
I stop drilling and fly up and over the boulder and land four hooves down on her.
Somehow, I didn't really feel like announcing myself for this fight.
Pinkie Pie hits me in the face with a pie at close range, ugh!
"Not even a flavor I like?!"
I vibrate the mess off me. I clear my eyes just in time to see Pinkie Pie to breath in so much air she puffs like a balloon, and blows into a little bugle that unleashes a flood of party balloons. I zoom straight up out of the way. The tree behind isn't so lucky and is now done up like it's at the circus.
I kick a nearby cloud and turn it into a thunder cloud, breaking it into pieces, sending one lightning bolt into it that zaps into two of the others, that zap into four of the others, eight, until I have a miniature lightning storm reign down on Pinkie Pie.
Pinkie Pie dives under trees that take the lightning instead.
I generate enough electricity to shape into a lightning crossbow and Pinkie Pie aims her party cannon again. We both cringe away as our shots fired. Our projectiles knock each other off course.
Funny, I didn't feel shouting out fancy names for my moves, no, not funny at all.
Instead of coming straight towards her I zoomed straight, the did a set of sharp turns leaving a half-square of rainbow light behind me, and double kicked Pinkie Pie, sending her into a tree that shattered from the impact. Pinkie Pie bounced back up and curled herself up like she was doing a cannon ball, bouncing around the trees like a insane super ball, striking me from random angles. OW!
I electrified my entire body, Pinkie Pie's poofy mane got even more wild from the shock, and fell over twitching.
I landed outside the range of her hooves so she couldn’t try to sucker-punch me, instead she licked me right in the face that freaky long tongue of hers! BLECH!
I grabbed her tongue and swung her into another tree, the moment she was behind it she slammed into me suddenly from behind, making me let go, and suddenly she was she was BESIDES me hit me in the face with a big rubber chicken.
Both our skulls were too thick for a simple knockout strike. On the plus side we didn't need to worry about brain damage.
I form lightning around one wing, augmenting a wing sword technique and cut her absurd weapon in two. Pinkie then pulled out a huge carnival hammer that I had to avoid being squashed flat by. The moment I turned away to get some distance she was suddenly in front of me and hit me so hard I went into the boulder and it shattered into dust and rubble.
I shot up high again and Pinkie Pie jumped onto the treetops. I condensed the water in air around me into hail stones and stone them forward. Pinkie released a slew of party poppers with the punch of one-shot pistols. Our shots continuing to deflect off each other, shooting off limbs of trees and impeding themselves in their bark.
Pinkie Pie dropped out of sight. I kicked behind me, feeling myself get her right in the stomach and she popped back onto the treetops like I had kicked her from the ground.
Pinkie blew a whistle and a pinata the size of a parade float of a green pony rose up below Pinkie as it mimicked her motions and tried to bear hug me. I channeled lightning into my forehoof and vibrated it like mad, gripping it with my other forehoof and punched the thing right in the center, making the giant pinata fall apart, candy spilling everywhere.
Pinkie Pie fell from her perch but threw steamers caught me by one legs, I broke it off again but Pinkie used the moment to catch my other leg, then on my tail.
I create a sword lightning construct cut through that one faster than before and I flapped my wings so hard and so fast that it sent a mini-rainbow right at her that sent her flying backwards but she used her streams to catch herself. OW! Not doing that again! My wings feel like I broke them for a sec' but it was just strain and I was flying again before I lost much distance.
Pinkie took the opening to stuff candy in her mouth not even undoing the rappers. I created a lightning spear construct and shot it at her streamers, throwing one after another.
Pinkie Pie threw out a horde of pony size party balloons, hoping and bouncing on each one to keep her airborne, putting out two for every one I popped.
I spun like a tornado to suck them all towards me at once. But it could get part Pinkie Pie set off a fireworks rocket right at me! I had to stop my spin to dodge.
I zoomed at her in chaotic patterns hitting from one side then another, but every time I did I then had to block her as she came out of nowhere just out of my line of sight. I moved faster than her eyes could track almost making it look like I was teleporting, and she moved farther than she could in the space between blinks. We became like pink and blue flashes in the air. She moved like water as I tried to grapple her for an electric melee.
Tapping into more reserves than I thought I had, I sent a sphere of lightning in every direction, Pinkie Pie being forced to retreat.
I threw a couple of my feathers from my wings, lightning arching between them, being sure to keep my eyes fixed on Pinkie Pie, KNOW where she had to be, don't leave ANY doubt, ANY possibility she could be somewhere else, don't let her slip through the cracks!
But Pinkie Pie even without cheating was too nimble and fast to be caged.
Pinkie Pie fired more fireworks at the feathers create the pieces of the cage, destroying them faster than I could make them.
Lightning and hail rained down on her, she fought back with a fireworks factory's worth of rockets, again our attacks colliding in mid air, we lit up the entire sky.
The bangs, smoke, thunder, and bright colors covered the entire orchard, it was a wonder none of the sparks caught the trees below on fire.
There couldn't be a pony in Ponyville who didn't see our light show.
The noise was deafening, the lights were blinding, we just kept going. Lightning arched between the blooming blasts, it was like we tearing the entire sky apart!
We BOTH lost track of each other in the roaring, smoke, and lights, and before we knew it both of us were staring down each other's face inches from each other. We froze.
We could both end the fight right there, it just took which of us moved first, a heavy duty fireworks rocket in her hooves, enough lightning to electrocute an elephant in mine.
Except neither of us wanted to end our best friend in the process at point blank range.
The storm subsided.
Not taking our eyes off each other, both us effectively at knifepoint on the other, we both slowly floated back down towards the ground, landing softly.
Like waking up from a dream, the haze that had fog over both our heads began to clear. I wanted to blame the intruder for this too, but... it didn't feel right. I didn't feel free from some control, I just... felt tired.
Both Pinkie and I realized we were sucking wind and our coats covered in sweat and dust.
"Well," Pinkie Pie puffed, "Looks like fighting didn't solve anything, did it?"
I slowly back away. I dispel my attack and create a small lightning scythe with no reach.
I look at Pinkie Pie sadly and sigh. I let my body go slack. I hold up the little scythe to my own neck with my two forehooves. I close my eyes and grit my teeth. I dump electricity into the construct.
"DASHIE!" I hear her scream and throw away the rocket she was holding.
She rushes close, I flip the scythe around slice off some of my feathers, and release the scythe's form, letting the lightning channel into my feathers as Pinkie flies right into the mess of them. The light cage forms around Pinkie Pie nearly instantly, not even enough space to open her mouth.
"Sorry, Pinkie Pie," I said, not able to look her in the face. "I just hope you can forgive me after you're unbrainwashed." I formed a lightning spear. "I need you not to follow if you break out. I know that isn't going to make this hurt less, but I'm sorry."
I stab her in the leg. Then the pink pinata I'd caught exploded in a MASS of confetti, streamers, and party stickers, slipping through the holes in the cage and wrapping me up tight like a present! NO!
The real Pinkie Pie hops down in front of me as the ribbons wrap themselves around the nearby trees. "I'm sorry too, Dashie," Pinkie Pie said with sincerely that rivaled AJ's. "I can't let you go rampaging after Bright Night."
"Pinkie Pie listen to me! Don't your memories feel messed up!? Like there's big holes! Stuff you should remember but don't, and stuff you know but shouldn't?! Lots of ponies acting all shallow? Haven't you noticed?!"
Pinkie Pie stared blankly at me for several seconds, then blinked, her eyes widened, and she trembled. "No, not again, please not again. Not again! We didn't do anything wrong! It was just to have everypony be happy! Who cares if it doesn't all make sense? Isn't the point that we were all friends and happy?!"
"Pinkie Pie, Bright Night is having us all be zombies, there's no telling what trouble Equestria is in without the six of us to deal with the big nasties!"
"Please please please Luna! Don't hurt Minty!" Pinkie Pie screamed hugging herself.
"Starsong! Toola-Roola! Puzzlemint! Thistle Whistle! I miss you so much! Why did the mean mean mean Alicorns and Draconequi have to steal you away?!"
"Pinkie Pie what are you talking about?! Who are those ponies?!"
"They were my friends! They were my friends with you and Rarity! Only you can't remember them!"
"Did Bright Night do that?!" The brat was erasing ponies from our memories? That evil little creature!... Gilda. Is that why I couldn't remember her?
"NO! She didn't do anything! Stop blaming her!"
"Pinkie Pie she's a witch and she has to be stopped!"
"I can't let you go if you're going to hurt a little filly!... I... I have to tell our friends about this. I'll... I'll just leave you wrapped up for a bit, unless you wanna Pinkie Promise you won't hurt Bright Night."
"No, Pinkie Pie!" A pink pegasus filly with a blond mane and blue eyes zipped past me, dammit the witchling is back and... she cuts me loose? What?
"Bright Night! Get back!"
"No! Rainbow can't afford to get trapped!"
"Pinkie Pie, I'm sorry, there's a lot you don't know, and we can't be sure if it's safe to tell you or not after, after you lost your home before. I'm sorry it wasn't made better."
Then from above, Twilight Sparkle landed right in front of me. "I blame myself," she sighed, then flipped through the book she was holding.
There was a bright flash, blinding me. And next thing I knew, Twilight was carrying me as she galloping along out of the orchard and out of Sweet Apple Acres, her book hanging in a bag along side her.
"Don't worry. Bright Night will keep Pinkie Pie from doing anything reckless."
"What is going on here?! Why did the witch free me?! What game is this!? I DON'T GET IT!"
"Bright Night isn't a witch. You're getting hung up on the wrong pony, Rainbow Dash! And taking on a Pinkie Pie at her full abilities and without the weight of a world on her shoulders when you're distracted and unfocused wasn't very bright."
"Hey! I was plenty focused!"
"No, you weren't! Or you wouldn't have turned Applejack's orchard into a war zone."
My heart was in a vice. "… Celestia... I didn't... what am I going to tell Applejack?"
"Applejack began downing cider like it was water in the desert the moment she saw you fighting. She fought through it restrain her brother to keep from continuing to applebuck in the middle of your big pointless fight."
"Is she okay?"
"She stopped feeling compelled to drink the moment your fight stopped."
"I'm… I'm sorry. Hey, how do you even know that?"
"Spotted it on my way over."
"Twilight are you going to quit being a jerk and tell me what's going on already?!" I yelled, fighting off the urge to hit her square in the face. "Pinkie Pie began talking nuts back there!"
"Pinkie Pie has pains you don't know about. Ones that were covered up when this all happened. And I CAN'T tell you! You NEED to figure it out for yourself, I can't spoon feed you the answers. You, nor any of our friends will be able to escape if you rejects the answers, and you WILL unless you figure them on out on your own. I'm SORRY, Rainbow Dash! If I had a better way I'd do it! I HATE seeing you hurt like this! You and Pinkie Pie! And Sweetie Belle and all the rest. I'm sorry, Rainbow Dash... I... apologize. I haven't been a very accepting friend."
"You've changed Rainbow Dash, you've changed so much from when we first met. But I wanted to pretend that you were still THAT Rainbow Dash, that you'd act like her, that you'd make the choices she would, that you'd figure things out her way... it was selfish for me to think that. And I'm sorry Rainbow Dash, I'm so so sorry. I thought if Pinkie Pie is still Pinkie Pie that I could just pretend that you were still THAT Rainbow Dash. I'm sorry Rainbow."
Was she . . crying?
I... I didn't know how to respond to that. "Twilight it's... it's... " I can't believe I was saying this. "It's... it's okay," I lied.
"Thank you, Rainbow Dash. I can't give the answers or explain all the rules, but I can remind you what I told you. I told you the answer lay with somepony close to you. If Bright Night is standing in for somepony else, then they aren't somepony close to you, are they?"
I meekly nodded.
"But... you were right about one thing... the one you can remember not remembering... is very important to you."
"Hey! How do you know about that?"
"Bright Night told me. And you told her remember?"
"Oh. Oh yeah."
"I'll admit, your theory that Bright Night was a Malignant Insert was reasonable given what you knew."
"What's a Maglinant Insert?" Then I thought about it. “Forget I asked; I think I’ve already figured it out, based on the name. It’s basically kind of like a pod pony, right?”
“Essentially,” Twilight said. “But wasn't there something WRONG with your theory just a little? If she was an Insert who stole another pony's life to be close to you, and made nearly everypony into zombies, and was rewriting your life story to include her instead... wouldn't somepony like that of given themselves a larger role in things? If they did all this like you said because they admired you, why have almost none of your adventures since after your memories become blurry have her in a major role? Why isn't she being saved every other adventure? Why isn't she saving you? Why isn't she there helping you beat the villains nearly every time?... Think about it, Rainbow Dash, when you were a filly and fixated on the Wonderbolts, and you had so many fantasies of being with them... was it as a technician or a flight coordinator? What was it?"
"... I was one of them. Spitfire's PARTNER wingpony of Soarin' or they were both MY wing ponies... "
"Exactly. Someone this fixated wouldn't have just been one of the main characters, they'd have been in the starring role! If this was HER fantasy, she'd right near the action."
"You're saying... whoever is causing this is a lot closer to home."
"See? You'd have never accepted that if I had just told you."
I sighed. "And you can't tell me."
"As I said, you have to figure it out for yourself."
I heard distant thunder. I looked up, the clouds were darkening. "There wasn't rain scheduled for today."
"No, but it fits your mood doesn't it?" Twilight said like we were having just a friendly chat.
I didn't respond. Twilight had slowed down to a simple trot.
"Can you answer a question, Rainbow Dash? What is it about the way this Ponyville is that makes you so upset? Let me be Tirek's Advocate. You're loved by everyone, our friends all have you as the hero. No evil or danger will ever strike that is more than you can handle. You'll always win in the end, because you're the hero. Like you've always wanted."
"And what about THEIR lives? Everypony else's hopes and dreams? Having everypony else just be cardboard cutouts who are only there to smile and nod?"
"Isn't that how you treated them anyway, Element of Loyalty?"
"NO! No I... no I... care about them."
"Because without their cheers you're empty?"
"NO! That's not... " Ugh! "The Dash doesn't need... doesn't need... They're my friends and herdmates. I want them to be awesome the way THEY'RE awesome. I couldn't bear leaving things the way they are, everypony's in a jam, I want to help them, just as I know my friends would help me."
"Doesn't that just make it business? An equal trade of knowing others will protect you if you protect them?"
I felt myself tense up.
"I KNOW most will never pay me back. And I'm fine with that. I know most won't... most won't be building statues in my honor or giving me free stuff. And I know... know most are gonna go back to their own busy lives instead of talking about great I am. But that's not the point. The point is being faithful to those who are smaller than you, the same as you, OR bigger than you."
"There are you are Rainbow Dash." She smiled like I hadn't been here this whole time. "But ... What happens when the small and the big collide?"
"I'd save them both."
"What if you couldn't?"
"I'd have to."
"But what if you had to choose?"
"I'd chose both."
"But what if you could only chose one? Please Rainbow Dash, tell me."
"... I'd... I'd … I think I'd have to be there."
"I wish the world would always give you a black and white choice Rainbow Dash, I truly wish the world really was that kind... Maybe that wouldn't be so bad."
I wasn't listening anymore. I had to figure out everything to save everypony?
Why me? Why did it have to be me? I'm not the thinker! I'm the doer! Twilight's the egghead! Rarity's the pony who notices stuff! Pinkie knows everypony in Ponyville. Fluttershy knows animals.
AJ… AJ is… she's Honesty, you think she'd be the one to help get through this mess. I'm...I'm the LEAST qualified Element of Harmony to do this! This isn't my table leg!
What am I supposed to do? There's nopony to tell me… And there's no pony I can ask. Help. Celestia, Luna, Cadenza, help me.
Why couldn't this be a problem where I just need to punch somepony out? All my adventures here… jerk shows up, I beat up jerk, the end. I've never had to do any thinking.
The filly I remember not remembering is the key… She was important to me. She was close to me! She has to be the one!
Bright Night… she doesn't fit the mold.
The filly I remember not remember is nothing like her.
Bright Night likes soccer, the real filly liked her...her scooter.
Bright Night is a teacher's pet, the real filly's favorite class was recess (like me).
Bright Night is a girlie girl, the real filly is a tomboy (like I always try to be).
Bright Night takes care of her mane and likes doing other's manes. The real filly didn't ccare about her or how others looked.
Bright Night is a good singer, the real filly...she wasn't as good as me, or the average pony.
She was a lot like me, was she my clone? No she...she imitated me, I was… I was her role model. She always wanted to be around me.
Bright Night lives in...the real filly lives...I don't know where either of them live. I… I never questioned it, I never thought about it.
Bright Night's mom is a hairdresser, the real filly… I don't know what her mom does.. Or her dad… I, I never met them.
I never met her parents. Not even once. I never saw them. They never got metioned. I wouldn't think about that normally but.. with all of this..
Was it another hole in my memory? No.. there wasn't an outline like with the orange filly, it just wasn't there.
"Twilight, as my FRIEND, can you tell me where 'Bright Night's' parents live?" I wave my hooves in the air to do little quotations.
"…I've never met them here in Ponyville, let alone seen them, and none of our friends has ever mentioned seeing or meeting either. But, she's just a friend of a little sister of a friend for most of us. Who would stop to think that was odd?" She pulled out the book with her mouth and began flipping through it for me to see. So many pictures of ponies in Ponyville.
"Though Ponyville is so close-knit that everypony knows everypony. She was in Ponyville before me, so it wouldn't make sense for me able to give details about when she arrived, or if her parents were present at Pinkie's obligatory party. Bright Night must have VERY VERY busy parents for no one to ever TALK about them, to never SEE them, or even MENTION them for so long. Then again many ponies see SILVER SPOON'S parents?...but Silver Spoon doesn't have a circle of friends, doesn't hang out a lot with other foals, isn't in many public events, and has little to do with us. But with Bright Night, it wouldn't make any sense if they suddenly appeared with no explanation. In particular with how much time she always spent with you. It would be like they simply never existed before."
My head was swimming.
"Oh. Sorry...that was...pretty long-winded, wasn't it? But I wouldn't be Twilight Sparkle if I didn't would I?"
"Unless you were a pod pony." Part of me almost hoping this was the case. I took a deep breath. "So nopony has seen them? Ever?"
"So it would seem. Doesn't make much sense for a foal who we see so much of does it?"
"So...Bright Night, the filly she's filling in for...her parents...they're, they're like Applejack's?"
"I guess that would make her a ward of the kingdom then wouldn't it? Good thing Ponyville has a good orphanage then."
"I guess so and..." What. The. Buck?
"You know just for fun, I think all spare all the foals at the orphanage the pain of not having a mom while I'm here!"
"It's funny, I just remembered, Fleetfoot has a cold, and the others are all booked up, maybe after we solve this, maybe you'd like to be a Wonderbolt for a day? It's a charity performance for Ponyville orphans so maybe-"
"Here, Miss Rainbow Dash." I looked and saw a pink pegasus with a cupcake cutie mark. "Some cupcakes for Ponyville's hero!" She smiled, flapping her wings. Doesn't she live in Cloudsdale?
"No thanks. Give'em to the orphanage."
"But...but they're for...they're for you." She sounded confused or worried.
"And I want you to give'em to the orphanage instead."
A tiny 'everypony knows everypony else' town like Ponyville? "Since when the buck does Ponyville HAVE an orphanage?!"
"I don't remember Ponyville having an orphanage before my memories get wonky! But I remember it having one NOW! It didn't exist before!"
"No. It didn't."
"But why would whoever did this add an orphanage!? Just so I can save them? Then why haven't any of my adventure involved them directly? Not even once?!"
"Doesn't make much sense, does it? In any game, or performance, everything serves some function for the adventure or the story. They wouldn't just drop it in there and then forget about it. Unless, of course, it takes more effort to remove it."
"No...whoever is doing this, they aren't perfect. Cloudsdale's ponies were kept in, I don't know what, storage? Until I showed up. They wouldn't add a whole new place they'd have to cover for and keep track of everypony already here. That place...is like Bright Night, it doesn't belong here."
"Assuming of course it even exists."
"Maybe it's one of those places mentioned but is never shown. Maybe you're getting yourself worked up over nothing. Have you seen it? Do you know where it is?"
"I..." I wracked my brain. I was sure! I had seen it I was sure! Didn't I? I'd flown over every inch of Ponyville! I knew this town like the back of my hoof! There's no way I could miss it! Think! Where was it!
"Was it near the center of Ponyville?"
"Was it right next to Everfree Forest?"
"Was really close to Ponyville Schoolhouse, Golden Oaks, the hospital?"
"So it was inside Ponyville?"
"NO! It was...it was outside Ponyville. Near White Tail Forest. Between Ponyville and Canterlot. Besides a river. The only building around. Where...where nopony would have to look at it, where nopony would have to think about it, where everypony could pretend it didn't exist..."
"Everypony, Rainbow Dash? Then how did you know it existed? Oh right, others told you. Why did others mention it if they were the ones pretending it didn't it exist?"
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"I'm sorry, Rainbow, but you really do need to figure it out for yourself," she said, blanching as my wings spread out, sensing my impending exit. "I know I'm sending mixed messages, but I can't let you retreat to answers that are just what you want to be right instead of what you need to know or you'll just keep hiding."
"Hide? I don't hide!"
Suddenly she reared up and I slide off her back. "Ow! Hey!"
"Prove it." This time she didn't say it with any smugness.
I looked around at where Twilight had dropped me off.
Near White Tail Forest. Between Ponyville and Canterlot. Besides a stream. Like I'd said. The ground around us was as flat as a chess board.
What...what was this lump in my throat?
The rain started to fall. Lightning struck in the distance.
There was only one building in sight.
There was a chain-link fence around it with barbed wire, there was a warning that the fence was electrified. The green grass was neatly cut like a carpet.
It was shaped like boxes stacked on top of each other. The whole place looked to me made of some reddish brown wood, it was covered in shadow, no matter what way I looked at it!
I couldn't tell how many floors it had, three, five, two? Ugh. It hurt my head just to look at it. The windows all cast a yellow light from within. They didn't form a face, a face would have been comforting!
I swear I saw in the corner of my eye the trees moving like veins, then being normal when I looked right at 'em.
In big bold letters above the front door and above the front gate were the words:
Chains Of Love Orphanage
Silhouettes of dancing foals were cut out between the words. No they weren't moving, that was just a trick of the light.
The lump in my throat sank down into the pit of my stomach. My wings pressed hard against my body. My hooves were shaking. I clenched my teeth so hard together they ached.
It was like the whole place wanted to lean over and fall on me!
What the buck was I doing here, I had to get away!
I turned to fly away, why is Twilight Sparkle in my way?!
"So you're going to run away again?"
I hold my hooves to my head. "I don't run away!"
"Then what do you think you're doing?!"
My breathing was uneven, my heart was jackhammering. "I..." I creak my head around, every feeling in my gut and thought in my head screaming at me to fly away and not look back.
Don't go in there. You won't like what you find. Get away while you still can. They'll be no escape if you go in. Escape. Fly fly fly.
. . .
It wasn't a monster ready to eat me, it was a black whirl pool ready to pull me under and crush me! I was on the event horizon! What was I still doing here?!
I turned to get the Tartarus out of there before I ran to the glue maker when Twilight made me look into her eyes.
"Rain'… tell me… is this what you want? Or what you think you want?"
"Stop asking me questions!"
"It's so you can get the answers, Rain'!"
Why was her calling me that making my head hurt?!
She kept getting in my way, shouldn't I be faster than this? Why did her calling me that do to me?
Plow through her. Move her aside. Get away. Stay safe!
I can't blow through her, she's my friend!
My body goes limp and I sit down, no way forward, no way back, I'm stuck… that filly I couldn't remember the name of… was she waiting for me to rescue her? Did she need my help? Was she outside Ponyville waiting for me to come back to her? Did she send Bright Night to help and I attacked her friend instead?
This place that wasn't supposed to be here, and a filly who was supposed to be here but wasn't. If she was the key, was this place the lock? Locks held something closed. Did this place hold Ponyville closed?
Why the buck WAS I so scared? It didn't make sense! Freaky building? Weird weather? Kooky trees? This was on my 'Meh!' list!
What, was I, scared of? What did my gut know that I didn't?!
"Twiley, can you tell if there's something terrible in there? Or is it all my head?"
"Rain', I can't because only you can decide whether it's horrible. But I can tell you what will happen if you don't go in there: nothing, ever."
"You can fly away, go to bed, and forget that place even exists. When you wake up, this'll have been a bad dream. Everypony will be happily cheering you and our friends on as you beat up bad guys. You won't notice anything wrong. No pain, doubts, or fears. And you can just go on having self-contained adventures that could happen in any order, with all your friends frozen as they are, never growing, as you are, forever. Is it, what, you want, Rain'?"
I slowly stood up, "It isn't what I want for our friends! Or their friends! Or their friends' friends! It's my, our responsibility. Like it, or not. We're...we're here for Ponyville...Ponyville isn't here for us."
I forgot all about the horror house behind me as black lightning struck my brain. I felt like vomiting as puzzle pieces slide together.
"Twilight...is..." I choked. "Is the one behind all this one of...one of the Elements of Harmony?" I suddenly cringed waiting for her flaming retort.
"What?...No…No, how could I call myself loyal if I suspected my friends? No brow beating of me not trust them?"
"Rainbow Dash, if one of us is doing this, then aren't you doing the most loyal thing you can by STOPPING THEM from doing something horrible. That's what a real friend WOULD do. But still, what brings you to THAT theory?"
"You... You said it yourself. Nopony would go to all this trouble, have it all center around me, and then not be right there with me. Part of the team. And I they'd have to really care about me, or I would be THEIR sidekick in here."
The worst was that would means one of us had thrown away our responsibility to everypony, and making everypony inside this fish bowl our, my personal robot cheer squad. My friends couldn't be that cruel.
Twiley looked at where I think the sun might be if clouds weren't in the way. "It could be one of us, or some one behind the scenes who you've only met via proxy and not face to face. Life's always uncertain, no one can be certain of anything until you grasp the truth with your own hooves. You wanted to be the hero who saved everyone in Ponyville? Now's your chance for real, Rain'."
…I still feel scared. But I don't feel freaked out anymore. I feel a little calm, really.
"So...this is really it."
"If you have the courage to move forward."
I turn around, facing the stupid orphanage that needs somepony to tell it it's got the wrong neighborhood.
She's gone. I don't feel scared, confused, or freaked like I should. There was this weird acceptance of it. Like when you're in a dream.
I'm sorry to see her gone. That surprised? She was still my friend, and friends are loyalty to each other even if they get on each other's nerves.
The whole dang place didn't seem so scary now!
I fly over the fence, no problem. I skip the grassy yard and land right at the front doors. Locked. I've got your key right here! Ka-pow!
Leaving the doors with my personal autograph of my back hooves, I marched inside without a second thought.
What I saw was impossible.