by Baal Bunny

2 - Campaign

Pinkie Pie blinks for a distressingly long time at the word I've written across the chalkboard in my personal workroom, the white-washed, cylindrical space entirely empty save for the two of us, the board, and its accoutrements.

I'm on the verge of simply telling her what the word means when a smile enlightens not just her face but her whole body. "Oh, I get it! You wrote 'Fanatics,' but you put a 'u' where the first 'a' should be! So it's 'Funatics' instead!" She begins hopping in place, and I can think of nothing less than an arrow quivering against a drawn-back bowstring, eager for its unleashing. "Are we gonna have some fanatic fun, Princess? Are we, are we, are we?"

Almost, I regret the necessity of this meeting. But one thing my life with Celestia has taught me is that overwhelming force brought swiftly to bear is the only viable option when engaging with her. "In truth, Pinkie Pie, I had also thought the word might be viewed as 'Lunatics' with the initial 'L' replaced by an 'F.' For I've long considered 'foo' to be the most whimsical of syllables."

"'Foo-na-tics.'" Coming to a halt, Pinkie cocks her head. "Or 'Fun-at-tics.'" She rolls her eyes in one direction, then in the other. "So which is it?"

"Both." I underline the word with the chalk I have suspended in the glow of my horn. "Simultaneously."

"Ooooo." She begins hopping and quivering again. "A word like that makes me see cream pies flying everywhere! Whoopee cushions stacked to the sky! Seltzer bottles—"

"Nay, good Pinkie, nay!" This, I'd felt since dispatching my chariot to Ponyville immediately after Celestia and I had shared our usual evening meal and she had repaired to her chambers for the night, would prove the most difficult part of this entire operation: explaining things to Pinkie Pie.

"I know," I say as gently as I can, "that your forte in the cosmos of Laughter is the prank, and you have taught me well in its ways. But surely you have a familiarity with the gentle, more heartwarming sort of humor as well? The sweet laughter shared between sisters as they express their affections for one another?" I slash the chalk across the chalkboard once again. "For that is the meaning I wish to express by means of this portmanteau word! Before this upcoming dawn, we must show ourselves worthy of this title and make my sister smile in loving recognition at the display we create! We must reach into our very depths, Pinkie Pie, and bring forth a concept so brimming with fun and frolic that the sky itself will crack with joy to behold it!"

Pinkie blinks, then shrugs. "Yeah, we can do that, I guess." Stepping forward, she snatches the chalk from the blue folds of my magic with her teeth. "Something intellectual," she says around it, and drawing a lumpy shape on the chalkboard, she writes the word 'brain' underneath it. "But with genuine feeling, too." She draws a cartoon heart and labels it appropriately. "Something that says, 'Hi, Celestia! It's me, Luna! I love you! Let's always be friends!'" She reaches into the tangle of her mane, pulls out a pair of horn-rimmed glasses, perches them on her snout, then looks at me over the top of them. "That the general idea?"

A chill shivers along my spine. "Oh, yes, Pinkie! Yes, indeed!"

She rolls the chalk from one side of her mouth to the other. "I'm thinking two balloons, one white, one black."

Now I start blinking. "That...that was my thought exactly. And indeed, it went marvelously this morning."

Her eyes go wide. "Wow! Looks like I did teach you well!" She turns back to the chalkboard, writes the number one, draws a balloon, then scratches a quick check mark beside it. "We're already on to Phase Two!" She writes the number two followed by a five-pointed star. "It needs to be personal from you, so what'd be better than the stars? They're, like, totally your thing, right?"

"They are." My mind races. "But they have appointed courses! I can't simply—!"

"Now, now, now." Pinkie raises a front hoof. "There may be a can't in cantankerous and cantaloupe, but we aren't either of those things, neither one of us." She taps her hoof against her star drawing. "Besides, it's on the big board now, Missy, and if you think you can just erase something once it goes on the big board, well, you can't!"

I quirk an eyebrow at her. "Can't?"

Grinning, she leans sideways at an angle slightly steeper than gravity should allow. "Don't mind if I do!"

The laugh coughs out of me with a creak like a rusty gate, and certain parts of my brain begin regretting this meeting more than ever. But the rest of me tells those parts to stop being such sourpusses, and I rub my chin. "Perhaps comets or asteroids rather than stars: they're a good deal smaller and more easily maneuvered."

"Two of them." She draws a second star next to the first. "You probably don't want them crashing together in a huge, cosmic explosion or anything." She looks back over her shoulder. "Unless you do want that 'cause that'd pretty much be the coolest thing ever!"

Touching my chin again, I pretend to think about it. "No explosions," I say at last, and her disappointment is nearly tangible in the confines of my workroom. "We'll make it meteors, one flying down from the north-east, the other coming up from the south-east." I wrap my magic around another piece of chalk, pull it from the box on the counter, and make a small 'x' between her stars. "I'll arrange their paths so that they skim through the atmosphere rather than plunge into it, and they'll cross just above the rising sun when seen from Celestia's balcony before they head back into the depths of space."

"Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!" She doesn't produce a bell or anything; she merely shouts the word 'ding' five times at the top of her substantial voice. "We have a winner!"

"Very well!" With the slightest of efforts, I consult the universal power flowing over, around, and through me. "If I begin now and focus intently till sun-up, I should be able to bring two appropriate chunks of rock into position." I nod to Pinkie; she's chewing, and while I notice that her piece of chalk is gone, I refuse to think about it. "I would be honored if you'd accept the palace's hospitality for the night, Pinkie Pie. You've done me an invaluable service."

"Can I play in the kitchen?" she asks, her eyes lighting up.

"Will you maintain a mere minimum of mayhem?"

"Only 'cause it's alliterative!"

"Then go!" I stomp a hoof. "But let nothing of what transpired here this evening leave this chamber! We are the Foo-natics, and 'foo' shall ever be our watchword!"

"We're Fun-at-tics," Pinkie says. "Though we can have fun in places other than attics if we really want to."

"We do!" I unseal the door and push it open. "And we shall!"

As I'd suspected, the gravimetric calculations indeed take me the rest of the night, but I still manage to keep an eye on the business of Equestria. And if a few more fillies and colts perhaps find themselves enjoying dreams full of mathematics, well, I can't see how that does anypony any harm.

All that really matters is that I have everything set when I fold my wings and land upon Sunny's balcony in the pre-dawn darkness. She's there, of course, as radiant as always, and her gasp when the meteors streak in, cross over the rising sun, and zoom away makes every bit of the effort worthwhile.

I shift the balance to her, we nuzzle and have breakfast, I sleep the sleep of the just all day, and that evening—

That evening as I slip the moon into the sky, two birds begin chirping in sweet, melodious counterpoint from the new bush between the jacaranda trees below my balcony: a thrush bidding the day good-bye and a nightingale welcoming in the night. The sliver of attention I offer the perfect display of harmony shows me a butter-yellow pegasus directing the music, and with my heart overflowing with love for my sister, I know exactly what I have to do next.