As they planned Cloudchaser and Flitter arrived extra early, in tow behind them was a large burlap sack. Pinkie Pie greeted them at the door, "Welcome Welcome Welcome! So glad you could come, i really want to make this party special for Gilda," she said with all sincerity, "Not that i wan't to color your opinion of her but she is a bit of a grump." The twins shared an 'oh really' look on their faces. Peering over their shoulders Pinkie spied the brown bag, "Is that the dish you said you were bringing?"
Flitter spoke up first, "We completely agree that we need to make this day special for Gilda. So we thought what's more special than food you love," Cloudchaser stepped in, "And since she's part eagle she must love bird food." Pinkie was taken in by their logic nodding in full agreement.
Cloudchaser continued, "But the pet store was closed, soooo-" Flitter brought the routine to an end, "We thought rice is like bird food, i know the pigeons love it!" The two heaved the sack and tossed it into Pinkie's open arms.
With an *Oof* she stumbled back, "Well as much as i'd like to do everything to make her feel welcome, we do also have a bunch of pony folk guests as well. I'm not sure they'd appreciate eating fifty pounds of uncooked rice. But i'm sure i can make something good with all this, don't worry." Pinkie Pie disappeared with the bag slung over her shoulder and into the kitchen.
The twins turned to each other again, "Eh, worth a shot." The two entered Sugar Cube Corner and took a look around, by Pinkie Pie standards, Gilda's welcome party was ... adequate. There were gifts, cake, punch and music, but none of the unique touches Pinkie is known for. At least none that were immediately apparent, by all means this was more than Gilda deserved.
One of the other ponies helping set up was Rainbow Dash, she was placing a long present on the table, very carefully setting it down where it would catch the eye. "Hi Rainbow Dash," Cloudchaser greeted her with forced cheerfulness.
Rainbow nervously dropped the gift on the table, it burst open revealing it's contents, compressed springs set to go off at the slightest touch. "Dang it! Now i have to pack this stupid thing, Again!" Rainbow gathered up the coils and started jamming them down the box.
"Um isn't that one of Gilda's presents? Why are you booby trapping it?" asked Flitter.
Setting down the present once more, very careful not to set it off again Rainbow replied. "It's just a harmless prank, you know just like the old t-" Rainbow Dash caught herself before she set off another altercation like yesterday's. "-Er, i didn't realize the stuff we did back then was that big a deal. I've been feeling awful about it, so I figured a bit of self pranking might even us out?"
"Oh, so you think some jump scare is gonna make us even? Why i outta-" Cloudchaser was stopped by her sister who pulled her aside.
"Come on sis, she's trying to make it up to us. You could at least try to accept her apology," Flitter said in a hushed tone.
Cloudchaser looked over at Rainbow who was wearing a pathetic face, her eyes were big, her lip pouted out. "Gah, fine! I forgive you Rainbow Dash, just wipe that stupid look off your face."
"Awesome." Was Rainbow Dash's subdued reaction. "I'm going to talk with Gilda about this after the party, but i'm sure she feels the same way, we were just being punk kids. And, i really am sorry, if i could go back i wouldn't be that pony again." She wen't back to preparing her pranks, replacing some of the cups with dribble glasses and the lemon drop candies with something that looked identical but surely had a more sinister intention than tooth decay.
"Well what do we do now?" Flitter asked.
"I guess we could see if anypony else we know is here yet," suggested Cloudchaser.
The bell chimed signaling the entrance of new party guests, though it seemed everypony in Ponyville decided that right then was the perfect time to show up. It was a solid stream of familiar and not so familiar faces for several minuets, one after another cramming through the wooden door frame carrying deserts, gifts and party games.
Pinkie returned from the kitchen to find Sugar Cube Corner filled to the brim with happy ponies. "Whoa, i probably should have kept the guest list smaller."
It didn't take long for Cloudchaser to spot Twilight among the party ponies. "Hey, Cloudchaser! It's been a couple days, how are you doing?" Twilight asked as she reached for a cup.
"Doing fine," she was expectantly watching to see if Twilight had grabbed one of the dribble cups, she didn't. "So, you doing anything fun later?"
"Hmm, probably not. I'm still working on my weekly report to the princess, Pinkie Pie came by my library the other day complaining about Rainbow Dash's old friend. I figured i could turn the whole situation into a good report, i'm mostly here to scientifically observe how things unfold." Twilight said as she pulled out the note book hidden in her mane. "Spike on the other hoof is here to party."
The dragon child was excitedly searching for anypony who would join him in a game of Twist-Up. Oddly enough there weren't too many other children his age, probably for the best, considering what Cloudchaser suspected was going to happen.
Flitter walked up behind her sister looking disturbed, "Oh Twilight, i don't think you've met my sister yet. This is Flitter, Flitter this is Twilight Sparkle."
"Hello glad to meet you," Twilight said extending her hoof for a shake.
Flitter was nervously looking over her shoulder, "Uh yeah, good to meet you Sparkler." She came close and whispered into her sister's ear, "Look who just walked in."
Striding through the door there she was, Gilda. Rainbow Dash's description as being 'punk kids' did seem to fit, The feathers around her eyes and the tips were dyed a shade not dissimilar to that of the twins own fur. But more than that Gilda seemed to radiate an aura of superiority and brutality. Cloudchaser could feel the cold sweat of dread form on her brow.
"Uh y-you go t-talk to her." Cloudchaser said while hiding behind her sister.
"What no way! You go talk to her, besides weren't you the one who said we can't be afraid?" Flitter said while leapfrogging behind Cloudchaser.
Sure it was easy to be brave when your pissed off and the giant predatory bully with a bad attitude is on the ground and your in the sky, It's a bit different when she's only thirty feet away. "I guess i did, didn't i?"
"Kick her flank, er tail feathers." Flitter said rooting for her sis.
The steps across Sugar Cube Corner seemed to stretch farther and farther with each one taken, Gilda was craning her neck around, her pupils dilated as she scanned the crowd, all around looking intimidating. Cloudchaser was almost there when Pinkie showed up to greet her. 'Whew crisis averted' she thought to herself.
She didn't catch what was being said over the other guests, what she did catch was a stunning electrocution by Pinkie Pie, via a concealed hoof buzzer. "I think i saw her skeleton!" "What kind of voltage does that thing have?"
"Pranking is serious business, and in any businesses you gotta get the industrial strength products." Pinkie said with glee.
'Ouch, i actually feel kind of bad about that one.' Cloudchaser thought as she backed her way to the corner her sister was now inhabiting.
"Well what did she say? Are we gonna meet out back for a no holds bar street fight?" Flitter asked while mock boxing.
"I kinda chickened out," said Cloudchaser.
"Well now what are we supposed to do? Things are just going to continue on like this until something changes."
"I know, just right now i don't feel like fighting. Besides were at a party, i don't think Pinkie would appreciate it if we turned it into a shouting match."
Just then Spike ran up to the two, the Twist-Up box in hand. "I've asked pretty much everypony here, and i can't get anyone to play with me." He tilted his head and used the sad puppy dog eyes on the sisters.
Flitter was smitten, "DAW, of course we'll play with you little fella." She picked spike up and started snuggling him like a stuffed animal, "He's so darn cute!"
"Can't your mom play with you? I would think she'd be willing." Cloudchaser commented.
From the warm embrace of Flitter the little dragon replied, "Twilight says she's busy taking notes on the 'dynamics of interpersonal relationships' AKA being a stalker." He motioned over to Twilight who was hiding under the table observing Gilda and Pinkie's heated exchanges and taking notes.
"Fair enough, alright kiddo, you set up the mat and we'll go a few rounds with you. Just keep in mind, you are going to lose, allot." Cloudchaser said while limbering up her muscles. Spike hopped down and set up the polka dot mat and spinner, the game was on.
With each spin the sisters were able to match it perfectly, Front left-blue, child's play. At one point even though it was totally unnecessary Cloudchaser took the opportunity to flip over and hold the spaces while crab walking. "Ha! Try and beat that one Spike!"
He tried, and failed.
The jumbled mess of ponies and dragon drew the attention of the other party goers away from the real show starting. In the background Gilda's mouth was shooting flames after eating those sinister candies provided by Rainbow Dash. Gilda was desperately running about like a chicken with it's head cut off looking for the punch bowl, only to discover that no cool relief was there for her. Only the mocking brutality of the dribble glass.
In quick succession things fell apart, Gilda would go to some activity only to find it rigged to blow up in her face or humiliate her in some way. Then she would lash out at Pinkie Pie for some reason, and Rainbow Dash would laugh. Pretty quickly it became uncomfortable to be around. At one point Gilda got Pinkie in a strangle hold and lifted her off the ground, finally Rainbow Dash stepped in and brought it to an end.
Though they were too far away to hear and unable to move, the sisters could see all they needed to understand what was going on. The anger and pain on Rainbow's face as she told off her old friend. The indignation on Gilda's as she stormed out the door, masking the sorrow and betrayal she felt. Rather than hate or hurt, Flitter and Cloudchaser just felt... sad, and not entirely sure why.
After talking with Pinkie and Rainbow, Twilight came by and helped the three untangle themselves. "Well that certainly was a doozy, but on the plus side I've got my friendship report done, i'm thinking about titling it 'how to recognize a true friend'. I think the princess will be happy with that."
"Um, yeah that sounds, good. Could you excuse us Twilight? Flitter and i wan't to talk with Rainbow Dash, right?" Flitter nodded in agreement.
Rainbow was putting on a brave face, joking around with the hoof buzzers, smiling and laughing. But to the sisters it was clear, Rainbow was still very upset, just holding back the tears from coming out. Flitter drew her aside and put a comforting hoof around, "You okay Rainbow Dash?"
"*Pphfh* Me? I'm awesome, why wouldn't i be?" Rainbow said brushing off Flitter.
"Well, i'm sorry i made you feel like you had to pull off all those pranks on Gilda. I may hate her guts but, you're a nice girl, even if you're a show off sometimes." Flitter smacked her sister upside the head for her insensitive remark. "Sorry, you're awesome is what i mean to say."
Rainbow hid her face, "Gilda's nothing, just- just a bad memory now. I've got allot more pranking to do with Pinkie Pie, so if you'll excuse me." True to her name she dashed off, leaving the twins behind and tear stains on the floor.
Back at their home Cloudchaser was up on her top bunk, not hiding this time but brooding. Since the party she couldn't stop thinking about how things went down. True she had what she wanted, Gilda was gone and wouldn't be around anymore, but she still felt awful. Just like before Flitter came in and joined her on the lower bunk.
"You can't get over it as well?" asked Cloudchaser.
"Yeah, i know we didn't do any thing wrong. How others react is their own responsibility, but that doesn't help shake the feeling." Flitter replied and buried her face in her pillow.
"So where do we go from here?" Cloudchaser asked.
"I don't know," Flitter sadly said from within her pillow.
"I guess we could try and be Rainbow's friends. Maybe make it up to her?" said Cloudchaser.
Flitter tossed the pillow away, "You think so, forgiving somepony for what they did in flight camp is one thing. Becoming 'besties' goes allot farther than that."
"You don't have to if you don't wan't to. I'm at least going to try!" Cloudchaser said, reversing the dynamic from earlier.
Flitter sighed heavily, retrieved the pillow and buried her face in it once more, "*Mumble Mumble*"
"What'd you say sis? Didn't quite catch that?" Cloudchaser said with a smirk, she could guess what her twin was going to say.
"I said FINE! We'll go be best buddies with Rainbow Dash okay!?" Flitter was working her self into a huff. Cloudchaser knew just what to do. Reaching down over the railing she held out her hoof for a bump.
"Eh? Eh? Come on don't leave me hanging." Flitter rolled her eyes and reciprocated the gesture. "I'll start talking with her at work more often,"
"I guess i could see if she want's to go to the movies with us? Gah, this is weird." said Flitter. The two kept working on their plans, unsure if they would succeed or not, but still putting all their effort into it. Rainbow Dash had two new friends, she just didn't know it yet.