Author's Note: There is way too much Grimdark and Sad pony fiction out there, so I'm setting out to even the score.
Starting with this series.
Disclaimer: I don't own Hasbro or "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic." I also don't own the "If You Give a Moose a Muffin/If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" book series, and any representation of any similar book in said series within this story is a parody.
…what? I love those books.
"Pinkie Pie's Lullaby"
By: Aquarian Poet
The merry chime of the Sugarcube Corner bell rang through the sunny vales of Ponyville. Should a passerby take notice of the scene, they would see a pony leaving the frosted bakery, looking back to the closing door from which came a loud, delighted squeal, while glimpsing a flash of pink before the door swung shut. Were a pony to be even closer, they would be able to hear the rapid *clops* of a pony racing up the nearby staircase.
From the open window on the second floor came the sounds of drawers opening, and the clacking of clothes hangers from within a closet. Muffled mumbling, and the occasional gasp were audible to all but the most inattentive passerby, and the silhouettes of various objects being tossed across the room were visible against the yellow-lit panes.
"Ohh, where did I put those streamers? I know I still had a bag of them in here!"
The shadows of a pony hurrying to and fro flashed against the window, carrying various objects left and right. A broom, a bag of confetti, a bag full of records…
And finally, the silhouette of a small alligator.
"Hee hee! *snort* Sorry Gummy, but there's no room for you in there! That's where I'm gonna put my accordion! You never know when you'll need one."
The lively squeaks and squeals continued as the pony went about her mysterious routine. Through the window, one could see the light filtering in on a bright pink suitcase, where many items were haphazardly tossed inside.
After a moment, the cacophony ceased completely.
"I'll see you later Gummy. Take care of Mr. and Mrs. Cake for me!"
*Clop clop clop clop clop clop*
"Bye Mr. and Mrs. Cake, I'm leaving now! And don't worry, I left Gummy here to take care of things while I'm gone!"
"Oh… r-right. Take care, dearie."
"See you guys in a week!"
And on that note, the pink pony pushed open the door, suitcase in mouth, and trotted merrily on her way, the Sugarcube Corner bell ringing one final time.
Pinkie Pie traveled down one of the many dirt paths of Ponyville, humming a cheery tune and taking in the many sights that quickly passed behind her as she bounced into the town square. Several of Ponyville's vendors were setting up shop for the day, organizing the many stalls and restocking their various trinkets and edibles.
She continued down the path, reaching the edge of the square when a familiar voice rang out from behind her.
"Thank ya kindly, ma'am. Y'all have a good day now!"
Turning to the sounding call, she saw her fellow earth pony friend waving cheerfully to an apple-laden customer as she trotted away.
Applejack looked to the side. "Oh, hey there Pinkie. What brings you down to the town square this early in the mornin'?" the Stetson-clad proprietor asked, eyeing the suitcase in her mouth. "An' how are you talkin' with that thing in yer mouth?"
"Lots of practice!" the pink party pony replied flawlessly through the handle. "And I'm going to the train station!"
Her companion blinked. "The train station? Where are y'all hea-"
"Pinkie Pie! Applejack!"
She broke mid-sentence, glancing up to the sky. "Well howdy, Rainbow! What's goin' on?"
"Huh? Oh, nothing. I just saw you two hangin' out here, and thought I'd drop by and… what's with the suitcase?"
"I'm going to see my-"
"Oh hey, did you guys see me up there just now?" Rainbow Dash suddenly asked, landing swiftly in-between the two earth ponies. "I just perfected the first ever Raincloud Triple Backflip! Oh man, Spitfire's gonna be so-"
"Yeah, that's nice Rainbow." Applejack interrupted, still staring at Pinkie Pie's suitcase. "So Pinkie, you were tellin' us where y'all were headed so early."
"Oh yeah, I'm going to see-"
"Hey Fluttershy, over here!" Rainbow Dash called out. Applejack's ears drooped at the impromptu interruption.
The timid pony noticed her fellow pegasus friend waving at her. She walked over and joined the group with a quiet greeting.
"Oh, hello. I was just heading over to the market to buy some medicine. Poor Hummingway caught something awful, and…" she glanced over to Applejack. "I'm not interrupting anything, am I?"
"No more than some." Applejack mumbled, sparing a glance toward her rainbow-maned companion.
"Of course not, you silly filly! You arrived just in time for me to say goodbye!" Pinkie Pie cheered, jumping up and down. The yellow pegasus pony cocked her head to the side.
"Say goodbye? Where are you going?"
Applejack brought a hoof up to her face as the ponies' ears perked up. Looking down the pathway, they saw two familiar unicorn ponies trotting up to them.
Pinkie Pie was beside herself with glee.
"Twilight! Rarity! Aww, looks like everypony came to see me leave! I love you girls!" the pink pony cried, drawing all five of her friends into a giant group hug.
"Leave? Where is she… g-going?" Rarity squeaked from her spot, wedged in-between two pegasus ponies.
"Nnnugh! And how can she talk with that case in her mouth?" Twilight managed to groan from within the cluster. With a sudden gasp, Pinkie Pie released the group, the ponies all dropping unceremoniously in a colored heap.
"Oh no! I'm going to be late! Come on everypony, we've gotta get to the train station super-fast!" she cried, darting off towards the other side of the pavilion. The tangle of ponies looked at each other, their heads sinking in tandem as the group let out a simultaneous groan.
"So, you're goin' to see your Granny Pie, huh? S'pose it's that time o' year again."
"It sure is!" the addressed pony chirped.
"Really?" Twilight asked, looking interested.
"Sure!" Rainbow Dash chimed in, looping over Twilight and flying alongside her. "She heads out of Ponyville every year to go and see her Granny Pie. She's always asking Pinkie Pie to come and visit her, usually when she comes up with something new that she wants her to see."
Rarity trotted up beside them. "Her Granny Pie was the most famous baker in all of Equestria. Everypony's heard of her."
"Yeah! She's like, the coolest granny anypony could ask for!" Rainbow Dash interjected from the side.
"Gee Rainbow, you sound like you've met the pony." Twilight remarked. Rainbow Dash frowned, lifting a hoof to her mouth.
"Well… no. But Pinkie Pie's told us a lot about her. And every time Pinkie Pie goes down there, she always comes back with a new, super-awesome recipe for Sugarcube Corner!"
"Oh yes, her recipes are very delightful." Fluttershy piped up from in-between them.
Pinkie Pie giggled. "My Granny Pie was a super-famous baker when she was my age! She was the pony who taught Mr. and Mrs. Cake how to bake all of their yummy-in-your-tummy goodies, and she even helped them get Sugarcube Corner started, all back when I was still an itty-bitty little-wittle Twinkie-Pinkie!" she cheered, hopping up and down.
Twilight blinked, one ear folding down as she watched the suitcase bouncing up and down with her. "I still don't understand how she can say so much with that suitcase in her mouth."
"Duh. Lots of practice!" Pinkie Pie exclaimed, snorting. "I've helped the Cake family cater for a whole bunch of parties, and it gets really boring not being able to talk to anypony with a tray in your mouth. So, I learned how to talk like this!"
She frowned. "I can't talk with two suitcases in my mouth, though. I still haven't figured out how, and it'd be really helpful to be able to. Then I'd be able to answer all of my friend's questions when I come back home with a second suitcase." She chirped, trotting ahead of the group.
Twilight shrugged, increasing her pace after the pink pony… until the silence behind her reached her ears. She turned back to the sight of the four remaining ponies, frozen in their tracks with faraway looks on their faces, pupils wide and mouths hanging open.
"The second suitcase." Rainbow Dash murmured softly. Twilight gave her a look.
"What's the second suitcase?" she asked, blankly. "Better yet, what's in the second suitcase?"
"Only the most magnificent of pleasures a pony could ever dream to partake of." Rarity purred.
"The most wonderful of wonderful things." said Fluttershy, dreamily.
"From the best-darned confectioner in all o' Equestria." Applejack whispered weakly.
"Granny Pie's cupcakes." The four reverently whispered.
Twilight blinked. Again. She opened her mouth to say something...
"Oh lookie, we're here!" Pinkie Pie called out from ahead of the group.
"C-Come on girls, let's go see Pinkie Pie off." Rarity announced after regaining her composure, running after her friend. The four remaining ponies followed shortly behind, three of which were furtively attempting to wipe the drool away from their mouths as they caught up to the pink pony, who was bouncing up and down on a nearby platform.
"Ooh, I can't wait! I can't wait! I can't wait!" she cried aloud with each bounce. Twilight walked up to her.
"So, how long are you going to be gone?"
Pinkie Pie stopped her bouncing, and set her suitcase down. "About a week. It takes a whole day to get there, and another day to get back. It's a reeaally looong ride." the pony mused, suddenly taking on a cheerful demeanor. "That's why I brought my accordion! Here, lemme show you!" she exclaimed, dipping down to unfasten the latches on her baggage, before Twilight hurriedly spoke up again.
"A week? Wow, that sure is a long time. Where does she live?" she asked nervously, and sighing as the pony jumped back up to her feet, bouncing towards the wall of the sizable building, and began staring down a laminated map of the region.
"She lives…" her eyes scanned across the poster. "There! Right next to Salt Lick City!" she exclaimed, pointing a hoof at the illustration on the wall.
"That's pretty far away." Twilight Sparkle observed, frowning. Pinkie Pie bounced back to her suitcase.
"Tell me about it, but it's definitely worth it. She even pays for the ride there and back! And look, here it is!" she called out, pointing. The group turned to face the dirt road in the direction of her outstretched hoof, where a regal, closed-top carriage pulled up and over a nearby hill. Two well-dressed stallions walked at the head of the vehicle, sauntering in front of the ponies and stopping a few feet ahead.
"Ooh, how chic." Rarity complimented, eyeing the carriage (and stallions) with admiration.
"Oh… so you're not even taking the train. Big surprise." Rainbow Dash observed, raising an eyebrow.
"Well that's mighty nice o' her." Applejack remarked quickly, smiling as she walked up to them. "Hope you have a good time, an' give her a big hello from the folks here in Ponyville."
"Don't worry, I will." Pinkie Pie responded, opening the door and throwing her suitcase inside.
"An' be sure to thank her for those cupcakes y'brought back from yer last trip."
"Okie dokie lokie!" she called out, hopping into the carriage.
"And make sure to bring more of them back!" Rarity yelled out from the back. Her remaining friends turned back to give her a look, which she met coolly.
"What? You were all thinking the same thing." she insisted, idly running a hoof through her coiled mane.
"Are you ready, Miss Pie?"
The deep voice prompted the group to direct their attention to the carriage.
"You bet I am! On to Granny Pie's!" she called out from inside. With a nod to his partner, the two stallions began their trot, pulling the carriage down the dirt road, and away from the edge of Ponyville. The pink pony poked her head out of the open window, grinning at the group who was waving their goodbyes.
"Y'all take care now!"
"See you later, Pinkinator!"
"Goodbye, Pinkie Pie!"
"Have a good time, darling!"
Fluttershy waved quietly alongside her friends with a gentle smile.
Pinkie Pie popped her foreleg out of the carriage, waving a cheery pink hoof back.
"Bye girls! See you all in a week!" she called out before diving back into the vehicle. As the carriage grew smaller and smaller, the merry, tinny sounds of a muted accordion filled the morning air, steadily growing softer as the carriage sunk behind a far-off hill. Rainbow Dash chuckled.
"I hope Granny Pie tipped those guys. Pinkie Pie knows a lot of songs for that thing."
The gentle sounds of the forest life, hidden by tall-standing trees, surrounded the small dirt path. The lingering scent of rain and pine filled the tree-laden area from the previous day, the misty air visible through the sunny afternoon rays.
Small animals darted in-between the towering foliage, stopping only to sip from a puddle that had collected at the base of one of the giant pine trees. Birds would land on the pointed branches, ruffling their feathers as the tiny drops of residual dew trickled down on them from above…
And all at once, they froze. Each and every set of eyes turned towards the dirt path in sudden alarm, where a sweet, ringing voice sang out loudly to the tune of an accordion, alongside the sounds of a hoof tapping against the carriage floor in time.
"The baker heaved a heavy sigh, 'My customer's refuse to buy!
My filly is about to die, my bits are much too few!
There's oatmeal where there should be rye, they all turned out so awfully dry!
Oh Pinkie Pie, I cannot lie! These cupcakes just won't do!
"And what did Pinkie Pie say? She said…"
"Ooooooh Mr. Baker, don't you cry! I'll help you make these cupcakes fly!
Don't feel like you have to pry, I'll share my recipe!
You don't have to be so shy, I would never tell a lie!
Your customers won't help but buy these cupcakes, you will see!
A little yeast will get you by, too much will make them rise too high!
All you need is a pinch of rye, throw the oatmeal in the trash!
A couple drops of frosting dye, a tablespoon of love, don't ask why!
A teaspoon less would make them cry, a cup would cause a rash!"
"And then what did Pinkie Pie do?"
"She shooed the baker off to bed, and made those cupcakes like she said.
And when he woke his sleepy head, boy was he surprised!
Pinkie stood there all aglow, with a wagon of cupcakes in tow!
The ponies standing in a row, he could not believe his eyes!
He watched that pony sell those treats, frosted cupcakes by the sheets!
She sold all of those tasty sweets before the end of the day!
The pot of bits filled to the brim, shiny pieces prepped and prim!
She gave it to him on a whim, and then he heard her say,
'Take however much you may, buy your family some hay!
Don't forget what you learned today, and you'll always make day's end!
Just promise little Pinkie Pie, that whenever you see her drop by,
You'll make some cupcakes so you and I can be the best of friends!
Your little filly will not die; your business will soar through the sky!
Cross my heart, hope to fly! Stick a cupcake in my eye!
Cross my heart, hope to fly! Stick a cupcake in my eyeeeeeeeee!'
And the baker said, 'You bet your little head!
I'll bake 'em for PINKIE PIE! YEAH!"
The forest had gone completely silent, but for the turning of the carriage wheels, and the muffled hoofsteps of the two silent stallions treading the soft dirt path. Pinkie Pie poked her head out of the window, looking ahead at the trotting ponies and calling out to them.
"My Granny Pie made that nursery rhyme for for me when I was a filly, and I turned it into a song! Wasn't that great?"
The stallion closest to her felt his eye twitch as he wearily turned back to face the grinning pony, forcefully smiling and nodding his head. Facing forward, he sighed as the sounds of the accordion picked up. Again. He heard a sniff to his left, and eyed his partner, watching in disbelief as he hastily wiped away a tear.
*Sniff* "What? It was sweet."
The carriage pulled out of the pine tree forest, the sparkling mist beginning to filter away, and revealing a large, open clearing. Pinkie Pie looked out of her window as the world came to life around her.
Cresting over the hill, the three ponies beheld an enormous, blossoming meadow. Birds were swooning overhead, calling out to their kin and dipping down into the tall grass, while butterflies flitted through the sunlit petals of the flowering field.
And then Pinkie Pie saw the cottage.
"GRANNY PIE!" she cried aloud. Grabbing her suitcase and kicking the door open, she bounded out of the carriage mid-trot and raced past the cantering males. "Thanks for the lift, guys! See you in a week!" she called back to the bewildered stallions. One of them sighed.
"She does that every year." he muttered. The second one raised an eyebrow, and shrugged.
By the time the two stallions had turned the carriage around and started back, Pinkie Pie was already up the steps, hastily ringing the doorbell.
"I'm coming, I'm coming." came a muted voice from within the cottage. Three long seconds later, and Pinkie Pie heard the *click* of a lock, and watched with wide eyes as the door slowly opened.
The sunlight filtered in through the opening doorway, revealing an elderly mare who stared back at Pinkie Pie with dulling, but intense cerulean eyes. The sunny rays shone down on the old pony as she trotted forwards, her creamy-smooth pink coat glowing in full, along with the pony's cutie mark: an empty pie dish. The old mare raised her eyebrows, hiding them beneath a frosting-blue mane that rose in a puffy manner, similar to the pony's whom she stared down towards.
"Pinkamena Diane Pie." The old mare started. "You're very late… though I suppose later is better than never." she emphasized quietly.
The two earth ponies held each other's gaze; one grinning, and the other grim…
Before both ponies broke out in a bout of giggles and snorts, and erupted into full-blown laughter.
"Pinkie Pie!" Granny Pie cried, swiftly scooping the giggling pony into a surprisingly-strong vice grip. How's my little party pony been?"
"I've been super-duper!" she squeaked.
The old mare chuckled. "Get in here, you little rascal!" she cheerfully insisted, backing into the house. Pinkie Pie let out a squeal, and dove inside without another word.
Landing on the soft brown carpet and dropping her suitcase, the pink pony's head shot left and right, taking in the sights around her. The couches and the chairs, every knick-knack and picture frame, each brought a familiar memory to mind, and a little more magic into the moment.
Pinkie Pie bounced into the living room as the old mare chuckled, passing by her as she collapsed on the carpet in front of a cozy fireplace, inhaling deeply. The sweet scents of peppermint and burning pine logs raced through her mind and enveloped her in a whirlwind of memories, encompassing her to the point… where she almost missed something. Something very important.
Her head suddenly shot up. It was her Pinkie sense: She was... drooling.
…it couldn't be.
She had just gotten here.
But it had to be.
"Ohhh Pinkie Pieeee…" Granny Pie called from inside of the kitchen in a sing-song voice. Pinkie Pie's eyes widened, bending down and wiggling her haunches in anticipation.
"Yes?" she called back, her voice constricted with excitement.
"I made cup-caaaakes!"
The living room was devoid of ponies before the word rang throughout the cottage.
Dusk was readily approaching the blooming meadow. The skies were dimming high above, and the sun had begun a slow descent towards the horizon, the edge of the great celestial sphere touching the tip of the far-off mountains below.
Wildflowers and garden plants alike were lit ablaze by a shower of golden-red sunbeams, igniting the dazzling floral canvas, and shining through the petals while painting the ground with interchanging hues of twisting orange and shadowy grey.
All but a few of the forest creatures had scurried back to their burrows. Reaching their dens and residences, the animals went about the final duties of the day, doting on their kin and feasting one last time before retiring for the evening.
*Mmmph Hawmph Mmph! Gulp!* "Mmmmm…" *Hawmph Nawmph Nawmph Mmph!*
One such feast took place within the homely cottage sitting silently in the blazing meadow.
The light of the crackling fireplace inside of the living room cast a large shadow of a pony across the trinket-laden wall, the massive caricature relishing in a frenzied feast.
Pinkie Pie wiped another layer of frosting off of her lips with an eager tongue, while picking up another frosted cupcake and eagerly devouring the savory delicacy. Though entranced by her meal, she noticed Granny Pie walking into the living room, standing alongside her with a tray in her mouth.
There sat two steaming cups of cream-topped hot cocoa, the steamy aroma of which convinced Pinkie Pie to forego the remains of the heavenly spread on the small table.
"Ooh, thanks Granny Pie!" she exclaimed, taking one of the mugs and readily drinking. *Slurp!* "Hot!" *Slurp!* "Hot!" *Slurp!* "HOT! HOT!" she cried, impulsively bringing the cup back up to her lips once again.
"Alright, settle down Pinkie dear." Granny Pie gently chided, taking the cocoa out of the panting pony's hooves, and smirking at the party pony's tongue lolling out in pain. "Now, if I recall, your birthday wasn't too long ago, wasn't it? And a package of cupcakes only lasts so long, so… I've got something special for you."
Pinkie Pie's tongue drew back into her mouth, her ears perking up. "A surprise? *Gaaaaasp!* I LOVE surprises! No, I don't like surprises! Wait! I love them! What is it? What is it?" she asked eagerly, hopping on the spot.
Granny Pie chuckled, turning back and producing a small, flat package wrapped in a bright pink wrapping paper. Pinkie Pie gingerly took the parcel out of her hooves, gently turning it over until she found the edge of the paper….
And ripped the entire cover off in a single swipe of the hoof. The pink pony felt her breath catch within her throat, as the sudden realization of what she held in her hooves rushed through her.
It was a book.
She ran her foreleg along the edges of the thin hardcover, opening the front with a shaking hoof. Her gaze traced along the words and depictions of the first few pages. Closing the book, Pinkie Pie turned it over on its back, her eyes glossing over at the sight of the cover, on which she saw a very familiar illustration.
"You got me… my favorite book." She whispered.
Granny Pie let a smile grace her aging features, moving next to the stunned pony. "I had a hunch that you might like a copy of your very own. For you and Gummy to share together."
The smile on her granddaughter's face filled the cozy room in an instant. She gently set the book on the table of cupcakes, and threw her arms around the elderly pony's neck.
"Thank you, Granny Pie. Oh, thank you so much! This is so great, Gummy's gonna love this! I'll read it to him every single night, I promise!"
"Cross your heart, hope to fly?"
"Stick a cupcake in my eye!" She paused, looking at the table. "Well, maybe not these cupcakes."
Granny Pie laughed, and buried her face in the pony's puffy mane, nuzzling her gently. "Oh, it was my pleasure, dearie. Now, why don't you go and finish your cupcakes and cocoa, and I'll read it to you, just like when you were a little filly."
Without another word, Pinkie Pie zipped back to her spot next to the fire as the old pony sat down on a chair next to the table, taking the book and fondly caressing the illustrated cover as she the print aloud.
"If You Give A Gator A Gumdrop"
Pinkie Pie squealed in excitement between bites of the pastries.
"If you give a gator a gumdrop, he's going to ask for some frosting."
She showed the grinning pony the page, to which she suppressed a giggle.
"So you'll bring out some frosting from the pantry. When he's finished eating the gumdrop, he's going to want another. And another. And another."
*Shuff* She turned the page.
"When he's all full, he's going to look at all of the frosting and gumdrops left. He'll probably want to build a gingerbread house. You'll have to go to the market to buy some gingerbread squares."
"He'll start thinking of how lonely it will be when you leave, and he'll want you to find him a friend to keep him company. So you'll find your favorite toy and give it to him." She showed the page to Pinkie Pie, where a little filly was handing a pony doll to the small alligator. She let out another giggle.
"Seeing that toy will remind him of your last birthday when you got the toy. He'll get hungry again, and ask you to bake a cake."
"After you put the cake in the oven, he's going to want to play a game to pass the time, so you'll pull out a board game for the two of you to play. He'll notice that some of the pieces are missing, and that…
"Will make him want to go on a treasure hunt!" Pinkie Pie blurted out, spraying the elderly mare in a shower of cupcake crumbs, who blinked and gave the sheepish pony a look.
"Ahem… He'll take some cloth from the closet and start making a pirate costume. When he's done, he'll ask you to find some music for the treasure hunt. So you'll start playing some of your favorite records."
"After listening to a few songs, he'll want to start dancing. So the two of you will dance. And dance. And dance."
"After a while, he's going to get tired. He'll ask you to read him a bedtime story."
"Then he'll want you to rub his tummy." She showed Pinkie Pie the detailed picture.
"Aww… that's so cute."
"Rubbing his tummy will remind him that he's still hungry, and he'll ask you if the cake is done."
"Both of you will rush into the kitchen, and you'll probably see smoke coming from inside of the oven. He'll give you a pair of oven mitts."
"Hee hee, *snort!*"
"He's going to watch you set the burnt cake down next to the frosting. And chances are when he sees the frosting…"
*Shuff* She showed the final page to the apprehensive pony.
"He's going to want some gumdrops to go with it."
Pinkie Pie burst out into laughter, rolling around on her back and kicking her legs up in the air.
"Hahahaha! *snort!* That never gets old! Ahahaha!"
Granny Pie sat patiently with a smile on her face, waiting until her granddaughter had run out of breath, and lay panting on the floor.
*Sigh* "That was fun. Thanks, Granny Pie."
"It was my pleasure. I enjoy these books quite a lot, too…" the old mare replied, smiling again. "By the way dear, how is Gummy?"
"Oh, he's doing great!" she exclaimed, suddenly frowning. "Except… well…"
"Well? What's the matter?"
Pinkie Pie shifted uncomfortably on the spot. "I, uh… I stopped feeding him gumdrops."
"Hmm? How come?"
"He… lost all of his teeth. He can't chew them anymore." She mumbled.
Granny Pie stared at the pony, before cracking a wry grin and putting a hoof across her mouth.
The old pony bit down on her hoof, tears leaking out of her eyes.
"Hey, it's not funny!" she pouted, at which point her grandmother burst into a laughing fit.
"Ahaha! O-Of course it is! Hahahaha! Why… why did you name him Gummy in the first place?" she choked out, leaning over the arm rest for support.
"…because he loved eating gumdrops." the pink pony sourly replied.
"Heeheehee, exactly! And n-now he h-has no… no… " she chuckled dryly, wiping away tears of mirth. "Oh Pinkie Pie, what am I going to do with you?"
"You could stop teasing me..." She answered, albeit with a smile of her own. Granny Pie smirked.
"How about I give you a hug instead?" the old mare suggested, tousling her light-blue mane. Pinkie Pie jumped to her feet and walked over to the chair, and into the pony's outstretched arms.
"Thanks, Granny Pie." she said, nestling her face in the crook of her neck.
"Oh don't thank me too soon. I never said I would stop teasing you." Granny Pie whispered mischievously. Pinkie Pie blinked, before crying out in panicked laughter, struggling to get away from the sudden tickling sensation spreading across her sides.
"Ahhh! No! Heeheehee! S-Stop! Ahahaha!"
"Oh?" Granny Pie suddenly stopped, releasing the wheezing pony and looking down to her left leg… which had begun to twitch. She smiled, winking at her granddaughter whose face lit up with sudden understanding.
"Looks like the second batch of cupcakes are done."
"So, has anything new happened in Ponyville since you last came to visit, Pinkie dear?" the old mare asked after setting the plate down.
"Mmmph Hawmph *Gulp!* So much you wouldn't believe it! I saved Ponyville from a bunch of Parasprites, made a new best friend, met a griffon and a zebra…"
"Slow down there, little missy. A new friend you say?" she asked, settling herself down in a chair.
"Yeah! Her name is Twilight Sparkle!"
"Oh? And what's she like?"
"Well, she's super-super smart! She really likes to read books, and she lives in the Ponyville library!"
"I'm sure that makes her happy. What else is she like?"
"Hmm..." she mused, bringing a hoof up to her mouth. "She spends a lot of time in those books, studying magic and lots of other boring things… but she's really nice! She loves to help me throw parties for my other friends, and we do lots of fun things together! Oh, she even gave me a ticket to the Gala!"
Granny Pie's eyes widened. "The Grand Galloping Gala? In Canterlot? My, I'm impressed. Those invitations are very hard to come by."
Pinkie Pie blinked. "Did you ever go to the Grand Galloping Gala when you were young?"
"Go there? Why, I single-hoofedly catered the entire event for years!"
The pink pony's mouth dropped open. "No way."
The old mare snorted. "Well how else did you think your Granny Pie became the most well-known baker in her time? Oh yes, it was always a very busy time of the year for me and your grandfather. I would spend weeks baking all those fancy foods and delicacies, and your grandfather spent months financially preparing us for the festival. Once or twice, I even had the honor of personally serving the Princess!"
"Wow…" Pinkie Pie breathed.
"Yes, it was a real pleasure. The Gala was always a wonderful event for us, though it would have been more enjoyable had the ponies attending not have been so… reserved in character."
"…You mean they were boring."
The two ponies shared a giggle as Pinkie Pie leaned over the arm-rest, sighing.
"None of my friends had a very good time there. We were all hoping that everything would go differently, and that we would get to live some of our dreams, but it was the worst party ever." She replied, smiling thoughtfully. "It was all okay in the end, though. We all got together and had a fun night with each other. We even got doughnuts!"
"Oh, how lovely. I'm glad things worked out well for you." The old mare replied genially, picking up her cup of cocoa. "So, what else has happened?"
"Well, I met a dragon, went and saw a bunch of buffalo … oh, and I got to go to Cloudsdale and watch Rainbow Dash compete in the Best Young Flyer's Competition! She won with a super-spec-tacular Sonic Rainboom!" she cried, swinging her forelegs dramatically into the air. "Speaking of flying, I also got to be the announcer for the Running of the Leaves! It was really neat to see the race from way up high, and watch all of the ponies make the leaves fall for winter!"
"My goodness… sounds like you've been a very busy pony since you last came by."
"You bet I've been, but I've had a great time! Even Winter Wrap-Up was lots of fun this year!"
The elderly pony suddenly smiled, looking down at her steaming mug, and into the swirling liquid. "Oh yes… Winter Wrap-Up. And how did that go?"
"It went great! We finally got Ponyville ready for spring in time, and it was all thanks to Twilight!" Pinkie Pie declared, before she brought a hoof up to her face, looking thoughtful. "It was really nice of her to have some of the other ponies help me with my job this year, even if I am the best lake-scorer in Ponyville."
Granny Pie's eyes misted over, her voice softening. "The lake-scorer. Of course… *sigh* just like your grandfather. Oh, he was such a charming young stallion in his youth. Did I ever tell you how we met?" she asked.
Pinkie Pie shook her head.
"Well, It was winter in Ponyville, and I was visiting a dear old friend of mine, little Miss Smith Apple, during Winter Wrap-Up day. We were the finest little chefs at our age, and our job was to provide lunch for all of the hard working adults. We baked pies, cupcakes, and all sorts of delicious treats for everypony, it was so delightful!
Young Miss Smith got her cutie mark that day, and so the two of us had a picnic on one of the snowy hills with some of the leftover goodies we had made to celebrate, overlooking the beautiful frozen lakes of Ponyville.
That was when I met your grandfather. He was down on one of the nearby lakes, skating the day away without a care. I didn't recall seeing him at our little baker's stand earlier that day, so I decided to bring him one of Smith's leftover pies. I ran down to the lake as fast as I could with that pie.
Unfortunately, I was not the brightest young filly at my age. I couldn't keep my balance on the slippery ice, and he… well, he took one look at me, and his expression went blank. Looked at me like I was crazy, running out onto the lake on my bare hooves. That silly pony kept skating forward and crashed into me, sending us and the pie right into the snow bank!
The two of us were buried up to our heads in snow, and our faces were covered in blueberry filling." The old pony reminisced, a yearning in her voice. "Your grandfather never looked more handsome than he did then and there.
The rest between us is well-known history, I suppose. We fell in love as many ponies do, and eventually we got married. Our first few years together were so wonderful." She mused, sighing. "Our relationship had its ups and downs, of course. I loved the forests and glades of Salt Lick City, but his heart yearned for the kind folks in Ponyville. He wanted to be a business pony, and I wanted to see the smiles on a customer's face when I offered them a homemade treat. We were different in so many ways, and oftentimes we would find ourselves competing against one another's idea of how we should live together. Eventually, of course, we reached a compromise… and Sugarcube Corner was born."
She set her cup down, and reached out a hoof to tousle the silent pony's mane, looking up to the ceiling with a faraway look.
"Your grandfather was always so structured, so meticulous. And yet, he had a wonderful imagination. He built the entire Sugarcube Corner out of the stale and surplus goods from our little sweets shop down in Salt Lick City, you know. Well, the original Sugarcube Corner. He hadn't thought of what would happen during the pegasus ponies' next monthly rain-shower. Oh, the frosting made such a mess, seeping through the gingerbread roof-tiles and the windows, the giant cherry crashing through the…" she paused, wincing. "I suppose that's a memory best not relived. But that pony had a vision, and I wanted to see it come alive. We decided to move to Ponyville, and rebuild our confectionary in his hometown.
It was there that your grandfather had acquired a darling young apprentice. That young Miss Cake… or Miss Tart back then, was always such a go-getter, and the three of us built the second Sugarcube Corner right there in Ponyville.
That was when she met that strapping young Mr. Cake. Oh, that boy would always send your grandfather in such a tizzy, trying to keep young Tart focused on her work, and keeping her from sneaking sweets and goodies to her young suitor. Those two were inseparable.
But your grandfather was a kind pony. He eventually gave that boy a job at Sugarcube Corner, and he taught those two everything he knew about running a business. Those young teenagers were natural bakers to boot, and with a little help from yours truly, they became the best that Ponyville had to offer.
Time passed and we grew older, of course. It was becoming more and more difficult for the two of us to keep up with the demands of running the shop, and the Cakes would lend us a helping hoof more times than we would have liked to admit. So, on their wedding day… and oh, what a special day that was… the two of us gave the newlyweds that precious sweets shop of ours, right there in Ponyville as a wedding gift." she sighed. "I'd never seen a happier pair of ponies in all my life."
"And that's how Equestria was made!"
"Wha… huh?" Pinkie Pie asked, shaking herself awake.
Granny Pie snickered. "Always gets 'em." she chuckled, laughing as the pony in front of her pouted. "Oh, your grandfather hated it when I would say that! That old coot would always doze off whenever I'd lecture him, or tell him a story." She sighed. "I suppose I do tend to get a little long-winded, but that was my favorite way of letting him know that he wasn't paying attention."
Her companion let out a giggle and a snort. "I remember when you used to do that. He would make some really funny faces!"
The elderly mare grinned, picking up her cup again. "Well maybe you should try it, then. I'm sure you'll catch a pony or two."
"Hee hee, I already have."
Granny Pie chuckled, taking a deep sip of her cocoa as her granddaughter finished the last of the cupcakes on the table in front of them.
She brought her cup down to her lap. "Something on your mind, Pinkie Pie?" she asked.
"I just remembered something." Pinkie Pie began, looking thoughtful. "I never finished telling you about all the stuff that's happened in Ponyville. So I think it's fair that I should tell you a story, Granny Pie!" She grinned. "And I've got a doozy of a story to tell you!"
The elderly mare stretched out across the chair, giving her a gentle smile. "That would be lovely, Pinkie dear. Let me go get a blanket, and we can talk for a little while longer." she said, stifling a yawn as she looked out the window beside her, the sun having hidden behind the mountains at last.
"And then Whoosh! This HUGE rainbow came crashing down, and turned him into stone! KA-BLOOSSSSHHH!" she emphasized, jumping into the air and (unintentionally) spraying spittle across the room.
"My word… he turned to stone again?"
"Uh huh! And then we all went to this big celebration at the castle, and the Princess showed us this super-fancy window, and it had all of us on it!"
"Is that right?" The old mare asked, a twinkle in her eye.
"Yeah! It was really neat!"
Granny Pie chuckled lightly, closing her eyes and leaning back against the chair.
"So Pinkie Pie, tell me. Have you noticed anything different in this room since you last came to visit me?"
Pinkie Pie tilted her head slightly, before turning left and right, looking around the area. "Uh-uh." She finally said, shaking her head.
"Well, look closely."
With a tiny pout, the pink pony stood up and walked to the side of the room, squinting her eyes to better see the various objects and pictures that adorned the dimly-lit wall. Seeing nothing, she helplessly turned back to where the old mare sat, who was staring ahead at the adjacent wall with a smile.
Following her gaze, she found the objects of her attention. Two picture frames, in a spot that she could once remember being bare, lay side-by-side against the wall. Looking closer, she noticed a very fine print on the two pictures, bordered and sectioned into various columns.
Beneath a sizable "Equestria Daily" banner, the first page bore a large picture of a stained-glass mural, where six stylized ponies stood in two descending rows as they magicked a large, peculiar creature.
"I remember reading all about it in the newspaper that day… though I'll admit that you make a much better storyteller." came a voice from behind her.
Pinkie Pie turned back with a stunned expression, sitting down on the floor in front of the pictures, her mouth closing. A stillness came over the room, timidly broken by the muffled crackling of the fireplace.
Her eyes met the old mare's gaze.
"So you knew the whole time?"
"Of course I did."
"Then… why didn't you tell me? While I was telling you my story?"
"Why, because I wanted to hear the story from your own words, Pinkie Pie."
The old mare stood up and trotted toward the fireplace. After a moment, she turned back to face her granddaughter, her face glowing.
"Did I ever tell you the story of how I got my cutie mark?"
After a moment, Pinkie Pie shook her head. "All you told me was that you got it at the old bakery, and that you got it after you were married."
"Well, there's a little more to it than that."
She blinked. "What do you mean?"
Granny Pie brought her gaze to the blazing fire in front of her, and closed her eyes.
"In our old sweet shop, before Sugarcube Corner was built, your grandfather and I… got into a terrible fight. It came to the point that we could not live in the same house together for a long while."
Pinkie Pie frowned, her ears drooping. "W-What were you… fighting about?"
Granny Pie sighed. "Money was very scarce back then, and bits were few and far in-between. And my husband, being the business pony he was, made sure to keep our spending at a minimum.
We were in our old sweet shop, discussing the floor plans for the first Sugarcube Corner, when I noticed something that made me very upset. His floor plans did not include seating for the customers. They would make a purchase, leave, and come back to pick it up a few hours later, only to leave once again."
The old pony opened her eyes, smirking. "We shared many bitter words with each other, and neither of us was willing to back down for the longest time. But in the end, I forced that stubborn husband of mine to spend the extra money to put those tables and chairs in the shop." She smiled fondly. "It was our first and last fight."
Pinkie Pie frowned. "But… why?"
Granny Pie sighed, tilting her head.
"Because I would have been a very miserable mare if I had to bake sweets all day for a bunch of nameless ponies." she stated, pacing the room.
"I had my husband spend the money necessary for those tables and chairs, so that our customers could stay a while longer with us, and so that I could go out and be with them. To take the time to get to know them, and do everything that I could to make sure that he or she left with a bigger smile than the one they came in with."
Granny Pie smiled, her eyes misting over. "I wanted nothing more than to spend time with those ponies, to hear their laughter and see their smiles."
The pensive mare turned back to the young pony, who was looking up at her with wide eyes.
"The truth is, Pinkie dear, I didn't become famous enough to cater the Grand Galloping Gala because I was a good baker. I became famous… because I took the time to get to know each and every pony that walked into our little shop. My special talent was never baking. It was doing everything I could to make those ponies happy, and it just so happened that working in our little shop was the best way I could do it.
And while that shop only lasted a few weeks after completion, due to the rainstorm, those were some of the happiest days of my life. When I wasn't busy with the store, I was out and about in the shop. Talking, singing, and getting to know exactly what made those wonderful ponies so special."
The light blue-maned pony looked back at her flank, her smile and her cutie mark glowing in the flickering light of the fireplace.
"Because for every empty pie dish I saw in our little shop, there were two happy ponies sitting close by. Sharing stories, sharing pie, sharing laughter… and sharing tears. And I made it a point to always be one of those ponies."
Her eyes swept from her cutie mark to the mantle place in front of her, locking on a small picture frame. A group of black-and-white ponies stared back at her with emotionless expressions, though her eyes held the gazes of two of the ponies in the center, one filly and one adult, rebelliously beaming into the camera.
"My mother always taught me… that laughter is the greatest gift a pony can ever share with another. The joy of a present is fleeting, and money only lasts so long. But laughter, and a happy memory, can last a lifetime. She taught me that pony doesn't need to be successful to be happy."
Granny Pie let her gaze sink to the floor, the light of the fire spreading across her aging features.
"Sadly, many ponies often don't see it that way. My husband, and my son… your father, didn't quite understand that for many years." The old mare solemnly admitted…
…before facing her granddaughter with an approving smile.
"Or, at least until his little filly showed him otherwise."
The pink pony sniffed, wiping a hoof across her nose.
"I believe that there is a reason that you were chosen to represent one of those perfect virtues, Pinkie Pie." Granny Pie continued, beginning a slow trot across the room.
"For as long as I can remember, all you've ever wanted to do in life was party." she stated, chuckling lightly. "Your very first party... it changed everything for your family. Your parents became softer, kinder ponies. Your sisters shared their very first smile together. And eventually you grew up and left the farm, to become the wonderful mare you are today.
But how do you think that a single party… could have had such a life-changing effect?"
The pink pony remained silent, her eyes to the floor as Granny Pie walked up beside her.
"It was because your very first party wasn't thrown to make you happy... but to make your family happy. You put your entire soul into that one party, for no other reason than to share the joy you felt that day with the ponies you held dear." She smiled wistfully. "It was the most selfless deed that I have ever witnessed throughout all of my years."
The aging pony sat down on the floor next to Pinkie Pie, wrapping a hoof around her trembling shoulders, and gently turning her tear-stricken face to her own.
"That is the laughter that my mother would talk about. That kind of laughter is a wonderful gift that can be given to anypony like any other, except that every time you give some away, you get a little more back than what you had before."
Granny Pie sniffed, her voice cracking. "And I've never met a pony who holds more laughter in her heart than you, my little Pinkie Pie."
The pink pony closed her eyes, feeling her tears spilling out from underneath them. Wordlessly she lunged towards the old mare, throwing her hooves around her neck and sobbing into her frosting-blue mane.
"Oh G-Granny Pie… you're s-so… y-you always…" She continued to weep, unable to finish her sentence. The aging pony choked back a sob of her own, but said nothing, holding tightly to her precious granddaughter.
After a moment longer she pulled away, hiccupping lightly and giggling as Granny Pie kissed her on the nose and wiped away her tears, before looking back towards the wall. Pinkie Pie, her arms still around Granny Pie's neck, turned to see what she was staring at.
It was the second picture, framing an article that featured a similar photograph of a glass window where the same six ponies stood proudly together, magically assailing the sinister depiction of an alicorn.
"I was so proud to see you in that picture, and that you had helped to save the Princess and all of Equestria." She spoke in a soft voice, holding her granddaughter close. "But even more so… that my little Pinkie Pie was chosen to be the Bearer of the Element of Laughter." She sighed, gently nuzzling her. "I can't think of a more fitting honor for my beloved granddaughter."
Pinkie Pie buried her face in her grandmother's mane, her tears freely flowing once more.
"I-It was all thanks to you. I did what you told me to, what you've always told me, Granny Pie. I laughed at the scary things in the Everfree Forest… and saved my friends." she whispered, looking up to her grandmother with a sniffle.
"I made a song for my friends about laughing, and how it scares away the scary things. I told them that the best way to deal with your fears… was to laugh, just like what you would tell me when I was young."
The old mare made a motion to speak, but Pinkie Pie lifted a hoof to her mouth before she could respond.
"You've always been there for me when I needed you most, Granny Pie. You are the most generous pony that I know." Pinkie Pie said, beaming as she tenderly wiped her grandmother's tears away. "And I wasn't sure what I could give to my Granny Pie… to show her how much she means to me."
The balloon-flanked pony stood up on all fours, and held out a hoof to the elderly mare.
"So I made a song for you."
Granny Pie blinked, and let out a small smile as she took it in her own, and slowly rose to her hooves. Pinkie Pie nudged her grandmother forwards, and side by side the two ponies walked back to the chair. The young pony took the comforter in her mouth from off of the arm rest, gingerly covering Granny Pie as she sat down, who rested her head back with a grateful smile.
Pinkie Pie sat beside the elderly mare, wistfully looking out of the moonlit window beside them as she began her slow melody in a soft, warm voice.
There was a filly, young and small
Who loved to laugh and play
She would frolic in the sun
And when the skies turned grey
She'd play out in the falling rain
And in the sparkling snow
She was happy every day
Until the stars would glow
She'd go to her room at night
Afraid and all alone
The scary things would all come out
While the pale moonlight shone
The darkness would come inside
As the sun left the sky
She would lay there quietly
Too afraid to cry
But then her Granny Pie would come
At the end of the day
She would walk inside her room
To make sure she was okay
She would sing and the filly would laugh
Together they would play
The two of them would scare all of
Those scary things away
And when the ghosties had all gone
She'd wipe away her tears
She'd hold that filly close, and say:
"Remember this, my dear
When you find yourself all alone
You can still hear me sing
And you can laugh along with me
To brighten everything."
Pinkie Pie moved the comforter to further cover the elderly mare, who closed her watering eyes and listened to her granddaughter's voice, light and sweet.
That filly kept those words inside
Her heart for all those years
She learned to laugh away the dark
And overcome her fears
So as the seasons passed her by
The small filly would grow
But she would always remember
Those words from long ago
For even though the sun goes down
And shadows come to play
She listens for her grandma's voice
And always hears her say,
"When you find yourself all alone
You can still hear me sing
And you can laugh along with me
So don't fear anything."
Pinkie Pie took one of the elderly pony's hooves into her own, lightly stroking it as she continued her gentle melody.
And now that filly's all grown up
Those shadows seem so small
As long as she remembers to laugh
They aren't that scary at all
So when the ghosties find her friends
To make them scared and sad
She'll giggle, laugh, and sing away
The creepy and the bad
Pinkie Pie nuzzled her silent grandmother fondly, her tender voice beginning to crack.
And when her Granny Pie grows old
And darkness comes to play
She'll always have her Pinkie Pie
To make sure she's okay
I'll sing and laugh for Granny Pie
So she won't be lonely
I'll be there by her side, because..."
The singing pony's voice faded away, as she noticed the quilt rising and sinking in steady rhythm. Granny Pie's eyes were closed, and a light snoring reached her ears. The pink pony exhaled lightly as she leaned forward across the arm rest, and softly kissed the sleeping mare's salty cheek, illuminated by the moonlight that weaved itself along the stitching of the glowing blanket.
She backed away from her grandmother, watching the pony in her silent slumber. Standing in the silence, she took the edge of the blanket in her mouth, and tugged it across her grandmother one final time, before walking to the other side of the room. Pinkie Pie slowly trotted to the top of the staircase, reaching out a hoof to the light switch and whispering the final line to her lullaby, as a solitary tear slid down her smiling cheek.
"She was always there… for… me."
Next on "The Pony Poetry Series:"
"Rainbow Dash's Anthem"