“Well, well,” said Reiziger, crimson eyes aglow, hello, Pinkie Pie.
Hey there you big meanie, Pinkie Pie thought, still with that enormous smile plastered on her face.
I see you have recovered from my bite. How did you manage that? He stretched his mind out and he clawed apart her-
But he was shoved out by a spreading pinkish billowing, much like a great bubble of pink bubblegum. Uh uh! No peeking at your presents til your party!
What are you stammering about, you idiot? His mouth opened; a growl rose in the black and empty throne room.
I'm here to cheer you up, silly! You're such a gloomy-guts, she pouted now, but smiles are my specialty! I'll turn that sharp-toothed frown upside-down!
Reiziger put on a snarling smile. I'm actually in excellent spirits, thank you. And I'll be even better in a bit. His antlers flared with crimson fire. I can put an end to one more annoyance on this day. The power flashed-
But Pinkie shot off in a bright pink streak, quickly hurrying into the depths of the black halls. Let's play hide and seek! That's a super-fun game!
“Ridiculous,” snarled Reiziger. He did not notice that Pinkie was suddenly much more adept at thought projection. Dropping from his throne, he trotted through the doors and out into the darkened halls. He sniffed, and snarled- after such a long and arduous battle he was looking forward to a simple hunt. Low and terrible he loomed, crimson flames ablaze upon his antler tines and stepping forward-
He slipped on a banana peel, and toppled with a crash to the black floor.
Hey, Reiziger! Knock knock!
No no no, you're supposed to say 'who's there?'
Where are you? Antlers shimmered pink as Reiziger's great mind erupted- but he bounced off something like a filly at a moonwalk.
Ooookay, no knock knock jokes. Why is six afraid of seven?
Snapping to his feet Reiziger hurtled down the hallway, turning round a corner to a bursting chamber filled with razor spikes. His red eyes bulged. Someone had stuck a cherry on the top of every spike. There was a giant pile of whipped cream right in the middle of the room.
It's because seven ate nine!
With a howl of rage Reiziger's power flared and burned away the cream. And he still couldn't find her! Every time he swept his mind out he met with a repulsion. He ran out of the spike room- and was immediately hit in the face by a pie.
How about this one? A dog walks into a bakery. She says, 'I'd like a dozen cupcakes for a party I'm planning.' The baker says, 'Oh my gosh a talking dog!'
Crimson fire burned the pie up- he didn't even try to taste the lemon meringue filling. Where are you getting all this garbage?
A blur, and Pinkie stood before him. “Every party pony worth her stickers keeps her supplies ready at a moment's notice. Ta dah!” In a flash she'd stuck a party hat on his head and slammed a noisemaker between his razor teeth. He actually breathed out, causing the noisemaker to issue its signature tweet sound. Reiziger's red fire burned them both up, he loomed forward and roared, baring all his teeth, flames upon his antlers. Shadow was with him, he surged to Pinkie and he growled down at her-
“Boop!” said Pinkie as she beeped him on the nose. Then she grinned, and then she streaked off down the hallway. Reiziger ran after her but she was far too fast.
Where are you? Where are you going? He pulsed his thoughts out with a glimmer of hot pink, but yet again he could not find where she had gone. He did, however, notice an enormous din of thinking in the hiving chamber of the changelings. He took a step and teleported to the-
His jaw dropped open. There were tables set up everywhere, and all the changelings sat politely at them, drinking tea from cups with china saucers. Even as he watched, incredulous, one of the changelings buzzed and pointed at a plate of scones, which another of them happily passed over. At another table changelings were exchanging lumps of sugar out of sugar bowls, and pouring cream- not milk- into their cups.
What is this?, he roared into their minds, causing them to halt and glance up, filled with terror. “What- how- how did-” HOW?
With eyes burning and antlers nearly white-hot from their flames, Reiziger's gaze swiveled to the center of the horde. There, at the middle table, sat Pinkie, gently sipping from her cup. A monocle was perched upon her cheekbone, and she wore white cuffs and a white collar with a bow tie. “Oh, hey there, Ziggy!” she cried out, waving to him. “Oh, yeah, is it okay if I just call you 'Ziggy'? I mean 'Reiziger' is such a mouthful and it takes so long to say.” It even takes a long time to think, and thinking's easy!
“You... you...” he stalked to her, mouth open and flecked with foam, teeth bared and glinting with their sharpness. “You... you rotten... I...”
“By the way, how many lumps do you want?” She poured a stream of tea into a cup.
“I don't” WANT “tea, you stupid pack animal!” He glowed red, burned red, fire was upon him like a diadem, he reared back-
“Come on, now, how many lumps?”
“I don't- three or four, if I actually wanted tea, but-”
Pinkie smashed him on the head with a mallet- one, two, three, four times. He splayed upon the ground, four black bumps rising from his head. He healed in an instant and roared, a primal sound. The tables and the tablecloths and all the china suddenly caught fire, sending changelings buzzing off in all directions.
Aww, we didn't even get to have the cucumber sandwiches...
“Cheer up, Ziggy!” Pinkie shook her head. “Yeesh, you're the toughest nut I've ever cracked. But if there's one thing Pinkie knows, it's how to spread a smile- and how to get a laugh!”
“Laugh? Laugh?” You think you know anything about Laughter? About the Element of Laughter?
Catch me if you can! Pinkie made an exaggerated running motion, running in place for a few scant seconds, then shot off in a pink blur yet again. Howling with rage, Reiziger gave chase.
They ran into a hall lined up and down with doors. Pinkie ran into one doorway, then Reiziger ran after her. To his astonishment, they ran out a door all the way up the hall. He followed her across to the opposite door, and they came out in a door in the middle of the hall, then they ran across the hall there and came out right at the start of the hall again, through another door, in the middle again, through another door, at the start again, through another door, at the other end again, in the middle again, at the beginning again, at the other end-
ENOUGH!, he thundered, shaking the castle in his powerful thoughts. He stood right in the middle of the hallway, breathing in and out, massive chest surging powerfully, teeth bared and sharp. His antlers blazed with crimson fire.
Why not just blast me? C'mon, Ziggy, I wanna see some fireworks!
Reiziger curled up his lip. The crimson fire wavered.
Why aren't you doing it? Reiziger's eyes bulged. He felt Pinkie in his mind.
Get out! He flung his power and his mind at her- but she wriggled through it like a fish through old and tattered nets. He staggered back as pink and happy power slipped and slithered over every facet of his thoughts. He had been able to fend off the high deer, for their assaults were only on his body- yet all of a sudden this pink worm was coming at him from a wholly different angle, and he was completely overwhelmed.
Ohhh, you don't wanna blow up your nice castle! I can understand that. My home's super important to me, too!
How dare- how DARE YOU- He whirled about, furious, incredulous. He snarled a grin. I don't have to blast a hole in my castle to find you. All I have to do is open doors- he flung open all doors along the hallway with a burst of crimson power.
There was one, right in the middle, that did not open. He grinned and stalked to it. Focusing his total power on the door, he cracked it off its hinges and he flung it far away-
Only to stare into the barrel of a large blue cannon. Pinkie stood at the back of it and grinned. “Surprise!” She punched the cannon and it fired off a thunderous blast of streamers and confetti that blew Reiziger across the hallway. He ricocheted off of the open doors, pinballing across it til he flew at last out of the hallway, streaking back, and sliding once again into the throne room with its cold white light and glimmering black blades. Well? Are you having fun yet?
“Fun?” Fun? He roared in total, bestial frustration. There has been nothing fun about this, you stupid beast! You are an animal, and your sense of humor is as crude and bawdy as any worm rolling in the mud. I take back any compliment I ever gave you. I am ashamed, embarrassed for the caribou race that you, that you are the Bearer of the Element of Laughter! You are an absolute abomination! You are a shameful monstrosity! You have blackened and besmirched the cause of Laughter on this day!
He looked up. Pinkie Pie was standing at the threshold of the throne room. She was not smiling.
“Laughter?” she repeated, out loud this time. “What do you know about Laughter?”
Snarling, roaring, growling like the monster that he was, Reiziger lunged at her, running at top speed with mouth open and white teeth bared, razor sharp and cruel with fire in his eyes and on his brambled antler tines-
“What could a mean meanie-pants like you” POSSIBLY “know about Laughter?”
The POSSIBLY smashed into him as though it were a mountain being thrown. The sheer force of the psychic word not only stopped him in his tracks- it knocked him back. He clattered to the stony floor. Rising up, he snarled, prepared to move again-
I know what makes you, laugh, Ziggy. You can't hide from me any more!
Pink bright brilliance tore into his mind and dredged up flash on flash of memories long gone. Chuckling at his brother's dead, drowned body. Laughing at the gladiator antelope as they slaughtered themselves. Watching mule and white-tail deer be thrown out of a social club and grinning in good humor. Laughing as the black deer pledged their twisted fealty to him. Howling in mad laughter as the Parliament of Antlers was brought down in riots and destruction. Chuckling in dark mirth as the great cities of the moose were smashed and burned. Laughing, laughing loudly, as Gil-Galad's body broke beneath his powers.
You are the last creature on Earth who should ever lecture anypony about Laughter! Your laughter isn't Laughter, it's nothing like Laughter!
Enough- Enough- he stood and suddenly was terrible. He was a thing of Shadow and of Wrath, darkness came upon him, he was awful, filling up the throne room like the depths of Night. In the middle his dark heart burned like an awful furnace, eating up the light, eating up the happiness and good cheer, until all things were black and no hope and no life was left. He surged-
Laughter shouldn't be nasty!
Pink light blazed through the darkness, and the shadow faltered.
Laughter shouldn't be mean!
Brightness, brilliance, happiness and joy went gleaming through the Shadow- and the Shadow broke. Collapsing on itself, the darkness fell back into Reiziger. He staggered back, skittering upon his blackened hooves. “No, no, no- impossible-”
Laughter shouldn't hurt other ponies!
The next blast of pink power was so strong it blew Reiziger off his hooves. He smashed into the stairs that led up to his throne. Pinkie was advancing on him. Her cutie marks were shining like twin stars.
But all you are is nasty and mean! All you do is hurt! You're a meanie and a bully and it's all you've ever been!
Pink waves were rippling out of Pinkie now. She was so bright and brilliant she was dazzling to behold. Reiziger tried stepping forward but he faltered on the steps and crashed onto the floor. “Stop,” he whispered, “stop!”
You've always bullied and beaten up on ponies and creatures that only want to do good! It's not Laughter! It's mean! And I want you to cut it out!
There was a rainbow-
“Whoa!” said Applejack, standing on the airship's wooden deck.
The thestral and the mythicorn were jerking, writhing in their stalls.
In her burnt and blackened sleep, Twilight Sparkle stirred.
“Oh!” cried Fluttershy, raising up her ear.
There was soft light, and the smell of clean water. As the rainbow waves died down, Reiziger was cowering. The rainbows had lanced through him, cut him, hurt him in a way he'd never felt a pain before. He staggered to his feet and looked up.
There stood Pinkie Pie, transformed. She had grown tall and lovely, with long legs, a graceful torso, and a lovely, shapely head. Her mane and tail had likewise grown, and now were bouncier and more pink than they'd ever been. Indeed, there were flecks of bright color in her mane and tail, as though here and there could be seen stray sprinkles of confetti. And on her sides, like bits of fluff, were tiny, downy wings.
“Ooo,” said Pinkie, looking over her new body. “CoooOOOOooool.” She heard a sound then and glanced up. Reiziger stood poised, and for the first time ever, seemed uncertain. Pinkie arched an eyebrow. Down, boy!
Reiziger was blasted off his hooves and slipped, falling flat upon his back.
“Now, as much as I'd like to put you down forever and ever,” said Pinkie, “I can't. That's gonna have to wait until all my girls are with me. Until then, I want you to stay here-” she shot forward, balloons suddenly held in her front hoof. She used the strings to hog-tie him. “-and think about what you've done!” She smiled. “And maybe next time you can have some tea. Toodle-loo!” Then she streaked off, a bright pink blur ablaze through the dark halls, headed for the balcony where Nord-
Pinkie skidded to a stop. Huh? She'd heard the words and felt the thoughts from a large doorway to her right. Who's there? She pulsed out gentle thoughts- and then she winced. A wretched and destroyed mind was nearby.
Mmust serve-SERVE-SERVE no no no master master MASTER loves master good master HATES master master love love HATE love love
I'm coming!, Pinkie thought, and hurried down the hall. She came into a room strewn everywhere with bones. The smell of raw meat rose into the air and made her scrunch her nose, revolted. And there, huddled in a corner, there was- “Oh my gosh, Trixie! What happened? What are you doing here?”
“M-Master is h-hurt, hurt Master, hate Master, g-good Trixie, we loves Master, hates Master-” Her eyes were blood red and unfocused. Even as Pinkie watched she crawled upon her belly for a bone and started gnawing it with sharpened teeth.
“Oh, Trixie, what did that meanie do to you?”
“M-Master is... M-Master is... we... we loves...” tears began to run along her gaunt and dirty cheeks.
“Come on!” said Pinkie. “I've gotta get you out of here!” She grabbed Trixie- who was extremely light- and laid her upon her own back. “Let's go!” Then she streaked off yet again, longer legs and larger size allowing her to move at her usual, impossible fast speeds even with Trixie on her back. She streaked down one hallway, careened and hurried down another, went down a sharp bend and up a flight of stairs. At last, finally, she could smell clean night air. She burst into a great room, and then, out there, through black doors, there was a balcony. Mister Nordeshang!
I am here!, he thought. She shot onto the balcony, and sure enough, there was Nordeshang, looming huge and dark out of the shadows. He looked her over with wide eyes. “I see you have done well, Pinkie Pie.”
“Yep! Mission accomplished!”
He eyed Trixie, now sleeping on her back. “Who is this?”
“Somepony who needs help!”
I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU! WHERE ARE YOU?
“Oh, my,” rumbled Nordeshang.
“Come on, come on! We gotta go!” She jumped up on his back, then settled Trixie next to her.
“All right,” he said. “Hold on tight!” He took a step, and vanished.
WHERE ARE MY USELESS SERVANTS? GET IN HERE!
“Master!” Metamorph cried, buzzing through the throne room doors. He scampered up to Reiziger and fondled desperately at the balloon strings. “I- I'll cut these free, Master, just give me a moment-”
Flame and shadow swelled behind him. “Aside!” thundered Gothmog. He flung Metamorph clean across the throne room. His sweltering dark heat popped the balloons and soon melted the string. “Art thou all right, Master?”
“No thanks to you!” roared Reiziger, crimson fire flashing on his antlers. In a blast of power both Gothmog and Metamorph were writhing on the ground. Reiziger, furious, summoned his red lightning and was soon electrocuting both of them. “What good are any of you? Do I have to do” EVERYTHING “myself?” At last, after long minutes, the red lightning stopped. Metamorph and Gothmog slowly lumbered to their feet. “Lieutenant Metamorph! Prepare the changelings and the other creatures! Gothmog, ready your balrogs! We march for the Crystal Empire tomorrow!”
“Yes, M-Master,” stammered Metamorph, cowering.
“At thy command, Master,” rumbled Gothmog, bowing low.
Reiziger was nearly slavering in wrath. “I will... I will tear her apart... I will rip her sinew by sinew... we shall see who laughs then. Trixie!” No response. Trixie! He pulsed all of his dark thoughts through his fortress... but got no response. Trixie! He thought as strong as he could think, so powerfully that the stone was rattling. His ears drooped. Where is she?