• Published 25th Aug 2013
  • 10,106 Views, 354 Comments

Just Horsing Around - Darkness Shade



Seemingly lost in his life, a young man finds himself waking up in a strange new land populated by some curious residents. When certain truths are revealed and he finds there's more to his appearing there, how will he adjust to his new life?

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12th Harvest

The next morning Ryan slowly opened his eyes, and immediately closed them again; he still felt the fatigue from the spell and the sunlight was not doing him any favors with how it was blasting through the window. He could tell, however, that Apps was up already as the oddly pleasant sensation of her weight upon him was not to be found. Taking one more chance at opening his eyes, he slowly cracked them open and forced himself to get used to the light. That's not to say he got up right away, he still lay there staring at the ceiling and silently cursing the ache he felt, "Tarnation...I suppose this is why humans shouldn't be using high-level spells that are only meant for the utmost magic users...I'm no alicorn, that's fer sure. Then again, I reckon staying up late with everypony didn't make it any better either. Haha..."

Still groaning, he idly wondered where Apps was at until he detected a very delightful scent wafting into the bedroom...and coming closer from the sound of things. Lifting his head up slightly he saw AppleJack come in with a tray of some kind in her mouth before walking over and setting it on the table, "Apps?"

"Ah! Yer up at last Apple Ryder; looks like I was right in thinkin' some food would bring ya around. I was starting to get worried since I couldn't wake ya."

"Yeah that...that spell was a doozy." Ryan softly groaned as he pulled himself into a sitting position, "Did ya bring me...breakfast?"

"Eyup!" AppleJack carried it over and sat it in his lap, "Ah think you'll be pleased with it; I figured you'd need something hearty after last night and it looks like ah was right."

Looking at the plate on the tray, Ryan blinked at what was there next to the eggs and toast, "Apps? Is that...bacon? Mah goodness, it is!"

"Heh, I knew you'd appreciate it. Ah know you do yer best to respect how things are here and work around the whole 'humans like meat' thing as best ya can with us, but I figured treating mah Ry to something he likes wouldn't hurt."

"Well, ya eat ham so...bacon isn't too much of a stretch for ya to have." Ryan picked up a strip and took a bite, "Nice and crispy. Mmmm...I'm pretty glad y'all don't hold a fact like this against me."

"Shoot, it's like Fluttershy said, while not everypony is like that, we don't condemn those that are; doing somethin' like that is just nonsense." AppleJack smirked, walking over and licking Ryan's cheek, "Ya had a little something there sugah. Mmmm...Apple Ryder, mah favorite."

"Apps...." Ryan blushed at her loving action, "Yer such a goober."

"You know ya like it Ry."

Ryan smirked and nodded, though he felt a little awkward as AppleJack just sat and stared at him as he ate. When he finally finished he just looked at her oddly, "Apps? Why are ya...looking at me like that?"

"Ah can't look at mah boyfriend now?"

"N-no, that's not it! I just...it's making me feel a little awkward is all."

"Haha, shoot, I'm just looking at how long yer mane's gotten." She reinforced this point by reaching over and swishing his longer hair back and forth, "It's finally becoming a respectable pony mane."

"Is that a fact?" Ryan laughed softly at her antics, "Hmmm, it is true I haven't had it cut in quite a while...you think I should?"

"Heck no, I kinda like the long hair look on ya; maybe after winter's over so yer not sweating all crazy but...I'd like it if'n ya kept them curling, messy locks a little while longer."

"Hahaha, well as m'lady wishes; now then...what time is it? How long was I out?"

Ryan was currently busy on the computer, typing away at something with AppleJack watching over his shoulder. He was a bit surprised he'd slept in till after noon but this result proved his original thought to be true: the strain of the spell combined with staying up late with his friends had definitely worn his body out quite a bit.

"Whatcha hammering away at them keys for anyway?"

"Oh, I had a few things I wanted to write down...and then I remembered that our friends have some birthdays coming up." Ryan explained, clicking here and there before writing some more, "I'm not sure what to get either of them...though Pinkie's gift should be easy enough. It's Dashie that I'm worried about...she's a little hard to read in terms of what she likes; well, with what she really likes, not what she openly talks about anyway."

"...ya know, I've got an idea for her if'n ya want to hear it." AppleJack blinked a bit, "But uh...maybe after ya finish typin' since mah idea can't really be used with that overcharged typewriter."

Ryan snickered at her way of describing the computer, "I suppose yer right; I'm just about done anyway."

Making a few last marks and clicking here and there, he turned on a machine to the side of it and waited for it to warm up; once it did he clicked a button on the computer and the machine came to life causing AppleJack to raise an eyebrow.

"And what in tarnation does that thing do?"

"Well it's a printer; I suppose the easiest way to describe it is it takes whatever you have on screen and creates a tangible copy of it."

"...so it's like a photo maker?"

"Something like that; I could print photos but it's a bit more versatile." Ryan nodded before frowning when he saw it start to shudder and shake, "...well that's not supposed to happen."

AppleJack blinked in confusion as the printer seem to be groaning loudly and then let out a sharp whirring noise, "Uh...ahm gonna guess that's not supposed to happen either?"

"No, no it's not." Ryan sighed, watching as the printer made one last death cry noise before sputtering out the paper and bursting into flames, "Oh dammit!"

Quickly waving his wand, Ryan dropped a splash of water over it before frowning as he looked over the machine and shook his head.

"Ry-Ry?"

"Oh it's just like a lot of technology I've tried to create with magic; as T-Sparks and I have found out there's a lot of bugs and glitches to deal with doing it this way. This was the fifth printer we tried to make and I really thought we'd finally solved all the problems this time." Picking up the half-printed card he sighed slightly, "Well, back to the old drawing board ah guess."

"Dang blast it sonny! I told ya not to do that poofy magic in this house!"

"Sorry Granny, but that's not magic this time! Just mah electronics breaking....again..."

"Yer gizmos and such? Well, that's okay then; just don't go burnin' down the farm okay sonny?"

"I won't Granny!" Ryan laughed sheepishly before turning to Applejack, "Oh mercy. Well then, since I can't do that the fancy way, old-fashioned it is! Anyways, what was this idea of yers hon?"

"Okay, I've gotta admit, that's a good idea for her but...how do I go about getting them?"

"Ya leave that to me Apple Ryder, as long as ya got the bits for it then that's all that necessary."

Still curious as to how she was going to pull this off, or who she knew that could pull it off, Ryan gave a shrug and handed AppleJack the sack of bits she had told him would be enough to make it all work; with that he watched her scribble out something (he always was curious just how she could write so well with her mouth) before putting the letter and sack of bits into a package and having him pick it up.

"Okay...so we just need to get this to Derpy to mail then?"

"Eyup! Then we'll have Dashie covered...but what in tarnation did you think up for Pinkie Pie?"

"Oh well, I can't rightly reveal that just yet after all; gotta wait a few more days for her birthday to get here before ya see what I'm cooking up."

AppleJack shook her head and laughed softly, "Sugah, that smirk on yer face has trouble written all over it. Haha, well, knowing you and Pinkie, it'll probably be something that makes absolutely no sense. Anyway Ry, let's go mail off that package and then take a walk. Oh...and ya might wanna dress warm, it's been snowing all night."

"Really? I never encountered snow where I lived so finally getting to see it will be a nice treat."

Pulling on his sneakers, Ryan dug around in the closet for a long sleeved-shirt before pulling that on as well; once he threw on his jacket and grabbed the package, he and Apps waved goodbye to Granny as they headed outside. A smile made its way upon Ryan's face as he heard the soft crunch of snow under his shoes before laughing and running all about in it; AppleJack merely smirked and shook her head at his antics, "Apple Ryder...it's only snow; yer acting like a little filly the first time they see snow."

"Well, ta be honest there Apps, this is the second time I've seen snow...technically. The first time was a weird fluke with like...not even an inch of snow. This though." He spread his free arm out and spun about, "This is just beautiful with how the snow compliments the bare trees and the rusticness of the farm. It almost gives it a...haunting quality that's relaxing yet still slightly chilling."

AppleJack laughed before walking over and nudging his side, "You and yer speakin' in fancy sometimes; I gotta admit though...it's pretty cute."

Laughing in reply, Ryan smirked and smacked Apps' flank lightly before running off down the path towards town; looking back he saw a shocked AppleJack who had yet to take off...but that didn't last for very long.

"Tarnation! Ya cheeky human! When I get my hooves on ya, I'm gonna make ya regret that!"

"But I was just payin' ya back for yesterday evening!" Ryan shouted over his shoulder, now quite amused at her chasing after him, "Well then...let's hope I've developed enough stamina to stay ahead of her. This is going to be fun!"

"Fun nothing! I'm gonna smack yer bum and see how ya like it!"

Ryan merely smirked again before leaping over a decently sized drift of snow, "As I recall, I mentioned I didn't mind when you did...and besides, given our little romp in the leaves a week ago I would've thought you'd like mah hands paying attention to yer flank!"

AppleJack sputtered and blushed, not prepared for such a mental assault during their chase...which is probably why she plowed right through the drift instead of jumping over it; hearing the crash, Ryan turned around before slowing and eventually stopping. Watching carefully, he waited for AppleJack to get back up but she didn't which worried him; quickly running back over to her he began shoving the snow left and right to get to her before he saw her lying there with her eyes closed.

"Apps! Apps honey! Come on! Stay with me! Ya okay?" Ryan asked, now worried when he got no response, "AppleJack..."

AppleJack didn't move for a few moments, but then Ryan saw her lips curl into a very mischievous grin; he barely got out a "Oh sweet Celestia!" before she was upon him, her hooves pinning his arms to the ground as she laughed softly.

"Ah think it's sweet ya came back and all...even knowing that I was probably laying out a trap." AppleJack whispered, nuzzling his neck before nipping his ear.

"Now...now Apps...be..be reasonable here." Ryan nervously stated, "Ah...ah was just having a..a little fun ya know? With my marefriend? Whom I love. A lot."

"Hahaha, oh ah know Ry-Ry..." AppleJack shifted a bit, now sitting over him while she held his arms, "But if'n yer gonna use those illegal things of yers on mah flank, well....do it proper like a gentleman would."

Ryan was a bit puzzled by just what she meant until he felt her lift his arms up and then place his hands right on her...oh! "Oh! Well...how awful of me to be so inconsiderate to mah gal. Allow me to...rectify mah misdeeds."

AppleJack giggled at his odd way of talking before sighing and leaning against him as his hands got to work caressing her, "Mmmm, Ry...yer better than any Spa Pony when it comes to massaging them muscles."

"Heh, well, mah fingers are magic after all my sweet southern belle." Ryan accentuated this point by pushing slightly harder and grinned at the reaction he got, "Mercy me...I do declare that I'm pushing all the right buttons now."

"I'll say...kiss me sugah!"

Ryan didn't need to be told twice as he took her face in his hands and leaned up to kiss her deeply, laughing softly as he felt her tongue wrapping around his; after a few minutes of once again making out in the orchard (more or less), AppleJack reluctantly got off of Ryan and helped him up. Looking at where they'd been laying, he had to laugh that the thin layer of snow had totally melted thanks to their body heat.

'Damn! I knew we were hot Ryan, but that's just crazy!'

"Yer such an idiot Dark!" Ryan laughed loudly at his other half's comment, "...that's not to say I don't agree with ya."

AppleJack laughed as well, though she shook her head, "I agree with Apple Ryder...but at least ya give us privacy till after we're done."

'But of course my dear mare, 'tis only proper for a gentleman to not intrude on a mare and her stallion when they are sharing a private moment of tenderness.'

"Like I said, he's so crazy...but he's always welcome to stay." Ryan smiled before looking around, "Now then...where did I sit down that package?"

After having finally found the package (how it ended up sitting on top of the fence is anypony's guess), the two of them headed into town and had dropped the package off without too much of a problem; this simple fact was surprising to Ryan because, well, Derpy is as Derpy does. However, as he had always noted, she took her job as mailmare quite seriously so it explained the whole encounter rather nicely. Afterwards they had taken to just walking around town, watching as all the ponies took in the first day of winter and seeing the change in the market as well that it brought, "It's weird Apps, seeing that certain food completely vanishes with a change in the seasons and weather."

"That's not that weird to us Ry; it's how it always goes. Can't rightly grow certain things in the cold now can ya?"

"It's just so different from back home."

"How's that?"

Pausing to pick up and hand an errant ball that had crossed their paths back to the little fillies playing with it, he smirked before turning to her, "Well, ya know from what I told Twilight we can't control the weather on mah Earth right?"

"Ah think I remember that...pretty inconvenient if'n ya ask me."

"It is...especially when you go for a walk with no umbrella...and it starts raining at the furthest point away from home." Ryan sighed, rolling his eyes at a memory he'd made far more times than he'd wished he had, "Basically because of that though, we have different weather all over at different times; food doesn't go out of season, not really. You can get pretty much anythin' whenever ya want...but the price and quality do get affected."

"Well that's interestin'...but I don't reckon I'd change things here; it is easier to avoid a blizzard when ya know it's coming."

"I'll bet! Hahaha." Ryan stretched, still trying to work the kinks out from the spell, "Man, I still feel super drained...how about we get a...huh?!"

AppleJack was a bit puzzled at why Ryan stopped walking and turned to look at him, "Uh, Apple Ryder? Whatcha doin'?"

Ryan was attempting to walk as best he could, as was evident by his limbs shaking as if he was fighting something, but it was clear that he was stuck in place, "Ugh...if I didn't know any better I'd say a unicorn is griefing me."

"How do ya figure that?" AppleJack asked as she tried shoving him from behind, "Ungh!"

"I don't think that'll help hon so don't hurt yerself." Ryan kept trying to struggle to break free, or at the least reach his wand, "Having become a user of magic mahself, I can tell when I'm being affected by it. And seeing as I'm stronger now but not nearly as strong as a good number of ponies since, ya know, unicorns are naturally gifted with an understanding of magic, there's only a handful of suspects in Ponyville I can think of that would be able to freeze me in place."

Almost as if on cue, Ryan heard his name being shouted rather loudly by a familiar voice; doing his best to turn his head he wasn't surprised at who he saw running towards them in the distance.

"T-Sparks..."

"Twilight? Now why in tarnation would she do this?"

"I think we're about to find out." Ryan huffed, still struggling, "Dammit...I hate this; can't ya help Dark?"

'I'd like to lend a hoof, but unfortunately I can't really do much like this; all I can do is project my voice and well, I can make your wings show up but...I don't think that'll help much.'

"Ugh, well...I can't get mad since you are just a part of my soul. Didn't hurt to ask though." Ryan groaned, straining as hard as he could to try and force movement, managing to at least turn around and glare at Twilight as she got closer, "She's got some explainin' ta do."

Twilight slowed down her running before stopping right in front of a very annoyed looking Ryan, "I just found out about something and I have to ask if you're out of your mind!"

"T-Sparks...what in tarnation could cause such a ruckus that you'd have to pull a power-play on me with yer magic?" Ryan groaned again, moving slowly and snapping his fingers to don his wings, "...dammit, that's still not enough power to break this spell? I've got more training to do."

"That's exactly what I'm here to ask you about!" Twilight practically shouted, using her magic to lower Ryan's face down to hers, "What's this I hear about you training Spike? To fight no less?!"

"...really? This is what that's about?" Ryan huffed, resisting the urge to roll his eyes, "T-Sparks, two things: One, why are you keeping me in place like this? Didn't you say you'd never use yer magic against me like this? Yer mah friend and yet yer taking advantage of a clear skill-set difference between the two of us."

Twilight paled for a second, realizing just what it was she had done, "Well I..."

"And two, I'll be more than happy to explain the whole situation if ya kindly let me free!"

"I....ugh...you're right Ryan." Twilight hung her head as she relinquished the magic hold she had over his body.

Ryan, no longer held in place, fell face first to the ground due to the awkward positioning he'd been put in. He simply rolled over and stared upwards at the sky and the two ponies looking at him worriedly before he finally pulled himself up and stretched. Once he'd finally adjusted himself he looked at Twilight and frowned, "I'm not angry per se, more hurt than anything else. That was a really big violation of trust I have with y'all; mah magic isn't anywhere near as strong as yours yet T-Sparks, and besides, unlike you I have to use a wand for the most part to focus it.

"I put a lot of faith in the unicorns I know to not use their magic against me like that and while I doubt some ponies magic would have the same effect as yours on mah mobility, I'm still a creature that's from a world where magic is not innate throughout it. It's only through the grace of luck and that goofball Darkness Shade that I'm capable of handling it and using it so that I'm not totally useless when mah world is danger...when mah loved ones are in danger...when mah special somepony is in danger."

"...well...I feel like a total ass now." Twilight face-hoofed and let out a groan, "No offense Cranky."

"Meh, none taken young'un."

"Seriously though Ryan...I totally broke a major rule I have with my friends; and that rule should go doubly so for those that can't use magic like I can." Twilight walked over towards him, pawing the ground softly before looking up at him with big, sorrowful eyes, "I overreacted and I did something I shouldn't have. I don't want you to hate me so...can you forgive me?"

Ryan took a deep breath before smiling and ruffling her mane, "Well...you are mah friend...and I don't hate ya T-Sparks, I'm just a bit disappointed you reacted in that way. I thought after nearly six months you'd have a little more faith in the decisions I make."

"I know, I know." Twilight shook her head back and forth, feeling quite silly at yet again jumping the gun, "How about I buy you a treat to make up for it and while we're snacking you can explain the whole situation to me?"

Ryan said nothing, but the grin on his face clearly told her that he was fully behind this suggestion of hers.

"Haha, that's mah Ry-Ry; it's nice to see that even with him the old phrase still holds true."

'Oh! I know the one you're talking about AppleJack! The quickest way to a stallion's heart is through his stomach!'

"...okay, I take it back; I'm gonna evict yer sorry non-existent butt!"

Ryan's smile said otherwise, however, as he joined Twilight, AppleJack, and Dark in their laughter as they walked through town towards the cafe.

"..okay, that all makes sense then." Twilight paused from enjoying her smoothie to nod at Ryan, "I didn't know that whole incident had affected him so hard."

"Yeah, but don't feel too bad, I can see why you'd be upset since he got hurt so much by Disky."

"So that's where you've been sneakin' off ta in the morning a few times a week huh? Haha, I never took ya to be the sensei type Apple Ryder."

"Haha, well, Spike stated something similar our first day training." Ryan took a moment to munch a few fries before continuing, "Like I told him though, I've met a lot of people so a lot of positive qualities have rubbed off on me from them."

Twilight regarded him oddly as she watched him snack, "...I still don't understand how you can eat Hay Fries though. I didn't think humans could eat hay."

Ryan paused, a fry comically hanging out of his mouth as he thought on that statement; pulling the straggler into his mouth and chewing on it he nodded his head before looking at the remaining ones, "They really can't...I mean, I know some humans that live on farms chew on pieces of it. Ya know, like how Big Mac always has one hanging in his mouth. I can only deduce that it's a combination of the fact that the hay in them is ground up finely with the potato so it's not like eatin' raw hay or anything. The other part of it is probably something to do with Dark's aura that I inherited."

"I suppose that's a logical deduction." Twilight made a curious face that showed she was working the thought out in her head, "At least as logical as you get anyway."

"I'll take that as a compliment." Ryan stuck his tongue out at her before finishing up his fries, "Either way I'm glad I can because these things are quite tasty. Mmmmm."

"Quite. But Ryan..."

"Yes T-Sparks?"

"Just keep him safe...and don't let him get reckless."

"Hey, it's me; when have I ever been reckless?"

'Well....'

"I reckon..."

"...you are all just awful." Ryan laughed softly, "Anyway, do not worry; Spike's mah little bro so I won't let him get hurt. Now then...with that over, I have one piece of bad news to tell ya."

Twilight frowned, "And just what is that?"

"The printer? The one we thought was bug-proof now? Well...it kind of exploded into flames."

"...what is it with ya and things blowing up like that Ry-Ry?"

"Ah don't know Apps...some mysteries are to never be solved."

'Like why you are always becoming one with the ground.'

"Yes Dark, like how I.......tarnation!"

A few days later, after having gotten a very energetic live invitation from Pinkie herself for her birthday party, Ryan and AppleJack were heading towards Sugarcube Corner to celebrate her birthday with her and the others. Apps glanced at the package he was carrying that was colorfully wrapped and tied with curly ribbon curiously, "Apple Ryder...I still have no idea whatsoever what ya got for Pinkie Pie."

Ryan laughed softly and patted the package, "Oh well now Apps...ah can't rightly ruin the surprised by telling ya. Let's just say that given how our dear Pinks acts, she'll get a heck of a kick outta this gift. Of that I am most certain."

"If'n ya say so..." AppleJack knocked on the door before seeing Pinkie answer, "Well howdy there sugarcube, happy bir-"

"Don't just stand there, come on in! The others are already here so come on come on!" Pinkie grabbed the two of them and, using strength she shouldn't possibly have, carried the two of them in a blur of movement upstairs to where the others were indeed at.

Taking a moment to collect himself at that unexpected event, Ryan shook his head before blinking, "...I'm not sure how you picked us both up like that but anyway, Happy Birthday Pinkie!"

"Woooooo!" Pinkie shouted, taking the present, "Oh man, what could it be? I bet it's something really crazy and cool knowing you. Oh I wanna open it, I wanna open it! But! It's not the time yet! We've gotta party first!"

"Hahaha, well then, what does this party entail this time?"

"Oh you'll like this Rysy-wysy-woo!"

With that Pinkie went around and handed everypony there a list before dividing them all into teams: Ryan with Apps, Twilight (and Spike) with Rainbow Dash, and then Rarity with Fluttershy. She smiled as they looked over the list curiously before reading off things on it.

"Something brown loved by something grey?"

"A rare pair of...underwear?"

"...something tall, tan, and red? Pinkie Pie darling, what are these strange things?"

"Hee-hee, it's a scavenger hunt everypony! I thought up a bunch of interesting things...and they might have more than one answer just so you know! Hee-hee."

"...tarnation Ry, some of these are a real noodle scratcher. I can't even wrap mah head around this one: a moment that defies all logic? How in the name of the Great Apple are we supposed to figure that one out?"

Ryan smirked, "Oh but Apps, that there is the reason this'll be so fun; knowing somewhat how Pinkie's mind can work I can foresee lots of fun with this'n."

Pinkie hopped all about and grinned, clearly excited, "Wheee! And I'll be keeping an eye out while you're all looking for stuff so do your best and have fun!"

"So Pinkie...just one question."

"One Twilight?"

Ignoring Rainbow Dash's comment, Twilight turned back to Pinkie, "How long do we have to get things on the list?"

"Hmmmmmm? I think two hours should be enough to get the fun really rolling!" Pinkie pulled on a party hat and blew on her party noisemaker, "Alrighty everypony! Let's see how much fun you can have! Go!"

"...I don't understand why we're going to Derpy's house Apple Ryder."

Ryan looked over the list, making a few mental notes for other ones before folding it up and sticking it into his jacket pocket, "That should be an easy one if'n ya think about it Apps; Derpy is grey....and what does she love that's brown?"

AppleJack paused for a moment, putting her hoof to her chin and thinking, "...something she loves that's brown? Well, there's only one thing that comes to mind but...is it really that simple?"

Laughing in reply, Ryan's silence only confused her further as they knocked on the door and hoped she was home; it was a few moments before they knocked once again and rather than Derpy answering the door, a certain other pony did.

"Now who could....oh I say, if isn't everypony's favorite human!"

"Heh, such a nice greeting as always Doctor." Ryan laughed, shaking his hoof, "I don't suppose we could come in could we?"

"Of course, of course! I was simply doing a little bit of work on some things." The Doctor opened the door and led them into the living room, "I must say that dear Derpy is not in at the moment if that's who you're looking for however."

"Actually, the reason we're here is we're doing a scavenger hunt for Pinkie's birthday and one of the things on the list is 'something brown loved by something gray'."

"Ah! And so if I follow your thought process correctly, you've assumed that something grey is dear Derpy?"

"Indubitably."

"...but ah don't understand Ry-Ry? If we need a picture of something brown that Derpy likes, why didn't we just take a picture of any kind of muffin?"

AppleJack, after saying that, was puzzled by the faces both the Doctor and Ryan were giving her; when they both began to laugh she got a little upset and demanded to know what was just so darn funny!

"Oh mah sweet Apps, please calm yerself." Ryan slowed his laughing, before giving her a comforting hug, "We're not laughing at ya by any means."

"Indeed AppleJack. Rather, we're laughing at how ingenious Ryan is being at getting an answer that's beyond the obvious."

"...ahm still lost. Y'all aren't making any sense." AppleJack sighed, eyeing the Doctor before something clicked, "Wait a minute...yer fur is brown isn't it?"

"I do say dear boy, I think she's got it!"

"Quite!"

"Ahm not dumb, so of course I'd get it!" AppleJack huffed, "I just didn't realize the Doctor and Derpy were, ya know..."

The Doctor laughed softly before walking over and setting a hoof on her shoulder, "Do not feel bad AppleJack, not everypony realizes we're close like that after all."

"Ah guess so..."

"Ah, come on Apps." Ryan knelt down and embraced her, kissing her cheek softly, "Ya know yer smart; you might not be book smart like Twilight is but yer no dummy, of that I can attest."

"Heh...okay Ry-Ry. Shall we take our picture then?"

"As long as the Doctor is game." Ryan remarked, pulling out the camera and smirking, "Now then Doctor, which is yer good side?"

The Doctor merely smirked and struck a pose, "Dear boy, all of my sides are good!"

Finding no reason to argue with that, Ryan simply laughed and got plenty of proof; with that done they thanked the Doctor for his time and headed back outside, checking their first score off the list. Looking at the time, he gave a nod before snapping his fingers and donning his wings.

"Ry, what's with ya bringing out them wings and such?"

"Well, there's something on this list about a sky-high resident...which means we need something that lives in the skies. And, given how physics work here, I think ah know just what that means. I need a jar though."

"Ah trust ya then, seeing as yer just using that big brain of yers sugah." AppleJack giggled, hopping up to give him a hug, "So then, I reckon there's a jar in that bag ahm carrying so why don't ya just go ahead and pull it out."

'Hahaha, Luna's said that to me before...but the context was quite different.'

Ryan did his best to ignore Dark's comment (as well as the imagery he imagined involving him and Apps in such a situation instead), but it was to no avail and unfortunately, seeing as he had his wings out, he was about to learn one flaw in having Pegasi style wings. With a loud 'Pomf!' his wings suddenly shot out and up, spreading wide as AppleJack just looked on, trying not to snicker at what just happened to him.

"Wha...what the hell was that?" Ryan gasped out, his face bright red at the strange, uncontrolled extension of his wings, "Huh?"

The next second his eyesight was blinded by a flash going off and then the snickering of a certain light blue pony within earshot.

"Oh my gosh that was priceless!" Rainbow Dash chuckled, as she looked over the bewildered look Ryan had in the photo, "This is perfect!"

"...I'm not sure I should ask why you took his picture Rainbow Dash."

"Heh, that's an easy one Spike. Pinkie wanted something tall, tan, and red...and what's tall and tan? Ryan of course! The trick is getting him red...but that unfortunate incident with his wings totally gave us the missing piece! Just look at that blush!"

Ryan tried to fumble out a response, but found none forthcoming as he glared at Dashie; finally collecting himself he began marching towards them, "Oh Dashie..."

"...uh oh." Rainbow Dash gulped, back pedaling away from him, "Make tracks Twi! He's got that crazed look in his eye!"

"Oh but Dashie, I've been working on the most wonderful spell after researching Poison Joke and I'd just love if you let me use you as a guinea pig." Ryan cackled softly as he held up the jar mentioned earlier, "You're a sky-high resident after all...and I think it'd be interesting to see a tiny Rainbow. Don't you agree?"

The curled smirk and creepy laughter from Ryan was too much for Rainbow Dash as she flung her wings open and took off into the skies, "Oh no! He wants to shrink me and make me some kind of pet! I'm so not getting caught up in that."

Twilight merely blinked, curious as to whether or not Ryan was being serious as she walked over to him, "Don't you think you went a little too far with that?"

Ryan turned to Twilight, laughed, and then immediately was his normal self again, "Nah...come on T-Sparks! Do you honestly think I'd use a Shrink spell on mah friend just willy-nilly like that? Let alone keep them in a jar? That's just messed up! I simply wanted to tease her back for catching me so unaware. Besides, isn't the whole point here to have some fun?"

"He totally gets it!" Pinkie shouted, flying in from out of nowhere, "But you guys are wasting too much time! Rarity and Fluttershy already have like three things on the list so you better hurry up!"

"Oh crap! She's right! We've only got about an hour left after all that!" Ryan groaned, flying up into the sky and bottling a piece of cloud, "Okay, two things...what else can we go for?"

"Well then, I'd better go catch my partner...come on Spike." With that Twilight and Spike headed in the direction Dashie had run off in, while Ryan and Applejack looked over the list to decide their next move.

"...are you sure this is right?"

"Yeah; ahm not sure she's a chicken big bro."

Ryan merely sighed before explaining again, "Now look, it says to get a feather from a chicken that isn't a chicken. Now...from what little I understand of Pinkie's thinking, that has to be a feather from Scoots."

"...I told you I'm not a chicken!" Scootaloo huffed, "Why do you have to be so mean big bro?"

"Aw, sweetie, I'm not trying to be mean." Ryan crouched down and scooped her up into a hug, "I'm sure Pinks isn't being either, she's just trying to talk in riddles to make this fun."

"Well...I guess if that's why, I don't mind lending ya one. I just preened but I'm sure there's one or two I missed." Scootaloo curled up in his hug and smiled, "I'm just sensitive about my smaller wings, but I know you wouldn't tease me about it big bro."

"Haha, of course not lil sis. Now then...uhm...."

"Oh, right, here. Allow me." Scootaloo remarked, spreading out one of her wings, "Just...look for one that's a little loose and I'll let ya know."

Giving her a nod, Ryan raked his fingers through her feathers, looking for one that was not as steady as the others; after about five minutes of looking (and of Scootaloo making the most adorable noises as he did so), he finally found one she gave him the okay on. With a slight tug, off it came and so it was added to the bag of scavenger hunt items.

"Ah think that's four things now sugah...do ya think the others are having the same amount of luck?"

Ryan gave a shrug in reply, kissing the top of Scootaloo's head before setting her back down, "Thanks Scoots."

"Heh, yer welcome big bro. I hope it helps, but...I still have to root for Rainbow Dash to win."

"Hahaha, well, I understand why; thanks fer yer help little ones."

Waving goodbye as they took off, Ryan and AppleJack looked over the list to see if they could possibly find one more item before the time limit was up; seeing they had about ten minutes they were quite pressed but then something caught their eye.

"Ah...ah can't be reading that right."

"I'm sure ya are hon, because it's making me a little confused too." Ryan scratched his head a few moments before reading the hint out loud, "I...I think she wants a picture of an inter-species romantic moment...so a kiss I guess...but....uhm...as far as I know, the only inter-species couple in Ponyville is..."

"Us darlin'."

"Yeah...why in tarnation would Pinks want that? Although...if any of the others have figured this out...we can' t do it then; knowing them they're probably in wait just like Dashie was." Ryan looked around their surroundings, seeing numerous places that could house hiding ponies, "Twilight's probably the most tactical of all of us so she's most likely deduced that I already figured this one out."

"Couldn't we just find somewhere private? That they can't get into to get the kiss?" AppleJack suggested, "...we've got like five minutes by the way."

"The other one left I can't figure out so...wait....of course! I bet they wouldn't expect that!"

AppleJack blinked at this sudden declaration before gasping when Ryan grabbed her, "Apple Ryder, what are ya...."

"Hold tight!"

With that Ryan smirked as they blinked out of sight...

....and appeared quite a distance away in Canterlot, "...well then, looks like I finally got that hang of that darn long-distance spell."

AppleJack felt a bit woozy after all that, as her slightly bobbing head showed; shaking herself out of it she looked about and gasped, "We're in Canterlot! ...how...ya never told me y'all could do that sugah."

"Haha, well...I've been working on it. Anyway...now that I think we're in the clear." Ryan smirked, levitated his camera in front of them and kissed AppleJack deeply before taking the shot, "Mmmm."

"Mmmm pretty much sums it up Ry-Ry." AppleJack sighed, leaning against him, "Yer so warm...but we better go."

"Right, I'll poof us right to..." Ryan paused, noting all the ponies staring at them, "Huh...well would ya look at the time, later y'all!"

"I can't believe he caught on to my plan Spike!"

"Haha, well Twilight, he is pretty clever...I wonder where they went?"

"All I know is he has ten seconds before he's late!" Rainbow Dash noted, pouting from the earlier events still, "...it would serve him right after threatening to shrink me of all things."

"Oh Rainbow Dash, I don't think it'd be that bad...it's not like he's some creep after all."

"Why would you even suggest such a thing darling? Is there something you know that we don't Twilight?"

"Well I..."

And it was at that moment, just as the two hour limit was up, that Ryan and AppleJack...and Pinkie Pie for some reason as well poofed into the room with a mighty flash.

"Pinks...how did you even get to Canterlot?"

"Oh! That's easy-peasy! I just used my super duper senses to navigate beyond the boundaries that others put up around their minds!"

"...now I'm even more confident you'll love yer gift." Ryan laughed softly before looking at the others, "Howdy y'all; so then...how'd yer scavenging go?"

"We got five of the things on the list." Twilight happily noted before opening her bag and pulling the items out, "We've got a muffin, the picture of Ryan when he was caught by surprise..."-Ryan glared at her and Rainbow Dash at that-"Let's see...we've got a feather off of Pinkie's chicken suit, one jarred thunderstorm, and....well...."

"Well what? What's the hold up?"

"...we've got a pair of your underwear."

Ryan blinked before motioning as if he was cleaning out his ear, "Ahm sorry Dashie, I must've misheard you...a pair of my underwear?"

"...y-yes." Rainbow Dash looked left and right nervously, "...don't put me in a jar!"

"...now ya know ah wouldn't do that Dashie." Ryan walked over, gently patting her mane till she stopped freaking out, "Yer mah friend ya know? Like I told T-Sparks, that'd just be creepy and mean to do somethin' like that. Heh, now...if ya were willing then that'd be a different story."

Rainbow Dash sputtered as she looked at him, "W-w-why would I be willing to get all Appleteenied?!"

AppleJack merely smirked, glancing at Ryan before winking at her friend, "For the benefits of course."

"...Benefits?" Rainbow Dash tilted her head, eyeing AppleJack oddly, "AJ, what are you talking about? What benefits? ...does this have to do with that weird conversation you and Twilight had before our beach trip?"

"Eeeeeemaybe." She teased, "Anyway, what about you and Fluttershy, Rarity? How'd y'all do?"

"Well, seeing as I am his source of clothing, I of course acquired a pair of underwear he hadn't picked up yet to fill the role of the 'rare underwear'." Rarity snickered, before batting her eyes at Ryan, "You aren't upset with me as well, are you darling?"

"Hahaha." Ryan shook his head before smirking at her, "Of course not; what fun is there in getting angry?"

"That's so right! Frowns are like a pie you overcooked, it's all nasty and leaves a bad taste in your mouth!"

Ryan glanced at Pinkie and blinked, "...while I get the point yer going for, ya have the weirdest way of saying it."

"Thanks Rysy-wysy, I think you talk funny too!"

"I...uh...." Ryan sighed, before shaking his head, "Anyway Rarity, no I am not going to threaten you with magic...although I must say you'd probably make a very cute marshmallow."

Rarity giggled, motioning with her hoof, "Oh darling, you are such a joker sometimes. Anyway, where were we?"

"Well, after we got those from her boutique, I asked one of my bird friends to come along as a sky resident."-to this Fluttershy nodded at the beautiful robin resting on her shoulder-"We also got a feather from a cockatrice."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa." Ryan put his hands up and looked at them in shock, "Let me get this straight...you got a feather from a cockatrice?! How?!"

"Oh, well you see...there's one from a long time ago that was causing trouble but I broke him using my stare."

"...oh yes, that stare." Ryan laughed nervously, scratching his head, "I remember that stare...you about killed me with the cuteness overload that produces."

"Hee, yes, that one Ryan. Anyway, after finding him and explaining things, he was more than happy to give me a feather. We also got a muffin, so apparently we were thinking the same thing as Twilight and Rainbow Dash."

"Unfortunately, we were unable to get any of the other items save for this." Rarity dug into her bag and pulled out a picture, "While we couldn't rightly bring it with us, we do have a picture of that massive caramel apple Ryan and AppleJack helped Pinkie Pie make some time ago."

"Well that's right clever of ya; that certainly would fit the bill of tall, tan, and red....sort of."

"It's close enough for me!" Pinkie giggled, "So that's two ties! Of course, now on to the group I'm most curious about...how did everypony's favorite human go about solving my clues?"

"Hahaha, it was quite a challenge, of that I reckon; still, we had some fun with it." Ryan noted, "Of course, I have a pair of mah underwear...which, while I thought would only be found by me, was apparently found by everypony."-he rubbed his temples slowly-"Seriously...I guess I'm gonna have to lock down mah dresser from now on."

Applejack giggled before digging around in the bag, "All kidding aside sugarcubes, we've got a jarred cloud, one of Scootaloo's feathers, a picture of Ryan dressed up as an apple."

Pinkie gasped at this, "What? When did you do this? I missed dressing up like a fruit with my partner in silliness? How did you evade my skillful watching?"

"Hahaha, that's mah secret Pinks...though how Apps talked me into wearing that I'll never know."

"While the sight of you in this picture is just too funny, I don't get it. Which one is this?"

"Oh come now Dashie, think about it: what am I but tall and tan? Blushing isn't the only way to get me red."

"Huh, I guess you're right."

"Let's see now...we've also got this lovely number."-Ryan showed off the picture of him and Apps kissing in Canterlot-"And then it would seem we all managed to find five items...until we pull out this baby!"

Pulling out the photo of Doctor Whooves, the other's (except for Pinkie) regarded it oddly before questioning the purpose of it.

"What do you mean? It's the other solution to something brown loved by something grey."

"...of course!" Twilight face-hoofed, "That's so much more clever than just a muffin for Derpy..."

"Oh man, that's worth like bonus points isn't it?" Rainbow Dash sighed, gritting her teeth.

"I'm so glad you all had such fun with this scavenger hunt! It was just the best! It was fun watching you all run around too!" Pinkie hopped about, appearing from all four directions in her excitement, "And you all managed to get different solutions for certain things too! Though that Doctor Whooves one is just amazing! Even I didn't really think of that being a solution! It was funny though seeing Rysy-wysy's wings all 'woomfed' out like that because I always wondered if that would happen to him like it does to Rainbow Dash and...."

"Pinkie...that's all well and good but who won?" Spike asked, trying to follow Pinkie's movement before realizing that was a lost cause.

Pinkie grinned and pulled everypony in for a hug (somehow), "Why Spikester, it's easy: we all won because we all had fun!"

The group looked at each other before looking at Pinkie and laughing, returning her group hug and smiling; she did have a point after all, as the little scavenger hunt did bring about some fun...as well as some sweet, tender, and also quite comedic moments to boot.

Finally relinquishing her friends from her strangely powerful hug, Pinkie took one look at the cake and other various delectable treats spread out before declaring snack time was go and zipping over to them like a mare possessed; noting this was pretty normal as far as Pinkie was concerned, Ryan and the others joined her in partaking of the sugary goodness.

"...what madness is this you speak of about brownies without chocolate?"

Ryan jumped a bit, unprepared for how quickly Pinkie had jumped the table to stare at him, "Well...it's just a different way of making them; instead of cocoa you use brown sugar instead. I always just called them Blonde Brownies."

"Hmmm....they'd still be sugar and sweet...you must make these for me!"

"Hahaha, I'd be happy to oblige Pinks; in fact, we can make a batch tomorrow if ya wish."

"Okie-dokie-artychokie!" Pinkie gasped, before trotting over to the pile of presents sitting there, taunting her with their curious surprises, "Can I open them?! Can I open them?!"

"I don't see why not sugarcube." AppleJack chuckled softly, following Pinkie's bouncing self, "It is yer birthday after all."

Well, that was all Pinkie needed to go digging into the pile of presents from everypony; paper and ribbon flew everywhere as she tore open her gifts (with Ryan's mind still trying to deduce how, with no fingers, she could do that...to which he told his mind to shut up and deal with it) and made a heck of a mess. Eventually she'd opened all her gifts save for one...and this one would be a doozy to be sure.

"That's some crazy wrapping there; did you do that Ryan?"

"I sure did little buddy. Suffice to say, I think Pinks will find this gift most interesting."

Pinkie grinned and carefully opened this one up before seeing that underneath the wrapping was a metal case of some kind; fiddling with the knobs she flicked it open and frowned as she looked in it, "Rysy-wysy? What's going on?"

"...it...it seems to be empty...I...I think."

"Haha, looks can be deceiving Flutters." Ryan remarked, walking over to Pinkie and winking, "Watch this!"

Reaching into the case, Ryan pulled out a strange disc-shaped object that was completely black in color before holding it up for everypony to see.

"...what is that?" Twilight stared at it oddly, "It's a hole?"

"A portable hole...used by the finest quality Warner Brothers characters...as well as other cartoon characters. As Looney Tunes as Pinks acts, I figured this would be the perfect gift for somepony like her."

"...what's a Looney Tunes?"

Ryan smacked his forehead and groaned that, for the first time in a while since he'd gotten here, he'd just referenced something from his world without even thinking about it, "Uhm....you guys know what cartoons are right?"

"Well of course we do darling; they're those delightful little things we see before movies at the theater." Rarity remarked, "They still stand out because of all the silly things the characters would do in them."

"Right, well, Looney Tunes are basically cartoons from mah world."

"Oh! Oh! Were they on that weird box thing you told us about? The one that kind of looks like that computer thing you and Twilight made but different?"

"Haha, yes Pinkie, they were on television."

"Okay...so it's a hole...so what?"

Ryan smirked as he glanced at Dashie before looking for something to test it on, "Hey Pinkie, I'm gonna toss this down on the floor. When I do, stick yer head through and tell me what ya see."

Pinkie gave a shrug and a salute as she waited patiently for Ryan to toss the hole; once he did she stuck her head through it before gasping and looking all around, "Holy cupcakes! I can see straight though to the kitchen from here!"

"...what? Let me see!" Rainbow Dash pushed her out of the way before sticking her head through...and then falling all the way in, "Ahhhhh!"

The others panicked slightly before Ryan raised his hand to calm them, after a moment Dashie came flying up the stairs again looking very perplexed, "I don't....I didn't know magic like that existed."

Twilight peered at the hole, circling it and studying it carefully, "Interesting...you've bound a tangible object with a teleportation spell, albeit an unusual one."

"Well, not just a teleportation spell. I've made a few modifications to enhance it beyond that." Ryan motioned for Pinkie Pie to pick it up, "Now Pinks, toss it at a wall but before you do, envision it being a safe house instead of a tunnel."

Attempting to figure out how to pick it up, she finally managed to get it, made it rather obvious she was thinking hard on it being a safe house, and then chucked it at the wall and gasped when it stuck fast. Not sure if she had done it right, Ryan nodded at her as she slowly walked over to it before poking her head inside and gasping before jumping right in; moments later she stuck her head out, icing all over her face, "Oh my gosh this place is so cozy! You wouldn't think so given it's so dark from the outside, but it's got just so much room and all the cupcakes you could eat and...."

Twilight, curious to see this just how this worked, threw caution to the wind and jumped right in after Pinkie had ducked out of the way; a moment or two passed before she hopped back out and stared at Ryan, a mixture of puzzlement and respect on her face.

"Penny for your thoughts T-Sparks? Or rather...I guess a bit for yer thoughts?"

"I just...how did you do this?" Twilight had the most curious grin on her face as she walked over to where Ryan was sitting and stared at him, "I understand the basic spells you used but how did you combine them like that? Let alone..."

Ryan blinked as he slowly pushed Twilight back out of his lap, "Okay, first off...really creepy smile there T-Sparks. Second, well, it took a little doing to try and get the spells to interact with one another...magic is rather tricky like that I've noticed. I had a doozy of time getting it right."

"Ah reckon that's true enough, considering all the noise and explosions I kept hearing when ya were working on it in the barn." AppleJack laughed at Ryan's sheepish grin, "He was worried he'd burn down the house, so he was out there working on it; wouldn't let anypony else in while he was too."

"Well, that was to make sure no one else was caught in the crossfire if it backfired...which it did...several times." He huffed before grinning when he saw Pinkie hopping back and forth with glee before discovering she could stretch it out and shrink it as well, "Anyway, I then figured I was looking at it too complicated and, after hitting the books you lent me again T-Sparks, I came up with a clever little two-parter spell that would read the handler's thoughts and then branch off into the desired state from there."

Twilight was quite fascinated by the fact he'd basically made a portable pocket dimension of sorts, "I see...but what about the size property?"

"Oh that? Well that was just a lucky aftereffect of the spell I placed on the circle; I didn't expect it to do it, I originally designed it to be pony-sized, but when I went to grab it I noticed it felt pliable." Ryan shrugged before laughing when he saw Pinkie throw the portal on Rainbow Dash's back and then disappear inside her.

"...this is weird." Rainbow Dash shivered, "I can't feel anything but just knowing she jumped in me makes me feel all freaky. Pinkie you get out right now!"

Hearing a sad pout of disappointment emanate from the hole, Pinkie popped out of it wearing the biggest grin as she leaned over and whispered in Dashie's ear, "I bet you wouldn't complain if it was Rysy-wysy that was inside you, huh?"

Letting out a gasp, Rainbow Dash immediately face-hoofed as she felt her wings expand and let out a 'Pomf' noise which drew everypony's attention to her; squeezing her eyes shut she blushed deeply and tried to curl up in a ball to hide from their eyes.

"....Dashie? Is...is something wrong?" Ryan asked, noting that his voice seemed to make her blush even further, "...Pinks, what in tarnation did ya say to her?"

"Oh nothing much..."

"...pleasedon'ttell, pleasedon'ttell." Rainbow Dash uttered this over and over quietly, which only made Pinkie laugh softly.

"...but that is a secret between ladies my dear Rysy-wysy, and I'm making it a Pinkie Pie promise as well so..."

"...don't you mean pinky swear?" Ryan remarked, holding up just his pinky finger, "...how do you guys even have such a notion when ya don't have hands?"

"Pinky swear?" Pinkie, for once, was confused at his words before staring at his finger, "You guys have those too?"

"Yeah, most people know about it; the whole "cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye" thing that sort of is..."-he paused to stare at Rarity who looked shocked-"Rares? What's wrong?"

"That's just brutal darling; why would one stick a needle in their eye? That's awful!"

"Haha, it's just a saying; it basically means that you intensely swear not to break the promise. Otherwise, if you did, it'd be an even bigger damage of trust than a regular promise."

"...well, I suppose that's reasonable dearie but your world has some very strange sayings."

Ryan laughed, "I won't argue on that one."

"Hmmm...I guess that one's okay, but I like a Pinkie Pie swear better since at least if someone shoves a cupcake in your face you can lick the frosting off!"

"...well then, I'll make note to never break one of those if I make it then. Wouldn't want to get my glasses all dirty with cupcakes now would I?" Ryan smirked, before looking at everypony, "...gals? Spike? What are y'all doing?"

"We're just having a little party fun sugah!" AppleJack giggled as she and the others (sans Rainbow Dash) picked up a few cupcakes and tossed them up and down a bit like one would a baseball.

'Oh snap! I know where this is going!'

"What are ya talking about Dark?"

'Ladies! Hold yer fire first! Ryan, ditch the jacket somewhere safe!'

Unsure as to what his counterpart was getting at, Ryan calmly stood up and walked over to the closet before hanging it up and turning back around, "Now then Dark, care to explain just what...."

And then he halted his speech right there, as a barrage of delicious sweets impacted with him, covering him in icing and cupcake bits; he stood still for a moment, wiping the icing off of his forehead before removing his glasses and staring at them calmly. Waving his hand, he cast a simple cleaning spell to remove the icing from them so he could once again see before putting them back on and adjusting them till they were right again.

Meanwhile, the others stared at him curiously before AppleJack gulped, "Ah don't think that was a very smart thing ta do now that we've done it y'all."

"...why's that AppleJack? He doesn't seem to be showing any sign of aggression or anger."

"Yeah, but remember Twi? He did the same thing when Rainbow Dash recorded him singing in the shower."

Rainbow Dash thought back on that moment, and her wings that had started to relax popped right back up as she let out a groan, "Please, stop embarrassing me everypony..."

"Well ladies." Ryan cleared his throat and smiled at them calmly...perhaps too calmly, "I must say, now that the gauntlet has been thrown you must realize I cannot take this lightly. Wouldn't you agree mah counterpart?'

'Oh most assuredly, dear host of mine; this calls for the utmost in comeuppance.'

"N-now Ry-Ry, ah don't want ya ta do anythin' rash."

"Oh my sweet apple, I'm only thinking about what is the most fun." Ryan smiled widely as he reached for his wand.

"Oh God, he's gonna shrink us! I knew it!" Rainbow Dash gasped, curling into an even tighter ball of embarrassment and worry, "I don't wanna live in a jar!"

Raising his wand, he smirked and pointed it behind him as a slight flash went off; holstering his wand he reached behind himself and pulled out an absolutely massive looking weapon of sorts, "This ladies...is a Tesla Cannon. Or rather...it would be if I wanted to hurt somepony. Yer pretty smart T-Sparks so I think ya know what the real version could do."

"Well...I think; that means it has something to do with electricity right?"

"Hahaha, we have a winner. See, this technically doesn't exist in mah world as far as I know; I've only seen it in games but boy howdy is it fun." Ryan reached up and flicked a few switches, a toothy grin on his face as it powered to life, "So I modified it to use not electricity, but sugar and sprinkles."

"...so then it's like a sweets dispenser?" Pinkie asked, seeming a bit excited despite staring down what appeared to be certain sugary doom.

Ryan smirked, his finger on the trigger, "Let's just say I have affectionately nicknamed this mah Sweet Revenge! Tasty Cannon......"

Twilight was quick on her feet, thinking up something to avoid what she knew was coming; unfortunately for her, Ryan had guessed she would do as much and had made a slight movement with his pinky to ensure his delicious justice was enacted properly.

"Fire!" 'Fire!'

And with that double dose of shouting from both Ryan and Dark, the Tasty Cannon fired forth a gigantic blast of icing and sprinkles towards the hapless ponies; now you might be asking why didn't they run? Well, if you were staring down the barrel of a massive shoulder-mounted cannon that intimidating, you'd probably forget the smart option as well.

As it was everypony, save for Rainbow Dash, was now completely coated in sugary, bright pink icing and speckled with many a sprinkle as well; satisfied with his work Ryan smirked before holstering the Tasty Cannon on his back and dusting his hands off.

"I'd guess you could say they got their..." He smirked, snapping his fingers and donning his shades, "Just Desserts!"

'YEAH!'

"...I don't understand; I cast a spell to shield us." Twilight huffed, wiping the icing from her eyes, "How did..."

"Oh that part was ingenious; like I said I've been...experimenting with spells in mah free time to try and catch up with ya in terms of a varied repertoire. So when I got ready to fire, I put a little reflect spell over ya so when ya tried to cast on yerself..."

"It bounced off...but where?"

"Well that's easy." Ryan motioned towards Rainbow Dash who was free of any icing, "Since Dashie wasn't part of the assault, it didn't seem right to just let her get caught in the crossfire. Hahaha."

"...I wondered why I wasn't all pink and sticky like them." Rainbow Dash smiled before winking at Ryan, "Thanks Ryan....although ya might wanna run."

"Run? Why?"

"...ah betcha think yer so full of yerself huh?" AppleJack huffed, shaking the icing off her hat and glaring at Ryan, "That yer fancy little gadget is just the end all of our little food fight."

"Well...yeah." He scoffed, smirking like a bastard, "I mean...it's pretty clear ah won my dear Apps."

"Oooooohohohohohohoho! I don't think so Rysy-Wysy!"

Turning his attention to Pinkie, he saw that somehow not only was she clean of all frosting, but she was dressed like a freaking commando and was holding...were those cream pie launchers?

"...I see then." Ryan remarked, cracking his knuckles and seeing that, in the one moment he blinked they were all outfitted similarly now, "So that's how it's gonna be: five ponies and a dragon....against the lone human."-he laughed softly-"While that sounds just loaded with fun...where's the excitement if'n I don't make ya work for it?"

Realizing just exactly what Ryan was about to do, Twilight yelled for them to fire but it was too late: their "attack" hit empty air as he poofed out of harm's way.

"Where'd he go Twilight?!" Spike huffed, "We can't let him get away!"

"He couldn't have gotten far, come on! Everypony, grab onto me!"

With that the group teleported after him...though Twilight teleported back to grab Rainbow Dash who Pinkie suited up as soon as the group was back together. She looked to them for the direction to run and Rarity practically growled out the answer in fierce irritation.

"That dear man had the nerve to ruin my coat! It. Is. On!" She declared as the group chased after him.

"I don't understand, how is he so far ahead of us in such a short time? He's not that fast yet."

"Ah don't get why Twi, but Apple Ryder put some kind of weird spell on them shoes of his, went 'Meep!-Meep!' and then he just seemed to slip off faster than a greased up pot-bellied pig."

"AGAIN WITH THE PIG THING!"

Twilight ignored Ryan's outburst of a reply (mostly because she wasn't sure just how he had heard AppleJack), "...of course, he must've utilized some type of frictionless spell then; clever."-her face slowly slipped into a toothy grin-"This will be a most enjoyable experiment."

"Yay! Yay! She's got that crazy look in her eyes! It's gonna be really fun now!"

"Oh...oh dear...oh my. Are you sure Pinkie?" Fluttershy seemed the least eager of the group, "I mean he did get icing all over us...and it's all sticky...and will take forever to get out of my fur...and..."-her eyes narrowed-"He's gotta pay! Yay!"

Meanwhile Ryan was doing his best to stay ahead, practically skating along the ground as he tried to put distance between himself and his friends; smirking he had to admit this was a pretty awesome way to get around.

"Ah must admit, it's not mah idea but damn if it isn't handy; that guy totally had the right idea about that funky magnetic spell." Ryan sighed, actually feeling rather relaxed as he skated quite quickly past many a confused pony, "If only I had my music, that one song would be perfect for this. Hmmm, I wonder if they'll ever catch up though? I don't doubt it, seeing as Apps is like super fast...but Dashie wouldn't join in would she? I mean I..."

'I'd hate to break you from your wonderful soliloquy, but we've got company Ryan. Also...duck to yer left.'

Confident in Dark's suggestion, Ryan indeed banked left and watched as a giant pie just missed hitting him; quickly flipping around and skating backwards he smirked at seeing that the seven of them (Spike was riding on Twilight's back) had narrowed the gap he'd created.

"Well now, so Dashie did join in...but she looks a little reluctant."

'Oh, I know that tone of voice...you're gonna purposely avoid hitting her huh?'

"Hey, come on Darky, you know you'd do the same."

'Yeah, yeah...anyway, time to bust out the cannon again?'

"Not yet." Ryan slid right to avoid what appeared to be a giant brownie before reaching into his pockets, "Let's see how they handle candy marbles!"

Tossing his hand out, he watched in glee as the candy bounced and rolled to a stop in the path; Rainbow and Fluttershy were easy able to avoid it (being above the ground) but AppleJack and Rarity had a bit of trouble staying balanced. Pinkie moved like a ninja, deftly avoiding any patch where they lay as she hopped after him and Twilight just flung them away with her magic...quite angrily too.

"...okay, T-Sparks is looking scary." Ryan gasped as he ducked another pie, "...I may have gone overboard just a smidge."

Further down the path, Lyra and Bon-Bon were finishing up their weekly grocery stock-up when they paused and saw something moving towards them quite quickly.

"Lyra is that...."-Bon-Bon gasped as Ryan dashed right passed them while waving hello, "...Ryan?"

"Yeah but...he was moving pretty fast. I wonder why?"

"YOU'LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE!" Ryan shouted, taking aim with his Tasty Cannon, "FIRE!"

Unfortunately, the girls had seen this coming and scattered, which meant the icing attack instead connected with poor Lyra and Bon-Bon.

Ryan groaned and shouted out an apology, "Sorry Lyra! Sorry B-squared! I'll make it up to ya later."

'Any more bright ideas, seeing as they're nearly upon us?'

"...hmmm...the Tasty Cannon's on empty now." Ryan sighed as he holstered it, "...I really should turn back around, who knows where I'm gonna end uuuuuuuuuuuup?!"

As he feared, his inattentiveness to the direction he was going led to him sliding right up a massive plank that had been resting at an angle; cursing the fact that city hall was having repairs done he thought quickly and spread his wings, trying to right himself as best he could. While he was able to avoid falling out of the air like a stone, he was unprepared for the fierce way he was tackled mid-flight by a blur of yellow; righting himself out of the spin, he cushioned his fall as best he could before finally hitting the ground and sliding to a stop in an alleyway between two buildings. Realizing he didn't have much time to get moving again, he went to stand up only to find himself flung backwards and hung upside down in the air by some very familiar colored magic. Gulping he let his eyesight re-focus and sure enough he could see both Rarity and Twilight glaring as they held him in place, "Now..now ladies...l-l-let's be reasonable, civilized adults here; n-no need to get out of hoof. Heh...heh...heh..."

'We're totally boned bro.'

Ryan tried to struggle and break free, but there was no chance of that, "It's been an honor fighting at yer side Dark."

'And I yours...be brave!'

Seeing the others joining Rarity and Twilight, he watched them ready their confectionary armaments with their target now firmly in sight.

Realizing just how truly screwed he was now that he was immobilized, Ryan gulped one more time before screaming loudly, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO~!"

Meanwhile, a short distance away in Canterlot...

Celestia looked up from her reading to see her sister seemingly distracted by something, "Luna, are you alright?"

Luna slowly shook her head before rubbing her temples, "It was awful dear sister..."

"Whatever it was has you frowning; what happened?"

Luna let out a loud sigh before turning to her sister, "There was a distressing disturbance, as if somepony cried out in fear...and then..."

Celestia seemed distraught, wondering if perhaps aide was required, "And then what? For our sake's Luna, what happened?"

"...and then there was only the bitter sweetness of a sugary silence. Oh poor Darkness..."

Hearing Dark's name, Celestia quickly put two and two together and could only assume that everypony's favorite human had gotten into some kind of hijinx, "Although...as I recall my favorite student telling me, it was Pinkie Pie's birthday today. I can only imagine what my little ponies and human have been up to. Haha, let us hope they did not cause too much damage then."

Ryan groaned, slowly coming too and noticing that he was still alive.

'Of course we're alive Ryan, it was just pastries. An ungodly amount of pastries, and sugar, and icing...but pastries none the less.'

"...heh, smartass." Taking the moment to look around his surroundings, he could see he was back at Sugarcube Corner and currently resting on the floor, a blanket over him, "Hmmm...and it sounds like it's raining now. Well..at least that'll wash away the icing....should keep the mayor off our flanks for making a mess."

Hearing the clopping of hoof-steps, Ryan turned to see AppleJack coming over to check on him, "Ah, yer awake sugah."

Ryan smirked at the way she emphasized that last word, "Well, that's one way to get a sugar coma...if ya don't want the stomach ache that is."

He winced as he sat up, rubbing his back slowly and seething as he brushed over a particularly painful bruise.

"Ahm guessing that was from the crash landing?" AppleJack frowned, leaning over and nuzzling him, "I guess we all played a bit too rough huh?"

"Haha, maybe, but boy howdy was that fun. Until, ya know, I lost and all that; I also think Rares and T-Sparks yanked mah legs a bit hard with that magic...my muscles are just screaming at me."

Looking up, he saw Twilight meet eyes with him before looking away, "I'm sorry Ryan...I got just a little carried away."

"It's not just your fault darling, I perhaps went a little far given what happened."

"Haha, I've noted that happens sometimes with y'all but it's alright." He winced, "It's mostly mah fault anyhow; Dark and I, well, we kinda went crazy there if ya didn't notice. I have to admit though...that was a ton of fun!"-he smirked-"Plus I got to test out that spell."

"I know right?!" Pinkie squeed before walking over and glomping Ryan, "This was like the best party ever as far as I can remember! Seriously, a massive food fight across town?! How do you top that? And that Tasty Cannon thing...it's like my Party Cannon but edible and..."

"Pinks...too tight...hurting bruise."

"Oh! Sorry Rysy-wysy!"

He laughed as she eased up, "Well I'm glad to hear ya had a good party; ya deserve it after that awesome one ya threw fer me. So is there anything else that would make yer birthday perfect?"

"Well....." Pinkie smiled cutely and looked at Ryan with big eyes, "It would be nice if you could do that thing with your hands and caress my mane! I don't know why, but you're like some kind of super-dooper-dude when it comes to doing that! It's like they're magic!"

Ryan laughed loudly, her smile infectious as all get out, "Ah keep hearing that to be sure. Haha."-he reached up and caressed her fluffy pink mane, laughing once more upon hearing that delighted "purring" noise-"Anything else?"

"Mmmmm, a big cuddle puddle with all my bestest friends!"

"Ah think that can be arranged, right everypony?"

Seeing a collective nod from his friends he watched AppleJack settle behind him before motioning towards her lap; catching the hint he eased back down, resting his head on her and getting comfy. Pinkie followed his hand flawlessly, never letting it leave from its job as she settled on his right with, who else, but Rainbow Dash settling to his left and nuzzling his other hand. Ryan stuck his tongue out at her but nonetheless he began scratching her ears before caressing her mane as well; the others slowly got settled with them one by one until the eight friends were one big pile of fluff. He closed his eyes, relaxing as his friends followed suit. Soon enough his movements slowed and the eight of them were lulled to sleep by both the warmth of their bodies and the warmth of their hearts as the rain outside slowed and soon became a gentle snowfall.

Author's Note:

Okay, so...wow, this chapter got big. XD So much so, the other part that was going to be in this one is now getting bumped to the next one. I suppose that just means more content for y'all but that whole party just, I don't know where the ideas came from; they weren't there when I got to it but...it was almost like the idea was planted into mah mind. I suppose I can just blame Pinks and that'll cover it so...yeah, sure, that works! Haha! She'll gladly take some credit for that craziness.

And during that whole chase sequence through the streets, I had this song playing on repeat: MSF - Jive Bot

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