• Published 5th Mar 2012
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Butterscotch's Adventures in Equestria - butterscotchsundae



Human in Equestria self-insert parody starring Butterscotch Sundae

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A Shining Star

Twilight lay on her bed, fresh from a long bath. Her body was steaming hot, and where her robe had slipped off her shoulders her lavender coat glistening in the candlelight. She sighed, stretching out on the soft star-decorated coverlet, and turned to face Owlowicious who was sitting on his perch near her bed and regarding her with his huge eyes.

"Oh Owlowicious!" crooned Twilight. "That bath was sooo relaxing!" She stretched out on her side, drawing the calves of her hind legs taut, her robe slipping up to reveal more of her haunches and rump as she did so.

Owlowicious blinked.

Twilight smiled at the owl. He was a handsome bird, she'd decided – the bookishness of his huge eyes reminded her of the thick spectacles of her Telekinetic Studies teacher in Canterlot, and his gaze was always intelligent and piercing. He kept his feathers so pristine and orderly, preening them with a regular and exacting attentiveness to detail. Twilight thought that he gave off the aura of a naïve young monk, or a cloistered priest, so full of latent sensual energy but so totally ignorant of the ways of the outside world.

"Why… why are you looking at me like that, Owlowicious?" asked Twilight, blushing deeply under the bird's gaze. "Do you… do you see something you like?"

"Who?" asked Owlowicious.

Twilight laughed, and considered him through thick lashes that she fluttered coquettishly. "You, you gorgeous bird!" She teasingly reached down and pulled her robe down so that her well-rounded rump was no longer visible. "Well, we'll have to put a stop to that! I don't want to make you excited…"

"Who?" repeated Owlowicious.

Twilight pouted. "Oh Owlowicious! Why must you be so cold towards me?"

"Who?"

Twilight snorted in frustrated annoyance. She got up from the bed, her robe slipping open and then falling to the ground as she did so. She kicked it to one side and stood naked and unabashed before the bird.

Tears had started to well in the corner of her purple eyes. "Don't… don't you find me attractive?" she asked.

"Who?" hooted Owlowicious.

"Oh Owlowicious! I just can't stand it anymore!" Twilight reared up and wrapped her forelegs around the startled bird. "Kiss me! Take me! Make me yours!" she cried.

"Who?"

I looked down at the words scrawled on the writing pad in front of me with a mixture of relief and triumph. After a week of feverish writing Twi-light To-Who was almost finished and at last the story behind those long, steamy glances between Twilight and Owlowicious in Owl's Well that Ends Well would be told!

Well, OK – so maybe Twilowicious was a crack ship, but that had never stopped me before.

I looked out the window of the train at the green smear of the bushland on the outskirts of Sydney flying past. I lay back, turning up the volume on my iPod, and drifted away into that half-sleeping state that often slipped over me on the way home from work.

Tonight was the night that I'd finally try the ritual that Esther had revealed to me. In my bag I had the last of the ingredients – the streamers, the balloons and the crepe paper – and all I had to do was bake the cupcakes and then… well, who knew what would really happen. Would she appear? I sighed. Of course she wouldn't. And I was angry at myself for agreeing to go through with the whole ridiculous charade. I knew that Esther was manipulating me; it was just a game she was playing to remind me that she was the one in control. I sighed again – she was so beautiful that I would have done anything she told me, anyway.

A few hours later I was at home finishing typing up the story on my laptop, and I'd just downed the last of my second glass of mid-priced whiskey I'd bought as well. Might as well make a party of it! Twi-light To-Who was finally ready for uploading to DA and I decided that I deserved another drink. Oh Butterscotch Sundae, you perverted fanfic writer! Let's see what the internet thought of this one!

I'd come up with my pseudonym when the whole fanfiction thing had first taken hold of me. It had come to me in a flash, and it had seemed such an appropriate name for the sickeningly-sweet stories that I wanted to write that I kept it. My own name, Connie Hayden, seemed so bland in contrast. And who would be crazy enough to post the kind of stories I was writing under their real name? So Butterscotch took on a life of her own on the internet, and I'd started to like her a lot more than that schoolteacher Connie Hayden with her wavy brown hair, her pale skin which refused to tan (it would turn red in the harsh Aussie sun, then peel and revert to paleness once more) and her watery blue eyes. I much preferred being a colourful pony who wrote erotica instead. So I left the online existence of Connie Hayden trapped in a rapidly decaying Facebook while Butterscotch was free to gambol about the internet.

And I'd never been happier.

The only person who knew that Butterscotch and Connie were the same person was Esther. Well, at least that was what she'd told me her name was. I didn't find out her real name until much later.

About a month earlier I'd thrown all my usual paranoid online caution to the wind and decided that I needed at least one real-life person to talk pony with or else the internet and Butterscotch would both claim my soul forever. So when I'd started chatting with Esther (or PriestessofLuna1980 as I first knew her on the Pony IRC) and we'd discovered that we both lived in Sydney, I broke the one rule of meeting people from the internet: don't ever do it for any reason whatever. But something about PriestessofLuna1980's sardonic sense of humour and the way she punctuated everything she typed when chatting drew me to her. I didn't know what to expect of the real-life Esther, but I'd decided that the chances of her being an axe-wielding maniac were probably pretty small.

As it was, she turned out to be perfectly normal. Well… maybe that wasn't exactly true.

We'd agreed to meet at a café in the CBD: Gloria Jeans on Harbour Street. As soon as I walked in off the street a woman sitting at the table not far from the entrance stood up and came to meet me as if we'd met before. There was no way it could be Esther, since the description I'd given her could have fit dozens of women: around 5 foot 5, brown shoulder-length hair, blue eyes, glasses – I could have just as easily said "Look for the English Teacher." Esther herself had been similarly nonspecific, telling me that she had long black hair and green eyes, and the woman approaching me now definitely had those. But what she'd left out of her description was the fact that she was gorgeous.

I watched her as she approached with what must have been nervous astonishment, since she suddenly smiled reassuringly. I was still sure she'd mistaken me for someone else. But then I glanced quickly at the table she had got up from – and there was the pink cupcake that we'd agreed upon as our sign, sitting on a black plastic plate. It had to be her.

I'd been expecting a nerdy type like myself – I know it's unfair to stereotype people and I'm usually the last one to do it. But an interest in the ponies? The woman putting out her manicured hand to me seemed to be the type who'd be more interested in business deals or corporate takeovers. She looked so elegant in her black skirt suit that I suddenly thought about my own jeans and top and silently cursed myself for not trying harder.

"You must be Connie!" she said. He voice was surprisingly girlish, but there was a resonant depth to it just beneath the surface.

"Uh, yes," I replied. "You're... Esther?"

She inclined her head towards her table and that pink cupcake. I must have looked surprised, but she continued to smile and I suddenly noticed that I'd forgotten to take her hand. As I took hold of it, I noticed how thin her fingers were, and how cold to the touch they were, like a lot of tall women's are. But then I realised I'd been holding onto her hand for several heartbeats too long and I let go, and I was smiling in embarrassment as we went to the counter. I ordered the coffee I usually have at one of these false-coffee places, and that was a caramel macchiato with an extra shot of espresso – and then we sat down at her table and had our first real-life conversation.

I prayed I wasn't blushing – I felt like I'd been behaving like a total fool, but it was just that I'd had all my expectations turned 180 degrees. Being a school teacher, finding something to say was never usually a problem for me, but in front of this striking woman I found myself almost tongue-tied. But Esther was happy to talk, and soon I felt myself becoming comfortable in her company. Esther – well, she wasn't flirtatious per se, but she did have the disarming ability to make you feel like you were the centre of the universe, and I was therefore completely unsurprised to find that she worked in Martin Place as a human resource manager for a corporation that shall remain nameless. Well, actually, I was still surprised. I mean – she was down with the ponies?

"But how do you find the time?" I asked her, taking a sip of my coffee. It really was terrible coffee, but the sugar and caffeine were doing their job and smoothing over the mild muzzy hangover I was carrying.

Esther laughed. It was a cheerful and surprisingly uninhibited sound. "There's always time for ponies! Anyway, I have a lot of control over my working hours so it's not so difficult to organise. Besides, I need the ponies. If there's one thing that's so different from my work-a-day world, it's the ponies. There's not much friendship in the corporate world I navigate and… well, magic? Are meetings about made-up words like 'degreelessness' magic?"

"I guess not," I replied. Then my jaw dropped. "Wait – 'degreelessness'? Really?"

Esther laughed. "Yep. 'Degreelessness'. Give me 'friendship' any day of the week."

I sighed. "I know what you mean about the ponies keeping you sane. When I watch that show I get the feeling I'm a little kid again. I mean, what's not to like? Ponies! Rainbows! Unicorns! And the colours, Esther, the colours! I love their colours. They make me smile."

She sipped her coffee and nodded. "They are a colourful bunch, aren't they?"

"I guess it's that the ponies go a long way to making me a functional human being," I said finally. I just wished that I could be open about my love of the ponies rather than hiding it. I began to sigh, but then stopped myself. There's an old superstition that if you sigh your happiness will escape from you, so I swallowed instead.

"You shouldn't care what anyone thinks, Connie," Esther said suddenly.

I blinked. It was a mixture of surprise at her guessing what I was thinking and annoyance at the fact that she thought we'd become close enough already to say something like that. I was gripped with that defensive hostility I often have around people more attractive than myself. But when I looked at her green eyes they seemed perfectly earnest – and so my annoyance dissolved away immediately.

Esther seemed to realise that she'd been a bit forward and she smiled apologetically. "Here." She leaned down to her handbag and brought out a little box wrapped with a pink ribbon.

"A present?" I stuttered. "I… You… you really shouldn't have. I mean, I didn't get you…"

I must have looked a bit desperate because Esther laughed. "Oh Connie! Don't worry about that. You're so sensitive!" She pushed it across the table with the back of her hand. "It's just a little thing."

I calmed down enough to manage a thankful smile and picked up the box. It was sweet of her, I decided, and getting a present from someone as pretty as her made my heart flutter.

"Open it!" she said.

I did so. Inside the box, wrapped in layers of crepe paper was a little Pinkie Pie figure.

I looked at her and anticipating my question she straight away said "eBay of course."

"Of course," I cradled Pinkie in my hand and looked up at her, smiling. "I love her!"

Esther nodded, a soft smile playing across her face. "I knew you would."

And thus a real-life friendship blossomed out of our online one. It was good to have someone to talk pony with. I felt less like I was living a weird double life, split between Connie and Butterscotch, and more like the two were a complete person. Not a normal one, but at least a complete one.

It was two weeks later, part way through the Easter school holidays, when we at last had the chance to go out for more than coffee – so we went to a bar in the CBD called The Establishment, a bar on George Street popular with high-flying corporate types. It was the kind of place I detested, but Esther wouldn't take no for an answer.

"Do I need to get dressed up?" I'd asked.

"Oh don't worry about that," she'd said.

But I got dressed up anyway in my knee-high boots and long pleated skirt. I met her outside the bar after she got out of work and she looked me up and down appraisingly.

"You scrub up well, Connie," she told me. "Well – let's go inside."

I gaped at her. "Don't we need to line up?"

She shook her head. "Lines are for dweebs." And then, taking my hand, she lead me straight in through the front doors past the two huge Islanders that were the bar's security. They seemed to not even notice us.

I looked up at her, and she turned to smile at me.

"Do… do they know you?" I asked breathlessly.

She shook her head. "No. But they know they will one day."

The great glittering orbs of The Establishment's lights reflected their warm orange glow on the marbled surface of the outrageously long bar the place was famous for, and on the great sculpture of the unicorn's head made from blue glass at its far end.

Esther smiled at the look of happy surprise on my face, and she came close to my ear and said over the hubbub of people drinking and talking "I knew you'd like it."

Once we'd got our drinks Esther, holding my hand, pushed her way through the mob of merchant bankers and personal assistants until we reached one of the great cast-iron columns, behind which there was an empty place where it was quiet enough for us to talk – well, as long as our faces were so close together that we might as well be kissing.

Straight away Esther said "Hey! I finished The Party Hasn't Ended last night!"

I was surprised. "Wait – you actually read it?" Esther had admitted early on that she didn't really like fanfiction, although she had read a couple of my stories before we'd met – The Night Fluttershy Exploded was her favourite, but she'd refused to read The Party Hasn't Ended until I finished it. I thought she'd forgotten about it.

"It took me four hours all up," she said. "Oh hey! And I noticed Nightmare has green eyes!" She laughed, grabbing my arm and squeezing it hard.

I yelped in pain and struggled from her grasp. "Has anyone told you you've the grip of a wrestler?" I rubbed the offending area and then I smiled at her. "You noticed, huh? I thought of you when I needed a description for the villain."

"But…" she pouted. "I'm a villain to you, Connie? After all those vanilla lemon drops we shared?"

"I... I hope you weren't offended," I said, smiling shyly and looking down into the golden-brown swirls of my scotch. I usually drank it neat, but I put water and ice in it when I drink outside to make my rampant alcoholism less obvious. It was a complete contrast to Esther's ludicrous cocktail with its slice of dragon-fruit and its sugar swizzle-stick.

She shook her head. "I was delighted! You knew I would be."

I looked up at her.

"That's why you did it, right?" she added.

I nodded, making the ice in my glass clink. "Am... am I really that transparent?"

Esther chuckled. "To me you are. But then I've seen inside your heart."

My heart skipped a beat at this, so I took a long drink. My heart? Then I realised she was just quoting Party back at me.

Finally, feeling the silence between was becoming uncomfortable, I said "So apart from Nightmare how did you like the story?"

"It needed more lesbian sex," Esther replied with a totally straight face.

I laughed. "I know, right? I'm thinking of writing some cloppier stuff but I don't whether people will want to read it."

"Of course they will," she told me. "I don't know why people have a problem with cloppy stories. I mean, how do they think ponies reproduce? Mirrors?"

"Only the lesbian ponies," I replied, and then I groaned. "Oh, don't give me any ideas! Did I tell you I went back through my stories to count all the references to mirrors in them?"

"Mhhmm hmm? How many were there?"

"A lot," I said, taking another drink.

Esther looked at me with a satirical smile. "You do realise that whenever we pass a mirror you look into it, right?"

I blinked. "I do?"

"Mmh hmm. It's a classic symptom of a narcissistic personality disorder."

"That sounds about right," I chuckled. "But actually, I think it's more to do with being afraid I don't exist."

"But you do exist, Connie," said Esther. "Trust me on this one," She lifted her drink up before her face and said "Cheers!" But as I moved to clink my own against it, she pulled her glass away before I could and winked at me as she brought it to her lips.

"Too slow, Butterscotch Sundae! Much. Too. Slow."

It was that moment I realised I'd fallen in love with her.

**************************************************

Many more drinks later.....

"I don't feel so good," I said. Esther was holding me up and pushing her way back through the crowd to the exit.

"You, my dear, have had too much to drink!" she said in a maternal tone of voice.

I nodded. "I usually drink too much. I like it too much. But I drink too much..."

Esther had met me drink for drink but she was nowhere near as drunk as I was, which I put down to the fact that she'd only been drinking girly drinks all night.

She guided me out of the bar, across the footpath which was full of people in suits milling around smoking, and held me steady while she hailed a taxi.

"Where are we going?" I asked. "Another bar?"

"I'm going to take you to my place," she replied.

"WHAT?!" I laughed – far too loud. People nearby turned to look at me, but that didn't make me lower my voice. "Are you going to ravish me or something?!"

"Connie! Shhh!" Esther tried to quieten me down, but she was laughing as she did so.

Time at this point was splintering for me, and the next thing I was aware of was Esther helping me out of the taxi as she handed over some cash to the driver. Then she was helping me through the foyer of a glitzy inner-city apartment block – it was all burnished metal and glass which sparkled with the yellow and red wil o' wisps of the traffic passing by outside, and I felt like stellar space was flowing past us both.

Suddenly my vision was broken by the concierge addressing Esther from behind his massive desk. "Good evening Miss. Is your friend ok?"

Esther waved a hand at him. "Just poisoned by The Establishment's watered-down whiskey," she explained.

I had decided, in the friendly manner of all drunks, to turn and assure the concierge I was OK as well, but the sudden movement made me nauseous so I gave up and let Esther guide me into the elevator. She took a key-card out of her handbag and placed it near a scanner which beeped happily.

As the lift started humming I said to her "You live here? You must be LOADED!"

Esther shrugged. "I do OK," And then a secret smile flashed on her lips. "It cost me my soul, though."

The elevator continued to hum for what seemed like forever. "What floor are you on?" I asked, unable to work out which numbers were being lit up.

"Wait and see," replied Esther simply.

The movement of the elevator, though silky smooth, was making me feel nauseous, and I suddenly doubled over in pain – but Esther straight away placed her hand against my forehead. It felt so smooth and cooling, just as if it were a slab of marble I was resting against, that the nausea immediately passed.

"Oh, that feels great," I murmured, closing my eyes in pleasure.

"Good girl," she replied, stroking my forehead. And then at last the elevator stopped and the doors opened.

Esther drew me out of the elevator into her apartment. It was obviously the penthouse, for the first thing that struck me were the huge windows on the far side. They were great black panes of glass that glittered with the reflections of the city lights of Sydney that extending out beyond them to a hidden horizon – a fairy forest of red, yellow and green stars hanging out in space. My mouth slipped open in amazement, but then Esther switched on the lights and the fairy world vanished in an instant, to be replaced by the minimally furnished living space of a luxury apartment. There was a low coffee table in the centre made from a single frivolous castling of glass, and beside it a white modular leather sofa that could easily have seated a dozen people, while in the far corner where the two massive panes of glass window met was a... a baby grand piano?

"You have a piano?!" I cried. "I didn't know you played!" I skipped across the carpeted floor and sat down.

Esther watched me indulgently as she placed her handbag on the coffee table. "I don't," she explained. "It came with the apartment."

"I haven't played in years," I laughed, knocking out a discordant version of chopsticks – or as much as I could remember which was a couple of bars. Then Esther was behind me. She drew her arms around my shoulders, her hands slipping onto mine and taking them off the keys. "No, wait!" I protested. "I'm starting to remember it!"

"Come and sit down," she said, taking me by the hand to the couch. There was something in her green eyes that told me not to argue. I sat there and looked over the apartment while she brought me some cold water.

"How many bedrooms do you have?" I asked her as she moved about the kitchen.

She returned and sitting down beside me handed me a frosty glass. "Four or five I think."

I took the glass and drank, and at that moment it was the most delicious thing I had ever tasted. "And you're all alone here?" I asked, putting the half-empty glass on the table.

"Not right now," she replied. She turned to me and her green eyes seemed suddenly especially icy. If I hadn't been drunk, I probably would never have been brave enough to do it, but as it was I leaned forward and kissed her on the lips. They were surprisingly cold, even to lips which had just touched ice water, but Esther kissed back with heat, and as she did so her hands slipped onto mine.

It was only a short kiss, but I was breathless at the end of it.

"I've been waiting a long time for you to do that," said Esther simply. And then she smiled. "For someone who writes the kind of stories you do, you're actually pretty prudish."

"I... I guess I'm just a Rose Papillion at heart," I said, dropping my gaze.

Esther nodded. "It's always the quiet ones," she agreed as she leaned over and took off my glasses. "Let's do it properly this time."


I woke up in a strange bed, and the first thing I noticed was that I didn't have a hangover. Wait – hadn't I been drinking last night? And then everything that had happened the night before came flooding back. Often this was an unpleasant and remorseful sensation, but what I was remembering this morning made me grin like a moron. I turned over – but Esther wasn't there and I sighed in disappointment.

Sitting up, I looked around the room, seeing furniture I didn't recognise – an antique mirrored wardrobe, a dressing table, the four-poster bed we had been sleeping in – and then I found what I was looking for: a clock on the wall.

It read 9.42 am.

Sudden panic gripped me. I was late for work and my school was more than an hour across the city! But then the panic subsided when I remembered that I was on holiday.

I got out of bed but, realising I was in my underwear, I wrapped the quilt around me and went looking for my clothes. I found them folded up neatly on the couch – Esther must have done it since my usual style of putting away my clothes was tossing them over the closest thing to hand. And it was then that I noticed there was a note sitting on the coffee table.

Dear Connie,
Called away to work! You looked so happy asleep that I didn't have the heart to wake you. There's breakfast in the fridge for you. I'll be back around lunch – if you're not doing anything, let's spend the rest of the day together.
<3
Esther

...spend the rest of the day together? I squealed and would have jumped in the air if the quilt wrapped around me hadn't tangled my legs together. So it wasn't just a one-off thing.

I had a girlfriend!

I ate breakfast which turned out to be a tub of low-fat yoghurt that made me more hungry, and then I sat on the couch and tried to work out how to get the home theatre working. The remote was a featureless black rectangle without any buttons, but as soon as I touched it the LCD came to life. I pressed the biggest and reddest of the icons, and almost fell off the couch when a screen slid down from above – but then was completely unable to get anything else to work and gave up. After that I pined after my laptop, wishing I could at least check my email. And finally I stared out of the huge windows at the city. There was a great river of traffic flowing from the left and curving down to the green canopy of Hyde Park that could only be William Street, and I decided I must be somewhere in Kings Cross.

All the while I was trying to put off having a shower as long as possible – Esther's scent lingered on my body and I wanted to enjoy it for as long as possible before washing it off. So I decided to give up on everything else and went back to the bedroom and lay back on the bed. I ran my naked arms and legs all over the turbulent sheets – her smell was still strong and I sighed and lay there with it surrounding me. Esther hadn't been gentle, but I'd loved every moment of it, and my ravished body still tingled and throbbed with the memory of her touch. I felt my nipples, which were puffed and chapped, and then I gingerly felt at the sore patch on my inner thigh where Esther must have bitten me. It felt like she'd broken the skin, so I went and looked at it in the mirror set in the front of the wardrobe.

As I stood there, turning back and forth to get a clear view, I suddenly gasped. I'd thought it was a bite mark – but it was huge! I couldn't for the life of me remember how it had happened, but I decided that since it wasn't anywhere visible and it would fade soon enough I wouldn't worry about it – and part of me looked forward to seeing it in the mirror again later and being reminded of what had happened last night.

Esther returned sooner than I expected – I heard the elevator from the shower I'd finally forced myself to take. I heard the doors of the elevator open as I was in the middle of enjoying the high-pressure of the water soothing my tired body and I was struck with a sudden impulse to get out of the shower straight away and see her, but I decided to finish my shower and make triply sure that my body had no smell of sweat left about it. Once I was finished I poked my head out of the bathroom, about to shout out for a towel – I'd foolishly stepped into the shower without first finding out where she kept them – but Esther was already there outside the bathroom door, a towel of Egyptian cotton hanging on her arm. She was dressed in her usual black skirt suit and I gasped when I was suddenly reminded of how beautiful she was.

I took the towel she offered – it was so large that it was more a bath sheet, actually. I smiled my thanks and wrapped my pink and steaming body with it.


Esther arched an eyebrow at me. "Such a crime to cover you up," she said.

I laughed. "Stop teasing me!" Then I added "You... you don't think I have a huge butt?"

She rolled her green eyes and sucked her teeth. "You're worse than Pinkie Pie," she said in unpretending annoyance.

"Hey," I lifted the towel to show her the mark on my inner thigh. "Look at what you did to me."

"Oh that?" She blinked. "Sorry – I guess I got carried away." Then she turned and looked out across the city. "Go get dressed and we can get out of here."

"Where are we going?" I asked, picking my clothes off the couch.

Esther's eyes flashed and a little half-smile appeared on her lipsticked lips. "♪ It's a secret! ♫"

*************************************

A quick taxi ride to Haymarket later the "secret" turned out to be yum cha at Marigold Restaurant. As I helped myself to another chicken's foot with my chopsticks, I took a little sip of tea to wash away the fat. It was the only way to eat Chinese food.

"How can you eat that stuff?" asked Esther, crinkling her nose.

"I don't know – I just love them," I replied. Truth was, I adored sucking the delicious marinated skin from the tiny little bones, and I was about to tell her that, but I felt it would be wrong to gross her out. She was a vegetarian, but I couldn't hold it against her.

And it was then, as I was lifting a steamed prawn dumpling to my mouth, that Esther asked me the question.

"Say, Connie – if you were given a chance to go to Equestria, would you take it?"

I stopped, my mouth half-open, then put the dumpling back in my bowl and nodded enthusiastically. "Of course! Who wouldn't?" I replied. "I mean, you've seen Escape from Midnight Castle right?"

"The one with the Rainbow of Darkness?"

I nodded. "I mean, didn't you always wonder as a little girl what you'd have done if you'd been in Megan's place and Firefly had landed in your backyard?"

She raised her eyebrows. "I can't really say whether..."

"Well, I've always thought that I wouldn't hesitate and just go with her – I mean, my childhood wasn't unhappy at all, just boring. I'd have loved to have a pony, and a Pegasus that could talk? C'mon! It's a no-brainer."

Esther's face was inscrutable. "I don't know – I think you might get bored of Equestria pretty soon. Don't you think that with everything kept in perfect order by Celestia..."

"Another thousand years!" I said, raising my cup in a toast.

There was a sudden flash in Esther's eyes. Had... had I gone too far in my geekiness? Was this too public a place? Was I overstepping some unspoken line? It was hard to tell exactly what emotion it was. But as quickly as it appeared it was gone, and she was smiling again.

"Oh, your little drinking game! Of course." She took a sip from her own cup.

"But you'd get to play with the ponies!" I said, finally getting to put the prawn dumpling in my mouth and chewing it. "Wouldn't that be awesome?"

This time Esther laughed out loud. "How did I know that that was what you'd immediately think of?"

I looked at her in mock-hurt. "I mean going on adventures and stuff with them. Well, maybe I'd like to cuddle them," I could feel my face loosening into a dopy expression. "They look like they'd feel all squishy and huggable, like giant marshmallows."

"Cuddling? Sure you did," Esther smiled. "I'm not judging you. I'm sure that would be one of the perks." Then she suddenly moved forward and slid her hands onto mine. "Are you really so sick of human girls? Hands are so much more versatile than hooves..." She lifted her hands from mine and fluttered her fingers at me and wiggled her thumbs. "Don't you think these things are incredible?"

I laughed. "Why all these questions? Is this about that poll on Equestria Daily the other week?"

"What? Oh no," she replied. "Just curious. So if I offered to show you a way to get to Equestria, you'd say yes, right?" Her face was alight in eagerness.

"Yes? Obviously!" I squealed. "Tell me where to sign!"

"Wait a second," said Esther. "What if you had to do something in return?"

"Something in return? Like something... sexual?"

"Oh shut up," she replied. "No – I mean like a favour."

"A favour? I mean, what kind of favour?"

"Something which wouldn't be beyond your abilities," she said. "Just a promise of some help in the future," She turned the spinach dumpling in her bowl over and over. "So... do we have a deal?"

I shrugged. "Sure, as long as I don't have to kill anyone."
Esther laughed. "Kill anyone? Of course not! No killing involved," She smiled sweetly. "I promise."

I was carried away now by the sheer ridiculousness of the conversation. "Sister, you've got yourself a deal!" And I offered her my hand – but she didn't take it.

"All I needed was your oath," said Esther. And then, after popping the spinach dumpling she'd been playing with in her mouth and chewing it enthusiastically, she began to explain that there were two ways to travel between this world and Equestria...

******************************

After that we spent the remainder of the Easter holidays together, meeting whenever she could get herself out of work. But every time we met up she'd look at me strangely and say "You haven't tried it out yet?"

I had a number of different excuses, but the final time I tried to weasel out of going through it I told her: "I'm still too burnt out after finishing Party to do much of anything..."

Esther snorted. "You've been working on that Twilight-Owlowicious story, haven't you?"

I tried to change the subject. "Oh, that reminds me! I forgot to tell you – I've got a great idea for a story where Trixie gives Twilight a..."

"Oh, stop stalling Connie!" Esther seemed genuinely upset. "I told you because I thought you'd be brave enough to actually try it."

"OK, OK!" I said. "Calm down!" Esther could be a little intense at times, but it wasn't unexpected in a high flier like she was. "I promise I'll give it a shot after work tomorrow."

"That's my girl!" Esther was suddenly putting her arm in mine, a huge smile on her face. "But don't forget the pink sprinkles. Everything has to be just right!"

"So if I do this you'll stop pestering me?" I said, feeling her skin against my own. Her touch had this strange power over me, making me melt inside despite the coolness of her skin, and it was doing that right now.

"I can do better than that," she said, drawing close up behind me and grabbing my ear in her mouth.

Giggling, I batted her away. "So should I... do you want me to take a photo or something?"

Esther burst out laughing. "Oh, I'll know if you did it or not, Connie! You're a terrible liar. Besides, didn't I tell you the night we got together that I can see inside your heart?"

And so tonight was the night. I had no more excuses. After uploading Twi-light To-who to DA I replied to some comments and then browsed /co/ for a little while. When I looked at the clock on my microwave it was already 9 pm.

Well, time to get this over and done with, I decided. I was sure that if I didn't do it tonight Esther would probably fly in through the window, bite me somewhere soft and drain away my life-blood, finishing the job she'd started with my inner thigh all those weeks ago. So I poured myself some more whiskey and sipped it like I usually do when cooking. After I spilled the flour and caster sugar a couple of times each, turning my kitchen bench into a snowscape in the process, I finally got some of it in a bowl and after adding an egg and some milk I started to mix up the cupcake batter.

Not long afterwards my little house was full of the smell of cupcakes baking. Now, I'm by no means a great cook, especially when drunk, but it's terribly difficult to ruin a cupcake and as I took the steaming tray out of the oven I decided they actually looked pretty delicious. The ritual only required one, but well – if you're going to make cupcakes you might as well make a whole batch!

I tried one. It was pretty good. Not a baked bad by any stretch of the imagination! I tried another after I'd put the frosting and sprinkles on– and it tasted even better. It was definitely a delicious recipe, but I didn't believe for a minute that it was a Pinkie Pie original, as Esther had told me it was.

I looked at the bottle of whiskey on the bench, covered in flour-snow. I'd almost finished it. Well, I might as well have the last little bit at the bottom, I decided, so I poured the last few drops out into my glass and drained it. And then, as I began to find it difficult to walk straight, I started to blow up the pink balloons, which turned into a total comedy of errors. I was pretty bad at tying up balloons at the best of times, but while drunk it was nearly impossible – but finally it was finished. Now all I needed was a mirror and everything would be set for the ritual.

I'd done a quick calculation and decided that my dressing table mirror would probably be big enough for you-know-who to fit through, so I took everything into my bedroom and did as Esther had told me. I set up the crepe-paper streamers and balloons all around the room and scattered the pink confetti everywhere until it looked like a party was in progress. I put my iPod in its dock and put on some music, and last of all I took the fresh cupcake that I'd just frosted and decorated with sprinkles and place it on a plate in front of the mirror.

I knew I was forgetting something, but what? Oh, of course! The hot-sauce!

Now, in Australia just about the only brand of hot-sauce available is Tabasco sauce, so that was what I used. I took the little bottle and dashed a tiny bit on the top of the cupcake. It didn't seem nearly enough, so I added a little more. Finally, I decided to just pop the little plastic stopper out and pour the rest of the bottle onto the cupcake – well, it seemed the right thing to do. The cupcake was intended for you -know-who, after all.

Finally, I stood back, looked at my handiwork and shook my head. Even though I was drunk, the realisation of what I'd done hit me like a slap in the face.

"Nice one, Esther," I whispered, my heart sinking away. "You made me make a complete fool out of myself." I slumped into the chair in front of the dresser and looked at myself in the mirror. My hair was tousled, there was flour all over my face and down my top, and everything smelled of hot-sauce. It would take ages to clean up everything.

I lay my face down and choked back a sob. How could I have been so gullible! Oh Connie, you should know better than to let people make fun of you... hadn't you learned that yet?

But then I lifted my head up and looked into the mirror again. Oh, how I wished that it was true. How I wished that you-know-who would come through that mirror to take me away to Equestria, away from this place full of people who just wanted to make me a laughing stock.

And before I knew what I was saying, her name passed my lips. And I said it not once, not twice, but three times.

"Pinkamena,
Pinkamena,
Pinkamena."