• Published 19th Mar 2012
  • 27,824 Views, 1,587 Comments

Shipping and Handling - Pegasus Rescue Brigade

Ditzy Doo winds up in the matchmaking business

  • ...

Chapter 7

"Mister Autumn Breeze, please come to my office. I have an assignment for you."

"Looks like the boss needs me," Breeze said. "I'll catch you later, Ditzy. Good luck on your assignment, if you get one today."

He leaned in much closer to the female pegasus. "And… good luck with you know who," he whispered, giving his head a twitch in the direction of a certain blue unicorn, who was ignoring the pegasi and flipping through a magazine as usual.

"I hate being stuck here alone with Glow," Ditzy whispered back.

"Don't let her get under your skin," Breeze replied quietly. "You know she's usually just full of idle threats and empty insults."

Breeze got up and trotted over to the door. "Anyway, see ya'."

"Bye," Ditzy replied, watching her coworker trot down the stairs.

Silence reigned for a few moments. Ditzy slowly made her way back toward the side of the room where she and Breeze had been sitting, as far as possible from Glow, but she could feel the unicorn's gaze upon her. He chanced a glance in her rival's direction.

Glow's violet eyes peered over the top of her magazine. Her gaze met Ditzy's briefly, and the pegasus quickly turned away and instead moved toward the table to search for leftover muffins from the morning.

"Hey Ditzy. Come here a second."

Ditzy tensed at the request. Usually, when Glow addressed her, she'd use an insulting nickname like "walleyes" or "muffin breath." Hearing herself addressed by her real name probably meant Glow had something particularly nasty up her sleeve, which left Ditzy dreading the encounter more than usual.

Ditzy turned to face the lounging unicorn. "Uh… sure. What's up?"

"I think it's time we had a little talk…" Glow said icily, using her magic to fling her magazine into a far corner of the room. "…mare to mare." Glow stood and began walking slowly around her pegasus coworker, like a predator circling its prey.

"I see you've been quite the success lately," Glow said, almost casually. "You fail your assignments even more rarely than I do. If I'm not mistaken, you've only had a hooffull of defeats, and it's been nearly half a year now since you joined our company…"

"Well… yeah," Ditzy agreed. "I don't know why everything seems to go so well for me; I'm just glad it does. It's a lot easier and more fulfilling dealing with a satisfied client afterwards."

"Hmm," Glow hummed. "And what number is your success total up to these days?"

"I dunno," said Ditzy, raising an eyebrow in suspicion. "I haven't been keeping track, but I'm sure Candyfloss has it in his records somewhere… but, why do you ask?"

Glow gave Ditzy a bored look. "You can cut out the act, you know. You're not fooling anypony."

Ditzy blinked in surprise. "Act? What act?"

Glow gave a sarcastic chuckle. "My, you really do play the 'totally innocent' card very well, don't you Ditzy? But somewhere under that moronic expression you're wearing, I can tell you are secretly vying to become the new record holder here at Equestria Speedy Shipping Services. The way your success rate has been skyrocketing, you probably consider yourself a shoo-in by now."

"That's what this is about?" Ditzy said loudly, her temper flaring at Glow's accusation. "You think I'm trying to upstage you? I'm just trying to do my job and support my daughter! And I don't exactly control whether or not I succeed at an assignment. I would gladly let you keep the top-employee title if I could. But I'm not going to go purposely failing missions to let you stay ahead; I'd rather help ponies who need my aid than pacify the desires a less-than-genial coworker."

Glow snorted and stamped her hoof. "There you go with that garbage again! Honestly, it's not the fact that somepony like you is actually threatening to beat my record that has me so very frustrated. It's your Celestia-forsaken goody-goody attitude! I simply don't understand how you can be successful when you let yourself get all flustered over the well-being of your client!"

Ditzy smiled smugly. "At first, failing an assignment almost broke me." She admitted. "But then Candyfloss gave me a little pep talk, and I-"

"Stop right there," Glow interjected, silently realizing her chance to turn the speech she had eavesdropped on against Ditzy. "I'm sure the boss gave you the whole 'sincere effort brings sincere ships' speech, didn't he?"

Ditzy was taken aback. "Y…yeah, he did. I wasn't aware he'd told anypony else about that."

Glow laughed darkly. "Are you kidding? That little fabrication of his is just a lie to keep stupid ponies like you from getting discouraged when they fail a shipping job. I see it worked perfectly on you."

"Why should I believe you?" answered Ditzy, undeterred. "I have no reason not to trust Candyfloss; in fact, he's a pretty great boss. You, on the other hoof, haven't given me a single reason to believe anything you say."

"Yes, I suppose that's true," Glow said coolly, turning and walking a few steps away from the pegasus while swishing her tail in a most annoying fashion. "And I could go on letting you live in the little fantasy world old Candyfloss has built for you. But since I'm feeling particularly helpful today, I'll show you proof that I am correct. Proof that has been hovering right under your nose since the day you walked into this place."

"Proof?" Ditzy asked skeptically, still hesitant to believe the malicious unicorn over her seemingly well-meaning boss. "How can you prove that?"

"It's easy," Glow continued. "You've overlooked the biggest piece of evidence against Candyfloss's rule. You've overlooked… me."


"Yes!" Glow responded triumphantly. "Clearly, I don't use Candyfloss's advice in matchmaking, because I simply don't have concern for the true well-being of the customer. I use only two tools in my assignments; false politeness, and cold, hard strategy. I calculate the best way to make a pony appealing to another, and act on emphasizing that characteristic, no matter what it is. To me, it's no more intimate than solving a jigsaw puzzle. I enact my strategy, I complete my assignment, I collect my pay, and I leave."

"And so…" she continued, relishing the dawning realization on Ditzy's face. "Surely even a thickheaded mare like you can see what this means. If anything Candyfloss told you was true, then all signs would indicate I would be terrible at my job. And yet… I'm the best. My record is still far higher than anypony else's, including yours." The blue unicorn trotted right up to Ditzy, their faces just inches apart. "While you may want to believe the ramblings of old Candyfloss, you can't overlook the facts. I am the best shipper, and that is impossible if his theories hold true."

Ditzy wasn't sure how to respond. She felt her chest tightening nervously as she struggled to find a loophole in Glow's logic.

"But… but I'm doing just fine with Candyfloss's method…" the pegasus said weakly. "Maybe… you're just an exception…?"

"Afraid not," Glow said with a smirk. "Sure, you do care about your clients. But that doesn't change the fact that your success stems from your strategy alone. And apparently, you're better at strategizing than I would like to admit. But when you do fail, the fault belongs to you, not to fate, and the only way you'll be able to bear that knowledge is to detach yourself emotionally from your client. Somehow, though, I doubt you can do that."

Ditzy had no response. She slowly slumped back onto her haunches, sitting in the middle of the floor in a kind of shocked stupor as Glow continued to wander slowly around her, grinning evilly.

"Now, let me make one thing perfectly clear," the unicorn said quietly. "I am, and always will be, the top employee at this place. No matter how good you've been doing, you shouldn't allow yourself to get any ideas about overtaking my record. It's not going to happen. In fact, if this little discussion we just had bothers you too much… maybe you should just quit now. It would make things easier for both of us."

"But… I need this job," Ditzy mumbled, slinking further away from the haughty unicorn. "I'm finally able to properly support Dinky. I can't go back to being a mailmare… and I don't really have any other special skills…"

Glow laughed darkly. "True. It takes a special kind of employer to want to hire a goofball like you. And your daughter's probably stupider than you are, so it's not like she can support herse-"

Glow barely managed to activate her magic in time to catch the metal serving tray that Ditzy had flung at her from the snack table. She levitated it there as she stared at the pegasus in shock.

"Well… that was rather uncalled for!"

"Uncalled for!" Ditzy was worked into a rage like none she had ever experienced. "You are the one whose actions are uncalled for! You can insult my eyes, my intelligence, and my disposition all you want, but I will NOT tolerate unkind words about my daughter! Now take it back, you overbearing, self-centered mule!"

Glow snarled. "How dare you!" The aura surrounding her horn flared, and the metal serving tray was whipped back in Ditzy's direction at twice the speed it was originally thrown.

At precisely that moment, the door burst open and a yellow streak shot into the room. By some sheer coincidence, its trajectory happened to disrupt the hurled serving plate. There was a loud clang and a sharp cry as Watt tumbled backwards, knocked senseless by the projectile. He crashed into the far wall in an awkward inverted position, his back hooves dangling over his face, before he slumped down fully onto the floor.

"Watt!" said Ditzy in shock, hurrying over to the Earth pony's fallen form. "Watt! Are you okay?"

Watt was still; his eyes were closed.

"Okay, don't panic," Ditzy said aloud. "I'll just go call for some first aid and…"

All of a sudden, Watt's eyes popped open and he jumped right to his hooves as if nothing had happened.

"You should watch where you're throwin' stuff, Cosmo!" he said in his usual rather hyper voice. "One of these days you're gonna' hurt somepony!"

Glow breathed a small sigh of relief that she somehow hadn't hurt Watt. She had actually been planning to catch the tray again with magic before it hit Ditzy, just to give her a scare, but Watt's entrance and collision with the projectile had been unexpected.

"Don't scare us like that, Watt!" Ditzy said. "I thought that thing knocked you out."

Watt snickered. "Come on, now. It was only moving forty of fifty miles an hour. I was going at least twice that, and I run into stuff all the time at that speed."

Ditzy blinked a few times. "You… you're a unique one, Watt."

Watt smiled a toothy grin, before turning to Glow. "So, Cosmo, what's goin-"

Watt's question was cut off by the loud grating sound of the intercom. Candyfloss's voice crackled over the speaker.

"Miss Cosmic Glow, please come to my office for an assignment. Thank you."

Glow got up. "See you two goofballs later," she said. "Watt, try not to run into any other projectiles while I'm gone."

"You're worried about me now?" asked Watt with some confusion. "You throw stuff at me all the time."

"That's true," Glow mumbled as she disappeared down the staircase.

Once she disappeared, Watt turned to Ditzy with a slight frown. "Was Cosmo trying to throw that thing at you?" he asked with some concern.

Ditzy nodded. "We, uh… got into a little argument; I guess we let it get out of hoof."

"Well, don't worry about it," Watt said. "As long as nopony got hurt, then who cares?"

"Are you sure you're not hurt?" Ditzy asked. "That looked pretty painful."

"I'm fine. Really," said Watt. "Another benefit to being an Earth pony. We're built pretty tough!"

"Well, thanks for taking the hit for me," Ditzy said. "Even if it was by accident."

Watt nodded quickly. "No problem!"

Ditzy let Watt go off to do whatever it was Watt did while waiting for an assignment. She slumped down on the couch and tried to take her mind of recent events by continuing the novel she had been reading in her spare time. She found herself unable to pay attention, however; she couldn't stop thinking about Glow.

Could Glow really be right? Could Candyfloss be just a big liar who does whatever helps keep his employees working for him?

If any of this was true, it meant Ditzy was back to square one; failed assignments really were something to get upset about, unless you were an unemotional jerk like Glow. The grey pegasus found herself feeling quite depressed about the whole situation again.

I wish I could talk to Breeze about it, she thought. If he can't tell me who to believe, then nopony can.

The silence was broken as, yet again, the loudspeaker crackled and Candyfloss's voice came forth.

"Ditzy Doo and Kilowatt Hour, I'd like to see you both in my office. Thank you."

Watt jumped up. "Assignments for both of us! Let's go!"

The excitable pony scurried out the door with Ditzy tagging along behind.

The pale unicorn braced himself for the usual commotion. The door flew open with a crash, and the bright earth pony flew in, knocking the chairs askew as he threw his front hooves up on the desk, looking his boss straight in the eye.

"Good afternoon, Watt," said Candyfloss calmly, impervious to his employee's exaggerated antics. "Where's Ditzy Doo?"

"I'm right here," Ditzy said, arriving in the small office. "Sorry, but you can't expect me to get downstairs as fast as Watt does."

"Quite right," Candyfloss admitted, motioning subtly for the Earth pony to get off his desk. Watt finally caught the hint, and returned all four hooves to the floor.

"Now," said Candyfloss. "Today, a most unusual situation is unfurling. A client has contacted me and requested not one, but two shippers be sent to her aid today. She, of course, offered to pay both the full price, so I see no reason not to oblige her wishes."

"Two shippers?" Ditzy repeated. "Why? Does she have a reason?"

Candyfloss produced a somewhat awkward expression and shuffled through his notes for a moment.

"Um… the client claims, and this is her words, not mine… that she will need reinforcements, because only one pony helping her will never be enough to overcome the… imperial army."

Watt's eyes lit up. "I have no idea what that means, but it sounds exciting!"

"Imperial army?" Ditzy asked. "What imperial army? The closest thing Equestria has to a military is the Canterlot royal guard battalion. And even if that is what she's talking about, why would we need to 'overcome' it?"

Candyfloss shook his head. "I'm as confused as you are. The client actually requested my entire staff, but since you and Watt are the only ones not currently on assignment, you're all I could agree to send. But we've never refused a client before without at least visiting them and getting the whole story. So would you two please at least go and see what this is all about? If it turns out to be something illegal then of course you can, and should, decline and return here."

"Yes sir!" Watt cried, saluting his boss. "Where are we headed?"

Candyfloss glanced as his notes again. "A bakery in Ponyville. The place is called 'Sugarcube Corner'."

"Why are you so slow?"

"I think the better question," Ditzy replied to her overzealous coworker, "Is why are you so fast?"

Watt was vibrating in place as he stood up the road a few meters, waiting for the pegasus to catch up. Ditzy swore she could hear a humming sound emanating from him, roughly akin to that given off by high-voltage telephone wires.

"Can't you just fly there?" Watt whined. "I could have been there ten minutes ago if I wasn't waiting for you."

"I'm sure you could have," Ditzy chuckled. "But what's the rush? It's a beautiful day, and I needed a relaxing trot to clear my head. I haven't exactly been having the best day."

"But aren't you interested to find out what this weird client wants us to do?" Watt asked, trotting in place as if he were warming up for a sprint. "I mean, what do you think this imperial army is all about?"

"I don't know," Ditzy admitted. "But wouldn't you rather have a simple mission? A job description like this one fills me with concern, rather than interest."

"But that's no fun!" Watt announced. "Even a job like ours can get mundane after a while. I think it's about time we get something over-the-top to do!"

"Well, it's time to find out for sure," Ditzy replied. "We're here."

The two ponies stood in front of Ponyville's premier bakery, the giant mock-gingerbread house known as Sugarcube Corner. Ditzy entered the whimsical-looking building, with Watt following close behind.

Immediately, a torrent of pleasant aromas assaulted Ditzy's nose. Beneath the glass of the display cases rested the widest assortment of baked goods to be found anywhere in Ponyville. Fresh, hot apple pies and sweet cupcakes with colorful icing sat cooling on the counters. A huge barrel was filled to the brim with assorted candies, and a wooden rack held a bright display of giant lollipops. A sense of cheerfulness pervaded the entire establishment, causing even Ditzy's frayed nerves to be relaxed somewhat.

Watt licked his lips. "Hey Ditzy, before we go, we should totally grab a treat for the road."

The thought of Watt on a sugar rush caused the mare to twitch slightly; instead of responding to the earth pony, she trotted up to the counter and rang the service bell.

A light blue earth pony with a wavy pink mane emerged from the kitchen and spotted the two customers. "Oh hello, Ditzy Doo!" she greeted. "I haven't seen you here in quite a while! Are you here for a batch of muffins? Or maybe just ingredients for them?"

"Hello, Mrs. Cake," said Ditzy. "I'm actually not here for muffins today. My coworker and I came to respond to a call made to Equestria Speedy Shipping Services."

"Equestria who now?" Mrs. Cake asked with a giggle. "I've never heard of it. Maybe Pinkie Pie made the call; she's been up in her room since around lunchtime."

"Mind if we go see her?"

"Of course not," responded Mrs. Cake. "Just head up the stairs; her room is the first on the left."

"Gotcha!" said Watt, shooting up the stairs in a matter of seconds. Mrs. Cake didn't seem particularly surprised by his almost supernaturally-fast movements, but then again, she did live with Pinkie Pie.

Ditzy trotted up the stairs as Watt rapped on the door; a series of short, speedy knocks that reminded Ditzy of a woodpecker pecking at a tree.

"Come in!" a high voice sang from inside.

Watt pushed the door open and the two matchmakers made their way into Pinkie Pie's room. The party pony hopped over to greet them.

"Hey, it's you!" Pinkie said to Ditzy. "I told you I'd see you in Chapter Seven! And I see those readers are still following you around!"

"Those what?" Ditzy asked. Pinkie wasn't paying attention, however. She was waving at the readers again.

Watt's eyes went wide. "Wait… you can see them too?"

"Well, duh," Pinkie chirped. "They're right there! On the other side of the fourth wall!"

"I know," said Watt. "But I always assumed they were a product of my warped imagination combined with some concussive head trauma from Glow always hitting me."

Ditzy looked in the direction the other ponies were indicating, but saw only a blank paneled wall. She fought the urge to turn tail and leave the room right then, instead opting to try to get her friend and her client back on topic.

"Pinkie Pie," she said quickly. "By any chance, did you contact Equestria Speedy Shipping Services today?"

"Ooh, yes!" Pinkie squealed. "I almost entirely forgot about that! It's super important too, so it's a good thing you reminded me!"

"Okay then," said Ditzy, relieved to have gotten back on track. "So, who is it you're interested in? And what in Equestria does it have to do with an imperial army?"

Pinkie giggled. "Oh Ditzy Doo, you silly pony. I'm not the one who needs relationship help. I actually called on behalf of a good friend of mine." She swiveled in place, and jerked her hoof toward the corner of the room. "He's right over there!"

Ditzy turned to look in the direction Pinkie indicated, and was dismayed to discover that, once again, nopony was there. However, this time, Watt appeared equally confused, which was some consolation, albeit a small amount.

"I'm sorry," said Ditzy finally, trying hard to mask the slight irritation in her voice. "It might just be my bad eyes, but I don't see anypony there. Who are you talking about."

"He's right there!" Pinkie Pie insisted. "Sitting on the stool."

Ditzy looked at the stool. There was no pony, or for that matter any living creature, upon it. The only thing on it was a rather appallingly large ball of dust.

"The ball of dust?" asked Ditzy very slowly, not sure what to make of it.

"Yes, the ball of dust!" Pinkie screeched, as if it was plain as day what she was talking about. "This ball of dust is my dear friend, Sir Lintsalot! And he has found himself in a romantic predicament of fantastic proportions!"

There was a long, long silence. Ditzy stared, dumbfounded, at the clearly delusional pink pony, who simply stared right back with a disturbingly large smile on her face.

"Let me get this straight," she said finally. "You called our company and had Watt and I come rushing over here to help your ball of lint find love?"

Pinkie nodded fiercely. "I'll need all the help I can get if I want to regain my sweetheart," she said in an obnoxious accent.

Ditzy was momentarily confused, but then realized that Pinkie had moved the lint ball around with her hoof a bit as she spoke in the unusual voice.

She's speaking as the lint ball? Does this pony have any grip on reality at all?

"Oh, you talk!" Watt cried, excitedly. "That will make things much easier for us." He scrambled up to the stool where Sir Lintsalot rested, and sat down in front of it, like a colt eager to be told a story by his mother. "Oh, Sir Lintsalot, please tell us your tale of heartbreak."

"You have got to be kidding," Ditzy mumbled under her breath as she too plopped down to let Pinkie tell a story in the bizarre voice of Sir Lintsalot.

"You see…" Pinkie began, moving her mouth as little as possible and waggling Sir Lintsalot around for extra emphasis. "I am in love with the most beautiful woman in my homeland. Her luscious form is matched only by her sweet and generous personality. She is my ultimate love; she is the very reason for which I live! She is the beautiful and gracious… Madame Le'Flour!"

"Madame Le'Flour's a flour sack," Pinkie added in her normal voice. "And not a half bad looking one at that."

Ditzy placed her head in her front hooves in exasperation.

"And yet…" Sir Lintsalot continued. "The apple of my eye cannot be mine! Alas, she is the princess of a kingdom that wars with my own! And while she and I are madly in love, her father, the vile tyrant known as King Turnip, guards his daughter as his most precious possession. If I were to set foot into his kingdom, his army would surely strive to slay me and my allies immediately. But I can let nothing come between me and Madame Le'Flour! I need a group of brave heroes to help me delve into enemy territory and whisk my princess away from her evil father!"

"And that's where you two come in!" Pinkie finished.

Ditzy opened her mouth to tell Pinkie, (as nicely as possible) that she was utterly insane and no self-respecting pony would possibly engage in such a ridiculous fantasy adventure. But Watt cut her off.

"What… what a touching story!" The yellow Earth pony bawled. "Of course we'll help you, Sir Lintsalot! It's our duty to put our lives on the line to bring about true love!"

"Oh, thank you, brave heroes!" Sir Lintsalot cried. "For your aid on this noble quest I am most grateful!"

"Wait!" Ditzy interjected. "Watt, it's not our duty to put our lives at stake for this job. And besides, there's no job to do, because our client is just a ball of-"

A realization suddenly caught up with Ditzy. Sir Lintsalot and Watt had just exchanged a few sentences… yet Pinkie Pie had wandered away, and appeared to be busy packing a suitcase for the impending "quest." But if Pinkie was over there, then that meant…"

"The… the lint…" Ditzy stammered, swaying in place when the magnitude of the realization struck her. "It… it's talking…"

"…yeah," said Watt. "So?"

"No," Ditzy continued. "Now it's talking on its own."

"I'd prefer to be addressed as a he, rather than an it." Sir Lintsalot said indignantly.

"He's alive!" Ditzy cried out in fear. She jumped to her feet and scrambled to the bedroom door, yanking it open and fleeing into the hallway.

Only, she didn't find herself in the cozy second-story hallway of Sugarcube Corner. Instead, she found herself surrounded by intimidating dark stones, rough cut into huge blocks that formed a hallway reminiscent of a medieval castle.

"Where am I? What's going on!?" Ditzy screamed, her voice echoing through the huge passageway.

"We're in my castle, of course," came the strange voice of Sir Lintsalot. Ditzy turned back around to face her companions. Watt, Pinkie Pie, and Sir Lintsalot now stood in the passageway as well. Any sign of a door leading to Pinkie Pie's bedroom, the last shred of anything still linking Ditzy to Ponyville and the reality she was familiar with, had vanished completely, replaced by cold, grey stone.

Watt watched with concern, and Pinkie with casual interest, as Ditzy took off, flying full speed down the corridor, screaming incoherent things about reality's borders being broken.

"Well, that's no good," said Pinkie in a matter-of-fact sort of way once the echoes of the pegasus' screams disappeared along with her. "We're gonna' need her help too if we want to save Madame Le'Flour." She looked at Watt. "Hey, mister… uh…"

"Kilowatt Hour." Watt finally introduced himself. "You can just call me Watt."

"Okey-dokey-lokey!" Pinkie chirped. "Watt, would you please go and try to find Ditzy and convince her to come along, while Sir Lintsalot and I go get ready to depart?"

"Of course!" said Watt, punctuating the answer with his usual salute. "Or should I say… okey-dokey-lokey!"

Pinkie erupted in a fit of giggles. "You catch on fast!"

Still giggling, Pinkie grabbed Sir Lintsalot and the two of them made for the castle's entrance, while Watt set out in search of Ditzy.

"This is just a dream… I'm not really here… There is no Medieval castle, and there's no talking ball of lint… I'm just in my bed, at home at my cottage, having a very realistic nightmare…"

Ditzy Doo was curled up into a ball in a small, pitch dark closet somewhere in the depths of the castle, shivering and repeating her denials of her situation again and again. After a few minutes, the door opened a crack, and Watt's familiar form appeared.

"There you are, Ditzy," Watt said, relieved. "Come on, we have to help Pinkie and Sir Lintsalot."

Ditzy stared silently at Watt, her eyes fully focused for once.

"Watt," she said quietly. "I'm not sure you understand the gravity of our situation. We have somehow been transported out of Ponyville, and probably out of the whole of Equestria for that matter. We're about to go risk our lives to help a sentient ball of lint rescue his beloved sack of flour from something called, "King Turnip."

"Well, yeah," said Watt. "That's the assignment, I think."

"And… you don't care that the laws of reality have been yanked out from underneath our hooves?" Ditzy asked.

Watt smiled. "Ditzy, let me share with you a little piece of Watt wisdom. To be honest, I'm as confused as you are about what going on right now. But Pinkie Pie doesn't seem concerned; I'm sure we'll be going back to Ponyville when this is all over. So I don't see this strange situation we've found ourselves in as a reason to panic; I see it as our one chance to experience something we'll never get to try again. Maybe that's just my ever-positive attitude talking, but I have a hunch about this whole thing. I've got this feeling that the more bizarre stuff we just take-in-stride instead of freaking out at it, the more smoothly this whole adventure is going to go."

"How do you know that?" Ditzy asked, getting to her hooves.

Watt shrugged. "I don't! But I'm not gonna' worry about it. I'm gonna' go out there and treat this like any other assignment, and before you know it, there will be love between that ball of lint and that sack of flour, and we'll be back in Sugarcube corner, drinking hot cocoa and laughing about this whole thing."

For the first time since arriving in this strange place, Ditzy smiled. "…alright Watt, I'll give it a try. Just make sure you stick with me; I'm going to need your help."

"We're going to need each other's help on this one, I think," Watt said. "Just remember, anytime something new happens that doesn't make sense, just adjust your logic accordingly and respond in whatever way makes sense based on that new logic; if we do that, we can't go wrong!"

"I guess you're right," Ditzy said with more confidence. "A crazy adventure might be just what I need to get my mind off the incident with Glow anyway. C'mon, let's go find Pinkie Pie."

Ditzy and Watt trotted through the large stone hallways until they finally reached the front gates of the castle. Both were amazed to see the landscape surrounding them.

The castle sat in the middle of a wide, flat, barren moor, stretching in every direction as far as the eye could see. The ground was barren, and the sky overcast. The whole land had a rather depressing feel to it.

"Welcome to my country," came the voice of Sir Lintsalot, who was standing with Pinkie Pie near the castle gates. "This is Inanima, the place where objects considered 'inanimate' in your country rule over the land. It used to be a serene and beautiful place, but the corruption of King Turnip had choked the life out of the land, leaving this barren place."

"I'll say," said Pinkie Pie. "This place is looking worse every time I come here, Sir Lintsalot. We really have to do something about that."

"Well then, let us begin our quest!" The lint ball announced.

"Wait, we have one small matter to take care of first," Ditzy interjected. "We're a hired service. How much will we be paid for this?"

"Oh yeah!" Watt added. "I totally forgot to ask about that!"

Sir Lintsalot laughed. "I am an important noble in this kingdom, and I am very rich. I can gladly pay each of you one-thousand of your Equestrian bits for your service."

Ditzy's jaw dropped. "A thousand bits? That might almost make this worth it."

"Quite," Sir Lintsalot agreed. "Pinkie Pie, is our mode of transportation here yet?"

Before Pinkie could answer, the ground began to rumble rhythmically; it sounded like giant footsteps were approaching.

"That would be him now!" Pinkie squeaked.

A gargantuan creature rounded the corner of the castle; Ditzy could think of no word to describe it, other than 'dinosaur.' The huge reptilian creature stopped in front of the ponies and stared down at Pinkie Pie with its huge, unintelligent-looking purple eyes.

"Hi Gummy!" Pinkie greeted. "Ready to carry my friends and me for awhile?"

Gummy responded with some sort of gurgling noise, opening his mouth to reveal his complete lack of teeth.

Pinkie grinned back and turned to the rest of her team. Ditzy was trying as hard as she could to take Watt's advice and accept the arrival of a thirty-foot tall toothless alligator as just another average occurrence.

"Guys, this is Gummy," Pinkie Pie said. "Normally, he's a little smaller, but for some reason, when he comes to Inanima, he gets really big! Maybe crossing the dimensional boundary has that affect on alligators, or something."

Pinkie shrugged it off. "Anyways, Gummy will be carrying us, since King Turnip's castle is like, twenty miles away. It would take forever on foot."

Gummy lowered his large head, and Pinkie hopped up his snout and planted herself firmly in the middle of his back. "Well, come on!" she called. "I need to be back in Ponyville in time for dinner, so let's get going!"

Watt glanced at Ditzy for a second, then turned and trotted up Gummy's ramp-like snout to the top. Sir Lintsalot bounced on up as well. Ditzy, not comfortable with walking on a giant reptile's face, opted to fly up instead. Once everypony was aboard, Gummy began to walk out onto the grayish plains.

"Now," said Pinkie Pie. "Once we leave the territory of Sir Lintsalot's kingdom, this is going to get a lot more dangerous, so let's talk strategy while we ride."

"I don't know anything about fighting," Ditzy pointed out hurriedly. "Maybe when we get there I could stay back and make sure nopony… uh… hijacks the gator while we're gone."

Pinkie laughed. "Silly Ditzy! No one can hijack Gummy without the keys! And I have them right here!" She held up the small key ring and jangled it a few times.

Ditzy had no desire to know how an alligator could have keys, so she remained silent and simply nodded.

"Anyway," Pinkie Pie continued. "Since your company only had the two of you to send, we're still a little too short on reinforcements to defeat the king's imperial army. That's why we're going to make a stop on the way there and pick somepony up. He's the most powerful and deadly mercenary in all of Inanima!"

Sir Lintsalot gasped. "Pinkie Pie! Surely you, don't mean… him!?"

"I do mean him. And don't call me Shirley." Pinkie said, barely able to contain her giggles after making the blatant movie reference.

"But are you sure we can trust him?" Sir Lintsalot said nervously. "I mean… he's not exactly the type one would sit down to dinner with…"

"Yeah, but he owes me," said Pinkie, narrowing her eyes. "He'll help us. He swore he would."

Ditzy and Watt exchanged unsure glances again.

"There!" Pinkie cried, pointing. "That looks like a good place to ask around about… his whereabouts."

The building Pinkie Pie had indicated was a decrepit looking tavern on the roadside. Gummy walked up next to it and stopped, lowering his snout once again for the ponies and Sir Lintsalot to disembark. Pinkie Pie led the group through the swinging doors and into the tavern.

The building was rather dark and cramped. The few lights that there were flickered weakly, and booths and tables limited walking space. But what startled Ditzy the most was that the tavern was packed with patrons… all of whom were inanimate objects.

Pinkie Pie, totally unfazed by the unfamiliar surroundings, bounced through the room and seated herself at a swiveling stool at the bar. Cautiously, Ditzy, Watt, and Sir Lintsalot followed.

The bartender, a surly looking refrigerator, lumbered over to the four new customers. "What'll it be?" he asked in a grating voice.

"The usual! On the rocks!" Pinkie announced.

The usual? Ditzy thought. She's been here before?

The refrigerator turned to Watt. "And you?"

"I'll have what she's having!" Watt announced, looking rather excited about the whole thing.

"And I'll have your finest wine, good sir," Sir Lintsalot added.

"What about you, then?" The bartender asked, turning at last to the pegasus.

Ditzy, who had been busy processing how a refrigerator could in fact look 'surly', was caught by surprise by the question. "Uh… just w-water…"

"Aw, come on!" Watt called from two seats down. "You gotta live a little, Ditzy!" He turned back to the bartender. "Bring her what we're getting, too. I'm buying."

Ditzy winced as the bartender lumbered away to fill the drinks. "Watt, what did you do that for? I'm not really a big alcohol fan…"

"Oh, you'll like this though!" Pinkie Pie said. "Everypony likes this little concoction."

Five glasses came sliding down the long table to the group. Three were the mystery beverage the ponies had ordered, along with Lintsalot's glass of wine, and Ditzy's water. Pinkie Pie snatched her glass up and drained it in a few gulps. She sent her cup sliding down to the bartender, motioning for a refill.

"Alright," Pinkie said. "I'm going to go use the little filly's room, and then we can get started asking around about… him." The pink pony smiled giddily and hopped off to the restrooms.

Ditzy scrutinized the beverage in front of her. It smelled vaguely sweet, and the aromatic twinge of alcohol was clearly present as well. She steeled herself and took a hesitant sip. Surprisingly, the drink was refreshing and rather tasty, but Ditzy refrained from consuming more until she had questioned Pinkie thoroughly about the drink's alcohol level.

Watt, on the other hand, had drained the majority of his glass. "Good stuff, eh Ditzy?" he asked with a grin.

"Yeah," Ditzy responded. "Not bad, I guess."

"See?" said Watt. "Nothing bad is gonna' happen. We'll just enjoy a quick drink and then we can get back to our-"

Watt was cut off as the tavern doors slammed open, immediately silencing all conversation. Standing in the doorway was a little pile of rocks of varying sizes. The other objects in the seating area shied away as the newcomer approached the bar.

"That's him!" Sir Lintsalot whispered in terror. "That's the mercenary miss Pinkie wishes to enlist. That's… Rocky!"

Rocky hopped up onto the stool to the right of the one Pinkie Pie would be occupying, had she been present at the moment. He ordered something from the bartender, and sat silently. The conversation in the rest of the room slowly began to return.

Rocky rotated counterclockwise; in other words, he turned to look at Watt, who was separated from him only by Pinkie's empty seat.

"A pony, huh?" Rocky rasped in a deep voice. "Can't say we see too many of you around these parts. What are y'all doin' here, anyway?"

"I-I-I…" Watt stammered. "Well, I'm not…"

"Stop being so wishy-washy, son," Rocky said, more loudly.

"Well, I'm not sure if I can really explain," Watt continued. "Our friend is probably more qualified to…"

"Dang it, boy!" Rocky roared, jumping up onto the bar counter. "Whaddya' think you're up to? Do you know who yer' talking to? When Rocky asks a question, Rocky expects to get an answer!"

"Sorry!" Watt squeaked, shrinking back from the pile of rocks.

"You're gonna be!" Rocky said. "I'm gonna teach you why you don't go tryin' to pull one over on-"

"Rocky?" asked a high-pitched voice.

Everypony turned to the source of the sound. Pinkie Pie had emerged from the restrooms and was grinning at the rough-and-tumble pile of stones.

"Well, butter my biscuits and call me Delilah!" Rocky announced. "It it ain't ol' Pinkie Pie! I thought I recognized that old gator in the parkin' lot!"

"Hiya, Rocky!" said Pinkie gleefully. "My friends and I were just looking for you!"

"Friends? You mean these guys?" Rocky asked.

"Yes," Sir Lintsalot chimed in. "Please don't hurt us."

Rocky guffawed. "Don't you go all chicken on me, now. Any friend of Pinkie Pie's in a friend of mine."

"That's a relief," Ditzy breathed. "In that case, nice to meet you, Rocky."

"Pleasure," Rocky grunted.

"Now, about the reason we were looking for you," Pinkie said. "You owe me a huge favor, remember?"

"Uh… I don't really recall any-"

Pinkie narrowed her eyes. "Rocky…"

"Alright, alright, yeah," Rocky admitted. "What did you have in mind."

"I'd rather not discuss it in mixed company," Pinkie whispered under her breath. "Come on out with us, and we'll talk aboard Gummy."

"Sounds good," Rocky agreed. "Meet you fellas outside then."

Rocky hopped down from the stool. "Yo, put the drink on my tab!" He called to the bartender. "Heck, put all their drinks on my tab while you're at it."

The bartender nodded, which was an awkward movement for a refrigerator.

Pinkie grabbed her second drink and once again drained it in a few gulps. "Alright guys," she sang. "Finish your drinks and come on, we've gotta' get moving."

Watt sipped the last of his beverage and stood up to leave. Ditzy made to follow him.

"Hey, wait, you didn't finish your drink!" Watt observed.

"I don't want it," said Ditzy. "I hardly ever drink; I get tipsy too easily."

Watt darted to the counter and grabbed the drink. Using his near impossible speed, he darted over to Ditzy, and before she could react, pulled her head back by the mane and dumped the remainder of the drink into her mouth.

"There," said the earth pony as Ditzy coughed and sputtered, having inhaled a fair portion of the drink in her state of surprise. "Maybe now you'll lighten up a little bit for the rest of the trip."

Ditzy just glared at her companion as he trotted out of the bar, grinning ear to ear.
Gummy stomped along the barren plains, now with three ponies, a ball of lint, and a stack of rocks riding on his back.

"You want to do what!?" Rocky roared.

"We need to invade King Turnip's castle!" Pinkie Pie insisted. "It's the only way we'll be able to unite Sir Lintsalot and Madame Le'Flour!"

"You gotta' be kiddin' me!" Rocky proclaimed. "We'd need an army to go up against the king!"

"That's why we have you!" Pinkie said. "You're the greatest mercenary in this whole country! If anypony can stand up to the king's forces, it's you!"

"Shoot, girl, yer' makin' me blush," Rocky said, despite the fact that that was quite impossible. "But I still can't take all the king's forces alone."

"That's why I brought these two to help us," Pinkie squeaked, motioning to Ditzy and Watt.

Watt grinned at Rocky in his usual manner. Ditzy, who was beginning to feel the effects of the alcohol, just hiccupped.

"Yeah," said Rocky sarcastically. "Real top-notch looking team you got there."

"Don't worry," Pinkie squeaked. "They're professionals!"

Ditzy wanted to remind Pinkie Pie that she and Watt were professionals in forming relationships between ponies, not fighting an evil army, but her mind was too clouded by alcohol to properly form the thought.

Another long half-hour passed. Gummy's footsteps rumbled rhythmically as the giant alligator approached the castle of the evil king. Everypony aboard waited tensely.

"This is very strange," Sir Lintsalot said after a while. "We've certainly passed over the border into King Turnip's territory by now, yet we haven't seen any resistance. I hope we aren't walking into some sort of trap."

"Well, we're about to find out," Pinkie chirped. "We're here."

"Well, boil my broccoli and call me Miriam!" Rocky exclaimed. "Look at the size of that place!"

A huge, foreboding castle, far bigger than Sir Lintsalot's, loomed in front of the group of heroes. A small squadron of guards, which once again were a variety of objects, marched in front of the main gate.

"We have to get inside quickly and challenge the king," Sir Lintsalot said. "We can't expend all our energy fighting the gate guards."

"Why don't we just have Gummy charge through the front gates?" Watt asked. "That should get us to the throne room pretty quickly."

"That'sh a fantashtic (hic) idea," Ditzy slurred. "It'sh a good thing you didn't (hic) get me drunk, Watt, or I wouldn't be mush (hic)… much help in the fighting…" Ditzy teetered a bit and had to step sideways a few times to keep her balance.

Still amused by his friend's alcohol intolerance, Watt tried his best to hide his giggling. "Yeah, that's true Ditzy. Lucky for us, you're still totally sober." Watt and Pinkie exchanged mischievous grins.

"Well let's do this thing already!" Rocky yelled. "Charge!"

Gummy emitted a loud sound that was a mixture of a gurgle and a squawk, and began running full speed toward the castle. The guards cried out and raised their weapons, but all were easily bowled over by the sheer force of the gigantic reptile's charging bulk. The great metal gates were bashed open, and Gummy finally came to a stop in front of the doors to the castle interior, which were too small for him to fit through.

"Please do not exit until the alligator has come to a complete stop," Pinkie said. "Thank you for riding with Gummy."

The ponies hopped down from the alligator's back, (with the exception of Ditzy, who simply toppled off the side, barely managing to prevent a painful fall with her wings). Once Rocky and Sir Lintsalot had disembarked as well, the team ran forward and pushed open the huge wooden doors.

The grand hall of the castle was a massive chamber. Dozens of tapestries with the kingdom's symbol dangled from the ceiling, and a long red carpet led all the way up to the throne, upon which was seated a simple bucket, full of turnips and topped with a golden crown.

"Who dares barge into my throne room uninvited!?" the king demanded.

"It it I," Sir Lintsalot said, stepping forward. "I have come for your blessed daughter. Hand her over, you wicked scoundrel!"

The king laughed evilly. "My dear Le'Flour is far too good for the likes of you! But since you have the gall to enter my castle and demand her, I shall not let you escape!"

King Turnip whistled, and suddenly, another squadron of buckets dropped in from the ceiling. Each one held a different type of vegetable inside, and all wore black cloths around them like bandanas.

"Ninjas!" Rocky bellowed. "Dang it, why's it always gotta' be ninjas!"

"Do you surrender?" the king asked.

"Heck no!" Rocky cried, drawing a sword despite the fact that he had no limbs. "Hey you! The yellow guy! Help me out here!"

Rocky tossed another sword through the air. Watt caught the hilt in his teeth.

"Pinkie! And Lint boy!" Rocky continued, more quietly. "Try to find a way around the action, and see if you two can take out the king."

"Okey-dokey-lokey!" Pinkie responded, tossing Lintsalot onto her back.

"And you! The mare with the wings!" Rocky said finally. "You're too hammered to fight. Go and find the princess!"

"I told you, I'm (hic) not drunk!" Ditzy burbled. "I'm perfectly sh… shober!"

"Well somepony's gotta' do it!" Rocky replied testily. "Stick to the plan or we'll all get killed here!"

"Enough of this foolishness!" King Turnip bellowed. "Attack!"

Ditzy, Pinkie Pie, and Sir Lintsalot darted into one of the many small hallways, leaving Rocky and Watt to fend off the ninjas.

Ditzy trotted down yet another quiet hallway lined with torches and intimidating suits of armor. It felt like the whole castle was rotating slowly; the pegasus repeatedly stumbled and had to carefully regain her footing.

Who am I kidding? The inebriated mare thought to herself. They're right; I'm about as drunk as I can be. And combining that with my already lousy vision does not make getting around a simple task. Watt had the same drink I had, and Pinkie Pie had twice as much, and yet both of them are perfectly alert.

Cursing her severe intolerance for alcohol, the grey mare continued to search chamber after chamber in the seemingly deserted castle for signs of the princess. Eventually, she lost her footing again on a crease in the rug, and tumbled sideways through a small door, winding up sprawled on a plush carpet.

Something within the room gave a small gasp. Ditzy looked up, trying to focus her very blurry vision on the source.

"Who are you?" came a female voice with a very heavy French accent. Ditzy's eyes, (or at least one of them) finally came to rest on a large brown sack, with a tiny gold crown perched atop it.

"Are you… Madame Le'Flour?" the pegasus asked weakly.

"Oui, I am," the sack responded.

"My friend (hic) Shir Lintshalot has come looking for you." Ditzy slurred. "He and the resht of my friends are in the throne room, fighting (hic) fighting your father's guards."

Madame Le' Flour gasped once again. "My dear, brave Sir Lintsalot! Quickly, you must take me to him!"

The princess leapt atop Ditzy's back. She was a lot of extra weight, and the mare was having enough trouble walking as it was.

"Oh, this is gonna' be fun…" Ditzy mumbled sarcastically as she staggered out the door.

"That's it, boy!" Rocky cried encouragingly. "Bring 'em down!"

Rocky was impressed with Watt's skills; the earth pony was so fast that most of the time, he had struck the ninja buckets before they ever saw him coming. Rocky had fantastic warrior skills as well; the little pile of rocks jumped around, swinging his sword furiously. Even when the ninjas ganged up in groups of four of five, Rocky would quickly cut them down. Together, the pony and the stack of rocks were proving to be an equal match for the enemy forces.

Meanwhile, Pinkie Pie and Sir Lintsalot appeared on a second floor balcony, located just above the king's throne.

"Listen closely, Pinkie," Sir Lintsalot whispered. "The only way to save Inanima from the king's tyranny is to defeat him right now. We just have to jump down there, and slay him before the ninjas notice us."

"Uh, I think it may be a little late for that," Pinkie Pie pointed out.

Somehow, a gang of ninjas had appeared from the shadows, trapping Pinkie Pie and her linty friend on the second floor balcony.

"Caught!" Sir Lintsalot wailed. "Oh, woe! We were so close!"

"We're not done yet!" Pinkie Pie announced, reaching into her saddlebag and removing a small, round device.

"What's that?" Lintsalot asked.

"A tiny, colorful explosive," Pinkie Pie explained. "For light shows at parties!"

"You're not going to-"

"Hang on to something!" Pinkie Pie cried, cutting him off. She hurled the explosive to the floor between herself and the ninjas.

Watt, Rocky, and the King were startled by the sudden flash of light and loud bang, and even more surprised when an upper balcony suddenly crumbled, dropping a slightly charred Pinkie Pie right at the base of the throne.

The King reacted faster than anypony could have guessed. In a flash, he was holding some strange, deadly looking weapon, pulsing with electricity, right at Pinkie Pie's chest. The earth pony held perfectly still, staring fearfully at the evil tyrant. Everyone in the room stopped battling and watched in shock.

"Finally," the king mused. "I would have settled for defeating the invaders, but the chance to personally kill Pinkie Pie…well, that's a blessing I wasn't counting on!"

The king laughed maniacally for a few moments. "This world, born of your twisted imagination, is at last about to become mine! I have corrupted the land, draining the joy from its endless fields, and now, at last, I can make it permanent! With you gone, I will be the new god of Inanima!"

"Well burn my britches and call me Annabelle!" Rocky gasped. "The king's gonna' kill ol' Pinkie!"

Pinkie Pie's pupils dilated as King Turnip lunged forward, his electrified weapon aiming for the defenseless pony's heart.

"Pinkie Pie!!"

No one saw Watt move; not even a streak of yellow indicated his mad dash. Yet somehow, he was between the King and Pinkie. He grabbed the King in one hoof, and the weapon in the other, effectively creating a circuit with his body. Electricity surged through him and in to the king, who screamed as the sound of roasting turnips filled the air.

Watt hurled the weapon aside. Shaking from the powerful dose of electricity, but undeterred, he lifted the dazed Pinkie Pie and carried her down from the throne.

"Argh!" The injured king wailed. "How dare you! Ninjas, finish them off!"

The ninjas once again started to advance, but stopped once more as yet another pony dropped down from a higher level of the castle next to the king.

"I think I've had (hic) about enough of thish madness for one (hic) day," Ditzy announced. She unceremoniously flicked her hoof, knocking over the bucket and spilling the turnips.

"Noooooooo!" The King wailed with his dying breath. "Curse you ponies! Curse you!"

Everyone stared at the dead king for few seconds. Then, a voice cried out in the silence.

"Madame Le'Flour!"

The sack of flour leapt from Ditzy's back. "Oh! Sir Lintsalot!"

The two love struck objects ran toward each other, leaping into one another's embrace.

Ditzy blinked a few times. Something was different. But what?

For one thing, she felt perfectly alert. It was as if she'd sobered up instantaneously. Looking around, she noticed similar negative effects on her friends had also been cured. Pinkie was no longer scorched, and Watt no longer was struggling to control the excess electricity surging through him.

The three ponies looked at Madame Le'Flour and Sir Lintsalot. Or, more accurately, a sack of flour, with a ball of lint sitting on top of it. Their motion was gone; they were simple inanimate objects again.

It suddenly occurred to the pegasus why her surroundings seemed so different. She was no longer in a huge stone hall, but rather, a warm, wood paneled room. Pinkie's room, in Sugarcube Corner.

"Huh?" was all the mare could manage to squeak out.

"That… was… awesome!" Watt screamed. "Best assignment of all time!"

"I know!" Pinkie Pie giggled. "I haven't had an adventure that epic for… for at least a whole month!"

Pinkie Pie turned to Ditzy and frowned; the pegasus was twitching a bit as she struggled to comprehend what had happened.

"So…so…so wait," Ditzy murmured. "None of that really… happened?"

"Of course it happened!" Pinkie Pie squealed. "Look, Madame Le'Flour and Sir Lintsalot are together now! And the king is dead, see?"

She jerked her hoof in the direction of the bucket, which lay on its side on the floor, the turnips spread lazily around it. Gummy, who was now barely a foot long, stepped over and attempted to eat one.

"So… if it was all real, why are your… friends unable to talk and move again?"

"They can still talk!" Pinkie declared. She ran over and set her hoof on Rocky. "Well, bang my bongos and call me Martha!" She said in a Rocky-esque accent. "The pony's talkin' crazy again."

Ditzy stared at Pinkie and the clearly nonliving pile of rocks for several seconds. "Can I just… get my pay and go, please? It's been a very, very long day."

"Sure!" Pinkie Pie chirped. "It's over there."

Two large bags sat on the stool where Sir Lintsalot had initially been sitting. Each looked easily big enough to contain the promised one-thousand bits.

Ditzy grabbed the bag and placed it in her saddlebag. "Thank you," she said. "Um, and that was… fun, I guess."

Ditzy trotted out the door, but stopped when she heard Pinkie speak again. She paused outside the doorway to listen.

"So, uh, Watt…" Pinkie began sheepishly. "Thanks for, you know, saving my life and all…"

"Oh, no problem!" Watt replied with his usual vigor. "That electric blast would probably have killed most ponies. If I hadn't redirected some of it into the king, it would have gotten bad."

"Well, thanks again," Pinkie said. "Inanima is tied to my life, since, you know, I somehow created it. I'm still not sure how that happened. Anyway, now that the evil king is dead, it should begin to turn bright and green again!"

"That's great!" Watt replied. "I hope your friends are happy that they're finally together."

"Oh, I'm sure they are," Pinkie squeaked.

There was an awkward silence for a few seconds.

"Well," Watt said. "I better get going. It's getting late."

"Unless," said Pinkie Pie, "You want to go out to dinner or something?"

"…Like… on a date?" Watt asked.

Pinkie giggled. "Well, I guess that's one way of putting it…"

Watt laughed along with the pink pony. "Sure! Let's go!"

Ditzy chuckled to herself as she trotted out of Sugarcube Corner. Well, how about that, she thought to herself. Sir Lintsalot and Madame Le'Flour weren't the only ones with a budding romance today!

The pegasus smiled as she heard the sound of her large pay jingling in her saddlebag. I think I better go treat myself to a nice dinner too, after a day like that.

Still smiling, Ditzy trotted up the dimly lit street, wondering how in Equestria she was going to explain today's adventure to Breeze.

"Well, bake my Bundt cake and call me Suzy!" Rocky proclaimed. "That was a dang lengthy chapter right there!"

"Wow, you're right," said Pinkie, staring up to the top of the twenty-six vertically arranged pages. "But it was a lot of fun though." She turned to Rocky. "We should really stop breaking the forth wall, by the way. If we put too many holes in it, the whole chapter will come crashing down in a meaningless pile."

"Don't want that," Rocky admitted. "Well, then I guess I should say, 'goodnight everypony'!"

"Yeah, goodnight!" Pinkie agreed, before skipping off for her date with Watt.

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