• Published 12th Apr 2014
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Equestria Girls: The Looking Glass World of Cheese and Pie - scoots2



COMPLETE. Pinkie Pie gets her chance to run the Canterlot Cake Festival, but she’s not allowed to run it alone. She’s forced to take an assistant, an accordion-playing geeky new student, who is both very familiar and very strange.

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Mirrors, Confrontations, and Explosions

“Are we done yet?” complained Pinkie Pie, hanging from the table, head side down. “My brain is full.”

Pinkie and Cheese were finding the study session with Sunset Shimmer particularly tiresome this afternoon. Perhaps it was because the Cake Festival was coming closer and both were very aware of all the things they still had to do, or perhaps it had something to do with spring. The huge skylight let in just enough of the April sunshine to make the upper floor of the library seem very stuffy indeed.

“Yeah,” said Cheese, “mine, too. I think we’re done here.” He was bending some staples apart and testing them to see if he could coax some kind of musical pitch out of them. Surprisingly, he could.

“You are not done here,” insisted Sunset. “Not until you grasp the basics of this elementary mathematical concept.”

“When I think of ‘elementary mathemathics,’ I think ‘multiplication table,’ ” retorted Cheese. “I don’t see how anyone could think quadratic equations are elementary.”

“You’ll learn it if you want to graduate and stay on Vice Principal Luna’s good side, Cheese Sandwich, which I gather is an important motivating factor for you. As for you, Pinkie, you’ll learn it if you want to have any kind of a future at all. What do you want to do? Be stuck throwing children’s birthday parties for the rest of your life?”

Pinkie flushed as though Sunset Shimmer had struck her, and Cheese bristled, but before either of them could say anything, Sunset took a deep breath. “I am sorry,” she said. “That was an unfriendly thing to say. This does not come naturally to me.”

“Wow,” said Pinkie, “you’re as bad at friendship as Cheesie and me at math!” She jumped on one of the library chairs and began to bounce. “Good thing we’re both super patient, huh? And it’s making us completely coco-loco that we can’t make you laugh no matter what we do, so all we want to do is get away, but we wouldn’t want to if you’d smile.”

Sunset Shimmer steepled her fingers and tapped them against her chin. “So, in order for you to be cooperative, you want me to smile.”

“Yep!”

Sunset took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and furrowed her eyebrows. All at once, her eyes snapped open, and her lips parted, the corners of her mouth stretching further and further apart as she bared more of her teeth. “How’s this?” she said finally, teeth still gritted together.

Pinkie spread her fingers and thumbs into a square, held them at arm’s length, and squinted through them appraisingly. “Hmmmm.”

“I saw a smile once that looked just like that,” Cheese mused. “It was on a nature program. I’m pretty sure it was about sharks.”

“I am doing my best,” Sunset said, teeth still gritted. “Ouch.” She dropped the unnatural facial expression and rubbed her cheeks. “I am doing my best to be helpful, and you are disappointingly bad students, and I am trying to understand you, and sometimes all I want to do is to go home.” She drew a few uneven breaths.

Cheese shot Pinkie an inquiring look, but instead she said to Sunset, “Aw. Now you’re making us feel kinda bad, ‘cause all we want to do is go home, too. See! We’ve got something in common! We can be friends!” She pulled a noisemaker out of her hair and blew it, and she and Cheese flung their arms wide as though to say “ta-dah!”

Sunset did not smile. Instead, she watched as the streamers Pinkie and Cheese had emitted floated down and settled behind them. “That,” she murmured. “Exactly that.”

“Exactly what now?” said Pinkie, removing the noisemaker from her mouth and stashing it again, her eyes wide and bewildered. Cheese frowned.

Sunset sighed. “Friends are supposed to be truthful, aren’t they, Pinkie Pie? They’re supposed to share things—their concerns, their happiness, their memories, their worries.” Her eyes flicked to Cheese, who immediately dropped his gaze back to his papers and began doodling on them.

“Well, yeah,” said Pinkie. “I guess. Only not usually all at once, though, because when you tell somebody everything right away and ask lots and lots of questions, sometimes they just say things like ‘shut up, Pinkie Pie,’ or they say stuff that really means ‘shut up, Pinkie Pie,’ so now I don’t do that so much, because I want people to like me. And I guess some people take longer. It took us years before we found out you were really a uni-”

The other girl cut her off. “Then I will be truthful. I wanted you to help me with my research. You see these mirrors?”

It was hard not to see Sunset’s mirrors. There were hand mirrors scattered all over the table, one or two set up on stands at a separate desk, and even a large full-length one, just visible behind a bookcase.

“Pay no attention to the rest of them, Pinkie. I want you to look at this one.” She pointed to one of the standing mirrors on her desk. “Just sit down here, and look into the mirror, and tell me what you see in it.”

Pinkie hesitated. “Will you smile if I do?”

“I’ll do my best, yes. I’ll certainly be happier.”

“Then absotootly-lutely!” Pinkie said, and skipped over to Sunset’s desk. Cheese slid from his own chair and followed her, standing behind Pinkie as she sat.

“Stay out of the reflection,” Sunset barked at him. “Just look in, Pinkie. What do you see?” She grabbed a notebook, pen poised.

Pinkie leaned forward. “Hmmm. What was I supposed to see? Just me, I guess. Nothing different. Same me, same pink hair. Hi, me!” she said, waving at her own reflection. “I look cute. Oh, yeah, and sunshine.”

Sunset glanced up at the skylight. There was some sunshine still coming through the window, but not a lot.

“And cake. Is that all?”

“And cake,” Sunset muttered, writing it down. “Wait, what? You,” she said to Cheese. “I mean . . . would you please look into the mirror, too?”

Cheese leaned on the back of Pinkie’s chair. “Huh. Same as Pinkie, I guess. I see Pinkie. She just looks—well, like Pinkie.” He shrugged.

Sunset frowned. “You don’t see yourself?”

“No,” he said. “I guess I’m not at the correct angle.”

Sunset put down her notebook and walked behind both of them. She gazed down into the mirror and prodded it with her finger. “That can’t be right.”

Pinkie was still looking into the mirror. “Me looks kind of bored. Maybe a nice picnic would help. Or some cake.” She turned around to face Sunset Shimmer. “Is this helping? Are you smiling yet?”

“Maybe not a mirror,” muttered Sunset. “It could be anywhere or anything. Just a moment, Pinkie. I need to get some books. I’ll be right back.”

It took her some time to find the volumes she needed. The elaborately embellished books were carefully stashed behind a pile of old, out-of-date encyclopedias, so pitifully dull and useless that no one would bother looking at them. She looked at the spines of one of the books, shook her head, made a pulling motion on the end of one of the bookcases, deposited the book into the emptiness that had been revealed, and closed it again. It took her a bit more time to find the relevant chapters, with their sketches of mirrors, gates, and simple, darkened openings. Her work was interrupted by the sound of a terrific crash, followed by the sound of several bookcases’ worth of books sliding to the floor.

She raced around the corner to see piles and piles of books upended onto the floor. In the center, held aloft by Cheese, was Pinkie Pie, her hair puffed out to an enormous volume and her cheeks reddened. Some bootprints on the ceiling suggested that she’d recently been upside down. Her current position also suggested that she’d been on her way straight down when Cheese had caught her. Her pink skirt was fluffed up, and he had his arms gripped around her thighs. He had also turned a brilliant shade of red.

“Whee!” cried Pinkie. “You were gone like a super long time and we got really bored and I said to Cheesie that I wanted to try out some aerials like we’d been talking about and he bet me I couldn’t do them and I said ‘watch me’ and he said ‘you can’t do them without me, Pinks, no one does aerials on their own’ so we tried and I think we’re going to be really good, only we bumped into a lot of bookcases this time. Sorry!”

As she was talking, Cheese was clearly trying to figure out exactly how to put her down without her skirt sliding up any more than it already was. It was a complicated process. Finally he gave up, lifted her so that she could place her foot on his shoulder, and she vaulted off as though he had been a gymnastics horse.

Sunset Shimmer placed her hand in front of her eyes and sighed.

“I think you are right,” she said. “We’re done here. My brain is full.”


~~



“Why a fez?” said Pinkie, looking at Cheese’s hat.

“It’s a fez kind of day,” said Cheese.

It was also a beautiful day. There was still a fair amount of it left, too, since Sunset Shimmer had been forced to let them go relatively early. They were joined by Fluttershy, who had been studying on her own, far away on the first floor, and Rainbow Dash, who had finished her own tutoring session, provided by the Wondercolts.

“Little League practice doesn’t start for an hour,” said Rainbow Dash, checking her phone. “Hey, free time before I start busting those little squirts with the Canterlot Comets. And I can use the break.”

“I’m covering the evening shift at the Animal Clinic,” said Fluttershy. “Oh, my. It’s nice to have an hour or two with nothing to do.”

“Oo!” exclaimed Pinkie. “I know! Why don’t you all come to Sugarcube’s? You can get a snack, Dashie, and you can get a salad or a sandwich to take with you,” she said, turning to Fluttershy, “and we’ve all got some time to spend with our besties together, which is awesome!” She clasped her hands together in glee.

Cheese stood there, accordion on his back, hesitating. Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes.

“Oh, come on, Cheese. Don’t tell me you gotta go home to the Wicked Witch of the West or whatever. It’s just an hour.”

Cheese smiled. “Well, all right,” he said, and he fell in step with them. As if by some unspoken agreement, they took the long way towards Sugarcube’s, passing shops and businesses they didn’t usually see.

“And speaking of the Wicked Witch of the West . . .” began Rainbow Dash.

“Uh-oh,” said Cheese.

“What’s up with you, anyway? You’re always freaked out about the time, like you were Cinderfella or something and have to race back home before you turn into a moose.” She stopped, and the rest of the girls stopped with her.

“Yeah!” burst out Pinkie Pie. “I mean, I’ve been trying not to say anything about it, because I am Pinkamena Tactful Pie, but I still worry.”

“What is this?” Cheese protested. “Ask Cheese A Lot Of Awkward Questions Day? First Sunset Shimmer, now you guys.”

“We just want to make sure you’re ok,” murmured Fluttershy, putting her hand on his arm.

“And like, if you’ve got some wicked stepmother or something,” added Pinkie.

“Because whatever she’s like, we’ve dealt with worse than her,” finished Rainbow Dash. They formed a solid phalanx across the sidewalk, Dash with her arms folded.

Cheese glanced at each of them, and then laughed. “Wicked stepmother? Whoo! Have you guys been watching too many fairy tales?” None of them budged. “OK, OK,” he said, throwing up his hands. “My Great Aunt Mela is not a wicked stepmother. She’s not anybody’s stepmother, and she’d be really annoyed to hear you say so. She’s pretty ok. Well,” he amended, “she’s not great, and she’s super strict, but she’s not all that bad, and she’s just doing what she has to. At least she isn’t making me wear uniforms or have stupid haircuts. It could be a lot worse. I do not sleep in the basement, I’m not forced to be the maid, and there is no wicked stepmother involved. Or singing mice. Geez, shades of Disney. Cheesy Swear.”

They still didn’t budge. Fluttershy put her hand on his arm again and looked at him as though he were a neglected puppy. “But you’d tell us,” she said, “if something was wrong, wouldn’t you?”

Cheese hesitated again.

“Seriously,” said Rainbow Dash. “These guys are great. And it’s no big whoop. So you got expelled a few times.” She started walking again, and the rest followed her.

“Actually, technically, only once,” Cheese said.

“Once, twice, whatever, no big deal,” replied Dash, brushing this off. “Hey, I got expelled, too, and I thought my life was totally ruined, and look at me now. Team Captain, Little League coach—I’ve got it pretty sweet.”

Pinkie nodded vigorously. “Now everybody loves Dashie,” she agreed, “because we all think she’s awesome GO WONDERCOLTS!” she added, her voice sailing into the stratosphere as she jumped into the air.

“We both used to go to Cloudsdale Prep,” explained Fluttershy, “but I wasn’t all that happy, and Rainbow—she used to be a weeny bit temperamental.”

“Yeah,” said Dash, rolling her eyes, “what Fluttershy means is that I have a short fuse and I solved a lot of problems with my fists.”

“I don’t think I’d be here if you hadn’t,” said Fluttershy.

Dash looked down at her team jacket, playing with the zipper, and cleared her throat. “Like I was saying,” she said, “I did that once too many times and I was out on my tail. But there was CHS, and I started freshman year like all the other freshmen, and Flutters started then, too, and Pinkie made friends with us the first day, like she always does, and now I don’t blow my stack like that anymore.” She threw an arm around Pinkie and Fluttershy. “ Because they’re my besties and my besties are all awesome, and with them, there’s nothing I can’t do. Right, guys?” She squeezed both of them.

“Group hug!” shrieked Pinkie, grabbing Cheese’s hand, and he was pulled in, accordion and all, before he had time to resist.

“That’s enough with the mushy stuff, guys,” said Dash, breaking the hug and laughing, “but yeah, you count, Cheese. At least you do with me.”

Cheese had missed this last bit. He’d broken out of the hug as soon as he could, and now he was at a store window, staring at something inside.

“Oh, wow,” said Cheese, glued to the window, his fingers pressed against the glass.

They came over to see what he was looking at. There were a lot of different things it could have been. The store was a pawnshop, and it had a little bit of everything, including some very bizarre everythings. A sign over the door proudly proclaimed that it was the Flim Flam Brothers Everything Under The Sun Emporium. However, by following his sightline, it became obvious that he was looking at—

“A rubber chicken?” Rainbow Dash said, raising one eyebrow. “Why a rubber chicken?”

Cheese shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve always wanted one. Other guys want red convertibles, I want a rubber chicken.”

“Yeah, well, you don’t want to get one here. They tried to sell AJ her own bass back for a thousand dollars.”

“That reminds me,” said Cheese. He pulled out his phone, texted something, and went back to staring at the rubber chicken.

“The mark-up was a teeny bit high,” agreed Fluttershy.

“C’mon, Cheesie,” urged Pinkie, pulling at his hand. “We have to get you away before they see you, because they’ll just sell you something you don’t need or something for way too much.” They all moved away from the storefront as quickly and quietly as possible. “And anyway, you don’t have to buy a rubber chicken, silly, because I’ll give you one of mine and I would have before. You should have said you wanted one.”

“I can’t take one of your rubber chickens,” he protested.

“Sure you can!” exclaimed Pinkie. “I’ve got a bunch of them. It can just be an early birthday present.”

“No,” he said, “you’ve already given me enough . . . um, I mean, yours is . . . I mean, do you just give presents to people you haven’t known all that long?”

Pinkie dropped his hand, looking confused. “Yes,” she said. “And I thought you wanted a rubber chicken, and I have more than one, so why not a rubber chicken from me?”

Cheese’s phone made a pinging sound, and he took it out and looked at it. “Sorry,” he said, “change of plans. I’ve got to go. You said you needed me to stop by on Sunday, right?”

“Yep,” said Pinkie. “But not Saturday, because Dashie coaches the Comets and they’re playing on Saturday and I have to be there GO COMETS!” she shrieked, and then said in a more normal voice, “and you could come, too.”

“Gotta have Pinkie there,” Dash said. “She’s our good luck charm.”

“Actually,” said Cheese, “I’d like to, but I’ve got plans. And no, it’s not my wicked aunt Mela,” he added, rolling his eyes, “I just have plans. I’ll stop by if I can, but I don’t think I’m going to have time. Sorry,” he added to Pinkie. “Some other time, maybe.” He settled his accordion case and began walking off in another direction.

“Do you need a ride?” called Fluttershy.

“Nope, got one,” he called back, waving at them. “Later!” He flipped the fez into the air, grabbed a straw hat, tipped it, and was gone.


~~




“There’s something really strange going on,” mused Pinkie, for about the fortieth time.

She, Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy were occupying one of the booths at Sugarcube’s. Fluttershy was eating a salad. Rainbow Dash had chosen a smoothie with lots of extra supplements. As much as she pretended not to care about it, her desire to be the best athlete at CHS and to “kick the competition in the keister” meant that she trained, worked out, and ate a lot of healthy food when she thought no one was paying attention. Pinkie, on the other hand, was drinking an immense pink concoction with sugar sprinkles, caramel syrup, and lots of extra whipped cream.

“Yeah, you said,” muttered Rainbow Dash.

“I mean he’s not even answering my texts for hours sometimes and he always used to. And he says his Great Auntie Mela is ok and I totally don’t believe in Auntie Mela, but even if she’s real and she’s not so bad, there’s something really, really, really strange going on!”

“You said that, too.”

“No,” Pinkie protested, “you really don’t understand, because Cheesie is totally afraid of somebody and I always figured it was whoever he lived with and now he says he lives with his Auntie Mela and she’s ok, so then he’s not afraid of Auntie Mela, so the question is if he isn’t afraid of his Auntie Mela, who is he afraid of?” Her leg had been jiggling as she reeled this off at top speed, and now it hit the bottom of the table and banged into Rainbow Dash.

“Watch it, Pinkie,” she complained. “Geez, you are hyper today. What’s with that?”

“Are you ok?” said Fluttershy.

“Me?” said Pinkie. “I’m totally ok, who said I wasn’t ok? I’m just thinking out loud, because I know something is wrong.”

“Are you sure Cheese is afraid of somebody?” asked Fluttershy, and took a small bite of salad.

“Yep,” said Pinkie, and took a giant sip of her drink, but she didn’t elaborate.

“I think you’re right,” said Fluttershy, and she glanced over at Rainbow Dash. “But I think he’s less nervous than he used to be. It’s like when we get puppies or kitties and get them out making friends. They stop hiding at the back of the cage, and Cheese hasn’t been at the back of the cage in a long time.”

“Or sitting in a litter box,” said Rainbow Dash. “Look, I think you’re both making something out of nothing. If he’s got a problem, he comes to us, he tells us about it, and we’ll do something about it. If not, maybe he’s just getting a life. Good for him.”

Fluttershy and Pinkie exchanged glances, and Pinkie began poking at her fluffy pink drink with her straw. She seemed to have run down for the day, and didn’t want to talk any more.

In a booth opposite theirs, Diamond Tiara leaned out to watch the three friends. She tried to catch Pinkie’s attention, but Pinkie was still looking down and poking at her glass. Finally, she made eye contact with Fluttershy, unwrapped a vanilla cupcake, broke it in half, smirked, and placed one of the halves in the carrier she took nearly everywhere and which held a tiny and worried-looking Chihuahua. Coughing and gagging sounds came from inside the carrier.

Fluttershy gasped. “She shouldn’t give her dog people treats like that!” she exclaimed. “It could make him really, really sick!”

“You should go over there and tell her that,” said Rainbow Dash.

“Yes,” said Fluttershy unhappily. “If it had been a chocolate cupcake, I would have grabbed him and we’d be on our way down to the clinic right this minute, but – well, as it is, it’ll just make him sick from all the sugar and fat. She still shouldn’t do it.”

“Well, if it’s a Sugarcube’s cupcake, it would be a great way to go. Right, Pinkie?” said Rainbow Dash, elbowing Pinkie in the side.

Pinkie had stopped poking at her drink and was now just staring at it. “That wasn’t a Sugarcube's cupcake,” she said, without looking up.

“How could you tell?” said Rainbow Dash. “You didn’t even look at it!”

“The Cakes don’t use that kind of paper, and it’s not the right size. I don’t know what kind it was, but it wasn’t one of ours. Anyhoo—I know you both probably ought to be going.”

“Yeah—practice starts really soon,” said Rainbow Dash.

“I’ll drop you off,” said Fluttershy. “I have to be at the clinic soon. Don’t worry, Pinkie,” she said, giving her friend a hug. “Do you want me to call you later?”

“Nope,” said Pinkie, smiling brightly, although the smile looked a little stuck at the corners. “I’m going to be super busy. I’m testing some new recipes I made up.”

“You have gotten awesome at that,” said Rainbow Dash. “Heck, you were burning cookies a couple of months ago. Gotta stay fit right now, though. I wish I could taste all of them, but I don’t think anyone could keep up.”

“I know,” said Pinkie, and sighed.


~~




“Honey, you are just circling around like a gerbil on a wheel,” said Applejack, as she listened to Pinkie Pie worry once again.

They had just received their math tests back from Mr. Doodle. Pinkie’s grade was unusually good, but she had barely noticed, and carried on talking to Applejack as though nothing had happened.

“Because I keep thinking there’s something wrong or something I should know about or something I’m missing and I don’t get it, and it’s making me feel really stupid,” continued Pinkie.

“You can’t be that stupid,” Applejack pointed out. “You just got a B+ on that—better ‘n me.”

“I mean there has to be something, because why else would Sunset Shimmer be trying to figure out all kinds of things about Cheesie and me, and there isn’t anything, well, there are a few things but not anything dangerous or bad, or I don’t think so.”

“No, nothing dangerous or bad about you, sugarcube. Are you feeling all right?”

“Because I keep trying to put everything together about the headaches and all the schools and the other stuff and it doesn’t really make sense, and then Sunset asks some more questions—”

“Miss Pie?” Mr. Doodle said. “Class has started. Maybe you can keep your conversation until after it is over, unless it’s something you want to share with the group?”

Pinkie opened her mouth, and Applejack leaned forward, ready to interrupt or stop her if she said anything, but instead Pinkie changed her mind and closed her mouth again. She was quiet for almost two minutes before she nudged Applejack and hissed, “and I feel like such a bad friend.”

Applejack frowned. “Heck with Cheese, I’m worried about you. Think maybe I better call Aunt Cloudy or something.”

“No no no no no, I’m just dandy, yes indeedily, but . . .”

“Shh,” said Applejack, as Mr. Doodle looked in their direction again. “You think Cheese is lyin’ to you or somethin’?”

“No! Cheesie doesn’t lie, he just—he just doesn’t always tell me all the way the truth,” said Pinkie, jabbing holes in a piece of paper. Applejack shook her head, but didn’t say anything until after school.

“C’mon, Pinkie,” she said, pulling her by the hand. “I’m gonna drop you off at Sugarcube’s
and you can leave your books and I can explain a few things, ‘cause I’m afraid I haven’t been telling all you the way the truth, either.”

“Now, listen,” said Applejack, downshifting her truck with an ugly noise, “some of this is my own dang fault, and I should never of gotten in the middle, but you gotta promise you’ll calm down a bit, ok? I don’t know if it’s Sunset gettin’ to you or too much work or what, but I’m that far away from telling the Cakes you can’t . . .”

“No, I’m fine, honest,” said Pinkie.

“Ok, ‘cause you aren’t gonna like this. I been coverin’ up for Cheese. And I gotta end that, right here, right now.” They pulled into the dirt drive of Sweet Apple Acres, and Applejack led Pinkie back behind the house to a decrepit old barn.

The building clearly hadn’t been used for its intended purpose in a very long time. The boards had shrunk and some had fallen away, until it looked more like a child’s toy wooden barn: a box with four brittle walls. Applejack kicked aside the barn door, which wobbled. “Cheese?” she called. “You got company.”

A long pair of legs protruded from underneath a weird, solid-looking vehicle of unknown but somehow menacing purpose. “What?”

“I said, get on out here.”

Cheese slid out on a dolly, face streaked with grease. “And I said, ‘what?’ Oh,” he added, looking at Pinkie. “I thought you Cheesy Promised not to say anything,” he complained to Applejack.

Pinkie dropped down beside him. “She broke a Pinkie Promise?” she gasped.

Cheese nodded. “Cheesy Promise,” he said. “Same thing.”

They both looked at Applejack accusingly.

“Whoa, Nellie!” said Applejack. “I just can’t win for losing, can I? Well, I am sorry for loaning you my barn, Cheese, and for coverin’ up for you when I can’t lie to save my skin.”

“Yeah, true,” Cheese acknowledged. “It’s not really ready yet, Pinkie. I wasn’t sure it would be ready in time, anyway.” He rose, dusting off straw and making himself a bit greasier in the process.

“What is it?” said Pinkie, stepping back and looking at the thing Cheese had been working on.

“Well,” he said shyly, “you did say you wanted a party cannon.”

Pinkie’s eyes widened and her hands flew to her cheeks. She seemed to have been temporarily struck dumb. “Oh,” she said at last, “it’s beautiful.”

That wasn’t the word most people probably would have picked to describe the party cannon, which was still olive drab and iron gray and showed too clearly its bastard parentage of old farm equipment and military surplus, but Pinkie was much too enchanted by its ability to hold large payloads of streamers and confetti to notice these details.


“I told you Aunt Mela wasn’t always that bad,” he said. “The pressure’s lightning up a bit, and I think she doesn’t report back in to HQ the way she’s supposed to. I brought back some of my homework and tests, and the A in AP Biology went over well—and yes, I earned it,” he said in response to Applejack’s skeptical look. “You know Fluttershy wouldn’t let me cheat. I still have to get back pretty early, but there’s a bit less questioning of what I’m up to in the afternoons, anyway. And this is what I used it on. I’ve had it up my sleeve for weeks.”

“I got some of the design details and the explosives from Trixie. She wasn’t really thrilled with me after the audition stuff, but she did keep her promises about that. I couldn’t have done it without Applejack, and I’m sorry for putting you on the spot, but there was nowhere else I could work on it. I couldn’t have done it without Big Mac, either, so I guess you could say it’s from all of us.”

“I am not taking any responsibility for that contraption,” said Applejack. “I wouldn’t touch it if you paid me.”

Pinkie was climbing all over it, staring down the biggest barrel and dropping down into the driver’s seat. “Wouldn’t it be cool if either of us had a driver’s license?” she gushed.

“Somehow, I’m not too sorry you don’t,” muttered Applejack.

“So,” Cheese said, “I figured it was about time I got you a birthday present. I owe you.”

Applejack frowned slightly, trying to make sense of this, but Pinkie was still too taken with her party cannon to notice. “What’s this one do?” she said, jabbing at one of the controls.

“Um,” Cheese warned, “that’s one of the things Trixie designed, and I’m not too sure about it yet, so I wouldn’t . . . ”

The ensuing blast blew out most of one of the walls. The air was suddenly filled with streamers, confetti, hay, and sawdust.

“Anyway,” said Cheese, coughing, as the smoke cleared, “Happy Early Birthday, Pinkie.”

Author's Note:

Author’s notes:

Well, here it is—Chapter 5, and we are about halfway through our journey. I hope this answers a few questions, although naturally I hope it doesn’t answer all of them.

I’m pretty sure that “my brain is full” comes from Gary Larson, although I couldn’t swear to it.

Never, ever, ever practice aerials like that, unless you are a fictional character! I had a dance teacher, a professional, who was casually practicing with a partner and he dropped her and she broke her neck. She very nearly spent the rest of her life as a quadraplegic. She recovered, amazingly enough, but the sign clearly reads: “actions performed by fictional cartoon characters: do not attempt.”

Also note that Boneless is indeed in the Flim Flam brothers' pawnshop.

I don't think there's much more to add, except that now that it's summer, I should probably be able to update more often. I have "real" writing to do, but also a lot more flexibility, and my goal is to finish everything before Rainbow Rocks comes out in September.

And I'd like to thank my local cupcakery for helping with such delicious "research."

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