• Published 1st Jul 2012
  • 1,802 Views, 42 Comments

To Her Surprise - Askesalsa

All you need to get ahead in life is the right pony.

  • ...

The Party

The farm was constantly dark at daytime, but at night it was even darker. Seeing anything on the outside was next to impossible with no stars, no moon, or any lights whatsoever. There was no need for curtains. But Pinkamina did not mind the night. The darkness was actually helpful to her. She sat in her pitch black room, her cheek pressed against the door as she listened to her parents preparing for their bedtime. Making sure to catch every sound of their steps and voices, she patiently waited for the door to their bedroom to make its final slam of the night. They were both sound sleepers, rarely waking up before the break of dawn, so chances were she would be able to get out of the house and back in unnoticed.

The sound of a turning was the signal for the next step of her escape. Her face beamed with an excited grin, and she made a silent gesture of accomplishment with her hoof before she tip-hoofed to her bedroom window. Though she could hardly see anything, she still took a look outside before unlocking the frame. Nerves had her acting with extra caution. It was the first time she had ever snuck away from the farm, after all.

Before closing the window behind her, the filly made sure to grab a rock she had prepared beside the window frame. She used it to block the frame from connecting with the lock, securing her route back into her room. She carefully snuck across the rooftop towards its corner where she knew an unnecessary drainpipe led down to an unnecessary water barrel. Grabbing it tightly and clutching to it with her whole body, she slowly and carefully climbed down until she was close enough to the ground to make a final jump. Dust swirled in the air as she landed, but she did not mind the dirt. She only cared about getting to Ponyville. A sigh of motivation and a nod at her own effort and she galloped across the wasteland.

She had been in the village a few times before with her mother, mostly dragged along to help carry the groceries, but she had never been there when it was dark. While trotting through the wide streets, she shifted her eyes curiously from side to side and even bent her neck for the sky. There was a lot of light in the village compared to the farm. Windows burned a bright yellow, showing off little theatrical plays with the shadowy silhouettes of the ponies inside acting as marionettes. Lamps hang on every street corner, guiding the ponies who were not yet inside through the city for whatever errands they had. But the thing that struck the filly with awe, making her smile as she leaned her head as far back as possible, was the village’s sky.

She had never seen a cloudless night sky before. She had read about it in books, about constellations, meteorites and other objects of the night. But she had never had the chance to see it with her own eyes. Countless white dots hang freely on the perfectly black roof. Some were brighter and bigger than others and some had a slight shade of red and blue. Though they hang still, blinking in each their designated spots, Pinkamina found that they seemed to interact with each other. They were connectable. She found that she could draw lines between the dots however she wanted, and she smiled as she did so in her head. There were possibilities on this large blackboard of the sky that the filly had never had before. She was free to imagine, free to play with it however she wanted.

But when she reached the center of the village, her attention moved back to the earth. A source of light craved her attention, moving her gaze to a point directly in front of her. What she saw made her eyes widen and her jaw drop: It was the most magnificent piece of architecture, an enormous gingerbread house. Its roof was like chocolate, sweet and dark with plenty of cocoa. Its pillars were swirling red and white candy canes, sure to tempt any sweet tooth that would happen to pass. In its middle was a cupcake tower, taller than any other building in the village, and with actual living candles lighting its roof. Pinkamina felt her mouth water, and a drop of drool ran down to her chin as she watched the building in awe. The sweets and treats that she so rarely got at home were right in front of her, gathered in the shape of a large candy house. She remembered how Surprise had spoken of a delicious house, and she suddenly felt the initially vague description to be more than accurate enough. This was Sugarcube Corner.

Swooning was something Pinkamina rarely did, yet swooning was just what she did at the sight of this building. With a shake of the head she snapped out of it, and she moved her attention to the interior of the place where the party was being held. Just as with most other houses in Ponyville, the lights from the windows performed little shows of the shadows for her. These were much faster paced than the others she had seen though, and they played with a side of noise. This noise was what really separated Sugarcube Corner’s interior from the other houses. Loud voices of laughing ponies was competing with the deep sound of a bass, reminding Pinkamina of the cello in her father’s old records, though this bass was slightly different and much more repetitive. She took a few moments to absorb the atmosphere of the place. A few deep breaths, a bit of self-motivating thoughts, and the filly walked tall to the front door.

The door itself had the color of her coat, and Pinkamina thought it to be much bigger than it actually was when she stood in front of it. She raised her hoof, neared the pink colored wood, but she barely got to knock before it swiftly slammed open and she was tackled by two things at once: One was the massive wave of the bass that almost swept her off her hooves; the other was the white lightning with a golden mane that finished the job. She was grabbed before she even got a chance to notice what it was, and it dragged her back outside. It was clutching tightly to her, slamming her carefully on her back on the main street of Ponyville. There Pinkamina lied with tightly shut eyes when her attacker rose to stand tall with her between its legs.

“Surprise!” a high pitched voice called happily out to her. She opened one of her eyes and got a good look at the grinning white mare before her. It was Surprise, and she was laughing as heartily as the filly had expected. “Finally! Wowzies, I’ve been doing this to every guest the entire evening, trying to surprise you!”

Still a little dazzled from the sudden tackle, Pinkamina blinked her eyes and asked, “Why would you surprise me like that?”

“Because it’s a party,” answered the cheerful mare. “And it’s your first party, and since it’s your first party I wanted to get you ready for it, and what better way to ready somepony for a heart-racing event than by getting their hearts racing?”

Pinkamina could not deny that her heart was racing. Her chest expanded and contracted rapidly as she caught her breath from the sudden startle. When she tried to get back on all four, she was met with a helping hoof by the white pegasus. Accepting it with a smile, she grabbed the offer and let herself get dragged back up. With her tail she brushed off the dust that had stuck in her coat, and she looked back up to see the white mare in a halo created from the light of the party behind her.

“Welcome to Sugarcube Corner!” exclaimed Surprise, doing a loop-de-loop ending in a flex to present the gingerbread structure. “Are you as excited as I am? Huh? Huh?”

Pinkamina grinned widely and nodded hastily in response. She instinctively began skipping towards the front door, suddenly feeling even more ready for the party than before. Surprise’s welcome had done that to her. She could not wait to reopen the door, though she hoped that she would get a chance to take a look at the party this time before somepony would tackle her.

Surprise managed to beat the filly to the door by swiftly soaring over her. Holding the door in a courteous manner, she bowed and pointed the filly inside. Pinkamina giggled at the unnecessary act and decided to play along, respectfully bowing her head as she trotted inside with her nose high in the sky.

But she dropped the high class act as soon as she got inside. The atmosphere inside surprised her as much as Surprise’s welcome had, and she gasped and widened her eyes from the doorway. The party was even more than she had seen from the outside. It was every sort of loud and bright. Brilliantly colored garlands ran from corner to corner, their ends tied in pretty bows pillars and shelves alike. Tiny strips of paper, resembling something that had been sheared off a rainbow, covered every inch of the floor. The tables were decorated with pink cloth, but the colorful paper strips hid this quite well. Even the pink punch had a bit floating on the surface, making it a challenge to get a clean drink. Pinkamina made notice of the balloons she had seen Surprise carry earlier. They were scattered across the room, some hanging in their respective strings, tied to chairs and tables, and some lying defenselessly on the floor. They were still her favorites, but the many colorful decorations made them blend in with the environment in a way she had initially thought impossible.

There were tons of guests. Enough ponies to fill out the entire room, all having the time of their lives. They were dancing on the dance floor, moving their heads and flanks to the rhythm of a couple of enormous speakers that blasted their ears full of bass. Drinks were abundant, and everywhere Pinkamina looked somepony had their hoof or unicorn magic wrapped around a glass of rosy punch. Though the music was loud enough to shatter windows, nopony kept back from trying to deafen it with their voices, and some even succeeded in having their laughter heard across the room. Everything and everypony was brimming with good cheer.

“Come on!” Surprise said from Pinkamina’s side with a voice loud enough for her to hear, even with the deafening music. “Let me show you around!”

The white pegasus trotted a few hooves ahead and into the wall of guests. Looking back before disappearing, she beckoned the filly to follow, and Pinkamina did just so. As the two of them walked through the cramped spaces between the other ponies, the filly’s eyes scanned the terrain with astonishment. There were a lot of bad mannered ponies. They were yelling at the top of their lungs, shoving rudely into each other without apologizing, and spilling drinks and food everywhere without cleaning up. Everything the filly had been taught about good behavior was being violated by everypony in this room. Yet she saw so many smiles. No matter what happened nopony got angry and no smile disappeared. Whenever she saw a different smirk or grin on somepony’s face, she felt her heart racing. It was almost a rush to her, and as looked around with sparkly eyes, she could not help but smile widely herself.

“Oh my Gosh,” the white mare in front of her said with her hooves on her cheeks. She had taken to the air, making it far easier for Pinkamina to see her in this myriad of guests, and far easier to follow her. “I can’t wait to introduce you to all my friends! Well, everypony here are my friends, since everypony in town are my friends, but not everypony is here tonight.” She shook her head to snap back to her point and turned around, flying backwards so she could see the filly while talking. “Anyways, some of my really, really, really good friends are just dying to meet you. Well, they must be, because I told them everything about you.”

Pinkamina tilted her head in confusion. “About me? But you only just met me. It’s not like I’m anything special, is it?”

“Of course you are,” the white mare grinned. “You’re my new friend.”

Pinkamina had left the crowd before she could react to Surprise’s statement. Suddenly realizing the much wider space, she saw that she was standing before a glass counter almost twice as tall as herself filled with all sorts of sugary treats. Surprise flew over it, and she stuck her head through the door leading to the kitchen, leaving only her bottom half visible to Pinkamina.

“Hey Cuppy!” the overactive mare called out, beckoning somepony on the other side of the entrance. “She’s here! She’s here! Come out and meet her!”

A light cerulean earth mare appeared soon after, holding a large tray of steamy fresh muffins between her teeth. Her flank sported a trio of cupcakes, which helped Pinkamina quickly identify her as a baker, and probably the pony that Surprise ran Sugarcube Corner with. She was rather slim for a baker though, and rather young as well, and her strange, double-shaded crimson hairdo made her look like an ice cream cone. But odd as she looked, she was definitely a pretty pony.

Without a moment of hesitation, Surprise bounced back over the glass counter and presented the pink filly for the baker with both hooves. “Cup Cake, this is Pinkie Pie.” She then pointed back to the mare. “And Pinkie, this is Cup Cake; one of my bestest of best friends ever.”

Pinkamina looked at the white pegasus with a confused face. She touched her on the side, lightly nuzzling her to get her attention. “Um, Surprise? My name’s not Pinkie.”

“I know, silly,” the white mare replied as she randomly jumped over to the filly’s other side. “But I just thought it sounded so much better than ‘Pinkamina’, so I said to myself: ‘Hey! Why not give her a nickname?’ and ‘Pinkie Pie’ was totally the first thing that I thought about, and it sounded so adoracutable that I decided to call you that.” She bent down, bringing her eyes on level with the pink filly. “Unless of course you’d like to be called something else?”

The filly thought about it for a moment while rubbing her cheek. She had never had a nickname before. It had never even occurred to her to get one. ‘Pinkamina’ was what she had always been called. But there was something about the sound of ‘Pinkie Pie’ that seemed right to her. It felt light and cheerful, like a cluster of balloons. Therefore, she decided to accept this new name, and she shook her head at Surprise with a smile on her face. “Actually, I think I like it.”

“Great!” the pegasus shouted ecstatically as she bounced back into the air. “Then I’m totally gonna call you that!” She looked back over the counter at the light cerulean mare. “How about you, Cuppy?”

“I think it sounds sweet,” the mare replied with a sweet smile, having put the tray down on the counter. Pinkamina noted how her voice was pleasant and mature. It was almost motherly. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Pinkie Pie.”

The pink filly smiled back and bowed politely. “You too, Miss Cake. Thank you for having me here.”

“And thank you for the polite ‘thank you’,” the mare replied chuckling. “Your parents must be proud to have such a sweet, polite daughter. Are they here with you?”

The pink filly flinched at these words. This was the one subject she hoped would not come up during the party. She had never lied before and did not know quite how to do it. Putting on a silly grimace, she let an awkward laugh escape before replying with a high-pitched lie, “Well, actually, they couldn’t come tonight. They said I could go alone as long as I make sure to stay safe.”

The light cerulean mare seemed unconvinced. She was still smiling, but with a raised eyebrow and a suspicious look in her eyes. “Is that so?”

“Yep,” Pinkamina replied, widening her grin as far as she could.

There was a short moment where the atmosphere between the baker and the filly became thick enough to cut. As the eyebrow kept slowly rising on the baker, Pinkamina felt her nervousness steadily increase in tact with it. A sweat formed on her face, and her eyes kept shifting from side to side. But she did her best to keep them locked to the suspicious gaze of the baker.

After a long moment, the earth pony lowered her eyebrow. She dropped her suspicious look and replaced it with a sweet smile. “Well, as long as we have the parents’ permission. It’s good to have you here, Pinkie.”

Pinkamina let the breath she had held in escape in one go, and the tension in her body dropped immediately. “Thank you Miss Cake. I hope to have fun.”

Cup Cake gave Pinkamina a quick nod. She then looked at Surprise and asked with a friendly tone, “Surprise, dear, could you maybe go get some more punch in the kitchen? Wouldn’t be any good if we ran out, right?”

“Aye, aye,” the pegasus replied, stiffening her body like a plank and saluting comically at the baker. She then rushed back over the counter and into the kitchen, leaving a trail of white smoke in the shape of her body behind. “Be right back.”

There was another second of silence between Pinkamina and the baker when their eyes were simultaneously looking at the doorway that the white pegasus disappeared through. It was not an awkward silence this time though, but the sort of silence that came before a conversation would start. The light cerulean pony looked back at Pinkamina with a smirk that stretched further to one side than the other. She pushed the tray on the counter to the side, leaned in over the glass, and with a hoof told the filly to get closer.

“You didn’t really get permission from your parents, did you?” the mare asked when Pinkamina was close, not in a whisper because of the loud background noise, but still in a much lower voice than was usual in such surrounding volume.

Pinkamina was shocked. Her eyes widened at the earth pony’s suggestive question, and her mouth trembled during her reply, “How did you find out?”

“It was obvious,” she responded with a wink. “You’re a pretty bad liar, Miss Pinkie Pie.”

Putting her hoof together in prayer, Pinkamina got on her knees and put on the best beggar face she could muster. “Please don’t tell on me. I just really wanted to go to the party. I swear I won’t cause you any trouble, but please don’t tell anypony.”

The mare chuckled heartily. She waved a hoof before her face, dismissing the filly’s fear, and she spoke with the chuckle still in progress, “Don’t you worry. It’s okay for foals to be a little naughty every now and then. Your secret is safe with me.”

Hearing this, Pinkamina felt she could rest easy. She got back on all four and wiped a sweat off her forehead. “Thank you. That’s so nice of you, Miss Cake.”

“Don’t mention it. It’s going to be our little secret,” the baker replied with another wink. She reached a hoof to the side and grabbed the tray of muffins, dragging it closer to herself. Picking up one of the hot, aromatic treats, she forwarded it to the filly. “Would you like one? It’s on the house.”

“Do I!?” Pinkamina loudly exclaimed. Her eyes became sparkly, her expression excited, and it took less than a second before she had grabbed the sugary treat.

While she was eating the muffin, gobbling it down with an immeasurable speed and sense of delight, the baker stood watching over the counter with a kind smile. She seemed happy that Pinkamina would go at it with such energy. Halfway through the muffin though, the baker’s expression turned a little more serious, though her kind smile and caring eyes were still present and noticeable. “Surprise told me earlier that you two met for the first time today. Is that true?”

“That’s right,” Pinkamina said with her mouth full, nodding hastily enough for crumbs to fly about.

“Don’t you think it’s a little dangerous to just go to some random stranger’s party at your age?”

The pink filly stopped with one bite of the treat left between her hooves and crumbles on her cheeks. She looked up at the light cerulean mare and into her rosy eyes, keeping eye contact in silence for a short moment. When she finally ate the last bite, she chewed it slowly before sinking, and let out a satisfied sigh. “I do,” she said as she dusted off the crumbs. “But I don’t know why, but there was just something about Surprise that made me trust her. I know I have to be careful around strangers. My mom says so too, and I’m not stupid. But I just knew she was a good pony right from the start.”

“She tends to have that effect on ponies,” Cup Cake chuckled. “But you were lucky that it was surprise and not some shady pony you met. It’s a pretty dangerous decision for a filly your age to make.”

“You’re right,” Pinkamina replied with a weak smile and a slightly reddened pair of cheeks. She looked to the floor for a second, creating yet another short moment of silence between them. “Can I ask you something?”

The mare nodded. “Of course, dear. What’s on your mind?”

“Is she always like that?” She tilted her head to the side with interested eyes on a solemn face. “Surprise, I mean. Is she always this hyper and happy?”

The baker retracted from the counter and got back on all four hooves. She stretched her back, ridding herself of the tenseness that had accumulated in her spine from leaning in over the glass for so long. She gave the filly a kind smile, replying with a merry tone of her own, “Tip of the iceberg, dearie. You’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Surprise.”

As soon as Cup Cake had said this, the white mare reappeared from the doorway as if summoned. She had a bewildered look, and flew over to her light cerulean friend, hovering just before her as she said, “I couldn’t find any punch. You sure we don’t have it all out here?”

“Really?” said Cup Cake with a slightly sarcastic stretch of the voice. She looked to the side, winked at Pinkamina, and Pinkamina smiled and winked back. There was no need to tell Surprise what they had talked about and risk shaming her. “I guess I miscounted earlier then. Why don’t you and Pinkie go enjoy the party, then I’ll see if I can find some more.”

“Sounds terrific,” Surprise said cheerfully, and she jumped over the counter, landing right in front of Pinkamina. “So, wanna go dance?”

Lights were abundant at the party, but the area just before the speakers was especially luminous. A metallic ball hang just above the middle of the area, its surface scaled with tiny mirrors. It slowly orbited near the ceiling, reflecting the colorful lights that struck it, and as it turned it cast little colorful spots that moved along the dance floor, touching the many dancing ponies for added effect.

Pinkamina and Surprise stood just by the edge of the dance floor, looking into the chaos with each their perspectives. While Surprise was shimmering with eagerness, her hind legs shaking with the desire to join in on the fun, Pinkamina could feel a lump in her throat, and her body shrank with nervousness. The ponies on the dance floor all moved with grace and heart, and she truly wanted to join in with them. The only problem was herself: She could not dance, and would not risk the humiliation.

“So what are we waiting for?” Surprise asked from beside the filly. Her eyes were sparkly and her smile wide enough for a bit of her gums to show. Eagerness burned within her.

But Pinkamina did not share that sentiment, instead lowering her ears with her eyes forward. “I don’t wanna go out there.”

“What?” gasped the pegasus as she out of reflex took to the air. “But why not? Don’t you like dancing?”

“I don’t know,” answered the filly with a long sigh. “I’ve never tried it before.”

“Well, that’s why you’re here, right?” Surprise said flew around the ground-stuck filly. “You’re here to try partying, because you want to see if it’s fun, right? But you can’t see if it’s fun unless you try something, and dancing is definitely one of the things you wanna try at a party. Besides, I bet you’ll be crazy amazing at it.”

“But all these ponies are so good at dancing. I’ve tried skating a few times before, but I’ve never danced with anypony looking at me.” She shrunk even further, hiding her neck with her shoulders. “I’m too scared to go out there. They’ll just laugh at me.”

“What’s wrong with making them laugh?”

“Everything!” shouted the filly. She bit her lips together and shifted her eyes from side to side, checking if somepony had heard her little outburst. When the coast was clear, she let her breath out in relief and lowered her voice as much as she could with the infernal noise of the background music. “I’m no good around other ponies. I don’t know anything other than what my mom and dad taught me. I don’t want to get humiliated at my first party.”

The pegasus landed before her once again, the flap of her wings blowing a quick gust through the filly’s straight mane. Bringing a hoof to Pinkamina’s chin, she gently forced it upwards for their eyes to meet. There was a sudden change in the way she was looking at Pinkamina. Calm warmth shone in the blackness of her pupils, and her mouth had a caring tone to it. Every part of her expression suddenly showed a form of understanding that Pinkamina had not seen before in this hyperactive pony. It left the filly speechless.

“How about I go first,” she said kindly, making sure to keep the filly’s eyes locked with her own. “I’ll show you there’s nothing to worry about. Then you’ll decide if you’d rather stay here or join in, ok?”

It took a moment for Pinkamina to grasp what the pegasus was saying. But when she found out, she swallowed the lump in her throat and nodded slowly. Surprise then moved her hoof away from Pinkamina’s chin and up to her mane, nuzzling it quickly before she lightly soared off the ground again. Keeping up eye contact, she soared all the way to the middle of the dance floor, where she landed and looked to the speakers. Her head bopped along with the rhythm for a moment, her left hoof got her ready, and then the next song came on. She began dancing.

Though the white mare had much more experience with parties than Pinkamina, her dance was no less awkward. She was swinging her flank around in the air as if she did not care, and her hooves kicked and punched around with seemingly no purpose. Accidentally bumping into everypony else, she kept going with no sign of regret, and more and more eyes locked onto her silly moves. Even her face had stuck in a silly grimace: Her tongue stuck out of her mouth and her eyes were tightly shut. It did not take long before everypony were laughing at her, and Pinkamina was cowering with shame on her behalf.

But things did not turn out as Pinkamina expected. Instead of Surprise becoming embarrassed with her own behavior, she kept on going. While everypony was laughing and pointing their hooves at her, she kept clowning around without a care. Soon the laughter changed as well. Loud cheers and whistling noises were now aimed at the clowning white pegasus, and the floor trembled with the stomping of excited ponies. It made the filly’s jaw drop. Instead of becoming a dancing disaster, Surprise had become the main attraction of the party. She was not making a foal of herself. She was making everypony else happy.

“She cracks you up, doesn’t she?” a sudden tomboyish voice spoke from beside Pinkamina.

Having been wrapped up completely by Surprise’s antics, she was startled at first. But she quickly managed to look to the side and identify the stranger. Surprisingly, it was somepony she knew. Standing right beside her, with eyes on Surprise, was the pink pegasus she had met just this morning, the one that helped with the clouds, the one called Firefly. She was laughing heartily, letting a cheering whistle escape every now and then as she watched Surprise do her thing. Her hoof was tapping to the music and sweat poured from her body like a waterfall, probably from having given it her all on the dance floor.

“It’s so weird how she can keep partying like that,” the mare continued without looking down at the filly. “I mean, I’m usually the tough one. But she just works on a different level than the rest of us. It’s like she only gets tired when she wants to.”

“Yeah, I guess she does,” Pinkamina replied with a quick smile. She turned her head back to Surprise and let her breath out slowly. “She really does things differently.”

“Hey, by the way, don’t I know you?” the tomboyish pegasus suddenly said. She was now looking at the filly, reacting to her as if she had been talking to herself this whole time. “Aren’t you that filly from Pie Fields?”

Lowering her ears with worry, Pinkamina smiled weakly and nodded. “Yes. I am. But please, please don’t tell them you’ve seen me here.”

“Snuck out to party, huh?” laughed the mare, stomping her hoof lightly on the floor. “And at that age too? Wow, you’re pretty daring for such a small filly. Don’t worry though, squirt. I won’t say a word.”

Pinkamina smiled as she diverted her attention back to Surprise. Though she felt a little weak for not even being able to go out and dance, she felt lucky to have met so many nice ponies in just one day: This cool and kind mare at her side, the polite and levelheaded Cup Cake, and of course Surprise, the pony that had shown her it all, and who was at this point beckoning the filly with exaggerated motions while dancing.

“By the way, is this the first time you’ve gone to one of Surprise’s parties?” Firefly asked as they continued watching. “Seems like she wants you to get out there with her.”

“Yeah it is.” Pinkamina lowered her ears again, but maintained the smile on her face. “But I don’t think I can go join her now. I don’t know how she can dance like that without getting embarrassed.”

The pink pony looked at her with surprise in her eyes and amusement in her smirk. “Wait, so you’re saying you don’t wanna join Surprise on the first time at one of her parties?”

“Yeah?” the filly replied, putting a stretch on the word. She looked confusedly at the pink pegasus, raising an eyebrow as she noticed how she seemed to be struggling with maintaining her grin.”

“Oh, then you’re in for one hay of a surprise.” Firefly then took to the air. “Just stay there. I’ll be waiting a few hooves away, ok?”

“Ok?” Pinkamina replied. She had no idea what was going on, but felt that she would not get an answer if she asked. Instead, she simply shrugged it off and turned her eyes back to the white mare. But she did not see what she had expected. Though the space where the white pegasus had foaled around was still wide open, it was nothing but an afterimage of her presence. Surprise was gone. Wondering whether this was related to what Firefly had said, Pinkamina’s eyes opened as she began searching vividly around the room for the white pegasus. She was sure that she would be surprised, but did not know whether she should fret or look forward to it.

A sudden shriek from the speakers made everypony in the room call out in agony. Ponies were simultaneously covering their ears and gritting their teeth until the noise stopped, after which they all looked up to check for its source. Between the speakers, holding a black microphone with a silver head between her hooves was Surprise, poking the head of the mike to further test it. When the drumming of the pokes was done, the white mare nodded to approve of the device’s function, and she moved it to her mouth and took a deep breath.

“Hey everypony!” she shouted to the party with a metallically enhanced voice. “Sorry for interrupting you all, but I got a super duper important announcement to make. First of firsts I’d like you all to meet my newest, youngest and most cutely adorable friend at this party: Pinkie Pie!”

She pointed her hoof to the middle of the room where Pinkamina sat. Like a meteor hitting the ocean, everypony moved away from that spot, and they all moved their eyes to the filly in the middle. After a short moment, they all put on big smiles and used their most cheerful voices, to greet her at the top of their lungs. The filly sank shyly into herself, her cheeks flushing a deep red as she waved softly to the crowd. Such attention had never been on her before, and it made her a little uncomfortable, though she smiled nonetheless.

“Today I learned something that made even me Surprised: Pinkie has never been to a party before!” the white mare exclaimed with an exaggerated expression of horror, and the entire party gasped immediately, playing along with the pegasus’ silly performance. “I know, right!? But then I thought: ‘Hey, if she hasn’t been to a party before, then why not make sure her first party ever will be her best party ever?’ Am I right?” And everypony cheered in agreement, stomping the ground and waving their hooves in the air. “Now she doesn’t wanna dance, and we all know what happens when somepony doesn’t wanna dance with me, right? We bring out the bouncy blanket!”

The entire party went wild with cheers, deafening everything as it echoed along the walls. A couple of hooves grabbed on to the pink filly and lifted her up in the air, and she tilted her head back to see who it was. With dazzled eyes she saw the same pink mare from before, winking at her with a big smile before she carried her towards the door. She had known this would happen. But it was not just Pinkamina, Firefly and Surprise. Every single pony at the party was following them, their eyes and cheers directed solely at Pinkamina. The pink filly could not stop the blush on her face, though she tried her best to hide it with her hooves as she was carried over the many ponies and back out on the street.

The cool night air made her open her eyes once more, and she saw a bunch of ponies, including Surprise and Cup Cake, carry out an enormous piece of gray cloth, devious grins stuck on their faces. They stretched it out wide, revealing a huge circular blanket that was kept elastic by the many ponies holding on to each their edge with their hooves. The pink mare carried Pinkamina up above the circle and held her out in stretched hooves. Unsure of how to react, the nervous filly looked down at Surprise, who gave her a comfortable smile from her edge of the cloth.

“You ready?” the white mare called out.

Pinkamina blinked hastedly. She had no idea what was going on, and that showed in her face. “Ready for what?”

Without actually answering, the white mare gave her a quick wink and then gave the pink pegasus holding her a quick command, “Now, Firefly!”

With that, the pink pegasus let go of the pink filly. Screaming as she fell, Pinkamina closed her eyes and feared the worst as she was about to hit the ground. But instead of plunging to the hard surface of the earth, she was instead caught in the comfort of the cloth. She opened her eyes as she felt herself sinking into it, steadily settling in before she was sent back into the air with great speed.

This process kept repeating over and over. The first few times she was sent flying she screamed as if she was being chased by Timberwolves. But as she got an understanding of the situation, the screams of terror steadily turned into screams of laughter. Tears ran from her eyes when she flew up and down with high speeds and a wide smile on her laughing face. She felt the wind caress her coat, sending chills down her spine as it hit her head on. Looking above her, she noticed that the night sky that seemed so untouchable was getting closer every time she was cast back into the air. Though she knew she would never reach it, she still felt like the wings of a pegasus had made it possible. She reached out a hoof to the stars, trying her best to reach the night sky and catch as many as she could. She was flying.

Turning her head in the air to see the pony trampoline below, Pinkamina’s laughter turned hoarse from all her joyous screams. The ponies who kept tightening up the gray cloth all watched her with smiling faces. They were genuinely happy for her. This was what happened to those who would not dance: They would have to experience the joy another way. As she closed in and drew away from them, her attention fell on Surprise, who seemed to be laughing even harder than she was herself. This was the pony who had showed her a whole new world, the pony that wanted her to dance, and the pony who could make even a rock die laughing. Tears followed in the pink filly’s trail, staining parts of the cloth when they hit it. With her tear choked voice, she screamed as loud as she could in a mantra that lasted as long as her joyful ride, “Thank you!”

And from the movement of Surprise’s lips she could read, “You’re welcome.”

It seemed almost wrong to leave the party at such an hour, but she had to get back in bed before her parents would find out she was gone. She bid farewell to the party guests, shaking hooves with some and hugging others as she thanked each and every one of them for showing her the best night of her life. When she reached Cup Cake and Firefly, she made sure that the hug would last just a little longer, and she thanked them with a high pitched whisper. But the one she clutched on to the tightest and held on to the longest was Surprise. Tightening her grip, the filly began shaking, and her thanks were followed by whimpers of happiness and sorrow combined. She did not want this night to end.

The white mare kept quiet doing the hug, respectful of the filly’s emotional outburst. But after the hug had gone on long enough, she finally pushed her back, offering her a warm smile as she dried away a tear that had stuck in Pinkamina’s eye. With a smile that reached from ear to ear and a friendly wink, she gentle nuzzled the filly’s mane. Her voice was cheerful, calm and quiet when she said, “Why are you crying? It’s not like we’re never gonna see each other again, right?”

Pinkamina sniffed a few times and whimpered, “It’s not?”

“Of course not silly!” the white mare laughed, “You can come around any time you like. That’d be so much fun, right Cuppy?”

She looked back at Cup Cake, who replied with the gentlest voice Pinkamina had ever heard. “Of course it would. You’re always welcome here, Pinkie.”

Pinkamina wiped away one last tear and nodded quickly a single time in appreciation with the offer, which she would most definitely accept. She waved to everypony one last time before turning around and running back to the farm. Everypony were shouting heartily behind her, a few voices recognizable in the crowd, and they wished her all good things in the world as she galloped away. Her smile reached the corners of her eyes, and she thought of the great event of her life that was Surprise’s party.

It was a strange feeling for her to trot back into the darkness of the farm after having been exposed to the cloud-free starlight. The dry night air hurt her throat, and she could no longer feel the cool breeze of the night or the delightful smell of the plants. But her spirit was as high as ever, and she found comfort in the fact that the darkness was total. That no lights were to be seen in her house could only mean that nopony had found out about her sneaking away.

Her smile grew bigger as she trotted along the cracked, dry dirt of the farm. In her head, she ran through everything that had happened at Sugarcube Corner, going over every strange and happy encounter and experience. Surprise’s funny being and kind soul, the politeness and sweet nature of the pretty Cup Cake, the cool Firefly, and the cheers she heard from everypony. But the thing that lingered in her mind the longest was the feeling of the trampoline cloth. The freedom she had felt while bouncing through the air was unlike anything she had ever tried before. She could not help but wonder if that was anywhere near how flying would feel.

An idea came to her as she neared her house. While making sure to be quiet, the pink filly began skipping steadily ahead instead of walking like a normal earth pony. It felt weird at first, but soon she was able to bounce forward with only as much trouble as she had walking. It came strangely natural to her, in fact. She could feel a slight gust running through her mane, created artificially with every hop. Though it was nowhere near the sensation of the trampoline, it still had the effect of easing the stillness of the farm. It brought the sense of life back to her. This would be her new way of moving.

After climbing back up the drain pipe and back into her room, the filly made sure to sneak as quietly as possible back to her bed. She let the window stay open, thinking that the need for fresh air, however rare that was on Pie Fields, would be enough of an excuse to clear away any suspicion. It would make sneaking out easier in the future. Scooting back into her bed, she rested her head against the pillow and dragged the blanket over her shoulders with her hooves. She kept her eyes open, looked through the darkness at the ceiling, and sighed as she happily mouthed the words: “Thank you.”