• Published 1st Jul 2012
  • 1,801 Views, 42 Comments

To Her Surprise - Askesalsa

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

  • ...

The Explosion

Another morning, another breakfast. The tired silence in the room was broken only by the sounds of ponies clearing the table, doing the dishes, and yawning. Sue Pie stood with her hooves in a tub of hot water, carefully scrubbing the jam and crumbs off the plates, and Inkamina stood ready beside her with a dishcloth, all the while making smacking noises with her lips. Clyde had noticed something wrong with his collar, which left him irritated in front of a mirror in the living room, gritting his teeth as he desperately tried to correct this farmer’s fashion emergency. Blinkamina and Pinkamina were free to as they liked while waiting for the others to get ready for some more hard and dull labor. Therefore, Pinkamina sat bored in the living room’s armchair, and Blinkamina kept busy by poking Sue’s ball of yarn that she puzzled with every night, all the while listening to their father’s irritated noises in the background. It was just another Pie morning.

Two prolonged rings sounded in the house, the distinct ringing of their rarely used doorbell. Pinkamina shifted her eyes to the corners of her sockets, fixing them on the hallway without reaction. Eye boogers kept her blinking tiredly, and she was sucking on a thread from her mane as she watched the door, waiting for somepony to answer. It rang again, but nopony reacted. The pink filly looked around at her family. They were all ignoring the calls of the bell, too lazy to even give it a second thought. There was no sign of excitement in their eyes.

“Pinkamina, would you mind getting that?” Clyde Pie said with an irritated tone, though that was probably only due to his fight with the collar.

After a long sigh and a roll of the eyes, the filly rose from her seat and landed on all four on the floor. She walked to the door with a slow pace, her hooves making muffled clop sounds when she stepped on the rug, and louder steps and creaking sounds when she entered the domain of the hardwood surface in the hallway. When she reached the door, she leaned her tired filly body against it, stretching her neck to reach the way-too-high-up doorknob. She bit down, turned it along with her head, and took a quick step back as the squeaky hinges moved the wooden door towards her.

“Well, hi there, Pinkie,” Firefly said in the door, offering the filly a cool smile and a surprised glance.

Pinkamina returned the smile, but unintentionally let a yawn slip out with it. She shook her head to get back to the present, avoiding suddenly falling asleep in the hallway. She looked back up at the pink pegasus. “Hi, Miss Firefly. What’re you doing here? It’s not cloud delivery day already, is it?”

The pegasus shook her head. “I’m just here to collect some money your dad owes us. He didn’t really have enough last time. We had to add some extra layers because of the sun prognosis from Canterlot.”

“Oh,” responded the filly. She leaned to the side and took a look at the outside behind the pegasus. The wasteland was dull and dusty as always, and the sky was sad and gray. She found it hard to believe that the same clouds could seem so amazing when looking at them from above, seeing the underside as boring as ever. Shifting her eyes from side to side, she looked for the other pegasus that helped Firefly deliver the last patch of clouds, but he was nowhere to be seen. She had come alone this time. One was probably enough to collect a bit of cash.

“So I hear you were out flying with Surprise yesterday,” the pink pegasus suddenly said, a curious tone apparent in her voice.

Pinkamina woke up at the words in this sentence, her face beaming with delight from the simple mention of Surprise’s name. The pegasus before her seemed to notice this as well, as proven by her smirk. Nodding hastily, Pinkamina responded with a cheerful voice, “Yeah we did. It was super fun.”

“She says so too,” the mare replied with a bright expression, “And I hear she showed you some of her flying skills too?”

“She sure did.” Pinkamina got up on her hind leg and tried to imitate some of her experiences from the day before with hoof gestures. She could hardly keep her balance as she excitedly showed off the loops and dives the white mare had dragged her along on. “First we were all like ‘zoom’, and then we were ‘woosh’ flying back to the ground, and I got really scared at first, but then she flew back into the air, and I almost fell off, but she quickly caught me.”

Firefly let out a hearty laugh, after which she forwarded her chest, taking a proud posture as she cleared her throat. “You know, I was the one who taught her most of those tricks.”

“Really?” The filly’s eyes sparkled and her jaw dropped as she stared at the pink pegasus in awe. “Were you also the one who taught her how to hide balloons so nopony will notice them? And play music with no instruments?”

Once again, the mare before her laughed. She shook a hoof before her to dismiss the filly’s strange ideas. “No, no, that she learned on her own. Honestly, I have no idea how she does it.” They both giggled, amused by the crazy antics of their fellow pegasus friend. “Nah, I just taught her some basic moves. I’m a pretty decent flier actually. Even better than Surprise. I even teach a class back in Cloudsdale.”

“Wow, that’s pretty neat,” Pinkamina replied, honestly impressed to hear that somepony had even better flying abilities than Surprise. She never had the chance to see a pegasus’ full potential until she met that white mare, after all.

“I see you two are getting along well,” the voice of Clyde Pie sounded from behind the pink filly. With a hint of panic in her expression, she turned around to see her father approach them with a friendly grin. She suddenly remembered that she only got to know Firefly at Surprise’s party, and this event was something she would rather that her family did not know about. Drops of sweat began to form on her forehead, and she gritted her teeth anxiously, her knees suddenly feeling too weak to support her body’s weight. But when a hoof was gently placed on top of her scalp, she looked back up to see the pink mare wink at her with a cool attitude. This put her somewhat at ease.

“Yeah, she’s a sweet kid. Very polite,” Firefly said with a toothy grin as she nuzzled Pinkamina’s mane. “She asked me about Cloudsdale so we just started chatting.”

Clyde Pie let a one-syllabled laughter escape him, and he looked at his daughter with kind eyes. “Yes, she’s always been a fan of pegasi. No wonder she’d be interested in that city.”

“Well, who can blame her?” Firefly went on, her hoof still on Pinkamina’s head. They were chatting as adults at this moment, their words passing over Pinkamina. But the filly did not care. She was just glad her cover did not get blown.

“Anyways,” Clyde said to move the polite conversation along. He turned around and trotted back towards the living room. “I’ll go get the bits. I bet you’re as busy as we are, am I right?”

“As a bee,” Firefly energetically responded. When Clyde was out of the room, the pegasus moved her hoof away from Pinkamina’s head. They watched the doorway to the living room for a few seconds, not for any particular reason, but just because their eyes were already focused on that place. After a moment, the pink mare bowed down and half-whispered something to the pink filly, “Your dad seems like a nice guy.” Pinkamina looked back at her with a semi-confused expression, and she saw how Firefly had a rather gentle smile on her face. “You should cut him some slack.”

She blinked confusedly. This sudden sentence seemed rather personal and out of the blue at first, but after a few seconds she realized that Firefly had probably spoken with Surprise. Though a little irritated that the white mare would spill the beans like that, Pinkamina found the sentiment nice, and she responded with a nod and a smile of her own.

“Here we go,” the earth stallion said as he reappeared in the doorway. With a little, clinging bag between his teeth, he trotted back to the two ponies in the doorway. He tossed the bag through the air, and the pegasus was swift in her reaction, catching it as soon as it began descending. “Everything’s there, but you can count it anyways if you like.”

“That’s ok,” the mare said politely as she turned around: “I trust your math.”

She took a few steps outside on the dusty fields, the bag shaking back and forth with its monetary rhythm playing a merry jingle. Turning around, she waved politely at the two ponies, and they both waved back with each their smile. She winked quickly, fast enough that the stallion would only see a twitch, but the pink little filly’s smile grew at the glimpse of it. She knew better. After flapping her wings a few times, whirling up dust and dirt from the ground, the pink mare took off, flying away with both hooves in front of her. Pinkamina watched her fly away, smiling as she thought about how friendly a pony she was. Surprise definitely had some cool friends.

“Well, I guess we’d better get started with the day, huh?” the old stallion beside her said as he stretched his forelegs. “Those rocks aren’t gonna farm themselves.”

The filly’s smile faded away, though kept a simple form on her lips. She nodded once and took the first steps of the day out on the large family field. “All right.”

There was nothing new in rock farming this day either. She had not expected for anything to change, of course, but the thought that it might have was refreshing. But the clouds were still the same, the dead plants were still the same, and the back pain from shoving rocks was still the same. This day, however, it felt like her hope of change had been crushed even more violently than it had before. Whether it was Surprise’s attempt to comfort her the day before or just because she had a clearer picture of the outside world Pinkamina did not know, but she did know that the air felt as heavy as it always did.

They were preparing to move all the rocks to the south field. The location of the nutrients of the air was changing, and the south field would be a lot more fertile than the rest of the farm. Therefore, they would stack up as many rocks in little piles as possible, making it easier to shove a bunch at the same time so they could get them there in time. Pinkamina was almost finished with one of her piles. Digging the ground with her hoof, she freed one of the rocks that had stuck in the ground before shoving it over to the pile with her snout. After the final push, she sighed tiredly and with a hoarse throat.

The sound of the dining bell rang across the field, calling the Pie family to lunch. Pinkamina did not react to it though, instead sitting down on her flank and leaning her tired neck back to watch the sky. She heard her father clear his throat from the house and let her eyes move to the source of the sound. He was looking at her with a serious face, wordlessly asking if she would like to join them for lunch for once. But her answer was no as always. She would not spend her precious free time in cold boredom.

The door slammed and she was alone in the dead wasteland. Her break had started, but her body was weak. She could hardly move after having lifted so many rocks, so she did not move from the spot immediately. She had to take a moment to regain her strength.

While recuperating, she leaned her neck back as far as she could and locked her gaze on the still ocean of gray. Her mind wandered to memories of the day before. The memories of merry singing, the open space above the clouds, and of course what Surprise had tried to teach her. ‘There’s no place where the sun can’t reach’ she had said. But looking at this wasteland, Pinkamina found that highly doubtful. There was no indication of life. There was no place where the sun could reach. The warmth she felt was the warmth of acid, tearing away at her skin. For once, she thought, Surprise must have been wrong. There was no way the sun would ever reach Pie Fields.

But something happened. While Pinkamina had her eyes on the sky, she saw some strange movement accompanied with the loud noise of an explosion. An enormous wave blasted across the dark sky. It was a strange sort of wave, resembling a violent rainbow more than an actual explosion. With every color of the spectrum, it rushed through the ether, tearing away at the many clouds that had been blocking out the sun. A powerful gust soon hit the filly head-on, almost dragging her away along with the rocks and branches that flew past her, only missing her by pure luck. She felt her hair get shaken up by this odd shockwave, making a mess out of her perfectly straight mane. When the blast was done, she was left with a shocked pair of eyes and a clueless expression as her brain tried to grasp what had just happened.

When she got back to reality and took a second look at the sky, she saw something that she never thought she would see on Pie Fields: A rainbow. Hanging there above the dusty old rock farm was a beautiful rainbow, sparkling in the light of the sun that suddenly had become visible on a clear blue sky. The clouds had been blasted back by the strange, rainbow explosion, letting Celestia light up the brown dirt. The many rocks suddenly seemed to shine; the dust’s dark brown became light. A smile steadily grew on Pinkamina’s face, reacting to all the beauty that her home suddenly showed. The sun was reaching where it could not reach. Gray had become a rainbow. Surprise had been right.

She had never felt joy like that before. Not only did she get to see the sun shine on her home, but she got to see the magic of a rainbow, directly imported from the factory in Cloudsdale, in the one place she had always hated. Her face began aching from her broad smile, but she did end it for that reason. In fact, she wanted to smile forever and ever. But soon the layer of gray clouds had ben thick. As its nature would have it, it slowly began mending itself, locking out the sun once more bit by bit. The pleasure of the sun’s presence was a hasty one, but it was enough to have an effect on the filly. A thought came to her mind: She wanted her family to see this. But they would not be able to show them before the sky would be dull and gray once more.

She rubbed her chin, her brain running at full capacity in search for the best possible way to make somepony smile like she just had. Sunshine was not an option, and even if she could somehow remove the clouds in a way that would make the blue sky stay for a while longer, her father and mother would probably only be fearful of the state of their crops. Still, she needed something bright and cheerful. She tried her hardest to think back on something that made her cheerful in the past. Luckily, she did not have to go back long to find such a thing. A light of realization radiated from her face when she remembered the past few days. She quickly got to her hooves, wasting no time to get the materials she needed from Ponyville before their break would end. First item to find: Balloons.

She got the materials, but had no time to prepare the rest of her plan before her break was over. But she still had the night. She straightened her hair for the remainder of the day, keeping her smile secret from her family so they would suspect nothing, and helped move the remaining rocks to the south field. The morning would be the time for her surprise to be revealed to the family.

The silo was far from ideal, but lacking the time to find someplace else to pull off her plan, it would have to do for the moment. What made her choose that place was the fact that its tall and slim nature made it easy to decorate and hide the surprise she had in store for her family. After tying up the final knot, she wiped off a sweat of hard work from her forehead and took a few steps back to take a look at what she had created. Garlands hang all the way around the round metal walls, painting the dull silver with blue, red, pink and many more happy colors. There were streamers and confetti everywhere, hiding as much of the dusty floor as possible and coloring the many tables a different color than their normally pink cloth. Balloons hang scattered in strings, some in their regular egg-shapes and some formed as brightly colored horseshoes. All in all, she was pretty impressed with herself for recreating the party environment she remembered from Surprise’s party this well on her very first try and in so little time.

“Well, we’d better harvest the rocks from the south fields,” she dimly heard the voice of her father proclaim from the outside. This was her cue. Her hair exploded for some reason, becoming the same curly ball the rainbow explosion had made it the day before. But she did not waste time thinking about that. She dashed past the punch and cake all the way to her father’s old phonograph, swiftly put on a record, and carefully placed the stylus on it. It began playing a merry symphony of brass instruments, blowing their different shades of sound through the phonographs own brass head. She nodded to herself in approval of this folksy sound and stormed to open the door.

“Pinkamina Diane Pie, is that you?” the sound of her mother’s voice rang before she could reach the door. Pushing it open, a stream of confetti and a few balloons escaped as she quickly took a look at her gray and brown family members with a big, excited smile.

“Mom,” she said cheerfully. “I need you and dad and the sisters to come in here, quick!”

She closed the door before even seeing their reactions and hid near the great cake in the middle, readying herself to surprise them for life. Crouching like a tiger stalking its prey, the pink filly giggled excitedly as she thought of how her family’s faces would shine. The door opened, her family entered, and Pinkamina got ready to jump.

“Surprise!” she yelled happily as she bounced upwards, waving her hooves in the air. “You like it? It’s called: A party.”

Somehow a party horn went off right after she said that, but she did not take further notice of it. There was no need to notice the details. She put on her most cheerful smile and eagerly watched her awestruck family, waiting for their reaction. Every single jaw had dropped and their their eyes wide with a sort of horror. Loud gasps emitted from them, and the straw fell out of her father’s mouth while her sisters blinked at the spectacle. It worried Pinkamina to see these reactions. She bit her bottom lip, her eyes turned anxious and her smile faded away as she watched her family study the decorations, festive activities, and treats. Their lips were shaking and their eyes were getting teary. Their voices were trembling, getting ready for loud sobs as they looked terrified from left to right.

In the end, Pinkamina lost all hope. The excitement she thought she would have received seemed to have been but a dream. Bowing her head, she let out a heartbroken sigh as she turned around. “You don’t like it.”

But she was too quick in her judgment. Taking a last look over her shoulder, she saw the trembling lips steadying, forming the starting phases of a smile. Their initial shock wore off after a moment, and the shaking gray family suddenly beamed with delight, cheerful gasps and toothy grins replacing their otherwise worrisome expressions. They suddenly showed an amount of happiness that Pinkamina had never seen in her family before.

“You like it!” the filly happily shouted, inhaling a large amount of air in surprised relief. She stormed towards them, hugging her mother tightly before the party truly got started. It did not take many seconds for them all to occupy the dance floor, each of them doing their own silly moves without a care for appearance. Pinkamina supported her weight with her mother’s hoof, and her mother did the same with hers, and they waved their other hoof in the air while stomping the dusty ground with each groove of their flanks. They were all laughing, but the pink filly laughed harder than any of them together. She had finally seen a side of her family she never would have imagined existed. With nothing but bright colors, some sugary treats and some cheerful music, she had invoked an amount of cheer that filled her heart with pure sunshine. As a ticklish feeling momentarily ran through her coat on each side of her flank, accompanied by a faint shimmer of light, she shouted merrily into the air with all her heart, “I’m so happy!”

It was not the lack of will or spirit that cut the party short, but rather the lack of energy. Inkamina and Blinkamina were both too young to keep their groove thangs shaking so early in the day, and so they had found a comfortable spot on the floor on which to take a blissful nap together. Clyde let out his breath through closed lips, smiling as he shook his head slowly at the sleepy duo. Putting a blanket over them, the old stallion took care when he picked them off the ground and threw them over his back. He trotted towards the door, but stopped before opening it, his eyes moving over to his wife and oldest daughter.

“I think I’ll let these two skip a day,” he whispered across the silo, his voice gentle and calming. “They wouldn’t be much use in the fields like this anyways.”

Pinkamina hardly noticed his words though. The pink filly sat with a gaping mouth and wide open eyes, mesmerized as she stared at her flank through the mirror image of a silver tray. She only responded to her father’s words by nodding slowly, leaving the rest of her sentence in the hoof of her mother. Therefore, Sue Pie shot her husband a heartwarming smile, telling him that they were fine. The old stallion replied with a friendly nod. He opened the door slowly, careful not to accidentally wake up the fillies on his back, though the creaking of the hinges seemed to disagree with this sentiment of his. Luckily, he managed to get out without any trouble, and he made sure to close the door as slowly and quietly as he had managed to open it, leaving out the loud slam as it shut.

Three balloons levitating in strings on her flank, two in blue and a yellow one in the middle. They seemed to be flying upwards, attempting to leave the filly’s flank as they reached for the sky, only to somehow carry her with them. They made her feel as light as a feather. But what truly made the smile on the filly’s face was how much it looked like Surprise’s cutie mark. Though the colors were different, the unspoken words the shapes represented were the very same of her idol’s flank, and it made her more than happy to think that. She had the same party ability of the pony she admired the most.

“It really is a pretty mark,” the sweet voice of her mother spoke from beside her. Pinkamina looked up at her and saw a quiet smile on the gray mare’s face. Her glasses-hidden eyes bore a still sense of pride. “To think that it would appear on my little Pinkamina’s flank.”

The pink filly smiled and looked back at the balloon trio. “It’s just like I hoped it’d be too.”

“But I must say,” the old mare continued, and Pinkamina looked back at her curiously. “I never thought I’d see you throw a party for us like this. It was quite a surprise.”

“Well, I did want to make it a surprise party,” Pinkamina grinned. Though it was a phrase she had just made up, it seemed like a good way to describe such a secret sort of party. It was even a reference to the white mare.

“That’s not what I meant,” said Sue. It was then Pinkamina noticed just how grim the look in her eyes had become. Though she was still smiling, the gray clouds of Pie Fields blurred the light in her pupils, making her seem much sadder than the pink filly had anticipated.

She took a few steps closer to her mother. Looking at her face from below, she seemed even sadder, as if she was afraid of something. “What’s wrong, mom?”

“I thought you hated us,” she said with a low voice, almost tearchoked. Pinkamina did not move a muscle, completely stunned by her mother’s words. Though she cried out a loud ‘what’ on the inside, her body was too much in shock for her to do anything but blink. Meanwhile, Sue Pie was struggling to keep smiling, sniffing a single time before going on, “I was really sure you hated us. The way you always looked at us, how you never wanted to eat with us or be with us for that matter. I didn’t know what to do. I was just so sure you hated us.”

“But, mom-,” Pinkamina began, but she did not get to say more before her mother interrupted her with a tearful gasping sound.

“I’m so glad you don’t,” she said with a rather high-pitched voice. She covered her eyes with one of her hooves, desperately trying to hide her obvious tears. “I’m so glad you don’t hate us, Pinkamina.”

The pink filly did not say anything. Watching as her mother showed a side she had never seen before, her ears dropped to the side of her head. It was clear now how she had never given her family much thought. She always connected them with Pie Fields, blindly assuming that they were just as dull and dead as their home. That her own mother would fear being hated so much that she would even cry made the pink filly feel her stomach churn with guilt. She closed in once more, this time reaching her hooves around the sobbing mare before her. Her hooves slowly closed together and she pulled herself in, letting her cheek rest against the gray coated chest. The warmth it emitted was new. Even though they had always been together, the sensation of her mother’s warmth and the feel of her lungs sucking in and blowing out was new.

“I’m sorry, honey,” the old mare said with a low voice. Pinkamina could felt a couple of trembling hooves on her upper back and on her neck. The one on her neck caressed her, stroking slowly at her now curly mane as she began rocking gently back and forth. “I didn’t mean for you to see me like this. I’m just happy, that’s all.”

“I don’t hate you, mom,” Pinkamina said with a low voice of her own. Her throat was dry and her eyes were teary, but she did not cry. She simply let herself rock along with the tranquil movements of her mother.

“But, you know,” said her mother after a short moment of silence, using a tone of voice to change the subject to a more cheerful direction. “I never would’ve imagined you’d get balloons for a cutie mark.” She gave the filly a nudge, telling her to let her get a good look at this newly acquired mark of adulthood. “Where ever did you get the idea of holding a party?”

Pinkamina stayed silent for a moment, her head still glued to the old mare’s chest. Her eyes stared into nothing as her mind wandered, considering every pro and con of telling the truth. There was no telling how her mother would take it, whether she would be angry with her or glad on her behalf. But in the end, the pink filly thought she had to tell her. She owed it to her.

She sat up straight, letting the air in her lungs back out with a long sigh as she looked the old mare in the eyes. The glasses hidden eyes were puzzled at first, so Pinkamina offered her a warm smile before saying anything. It worked as intended and the gray mare relaxed again, sending the smile right back. Nervousness still hit the pink filly though. She quickly looked down to the ground, circling her hoof in the dust as she worked up the courage to say something. She instinctively blew upwards as she would if her straight hair had been in the way, but her mane’s new curly design did not allow for such a blanket to cover her face, making her blow air at air.

“Mom,” she started out, but she had trouble going on after that simple word.

Luckily, her mother’s soothing voice was able to calm her down as she leaned in and asked, “Yes, Pinkamina?”

Sinking a big lump of spit, Pinkamina looked back up, though only lifting her face half ways, and looked into her mother’s eyes from the top corners of her own. “What if I said that I haven’t been completely good these past few days?”

“What do you mean?” Sue Pie asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Well, I kinda met this adult pegasus a couple of days ago,” she continued, her tone naturally apologetic, “On one of my breaks at the river. She came up to me out of nowhere and we just started chatting. She invited me to a party that evening and.” She took a deep breath. “I accepted. I snuck out of the house and went to the party without permission.”

Sue Pie was silent, and her expression was heavy with disapproval. Staring blankly at the filly with unmoving eyes, she stayed as still as a stone statue for several seconds. It even reached a point where Pinkamina was unsure whether she was still there. The unbearable silence made the filly cringe and nervously tap her hooves together, looking to the side with a child’s shame. When the old mare returned to her senses, she wet her lips in thought and looked at a point on the wall just behind the filly’s head. Pinkamina watched quietly as her mother scratched the back of her neck. She anticipated the worst, yet hoped for the best.

“This pegasus,” she said with a serious tone, not looking at her pink daughter, “What’s she like?”

“She’s amazing,” Pinkamina responded instantly. She did not even have to think before talking about Surprise, suddenly waving her forelegs around in excitement. Just getting a chance to praise the white mare was enough for the pink filly to forget all her nervousness for the moment she explained her characteristics. “She’s always happy and she always laughs at everything, even the things that aren’t funny. She’s totally hyper and can’t stand still for even a second, and she sometimes say the strangest things, but in a good way, and she’s super fun to be around.” Halfway through explaining, the pink filly began hopping around the silo, but she hardly noticed it herself. It was just something she did all of a sudden, and nothing could stop her. “And she’s friends with everypony in Ponyville, not to mention she’s even friends with ponies from Cloudsdale, such as Miss Firefly, who by the way taught her a bunch of tricks that she showed me, and she was really good at it, and she’s able to do a ton of strange things that she can’t even explain herself and-,”

“Hold on, Pinkamina,” Sue Pie had to interrupt the bouncy filly, laughing heartily as she did. Hearing this command, Pinkamina froze in place, standing on one leg as she realized what she had been doing while she was talking. It took a few seconds for the old mare to hold back her laughter enough to be able to say anything, “Since when did you get so talkative?”

“I don’t know!” the filly called out with an enormous grin, “It’s like: Whenever I think of Surprise I just get totally happy and psyched. She’s just that amazing!”

“So her name is Surprise, huh?” the gray mare said, not laughing anymore but still smiling widely.

It was then that Pinkamina remembered how serious the mood was before she began her little explanation. She sat back down, wide eyes looking straight at her mother and her expression completely serious once again. But Sue did not seem serious at all now. Somehow, the filly’s dance had replaced the frown on her face with a merry smirk.

“She’s that amazing, is she?” the old mare said with a cheerful tone.

Pinkamina nodded, putting on a smile herself. “She’s even better than that.”

“Well, in that case.” The old mare shook her head with closed eyes for a moment. Her chest blew out and went back in with a large breath. “I guess I’ll let you off the hook this time. But normally I’d tell you not to go with strange ponies like that, Pinkamina.”

“It won’t happen again, I swear,” Pinkamina proclaimed, saluting her mother as she did. She skipped to the gray mare, beaming with happiness as she did, and finished the stretch by leaping into her hooves and into another big hug. It was strange that she was suddenly able to be this open with her. Until now, Pinkamina had never been able to put any faith in her family, yet she suddenly found all the reasons to smile alongside them. She felt happy.

Finishing the hug, the gray mare quickly tightened her grip before gently pushing the smiling filly back. She raised an eyebrow at her, showing a silly grin as she looked at the top of Pinkamina’s scalp. “By the way, are you going to stay that way?”

Pinkamina tilted her head in confusion, her cheek touching one of the old mare’s hooves on her shoulder. “What’d you mean?”

“I mean your hair, Pinkamina dear,” she replied with a giggle, “Don’t you want to straighten that thing out?”

Pinkamina tried to look at her mane, but found that her eyes could not reach it unlike before. She could only see its tip. She opened her mouth to reply, but a sudden burst of realization hit her like lightning. Letting out a loud gasp, she felt her body stir with excitement as she spoke. “Actually, I think I might like a different sort of haircut. In fact, I think I know just how I want it.”

“Well, that’s fine, Pinkamina,” said the mare with a slow shake of the head. “But at least make it somewhat more stable than that.”

“I will,” she said while nodding, “And mom?”

“Yes, dear?”

“If it’s not too much...” Pinkamina put her hooves together again, a happy smile spreading from ear to ear. “… Maybe you could call me Pinkie?”