• Published 2nd Sep 2017
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My Little Pony Friendship is Magic What If?: Volume 5 - SuperPinkBrony12

The fifth installment of a What If series, that involves the rewriting of episodes. But this collection contains only ten episodes from Seasons 1, and 4-6 (Warning!: Episodes rewritten based on personal opinion, please respect it. Thank you.).

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S6 E3: Starlight and the Pies (Gift of the Maud Pie What If?)

Author's Note:

I suppose I'll need to explain right out of the gate as to why I'm rewriting this episode and naming it the way I am. It seems like hardly anyone else has any faults with "Gift of the Maud Pie". And to be fair, I don't really hate it, it's just not all that strong for a couple of reasons.

First and foremost, the Fox Brothers got no help from Josh Haber when they wrote this episode. Haber's only contribution seems to have been putting Rarity into this episode, back when he was determined to squeeze her into every episode he could (ultimately having her be absent only from "On Your Marks" for the first half and even then she got a passing mention). But unfortunately, while it does foreshadow "The Saddle Row Review" with Rarity checking for a location for a third boutique, her role in the episode amounts to a gigantic plot hole. When Pinkie can't get the rock pouch from the store, she could easily ask Rarity to make it for her, and Rarity would gladly do it free of charge. Obviously, there wouldn't be a conflict if Rarity did that, but although she did give us Rariball the remainder of her role was just giving Pinkie someone to bounce dialogue off of. And regrettably, that had to go for the sake of a stronger story. Sometimes, you have to scarifice a joke in order to keep your story together.

The second is Maud herself. While we do get "Maud Sense" as a possible nod to the entire Pie family having a sixth sense (Pinkie confirms this), this episode kind of flanderizes her. She remains completely stoic, and while there is a good joke at the end, the remaining jokes don't do much. Especially when Rarity gets mad with Maud for being excited over a crack in the sidewalk, when she really should know Maud's interests are rock related. Hence, my decision to drop her in favor of Marble, who is the only Pie sister with no clear personality or character. Even Limestone at least feels unique, whereas what was seen of Marble in canon was just a Fluttershy clone.

Third, I think that if any member of the mane eight had to be in this episode with Pinkie, this was a golden opportunity for Starlight to show that she was part of the cast. I won't repeat myself too much on the Spike bit, you can see my earlier rewrites (preferably "Owl's Well That Ends Well" and "Spike At Your Service") to get a better understanding.

Fourth, for the Manehattan location, well the episode doesn't really explore the city to any extent that we haven't already seen. It could take place in any other city (besides Canterlot and Ponyville for obvious reasons) and nothing would change. So I decided to swap it out for Baltimare, a city that like Fillydelphia, has been mentioned but never explored directly.

And fifth and finally, I changed the title since this episode didn't follow the "Gift of the Magi" plot all the way through. That's not a bad thing, but when you title your episode after a type of plot and then don't follow it through all the way, it makes you look lazy. Like you didn't do your research. As for the bit with the party cannon being a PSSSD present from Maud, that's a headcanon LillyPeet suggested when she did her "Episode in X Minutes" video for Gift of the Maud Pie.

I hope none of these changes are a game breaker for you, but if they are you can skip this chapter. Hopefully the wait for the two parter of "A Hearth's Warming Tail" won't take too long to come out.

Episodes to be rewritten:
Swarm of the Century
Twilight Time
Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?
Rarity Investigates!
Starlight and the Pies (Gift of the Maud Pie)
A Hearth's Warming Tail (Two Parter)
28 Pranks Later (Bonus Chapter)
Where The Apple Lies (Bonus Chapter)
Top Bolt

Previously rewritten episodes:
Boast Busters
Look Before You Sleep
Feeling Pinkie Keen
Green Isn't Your Color
Over A Barrel
Luna Eclipsed
The Cutie Pox
Hearth's Warming Eve
The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000
It's About Time
One Bad Apple
The Show Stoppers
Owl's Well That Ends Well
Dragon Quest
Spike at Your Service
Just For Sidekicks
Games Ponies Play
Rainbow Falls
Three's A Crowd
Filli Vanilli
Somepony to Watch Over Me
A Bird In The Hoof
A Friend in Deed
Apple Family Reunion (Bonus Chapter)
Power Ponies
Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3 (Bonus Chapter)
Castle, Sweet Castle
Appleloosa's Most Wanted
Princess Spike
Canterlot Boutique
Scare Master
What About Discord?
Bridle Gossip
Family Appreciation Day
Magic Duel
Keep Calm and Flutter On (Two Parter)
Flight to the Finish
Tanks for the Memories
Fillydelphia Follies (Made In Manehattan)
The Cutie Re-Mark Parts 1 and 2
No Second Prances
Newbie Dash
Applejack's "Day" Off
Spice Up Your Life
The Cart Before The Ponies (Bonus Chapter)
Every Little Thing She Does
Swarm of the Century
Twilight Time
Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?
Rarity Investigates!

Pinkie Pie was extremely excited, even more so than she normally was! Today a special day, the kind of day that she and her younger sister, Marble, were going to spend together. They'd already agreed on the beautiful coastal city of Baltimare, a thriving port town on the eastern end of Equestria.

But Pinkie wasn't going alone, she was bringing along her new friend, Starlight Glimmer. The same unicorn who had just joined the circle of friends less than a year ago. "We're going to Baltimare, we're going to Baltimare, we're going to Baltimare...!" Pinkie chimed in a singsong tone.

"Ah yes, I hear it's lovely this time of year," Starlight commented, as she gazed out the window of the train car she and Pinkie were in. "Thanks again for bringing me along, Pinkie. But are you sure this is a good idea? I mean, this is a special thing you and your sisters do. I wouldn't want to intrude, especially since I'm still getting used to this whole 'friendship' thing. It's all so complicated."

Sensing Starlight's not so hidden signs of distress, Pinkie halted her excited prancing and took a moment to sit next to Starlight and stroke her back with a hoof. "Hey, I already wrote to Marble telling her you'd be with me. She said she was fine with it, Starlight," She reassured her friend. "And you really shouldn't doubt yourself so much. Don't forget, it was your connection to Sunburst that saved the day back at the Crystal Empire just a few weeks ago. Otherwise, well... we wouldn't be sitting here, discussing it. Now would we?"

"No we wouldn't, I suppose you make a good point," Starlight replied, a faint sigh escaped her lips. "It's just... I'm still barely finding my way around Twilight's castle. You really think I can be trusted in a big city like Baltimare, especially considering some of the things I did?"

"Twilight said a change of scenery might do you some good," Pinkie told Starlight, still stroking her back. "And listen, we've all done things in the past that we regret. Some of us more than others. But you don't need to worry yourself silly about them, Marble doesn't know yet. And even if she does, I'm pretty sure she won't judge you too harshly for it. She's not the type of pony to hold a grudge. That's Limestone's department."

Starlight couldn't help but chuckle. "Yeah, your oldest sister's a real grouch. Glad I never had a sibling like her growing up."

"Hey, she's not all grumpy," Pinkie protested. "On a good day, she's actually kind of nice once you get to know her. Take it from me, Starlight. When it comes to the Pie family, there's more to us than meets the eye. And it's definitely more than you'd expect."

"Still, of all the friends to bring you with on this trip, why me?" Starlight questioned of her pink coated friend.

Pinkie only laughed. "Because, silly, you were the only available option. Rarity's off in Manehattan, scouring locations for a third boutique she's gonna call 'Rarity For You', Rainbow Dash is away on official Wonderbolt business even if she's still a reserve, Applejack and Fluttershy are busy with their own problems, and Spike's keeping an eye on Twilight while she works out some lesson plans for you."

"Guess it's not surprising Twilight thinks of him as a son," Starlight giggled. "But you won't believe what he's already calling me. I don't think I'm quite ready for the label of 'Big Sister', if anything I should be the 'Little Sister' to his 'Big Brother'."

Pinkie got a few good chuckles from Starlight's comment. "See, Starlight? You know how to make me laugh, and in a good way too," She told her friend. "I just know Marble's gonna like that about you."

The train pulled into the station in Baltimare a moment later, and Pinkie and Starlight departed without fanfare. But they were quickly stricken by the beauty of the town, and Starlight in particular was fascinated by the glamorous buildings that looked like they'd rival the kind seen in Manehattan and Los Pegasus in terms of sheer beauty. Near the docks, a bunch of merchants were selling their goods, either on small boats shored up with anchors and ropes, or in little shacks made of wood. The cry of seagulls could be heard for miles on end, and if one truly focused they could smell the sea air and the smell of fish.

"This city's simply a-ma-zing! It's just... everything, ever!" Starlight dreamily sighed, at a loss for words for such beauty.

Pinkie's attention, however, was focused on an earth pony mare with a familiar turquoiseish grey coat, a dark grey mane and tail with lighter grey streaks which normally fell into a bang over the right eye, but the mane had been pushed aside and left to hang. All the better, as it showed the mare's grayish violet eyes in all their majesty, and her cutie mark which depicted three purple marbles.

"And it's about to get everything ever-er! Because guess who I see!" She happily exclaimed, then bounced down the steps as she chanted. "M-A-R-B-L-E! Put 'em together and what does that spell?!"

"It spells Marble, of course." Marble Pie replied in her gentle tone of voice.

Excitedly, Pinkie fired off her party cannon, and cheered loudly! "Marble, Marble, Marble! Hooray! This is gonna be so sweet!" And little did Pinkie know, she was right about her prediction. This day would indeed be sweet, but not for the reasons she was thinking.

After breaking free from the embrace Pinkie placed her and Marble in, Starlight commented. "You Pie sisters sure have some sweet traditions, I'll give you that. So, what? Every year, you set aside a special day to spend with each of your sisters, Pinkie?"

Pinkie nodded. "Correct. I do separate trips with each one, and we make it super fun by picking out a different location every year! We see the sights of the chosen city all day and then we swap gifts at sunset!"

"Limestone, Maud, and I do it too," Marble explained. "In fact, Limestone and Maud just did one in Manehattan about a month ago. They chose Manehattan since it's close to where Maud's studying for her rocktorate. Maud says that if all goes well, she should graduate by the end of the school year."

"Huh, why does the mentioning of a rocktorate sound so familiar? I've never met Maud before," Starlight thought to herself. "Although, come to think of it, wasn't there that one rock obessed pony I ran into once? I knew I should've asked for a name!" But rather than ask this question, for fear Marble would ask about her past, Starlight said out loud. "So, does this special day of yours have a name or something?"

"Mm-hmm. We call it PSSSD!" Marble answered with a nod.

In a hushed voice, Starlight asked the sisters. "Okay, so what's the secret?"

"Excuse me?" Pinkie asked in reply. "I didn't say anything. Did you, Marble?" Marble shook her head.

"But, you just said 'psst'. Didn't you?" Starlight asked in confusion.

Pinkie laughed, and explained. "No, silly! Not pssst, PSSSD! P-S-S-S-D! That means, Pie Sisters Surprise Swap Day!"

"O-kay," Starlight realized, blushing a bit at her mistake. "Guess I'll just leave you two to your PSSSD then. Have fun you two, and tell me all about at sundown."

"Hey, where do you think you're going?" Marble asked Starlight. "You're Pinkie's invited guest."

"You sure? I wouldn't want to intrude." Starlight commented.

"It's fine, we used to have our parents come along on some of these PSSSD occasions. And friends can be just like family." Marble explained, and then she turned to eye the postcards for a moment, wondering if she should buy one.

That gave Pinkie the chance to pull Starlight aside and whisper to her. "Can I ask you a quick question?"

Suspecting nothing, Starlight smiled and said. "Oh, of course. What is it?"

Clinging to Starlight's front right hoof, Pinkie shouted out! "Will you please help me?!"

"Uh, sure. But only if you let go of my hoof and stand up..." Starlight answered.

Pinkie did so, and then she whispered to Starlight. "This is top secret, you can't tell Marble anything about this. Got it?!"

"O-of course, whatever you say, Pinkie." Starlight gulped.

Content with Starlight's answer, Pinkie explained. "Marble and I haven't been as close as I would like, even though we're technically twin sisters. She's always been closer to Limestone. Every year, no matter how hard I try, Limestone's gift always upstages and outshines mine. So this year I really want to get something extra special for Marble, something that'll totally blow all her other PSSSD gifts out of the water! She deserves only the best, since she seems to get pretty good gifts for me! I know there's no beating Maud when it comes to gift giving, but I'm hoping to settle for second best this year! Fortunately, I'm in luck! I know Marble's been looking for a special dress, something to help her cope with the chilly nights on the rock farm since it gets pretty drafty! And there's a store here in Baltimare that has it on sale!"

"I see. So you want to get her one without spoiling the surprise?" Starlight concluded. "That sounds really sweet and all, but I don't see how I'm supposed to help."

"I need you to try and talk with my sister, get to know her a little!" Pinkie instructed. "That way you can keep her busy while I sneak away to the store and buy the dress for the swap at sunset! Think of this as a sort of unofficial friendship assignment."

Starlight tried not to let Pinkie see how nervous she was. Her previous friendship assignment hadn't exactly gone the greatest, unless you considered having to spill your whole troubled past to the pony you'd once held responsible for your pain a condition of success (and after talking with Sunburst, Starlight regretted that she'd ever blamed him for her own inability to stay in touch, not that it changed anything). But Twilight had told her that a major friendship no no, was disappointing a friend when they were counting on you the most. So, despite her concerns, Starlight took a deep breath and told Pinkie. "Well... I guess I could at least try, no promises though. You gotta a plan for making sure Marble doesn't suspect a thing when you're halfway across town, shopping?"

"Already thought of that, and got it covered," Pinkie said with a wink. "I've planned a sightseeing path that leads right by the store. Marble will never know. It's the perfect plan!" She shouted, a bit too loudly! The noise echoed everywhere, and quite a few residents of Baltimare could be heard yelling out storms of protest. Even a few salty seaponies could be heard remarking in their sailor tongues about such a shout.

Sensing the mood had suddenly become awkward, Starlight decided to take action. For she was never the kind of pony who fared well in awkward situations. "This would be so much easier if I could just fly kites," She thought to herself. "Kite flying is so much simpler, quieter, and comforting. Nopony ever has to say or do anything if they don't want to. Probably could've brought one to Baltimare, a place like this must get pretty good gusts." She then cautioned to Pinkie. "Y-Yes, yes, yes, we can do that. But uh, let's not get too excited until you actually have that dress."

Pinkie nodded, and then as she rejoined Marble she vowed. "Mark my words, Marble! I'm going to get you the greatest PSSSD present in the history of ever! You deserve it!"

Starlight followed Pinkie and Marble, as they made their way through the heart of Baltimare, all the while taking in the sights. It was quite lovely at this time of year, and the weather was just fine. As luck would have it, the shop carrying the dress Pinkie had in mind for Marble, wasn't the only shop that resided in the center of town. Many of the shops were lined up along a beautiful boulevard, near a park that was over flowing with lush green trees. And in the distance, one could see a hill from which it was possible to stand and look out towards the sea.

At last, the group stopped for lunch at a local bar. Said bar had a splendid seafood menu, consisting of the finest fare brought up from the seas. It had some non seafood stuff as well though, and Marble opted for a simple salad.

Deciding that now would be a good chance to get a progress report, Starlight suddenly spoke up. "You know what, Pinkie Pie? Uh, maybe you could help me figure out what to order!" And she propped up a menu and gestured for Pinkie to come over.

Pinkie did so, and frantically whispered to Starlight. "The plan's working like a charm, Marble doesn't suspect a thing! The store carrying that dress is just a block away! But as soon as I slip away, Marble's sure to notice! That's where you come in, Starlight!"

Whispering back, Starlight nodded. "Right, I'll stay here and distract Marble, while you get that dress. Hope you're gonna gift wrap it."

"I already thought of that, I'll arrange to pick it up later," Pinkie whispered at Starlight. "Sorry to spring this on you so suddenly."

"It's alright, Pinkie," Starlight said in a reassuring tone. "Go get that dress and make your sister proud!"

"Gotcha!" Pinkie nodded, before she whispered something into Starlight's ear and told her. "Just play along, make it look convincing."

Pulling Pinkie away from the menu, Starlight said loudly. "Oh, why, thank you for the kind assistance, Pinkie Pie. And now I know exactly what to order."

"You're very welcome, Starlight!" Pinkie spoke up, making sure to sound as loud and convincing as possible. "Now, excuse me while I uh... go wash my hooves. Yeah, that's it! Forgot I used the little filly's room earlier!" And she took off, though in the process she ended up knocking down Starlight's menu and she hastily apologized. "Sorry!" Then she zoomed away as fast as her hooves would let her!

"Good luck, Pinkie!" Starlight thought to herself, and turned her attention to Marble. "So... uh... Marble?" Starlight began, trying to think of how to start a conversation. She didn't know that much about Pinkie's little sister, or what her interests might be. "What's life like on the rock farm? Can you tell me?"

"I was hoping you'd ask," Marble said with a smile. "It's actually pretty nice. Really peaceful, and not a lot of noise from day to day. There's a lot to do though besides just the chores. Did I ever tell you about the time I became hide and seek champion of the Pie family?"

Deciding that was as good a conversation starter as any, Starlight slowly encouraged. "Then... uh... why not enlighten me? Sounds like a fascinating story."

"Oh, it is. And you're never going to how I won!" Marble winked, and began her tale. "It all started about a year after Pinkie got her cutie mark and her mane and tail turned all poofy."

Once she was content with the knowledge that she'd safely ditched Marble, Pinkie wasted no time in rushing straight to the store where she'd seen the dress earlier. She was recalling to herself what the dress had looked like. "Hoof-stitched ten-thousand-thread-count velvet-lined with a shimmering blue fabric! Marble's sure to love it! I need it!"

But when Pinkie reached the dress shop, a sight she hadn't wanted to see greeted her eyes! The store door was locked, and the display window that had housed that beautiful dress, was now empty! "Oh, no. Oh, no-no-no-no-no-no-no! This can't be!" Pinkie exclaimed in horror, as she tried in vain to turn the door knob! "Hello, Mr. Dress Store Owner, or Miss. Dress Store Owner, whoever you!" Pinkie called out, while pounding frantically on the door! "Please, tell me you've got another dress like the one you used to have in your display window, and you just forgot to put it out there! I'll gladly pay you whatever you want for it!"

Just then, a police mare with a two toned mane and tail of light orange, a bluish-grey coat, a cutie mark depicting a police badge, a police hat and suit, eyes hidden behind a pair of sunglasses, and carrying a pair of hoofcuffs, showed up. "Miss, the store's clearly closed. Been closed all day," The officer told Pinkie. "I'm sorry, you'll just have to come back tomorrow. The owner had to order more dresses, everything sold out unexpectedly."

Pinkie felt her heart sink to the bottom of her body. "But it can't be. It just can't be!" She protested, even though she knew it probably was true. "If I can't get that dress, then not only am I not getting my little sister the greatest present in the history of PSSSD, but now I have no PSSSD present for my sister at all! What am I supposed to do about that?!"

"I'm sorry, ma'am," The officer apologized. "Just try your luck with another store. Good luck." And she trotted off somewhere else.

"Anyway, that's how I became the official champion of hide and seek on the family rock farm. A title I've held to this very day." Marble spoke, having finished telling Starlight her story.

Starlight didn't quite know what to say. "Well... that's.... uh.... something I guess. Kind of reminds me of the games Sunburst and I used to play when we were younger."

"Who's Sunburst?" Marble innocently asked.

"Huh? O-oh, just an... old acquaintance I just reconnected with a while back," Starlight answered with a nervous laugh. Fortunately, she forgot all about her little 'slip up' once she spotted Pinkie approaching her. "Pinkie Pie, you're back!" She exclaimed. "No doubt your hooves are sparkling clean by now."

"Huh? Oh, right." Pinkie sighed, having momentarily forgotten her "excuse" from earlier.

Sensing that something was wrong with Pinkie (if her somewhat deflated appearance was any indication), Starlight quickly barked out an order! "Waiter! One super-deluxe two-mile-high hot fudge sundae, stat!" Quick as a flash, the gigantic sundae was placed on the table. Then, Starlight quickly hid behind the sundae and frantically whispered to Pinkie. "What happened? Where's the dress? Please tell me you didn't forget to bring bits."

Pinkie shook her head, and then after inhaling she quickly spotted. "The dress store was closed because the owner ran out of everything, including that dress I wanted to buy so badly! And so there's no way that I can get the perfect present for Marble, and now I don't have any present for her at all, so it'll be the worst Pie Sisters' Surprise Swap Day ever!" Pinkie proceeded to bury her head into the sundae, so as to muffle her sobs of distress.

"Gee, that's a real shame," Starlight commented, though not too loudly. "Well, maybe I could help you pick out something else for Marble? Any gift's better than no gift, right."

"But that's the thing, I don't have any other gift!" Pinkie sobbed from inside the sundae. "And there's no way I can just slip away to do some window shopping, Marble's sure to notice. I didn't see her fascinated by any of the things in the stores we passed, and sundown's less than half a day away!"

"You sure there's nothing I can do to help?" Starlight offered. "Maybe I could teleport back to Ponyville and see if Rarity has something similar at her boutique? Or maybe I could get Spike to send Rarity a letter requesting her to make it?"

"No, I can't ask you to do that for me, Starlight," Pinkie sadly replied, lifting her head out of the sundae. "One of the first things you've got to learn about friendship, magic can't solve all your problems."

"But, I thought friendship was magic and stuff like that?" Starlight protested. "I don't want to believe we should just give up! There's got to be something we can do!"

"Maybe there is, but if so I haven't thought of it yet," Pinkie sighed. "Maybe I just... need to go for a little walk to clear my head. Keep Marble occupied til I get back."

"Pinkie, wait!" Starlight called, but it was no use, Pinkie was already gone. "Why did I have to say yes to this?" She thought to herself. "I didn't expect PSSSD to be so complicated."

And so it was that Pinkie was moping about the streets of Baltimare, feeling quite sorry for herself. The sights and sounds of the bustling town at mid day, all blended together in the pink party pony's mind. She'd put all her hopes into that dress, and now she was stuck without a Plan B. "Some big sister I turned out to be." Pinkie thought to herself.

Suddenly, Pinkie spotted something out of the corner of her eye that caught her attention! A hoof-stitched ten-thousand-thread-count velvet-lined dress with a shimmering blue fabric! And it was currently being carried around on the back of a light yellow coated, scrawny looking earth pony stallion. Said stallion had a mane and tail that split down the center, and was an ashish grey in color. And he had both gold earrings, and a gold tooth.

Her heart racing with a newly found sense of hope, Pinkie rushed up to the stallion and said to him. "Excuse me, sir! I couldn't help but notice that fine dress you're carrying! Is there any chance you'd maybe be willing to part with it? I really need it. Like, really really really need it!"

"So lemme get this straight:" The stallion asked in response. "You, uh, really really need this pouch, huh?"

"Actually, I believe I said really really really." Pinkie corrected.

"Right, right, whatever," The stallion replied. "Well, I hope you know, a dress like this is practically one of a kind. Naturally, it's very hard to come by these days, so I can't just give it away. But I might be able to part with it for the right price. Think you can afford it?"

"Totally, name your price!" Pinkie said happily.

"Price, eh? You want the dress that badly, eh?" The stallion asked, putting a hoof to his chin.

"You mean, you'll sell it to me?! And I'll finally be able to give my sister the perfect Pie Sisters' Surprise Swap Day present? Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!" Pinkie happily shouted, firing off her party cannon in celebration. "So, how much is it, mister?"

But the stallion found himself drawn to Pinkie's party cannon, and he was eyeing it very closely, taking in every detail he possibly could. "Hmmm. That's one sweet party cannon you got there, miss," He commented, and then he said. "I'll tell you what. I'd be more than happy to give you this dress, and all for the low, low price of... that cannon."

Pinkie gasped, pulling her party cannon close! "M-My... party cannon...?" She remarked, her lips quivering. "But, you don't understand, this cannon isn't for sale! It's a PSSSD gift from my sister, Maud!"

"Sorry, that's my deal, kid. Take it or leave it," The stallion said firmly. "If you really wanna give that sister of yours the perfect present, then you'll have to give up your party cannon. So, what do you say? The cannon or the dress, what's it going to be?"

Pinkie eventually caught up to Starlight and Marble, who had long since left the bar and were now strolling along the streets with no particular destination in mind. Fortunately, Pinkie had found the perfect spot to store the dress she'd gotten, inside her mane. It didn't really bother her, she'd stuffed far heavier things in there without it slowing her down.

Starlight was currently holding a camera with her magic, while Marble stood next to one of the anchored boats near the harbor. "Oh, you're finally back! What kept you?!" Starlight asked Pinkie. "I have to say, I think I'm starting to like your sister, Pinkie. She's got some interesting stories to tell at the least," Then she turned her attention to Marble and instructed. "Just a little more to the left, Marble! Okay, now back a bit! Yeah, that's good! Hold that pose! I think we just found your new holiday card!" With Marble distracted, Starlight turned back to Pinkie and in a hushed tone she inquired. "So, did you manage to find a gift for Marble after all? Please say yes, please say yes."

"Yes," Pinkie said in a flat tone. "I managed to get the dress for Marble after all, and... that's really the only thing that matters."

Starlight was delighted! "Alright! Congratulations, Pinkie! I'm so glad to hear that! Marble's going to love it!"

But Pinkie only replied with a flat. "Yup."

"Hold on a minute, what do you mean 'Yup.'?" Starlight asked, frustration slipping into her tone of voice. "You just got your sister the greatest PSSSD present in the history of ever, and you mean to tell me that all you have to say for yourself is 'Yup.'?"

"Yup." Pinkie flatly replied again.

Starlight could hardly believe what she was hearing, this wasn't the Pinkie Pie that she knew. She knew for a fact her friend should be a LOT more excited! And she was quick to say so. "But... you're Pinkie Pie. I mean, you're supposed to be all:" Using her magic, Starlight tried her best to imitate Pinkie's behavior. "'Oh, I'm so excited I bought that dress! And I know that I say excited a lot when I'm actually just kind of excited, but this time I'm really excited about how excited I am about being this excited over that fine dress!' And then you'd fire off your party cannon."

"Well, my party cannon's not with me anymore." Pinkie flatly answered.

Starlight gasped! A bit too loudly, as Marble ended up overhearing. "What's the commotion, Starlight? And what's taking you so long to snap a picture? I could've done that by now." She called, and came over.

"I... don't know. I really don't know," Starlight told Marble. "I think it has something to do with Pinkie Pie. She mentioned something about her party cannon."

"Ah yes, she loves that cannon a lot," Marble commented, before she took notice of something. "Say, where's your cannon, Pinkie? You didn't lose it, did you?"

"No, I didn't lose it. I gave it an early retirement," Pinkie flatly answered. "But it was worth it."

"Worth it?! Worth it for what, Pinkie?!" Marble demanded, displaying an anger she rarely showed to anypony. "Pinkie, that cannon was a PSSSD gift from Maud, how could you just get rid of it so easily?!"

"What?! You sold your party cannon?!" Starlight exclaimed to Pinkie.

Pinkie shook her head. "I didn't sell it, I know where it is. But..." She trailed off.

"Oh no, please don't tell me you did-" Starlight began, but quickly clammed up when she realized what she was going to say.

Marble turned to Starlight. "My sister did what, Starlight?!" She demanded, her anger not letting up for a second. "You and my sister have been acting weird all day and talking behind my back! I'm fine with a little secrecy, but I'm beginning to think you're trying to hide something from me!"

"Believe me, I'm just as surprised as you are by all of this," Starlight nervously insisted, backing away. "I had no idea Pinkie was gonna do any of this! I didn't give her any ideas, in fact I'd have probably talked her out of it! She feels bad that the gifts that she always gives you are never as good as the ones that Limestone gets for you, or at least that's what she told me!"

"What?!" Marble asked.

"Starlight, no! Don't tell her that!" Pinkie pleaded. "It was supposed to be a secret!"

"I'm sorry, Pinkie. I'm not good with interrogations," Starlight apologized, as she then explained to Marble. "That's why she was willing to give up that party cannon for that dress!

"Wait?! You mean she gave up her party cannon?! And for a dress?!" Marble exclaimed!

Pinkie sighed, realizing she'd been found out. She pulled the dress out of her mane and presented it to Marble. "Here it is, your PSSSD present. Surprise." She said flatly.

"Pinkie, you didn't have to do that!" Marble protested firmly. "Especially since now I can't give you the gift I was going to give you. Cupcake scented confetti for your party cannon."

"I'm sorry, sis," Pinkie apologized. "I wanted to give you the best PSSSD present in the history of ever. You deserved only the best."

Now it was Marble's turn to sigh. "Pinkie, you didn't have to get me anything really fancy just to show your appreciation. Just being here with you today, is a gift in and of itself. That's way more important than some silly dress, even if I wanted it."

"I know that now," Pinkie realized, hanging her head. "Some PSSSD this turned out to be, huh?"

"I'm really sorry about all of this, Marble," Starlight apologized, also hanging her head. "I was part of all this. I knew about the dress, and how Pinkie wanted to get it for you no matter what. I just didn't imagine she'd be crazy enough to actually trade her party cannon for it. She says she never leaves home without it."

"No, Starlight, this isn't your fault," Pinkie insisted. "I'm the one who traded away my party cannon, not you. In fact, you spent more time with my sister today than I did."

"Hey, the day's not over yet, big sis!" Marble said firmly. "You of all ponies taught me that you should always strive to make the most of each day! I think we can still track down your party cannon and make everything right."

"How are you gonna do that?" Starlight asked with concern. "Whoever Pinkie traded that cannon to is probably far away by now, maybe even in another city."

Marble smiled and winked. "I have my own way, 'Marble Sense' you might call it. I can pick up on things in the air that most ponies wouldn't notice. It's why I don't like to talk much, it's easier to hear and feel what goes on around you if you don't speak," After explaining this, Marble paused, and put a hoof to her ear as she raised it toward the sky. "I can sense something in the wind. The smell of confetti, and the sound of an explosion." She then turned, and trotted off towards the sun, which was just beginning to set.

"Where're you going, Marble?!" Pinkie called.

"To get your cannon back. Come on." Marble said seriously, motioning for Pinkie and Starlight to follow her.

It wasn't long before Marble managed to track down the very pony who matched the description Pinkie had given. "There. He's the one, right?" Marble asked.

Pinkie nodded. "Yep! That sure is the pony I got the dress from! At least he seems to be taking good care of the party cannon."

"How are you gonna get it back?" Starlight asked Marble. "I don't think he's the kind of pony who'll just give it back if you ask nicely."

"Can't hurt to try," Marble replied, and approached the stallion with her dress in tow. She quickly tossed it to him and said firmly. "Here's your dress back, I'd like to exchange it for my sister's party cannon, if you please."

But the stallion only scoffed at Marble, tossing the dress back to her. "Sorry, missy, all sales are final. No refunds, no take backs, no exchanges. That's my policy."

Marble tossed the dress back at the stallion, and said a bit more firmly. "I'd like to return this dress for my sister's party cannon, please!"

"What part of 'no way' don't you understand?" The stallion snorted, rolling his eyes. "I got this here cannon fair and square, and I ain't givin' it up. No way, no how."

"Oh really?" Starlight said in an ominous tone, her horn sparking to life as she adopted a mischevious grin.

Pinkie became concerned. "Starlight, I don't think Twilight would approve of this." She warned.

"Relax, I won't hurt him," Starlight replied, even though her tone of voice didn't change. She proceeded to envelope the stallion completely in her magic, and lift him off the ground. "Now, let's try this again, shall we? You're going to take the dress and give my friend her party cannon back. Or do I have to make you, because I will? Normally, I'd detest doing such a thing, but for a pony like you I'm willing to make an exception."

The stallion was quickly stricken with panic! "No, no! Please! Anything but this!" He shouted, as he tried in vain to break free. "Okay, okay! You win! I'll do whatever you say, just put me down, now!" Starlight did so, and the stallion quickly snatched up the dress and ran off, though not before he shouted! "Your friend can keep that cannon of hers, just stay away from me you freak!"

"Sorry you had to see that, Marble," Starlight apologized, as her horn stopped glowing. "Ponies like that always get on my nerves."

"Here, Pinkie," Marble smiled, approaching the party cannon. "I believe this is yours."

"Thanks, Marble," Pinkie smiled back, as she wrapped her hooves firmly around the party cannon. "Guess I kind of ruined the whole PSSSD thing now, since you had to give up my gift."

"Pinkie, gift giving isn't a competition. It's an expression of love, and you always make sure to give your gifts with lots of love. That's why I'll always love them, and you, five-ever. That's even longer than for-ever." Marble explained, and she and Pinkie shared a passionate hug.

"Yeah, you're right," Pinkie agreed. "But you know, I still have a lot of bits left, and it's not technically sundown just yet. Since I couldn't get you the dress, how about I take you and Starlight on a ride? There's a small lake not too far from here with a beautiful view. Technically there are swan boats, but there are real swans here we can ride, if you're up for it."

"Just a swan boat ride would be nice, Pinkie, thank you," Marble replied. "I think it's safe to say, this has been a PSSSD to remember."

"Yeah, I'll bet it totally blows Limestone and Maud's PSSSD in Manehattan out of the water," Pinkie giggled. "But we'll have to be quick to catch the last boat ride. Starlight and I have a train to catch."

"Good thing I can teleport," Starlight offered. "Just name the location, and I'll take us there with my magic."

But Marble looked at Starlight and said to her. "If it's all the same to you, Starlight. I think Pinkie and I would rather walk there. It's part of the whole PSSSD experience." And the two sisters went off together, walking towards the setting sun.

Starlight stood there for but a moment, before she rushed to catch up with them. "Well, at least the sea air's put me in a good mood. I'm actually looking forward to Twilight's friendship lessons now." She thought to herself.

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