• Published 5th Feb 2018
  • 1,498 Views, 68 Comments

Partyquest - R5h

Pinkie has one month to throw a party that's out of this world. Which is exactly where she'll receive the training she needs.

  • ...

Wake-Up Call

The outskirts of Fillydelphia were about as suburban as suburban got. There weren't any cars, and Pinkie and Twilight didn't see anyone on their smartphones—and of course everyone was horses—but besides that, the neat rows of houses looked just like home.

Hard to believe a millennium-old pony lived here.

Pinkie hammered on the door until it opened. “Do you know we checked Somnambula first? As in the actual town named after you? What are you doing here instead of—” She looked up, and stopped talking.

“Pinkie, don't be rude,” Twilight said, tutting with her eyes closed. “Hello! We're Twilight and Pinkie Pie, but not the ones you probably know. I hope the Pinkie you know sent a letter ahead about us—”

She opened her eyes and shut up.

Somnambula stood there with a mohawk, tie-dye shirt, and sneakers on all four hooves. She beamed, and they did not beam back. “Like the hair?” she said in her thick accent. “I'm thinking about an afro next week!”

Pinkie and Twilight stared.

“Come in, come in!” she said, leading them into a sitting room that was filled with as much bric-a-brac as Pinkie could imagine: oil paintings, abstract sculptures, and several radios all blaring out different channels. Somnambula turned each one off in turn as Twilight and Pinkie made themselves comfortable.

“Before we begin,” Somnambula said, sitting opposite the pair, “I've got two things I'd like to apologize for.”

Pinkie raised an eyebrow.

“First of all, the Sirens....” Somnambula grimaced. “We really didn't think that dimension was inhabited when we sent them through the portal....”

“What?” Twilight almost leapt out of her seat. “You did that? I mean, I wasn't there for that, but still, you're the reason they—”

“Water under the bridge.” Pinkie held a hoof to Twilight's face. “Not important. What can you teach me about partying?”

“See, that's the other thing.” Somnambula frowned heavily. “I don't... actually know anything about throwing a party.”

What?” Pinkie didn't almost leap out of her seat—she hit the ceiling, and the impact rattled some of the sculptures in the room. “But you're Pinkie's party pony predecessor!”

“Yes, yes, I'm the Pillar of Hope that inspired the Element of Laughter—but neither of those,” Somnambula said with a shake of her head, “actually include the word 'party'. I'm honestly not sure why she sent you. Not that I don't enjoy visitors!” she added quickly. “Please stay as long as you like.”

Pinkie got up and turned toward the door. “Thanks anyway,” she said, her tone clipped.

“Pinkie!” Twilight hissed. “Where are you going?”

“Back to the other Pinkie so she can actually teach me something, instead of passing me off on random strangers! No offense!” she added, her tone harsh.

Somnambula sighed. “You know,” she said, “the other Pinkie is a pretty smart girl. There might be something else she sent you here for. Something I can help you with that's not a party?”

Pinkie stopped, her hoof raised to pull open the door. “I don't know what you're talking about.”

She reached for the door, but a glow of purple magic enveloped it, holding it in place. “Pinkie,” Twilight said, “maybe now's the time to say what's going on. To her, or at least to me.”

Pinkie still faced the door. “This isn't your problem—”

“I don't care if it's my problem! You're my friend!” Twilight stepped forward and rested a hoof on her back. “You wanted Limestone to open up to you, didn't you?”

“Well, she hasn't!” Pinkie spun around, her eyes shimmering. “She hasn't opened up! So I don't see why I have to—”

A buzzing sound cut her off. A buzzing from inside her saddlebag.

Pinkie gingerly reached over, undid the clasp, and pulled out the diary as it continued to buzz. It only stopped when she opened it.

here goes nothing

wanna know what happened?
this stupid fucking girl was ragging on Marble
oh haha, poor crazy sister, has to see a shrink
so now she's missing a few teeth
and I don't get to go to summer school for a while

There was a pause. Pinkie noticed Somnambula discreetly watching over her shoulder, and then the book buzzed again.

you're mad at me
aren't you

Pinkie sighed, closing her eyes. “You're mad at me, aren't you?” she said. “For not saying sooner?”

“Of course I'm not mad,” Twilight said. “Just—just sit down and say what's going on.”

Pinkie walked, ever so slowly, back to the couch. Somnambula and Twilight sat down as well, watching intently. She took a deep breath, then took out a pencil and scribbled something in the diary.

Of course I'm not mad. I'll talk soon, okay?

She closed the diary, put down the pencil, and spoke.

“So you know how I don't live with my parents, right, Twilight? I used to, but now me and Maud share a place. Limestone and Marble still live back at the farm—that's my oldest sister and my youngest twin sister,” she added, as Somnambula looked inquisitive. “With my mom and dad. We're still really close, though, right?

“So one time this summer, I dropped in unannounced, I figured, hey, they'll be happy to see their best sister Pinkie.” She stared at the floor, her voice flat. “No one was home, though—silly Pinkie. I go looking, and I stumble into my old room—the one we all used to share. Limestone and Marble still share it. I opened up the closet, 'cuz I've still got some of my old stuff in there—trip down memory lane, you know? You know what I found?”

She looked up.

“I found a noose. A couple nooses, actually. Just lying down there like old clothes. It was like—like someone had been practicing how to do it.” Tears were leaking down her face now, like water overtopping a dam. “And you know what really kills me? I don't even know which one of them it was. I thought we were close, I'm their whole support network, and—and I don't even know that?”

“Pinkie,” Twilight said, pulling her closer with her foreleg.

“I mean, of course I wasn't close enough—I was a whole town away, and in a few weeks I'm gonna be starting college and I'll be even further away, and look what I did to try to fix things!” She laughed, mirthlessly. “I went a whole universe away.” She tried to stand up, but Twilight held on. “Coming here was stupid. I need to go home, I—”

“Pinkie, please,” Twilight said, “don't run. Let us help.”

“I already ran. I thought I could throw the bestest party ever and that would fix things, and now I'm—I'm so scared.” She took a shuddering breath. “Of the future.”

Somnambula tapped the table. “As somepony from the past, could I show you something?”

Pinkie didn't react. Twilight helped her up and led her after Somnambula, who trotted out of the room.

They went through the house, seeing more of Somnambula's eclectic tastes, until they reached the kitchen. “Check this out,” Somnambula said. “This is what the future looks like to me.”

She walked to the sink and turned on the faucet.

Twilight frowned. “What?”

Running water!” Somnambula squee'd, dancing from hoof to hoof. “You just—you just turn that, and it comes out! And if I turn this one—” she turned the other handle “—it's hot water now! Through a series of pipes connecting this whole town!”


“And—and this!” She dashed to the fridge. “Winter in a box! It makes food preservation a problem of the past! No more famine! I can take a train across Equestria to see a friend in a day or less! And check these out!”

She jumped up and stomped all her hooves, and her shoes lit up in flashing colors. “I used to just have hope the future would be better, but now? Now I've got proof.”

“This isn't about sneakers!” Pinkie hissed. “Someone I care about is going to—to—”

“Do you think I've never lost someone I care about to the darkness?”

Somnambula's voice was stern. Pinkie shrank back. “I'm sorry, I didn't think—”

“It's okay,” Somnambula said. “But the reason I lost the person I cared about was because I lost faith that he could be saved. You need to have faith that your sisters can make it through this.”

Pinkie took a breath. “I—I don't know what to do.”

“You came here to learn how to throw a party?” Somnambula smiled, lifting Pinkie's chin with a hoof. “Throw them the best party they've ever seen. And then talk to them. You're close, aren't you?”

“But—but—” Pinkie shook her head. “I'm not ready! I haven't learned enough!”

“Let me give you some advice that's not for parties, but it might as well be.” Somnambula leaned close and whispered: “You will never be ready.”

Pinkie's eyes widened.

“No one is.” Somnambula smiled. “And we go out and we do what we have to do anyway.” Her voice became sterner once again, but still kept its warmth. “Are you ready to stop being ready?”