• Published 5th Aug 2019
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My Little Pony Friendship is Magic What If?: Volume 9 - SuperPinkBrony12

The ninth installment of a What If series that involves the rewriting of episodes. This one covers two Season 2 episodes, one from Season 4 as well as 6 and 7, and five from Season 8. (Warning!: Rewrites based on personal opinion. Please respect it!)

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S8 E3: The Maud Couple (What If?)

A frantic Pinkie Pie was bouncing all over town, searching desperately for somepony. In this case that somepony was her older sister, Maud. Maud hadn't come to breakfast with Pinkie as had become the habit now that the elder Pie sister lived in Ponyville (or Ponyville adjacent to be precise).

"Maud?! Where are you, Maud?!" Pinkie loudly called. "Are we playing a game of hide and go seek?! You're supposed to tell me when it's my turn to be seeker!"

Pinkie kept on bouncing, not really paying attention to where she was going. As a result, she almost didn't notice when she bumped into a very familiar earth pony mare.

"Hello, Pinkie Pie." Maud Pie greeted in her usual flat tone.

"Hi, Maud. Can't talk right now," Pinkie answered her sister. "I have to go and find you!" But as she was about to bounce off again the pink coated earth pony realized what she had previously not noticed. She quickly spun around. "Maud, there you are! I've been trying to find you all morning!" Then she giggled. "I guess it's my turn to go hide! Start counting."

But Maud shook her head at her sister. "I'm not playing, Pinkie. I want to apologize for not being around this morning."

Pinkie simply waved a hoof. "Oh, pssh. What are you apologizing to me for? I'm not upset, you silly-willy. Though a little heads up would be nice."

"I'm sorry, I forgot to leave a note," Maud apologized. "I've been kind of busy lately."

The party pony nodded her head in agreement. "Yeah, too busy. It seems like you're almost never around anymore, no matter when I drop by. Don't you like living in Ponyville?"

"It's great, lots of rocks to keep me busy," Maud answered. "The reason I've been so busy is that I have a boyfriend now."

At that, Pinkie blinked in surprise! "A whaaaaa...?!"

"A boyfriend, Pinkie," Maud answered. "We just met not that long ago. It just sort of happened."

Pinkie grinned! "Ooh, that's so exciting! My sister, in love with another pony! Now I totally understand you being busy these past few weeks. You can be with the pony you love, you just gotta let me throw a party to celebrate."

"I'm not sure if parties are really his thing, I never asked him," Maud commented even though her expression did not change. "But technically, we're in 'like'. Love is a little premature."

Pinkie waved a hoof. "Nonsense! If you say you're in love, you're in love! Now tell me everything!" She started happily bouncing all about. "Who is he? What's his favorite color? Does he like ice cream? Oh! I don't know, because you haven't told me anything yet!"

Maud's expression seemed to change ever so slightly into a smile as she answered. "Well you'll like him. We have a lot in common."

The pink party pony happily declared. "Well, I love you, so I know I'm gonna totally love your boyfriend! Oh, I can't wait to meet him!"

"Good, because you don't have to." Maud declared as her attention was drawn to a nearby rock.

Pinkie assumed the obvious as she gasped. "Of course! He's a rock! And you love rocks, so it's perfect!" Another gasp escaped her lips. "Is Boulder jealous?"

But Maud corrected. "No, he's not a rock. He's behind the rock," And she called out. "Mudbriar? Are you back there? Please come out if you are."

From behind the rock emerged an earth pony stallion with a grayish coat, moderate green eyes, a light and medium brown mane and tail, and a cutie mark depicting a stick in a mud puddle. "Technically, I was but not anymore."

As soon as Pinkie laid eyes on Mudbriar, she gasped loudly and jumped back in surprise! "A wha-whaaaaaaaaa?!" As it turned out she had already met her sister's boyfriend. And this unfortunate, unplanned meeting was going to make the task of getting along with him rather difficult for the party pony.

Despite her sister's shocked reaction, Maud decided to press forward with her planned introduction of her boyfriend. "Pinkie Pie, meet Mudbriar. Mudbriar, meet Pinkie Pie, my favorite little sister."

Mudbriar spoke up in a rather blunt manner. "Technically, we've already met. This formal introduction is not necessary."

"Yeah. It wasn't intentional or anything, Maud. You didn't even tell me you were seeing anypony." Pinkie Pie commented in what sounded like a hurt tone of voice.

"I did try to tell you a few times, Pinkie. But you were always busy with something else, so I didn't feel like speaking up." Maud explained.

Pinkie sighed. "It's not your fault, Maud. Twilight's new school has been keeping me awfully busy. Between that, baking, and saving the world, lots of little things slip through the cracks. I'm even starting to feel like a stranger to the Cake Twins, I can't believe they're almost old enough for kindergarten. Feels like only yesterday Mr. and Mrs. Cake were bringing them home for the first time."

Maud hated to see her sister so down in the dumps, she quickly trotted forward and lifted Pinkie's chin up. "It's alright, Pinkie. I know how important that school is to Twilight, and you make a good teacher. I probably should've introduced you to Mudbriar sooner."

"It could not be helped. Our prior meeting was a chance encounter, what you might say 'A fluke'," Mudbriar declared as he looked at Pinkie Pie. "I assume my manner of speaking needs no re-introduction." To which Pinkie nodded her head.

Maud immediately questioned the two. "So, how did you meet if I may ask?"

At that Pinkie started to massage the back of her neck with a hoof. "Well, it's kind of a long and funny story, Maud. I don't think you need to hear it."

"I always have time for you, sis," Maud commented as her expression seemed to morph ever so slightly into a smile. "But you could probably just give me a shortened version."

"That would be preferable. There's no need to repeat every detail." Mudbriar insisted.

The pink party pony sighed. "Well, okay, you asked for. It was actually earlier today, that's the funny part." And she began to flash back to the events that had led to her unexpectedly (and unknowingly) meeting her sister's boyfriend earlier than planned.

It was just after sunrise as Pinkie bounced happily into the beautiful little cave that Maud had made her own. It was always nice to have her amazing big sister living so close to Ponyville. And today was a special day, a day Pinkie had been looking forward to for weeks. "Who's ready for some fun times at Sugarcube Corner?" She called to her sister, assuming the earth pony was still in bed. "The answer is 'You'!" She declared as she trotted up to the bed. "I would also accept 'Maud.'"

But when Pinkie pulled back the covers she found that Maud was not in her bed. There wasn't a note, and neither was there any indication that the mare had wandered off or left to conduct a study on a rock formation. Naturally, Pinkie began to worry. "Maud?" She called. There was no reply. "Maud!" Again there was no reply, only the sound of flowing water as it polled into the small pound.

Panic took hold of the party pony as she rushed away! She had to find her sister! Without even thinking she dashed straight out of the gem caves and to the School of Friendship! Classes had yet to begin for the day, so the students were currently just huddled about in the hallways and talking to themselves.

Suddenly, Pinkie Pie came bursting through the front doors, almost out of breath! "Maud?!" She called, bouncing from place to place and checking every nook and cranny of the school!

"Professor Pinkie?" Sandbar questioned as he noticed the usually cheerful party pony looking rather concerned.

"No time to talk, students! I have to find my sister!" Pinkie Pie shouted back. "You haven't seen her anywhere, have you?!"

"Wait, you have a sister?" Gallus questioned.

"Three sisters, including a baby sister who's only a few seconds younger than me! But that's not important!" Pinkie protested with a shake of her head, displaying a picture of Maud. "This is Maud Pie, my big sister! She lives in Ponyville adjacent and looks like this! Have you seen her anywhere?! Please say yes, please say yes!"

Alas, the students all shook their heads and Sandbar reluctantly answered. "Uh, sorry. I guess your sister's somewhere in Ponyville."

"Oh, but she could be anywhere right now!" Pinkie groaned, before an idea struck her! "Hey, I know! You can all help me! You can form search parties!"

Ocellus seemed to shrink back a bit. "Headmare Twilight says we're not supposed to leave the school until classes are done for the day."

Pinkie quickly protested. "No worries, I'll just say it's a friendship emergency! Now come on, get yourselves organized and start searching! And if you find Maud, tell her that it was supposed to be my turn to hide!" Then she bounced away again, leaving the students bewildered.

A short time later, an unaware Starlight Glimmer was still sleeping as Pinkie bounced in. The unicorn was mumbling to herself in her sleep, not yet knowing of Pinkie's dilemma. "No, Dad, it's not a phase. I like flying kites and shredding guitars." Starlight murmured in her sleep.

Pinkie immediately hopped up on the bed, waking Starlight as shouting loudly! "Starlight, wake up!"

Starlight shot up in her bed, rubbing the sleep from her eyes as she yawned. "What is it, Pinkie Pie?" She looked at a nearby alarm clock. "It's too early, classes don't start for at least another hour. I'm trying to get some sleep so I'm well rested for my work as a guidance counselor."

But the pink party pony protested. "There's no time! Maud is missing! I can't find her anywhere, Starlight! Unless... she came here! I've already checked everywhere else: The school, Discord's dimension, you name it."

Starlight yawned again. "Forgive me for asking but why's it so important you find Maud? I'm sure she just forgot to leave a note, and you'll probably bump into her."

Pinkie groaned. "But Starlight, I was gonna go birthday cake shopping with Maud today. Since she's living in Ponyville, I can't get it from Sugarcube Corner, the Cakes will blab for sure."

The unicorn suddenly remembered. "Oh yes, her surprise birthday party. But Pinkie, if you're shopping with her, how is it a surprise?"

The party pony giggled. "I'm not gonna tell her who the cake is for, silly. But now I can't even find Maud. And I didn't know we were playing hide and go seek."

Starlight stretched a bit before she got out of her bed and shook the cobwebs from her mind. "Tell you what, Pinkie. I'll look for Maud, you take care of the cake. It'll be easier for me since I can teleport."

"Thanks, Starlight! I owe you big time for this!" Pinkie declared. "Now I'm off! Oh... and if Twilight asks, the students are missing class because of a friendship emergency." But she left without explaining what that meant.

So it was that Pinkie made her way to a small cake shop in Ponyvile. There was a mare behind the counter, and Pinkie bounced right up to her. In a whisper she inquired. "Can you help a mare out? I've gotta get some very important ingredients for a very important pony's cake. And it's gotta be tippy-top super-duper secret. Okay?"

But a voice protested. "Technically, it's not your turn yet. I was here first."

Pinkie blushed as she took notice of an earth pony stallion with a grayish coat, moderate green eyes, a light and medium brown mane and tail, and a cutie mark depicting a stick in a mud puddle (at this moment in time she didn't know who he was). "Oh, I'm so sorry. I didn't see you there. Well, don't mind me, go ahead."

The stallion didn't move or say a word, though. He just stared at the mare behind the counter, his eyes barely even blinked. Pinkie found this most odd. "Um, whatcha doin'? You gonna order something or not?"

The stallion simply replied. "Patience, please. What I'm doing is simple. I am currently speaking to a pony at this local cake shop two minutes before it closes for lunch."

Pinkie couldn't hear any traces of a conversation. "Really? Don't take this the wrong way, but if you haven't decided what to order then could you move aside? I'm trying to plan a party here, and the clock is ticking, while you, uh... What are you doing anyway if you're not ordering?"

"I told you," The stallion impatiently corrected. "I am currently speaking to a—"

Pinkie interrupted. "I mean, can I help you move this along? What are you looking for? Whadya wanna order?"

But the stallion only answered. "Goodbye." And then he turned and trotted away from the counter.

Needless to say, Pinkie was annoyed. "That's what you've been standing here all this time to say? What a waste of time!"

"It's not a waste. I was trying to decide how to end the conversation when you so rudely interrupted me," The stallion explained. "I was torn between whether I should say 'Goodbye' or 'See you later'."

At that the pink party pony blinked, more in annoyance than anything else. "But they're the same thing."

The stallion shook his head at the comment. "Technically, they're very different. You see 'See you later' implies an event in the near future wherein we see each other. Whereas 'Goodbye' expresses good wishes where parting or at the end of a conversation. Hope that clears it up for you."

But Pinkie only proceeded to shove the stallion towards the door while gritting her teeth. "Like I said, same thing. Now will you please leave?"

The stallion simply declared. "I know my manner of speaking is off putting, but I will not apologize for speaking with precision. You should try it sometime."

"Whatever, apology not accepted," The pink party pony snapped as she pushed the stallion out the door. "Goodbye, later, see ya—same thing!" She turned and trotted back inside the shop. "Can you believe that guy?" She was just in time to see the mare hang a notice on the counter. "'Out to lunch'?! Oh come on! That stallion didn't even order!"

A rather frustrated Pinkie bounced away a moment later, grumbling to herself. "No Maud, no cake, no anything! And how annoying was that pony? Who takes so long to say goodbye? Or was it 'See you later'? Ugh, great! Now he's even got me doing it!" And with that she resumed her search for Maud, which led Pinkie to where she now was at the present moment.

"Ugh! Maud!" Pinkie complained as she finished telling her story. "How could you like somepony who's so rude all the time?"

Maud simply turned to Mudbriar. "Mudbriar, I think you owe my sister an apology."

"I did not mean to offend her with my way of speaking." Mudbriar apologized.

Pinkie Pie simply gritted her teeth and shook her head. "I'm sorry, Mudbriar. We got off on the wrong hoof. Here, let's start over. Hi, I'm Maud's sister, Pinkie Pie."

Mudbriar corrected. "I know, as I said we technically already met."

Pinkie simply gritted in reply. "Yes, you know that and I know that. But let's pretend it never happened," She extended her hoof. "One more time: Hi, I'm Maud's sister, Pinkie Pie."

Mudbriar extended his hoof out and shook Pinkie's. "I'm Mudbriar, your sister's boyfriend. A pleasure to meet you," Though he couldn't resist adding. "Even though we technically already met."

The pink party pony was desperate to change the subject from Mudnriar's annoying way of speaking. "So, Maud," She questioned her sister (at least Maud didn't get on your nerves when you tried to talk to her). "How did you and Mud Briar meet, exactly? And how long have you two known each other?"

"It was a couple of weeks ago, maybe a month. And we met at a rock show." Maud answered in her usual flat tone.

"Oh! So you're into rocks too?" Pinkie eagerly asked Mudbriar.

Mudbriar shook his head. "No. I'm more of a stick pony. By that I mean I like sticks, not that I'm a pony made of sticks."

Pinkie blinked in surprise. "Then what were you doing at a rock show?"

Mudbriar gave the answer. "It was a petrified wood show, which technically makes it a stick show. Such was how I met your sister."

Maud's face morphed into a rare smile as she fondly recalled her experience. "Except that in the per-mineralization process of petrification, all organic material is replaced with silicates – i.e., rocks."

Mudbriar stroked Maud's mane while adding. "While retaining the original structural elements of wood – q.e.d., it was a stick show. I did not anticipate meeting the love of my life at it, though."

Maud lightly replied. "Stop it, you'll make me blush." But her actual expression didn't change.

Pinkie quickly spoke up. "Well you know what, Mudbriar? You seem like a nice pony. Hey, did you know I like sticks too? They're great for hitting piñatas! Watch!" She pulled out a stick and a pinata and prepared to hit said pianta!

That is, until Maud stopped her sister. "Pinkie..."

The pink party pony stopped mid-swing, turning to the couple as she offered to Mudbriar. "Oh, did you wanna go first?"

Mudbriar frowned and shook his head. "No. That is stick abuse."

A disappointed Pinkie put the stick away. "I'll bet this guy is a total party pooper. What does my sister even see in him?" She thought to herself. But she quickly dispelled the idea. This wasn't about her, it was about Maud. And besides, Mudbriar was a pony Pinkie had never met before. And that meant she'd have to get to know him if no other reason than because he was her sister's boyfriend (and also so she could throw a party for him). "I'm sorry, I'm not being a very good sister today," She apologized to Mudbriar. "Why don't we start over again?"

Maud then suggested to Mudbriar. "You should introduce Pinkie to your pet, Boulder has a new friend."

Mudbriar pulled out a stick, which got Pinkie excited! "Ooh! So your pet likes fetch?"

Mudbriar shook his head. "No, this is my pet. His name is Twiggy," He set the stick on the ground as Maud took out Boulder. "Twiggy, play nice with Boulder. No rough housing." Mudbriar instructed.

The rock and the stick just lay on the ground as the two ponies observed the scene. They didn't seem to care that neither object was alive. Maud even happily commented. "Aw. Look at Twiggy and Boulder playing together." Speaking in a tone one would expect to see from owners of a dog or a cat.

Mudbriar shared in the tone as he nodded. "They're adorable. It's as if they were meant to be."

Pinkie, however, just blinked while leaning close to Maud and whispering. "It's just a stick."

Maud only scolded. "Pinkie, don't be rude. You'll hurt Twiggy's feelings."

Mudbriar nodded as he added. "Twiggy is not just a stick. He comes from the finest species of trees in all of Equestria and has been carefully preserved and maintained. He is every bit as real as you and I."

Maud smiled, looking across to the stallion. "You complete me, Mudbriar."

Pinkie, however, just nervously backed away. "Well, I'm very happy for you, Maud. Now uh.... I um... need to go do something not top secret somewhere! Bye!" She sped away, only to come racing right back a second later as she whispered to Mudbriar. "Oh, and exny on the birthday cakeay."

Mudbriar just blinked and whispered back. "I don't know what you're talking about, but I shall honor your wish." He didn't even notice as Pinkie disappeared. He was far too observed in watching Boulder and Twiggy play, and occasionally glancing at Maud with a smile on his face.

Later that same day, Starlight was surprised to find Pinkie Pie visiting her in her office after classes had ended for the day and all the students had left. She was even more surprised by what her friend started venting about.

Pinkie put her hooves to her head as she seemed to struggle to hold back her emotions. At last, like a spring that had been wound too tight the party pony snapped and flailed her hooves in the air. "Daaah! I don't get this guy! I don't get him at all!"

Starlight took the news surprisingly well. "Wow. Maud has a boyfriend? Color me surprised."

Pinkie groaned again, flopping down onto the comfy couch Starlight provided. "I don't get it. How in the wide world of Equestria could Maud ever like a pony like Mudbriar. He's so weird, and he's not like Maud at all. Trust me, I know."

"Really? How so?" Starlight questioned.

Pinkie Pie groaned anew. "Oh, where to even begin? He has an inanimate object for a pet!"

Starlight just blinked. "Well so does Maud."

"Puh-lease!" Pinkie growled back. "Boulder has ten times the personality of some random stick from the woods, Mudbriar too for that matter. I swear, he's practically a literal stick in the mud. His way of speaking is off putting, and does he have to be so literal minded?"

But Starlight simply replied. "You know, that's kind of how most ponies see your sister. Even I still sometimes can't tell what Maud is thinking."

The pink party pony only growled further. "Maud and I are best sister friends, Starlight. How could we ever be that if we had nothing in common? Mudbriar is absolutely nothing like Maud!" She rose from the couch while explaining. "Maud is hilarious, friendly, caring, and easy to talk to! But this guy is awkward, quiet, and kind of... strange. I want to like him, but the more I try the more he gets on my nerves."

"Well, Maud obviously likes something about him," Starlight commented. "Look, Pinkie, I'm not much of an expert when it comes to a pony's love life. I didn't know Maud was seeing somepony either, I was just as in the dark as you were. Why are you talking to me about this instead of anypony else?"

Pinkie sighed, laying back on the couch. "All my friends are busy with classes or lesson plans, and Twilight's got a new student coming that requires a lot of extra paperwork for some reason. The Cakes are always busy, and I can't tell Maud I don't like her boyfriend. That's going to make me look bad."

A moment of silence fell over the office before the unicorn found the words she wanted to say. She wasn't used to this sort of thing despite being appointed a guidance counselor. "Look, Pinkie, you two got off on the wrong hoof. But from what I hear this isn't the first time that's happened. You're Pinkie Pie, you don't give up the first time you strike out. Maybe you just need to spend more time with him. Find out what you have in common."

"That's easy, Starlight, nothing! We have nothing in common!" Pinkie protested.

Starlight hesitated as she tried to explain. "Well... you both obviously care about Maud and value her happiness. At least, I'm pretty sure Mudbriar does if he's her boyfriend."

"He'd have to be as nasty as that no good Chancellor Neighsay to not care about Maud," Pinkie commented. "Never thought I'd say something like that."

Starlight proceeded to gently coax the conversation towards a suggestion. "Well you know what, since he's so close to your sister and he kind of knows about your surprise party, why not bring him onboard? He could help you plan."

Pinkie sighed as she sat up on the couch. "I guess it's worth a try."

Starlight beamed. "Excellent! So tomorrow you can do that, and I'll keep Maud busy while you two plan the best surprise birthday party ever. Sound good?"

Pinkie nodded her head. "That I can do!" Then she rose from the couch and departed Starlight's office, though not before saying. "You know, Starlight, you actually make a pretty good guidance counselor."

The very next day, Pinkie brought Mudbriar to Sugarcube Corner and led her upstairs to her bedroom. "Okay, Mudbriar, here's the deal. Maud's birthday is tomorrow, and there's no time to waste," She whispered to the stallion. "Starlight thinks you can help me plan for the party. But first, quick question: You're not afraid of slides, are you?"

"No," Mudbriar answered as Pinkie reached over to press a button on what looked like an ice cream cone. The floor gave away a few seconds later as a trap door opened up. "Whyyyyyyyyyyy??!" He screamed as the unexpecting stallion slid down a slide and into the darkness of the party cave.

Pinkie slid down behind him, landing right on top of the stallion. "Here, I'll get the lights," She told Mudbriar as she got off him and flicked on a switch. Light flooded the cave, illuminating several drawers and cabinets. "Welcome to my party planning cave, Mudbriar! This is where the magic happens!"

Mudbriar's eyes scanned his surroundings. He was quick to point out. "Technically, due to the speleothems growing from the ceiling, this is more of a cavern than a cave. Maud taught me that."

"Yeah, yeah, whatever," Pinkie replied, trying not to pay Mudbriar's remark any mind. "I call it a party planning cave, and I'm the party expert. So what I say goes. Now come on, are you gonna help me or just keep making technical comments all day?"

"I didn't wish to offend you. I only wished to correct what your sister says is a very common mistake." Mudbriar explained as he trotted over to Pinkie's location.

Pinkie just dove into one of the filing cabinets, rummaging around to the sound of squeaks. "No, no, no. Come on, where'd I put it?!" She complained to herself. It took a few seconds of searching to find what she wanted. "Ah, here it is! I really should re-organize these files. Guess I'll do that when I add you to the 'M's, Mudbriar," She pulled out the file and set it down on a table, reading it aloud. "Okay, tell me what you think. Here's what I'm thinking we do for her surprise party – edible rock candy plates, gem-shaped ice cubes, a pebble piñata," When she noticed Mudbriar wince she scribbled something out. "Okay, maybe we can skip that one."

Mudbriar didn't stay silent for long as he observed the file and all that Pinkie had described. "Might I make some suggestions?"

"Oh, sure. Go ahead and suggest away," Pinkie reluctantly nodded. "I mean, that's what you're here for. You and I, the two of us! Planning together as..." The last word was slow to leave her mouth. "Friends."

The stallion quickly pointed out. "If I may, I have a vision board of everything Maud that loves, and I'm afraid none of those things are on it."

The pink party pony spun around and glared at the stallion. "Really? Let me see this 'vision board'."

Mudbriar explained. "It's not a physical thing, you see. I call it a vision board because I'm envisioning it. Watch," He shut his eyes and began to murmur softly to himself. "I come in through the large door of my mind palace and enter to the back, where I keep all of my books and possessions, and what do I encounter? The Maud Room. None of those things are there," Then he opened his eyes. "Just as I expected, Maud doesn't like surprises."

"Ha! And you call yourself Maud's boyfriend!" Pinkie shouted as she pointed a hoof. "Maud's never told me that, and I've known her a lot longer than you have. So I know you're lying."

Mudbriar shook his head. "If she never told you, it's probably because she was trying to protect your feelings. She's very caring that way. I'm sorry you had to find out this way."

At that Pinkie growled. "You're lying, Mudbriar! Stop acting like you know my sister better than me, because you don't!"

"Technically, I never said that. You just assumed." Mudbriar innocently protested.

But an irritated Pinkie only growled and gritted her teeth. "Well, technically, I don't care! And since I've been best sister friends forever with Maud my entire life, I think I'm the expert here! So don't tell me how to do my job!"

"I thought you said you were a teacher?" Mudbriar questioned.

"I'm both, and I'm more than that! But if you really knew my sister like you say do, you'd know all there was to know about me!" Pinkie complained.

Mudbriar simply answered. "How do you know Maud likes surprises? Did she ever tell you otherwise?"

"And how do you know she doesn't?!" Pinkie stubbornly protested. "I've got half a mind to throw you out of this cave right this instant!" When Mudbriar opened his mouth to speak she added. "And I don't care what you wanna call it, if I say it's a cave then it's a cave."

"Perhaps we could ask Maud what she thinks? It's her party after all." Mudbriar suggested.

At that, Pinkie's eyes lit up. "Great idea, glad we finally agree on something!" But she proceeded to whisper. "But it's still a surprise party, so that means we have to be super-sneaky about asking."

"How sneaky, exactly? Could you be more specific?" Mudbriar asked.

"No!" Pinkie snapped and began to push him away. "Just leave the talking to me so you don't spill the beans, I'm not picking them up!"

They found Maud with Starlight on a hill near Ponyville, the two mares were currently flying kites.

Starlight was the first to spot the approaching duo, and she waved to them. "Oh, hello," She eyed the stallion. "You must be Mudbriar, Maud's told me a lot about you," Mudbriar remained silent. "I'm Starlight Glimmer, nice to meet you," Still, Mudbriar said nothing. So Starlight turned to Pinkie. "I'm so glad the two of you are spending time together. So... how's it going?"

Mudbriar looked like he was about to say something, but Pinkie spoke up first. "Oh, it's going great! Just great! Yup, nothing to worry about here! Mudbriar and I have just spent the best time bonding! And we're really starting to make some headway becoming besties, except for one teensy-weensy little disagreement that maybe you could help settle, Maud."

Maud turned to face her sister. "What would that be?"

Pinkie spoke up again. "Mudbriar here seems to think that you don't like surprise parties," She paused as a series of snickers escaped her lips. "Isn't it funny how wrong he is?!" The last part of her sentence sounded noticeably angry. "So go ahead, tell him what I told him. He's wrong."

Maud seemed to hesitate as she looked at the ground, before at last she founds the words she wanted to say. "Well, I do like surprise parties..." She began.

"See?! Told you so!" Pinkie glared at Mudbriar. Mudbriar said nothing.

But Maud threw up a hoof. "I'm not finished, Pinkie. I like surprise parties, because I know they make you happy when you throw them for me."

"Wait, what?!" Pinkie gasped in surprise. "Okay, Maud, that's very funny. You had me going there for a moment."

"I'm serious, Pinkie," Maud protested as her tone of voice shifted ever so slightly. "I'd rather just do something small with you, Starlight, Boulder, and Mudbriar for my birthday."

"What?! No party? No party?!" Pinkie growled before gesturing a hoof to Mudbriar. "Did he put you up to this?! Maybe you should consider, I don't know, taking things just a little less serious with Mudbriar because he's kinda sort of, completely impossible to like!" She shouted. "I've tried and I've tried, but I can't find anything to like about him, Maud! Tell her I'm right, Starlight. Even you have to admit Mudbriar's unlikeable."

However, Starlight simply turned to Mudbriar as she offered him the string of a kite. She didn't even acknowledge Pinkie's comment. "Hey, Mudbriar, have you ever flown a kite? Let me tell you all about it." And she motioned for him to come over.

Pinkie, meanwhile, was snout to snout with Maud. "How could you lie to me for so long, Maud?! Why didn't you ever tell me you didn't like surprise parties?! I though they made you happy!"

"They did make me happy, because you were happy." Maud explained.

Pinkie growled back. "That's not what I wanted, Maud! I wanted a party where we'd both be happy, not a party where we're happy for the other! You should've told me!"

Maud sighed. "I wanted to tell you, Pinkie. But you always seemed so happy planning and throwing those parties. I didn't want to make you unhappy. I'm sorry you had to find out like this."

The pink party pony only growled further. "I just can't believe it, Maud. What else have you been lying to me about? Do you not like my pies?" And then she added. "Well, now I guess I don't need to ask if you want to choose between sitting around with that boyfriend of yours, or having a party with your own sister. I know what you want."

"Pinkie, I never wanted to choose. I don't want to choose even now," Maud tried to explain. "Technically, I said I wanted to be with both of you. And Starlight too for that matter."

Hearing the same word Mudbriar was so fond of did nothing to soothe Pinkie's hurt feelings. "'Technically'? Ugh, you even like the way he talks?"

Maud looked to Mudbriar as she smiled. "Everything about him makes me happy. I'm sorry you and him don't get along, I was really hoping you would," Then she suggested. "You can still throw a surprise party for Mudbriar, his birthday's coming up in a few weeks. I can tell you what he likes, and I think that'll be the fastest way for you two to get to like each other."

But a downtrodden Pinkie just hung her head. "No, Maud. You seem happy with Mudbriar, too happy. I guess now that you have a boyfriend, you don't need a best sister friend forever anymore."

"Pinkie, wait..." Maud called as her sister turned to leave.

Starlight, having overheard, joined in as well. "Listen to your sister, Pinkie. I'm sure if we just talk about this, we can work something out."

Pinkie brushed Starlight's hoof away. "It's too late for that, Starlight! Maud's made it clear who she likes, I can't take away her happiness with Mudbriar. Especially not when I don't even know what makes my own sister happy anymore! It's like everything I've known is a lie!" And she ran away, sobbing to herself quite loudly.

"See you later!" Mudbriar yelled as Maud and Starlight turned to look at him. He didn't seem to be aware of anything that had just transpired.

Pinkie kept on running, not even bothering to look where she was going. She didn't stop until she had run fill tilt into Sugarcube Corner, up the stairs to her bedroom, and plopped down onto her bed. "I don't understand. How could this happen?" She thought out loud. "Have I really misjudged everypony? Do I actually not know anything about any of them? Are they only pretending to like me to make me happy?" She paused briefly in her thinking. "Well, maybe not that last part, but still." She buried her face into one of her pillows and started sobbing loudly.

"Pinkie, is everything alright up there?" Mrs. Cake called a short time later, knocking on the bedroom door.

"I'm fine, Mrs. Cake!" Pinkie yelled, not even lifting her head from the pillow. "Just leave me alone, I don't want you or anypony else to see me like this," She sniffled a bit. "Were all my years of throwing parties to spread laughter a waste?"

Mrs. Cake called back. "Pinkie, I don't know what would make you think that. You're the finest party pony Carrot Cake and I have ever known. Please, whatever it is that's bothering you, I just want to help. You're like family to me, and I can't stand seeing you so upset."

Pinkie only yelled. "Just go away, Mrs. Cake! I want to be alone!"

Mrs. Cake reluctantly sighed. "Alright, Pinkie, you win. But sooner or later, if you don't come out I'm coming in. And then you and I are going to have a little talk." Then the sound of hoofsteps signaled her departure, leaving Pinkie alone.

As the party pony sulked to herself, wondering just what she was going to do, she started to remember something from long ago. A memory from when she still lived on her family's rock farm.

The memory in particular she was recalling had occurred not long after she'd gotten her cutie mark. When she'd thrown that first party in the silo, and had made her whole family smile.

The four Pie sisters were hard at work in the fields, tending to the various rocks that lay scattered about the drab environment.

Suddenly, Limestone gave a whistle. "Hey, everypony," She called with a rare smile on her face. "I've got something I wanna show you. I found it just the other day in the mine."

The other sisters all trotted (or in Pinkie's case bounced) over to Limestone. She led them down the enbankment towards the crystal mine that the Choosing Stone was located in. But Limestone herself stopped a short distance from the mine entrance, gesturing a hoof to what looked like an ordinary rock. "I'm looking at a sparkling bright blue and white rock. See it?"

"That's just a lumpy grey rock," Maud flatly answered. "We have lots of those in the fields."

"And the rock gardens too, don't forget those!" Pinkie chimed in.

Limestone sighed, trying not to lose her temper. "Yes, I know it looks like an ordinary rock. But it's not an ordinary rock," She turned to Marble. "Show 'em!"

"Mm-hmm." Marble nodded and picked up a pickax. She tapped it against the rock, causing it to crack open. The fillies' eyes all fell upon the dazzling, sparkling gems that shone on the exposed interior.

Limestone proudly displayed it. "See?! It's a geode! I found one just like it in the mines, I bet there's a lot more of them buried around the farm! The outside looks like a regular rock, but the inside is filled with beautiful gems."

"Hey, we should totally crack open all the rocks in the mine, I bet they might be geodes!" Pinkie encouraged. "We could sell them for a fortune!"

But Maud questioned. "Why would you show us this, Limestone? Won't Mother and Father be mad if they find we're not in the fields?"

Limestone waved a hoof. "We're taking a work break, Ma and Pa will understand. Now tell me, does this geode remind you of anypony?"

Marble snickered and teased. "Is how you like to pretend you're always miserable, but on the inside you're a totally softy?"

Limestone growled as her face blushed bright red. "Marble, how could you?! Er... I mean... no, it's a metaphor! Just because you can't see past a pony's dull exterior, doesn't mean they don't have a shiny interior. You may see them as a plain old rock, but if you look closer you might realize why others see them as a gem," Then she added. "Now come on, break time's over!" Her yell put an end to any of the other fillies' ideas about continuing to make fun of her.

As the memory ended, Pinkie began to wonder. "Is Mudbriar who Limestone was referring to when she was explaining about the geodes?" She shook her head. "No, Limestone couldn't have known. And the only way I could ask her is if I went back to the rock farm. But that would take all day, and maybe half the night too."

Suddenly, Pinkie's thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door. "Pinkie?" Mrs. Cake called from the other side. "There's somepony here who wants to talk to you. Somepony very important."

"Technically, I'm not that important," The familiar voice of Mudbriar also called. "But I would still like to see you. If you'll allow me."

Surprised at this, Pinkie forgot all about being upset and unhappy. She sprang from her bed and opened the door as Mudbriar trotted in. "What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be with Maud, getting ready for her birthday tomorrow? There's not gonna be a party."

Mudbriar corrected. "Technically, there's not going to be a surprise party. But there will still be a party," He trotted closer to Pinkie, offering her what appeared to be an olive branch. "Here. I know it's technically not an olive branch, but it is a quercus. And I do love a good quercus."

"But, I don't understand, I treated you so horribly. I blamed you for stuff that wasn't even your fault." Pinkie blinked in surprise.

Mudbriar answered to Pinkie. "I never meant to take your place in your sister's heart as her best friend. There's room in her heart for a boyfriend and a best sister friend. And I think that should be more than enough for the two of us to get along. After all, I did say 'See you later' which if you'll recall implies that we see each other."

"Well, I accept your apology. But I think you're owed an apology too," Pinkie told Mudbriar as she accepted the olive branch. "I was really unfair to you, and I'm ready to listen to your ideas for Maud's birthday, if you still want to plan it together."

Mudbriar smiled. "That's good, because I think I'm going to need the help of a party pony. My birthday present for Maud is already prepared, but I need help wrapping it."

Pinkie grinned as she pulled Mudbriar close. "Well, you've come to the right place, Mudbriar. And while I help you wrap, you can tell me if you have any ideas for the party."

The next evening, many ponies (and even some of the students from Twilight's school) had gathered near town hall as the sun began to set. Suddenly, the doors swung open and a cardboard cut out of Maud appeared as everyone yelled out! "Surprise!" Spike even took the liberty of dancing with the cardboard cut out, which Starlight was holding aloft with her magic.

From a nearby hill, Pinkie Pie, Maud, and Mudbriar watched the fake surprise party while under the shade of a tree. Maud smiled. "This has to be my favorite party ever."

Pinkie simply gestured to Mudbriar. "It was all your amazing boyfriend's idea, Maud. He said the best present would be me throwing you a surprise party you didn't have to go to. And from now on, we can just do something smaller at your place for your birthday, and I promise I'll try to do a better job of listening to you."

Maud smiled again. "I'd like that very much, Pinkie. I'm glad you and Mudbriar are getting along."

The two sisters hugged each other for a moment, before Maud turned around to do the same with Mudbriar (and even kiss him). Then Pinkie Pie spoke up. "Hey, Maud, you know what this means, right? Now that you've introduced to Mudbriar, you need to introduce him to the rest of the family. After all, they're gonna be coming here to Ponyville for Hearth's Warming."

Mudbriar seemed to suddenly gulp. "What exactly are your parents like?" He asked Maud.

Maud just replied with another smile. "Don't worry, Mudbriar. If my sister could accept you for what you are, I don't think you'll have any problem with my parents," Then she added. "Though, I may have to explain why I didn't use the Choosing Stone to find you."

Pinkie Pie just grinned. "Hey, that's no problem. It's not like Limestone's in any hurry to use it," Then she looked down at the party. "Huh, I wonder where Twilight is. It's not like her to miss a party, even if it's a fake surprise party."

The answer was simple. Twilight was currently at her office in the school, looking over the files for a particular pony that she was considering whether or not to admit. It was a pegasus filly with a pinkish gray coat, eyes an moderate scarlet in color, a beautifully curly mane and tail that was a pale, light grayish arctic blue and light arctic bluish gray in color, and a cutie mark depicting a rook.

"So let me see if I get this," Twilight questioned the filly. "Your name is Cozy Glow, your cutie mark is in leadership, and you want to come to my school because you're convinced it's the best place for you?"

Cozy Glow nodded her head. "Golly, I still can't believe I'm actually talking with the real Princess Twilight Sparkle! This must be a dream come true!" Then she eagerly asked. "So when do I start classes?"

Twilight threw up a hoof. "Just a moment, Cozy Glow. I still have to decide whether to take you on. The school is already all but full as it is, and it's not like the semester just started either. You'd have to work really hard to catch up to where everyone else is."

"I know, I know," Cozy replied. "But I'm ready to learn! Just say the word!"

However, Twilight commented. "There's just one thing that worries me, Cozy Glow. You didn't mention any kind of parents or guardians on your entry form. But somepony had to sign off on this. Don't you have any kind of family or relatives?"

Cozy gulped and the pegasus struggled to hold back tears. "No, because the truth is, I'm not supposed to be here. They want me to attend a boring old, stuffy border school in Las Pegasus. So I ran away from home after tricking them into signing this form," She then pleaded. "Please, don't send me back! You don't know how mean my parents are, how mean my family is! I might as well be an orphan!"

"Well... I don't know," Twilight commented with a gulp. "I can't just bend the rules for you, it wouldn't be fair to the other students who came here fair and square."

"Please, princess?!" Cozy pleaded as the tears started to flow from her eyes. "I'll do whatever you want me to do, I'll take extra classes, do more homework, anything! I'll be the best student you've ever had! A role model for everyone else!"

Twilight looked deep into the filly's eyes, and something inside her melted. "Alright," She reluctantly told Cozy. "I suppose you can come here. But don't expect any kind of special treatment, you're going to have to work just as hard as your fellow students."

Cozy nodded her head and then hugged Twilight tightly. "Oh thank you, princess! You won't regret this! I'll go get my stuff so you can show me to my room!" She flew away a moment later, and only when she was certain that she was alone did the filly start to talk to herself. Her eyes glowed green as a similarly colored magical flame surrounded her.

Chrysalis cackled with glee. "Foolish, princess. You've led me right to your doorstep," She declared. "I'll find the source of your 'friendship' and use its power against you. Just you wait and see!"

Author's Note:

While definitely far from the worst Pinkie Pie focused episode of all time, this episode does have a great deal of problems, many of which can be traced back to the fact that at times it feels like it's retredding ground from "Rock Solid Friendship'. It doesn't help that lots of scenes just feel dragged on or tacked on to pad out the run time (such as the beginning with Maud's stand up comedy, and the rule of three with Pinkie having to be told Maud has a boyfriend and trying to start over with Mudbriar).

Mudbriar is also a point of major contention, with some people comparing him to Sheldon from "Big Bang Theory" (which I haven't seen so I can't attest as to whether or not the connection is true) and others saying he's an offensive autistic stereotype (I don't really think he is, he has no trouble expressing himself he just seems to be rather set in his ways and unaware of how annoying he is). They point out that he never apologizes to Pinkie for his behavior, and while Pinkie definitely isn't acting the greatest in this episode Mudbriar does still get annoying after a while. Especially when he gets technical over Pinkie's peace offering.

But the detail of Maud only liking surprise parties because they make Pinkie happy really makes Maud look selfish, especially since they never tell or show that she tried to let Pinkie know she didn't enjoy them. It's fine to go along with it the first time, but pretending to like them every single time is lying. Pinkie would be upset, but lying to her instead of telling the truth makes it worse. So I wanted to address that along with Mudbriar's behavior.

Lastly, since I wrote the last rewrite volume prior to any knowledge of Season 9, my rewrite of "Marks for Effort" made Cozy Glow actually a disguise for Chrysalis. And if there's one thing that irked me about Season 8 besides the school, it's that Cozy Glow could've been established at any point prior to the finale since there was no twist to her identity. And putting this establishment into "Marks for Effort" just made the episode a waste since Cozy's introduction could've come at any time prior. And episodes like this were never clear on whether they took place before or after the school was established (despite this being the episode where the next version of the theme song debuted).

Now there's only two rewrites left, but since they're two parts of a two parter, I intend to wait and publish them when both parts are done. Hopefully, that will be by the end of this week, definitely by this time next week unless something unexpected pops up.

The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well (Redo)
Ponyville Confidential
Daring Don't (Bonus Chapter)
Dungeons And Discords
Once Upon a Zeppelin (Bonus Chapter)
School Daze Parts 1 and 2
The Maud Couple
School Raze Parts 1 and 2