• Published 1st Sep 2019
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Who Is Pinkie Pie? - Irrespective

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4. - She Sounds Like A Nice Pony; I Bet I'd Like Her

* * Ω * *

Long Run let out a long, luxurious groan as the first rays of sunlight began to tickle his cheeks. Normally, he would be up before the dawn, as it was a wonderful time to get some exercise in, or to do a last-minute check of his lesson plans for the day. Time was a precious commodity for him, and under different circumstances, he was loath to waste even a few seconds.

He peeked with one eye and evaluated his alarm clock, which he had deliberately forgotten to set the night before. After making a quick note of the hour, he grinned, rolled over, and stuck his head under his wing.

He was officially on vacation, and early mornings were now illegal until further notice.

His joy deepened as he reviewed the plans he had carefully crafted to maximise his nothingness output. Sleep would take up a considerable chunk of the time, followed by lounging, laying about, loafing, and a hearty session of loitering to wrap everything up. There was a brand new lounge chair on his back porch that needed to be properly broken in, and the recliner in his front room had been grossly negligent in supporting his overworked rump.

Both of these problems needed to be addressed immediately, with immediately meaning ‘later today.’

His delight dimmed when he stretched out his legs and touched nothing but sheets. It was a familiar sensation, one that had been repeated hundreds of times in a hundred different hotels in a hundred different locations across Equestria. Here or there, early or late, he still woke up alone and with a deeply lonesome emptiness in his chest.

The sadness that came with that loneliness stimulated his thoughts, and his hoof slowly traced the general outline of the pony form. What would it be like to have a mare there, with bright eyes and an even brighter smile, to welcome him to another day? What would he feel, deep within him, if he had somepony to cuddle with during the long nights, or to have somepony waiting for him when he came home after a long day of work?

The musing was interrupted when a familiar scent began to tickle his nose, and his stomach rumbled out a call for the deliciousness to come closer. There was only one thing in the world that smelled like that, and there was no way he could hold himself back from Rainbow’s custom-ordered-for-him cupcakes.

It only took him a moment to fly down to his front door, and he ripped it open with an overenthusiastic greeting for Rainbow Dash.

The only problem was that it wasn’t Rainbow at his door. Instead, there was a shriek, and a yellow blur bolted from his porch upwards into the low branches of his house.

"Fluttershy?!" With a gasp of his own at the frightened response, he quickly stammered out an apology as he flapped up to her and tried to break her death grip on the branch. “I'm sorry, Fluttershy! I didn’t mean to startle you! Are you okay?”

She meekly nodded with a small “eep,” and in one quick move, her vice-like grip moved from the branch to his offered hoof. Once they were both safely back on the ground, Fluttershy took several deep breaths, but her gaze remained on her hooves. “I’m fine. I, uh… I wasn’t... I mean, I didn’t think you’d be… y’know, um...”

“Up so early?” he gently offered to the slightly trembling mare. “I’m usually not when I’m on vacation. Are you sure you’re okay? I really didn’t mean to scare you so badly.”

“Oh, it’s okay. I’ll be fine. You don’t need to worry about me.”

“Would you like to come in?” he asked with a wave of his hoof towards the interior of his house. “I can get some coffee going real quick, if you’d like some.”

“Oh, no. I couldn’t do that,” she stammered. “I was just dropping this off for... for you.”

Long chuckled, and he accepted the mashed and mangled pink box that was oozing icing out of several seams with a wing. “That’s very nice of you to do so, but I’m a bit surprised that you’re the one making the delivery.”

“Well, Pinkie Pie was… um, busy, and I thought… I mean, I didn’t want her to stress about it, and she was… that is, I mean…” she stalled. “I squished it.”

Long gave a dismissive scoff to that. “Don’t worry. It’d look like this by the time it hit my stomach anyway. You just took out the chewing step for me, so now this delicious goodness can take a straight shot down my throat.”

Fluttershy snickered, and her eyes finally met his. “I guess that’s one way to look at it.”

“Tell Pinkie thank you for me,” he said with a grin. “And I won’t mention the squished part if you don’t.”

“I won’t,” she said with a nod and a soft smile.

“Sure you don’t want to come in? Really, I wouldn’t mind getting you something to drink.”

“Oh, no. I’ve got to get going. My animals will be waiting for me. It’s breakfast time, and Angel gets really cranky if I'm late.”

“Another time, then?”

Fluttershy nodded. “Another time. I’ll see you later, Long.”

Long nodded, and he watched Fluttershy trot away until a glob of icing hit the ground with a rather loud splat. “I guess I oughta do something with this. Maybe if I throw it in a blender and make a cupcake smoothie out of it…”

* * Ω * *

Long Run hummed a happy little tune to himself as he idly glided towards Ponyville. His first day of vacation was off to a roaring start, if one defined ‘roaring’ as ‘eating a smooshed cupcake for breakfast, going back to bed until nearly noon, and then making lunch out of cold pizza and half and half.’ With such a start, he was now ready to actively idle away his time, but there were a few things he needed to do before he could fully commit to his grandiose nothingness.

The first thing was to restock his refrigerator, naturally. Since he was expecting a cyan pegasus with a bottomless pit for a stomach to stop by, he figured he should be prepared for her eventual appearance. After that, he was going to head over to Sweet Apple Acres to arrange for a covert delivery of Granny Smith’s Special Reserve, and to make a payment on Rainbow Dash’s party debts as he had promised.

But as he touched down, his eyes flicked over to Sugarcube Corner. There was a pink party pony in there, somewhere, and he had to admit that he wanted to see Pinkie Pie again. He hadn’t realized how enjoyable it would be to just sit and talk, and he wanted to learn more about her, since he was the one who had dominated the conversation during their first ‘date.’

With that thought, Long moved into the shop, eager to set up another time to hang out with Pinkie Pie. The delectable smells of the bakery washed over him as soon as he did, and for a brief moment, the saccharine seduction in the store made him forget why he was there.

“Good morning, Long!” Missus Cake called out, her back to him as she pulled a batch of cinnamon rolls out of the oven. “Good to see you again! What can I get for you?”

As tempting as the treats were, Long needed to save his bits for his shopping list. “Actually, I was just wondering if Pinkie Pie was here.”

“Oh, she’s not here today. She was scheduled to work, but then her Pinkie Sense went off, and she said she had to take care of it right away.”

“Pinkie Sense?” Long asked.

“You haven’t heard of that?” Missus Cake put the pan of cinnamon rolls down on the counter in front of Long, and it took a tremendous amount of willpower to keep from stealing the succulent goods before him and making a run for it. “I suppose you haven't, since you just barely met her. Pinkie is…” Missus Cake paused in thought as she grabbed the nearby tube of frosting. “It’s hard to explain. She gets premonitions, sometimes, about future events.”

“She’s clairvoyant?” Long asked.

“Yes and no. She doesn’t know exactly what will happen, but whatever it is usually happens fairly soon after she feels it coming on.”

“I didn’t know sompony could feel the future.”

Missus Cake nodded. “They manifest as ‘different little niggly feelings,’ as she describes it. A twitching tail, for example means something is going to fall, or an achy shoulder means there’s an alligator in the bathtub.”

“How often does something like that happen?” Long asked with concern.

“Alligator in the tub? Thankfully, only a couple of times.” Missus Cake chuckled as she moved the freshly frosted rolls into individual boxes. “But if Pinkie Pie ever offers to draw a bath for you, make sure she’s put her pet alligator away. Pinkie Sense or not, it’s still a shock to find that thing when you’re not expecting it.”

“She has a pet alligator?” Long asked. That bit of news did not help his concerns.

“You can ask her about it when you see her next. She was rather looking forward to it, in fact.”

This brought a grin to Long’s face. “Well, I’ll go see if I can find her, then. So long as there wasn’t some sort of friendship problem somewhere, she should be in town, right?”

“I think so. But since you two have a history of not running into each other, I’ll let her know you stopped by, too.”

* * Ω * *

“No, I haven’t seen her all day,” Roseluck said with a shake of her head. “Sorry, Long.”

“It’s okay. Thanks.” Long drew in a deep breath, and his eyes swept over the bustling market. So far, at least a dozen ponies had not seen Pinkie Pie that day, and that fact made him curious. Pinkie Pie should be the easiest pony in the world to find, based on what he had heard, and yet now there was no Pinkie anywhere. For somepony who supposedly served as both the life and the center of any party, she had proven surprisingly difficult to find.

A shadow crossed the path in front of him, and his eyes went up to follow the pegasus casting it. His eyes widened as he found that it wasn’t a pegasus flying by.

Long Run could count the number of times he had personally interacted with Princess Twilight Sparkle with his legs and still have plenty left over. Normally, she was busy with some royal business, or occupied with something involving her friends, and he had never really had a reason to seek an audience with her.

But as he watched The Princess of Friendship flap towards Davenport’s Quills and Sofas store, he winced to himself, and his legs automatically began to move. There was no way he could let what he was seeing continue without correction.

“Princess! Princess Twilight!” he called out as he jogged over to her. “Forgive me, Your Highness, but do you have a moment?”

“Of course, Long Run!” the princess replied. “But please, just call me Twilight. What can I help you with?”

“Okay. This is probably going to be one of the most random questions you’ve ever been asked in your life—”

“I doubt that,” she said with a playful scoff.

“—but have you ever noticed that your supracoracoideus is sore after a long flight?” he finished.

“I stand corrected.” Princess Twilight leaned away from him and gave him a critical stare. “Why are you asking?”

“Wait, wait, hold on.” Long shook a hoof in the air as his thoughts finished forming. “Rainbow Dash taught you how to fly when you got your wings, didn’t she? That explains it. Let me see.”

“Hey!” Twilight protested when Long grabbed her wing, but before she could incinerate him with a bolt of death magic, he rammed his elbow into her wing joint, rolled it down along the muscle, and then gave it a quick yank. Twilight let out a cry of pain with the action, but then her face contorted into confusion as she rolled her wing and her shoulder. “What did you do?”

Long gave her a smug smile. “It was aching just a little, wasn’t it? Nothing bad, but just a little nagging stab towards the shoulder.”

“Yeah. I thought it was just from being cooped up in my castle for too long.”

Long shook his head. “See, when Rainbow taught you how to fly, she taught you how she flies, and she flies at full throttle all the time everywhere no matter what. The problem with that is it overworks the supracoracoideus on longer flights, and that causes a slight dislocation. All I did was realign your wing so it’s back in the proper place. Nothing too drastic.”

“Okay, but how did you know that?”

“By the angle of your wing as you flew by. If I may?” he asked with an outstretched hoof, and with her nod, he gently pulled her wing out again. “For Rainbow Dash—or any pegasus who wants to go fast—the angle of the wing folds inward, like so.” He bent her wing with a hoof slightly. “Now, like this, you increase your thrust, and thus your speed. But here, at this angle—” he adjusted the pitch of her wing “—is where you want to be for extended flight. Feel the difference in pull? The effect is more pronounced for you, since your wings are larger than Rainbow’s. It’s like you’re an albatross that’s trying to fly like a hawk. You want to keep your angles here, and here. This will also give you that smooth, regal flow that Princess Celestia and Princess Luna have when they fly.”

“Huh.” Twilight flapped the wing as Long had instructed a few times. “I had heard you were a flight instructor, but I didn’t realize you knew so much about the mechanics.”

“Comes with the territory,” he said with a shrug, but now it was his turn to lean back in alarm. In any training class that he taught, there were bound to be three types of students: the ones who couldn't care less about what he had to share, those who were engaged but only to a degree, and a few precious ponies who actually wanted to learn. As a teacher, he naturally preferred the third group, and it was always a delight to work with those who had genuine questions.

The Princess was giving him the familiar stare of one who was eager to learn, but the intensity of it was so powerful that it quickly overwhelmed him. It was like she was trying to figure out how to extract the information from his skull and then dissect it under a microscope.

“Say,” she said with a growing smile, “if you have some free time, I would love to learn more about this. Perhaps you could stop by my castle sometime and give me some pointers?”

“Sure? I suppose I could.”

“How about at this time tomorrow?”

“Um—”

“Great! I’ll see you then!”

Long stammered for a moment as Twilight Sparkle turned tail and entered the shop, and he desperately struggled to figure out what had just happened. Somehow, without him having a word about it, he had just agreed to give the Princess of Friendship flight lessons.

Rainbow Dash was going to kill him when she found out.


Rainbow Dash’s ear twitched, and she mumbled out a grunt as she rolled over on the perfect napping cloud she had found.

Somepony was talking about her.

She let out a yawn and fluffed her wings. So what? Ponies talked about her all the time. It was probably just Scootaloo, either because she was with the other Crusaders, or because she was leading a meeting of the Rainbow Dash Fan Club.

Her ear flicked again, and her hoof reached up to scratch the offending appendage. She rubbed it against the cloud as it began to smolder.

“Aw, c’mon,” she grumbled, her forehooves wrapping over the top of her head in an attempt to quell the fiery sensation in both of her ears. “I was just about to take the gold in the Equestria Games.”

Rainbow tossed and turned, but it was all for naught. Her ears were close to combusting, and there was no way she was going to be able to go back to sleep now.

With a large groan of annoyance, Rainbow Dash sprung into the air and her hoof scratched the inside of her ear. There was no way she was going to be able to sleep now, and she had to figure out why she was being talked about.

With another yawn, she idly flapped to the ground and glanced around. There didn’t seem to be anything particularly remarkable going on, other than the normal chatter and movements of a not-currently-under-attack Ponyville.

So if it wasn’t a crisis that had caught her ear, it must be that somepony was regaling another with one of her own daring exploits! Rainbow Dash began to trot among the crowd with an eager grin, her ears flicking and twitching to see if she could figure out who the storyteller was, and then to make sure they got the facts straight.

And to stop them entirely if they were discussing that little Mare-Do-Well incident. Especially if they were talking about that.

After a few moments, she located a rather dumbfounded Long Run, who was standing outside Quills and Sofas and staring at the front door like an idiot. If anypony had been talking about her, it was probably him, but she had to chuckle at the sight.

“So, what happened to you?” she asked with a playful punch to his shoulder.

“I just talked to Princess Twilight Sparkle.”

Rainbow snorted. “I’m pretty sure you’ve talked to her before. You’re not going to try to tell me you’ve never met her either, are you?”

“No, but that was my first individual encounter.” He drew in a deep breath and turned his attention to her. “Is she always so intense?”

“Nah,” Rainbow scoffed. “She’s pretty relaxed right now, actually. You should see her during the school year.”

“Yeah, she gets pretty uptight sometimes,” Pinkie added, and Long let out a screech.

“Pinkie! Gah! Stop doing that!”

“No can do!” she cheerfully replied. “So, what are you two up to?”

“I was taking a nap, but then my ears started burning,” Rainbow said with an absentminded rub of her ear. “Long here was having a close encounter of the third kind, it seems.”

“Ooo, yeah. That explains everything.” Pinkie took Long’s face in her hooves and twisted it to properly look him over. “You got lucky, but if you start carving mysterious mountains out of your mashed potatoes, then you’ll definitely need some medical attention. What did you do to bring this on?”

“I just offered her some pointers on her flying,” he said, but then he winced at Rainbow’s glare.

“And why is that? Are you suggesting that I taught her wrong?”

“Not wrong. Just… wrong for her.”

“Oh, just like Scootaloo!” Pinkie cheerfully added. “Rainbow used the one-shoe-fits-all approach to teaching, and that wasn’t the right way to teach Twilight!”

“I did not!” Rainbow stomped a hoof and glared all the more at Long.

“Um, you did,” he replied, his stance stiffening as he began to bristle. “It wasn’t totally wrong, Dash. You just taught her the way you fly, and that way is incorrect for a pony with her wingspan. All I did was adjust her wing angles for extended flights, nothing more. If she wants to go fast, she’ll use your method still.”

“Oh, so you’re butting in and telling her I taught her wrong?” Rainbow leaned towards him, her wings flaring up. “I do believe you and I have discussed you undermining the way I teach before, haven’t we?”

“I wasn’t undermining it!” he protested loudly, his wings flaring out to accept her challenge. “I just offered some advice, Dash! Quit taking this out of context!”

“Fine,” she snorted with an angry flick of her tail. “What did you tell her, exactly?”

“I told her she was trying to fly like a hawk when she’s an albatross.”

“You called her an albatross?!” Rainbow’s ears folded back as she recoiled. “What kind of insensitive clod are you?”

“Um, I don’t think this is something you two should fight about.” Pinkie reached out slightly with a hoof, but withdrew it when Rainbow went nose-to-nose with Long.

“I’m a clod that tells her the truth, unlike somepony I know!” he shot back with a snort and a stomp of his hoof.

“Are you callin’ me a liar?!” Rainbow snarled. “I gave Twilight the best training that anypony could ever receive! I dare you to do better, you egotistical jerk!”

“Please don’t fight.” Pinkie tried to interject her comment into the conversation, but it bounced harmlessly away as Long gave Rainbow a smug smile and accepted her challenge.

“I think I will! You stop by the castle at this time tomorrow, and I’ll show you how it’s supposed to be done!”

“Oh, I’ll be there,” Rainbow snapped.

“Good. By the way, you’re cute when you’re angry.”

And with no further warning, Long puckered up and kissed Rainbow dead on the lips.

The smooch was so unexpected that her eyes nearly popped out of their sockets, and her tail shot straight out, but she made no effort to pull away or to stop the kisser. After several lengthy moments, Long pulled back and flared his wings outward.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Dash. Better bring your A-game with you, because you’re going to need it.”

Rainbow Dash didn’t move for several more moments, even after Long Run had flapped away. Eventually, her gaze slowly turned to Pinkie, who was giggling behind a hoof.

“Did he just kiss me?” she asked.

“I think I hear Gummy calling,” Pinkie announced with a grin. “See ya tomorrow, Dashie!”

And with that, Pinkie disappeared, leaving Rainbow Dash to wonder what in the wide world of Equestria had just happened.

* * Ω * *