• Published 1st Sep 2019
  • 1,732 Views, 231 Comments

No Longer Living In A Van Down By The River - Peni Parker

Since The Dazzlings agreed to be motivational speakers at CHS they're no longer living in a van down by the river, but the job may make them wish they still were.

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Aria and Pinkie Pie


“1.” Aria Blaze disinterestedly said to herself as she stared at her computer screen, her head resting in the palm of her left hand.


“1.” She reiterated.


“Mine.” She sighed as her game ended. “Eight clicks, a new record.”

Aria was currently sitting alone in her office, completely bored out of her mind. It was an especially slow day at CHS for her as not a single student had come to see her yet. Normally by this time at least one person would have stopped by seeking her help with this or that, but not today. As such, she had more free time than she knew what to with and decided to do what everyone does when they’re feeling bored at work; play Minesweeper. Although, ‘play’ would hardly be the term for what she was doing, which was simply clicking random boxes until she hit a mine. It wasn’t that she didn’t know how to play Minesweeper, she just didn’t care about winning because she was so incredibly bored.

What added to Aria’s boredom was the fact that she was looking forward to the special ‘Thank You’ dinner for Sunset Shimmer after work. Since her and her sisters were going to be moving out soon, they all wanted to do something to thank Sunset for letting them stay with her for so long. A few ideas were thrown around, but eventually they settled on a ‘Thank You’ dinner where Adagio would make a turkey, and that was what Aria was looking forward to the most; she loved Adagio’s turkeys. They were always so mouth-wateringly amazing.

“Uggghhh.” The pig-tailed Dazzling groaned as she looked at the clock on her screen and saw that the day was only half-over. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but actually I wish someone would show up, just to help pass the time.”

“Hi, Aria!” A bubbly voice suddenly said from right behind her.

“GAAAHHH!” She startlingly shouted as she nearly fell out of her chair and started panting.

As Aria quickly turned around, she found that the voice belonged to none other than Pinkie Pie, who was standing not more than two feet away from her with a friendly smile on her face.

Of all the Rainbooms, Pinkie was the one Aria cared for the least. She didn’t hate the girl at all, mind you, she just didn’t care for her much. This was mostly because Pinkie always had such an upbeat and positive attitude, which she found a tad unsettling given her own…less-than-positive attitude.

“What the hell, Pinkie?!” The Dazzling said as she tried to catch her breath. “How long have you been standing there?”

“Not long.” Pinkie cheerfully replied. “I just got here.”

Pinkie’s response greatly confused Aria, as she didn’t recall hearing her come in. Sure, she’d been a little out of it because of her boredom, but she was sure she would have heard someone open the door to her office. She swiftly turned back around and saw that the door was still closed. Of course, Pinkie could have closed it after she’d entered, but she was definitely sure she would have heard the sound of the door closing.

Just for good measure, Aria decided to check the windows as well. They were all closed and showed no signs of having been opened.

Having no idea how Pinkie had entered the room, she turned back to face the girl with a puzzled expression.

“How did you…” She began to say in her confusion, before remembering that this was Pinkie Pie she was dealing with. “…Never mind. Just what are you doing here?”

“I came to plan your party, silly.” Pinkie said as she made her way around to the front of Aria’s desk. “You already sent out the invitations for this weekend so we need to get started right away.”

Pinkie was referring to the housewarming party that Aria had asked her to plan for when she and her sisters moved into their new house on the emu farm. Well, technically Sonata had been the one who asked Pinkie, but Aria had asked her to ask Pinkie for her. The reasons Aria wanted the party were two-fold; one, she wanted to say thanks to everyone who had contributed to the crowdfunding campaign that had made their new home possible, and two, she was hoping to get some nice housewarming presents out of it.

Anyways, the repairs to the house were now complete and the Dazzlings had already begun moving some of their things into their new home. In her excitement, Aria might have sent out invitations to the party via the crowdfunding campaign webpage for this weekend without having consulted her party planner first. She realized that she’d probably jumped the gun a tad and put Pinkie into a bit of a bind as a result, but thankfully the party girl didn’t seem upset or worried, as evidenced by the fact that she was in her office right now wanting to plan the party.

“Wait, you want to plan the party right now?” She quizzically asked as she took a quick glance at the clock on her computer screen, just to verify that she’d read it correctly a moment ago. “Aren’t you supposed be in class?”

“Yeah, probably.” Pinkie nonchalantly shrugged as she took a seat just in front of the desk and pulled a purple file folder out of her hair. “Now, where to begin?”

As Pinkie opened the folder and began shuffling through the papers inside of it, Aria couldn’t help but wonder just how the girl had managed to keep said folder within her hair. Pinkie’s hair was large and thick, to be sure, but it didn’t seem possible to keep a folder in it. She was about to say something when she once again remembered that this was Pinkie Pie she was dealing with, and it was best not to dwell on such things with her.

“Hmmm, if I wrote this down correctly, you’re moving to an emu farm, no?” Pinkie inquired as she pursued the folder.

“Yeah.” Aria confirmed.

“Great!” Pinkie exclaimed as she pulled out two pieces of paper from the folder and held them up in front of Aria. “Which of these do you like better?”

Aria looked at each of the papers being presented to her and nearly facepalmed at what she saw. Each one had a crudely drawn picture of an emu on it wearing a colorful party hat, the only difference between them being that the emu on the right had a teal and navy blue striped hat on while the one on the left had a white hat with various colored polka dots. She figured that Pinkie was asking her which hat she thought the emus would look better in.

“Uh, Pinkie, the emus aren’t going to be at the party.” She candidly informed the girl.

“Aww, why not?” Pinkie dejected with a pouty face as she put the pieces of paper down.

“Well one, we can’t get them back from Sweet Apple Acres for a while because there’s a three week wait on the special truck needed to move them.” Aria plainly began to explain. “And two, even if they were going to be around, emus aren’t exactly party animals.”

“Hehe, good one.” Pinkie giggled, her mood perking back up.

At first Aria didn’t know what Pinkie had found so amusing. She gave the girl a quizzical look before realizing that she’d unintentionally used the term ‘party animals’ in reference to actual animals. Feelingly slightly embarrassed by her inadvertent pun, she rolled her eyes and slumped a bit into her seat.

“Welp, so much for this then.” Pinkie coolly stated as she closed her folder and put it back into her hair.

“Wait, what?!” Aria shouted as she sat back up in her seat, afraid of what Pinkie meant by that statement.

“Yeah, all the ideas I came up with involved emus.” Pinkie innocently elucidated. “Guess I shouldn’t have banked on them being there, huh?”

Aria’s head fell onto her desk as all hope of having her party began to disappear. She started to feel melancholy as she’d really been looking forward to getting together with all of her friends and sharing with them the happiness and excitement of starting a new chapter in her life. That, and she’d really hoped to receive a Cuisinart Waffle Maker as a housewarming gift.

“So that’s it then?” She defeatedly asked Pinkie as she brought her head up. “No party?”

“Now I didn’t say that.” Pinkie tenderly said a she reached over the desk and started gently patting Aria’s head, much to the Dazzling’s annoyance. “We just need to start from scratch is all.”

It only took about four pats before Aria decided to lightly swat Pinkie’s hand away from her head. She stared at the cheerful party girl and wondered just how they were supposed to start planning the party from scratch with only a few day left to go.

“How do we do that?” She curiously inquired aloud.

For reasons unbeknownst to Aria, her question seemed to cause Pinkie’s already large smile to grow bigger, until the girl was grinning from ear-to-ear.

“We go to the PARTY STORE!” Pinkie happily shouted as she got up, went around the desk, and took ahold of Aria’s hand. “Come on!”

“Wait, Pinkie!” Aria pleaded as she was pulled up out of her seat and dragged towards the door, getting a very strong feeling of déjà vu as it all happened.

Aria begrudgingly stared out the front passenger window of Pinkie’s car and contemplated how she’d allowed herself to be essentially kidnapped by a student during school hours…again. She was still amazed that when she and Photo Finish left halfway through the school day a few weeks ago neither Celestia nor Luna had said anything to her about it. Could it have been that neither of them even knew that they had left school early that day? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, the whole thing made her question just how tight of a ship those two were running.

I’ve gotten way too soft. The Dazzling thought to herself as she watched the city pass her by, thinking about how back in the old days she would’ve simply clobbered anyone who tried to force her to go anywhere she didn’t want to instead of caving in so easily.

“We’re here!” Pinkie informed her as she pulled into the parking lot of a very large store.

Once the car had come to a complete stop, Aria stepped out and noticed a sign above the entrance that read ‘Party Supplies “R” Us’. She looked to her right and then to her left, taking note of just how big the store appeared.

“This whole place is really just a party supply store?” She asked Pinkie as the party girl also got out of the car.

“Yep, it’s the biggest party supply store in the tri-state area.” Pinkie explained as she locked her car and headed for the entrance. “It’s got everything you could ever need for all sorts of parties; birthday parties, holiday parties, sports parties, baby shower parties…”

As Aria followed Pinkie towards the store and listened to all the various types of parties she listed off, she began to think about how different each type of party was and how many different supplies there would be for each of them. The more she thought about it, the more the store’s large size made sense to her.

“Ding dong.” Pinkie said as she stepped through the automatic door into the store, mimicking the chiming noise it made as she entered.

Aria didn’t mimic the chiming noise as she entered.

Once inside, Aria couldn’t help but gawk at just how large the store actually was. Sure, it had looked big from the outside, but from the inside it looked massive. In fact, it looked more like a warehouse than a store on account of all the tall shelves filled with various items in bulk.

“Yeah, I remember my first time here.” Pinkie nostalgically spoke up. “I made the same face you’re making now.”

Realizing that she was gawking, Aria quickly regained her usual, cool composure.

“Eh, I’ve seen bigger.” She nonchalantly replied as she turned away from Pinkie, even though this was easily the biggest store she’d ever set foot into.

Pinkie just gave Aria a small, smug smile while her back was turned before grabbing a nearby shopping cart and wheeling it in front of the Dazzling.

“Come on!” She gleefully said as she handed the cart to Aria and started walking off. “We’ve got a lot of shopping to do.”

Aria took the cart and followed after Pinkie, hoping that this wasn’t going to take too long.

Only about 30 minutes had past since Aria entered the store with Pinkie Pie, but that was all the time it took for the Dazzling to feel exhausted. Pinkie had taken her down nearly every aisle of the store looking for supplies, often throwing one or two items from each one into the cart along the way. Needless to say, as all the items piled up in the cart it became harder to push, which was probably what was wearing the Dazzling out so quickly.

“Hrrrrrr.” She grunted as she pushed the now very heavy cart through an aisle of streamers and confetti.

“Ooh, these look nice.” Pinkie stated as she took a large bag filled with a variety colored streamers off the shelf and tossed it into the cart.

The bag of streamers landed on what was rapidly becoming a mountain of party supplies within the cart. And it was just that, a mountain. Every time Pinkie threw something into the cart it would land in there in just such a way that the pile formed the shape of a mountain. Aria didn’t know why this was or even how it was possible, all she knew was that she was afraid of the mountain crashing down on her.

“Hey…Pinkie?” She eventually, and exhaustingly, said. “Think maybe…you can take…the cart for a while?”

“Okie doki loki!” Pinkie said as she threw another bag of streamers into the cart and made her way over to Aria.

Aria back up a bit in order to let Pinkie take hold of the cart’s handle. Once Pinkie took ahold of the cart, she began to push it with what appeared to be relative ease. In fact, the girl almost appeared to be skipping as she pushed.

“That girl isn’t human.” She impassively said to herself as she started following after Pinkie.

It was about another 20 minutes before Pinkie had decided that they had enough supplies, by which point the mountain of items had to be at least ten feet tall. Aria still didn’t know how all the items managed to stay in the cart like that without any of them falling out, but she was too exhausted to care about the laws of physics right now.

“Hey Pinkie, long time no see.” A clerk said as she and Pinkie approached one of the checkout lanes.

“Hey, Party Favor.” Pinkie amicably replied.

Once Aria and Pinkie’s cart was right in front of him, the clerk, apparently named Party Favor, took a very close look at the enormous pile of items.

“Light stock-up today, huh?” She remarked.

Aria’s jaw nearly dropped to floor in disbelief when she heard what Party Favor had just said. This cart with a ten foot high pile of party supplies was considered light?

“I’m just picking up supplies for one party.” Pinkie explained.

“Gotcha.” Party Favor said as he began pulling items out of the cart and scanning them.

“How many supplies do you usually get here?” Aria asked in her disbelief.

“Hmmm.” Pinkie said as she brought a hand up to her chin, like she was in deep contemplation. “On average, I’d say usually about three carts worth of supplies.”

So many questions went through Aria’s mind after hearing Pinkie’s answer. How did she move three carts on her usual visits? How many parties was she throwing that she needed that much each visit? What items did she usually get? And in what quantities? As much as she wanted answers to these questions and more, she didn’t ask a single one. She knew better than to ask too many questions when it came to Pinkie.

Despite this though, she couldn’t keep from asking herself these questions. And not just these new questions, but questions she’d had earlier. Questions like; How had Pinkie gotten into her office? How did that folder fit into her hair? How was it that they managed to leave school without anyone noticing? So much of her day had made absolutely no sense, and it was starting to get to her.

“Um, are you okay, Aria?” Pinkie concernedly asked her friend, noticing a slight twitch in the girl’s right eye and a vacant look on her face.

“I…I don’t know.” Aria replied, almost as if she were in a daze. “My head feels…funny.”

Just as Aria finished saying that, she suddenly felt very strange, almost like she was lightheaded. She found that she was able to keep her balance, but it felt as if part of her brain had just shut off.

“I…hear a voice.” She continued. “It’s saying…part of my brain has…shut off.”

“Oh no.” Pinkie quietly, but frantically, said as she got within an inch of Aria and looked her straight in the eyes. “No, no, no, no, no.”

Normally this kind of invasion of personal space would have elicited some sort of reaction out of Aria, but she was so lost within her own mind at the moment that she didn’t give any physical reaction to having Pinkie so close to her.

“We need to get you into the car, now.” Pinkie worryingly said just as Party Favor finished scanning her items.

“Okay, that’ll be…” Party Favor began to say before Pinkie threw a few bills at him.

“Keep the change, Party.” She told him as she put her right arm around Aria and started leading her towards the exit. “And hold onto my supplies for me, I’ll be back for them later.”

Party Favor wasn’t entirely sure what was going on. He grew a little concerned when he saw the state Aria was in, but it was clear to him that Pinkie was aware of it and trying to help her.

“Okay then.” He hollered back to Pinkie as she and Aria left the store, trusting that the party girl knew what she was doing.

It didn’t take Pinkie long to get Aria back to her car. She quickly unlocked the doors, opened the back right door, and sat the Dazzling down on the seat. Once Aria was fully in the car, she closed the door and hastily made her way over to the other side, getting into the left back seat.

The look on Aria’s face was even worse than it was a few minutes ago. She no longer had the eye twitch, but her vacant expression was even more obvious now, like the lights were on but no one was home. Wasting no time, Pinkie grabbed ahold of the girl’s shoulders and turned her around so that she was face-to-face with her.

“Aria? Can you hear me?” She gently asked the Dazzling. “Blink if you can hear me.”

It took a few seconds, but Aria blinked.

“Oh thank goodness.” Pinkie sighed in relief. “Now, I know this is going to be difficult, but you need to listen very, very carefully to me.”

Even though she couldn’t give any physical sign of it, Aria focused as much of her mental energy as she could on Pinkie’s voice.

“You’re experiencing a 4th wall breakdown.” Pinkie sternly began explaining. “It’s what happens when you focus too much on all the weirdness surrounding you. Right now the part of your brain that keeps you grounded in reality has shut off and that’s why you’re hearing a voice in your head. If you’re still hearing it, blink once.

At first, Aria wasn’t sure she was hearing the voice anymore. But soon enough, she heard it again and blinked once.

“I thought so.” Pinkie crestfallenly stated. “The fact that you can still hear me means you’re not too far gone, but you need to trust me and do exactly as I say before it’s too late. Blink once if you understand.”

Again, Aria blinked once.

“Good.” Pinkie said as she moved her hands from Aria’s shoulders to the sides of the girl’s head. “Now, close your eyes and listen closely.”

Aria did as instructed and closed her eyes. It was scary for her though, because she now felt like she truly was a prisoner within her own mind. She found herself inside a dark and empty void, surrounded by thoughts that made her question the very nature of reality as she knew it.

“You need to stop focusing on all the weirdness and focus on all the good things you have in this world.” Pinkie began saying. “Think about your sisters, your friends, your emu, whatever you feel a strong connection to. Find those bright and shining lights in your life and grab hold of them.”

As painful as it was to do, Aria began pushing away the weird thought and tried to focus on the things that she felt close to in life. She thought about Adagio and Sonata, about how despite all the hardships they’d been through they were still together. She thought about her emu and how she’d come to care for them so much. She even thought about all the students at CHS she’d become close to; Rainbow Dash, Trixie, Derpy, Scootaloo, Applejack, Photo Finish, and even Pinkie. The memories of all the times she’d helped these people started to fill the dark and empty void with light. The voice began to fade from her mind and she slowly opened her eyes, as if waking up from a deep sleep.

Just before Aria’s eyes opened completely, she saw a flash of someone she hadn’t seen in years standing at her front door. Someone she thought she’d never see again. She didn’t have time to process it though, as the flash faded just as quickly as it had appeared.

“W-what happened?” She groggily asked as she came to.

A huge smile of relief crossed Pinkie’s face as she let go of Aria’s head and quickly wrapped the girl in a warm and supportive hug.

“Oh thank goodness you’re alright, Aria!” She exclaimed. “I thought we’d lost you there for a moment.”

Still feeling a bit groggy, Aria returned the hug but felt confused as to why she was being hugged in the first place.

“Uh, Pinkie, can you fill me in on what’s happening?” She asked in her confusion.

“It’s pretty complicated.” Pinkie replied as she broke the hug and opened her car door. “I’ll explain on the way home.”

As Pinkie exited the car and got into the driver’s seat, Aria followed suit and got into the front passenger’s seat, curious as to what Pinkie was going to tell her.

“You’re telling me I nearly lost touch with reality?” Aria stated in bewilderment as Pinkie drove her home.

“Pretty much.” Pinkie replied as she pulled up to a red light.

Pinkie had just finished recapping to Aria what had happened to her back at the party store. The Dazzling seemingly had little to no recollection of the incident, and every time she tried to recall the last half hour or so it came up fuzzy, like a dream. Still though, she remembered enough to know that something had happened to her and that Pinkie had helped her get better.

Even after Pinkie’s recap, however, Aria still didn’t understand some things.

“How is that even possible?” She inquired.

There was a brief moment of silence as Pinkie contemplated whether she should answer Aria’s question or not. She didn’t want to risk Aria slipping back into her own mind again, but she felt that the girl deserved an explanation.

“There’s a lot of weirdness in this world.” She solemnly started to say. “And I’m not talking about random weirdness, I’m talking about weirdness by design. Certain things happening at certain times with seemingly no explanation behind them, other than for the sake of moving a situation forward. They happen every day, and if you pay close enough attention you start to notice them.”

Aria started to think back on some of the weird stuff she’d noticed today, but doing so started to give her a headache, so she stopped.

“Thing is, if you start to focus too much on all that weirdness, you start to lose touch with reality.” Pinkie continued. “Suddenly you find yourself questioning everything, and sometimes you even hear a voice, a voice that seems to be controlling all the weirdness.”

Now things were just getting downright freaky for Aria. Even though she couldn’t fully recall it, she did remember hearing a strange voice in her head earlier, one that seemed to be controlling whatever it was that had been happening to her.

“And is the voice…real?” She inquired, sounding almost afraid. “I mean, is the it really controlling everything.”

“Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.” Pinkie pensively replied. “It’s hard to say because we don’t really understand reality. Maybe we have free will, or maybe we’re just puppets acting out someone or something else’s story.”

Aria could feel a twitch coming over her right eye again, which Pinkie noticed right away.

“But it doesn’t matter.” The party girl swiftly told her. “Because even if everything is being controlled by some outside force, it doesn’t change the fact that you are Aria Blaze and that you are real.”

For some unknown reason, Aria could feel Pinkie’s words hitting her at her core. ‘You are Aria Blaze and that you are real’ rang threw her head like the bells of Notre Dame as she suddenly felt more alive than she’d ever felt before in her life.

“You just need to accept reality for what it is and roll with it.” Pinkie concluded.

As Pinkie said that last sentence, Aria picked up on a change of tone in the girl’s voice. It was as if Pinkie were speaking directly from her heart when she'd said it.

“Is that how you deal all the weirdness?” She asked.

“Sure is!” Pinkie cheerfully confirmed. “My philosophy is, ‘Just smile and enjoy the ride’.”

It was at that moment that Aria finally understood Pinkie Pie. Well, maybe not entirely understood her, but understood her enough. Pinkie had a very…unique…worldview, one that not many other people were even capable of having, and that her constant good mood was just her way of dealing with it. The Dazzling gave her friend a small smile as the light changed to green and Pinkie started driving again.

“Here we are.” Pinkie said as she pulled up to Sunset’s apartment.

“Wow, that was fast.” Aria commented, finding it a little weird that they’d gotten there so quickly but making a conscience effort not to think about it too much.

“You sure you’re okay now?” Pinkie concernedly asked her friend as the Dazzling unbuckled her seat belt.

“Yeah, I'm pretty sure.” Aria earnestly replied with a smile on her face. “I think I just need to do like you said and roll with reality.”

“Good to hear.” Pinkie gleefully said just before reaching into the backseat, picking up what appeared to be a present with a big red bow on it off of the floor, and holding it out in front of Aria. “Because then I can give you this!”

At first, Aria instinctively questioned where the present had come since she didn’t recall seeing it back there earlier, but she soon remembered what she’d just said and rolled with it.

“What’s this for?” She inquired as she took the present.

“Well, it was going to be a housewarming present.” Pinkie began explaining. “But given the day you’ve had I figured you could use it now.”

Aria turned her attention to the present in her hands. She placed it on her lap and slowly unraveled the bow and tore away the wrapping paper. When she was finished, she realized she was holding a box with the words 'Cuisinart Waffle Maker' on it.

“What the…” She began to say in astonishment before turning back to Pinkie. “How did you…”

“Just roll with it, Aria.” Pinkie slyly interjected. “Just roll with it.”

Frankly, Aria didn’t even care how Pinkie knew she’d wanted a Cuisinart Waffle Maker, she was just happy to now have one.

“Thanks, Pinkie.” She said with heartfelt gratitude. “For everything today.”

“Don’t mention it.” Pinkie heartfully replied back. "And don't worry about the party, I've got it all taken care of."

Before she started breaking out in tears because of this very heartfelt moment, Aria opened her door and stepped out onto the sidewalk. She waved goodbye to Pinkie as best she could without dropping her waffle maker as the party girl drove off down the street before she headed up the approach. Once she got to the front door, she gave a few clumsy knocks with the waffle maker hoping someone would hear her.

“Aria?” Adagio said as she opened the door. “What are you holding?”

“Cuisinart Waffle Maker.” Aria happily answered as she stepped inside. “Don’t ask how I got it though, it’s complicated.”

“You didn’t steal it, did you?” Adagio very sternly asked her sister.

“What? No!” Aria defensively replied. “Look, Pinkie gave it to me, okay? Let’s just leave it at that.”

“Fair enough then.” Adagio placidly stated as she took the waffle maker from Aria, trying to be a good sister and lighten her sibling’s load. “By the way, Sonata invited Rainbow Dash to dinner tonight. Hope that’s okay.”

Aria looked over to the kitchen and indeed saw Rainbow Dash in there talking with Sonata and Sunset. In total and complete honesty, Aria wasn’t okay with Rainbow Dash being over for dinner. It didn’t have anything to do with Rainbow Dash herself, she just wasn’t happy with the fact that now there was going to be less turkey for her.

“Whatever.” She aloofly said as she and Adagio made their way towards the kitchen.

The two Dazzlings didn’t take more than three steps forward before they both heard a knock at the door.

“Who could that be?” Adagio wondered aloud.

“Dunno, but I got it.” Aria said as she turned back around to answer the door, since Adagio was holding her waffle maker.

As soon as Aria opened the door, she nearly entered into a state of shock. Her eyes went as wide as dinner plates and all the color disappeared from her face as she stared in astonished disbelief at a person she hadn’t seen in years. A person she thought she’d never see again.

“D-Dolly?” She managed to faintly say in her stunned state.

“Hi, Aunt Aria.” Dolly Dusk imperturbably greeted her. “I’m here to see my mother.”

Author's Note:


Before anyone says anything; Yes, I have permission from Dolly's creator to use her.

If you have a suggestion for a future chapter let me know in the comments.

Do I even need to say who the next chapter will feature? It's Sonata and Dolly Dusk.