• Published 15th Oct 2012
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The Masterpiece - McPoodle

Twilight must step in to prevent Pinkie Pie's mental disintegration

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Chapter 7: A Dangerous Shortage of Sugar

The Masterpiece

Chapter 7: A Dangerous Shortage of Sugar

Rainbow Dash decided that maybe keeping an eye of Pinkie Pie would be a better use of her day off than sitting around her cloud house all day.

After a few circuits of Ponyville, she finally spotted the pony bouncing her way down the path to Fluttershy’s house.

Rainbow Dash sighed in relief as she matched her pace to that of her friend. She seems well enough now, she thought to herself. I wonder what she did to make somepony suspicious? And who was it? Carrot Top? Yeah, probably Carrot Top. That pony doesn’t know when to keep her big mouth shut.

Pinkie Pie eventually arrived at Fluttershy’s house and, after a moment of conversation, was let inside.

Rainbow Dash pondered what exactly she should do. Trying to listen in at the window would only get her caught by Angel—it had happened multiple times in the past. She could just barge straight in the window and pretend that one of her tricks had messed up—Celestia knows that happened often enough. But that would make it harder to follow Pinkie Pie around afterwards. Eventually, she settled for lying down on Fluttershy’s roof. She wouldn’t be able to listen in on the conversation from that position, not unless yelling was involved. But since ponies yelling was precisely what she was worried about, she decided that lying on the roof would just have to do.

~ ~ ~

It was only a few minutes later when Pinkie Pie emerged from the cottage. “Oh thank you again, Fluttershy!” she exclaimed, loud enough for Rainbow Dash to hear. “You really saved my bacon!”

“Your what?” asked Fluttershy. Rainbow Dash had by now crept up to the edge of the roof so she could hear everything.

“Uh...nevermind!” replied Pinkie. “Are you sure you’ll be able to get your birds rehearsed by tonight?”

“Oh don’t worry,” Fluttershy assured her. “I was already training them. It’s a fun activity when it gets too hot...or too wet...for them to fly around, and I’ve had lots of free time lately, what with all of the animals moving out all at once.”

Warning bells started going off in Rainbow Dash’s head, but unfortunately she had absolutely no idea what it was they were warning her about, so she tuned them out.

“And you’re not going to be embarrassed about performing in front of all of those ponies?” asked Pinkie.

Fluttershy gave a brief “eep!” before nerving herself to reply more verbosely. “Well, there’s nopony at the Summer Sun Celebration who I won’t know, and who hasn’t heard my birds before. And besides, somepony has to play at the Celebration—it’s a tradition! I promise I won’t let you down.”

“I know you won’t, Fluttershy,” Pinkie said warmly as she hugged her friend. A moment later, she started shaking like crazy.

“Pinkie!” Fluttershy exclaimed. “What’s the matter?”

By wrapping her forelegs around herself and squeezing tight, Pinkie was able to stop herself. “There’s no need to worry,” she explained. “My Pinkie Sense is on the blink this week, maybe because I’m working so hard on this party. I mean, if every doozie I’ve been getting in the last couple of days was right, that would mean the whole town’s about to be leveled, and we know that’s not gonna happen during the Summer Sun Celebration!”

Fluttershy eeped once again in fear and hid behind the door sill. “Are...are you sure that everything’s going to be fine?”

“Sure I’m sure!” exclaimed Pinkie. “It’s probably just a physiological manifestation of my daddy issues!”

Neither pony hearing that had any idea what she was talking about.

“Um...OK, so long as you’re sure, then I guess it’s OK,” said Fluttershy.

Rainbow Dash on the other hoof didn’t feel “OK”. Octavia ditched Pinkie! she realized. And I was the one who suggested her! When I get my hooves on her...! For a moment, she considered flying straight to Canterlot to give the concert pony a piece of her mind, but then she saw Pinkie bouncing her way down the road that led to Sweet Apple Acres, and decided that her loyalty outweighed her outrage.

~ ~ ~

Unlike with Fluttershy’s cottage, Applejack was out surveying her orchard, which meant that Rainbow Dash could easily monitor the entire conversation between Pinkie and the farmer mare from the cover of a low cloud.

“So, any luck?” asked Pinkie with a degree of alarm that worried Rainbow. “Did the trees spring magically back to life after a mystic earth pony rain dance?” She began enacting just such a hypothetical rain dance, with Applejack standing in for the dead apple tree being resuscitated.

“Pinkie,” said Applejack with equal degrees sadness and patience, “things just don’t work out that way.”

“Says you!” exclaimed Pinkie Pie, sticking out her tongue. “I need your apples to make my pies. Those pies are an important part of the Summer Sun Celebration. The Summer Sun Celebration this year has to be perfect. Therefore, your summer apples have to be ready for me! That’s logic!

“Ah...” Applejack stretched out the word as long as possible as she tried to find a polite way to refute that “logic”. “No it isn’t,” she finally concluded. “Those trees came down with crown rot, and that’s that. Thank Celestia we were able to isolate it, but the summer crop’s a gonner. All we harvested was a bunch of mush, and not even you can turn infected apple mush into edible pies. But don’t you worry none. I said I wasn’t going to leave you in the lurch, and I’m a mare of my word. Follow me.”

Applejack walked over to the barn, followed by Pinkie Pie and a certain low-hanging cloud. She pulled the door open and gestured inside. “Do you think you can work with this?”

Pinkie Pie stuck her head in and looked around. “Applejack, somepony stole all the apples in your cart, and replaced them with pecans! Who would do a thing like that? Is it...an evil squirrel gang? Oh that’s horrible! Those striped suits look really awful on red fur!”

Applejack audibly shut her gaping mouth, before saying, “Pinkie Pie...just...never mind. I couldn’t get you no apples, but I called in a few favors, and was able to buy up all these pecans from back east at below cost.”

“I’ve never worked with pecans before,” said Pinkie Pie.

“Well I also managed to wrangle the recipe from Cousin Nutsy for an out-of-this-world pecan pie, if I do say so myself,” said Applejack, passing her a half-sheet of paper. “Now she’d only do this on condition that you don’t pass that recipe on to another soul. Do I have to ask for a Pinkie Promise on that?”

Pinkie Pie frowned briefly. “Applejack! I am a baker by trade, and this falls within the sphere of professional courtesy! There’s no way that I’d ever give away another baker’s recipe without their permission.” She then turned her attention to the ingredients. “Now let’s see...I have the pecans, of course”—she looked over the pile of nuts in the barn with a critical eye—“enough to make four dozen pies, which is just enough...I won’t need the butter...only half as much flour as the apple pie recipe...uh-oh.”

“What is it, Sugar?” asked Applejack, looking over her shoulder at the recipe.

“That’s just it—sugar!” exclaimed Pinkie Pie. “Pecan pie requires twice as much sugar as apple pie! Twice!

“So you don’t have enough?” asked Applejack in a worried tone.

“Well, I have enough for the pecan pies, and enough for Sugarcube Corner, but I won’t have enough for me!

Applejack and Rainbow Dash simultaneously rolled their eyes.

“Pinkie Pie, I think you can stand to go without sugar for a few days,” Applejack said flatly.

“You don’t understand!” Pinkie Pie cried out, really serious. “If I don’t get enough sugar, she’ll come out!”

Rainbow Dash’s warning bells went off again, and this time she knew exactly what they meant.

Applejack started to say something, probably to ask who “she” was, but she didn’t get more than a half-syllable out of her mouth before she was bowled over by Rainbow Dash.

“Hey Applejack!” the pegasus exclaimed nervously. “Do you know where your barn is?”

Applejack slowly raised herself to her hooves, and then pointed to the building right next to them.

“Oh. Right.”

“Now why’d you have to go and do that for?” Applejack said, picking herself back up. “I was just talking to...now where did that party pony get off to, anyway?” She glanced into the barn, and saw that the cart containing the pecans was nowhere to be found. “Well, I guess she finished her business here. Do you mind telling me what you’re up to—Rainbow Dash, Rainbow Dash!”

“What?” asked the pegasus, who was already high in the sky and already headed westwards.

“Where are you off to in such a hurry?” asked the orange mare, easily projecting her voice loudly enough to be heard.

“Just making a quick trip to Hoofington,” Rainbow Dash said. “I’ll be back in time for the party!”

In an instant, she was too far away to answer the inevitable follow up question from Applejack: “And what in blazes is so vitally important about Hoofington?”

The answer was simple: it’s where Ponyville’s sugar comes from.