• Published 18th Jan 2013
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The Queen of Hearts - Pumpernickel Rye



Chrysalis attempts getting her crown and her revenge by running a dating service.

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The Price of Failure

The Price of Failure

Chrysalis had spent the first week settling into Ponyville before going forward with her operation. She had been busy with purchasing furniture and decorations for her house as well as getting props for her upcoming dating business. The main room downstairs now had a large desk for her, two couches that were both to the left and right of her against the walls with a table in between them, and a large, red carpet in the center of the room that was in the shape of a heart. She also now had a sign over her building which read, “Cupid’s Arrow.” It was a long and grueling task, but she needed it to be done as soon as possible if she wanted to go home. To keep on the safe side, she decided to actually pay for things with money since mind controlling so many ponies would just drain her too much and even be suspicious.

Had Chrysalis known that Twilight and her friends were in town, she would have never gone to Ponyville. It was too late to ditch now since she had just purchased the house and suddenly leaving town after just paying for it would not play well with the changeling paranoia gripping Equestria’s ponies. She convinced herself not to fear Twilight, understanding that the only reason she was caught at the wedding was because she took the place of a pony that Twilight knew for years and did not do a very good job imitating her. Now she had a completely original identity and she could act however she wanted without anypony giving her a second thought. However, she felt that living here would serve as a tactical advantage as she would learn all she could about her enemies, especially since they were known as the Elements of Harmony, whatever that meant. She also couldn’t resist seeing the look on Twilight’s face when she would discover that Chrysalis had outsmarted her.

She had “befriended” Twilight and her friends and received certain favors from them. Twilight gave her any book she asked for with a discount included, Pinkie and Applejack were more than willing to offer her free food, and Rarity had even taken her to the spa once as a show of good will. It was dangerous to make constant contact with them, but she just loved taking advantage of others. Although they were her greatest enemies, they had not a clue about her true identity. She had gained their trust.

Sadly, the good times came to an immediate end. She had finally gotten her dating business started and had been working for almost two weeks. Her idea was to have ponies come in and submit a profile, which would describe them and saying what kind of special somepony they were looking for. It seemed so simple to her at first. She would just find one profile that matched what another pony was looking for. But there were problems. Often when she got them to meet, one pony would consider the other to be ideal but the other wouldn’t. Another common problem was that ponies would make up stuff for their profile and when the other pony found out, they would barge in and scream for a refund. She never took off. Her batting average so far was a fat zero. Her business had taken an impact and she was now receiving fewer customers by the day due to her null success rate. Chrysalis’s scheme was failing and she was becoming very frustrated that the plan wasn’t working.

At the moment, she was talking with one of the customers, one who came in every day since she opened. For some reason Chrysalis couldn’t put her hoof on, he gave her the creeps. “For the last time, no jam making mare has submitted a profile here! I told you if one ever did so, I would inform you. Now please get out!”

The stallion stood up and left, unsatisfied. From the group of the three other ponies in the room, a dark blue earth pony stallion made his way over to the chair and sat right in front of her desk. Chrysalis rubbed her temples. She didn’t want to deal with anymore customers for today, but this was something she had to do. She would strike gold at any time now. “Hello, sir. Have you submitted a profile yet?”

“I don’t believe I have, beautiful.” The way he spoke and looked at her was making her temples throb. She didn’t like having any pony hitting on her, which was often. Even though this would be something she would obviously need to survive, she only did this sort of thing in other forms. She didn’t want to risk blowing her cover by hitting on many stallions as Cherub.

Chrysalis reached into a drawer and pulled out a piece of paper, which she placed in front of him. “Take this and fill in all the blanks and return to me when you have done so. Now please have a seat on one of the couches.” The earth pony made his way to the couch and quickly began filling out his form. “Next!” A pegasus mare stood from one of the seats and approached her. “Hello, ma’am, have you-”

The stallion suddenly rushed over and took the seat before she could sit. “Finished!”

“Oh! I’m sorry, but I need to deal with him first,” Chrysalis objected to the mare who had just come over. The mare became very agitated and sat back on the couch without saying a word. Chrysalis then turned her attention onto the very eager stallion, pulling the paper up to her face. “Alright, let’s see what you have written...Soul Mate?” She couldn’t believe that the name was real. “Your occupation says you’re a…lady killer…”

“What can I say?” he said with incredible smug. “It’s what I do for a living.”

“I see. Now for your preferences, you said you want a red unicorn that runs a dating ser…wait a minute.” Chrysalis had caught on to what he was trying to do and became annoyed. “Sir, I’m sorry, but I am not available.”

Soul Mate was still smiling at her. “Are you sure about that? Why don’t you look under hobbies?”

She reluctantly did so as she was curious of what he was up to. “For hobbies, you said you enjoy spending your time…what!?” Her face started burning and was now even redder than normal. “Sir, this is highly inappropriate!” The other ponies were now staring at them.

He chuckled amusingly. “What’s wrong with inappropriate? Can’t we just act like adults?” His voice began to play upon seduction and he was leaning across the desk. “You really need to loosen up, babe.”

“Babe!?” Enraged, she stood up and pointed a hoof outwards. “Sir, I demand that you leave right now before I call the authorities!”

Soul’s smug grin didn’t even shrink, which just ticked her off even more. “Well why don’t you leave first so I can admire your nice, big flank?”

“ALRIGHT, THAT’S IT!” Chrysalis’s patience had just run out. “WE’RE CLOSING EARLY! ALL OF YOU GET OUT!” With her magic, she grabbed every pony in the room and tossed them out the door. She closed her eyes and sighed, completely stressed that she had just driven out the little amount of costumers she was receiving. Her moment of silence was quickly over as there was a knock on the door. She stomped over and threw it open, only to find Soul Mate standing there. “What do you want now!?”

His expression hadn’t even changed in the slightest as he was not getting the hint. “Oh come on, don’t be like that. Don’t I at least get a goodbye kiss?”

Chrysalis was angry enough to huff smoke from her nostrils. She took a deep breath and suddenly gave him a modest grin. “Very well. Close your eyes and pucker up, pretty boy!” The pony then closed his eyes and leaned in, expecting his reward. She took a step back and with all over her magical might, she slammed the door right on his face. She heard him scream in pain and after a few moments it turned into a wailing cry that quickly faded away. Chrysalis would need to remember to clean the blood off the door later. She walked over back to her desk, sat down, and slammed her head on it.

“It’s official: I’m going to die as an outcast.”

Every following day became more and more stressful. These ponies were much more stubborn than she imagined. It seemed to her that she didn’t understand love as much as she assumed, despite constantly feeding off of it. She wanted to give up on what seemed like a pointless plan, but this was the only plan she had to return to her kingdom. She wished that she actually took her time and figured out how she was going to do things before actually starting.

She was glad that no changeling was around to see how big of a failure she had become. If Nymph were to ever find out, Chrysalis would never forgive herself. It was already sad enough that she took her throne and had her banished. Maybe she knew this would happen when she gave her this punishment. She must have known that Chrysalis would spend the rest of her life making futile efforts of trying to win back her people’s favor. It was certainly a fate worse than death.

If any of this was true, it wouldn’t be a big surprise considering how miserable Chrysalis made her. She guessed Nymph had some sympathy for her because of the earlier times in their lives. When they were younger, they were very close. She had considered herself to be Nymph’s mentor and they were best friends. They did almost everything together. They played in the courtyard, snuck out of the palace at night, raised parasprites, and even played pranks on some of the nobles. They even did these things as adults. These thoughts made her give a small smile of nostalgia.

Chrysalis immediately sat up and shook her head to shake out those thoughts. It was all in the past and right now only the present mattered. She would not give up as long as Nymph was queen. She would get her crown back or die trying. She thought hard about what she was going to do next. What she needed to do was to get a better idea of how to actually run a dating service. She knew where she could go to do research, but dreaded the idea of going because of who she would have to see. However, it was either that or fail and remain in exile. She grabbed a bag and went out, heading towards Ponyville’s library.


Chrysalis soon arrived outside of Golden Oaks Library, which was built into a tree. She always wondered how the place hadn’t burned down yet from a lightning storm, Twilight’s pet, or something similar. She then found herself chuckling at the thought of Twilight being trapped in a burning building. She went to the door and knocked loudly. After several seconds, the unicorn she hated more than any other opened the top half of the door. The way she smiled at her always made her feel bitter. “Hello, Cherub! Are you here to check out some books?”

“Indeed I am,” Chrysalis said in her friendliest tone while she attempted to avoid eye contact. She found Twilight to be hardest to act friendly around because of their history. “I need some books on love and dating. It’s a little embarrassing, but I’m afraid I’ve been getting a little rusty in the business.”

Twilight giggled. “There’s no need to feel embarrassed. Please come inside!” Chrysalis stepped inside the tree and started to look through the massive shelves, unsure of where to even start looking. “There’s no need to do that. Spike!”

Twilight’s pet dragon descended the stairs. “Yes, Twilight?”

“Cherub wants to check out any book we have about love. Could you get some for her?”

“Your number one assistant is on it!” Chrysalis watched as the little dragon pushed a ladder around and started scanning through the shelves. While she never gave much thought to him, she had always found it strange that he was a dragon who was living among ponies, let alone being an assistant to one.

She leaned towards Twilight and whispered into her ear, “If you don’t mind me asking, how did you ever find him? I’ve never seen a dragon in person.”

Twilight was still watching Spike as he worked. “He was a gift to me from Princess Celestia when I still lived in Canterlot. We’ve been together for so long that he’s kind of like a brother to me.”

The changeling gave Spike a perplexed look. “Aren’t dragons supposed to be dangerous? I’m surprised no pony has run him out of town yet.”

Twilight chuckled as she shook her head. “I don’t think that will ever happen. Spike is the sweetest, most polite dragon ever and he’s never done anything wrong. Well, except that time he turned into a giant dragon and started demolishing the town, but other than that, he's great.” Chrysalis really wished she was there when that occurred. Watching a bunch of ponies fleeing while being at the mercy of a giant monster would have been incredibly entertaining. Still, she thought it was a shame that Princess Celestia and Twilight could take a vicious creature like a dragon and make it lovable.

“Okay, I think I got them all.” Spike placed a stack of five books on the table and looked at Chrysalis. “Why do you even need these books anyway, Cherub? Aren’t you already good at this kind of thing?”

She laughed weakly. “Well yes, but these past few days I’ve been having some difficulties and need a refresher.”

“Like what?” Spiked asked, sounding obviously curious.

Biting her lip, Chrysalis spoke while avoiding eye contact. “Let’s just say I haven’t been in my prime lately and I’ve been making small errors.”

Spike snickered at her. “So in other words, you have no idea what you’re doing.”

“Be quiet, child.” she immediately replied, causing the small dragon to shrink. She let out a large sigh, feeling that she couldn’t be herself without freaking out somebody. “I’m sorry, but yes, it's true. I’ve been screwing up lately. I actually haven’t done anything like this in quite some time. I’m just having trouble finding the right match for each pony and while my dating advice could be a little better, I feel that it would be much easier if I was much more familiar with the ponies in this town or at least had more of them coming in so I could try making more matches.”

“Well we do have somepony who knows everypony well,” Twilight went up to her and placed a hoof her shoulder, “and you can find her right over at Sugarcube Corner,” she finished while pointing out the window.

“You mean that girl, Pinkie Pie.” Chrysalis remembered Pinkie’s eagerness to work with her, but she didn’t know if she was desperate enough to actually hire her.

“Yep! I know she seems like a hoofful, but I think she could be a really big help. She knows a lot about everypony is this town, so I’m sure she would know which ponies would be good for each other.”

She had told herself she would never consider having Pinkie work for her, but at this point she was willing enough to break her own promise. She just couldn’t find good matches for her clients as she was barely getting any. If Pinkie really had such an amazing memory, it could help her plan pull through. Pinkie could easily find anypony in the entire town who would satisfy the preferences of her customers and Chrysalis would be finished in no time. “I think you’re right, Twilight. I feel that I really could use her assistance.”

“That’s great! I’m sure Pinkie will be really excited when you tell her.”

Spike started to laugh again. “Hey Cherub, you sure you want to do that? I think being stuck in a room alone with Pinkie is considered to be a major health hazard.”

Chrysalis placed the bits on the table and stashed the books into her bag. “Thanks for your concern,” she said sarcastically. She looked at the library’s owner. “I appreciate your help, Twilight. You have been so good to me ever since I arrived.”

“I’m always happy to help. And you can keep those books for as long as you want. I just hope you find them helpful.”

“Me too. Now if you don’t mind, I must go to Sugarcube Corner.” After they said their goodbyes, she exited the tree.

Spike and Twilight stood in the doorway, watching her walk off into the distance. Spike looked at Twilight with a smile. “I give her a week before they send her into the mental hospital.”

The unicorn looked back at him, slightly angry. “Spike, that’s not a nice thing to say about somepony behind their back.” Her scowl suddenly became a smile. “She seems like the type of pony who could last two weeks.”


“Welcome to Sugarcube Corner! How may-“

“Pinkie Pie. Now,” Chrysalis demanded, interrupting Mrs. Cake.

The Cakes were surprised by her cold tone. “Uh…sure. Give me a moment.” Mr. Cake left the counter and stood at the bottom of the stairs. “Pinkie Pie,” he called, “you have a visitor!”

They could hear hoofsteps rapidly approaching as the party pony flew down the stairs and bounced right in front of him. “A visitor? For me? Who could it be? Is it one of my friends? Is it a customer? Is it the mail mare? Is it the police again?” She suddenly let out a gasp. “It’s not the ponies from last week, is it? Just because it’s somepony’s funeral doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate his birthday too!” She finally took notice of Chrysalis and let out a second gasp before sprinting in front of her. “Oh my gosh, it’s Cherub! It’s so great to see you! Did you want to see me about something?”

“Yes I do.” Every passing second she felt a knot in her stomach tighten. “You see, I wanted to talk to you about that job offer we discussed earlier.” Pinkie’s eyes became gigantic and she was grinning. “I have thought about it for some time…” Her eyes and grin grew more as she slowly leaned forward. Chrysalis was suddenly finding it difficult to speak as she looked back at her. “And I have decided that I would like to…” Pinkie’s face was now pressed against hers. She could feel her body shaking with excitement. “Hire…you…”

Pinkie suddenly let out a deafening scream and then started bouncing around her. “Yay! Now I can make ponies fall in love with sweets and each other! Can we start now? Please, please, please, please, please?” Chrysalis was worried that if she were to become any more excited, her head would explode.

Thankfully, Chrysalis had no intention of reopening for a few days. “Sorry, but there’s some things I need to take care of first.” The look on Pinkie’s face was as if she just had her heart broken. “Don’t worry, I promise that I’ll be ready by Monday. Is that okay?”

Pinkie started bouncing again. “Of course that’s okay!”

“Great! I’m going to go now. Just be sure to come by nine o’clock Monday morning.”

“Now just hold on a minute.” Mrs. Cake interrupted. Chrysalis huffed as she was just about to make her way out, not pleased that things weren’t going to be as simple as she planned. “Pinkie, what’s this about you taking another job?”

Pinkie started jumping in front of the couple. “I’m going to help ponies fall in love! Isn’t that great?”

“But what about you working here in Sugarcube Corner? We need you,” said Mr. Cake.

Chrysalis was ready to blow her lid since they were trying to take away the only one who could help her, but she managed to approach the situation professionally. “I’m sorry if this is so sudden, but this is something we have discussed a while ago. Pinkie has agreed to help me with my dating service.”

“But Pinkie works here as part of her agreement on living with us. She is a very valuable employee and babysitter and we don’t want to lose her.” Mr. Cake objected.

“She will only be working for me on the weekdays from nine to five. You can have her the rest of the week. Would that be okay?” Chrysalis bartered.

“I don’t know. We wouldn’t have her around as much and I’m sure she would want to spend the weekend with her friends,” said Mrs. Cake with worry in her voice.

“Please, Mr. and Mrs. Cake, I really want to do this,” pleaded Pinkie Pie. “I’ll work extra hard to make up for my absence.”

Chrysalis could see that they were still unsure about letting Pinkie go, so she decided to play the guilt card as her next trick. “Please, you two, I need her. If I don’t get any help, I will have no choice but to close.” she said in a depressing tone. “I spent my entire life savings coming here and I will be flat broke if I go out of business.” She looked at the Cakes with pleading eyes. “You wouldn’t want me to go homeless, would you?” She was happy to see that her acting was working on them as they exchanged uncomfortable looks.

“No, not at all. We will let you have her if she’s that important to you. It’s just that our business may be affected if she leaves. Pinkie is one of the best bakers around,” Mrs. Cake complemented.

Chrysalis thought for a moment. If money was their only concern, then the solution would be simple. “Perhaps we can make a compromise. I will gladly pay for some of these baked goods and provide them at my work area. I will give you a large split of the profits as well as advertise your store. Does that work for you two?”

The Cakes huddled together and began whispering to each other. Pinkie leaned in to try to hear what they were discussing, but Chrysalis pulled her away by her tail. After almost a minute, the Cakes turned back towards them. “Alright, you can have her. Just try not to cause too much trouble, Pinkie,” Mr. Cake ordered.

Chrysalis shook both their hooves. “You have my deepest thanks.” For once, she was actually sincere. She had just nearly considered mind controlling them into giving her up, which was risky.

Pinkie began to once again run around and cheer. “We are going to have so much fun together, Cherub!”

Chrysalis was already heading towards the exit. “We’ll see what happens. See you Monday, Pinkie.” She dreaded to think what would happen Monday morning.


Over the weekend, Chrysalis spent most of her time going through Twilight’s books. They couldn’t have possibly been any more boring, but she felt like she gained a fair amount of knowledge. She learned better questions to ask, more advice she could give ponies, and even reformed her profile sheets to carry a better mix of general and specific desires. She felt sure that things would now take a turn for the better for her.

Monday eventually rolled in and the changeling wasn’t sure if she was looking forward to this day. She needed Pinkie, but to be stuck with her felt like the negatives were outweighing the positives. The moment her clock struck nine, somepony knocked on her door. She didn’t even have to guess who it was. She knew this day was coming, but nothing she did could prepare her for it. Pinkie would be great help with her memory, but Chrysalis wasn’t sure if her sanity could withstand her constant presence. She stood up, went to the door, took a deep breath, and opened it. Pinkie was bouncing up and down with a lunchbox in her mouth and a tray of sweets on her back. “Hello, Pinkie. Are you ready for your first day?”

“I most certainly am!” She made her way inside and sat at a desk that Chrysalis had bought for her, which was to the right of her desk and was facing to the left.

“I’m glad to hear that.” Chrysalis took the tray off of her and placed in onto the table between the two couches. When she got back to her desk, she gave Pinkie a smile, trying to think positively about the situation. “Now your job will to be to greet the customers and once we’re ready, we will use your amazing knowledge to find them that special somepony. Got it?”

Pinkie nodded. “Got it!”

“Good.” Chrysalis resumed reading her book, which was a horror novel that she had purchased from Twilight. Before she even finished one page, she heard the bell on her door ring, meaning that a customer had entered. She looked up and saw a unicorn stallion entering. Before she could even open her mouth, Pinkie jumped right in front of him.

“Hi, mister! Are you looking for a marefriend!?” She was confused when he screamed and dashed out the door. “That was weird. Do you think he’s afraid of girls?” She went out the door and yelled, “Wait! Come back! Cooties don’t exist, I promise!”

“Pinkie!” Chrysalis called back. First pony and there was already a screw-up. Pinkie stepped back inside and saw that Chrysalis was not pleased at all. “That is not how you greet a customer! This is a place of romance. Understand?”

Pinkie was already back at her desk and nodding eagerly. “I think so, Cherub.”

“That’s Ms. Cherub to you. During work hours, you will only address me as Ms., boss, or ma’am, got it?” It wasn’t a kingdom, but at least she was going to have respect and authority somewhere.

“Yes, Ms. Bosserma’am!”

Chrysalis stared at her, dumbfounded. “Excuse me while I get a drink.” She went into the kitchen and got out a glass. It wasn’t even noon and she was craving hard apple cider. It certainly didn’t help as much as wine did, but she needed it now more than ever. Right as she started drinking, she heard the bell over the front door ring.

“Welcome to Cupid’s Arrow. How may I help you, handsome?”

Chrysalis spat her drink out when she heard Pinkie’s very seductive tone.

“W-what? How old are you, kid!?” the newcomer questioned.

“Old enough to stay up past my bedtime,” Pinkie cooed.

“PINKIE PIE!”

Chrysalis stormed out to the main room, only to find Pinkie sitting on the edge of her desk with her hind legs crossed and the client nowhere in sight. She stared at Pinkie, eyes filled with fury, and Pinkie laughed nervously. “From now on, I will greet the customers and you will not say a word unless I tell you to. Am I clear?” She didn’t even bother to wait for her to respond as she sat back at her desk. With her magic, she took one of her books and placed it on Pinkie’s desk. “I suggest you read this chapter right now so you can learn.”

Pinkie looked up at her. “Learn about what?”

“Sexual harassment.”

Rather than to continue reading herself, she just put her head down. It had only been five minutes and the insanely hyperactive pony had somehow made things much worse. At this point, she wondered if she returned to the changeling kingdom, they would be kind enough to reconsider execution.

The day became what she feared: a dry period. Chrysalis could tell the outcome of her workday based on the number of ponies coming inside within the first couple hours. Not a single pony had followed in. Chrysalis became bored of her books, taking upon the light comfort of her desk for a nap. Pinkie just sat in her chair, humming songs to herself while she read. Eventually, the former queen was awakened by the sound of the bell on her door. “Hello, welcome to…oh. It’s you.” Chrysalis trailed off, her hopes dashed again.

“Howdy, Cherub! How’s business?” Pinkie Pie’s friend, Applejack, had come in.

“It couldn’t be better.” She laid her head back down. “I’m guessing you’re here to see Pinkie, Applejack?”

The farmer hadn’t taken notice of the changeling’s anguish as she went to her friend. “Yep! Ah heard she got a job from ya and Ah just had to come by to see how she was doin’.”

Pinkie became really excited. “It’s been great, Applejack! We already had two customers!”

“One is who is going to have nightmares for a while and one who might sue us.” Chrysalis didn’t bother to raise her head and every time she spoke, her voice was filled with more dread.

Applejack seemed a little confused by her comments. “That’s…uh…great to hear.” Her eyes darted around the room. “So Cherub, you do matchmakin’, right?”

“What do you think?” Chrysalis groaned.

Applejack nervously laughed. “Sorry, bad question. So…are ya busy right now?”

Chrysalis lifted her head. “Does it look like I’m busy!?”

“Ah guess not.” She was now speaking nervously. “Ya see, Ah was kinda wonderin’, if it isn’t too much trouble, Ah could try your services. For fun, Ah mean.”

This got Chrysalis’s attention. She sat up, leaning towards Applejack with interest in her eyes. “Are you saying that you want me to find you a coltfriend?”

Applejack was now visibly nervous. “N-no! Not at all. Ah just wanted to try it and see what it’s like, that’s all.”

“There’s no need to be shy. Everypony needs a little help sometimes.” Chrysalis grinned, trying to nudge her with some assurance. Then a dirty plan hatched in her mind, wanting to take out some stress on Applejack to make up for the bad day. “But I find it strange that you now want my help after what you said about how relationships needed to be ‘natural.’ It didn’t seem like your mind would ever…change.”

The farmer stared back at her. “What are ya sayin’?”

Chrysalis looked at her intensely. “Are you a changeling?”

Applejack was surprised by her accusation. “Beg your pardon?”

Pinkie immediately became panicked. “Applejack’s a changeling!? Quick, call the guards! Call the princess! Call the other princess!”

Chrysalis chuckled as she was actually amused by her sudden freak out. “Calm down, Pinkie. It’s easy to see if anypony’s a changeling. All you need to do is ask them a question that only the real pony can answer.”

“That does sound easy!” Pinkie grabbed her chair and placed it in front of Applejack. She then took her desk lamp and started shining it in her friend’s eyes. “Okay, if you’re really Applejack, then tell me, what color am I?”

“You’re pink, Pinkie,” responded Applejack, unimpressed.

Pinkie looked at Chrysalis, smiling. “Don’t worry, Ms. Bosserma’am. I am one-hundred percent sure she’s the real Applejack!”

The red unicorn put a hoof on her own face in complete disbelief. “Let me try.” She focused her gaze at the confused cowgirl. “Every time I go to you in the market, I buy the same things. Name them.”

Applejack laughed. “That’s easy. Ya buy a small bag of apples and a bottle of hard cider.”

She leaned back in her seat, faking a satisfied expression. “Well there you have it, Pinkie. It’s really her.” One of the many things she did keep suspicion off of her was to pretend to be very paranoid of customers being changelings and sometimes questioned them. It brought a little life in the typically dull workplace and no pony would suspect a pony making accusations of somepony being a changeling to be one themself. “So Applejack, why the sudden change of heart?” Chrysalis asked.

Applejack let out a sigh. “Remember the welcoming party we threw for ya and how Rainbow mentioned she was datin’ somepony?”

“Yes, I do believe I recall something like that.”

“Rainbow Dash is so lucky to have a special somepony! Did you know he is a Wonderbolt?” Pinkie bounced in her seat as she spoke.

Applejack continued. “Well lately when the two of us get together, it’s all she talks about. We both like to compete and havin’ a coltfriend is something that she has me beat in. So Ah tried findin’ one myself, but it hasn’t been going so well. Some ponies think Ah’m dumb because Ah live on a farm, some are intimidated just cause Ah’m stronger than them, the list goes on.”

Chrysalis stared at her and she was not amused. “So you want me to just find you a colt just so you can get Rainbow to shut up?” She had grown to know about Dash’s ego and would have loved to do anything to damage it. However, she needed to focus on creating some actual love, not helping somepony getting even.

Applejack shook her head. “No, that’s not it. Well, maybe a little. Ah mean, yes Ah’m tired of her rubbin’ it in, but after a while the thought of havin’ a coltfriend just seemed quite nice. Ah want to be serious about this.” Chrysalis could see her slightly blushing.

Pinkie couldn’t contain herself. “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh! It’s my first day and I get to find a special somepony for my friend, Applejack!”

“How lucky for you,” Chrysalis said in an annoyed tone. She cleared her throat, trying to at least look appealing to Applejack by putting a little more cheer in her voice “Well then, would you like to start right now?”

“If it isn’t too much trouble.” Applejack’s voice was now lacking some confidence.

Chrysalis just grinned back at her. “Oh, it will be no trouble at all. Now I already know who you are so a profile will not be necessary. I just need you to tell me what you’re looking for in a special somepony and we will do the rest.”

Applejack sat in the chair on the other side of her desk. “Well my family is all about apples, so it has to be somepony who would be willin’ to live and work on a farm as apples are extremely important to us. He also needs to be kind and honest like me. That's Ah can think of, really.”

“That seems to be pretty simple.” She turned over to Pinkie. “Now it’s your turn. Can you think of anypony that fits this description?”

Pinkie put her hoof on her chin and started to think. After a moment, she began writing on a piece of paper, making a list of every name she could come up with. Chrysalis and Applejack sat in silence, watching in wonder as she did her thing. After several moments, she put the pencil down and picked up the list. “All done!”

“Excellent. Now please tell us what you wrote.” Chrysalis was actually curious about Pinkie’s memory and was about to experience it first hoof. She was sure at least one of the names would be suitable for the earth pony.

“Well, first there’s this family I know in Ponyville who love apples just as much as you do. They own this place called Sweet Apple Acres…”

“Pinkie, that’s my family.”

“Oh, oopsie!” All of Chrysalis’s hope had been drained. “Okay, next one! His name is Seedy Appletree, and he…”

“Pinkie, that’s the mythical apple farmer from several hundred years ago,” Applejack informed.

Pinkie gasped. “You’re right! How silly of me to forget!” Chrysalis left the two ponies and walked into the kitchen without saying a word. She then took out the cider and decided to drink straight from the bottle.

For the next five minutes, Pinkie kept reading names off her list and Applejack kept rejecting them. Some of them were mares, some she knew wouldn’t dare set foot on her farm, and some that she just had no interest in. Chrysalis decided to resume reading her books, figuring that investing any hope into the party mare’s memory was pointless. She needed to decide on how she was going to handle her brainless employee once Applejack left. Once they ran out of names, Pinkie had become very upset. “I’m sorry, Applejack, but that’s all the names I can come up with.”

“It’s okay, Pinkie. Ah really appreciate ya tryin’ to help me.”

“No, it’s not okay! Here.” Pinkie pulled out her lunchbox and opened it. To no pony’s surprise, it was filled entirely with sweets. She pulled out some candy and gave it to Applejack. “I hope you can forgive me.”

“Ah do. Thanks, Pinkie.” She stood up and was ready to leave. “Ah need to get goin’ and set up the apple cart.”

“That reminds me! Do you have an apple? I’m craving caramel apples!” She pulled out a jar which was filled with caramel.

Applejack reached into her bag, pulled out two apples, and gave them to her friend. ”Make one for me as well.” Pinkie nodded and began coating the apples. “So did he give you some of his left over caramel for free again?”

“Yep! I asked him if he was going to get in trouble with Bon-Bon and he said I was cute enough to make that risk worth it. He even called me Cutie Pie!” Pinkie giggled loudly.

“Boy, that Caramel sure does have a way with the ladies. Ah guess that comes with his good looks. Maybe that’s why they get so much business. Ah have to admit, it’s that charm of his that keeps bringin’ me back.” Chrysalis shifted her eyes over to them.

Pinkie finished dunking the apples into the jar and gave one to her friend. “All done! One super delicious apology caramel apple for you and one for me!”

Applejack happily took the apple. “Thanks, Pinkie. That really does look good.”

Chrysalis put her book down. “Applejack, who is this Caramel?”

Applejack was busy staring at her candy-coated treat. “He’s the pony that works at Bon-Bon’s sweet shop and he keeps her supplied with some of his famous caramel.”

“I believe you said something about him getting really friendly with female customers.”

Applejack took a bite out of her treat. “It’s kind of what he does. Bon-Bon lets him do it all the time since it gets them good business.”

Pinkie took a huge bite out of her own apple. “Except sometimes he gives away free candy and she gets really mad at him. She uses the funniest words when she’s angry!”

“Does she get mad because she’s jealous?” Chrysalis asked.

Applejack shook her head. “Ah doubt it, seein’ how she’s with a mare named Lyra, if ya know what Ah mean.”

Chrysalis nodded to show that she understood. Pinkie didn’t. “Well just because she’s roommates with her doesn’t mean she doesn’t like him!” Pinkie then suddenly gasped. “What if they both like him? That could ruin their friendship forever!”

“And is he single?” Chrysalis questioned as she ignored her.

Applejack shrugged at her. “Ah guess so. Ah’ve seen him hang out with girls outside of work, but never really seen him get close to any of them. Ah think he just likes the company.”

“Do you know him well at all?”

“Known him since we were kids. He usually stops by my cart when he’s gettin’ apples. We say hi to each other sometimes and we just talk about stuff. Sometimes he tries usin’ that charm on me and Ah have to admit it’s rather flatterin’.”

“And what do you think of him?” She was starting to think that Pinkie wasn’t completely worthless after all.

“In my opinion, he’s a hard workin’ pony who knows how to make a girl’s day.”

Chrysalis grinned at her. “And I do believe I heard you called him good looking.”

Applejack stopped eating, stalled by Chrysalis’s comment. “What are ya gettin’ at?”

The changeling leaned on her desk. “Applejack, I think you should make a move on this Caramel.”

Applejack was taken aback. “Well…Ah…ya see…Ah’m not sure. Ah mean he’s sweet and all but…”

Pinkie saw her slightly blushing and jumped in the air, flailing excitedly. “Applejack likes Caramel! Applejack likes Caramel! Applej-” She was immediately cut off when the jar of caramel was magically thrown onto her head. She was now struggling desperately, trying to take it off.

The orange earth pony turned away from her friend. “Ah-Ah do not! He’s nice and all, but Ah’m not sure if he would like livin’ on a farm.”

Chrysalis wasn’t happy with her protest. “Let me stop you right there. I think that you care more about your apples than actually finding somepony you actually want to be with.” Applejack opened her mouth to respond, but Chrysalis saw that she couldn’t come up with anything. “Caramel sounds like a winner in all of the other categories. You said it yourself: He’s hard working, attractive, and honest. Well, maybe not completely honest, but close enough. You even said that he was quite the charmer.” Pinkie popped the jar off her head and took deep breaths. She suddenly used her tongue to clean her head of the gooey goodness.

Applejack’s face was now as red as her apples. “Ah’ll think about it.” Her eyes were bouncing all over until they landed on the clock in the room. “Well would you look at the time!” she said incredibly fast. “Ah’m going to be late for my…thing! Yeah! So Ah better go now. Catch ya two later!” She jumped off the chair and quickly walked to the door. She tried turning the handle, but it wouldn’t budge. She noticed that it was glowing green and turned around to see the older mare standing behind her.

“Listen. I think you should go over to Caramel right now and see if you can get something started between you two. You both already know each other, so that’ll make things much easier. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t.” Chrysalis kept trying to push her, hoping the little pony would break.

“Ah said Ah’ll do it later. You can’t rush these things.” She turned and tried turning a doorknob again, only to end up unsuccessful in doing so.

“I suppose you’re right.” Chrysalis made a feigned sigh. “Oh, what was that thing you said? About how he likes to flirt with all the female customers and they always come back for more?” Her face shifted into a stern look. “Look, if you don’t make a move soon, I promise you somepony else will and he’s going to be gone. And what would Rainbow Dash say if she found out that you waited too long?”

Applejack looked at the floor, feeling cornered. “Do ya really think we’re good for each other?”

Pinkie, who had finally managed to catch her breath, opened her mouth and took a deep breath, ready to say something. Chrysalis immediately took one of the apples with her magic and shoved it into her mouth to prevent her from ruining the moment. Chrysalis then took the second caramel-coated apple and levitated it right in front of Applejack’s face. “I think you two will go great together.”

Applejack watched the apple as it dangled in the air. After a moment, she felt her confidence resurface. She took the apple and stashed it in her bag. “Ya’re right! Ah’m gonna go over there right now. Thanks, Cherub!”

“My pleasure.” Chrysalis suddenly thought of something. She couldn’t take the gamble of waiting for Applejack to possibly get together with Caramel. She got very embarrassed by just talking about him and would likely not have the courage to ask him out. Since they were barely getting customers anyway, she felt now would be a good time for a hooves-on approach. “Let us get going.”

“What do ya mean ‘us’?” Applejack asked, confused.

Chrysalis gave her a small smile as she went past her. “Pinkie and I shall accompany you in order to ensure success between the both of you. It is our job to ensure that love blooms for everypony who comes to us.”

Pinkie Pie had finally managed to get the apple out of her mouth by swallowing it whole. “Yay! First day of work and we get a field trip!” She ran right past them and flew out the door.

Applejack shook her head. “Sorry, but Ah’m going to have to pass on that. Ah don’t need any help.”

“Why? Because you were doing so well before?” Applejack lowered her head slightly, feeling embarrassed. “Don’t worry. We will do our best to stay out of your way. We will just be there to provide you with guidance, nothing more.”

Applejack was quite for a moment, and then nodded. “Well alright. Let’s go!” They took Pinkie’s lead and followed her. The pink pony skipped with every step, singing out loud all of the candy she was going to buy when they got there.


The trio had made their way across town to a large candy store. They stopped outside and went around to the side. They found some bushes to hide in, went to the window, and peered inside. It was filled with about ten ponies, most of them mares, and over on the cash register was Caramel himself, flirting with one of them, as well as Bon-Bon, who was standing behind him and watching him intensely as she was making more candy.

Chrysalis pulled away from the window to look at her client. “Well there he is, Applejack. Pinkie and I will wait outside if you need us. Are you ready?”

“There sure are a lot of ponies in there,” Applejack said with concern. “Ah’d like to be alone with him. Ah can’t help it but Ah’d feel embarrassed with all those ponies around.”

“If you want some alone time, we might have to wait until they close.” She really hoped they wouldn’t have to do that. She had much better things to do than hide in bushes with two of the six ponies she hated most in this town for several hours.

“But we can’t wait! Ah’m supposed to run the apple stand today,” Applejack objected.

Chrysalis became angry, becoming ultimately sick of her reluctance. “How about when he goes on break? Would that work for you?” she muttered, trying to keep her voice relaxed.

Applejack shook her head. “No, it wouldn’t. Bon-Bon doesn’t let him out of her sight anymore cause of all the givin’ away he does.”

Pinkie pulled away from the window, still smiling despite the situation. “Yeah! She said if she ever caught him doing it again, she would turn him into caramel with her own hooves!” She licked her lips. “Mmm, caramel-flavored Caramel!”

Chrysalis was about to scream and turn Applejack into caramel herself. She was so close to creating her first successful relationship, but the cowgirl was being incredibly stubborn. “Well unless you can make all those ponies just magically disappear, you’re just going to have to hit on him in public, so stop being a coward and get in there already!”

While she and Applejack were arguing, Pinkie started to think of what they could do. After a moment, she jumped up excitedly. “Oh! Oh! I have an idea!” Both of them watched as she ran toward the entrance of the shop, curious of what she had in mind. She threw the door open and yelled at the top of her lungs, “Hey everypony! I just saw Photo Finish at the far other side of town and she said she’s looking for a new model right here in Ponyville and she also said that she’s desperate enough to take anypony due to a recent swimsuit photo scandal!” She immediately jumped out of the way as a horde of mares rushed out the door, screaming with joy as they disappeared into the distance. Caramel stood there, completely surprised by what had just happened. She went back to where Chrysalis and Applejack were hiding with a large grin on her face.

“Wow, Pinkie,” Chrysalis said in amazement. “That was actually really clever of you.” She couldn’t believe that after everything she had done before, Pinkie would actually do something of some intelligence. Maybe there truly was more to the pony than what she saw.

“And now Applejack has Caramel all to herself! Are you ready?”

Applejack blushed again. “Ah guess Ah don't have excuses now, do Ah?”

Chrysalis got behind Applejack and started rubbing her shoulders. “Just relax and take a deep breath. You’re not trying to get him to propose to you or anything like that. You’re just going to go in there and talk. Try to let him know that you’re really interested in him and ask him out for a date. And just so you know, stallions can be stubborn, so don’t take no for an answer. You got to take control of the situation. Understand?” Chrysalis really hoped that she did. She needed to improve her success rate and was now depending on the farmer.

Applejack gulped and nodded. She walked as slowly as possible to the door and entered. Chrysalis and Pinkie waited by the window and watched from outside. Applejack finally approached the counter and spoke. “Hey there, Caramel!”

Caramel suddenly realized that she was there and smiled. “Oh hi, Applejack! You just missed the craziest thing! Your friend Pinkie just came in and yelled something about Photo Finish being in town and the next thing I know, everypony just runs out the door. I think Bon-Bon was with them, too.”

Applejack chuckled. “Boy, that sure does sound like somethin’. Ah can only imagine Photo’s face when she sees a flood of mares chargin’ at her. She’s gonna run for the hills!”

They both laughed out loud for a bit. After they stopped, Caramel resumed the conversation. “So what can I do for you today, Applejack?”

“Ah just came in to say hi and get some bonbons before Ah started work today. Figured Ah could use a treat before gettin' started.”

“Sure thing.” He went under the counter and started bagging some bonbons.

Applejack took a deep breath before she spoke. “So how’s business, Caramel?”

“Well it’s been going great until about a minute ago,” he said optimistically. “How about you?”

“It’s been goin’ fine. Sales have dipped a little, but Ah’m doin’ alright.”

“Well that’s good to hear.” Caramel was almost finished collecting the bonbons.

The mare straightened her posture and cleared her throat. “Personally, Ah wish Ah had a way with the customers like you do. Could clear the whole farm in a week if Ah wanted.”

Caramel came back up with a bag full of bonbons. Back outside, Pinkie was drooling on the glass while Chrysalis just sat there, watching impatiently as she waited for Applejack to make her move. “You certainly have the looks. You just got to talk the talk and everypony will be eating out of your hooves.”

Applejack blushed as she laughed. “Thanks for the complement. So how much do Ah owe ya?”

Caramel rang up the register. “That’ll be eight bits. I slipped in a little extra just for you.”

“Aw, you’re sweet. But Ah don’t think Bon-Bon would like that too much. She might actually fire ya if she finds out about this.”

Caramel leaned over the counter and got closer to her. “Well that old hag is not here right now, so I don’t think she would mind. She’s out looking for Photo Finish.” A faint smile began to appear on his lips. “Now that I think about it, I think you should go find her as well. You would make a great model.”

Applejack took her eyes away from him. “T-that’s not really my t-thing, to be honest. Ah’m n-not really that p-pretty like those other mares.”

Caramel looked at her in a way that made her heart pound. “Don’t say that. You have a lot of natural beauty. You may not know it, but you always give your friend Rarity a run for her money.”

She was now starting to sweat and she hid her face behind her hat. “Y-ya really think s-so?”

He leaned in even closer to whisper, “I know so.”

Chrysalis could actually see Applejack physically trembling. She knew that the cowgirl had lost her nerve and was ready to bail, which she could not afford to let happen. She pulled away from the window and started making her way toward the front. Pinkie took notice of this and asked, “Where are you going, Ms. Bosserma’am?”

The changeling didn’t even look at her as she kept walking. “I feel that direct intervention is now necessary.”

Right before she reached the door, she saw Applejack take several steps away from the counter. “T-thanks for the bonbons, Caramel. Ah’ll catch you later. Bye!” She walked towards the door and was stopped when she bumped into the changeling.

Chrysalis acted like she was completely surprised as she looked down at her. “Applejack! I didn’t expect seeing you here of all places!”

Applejack got off the floor and brushed herself off. “Oh, hi, Cherub.”

Chrysalis leaned around her. “And who is that handsome stallion you were talking to?”

“What!?” both Pinkie and Applejack shouted.

Caramel looked at her with a slight grin on his face. “My name is Caramel.” His tone was making Applejack start to worry. “My boss, Bon-Bon, isn’t here right now, so I’d be more than willing to share some of these delicious treats with you for free, beautiful.”

Chrysalis walked towards the counter while swaying her hips. “How very generous of you. Just give me a little, I wouldn’t want to ruin my gorgeous figure,” she said seductively.

Applejack had gotten over the shock and had started to become agitated. “Excuse me, Cherub…”

Caramel didn’t notice her talking, scanning his eyes across Chrysalis's body. “Yes, that would be shame. You have a really nice figure, especially for a mare of your age.”

Chrysalis let out of a fake giggle. She saw the anger on Applejack’s face and knew that her plan was working. “That’s really sweet of you to say. You make me feel so young.”

“In my opinion, I think mares like you age like fine wine.”

Pinkie was now devouring a bucket of popcorn while she watched and Applejack was grinding her teeth while she looked at the disguised changeling. Chrysalis saw this and decided that it was the perfect time to push the farm girl over the edge. She got up close to Caramel’s face and whispered loudly, “You know what? Forget the candy. Why don’t you just give me some sugar?”

Applejack stomped the ground with enough force to leave cracks. “Oh no ya don’t! Ah won’t let ya have him! He’s mine!” She realized what she had just said and fell silent.

The sweet shop had become dead quiet. Applejack stared at the floor and Caramel was staring at her, completely surprised by her outburst. Chrysalis, on the other hoof, was feeling proud of herself. “Well then! I think you two have a lot of to talk about.” Right as she walked by Applejack on her way to the exit, she whispered in her ear, “It’s all up you now, cowgirl. Don’t let him slip away.” Once she had gotten outside, she returned to Pinkie, whose mouth was hanging open and probably did not even notice her there.

Back inside, Applejack and Caramel sat in awkward silence. Caramel was the first to break it. “Applejack, is there something you want to tell me?”

Applejack nodded. “Ah’m gonna be honest with ya. The truth is Ah’ve been lookin’ for a coltfriend because my friend Rainbow kept botherin’ me about hers. Ah couldn’t find anypony so Ah went to Cherub for help. Ah kind of mentioned ya while Ah was there and she said that ya would be perfect for me.”

“So you just want me to be your coltfriend so your friend can leave you alone?”

Applejack quickly shook her head. She went up to the counter, her faced filled with seriousness. “Ah’m doin’ this because Ah really do want a special somepony.” Caramel did not seem completely convinced. “Look, Ah really do think you’re sweet. We’ve known each other for so long, and now Ah was kind of hoping we could try being more than friends. Ah know it’s sudden, but Ah would really like to see if anythin’ could happen between us.”

Caramel looked at her with surprise, mildly blushing. “Applejack, are you asking me out?”

She looked him in the eyes. “Yes. Yes Ah am.”

It felt like a long time had passed as the three mares waited for him to finally give his answer. “I really appreciate the offer, but I’m not sure if I ready for a serious relationship. This is going to sound awful of me, but I really like just having mares swoon over me. I’m really sorry, Applejack. Please don’t be upset.”

Pinkie gasped, unable to grasp what had happened. Chrysalis could feel her blood boiling within her as all that effort she put into it was for nothing. She wondered if using a little mind control would go unnoticed. “Ah see. Sorry to bother ya,” Applejack said disappointingly. She turned and slowly made her way to the door. “Ah guess Ah’m goin’ to have to find Bon-Bon now.”

Caramel’s heart jumped. “Wait, what?”

Applejack didn’t stop walking. “Yeah, Ah’m goin’ to have to tell her about what you were doin’ while she was out. What do ya think will make her angrier, ya givin’ away more free stuff or you callin’ her an old hag?” she teased.

Chrysalis and Pinkie stood there in complete disbelief. Chrysalis didn’t think Applejack had this kind of side to her, but she liked it. Caramel was visibly sweating “Y-you can’t do that! I’ll get fired, or worse!”

“Alright, Ah won’t under one condition.” She turned around and faced him. “We will have a date. One date. Ah’m not trying to pressure ya, Caramel. Just one date and we’ll see if anythin’ happens. Deal?”

Caramel hastily nodded. “Sure, one date! No problem!”

Applejack smiled and went up to the counter. “Good. Come by the farm on Saturday.”

“Okay, I will. Just please don’t tell Bon-Bon!”

“Ah won’t, Ah promise.” Suddenly, she leaned across the counter and got right up to his face. “By the way, ya still sellin’ some of that sugar?” She grabbed Caramel, pulled him in, and kissed him on the mouth, causing Pinkie and Chrysalis to gasp. After several seconds, Applejack pulled away and walked out the door, leaving behind a wide-eyed Caramel. “Oh, if you try any of that cute stuff with any mare but me, Bon-Bon will be the second scariest pony you’ll ever know.”

Applejack went outside and Pinkie and Chrysalis ran up to her. Pinkie was bouncing wildly and practically screaming. “You did it, Applejack! That was totally amazing! I thought it was gonna be super sad, but now you made it super happy!”

Chrysalis clapped her hooves. “I must admit that I am very impressed by how you got him to agree. Blackmail and seduction; I couldn’t have done it better myself.”

Applejack blushed. “Ah wouldn’t call it that. Think of it more like persuasion and a little taste of what he’s missin’ out on. Do ya think it left an impression?”

Chrysalis turned towards the sweet shop, sensing a fair amount of love emanating from inside. “I think with that little taste, he’s eager for seconds.”

“Well Ah should be thankin’ ya for that. Ah don’t think Ah would’ve ever tried anythin’ like that if it weren’t for ya two. Ah can’t wait to tell Rainbow about this!” Applejack started digging through her bag. “So how much do Ah owe ya, Cherub?”

“I’ll mail you the bill, seeing how you are so desperate to go sell your apples.” Because she was Twilight’s friend, she was going to charge her extra.

Applejack hit herself with her hoof. “Oh shoot, almost forgot! Ah better get movin’. Thanks again for everythin’!”

“Goodbye, Applejack. Tell your friends about me!” Chrysalis and Pinkie waved as Applejack left.

Pinkie then looked at her boss, filled with excitement. “We did it! Applejack now has a special somepony! I can’t wait for our next customer so we can go to another field trip!”

“Calm down, Pinkie,” she said while rolling her eyes. “This isn’t something we’ll be doing every time. Just for those ponies who need that little extra help. If we kept going with everypony, we’d never get anything done. Now let’s get back to the office and wait for the next one.”

Chrysalis walked while Pinkie jumped alongside her. “So how did I do, Ms. Bosserma’am? I did really super great, right!?”

The red unicorn halted. She was going to have to be honest with Pinkie; no holdbacks. “Well Pinkie, the only reason I even considered hiring you in the first place was because you were supposed to have an amazing memory that you would use to find somepony good enough for the customers, yet it was I who had come up with Caramel while you listed a bunch of idiotic ideas.” Pinkie stopped bouncing and stood there, looking at her with incredibly sad eyes. But then, Chrysalis let out a sigh. “However, I suppose I was only able to make that conclusion because you happened to bring him up. Also, as much as I hate to admit it, what you did when you got rid of those ponies was actually really smart.”

Pinkie’s face lit up with hope. “So does that mean you’re not going to fire me?”

Chrysalis couldn’t even look her in the eyes. As much as she hated her, she needed her. This was their first job together, not counting the first two who Pinkie had driven off, and they had created a successful relationship. She was just going to have to help Pinkie with coming up with a good special somepony candidates and if they did things just as well as they did today, she would be out of here soon. “Yes, I want you to keep working for me. Just promise me you’ll work harder next time.”

Pinkie suddenly sprung into the air and let out a loud cheer. Right as she landed, she ran to her boss and gave her a hug. “Oh thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! I promise I’ll do better!”

Chrysalis managed to push Pinkie off her and onto the ground. She got up close into face and said threateningly, “We don’t hug. Ever.” She turned around and continued back on her way to where she worked.

Pinkie got up and immediately followed her. “Oops. Sorry, Ms. Bosserma’am!”

The changeling groaned. “One more thing. Please just call me Ms. Cherub.” As they walked, she noticed a large clock tower. After all they had done today, it wasn’t even noon. It felt like an eternity to her, being stuck with the obnoxious pony and she would continue being stuck with her every day until the weekend, which was when she was closed. She hoped she wouldn’t have to stay in Ponyville with her for too long.

There was a kingdom waiting for her.