• Published 25th Mar 2013
  • 2,911 Views, 73 Comments

Equestria Divided: The Pink Samurai - The Kobold Necromancer



Pinkie Pie is brought to Equestria Divided, an alternate universe where the Mane 6 have turned against each other, warping Equestria into a nightmarish war zone. For her new friends, Pinkie fights against the odds as the Pink Samurai.

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Prologue Part 4 - The Forging of the Samurai

Normally, when a being is told that they are dead, there is a natural suspension of disbelief. Nobody, especially if they didn't remember their final moments, would believe they died. One's mortality is something that is cherished, and defended fervently when threatened.

For Pinkie Pie, when she was told she was dead, she blinked, then checked herself for a pulse.

"No, I'm not," she said simply, staring at Colgate in confusion.

Colgate shook her head. "No no, what I mean is the you of this world, our Pinkie Pie, is dead."

Pinkie blinked again. She glanced at Bonbon and Lyra, both of whom nodded solemnly. Then the realization hit the pink mare, as befitting sound effects played in her head.

"How'd I go?" She asked. "Did I party myself to death? Did I stop eating my vegetables? Was I on my unicycle? My mother always said my wheel would be the death of me. Or was it if I stopped eating my vegetables?"

"Maybe," Colgate said, placing her hoof on Pinkie's leg, "we should start at the beginning."

Pinkie nodded, then glanced out the window of the primitive hospital. The sun was up in the sky, which brought a very important question to her mind, and thus her mouth.

"You said that Princess Celestia and Princess Luna had vanished," Pinkie said. "What happened? Did you look under the cushions for them? That's always where I'm finding things."

Colgate sighed. This wasn't going to be easy for her, mostly because of…

"I've been wrestling with this since it happened," she thought bitterly. "I never fully believed the blunt answer, and now, I have to force myself to say it."

The blue unicorn took a deep breath, and then said it. "The Royal Sisters, one day, without any warning, without any signs, vanished. They were gone, gone from Equestria, and no trace or not or anything to let us know what happened."

Bonbon chimed in. "And at first, everyone, not just ponies, were terrified. We thought the world was coming to an end. The sun would stay up forever and burn us all, or the moon would crash into the earth, causing destruction."

"Ponyville received the message by nightfall," Lyra said, shivering a little at the memory. "Twilight Sparkle received a message from her brother, that the Royal Sisters couldn't be found by anypony. When the news came to us, Ponyville acted like the end was nigh."

Colgate nodded. "Mass hysteria, coupled with some rather… interesting results."

Pinkie Pie didn't understand what this meant. Then she saw Lyra and Bonbon blushing, and she raised an eyebrow. "Okay, what'd you two do?" she asked, a tiny smile on her face.

"It doesn't matter anymore," Bonbon grumbled, glancing away.

"Except pretty much all of Ponyville could hear you, Bonbon, even over the panic," Colgate teased, allowing a small smile with this hard news.

"Wow," Pinkie thought. "Those two must have been really hungry for all of the candy at Bonbon's store if the whole town heard them eating!"

Colgate continued her world's history. "Twilight Sparkle, and your ring of friends, you all were determined to find the Royal Sisters. If ponies weren't aware that you six were the Elements of Harmony, they were then. Word spread around all of Equestria that you six would save us and bring the sisters back to us."

"Heck, some ponies thought you six were taking over, that the princesses had left Equestria in your hooves," Bonbon admitted. "Well, the fillies did. Scootaloo was adamant that Rainbow Dash was going to save the world, Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle assuring all their friends their sisters would save them."

Pinkie nodded, and asked, "Wait, where are they now? The little girls?"

"One step at a time, Pinkie, and besides, they're not fillies anymore," Colgate said. "They're all fully-grown mares, as it has been fifteen years, according to you."

"Sorry. Continue."

Pinkie sunk into her seat a little more, cradling her arm in the sling. Lyra nuzzled her, sensing her apprehension.

"The six of you went to Canterlot," Colgate continued, "to deal with the issue. Politicians, other royalty, teachers, scientists, the military, everypony of authority was trying to keep the general population down. But as days turned into weeks, it really hit everypony hard…

"We had been lied to. The sun and moon rose and set, without any princess doing it. The world acted naturally, and we were all just the same without Celestia or Luna."

Colgate was watching Pinkie Pie, and could see, like she thought she would, the doubt and disbelief in Pinkie's face. "Now I'm not saying it's the same in your world. After all, your Celestia seems to have a better sense of the Astral Plane, so she's obviously more in control…"

"Still, wouldn't be too lax with the thought she's in control," Bonbon said, frowning in concern at Pinkie. "It took us all a long time to accept such a hard truth, and-"

"Wait wait wait!"

Pinkie lifted her hooves to have them stop, moving the arm in the sling. She winced in pain at doing something so foolish, and as the others tried to help her deal with the pain, she struggled to ask more.

"Are you sure they're not just… hiding or something?" Pinkie asked. "Maybe they got stuck somewhere? Maybe something evil trapped them… oh! King Sombra! In the Crystal Empire! Have you-"

"King Sombra has been destroyed, long before this happened," Colgate explained. "And before you ask, Discord has been sealed in stone again. It is another complicated story there. It couldn't have been changelings, and, well, there's no other theory on what it could have been.

"The problem was, no matter how strong the faith you six had, or how many ponies still believed, or how many leaders of Canterlot stood firm… a year after the Royal Sisters vanished, everything was Tartarus."

The blue unicorn strained, trying to recall the story without becoming too emotional. Pinkie could notice the tension, and she looked at Lyra and Bonbon for help. The mint unicorn managed a small smile for her.

"You visited Ponyville often," Lyra said to her. "You kept coming back to us all, and telling us what was going on in Canterlot. You kept our faith and hope alive, you saw the Cake twins as much as you could, trying to assure everypony to keep our strength. You were our anchor."

"Lyra," Bonbon said cautiously, "you shouldn't say that, that makes this harder."

"Well, I just want Pinkie to know that, in my eyes, she went out like a real hero."

Pinkie didn't blush a lot in her life, mostly because shame was so foreign to her. Still, this was enough to make her face heat up, but her pink coat mostly spared her showing signs of blushing to the others. Lyra pat her leg, as Bonbon sighed.

"After a year," the yellow mare said, picking up for Colgate, "Equestria was a festering with riotous rebellions. Ponyville was one of the few places that wasn't being torn apart by furious ponies. Ponies realized they'd been lied to all their lives, and thus could do whatever they bucking wanted…

"Or they believed that since the Royal Sisters were gone, they had to rise up and take control wherever they were. Rebellion was a norm then."

"Some of our pegasus friends told us the cloud cities, like Cloudsdale," Colgate spoke again, "had heavy pegasus rebellions. The Wonderbolts weren't able to keep it under control, or maybe they didn't want to."

"All the major cities were in uproar, from the news we were getting," Lyra said. "It was horrible. We were getting reports of deaths, which was surreal and terrible. Ponies killing ponies, over stupid things like thefts, or fights if the sisters had really abandoned us or not."

Bonbon nodded. "Then it went from hearing that a murder could actually happen, to how many would happen. Cloudsdale, Fillydelphia, Appleloosa, Hoofington, Manehattan, and even Canterlot were having all kinds of riots, mayhem, and other nasty chaos."

"The six of you were trying so hard for a year to find the sisters," Colgate reasoned. "But the royalty and upper class were leaving Canterlot for Manehattan, where they could live like the pampered, spoiled creeps they were. Then… then it all happened at once."

"Okay, what?" Pinkie asked. "You said that before, what happened all at once?"

The three mares were quiet, and Pinkie realized Lyra was squeezing her leg more now. When the pink mare stared at her, Lyra glanced at her with pained eyes.

"Twilight's parents were killed," she said. "Murdered by pegasus rebels, who attacked a council meeting to make demands. After that, Twilight… she snapped."

"All we know is that one day, Applejack came back to Ponyville, so mad that she looked ready to kill somepony herself," Bonbon said. "All she would say was that Twilight was going to force an alicorn transformation, to take the place of the princesses."

"What?" Pinkie exclaimed. "Is… is that possible?"

"It's been fifteen years since she vowed she'd do it," Colgate said. "The answer is no, it's impossible, but Twilight has not seen reason. Even… even after the first, fatal attempt."

"Fatal? Twilight's dead?!"

"No, Pinkie," Bonbon said. She opened her mouth, closed it, groaned in frustration, then spat it out. "You are. Were. Our Pinkie's dead."

The party pony stared, wide eye, silent for one of those rare times that did seem to be increasing since she came to this dreadful world. "Okay, what'd I do wrong?"

"You didn't do anything wrong," Bonbon exclaimed. She attempted to calm herself down, as Pinkie stared at her in shock. Her fellow earth pony sighed hard, then muttered, "Twilight killed you."

"Bonbon, please, let's not complicate things when we're explaining them," Colgate pleaded. She turned to Pinkie, who was so shocked that wordless whimpers and cries, her eyes watering. "Please… remember, we're talking to a Pinkie Pie who comes from a loving, peaceful world. Right, Pinkie?"

At first, Pinkie didn't reply. Then she nodded, staring at the floor, whispering, "It's wonderful back home… Twilight… she just helped us assemble for the Equestrian Games in the Crystal Empire."

Colgate nodded. "That happened here too… well, the games themselves were cancelled when the Princesses disappeared. But to explain better, Twilight had banned AJ from Canterlot, calling her a traitor to the throne.

"Apparently, for the alicorn creation spell, Twilight needed a unicorn, which was herself, a pegasus, and an earth pony. Applejack had refused, where Rainbow Dash had accepted as the pegasus role. And, from what we gather, Pinkie, you were coerced into being the earth pony."

Pinkie whimpered again, louder this time. Bonbon held her, and said, "You would do anything for your friends. You probably felt this would help them, the princesses, everypony. Like Lyra said, you were a friend and a hero."

Lyra sniffed audibly, and they saw she was struggling not to cry. "I'll never forget that day. Derpy had a letter that she had opened, by accident. She started to read some of it to make sure it arrived to the right pony: Octavia."

The mint unicorn's golden eyes were wet as she managed to look at Pinkie. "She was crying so hard, and she at first refused to give the letter to Octavia. Vinyl Scratch read it, in front of so many of us… we had all gathered when Derpy started to make a scene with how sad she was; Derpy was bawling, hiccuping, she couldn't control it."

Pinkie glanced down at herself, her one good eye scanning at her damaged, but still living body. "And Dashie?" she asked quietly. "And Twilight?"

"Dash survived the attempted alicorn transformation spell, but she was terribly burned," Bonbon explained. "Twilight… not a scratch. We've heard she has tried again, but that's only rumors."

Colgate sighed hard, as she observed the mares in front of her. "Well, Pinkie, this is all very hard to take in, shall we take a break?"

"No no, just," she said with a heavy sigh, "just tell me now. I want to know… because I'm stuck here, apparently."

The blue unicorn nodded, running her tongue against her teeth as she tried to think back. "We don't know all the details, we're very in the dark about much. But here's the lowdown:

"Applejack practically went berserk when Pinkie Pie was killed. She started to form a House, rather much like a guild and an army combined. She started with her family, and the earth and pegasus ponies in Ponyville. And she, as well as leaders of her House, developed a rather fervent hatred for unicorns.

"Rainbow Dash, after she recovered, was still on Twilight's side… for the time being. She was recruited into House Stormwing, which was a House that was formed by the major cloud cities. It was originally to fight the rebels who were causing pain, rioting, and death, and to keep the faith for Celestia and Luna alive."

Colgate paused to trot over to the window, staring out up at the sky. "Rainbow Dash and Applejack recruited from Ponyville. Many ponies were moving there to avoid the riots and dangers of cities. Ponyville was practically a booming city with how much it expanded. And then, Applejack drew a line.

"Twilight Sparkle had formed in Canterlot her own House: House Moon & Star. It called for total obedience to the Royal Sisters, the advance of progress in science, magic, and medicine, and a unicorn superior civilization. Applejack was so outraged, she forced Mayor Mare to set up anti-unicorn standards for Ponyville."

"No!"

Pinkie almost stood up, forgetting her injuries as Bonbon and Lyra helped her back down. She panted as her emotions ran wild through her mind, trying and failing to picture her friends doing these odious endeavors. Finally, her eyes fell on Lyra, and she whimpered, "But… but you and Applejack have known each other for years! You two-"

"It didn't matter, sweetheart," Lyra said, holding Pinkie tenderly. "Pinkie, when Applejack came to our home with restrictions for me, she wasn't the Applejack we both knew. There was anger, determination, frustration, and all that stubbornness we know her for… but no love."

"But what about Vinyl?" Pinkie asked desperately. "Sea Swirl? … Rarity?! She didn't-"

"She did," Bonbon said. "Applejack even set these new laws on Rarity, on Rarity's family. Sweetie Belle wouldn't even be able to go to school with her friends, and we all knew at that point, Apple Bloom was denied being able to see her."

Pinkie hung her head in sorrow, taking deep breaths. She sighed heavily, and said, "When Princess Celestia told me some worlds out there were bad, I wasn't ready for this. At worst, I thought there would be worlds out there where things were inverted, like Dashie was into fashion and talked like Rarity!"

"If only," Bonbon said. She didn't look keen to continue, so she gazed at Colgate for help. The dentist mare nodded, and continued.

"What happened next was rather quick too. Rarity was so outraged, she took every pony who would leave Ponyville to go to Manehattan. She knew ponies there, and felt we had a life there. And… despite what's happened since, we're alive now because of it."

Lyra, Bonbon, and Colgate all clammed up, and Pinkie stared at them for answers. Thinking back to Colgate summing things up, she guessed aloud, "The flood?"

"House Stormwing caused it," the blue unicorn said. "The pegasi in the air wore their symbol. And… Rainbow Dash was involved."

"No," Pinkie breathed out the word, then screamed it, "No! Dashie wouldn't flood Ponyville! Never!"

"We're not sure why, if our town was the true, intended target or not," Colgate continued, despite the outburst. "But what we do know is that if we hadn't left Ponyville when we did, we all might have drowned. The waters that came rampaging into Ponyville, the hurricane that was blowing… it was so devastating, it must have taken an army to make it happen."

Lyra hugged Bonbon, shivering at the memories. The two cuddled each other, and Pinkie watched them for her own mental comfort. The party pony turned back to Colgate, and asked, "Who else survived?"

"A lot of us, a list would take too long to say now, and I know you know all of Ponyville-"

"Please! Just tell me… my sister? Vinyl?"

The three exchanged glances, and Pinkie felt her heart stop for a second. She swallowed hard, then whimpered, "I… I just have to realize she wasn't my sister, my sister is alive in my world, fine… just fine…"

"Pinkie, your sister came with us when we left Ponyville," Bonbon said. "Vinyl too. But we have lost contact with them. We don't know where they are and if they're alive."

With a heavy exhale, Pinkie allowed herself to calm down. "So… what happened after that?"

"House Earthborn declared war on House Stormwing," Colgate explained. "And, something else must have happened in the background with the leaders, because both Houses declared war with House Moon & Star. They've been three of the main powers, all wanting supremacy for their race."

"Led by Dashie, Twili, and AJ." Pinkie sank into the sofa again, staring up at the ceiling. "But you said Dashie was recruited into House Stormwing. How'd she end up leading it?"

"Promotion, reputation, Element of Loyalty, maybe something else," Colgate said with a shrug. "No idea, hon."

Pinkie sighed, then pulled herself up to her three hooves on the ground. The three watched her pace around a little, as she tried to take this all in. "What happened," she asked, "to Rarity?"

"A very long story too, but let me try to be brief for now. Rarity got herself into the upper class in Manehattan, which is a short distance from us. And, with some very underhoofed tactics, she somehow made herself the leader of the upper class and royalty of Manehattan."

"She's forgotten about us," Bonbon said with a roll of her eyes. "In her efforts to get to the top, we got stuck in the slums. The Undercity, it's called. It's where everypony who cannot afford the money to live in the real Manehattan have to live… if you can call it that."

"Is that," Pinkie Pie glanced out the window, "where we are now?"

"No, we are an expedition of a kind," Lyra said, managing a smile. "You see, we're archaeologists right now, you could say."

"Oh, like Daring Do?"

Bonbon failed to stifle a chuckle. "No no. We are an expedition sent out here for a few months. We did for artifacts, gems, and the like. We live in these crappy houses, while diamond dogs monitor our progress."

"Diamond dogs?" Pinkie thought back to the ugly creatures that took Rarity away by force. "They work with you all?"

"They're more like slave drivers and sycophants to Rarity," Colgate said. "You're going to have to keep your distance from them, Pinkie."

Pinkie nodded, then glanced between the three mares. "Okay, I need to know." She sighed as she sunk back into the couch. "You all seemed to not trust me earlier. Why?"

The three mares all exchanged glances, not wanting to be the one to tell Pinkie why. Chewing on her bottom lip, Colgate decided to be the bearer of bad news.

"Pinkie, there is a cult out there called the Cult of Laughter," she explained. "They are everywhere around Equestria, and they are the most vicious, sadistic, macabre ponies and beings one can imagine."

"Straight from nightmares," Bonbon commented. "And the Tartarus of it all is that they are laughing and smiling always, so cheerful as they deal with death."

"We've seen them a couple times," Lyra said. She swallowed, and said, "The followers are so fanatic, it's like… there's no pony left in their eyes. They're just a hollow shell with a grin plastered on their face."

Pinkie winced. The last thing in the world she wanted to imagine was for smiles and joy to be corrupted like that. Smiles were supposed to be pure, kind, a friendly gesture to another being. Now they were a mask for evil? Unacceptable.

"Um, this cult sounds awful, and I think I encountered a few in my short trip here," she said, "but what's this have to do with me? You told me the Pinkie here is dead."

Lyra placed a hoof on Pinkie's shoulder. "Pinkie, the problem is that there are so many rumors circulating over who is leading the Cult of Laughter. And from what we've gathered, it's a pink-coated pony known as The Laughing Mare. And…"

The mint unicorn didn't know how to say the next part, so she just spat it out as fast as possible. "The biggest rumor is that it is our Pinkie, come back from the dead, to exact revenge on her former friends, as well as any pony standing in her way."

Silence permeated the make-shift hospital. The three mares all watched Pinkie Pie, wondering what she would. The pink mare was staring down at her hind legs, wide-eyed, mouth hanging open. No pony said a word for a minute or two.

And then Pinkie burst out laughing.

"Me, coming back from the dead for revenge?" she cackled, snorting merrily as the three mares gaped at her. "Ponies think I'm some evil zombie? That's hilarious!"

"Pinkie, the Cult of Laughter is no joke," Colgate exclaimed. "They are known for torture and murder!"

The pink mare's laughter died down at this, and she wiped her eyes with her good foreleg. "I know, I'm sorry, but," she let out one more giggle, "it's so silly to think that ponies believe I'm an evil monster."

"We know you come from a good universe, Pinkie, but don't take this so lightly," Colgate instructed her. "Things are not good for us all, and most of us, we don't know what to believe."

Pinkie nodded. The door to the antechamber slammed open, startling them all. A flurry of hoof falls clamored into the hospital, with a familiar voice shouting, "Colgate, Colgate, Colgate! Minuette! Colgate! Hey, toothpaste!"

Berry Punch practically fell into the room the four were seated in, scrambling to stand upright as she panted in exasperation. "You left me all alone with a bunch of mad ponies! They're getting ready to storm the hospital!"

Colgate stood up right away, and peered out the window. The sun was setting, but she could see, with the scant amount of light, her fellow ponies all gathered near the hospital. The others could hear them outside, the commotion of angry talk and stomping hooves seemingly barring down on the building.

"They've got pitchforks and shovels and pickaxes, the whole works," Berry continued. She gripped her head, as if to stop it from shaking uncontrollably, wailing, "It's an ugly mob, Minuette, they're all angry and raring!"

"Berry," Colgate exclaimed. "Calm down. We will face these ponies together. Pinkie."

The balloon-marked mare glanced over at her. "You know how long it's been since I heard somepony call you by your birth name, Colgate? Did you two-"

"Pinkie! Focus! I'm sorry, sweetheart, but this is very, very serious."

Colgate's blue eyes flared, like solid cobalt. Pinkie swallowed hard, and nodded. "The ponies of this place… they fear that I'm a member of the cult?"

"Hang on," Berry said, peering at the injured pony, "she ain't?"

"No, she isn't, Berry."

The magenta coated pony stared long and hard at Pinkie, then shrugged. "Well hay, if Colgate says you're fine, you're fine. But!" She looked over at the blue unicorn, her eyes desperate again. "What are we going to do? They're pretty determined to keep us all safe out there, Colgate!"

Colgate hummed in thought, as Lyra and Bonbon pulled themselves off the couch and stood at Pinkie's sides. "We are not," Lyra stated firmly, "going to let anything happen to her."

"Yes," Bonbon agreed, stomping one of her hooves. "I mean, I don't fully understand what is going on, but I'm not about to have some angry mob tear into us."

"We're going to be fine if we keep our heads on," Colgate stated. She turned to Pinkie and said, "Do not speak until you are addressed, Pinkie. Don't laugh, don't grin at the ponies, even ones you recognize. If the ponies out there think you are a member of the Cult of Laughter, a smile may be the last thing you want to do."

This was enough to make Pinkie's face fall into the saddest frown the mares had seen in a long time. Pinkie sighed hard, lamenting again the corruption of the smile. She sniffed, then glanced up at them. "Thank you all so much… for everything."

She wiggled her head to imply her eyepatch, and also moved her forearm in the sling as much as she could. "You really are wonderful ponies, and such good friends too."

Colgate sighed. "Pinkie, you really need to know now that we're not the same ponies as the ones from your world. We're a decade and a half older, we've been living in Tartarus on Equestria all this time, and we should find you a way to get back home soon."

As Berry Punch tried to figure out what the hay all that meant, Pinkie let out a small giggle. "You all took me in against those ponies' wishes, you saved my life, gave me my forearm back, and have been nothing but kind to me. Now you're all going to go talk to an angry mob to save me.

"I think that's a good start at being friends," Pinkie said, smiling for a few more seconds before frowning like Colgate suggested. "Just after this, let me make it up to you."

Lyra smiled before any of the others, and tapped the side of her noggin near her eye. "I Pinkie Pie Swear, as you used to do."

Colgate allowed a chuckle, then walked over to the door to outside. Using her cerulean magic, she turned the knob, saying, "Wait here until I call for you." She opened it up and stepped out to a rather intimidating sight of about twenty to thirty ponies.

At the forefront of them was Marigold, standing her ground firmly. The other ponies all appeared as determined as her, holding random tools. Some were glancing to the sides, fearful of being caught.

"Is this what we have boiled down to?" Colgate asked, her tone level but angry. "A lynch mob?"

"Don't start lecturing, Colgate," Marigold shouted. "We are not savages, but we are also not fools!"

Many of the ponies voices their agreement, as some of them raised their weapons. Colgate glanced among them, trying to discern who was there. It made her rather apprehensive to see so many of Ponyville's former citizens.

"It's come down to personal safety over mercy and compassion," Colgate thought. "This war has long since killed true kindness, Minuette… and you know that better than anypony. You're so frustrated at it, you're referring to yourself with your birth name again."

"We will not risk the safety of our town here," Marigold continued. "We have over a hundred ponies, including foals and fillies. Remember what happened the last time we trusted a stranger?"

"If you recall, Marigold," Colgate said patiently, "I was against that mare entering our village then, like you; I did not feel safe around her."

"And what makes this mare so different?! For the love of Equestria, she looks like Pinkie Pie."

"If you will allow me to try and explain to you all," Colgate said, raising her hooves, "I think an explanation would be good for you all."

"We don't need an explanation," a stallion shouted, "I'm not risking my family's life!"

"We're stuck out here in the middle of nowhere, possibly within enemy range," a mare hollered, "digging for 'Mistress' Rarity, and you want us to risky our lives even more?"

"Haven't we been through enough?" Marigold asked, pushing her face into Colgate's. "We may be stuck out here for half a year more! Some of us just want to make this all pass by without incident!"

The ramble of the angry mob continued, with Colgate started to mentally panic. Then a mare's voice in the back shouted, "Hey! Give her a chance to explain! We owe her that much!"

Everypony recognized the pony who had spoken, and thus the shouting stopped. Colgate sighed in relief mentally when she saw the mob cool down by this one voice.

"Alright, let me make this clear," the cerulean unicorn announced, "I do not want any harm to come to Burrow XXVII, so let me just explain the issue with this mysterious pony…"

Inside the makeshift hospital, the four ponies could overhear everything being said. Only Lyra Heartstrings was truly listening to what was being said, praying silently that this would resolve without any major conflict.

Bonbon stared at the floor, trying to keep her mind off of the overwhelming feeling of stress creeping up on her. Berry Punch was idly swinging her hoof, thinking about how much she could use a drink right now, of all times; she couldn't remember the last time she had a good drink.

Pinkie Pie was lost in such an intense stream of thought, it would be impossible to pick out one subject, or even a list of them, to discern where her mind was at. When she overheard Colgate said to the mob outside, "The former Elements of Harmony know of this plane's existence, though to what extent I do not know," Pinkie's train of thought crashed into a particular station.

"Bonbon, Lyra," she spoke up, "Berry, I have to ask you something. You told me about Twilight, Dashie, Applejack, Rarity, and myself, but what about Fluttershy? What happened to her?"

Bonbon exchanged glances with the other two. While Lyra became rather distraught, Berry sighed through her nose and looked away. Finally, Bonbon answered for them.

"We're not sure exactly, but remember when we said that Everfree Forest is growing and trying to crush civilization of ponies?" When Pinkie nodded, she continued. "All we know is that, sometime after Ponyville was flooded, Fluttershy became the Lady of the Forest, the leader of House Everfree."

"She is basically a force of nature," Lyra muttered. "Animals and plants are said to obey her every command within the forest. Her armies consist of zebras, minotaurs, and so many ponies who want to see nature win over civilization."

"Some ponies say," Berry Punch spoke out, "that even dragons do what Fluttershy says. But that's all rumors, there's been no news of dragon strikes."

"Whatever you do, don't mention House Everfree, or Fluttershy, around Marigold," Bonbon instructed Pinkie. "Her sister joined them, and she hasn't heard from her in over a decade. She is, technically, the enemy."

Pinkie Pie nodded, then glanced at the door leading outside. She could still hear Colgate reasoning with the crowd, mostly Marigold. The party pony studied her broken self once more, with her one good eye.

"Well, what have I got to lose?" she asked aloud. When the others stared at her, she explained, "Either your friends out there accept me, or they don't and I have to go."

"Pinkie, if you're thinking what I think you're thinking," Bonbon started to say. She stopped, and shook her head. "Ugh! It doesn't matter how long it's been! Fifteen years or not, you still manage to confuse me!"

"Pinkie," Lyra spoke, "if you head out there, you could die. This world is a dangerous, violent place."

"Oh, I know that. But frankly, I'm still not fully convinced I didn't just get teleported into a complex, mature-rated game. Now it's time for me to use my diplomatic skills and make the right choice of dialogue to save the day!"

And with her good fore hoof, she pushed the door open and stepped outside.

The three ponies inside were too shocked and stupefied by her words to stop her. Colgate whipped her head around towards the hospital door, and found herself staring at Pinkie. The mob narrowed their eyes at her. Marigold studied her, and Pinkie observed her right back.

She definitely lived up to her name. Marigold's light orange coat matched well with her wispy mane and tail, curly locks of dark orange and yellow. Her feminine eyes, even if they were hardened with anger and fear, led Pinkie to think that maybe she was a gardener before this Equestria went wrong.

"Hi," Pinkie said with a pleasant smile, rather than a big, casual one. "Listen, I know you all are scared of me, but I have something to tell you."

"Pinkie, I am trying," Colgate tried to explain, but Marigold cut her off, waving her orange hoof.

"Alternate universe, we heard," the orange earth pony exclaimed. "That's nonsense!"

"But I can prove it," Pinkie exclaimed, waving her good foreleg around. "You see, in my dimension, or universe, or side-story, spin-off game… I still am not sure even if Colgate explained with her big wordy terms!

"So, to go back to what I was saying, I can prove that I am not a mean, violent Pinkie Pie!"

"Oh really?" Marigold asked, her frown darkening. "We're not going to believe anything you say."

Pinkie shook her head, then used her good foreleg to start rummaging through her mane. "I think, despite using it earlier, I have one more load in it…"

The party pony fervently searched, and a few objects spilled out: a bouncy ball, a fake mustache with glasses, her towel.

"You let her," a stallion exclaimed at Colgate, "keep all of that stuff?"

"We checked her mane, but we didn't find anything!"

Pinkie Pie finally found what she was looking for, and everypony gasped at the sight of the Pinkie Pie Bazooka. "Weapon," Marigold shrieked, "she has a wea-"

Pinkie pointed up at the sky and pulled the trigger. A pink flare shot from her bazooka, and burst a couple yards above them. Balloons drifted up into the air, confetti sprayed the startled mob, and then it rained something that normally never rains down.

Cupcakes.

Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and cherry, the tasty treats fell down around the ponies. Lyra, Bonbon, and Berry stepped outside just in time for a few cupcakes to fall in front of them. One of the frosted treats bopped Colgate on the noggin, and when she reached out, it fell into the center of her fore hoof.

"Oh my," the cerulean unicorn said. "Cupcakes. I cannot remember the last time-"

"No no no," Marigold shouted, waving her orange hooves at the other ponies who were picking them up. The sight of the frosted treats were making almost every pony's mouth water. "They could be poisoned! Don't eat them, she's-"

She stopped when Lyra stepped up, holding one of the cupcakes in her hoof, and then defiantly stuffed it in her mouth. Everypony gasped at this sign of ultimate trust, as she chewed. Then she stopped, and everypony held their breath in terror.

"Oh my," Lyra whispered, muffled with a mouthful. "It's… oh it's been too long! Cupcake!"

She swallowed, and a tear of joy spilled down her cheek. "Fifteen years it has been! Oh, it's so good! Thank you, Pinkie!" She embraced Pinkie in an overjoyed hug.

With their doctor enjoying a sugary treat with the utmost pleasure, the mob of ponies immediately took to eating the cupcakes. Marigold surveyed with horror, shouting, "No no no, it could be a delayed poison! The Cult of Laughter, ponies! We have to…"

She stopped again, when she saw the pegasus stallion standing next to her eagerly licking the frosting off of a cupcake. "Honey," she exclaimed. "Wha… why?"

"Oh you have to try one, sweetie," he said. Like Lyra, the stallion was shedding a tear. "It's… it's like tasting sugar for the first time."

Marigold stared at him, then at a cupcake that had fallen in front of her. She scooped it up very gently, like if it was possibly explosive. Observing it, as well as the ponies around her, she stared at Pinkie again.

"Who are you?" she asked.

"I am Pinkie Pie," the party pony stated happily.

"Why are you doing this? I don't understand, if you're not from this world, why are you being nice?"

"It's because I have friends here!"

"What? But you just arrived here, how could you…"

Pinkie Pie gestured back to the four ponies who had met her. Lyra was licking a bit of frosting that had stuck to Bonbon's cheek, and the yellow earth pony giggled uncharacteristically but honestly. Berry was licking her hooves clean, savoring every last bit, her magenta eyes wide in delight. Colgate was eating hers slowly, her dentistry not stopping her from enjoying this treat.

"Well, they saved my life, and I gave them cupcakes," Pinkie reasoned, beaming back at them. "I've made friends on smaller premises."

As she giggled, feeling like herself again, she surveyed the crowd of ponies. All of them had dropped whatever tools and weapons they had brought. She felt good, seeing so many ponies smiling again, genuinely.

"WHAT! Is going around on here, ponies?"

All of the ponies froze up, some in mid-munch. Pinkie Pie scanned the crowd, until she saw who everypony had frozen: a diamond dog. It was one of the smaller kind, but still slightly bigger than the average pony.

This one had dark gray fur, and a vest that vaguely reminded Pinkie of an officer. The few pins that he had displayed vaguely verified that.

"What is going on?" the diamond dog's high-pitched voice screeched, wading through the crowd. "What are you eating? What…"

He stopped in front of Pinkie Pie, and stared. He glanced at her, her eyepatch, her forearm in a sling, and at her unusually poofy mane. "Who are you?" he asked.

"Who are you?" she countered.

"I asked you first!"

"No, I did!"

"Oh, you did? Well, I'm Snoogle, nice to meet you." He extended his paw, she offered her hoof, and they shook for a moment before he snapped back. "Hey, wait a minute! No you didn't!"

"Sorry, couldn't resist! I am Pinkie Pie!"

"I have not seen you around," Snoogle snarled, then snapped his head over to Colgate. "Who is this pony?"

"She is a friend of mine who survived bad encounters with the cult, but rest assured, she is safe." Colgate put her blue hoof on Pinkie's shoulder, smiling at her. "She is very trustworthy."

"She may be spy," Snoogle pointed out, narrowing his yellow eyes at Pinkie.

"Do I look like spy?" Pinkie asked innocently.

"If you are a spy, you are probably very bad spy, with how bad you be looking."

Snoogle sniffed Pinkie, deep whiffs around her. He scrambled back, staring at her incredulously. "Why you smell… different? You no smell like normal pony?"

"Maybe it is cupcakes!" Pinkie then procured one on her hoof, offering the vanilla cupcake with baby blue frosting. "Cupcake for Snoogle?"

The diamond dog officer sniffed the treat, and he very openly salivated. Almost as if embarrassed, he wiped his mouth, and said, "Wait, I is not supposed to take bribes from ponies!"

"It's not a bribe, it's a treat!"

"Go on, Snoogle," Lyra said, nodding at the diamond dog. "It's fine, we're all having them!"

Snoogle glanced around at all the ponies, then took the cupcake and greedily scarfed it down. "Oh, yes! So good! The flavor! So sweet and tasty!"

"Don't be too hasty," Pinkie cautioned him. "Savor it! We might not be able to make more for a long time!"

Snoogle nodded, and licked his paws. "Thank you! Been long time since we has had good foods here!"

As the diamond dog savored the taste of the cupcake, Pinkie leaned over to Lyra. "What's he doing here? Does he help with the archaeology dig?"

"The diamond dogs are more here for guards and command," Lyra whispered. "They're not here to help, just lead us and make sure we do as we're supposed to. House Whitegold uses diamond dogs when they don't want to use their militia and guards for patrolling us."

"Are they alright?"

Bonbon interjected. "For the most part, no. They're brutish, and they know that they can abuse the little power they have here. Though I will say, they aren't aggressive, just mean."

"Snoogle here is alright," Lyra said. "A little bit of a stickler for rules, but he's tolerable, and treats us all right."

"So, if I got this right," Pinkie said, "you're a mining town that is policed by diamond dogs, trying to find archaeological finds, all under the protection of House Whitegold… which is run by Rarity."

"Make sure to call her Mistress Rarity, or Lady Rarity," Bonbon cautioned her, rolling her eyes. "Some of the diamond dogs get very angry if you don't address her in that way, and they can get ugly…"

Some cries of terror came from the back of the crowd, and ponies were scurrying out of the way. This time, Pinkie didn't have to look for the source of disturbance, it was looming over the ponies.

A diamond dog, as tall as three ponies standing on each other, pushed his way through the crowd. He wasn't gentle, either, as he knocked aside ponies with his massive arms. When he reached the center, he spoke with a gravely voice that sent shivers up Pinkie's spine.

"What is going on here?" he asked, pointing at Snoogle with that muscular, dull gray paw. "You are supposed to be managing these ponies."

"I am managing them," Snoogle snapped at him. "They is on break, what-"

"I smell something on you, smells like food," the diamond dog brute leaned over and sniffed him. "Are you eating with the ponies? The only eating we should be doing with them is if we are eating them!"

"Who is that?" Pinkie whispered to Lyra and Bonbon, quaking in fear.

"That's Maim," Lyra replied, her voice kept so low that Pinkie could barely hear her. "Appropriately named. He's a main guard here, but he acts like a jail warden, with all the brutality of a dragon."

"He loves to hurt ponies, he's caused more injuries at this town than the dig," Bonbon added. "Give him any excuse, he'll rough you up."

"We've been watching him, as much as he watches us," Colgate interjected, her eyes narrowed. "We're very concerned he will-"

"Hey!"

The booming bark of Maim startled everypony, as he turned from his argument with Snoogle, to glare at Colgate. "You again, the troublemaker! What were you saying 'bout me?"

"We weren't talking about you," Colgate said, through clenched teeth.

"Oh yeah?"

He approached her, and it was then that Pinkie realized one of his fists was the size of a pony. He was wearing leather armor that appeared poorly maintained, and had a few blades in the belt's sheathes; it was more of a bad sign how much he must have wanted to live up to his name.

"And who is this?" Maim asked, pointing at Pinkie Pie. He snickered when she backed up, shivering in fear of this large diamond dog. "Fresh meat? What's left of her, that is."

"She's a new member, she just had an accident," Colgate said. "Lyra tended to her, she'll be able to work soon."

"She'd better. No pony slacks off at my dig, you hear me?"

Colgate stared him down, as if to dare him over this statement. Maim scoffed and waved his paw. "Whatever. Just get ready to get back to work soon, ponies, in an hour."

"What?" Marigold's coltfriend exclaimed. "But the next dig shift isn't for two hours!"

"I change it now, since you all seem to be so content in slacking off," Maim said, grinning at the flabbergasted ponies. "If you all aren't there, I'll have to break some legs. Or wings, or horns, or anything else I care to."

Snoogle growled at him. "You know, you don't get to justs change hours like that, we has a system-"

"SHUT UP!

Maim swung at Snoogle with the back of his paw, hitting him in the side of his head. The smaller diamond dog fell down, clutching the bruised wound. Ponies scurried away, crying out in terror.

"I is sick of you undermining me," Maim shouted, "at my mine! This is my dig site, and I-"

"Leave him alone!"

Everypony gasped in terror, again, as Pinkie Pie took a hobbling step towards Maim. "No one, pony or dog," she seethed, "hurts a friend of mine!"

"What? Excuse you?" Maim snarled. His lips were pulled back, and the muscles in his arms tightened. "Do you want to die?"

Pinkie Pie wobbled on her three legs, but otherwise stood firm. "You can't go around hurting others like that! Not during times like these!"

"Times like these? You mean when Maim," he said slowly, approaching her with bared teeth, "feasts on a crippled pony? That kind of time?"

He hunched up, ready to lunge, when Berry Punch stepped in-between the two. "Just try it, you ugly son of a bitch," she spat. "You try hurting her, you're gonna have to get through me!"

"And me," Lyra said, stepping up too. "I will not allow you to harm a patient of mine, especially not a friend."

Bonbon walked up next to Lyra, and put her forearm around her lover. Colgate trotted up and nodded, her horn swirling with dark blue magic.

"Two unicorns and two earth ponies, thinking you can stand up to me?" Maim asked, cackling. "More food for me! I don't suppose I could use the horns to pick my teeth!"

He raised his massive paw, and swung down at the four ponies between him at Pinkie. They all leapt away, and the tremor that he caused when striking the ground knocked Pinkie off her hooves. Maim balled up his other paw into a fist, and swung down at the party pony.

Mid-swing, a blast of magenta magic hit him in the side of the face. He wasn't hurt, more so stunned slightly. He hobbled back, just as Berry Punch bucked at him in the ribs. The dull sounding impact didn't even budge Maim, nor did Bonbon stomping on his foot paw.

A cerulean blast of magic, a stunning missile, knocked Maim back a step, but again seemed more annoyed than hurt. He snarled loudly, feral and vicious, as he turned towards the second magic caster.

"You will stop this now," Colgate ordered him. "The diamond dogs may be in charge of Burrow XXVII, but you are not allowed to abuse the citizens of this mining city. You will stand down, we are in the right."

"Do as they says, Maim," Snoogle, nursing a bloody lip, shouted. "This will not be tolerated!"

"They're just ponies," the brute diamond dog snapped.

"I am not pony, other dogs will not tolerate violence against each other!" Snoogle stood up, wiping his damaged lip. "Now you back off, right now!"

Maim snarled again, then glanced at Pinkie. He pointed at her, narrowing his eyes, and walked off. Before he was away, he turned and said, "Dig starts in half-hour now. Blame the pink one, especially if you ponies no have had dinner yet."

His footfalls, stomping off and away, seemed to cause tremors that shook their way to Pinkie's heart. She placed her good hoof over her heart, trying to calm it down. Staring at the floor, she whimpered, "Sorry. I… I shouldn't have spoken out like that… I'm causing trouble."

"It's about time somepony put that jerk in his place," Colgate said. "He needs to be reminded time to time, that ponies will stand up against him."

Pinkie nodded a little, then her ears perked up. "Hey, who was it that fired that first bolt? That wasn't you or Lyra!"

"That would be me."

Pinkie Pie watched as a unicorn trotted through the crowd of nervous ponies, and her eyes widened when she saw who it was. The mauve mare that approached had a semi-annoyed but relieved look on her face.

"You know, you really should have known better," Amethyst Star grumbled. "I mean, if you really are Pinkie Pie…"

"Sparkler?" Pinkie exclaimed.

"That nickname hasn't been used for me in a long time."

The mauve unicorn that was a teenager where Pinkie came from was now a full-grown mare, and probably older than she was. Her mane and tail were trimmed short, but still had those rebellious little spike tips in her bangs like she wore as a teenager.

The magenta magic around her was still brimming, and she approached Pinkie slowly. "I overheard all of it, that you're a Pinkie from another universe. I don't know if I buy that…"

"She's telling the truth, Star," Colgate insisted. "You know I would be able to detect the signs of Astral Plane touches."

"You are very good, teach," Amethyst said, her eyes still locked on Pinkie, "but she is causing problems, and I'm worried for our safety-"

"Auntie Pinkie?"

Another unicorn pushed her way through the crowd, a gray-blue mare with slightly uneven golden eyes. Though Amethyst tried to push her back, the young lady was determined to see Pinkie. Her eyes came more into focus when they met Pinkie's, and they stared at each other.

Pinkie Pie might not have recognized her because she had her mane in a bushy ponytail. She might not have recognized her, since where she came from, this mare that was about her age was still a foal. But nothing could stop her from recognizing those semi-off pupils, or that voice so full of warmth.

"Dinky?" Pinkie exclaimed.

"Auntie Pinkie!"

Before Amethyst could stop her little sister, the mare lunged at Pinkie and hugged her as best she could. Dinky Hooves's tight hugs had been the stuff of legend in Ponyville, and they hadn't diminished in this world's time. Pinkie returned the hug with one forearm, and the unicorn nuzzled into the pink pony.

"It's you, there's no mistaking it," Dinky said, parting the hug to look at Pinkie again. "I mean, you may not be our Pinkie… but you're Pinkie, good Pinkie! Auntie Pinkie!"

"Guess she had that entitle habit in this universe too," Pinkie thought, feeling a tear trickle down her cheek. Dinky, where she came from, would nickname mares and stallions that were friends of her mother Auntie and Uncle. It had been adorable, but confusing for Derpy's family reunions.

"You two look so wonderful," Pinkie said, glancing between the two mares. Amethyst glanced away while Dinky beamed with pride. Pinkie checked out Dinky's flank, which sported a smiley faced sun. "And I always knew you'd get a Cutie Mark like that; you always did bring sunshine and warmth into ponies' days!"

Dinky giggled, reminding Pinkie much more of the foal she had in her universe. It still boggled her mind that Dinky was now as big as her, turned out to such a sweet mare.

"This is so great, I'm so happy to see you both," Pinkie gushed. She surveyed the area, asking, "Where's Derpy? Is she here too?"

Dinky's megawatt smile instantly turned into a visage of pain and sorrow. Pinkie noticed most of the ponies around her were also showing sorrow or frustration, some even fear. Marigold scowled darkly, while Lyra approached Pinkie.

"There's something you should know." Lyra's golden eyes were heavy with sorrow. "Derpy… two years ago, she was taken from us."

"She's… she's dead?" Pinkie whimpered.

"No, worse," Marigold muttered. "She's a member of that cult now."

"My mother would never," Amethyst shouted, "join the Cult of Laughter willingly!"

She reared on Marigold, who rolled her eyes. "You may be fully grown, Amethyst, and you may be Colgate's apprentice, but you still have a lot of reality to learn. Sometimes, family just turns wrong. During these times, you're going to have to accept it."

"I never will! They did something to her!"

"Listen, child-"

"Stop calling me that, you stupid-"

"Enough, stop this," Dinky declared. "We cannot argue about this any more! Whatever the reason my mother is with them now, it's not worth fighting each other for. You know we can be trusted, Marigold."

The orange mare scoffed, and turned away. "I've really had enough of this. All that's happened is trouble, ever since she showed up." She glared at Pinkie, and then added, "I suggest we all make sure we get something to eat and take care of the children, before we're forced to start digging again. Digging early because of her."

She trotted off, her coltfriend close behind, trying to reason with her. Most of the herd of ponies broke off, some mad, some confused, some just plain neutral; after all, they were used to this world being unfair and unpredictable. Snoogle headed off after Lyra treated his lip with a quick healing spell.

Amethyst and Dinky stayed with Pinkie, and her four friends. The older of the Hooves sisters was staring at the party pony with confusion, and then her eyes started to mist over. "Pinkie, is that really you?" she asked, gingerly approaching her.

"I am Pinkamena Diane Pie, Pinkie Pie, the Pinkster, and all that and a bag of potato chips," Pinkie said cheerfully. "And though this isn't my world, I would like to think that I can still be your friends."

Amethyst smiled a tiny bit. "Am I… older than you? That's rather interesting."

"It sure is! I just hope you won't rub it in too much."

Dinky clapped her hooves, giggling. It was amazing how much she still carried her foal-like habits, but still appeared as a mature mare. "Yay! We'll help you get all better! Lyra is teaching me healing magic, maybe I can help?"

Lyra nuzzled Dinky, saying, "You are most welcome to, but never forget what your special talents are, my dear."

Pinkie glanced down at herself, then back at the others. "Well, I refuse to be a burden here. Tell me what I can do to help-"

"You're kidding, right?" Berry exclaimed. "Ya got three good hooves, one eye, you're still low on blood and such, and-"

"Details, details!" The partier swished her tail about as she said this. "Now, tell me what I can do to help."

"I'll tell you what," Bonbon said. "Soon, we have to head out to do some more digging. Most of us will have to go, but why don't we leave Dinky with you?"

"Will that be okay? Maim won't notice she's gone, will he?"

Amethyst's eyes hardened. "I don't care if he does, I don't want her anywhere near her. The less time she's around where he is, the better."

Pinkie nodded, getting a vague and uncomfortable idea of what that was about. She glanced at the others, who all nodded in agreement.

In a half-hour, a loud work bell was rung, and the ponies all left their homes to head west. Pinkie and Dinky watched them go, as Lyra gave one more check to the former's injuries. After they left, Dinky motioned for her to sit down next to her.

"If you are from another world, you probably have many questions," Dinky said. "I'll try to answer them best."

"First off, what do you all do here? I mean, archaeology? Digging?"

The blue-gray unicorn nodded, her ponytail bobbing from the motion. "Yes, Mistress Rarity is obsessed with finding out history, especially of Princess Platinum and other famous unicorns. We think she wants to convince unicorns all over Equestria that they should join Whitegold, and not Moon & Star."

"Have you found anything yet?"

"Yes, one thing, but we've kept it a secret," Dinky whispered, her eyes glinting with rebellious impishness. "We don't want the diamond dogs to take it as a souvenir, which they've done more than once. They're really greedy."

Pinkie nodded, thinking of her own experience with diamond dogs. "And Dinky… I'm so sorry about your mother. But if it means anything," she smiled for her, "I think I agree with your sister. I doubt Derpy would do anything to hurt any pony."

Dinky's eyes grew heavy with sorrow, but she managed a small smile. "I believe it too, but it's so hard when so many ponies you grew up with… so many you looked up to and admired… became something so cruel and so much not like what they were… like your friends, Auntie Pinkie. Like my own friends."

She stared at the floor, so downcast that her ears were flattened against her head. "There's so many ponies from Ponyville that have become something terrible, Pinkie, and that's just the ones we know about officially in House Whitegold. My mother was one of the most wonderful ponies there is, but this world… it's changed so many of us."

"Your mother is a gentle soul who loves her daughters," Pinkie insisted. "She wouldn't join a cruel group, especially without you two."

"Pinkie, before you came to this world by accident, could you ever imagine your friends being evil?"

That stunned the party pony into silence. It broke Dinky's heart to see Pinkie like that; she remembered as a foal, she thought nothing in all of Equestria could make her Auntie Pinkie stop talking. Now she had done it with a sentence.

"I don't know where most ponies from Ponyville are now, if they survived the flood… oh, did Lyra and Bonbon tell you?"

"Yes, they did."

"Well, my only classmate who traveled with us and stayed on the good side was Twist. She's here in this town."

"Wait, what about Doctor Whooves?"

Dinky smiled a little more at the mention of the brown earth stallion. "He's in Manehattan, he wasn't chosen for this expedition. Usually he is allowed to come, but there were some… problems in The Undercity, and he volunteered to stay."

The unicorn's eyes turned wistful as she stared out the window. "He's… doing okay, but he was hit hard by Mom joining the Cult. Amethyst and I call him Dad from time to time, because he's been around to help us. Hard to not call somepony who's been that protective and caring about you Dad…"

Pinkie nodded, and, with the knowledge that Dinky's father figure was okay, continued to question. "Anypony else I might know here?"

"Besides the ones you've met so far, there's Twinkleshine, Bright Idea, and a few others that I will try to remember, but you'll probably recognize them sooner."

"That Marigold pony, she somehow seems familiar… who is she?"

"She's Roseluck's sister."

Pinkie thought to her flower loving friend at Ponyville, with her fittingly flower named friends Lily and Daisy. "Where is she? Roseluck?"

"It's pretty well known by now that she's in with House Everfree. Marigold took the news so hard, she really has no one left except Dandy Skies."

"Who's that?"

"Her coltfriend, the stallion that was standing near her with that mob. It's taken a great deal of effort to allow him to stay here. Pegasi aren't normally allowed at mining towns."

"Even if they're family or friends?"

"Mining towns aren't made with consideration in mind.

"Pinkie, there's something you've got to understand." Dinky glanced out a window, as if surveying Equestria. "This is a cruel world now. You don't pull your weight, you might end up dead."

Pinkie nodded, then asked, "It's like a whole new world out there… like a picture of Equestria, drawn by somepony with a wicked, wickedly sense."

"Many call the world now Equestria Divided. This is a war-torn world now: racial supremacy between earth ponies, pegasi and unicorns, sadistic monsters, nature trying to dominate civilization, and money and power more important than anything else."

Pinkie hung her head, and repeated the new name. "Equestria Divided." She too glanced out the window, and sighed heavily. "The thought of Ponyville divided is hard enough to accept. The whole world… it seems hard to believe."

"For me too."

Dinky then placed her hoof on Pinkie's shoulder, then let started to cast a healing spell. Golden magic radiated from her horn, and around Pinkie's head. A soothing, but slightly prickly, feeling came to the party pony's two major injuries.

It felt strange, as she could literally feel it in her bones. Her eye socket felt like some kind of carousel, the healing magic swirling around. Pinkie hissed in air at the peculiar feeling, then sighed contentedly.

"You don't have to waste your energy," she assured Dinky.

"It's perfectly fine, I get better when practicing," the gray unicorn explained. "When I first started, I could barely heal a scratch. Now, I'm getting close to helping with emergencies."

"So you've been leveling up your healing ability? That's great," Pinkie said, smiling at her. "Wow, you have grown up so well, Dinky. Thank you… for everything."

The rest of the day was rather uneventful, Pinkie fell asleep after the healing treatment from Dinky. The diamond dogs were rougher, mostly because Maim had worked them up and warned them that the ponies were feeling rebellious. The ponies were very agitated by the end of the day, aching from how much hard labor they were put through.

Lyra and Bonbon helped to calm them all down before curfew was put into effect. Dinky and Colgate watched over Pinkie, as the latter used the rest of her energy to teach Dinky a couple healing spells.

The next day, Pinkie woke up, and was determined to help out; however, most of the ponies didn't want her to be near the mines. It was a combination of those that feared she would just get them in more trouble, and those that didn't want to see her hurt by the brutal guards. Pinkie didn't seem to care that she was still three-legged and one-eyed, she just wanted to help her new friends.

Thus, Colgate took control of the situation. "Listen, I know many of you are anxious, so let me just escort our friend. We will mine for gems and artifacts today, as usual, and we will do our best not to rile the diamond dogs.

"We've been here for a long while now, and we haven't that much longer until we head back to Manehattan. You've all trusted my judgement so far, and so I ask you to trust me further. I know you all are still confused and a little bitter about yesterday, but let's just all remember that we've survived a Tartarus-lot of trouble. We'll keep on enduring."

Most of the ponies nodded, though some were still staring at Pinkie Pie, Marigold among them. Dandy Skies led her away, whispering to her to calm down. The orange-'n-yellow mare shot a glare at Pinkie, suspicion in her eyes.

Dinky left with a group of her friends, a combination of ponies that Pinkie either knew or didn't. Twist was one of them, all grown up and looking rather strong; she still wore glasses, and her mane and tail had unruly curls, but she was strong and lively. Dinky and Twist began to talk immediately, with the red-maned earth pony glancing back at Pinkie until they were out of sight.

"Pinkie, there's something we'd like to see," Lyra said. She, along with Amethyst, Bonbon, and Colgate. "See, we told you about how we find something deep down here?"

"Yep yep yep, I do!"

"We'd like to show it to you. It's… kind of important to us, and we know that if you are Pinkie Pie, you are good at keep secrets."

Pinkie nodded, a serious expression on her face. "You all are my friends, and thus I would rather die than release a secret. Because secrets are like promises: once you break them, the damage will be there forever."

"Exactly," Amethyst said. "And we wouldn't want that to happen-"

"FOREVER," Pinkie exclaimed, raising her good foreleg as she shook her hoof up at the sky. "AND EVER!"

"Yep, she's Pinkie, no doubt," Bonbon said, shaking her head though a small smile was on her face.

The four of them led Pinkie through the shanty town, and thus she had a better look at what her friends were living in. And Pinkie was never known for swearing or foul language, but this place was total crap.

The buildings were all barely propped up, holes in the walls and ceilings. Most everything was set outside, and Pinkie could only guess that the needed furniture, like beds and stoves, took up all the room in the small houses.

The worst part was the huge lack of green. Everything just looked dirty, the dirt even appeared to be dirty, if that made sense (it did in Pinkie's mind). Dirt was something that was where grass grew, where life bloomed, not something that was regarded as dust.

Pinkie hated to think her friends lived here. No wonder they seemed so tired.

Diamond dogs were walking around the town, like guards monitoring prisoners. Maim marched by, and stared down Pinkie Pie. "I'm watching you," he snarled. "You'd better watch your flank, because any excuse, I'll sink my teeth into your neck."

Pinkie shivered, biting her bottom lip. After the large diamond dog had walked past them, Lyra pat her shoulder. "Just try to avoid him," she instructed, "and he won't be able to do anything."

After another minute of walking, they approached what Colgate said was the main entrance to the mines. It was a large hole with wooden beams propping up the dirt over the slanted pathway. They started to head down into the earth, with lanterns lighting the way.

Pinkie could tell the lanterns were alight by regular candles rather than magic flame. She wondered why it wasn't the latter, maybe they couldn't afford the special kind of lantern that holds magic.

The mines were like a large cavern down under the earth, a deep cavern running through the center with pathways leading further down to other digs in the deep. Large wooden and metal beams were supporting the ceiling, and all the walkways lit by lanterns.

Earth ponies and unicorns were digging into the walls, using pickaxes and chisels. They were removing small gems here and there, pitching their finds in buckets by their sides. Pegasi were following some of them around when they traveled to the lower areas, carrying lanterns as they hovered by their partners.

Diamond dogs were patrolling around the walkways, staring at the work being done. Sometimes they would take a full buckets of gems, replacing it with an empty bucket for the pony to start filling up again. Once in a while, they popped a gem into their mouths.

Pinkie Pie noticed that none of the diamond dogs were being polite, not in the least. None of them complimented the ponies or supportive, they were all frowning or even snarling at the miners. One of them snapped at the quintet as they trotted by.

"Okay, why are they even here?" Pinkie asked Colgate. "They just seem so mean."

"Well, they're here for security, to sniff out spies," Colgate explained. "Technically, we are an operation for House Whitegold, and thus, we need to make sure no one is stealing or spying."

"Diamond dogs are really good at sniffing out spies," Bonbon said, gesturing to one of the said dogs. "Members of the other houses really do have distinct smells, something they aren't really aware of because only dogs are good at identifying the smells."

Amethyst Star nodded, and lit her horn for illumination along the pathway, waving off a pegasus who had hovered by. The light purple unicorn sighed as she said, "I know it's hard to imagine, Pinkie, but we do live in a dangerous state. House Whitegold doesn't have the strongest military, and we are an expendable expedition."

Pinkie nodded slowly, glancing around the underground caverns. They were venturing deeper down into the earth, the pathway becoming more dark; however, Sparkler kept it illuminated well enough for them all to see.

"But even though we work for House Whitegold," Lyra said, her face darkened with an angry frown, "we're not holding any loyalty to it, or its leader."

"Wait, I'm a little confused," Pinkie said, glancing around her to make sure no one, pony or dog, was nearby. "I understand why you don't want to support Rarity, and the House, but isn't that a bad idea? If you don't supply them, the other houses could come and kill you all."

"We're not diminishing House Whitegold, because sadly, that's all we have," Colgate explained. "But what we're doing is not giving the House luxuries. Like what we're about to show you."

As they walked through the tunnel, passing by miners and guards all along the way, Pinkie tried to consider all this. It was still baffling her to think of Rarity like this, even if this wasn't her Rarity.

The walk stopped midway through, at an intersection with the right way boarded off with several planks of wood. Lyra led the way, squeezing in underneath the bottom planks, which looked high up enough to let a pony move under without a major problem.

Pinkie was the exception, having to wriggle underneath on three legs. The others helped her, then they carried on down the lantern-less corridor. Amethyst amped up her light spell, allowing them to see where they were going.

At the end of the tunnel was a large, circular room, one that was hard to see even with the illumination spell being broadcast. Amethyst picked up a lantern had been left, and channeled her magic into it.

This spell, amplified by the magic lantern, caused the entire room to be bathed in a warm glow. Pinkie then realized it wasn't a room or a hollowed out corridor, it was a tomb.

The stone was carved into images of ponies in armor, some of them standing at attention and some in battle poses. In the center of the wall was a sarcophagus, with a couple stands set up on top of it. Pinkie approached the resting place, and found a plaque in front of it.

'Honor Bound. There never was, and probably never will be, another being dedicated to home and family.
- Princess Luna.'

The party pony blinked, then glanced back at the others. "Wait, is this a soldier's tomb? For this war?"

"No, it's much, much older than that," Bonbon said. "You know anything about the history of Equestria?"

"We haven't had a war or major conflict in many, many years. Is this from a warrior in one of those past conflicts?" she asked, admiring the craftsmanship of the coffin. Her attention was then set on the two rather magnificent items.

"Honor Bound's tomb was discovered by us a few weeks ago, and we kept it secret from the diamond dogs," Colgate said, walking over to Pinkie, who stared with bright, blue eyes at the two objects. "Burrow XXVII is the first place we found something like this."

Pinkie was still mesmerized by what was placed upon the coffin, gleaming in Amethyst's light spell as if they had just been polished. The first object was a curved scabbard, a dark red with decals of the sun on one side, the moon on the other. The handle was a sturdy fabric, dyed light blue and yellow.

The second object was a helmet, also colored light blue for the dome, and goldenrod for the trimmings, including the rim that led into large horns curved up and pointed back.

"Both have been enchanted," Colgate said to Pinkie, beaming with a bit of pride. "I can detect them, took a little while to analyze them. Among some of the enchants, the most unique is the indestructible enchant on them, which is extremely hard to cast; even nowadays, it's almost impossible to find the mats and power.

"I was a bit of a history enthusiast, and Bonbon knows a little bit too."

"Well, my family history is said to go back to great warriors of our past," Bonbon explained, shrugging nonchalantly. "I don't know if it's true, but I doubt it; if they were, I would have fought the good fight a long time ago."

Lyra used her own magic to levitate the sword in its scabbard, the mint green aura unsheathing the blade. Pinkie watched with rapt attention as the curved bladed gleamed in Amethyst's light, a glorious steel that almost hummed when free.

"We found these in the tomb, the katana and the helmet were set next to the coffin," Lyra explained. "They're so beautiful, but fighting with a sword is something none of us know how to do."

Amethyst nodded solemnly at this. "It really takes a unicorn to fight with a blade like this; ponies of old times, so Colgate tells me, were very adapt at fighting while wielding a weapon in the fore hooves."

Pinkie blinked at this, then glanced at Lyra. "Is that what you meant you talked about those funny creatures that had hands, like minotaurs?"

"Huh? No, that's something else."

The mint-colored unicorn levitated the sword in front of Pinkie, letting her examine it up-close. "See, ponies of ancient times, as Bonbon tells me, had to adjust to the monsters they were fighting. All ponies have trouble when it comes to real combat. Well, they did until Equestria Divided became a full-blown war zone."

Bonbon arched an eyebrow at her lover. "Pinkie and I are surrounded by unicorns, and you're saying combat is hard for everypony? C'mon, Lyra, you girls are the only ones who can use that thing. Hooves cannot hold a sword."

It was then that Pinkie took the sword's grip in her good fore hoof. She held it, like she would do any other object, especially like she would a pastry: careful and delicate, but firm and balanced. Lyra's magic hold on the sword vanished when she saw Pinkie take the katana.

"Ooo," was all the party pony could say at first. She grinned, like a foal who had been given a great present. Glancing at all the others, who stared in wonder, she asked, "So, to be like a real samurai… that's what they were called, weren't they?"

"Yes, that's right," Bonbon said.

"I remember that, from the tour I had of Canterlot Castle…"

Pinkie's mane drooped a little, and she sighed. "It feels like a long time ago, that day… and it's only really been a few days."

Before she could let the sorrow overwhelm her, she shook it off and declared, "No! I won't let the saddy-waddy feelings get me down! Let's see if I can be like an ancient warrior of the past…

"Ancient Warrior Pinkie Pie… Activate!"

And thus, Pinkie stood up on her hind legs, balancing herself like a bipedal creature. The party pony had done this before in the past, something like, most everything she had done, was just for recreation, fun, and just being herself. Now she was doing it for something greater than that.

It was probably the most ridiculous thing that one could see. A one-eyed pony with one of her forelegs in a sling, standing on her hind legs, holding a katana blade in her fore hoof, wasn't something one would ever expect to see. Then again, it was Pinkie Pie.

"Huzzah," the pink party pony exclaimed, as the others boggled at her. "I am a samurai now! I am WHOA!"

She wobbled on her hind legs and fell on her back. As the others bolted to her side, she called out, "I'm alright, I'm alright! I fall down all the time!"

"You really shouldn't push yourself, Pinkie," Bonbon chastised her. "You're still not in the best of shape."

"Then I will get into shape," she boldly declared from the floor. "This'll be my physical therapy! I'll teach myself how to walk and fight like a samurai."

"First off," Lyra patiently said, "that's not exactly what physical therapy is. Second, why do you want to be a samurai?"

"I told you, I didn't want to be useless. Besides, it gives me something to do.

"I have chosen a class," Pinkie announced, sitting up on her haunches. Raising Honor Bound's katana up in the air with her good foreleg, she said with pride, "Pinkie Pie, level one samurai, has entered this world!"

The other ponies blinked and stared, and Bonbon leaned over to whisper to Lyra, "Why is it that the less sense she makes, the more I'm convinced she's fine?"

Lyra couldn't help but giggle. "You know what? That reminds me of the days back in Ponyville, when I was friends with Pinkie, and you always wondered why… oh for those times."

The minty unicorn sighed in nostalgia, then nuzzled Bonbon. "You know what? Let us not be puzzled by Pinkie's antics, let us just enjoy them. And help her out, she's our friend now."

Bonbon nuzzled back, but protested, "But… become a samurai? Is she planning on starting an uprising?"

"No," Pinkie said, popping up between the two. She was now suddenly wearing Honor Bound's helmet, it bouncing slightly as she hadn't put on the chin strap, and her poofy mane was almost like balancing it on a spring. "What I want to do is not be useless! And thus, I'll learn how to defend my friends from any threat!"

"That's a sword, Pinkie, not a shield," Amethyst pointed out. "That is a tool solely made to harm and kill. That blade can cut through stone, I've tried it before."

Pinkie Pie, now sitting down, ran her eyes up the blade, almost going cross-eyed at one point. "Well, let's hope it doesn't come to that. But as long as I am here, I should try to adapt to this world."

"Are you ready to kill somepony?" Colgate asked, her voice stern.

"Are any of you?" Pinkie fired back just as strong. "You all told me this is a dangerous, violent world. Do you have to kill to protect the ones you love?"

This question caught them off-balance, as they exchanged glances. Lyra bit her bottom lip, then spoke for all of them, "That's true, Pinkie… none of us are ready. Only one of us has had to kill somepony."

Pinkie's mane drooped at this, her mane reflecting the same sorrow that was in her eyes. "Which one of you?"

"Not one of us four," Colgate admitted. "It was Berry Punch."

"It happened the night," Amethyst emotionally recalled, "Pinchy was taken from us. When we were all in the Undercity, some bandits raided our side of town. Pony traffickers, the ones that want to take ponies and make them slaves or harem girls… or worse, worse than we can imagine."

"They like to take children," Bonbon grumbled. "We don't know if it's Manehattan and House Whitegold, or some other nefarious group… they may be a neutral, evil force, for all we know. But it was about a year after we settled into Manehattan, that this happened."

"The raiders came at night, and took some of the children," Amethyst continued. "They tried to take Dinky, but Doctor Whooves fended them off. When two of them took Pinchy, Berry killed one of them. She bashed his head in."

Pinkie thought to Berry Punch, the one of this universe. She had seemed herself, though definitely older; now the lines under her eyes made more sense, she had been aged by grief more than time.

Berry Punch, in Pinkie's world, had always been a merry drunk, except for when her little sister would visit. Like most pony families, the parents would sometimes let the kids go and live with siblings who had moved out. This was in the hope they would learn more about the real world and careers they could embark on. Sweetie Belle would normally stay at Rarity's, and sometimes Bellamina would visit Pinkie or Octavia.

It was hard to tell, at first glance, what Pinchy could learn from Berry. Though the older mare was lovable and fun, she had some bad habits, like getting sloshed consistently, sleeping with stallions and mares she barely knew, and having a large collection of drinks at home.

Still, Berry never partook in these activities when her sister was over. Everypony in Ponyville made sure to not mention it to Pinchy either, though they had problems with schoolmates trying to be cruel (Apple Bloom had wound up in a fight with Diamond Tiara when the spoiled filly had tried to tell Pinchy).

This protective side of Berry, her mature side, made everypony realize what a good pony she was. And now…

"Pinchy is gone?" Pinkie asked sadly.

"We have no idea where she is, and it's been… years," Lyra admitted. "We looked, we searched, we even saved up enough money to hire a mercenary and a ticket into Inner Manehattan. But we came up with nothing."

"Berry almost drank herself to death when a year's worth of searching turned up nothing," Bonbon admitted. "We managed, well, Colgate mostly, to pull her out of it, and she's now sober. Even if she wanted to drink, it's such a luxury now, it's like your cupcakes: we haven't had any in years."

Pinkie plopped down on her plot, staring down at the floor. Her new helmet tilted down over her eyes, covering her tears. This world kept producing more sadistic changes to the friends she loved. "Pinchy, Tavi, Vinyl, Derpy… all missing," she muttered bitterly. "So many ponies I love… it's like every one you mention is another horror story."

"I know it's hard for you, Pinkie," Bonbon said, "but you've just been told this story. We're living it."

"Not anymore," Pinkie said, tilting her helmet back up. She focused her one good eye, and stated, "This is now my story. I'm here, and there's nothing I can do about it. So I'm going to do my best to make everypony here smile again!"

"It's a nice thought," Colgate said, "but there's little to smile about anymore, Pinkie."

"There's always something to smile about," she boldly declared. "Since I've been here, I've been slashed, amputated, beaten, threatened, and witnessed ponies die! And yet I smile for you all, because I know that somehow, someway, I'll make you all happy!

"Amethyst," Pinkie rounded on said unicorn, making Sparkler jump slightly at being addressed, "you keep being awesome! You have kept your sister safe, and she's as wonderful of a treasure as she was when she was a filly who hugged your leg until the blood circulation was cut off. Be proud!"

Despite the strange analogy, Amethyst smiled over the thought of how her sister was. Pinkie turned to Colgate next. "You and I both know that it might take a miracle and then some to get me home. So for now, I'm gonna make it my goal to get your dentistry back in business, because I'm gonna be making sweets for all the ponies!

"And you two!" Pinkie turned, head first and then body twirling along after her, "I wanna see you kiss! If you've been a couple for," she quickly mentally counted, "nineteen years, eight months, two weeks, and three days! That's how long it has been, adding the sixteen years of this place. So I wanna see you two embrace and kiss!"

Bonbon didn't blush easily, but now she was. She glanced from side to side, not sure if she wanted to do semi-public displays of affection. It didn't matter though, because a pair of mint hooves cupped her face, turned her towards a pair of mint-green lips, and embraced her in a passionate kiss. After a single second of surprise and uncertainty, Bonbon returned it.

Pinkie watched, solely out of the emotional message it was sending. There was a whole story to these two, this Lyra and Bonbon, that hadn't been told yet to her. But here, Pinkie could see the love, the gratitude, and the strength they had for each other. After the kiss was finished, Pinkie squee'd in delight.

"That's settled," she exclaimed in delight. "I will practice physical therapy here in Honor Bound's tomb, away from nasty diamond dog patrols, and will spread smiles across the mining expedition! Pinkie Pie has accepted the quest!"

As she stated this and grinned merrily, a rather unusual sound effect played from nowhere. The other four ponies looked around, but Pinkie was back to talking.

"Let us all do our best to cheer up our friends, and make this expedition as safe and fun as possible!"

She sheathed Honor Bound's sword, then stuck her good fore hoof out. "Agreed?"

Lyra reacted first, putting her mint green hoof on top of Pinkie's pink hoof. "Agreed," she said, smiling so much, she felt like old times, prancing about Ponyville.

Bonbon, also feeling the same mirth but hiding it a little, stuck her yellow hoof in. "I'm all for it."

Amethyst's purple hoof came in next, followed by Colgate's blue hoof. "And I'm sure Dinky and Berry will join us," Colgate stated with a smile, "as well as others!"

As they raised their hooves up high in the air, Pinkie cheered. Despite everything, it made her happy to be with friends, to call some place her home. This is where she would make her stand.


And stand she did. Over the next following days, Pinkie Pie dedicated herself to others, and the effects spread like wildfire across the camp. After at least a week, smiles were all around the dig site.

It started off slow, as Pinkie was still recovering from her injuries. Dinky and Lyra put a great deal of healing energy into her leg, and in a day and a half, she could stand on it. Tender and stiff, Pinkie was slow to walk on it at first. Her eye was also being taken care of, but to her, being able to pronk ahead was the most important part.

Pinkie's first step began when a caravan of supplies wheeled into town. These caravans were known for traveling to the more peaceful parts of Equestria Divided, selling all kinds of things to outsiders of the Houses. Normally, Burrow XXVII just bought things from them like clothes, medicine, and blankets. And since they charged a lot, it had been next to impossible to get any luxuries; Burrow XXVII was barely paid for this work by House Whitegold.

Despite the lack of bits and being a stranger in a new world, Pinkie Pie had her bargaining skills. A combination of cheer, work, bartering, and a slight bit of dishonesty and risk helped her almost fill the house she and Colgate were sharing.

It had been a risk to smuggle some gems out of the mines and to the caravan, but Pinkie's mane was perfect for hiding things from the diamond dogs. Even when they had searched her sometimes, they never found anything in there.

Despite lacking the normal party tools, like confetti, punch bowls, and balloons, Pinkie improvised. She tore up propaganda leaflets to make her own celebration confetti, turned a curved shield into a punch bowl, and prepared drinks and food from the materials she could purchase.

Soon, she had started a small farm, growing grain and rocks (the latter no pony understood) so that she could bake her own goods in the future. Now, with the sugar and flour and other materials she bought from the caravan, she could make cakes, bread, muffins, punch, and other food items that she had learned from the Cakes.

Dinky almost broke into tears when Pinkie made her a muffin. The gray unicorn gave her such a tight, grateful hug, that it reminded Pinkie of how Dinky could hug as a filly. Amethyst had to help pry her off Pinkie, but the older of the two sisters was near tears as well.

All of the ponies ate the food in secret at first, but then Pinkie Pie approached the diamond dogs. Cautious, she started with the ones that hadn't been so awful, like Snoogle. The dogs loved the sugary treats the most, and slowly but surely, more of the dogs stopped being so nasty and would even be pleasant. It was more enjoyable, for everyone, that they would get along and enjoy their surroundings.

Twist had been a big help preparing treats. Her candy confection talent had been a huge plus for Pinkie, and thus the two of them, plus Dinky, set out to make candy as well. This was such a huge hit, a party was held, hosted by the ponies in general rather than Pinkie.

"After my family and I left Ponyville," Twist had told Pinkie, "I haven't made any candy since then… I forgot how much I missed it."

Twist still had a trace of her lisp from when she was a filly, more pronounced she was emotional. Dinky hugged her red-maned friend as Twist sobbed great tears of joy. The two of them made matching candy canes later on, to cheer themselves up.

Pinkie Pie also started to sod the ground around Burrow XXVII, around the slapdash houses. The diamond dogs had once been against such a thing, preferring dirt and rocks, but Pinkie's treats had made the majority of them go with the ponies on this. Grass soon bloomed, and everypony's hooves felt relaxed when trotting on the soft blades of green.

When the caravan had a large shipment of paint, discovered in an abandoned factory, Pinkie was rather curious. "Why would they leave all this paint behind?"

"Well, House Earthborn doesn't always consider loss when they have to beat a tactical retreat," the leader of the caravan, a mare by the name of Silver Salvage, explained as she adjusted her glasses. She pat the side of one of the wagons, and said, "We make really good hauls every time they retreat, no other House does such a thing. Though it's still risky, so we are going to charge a lot for it, Miss Pink."

(Pinkie Pie had simply gone by the name "Pink" to the caravan and the diamond dogs, just to ensure no one would relate her to the Laughing Mare. "My parents were real lazy," she would say, then grin and say, "but we were happy!")

Pinkie Pie was studying the cans of paint, giggling as her train of thought arrived at an interesting stop. "Oh, I have a great idea what to do with all this paint, but I could use some help."

"Gonna hire us again?" Salvage asked, quirking an eyebrow. "Well, if it's a paint job, the price will be higher than last time."

"Bigger?"

"Much bigger." A sly grin spread across her face. "Can you afford it?"

"You doubt my potential?" Pinkie replied with an equally sly grin on her face.

Burrow XXVII rocked that night a wonderful party. A record player, bought by Pinkie, played tunes as ponies danced, laughed, ate, and drink. Some diamond dogs even joined in with the games and festivities.

Berry Punch had been offered some fermented cider by Silver Salvage, but the magenta mare turned it down. Colgate had seen this from afar, and felt a great relief off her chest.

"I thought for sure you would go back to drinking if offered," Colgate thought as she watched Berry dance with another pony. "Thank you for proving me wrong."

Most of Pinkie's games, due to no supplies and lack of mats for more material games, were now improv games. Trying to guess who mysterious dates were, insane party guests, forced to speak in questions only, and other games played with only imagination and a quick wit were enjoyed by all.

That night, Pinkie Pie, the caravan, and numerous ponies painted all the houses of Burrow XXVII. With names and funny pictures scribed on the buildings, the dig site's shanty town now was more like a "pantry" town, which was how Pinkie liked to describe it.

Even Marigold had lightened up for the most part, but she was still slightly wary of Pinkie. She wasn't the only pony, not all of the equine had fully warmed up to the partying, but none of them would say that it had made anything worse.

The children of Burrow XXVII loved it. They had something to do that was fun and safe, the adults were happy, and they couldn't get enough of the tasty food Pinkie made. Always one to care for children, the party pony took to watching over the kids, especially a couple friendly ones named Bird Chirp and Bounce.

The only major problem was a small number of diamond dogs that refused to ever take part in the parties. And worst of all was Maim.

Maim was the opposite of his fellow diamond dogs, in that the more happy things were, the more angry he was. He would start fights with ponies and dogs for little to no reason, and since he was so big, this would result in his victim left bloody and bruised.

Mares, stallions, and dogs all had to go to Lyra and Dinky, or had to be brought there, whenever Maim had a violent reaction to anything. Ponies had tried to avoid him, to not smile around him, but it was impossible to tell what would set him off.

Since he wasn't alone, there was no stopping him. Plus, the diamond dogs who were the head of Burrow XXVII in a management respect were more on his side than the ponies. Messengers from Manehattan would receive reports from these dogs, not the workers.

Maim had attacked Pinkie Pie several times, but with her four legs all fine, she was able to avoid being struck often. She had been hit by him several times, but managed to walk it off. Her friends were all concerned, but she took it in stride rather well.

What wasn't being taken well was how Maim treated the foals and fillies. More than once, he had assaulted a young pony, striking them hard and threatening to eat them, or worse. The first time this happened, it was with Bird Chirp.

Marigold had forgotten all sense of proportion and attacked Maim, resulting in her spending the rest of the day being treated by Lyra; it wasn't in vain, Chirp was safe. The next time, several ponies and Snoogle stood up to Maim and forced him to back off.

"We've always been careful to not let him near the foals, but he's truly overdoing it this time," Colgate whispered to her friends. Her eyes narrowed, and she added, "He's becoming more daring with his cruelty, and I don't like it."

Colgate's suspicion was amplified when Maim started carrying around blades around with him. Crude daggers and a cleaver were kept in stitched-on sheathes on his belt, some of them stained with blood. If a pony would stare, he would grin wickedly and threaten them with it.

"I killed me some wild animal for dinners," he once said to Amethyst and Dinky. "Want to be my dinners tonight? My cleaver's freshly sharpened."

At first, it had all seemed like a new intimidation tactic. But when a party one night was broken up when Maim came stomping in, swinging his cleaver wildly. Every pony and dog was then terrified of Maim and what he was truly capable of.

Luckily, no one had been hurt on this rampage, but the diamond dog managers were not going to punish or restrict Maim. As far as they were concerned, he was keeping the workers in line, stopping them from partying too much and keeping to their responsibilities.

"Frankly, there is much discussion," one of the diamond dog managers said to Amethyst Star, using words that she was sure were outside his vocabulary range with how he was using them, "that you ponies has been shirking responsibility and being lax, not doing your jobs!"

"You shouldn't be so quick to dismiss our efforts with how you all stand," Amethyst boldly retorted.

The diamond dog manager snarled. "How dare you! What makes you thinks we no know our job?"

Without breaking eye contact, Amethyst pointed behind the manager she was talking to, to another diamond dog manager: he was using a report paper as a mat for a quick number one break.

"Damn it, Leaker," the first manager shouted, "you promised us you no do thats anymore!"

Maim had no limitations, and took to smacking or hitting ponies who were on or off work. Lyra and Dinky were busy healing most of the time, while Pinkie tried to keep up their enthusiasm.

"I'm sorry it's come to this," she apologized to Bonbon, who was being treated for a scratch and bruise on her flank where Maim had hit her. "I know some of you think that he's more violent because I'm here-"

"Don't blame yourself for what that creep does," Bonbon quickly cut her off. "You can spend your whole life blaming yourself, Pinkie, but never forget who was truly the one to do it."

"She's right," Lyra, mid-healing spell, agreed. "You didn't hit my Bonny, Maim did. Besides," she nuzzled Pinkie and said with sincerity, "Our lives have picked up since you joined us."

Indeed, ever since Pinkie had joined, she had literally and figuratively painted the town with smiles. Despite Maim and other aggressive diamond dogs, the ponies there had reason to be happy, to have a positive attitude, and to do their job with feeling.

In the background, however, there was a more serious side to Pinkie Pie and her friends. Every day, Pinkie would enter Honor Bound's tomb in secret, and practice the art of a pony samurai. As silly as it seemed at first, the ponies were all rather keen to learn how to defend themselves better, especially when Maim amped up his violent side.

Pinkie would don Honor Bound's helmet, then strap it on. It was a good thing, considering how many times she fell down when practicing her bipedal walk. Pinkie had been rather unbalanced when starting, mostly due to her injuries. Her new forearm had been a small advantage, but her injured eye, which was taking time to heal, was throwing her off.

The new foreleg was something that was still hard to adjust to, as Pinkie could still remember her amputated leg; she had nightmares about it. Still, her new foreleg felt as genuine as her other, natural foreleg. The bio-prosthetic limb felt strong, flexible, and she found it easier to pick up and handle objects with her new hoof.

As soon as she found herself comfortable with the bio-prosthetic limb being truly a part of herself, she practiced using Honor Bound's sword. At first, it was just casual swings and stances. Then she found out how helpful the bio-prosthetic limb was in holding the katana.

"Kind of cheating in a way, I'm sure Honor Bound didn't have a fake limb," Pinkie admitted to Lyra, who was watching her shadow fence with the katana.

"I'm sure Honor Bound wouldn't call foul on you, Pinkie," Lyra assured her playfully. "It's not like his spirit's going to come back and haunt you."

"Maybe if he did, he's more mad that a girl's using it," Pinkie cracked.

Lyra cackled, then lowered her voice to imitate a stallion, " 'I am Honor Bound, the greatest pony samurai there is! I fought dragons and beasts and magical monsters and… hey! A girl's getting her cooties on my sword! Eww, drop it, girls are icky!'"

As Lyra joked, she conjured a magical image of the katana blade, waving it around. "Get off the girl germs, ick ick ick!"

Pinkie and Lyra laughed for a little bit, then the party pony took an interest in Lyra's sword-shaped magic. "How are you doing that?"

"Oh, this? This takes a lot of practice," Lyra said, twirling the magic around. The mint green magic glimmered playfully, despite its sword shape. "Magic is usually used to pick something up, or conjure something, but it takes a lot of effort to have magic form a solid mass all by itself."

"Why's that?"

"Magic needs a basis, something to connect with, it has a symbiotic relationship with the world." Lyra rotated the sword-shaped magic, as if to accent this. "That's why unicorns can cast it, because of how it focuses on our horns. Earth ponies and pegasi feel it in their core, allowing them to do the things we unicorns cannot, like have enormous stamina or fly at top speeds."

Pinkie nodded, and asked, "So, you can form solid objects around nothing if you practice hard enough?"

"Not really around 'nothing,' my magic is condensing air, and all the little particles that float around, naked to our eyes. Condense enough, and you form a solid object. It takes a lot of time, energy, and effort to do something like that."

"You don't seem too concentrated, you're doing it so casually," Pinkie gushed.

Lyra's mint face had a tinge of blush to it, and she glanced to the side. "Well, I've been practicing for years now. It was mostly for fun things… like for times with Bonbon."

"How so?"

Now the unicorn was full-bloom blushing, and she shook her head. "Um, sorry, that's private, Pinkie! Bonbon would kill me if I went into details."

"Oki-doki-loki!"

Pinkie practiced walking on her hind legs more, and Lyra watched in envy. "I've always wanted to do that so effortlessly as you," she admitted.

"Want to practice walking like this with me?"

"No, I cannot," she ruefully admitted. "When I was a filly, I tried that more times than I should have, and one day, I seriously hurt myself when I fell down a flight of stairs. My hips healed alright, but it's very uncomfortable to walk on my hind legs like that any more."

"Oh no," Pinkie exclaimed. "But other than that, you're okay?"

"Well, a lot of times, ponies thought I hit my head harder than I said, because I still wanted to do things that weren't normal. I still like to sit upright, that doesn't hurt to do."

Pinkie giggled, then walked over to Lyra on her hind legs. She posed, and asked, "How do I look?"

"Bravo, Pinkie! Do you want to practice sword fighting?"

"Huh? Do you have a sword?"

"No, but I have this, remember?" Lyra pointed with a hoof to her magic-created sword.

"Oh, can that cut?"

"No, not really. I haven't tried to focus my magic that much, with a blade that it could cut. What I have is the world's dullest sword."

"Then I say to you," Pinkie rubbed her chin, then exclaimed, "On par!"

"I think it's 'en garde', Pinkie!"

On par or en garde, the two began to practice sword fighting. At first, it was all in good fun, then they started to practice as if dueling a real foe. Pinkie was knocked down and bonked by the magic sword several times.

"Am I being too rough?" Lyra asked, healing a bruise on Pinkie's face.

"I can take it," the party pony exclaimed, slightly dizzy from the last blow. She shook a hoof towards the ceiling, shouting, "I will strive to be better! And oh my Celestia, my bio-prosthetic limb is turning into three legs!"

"Maybe you should put the helmet on for this."

"But it kind of gets in the way."

"Better that than take a hit to the head."

They practiced some more, with the helmet on this time. Starting that day, Pinkie would learn how to sword fight with her friends. It was rather tricky, as none of them knew exactly how to sword fight; however, that didn't stop Pinkie from getting better.

Every day, she would spar with Lyra, Amethyst, or Colgate, all of whom could form dull magic swords, or use a length of metal to help Pinkie learn to parry. It hadn't been easy at first, as learning how to balance on her hind legs and fight was knocking her down so much, even Pinkie began to lose patience.

Berry Punch and Bonbon also joined in, mostly to help Pinkie learn how to properly fight as an earth pony. Both of them had been in several fights (though only Berry had been in drunken brawls), and thus they had learned how to put their strength into self-defense.

They were both strong enough to break rocks with their hooves. Normally, the average earth pony couldn't crack a hoof with a stomp. After a few days worth of practice, Pinkie could crack and break apart stones with a single blow of her hoof.

When she had mastered learning how to fight like an earth pony, Pinkie's sword training picked up incredibly. She was even throwing in elements of her own personality into her fighting style. Pronking around the room, jumping, somersaulting, cartwheels, scrunching up her body like if it were a toy and then launching herself, all of her normal (well, normal for her) movements were being added to her fighting potential.

A week's worth of training, with quite the determination on Pinkie's part, she was able to beat a unicorn's magic-conjured weapon. A victory was either stabbing or slicing where the opponent would be if he or she were physically there, or striking the unicorn's magic-improved weapon so that it broke the creator's focus and thus the weapon vanished. A real victory would come from striking the unicorn, but Pinkie wouldn't dare swing her katana at her friends even in practice.

When Pinkie could effortlessly beat one of the unicorns in sparring, they tried two of them fighting her. Then all three of the unicorns were working to try and fight Pinkie. The party pony adapted quickly, and defeated three magic-created weapons against her without trouble.

Bonbon and Berry continued to spar with her, all of them learning how to fight better in the exchanges. Pinkie learned how to hold her sword in one hoof, both fore hooves, or even in her mouth, by the handle, when running or trading hoof blows. Again, she learned so fast, it was like a natural warrior was inside of her; she was beating both Berry and Bonbon when the two tried to outwrestle her.

Then again, that could be to how very difficult it was to pin Pinkie down.

Dinky helped out by healing all of the bruises and scrapes the ponies would get. Sometimes she joined in, but she wasn't the most combative of ponies. Still, there was a kind of determination in her, and Pinkie could guess where that was coming from.

Eventually, Twist joined in these sessions, and she and Dinky were consistently sparring partners. Four unicorns and four earth ponies practiced all their fighting potential every day, when they were not needed around Burrow XXVII.

The mining and excavation responsibilities were something Pinkie had not skipped out on, no matter how much she enjoyed sparring or partying or helping other ponies. It seemed to come naturally to her, remembering her roots as a rock farmer.

When she remembered this, it made her think of her family, and sadness grew inside her. She wanted to see if Octavia was still out there, if her mother and father were okay, if Bellamina was with them and safe. But as far as any pony knew, all of them were missing and no pony could verify where were or if they were even alive.

Still, Pinkie kept the faith that her family in this world was alive and safe. Thus, she would take to her digging and rock chores around Burrow XXVII with a sense of cheer and music.

Her digging song, which she loudly sung when mining, made no sense, but that was okay for most others; music helped the equine no matter how silly, so Pinkie didn't have to make sense to be fun for them.

However, the music that would sometimes play in her head alone, and then other times would play sound effects that could be heard by those around her, warranted some investigation.

They had let Lyra examine her; Colgate was their first idea, but the cerulean unicorn insisted that music was more Lyra's area of experience. Pinkie mentioned wearing a gicPod and headphones when she was suddenly brought to Equestria Divided, which amazed Lyra.

"Well, I'm not detecting anything in your head," Lyra had started to say, when Pinkie's eyes went wide.

"I don't have a brain?" she exclaimed in mock horror, clasping her face and miming a horrified scream.

"No, you do," Bonbon said nearby, cracking a smile, "but I'm sure it's scattered around in there. Knock her on the noggin, Lyra, let's see if it rattles."

Lyra giggled over all this, then continued. "My thoughts are, as weird as this sounds, your gicMod and headphones might have fused with your being when you were brought here. Thus, you have your music player in your head, and when your mind connects any song to your head, it plays.

"Or of course, it could relate to that thing you did when you were around in our world, where," Lyra pretended to "pull" something from behind her, though she was holding nothing, "you would sometimes pull something out of nowhere. Can you do that?"

Pinkie blinked, then pulled her party cannon from nowhere, leaning on it with a simple pose. "You mean like this?"

"Yes! How do you do that?"

"Irunno," Pinkie grunted, shrugging. "All I know is when I need something, I usually have it nearby me!"

"Unicorns can practice magic their whole lives without that kind of seamless effort," Lyra remarked. "It's like you have some hidden space for your tools. We should name it after a tool, like a screwdriver, or a wrench, or a ham-"

"I like wrenchspace," Pinkie interrupted. "We can call it my wrenchspace!"

"Why wrench?" Bonbon asked.

"Because with a twist of my wrist, I am now holding this," Pinkie sang, twisting her wrist in display as she pat her party cannon.

"Uh-huh," the yellow earth pony said, not wanting to try to make more sense of this puzzle than she had to. "Wish Doctor Whooves was here, he's better at explaining this weird 'n wild stuff."

"Any way, I carry most of my stuff in my mane anyway," Pinkie explained. "I have my towel and Pinkie Bazooka still in there, everything else is gone, sadly."

"What about the ball and funny glasses?" Lyra asked.

"I gave those to the kids, they don't have a lot of toys. Bird Chirp loves the mask. And Bounce loves the ball, go figure; methinks he's going to get that Cutie Mark of his soon, eh?"

Lyra smiled at Pinkie. "I'm sure Marigold and Dandy Skies appreciate it, even if she doesn't show it as much as he does."

Pinkie nodded. She still hoped one day, Marigold could be her friend, but she was still dubious of Pinkie despite all the effort. Marigold and Dandy had adopted the two younglings when their parents had been killed in Whitegold's militia (which they hadn't been volunteers for), and thus had been caring for them as if they were the actual parents, for about two years now.

Pinkie still remembered the time Maim had attacked Bird Chirp, which had resulted in Marigold nearly being hospitalized. Since then, the two younglings had been closer to their adoptive parents than ever, and Pinkie. Chirp was rather close to the party pony, hugging her and sometimes referring to her as a big sister.

"You think Marigold and Dandy will ever get married?" Pinkie casually asked, her train of thought on tracks that only she could lay out.

"Well, it's pretty much the same problem as with Bonny and I," Lyra said, glancing over at her lover. "There's no one to marry us. So we just sort of consider ourselves married."

"Froofie," Pinkie cursed, crossing her forearms and leaning against her party cannon. "I was hoping to see what kind of kids you two would have. I would imagine how adorable they were."

Lyra and Bonbon were both blushing, and the latter cleared her throat loudly. "Yes well, as much as we both would love that, fertility potions are one of the hardest things to come by, unless you are an official citizen of the House. And House Whitegold doesn't let peasants of the Undercity have fertility potions unless they pay a very, very large amount of money."

"Bonny and I have never been able to afford that, we cannot steal one, and we're not comfortable with letting a stallion take part like they would have to do in the old days," Lyra said, shaking her head. "So we've given up on having kids."

"Don't you dare," Pinkie snapped. "You two will have adorable babies one day, mark my words. I'll barter for one of those potions for you! I'll shave my mane for the bits!"

"As nice as that is," Bonbon said, trying not to giggle at the mental image of bald Pinkie, "the caravan has never had a fertility potion, and we've never been able to locate one in the fifteen years this has become Equestria Divided."

"What about in Inner Manehattan? Didn't you buy a ticket at one point?"

"That ticket is long gone, so we don't know how to get one from there," Lyra said. She nuzzled Bonbon, and smiled at their pink friend. "But thank you anyway, Pinkie."

As Pinkie rolled her party cannon back and forth under her hooves, a thinking habit, Lyra watched the large decorative tool with a bit of caution. "Say, that reminds me," she spoke aloud, "Pinkie, I've seen you use that to decorate for parties, how in Equestria do you get the ammo?"

The pink party pony perked her ears up, and said, "Oh, I didn't tell you? Apparently, it's connected to me in a way, like my gicPod became."

"How so?"

"Depending on how much I've worked out, how much energy I have, the party cannon seems to have as much ammo. Each time I use it, it's more like a strong, physical movement, like a brisk jog or running up a flight of stairs. So I can fire it with how much energy I have."

"I'd call that crazy, but you have a magic player infused in your head," Lyra reasoned. "So you can just adjust the cannon's setting, and fire it all day long until you become zonked?"

"Yeah, but I haven't really needed to do that. I only need it for parties, like with the Pinkie Bazooka. That's a bit more tiring to use, but it's always fun to launch cupcakes from the air."

"You haven't been able to do that since the first time you did it," Bonbon noted. "Guess that was your last ammo from your home world, and now you're stuck with what we can afford."

"I'll have to level up that skill more if I want more than a confetti blast, I know."

Lyra and Bonbon didn't get what that meant, much like how they hadn't understood any of Pinkie's video game references. The pink pony hummed in thought as she bobbed her head, suddenly lost in a tune that only she could hear.

Bonbon leaned over to her lover, and whispered, "She uses it enough at parties, why do you think it hasn't "leveled" up like she says?"

"Maybe only in combat?" Lyra whispered back. "I mean, you know how good she became with the sword."

After that conversation was over, the day ended with a grand banquet for all of Burrow XXVII. Pinkie showed off her bazooka for the children, and they all cheered wildly at the confetti bursts, especially Bird Chirp and Bounce. Bonbon and Dinky had passed out the lettuce salads for dinner, Twist made candy and cupcakes for dessert, and Dinky provided lighting and music for everypony.

Snoogle joined in to help clean up, the only diamond dog willing to help out. He also partook in some of the games, which Berry hosted this time. It had been a fun but exhaustive day for everypony.

When they were all off to bed, Pinkie found Colgate at their house already, reading a book. "Everything okay there, Colgate?" she asked her roommate. "You weren't around for dinner."

"Amethyst brought me something to eat, don't worry."

Pinkie's curiosity persisted, and she asked, "What's that book you're reading?"

"It's a theory-based novel on the Astral Plane. Not very informative, but it is all I could get."

"Why are you reading that?"

"You want to go home, don't you?"

Pinkie froze as if stuck in time. Then she collapsed on her hindquarters, staring down at the floor. "Oh no…," she whimpered, as visions of all her friends back in her world flashed before her eyes, "I'm a horrible pony. I forgot all about that. I've just been so focused on trying to help you all here-"

"Pinkie, you have had it very rough, no one can fault you for that," Colgate said. "I don't blame you for tunnel vision. Plus, you have admitted to yourself that finding a way home may be trickier than we could imagine."

"But it's been over a month now," Pinkie wailed, feeling tears sting her eyes.

When she felt a tear drop slither down from behind her eye patch, a feeling of elation came over her that beat out her misery. Covering her left eye, she lifted her patch, and blinked a great many times.

She could see through her formerly damaged eye. Very fuzzy at first, but it was coming back. Her mind spun, mostly because of how hard her brain was trying to process seeing through a long-time covered eye and a regular one simultaneously. Pinkie almost ripped the patch off in jubilation.

"I can see again," she exclaimed. "My left eye… it's all healed!"

Colgate was out of her bed in a heartbeat, inspecting her pupil. "That's marvelous! How's it feel?"

"Fuzzy-wuzzy, but oki-doki for the most part! How's it look?"

"Well, you've got a white pupil now. Maybe after a few more healing spells, that blue will return to your eye, Pinkie."

They had a mirror in their house, and Pinkie trotted over to it. Sure enough, her eyes were mismatched, her right one bright blue and her left one a colorless white around her pupil. Pinkie thought it was cool for a moment, then she noticed her scar, caused by Rainbow Dash.

"Why do you suppose," she asked Colgate, sorrow in her voice, "the magic never healed the scar, like it normally does with healing magic, Colgate?"

"That's a good question. I've seen healing magic remove scars, deeper and bigger ones than that. It may be because," she sighed and rested a hoof on Pinkie's shoulder, "your body doesn't want it to be removed."

"Silly body of mine, what's the point of that?"

"Only you could know the answer to that, Pinkie. Now come on, let's get some sleep. Tomorrow, we'll focus on finding you a way home. As wonderful as you being here is, this world isn't something I'd wish on anypony."

As Colgate headed over to the magic-lit candle and blew it out, Pinkie continued to talk. "If we do find a way, somehow… can I take you all with me?"

"There's ponies of us already there, correct? It wouldn't be right."

"I would feel awful," Pinkie persisted, as she stared at her reflection, illuminated by the moonlight shining in through their window, "if I left you all here in this awful Equestria Divided."

"Sweetheart, this is all too much for how late it is. Get some sleep, please?"

"Okay."

Pinkie didn't go to bed right away. She continued to stare at her reflection, specifically her facial scar. It started above her eyebrow, down into her socket, then traced down all the way her cheek, to where the tip of her lips would touch when she would grin one of her large Pinkie grins.

Why hadn't her facial scar faded away with the healing treatments? Her eye was normal again, normal except for the missing color, and her left foreleg had no such scars. She had seen nasty gashes and cuts on ponies here in Burrow XXVII, who had had their injuries healed with no remaining scars.

Was it really an emotional issue? Was her face not healing properly because Rainbow Dash had been the cause of it?

"Maybe that is it," Pinkie thought miserably. "After all, Lyra and Dinky have been remarkable healers, and they haven't fixed this. Not to mention… if Twilight gave Rainbow Dash those burns I saw on her, why hasn't she had them healed away? Maybe the emotional ones are impossible to fix… but my arm healed, and this Applejack did that…"

Pinkie sighed heavily, unable to stare at herself anymore. "I miss home. I miss my Rainbow Dash, my Fluttershy, my Twilight Sparkle and Applejack and Rarity! Gummy, the Cakes, the twins… I miss everypony! It's been over a month now, forty-two days, precisely. Tomorrow it will forty-three days. I hope you all forgive me for being here so long.
"Maybe tomorrow, I'll come back, and tell you all about what happened. It was quite the adventure, and though I was damaged, I'm still the same ol' Pinkie Pie!"


Tomorrow, when she woke up from a deep slumber, something felt off. Terribly off. Her Pinkie Sense wasn't tingling, unless a strong worry in her gut was a new one.

Pinkie Pie had slept in, and thus the morning crew was in the mines already, working the early shift. All the other ponies were cleaning up after breakfast. Other than that, they were keeping themselves busy, either tending to the flowers and gardens they had started planting (thanks to Pinkie), or enjoying a little off-time.

But Pinkie could feel that horrible sense in her gut tightening. She could barely register ponies congratulating her on removing the eye patch. She was so distracted, she almost ran straight into Dandy Skies.

"Pinkie," the pegasus exclaimed. His eyes were so wide with intensity, they threatened to pop out of the sockets. "Have you seen Bird Chirp? I cannot find her anywhere!"

"Is she at home, maybe?"

"No, that's where Marigold and Bounce are! I told them to stay put at home in case Chirp comes back, but it's been an hour. I'm really, really starting to worry!"

"Calm down, calm down," Pinkie ordered him, holding his shoulders. "Now here's what we're going to do, okay? Tell everypony up you can to search for her, but remain calm; she more than likely wandered off to play. Check the river, the party areas, and maybe outside where the caravan usually parks; they might have shown up.

"Fly around, but don't shout out, or the diamond dogs may make you stop. I'll go into the mines and look for her, okay?"

"Okay, just please find her! If something happened…"

Pinkie didn't wait for the rest, she bolted towards the mines. Passing by mining ponies and diamond dog guards, she looked around earnestly for any sign of the young pegasus. Bird Chirp should have stood out in the mines, being bright yellow with a white mane.

"Where could she have gone?" Pinkie said to herself as she ran down the corridors, some of which she had helped dig herself. "I wish Doctor Whooves were here; if he's anything like my Whooves, he was great at finding Dinky when she would wander off. All that stuff I told Dandy was advice I got from him over the twins.
"Bird Chirp, where could you have gone? You know not to go into the mines… am I just wasting time? I…

"Oh no."

Pinkie was passing by the boarded up tunnel to Honor Bound's tomb. Only it wasn't boarded up anymore. The planks had been smashed down, and heavy paw prints were in the dirt.

For a brief moment, panic forced Pinkie to stand still to collect her thoughts. Then, without a second's more hesitation, she galloped down the tunnel. When she saw light coming from the tomb, her fear grew even higher.

She skidded to a halt in Honor Bound's tomb, almost crashing into a magic-fire lantern had been set in the middle of the room. Honor's coffin, with the helmet and sword laying on top as usual, was undisturbed.

On the right side of the circular tomb was Maim, looming over Bird Chirp. The pegasus filly cowered, her eyes wide in terror as she pressed her small body against the rocky wall. She was too terrified to even utter a noise.

The gigantic diamond dog snickered as he snagged her tail and lifted her up. Bird Chirp let out a terrified shriek, her hooves wailing and tiny wings flapping. As she fought for her life, Maim brought his nose close to her hindquarters and sniffed.

"Save your screams," the diamond dog said, sadistic glee in his gravely voice, "I wants to hear them when-"

"HEY!"

Pinkie's shout echoed around the tomb, amplifying her fury and shock. Maim turned towards to the party pony, and his face turned into an ugly scowl.

"You get the Tartarus out of here, and I mays not skin you."

"You put her down," Pinkie ordered, standing her ground, "right now."

Maim snarled. When he did, frothy drool ran from his mouth down his jawline. "You dare tell me what to do? You know what, pink pony? I have hads it with you.

"When I am doing having my funs with this filly, you are next. Maybe a pony who is a little older won't screams as much, but I thinks I shall enjoy it mores."

Suddenly, Pinkie Pie's worst nightmare appeared to her in the flesh right before her. She had always worried that the reason ponies kept the fillies away from Maim was solely because he was violent and aggressive. The way mares and even stallions would back away from him when he was in one of his moods…

Equestria Divided had been violence, death, and horror ever since Pinkie Pie had arrived. She had tried to adapt in Burrow XXVII, but this, this was the last straw.

She would take a stand, here and now, for her friends. Even if this wasn't her world, these were her friends. She wouldn't see another being harmed.

"Put her down," Pinkie shouted, sticking her hoof into her mane. She pulled out the Pinkie Bazooka, and pointed it at Maim. "RIGHT! NOW!"

Maim snarled as he fully turned towards Pinkie. "You want her?" he asked tauntingly, dangling the flailing filly at her. "Come on then, pink pony, take her. But not before I haves my fun with her first."

Maim opened his mouth, and extended his tongue towards Bird Chirp's hind quarters. Pinkie pulled the trigger, and a mauve-colored plushie shot out. When it impacted with Maim's mouth, it knocked him backwards from the explosion, confetti and streamers shooting into his face and down his throat.

He dropped Chirp, gagging and coughing, shaking his dazed head. The pegasus filly practically hit the ground running, racing to Pinkie and clinging to her.

"Thank you," she whimpered pitifully. Her eyes were red from crying in terror, but gratitude shown in them as well.

The party pony nodded, and hurried towards the tomb's only way out, the tunnel she had entered in. With Bird Chirp clinging to her, it was a little hard to run, thus Maim managed to beat her to the entrance.

He was such a large diamond dog, his girth practically covered the entire entrance. She was acutely aware she had just angered a being three times as big as her. The staring contest between the furious dog and determined pony ended with a furious bark from him.

"You has made me really angry, pink pony," Maim shouted, clenching his fists. He raised them above his head in a two-fisted attacking manner, even if she wasn't anywhere close to him.

"This isn't good," Pinkie thought. Her head, with that gicPod-infused brain of hers, was already kicking in the music.

"I IS GOING TO TEAR YOU APART!!"

Maim struck the ground with both fists, causing a tremor in the tomb. Dust fell from the ceiling, the walls vibrated, and cracks formed in the ground. Like a powerful earthquake, Pinkie and Bird Chirp were knocked back. As she started to stand up, the imposing diamond dog lunged at her.

She leapt to the side, careful to not land on Chirp. His arm struck her side, a glancing blow that sent her and the pegasus filly sprawling, knocked apart. Maim collided with Honor Bound's coffin, and it was smashed to pieces by the impact.

Pinkie, trying to see through all the dust that had been kicked up, saw the katana blade in its sheath land right in front of her. She managed to grab it just as her tail twitched, and she jumped backward to avoid Maim's mammoth fist crashing down where she had been standing.

Sliding to a halt on her hind legs, she strapped the scabbard to her side, and unsheathed the katana blade. She and Maim were staring each other down now.

"You will never," she hissed vehemently, "harm another pony, or another soul. Never, ever again. By Honor Bound's blade, I Pinkie Promise you."

"I," Maim snarled right back, murder in his eyes and poison in his words, "will rips you apart, slowly, limb by limb."

"Pinkie!"

The faint cry was barely heard over the intensity of the fighting words, but Bird Chirp's call didn't miss Pinkie's ears. Honor Bound's helmet bounced and rolled towards the pink pony, a throw that had been by a scared, but brave, filly. Pinkie heard her retreating down the tunnel, and smiled to herself, knowing that whatever happened here, Chirp was safe.

The pink pony picked up the helmet. Maim growled gutturally as she fastened the chin strap. "You has been planning mutiny, has you?" he asked, spitting the words out. "Then I will needs no excuse…"

He pulled one of his daggers from his belt, the metal gleaming in the lantern's light. "… When I gut you. Yous had better get ready to scream, pink pony!"

He leapt at her, swinging his knife at her face. She thought back to all her training, all her practice, and swung the katana.

Metal clashed with metal, the chilling sound echoing around the tomb. Pinkie's blow was more skilled, but Maim's was stronger, thus the exchange was evenly met. They both swung again, Pinkie aiming to defend more so than attack.

When he attempted to stab her eye, she leapt back. He swung with his free paw, and she cartwheeled out of range. Maim snarled and lunged at her again, teeth bared.

Pinkie kicked with her hind leg, flipping herself around as her back hoof uppercutted the large diamond dog. It wasn't much of a blow, but knocking his teeth together slightly stunned Maim. He obviously wasn't used to a blow being delivered.

Barking furiously, he hurled his dagger at her. She parried, sending it clattering to the side. He threw a second one at her, and she tilted her head soon enough to dodge it lodging in her neck; she felt her pink mane take a tiny trim from the thrown blade.

The third dagger to be hurled was aimed at her face. She swung the katana, a special attack she would use to destroy magic-created weapons. Honor Bound, with its enduring enchants, cut through the crude metal of the dagger.

As two halves of a knife clattered to the ground, Maim pulled out two more, dual-wielding them. He leapt at her, slicing in a berserk frenzy.

She parried as fast as her forelegs could, matching his attacks with parries and dodges. Pinkie kept this up until her forearms felt like lead. Her breathing was heavy, she was sweating, but Maim didn't seem to be tiring.

Leaping backwards, she pulled out her trusty party cannon, and hit the button. The impact blast, mixed with blinding confetti, sent the unprepared Maim sprawling backwards. Pinkie used her cannon as a springboard, bouncing off on her hind legs to swing down at his head.

Recovering just in time, the diamond dog backhanded her, sending her skidding across the floor. She almost dropped her katana as she desperately picked herself up, just in time to leap back on all fours. Maim had pulled out his bloodstained cleaver, and swung it down at her.

The large cutting tool imbedded into the rocky ground, and he yanked it out with an annoyed grunt. Pinkie could now see, since it was out, just how big this blade was. The metal head was almost as large as herself, the handle as long as she was snout to tail.

"You," Maim shouted, "are really pissing me off!"

He hacked into the ground, and in true diamond dog fashion, burrowed down into the dirt floor, leaving behind a large hole. Dirt flew back as Maim dug deeper down, and the ground rumbled as he tore around the hard rock and earth.

Pinkie wondered if he could sense where she was on the surface. She stood on her hind legs, trying to gauge the vibrations. "You were a rock farmer once, Pinkie," she thought. "Do not let him get the jump on you-"

The ground below her exploded, a large fist plowing upwards first. It glanced Pinkie, still enough to send her sprawling. Maim roared as he leapt into the air, digging right back down upon landing. The floor shook aggressively as he moved for another attack.

Pinkie bolted on all fours, trying to outrun him, but he burst out from below her again, striking her flank. She winced at what surely would be a bruise later. Maim was underground again in an eye blink, growling like a predator on the hunt.

As the diamond dog shuffled through the earth, he could sense her hoof beats above him. He grinned through the shifting earth, thinking about this time, he would catch her in his teeth. Maim would enjoy tearing her apart, and he'd start on those hind legs that she had been standing on.

"Time to end this, stupid pink pony," he thought as he headed up to where he sensed her standing.

He burst through the surface, straight into the barrel of the Pinkie Bazooka. Pinkie had leapt into the air and was pointing her weapon straight down at him.

"Party Blast," she shouted the name of the move that had been totally made up just now, hitting the diamond dog point-blank in the face with her bazooka. As this slammed him against the ground and dazed him, the force sent her flying straight up into the air. She twirled, then came straight down with her right foreleg extended.

"PINKIE," she exclaimed, giving Maim enough time to widen his eyes in shock as the pink pony struck him forcefully in-between the eyes with her hoof, "PUNCH!"

She flipped off him, then unsheathed her sword as he scurried to his feet. He tried shaking off the daze, but the blows had been harder than he had expected; and truthfully, harder than Pinkie thought they would be too.

"You are so deads, pink pony," Maim hollered, heaving in fury. He slammed his cleave into the ground several times, taunting at her. "I will skins you, I will eats you!

"And after I am done with having my ways with you, I is going to do the same thing to that filly!"

"Never," Pinkie screamed right back, her blue and white eyes flashing in righteous fury.

They sprinted at each other, weapons ready. Maim swung down at her, and the exchange of blows nearly knocked her katana from her hooves. He took this opportunity to grasp her helmet, to hold her place for a beheading chop with his cleaver.

Pinkie, despite the pain of being gripped by his massive paw, acted fast. She seized her katana by her mouth, and, with the fastest twist of her neck, sliced at his wrist.

Most would doubt that could be a strong blow; however, Pinkie was not normal by any standards. Her mouth as strong as always, her neck and body able to bend in ways that startled others.

Pinkie severed Maim's paw at the wrist with that slice. Blood spewed from the wound, and the diamond dog stared at the stump in unbelieving stupefaction. His paw hit the ground and Pinkie rolled away, right before he let out a bloodcurdling howl.

Anyone who knew Pinkie would think such an action was impossible for her, and even more inconceivable would be she wouldn't be shocked by what she had done. But right now, battle adrenaline was pumping in her veins, defending the innocent was on her mind, and that severed paw symbolized the molestation of a sweet filly.

Blood and an amputated paw were nothing more to her than a sign that true evil was losing.

As she sprinted at him on her hind legs, a run that was swift with her back almost parallel with the ground, she leapt at him with another slice of her katana. Maim wasn't done yet, no matter how much pain he was in. He swung at her, swatting her aside but cutting his arm where her sword attempted to score a fatal blow.

"You pay," he shrieked, his gravely voice shrill with rage and pain. "You pay!! I will kills you! I will kills you!"

He scraped at the ground with his foot, then stampeded towards her. Recovering from the vicious swatting, she managed to jump away just in time; it felt like a train rushing by her. He impacted with the wall, and the whole tomb shook. Rocks and dust fell from the ceiling.

Maim turned towards her, and dropped his cleaver. His remaining, enormous paw dug into the ground. He pulled out a large chunk of it, and chucked it at her. Rocks, dust, and dirt sprayed Pinkie, who turned her head to let her helmet take the brunt of the attack.

He charged again, she sprung aside. When he impacted with the wall again, she was thrown off her hooves. He leapt towards her, feet ready to stomp her to a bloody pulp. Pinkie pulled her party cannon to her and rode off on its recoil burst. Maim was left punching the ground, confetti and dust where the pink pony had been.

The diamond dog plunged his paw into the ground, pulling out enough earth and rock to be a fairly large boulder compared to Pinkie. He hurled it at her, and she shot another blast from her party cannon, this time holding her ground.

Rock met Party Blast, and the impact in mid-air clapped throughout the tomb. Pinkie blinked the dust away from her eyes to see Maim pouncing at her, howling for blood.

She swung upwards, and her sword sliced into his fur and flesh. Maim's remaining paw knocked her to the side, wrenching her grasp from the katana. When she hit the wall, she could feel her body screaming for this to stop, despite the adrenaline fighting off the pain.

Pinkie's katana was imbedded in Maim's wide neck. The diamond dog didn't even appear to notice, he was chuckling darkly, panting hard as he turned towards her. By now, his blood splattered around the tomb, still dripping from the stump on his arm and from his neck.

"Little pony… thinks she can hurt me…," he scoffed, a cruel grin on his face. "Little pink pony… gonna sees… her insides soon…"

He lumbered for her, reaching out with his remaining paw. She bolted to the side, and he chased after her. She tried to summon her party cannon, but the amount of energy it was taking resulted in a failure.

As she ran, Pinkie tripped on the uneven ground of the tomb, the floor terribly mauled by Maim. He seized her flank from behind, and she reared her head back. The horns on her helmet cut into his arm, enough to make him let go and cry out in pain.

Maim tried to clutch the bloody scratches she had left, but he no longer had a paw to do that with. With a furious snarl at this realization, he pounced at her again. Knocking her onto her back, he moved in to bite her. Thinking fast, she struck his eye with the flat of her hoof.

Maim howled in agony. "My eye! Augh! You dirty pony! You die! YOU DIE!!"

His massive fist swung towards her head. She turned her neck just in time for the helmet take the majority of the blow, its magic enchantment and masterful craftsmanship keeping her suffering damage, but it did daze her. He grasped her chest and pinned her down, his large mouth opened and razor teeth visible, ready to bite her.

She saw her katana lodged in his neck, blood still dripping around the steel that almost appeared to be set in that thick mass of flesh and fur that was Maim's neck. Pinkie kicked the katana's handle with her hind leg, lodging it further in.

Maim felt it now. He gurgled, opening his mouth as a wretched gag escaped his throat. Blood dribbled from his mouth, and his grasp on her weakened. She freed herself, and as he attempted to seize her again, rather feebly, her left hoof clenched the handle of the samurai blade.

"Thank you, bio-prosthetics," she murmured, feeling her semi-artificial arm and hoof still as strong as ever, despite the intense action and strain her body had been through. Maim let out another gurgle, trying to clench her mane, as she pushed on the hilt.

A strained snarl was split in half when Pinkie, with all her might, pushed her sword through his neck, swinging in an arc that ended with her standing in front of him.

There was disbelief in his eyes, as his head slid off the neck and onto the floor. Pinkie stood still for a moment, as Maim's body collapsed with an audible thud and his head rolled away.

She swung her katana around, flicking the excess blood from the blade, before sheathing it and walking away.

The adrenaline, the energy that had kept her going the whole fight, to ignore the pain and horror and exhaustion, it was still going through her. As she wiped a wet splotch of blood from her forehead, she examined Honor Bound's tomb with a calm, steady gaze.

Maim's rampage had ravaged all of the warrior's resting place. The floor had been torn into, the stone carvings of ponies in armor had been smashed or badly cracked, and the sarcophagus was obliterated. Honor Bound's tomb had been destroyed by the diamond dog, though Pinkie felt responsible.

At least this way, the tomb would just appear as ruins, instead of a secret kept by the ponies. There was no way she could hide this incident, the diamond dogs would smell the blood spilt here, no doubt.

The blood…

It all rushed to Pinkie at once, hitting her in the stomach and in her head in a one-two punch that made her knees weak. She collapsed on all fours, hind knees and fore hooves, head hanging as she fought the urge to throw up, or scream, or both.

She had just killed someone. She had taken a life. Pinkie Pie had never considered, not once, doing something as brutal and cruel as that. Now, even with the great necessity, she felt it burning into her mind, into her soul: she had murdered someone.

"No, wait! Not murder," she thought desperately. "To murder is to take the life of an innocent, to commit an evil act. This was in self-defense, this was defending a little filly.

"Yet, somehow," a dark part of Pinkie's mind mused, "it is also an excuse to kill. We needed that, didn't we?"

"Wha… wha… WHAT? No! I'm not a killer! I'm not a violent pony! This was necessary… we aren't that kind of pony!"

She felt sweat run down her forehead, dripping onto the ground. Blood was still drying on that floor, on herself, and she could feel it. It almost felt burning against her coat. The katana, now sheathed and on her back, felt white-hot, the source of the kill.

"How could you do it, Honor Bound?" she thought desperately, wanting somepony, anypony, to tell her. "How can you take someone's life and feel okay about it afterwards?"

Another voice echoed in her head. It didn't sound familiar, but at the same time, as logical and in control as Pinkie could be in this stressful moment.

"Look no further than the name," she heard herself thinking. "Honor Bound. It was his honor to fight for the princesses, for Luna, for his fellow pony. And he fought with honor. Take comfort in that you are doing what no pony else should.
"You always said you would do anything for your friends, Pinkie Pie. Here are friends who saved your life, gave you a home, and took you in despite the danger it brought to themselves. They need you now, they need you to do this.
"That is Honor. That is the blade you wield. You are bound to the honor of being a true friend, of a warrior, of a pink party pony protecting the pure and the principled.
"You are now…"

Her train of thought was interrupted when she heard something, or rather somethings, running up the tunnel to the tomb. She stood on all four and turned around, facing the diamond dogs that had run into the tomb.

"The smell of blood, here," one of them shouted. He was the first to see Maim's corpse, and let out a scream of terror.

"Maim! Maim is dead!" another hollered.

"Oh gnaw bones," one of the smaller ones cursed, "this not good!"

They all stared at the corpse, some furious, some horrified, some both. Then they all saw Pinkie Pie, and started shouting at her.

"What happen, pony? What happen to Maim?"

"You do this, pony?"

"What is with armor?" One of the diamond dogs, who Pinkie knew slightly more than the others, was gaping at her. He saw the same pony who had given him sugary cupcakes as a token of good will, now covered in Maim's blood. Her own injuries matched the brutal look she was sporting, with her katana scabbard and helmet.

"You killed Maim," another of the dogs, larger, shouted accusingly. "You dids it, didn'ts you?"

"Yes, I did."

Pinkie Pie stared them down, barely recognizing her own voice, let alone her attitude here. "He attacked me and another pony. I acted in self-defense."

"Murderer!"

"No, I said, he attacked me, he tried to kill me first. But I don't think I want to argue this, I know how stubborn most of you are."

The party pony knew most of the dogs now staring at her were the ones who had been on Maim's side, when Burrow XXVII was divided between enjoying the parties or loathing them. Only a couple of the diamond dogs there were the ones who had become more gentle with ponies.

She knew where this could go, and though she was outnumbered, she didn't feel the same kind of fear as before.

"Maim sought to do something unforgivable to somepony," Pinkie explained. "I won't stand for the cruel treatment of my friends anymore."

"We kills you," one of the bigger dogs barked, balling her paws into fists. "Pony no tell dogs what to do!"

"Kill the pony," some of the other dogs chanted and barked. "Kill the pink pony!"

"No," Pinkie retorted, "this pony is having her way now."

Despite failing to earlier, Pinkie summoned her party cannon. Standing on it with her right hind leg, she unsheathed her sword and ran her hoof on the flat side as she stared them down. Her eyes, both blue and white, were strong and fierce enough that could rival a certain friend of hers; it sent shivers up the diamond dogs' spines.

"My friends have suffered too much because of your cruelty. And so, I'm going to stop what I can. I'm not here to cause a rebellion, I'm here to right the wrongs.

"I don't want to kill any of you, nor harm you. But if you plan to hurt my friends any more, you're going to regret crossing that line." Pinkie narrowed her eyes, and added, "Harm my friends, then you better be ready to come at me, doggy."

The diamond dogs stared at her, until one of them asked, his voice between outrage and shock, "Who are yous, pony?"

"I am the Pink Samurai."

Pinkie drew a line in the dirt in front of her with the tip of her sword. A taunting smile spread across her face, and she asked, "And you'd better think to ask why, before you mess with the Pink Samurai. Come on, guys, who wants to try? Comply? I can only rhyme so many times before I get bored-y."

Cheating on that last rhyme didn't lower the intimidation factor that the diamond dogs felt when she had drawn that line. The one that had gone to Pinkie's parties cleared his throat, and said while backing up, "Look, me never liked Maim. So long as we are all goods together, I is okay with you and ponies? Okay, pretty pony?"

"Okay, handsome dog."

The dog managed a peaceful smile, and then turned and left. A couple of the dogs followed him, a combination of respect and fear of Pinkie. About five of them were left, the one standing closest snarling loudly.

"We is not going to let pony tell what to do," she shrieked at Pinkie. "We is not intimidated by you!"

"Then, as one says before a duel of this caliber… ON PAR!"

The diamond dogs leapt at Pinkie Pie, teeth bared, paws bawled into fists. The Pink Samurai stomped on her party cannon, and commenced the battle of fate for Burrow XXVII.


THERE IS NO DOUBT ABOUT IT NOW.

IT IS A TERRIBLE SHAME, BUT THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY.

HONOR IS HER BLADE, MORALS IS HER GUIDE, FRIENDSHIP IS HER MAGIC.

SHE WILL FACE ANY AND ALL EVILS OF THIS WORLD…

THE JESTER'S DIABOLICAL BELIEFS…

THE DRAGOON'S VIOLENT INTOLERANCE…

THE GEM'S SADISTIC DESIRES…

THE STAR'S EXTREME CRUSADE…

THE THUNDER'S FERVENT WARPATH…

THE FOREST'S BARBARIC REVENGE…

AND ANY OTHER THREATS THAT ENDANGER US ALL.

EQUESTRIA DIVIDED!

YOU NOW FACE…

THE PINK SAMURAI.


SAVE CURRENT PROGRESS?

> YES. NO.


CONGRATULATIONS! You have successfully reached Level 1 of the Samurai class! Pinkie Pie has a special "slice"!

Unlocked Weapon: The Cannon (Party Cannon). Level 1.

Unlocked Weapon: The Anti-Pointed Stick Device (Pinkie Bazooka). Level 1.

Unlocked Weapon: The Katana (Honor). Level 1.

Unlocked Armor: The Samurai's Helm (Bound's Helmet).

Unlocked Trinket: The All-Encompassing Panic-Negating Essential Travel Tool (Towel).

Unlocked Trinket: Noggin Jukebox (gicPod).

New Skill: Bipedal Movement. Level Max.

New Skill: Hoof-to-Hoof Combat. Level 1.

Your home base has been set to: Burrow XXVII.

You are now Honored with Burrow XXVII.

You are now Friendly with The Traveling Caravan.

You are now Unknown by House Whitegold.

You are now Hunted by House Earthborn.

You are now Hunted by House Stormwing.

You are now Hunted by House Moon & Star.

You are now Hunted by House Everfree.

You are now Hunted by The Cult of Laughter.

You are now Knee-Deep In It with Equestria Divided.

Author's Note:

If you think Pinkie Pie adapted to the violence too quickly, there's more to Pinkie Pie from her own universe than meets the eye; she's not the show's Pinkie, because that Pinkie would never kill anyone.

Still, I hope you enjoyed it! Ask anything you want, point out the errors and/or stupidity, or just comment! Either way, here's to the end of the prologue! *squee*

Comments ( 40 )

A fanfic update at last. :yay: I hadn't got any fanfic update for days... :fluttercry:
I have seen the new art of the story... is it me or are some of the ponies' head looking rather anthro?

*Starts reading with glee. :raritystarry:

I liked almost every part of this chapter, and look forward for the next part. :rainbowkiss:
The only thing I didn't like is the assumed loving relationship between Bon-Bon and Lyra.
Anyway, is the peaceful Pinkie from the beginning of the fic gone, replaced by the Pink Samurai?

Edit : I don't know why but I think this here theme especially fits with that fourth part :

Glad to see this updating again.:pinkiehappy: especially now that the story starts in earnest.

PoorYorick put Amethyst in House Moon and Star as head of the sun guild. Just a small continuity error. Glad to see you finally updated though.

Calling it right now,the Laughing mares from the astral plane.

2944023
Could you please put a link? I don't remember having seen that before. And still, this fic isn't meant to be totally canon to ED, still it's fine if some minor character is in a different situation. :twilightsmile:

2961778
null. This should be it, hope the link works. It was in his journals so it was easy to miss and you're right it wasn't a big deal but I felt like I should bring it up.

2922973
Bonbon and Lyra's relationship is something I will touch on more, but without spoiling anything, I ask you: if they have been together for all this time, throughout this terrible war, then they are like any good couple. Through sickness and health, rich or poor, they love each other.
Pinkie Pie from the peaceful world and the Pink Samurai are the same pony. It's not like that split personality where she "becomes" someone, she just goes by Pink Samurai when it comes to fighting.
And I love that theme, but I aim for video game music here more than movie themes! :duck:

2943567
Okay, that's awesome, but who said there's no chance she'll improve the look a little? :raritywink:

2944023
Like you discussed with Black Hoof, my EQD world is going to be different than PoorYorick's in several ways. Like how I have Cloud Kicker being the pegasus general of House Earthborn, while he made Lightning Dust that (after I had written this). Thus, Sparkler here is Derpy's daughter, not just another unicorn.
But thank you for pointing things like this out, I like readers on their toes! :rainbowwild:

2952600
Telling you right now, that's... wait no, that'd be spoilers! :trollestia:

2966908
What I meant is that you should maybe write how this came to be in the story. I have seen too many fics in which such relationships are just dropped in, without explanation nor background.

2967422

And it will be explained. The only reason it hasn't yet is because Chapter 4 was way too long, and also, Bonbon is a introversive pony in many ways, so even if Pinkie was more forward, she wouldn't be telling others about the intimate details that kept her and Lyra together.
:pinkiehappy:

I can't wait for the next chapter.

Nice. I especially like how Pinkie does it all kike a game. Interesting concept the whole Pinkie traveling to ED world. Almost makes me want to see more stories like this one

Can you tell some news about next chapter's current advancement please?

3484065

Things have been really, really busy for me, my good sir. Just went to BlizzCon! (And I hope to upload pictures one day, I was dressed as someone familiar on this site!)

But as far as how far the chapter has gone in writing, not very. Though I should have a little free time to work on it this week, we shall see. :)

Still nothing Kobolds?

3625676
Big chapters can take time. :pinkiesmile:

3637068 I know, just curious. :pinkiesmile:

RULES OF NATURE!

Really nice story, my good sir !
I ask you to continue it...i mean... if you want to...

:applejackunsure: Is this story dead or on a long-ass hiatus?

Also, I'm working on my own Equestria Divided story, but it won't be up for a while.

The Pink Samurai is born :pinkiecrazy:

5877648
And now the Pink Samurai is in stasis.

5886735 Just like the anime 'Berserk' :twilightsmile:

Seriously :ajbemused: It lasted 25 episodes and was never picked up again...

Comment posted by Black Hoof deleted Sep 13th, 2017

6592442 There's one good news though :twilightsmile:

Beserk has been picked up :pinkiehappy:

A really interesting story, wish it to be more

8383791
I personally have no hope left. Now, even the “Equestria Divided” group seems to be dead.

8423914
This bad huh? yet another wasted good story which I enjoyed reading.... oh wellz, back to the drawing board

Another great story I'll probably be waiting forever to continue

Comment posted by OmalleyCaboose5 deleted Mar 7th, 2018

Everything about this story is amazing this is beautifully written. Pinkies characterization is done perfectly. So sad it had to end just when the story began to pick up excitement

Comment posted by OmalleyCaboose5 deleted Jan 3rd, 2020
Comment posted by OmalleyCaboose5 deleted Jan 3rd, 2020

8781297
Yo chill bruh, the last chapter was four years ago, a rule of thumb is don't get invested in a story that dead. It was a great story and it's a crying shame but eh, such is life.

Comment posted by OmalleyCaboose5 deleted Jan 3rd, 2020

"All we know is that one day, Applejack came back to Ponyville, so mad that she looked ready to kill somepony herself," Bonbon said. "All she would say was that Twilight was going to force an alicorn transformation, to take the place of the princesses."

So she failed a human transmutation I see.

"It's been fifteen years since she vowed she'd do it," Colgate said. "The answer is no, it's impossible, but Twilight has not seen reason. Even… even after the first, fatal attempt."

She was missing the vital ingredient
Chemical Larson

(Pinkie Pie had simply gone by the name "Pink" to the caravan and the diamond dogs, just to ensure no one would relate her to the Laughing Mare. "My parents were real lazy," she would say, then grin and say, "but we were happy!")

Oh man big difference there.

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