The last waning rays of sunlight cast shadows over the south field of the Pie family rock farm. Out of rotation for the year, the field was currently home only to one unenthusiastic young mare. Maud Pie slowly walked through the field, scanning it for the perfect piece of slate. She picked up a rock and frowned – it was the right color and shape, but it was just a bit too big. She bit the end off of it and dropped the remains in her saddlebag. "Slate. Yum."
The last rock she needed acquired, Maud headed towards the barn at a pace somewhat faster than 'a rolling stone gathers no moss' but considerably slower than 'avalanche' – a pace most ponies would consider a trot. The oldest of the Pie fillies, Maud had long been the favorite of her parents due to her intricate knowledge of stones. She had studied hard in the hopes of eventually taking over the family farm. Which is why it shocked her when her younger sister, Pinkamena, had somehow managed to convince their parents to 'cut loose' and 'party down' with her. She had never heard her parents laugh before that day. Her youngest sister had even needed to enquire as to what these strange new sounds they were making were called.
So if 'fun' was the new name of the game, well, Maud Pie would show the rest of the family just how much fun rocks could be. She closed the barn door and allowed herself a maniacal laugh. "Mu. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha." When life gives you rocks, make rockade, after all. She made a mental note to make a nice refreshing glass of rockade when she was done.
The sounds of power tools could be heard from the front porch of the farmhouse. Her parents were gently rocking back and forth on the porch swing. "Sounds like Maud is hard at work."
"Yup. Sounds like she's using the power drill."
"Any idea what she's working on?"
"None. But I'm sure she'll show us all in due time."
"Yup. Though I do wish she would learn how to laugh correctly. Her laugh sounds so... awkward." The matriarch of the Pie family went inside to start preparing dinner.
Maud stood back to examine her handiwork. There was no discernible difference in any of the dozen different rocks in front of her – each looked exactly as it had when harvested from the rock fields. "Perfect."
“Maud Findlay Pie, come in and eat your supper.”
"Showtime." The edges of Maud's mouth tugged upwards ever so slightly. She swept the rocks off the workbench and into her saddlebag. She took her place at the dinner table between her mother and Pinkamena.
"And how was your day?"
"Oh! My day was like super-duper amazing!" Pinkie Pie exclaimed. "I made party hats for all of the rocks in the east field."
"You made 171,985 party hats? I don't know whether to be impressed at your speed and determination or aggravated at the unproductivity of such a frivolous pursuit."
Pinkie sniffled. "Why do you have to be so mean to me, Maud?"
"I'm not being mean, I'm merely pointing out the obvious, Pinkamena. And if nopony else is willing to call you out on it, I will. You were supposed to rotate those rocks, not deck them out in party hats."
"I rotated them too."
"You could have done the job faster if you weren't wasting time."
"Oh yeah? Well what were you working on in the barn? Hmn?"
"First of all, I worked in the barn only after completing my designated chores. Secondly, I was working on something to prove to all of you that rocks can be just as fun as parties. Allow me to introduce you to Boulder." Maud set the piece of tungsten on the table in front of her.
"It's just a rock," Pinkie said.
The other Pies gasped at the blasphemy. "Pinkamena Diane Pie."
"Okay, it's an ordinary piece of tungsten. Maud proclaimed it to be a fun rock but I fail to see the fun."
"Looks can deceiving, my dear Pinkamena." Maud flipped the rock around in her hooves and transformed it into a miniature robot. "As I was saying, this is Boulder, leader of the Guardian Rock Lords."
The rest of the Pie family stared at the rock robot, jaws agape. Pinkie reached towards it but Maud batted her hoof away.
"Boulder leads the rest of the Guardians against the evil forces of the Renegade Rock Lords, led by Magmar." Maud transformed a block of igneous rock into another miniature robot.
"These are amazing, spectacular, spectacumazing! Can I have one? Please?"
"I anticipated such a request and made two special Rock Lords, just for you, Pinkamena. This is evil Renegade Sticks 'n Stones. He's got two heads, each with their own distinct personality. The only things they agree on are being mean and liking cupcakes. And this is the Guardian Crackpot." She placed an anthracite coal/magnetite hybrid next to a hunk of blue azurite rock. The latter was wearing a puffy pink wig. "Crackpot is completely crazy and enjoys parties."
"There's nothing crazy about liking parties!" Pinkie started crying. "Is that all I am to you? Your crazy party-obsessed sister?" She ran up the stairs and locked herself in her bedroom.
"Maud Findlay Pie."
"I'll go talk to her, father."
"Pinkie. May I come in?"
Pinkie had buried her face in a pillow and was sobbing. Maud sat on the bed next to Pinkie.
"You win, Maud." Pinkie sat up. Tears had stained her cheeks and her eyes were red and bleary.
"If this is winning I must profess a strong dislike of winning. Regardless, I came to offer my apologies. I thought you would enjoy my attempt to merge your passion for having fun with the family business."
"I'll just forget about parties."
"Isn't that what you want?"
"No. I want what is best for my little sister, whom I love and care about. And I think what's best for her is to leave here."
"So you do want to get rid of me!"
"I want to see you flourish. I fear the rock farm is holding you back. You are unhappy here whether you wish to admit it or not. You spend hours looking up to the sky in the futile hope of seeing another rainbow. You made party hats for rocks. You painted smiley faces on rocks."
"But the rocks are my friends."
"No, Pinkie, the rocks are my friends. You crave socialization and need other ponies. You're not going to get that on a farm that's miles off the beaten path in a valley that's only good for one thing: growing rocks. When I was in town the other day I saw a sign at the bakery indicating they wish to take on an apprentice. I think you would enjoy such work much more than planting, rotating, and harvesting rocks But you will always be my little sister and I will always love you no matter if you're here on the farm or miles away in Ponyville."
"You're right. I can feel the farm stifling my creativity and weighing me down."
"I know. I found your notebook of angsty poetry. You have a very interesting way of rhyming."
"If I can't find a word that rhymes I make one up!"
Maud wrapped a foreleg around Pinkie, embracing her. "Never change who you are."
Pinkie sighed as she returned the hug. "I'm really going to miss you if I take that job."
"And we will all miss you as well. But you need to do what's best for you. Think of all the friends you'll make."
"But who's going to keep everypony's spirits up here on the farm?"
"I guess you'll just have to come home on your days off and throw us a party."
"Oh! I'd like that! And we totally need our own super duper sisters and best friends forever tradition! You like rocks and I like candy... I know! We'll make rock candy necklaces every time I come home!"
"If that's what you desire, so be it."
"Thank you so very much, Maud! I love you!"
"I love you too, Pinkie." Maud smiled.
"You... you're smiling!"
"Seeing you happy makes me happy."
"Well that's funny, seeing you happy makes me feel really happy too!"
"That's because making other ponies happy is your special talent."
"You're welcome. Thank you for teaching me how to smile. Now let's go talk to father about your potential internship."