Pinkie Pie jumped up and shoved another book in Twilight's face. “How about this one?”
“Pony history, third shelf from the top.” Twilight rolled her eyes as Pinkie zipped off to shelve the book. Organizing certainly was easier when—
“How about this one?” Pinkie held up a huge, dusty volume.
How had that book gotten on the floor? “Forbidden magic shelf, in the restricted section – and whatever you do, don't open it!” She shook her head. At least she'd gotten an eager library assistant for the small price of a couple cups of espresso. With Spike out of action, she needed the help.
Pinkie darted back again. “What about this—”
The window crashed, and a screaming blur of rainbow smashed into Pinkie's backside.
Pinkie flew forward, and before Twilight could react, she was tackled down to the floor, books flying everywhere.
Twilight blinked as the dust settled.
“Sorry about that...” Rainbow rubbed the back of her head. “I'll replace the window... again. I guess the tornado barrel roll still needs a little work.”
The first thing Twilight noticed was that her horn was in Pinkie's mouth.
“Huh?” Pinkie stared at it, eyes wide. “Mmm!” Her tongue began to move, slurping all over it.
Twilight yanked it out and stood up. “Ew! Pinkie, no!” She shook her head, as if it could shake away the ick.
Sitting upright, Pinkie licked her lips. “Mm... delicious. Grape flavored!”
“Wait... what flavored?” Rainbow stared at her. “What are you talking about?”
Pinkie blinked for a moment. The whirring of gears in her head was almost audible. “Twilight's horn tastes like grape candy!”
Ignoring her, Twilight reached up and touched her horn cautiously. She yanked it back and shook it. “Ew, Pinkie! It's all sticky!”
“That is awesome!” Rainbow laughed. “Twilight, why does your horn taste grape?”
Twilight ignored Rainbow. “Pinkie, you should never do that to any unicorn!”
The gears in Pinkie's head went into overdrive. Twilight wouldn't have been surprised to see smoke drifting out of her ears. Finally, Pinkie shook her head. It rattled. “Wait... so all unicorns have candy horns?” Her eyes went wide. “Are they different flavors? I have to find out!”
“Pinkie, no! You can't just—”
Pinkie was already through the door and outside. There would be no catching her now.
Rainbow kept staring at her.
Twilight glared. “What?”
Biting her lip, Rainbow kept quiet for a moment longer before she finally blurted out, “Can I have a taste?”
* * *
Rarity hummed to herself as she placed another couple feathers in the new sun hat she was working on. She rubbed a hoof to her chin and then adjusted her little red glasses. “Hm... perhaps blue would be better than red... Maybe Rainbow could part with a primary or two?”
Pinkie burst in through the door. “Hi, Rarity!”
“Oh, good morning, Pinkie.” Rarity smiled. “What brings you here?”
“I have a surprise from you!”
Rarity squinted at her, setting her glasses down on the desk next to her. “I think you mean you have a surprise for me?”
“Nope!” Pinkie bounced over to her. “It's definitely from you.”
Rarity shrugged. “Alright, then. What is it?”
Pinkie grinned at her... a little disturbingly. “Close your eyes and look at the floor.”
“Pinkie, I can't look at anything if my eyes are closed. I can't do both.”
“Ugh!” Pinkie shook her head. “Well, close your eyes and pretend to look at the floor.”
Rarity rolled her eyes and shrugged. “Very well.” She did as she was told.
For a short moment, nothing happened, but then Rarity felt something on her horn. Something wet and soft. Rarity darted back, opening her eyes just in time to catch a droplet of drool in one of them. “Pinkie! What have you—” Rarity touched her horn. She gasped. “Ugh! Gross gross gross! Pinkie, no!”
Pinkie smiled. “Mmm... Marshmallow!”
“Pinkie, I demand that you leave my boutique this instant!”
“Okay!” Pinkie bounced on her way out. “I've got a lot to do today anyway!”
* * *
Lyra sat with her best friend on her favorite bench, watching ponies go by in the park. It was one of her favorite things to do on a nice day, and it provided endless entertainment, watching all these ponies go through their day-to-day troubles.
Something made a noise behind her, but she didn't bother about that. She was busy watching a mother unicorn – Sea Swirl, was it? Or maybe her name was Seafoam? Something 'sea', anyway – drag her little earth pony foal along with magic, pulling him away from the marketplace. He screamed and reached for the long-lost market.
What was it, Lyra wondered, that the foal had wanted there? Was it good that his mother had denied it, or was it just something they couldn't afford? Or maybe he just—
Hooves pushed down on her shoulders, and she looked up just in time to see Pinkie Pie lick her horn.
Lyra jumped up. “What was that?”
“Ooh! Minty!” Pinkie bounced up and down. “Yours is delicious!”
“Ew!” Lyra's face scrunched up.
“Wait... Lyra's horn tastes minty?” Bon Bon blinked. She looked up at the little green horn, and her eyes went speculative. “Interesting...”
Lyra stalked toward Pinkie. “Pinkie, that was—”
Pinkie spotted Sea Swirl behind her. “Ooh! Gotta go!”
Running after her, Lyra struggled to catch up. “Pinkie, you can't just go around licking—”
It was too late. Pinkie slurped Sea Swirl's horn lasciviously.
It was enough to shock the poor pony into dropping her foal, who ran off toward the market. She just stopped and stared, horrified at what Pinkie had just done.
“Mmm... Blueberry. Now that's tasty! Can I have another little—”
Lyra jumped in between them. “Pinkie, no! Stop this right now! If you—”
“Ooh!” Pinkie's eyes darted off to the distance. “Gotta go!”
* * *
“There you are, Finally!” Rarity rushed up to her little sister, ignoring the ponies seated at the tables all around them.
Sweetie Belle looked up at her. “Of course I'm here. I told you I'd be out with my friends trying to get waitressing cutie marks.”
“And it's not quite going as we'd planned...” Apple Bloom staggered close by, a dozen plates of food wobbling on her back.
“Hey, there's a feather in my soup!”
“It's supposed to be there!” Scootaloo rushed back toward the kitchen.
“I... see.” Rarity winced. “Well, enough of that. I've got to get you home before—”
“Before what?” Sweetie Belle tilted her head to the side.
Out of nowhere, Pinkie darted out and gave Sweetie Belle's little horn a long lick. She darted off before Rarity could stop her, saying “Vanilla... not really my favorite, but pretty good” as she went.
Rarity sighed, and her head drooped. “Before that.”
One of the patrons in the restaurant screamed.
Pinkie's voice followed. “Mmm, caramel!”
“I am not leaving a tip!” another voice commented.
All three Crusaders groaned in unison.
* * *
Minuette leaned close, carefully bringing the little mirror in so she could see the back side of her patient's teeth.
Yes, just as she thought, several cavities spread out across the lower incisors. No wonder the poor mare had been in such a hurry to be seen.
Multitasking her magic, she brought in an angled pick. She'd need to clean them out thoroughly in order to see how deep the damage ran. With the amount of pain Lemon Hearts had said she was in, it was probable that at least one of them went all the way to the roots, which would mean she would have to have a—
Something licked her horn! She dropped her tools – thankfully, not on the patient. They clattered to the floor.
Pinkie stuck out her tongue grotesquely. “Ugh! Toothpaste. I hate toothpaste! They call you Colgate for a reason.”
“My name is Minuette!” She stomped. Something crunched. Looking down at her hooves, she saw she that had smashed her mirror. Great. Now they not only needed cleaning, she'd have to replace one! “Pinkie, this is—”
“I need something to get that flavor out of my mouth.” Pinkie looked down at Lemon Hearts.
Lemon squirmed, but she couldn't get out of the chair fast enough to avoid Pinkie's tongue.
“Mmm! That's better!” Pinkie licked her lips and smiled. “Tastes like lemons – I should have guessed.”
Minuette scowled at her. “Pinkie, you are never allowed in my office again.”
“Ha!” Pinkie rolled her eyes. “I never come here anyway.” She bounced out into the lobby and out of Minuette's hearing.
By the time Minuette managed to calm down her patient and get a new set of tools, Twilight Sparkle burst into the exam room. “Have you seen Pinkie? I heard she was headed this way, and she seriously needs a talking to.”
“I'll say.” Minuette shook her head and motioned for Lemon to sit back down. “She was here a minute ago, disrupting my business and breaking all the sanitation rules.”
“But which way did she go?”
Minuette shrugged. “I didn't see where she went once she left the room.”
A sudden scream of “Eek! Trixie does not approve of this violation of her personal space!” followed by an “Ooh, what is that? Raspberry?” outside of the window was enough to settle the question.
Wings flapping to speed her up, Twilight rushed out through the lobby.
Minuette shook her head and turned back to her patient. “Okay, maybe now we can finally get back on track about that toothache.”
* * *
When Twilight finally found Trixie outside, the showmare was still seething.
“Trixie,” Twilight called out, “what are you doing back in Ponyville?”
Trixie sat down and crossed her front hooves. “Getting violated, apparently.”
Twilight scanned around, but there was no sign of the perpetrator. “Pinkie was here?”
“Yes.” Trixie's eyes narrowed and her scowl deepened. “Trixie is busy planning an elaborate and satisfying revenge.”
“You won't hurt her, will you?” Twilight backed away a little.
Twilight touched her own horn again. It was still sticky. “Good enough for me. Did you see where she went?”
“Trixie told her that if she was so enamored of unicorn horns, she should go to Canterlot.” Trixie stood up and shook her head. Strands of her mane stuck to her horn. “Perhaps she will lick a royal guard and they will throw her in a dungeon.” She shuddered. “Goddess, I hope so.”
* * *
Princess Celestia rolled the scroll tightly back together and filed it along with all her other letters from Twilight Sparkle. She was grateful that Twilight had managed to send her a letter even though Spike was down with a temporary case of dragon itch. It gave her enough time to warn Luna.
Keeping her guard up and her wits about her, she resumed her day. The combined research notes of Prism Shine and Zero Scale beckoned. She hadn't been able to read much yet, but it promised to deliver exciting advances in the understanding of—
“Flee! The Pink One is upon us!” Luna rushed in through one door of the study and continued right out through the other.
Pinkie hopped in through the door. “Princess, come back! Your blackberry horn is so delicious!” Pinkie froze when she noticed Celestia. “Ooh...”
Celestia glared at her. “Don't you dare.”
Walking as if in a trance, Pinkie slowly approached. Her eyes were locked onto Celestia's long white horn. She licked her lips.
“You leave me no choice.” With a slight frown and a bright glow of magic, Celestia turned Pinkie Pie into stone.
A moment later, Twilight Sparkle rushed inside. “Princess Celestia! I think Pinkie's on her way here! If we hurry, we can—” She spotted the Pinkie statue. “Oh.”
“Don't be alarmed, Twilight.” Celestia walked up to the statue. “The petrificus spell can be reversed at any time. I just needed her to hold still long enough to explain that she needs to stop.”
Twilight stared at the stoned Pinkie. “She can hear us?”
“Perfectly, as you surely remember from the cockatrice incident you wrote to me about.” Celestia sat down in front of the statue. It stared up at her, still with that creepy entranced hunger. “Pinkamina Dianne Pie. This wanton licking of ponies' horns is a gross violation of their privacy and dignity, and you will desist at once. If I hear of any more non-consensual horn-licking from you, I will be forced to turn you to stone again... and that time, you'll stay encased in stone far longer.” She patted the statue on the head. “Now, you are far more valuable to me as one of Twilight's friends rather than as one of the statues in my garden. So, will you promise to behave from now on?”
With another bright flash of sun magic, the stone shell around Pinkie shattered into tiny, sparkling pieces.
Twilight stared at Pinkie. “Well?”
Pinkie sat down and stared at the floor for a moment before looking up. “I promise not to lick any more unicorn – or alicorn – horns unless I have permission to. Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.”
Twilight nodded. “And if you break that promise, I will stick a cupcake in your eye.”
“Ugh!” Pinkie blanched. “There's only one place I like to have cupcakes stuck in me, and that's my... no, wait... that's not right. The other place, yeah, my mouth!”
Celestia grinned and shook her head. “Very well, Pinkie. Go, and lick no more.”
Twilight grinned as Pinkie left the room. “You've got to teach me that petrificus spell sometime. It looks really useful.”
Celestia pursed her lips. “Twilight?”
The silence hung heavy in the air.
“Twilight, what does my horn taste like?”
Twilight jumped back. “What? How should I know? I've never—!”
“Calm down, Twilight. I know you'd never do anything like that.” Celestia looked up at her own horn. “It's just... I can't reach it myself.”
“Are you asking me to...” Twilight's eyes opened wide. “NO! I am not doing that!”
“Relax, Twilight. It's for science.”
Twilight glanced down, then back up at Celestia. “For science?” Her tongue surreptitiously licked her lips. She probably wasn't even consciously aware of it.
Celestia nodded. She leaned her head down, bringing her long horn close to Twilight's face.
What followed was probably the smallest, most hesitant lick in all of recorded history.
“That's weird.” Twilight rolled the taste around in her mouth a little as Celestia pulled away, back to a more dignified position. “It's an interesting flavor... sort of piña colada?”
Celestia looked down at her. “Hm...” She glanced away for a moment before looking back. “And... yours?”
Twilight cringed away. “It's grape!”
Several long, awkward moments of silence passed. Twilight finally looked back at Celestia. “Um...” She blushed. “You can try it if you want.”